Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Go Further with Food-Reducing Food Waste in Cafeterias

Americans throw away 90 billion pounds of food each year.  We see that in our homes when cleaning the refrigerator.  Compare that to the refrigerators in food service establishments!  Many cafeterias serve hundreds of meals a day, offering a wide variety of choices.  What do cafeteria managers do to control food waste?

Plan wisely.     
Store leftovers in assigned places.  Require all staff members to check that cooler at the start of the shift to plan and use of leftovers. 
Plan cycle menus to utilize leftovers.  Plan "potato soup" the day after "baked potatoes" are on the menu, and "barbecued chicken pizza"  the day after "barbecued chicken". 
Keep detailed sales records with number of each item sold.  Note time of run-outs.  Keep seasonal sales records.  Use these to forecast for the next cycle.

Prepare wisely.
When practical, prepare foods the day of service.
Check dates when unloading deliveries.  
Rotate stock, using first in, first out. 

Serve wisely.
Practice portion control.  Limit self serve items to salad bar and fountain drinks.

Store and utilize leftovers safely.
Cool quickly in shallow layers.  Some foods, like baked potatoes and roasts require cutting in half to cool properly.
Monitor cool down temperatures of hazardous foods 2 and 4 hours later to comply with health department rules. 

Partner with a local soup kitchen.
Arrange for scheduled pickup of items.  Some cafeterias operate weekdays only.  Schedule a pickup on Friday of foods that can't be saved till Monday.
Keep records of donations with the goal of reducing overall leftovers.  Non profit operations can use the value of these donations to maintain their status.
Ask your facility attorney and health department representative to assist in the planning of these donations.  Many successful partnerships have existed for years.

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Buckwheat Treat

We enjoyed these whole grain and gluten free waffles for dinner with a sunny-side egg on top.  This morning, I enjoyed these with Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries and a sprinkling of buckwheat granola.  I'm certain these would make a great dessert topped with vanilla ice cream.  The recipe is based on one from Bon Appetit.  Mine has less sugar, less fat and a some homemade applesauce.  Here's how I made these:

Buckwheat Waffles

(8 Servings-2 waffles each)

Beat eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl.
2 eggs
2 tablespoon brown sugar

In a separated bowl, mix flour, cocoa, flaxmeal, salt, baking powder, baking soda and chocolate.
1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not the Dutch processed kind)
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounce 60% cacao chocolate chips, broken in a food processor

In a mixing cup, mix milk, juice, melted buttery spread, vanilla and applesauce.
2 cups skim milk
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup buttery spread, melted
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 

Alternately add dry and liquid ingredients to mixing bowl, beginning and ending with dry flour mix.  Stir just until mixed.

On a hot waffle iron greased with olive oil spray, portion 1/4 cup batter into each square.  Cook until baked.  Remove to a platter or cooling rack.

Best served hot or toasted.



Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Potpourri of Whole Grains

Whole grains, like vegetables, present unique nutrient profiles.  Why eat a variety? Just as spinach offers different nutrients than cauliflower, oats afford different nutrients than popcorn.  Variety is good!

Any grain, when cooked, is the starting point for stir fry and grain bowls.  Grains serve as the chewy component of soups,  When roasted, they provide the cereal block in muesli. Cooked whole grains offer unique tastes and textures to hot dishes and cold salads.

You've probably noticed the variety of grains ground into flours and pastas on the grocery shelves.  Cooking directions vary.  Make sure the first ingredient is "whole".  When purchasing rice varieties,  look for brown or colored rice.

Because gluten forms the structure in shaped breads, gluten free flours work best in batter breads, muffins, cookies and pancakes.

Ezekiel Flour

(4 cups)

1 1/4 cups wheat berries
3/4 cup spelt berries
1/4 cup whole barley
2 tablespoon millet
2 tablespoon dry lentils
3 tablespoon assorted dry beans

Combine grains and beans in a flour mill and thoroughly grind into flour.

No access to a flour mill?  Some recipes say grains can be ground in a high speed blender. Millet and lentils ground fine in a spice or seed grinder.  Here is a recipe for mixing purchased flours to produce the same results:

Ezekiel Flour

(2 1/4 cups)

1 cup 2 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1/2 cup 2 tablespoon spelt flour
2 tablespoon barley flour
2 tablespoon bean flour
2 tablespoon millet, ground in a spice mill or seed grinder
2 tablespoon lentils, ground in a spice mill or seed grinder

This flour mix is good in batter breads, muffin and cookie recipes.  The flour has less gluten than all wheat flours and does not hold its shape well without the pan.  Use the paddle blade of the mixer and do not knead as long an all wheat dough.

Ezekiel bread is based on a passage in the Bible, where the prophet Ezekiel was instructed to make bread from wheat, barley, beans, lentils and spelt.  It was the fasting bread eaten for a year while on exile in the desert.
Whole grains are heart healthy and lower the LDL bad cholesterol.  They help us feel fuller longer and control blood sugar.  They are a valuable source of fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, Vitamin E, magnesium and iron.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Exploring Food as Medicine Concepts

"Five flavors and five colors" was my challenge as I planned this meal according to the traditions of Chinese Medicine.  In the book, Nutritional Healing with Chinese Medicine,
Ellen Goldsmith details the principles of Chinese medicine and how these can be easily applied to our day-to-day lives.  In the second half of the book, Maya Klein's recipes (+175) brings the concepts into your kitchen.

The prescription is not complicated.  Whole foods, simply prepared, locally sourced and in season.  The recipes are ingredient focused and put the theories into practice. Foods are divided into 5 groups.  

Land and Sea Animals are part of the Animal Foods group, along with eggs and dairy. The above recipe, trout with peas and red rice was made with local sustainable sourced seafood. 

The seasonal recipes are made with many colorful foods from the Vegetables group, as in the fish with lemony greens, millet, corn and cauliflower. Millet is one of many whole grains featured in the recipes. While wheat and all whole grains are a part of Chinese dietary therapy, Maya's own restrictions from wheat led to extensive experimenting with other whole gains. 

This delicious apple honey cake is made with brown rice flour.  Maya explains the importance of accurately measuring the shredded apples in this very moist dessert.  The Fruits group is represented in recipes throughout to include many dried and seasonal fruits in season.  The Asian pears in rose hip sauce in the top photo was cooked in fruit juices.

Nuts and seeds are part of the Whole Grains, beans, pulses and other legumes group.  A different recipe for seed and nut porridge appears in each of the 4 seasons chapters.  The seed and nut mixture can be stored dry and sprinkled on yogurt or over salads.

The pumpkin custard was steamed with just a few ingredients and spices.  Spices and herbs play a major role in flavor and balance.  They are part of the fifth group called Condiments along with salt, sweeteners, tea, alcohol, vinegar and fragrant flowers.  There are medicinal herbs, including cinnamon, ginger and goji berries and culinary spices, like nutmeg and cloves.  Simple culinary spices and herbs are therapeutic agents that add flavor and enhance dishes and meals.  

While there are no recipe pictures in the book, the instructions are easy to follow and the ingredients easily obtained.  The author has simple tips, like "Make sure your kitchen is clean and ready to go" along with the best times to eat "Don't eat heavy meals late at night". Most whole foods are included and high sodium, sugar. deep fried and processed meats excluded.  

Thank you Robert Rose for the complimentary review copy.  The above post and pictures are my own.  I received no other compensation for this review, other than the pleasure of creating meals and eating!


Nutritional Healing with Chinese Medicine: + 200 Recipes for Optimal Health

East meets West in the kitchen with the nourishing treasures of Chinese Medicine.
Food can be the most powerful medicine. This outstanding book introduces and teaches how to apply the ancient wisdom and traditions of the healing that comes through food according to Chinese medicine. This is a new way of thinking about what foods are needed to achieve balance and ultimately improve health.
Goldsmith provides a keen and comprehensive understanding behind the basic principles of Chinese medicine so they can be easily applied to day-to-day lives. She takes these same concepts, expands on them for the food to eat in order to maximize the benefits of Chinese dietary therapy.
Eating well is essential to good health and Chinese medicine believes that food truly is medicine. In an easy-to-understand and straightforward manner, Ellen explains how and which combination of foods and flavors act upon the body to move qi (energy) and how they act on the body to warm or cool. Many of the modern day chronic health problems caused by lifestyle, genetics and stress can be helped by distinctive and long lasting changes in the way we eat.
200 enticing recipes organized by season put the theory of Chinese medicine into practice. There are meals that are appropriate for each season from breakfast to dinner, including beverages and desserts. All the recipes are super straightforward, easy to assemble and easily adapted to meet your needs, desires and tastes.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Fun with Pasta Press: Lemon Pepper Pasta

Experimenting weekly with a flour mix and pasta mix, I was very happy with this one flavored with lemon zest and lemon juice. I now place the the freshly pressed pasta in the dehydrator for just 1/2 hour prior to cooking which makes it less "doughy".  I also increased the amount of whole grains in my flour mix so that it is 50% whole grains.  Here are my recipes: 

Pasta Flour Mix

1 part unbleached all-purpose flour
1 part whole wheat flour
1 part Kamut flour
1 part semolina flour

I grind the whole wheat berries and Kamut grain in my counter top flour mill.

Lemon Pepper Egg Pasta

(3-4 servings)

Beat egg in a small measuring cup.  Mix into flour, salt and pepper for about 30 seconds.  Add juice. Add just enough cold water to get mixture to almost form a ball.
1 egg
3/4 cup flour mix
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 teaspoon black pepper
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon
Cold water 

This pasta took less than 5 minutes to cook in rapidly boiling salt water.  While cooking, I sauteed spinach with garlic and onions, then added tomatoes, kalamata olives and albacore tuna.  We garnished with Parmigiano cheese at table side.  This meal is good hot and cold.