Thursday, October 25, 2018

Merging Health, Agriculture and Wellness

How do you merge health, agriculture and wellness in a meal? Here's how I did that in this menu of Turkey Chili and Apple Cornbread. 
  • Act locally.  The turkey, beans, vegetables, apples, cornmeal and eggs were all grown or purchased locally.
  • Write the recipe. The recipes are my choices for our upcoming Farmers Market Sampling.  While these are based on seasonal recipes I find in current magazines or the internet, I choose the ingredients to use whole foods, less sodium and healthy fats and re-write the recipe.
  • Emphasize nutrient rich foods.   "The food we feed America should make people healthy."  These recipes are rich in nutrients for the number of calories contained.  Vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, antioxidants abound in this meal with only a moderate amount of calories.
  • Feature animal protein. "Animal agriculture is part of a sustainable diet." Locally raised turkey and laying chicken are treated with tender loving care by our farm family friends.
  • Minimize food waste.   43% of Americas food waste is in the home.  These recipes utilize leftovers from a Thanksgiving type meal. The "bouillon" cubes for the turkey broth are homemade from the turkey roasting drippings and brine.  The brine for the turkey was made with simmered apple cores.  The turkey was pulled from the carcass of the bird.

The above quotes and ideas were messages I heard emphasized at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo last week where over 10,000 registered dietitian nutritionists in attendance learned the latest in evidence based nutrition.  Below are the Food and Nutrition Magazine Stone Soup guest bloggers who gathered for a group photo. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Baked Whole Grain Pasta

Mix cooked pasta with an egg, vegetables, tomatoes, cheese and "sauce", then bake in a suitably size pan.  Easy enough?  The best part of this dish is it's a great way to use refrigerator inventory and leftovers.  The yield depends on how much you can eat and what's in your cooler!  A basic recipe for 2 servings includes:

  • 4 ounce pasta
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup diced vegetables
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 3 ounce cheese
  • 1/3 cup sauce
The sauce can include yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, or marinara.  The cheese can be one type or a mix.  The vegetables can include garlic, onions and a seasonal blend.

I make my own pasta.  My pressed rigatoni tends to flatten, but since I was to bake this in a pan, it didn't matter.  I revert to the most flavorful Lemon Pepper recipe

Baked Rigatoni

2-3 Servings

Lemon Pepper Pasta
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 (Made from 1 part each unbleached all purpose, whole wheat, 1 part Kamut, and semolina flours)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 teaspoon black pepper
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon
Cold water 
Knead for 1 minute.  Form dough into quarter size balls.  Feed into mixer with rigatoni press, 1 ball at a time.  Cut onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Allow to dry for about 1 hour.  Cook in boiling salt water for 8-10 minutes.  Drain.

While the pasta cooks, I sauteed the vegetables:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced zucchini
1/4 cup spinach, stems removed
Drain and squeeze out water
Mix pasta and vegetables with:
1/4 cup diced drained tomatoes
3 ounce shredded cheese (mine had fresh mozzarella, parmigiano and Gruyere) 
2 ounce Greek Yogurt
4 ounce Cottage Cheese with chives
1 egg 
Spoon into baking dish greased with olive oi spray.

Bake at 375F. for 30 minutes.  Garnish with fresh snipped oregano.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Indian Summer Picnic

We're well into October here in West Virginia, yet we're experiencing August temperatures.  Local farm fresh ingredients abound.  Today's picnic menu of Fiesta Chicken and Vegetables with Apple Cinnamon Rolls feature local ingredients across the menu.  There's cage free chicken, eggs, fresh corn, red peppers, tomatoes, herbs, pea sprouts, wheat berries, maple syrup and apples in the pantry and in the foods. 

I make the low sodium Taco Seasoning in bulk and store in a tight container.  For the chicken breast, which we shared, I sprinkled a light coating of the seasoning on the raw skinless piece, and baked at 325 F. for 20 minutes.  The cooked breast was refrigerated overnight, then sliced thinly with an electric knife, stored cold and transported to plate at table side.

Homemade Taco Seasoning 

(Makes 3 1/2 cups)

2 cup chili powder
2/3 cup ground cumin
2/3 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoon 2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

 Mix and store in closed container.    
The salad did not need a dressing.  I simply mixed cooked black beans, cooked corn cut off the cob, diced red pepper and yellow tomato with snipped chives and garlic. The farmers market fresh pea sprouts added a little crunch and flavor.

For the apple cinnamon roll, I made my Egg Dough, substituting spelt flour (also whole grain) for much of the whole wheat flour. The rolled dough is brushed with melted buttery spread and brown sugar, then sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar, before cutting in strips to wrap around cooked apple slices and bake. These were baked in mini pie pans.  My rolls have very little added sugar, yet are a treat when spread with this Mascarpone Cream.  I froze the whipped "cream" and spread the icing at table side. 

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

My summer flowers have bloomed again.

Our picnic today was at Deep Creek (Maryland) State Park.  The leaves are changing and will be close to peak for the Autumn Glory Festival.


Gain a Boost with Market Sampling

After eating her meatball, this young customer sipped the vegetables and whole grains in the Italian Wedding Soup sample, enjoying every last bit! Farmers Market Sampling promotes the farmers, a balanced diet, healthy meals, sustainability, the local economy and making food at home.

For our 3 hour sampling at the market, we prepare 220 samples.  Each sample was served in a 3 ounce cup featuring 1 meatball and about 2 ounce of soup.  The meatballs not only contain grass fed beef and cage free eggs, but also whole grain cornmeal.  There are many seasonal vegetables in the soup with an array of colors and nutrients in the carrots and spinach. A bonus in our soup is that we substitute whole grain sorghum for the pasta.

We prepared 12 times this home style recipe for the sampling:
I'm so encouraged by the sustainable meat and array of vegetables that our local farmers grown and sell.  I applaud the few local farmers who are expanding their fields to include whole grains.  Here's the growing sorghum plants grown at a Preston County farm:

Once harvested, the canes will be pressed into molasses and the berries dried and sold or grown into flour.

We appreciate Dietetic Intern Mina's help serving samples and telling everyone how good the soup was!