Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Short Pilgrimage through "Food On Foot" (Book Review)

This historical book researching eating on trails and in the wild confirm my belief that the "food and planning is an important part of any walk or outdoor activity".  Dried fruits, seeds, nuts and flatbreads were common selections.  Different cultures had elaborate selections such as freshly roasted kebabs.  "In open air, the appetite is good and to make your own meals is pleasurable".  Pioneers, who hunted along the trail, supplemented meals with meats and vegetables.  

Army rations have come along way to now include poppy seed cake, cranberries, spiced apple cider, peant butter and crackers.  A World War II favorite was SPAM.

The Roman marchers carried wheat and handmills to bake flatbreads in clay pots called clibanus.

The mountain climbers nourishment got harder as the altitude increased.  Climbers had to monitor the color of their urine to determine sufficient hydration.


From the publisher:

World traveler, mountain climbing enthusiast, and scholar Demet Güzey introduces readers to the vital connection between food and human expedition in Food on Foot (April 8, 2017; ISBN: 978-1-4422-5506-7; Hardcover $38.00; 236 pages; Rowman & Littlefield), the next installment in the Food on the Go series. From pilgrims to pioneers, soldiers to explorers, the only limit to humanity’s reach is the food they can find along the way, and Güzey examines the myriad ways we have approached this problem over the centuries and across landscapes.

From tinned foods to foraging in the arctic wilderness, worm-infested hardtack to palate-dulling army rations, loss of appetite in high altitudes to champagne and caviar at base camps, Güzey gives a thoroughly researched and insightful account of how we manage food on foot, and how disaster strikes when we fail to manage it well.

Firsthand accounts, authentic artifacts and photographs, expert opinions, and recipes reveal new perspectives on lesser known as well as more famous expeditions, such as the disastrous end of the Donner Party, the stranded men of Shackleton on Elephant Island, and the first successful summit of Mount Everest. An extensive bibliography provides ample opportunities for further reading. 

This culinary history book is a great gift for adventurous food lovers and food-loving adventurers.

About the Author:Demet Güzey, PhD, is a writer and lecturer of food and culture with a passion for trekking in high mountains. She has published numerous articles in academic journals and magazines, ranging from Food Biophysics to Gastronomica, and climbed some grand mountains, such as Mont Blanc and Mount Ararat. You can read more about her at

This book is not a cookbook, yet I was compelled to create a meal from one of the scenarios in the book.  My favorite travelers were the Pilgrims who traveled places where food was shared.  The Tuscan route might include vegetable soup and day old bread with a sweet cake called Spongata.  Here is my version:


(Serves 8-10)

Cover fruit with alcohol and allow to sit at room temperature for a few hires.
13 grams golden raisins
7 ounce assorted diced dried fruit ( I used figs, dates, cherries, apricots, cranberries and blueberries)
Wines, brandy and gold rum to cover the fruit

Grind spices in a seed grinder.
1 gram cloves
1/2 cinnamon stick
Fresh grated nutmeg
Squeeze liquor from dried fruit.  Combine fruit with nuts, wheat germ, spices, wheat germ, honey and salt.
66 grams roasted and ground walnuts
10 grams roasted and ground almonds
13 grams wheat germ
33 grams warm honey 
Pinch of salt

Cut buttery spread into flour-salt mixture.  Stir in liquor.  Add enough cold water to form a dough.  Divide dough in half.  Roll to fit and 8 inch springform pan.  Press into bottom of pan and slightly up the side.  Fill with fruit and nut mix.  Cover with second dough half, rolled to fit the pan.  Press dough together to enclose all of fruited mix.
132 grams whole wheat pastry flour
54 grams Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/8th teaspoon salt
26 ml liquor (drained from fruit )
1-2 tablespoon cold water

Bake in 350 F. oven for 20 minutes.  Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.




Sunday, May 21, 2017

Rainy Day Picnic at Ryerson Station

We enjoyed our Sunday afternoon picnic under a shelter, surrounded by sounds of a variety of birds and light rain.  Our menu today featured:

Pork Tenderloin with Spring Onion Sauce
Creamy Coleslaw
Cinnamon Apples
Chocolate Strawberry Cobbler

I've made the cobbler before.  Interesting that the juice from the berries combines with the dry cocoa to make a delightful sauce like chocolate syrup with less sugar! Since the onion sauce has a slight amount of sugar and the slaw as well, I eliminated any sugar in the apples and simply sauteed 2 apples in 2 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread with cinnamon and nutmeg.


Pork Tenderloin with Spring Onion Sauce

(Serves 4-6)

Press minced garlic into top of pork tenderloin.  Place in instant pot.  Surround with wine, juice, seasonings and vinegar.  Lock lid in place.  Place timer on 45 minutes.
1 (1 pound) pork tenderloin
6 cloves garlic, minced
1-6 ounce bottle White Zinfandel
1-6 ounce bottle apple juice
1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon low sodium beef base
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Slice thinly and store in refrigerator in cooking liquid.

Bring broth and onions to a simmer on stove top.  Cook until most of broth is evaporated.  Stir in vinegar and jelly.  Serve on top sliced pork loin.
1 bunch spring onions, diced (include green)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 packet apple jelly
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Our picnic today was at Ryerson Station (Pa.) State Park near Wind Ridge.  There are hiking trails, fishing, camping and a beautiful (free) swimming pool.



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mingo Mimosa

A perfect picnic day and Mothers Day calls for a toast!  I was happy to find Champagne in 6 ounce bottles-just the right amount to add to a 4 ounce orange juice to fill 2 champagne glasses.  

Our picnic today featured Shrimp-Rice Noodle Salad and Buckwheat Strawberry Shortcakes.  The mason jar salad, inspired by Rachael Ray , was layered in a pint size mason jar with the dressing on the bottom.  When shaken and poured onto the plate, the luncheon was ready to eat.

I layered each jar as follows:
  • Fresh parsley and mint leaves
  • Dressing
  • Sauteed shrimp in minced garlic and sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground roasted walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoon grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoon diced grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red lettuce, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon grated radishes
Here is the dressing for 2 I put together:
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 teaspoon mirin
2 tablespoon soy sauce, reduced sodium
Juice from 2 limes
4 teaspoon rice vinegar 

The buckwheat shortcakes were inspired by Eating Well.  Mine are layered with fresh strawberries and a yogurt blend of strawberries, nonfat plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup (makes 2 servings).  The picnic was at Mingo Creek Park, a Washington County Pa. park.

My serviceware today featured a serving tray my husband gave me for Mothers Day and champagne glasses from our WV Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Gala held earlier in the week.  Here's the the toast at the gala where we enjoyed Chocolate MOOtinis!


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Pesto & Puddles

The opening day of our local farmers market wasn't dampened by the cold and rainy weather.  Our farm fresh sampling of Spinach Pesto with Hard Cooked Eggs was a good one, with over 200 customers enjoying an egg half with the delicious pesto in just 2 1/2 hours.  Customers are already sold on the eggs from the free range cage free chickens from Working H Farms and we topped the egg half with fresh spinach and garlic pesto and aged cheese from the other farms. Here is the recipe:

Spinach Pesto

(2 cups)

Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil.  
Add spinach, basil and parsley.  Cook for 20 seconds.
Remove green mixture to a bowl filled with ice water.  Let stand
for 30 seconds.  Drain and pat dry with clean towels.
5 cups fresh spinach leaves, stems removed
2 1/2 cups fresh basil, stems removed
2/3 cup parsley leaves

Add spinach mixture, tomatoes, garlic, walnuts, lemon juice,
black pepper, cheese and olive oil to food processor.  
Process until finely chopped.
14 tablespoon grape tomatoes, diced
2 large cloves garlic
1 cup toasted walnuts
3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup Parmigiano cheese, shredded
1/4 cup olive oil

Our water today had blended fresh blueberries and watermelon, garnished with slices of oranges.  I don't usually have time to prepare the water in advance.  For this one I did, blending and straining the blueberries, then blending the watermelon to mix with the water overnight.  

 This is the first of seven Saturdays we'll be at the market with Farm Fresh Sampling.  ("sharing unique ways to combine healthy seasonal ingredients in foods made at home").

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Cast Iron Cookbook (Review) Does It All

It wasn't hard to pick out recipes from every chapter of Dutch Oven and Cast Iron Cooking to make at home.  I did that and tried 8 recipes in just over a week.  Since I'm cooking for two (petite) senior citizens, I made smaller batches of each recipe and cooked in 8 inch and individual cast iron skillets.  I was impressed that the whole recipe was cooked in the same skillet. Sauteing and baking, while in steps, all cooked from start to finish in the one pan! 

I liked the format of each recipe.  Ingredients, preparations, then cooking.  The cookbook featured both stove and grilling techniques.  Pictured above is the Apple Cranberry Puffed Pancake.  (I used dried cherries in place of cranberries)

Some recipes with accompanying picture gave me ideas for combining my own recipes to create a similar product.  Here's my version of the Pesto Rolls:

Fireside Lasagna was delicious.  When I discovered I was out of lasagna noodles, I used broken spaghetti-it worked just fine!  When cut, the layer of ricotta cheese and eggs creates delightful visual appeal.
Since I want to have handy this recipe for "Swiss" Crabmeat Bake, I'm including the specific measures I used at home for this simply delicious entree.

Crabmeat Bake

(Serves 4)

Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.  Stir in cheddar cheese.  Cut in buttery spread until mixture is crumbly.
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used aged white cheddar)
1 tablespoon 1 teaspoon buttery spread

In 8 inch skillet, saute onion and pepper in buttery spread until tender.  
1 tablespoon buttery spread
1 mini sweet pepper, diced
2 tablespoon onion, diced

Gradually blend in flour, dry mustard, milk and Parmigiano cheese.  Cook until cheese melts, stirring constantly.  
1 3/4 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used shredded Parmigiano)

Add crab and tomatoes.  Stir until mixture is hot.
8 ounce wild crabmeat
1/3 cup diced grape tomatoes
To reserved dough mixture, add remaining milk.  Stir until dough is formed.  Drop by spoonfuls over hot crab mixture, like a cobbler topping.
1/4 cup skim milk

Place skillet in a 400 F. oven and bake for 25 minutes.

I made the cheesy puffed potatoes (like Duchess potatoes) and Glazed Vegetables. Both were delicious.

Here is the Hot Fudge Cake-a very simple recipe!

The Berry Crumble was so good.  I used a mix of fresh strawberries and blackberries in ours.
Yes- we did add vanilla ice cream for dessert.  This morning, I mixed crumble with plain yogurt for a high quality protein breakfast.

Berry Crumble 

(Serves 8)

Mix oats, flour, nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Cut in buttery spread.
1 1/2 cups oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cub buttery spread

Mix berries, sugar and cornstarch together and place in bottom of 8 inch skillet.
3 cups mixed berries
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon flour or non GMO cornstarch

Top berries with crumble mix.
Bake at 400 F. for 30 minutes.

As in any recipe that I make, I try to use whole grains, less added sugar, skim milk and a good fat.  (I used Earth Balance Buttery Spread in the recipes made here)  Most everything I make is the scratch version, though the cookbook gives the option of some purchased products as well.

I also enjoyed the comparison chart for enamel and "bare" iron skillets.  After reviewing the book, I can say that I will be using my cast iron skillets more often.

  Thanks Fox Chapel Publishing for the review copy!