Sunday, May 30, 2010

Skinny Blini

This recipe was inspired by one of my OH pals. In my usual meddlesome way, I had to fiddle with it, and loved the result. Blini or blintzes are Eastern European style crepes (thin pancakes) filled with goodies. When I used to visit New York city frequently, I would order blini with cottage cheese for breakfast. Here is a lower-calorie, higher-protein version.

Whiz in a blender or food processor:
3/4 c. Egg Beaters
1 c. fat-free milk
1/4 c. low-fat cottage cheese
1/3 c. flour (wheat or soy)
1 packet sweetener (I use Truvia)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, mix:
1/2 c. low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 c. fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1-2 packets sweetener
1/2 c. fresh berries (whole or cut up) or other fruit (roughly chopped)
1 tablespoon chopped unsalted nuts (I use walnuts)

For sauce, use one of the following:
1 cup pureed fresh berries sweetened to taste
1 cup no sugar added jam (microwave it for 1+ min. until slightly liquefied, then stir it)

Optional garnish:
whole fresh berries

Spray an 8" nonstick saute pan with butter flavor or plain Pam and heat over medium heat until the Pam starts to bead up. Pour in enough crepe batter (about 1/4 cup) to thinly cover the bottom of the pan, tilting the pan to swirl the batter evenly over the surface of the pan. Cook until bubbles start to form on the top surface of the crepe. Flip the crepe over with a pancake turner (these crepes are very tender, so be careful). Cook for another minute or until the bottom is pale gold and dry. Gently transfer the cooked crepe to a plate and repeat the process until all the batter is used, being sure to spray the pan with Pam between each crepe. You may have to turn down the heat a bit after the first crepe is done.

To assemble the blini, put a crepe on a salad plate with the nicest-looking side down. Put 2-3 tablespoons of the cottage cheese & yogurt mixture in the center of the crepe. Roll the crepe up. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of sauce over the crepe. If desired, scatter a few whole fresh berries on top. Serve.

Yield: about 8 blini

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunflower Cheese Balls

This recipe makes a tasty party appetizer or snack. If desired, serve them with whole-grain crackers, bagel crisps, and raw veggies and fruits (apple & pear slices, grapes)

4 oz. Muenster cheese, at room temperature (or other cheese - if using hard cheese like Swiss or cheddar, shred the cheese first)
4 oz. reduced fat or fat free cream cheese, at room temperature
2 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary, basil)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
cayenne pepper to taste
salt to taste
1/2 cup roasted, salted sunflower kernels

Put all ingredients except sunflower kernels in a food processor and whiz until well combined (you may have to stop once or twice and scrape down the sides of the processor bowl).

Put the sunflower kernels in a shallow bowl.

Scoop out small spoonfuls of cheese mixture and form into 1" balls. Roll the balls in the sunflower kernels and put them in a shallow storage container. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Makes 15 cheese balls.