Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Lasamasa Soup

Homemade lasagna noodles with masa harina flour heightens the flavor and texture of the pasta. First the recipe for the pasta, then the recipe for the soup.

Lemon Pepper Egg Pasta

(3-4 servings)

Beat egg in a small measuring cup.  Mix into flour, salt and pepper for about 30 seconds.  Add juice. Add just enough cold water to get mixture to almost form a ball.
1 egg
2 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon whole wheat flour
2 tablespoon Kamut flour
2 tablespoon semolina flour

4 tablespoon masa harina
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 teaspoon black pepper
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon
Cold water 

On a floured surface, knead dough for 1-2 minutes.  Roll into a thin oblong and fold in thirds.  Feed into pasta cutting machine set at the widest thickness.  Reset the thickness to #5 and roll again.  Cut pasta into strips 1 3/4 inch wide, then each strip into 2 1/4 inch pieces.  Place on baking sheets and refrigerate until about 1 hour before service.  At that point, I remove from refrigerator and dehydrate in a 150 F. oven for about 30 minutes.

Lasamasa Soup

(3-4 servings)

Over medium high heat, crumble and brown meat.  Drain thoroughly and wipe out pan.
8 ounce grass fed ground beef

Over medium heat, saute vegetables in olive oil for 5 minutes.
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoon onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 small sweet pepper, seeded and diced
1/3 cup carrot, peeled and diced
Add spices.
2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Add tomatoes, broth and paste.  Heat to a low boil.
1 141/2 ounce canned petite diced tomatoes (without salt)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
2 tablespoon tomato paste

Add lasagna.  Return to a low boil and cook for 5-10 minutes, until noodles are of desired texture. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Echos of Samplings at the Farmers Market

With four years of monthly samplings at the market under my belt, here are my take aways:

  • This was a challenge, something I'd never done before.  Entertaining was somewhat new to me.
  • My background in Food Service made me a master at sanitation.  I received 100% on all health department inspection.  I was never going to make anyone sick.
  • Incorporating meat or poultry, produce, grains and dairy into my samplings gave the customer a taste of the entire market and a model for nutrient dense meals to make at home.
  • Keeping abreast of current offerings, calendars and popular magazines helped me incorporate seasonal ingredients into the sampling.
  • I couldn't have done it without my husband.  2 gallons of prepared soup or sauce with equipment was heavy and two people were necessary to transport.  He had the charisma to draw people to our table and keep the conversation going.  On the days we grilled, he manned the griddle while I served 

  • The customers enjoyed the samplings.  Just as they went to certain tables at every market, they came to ours.  Customers tried the recipes and would return to tell me about that.
  •  The children liked the samplings.
  • The samplings enhanced the aura. The farmers are happy to talk to customers, answer questions and share experiences.  Customers from the community value that experience.


  • I have never seen people work harder in my life than the farmers.
  • The farmers wanted to donate and see you incorporate their products.
  • The dietetic students, interns and faculty liked to help and promoted our work at the market.
  • The profession and state affiliation received positive PR.  
  • Other RDNs offered help.  The first year when I represented the hospital, the department RDNs and chef volunteered to help.  These are memories I'll never forget.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Merging Health, Agriculture and Wellness

How do you merge health, agriculture and wellness in a meal? Here's how I did that in this menu of Turkey Chili and Apple Cornbread. 
  • Act locally.  The turkey, beans, vegetables, apples, cornmeal and eggs were all grown or purchased locally.
  • Write the recipe. The recipes are my choices for our upcoming Farmers Market Sampling.  While these are based on seasonal recipes I find in current magazines or the internet, I choose the ingredients to use whole foods, less sodium and healthy fats and re-write the recipe.
  • Emphasize nutrient rich foods.   "The food we feed America should make people healthy."  These recipes are rich in nutrients for the number of calories contained.  Vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, antioxidants abound in this meal with only a moderate amount of calories.
  • Feature animal protein. "Animal agriculture is part of a sustainable diet." Locally raised turkey and laying chicken are treated with tender loving care by our farm family friends.
  • Minimize food waste.   43% of Americas food waste is in the home.  These recipes utilize leftovers from a Thanksgiving type meal. The "bouillon" cubes for the turkey broth are homemade from the turkey roasting drippings and brine.  The brine for the turkey was made with simmered apple cores.  The turkey was pulled from the carcass of the bird.

The above quotes and ideas were messages I heard emphasized at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo last week where over 10,000 registered dietitian nutritionists in attendance learned the latest in evidence based nutrition.  Below are the Food and Nutrition Magazine Stone Soup guest bloggers who gathered for a group photo. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Baked Whole Grain Pasta

Mix cooked pasta with an egg, vegetables, tomatoes, cheese and "sauce", then bake in a suitably size pan.  Easy enough?  The best part of this dish is it's a great way to use refrigerator inventory and leftovers.  The yield depends on how much you can eat and what's in your cooler!  A basic recipe for 2 servings includes:

  • 4 ounce pasta
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup diced vegetables
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 3 ounce cheese
  • 1/3 cup sauce
The sauce can include yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, or marinara.  The cheese can be one type or a mix.  The vegetables can include garlic, onions and a seasonal blend.

I make my own pasta.  My pressed rigatoni tends to flatten, but since I was to bake this in a pan, it didn't matter.  I revert to the most flavorful Lemon Pepper recipe

Baked Rigatoni

2-3 Servings

Lemon Pepper Pasta
Beat egg in a small measuring cup.  Mix into flour, salt and pepper for about 30 seconds.  Add juice. Add just enough cold water to get mixture to almost form a ball.
1 egg
3/4 cup flour mix (Made from 1 part each unbleached all purpose, whole wheat, 1 part Kamut, and semolina flours)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 teaspoon black pepper
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon
Cold water 
Knead for 1 minute.  Form dough into quarter size balls.  Feed into mixer with rigatoni press, 1 ball at a time.  Cut onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Allow to dry for about 1 hour.  Cook in boiling salt water for 8-10 minutes.  Drain.

While the pasta cooks, I sauteed the vegetables:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced zucchini
1/4 cup spinach, stems removed
Drain and squeeze out water
Mix pasta and vegetables with:
1/4 cup diced drained tomatoes
3 ounce shredded cheese (mine had fresh mozzarella, parmigiano and Gruyere) 
2 ounce Greek Yogurt
4 ounce Cottage Cheese with chives
1 egg 
Spoon into baking dish greased with olive oi spray.

Bake at 375F. for 30 minutes.  Garnish with fresh snipped oregano.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Indian Summer Picnic

We're well into October here in West Virginia, yet we're experiencing August temperatures.  Local farm fresh ingredients abound.  Today's picnic menu of Fiesta Chicken and Vegetables with Apple Cinnamon Rolls feature local ingredients across the menu.  There's cage free chicken, eggs, fresh corn, red peppers, tomatoes, herbs, pea sprouts, wheat berries, maple syrup and apples in the pantry and in the foods. 

I make the low sodium Taco Seasoning in bulk and store in a tight container.  For the chicken breast, which we shared, I sprinkled a light coating of the seasoning on the raw skinless piece, and baked at 325 F. for 20 minutes.  The cooked breast was refrigerated overnight, then sliced thinly with an electric knife, stored cold and transported to plate at table side.

Homemade Taco Seasoning 

(Makes 3 1/2 cups)

2 cup chili powder
2/3 cup ground cumin
2/3 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoon 2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

 Mix and store in closed container.    
The salad did not need a dressing.  I simply mixed cooked black beans, cooked corn cut off the cob, diced red pepper and yellow tomato with snipped chives and garlic. The farmers market fresh pea sprouts added a little crunch and flavor.

For the apple cinnamon roll, I made my Egg Dough, substituting spelt flour (also whole grain) for much of the whole wheat flour. The rolled dough is brushed with melted buttery spread and brown sugar, then sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar, before cutting in strips to wrap around cooked apple slices and bake. These were baked in mini pie pans.  My rolls have very little added sugar, yet are a treat when spread with this Mascarpone Cream.  I froze the whipped "cream" and spread the icing at table side. 

Mascarpone Cream
Whip mascarpone, syrup and evaporated milk in an electric mixer bowl.  Store in a small covered container in refrigerator.
1/4 cup mascarpone
2 teaspoons maple syrup
3 tablespoon evaporated skim milk

My summer flowers have bloomed again.

Our picnic today was at Deep Creek (Maryland) State Park.  The leaves are changing and will be close to peak for the Autumn Glory Festival.


Gain a Boost with Market Sampling

After eating her meatball, this young customer sipped the vegetables and whole grains in the Italian Wedding Soup sample, enjoying every last bit! Farmers Market Sampling promotes the farmers, a balanced diet, healthy meals, sustainability, the local economy and making food at home.

For our 3 hour sampling at the market, we prepare 220 samples.  Each sample was served in a 3 ounce cup featuring 1 meatball and about 2 ounce of soup.  The meatballs not only contain grass fed beef and cage free eggs, but also whole grain cornmeal.  There are many seasonal vegetables in the soup with an array of colors and nutrients in the carrots and spinach. A bonus in our soup is that we substitute whole grain sorghum for the pasta.

We prepared 12 times this home style recipe for the sampling:
I'm so encouraged by the sustainable meat and array of vegetables that our local farmers grown and sell.  I applaud the few local farmers who are expanding their fields to include whole grains.  Here's the growing sorghum plants grown at a Preston County farm:

Once harvested, the canes will be pressed into molasses and the berries dried and sold or grown into flour.

We appreciate Dietetic Intern Mina's help serving samples and telling everyone how good the soup was!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Jazz Up Whole Grains in Favorite Recipes

September's month-long celebration of whole grains is just the excuse to substitute these for refined grains in favorite recipes.  Whole grains contain disease-fighting phytochemicals and valuable antioxidants as well as B vitamins, Vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber.

In this recipe for Italian wedding soup, I substituted whole grain cornmeal for the bread crumbs in the meatballs and whole grain sorghum for the tiny pasta.  The taste and appearance is equal.  The nutrient density is increased.

Italian Wedding Soup

(Makes 4 cups) 

Mix ingredients in bowl of electric mixer.  Drop by 1 tablespoon scoops onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 375F. for approximately 15 minutes or until interior temperature reaches 165F.
(Makes 40)
8 ounce ground beef
1 egg
2 tablespoon whole grain cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme

In a saucepan on stove top, saute vegetables in olive oil until soft, 3-5 minutes.
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrots
1/3 cup diced celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Add chicken broth and bay leaf.  Simmer for 30 minutes.
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 bay leaf 

Stir in spinach, cooked sorghum and meatballs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat to 165F.
1 cup spinach, stems removed
1/2 cup cooked sorghum

To cook sorghum, mix 4 parts water to 1 part dry grain.  Cook in saucepan 25-40 minutes until soft.  1 cup dry sorghum = 3 cups cooked.