Sunday, May 31, 2015

Falling for You Picnic

It's no secret that eating a healthy meal is most enjoyable when loved ones share.  We love our Sunday picnics together in a pretty nearby park.  Today's menu included Wild Sesame Salmon, Asparagus, Mushrooms & Tomatoes with Olive Oil Seed Cake & Panna Cotta.

The dessert was inspired by the Local Palate.  It was a little move skilled than many things I've done, but as always, I just jump in and try it!  I was challenged as I do not have molds for the panna cotta, I always use what I have on hand. . . and the power went off for 2 hours after I'd started preparing the cake.  Fortunately, I had not mixed the liquid ingredients with the dry prior to the mishap.  Here's how I made it:

Olive Oil Seed Cake, Panna Cotta & Berries

(Cake Serves 20)

Beat with electric mixer.
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs

1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1 1/4 cups skim milk
1/2 cup & 2 tablespoons orange juice

Mix together in a separate bowl:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup poppy seed
1/4 cup chia seed
Zest of 1 orange

Stir dry ingredients into liquid just until mixed.  Pour into pans sprayed with Pam.  The recipe called for a 10 inch cake pan.  I used a 10 inch heart shaped tart pan and a 7 inch loaf pan.

Bake in a 350 F. oven for 35 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.  Cool on rack in pan.  After 30 minutes, remove from pan.

Panna Cotta

(Serves 8)

Heat in a saucepan:
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 cup & 1 tablespoon skim milk
1/4 cup sugar

Stir in:
1 envelope unflavored gelatin 
2 tablespoons gorgonzola cheese

Pour into container (I used an ice cube tray) and chill covered overnight.

To serve, arrange pieces of cut cake with scoops of panna cotta and sliced berries.
2 fresh strawberries per serving, stem removed and sliced.

The salmon was baked at 350 for about 20 minutes, then chilled in fresh lemon juice.
The baby portabella mushrooms were sauteed in olive oil, sliced, for 4 minutes.
The fresh asparagus was cut in 2 inch strips and sauteed for 3 minutes.
The grape tomatoes were halved and sauteed for 3 minutes.
All were sauteed in 1 teaspoon olive oil.

That's fresh romaine lettuce and pea shoots from the Morgantown Farmers Market.  The mung bean shoots were sprouted at home!

We always enjoy a cup of coffee after our meal.

Today's picnic was at Valley Falls, a West Virginia State Park in Fairmont, West Virginia-only 30 minutes from home.

Enjoy your week!     

Friday, May 29, 2015

Bean Fishin'

Our Friday seafood dish-Fish Cakes-is made with 1 cod fillet and 1 flounder fillet.  The bean salad has fresh green beans, and three dried bean varieties.  I love the variety  in this light, not-so-hard dinner to begin the weekend!  The fish cake is inspired by Food and Wine's "Market Math" recipe for Shrimp Cakes.

Fish Cakes

(Serves 2)

Mix in food processor:
1-5 ounce flounder fillet
1-4 ounce cod fillet
1 egg
1/2 shallot
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Fresh ground pepper
Mrs. Dash
Form patties. (I made 4 small patties)

Cook in saucepan with olive oil.
1 teaspoon olive oil
Turn after 4 minutes.

The bean salad is inspired by Eating Well. 

Four Bean Salad

(Serves 4)

Cook beans in water on the stovetop.
2 cups fresh green beans, ends snipped

Add frozen beans to green bean water and stir long enough to thaw the dried beans.
1/2 cup black beans, cooked, frozen without salt
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, cooked, frozen without salt
1/2 cup kidney beans, cooked, frozen without salt

Stir in:
4 radishes, sliced
1/3 cup grape tomatoes, halved

Mix in grinder.  (I use a spare coffee grinder)
1/2 shallot
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon whole mustard seed
Serve dressing with beans.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Skillet Surprise

I love our individual iron skillets, perfect for making and serving meals for one or two.  These spinach frittatas, a Trisha Yearwood recipe were super easy and super quick.  I turn on two small burners, cook two frittatas side by side until almost set, then transfer the skillets to the oven to broil.  Not hard to do, I just have to remember to use the pot holders and handle the very hot skillets with care.  Here's the recipe:

Spinach Frittata

(Serves 2) 

Saute shallots in oil for 5 minutes.
1 small shallot, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil

Add spinach and saute for 3 minutes, turning once, until wilted.
2 cups fresh spinach, stems removed

Pour egg, milk and seasoning mix in skillets.
2 eggs
1/4 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
Fresh ground pepper

Add tomatoes and cheese.
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, grated
Cook until almost set, 2-3 minutes.

Transfer skillets to oven and broil until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  

Today I traveled to Charleston with a colleague and friend to attend the memorial service for our mentor, Helen Lodge.   Helen's contributions to our profession were many. 


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Multigrain Pancakes with local grains

I love my grains, and am especially pleased that 2 of the 4 in this recipe are locally grown and ground.  (Pretty good for an RD in WV!)  The recipe is from Food Network Magazine.  The Hard Red Spring Wheat is from McConnell Milling in Terra Alta, WV.  The Stone Ground WV Blue Corn Meal is from Hawthorne Valley Farms and milled at Blaker's Mill in Weston, WV.   Here's how I made the recipe:

Multigrain Pancakes

(8 Pancakes-4 Servings)

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup hard red spring wheat
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup WV blue stone ground corn meal
1 tespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground pistachios

Beat egg and sugar in a separate mixing bowl:
1 egg
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Add yogurt, milk and oil.
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain, nonfat
3/4 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon canola oil 

Stir liquid ingredients into dry.  Mixture can still be lumpy.

Spray griddle surface with Pam.
Dip 1/4 cup batter onto 325F griddle surface.
Cook until bubbles form on top, about 3 minutes.  Flip and cook on the other side, about 1 minute.

I ate mine with 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries and blueberries!


Monday, May 25, 2015

Patriotic Pasta

The recipe was inspired by Romina Barritto de Defranchi's recipe in Food and Nutrition Magazine.   Here's how I put it together:

Pasta with Cranberries and Gorgonzola

(Serves 2)

Cook noodles in boiling water for about 10 minutes.  
2 cups whole wheat egg noodles

Melt buttery spread in a separate non-stick pan.  Stir in gorgonzola.
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
3 tablespoons gorgonzola
Stir until cheese is melted.
Add milk and heat just until steaming.
1/3 cup evaporated skim milk.

Drain pasta.
Stir in sauce.

Garnish with pistachios and sweetened cranberries.
2 tablespoons ground pistachios
3 tablespoons sweetened cranberries.
I still have a bag of frozen, fresh cranberries, so I thawed 1/2 cup and simmered for 15 minutes with 2 teaspoons of sugar.  For this recipe, I only needed 3 tablespoons of the sweetened cooked cranberries.  I  drained these on paper towels before garnishing the pasta.

Have a great week!

Huevos Rancheros Salad (Meatless Monday)

The recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine suggested cutting the corn tortillas in strips, then baking.  I love corn tortillas for the whole grain, low sodium and calorie composition, but sometimes find it hard to fix them.  This is a winner.  Here's how I put the salad together:

Huevos Rancheros Salad

(Serves 2)

Spray corn tortillas with Pam.  Cut  in thin strips.  Sprinkle with homemade Taco Seasoning. Toast in toaster oven for 10 minutes.  

Taco Seasoning 
Mix and store in closed container:
2 cups Chili Powder
2/3 cup Ground Cumin
2/3 cup Garlic Powder
2 tablespoons & 2 teaspoon Ground White Pepper
1 tablespoon & 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1/2 cup pinto beans
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tomato, off-the-vine, diced 1/4 inch
1 4-inch zucchini, diced 1/4 inch
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, snipped
4 red lettuce leaves, torn in bite size pieces
4 romaine leaves, torn in bite size pieces
2 sharp cheddar cheese sticks, shredded
Mix salad ingredients.
Divide and arrange on plates.
Top with toasted corn tortilla strips.

Top with egg.
2 eggs 


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Red, White & Blue Parfait

We picnicked today at Holly River State Park in Webster County, West Virginia.  Our meal was delicious and nutritious, despite the fact I forgot the salad greens!  We still had 4 fruits & vegetables, lean meat, whole grain and low fat dairy, though the main plate wasn't picture perfect!  Here's the recipe I created for the dessert:

Red, White & Blue Parfait

(Serves 2)

Red Layer
1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain, nonfat
1 teaspoon sugar
4 strawberries, destemmed
Puree in mini food processor.

White Layer
1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain, nonfat
1 teaspoon honey

I still have a bag of frozen, fresh cranberries, so I thawed 1/2 cup and simmered for 15 minutes with 2 teaspoons of sugar.  For these parfaits, I only needed 2 tablespoons of the sweetened cooked cranberries.

Layers for each parfait:
1 tablespoon fresh blueberries
1/4 red yogurt
1/4 white yogurt
1 tablespoon sweetened cooked cranberries
1 fresh strawberry, destemmed, quartered and sliced
1 tablespoon fresh blueberries
1/4 red yogurt
1/4 white yogurt
1 fresh strawberry, destemmed, quartered and sliced 
1 tablespoon fresh blueberries
Fresh strawberry half (garnish)   

This is the plate you have to imagine, since I forgot the greens. The picture is from last night's post, when I made the salad base.   I did remember to take the cooked farro and chickpeas.  I added sliced flank steak, which I roasted last night, and feta cheese.  The flank steak was from a local farmer, Working H Farms.   I froze half of the flank steak to use later.  Here's how I cooked it:

Marinade for Baked Flank Steak

(Serves 6)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon honey
Fresh ground pepper

Cover flank steak with marinade.  Wrap in foil and bake at 350F for 1 hour.  Cool on rack.  Slice thin with electric knife.

 We had plenty to eat and picked a perfect spot by the creek.  Another great picnic!  This one was 100 miles from home.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Farro, Garbanzos and Greens

A healthy vegetarian friendly salad for dinner was quite satisfying after eating a Pork BBQ sandwich for lunch!  This salad will also be the base for tomorrow's picnic!  The recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens.

Farro, Chickpeas and Greens

(Serves 2)


Cook farro in water on medium-high heat covered for 30-40 minutes.
1/4 cup farro

Mix with: 
1/2 cup garbanzo beans (I use the cooked frozen version  without added salt)
1 cup fresh local greens (I used romaine and red lettuce purchased at the farmer's market)
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled

 The lettuce was purchased today at Morgantown Farmers Market!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Spring Into Summer

This was my first attempt at making Spring Rolls, inspired by a recipe from Oldways. 

Shrimp Summer Rolls

(Serves 2-2 rolls each)

Cook shrimp in olive oil and garlic, 2 minutes per side.
8 jumbo shrimp, peeled
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
Cut into small 1/4-inch pieces.

Shred cucumber, carrots and tomato.
1-4 inch piece of cucumber, peeled
1 carrot, peeled
1 tomato off the vine

Add to vegetables:
1 tablespoon celery leaves, snipped
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, snipped
Drain any excess liquid from vegetables.

Cook brown rice in water with sesame oil.
1/2 cup instant brown rice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup water

Stir into rice:
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons toasted ground peanuts
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar

Soak rice paper spring roll wrappers in warm water for 30 seconds.
4 rice paper spring roll wrappers 
Remove to paper towel and pat dry.
Fill wrap with 1/4 cup rice-shrimp-vegetable mix.
Prepare wraps one at a time.
Cover with wet paper towels as you prepare the remainder.  

Happy Friday!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Planning Farmers Market Demos


Registered Dietitians working with West Virginia University Healthcare conduct monthly culinary demos at the Morgantown Farmers Market during the outdoor season.  Last year, we conducted seven demonstrations. This exposure increased our visibility and helped dietitians to be recognized locally as healthy food experts.  Here's what went into the planning:

Seasonal Ingredients and Recipes

Plan the recipes according to what is in season.  We have strawberries in May-that's the month we made smoothies.  There's not much local produce in June, so we made meatballs with local beef.  Peaches are perfect in August when we made glazed peaches. Our monthly schedule included:

  • May:  Fresh Fruit Smoothies
  • June: Meatballs in Marinara
  • July:  Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Grainy Bread
  • August:  Glazed Peaches
  • September:  Warm Cinnamon Applesauce
  • October: Crunchy Pumpkin Pie
  • November:  Warm Sun Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Dip
Main Street Morgantown, with funds from a Healthy Communities Grant, printed 10 of my recipes on beautiful postcards.  

 We distributed recipes with samples.

Buying Ingredients

Due to limited supplies from the vendors on the day of the market, ingredients were purchased in advance or from other area farmers.  

  • Produce vendors who delivered to the hospital brought us some local produce during specific growing seasons.  Tomatoes, basil, and peaches were purchased through our hospital food vendors.
  • West Virginia University sold us apples from their orchards for the applesauce.  I drove to the orchard to pick up the apples I requested.
  • I ordered the Grainy Bread from a local bakery for the Mozzarella, Tomato, Basil Sandwiches.  I called in advance to order, then asked the bakery to slice it for me.
  • The ground beef for meatballs was ordered for pickup at the market one week in advance and purchased frozen.
  • The goat cheese for the Warm Chickpea Dip was ordered for pickup at the market one week in advance.

The Morgantown Farmers Market, with partial sponsorship from WVU Healthcare, built a kitchen-storage area and purchased some equipment.  Some serving and preparation equipment was transported from the hospital on the day of the demo.

  • The market has a 3-bowl sink, hand sink, griddle, grill, tables, pagoda, awning and electricity.
  • The hospital provided commercial smoothie maker, soup crock (for keeping hot items hot), long extension cord, steam table lids (to use as "bug guards), pans, serving trays, spatulas, dippers and pot holders.  The RD came equipped with sanitizing solution and plastic gloves.  The hospital marketing department provided aprons, hats and recyclable bags with the hospital logo .
There is no refrigeration at the market.  On smoothie making day, we used shelf stable soy milk and froze the containers of yogurt an hour before set-up, then kept the remainder of the yogurt cold with ice packs in insulated containers.

Time and Samples

The summer market begins on Saturdays at 8:30 am when the "bell is rung" and runs through 12 noon.

  • We were ready and waiting each of the Saturdays when the bell was rung.  That's the busiest time of the market and the temperature is still cool to protect the food.
  • We planned for 150-200 samples which lasted till about 10 am.
  • Average cost for food per event was $68.  This was credited to Nutrition Services by the Community Relations Department of the hospital.
  • The local health department requires that a list of ingredients for each product is posted.  This was in a frame on the table and with the recipe for passing.


These demonstrations were so much fun, thus it was not difficult to solicit help.  I had everything planned, the preparations complete and (with my husbands help) delivered all the products.

  • All assistants on the day of the market were volunteer.  These included:   WVU Healthcare registered dietitians, WVU Healthcare Community Services Director,  WV AND members, WVU dietitians, WVU students and my husband.  The hospital chef assisted in July when we grilled the open face Mozzarella Sandwiches.  All assistants had Food Handlers Cards issued by the local Health Department.

  • Some preparations were done in advance at the hospital by paid hourly staff. The bakers made the mini pumpkin pies for the November market, the volunteers distributed samples, and I showed how to make a normal size crust.

The recipe cards can be viewed here

To see more, click on the Farmers Market Images on the left side of my blog:




English Muffins, Hummingbird Food & more add-ons!

When I saw the detailed instructions (with photos) in Fine Cooking Magazine with the technique for making English Muffins, I knew I'd have make them again.  Nearly 40 years ago, I made English Muffins routinely.  Somewhere I have the "cutter" designed for them.  I'm not going to post the recipe yet, as I still have to work on this. . . be sure and check the link as the instructions are very good!

The corn meal I used for dusting was purchased from Hawthorne Valley Farms and milled at Blaker's Mill in Weston, West Virginia.  I purchased it at Saturday's Morgantown Farmers Market.

My meals are not always photo ready.  This is our dinner from last night featuring Curried Chicken & Apples with Persian-Style Carrots & Black Eyed Peas.  Our grapefruit halves were grilled in orange juice and honey, then sprinkled with brown sugar.   I really liked the spice mix for the carrot-pea mixture.  I purchased a second coffee mill to grind my spices and am getting my use out of it!  Here is the mix:

Persian Spice Mix

(3 recipes)

Grind together in spice mill:
1 tablespoon Lavender Pods
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
3 cardamom seeds

Dash cinnamon
Fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

I'm posting the recipe for Hummingbird Food as I always seem to have to look it up.  My beautiful little birds are back for the season and that makes me happy.

Hummingbird Food

(Fills 2 feeders)

In a large saucepan, stir sugar into water.
1 quart water
1 cup sugar
Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.

Add red food coloring.  
Empty any old food, rinse and fill feeders. Refrigerate any leftovers. 
Replace mixture once a week.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Floating Flounder & Lavender Scones

If you like great Mediterranean recipes you'll want to get on the mailing list for Oldways "Fresh Fridays".  This recipe was on Friday's mailing. 

Day Boat Fish, Roasted Tomato & Orange Fennel Salad

(Serves 2)

Roasted Tomato
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled and destemmed
Zest of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon basil leaves
1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, snipped
Fresh ground pepper
Mrs. Dash
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coat tomatoes with seasonings and oil.  Roast at 325F. for 40 minutes.

Orange, Shaved Fennel and Olive Oil Salad
1/4  large fennel bulb, thin slices, cut on a mandolin
1 orange, peeled and cut in slices
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, snipped
Fresh ground pepper
Mrs. Dash
Combine all ingredients and toss gently.

2 fish flounder fillets

Mrs. Dash
Bake at 400 F for 12 minutes.
Garnish with fennel fronds and lemon wedges.

Plate fish, tomato and orange salad.  Pour any remaining dressing from salad over fish.

 The scone recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens.

Lavender Honey Scones

(12 scones)

Combine milk, honey and lavender in saucepan.  Heat on medium high for about 10 minutes, until milk steams. 
3/4 cup evaporated skim milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dried lavender leaves 
Mix dry ingredients in food processor.
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cut in buttery spread.
6 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread
Pour into separate bowl.
Make a well in flour.

Beat egg into chilled milk mixture.
1 egg
Add liquid milk mixture to dry ingredients and stir, just enough to blend, with wooden spoons.

On a floured surface, knead dough about 6 times.
Pat into a rectangle, 10 X 4 inches.
Cut in 12 pieces.
Place on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
Brush with evaporated milk.
Bake at 400 F. for 12 minutes.
Serve warm.