Volume 1: Issue 9

The “Amazing Meals Made Easy” system for the busy food lover!

Week of April 8, 2012

“Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” –  Harriet Van Horne

Happy Easter everyone!

How many of you are doing our “Elegant (and easier) Easter Dinner” recipe tomorrow? I’ve already got the Garlic and Rosemary Leg o’ Lamb rubbed with spices, and my Potato, Leek, and Asparagus Gratin is tucked safely in the fridge. Can’t wait to dig in tomorrow! If you’re doing one of these recipe, let us know how it goes, and post some pictures on the Facebook page or the hautemealz.com blog!

The hand’s down big hit on this week’s menu, for me, has to be the Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs with Simple Snow Peas. Savory, sweet, sticky beef candy…need I say more?

Oh, and speaking of not saying more…just a couple of more days until we unroll that new time and money-saving feature…can’t wait to tell you about it!

Have a delicious week!

The hautemealz.com team

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Be sure to hook up with us (socially, of course) at…

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hautemealz
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HauteMealz
and, of course…
Our Blog: http://hautemealzblog.wordpress.com/

Oh, and if you’re one of those crazy pinners (like us)…pin us, baby, pin us!

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TIP OF THE WEEK: Natural Microwave Cleaner

Here’s a microwave-cleaning tip that I saw on a German television program. Cut up pieces of lemon (use leftover pieces that would otherwise be discarded), stick them in a bowl covered with water, and boil until you can’t see through the microwave window. Take a paper towel and wipe the inside clean.

Not only will the steam make it easier to wipe away grease and stuck on food, but it will leave the inside of your microwave smelling fresh and lemony for days to come!

Do you have a tip you’d like to share with your fellow hautemealz.com subscribers?

If so, send it to us!

If we use it, you’ll be entered into a monthly poll and a chance to win a $10.00 Starbucks/Dutch Bros/ or Jamba Juice gift card!

 

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INGREDIENT OF THE WEEK:  MIREPOIX

A mirepoix (meer-PWAH) is, most typically, a combination of celery, onions, and carrots. There are a lot of regional mirepoix variations, and it can also  include additional spices. Mirepoix, either raw, roasted or sautéed with butter or olive oil, is the flavor base for a wide number of dishes, such as stocks, soups, stews and sauces (as well as my mama’s turkey stuffing). The three ingredients are commonly referred to as aromatics.

Similar combinations of vegetables are known as the holy trinity in Creole cooking, refogado in Portuguese, soffritto in Italian, sofrito in Spanish,

Though the cooking technique is probably older, the term mirepoix dates from the 18th century and derives, as do many other appellations in French cuisine,from the aristocratic employer of the cook credited with establishing and stabilizing it: in this case, Charles-Pierre-Gaston François de Lévis, duc de Lévis-Mirepoix (1699–1757), French field marshal and ambassador. According to Pierre Larousse (quoted in the Oxford Companion to Food), the unfortunate Duke of Mirepoix was “an incompetent and mediocre individual. . . who owed his vast fortune to the affection Louis XV felt toward his wife and who had but one claim to fame: he gave his name to a sauce made of vegetables and a variety of seasonings”

Traditionally, the weight ratio for mirepoix is 2:1:1 of onions, celery, and carrots; the ratio for bones to mirepoix for stock is 10:1. When making a white stock, or fond blanc, parsnips are used instead of carrots to maintain the pale color.

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FEATURED RECIPE

hautemealz.com Extreme Recipe Makeover: Champignon Poulet Diana

An old friend and co-worker of mine, Diana A., submitted this dish, Mushroom Chicken, for a hautemealz.com Extreme Recipe Makeover asking, “You are supposed to bread the chicken, fry it in oil and then cover with sauce and let it simmer with the veggies…I don’t bread the chicken anymore to cut some of the fat…other ideas to skinny it down?”

So…

First of all, the original recipe was pretty darn good to begin with. The sodium content was frighteningly high, due to the canned soup (870mg per can, yikes!), and there was that slightly metallic aftertaste from the same. My biggest problem with canned cream of mushroom soup (and canned mushrooms in general) is that it just doesn’t taste like mushrooms…and I love mushrooms!

Secondly, (don’t freak out), I added back in the frying step. A little bit of flour and olive oil (and God forbid, some butter) really isn’t the end of the world, and adds enough awesome flavor to make it worth it.

Remember, if it doesn’t taste good…what’s the point?

Even using the f-word (fried), from the health standpoint we were able to shave off 100+ calories per serving, cut almost 1/3 of the fat and nearly 2/3 of the sodium. (You can click on the title link to see more photos and get the exact macro-nutrient comparisons between the old and new versions of this recipe.)

Not too shabby!

The biggest winner here, or course, is the flavor…nothing from a can is ever going to compete with fresh, all-natural ingredients. The result of the pan roasted mushrooms really brought the umami* flavor to the front, much more so than the original recipe. Adding the celery to create a classic mirepoix brought some natural saltiness to the dish, allowing us to cut back on the table salt and, of course, the combined flavor of mirepoix is so much more than the sum of it’s parts!  The only thing I would add to the new recipe (and didn’t because it wasn’t a component of the original) would be a little freshly grated asiago, or parmigiano-reggiano, sprinkled over the plated dish. Some steamed Jasmine rice, and a nice sautéed spinach, or roasted broccoli would be a perfect accompaniment to the meal.

You’ll be seeing the recipe on a hautemealz.com weekly menu, very soon!

THE HAUTEMEALZ.COM EXTREME MAKE-OVER…

Champignon Poulet Diana

  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to your taste)
  • 8 oz 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 anchovies fillet, diced (trust me)
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 1.5 Tbs olive oil
  • 1.5 Tbs butter
  • 1 tsp “Better than Bullion” chx base
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast/tenders
  • Mirepoix (2 cups diced onion, 1 cup diced celery, 1 cup diced carrots)

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then dredge in 2 Tbs flour until completely coated. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or deep skillet and fry breasts and sliced mushrooms (sprinkle mushrooms with a 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp of white pepper, 1 tsp onion powder, and nutmeg) until lightly browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and mushrooms from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Mirepoix: Add remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and sauté the onions for 2 minutes. Stir in the celery and carrots and cook for about one more minute. Season with garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the remaining 1 Tbs of flour, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until flour has just begun to brown and has a nutty aroma.

Deglaze the pan with white wine, stirring until nothing is stuck to the bottom, then slowly pour in the milk, chicken base, and diced anchovies, stirring to blend smoothly. Simmer rapidly for 20 minutes, stirring often.

Return the chicken breasts to the pan and reduce to a low simmer for an additional 10 minutes. The mixture should reduce considerably by this time so check frequently to see that the chicken is covered. Spoon baste if necessary.

*Umami, from the Japanese meaning “pleasant savory taste”, and popularly referred to as savoriness, is one of the five basic tastes together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.

The Chinese characters 旨味 are used for a more general meaning to describe a food as delicious. Umami is most notably found in fish, shellfish, cured meats, vegetables (e.g., mushrooms, ripe tomatoes, Chinese cabbage, spinach, celery, etc.) or green tea, and fermented and aged products like cheeses, shrimp pastes, soy sauce, etc.

Humans’ first encounter with umami is often breast milk. It contains roughly the same amount of umami as broths.

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 CHERYL’S HEALTH TIP…

Take your vitamins!

Vitamin D & Muscle Pain: Low vitamin D levels can cause muscle pain and weakness. Studies show that as many as 25% of people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome have low vitamin D levels, and that supplementation may help lower pain levels in some cases.  One study shows that vitamin D-deficient people need twice as much narcotic pain reliever as non-deficient people!

Another reason to have your Vitamin D levels checked…Vitamin D boosts the immune system and can prevent the flu, including H1N1!

 Health Coach Cheryl Cranston, M.Ed.  is an over-60 grandma with a youthful spirit.

Zumba instructor, speaker, writer, and educator, Cheryl’s passion is inspiring women over 50 to be healthy, fit, strong, and full of purpose!

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hautemealz.com

E-mail: perry@hautemealz.com
PO Box 21, Wilsonville Oregon, 97062

http://www.hautemealz.com
Copyright 2012, Perry P. Perkins

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