Alisa. 37. New Hampshire. Married for almost three years to this wonderful, funny, smart guy. Previously married. Went through in-vitro fertilization to have my five year old magical son Keegan. Stepmother to the charming Isabelle (6). Gushingly in love with our baby boy Harper(1). Policy Wonk and dreaded bureaucrat. Lover of fine cuisine, honeybees, truly romantic moments and the underdog.
Curried Beef Short Ribs

Note: I found this was more realistically four servings.

Finishing this dish with lime zest and juice brightens its rich flavors.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces ribs, 2/3 cup rice, and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds ...continue reading

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Who Needs Cheesecloth?

Friday we tried to avoid any place that would be frequented by St. Patty's Day revelers. We took the kids to chinese buffet and all in all it wasn't bad. Keegan was slightly more adventurous than usual. Saturday they were up at 5:30 and played in Keegan's room for an hour before coming to jump on us. We had buttermilk banana pancakes with pomegranate syrup like last weekend because Keegan likes them and we figured that Isabelle would too. After breakfast we went grocery shopping and ended up at a couple of stores in order to find saffron. While I prepared the Turkey-Sausage Paella, Jeff made robot costumes for the kids out of paper bags. You can see them in the gallery on the second page of the March 2006 album. Everyone took naps after lunch and then we went to drop Keegan at Tom's.
On the way back I popped into a kitchen store that Jeff knew about downtown to look for cheesecloth. I had a nice chat with the owner who said I didn't really need the cloth for the recipe we were planning and then we talked about some other cooking items and recipes. That place was like heaven and I could have spent all afternoon if Jeff and Isabelle weren't waiting in the car. We made Spicy Seafood Noodles from the Jeff's Thai cookbook and Arroz con Coco (Cuban Coconut Rice Pudding) for dessert. After we put Isabelle to bed we watched "Waiting" which was funny and I love Ryan Reynolds. Unfortunately Isabelle woke up at 4:10 and was convinced to go back to sleep but really my bed is too small for 2 1/2 people so I didn't get much sleep after that. I think I get more sleep on weekdays than weekends. Biscuit egg sandwiches helped fuel the rest of the day though and I got a short nap in later before Keegan came back. I went to bed before 10 pm.
Tonight my mom is coming to watch Keegan because I have a professional appointment. My graduate program invited me to present at a career panel for current students. I will be in Lowell but won't stop by to see Erika because I am fighting yet another cold. Not bad but annoying sniffles, sore throat and not worth the risk.

Turkey-Sausage Paella

2 3/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
Cooking spray
2 ounces Spanish chorizo sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups shredded cooked turkey breast (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Combine broth and saffron in a small saucepan over low heat; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chorizo to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove chorizo from pan with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Add onion and pepper to pan; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add rice; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine and paprika; cook 1 minute or until liquid evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in broth mixture and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Gently stir in turkey, peas, and parsley; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

CALORIES 297(30% from fat); FAT 9.8g (sat 3.3g,mono 4g,poly 1.6g); PROTEIN 25.5g; CHOLESTEROL 54mg; CALCIUM 61mg; SODIUM 746mg; FIBER 3.1g; IRON 2.6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 26.2g
Lia Huber
Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2005

Arroz con Coco (Cuban Coconut Rice Pudding)
(Alisa's note: I would use a little less cloves and more lemon rind. If you don't use cheesecloth scrape the beans out of the vanilla and throw in the pods. Pick them and the cinnamon stick and cloves out before you chill the pudding.)

3 cups water
1 cup short-grain rice (such as Arborio)
4 whole cloves
1 (2-inch) piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup evaporated fat-free milk
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Place water and rice in a large saucepan. Place cloves, vanilla, and cinnamon on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth together; tie securely. Add to rice mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low; cook 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is almost absorbed.
Stir in milks and raisins; cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in ginger, rind, and salt; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove cheesecloth with spices. Pour rice mixture into a bowl or individual bowls; cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap. Chill. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)

CALORIES 286(3% from fat); FAT 1g (sat 0.7g,mono 0.1g,poly 0.1g); PROTEIN 7g; CHOLESTEROL 7mg; CALCIUM 184mg; SODIUM 95mg; FIBER 0.8g; IRON 1.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 61.9g
Cooking Light, MAY 2001

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