Sunday, April 30, 2017

Lunch on the Rocks

Our picnic today was at Valley Falls (WV) State Park, where the large rocks near the falls provide up close viewing.  After the spring rains, the water was high and rushing and the kayaks were not to be seen.  

Our picnic today featured a scallop, olive and vegetable salad-based on a recipe in Food Network Magazine.  The recipe in the magazine was for a ceviche-featuring raw scallops.  Mine and most of the vegetables were sauteed prior to chilling. That's broccoli sprouts from our local farmers market on the side and a chocolate nutty cake with ricotta and strawberries for dessert.

Scallop, Olive and Vegetable Chutney

(Serves 2)

Saute vegetables in olive oil over medium high heat, until soft, about 5 minutes.
2 tablespoon onion, diced
2 tablespoon fennel, diced
2 tablespoon celery with leaves, diced
2 tablespoon yellow sweet pepper, diced
1 green garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
Add scallops.  Saute 2 minutes on each side.  Sprinkle with pepper.
2 ounce bay scallops, cut in half lengthwise
Fresh ground pepper

Remove from heat.  Add juice, sugar, olives, tomatoes and parsley.
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoon green olives, diced
1/4 cup grape tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoon fresh parsley, snipped

Refrigerate overnight.  Keep cold for transport and service.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Presto Pesto

Pesto rolls, pork tenderloin, and a "forbidden" salad comprised our picnic meal today.  The salad was an assortment of black rice, cherries, white bean, orange and pistachio salad.  I combined ingredients from two recipes and added a little balsamic dressing to the rice.  Everything was good!  The recipe I wanted to share is the pesto mix for the bread roll.  I made the spelt dough, then rolled it into a rectangle, spread with pesto, brushed with 4 ounce tomato sauce and sprinkled with 1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese prior to rolling, cutting and rising the third time.

Here is the pesto recipe (needed 1 cup for 20 pesto rolls):

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

Spread dough into a rectangle, approximately 9 X 14.  Pat pesto mix on top of dough to within 1/2 inch edge of rectangle.  Brush with 4 ounce marinara sauce.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese.  Roll dough.  Cut in 1 inch pieces.  Place dough cut side up in pans greased with olive oil spray.  Let rise 40 minutes.

Bake at 350 F. for 40 minutes.

Our picnic today was at Oglebay Park in Wheeling, West Virginia.  The tulip beds were a little past peak, but pretty just the same.




Friday, April 21, 2017

Sharing Talents at the Farmers Market

The summer farmers market is a place where many community members gather.  RDNs can promote health and wellness by providing farm fresh sampling at the market.

First open your toolbox of ideas for combining healthy seasonal ingredients in meals served at home.  Ask your school or place of employment if you can prepare food samples in the food service kitchen and utilize their commercial equipment.  Contact the health department and market manager to inquire about a temporary permit.  Space and temporary permits may be available at a minimal or no cost to a non profit.  Find local sources for foods.

Suggestions for sampling:
  • Fresh fruit smoothies made in a commercial smoothie maker.
  • Fruit crumble served in covered and labelled souffle cups.
  • Glazed peaches or applesauce warmed on a griddle.
  • Meatballs, autumn vegetable soup, chili con carne or sundried tomato hummus served from a commercial soup crock. 
The benefits are many.  RDNs at the farmers market promote:
  • Improving the health of the people of the state.
  • Advancing the education of the community.
  • Empowering members to be food and nutrition leaders.
  • Supports the farmer.
  • Increases the farmers sales.
  • Builds positive relationships with community members.
  • Learning and enjoyment for the RDN.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Time Honored Tradition of Pasta Making

You're never to old to learn, right?  This year I've tackled dumplings, won-tons, lasagna and noodles from scratch.  It's been fun-and very tasty.  This month's Rachael Ray Everyday Magazine has a page devoted to steps in pasta making, which was very helpful.

I made 2 meals with the noodles I prepared.  The first is a mushroom soup bowl topped with a poached egg.  I sauteed an assortment of vegetables, carrots, sweet peppers, fennel, celery, onion, garlic and mushrooms in sesame oil, then added a vegetable broth and a tablespoon of Mirin.  The noodles were added the last 3 minutes of cooking.

Tonight's dinner was a pesto shrimp and vegetables with homemade noodles.  That recipe is from Cooking Light.  I made extra pesto to eat with hard cooked eggs.

Homemade Noodles

4 Servings

1 cup semolina flour
Pinch of salt
2 eggs

1/4 cup water  
Flour for kneading and rolling.

Mound the flour on a floured surface. Sprinkle with salt.  Make a well in the center of the flour.  Add eggs.  Whisk eggs slightly, then mix by hand with the flour until a ball is formed.  Add water as needed to keep dough from drying.  Form dough into a ball and knead for 8 minutes.  Cover and let rest 30 minutes.

Divide dough in half.  Shape into an oval.  Starting with the widest setting on the pasta maker, run the dough through the maker.  Then set the machine to the next setting and run through again and again until reaching the narrowest setting.  Cut the dough in 12 inch noodles, about 3/4 inch wide.  Transfer to small piles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Let rest covered for 30 minutes.

Cook in boiling water 2-3 minutes.



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sunshine Noodles

Whole grains, dried fruit, nuts and low fat dairy made for a delicious breakfast as well as a dinner dessert.  The recipe for Noodle Rice is from Food and Wine Magazine.  My method and amounts were modified.  I cooked a little extra noodles earlier in the week, which were ready to mix with the other ingredients when I needed them.

Whole Grain Noodles & Red Rice

(Serves 5)

3/4 cup cooked whole wheat egg noodles

Cook rice in stove top pressure cooker for 45 minutes.  
1/4 cup red rice
2 cups water

Soak saffron in 2 ounce drained rice water.
Pinch of saffron 

Drain remaining rice.

On stove top, melt buttery spread in a small saucepan.  Stir in dates, raisins and orange juice.  Simmer until thick, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat. 
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
2 ounce dates, diced
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon orange juice

Mix noodles, rice, date mix and pistachios.
2 tablespoon ground pistachios

Place 1/2 of noodle-rice mix in a 3 cup baking dish greased with olive oil spray.
Sprinkle with 1/2 of coriander and cardamom.  Place remaining noodle-rice mix in dish and sprinkle with remaining coriander and cardamom.  Pour saffron water over top.
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/8 teaspoon cardamom 
Bake at 350 F. for 30 minutes.

Garnish with rose petals.

For dinner, we enjoyed this dish as dessert with a little ice cream.  For breakfast, I enjoyed this with part skim ricotta cheese and a glass of skim milk.

We enjoyed another dish from Food and Wine Magazine for dinner as well-Red Wine BBQ Chicken.  Also on the platter were fresh green beans and twice baked red potatoes. I cut up chicken thighs for the entree.

I welcome the spring weather and love working outside in the morning then preparing a delicious dinner in the afternoon.  We'll have to make these again!



Sunday, April 9, 2017

Park 'n Pasta

Our spring picnic menu features a pesto pasta dish, asparagus and olive oil cake with strawberries and ricotta.  The pasta dish is based on a recipe from Rachael Ray.  I added my homemade marinara to keep it hot in the thermos for transport.  It was a delightful meal.

Pesto Pasta with Sausage & Marinara

(Serves 2)

Pulse nuts, greens, cheese, garlic, oil and lemon juice in a mini food processor. 
2 tablespoon shelled pistachios
3/4 cup cut greens (I used local bok choy and cilantro)
1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese, grated
1 large garlic clove
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced

In a non stick skillet sprayed with olive oil spray, brown and crumble sauce with pepper and onion.  Drain well on paper towels.
4 ounce sweet Italian sausage
1 mini sweet pepper
2 tablespoon onion, diced

Cook noodles in boiling water for 12 minutes.  Drain (reserving liquid).  Mix liquid with 1 low sodium bouillon cube (gluten and GMO free). 
4 ounce whole wheat egg noodles
1 cup low sodium chicken stock

Stir pesto and sausage mix into noodles.  Add chicken stock and cool in refrigerator overnight.

1/2 hour prior to leaving for picnic, fill thermos with boiling water to preheat.  Empty pasta mix into a stove top pan.  Add marinara.  Heat to 165 F.  Empty water in thermos.  Fill with pasta.  Tighten lid to transport.
8 ounce no added salt marinara

The olive oil cake recipe I used was from Parade Magazine.  I used fresh ground whole wheat flour and only 1/4 cup sugar.   The strawberries were diced small and 1/2 of the mix pureed with 1 pack of strawberry jam.  I added a teaspoon of sugar to the part skim ricotta cheese.  We kept the cheese cold in an insulated container with ice packs and assembled the dessert at tableside.

Our picnic today was at Tygart Lake West Virginia State Park.  The water was high next to the dam.

The docks are not yet in the water, but in a few weeks, there will be many boats and fisherman.  This is one of a few historic spots in Grafton, West Virginia.