Saturday, December 30, 2017

Fun with Pasta Maker: Spinach Pesto Kamut

A serving of vegetables in the pesto, some whole grains in the pasta and calcium in the cheeses made the delicious winter luncheon even more satisfying!  I ground kamut grain for some of the pasta flour mix and made Rachael Ray's delicious Spinach Pepita Pesto for the sauce.  This is my first try with the Kitchen Aid Pasta Press, but I'm becoming a master at the counter top flour mill!

Here are the recipes that I made :

Pasta Flour Mix

2 parts unbleached all-purpose flour
1 part Kamut flour
1 part semolina flour

Egg Pasta

(2 servings)

Beat egg in a small measuring cup.  Mix into flour and salt for about 30 seconds.  Add just enough water to get mixture to almost form a ball.
1 egg
3/4 cup 1 tablespoon 2 teaspoon pasta flour mix
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon water

On floured board, knead dough for about 2 minutes.

Pinch walnut size balls of dough into the pasta press.  Cut pasta as desired onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Allow to dry slightly, but do not allow to set at room temperature for more than 1 hour.

Spinach Pepita Pesto

(2 servings)

In a mini food processor, combine all ingredients except cheese.  Mix until thoroughly chopped.  Add Parmigiano.
1 cup fresh spinach, stemmed removed
1 tablespoon 2 teaspoon roasted pepitas
1 clove garlic, minced
1 mini sweet pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon 2 teaspoon grated Parmigiano

Cook pasta in boiling water (set burner at highest setting) for about 10 minutes.  Drain, reserving some of pasta water.  Mix in pesto and ricotta.  
3 tablespoon part-skim Ricotta cheese



Friday, December 22, 2017

Farmers Market Candied Ginger Cookies

The farmers market ginger root was sold only by the pint-but knowing it was local, I snatched it up and placed in the freezer like I do with the store bought ginger.  That lot would have made a few years worth of stir fry!

When I saw the recipe in Fine Cooking for crystallized ginger-I had to try it! My house was filled with the sweet smell of Christmas while the root simmered.  (In fact, I awoke to that aromatic fragrance the next morning!)

I love molasses and ginger cookies.  Since I did not pinch on the sugar in the candied ginger, I cut back on the added sugars in the cookie recipe-in the brown sugar dough and in the sugar to roll the dough balls in.  I eliminated the caramel-like filling for the "thumbprint" and used dates, apricots and almonds instead.  Bobs' co-workers said they couldn't stop eating them!

Candied Ginger Cookies

(36 cookies)

In a medium bowl, mix flours, cornstarch, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and baking soda.
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon (non-GMO) cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon baking soda

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter with borwn sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
6 tablespoon buttery sticks
1/4 cup brown sugar
Add the molasses and beat until incorporated.
1/4 cup molasses
Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 ounce finely chopped candies ginger
Beat in the dry ingredients at low speed until just combined.

Stir in the candied ginger.

Cover bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.

Measure scant 1 tablespoon dough balls and roll in sugar. 
2 tablespoon sugar
Place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Place in freezer 15 minutes.

Bake at 325 for 15 minutes, turning sheet halfway through.

On cooking rack, press an almond, a slice of date or apricot in the center of each cookie.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Designed For One (Book Review)

This cookbook by Chef Nancy Hughes with the American Diabetes Association has 120 (1 serving size) recipes.  These are easy to prepare utilizing ingredients found in many homes.

There are chapters for salads, hot vegetables, starches, poultry, seafood, beef and pork, meatless and desserts.

While my household is a 2-person family, I could use this book for those breakfasts and lunches I eat alone, or want something my husband does not eat.

I prepared:
 Almond Ginger Bulgur
Chicken Cranberry Bulger
Pepper Poppers
(This photo includes all three recipes.)

I like the use of whole grains.  The pepper poppers is a great idea to make in advance and refrigerate to use throughout the week.  I would not sprinkle the peppers with balsamic vinegar.

 Tuna and Egg on Spinach

This was a lot of food!
Raspberry Softie

This makes use of the frozen berries found throughout the season!

 No Bake Peanut Butter Balls

The recipe at the top of the page is a very simple Red Pepper Mushroom Skillet Pizza.
Made in the toaster oven!

I enjoyed both meals prepared from the Two for One chapter where you "cook once, eat twice".  One day I enjoyed
 Sausage Potato Stuffed Mushrooms

then Mushroom Potato & Sausage Egg Skillet the next.
The nutrition and exchange information is at the bottom of each recipe.  There are some convenience foods included, such as frozen hash browns-which I diced fresh potatoes and par cooked myself.  I used fresh garlic instead of garlic salt to get the prebiotic value.

While there are some pictures in the book, they are not included with the recipe.  Many of the recipes does not include a photo.

Thank you Dalyn Miller PR for the cookbook.  I receive no money for this review-the words are my own!

"Having great-tasting, healthful meals doesn’t require cooking an entire feast. Culinary expert and best-selling author Nancy S. Hughes has spent 25 years developing recipes and teaching people how to cook for plenty…and how to cook for just one. Her latest book is entirely focused on the needs of cooking for one and serving yourself a great tasting meal every day of the week.
DESIGNED FOR ONE! 120 Diabetes-Friendly Dishes Just for You contains 120 budget-friendly recipes for dinner, including salads, sides (starchy and nonstarchy), and even desserts! Nancy guides readers through the process of shopping, storing, measuring, and preparing ingredients — including advice on how to pick out fresh ingredients such as asparagus, tomatoes, pork loin, avocados, and loose herbs without letting anything go to waste.
I wrote this book to provide both those living with diabetes and those just looking for healthier meals with easy-to-make recipes using everyday ingredients. No unwanted leftovers. No unnecessary work. Simple comfort for ONE!
                — Nancy S. Hughes
Many recipes include tips from the chef (“Freeze leftover canned beans by laying them in a thin layer in a resealable sandwich baggie.”) and there’s a “How To” section that brings all these tips and more together for readers. There’s even a “Two-For-One” chapter where Nancy shares many options for cooking larger amounts to repurpose into other recipes and uses. Nancy draws on her previous books such as The 4-Ingredient Diabetes Cookbook and Two-Step Diabetes Cookbook to ensure these recipes are simple, economical, and rich with flavor."

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Perfect Holiday Finger Foods

The Pizza Roll recipe from Clean Eating Magazine, paired with tangerines and grapes, made the perfect Saturday night supper.  The flavor pairings of unami (mushrooms) and salty (olives) combined with sweetness (tangerines) was satisfying and the whole grain rolls, baked on a pizza stone, were soft and delicious.  Our son, Bob and I each ate 3 rolls!  I ground the red spring wheat berries today to use as the flour in the recipe.  My marinara sauce is home canned.

Pizza Rolls

(12 Rolls)

In bowl of electric mixer with dough hook in place, mix 1 cup flour and yeast.  Add water and honey.  Beat at medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl down.
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup warm (125F) water
1 tablespoon honey

Add 1/2 cup flour, salt and olive oil.  Beat at medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl down.
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Slowly add whole wheat flour, kneading on low speed until dough leaves sides of bowl, about 7 minutes.
3/4 cup whole wheat flour

Place in bowl sprayed with olive oil spray.  Turn dough.  Cover and let rise for 45-60 minutes.  
Saute mushrooms, peppers and onion in olive oil for about 8 minutes.
5 mushrooms (stems removed), diced
4 mini sweet peppers, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil.

Add garlic and saute an additional 2-3 minutes.  Empty into a bowl and cool.
2 cloves garlic, minced.
Empty into a bowl and cool.

Mix olives with sauteed vegetables.
2 tablespoon Kalamata olives, chopped

Punch dough down.  Turn onto board sprinkled with flour.  Roll to 14 X 8 inch rectangle.  Brush marinara sauce over dough to about 1/2 inch from ends.
3 tablespoon marinara sauce
Sprinkle with all of vegetable-olive mix.

Sprinkle with cheese.
1/2 cup aged cheddar cheese, shredded

Fold in short ends of dough. From long end of dough, roll and seal seam.  Cut roll into 12 pieces.  Place cut side up on parchment paper.  Press down slightly and sprinkle with additional cheese.
1/4 cup Gruyere or Parmigiano cheese, shredded

Transfer rolls with paper to a pizza stone preheated in a 425F oven.  (I use an inverted cookie sheet to hold the paper and rolls to carefully slide to the hot baking stone.)  Bake for 12 minutes.  Cool slightly on a cooling rack.



Sunday, December 10, 2017

From Valerie's Kitchen to Mine (Book Review)

I'm enjoying writing cookbook reviews as I'm testing recipes I'd never made before.

I receive no money for the cookbook reviews-just the book, which I pass on just after reviewing.

From Valerie's Home Cooking, my "first" was Egg Rolls.  The egg roll wrappers, found in the produce section of my grocery store, contain enriched wheat flour, vinegar, egg and non-GMO cornstarch.  (60 calories each)  I have to monitor my sodium intake and I could fit 130 mg sodium each into my diet.  The wrappers do not have whole grains, but the corn in the filling is whole grain.  The spinach, beans and cheese also in the filling are a great fit for most healthy diets.
We enjoyed these as dinner and lunch entrees, with the fresh tomato salsa on the side.  The egg rolls are baked, not fried. 

There are selections fitting for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack.  The Almond Apricot Muesli combined whole grains, calcium, nuts and dried fruit in this filling "rise and shine" cereal.
There is a nice selection of protein sources in the book.  When I planned my weeks' menu around testing the cookbook, it was easy to select beef, poultry, vegetarian beans, grains and egg choices.  The only non-cookbook entree I filled in for the week was seafood.  Here's Sloppy Joe and Slow Cooker Beef Giardiniere.

That's Tater Tots with the Beef Giardiniere.  The selection at the top of the post is Turkey Meatloaf and Roasted Radishes (which were very tasty).  

I loved the Applesauce Cake, which I made in individual tins with whole wheat flour and less sugar.  That's Quinoa Salad with Lime Cilantro Dressing.  Together, with a little Gruy√®re Cheese, it made a delicious luncheon.

Valerie says to imagine you are on vacation when eating your lunch.  I did just that!

I used more eggs this week (some for washes and binders) than normally and much more ketchup and mustard.  Except for Tater Tots (the recipe was for 12 and I was not successful at making 2) and Spiced Pepitas (I burned the seeds), all of the recipe were successful and delicious.

Thank you Time Inc. books for the review copy!


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Sunday Suppers (Book Review)

The Southern Living cookbook has over 50 menus and recipes for family gatherings.  The meal was designed to be the last meal on Sundays before the family was back to the weekday Monday routine.  There are 3 meal components per menu-an entree, side and dessert-all of which can be exchanged for the like component on another day.  There is a nice variety of protein foods, vegetables and fruit.

Most entrees are set-up for 8 servings that can be reduced to 1/2 or even 1/4th to accommodate smaller families.  I did that in the Tomato and Feta Shrimp dish (above) to serve just the two of us.  The recipe was easy to prepare and easy to follow.  While I did see a few recipes made with whole grains in the book (corn tortillas, corn), there are not many.  My version serves the shrimp/feta/tomato dish over whole wheat spaghetti (cooked in strained shrimp shell broth).

I love the full page photos of each recipe, as seen above for the Brunswick Stew.  While the recipe called for a bottle of Chili Sauce, I made my own.  The recipes in the book "allow for wiggle room" for making changes and are very forgiving.  Some of the baked goods and desserts call for mixes, such as "cornbread mix", self rising flour, ready made crusts and jams/jellies.  Most cooks can mix their own flours, leavening ingredients and salt to achieve a similar product without added inventory or waste.

There are breakfast menus and dishes to try.  Rather than an "all-purpose baking mix" I made my own waffles with chia in place of poppy seeds.  I loved the Citrus Salad with Spiced Honey recipe.

I made the Grilled Spicy Chicken recipe with sweet pepper in place of jalapeno pepper and on stove-top rather than outside, but the food processor pesto type mix of greens, as in the recipe was very tasty.  The recipe took less than 30 minutes to prepare and made a beautiful presentation.

I particularly loved the "Southern Savvy"  paragraphs throughout the book with etiquette topics like "RSVP, Cell Phones, Allergies, and Tardiness".  Consideration of others is a component of eating pleasure and gatherings.

The table settings throughout the book are lovely.  There are many settings, adaptable to many situations.  The recipe above is for "Meatball Minestrone".  I have never cooked meatballs in broth before, and these 1 tablespoon raw balls cooked in just 12 minutes of boiling broth.  The lean meat did not add layers of fat to the soup.

Finally, the section on "Timing a Menu" is so important, particularly when guests are invited.  I was glad to review the process as I was preparing my Thanksgiving plans.

Thank you Time Inc. Books for the review copy!


In the South, relaxing Sunday afternoons regularly drift into laid-back, informal Sunday suppers. These evening gatherings are sometimes a full meal, sometimes a soup and sandwich, but they are always all about family.

Sunday Suppers: Simple, Delicious Menus for Family Gatherings (Oxmoor House, November 7, 2017, $27.99) by James Beard Award-winning author Cynthia Graubart is new full-color cookbook that will revitalize the iconic Southern Sunday meal, inspired by suppers of the past and present.

Whether the plan is a small family gathering, a feast for a crowd, or a summer afternoon cookout, readers will find 52 inspired menus with classic Southern flair for a year of Sunday suppers, including:
• Fall Chicken Casserole, Fresh Herb Spoon Rolls, and Tart Cherry Crisp (page 26)
• Slow-Cooker Pork, Baked Macaroni and Cheese, and White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (page 66)
• Lemon Grilled Salmon, Roasted Carrots with Avocado and Feta Vinaigrette, and Vanilla-Buttermilk Tarts (page 100)
• And much more!