Friday, April 29, 2011

Eating Well - South Pacific Shrimp

Please tell me that you missed me? I missed you all ever loyal and supportive readers.  I know I have been missing in action in the blogosphere. I have good reasons for my absence, though. That would have to be divulge at a later post. HE!HE!
Even my cooking has been affected as well. I haven't been preparing anything spectactular especially for my "Around the World with Contessa" segment.  One thing that I can tell you is that I have been mostly cooking healthy food (like always). 

I bought a new recipe book, "Eating Well," which features recipes that are for the health conscious. I love that I have various options and recommendations in preparing my proteins. In the past, I would usually eat the same prepared meal three times a week (grilled, baked, grilled, baked). So in my next upcoming posts, I will feature most of the recipes that I have adapted from the book.


The above photo does not do justice of how tasty this South Pacific Shrimp was.  For all you rice lovers out there, this will definitely go well with rice. And if you love coconut milk? This one's for you too. :-)

First marinade one pound of jumbo shrimps in 1/3 cup lowfat coconut milk (you can use regular if your prefer), one teaspoon minced fresh ginger, 1 clove minced garlic, 2 teaspons coconut soysauce (regular soy sauce will do), 1/4 cup lime juice, 2 jalapeno peppers (seeded and minced), and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Leave this marinating for 20 minutes. 

Heat 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and cook shrimp (maybe 30 seconds per side as shrimp does not take long to cook). Transfer to a plate. Sautee chopped seeded tomato and four cups of baby spinach in the pan where you just cooked your shrimp. Add the reserve marinage to the tomato and spinach. Stir until wilted. Return the shrimp and mix together. Serve immediately over hot steamed rice. Or dip some toasted pita bread on it. Yum and Healthy!

Happy Friday and promise, I will get back to blogging regularly soon.

Bisous, Contessa

Monday, April 18, 2011

Welcoming the Spring

Spring is my most favorite time of the year. I love that aesthetics of it. I could spend all day appreciating the blooms of the flowers and the greenery of the field. Spring really brings back the beauty of the nature that's been in hibernation during the dead of winter.

Just as much as I appreciate the blooms and the coolness of the weather, the pretty and colorful outfits are really what I look forward to every Spring. HEHE! So allow me to share with you a quick outfit post from yesterday. I was on my way to the grocery store and I couldn't help but take the camera out for a spin (supposedly to take picture of the Cherry Blossoms, lol). Thanks to my SIL who agreed to be my photog. HEHE! Looking at these pictures, I just realized that I am wearing some of Spring's fashion essentials. I've got my Indigo blazer, floral shirt, nude wedge, dark denim, and messenger shoulder bag. Now mind you, these clothes are from two years ago. I guess, I was already thinking ahead when I purchased them then. LOL! Please enjoy:-)










Bisous, Contessa

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oven Bake Flounder

Pardon me for the last of post this week. The weather in DC has been crazy. One day it's hot and then the next it's rainy and pouring. Sad to say that sometimes it affects my mood:(. LOL! Not too mention, I haven't been cooking that much. But I have been juicing a lot hahaha! I will do another post on that. 

For the meantime, here is a simple, high protein, and low carb, oven baked
 Flounder I made for Friday's fasting.  I also made the tartar sauce to go along with it. The fish can be accompanied with chips (aka oven fries if you don't care for carbs) or any salad combination. I served mine with avocado salad. A much healthier choice if I may add:-). 

Oven Bake Flounder
Two fillet of flounder 
Almond Meal Flour (can be substituted with Panko bread crumbs if you want it super crispy)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Season fish wit salt and pepper and brush it with olive oil on each side. Then roll the fish in the almond flour. Bake in a 400 degree oven for less than 15 minutes. Fish doesn't take that long to cook and be careful in over baking it. It will get dry and rubbery. 

Tartar Sauce
Fat Free Sour Cream
Dijon Mustard
Honey Mustard
Finely chopped cornichons or pickles
Lemon Juice
Red Wine Vinegar
Stevia (regular sugar or honey will do)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine together all the ingredients and let it refrigerate. Just take it out of the fridge when you are ready to serve. Just put a dollop of it on top of the flounder. 
Avocado Salad
Two organic avocado chopped in cubes
10 grape tomatoes cut in half
Lettuce, spinach or any green will do. 
Yellow red bell pepper (this is what I had on my pantry at that time I made this)
Combine together and splash white balsamic vinegar or you can mix the tartar sauce with it. It's good either way. 

This is my choice for breading. It's lower in carbs and high in food fat, which we get from almonds. 

Happy Sunday! Bisous, Contessa

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grilled Chicken Sandwich Pesto

For those of you who are looking for an alternative way of preparing grilled that your children and hubby will eat, my grilled chicken sandwich pesto is what you are looking for. will knock your socks off. Not only it's tasty but also great for the health conscious. 
Usually during the week, I usually find myself preparing the same meal over and over. Baked fish, grilled chicken, grilled know the deal! Meal that doesn't take over 30 minutes of cooking.  And this week while I was marinating some chicken breast prior to grilling, it dawned on me that I have been eating the same way over and over. LOL! So I thought that it was time to add a little twist.  Let me confess first that this sandwich was for B. I had mine without the bread. HAHA!  


Two all natural chicken breasts. Seasoned with salt, pepper,and paprika. Grill each side for 3 minutes until the middle is cooked. Then slice thinly. Set it aside.
Organic baby bella mushrooms cleaned and sliced about half an inch.
Spinach (or any other greens like arugula or lettuce)
Tomato Pesto or Roasted tomato hummus (makes a different to the taste)
Low fat cheddar cheese (or almond cheddar cheese if you choose to go dairy free)

Spread the tomato pesto on each side of bread. Now the fun part is layering all the ingredients. If you have children, you can let them join in the fun and have them layer their own sandwich according to what they like. I added the spinach, then grilled chicken, then mushrooms and topped it with slices of cheese. Bake in the 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and bread is golden and crispy.  The whole process took less than 30 minutes. If B enjoyed every bite of it, you will too.


Have a great Thursday.  Bisous, Contessa

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pre-Opening Tour of the New Whole Foods Market

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I am a self-professed Whole Foods lover. Imagine my excited when I got the invitation above. Not everyday that you get an invitation like this. My humble blog is finally getting noticed. I was beyond ecstatic to be part of the "blogger" invitees in the pre-opening tour of my local Whole Foods Market. Their new store has taken it up a notch and I have the pictures below to prove you. A relocation/renovation has been long overdue. Not that I did not enjoy their old store. It's just that the location and the size weren't ideal. Now that they've expanded a million times larger (yes it's super huge and one can probably spend an entire day getting lost in between the different isles), I might have to changed my shopping routine from Mondays to Saturdays, where I can just spend all day without getting rushed. It will be heaven...oh I can't wait!


As soon as I walked inside the store, I was greeted by a different variety of fresh flowers. They had Roses, Orchids, Tulips, Ranunculus and Hydrangeas in different colors. It was absolutely a treat to look at. 



A variety of beans to choose from. 


They have a coffee connoisseur in store who travels around the world looking for the best coffee beans. If I recall, they had us tried freshly brewed coffee that cost $70/lb. I am not a coffee drinker so I can't really tell you if it was good or not. All I remember was that it was very strong.  




I died when I saw this. All kinds of mushrooms to choose from. I was in foodie heaven!




For people who have Celiac disease, Whole Foods has an extensive selection of gluten free products. Not only that but they make sure that local organic companies are also promoted throughout the store. 

Lots of options for smoke salmon lovers. I like it very much:-)


Their specialty department was ahhhh-mazing! I cant wait to try their different cheeses. 



Fresh home-made pastas were being sold by the pound. 


The bakery section does not need any description or introduction. I will let the pictures make you drool:-p




I was excited that they have Jurlique in their whole body department. 

I can really see myself hanging out here every weekend. Free wi-fi too! 

By the end of the floor tour, they had a table full of scrumptious spread waiting for the bloggers to feast on. 

This is what I had on my plate. I promise you that I didn't go for seconds though. HAHA! 

I hope you had a feast looking at all the pictures that I took. Although, these pictures don't do justice on how amazing and beautiful the store was. If you love going to the super market, the Whole Foods store in Rockville will give you a whole new meaning to food shopping. 

I just want to thank the Marketing Director and the Rockville Whole Foods team for their kindness and for the opportunity to take a sneak peak of the store before they opened it for the public. You guys rock! 

If you are in the Montgomery County area, don't forget to visit Whole Foods new location at 11355 Woodglen Drive, Rockville, MD. 

Bisous, Contessa

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lobster Roll Reinvented

Ever had a time when you were craving for something so bad that you can't have because of the availability? In my case, I have been craving (more like dreaming) of Lobster Salad Roll all this week. So to compensate for my craving, I made do with what I had available.  I reinvented the Lobster Roll using Shrimp and Scallop and served it on a bed of lettuce.  It was a winner and B loved it. Of course, his salad was served on a toasted roll:-). 
Unlike the commercial Lobster or Shrimp Salad made with mayonnaise or butter (depending on which style you like) that most restaurants serve, mine was a much healthier version. The secret was my own home made mayonnaise. :-)

Contessa's Shrimp and Scallops Salad (these were all the ingredients I had at the time, but you can always add or omit any ingredient according to your preference)
one bag of large cooked shrimp
10 pieces of cooked Japanese Scallops 
1 Persian cucumbers (this is a smaller kind but you can use whatever cucumbers available)
2 stalks of Celery
2 chopped carrots 

home made mayonaise 
one room temperature egg yolk
1/3 cup safflower oil
one lemon juice
mustard powder 
salt and pepper

Whisk (or beat if you have an egg beater) the egg yolk and add drop by drop a little oil to it, which is really critical to creating the emulsion that is the basis of mayonnaise. Keep on whisking and add the remaining ingredients it thickens. Refrigerate for an hour or two. 

Mix the mayonnaise with the rest of the ingredients above and let it refrigerate. Serve on a bed of lettuce, bread, or eat it as it it. 


Have a great weekend ahead.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Around the World with Contessa - Belgium Part Deux

My recent gastronomic adventure to Belgium was really a feast. I really outdid myself this time. And some of you probably never believed when I said that I had to break my Belgium post in two parts. Just be ready to feast your eyes with the food photos below. Take note that B and I consumed them in one night including the belgian waffles on the previous post.  LOL!
As I mentioned in my previous post, Belgium has a lot to offer and their food is just as good as their neighboring countries, France and just as generous as Germany.  When I say generous, they eat in large quantity. I guess that's the reason why B and I consumed all of the food I prepared. We were really feeling like true Belgians on Saturday. HAHA!. I had a hard time deciding on what to make. I felt like I couldn't just pick one particular dish over the other.  

What you need: Two Belgian Endives (wash and pull apart).  Pears cut in cubes and saute in butter until caramelized. Add a little bit of maple or agave syrup. Toast walnuts and chopped finely. Mix walnuts, pear and goat cheese and stuffed in each endive leaf. 
The food pictured above is a Belgian endive stuffed with goat cheese, Korean pear and walnut salad. The salad stuffing is not Belgian though, as the goat cheese is from Spain, pear is from Korea, and walnut has its origin in Eastern Europe. The endive, of course, is deeply rooted in Belgian history. All the endives that are sold in all the supermarkets in the U.S. are imported from Belgium. It has a very tangy flavor to it and can be served fresh, hot or cold.  Not only its tasty, but also high in nutritional value and has one calorie per leaf and zero carbs. Imagine that? 

Moules et Frites (Mussels and Fries)

Moules et Frites are two of Belgium's national dishes. It's just as popular as the Belgian waffles and almost every corner cafes serve them in Belgium. It's also good to know that if ever one of you visits Belgium, Moules et Frites are in season from September and February. 
Frites with my home made mayonnaise. (One room temperature egg yolk, sunflower oil about 1/3 cup, lemon juice, mustard powder and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk (or beat if you have an egg beater) the egg yolk and add drop by drop a little oil to it, which is really critical to creating the emulsion that is the basis of mayonnaise. Keep on whisking and add the remaining ingredients. You'll never buy store bought mayonnaise once you make this. 
Story has it that french fries are actually not a French thing but it originated from Belgium. According to Wikipedia, the poor inhabitants of the region of Liege allegedly had the custom of accompanying their meals with small fried fish, but when the river was frozen and they were unable to fish, they cut potatoes lengthwise and fried them in oil to accompany their meals 
Belgians believe that the term "French" was introduced when American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I, and consequently tasted Belgian fries. They supposedly called them "French", as it was the official language of the Belgian Army at that time. How's that for a trivia, huh?


The secret to a really good crispy fries is to soak the potatoes over night or a few hours before frying. Unfortunately, I don't keep a large stock of frying oil at home but it turned out just as good. I still soaked the sliced potatoes in salted water for about 4 hours. Drained and air dried it. I then seasoned it with salt, pepper, and herbes de provence and baked in the 400 degree oven for 15 minutes until golden and crispy. 


The most common method of preparing moules is what they call a la marinere, which consists of white wine, shallots, parsley and butter. Let about 2 cups of good dry white wine come to a boil, add mussels in the pan and cook it until the mussels open up. Once mussels are cooked, take them out, leaving the white wine juice in the pan, mix with 4 tablespoon of butter, shallots, and parley and continue whisking. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the cooked mussels. 

Hmmmm yummy expensive Belgian Beer lol


If Austrians eat Goulash, and the French eat boeuf bourguignon, Belgians have Carbonnade a la Flamande (or beer based beef stew). It's a classic Belgian dish that features three main ingredients, beef, onions, and a good Belgian Beer! It is important to use a really good dark brewed Belgian beer that has a tangy bitter taste to it. It makes a difference to the flavor of the stew. I looked around for recipes as there are many verations to it. One calls for putting an old ginger bread which is covered with whole grain mustard on top of the stew and stirring red currant jelly for that sweet and sour flavor. I would have loved to try those but I had no red currant jelly or ginger bread available at home. I used my pressure cooker again when I cooked this otherwise, I would have been braising for two and half hours:-).
Here is the recipe: About 2 and half lbs of chuck roast cut into 1 or 2 inch pieces. 2 thick slab of bacon. salt. pepper. all spice. 1 tablespoon all purpose flour. beef broth or chicken broth. 1 and one half cup of Belgian beer. apple cider vinegar. bay leaves. dried or fresh thyme. 3 medium yellow onions sliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 8 cups)

Season beef with salt and pepper and brown them in batches. Set aside. Fry up the bacon next. Saute onions for 5 to ten minutes until translucent and golden. Sprinkle the all purpose flour and stir together. Add the beef broth, beef, bacon, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, all spice, beer, and apple cider (if you want the little sweetness to it, add brown sugar or red currant jelly). Stir together. Let it simmer for about 2 and half hours until beef is tender. In my case, I pressured cook this beef for only 20 minutes and it was perfectly tender.

Both B and I were glad on how everything turned out. Our stomach was happy too and I'll be sure to make these again in the future. Now on to the next country...not sure if I can outdo this one!

Bisous, Contessa