Steam Challenge Day 4

Wow, can’t believe my little challenge is almost done… it has kept me occupied and prevented the pangs of missing my daughter easier to bear.

So today I wanted to do something that I love but have never tried to do in a steamer and sticking to my promise to cook no other way I wasn’t sure how it would work out but it was delicious!

On today’s steamy menu we have… turkey and herb stuffed pepper and aubergine with cabbage wrapped mushrooms, julienne carrots, green beans and jersey royals. This is a belly buster dish for those days when you are just STARVING

To start with I prepared the filling for the stuffed pepper and aubergine, I mixed together in a bowl:

  • 2 tablespoons of lean minced turkey or any other lean meat or tofu or quorn etc
  • teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • finely chopped medium red onion
  • pinch of salt and pepper (you know by now I use sea salt and freshly ground organic black pepper corns – trust me if there is something you can afford to buy organic it’s salt and pepper, it’s a bit more expensive BUT if you use these things sparingly like myself they last forever.
  • chopped sage and thyme (not too much about a tblspoon total) Interesting health download (5)benefits of sage here:  http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-504-SAGE.aspx?activeIngredientId=504&activeIngredientName=SAGE
  • finely chopped super lean bacon just one rasher (optional but gorgeous or swap out for any other ham, parma or even sausage)
  • tablespoon of cous cous previously soaked in boiled water (again swap for quinoa if you want or rice)
  • a few chick peas (there’s not a lot of space to stuff if you’re making this for one so either make up a big batch and increase quantities and use for a family meal OR you can freeze in pepper/aubergine stuffing sized portions for the future)
  • splash of tabasco
  • half teaspoon of ground turmeric and same of paprika – read about the amazing download (7)properties for your health of turmeric and why I have a teaspoon a day in my kefir besides throwing it into lots of things I cook http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6873/25-Reasons-Why-Turmeric-Can-Heal-You.html

Mix it all together and set aside. The longer you leave it the more the flavours will infuse into one another and the nicer the finished article will be… just general rule of thumb for flavouring anything really but keep it in the fridge and don’t leave it for days!

download (3)Now take a big green or red capsicum/bell pepper and chop off the top and scoop out the seeds. (Peppers are hugely nutritious and have lots of antioxidants: http://http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/bell-pepper.html

Take a medium sized aubergine and cut in half length ways make a channel down the centre by gouging out the soft pulp, chopping it up small and stiring it to the filling mix set aside. Put the other half in the fridge or what I do just chop it up and stick it in the freezer for when I’m doing a tagine. I don’t salt soak my aubergines, I just don’t see the point and I hate using too much salt.download (4)

Loosely fill the pepper and the channel in the aubergine with the mixture, don’t press it down as you need it to cook and heat has to circulate. When the veg are filled slice up a big tomato thickly and lay on top of the pepper and along the top of the aubergine filling. Place in a steamer compartment.

In the bottom steamer compartment  in the centre place a few (depends on how starving you are, I had 4) small scrubbed jersey royal potatoes with a big sprig of bashed mint lying on top of them. Arrange  strips of carrot around the potatoes one or two small carrots will do, and lie top and tailed thin green beans on top of the carrots, I used about 10. This steamer compartment went on the bottom and I popped the one with the stuffed veggies on top. I sprinkled a little salt over the potatoes and when they were done I took the tiniest bit of unsalted butter and mixed it in, they looked glossy and I managed to get a little taste from each one. I’m not depriving myself of what I like I’m doing it in moderation…strict moderation in this case.

download (6)
This is what I would usually do but I just did one for my solo dining experience

Take a large cabbage leaf, any cabbage will do I used a savoy but you could use white, just soak it in some boiled water first to wilt it and stop it from breaking. Lay the cabbage leaf out and pop into it any mushrooms of your choice. I used basic closed cup button mushrooms, the tiny ones so I didn’t need to slice them, I added a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper and a crushed garlic clove which had been fed through a crushing contraption and a quick spray of buttery cooking spray. I sprinkled on a rough chopped half tablespoon of coriander and wrapped the mushrooms up in the leaf, securing it with wooden cocktail sticks and lay in a steaming compartment with the folded edges up which I placed on top of the stuffed veggie compartment.

I switched on having filled the reservoir with filtered water and left it to do its thing for 20 minutes.

Be careful that your stuffed veggies will stand on their own really well, just slice off tiny bits of the rounded bottoms if you have to before you fill them to get a really sturdy veggie as when they start to cook they will buckle a bit but if you have a nice sturdy bottom they will be fine.

20 minute cooked the potatoes perfectly and the carrots and beans were still quite firm images (4)but if you like them more al dente then I’d suggest either dropping them in with the mushrooms on the top instead or adding them to the top layer with the mushrooms after 7-10 minutes.

 

I served it all by popping each of the ingredients onto a nice hot plate and I added just the slightest dusting of finely grated parmesan cheese the sort that comes in a dispenser tub. I wished I’d just added a tiny slither of some hard cheese or other inside the cabbage and mushroom parcel that would have made what was already gorgeous totally divine.download (8)

I had a pitta bread too, wholemeal of course which I had dropped into the top steamer basket 2 mins before the end but I couldn’t eat it I was full up so I’m going to use pitta in my final challenge tomorrow instead as I wanted to do something with some kind of bread as I’m a bread fiend and I have to deny myself it mostly but when I get a serious craving pitta will keep me happy.

Dessert was going to be Skinny Cow ice cream but I didn’t need anything else.

download (9)I of course washed it all down with my pint of icy water with lemon, lime and a sprig of mint.

Tomorrow we have a taste of Greece with lamb flavoured with annis seeds and thyme skewered with meditteranean vegetables accompanied by a medley of raw vegetables and home made tsatsiki and a hot pitta bread.

If anyone’s worrying that I’m starving my son, don’t. He is being fed but he is doing some body conditioning at the moment with a sports coach from his tennis club and he is having a big porridge and scrambled egg breakfast each morning and a protein rich lunch at school and he’s coming home and having a veg juice and a fruit smoothie for his evening meal before he dashes out to tennis practice. I just make sure he has the ingredients he prepares everything for himself.

He’s growing so tall and slender and with very lean defined muscles and he’s getting very hairy!  Also my daughter is reading my blog now so that she can pick up on some good healthy recipes so if sometimes I state the obvious it’s just because she needs some extra guidance having not been the most willing of cooks at home. She went out and bought a steamer just so she could follow the challenge and try things out so I’m really pleased about that.

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