Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Senior Size Birthday Cobbler

When I asked my Mom if she wanted me to make a birthday cake for her day (# 91, not 19) at the Senior Center, she said "No, make me a peach cobbler".  That was a much easier task for me than a cake. This one is whole grain, with no fat and less than 2 teaspoons of added sugar per serving.  That left room for ice cream!  The best part about it is that everyone loved it. 

I made the cobbler in a 9 X 16 inch pan, then cooled and covered.  When we arrived at the center, I reheated the cobbler, covered in foil, in a 300F. oven for 40 minutes.  The ice cream was scooped onto bowls of hot cobbler and served.  


Peach Cobbler

(Serves 24)

Grease a 9 X 16 inch baking pan with olive oil spray.
Peel, pit and dice peaches in lemon juice.
Mix sugar and cornstarch.  Add to peaches.
Pour into bottom of baking pan.  
10 large peaches, peeled and diced
Juice from 2 lemons
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoon cornstarch
Mix flours and cornmeal with baking powder and salt.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole grain cornmeal 
1 tablespoon 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
3/4 teaspoon salt

Add milk to dry flour mix and stir with a wooden spoon.
2 cups skim milk
Drop by 2 tablespoon size dippers onto top of peaches.

Bake at 400F. for 40-45 minutes, until top is lightly browned.
Cool on rack.  



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Flavorful Pintos

I'm pretty sure my bean dish has done justice for the beautiful local pinto beans from my WVU Extension friend, Tom McConnell.  I volunteered to make the Baked Beans for a local benefit dinner this weekend.  While mine are not really "baked" they are delicious hot or cold.  I'm making them in 3 quart batches, which require 1-2 pound bag of his Terra Alta (WV) beans.  Here is the perfected recipe:

BBQ Beans

(3 quart)

Brown onions and garlic in olive oil.
2 1/2 cup onions, diced
Cloves from 1 garlic bulb, smashed and minced
3 tablespoon olive oil

Add dried beans and water.
1-2 pound bag dry pinto beans (This is less than 5 cups of beans)
Water to cover more than double the volume of beans (I filled my pressure cooker to the 16 cup line)
Cook until beans are soft.  (I cooked mine in a counter-top pressure cooker for 45 minutes.)

Mix cider vinegar, ketchup, smoked paprika and chili powder in a small saucepan.  Simmer for 5 minutes.
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup, no high fructose corn syrup 
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Add tomato paste, broth cubes, balsamic vinegar and molasses to saucepan and mix.  Turn off heat.
3 tablespoon tomato paste
4 3/4 low sodium vegetable broth cubes
3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup black strap molasses
1/4 cup flax meal 

Drain most of the water from the cooked beans.  (I kept some liquid as my beans will be served from a soup crock over a few hours and have the potential to dry out).
Stir in barbecue sauce. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mother-Daughter Lunch in the Forest

It wasn't the same food she ate here as a girl scout in the early 1940s, but memorable just the same. I surprised Mom today by packing us a picnic and taking her back to New Germany State Park (formerly Swauger's Dam). Moms' favorite memory of girl scout camp was that the boy scout camp was just above it.   The picture she holds is one of her here as a camper, looking good in a bathing suit, with the boy scouts nearby.  Today, at age 91, she looks just as good!

Our menu today featured:
Salmon Salad in a Cucumber Boat
   Mocha Maple & Strawberry Parfait

Salmon Salad

(Serves 2)

Brush salmon fillet with mustard.  Bake at 325 F. until internal temperature reaches 155 F., about 15 minutes. 
1-4 ounce wild salmon fillet, skinless
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard

Cut salmon in bite size pieces.  Add egg, celery, pepper, mayonnaise, Mrs. Dash and lemon juice.
1 hard cooked egg, diced
2 tablespoon celery, diced
1 mini red sweet pepper, diced
4 teaspoon mayonnaise, made with olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Refrigerate.  Pack in insulated container with ice for transport.

Mocha Maple Parfait 

(Serves 4)

Process graham crackers and buttery spread.  Press crumb mixture into bottom of 4 serving dishes.
6 graham cracker squares
2 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread

In saucepan, bring milk, syrup, coffee and a pinch of salt to a boil.  Add chocolate;  turn off heat.  Let sit 1 minute, then stir to blend.  Pour mixture into serving dishes.  Chill overnight.
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
4 teaspoon maple syrup
1 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee
5 ounce dark chocolate (60% cacao)

Just before serving, top with strawberries.
1 1/3 cup strawberries, diced

Mom really enjoyed her meal.  The weather was perfect and the surroundings were peaceful.  We shared memories and good conversation.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Tawny Onion & Mushroom Pizza on Multigrain

The caramelized onion and mushroom pizza on a crusty yeast multigrain bread is simply delicious.  The toppings were inspired by Family Circle Magazine:

Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Pizza

(Serves 8)

Melt buttery spread over medium heat in a 10 inch skillet.  Add onion;  sprinkle with Mrs. Dash.
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/2 large yellow onion (about 1 cup), diced 
1/8 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
Saute for 8 minutes, stirring frequently.

Sprinkle onion with sugar.  Saute for 8 additional minutes.
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Place into a bowl.

Add another tablespoon of buttery spread to pan.  Saute mushrooms for 4 minutes.
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1 cup diced mushrooms

Top crust with 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese.  Add onion, then mushrooms.  Finish with 1/2 cup finely shredded cheese.  Sprinkle crust and toppings with Mrs. Dash.

Bake at 425 F. for 12 minutes.  Turn oven to broil and brown top for another 1-2 minutes.

My yeast bread for the crust is made with an assortment of flours.  Tonight's has 1 cup (total) corn flour, oat flour, spelt flour and whole wheat pastry flour together with 1 cup all purpose flour.  

On the side is a cucumber and tomato from my container garden.  The dessert is a chocolate-mocha and graham cracker parfait with fresh cut strawberries.  I will post that recipe tomorrow.



Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Babbling Brook, Music and a Picnic

We found a perfect spot in our own city park for our weekend picnic.  A shady spot by a babbling brook on one side and tall trees on the other.  

And (not to upstage), we even had music!

Our menu featured confetti egg salad on a multigrain biscuit with thin sliced deli ham.  Both the eggs and the ham were from our local Work H Farm Store.  The golden tomato is from my container garden and the peaches from Romney.

I made half this recipe, in a 9-inch square pan, lined in parchment, to "bake" the eggs.  This is so much easier that boiling and shelling individual eggs for egg salad.  (Be sure and remove the parchment paper as soon as removing from the oven).



Sunday, August 14, 2016

Swinging the Meal Venue and the Style

Most Sundays during the outdoor season we plan our meals around a picnic in a park or wildlife area.  The change in venue, with new scenery and fresh air adds excitement to our daily routine.  The menu I chose today was inspired by an article in Fine Cooking Magazine on the classic Nicoise Salad. I learned that "tossing" the salad is a big no-no, a given for my picnic packing arrangement.  I simply packed each ingredient separately to assemble at table-side, and took the tomato knife with us to cut the egg and tomato at table side.  The author suggest to tailor the salad, varying the vegetables, olives and dressing to suit your taste.  Here is our salad (before we cleaned our plates):

Our salads include small servings (1/3 cup each) of edamame and red potato wedges.  Not pictured is the small slice of Onion Rye Bread (from the local bakery).  That's a tiny piece of Carrot Cake from the local Farmers Market which was the perfect way to top off a perfect meal.


(Serves 3)

1 tablespoon vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash

I put a small amount of this vinaigrette in the potatoes to marinate on the trip to the park. 

Our picnic today was at Cathedral State Park in Aurora, West Virginia.  The park is surrounded by forests of ancient hemlock trees with easy walking trails.  The park is on top a mountain, where the temperatures are cooler than home.



Thursday, August 11, 2016

Farmers Market Challenge: Eggplant

When my farmer market friend handed me a couple of her home grown eggplants and said "make something for me and bring it back" I happily took on the challenge. Sudawan "Sue" Richardson (from Richardson's Farm) is originally from Thailand, where she was a school teacher.  Her farm is a 5-acre plot near Fairmont, West Virginia.  It  is covered in a large variety of produce from a few fruit trees, a berry patch, herb garden, rows upon rows of tomatoes and peppers, and a large variety of other veggies that can be found at her market table. Sue happily invites people to visit the farm for events, tours, or if you have a desire to pick produce.  Sue has mentored many a university student in the few years I have known her.

The recipe I made was in a free magazine I picked up at Krogers Grocery Store.  I don't stock spicy peppers at home, so my product has sweet peppers.  While I'm a good fat advocate (this recipe has extra virgin olive oil and anchovy fillets) I always cut down on the amount.  The student at Sue's table enjoyed the dip!  So I repeated the recipe at home and enjoyed a platter for breakfast!

Spicy Eggplant Dip

(Serves 3-about 1/2 cup each)

Pierce eggplants several times with fork.  Roast on foil lined baking sheet at 450 for 40 minutes, turning frequently.
2 medium eggplants (about 8 ounce each) 
Cool roasted eggplant.  Peel and dice.

Mix paste, vinegar, paprika and Mrs. Dash.
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash

Saute onion and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring.  Add eggplant, tomato paste mixture, peppers and anchovies.  Cook 10 minutes.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup peppers, diced
2 canned anchovy fillets, chopped

Garnish with chopped cilantro.
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped 


Monday, August 8, 2016

Harmonious Palette

I didn't change a thing in the Raspberry Peach Mango Smoothie Bowl recipe from Eating Well other than use skim milk in place of reduced fat and use the rum soaked peach I'd cut yesterday for dessert.  The recipe creates a base for substituting any fruit, nut or seed in the protein and calcium rich smoothie.  

Smoothie Bowl

(Serves 1)

Blend yogurt, fruit, milk and extract.  Pour into bowl.
3/4 cup Greek yogurt, nonfat
1 cup fruit, diced
1/4 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Arrange fruits, nuts, seeds and coconut on top.
1/4 - 1/3 cup each (2) assorted fruits
1 tablespoon nuts
1/2-1 teaspoon seeds
1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut

The recipe touts this as a way to get a fruit quote by 9 am!  
This was a filling brunch for me after my early morning water aerobics glass.



Sunday, August 7, 2016

Peachy Picnic

It was one of those meals when I was tempted to eat the dessert first.  The Peach Parfait with Mascarpone, assembled at table-side, looked so good.  (I'd sampled each layer as they were made and each was delicious).  But the Salmon Platter with three vegetables, olives and a lemon-mustard dressing was a refreshing "start" so my temptation subsided.

The dessert recipe was inspired by Food and Wine Magazine.   

Peach Parfait with Mascarpone

(Serves 2)

Process crackers and buttery spread in a mini food processor.  Store in a small covered container (I used a mason jar) in refrigerator.
3 graham cracker squares
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread

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

To peel peach, place in boiling water one minute, then immerse in cold water.  The peel comes right off!
Mix rum, juice and sugar.  Pour over diced peaches in a jar to transport. 
1 peach, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons turbinado sugar

At table-side, divide peaches into two parfait glasses.  Top with mascarpone cream, then graham cracker crumbs.

The salmon platter was modeled after the one in Real Simple Magazine.   I baked the fish in the toaster oven last night, then brushed with the dressing before storing in the refrigerated.  The red potatoes were cooked in boiling water for 10 minutes and refrigerated in a ziploc bag.  I also stored the servings of cooked green beans in a zipper bag, as with the cut kalamata olives.  We cut our little tomatoes (from my container garden) at table-side.  The platters were assembled at table-side, with salmon fillet, potatoes, tomatoes, green beans and olives.  We garnished the platters with the rest of the dressing, packed in a mini-cruet.

Lemon Mustard Dressing

(Serves 2)

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cilantro, snipped
1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash

Our picnic today was at New Germany State Park in Maryland.  My Mom camped here as a girl scout in the 1930s, when it was the former Swauger's Dam. 

 What a beautiful spot, about 50 minutes from home!   


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Farmers Market Demos: "You Have to Try It"

Customer response to culinary demos at the summer farmers markets is nothing short of enthusiastic.   Together with the Hardesty family of Working H Farms, I conduct one a month.
"Can't wait to see what you have" customers say as they navigate to our table the first Saturday of every month.  "I love it when you come" and "Everything you make is good" are comments from vendors and customers.  The support from the farmers is remarkable.

This month's demo features Mid East Chicken Kebabs:

The Working H Farm family processes the free range chickens on Monday and cut the meat for the samples on Tuesday.  I made the marinade and Terrie Hardesty (the Mom) added it to the 16 pounds of meat Thursday.  On Friday I went to the store and baked the chicken, then assembled 300 samples of the Kebabs.

Here is the ingredient amount I used for 300 samples:

Juice from 20 lemons
28 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
14 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounce allspice
2 ounce cinnamon

16 pounds (raw weight) chicken thigh meat, boneless, skinless

14 pounds pickling cucumbers
14 pounds cherry tomatoes

8 cups Greek Yogurt
46 tablespoons almond butter
20 garlic cloves, crushed
20 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/4 teaspoon cumin  

At the market, I scooped a scant tablespoon of the sauce into a 3 ounce dixie cup, then topped with a skewer of meat, cucumber (sliced about 1/2 inch thick) and cherry tomato.

Customer response was fantastic:
"The tomatoes are great!"
"Great combination."
"I love the sauce."
" I love the flavor in the chicken."

The water today featured the watermelon-rosemary recipe from WVU Extension, where we scooped 1/2 seedless watermelon into the water and added a sprig of rosemary to the mixture.  The kids are really attracted to the water.

With such enthusiasm, "I can't wait till the next demo!"