FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF
Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, May 5, along comes Easy Mexican Recipes by Kelley Cleary Coffeen. Coffeen’s fifth cookbook, she’s also a food consultant and media personality who enjoys the flavors of the American southwest and Mexico. She lives with her family in Las Cruces, NM. In her latest cookbook, Easy Mexican Recipes, she’s put together a collection of recipes that will give you the basics of, and foundation for, good Mexican cuisine. It offers you insight on how to create the bold, complex flavors of Mexican cooking right in your own kitchen. The book is full of no-fuss recipes like Margarita Pie that the author and her family and friends have come to appreciate.
•2 egg yolks
•1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
•1 can sweetened condensed milk
•1/3 cup high quality margarita mix with a medium
•3 drops green food coloring
•1 (9-inch) vanilla or graham cracker-flavored cookie
•1 cup whipping cream
•1/2 cup granulated sugar
•1 lime, thinly sliced
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs and egg yolks until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Continue mixing and add lime juice, condensed milk, margarita mix and food coloring and beat 2 to 3 minutes. Pour into pie shell and bake in preheated 350ºF oven until center is firm, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until chilled for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Just before serving, in a medium chilled bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat whipping cream and sugar until soft peaks form, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve slices of pie on individual plates topped with whipped cream and garnish with lime slices. Recipe makes 6 servings.
SOURCE: Easy Mexican Recipes by Kelley Cleary Coffeen (Robert Rose Inc www.robertrose.ca; April 2013; $24.95. Buy at Amazon.com or at your favorite bookstore.
Probiotics are a big and rapidly growing business, with annual global sales of products expected to rise to $42 billion by 2016. Probiotics are a promising field of research and may one day be used to treat or help prevent many disorders. But there’s not enough solid evidence to recommend widespread use. Larger, longer studies are needed to test specific strains against specific conditions and to determine the proper doses and regimens. The FDA has not approved any specific health claims for probiotics and has called claims made by manufacturers, including yogurt companies, misleading. Going one step further, the European Union recently deemed that any reference to the term “probiotics” on packaging is unauthorized and subject to legal action.
SOURCE: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, March 2013.
Be wary of Sensa’s claims about “clinically proven” weight loss. When you sprinkle these “tastant” crystals (primarily maltodextrin, along with flavorings) they supposedly trigger the brain’s appetite control center to make you feel full. Its website mentions research findings of 30-pound weight loss in six months, but no studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals to validate such findings. Now, the manufacturer has settled two lawsuits brought against Sensa for making false advertising claims and will pay millions of dollars in penalties and restitution to customers. Plus, the company must restrain its claims and fully disclose the conditions of its automatic shipment program before customers sign up with their credit cards.
SOURCE: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, April 2013.
THIS SOUP DESERVES AN OLE
I'm not the only one who serves food to customers at the Bryan Chief and early this year Eight Can Taco Soup was served in the deli area of the store. I could hardly believe that a soup so easy to make could taste so good!
EIGHT CAN TACO SOUP
•1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
•1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
•1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
•1 (15-ounce) can sweet corn, drained
•1 (12.5-ounce) can chicken breast, drained
•1 (10.75-ounce) can of chicken soup
•1 (10-ounce) can green enchilada sauce
•1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth
•1 taco seasoning packet
Mix all ingredients together in a large stock pot. Heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Serve with tortilla chips and sour cream.
Download PDF of Memo #2316
It seems like every family has some version of 'Taco Night'. Whether it's traditional beef tacos with all the fixings, grilled fajitas, or a more unique twist (like Buffalo Chicken Tacos), Mexican food is quick to prepare and generally pleasing to everyone. While the fish is marinating, put together the salsa. Diced strawberries, mango, avocado, red onion, and jalapeno, tossed with more lime juice and my favorite Mexican herb - cilantro! The salsa also makes a great appetizer while the fish is cooking. You can bake or grill the fish, whichever you prefer. Just about 10-12 minutes on high heat, until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Fish Tacos with Strawberry-Mango SalsaServings/Yield: 3-4 servings
- For the fish
- ¾ cup fresh lime juice, (from 3 limes)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3-4 fillets fish (mahi mahi, tilapia, or halibut)
- For the strawberry-mango salsa
- 1 cup finely diced strawberries
- 1 mango , finely diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
- 1 jalapeno , finely diced
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice, (from 1 lime)
- salt, to taste
- 10-12 small tortillas
- feta cheese
- additional cilantro
FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF
In "Put 'em Up! Fruit" by Sherry Brooks Vinton, the author
teaches home cooks how easy it is to preserve fruit.
Beginning with step-by-step, photographic instructions for
boiling water method basics, readers will move confidently
through the canning recipes, referring to specifics about
acidity, pectin, prep techniques and more, to ensure successful preserves. "Put 'em Up! Fruit" not only includes information about preserving fruit with classic and contemporary flavors, it also features 80 recipes for cooking with those preserves such as Pulled Pork Tacos with Cherry Ancho Chile Jam, Hearty Greens with Pears Poached in Wine, Flourless Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Quince Kiss Cocktail. With these and dozens of other inventive recipes, cooks will make the most of this year's bounty.
Sherri Brooks Vinton, also author of "The Real Food
Revival," travels the country doing hands-on workshops
teaching how to find, cook and preserve local, seasonal
farm-friendly food. Her website can be found at www.
sheribrooksvinton.com. Look for "Put 'em Up! Fruit" at
your favorite book store or order from Amazon.com.
CLASSIC PEACH JAM
•1 cup water
•1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
•4 lbs. peaches
(weigh at the store if you don't have a scale)
•4 cups sugar
Combine the water and lemon juice in a large nonreactive
pot. Peel, pit and slice the peaches, adding them to
the lemon water as you go. Bring the mixture to a boil,
then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to soften
the fruit, crushing with a potato masher if you prefer a
smooth textured jam. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.
Continue to simmer until the gel stage is reached (220oF),
about 30 minutes. Or for a more accurate test put a clean
plate in the freezer to chill. When you think your jam might
be ready, dribble a few drops on the plate's cold surface,
give it a minute to cool, and then push on the little spot
of jam with your finger, like you are trying to wipe it off. If
the smudge of jam wrinkles when you start to push against
it, the jam is ready. If it is thick but does not wrinkle, you
need to cook it a bit more. Remove from heat. Allow the
jam to rest for 5 minutes, giving it an occasional gentle stir
to release trapped air; it will thicken slightly. Skim off any
foam. Spoon into prepared jars. Cover and refrigerate for
up to 3 weeks. Recipe makes about 6 cups. Recipe can also be canned using boiling water method.
SOURCE: "Put 'em Up! Fruit" by Sherri Brooks Vinton; Storey Publishing; April 2013; $19.95 paperback.
DRINKING TEA PROTECTS YOUR HEAD,
I typically associate spring time with fresh flavors - crisp veggies, citrus, anything light. Today's recipe is just that. Greek Nachos are a twist on traditional cheesy, meaty, spicy nachos. Not that I don't love a big ole' plate of greasy nachos (bonus points if buffalo sauce is involved), but I often finish the meal feeling not quite my best. Greek Nachos, however, are light & fresh! Crispy pita chips covered in seasoned ground beef, topped with a feta-yogurt-lemon dressing. All topped off with diced cucumbers, tomatoes, and more feta cheese. Start off by cooking the meat. I used ground sirloin, but you could definitely use ground turkey or ground chicken. Whatever you have on hand! Saute it with some diced onion, and season it up with a good amount of cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Once the meat is browned; add about 1/4 cup water and let it simmer until the water is absorbed. You can also serve the nachos over a bed of lettuce, if you're trying to get more veggies into your life. :) _______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Greek NachosServings/Yield: about 4 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbles, divided
- juice from 1 lemon
- ½ cucumber, seeded and diced
- 1-2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 bag pita chips
FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF
Mini-pies are proving to be one of the most popular
trends in baking today and are leading the way in the mini-dessert craze. Mini-pies are the new cupcake. In 175 Best
Mini Pies by Julie Anne Hession (Robert Rose Inc. www.
robertrose.ca, April 30, $24.95), Julie shares her expertise
by providing tips and techniques for creating perfect mini-pies, including a wonderful array of crusts and sweet and
savory fillings such as Strawberry Basil Hand Pies, Chocolate Mocha Pecan Tarts, Chicken Brie and Apple Turnovers and Pork Empanadas with Salsa Verde.
Henson has combined her love of food with her love of
words to become a successful chef, food writer, competitive
cook and food blogger. She has been featured in People, O, The Oprah Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens and Food Network Magazine. She lives in LA. Order 175 Best Mini Pies by Julie Anne Hession (Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca) from Amazon.com or your favorite
HIGH-CARBOHYDRATE DIETS CONNECTED TO
MORE ON SPARTAN FOODS
In last week's memo I said I wouldn't choose Spartan
Toasted Oats over Cheerios that I've eaten since this whole
grain ready-to-eat cereal was introduced in the 40s. That
said, what's a bargain hunter to do when Chief and Rays
had the 14-ounce box for only $2.00? I bought a box!
Since I had Cheerios at home I compared them and taste
seemed the same but Cheerios were a tad darker in color.
Who knows, General Mills may make them for Spartan. Just
thought I'd mention it.
Knowing how much you like easy recipes, I know you're
going to rave about Six Can Tortilla Soup from Allrecipes.
com. If you prefer, the 10-ounce can of chunk chicken can
be replaced with the same amount of rotisserie chicken.
Kick it up a notch by using medium instead of mild diced
tomatoes with green chile peppers. Top with shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese and chopped scallions, if you like. No one will guess that this soup took only minutes to make instead of hours. Give it a try ASAP!
SIX CAN CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
•1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
•2 (14.5-ounce) cans fat-free chicken broth
•1 (10-ounce) can chunk chicken
•1 (15-ounce) can black beans
•1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile
Open the cans of corn, chicken broth, chunk chicken, black
beans and diced tomatoes with green chile peppers. Pour
everything into a large saucepan or stock pot. Simmer over
medium heat until chicken is heated through. Recipe makes
6 servings and only 214 calories each (4.9 grams from fat).
SOURCE: Allrecipes.com, the world's favorite recipe web
Download PDF of Memo #2314
Spring has finally arrived! Though we've had a lot of rain, it has been so nice to start to enjoy some of the spring produce. Today's recipe is a fabulous dessert that is perfect for those special occasions that seem to pop up during the spring time - baby showers, bridal showers, Mother's Day, graduations. Or you know, just a regular ole' Monday.
Fruit Pizza Cookie DoughServings/Yield: about 10 cookie stacks, or 50 cookies
- 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Cream Cheese FrostingServings/Yield: about 3 cups
- 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF
Championship Barbecue Secrets for Real Smoked
Foods, Second Edition by Karen Putnam and Judith Fertig
(Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca, April 2013, $24.95)
takes smoking to a new level. Defined, slow-smoked foods
are cooked next to a fire, low and slow and flavored with
wood smoke. Learn all about the art of slow smoking in this
comprehensive cookbook, which will appeal to novice and
experienced outdoor chefs alike. It's been updated with
16 new photographs including 12 pages of step-by-step
photos, all new secret tips from championship barbecue
experts across North America and even more information
on creating the perfect balance of flavors. Over 300 carefully selected recipes are organized by ingredients to offer inspiration for the ultimate in smoked foods. The mouth watering recipes make this an absolutely superb guide to an increasingly popular method of backyard cooking. Karen Putnam is a prize-winning chef who has won many contests on the competition barbecue circuit, including a grand championship in the American royal and several world championships. Judith Fertig is a food/lifestyle
writer and cookbook author who, with co-author Karen Adler, have written eight barbecue books.
Available at Amazon.com or your favorite bookstore.
GOOD MOOD BENEFITS COGNITIVE SKILLS
A positive mood benefits decision making, working
memory and creative skills, according to a study published
in the January 2013 issue of the journal, Cognitive & Emotion. While it's known that younger adults are more cognitively flexible when they're in a good mood, the study
found the same is true for older adults.
SOURCE: Duke Medicine, April 2013.
MAKE YOUR OWN 'GREENER' CLEANERS
Spring cleaning doesn't necessarily mean you have to
resort to harsh chemicals in your home. Try these recipes
for home-made cleaning solutions using products you may
already have on hand.
To speed clean microwaves and mask odors, place a
small bowl with about 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice in your microwave. Then run on high for 1 minute. Remove the bowl of juice and wipe the microwave oven cavity. Baked-on stains should come off with plain water. Repeat if necessary. Scrape off any stubborn stains with a plastic credit card. Just don't scrape the window, which could damage it. To clean a greasy oven, mix 1 cup baking soda and with
1/4 cup washing soda, then add enough water to make a
paste. Put on house cleaning gloves and smear the paste
on oven surfaces and leave it on overnight. The next morning, wipe off the soda mixture and grime and rinse all surfaces. If you live in an area with hard water, you can keep showers and ceramic tile free of water spots by using a squeegee on the door and shower stall after each use. It will prevent hard water build-up.
To clean windows, add 1 cup of white vinegar to 1 cup
of water. Pour mixture into a spray bottle. Spray and wipe
with a lint-free rag or squeegee, which minimizes streaks
and doesn't leave anything behind. It also makes it easier
to clean tilt-out windows and is reusable.
SOURCE: Consumer Reports on Health, April 2013.
BUTTERMILK MASHED POTATOES
Of all the personalities on the Food Network, Ina Garten
is my favorite. I don't think I've ever tried one of her
recipes that I didn't like. Her Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
taste like they're made with sour cream instead of less fattening buttermilk. It's been my experience that when
mashed potatoes are put through a food mill or ricer they
can be made ahead and be reheated and maintain their
•3 lbs. Klondike Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into
•1/2 cup milk
•1 stick unsalted butter
•3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 cup)
•1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
In large pot, bring 4 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons salt
to a boil. Add potatoes. Bring water to a boil again, lower
heat and simmer uncovered until potatoes fall apart when
pierced with a fork. Meanwhile heat the milk and butter in
a small sauce pan, making sure it doesn't boil. Set aside until potatoes are done. As soon as potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander. Place a food mill fitted with a small
disc/blade over a heat proof bowl. Process the potatoes
through the food mill. As soon as the potatoes are mashed,
stir in hot milk and butter mixture with a whisk or rubber
spatula. Add enough buttermilk to make potatoes creamy.
Add kosher salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.
Download PDF of Memo #2313
About a year and a half ago, my husband and I traveled to Las Vegas for one of his work conferences. Though most people would be excited to be surrounded by the gambling and night life, I was most excited to try a bunch of new restaurants! At one point during the weekend, we stopped at PF Chang's for a light lunch on the patio. I wasn't too hungry, so I just ordered the lettuce wraps. (Because really, who wraps something in lettuce and calls it a full meal?) I loved them, but since there's no PF Chang's near us, I set out to find a take-out fake-out recipe. And that I did! Asian Lettuce Wraps are a cinch to put together, and they might just be better than the real thing. (Or else my memory's a little foggy since my PF Chang's visit was over a year ago... can you really remember what something tastes like a year later?) Either way, these were excellent!
five just a few crab rangoons on the side.
Asian Lettuce WrapsServings/Yield: 2-3 as a main course, 4-6 as an appetizer
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- ½ medium onion, finely diced
- ½ cup diced carrots
- salt & pepper
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- ½ tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sriracha chili sauce
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 8-oz. cans sliced water chestnuts, drained & chopped
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
- 10-12 large outer lettuce leaves, rinsed & patted dry
FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF
150 Best Desserts In A Jar by Andrea Jourdan provides
the cook with a unique way to present desserts. Whether it's a beveled jar picked up at a flea market or that classic Mason jar in the back of your kitchen cupboard, any jar is a sparkling, creative way to prepare and serve desserts. The author has developed a wondrous way to prepare everything from puddings to cobblers to pies and cakes. And because the jars allow for freezing or presenting in layers, you get beautiful colors and textures.
Andrea Jourdan has spent over 25 years in Europe honing her skills when it comes to both traditional and modern cuisine. She has published several cookbooks and is a food writer, television personality and an innovator of web gastronomy. She lives in Quebec. From the Sweet Soups, Parfaits, Frothy Desserts and So On chapter, Cold Strawberry Orange Soup sounds perfect for a spring luncheon.
COLD STRAWBERRY ORANGE SOUP
•4 cups hulled fresh strawberries
•1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
•1 cup orange juice
•3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, divided
•1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
•1 teaspoon granulated sugar
•1 tablespoon slivered almonds
•1/2 cup plain yogurt
•6 mint leaves for garnish
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, puree
strawberries. Add confectioner's sugar and process for 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon mint and process 1 minute. Transfer to jars, dividing equally, and refrigerate for 1 hour. In a bowl, mix remaining mint, orange zest, granulated sugar and almonds. Add yogurt and mix well. Top each jar of soup with a dollop (about 1 tablespoon) of the mixture. Garnish with a mint leaf and serve immediately.
As you should have noticed by now Chief and Rays are affiliated with Spartan supermarkets as of March 1 and carry all of their products. For me, there are some brand name products that I'll always choose over the store brand such as Folgers coffee, Jiff peanut butter, plain Cheerios, Bush beans and Tropicana orange juice to name a few but that said, I'm willing to try the remainder. So far I'm impressed with Spartan light ricotta cheese, English muffins, butter, fettuccini and although it isn't exactly in the healthy category, Spartan White Cheddar Popcorn is so good that I shouldn't have eaten it during Lent! As an incentive for you to try Spartan products, look for them to be specially priced. I'm sure there will be some that I won't like as well as what I'm currently using but I'm willing to try them and I urge you to do the same. "This is a winner" Bryan tasters said about Fettuccine
with Fresh Asparagus and Ricotta that I served recently. I did make a lot of changes including the amount of fettuccini, Parmesan cheese instead of Parmigiano-Reggiano because of the cost and used a lot more liquid than original recipe (1-1/2 cups or more).
FETTUCCINI WITH FRESH ASPARAGUS & RICOTTA
•1-1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus, woody ends removed and washed
•12 oz. box Spartan fettuccini, cooked according
to package directions
•1-1/2 cups Spartan light ricotta cheese at room temperature
•1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for
•3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
•3 tablespoons minced fresh chives (in produce dept)
•Kosher salt and freshly ground pepperBring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Cut spears about one inch below tips; reserve tips. Cut stalks in 1-inch pieces. Add to boiling water and cook 1-1/2 minutes. Add tips and cook an additional 1-1/2 minutes. Using a large skimmer or sieve, lift asparagus from water and transfer to a bowl. Do not rinse. Add fettuccini to boiling water and cook until al dente (to the tooth or chewy, not overcooked). During last minute of cooking return asparagus to liquid to reheat it. Drain pasta and asparagus, reserving liquid. Return to pot. Add ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, butter and chives. Add enough reserved liquid, at least 1-1/2 cups, to make a creamy sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot in individual bowls with additional Parmesan cheese on the side. Recipe makes 6 servings.
SOURCE: Adapted from recipe in Cooking in Season with The Fresh Market; The Fresh Market, Inc. and Chronicle Books, 2012, $24.99.
Download PDF of Memo #2312
Breakfast is one of those meals I hardly think about. During the week, it's basically "grab a granola bar, and get out the door as fast as possible!" What can I say, I'm not one to leave a lot of time to leisurely enjoy a morning meal before work. (I like to sleep.) Spinach & Cheese Strata is the perfect make-ahead meal. The entire casserole is prepped the night before; all you have to do in the morning is pop it in the oven! It's almost like a savory bread pudding - spinach, onions, and two types of cheese all combined together in an eggy custard with French bread cubes. My husband and I enjoyed it for dinner, and it made great leftovers for breakfast for the rest of the week. A few seconds in the microwave, and we had a warm, home-cooked breakfast. (Much better than a granola bar any day.) To make the casserole, simply saute an onion with some butter; once it's cooked, add some chopped spinach.
Spinach & Cheese StrataServings/Yield: 10-12 servings
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 10-oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 8 cups French bread, cut into cubes
- 6-oz grated Havarti cheese
- 2-oz grated Parmesan cheese
- 9 large eggs
- 2¾ cups milk
Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats