Monthly Archives: June 2013

Mary’s Memo – July 1st

SEND DRYER SHEETS TO THE LANDFILL!


Although I knew towels absorb more moisture without dryer sheets, I didn’t realize that fabric softeners, either liquid or dryer sheets, coat the interior of the washer and dryer with a film that is difficult to remove. As for dryer sheets, the chemicals are particularly noxious because when heated in the dryer the chemicals are released through dryer vents into the environment. If you want more information about their toxicity check it out on the internet. If you insist on a softener add 1/4 cup white vinegar to the wash cycle. A towel free of fabric softener sheets is a great back scratcher! Source: www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/toxin5.php

FOR THE 4TH OF JULY


What could be more appropriate than a bag of Snyder of Hanover Patriotic Shaped Pretzels at Chief Supermarkets featuring stars, flags and Liberty Bells. Compared to many snacks including potato chips, pretzels are low in calories and every bit as good for dipping.

WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN


It has been just over a decade since Swedish scientists first raised concerns about acrylamide in the food supply after they detected carcinogens in starchy food heated to high temperatures. Studies, including one last year in Food and Chemical Toxicology, have consistently found that potato chips, French fries and other fried potato products have the most acrylamide. But the chemical is also detected at lower levels in some healthier foods such as breakfast cereals, crackers and bread which we tend to eat a lot of. Over the years, scientists have also found acrylamide in roasted nuts, peanut butter, olives, some dried fruit, coffee, especially dark-roasted and instant coffee and other foods. Unless you’re on a raw foods diet, it’s nearly impossible to avoid all acrylamide and there’s no reason to, anyway. Since the invention of cooking thousands of years ago, humans have been consuming acrylamide, along with other potential risky high-heat byproducts. Remember, too, that most foods naturally contain potential cancer promoters, as well as cancer fighters. Coffee, for example, is a big source of acrylamide exposure, yet studies consistently find that coffee has health benefits. And if acrylamide-containing food is otherwise good for you, such as whole grain breads and cereals, the benefits outweigh the risks. Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, July 2013.

RAVE REVIEWS FOR THIS FRUIT SALAD


I subscribe to Kraft’s quarterly Food & Family magazine. The summer issue includes a recipe called Creamy Fruit Salad that tasters raved about. The creaminess comes from a small box of Jell-O Instant Vanilla Pudding thickened with 1 cup orange juice. Two cups watermelon chunks were replaced with 2 cups Del Monte Pineapple Gold pineapple and the zest of an orange was added to give the salad an extra flavor boost.

CREAMY FRESH FRUIT SALAD

• 2 nectarines, chopped
• 2 cups halved strawberries (quarter larger ones)
• 2 cups Athena or Tuscan melon chunks
• 2 cups pineapple cubes
• 1 cup fresh blueberries
• 1 cup green seedless grapes
• Zest of 1 navel orange
• 1 (3.4-ounce) package Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
• 1 cup No Pulp Florida Orange Juice

Combine fruit and zest. For two minutes, whisk together pudding mix and orange juice. Toss gently with fruit mixture. Garnish with fresh mint leaf (optional). Source: Adapted from recipe in Summer '13 Kraft Food & Family.

CLINGSTONE VERSUS FREESTONE PEACHES


Peaches available now are likely to be clingstone where the flesh of the fruit stubbornly clings to the pit. Freestone peach flesh falls easily away from the pit when cut and is excellent for grilling. Instead of clingstone peaches, choose nectarines and/or plums to grill now. In my opinion, no peach beats a freestone one from groves in southern Michigan although area grown freestones are also acceptable.

They may not lend themselves to grilling, but this week’s Peach Crisp was well liked by Bryan Chief tasters. Once peeled, cut slices away from the pit.

PEACH CRISP

• 6 cups fresh peach slices (about 1 dozen)
• 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 cup flour
• 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

Mix almond extract with peaches and spoon into deep 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Combine flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt. Cut in butter until topping looks crumbly. Spoon evenly over peaches. Bake in preheated 375ºF oven for 40 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden brown. Recipe makes 6 to 8 servings. Top with small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Source: Adapted from Allrecipes, world’s favorite recipe web site.

A VERY HAPPY 4TH OF JULY TO ALL!


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Grilled Pizza

Now that summer is in full swing, one of my favorite ways to cook is to use the grill. As much as I love a good burger or brat (feed me a Chief Smokehouse beer brat any day), I really enjoy stepping outside the box a bit. Whether it's grilled quesadillas, grilled pineapple, grilled pound cake, grilled potatoes, pretty much anything tastes good on the grill.  

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  When I saw a method that used grilling to prepare one of my favorite foods ever, pizza, I knew I had to give it a try. There are a couple of ways to grill pizza -  you can prepare the actual dough from scratch (a bit more complicated) or use a ready-made bread item to build your pizza base on. I chose the second option for my first time to grill pizza. You could use any sort of flatbread as the pizza dough base. I chose pita bread, but naan or lavash would work as well.   [caption id="attachment_2814" align="aligncenter" width="288"]IMG_4230 I found this soft pita bread right in the bread aisle.[/caption]   Simply load up your pitas with your favorite pizza toppings. It's fun because each person gets to pick & choose their favorite toppings. (No more having to agree on the same pizza!) I could see kids having a lot of fun with this.   [caption id="attachment_2809" align="aligncenter" width="512"]IMG_4205 My hubby went with the traditional cheese + sausage, where I did a supreme with cheese + sausage + onion + green pepper + mushroom.[/caption]   Once the pizzas are ready to go, just pop them on a grill preheated to medium-low. The key is to keep the heat pretty low... you don't want to torch the bottom of the crust.  

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  It should take about 5-10 minutes; each grill is different, so make sure you keep a close eye on the pizzas while they're cooking. They're done when the bottom is crisp and the cheese is melted. Closing the lid of the grill also helps the cheese to melt a little quicker.  

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  And that's it! Super simple. I'm thinking it would be really easy to create a dessert pizza, too. A little peanut butter spread on a pita, and topped with chocolate chips and marshmallows?? Yum!  

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Grilled Pizza

  • pita bread rounds
  • pizza sauce
  • grated mozzarella cheese
  • favorite pizza toppings (pepperoni, sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc)
Method Preheat grill to medium-low heat. Prepare individual pizzas by spreading with sauce and topping with your favorite toppings. Place pita pizzas onto grill and cover. Grill 5-10 minutes, watching closely, until cheese is melted and bottoms of pita are crisp.

Mary’s Memo – June 24th

LOADED ICEBERG WEDGE


Although iceberg lettuce is the least healthy lettuce, it’s on many restaurant menus as a wedge or loaded and when it is, I order it. Even Bryan Chief customers who were not fans of blue cheese gave it rave reviews recently when components were tossed together in a salad bowl. Considering the positive response, include it at your 4th of July picnic or potluck.

LOADED ICEBERG SALAD

• 1 head iceberg head lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
• Just enough blue cheese dressing to moisten lettuce (I used Marzetti Simply Dressed Dressing available in Chief’s produce department)
• Additional blue cheese crumbles to taste (available in deli and dairy departments)
• Cherry tomato halves to taste on wedge or in bowl salad (I used pint container)
• Generous amount of real bacon bits (a whole package in salad bowl salad) Do not use imitation kind!

Toss all ingredients together and serve immediately. Note: ingredients can be prepared ahead of time and mixed with dressing just before serving. Source: Adapted from salad wedge served at Jay’s in Dayton and loaded salad at Hugo’s in Naperville IL.

ROTISSERIE CHICKEN TO THE RESCUE AGAIN!


I’ve never been disappointed in an impossible pie recipe made with Bisquick so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m excited about Chicken Pot Pie Casserole. Instead of shredded cooked chicken breasts, I used Chief's Rotisserie BIG Chicken. O riginal recipe called for regular Bisquick but I used the Heart Smart kind. Instead of Wyler’s chicken bouillon cubes with MSG, I prefer Better than Bouillon without it. Ditto for Campbell’s Healthy Request soup cream of chicken soup instead of regular with MSG.

CHICKEN POT PIE CASSEROLE

Layer 1:
• 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
• 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
• 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 3 cups, cut-up rotisserie chicken In 9x13-inch baking dish layer above in order given. Do not stir.

Layer 2:
• 2 cups milk (whatever kind you use)
• 2 cups Heart Smart Bisquick Mix milk and baking mix together. Spoon evenly over chicken layer. Do not stir.

Layer 3:
• 2 cups chicken broth
• 1 tablespoon Better than Bouillon
• 1 can Campbell’s Health R equest Cream of Chicken Soup

Whisk together broth, bouillon and soup. Pour over Bisquick layer. Do not stir. Bake casserole in preheated 350ºF oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until top is golden. R ecipe makes 12 servings. Leftovers can be frozen.

 

BITE INTO AN ORGANIC TOMATO


In a study published in a recent issue of the journal PLOS ONE, Brazilian researchers analyzed the nutritional content of tomatoes grown on organic farms vs. those grown using conventional farming methods. The organic tomatoes, though smaller in size than regular ones, had higher levels of vitamin C and yellow flavonoids, a type of antioxidant, Source: Consumer Reports on Health, June 2013.

 

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET


The traditional diets of Greece, Spain, Italy and other Mediterranean countries include lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, beans and grains, moderate amounts of fish and poultry, limited dairy (mostly yogurt and cheese) and little red meat and sweets. O live oil, as the main source of fat, and wine, especially red wine, are its most famous features. It has long been proposed that this diet is largely responsible for the lower cardiovascular mortality rate in Mediterranean countries compared to northern Europe or the U.S. Its whole-food components, on balance, are certainly more healthful than what the typical American eats. But you can’t go wrong by eating an ounce of nuts a day and a little more olive oil plus the diet’s other key elements, more fruits, vegetables, beans and fish in place of red meats and processed foods. Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, June 2013.

MORE ABOUT SPARTAN FOODS


At a recent dinner I attended, women present asked me why Chief changed to Spartan Foods and what I thought of the brand. Why Chief changed is a good question for you to ask your local Chief in person or by writing it on a form provided in the store.

As for Spartan products, you’ll have to decide that on a personal basis. For example, I have no problem with Spartan butter and cheese products although I wish they had reduced fat ones like Kraft and Sargento. But I continue to buy Arps milk over any other kind because it’s local and stays fresh longer, at least for me. When it comes to canned tomato products I still buy R ed Gold brand. The company is owned by a Purdue family and the quality is excellent. I also prefer Bush beans to any other kind and my coffee of choice continues to be Folgers Classic Roast, now available in K-cups for my Keurig. Keep in mind that I buy limited canned goods because fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are better for us, especially fresh ones.

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Mary’s Memo – June 17th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


Recently, a friend took me to Chelsea, MI, for an early dinner. Chelsea’s population is about 5,000. As I understand it, the community went through a transformation about 15 years ago including the downtown area where the chef-owned and operated Common Grill and a nearby community theater are located. Not too far off the main drag is the home of Jiffy Mixes whose silos were recently repainted white so even the factory is unobtrusive to the naked eye. Ditto for the neighborhoods where I didn’t notice an “eye sore.” Chelsea, MI is living proof of what happens when people work together for a common good.

If you choose to eat at 5pm you’re likely to be seated. If you go later, they’re may be up to a 1-1/2 hour wait. Do check out the specials because I was very pleased with one of that night’s specials: Lake Superior White Fish for $29.00. With it came hot bread, choice of salad and two other side dishes. Everyone doesn’t share my love of cold soups but I love gazpacho and the Common Grill’s recipe has to be the best one I have ever tasted! It’s featured in Craig Common’s second cookbook but it’s also available on the internet. Not only did my friend treat me to dinner but she also gave me Craig Common’s first cookbook, The Common Grill, published in 2000 by Huron River Press for $35.00. I’m sure this one and Return to the Common Grill, published in 2005, are available through Amazon.com. There’s no postage due on orders over $25.00.

To reach the Common Grill, drive north on 127 to Jackson, MI and take 94 East to Chelsea. The Common Grill is closed on Monday but open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner and brunch on Sunday.

As we were leaving, I overheard a couple at the door remarking about the crowd waiting to be seated and the man said, “I’ve never been here when it wasn’t!”

COMMON GRILL GAZPACHO

• 2 (28-oz) cans whole tomatoes, peeled and seeded
• 1 pound seedless cucumbers, cored, chopped fine
• 2 green peppers – cored, chopped fine
• 1 pound onion, finely chopped
• 1 ounce finely chopped garlic marinated olive oil
• 1 ounce pimiento – finely chopped
• Pinch salt and pepper
• 14 ounces Wishbone Italian Dressing
• 12 ounces tomato juice

Blend marinated garlic lightly in a food processor. Add all of the ingredients in a large container and mix well. To serve, place 6-ounce serving into a glass. Garnish with a cucumber stick, peeled and quartered, a sprig of watercress and top with sour cream and croutons. Source: Return to the Common Grill

CUT IT OUT!


There are several ways to cut salt, sugar and fat and not miss it at all. Replace salted butter with unsalted. The buttery taste is still there minus salt. Instead of regular fresh orange juice from Florida (not made from concentrate) replace it with Tropicana’s no pulp, 50 percent less sugar, calcium and vitamin D added juice. I’ve used it long enough for the reduced sugar one to taste normal. Try all natural, preservative-free, cooked-in-canola oil Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Potato Chips with 40 percent less fat. Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion are still my favorite but I’ll also buy Cape Cod brand occasionally.

Finally, young and older shoppers buy soda pop by the carton, especially when it’s on sale. They’re also buying a lot of sugar that they’d be better off without. Tap water with ice is still the best thirst-quencher on a hot summer day.

AND SPEAKING OF SOFT DRINKS ….


Knowing that the only soft drink I buy is root beer, daughter-in-law Kelly called my attention to Taste of Home’s Root Beer Cookies. Recipe said they taste better the second day and that’s true. My brother-in-law, Sam, gave these a thumbs up.

ROOT BEER COOKIES

• 1 cup unsalted butter
• 2 cups packed brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 3/4 teaspoon McCormick Root Beer Concentrate
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted

Frosting:
• 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
• 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 3 tablespoons water
• 1-1/4 teaspoons McCormick Root Beer Concentrate

In large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in buttermilk and root beer concentrate. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in pecans. Drop by tablespoon 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake in preheated 375ºF oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand on cookie sheet a short time before removing to wire rack to cool. In a small bowl, combine frosting ingredients; beat until smooth. Frost cooled cookies. Recipe makes about 6 dozen. Source: Adapted from Taste of Home recipe.

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Lemon Poppyseed Muffin French Toast with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote

Have you ever tried the fresh-baked jumbo muffins from the bakery case in your local Chief store? I am a big-time baker at home, so it is very rare that we buy any baked goods from the grocery store. However, the first weekend of May, we made a bit of an exception. We had just completely gutted our kitchen (no countertops, no dishwasher, no cabinets, no sink...) and it also happened to be my birthday. While I was out for my morning run, my hubby decided to surprise me with breakfast from Chief. He ran and picked up a half-dozen or so of the bakery muffins in all the different flavors for a nice little birthday treat. We cut them all in half so we could try more flavors, and man, I was pleasantly surprised! These muffins rock. My favorite flavor was the Lemon Poppyseed, and I knew I had to come up with a special recipe that highlights these muffins. I thought of a couple ideas (bread pudding, dessert trifle) before I landed on French toast. What better way to make a breakfast classic even sweeter?   IMG_4182   The idea is pretty basic - slice a bakery muffin (any flavor that is your favorite!) into 1/2-inch thick slices, dip it in an egg batter, and fry it up in a griddle until crisp & golden on the outside. I served the lemon poppyseed variation with a strawberry-rhubarb compote, because lemon + strawberries are a match made in heaven, and my mom has had rhubarb out the wazoo in her garden. Start with the strawberry-rhubarb compote first... it can simmer while you prepare the French toast. Combine some strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, water, & vanilla extract in a saucepan over medium heat, and just let it bubble away until thick. It's that simple!   [caption id="attachment_2787" align="aligncenter" width="308"]IMG_4180 At the beginning[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2792" align="aligncenter" width="321"]IMG_4188 After 20 minutes of simmering[/caption]   While the compote is simmering, prepare the French toast. I found it easiest to slice each muffin into 3 slices top to bottom. Make a little egg batter, coat both sides of each muffin, and fry in a bit of butter on a griddle over medium heat.  

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  Just a few minutes on each side until it is golden brown.   IMG_4187   Serve it up with a drizzle of the strawberry-rhubarb compote, and you don't even need any syrup! This was a perfect breakfast for summer - very light, with the citrus and fruit compote. It would be even tastier served up with some more sliced strawberries. (I accidentally used all mine in the sauce!)  

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  You could totally go crazy with flavor combinations here. Pistachio muffins with chocolate glaze, blueberry muffins with good ole' fashioned maple syrup, banana-walnut muffins with caramelized bananas. Your creativity is the limit! _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Lemon Poppyseed Muffin French Toast with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote

Servings/Yield: about 4 servings
  • For the compote
    • 1-1½ cups sliced strawberries
    • 1 cup diced rhubarb
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • ¼ cup water
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the French toast
    • 4 bakery-style lemon poppyseed muffins
    • 3 eggs
    • ½ cup milk
    • 2-4 tablespoons butter
Method For the strawberry-rhubarb compote, combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, water, and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low until bubbly and thickened, stirring occasionally, about 20-25 minutes. For the French toast, whisk together eggs and milk in a shallow bowl. Slice each muffin into thirds, into slices about 1/2-inch thick. Preheat skillet or saucepan over medium heat; add about 1 tablespoon butter to pan. Dip each slice of muffin into the egg mixture, coating both sides. Place onto hot skillet; cook until golden brown. Flip, and cook the other side until golden brown. Serve warm French toast with strawberry-rhubarb compote. Source: adapted from The Rhode Show

Beer-Glazed Onion Burgers

Father's Day is just around the corner... will you be cooking anything special for your dad or husband? For as long as I can remember, we've had a cook-out at my mom & dad's to celebrate the day. Father's Day is the perfect excuse to use the grill!  

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  Burgers are always a great choice, but I decided to kick it up a notch with Beer-Glazed Onion Burgers. A big, beefy burger patty is topped with saucy, sweet onions caramelized in beer. It's served up on a toasted English muffin with a schmear of goat cheese. Get started with your onions. The trick to caramelized onions is low & slow. Heat the onions in a saute pan on medium-low heat with a bit of olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are browned to your liking. Then, add 1/2 cup of your favorite beer. Continue cooking on medium-low until the beer reduces down to a thick, syrupy glaze. (Feel free to enjoy the remaining beer as a special beverage for the chef. :) )   onions   While the onions are cooking, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Cook the burgers to your liking; then remove to rest on a plate.  

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  To assemble the burgers, spread a schmear of goat cheese on the top half of each toasted English muffin. Layer up the burger, onions, and spinach on the bottom half of the muffin; then squish it all together. (I know you might be thinking... English muffin??! Who serves burgers on English muffins? Trust me on this one, the texture is awesome! Chewy, crispy, hearty, all in one.)  

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  If you're not a goat cheese person, cheddar or colby would be a great choice as well. Looking for other great grilling recipes? Check out the links below!   _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Beer-Glazed Onion Burgers

Servings/Yield: 4 burgers
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup beer
  • 4 burger patties
  • ⅓-½ cup goat cheese
  • spinach
  • 4 English muffins, toasted
Method Heat olive oil over medium heat; add onions and saute until caramelized, stirring occasionally. Add beer; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beer forms a syrupy glaze. Meanwhile, heat grill to medium-high. Grill burger patties until desired doneness. To assemble burgers, spread goat cheese onto the top half of the toasted English muffin. Place the burger on the bottom half; top with beer-glazed onions and spinach. Place top of muffin on burger. Source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Mary’s Memo – June 10th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


Pressure cookers are back. Breville even has one that slow cooks or pressure cooks in one appliance. So it doesn’t surprise me that new pressure cooker cookbooks are reintroduced like 225 Best Pressure Cooker Recipes by Cinda Chavich (Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca, April 2013, $24.95). First there were pressure canners and Mother had one to can non-acid vegetables as soon as they were available. The first gift I bought her when I went to work as an Indiana Extension agent was a Mirro brand home pressure cooker. By the 1970s, the popularity of pressure cookers declined in North America and the microwave oven became the preferred way to cook food quickly.

There’s an incredible variety of recipes such as Wild Mushroom and Potato Bisque, Kansas City Pulled Pork Butt and Espresso Chocolate Cake to tempt your taste buds or motivate you to buy a pressure cooker.

Author Cinda Chavich is a journalist, author and former newspaper food editor and senior feature writer. She specializes in food and wine, cultural history, lifestyle and trends. Cinda is also a frequent contributor to national magazines, radio and newspapers. She lives in British Columbia.


THE TALE OF TWO CANS OF TOMATO SOUP


You have probably noticed that I pay the extra cost for Campbell’s Healthy Request soups for recipes because I’m anti-MSG. I was happy when Campbell’s stopped using it in their regular tomato soup. But comparing labels, I noticed that both have high fructose corn syrup and Healthy Request has some vegetable oil while regular has none. Both cans are 90 calories per 1/2 cup serving but Healthy Request has 15 fat calories. I will not buy Campbell’s regular creamed soups because they do have MSG but I need to look more closely at the other Healthy Request Soups that I buy. What does all of this prove? Cooking from scratch may take longer but it’s healthier for us.


FALLEN FOOD: DOWN FOR THE COUNT


It’s a question that has stirred up a heated debate. Is it okay to eat food that has fallen on the floor? Many people abide by the “5 second rule,” which maintains that anything is fair game if you pick it up within that time frame. Some allow 10 to 30 seconds to lapse before  relegating the food to the trash bin. The 5-second rule has actually been put to scientific test. In an often-cited, though unpublished study from 2003, a high school student interning at the University of Illinois found that gummy bears and fudge-striped cookies placed on ceramic floor tiles that had been inoculated with e-coli picked up the bacteria in less than 5 seconds so it doesn’t matter how quick you grab it. The Bottom line: Use common sense. Occasionally eating food that was briefly on the floor is not likely to make you sick. But it depends on what you drop and where. There’s a big difference between picking up a cracker from a just cleaned dry kitchen floor versus the floor by the cat litter box. On the other hand, since it’s hard to judge just how clean a floor is, you shouldn’t make eating off it a habit. And if you’re immune compromised or in frail health, it’s best to follow the “zero second” rule. Keep in mind, too, that microbes are not just on floors. Kitchen counters can be more contaminated than floors. Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter June 2913.

 

RECIPE OF THE WEEK


This dessert was a favorite during the Truman White House years and it couldn’t be easier to make!

OZARK PUDDING

• 3/4 cup of sugar
• 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
• 1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 egg
• 1/2 cup chopped apple
• 1/2 cup chopped dates
• 1/2 cup chopped pecans
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Mix the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Beat the egg in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add the sugar mixture and beat until blended. Fold in apples, dates and pecans and stir in the vanilla. Spoon batter into a greased 9-inch glass pie plate and bake for 30 minutes or until brown on top. Cool in the pie plate on wire rack. Cut into 6 to 8 wedges. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Source: California Mosaic, The Junior League of Pasadena California Inc., 2008.

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Roasted Corn Dip

Summer is officially here! (For me, anyways.) Our last day of school was Friday, so now it's time to celebrate the kick-off to a fabulous summer. Summer is hands-down my favorite season. The pace of life seems to slow down a bit, and everything just seems more relaxed. When the weather is nice, one of my husband's and my favorite thing to do is to sit out on our back patio with an appetizer or two and chat the night away with our neighbors. Today's recipe is one of our favorite appetizers to enjoy in the summer. Roasted Corn Dip features sweet corn inside a cheesy, creamy dip perfect for tortilla chips. It's got a bit of a kick from diced chiles and chili powder, and would be perfect for your next Mexican fiesta. Whip up some tacos or fajitas and you've got the perfect meal!   IMG_4085   Start by roasting or grilling the corn. I roasted the corn kernels in the oven, but if you want to fire up the grill, you can follow the method outlined here. To roast in the oven, simply spread the corn kernels (frozen or from the cob) on a baking sheet and roast at 425*F about 20-30 minutes until the kernels get some color and become fragrant.  

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  While the corn is roasting, saute an onion with some diced green chiles in some butter. Once the onions are tender, add a bit of garlic; cook just 1-2 minutes more.  

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  Once the corn is roasted and the onions are sauteed, combine the veggies with the remaining ingredients - mayonnaise, sour cream, chili powder, and of course, CHEESE! You can use any cheese you like, but I think monterey jack melts really well.  

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  Pop it into the oven until it's golden and bubbly. Alternately, you can place it into a crock pot on LOW. This makes it great option for potlucks.   IMG_4087   Serve with tortilla chips. (Or eat by the spoonful...) I picked up the Spartan brand tortilla chips for the first time, and they were quite tasty. Nice & salty with a good crunch. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Roasted Corn Dip

Servings/Yield: 6-8 servings
  • 1 large bag frozen corn
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4-oz can diced green chiles
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 small can sliced olives, drained
  • 3 green onions, chopped
Method Heat oven to 425*F. Spread corn on a baking sheet, and roast 20-30 minutes, until it starts getting some color and becomes fragrant. Reduce heat to 400*F. Once corn is roasted, saute onion and chiles in butter 2-3 minutes until almost tender. Add corn and garlic; saute 1-2 minutes more until completely tender. Remove from heat. In large bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, and chili powder. Fold in corn mixture and cheese, and spread into greased 2-quart baking dish. Bake at 400*F for 25-30 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Sprinkle with olives and green onions. Serve with tortilla chips. **Note: This can be prepared and put into a crock pot on LOW to keep warm. Source: adapted from Taste of Home

Mary’s Memo – June 3rd

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


Diabetes is a health crisis around the globe. But many people transition through a “prediabetes” stage, where blood glucose is elevated but is not high enough to be considered diabetes. Current research proves that people with prediabetes can take steps to reduce their risk of developing diabetes. And those same steps can help people with diabetes to thrive and lead fulfilling lives. The Diabetes Prevention & Management Cookbook, by Johanna Burkhard and Barbara Allen, is designed to help manage glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol while supporting a healthy weight, and will be enjoyed by everyone in the family. Best of all, the 28 day menu plan is your prescription for health, with meals and snacks you customize to your needs.\

Johanna Burkhard is a food writer, cookbook author and food consultant. She lives in Ontario. Barbara Allen is a registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes educator who has worked in outpatient and inpatient care, administration and research on diabetes. She lives in Richmond, British Columbia.

This vibrant, refreshing salad will become a summertime favorite.

GREEN BEAN AND PLUM TOMATO SALAD

• 1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
• 1 lb. plum (Roma) tomatoes (about 6 to 8)
• 2 green onions, sliced
• 1 clove of garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1/4 cup chopped parsley or dill

In a medium saucepan of boiling water, cook the beans for 3 minutes or until crisp and bright green. Drain and rinse in cold water to chill. Wrap in clean, dry towel to absorb excess moisture. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, scoop out center and seeds. Cut each piece lengthwise into quarters. Place in serving bowl. Just before serving, combine beans, tomatoes and green onions. In small bowl, whisk together garlic, oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar and pepper. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with parsley or dill. Recipe makes 4 servings. Source: The Diabetes Prevention & Management Cookbook by Johanna Burkhard and Barbara Allen (Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca, April 30, 2013, $24.95).

FAST FOOD CONSUMPTION DIPS


The percentage of calories Americans consume from restaurant fast food such as hamburgers and pizza declined slightly in a new government report, but officials say is too early to declare this a trend. In the latest survey from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, covering 2007 to 2010, American adults said they got more than 11 percent of their calories from fast-food eateries. That was down from almost 13 percent in the previous survey. One factor may be the aging of the US population: While those ages 20 to 39 reported eating more than 15 percent of their calories from fast-food sources, that fell to just 6 percent for people over 60. The more people weighed, the greater the percentage of calories came from fast food, and those eating the most fast food, 18 percent of calories, were obese young adults. Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, May 2013.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK


Raw Asparagus, Mushroom & Parsley Salad is worthy of my annual Christmas recipe sheet but it’s too good to save until then! It was such a hit at the Bryan Chief during the last 12 hour sale when asparagus was 97 cents a pound, that shoppers were buying the ingredients to make it before they left the store. I’ll be making this side dish a lot for cookouts and indoor meals since asparagus is one of my top 10 vegetables! Think of parsley as the lettuce in this salad. Tasters called it a keeper!

RAW ASPARAGUS, MUSHROOM & PARSLEY SALAD

Dressing:
• Kosher salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1-1/2 tablespoons light olive oil

Salad:
• 1/2 lb. asparagus, tough ends trimmed and discarded (peeled if stalks are thicker than 1/3 inch and sliced diagonally into thin slices)
• 1 cup flat leaf Italian parsley leaves, stems removed
• 4-ounces firm white button mushrooms (no gills showing), thinly sliced
• 1/3 cup salted pistachio nuts
• 2 ounces shaved Parmesan cheese

Whisk salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil until a thick emulsion forms. Combine remaining ingredients and toss with dressing. Serve immediately. Recipe makes 4 servings. Note: You can prepare the ingredients the night before. Source: Adapted from a Sara Moulton recipe.

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