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Mary’s Memo #2152

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF

Fleischmann’s yeast just sent me a condensed booklet based on Nancy Baggett’s new cookbook “Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Breads,” published by John Wiley & Sons. Baggett makes homemade bread baking amazingly easy without any special equipment, no mess and of course, no kneading. I love baking bread and don’t mind kneading it, although now that I have a Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook, I let the mixer do a lot of the work. It’s only when a recipe calls for larger amounts of flour that I have to do any kneading at all. No-knead bread isn’t as fine textured but if you are a beginning baker, the concept will have more appeal than it does to me. Judging by the recipes in the condensed booklet, detailed step-by-step directions are included. I can’t imagine anyone having a problem making bread from this cookbook, available now wherever books are sold.



A common dilemma for families these days is cooking for vegetarians and omnivores at the same time. I know because I’ve dealt with the problem in my own family, especially at holiday time. In their new book, “Double Take: One Fabulous Recipe, Two Finished Dishes, Feeding Vegetarians and Omnivores Together,” authors and longtime friends A.J. Rathbun and Jeremy Holt show how it’s done. Each recipe begins with a common base. Then the food is divided in two; one half is finished with meat and the other with unique vegetarian flair. The result is easy to prepare and delicious no matter what you eat! There are even appetizer recipes with and without meat.



STUFFED ‘SHROOMS

18 large button mushrooms (the bigger, the better)
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ cup bread crumbs
2½ tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup loose pork sausage




Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease 2 medium- size casserole dishes. Prudently, so you don’t destroy the caps, remove the stems from the mushrooms. Finely chop half the stems and set aside. Use the rest to make stock. If, after removing the stems you think that you’ll need more room for the stuffing, you can also scrape out the gills. Put mushroom caps in each of the prepared casserole dishes, making sure the mushrooms are gill side up. In medium size bowl, combine mushroom stems, garlic, bread crumbs, basil, oregano, pepper, salt, Parmesan and 4 tablespoons olive oil. Stir well. Transfer half of the stuffing to a separate bowl and add uncooked sausage into the mixture. Using a clean spoon, place the sausage-free stuffing into the mushroom caps in one of the casserole dishes, making sure that each mushroom is stuffed with an equal amount. You may need to use your fingers to pack the stuffing into the mushrooms. Place sausage-mushroom stuffing into the mushroom caps in the second casserole dish. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon oil over the mushroom caps in both casserole dishes. Cover each casserole with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil ands bake 10 more minutes (take this time to make “meat” and “no meat” labels for your serving platters).

Source: Used with permission of Harvard Common Press, publishers; $16.95 paperback.





TUNA MAKES CHEAP EATING

And don’t think albacore tuna is better because it’s more expensive. Albacore contains more mercury than regular tuna, the kind that’s on sale at Chief and Rays quite often.




TUNA CHEESE CASSEROLE





2 5-ounce cans water packed chunk tuna, drained
1½ cups cottage cheese
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons minced onion
4-ounce can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups coarse soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper
1 2-ounce jar chopped pimiento, well drained
¼ cup Parmesan cheese





Combine all ingredients except Parmesan cheese. Spoon mixture into 1½-quart casserole. Sprinkle top with cheese. Set in a shallow pan of hot water and bake 1 hour in a preheated 350oF oven.



PHYSICAL ACTIVITY VITAL FOR WOMEN’S HEALTH

Sustained physical activity over a lifetime is critical to the physical and mental health of women, according to a report from the Women’s Sports Foundation. The review of more than 2,000 studies in girls and women showed that a physically active lifestyle promotes a better quality of life, enhances mood and lowers risk of chronic disease such as heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. One study has shown that the direct and indirect costs of chronic health conditions resulting from sedentary lifestyles are about $150 billion. The report called for “greater and better opportunities for all Americans to become more physically active.”


Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Food & Fitness Advisor, March 2010. Download PDF of Memo #2152

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