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The Best Seasonal Recipes for August

Marcus Samuelsson lends his name to a wonderful food blog.  I encourage you to check it out:   Marcus Samuelsson food blog. The most recent post is titled “The Best Seasonal Recipes for August” by Christopher Stewart, Aug 8, 2013.  (check out that salad above…how delicious does that look?!?) Some of the recipes from his blog may be a bit out there for most accounts, but the list of seasonal items that we should be offering & eating now is spot on!  Here are a few of my suggestions for recipes we can use in just about any  account!

Tomatoes –  Baked Tomatoes with Quinoa, Corn & Green Chiles  Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho…or ANY Gazpacho!!

BlackberriesBlackberry Spinach Salad  Also, Check out the Cheftec recipe for Berry Cobbler…it’s super easy & delicious!

RaspberriesRaspberry Lemonade   Quinoa Pilaf with Raspberries   And of course, that Cheftec Cobbler recipe!

PeachesBlackberry Peach Coffee Cake  Double bonus!  Grilled Peaches with Blackberry Basil Butter  TRIPLE bonus!!!

WatermelonWatermelon-Peach Salsa with Tomatoes  One of Rie’s favorites Watermelon Feta Salad

Celery – ok…not so many great recipes out there featuring Celery, but it’s certainly a star as a back up performer!  Chicken Salad, Chicken Noodle Soup, Potato Salad, Jambalaya, etc just wouldn’t be the same with out!

CantaloupeSpinach Cantaloupe Salad with Mint

In Cheftec – Rebecca’s Chilled Cantaloupe Coconut Lime Soup Yummmmmmm

Garlic – …see celery above….

PlumsChicken Breasts with Plum Salsa  Try some of the many ‘old fashioned’ style desserts too…Plum Buckle, Plum Crisp, Plum Clafouti.  They’re all similar, kind of different variations on the cobbler, and all delicious!

Potatoes – There are just WAAAY too many to choose from!  One of my faves, that uses many of these seasonal ingredients, is a Nicoise salad.  Use any type of seafood…tho it’s traditionally made with tuna (albacore canned or try the Ahi Tuna Pieces from PFG!) It’s got tomatoes, potatoes, green beans & garlic!  Works really well as an action station!

Tomatillos -Ok, this one was tough for me because I’m not very fond of tomatillos.  However, lots of folks are, so try these recipes: White Bean Chicken Chili (use FRESH tomatillos in it!) Add  Roasted Tomatillo & Garlic Salsa to your next Mexican food bar!

Trash Talk – Flies Bugging You? Some Natural Solutions

  • Use mint as a fly repellent. Small sachets of crushed mint can be placed around the home to discourage flies.
  • Bay leaves, cloves and eucalyptus wrapped in small cheesecloth squares can be hung by open windows or doors.
  • Place a small, open container of sweet basil and clover near pet food or any open food in the house.
  •  A few drops of eucalyptus oil on a scrap of absorbent cloth will deter flies. Leave in areas where flies are a problem.

Source: www.eartheasy.com

Healthy Junk Food: Could the Cause be the Cure?

The article below was written by Ashley Beck, for posting on Marcus Samuelsson’s blog (http://www.marcussamuelsson.com/blog.)

When I began reading the blog, I thought it was written by Marcus.  I’m a little disappointed that it isn’t, but do understand he’s incredibly busy & needs help with some of the day to day tasks.  Ashley was manager of Tre restaurant, an upscale Italian place in NYC, before becoming Editorial Contributor at Marcus Samuelsson Group.

I’m not sure what I think about what they’re saying here.  On a rational level, I think they’re correct.  It’s often true that the entity that creates a problem must play a role in resolving it.  I’m not so much of an idealist (or so naïve) to think that fast food is going away anytime soon…or ever.  The points they make about it being affordable, prolific, convenient & addicting are all dead on.  Added to that are the billions (trillions??) of dollars made, not just by the restaurants, but by the suppliers, tax revenue, construction companies, etc, let’s face it, we need Mickey D’s to keep this economy functioning.

So, maybe if we work with the fast food companies, instead of against them (wow…that hurt to say!), we might get somewhere…what do you think?

Healthy Junk Food: Could the Cause be the Cure?

 

Corn, it’s Whats For Dinner (Even if You Don’t Recognize it)

You don’t have to be a nutrition scientist to understand the detrimental affects of processed corn on our environment and on our bodies.  Nearly 80 % of the corn grown in the US is used to feed livestock. Corn (in the processed form) is found in 3 out of 4 supermarket products and there are more than 3500 uses for corn products.  I could go on and on but far more eloquent writers have already covered this issue. http://michaelpollan.com/reviews/were-living-on-corn/

I must admit I love corn.  Real, fresh corn, not the corn products found in processed foods. I will only buy corn directly from the farmer and only when it is season.  This weekend my family and I hit the Lynchburg Farmer’s Market for our usual Saturday outing.  My husband Tom mentioned it was just the right time for corn soup.  We bought our corn, took it home and had a shucking “party” on our back porch (music included). Though the party only lasted 5 minutes, it was the beginning of a lesson for my boys, learning where real corn comes from and how to healthfully incorporate it into our diet.  Tom graciously took over and made the best corn soup I have ever had the pleasure of consuming.  The key, fresh corn and our Vita-mix (which resulted in the creamiest, no cream soup I ever tasted.

 

Improvised Corn Soup

  • Shuck corn
  • Remove corn from cobs (save corn)
  • Roast corn in oven for approximately 45 minutes (at 375).
  • Submerge cobs in water
  • Boil water, add basil, salt & pepper, simmer for approximately 1 hour. Strain.
  • Roast cloves of garlic.
  • Puree roasted corn, roasted garlic, & broth in Vita-mix.
  • Flavor with salt and pepper as desired 

Corn Nutritional Value:

1 medium ear corn = 77 calories, 1 gm fat, 2.4 gram fiber, 2.9 gm protein, 17 gm carbohydrate, 243 mg potassium

Creamed Summer Corn

Serves 4

2 ears - supersweet corn, shucked
1-  lg lime
1½ T – unsalted butter
s&p to taste
6 T – heavy cream
1 – pinch cayenne
¾ T – finely chopped chives  

  1. Cut kernels off cobs into large bowl
  2. Re-scrape cobs to get all milk
  3. Grate zest from lime, cut lime in half
  4. Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat.
    Add corn, juice of ½ lime, s&p
  5. Reduce heat to med-low, cook until most liquid evaporated &
    corn begins to sizzle (10-15 min)
  6. Stir in cream, cayenne, & lime zest. Continue to cook for 5 to 8 minutes
  7. Add salt to taste, stir in chives 

Weekly Wisdom – Food Rules Part 4

It’s not food if it arrived
through the window of your car!

Source: Michael Pollen, Food Rules

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Foodists

My current “to read” list seems to be getting longer and longer, with 2 books (half read) currently residing on my shelf: Cooked & VB6  http://merig.com/new-additions-to-my-must-read-pile/. Though I don’t have any extra hours in the day, I plan to add yet another book to my food related shelf.  Foodist by Darya Rose. A foodist is a relatively new to me term but I love her philosophy about food which she sums up quite eloquently. “A foodist knows that food is the answer to, not the cause of our health and weight issues. Eating is essential to our survival and our innate drive to do it is too strong to override for long. The solution lies in constructing habits that work with us, not against us, balancing our needs for both health and happiness through food.”  Her latest blog post “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Foodists” are a must read for everyone.  In brief, here is a summary of the list:

Never diet

Regular grocery shopping

Cook at home

10,000 steps

Chew throughly

Value-based decisions

Monitor your progress

 

Check out the complete post….I have this one imprinted in my brain already.

http://summertomato.com/the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-foodists/

15 Ways to Enjoy Edamame

We all know that steamed edamame with a delectable sprinkling of salt make a phenomenal appetizer. Pop those babies in your mouth, strip off the pod with your teeth, discard the carnage and reach for another!

But given that soybeans are nutrient powerhouses, why not get creative and add the precious gems to your regular menu? For just 120 calories per heaping cup of edamame (or 1/2 cup shelled soybeans), you get 11 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, 10% of your Daily Value for vitamin C and iron and 8% for vitamin A.

Here are 15 unexpected ways to enjoy cooked and shelled edamame.

1. Green Dip: Puree soybeans with an equal amount of thawed frozen green peas, a little fresh   shallot and garlic, and salt and black pepper to taste; fold in chopped fresh parsley. Serve with whole-grain crackers or pita.

2. Rice and (Soy)Beans: Sauté soybeans in a little olive oil with chili powder and cumin; add to brown rice with green onions, cilantro and fresh lime juice; add hot sauce if desired.

3. Strong Salads: Fold into potato, pasta, seafood and egg salads for a blast of protein.

4. Egg-cellent Breakfast: Add to your morning scrambled eggs.

5. Powerful Pesto: Puree into basil pesto and use as a protein-packed sandwich spread.

6. Super Soup: Add to your favorite soup and chowder recipes for the last few minutes of cooking.

7. Better Burritos: Nestle soybeans into your favorite rice and bean burritos, either in place of the usual beans or in addition.

8. Satisfying Greens: Sprinkle over Waldorf, Caesar and Asian salads (instead of nuts, croutons or fried noodles).

9. Pasta e Fagioli: Add soybeans to ditalini pasta; add tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese.

10. Cool Chili: Add to recipes for vegetarian and beef chili during the last few minutes of cooking.

11. Sucker-Punched Succotash: Use in place of lima beans in succotash (i.e., combine soybeans and corn).

12. Great Guacamole: Mash with avocado, lime, onion, garlic and cilantro to create amazing guacamole.

13. Stronger Grains: Add to brown rice pilaf recipes and side dishes made with couscous and quinoa.

14. Wok On: Toss into stir-fries for the last few minutes of cooking.

15. Ravioli: Puree with herbed cream cheese or herbed spreadable cheese (like Laughing Cow, Boursin or Alouette) and use between two wonton wrappers to make ravioli.

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

Weekly Wisdom – Food Rules Part 3

If it came from a plant, eat it;
if it was made in a plant, don’t!

Source: Michael Pollen, Food Rules

 

Get to the Farmer’s Market!

Have you been to the Farmer’s Market lately? If not, I encourage you to wake up early Saturday morning and get downtown (or wherever your bounty market is housed). Right now the Farmer’s Market is bursting with fresh, local produce which equals fresh, flavorful meals (and healthy to boot). My kitchen is overflowing with summer squash, cucumbers & fresh tomatoes. My mantra this summer is simplicity and most nights we cut up the squash, roast it on the grill and flavor with salt & pepper (or even a little olive oil); it doesn’t take much. My husband whips up a quick tomato sauce by simply roasting the fresh tomatoes on the grill, adding some fresh herbs and pureeing with our immersion blender. Love fruit? No preparation needed other than rinsing off those fresh berries that are at the height of their flavor.

It’s time to get out of that cold, air-conditioned grocery store and head to the market! Remember, summer won’t last long! Here is one of our favorite recipes for summer squash.

 

Summer Squash Soup

(Original recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Deborah Madison, modified)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 1/4 pounds zucchini, crookneck, or pattypan squash-roasted or grilled

1/2 cup chopped parsley (I often use thyme or mix the herbs)

6 cups vegetable stock OR water

salt & freshly milled pepper

lemon juice (for flavor garnish)

 

Heat the oil in a soup pot and add the parsley and/or thyme (must be fresh). Stir to
coat with the oil, then add 1/2 cup stock, stir to heat.
Add the vegetables, stir to mix. Cool vegetables slightly and then add to a blender (I use the Vita-mix), half the stock and puree. Keep adding stock till the soup is the preferred consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.  

*Alternatively, I often skip the first step and simply throw the grilled vegetables, fresh herbs and stock right into the Vita-mix. Since this blender is so powerful, this does the trick.