I had my first WI at a meeting yesterday. I made another fruit sauce parfait – this time half strawberry, half blueberry with sliced banana and plaint Chobani yogurt. I brought this to eat after my WI – I love that this is so filling and only 3 smart points!
My sister challenged me this week to not step on my scale at home. Yesterday I wrote that on Tuesday I was down 1.5 but then when I weighed in yesterday before WW, it showed I was up 2 pounds from that number. What the what?!
Well, I did it! Down 1.8 for the week. My goal is to lose between 1.5 and 2 each week, so I was right on target. I did really good catching myself with mindless eating this past week, so I hope to continue that this week, and drink more water – that’s still an obstacle for me “working” from home. At my desk job I had no problem getting the water in. But with my schedule being different every day, I know I don’t drink enough.
I ended up sucking it up and walking outside – I love walking, but wish it wasn’t 45 degrees outside. I live in an interesting neighborhood since I am by the Fox River. Back in the day most of the houses in my area, mine ncluded, were summer cottages that were only occupied during the summer months. So there are very interesting houses and I took a different path on my walk yesterday. There are some very hilly areas, and I walked for 60 minutes. Check out this giraffe in someone’s backyard though!
And I love seeing the green grass vs. snow on the ground!
Before I knew it, it was time to head to Courtney’s house for Cooking Club. I was assigned dessert, which is typically not in my wheelhouse. I don’t bake much – I would consider myself more of a cook than a baker, unless you count bread!
The theme was “spring” and I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making a fruit tart. At my office we would frequently buy the fruit tart at Mariano’s for birthday celebrations. It always looked so gorgeous, and in talking to my Mom, she said it was one of her favorite desserts, so I thought this could be a dry run for a Mother’s Day dessert for her. I am very pleased with how they turned out – although word of caution – I would suggest filling them right before serving. I prepped them at home around 5:00 and we didn’t eat them until nearly 8:15, and they pastry cream made the sides of the tart kind of soft, but they were still delicious. Best part too is that everything can be made separately the day before – which is what I did. The tarts were done and put in a ziploc bag, the pastry cream was in a container in the fridge and the fruit was all cut up.
I adapted my recipe from this one – the only real difference is that I reduced the amount of glaze on the top, and I ended up making 24 two inch mini tarts vs. her 14 tarts, even though I believe she used the same size tart pan. Who knows? All I know that each mini tart came in at a respectable 5 smart points and for the record – insulin worthy!
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 5 tablespoons butter (room temp)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups milk (I used whole milk)
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 teaspoons extract
- 1/4 cup apricot preserves
- 1-2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup mixed berries of choice
- Using a hand mixer, beat the egg, sugar, and mayonnaise in a large bowl.
- Add in the butter, cornstarch, and baking soda. Squeeze the lemon juice over the baking soda so it starts to foam. Blend with a hand mixer until combined.
- Add the flour to the egg and butter mixture and blend on low speed - you may need to use your hands at this point until it comes together. Roll in a ball, cover with plastic and chill for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until just combined. Add in the flour and mix.
- In a pan, put the 2 cups milk and bring to a slight boil - basically until you see bubbles start to form around the edges. VERY SLOWLY, and I mean VERY SLOWLY drizzle the milk mixture into the egg yolk/sugar mixture so that the hot milk doesn't cook the eggs.
- Once combined, add that mixture back into the pan and over low heat, stir until it's reached a thick and creamy consistency. This took me about 20 minutes of constant stirring, so have a magazine or phone next to you!
- Once cooled, put in a bowl, and press plastic wrap on it so that it doesn't form a skin on the top and chill in the fridge until ready to assemble.
- I ended up using only 1 tablespoon of the dough for each tartlet vs. the 2 she recommended in her recipe. I was using 2 inch tart cups. Press the dough down and up the sides of the tart cup and place the cups on a cooking sheet - I made 12 tarts at a time and baked at 350 for 13 minutes.
- Once cooled, put the apricot preserves and water together and microwave for 10-20 seconds.
- Using a melon baller, scoop in custard mixture into the tart. Arrange cut fruit on top and then brush with the glaze.
- I bought my tart cups at Bed Bath & Beyond for .49 cents each. And while I ended up making 24 tarts for 5 smart points, it's probably more like 4 smart points because I still had about 1/2 a cup of custard leftover.
- The cookie really puffed up while baking, so I recommend really pressing the dough down as much as you can in the tart cup before baking.
How beautiful did these turn out? I can hardly believe they came out of my kitchen! Here is more of our delicious eats last night:
Mary Beth made Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Herbed Goat Cheese. Perfect balance of sweet/savory/salty!
- 1 16 ounce package dried Medjool Dates (can be found in the produce section of Trader Joe’s)
- 1 12 ounce package bacon, slices cut in half widthwise
- 1 4 ounce pacakge of Goat cheese of choice
- Brown sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 425. Using a small knife, slice the dates lengthwise and remove pits. Fill each date with about a 1/2 teaspoon of goat cheese. Wrap dates with half slices of bacon, securing the overlapping ends with a toothpick. Arrange dates on a baking sheet and sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until browned on the bottom, then flip (now is the time to add brown sugar if you want) and cook for another 7-8 minutes or until the bacon is cooked and a little crispy. Cool several minutes and enjoy!
The cute glass with the lime on the rim?? Ceviche!! Okay, first off, let me say that the only ceviche I’ve ever had is with shrimp, not fish. So when Julie said she made it with tilapia I was a bit skeptical. But that’s the joy of a cooking club – trying new things! Drop the mike – it was so delicious. It was bright, fresh, a bit spicy with the jalapeno and I can imagine making this for a dinner for myself with some tortilla chips and a glass of sauvignon blanc and be perfectly happy.
- 2 pounds diced tilapia
- 1 cup fresh squeezed lime
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced)
- 1 jalapeno (seeded, finely diced)
- 1/2 cup purple onion (finely diced) (and yes, I ate that!)
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- salt and pepper
Dice the tilapia when its partially frozen and place in a bowl. Pour the lime juice over, stir and place in fridge covered for 30 minutes (until the fish turns white). Pull out and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Served chilled with corn tortilla chips or popcorn. Thank you Julie for introducing me to this dish!
Donna made a delicious salad – she’s going to be emailing the recipe to us later today, and I’ll share it with you once she does because the dressing was out of this world. The salad: chopped romaine, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, bacon and blue cheese – swoon! I didn’t know I liked hearts of palm, but I do!
Catherine was unable to make it because her father was ill and out of town, so Courtney stepped in and prepared a side dish in her absence. You were missed Catherine! She made Pinch of Yum’s Spring Quinoa Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette – the only difference was that she used two cups of uncooked quinoa (vs. 1 in the recipe) and only used half of the salad dressing mixture. So light, tangy and delicious – and it had bacon!
Lindsey made strawberry-avocado salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips – holy cow was this delicious – I loved the sweet/savory combo and never would have thought to pair a cinnamon chip with salsa, but it totally works. You can find the recipe here on Cooking Light.
But the recipe I am SO EXCITED to share with you is from Tina from Shredded Sprout who was our head chef for the night. She made Halibut en Papillote with Spring Vegetables.
I am not going to lie, I was a bit nervous for this dish. A: I’ve never had halibut. B. I don’t cook/eat fish very often. Like not in the last year often. C. The only fish I do like is Chilean Sea Bass, but that’s $25 a pound. D. Tina told me that halibut is pricey too: $21 a pound E. I am totally going to splurge and buy some for myself to make this dish – soon! F. I guess Halibut is a seasonal fish, so I need to act fast while I can get it.
En Papillote is a fancy French word for a cooking technique in which the food is baked inside paper – she used parchment paper. She laid two slices of lemon on the bottom of the paper. Added seasonal veggies on top of that (a combination of julienned asparagus, purple carrots, fennel and snow peas) then topped it with the fish. Seasoned the fish with salt, pepper and fresh herbs, then topped it with a pat of butter, poured white wine over the top and wrapped it all and baked at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes. Snip the parchment paper with scissors and get ready for a herbed steam to smack you in the face in the best way possible.
I ATE IT ALL! It was meaty, not overly fishy, light and flakey. The citrus notes from the wine and lemon were an amazing flavor. The next time I go to a restaurant and halibut is on the menu, I am totally getting it. Tina, thank you for introducing me to halibut!
“Learn how to cook – try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun!” – Julia Child
Thank you Courtney for putting this Cooking Club together – can’t believe it’s our fifth one already! It is great food, but more importantly – great company! And my life is richer because of it.
Happy Friday my friends! Make it a great day!