Flower Power: Recipe Redux

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Meet the new darling of my kitchen, orange blossom water.  

photo-152I have the Recipe  Redux to thank and the June  theme, Floral Flavors:

 Nothing brightens up a dish like a real flower! Whether you live in the northern or the southern hemisphere, edible flowers can add flavor and aroma to salads, breads, spreads, desserts or dips. Make your recipe bloom with rose water, flowering herbs, floral teas, dried lavender blossoms or even fresh flowers like nasturtiums, violets, borage, squash, sunflowers or pretty much any blossom in a vegetable garden..

Last Wednesday, when faced with trying to come up with a recipe for this floral theme, I purchased my first bottle of orange blossom water. What is orange blossom water? Water distilled with the essence of flowers from orange trees, aka orange flower water.  It was surprisingly easy to find (in the International section of the regular grocery store). And here’s an instance where I wish there was smell technology so you could get a whiff of this stuff! It’s  about the  closest smelling thing to honeysuckle I ‘ve encountered.   (I feel an urge to  get my entire kitchen smelling this good.)

When I purchase this perfumed water,  I had no plan, and feeling the need to get acquainted I started to add it  to just about everything  I was consuming on Wednesday. First  a few drops into my bottled water, then a teaspoon added to my salad dressing at lunchtime, a splash into a berry smoothie and finally this

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 Sweet  strawberries combined with fresh bitter orange blossoms was a great match! Then add in  the nutty taste of quinoa and my work was done! It made a terrific side  to a meal of  coconut chicken, and broccolini. The next day, it was my breakfast cereal with a glass of cold milk. How about nutrition? Glad you asked. This dish is gluten free, fat free, low in sodium, a source of fiber, protein and vitamin C. Please check out the links to see what my colleagues have created with this fun floral theme.

Quinoa with Orange Blossom Infused Strawberries

serves 4-6

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 2 cups strawberries, cleaned, hulled and cut into quarters
  • 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons orange blossom infused water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted dry toasted sliced almonds

Instructions

1.Place strawberries in a pie plate. Sprinkle with sugar and orange blossom  water. Allow to sit.

2. Rinse and drain quinoa. Place quinoa, water and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and grain appears soft and translucent and the germ ring is visible along the outside edge of the grain. Remove from heat and allow to cool about 20 minutes.

3. Add quinoa to strawberry mixture. Add coconut flakes and almonds and gently toss to combine.

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Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms with Corn and Black Bean Relish

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By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Mushroom Council and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

I’ve never been one to kiss and tell  and I believe maintaining a bit of mystery sustains excitement.  So on Wednesday afternoon, when I prepped some vegan stuffed  portabella mushrooms, I thought it unnecessary to reveal what I used when I swapped out the meat. However,  my daughter wouldn’t have it. Husband on the other hand, walked in,  grabbed a wedge of  my never been taste tested vegan stuffed portabella mushrooms like it was a slice of pizza (balsamic glaze dripping off his fingers), and inhaled it without even a mention of what he was eating. He still doesn’t know that I stuffed these babies with …shhh… tofu. But seriously, who would have thought! This vegan dish is delicious hot or cold, as an appetizer or entree. And not only that, it’s nutrient rich; providing vitamins (including vitamin D), minerals  and  protein for relatively few calories.

Using portabella mushrooms as a base for stuffing and topping (with or without meat) is one way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Another way is to chopped them and use them (or other mushroom varieties)  as meat extenders. Mushrooms blend wonderfully with lots of protein sources (including beef, pork, chicken, turkey and  fish). So I say you give it a try; then enter the Mushroom Council’s consumer recipe contest, ‘Swap It or Top It’ where you might win $5000!

WJcaS

Find out more about why mushrooms are Nature’s Hidden Treasure, and don’t forget to visit the links at the bottom of this post for more amazing recipes that keep mushrooming.

IMG_8644Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms with Corn and Black Bean Relish

4 entrees or 24 appetizer servings

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Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms with Roasted Corn and Black Bean Relish

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 large portabella mushrooms, wiped clean, stems and gills removed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds firm tofu, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro

for the corn and black bean relish

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 cup fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained
  • 3 T balsamic glaze
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 T olive oil
  • salt and freshly gound pepper to taste

Instructions

for the black bean and corn relish

1 Place olive oil in saute pan ove medium high heat. Add the corn and saute until corn begins to brown. Add black beans and heat through.

2. Remove from heat. Add balsamic glaze, sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix with a slotted spoon and set aside at room temperature.

for the stuffed mushrooms

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Stir the balsamic vinegar, and garlic together in a small bowl until blended. Place the mushrooms into a large resealable plastic bag. Pour the balsamic vinegar mixture over the mushrooms, seal bag, and turn gently to coat mushrooms evenly with marinade. Place in refrigerator for one hour.

2. Place olive oil in saute pan over medium high heat. Add onions, and red pepper. Saute until softened.

3. Add tofu, lime juice, salt and cumin. Cook while stirring until mixture looks like scrambled eggs. Add cilantro.

4.  Remove mushrooms from marinade and place in a baking dish top sides down.

5. Spoon the tofu mixture evenly over the mushrooms and bake about 12 minutes.

6. Top each stuffed mushrooom with roasted corn and black bean relish. Slice into wedges.

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The Trend is to Blend: BBQ Teriyaki Meatballs

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By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Mushroom Council and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

In my world summer meals mean sweet tea, gingham tablecloths, and daisies! Yes, I love daisies…(and  the daisy petal plucking LOVES ME GAME!)    But whatever pumps you up for summer entertaining, keep it simple, healthy and delicious with this mantra, The Trend is to Blend.  Blend… as in blending mushrooms.. with  ground  meats including beef, pork and  poultry  to make your family’s favorite meals healthier and more flavorful. This is a technique chefs have used for years. Mushrooms have a savory flavor and meaty texture, making them perfect for extending meats. Mushrooms not only extend your portions saving you money, they save you calories and boost the nutritional value of foods you add them to, without altering taste or texture.  How is that for packing in good nutrition!? A simple how to video explains all you need to get started enjoying Americas’ iconic food, but a little healthier. And the Mushroom Council’s website is a great place to learn more about nature’s hidden treasure and even sign up for recipes!

Here are 3 simple strategies to help you enjoy more vegetables, and healthier meals :

• Substitute mushrooms for a portion  of the higher calorie ingredient, like meat, to boost the nutrition value and cut both saturated fat and calories.

• Swap mushrooms completely for meat to make a vegetarian meal.

• Top a burger with mushrooms as an ingredient.

Now here is where things get really exciting,  you can win $5000 by  entering your recipe in the Mushroom Council’s consumer Recipe Contest, Swap it or Top it !

WJcaSYou will soon discover mushrooms come in a variety of flavors and  textures and adapt to a wide range of cuisines.  To demonstrate the first strategy  of using mushrooms for a portion of a higher calorie meat, I deveoped an appetizer recipe perfect for a summer bbq. I started with lean ground turkey and added in finely chopped cremini mushrooms.  Then I added a  twist to the traditional bbq sauce with a bit of  Asian flair. It’s simple, can be done ahead, and yes, mushrooms reduce the calories and fat, boost the vitamins and minerals,  making this a nutrient rich appetizer everyone will love, even your kiddos. Please be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post where the recipes will be mushrooming all week long!

IMG_8674BBQ Teriyaki  Meatballs

makes 4-5 dozen meatballs

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons green onions
  • 2 cups chopped cremini mushrooms (baby portabella)
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • cooking spray

for the Teriyaki BBQ sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce

Instructions

for the bbq teriyaki sauce

Place all ingredients in bowl  and stir to combine. Set aside.

for the meatballs

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add green onions and cremini mushrooms. Sautee 3 to 5 minutes until tender.

2. In a large bowl combine ground turkey, sauteed mushroom and onion mixture, and egg.

3. Roll turkey/mushroom mixture into one inch meatballs.

4. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and cook meatballs over medium high heat until brown.  Drain on plate covered with a paper towel.

5.Place meatballs in the bottom of a slow cooker and pour teriyaki bbq sauce over the top.

6. Cook on high for 2 hours, stirring once after one hour.

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Farm to Table : The Hatcher Family Dairy Farm + Berry Delicious Smoothie

Disclosure: My trip to Tennessee and attendance at a media workshop was fully paid by SUDIA (Southeastern United Dairy Industry Association). I was not expected to write this post. Opinions expressed are my own. I was not paid for writing this post.

picstitch-17Do you support a positive relationship with food?  If so,  you understand the importance of knowing:

• where food comes from

• what it tastes like

• how it gets from farm to table

• how to enjoy it  after you purchase it and how to serve it in healthy and delicious ways to your family and friends

Believe it or not, less than 2% of  the U.S. population is involved in  farming today and we are 3 to 4  generations removed from the farm. The result is a BIG information gap about modern farming practices.

Last week I had the unique opportunity to visit a family dairy farm in College Grove, Tennessee. So today,  I am happy to write about  my up close and personal visit to the Hatcher  Dairy Farm and provide some insight into how milk gets from the farm to your table plus a recipe for a nutrient rich smoothie made with the goodness of farm fresh milk.   I’d like to share this information with you in the context of  3 things about dairy farming that you probably don’t know, but should consider.

1. Dairy farmers are committed to their animals.  The seventy cows on the Hatcher dairy photo-142farm are family, not inventory. Cows are named, like Tulip (the cutest calf on Earth).  Cow comfort is a priority and the Hatcher family provides this by ensuring their animals have  a nutritious diet, good veterinary care (2 of the 5 Hatcher dairy farmers are also veterinarians) and healthy and clean living conditions. Note: healthy, happy cows produce more milk; 6 to 8 gallons of milk per day or up to 125 glasses of milk!

2. Dairy farmers are commtted to the land. The Hatchers not only work on their land, they live there too.   Responsiblity for the land, air and water makes them good neighbors and pillars of the local community.

3. Dairy farmers are commited to their product. Strict quality controls ensure freshness, purity and great taste. Milk is one of the  most regulated beverage in America. The Hatcher Dairy farm has fought hard to remain in existence for 5 generations. One huge step this dairy farm took in 2007 was pasteurizing their own milk.  Milk never touches human hands and it takes  2 days or less for the milk to travel from farm to  local grocers such as the Whole Foods chain.

Milk is a smart choice for packing more nutrition into every meal and/or snack because it is a nutrient rich food providing 9 essential nutrients: Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorous, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin D , Vitamin B12, Riboflavin, Niacin. As a registered dietitian and fitness enthusiast I recommend milk for recovery and I especially like that milk  is a delicious and inexpensive way to meet daily protein needs necessary for maintaining or increasing skeletal muscle mass, and improving body composition (increasing skeletal muscle and decreasing body fat). So pour a glass of ice cold milk or enjoy it with fruit as a smoothie in the recipe below .

photo-146Berry Delicious Smoothie (adapted from Kids Eat Right)

2 servings

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup frozen banana slices
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup vanillia low fat yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice concentrate
  • 3/4 cup fresh strawberries (or a combination of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)
  • honey to taste (Optional)

Instructions

1.Place ice cubes and frozen banana in blender process to crush ice and break up banana.

2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

3. Pour into cups and enjoy!

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Baked eggs in Tomato Sauce with Matcha

IMG_8533When you say tea, I say sweet. Mmmm, I’m especially fond of sipping it with  pineapple mint while I’m working in my garden. Here in the south it’s an icon, and country music lyrics like I’ll be your sweet iced tea, and kisses sweeter than iced tea are  a testament to the fact that  Southerners like it really, really sweet!  But have you ever considered tea a cooking ingredient? Well today, that’s just what the Recipe Redux is  challenging:

Tea cups around the world are bubbling up with bold new flavors: From cardamom chai and sencha green to bubble teas and veggie teas. We wish we could attend the World Tea Expo the end of this month – but in lieu of a plane ticket, we’ll be cooking and baking and stirring up tea-inspired healthy dishes.

I first read about this trend in  Janet Helm’s (Nutrition Unplugged) blog post back in November. And sure enough, I am seeing all sorts of culinary creations using tea from entrees like Tea-Smoked Chicken to desserts like Green Tea Cheesecake.  In Janet’s post she also noted that  Matcha, green tea extract from Japan, was “hot, hot, hot”.

So out of sheer curiousity, I purchased Matcha and went back to my kitchen to experiment.  But before I started, I surfed the web to see what other food bloggers had done with it. Whoa, the list was long including adding it to: muffin batters, cookie doughs, smoothies, salad dressings! Not sure where to start I decided to pick something on my recipes I want to try list. And there is was, baked eggs in tomato-paprika sauce, a recipe from Williams-Sonoma. Now, I had to consider whether I thought green tea would taste good with eggs? Yes, I think so. So I went about making my version. The result is a delicious, healthy brunch for two or a simple weeknight meal. It’s a good high quality protein source, full of lycopene (from the canned tomatoes) and of course gets a BIG boost of antioxiants from the Matcha used to season the tops of the eggs. (One glass of Matcha is said to be the equivalent of  10 glasses of green tea).

Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post for more creative ways to get culinary with tea.

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Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Matcha

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • juice of a lime
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoe with juices, tomatoes lightly crushed by hand
  • 4 eggs
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsely leaves for garnish
  • Matcha green tea and salt blend to taste

for Matcha green tea and sea salt blend

  • 1 Tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Matcha green tea powder

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil.

3 . Add onion and cook stirring occasssionally until softened.

4. Add garlic and cook stirring constantly, about 1 minute.

5. Add tomatoes, lime juice, white wine and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes.

6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

7.Using the back of a spoon, create a pocket for each egg in the tomato sauce. Crack one egg into each pocket.

8.Transfer skillet to oven and bake until egg whites are just set and the yolks are still runny, about 8 minutes.

9. Season eggs with Matcha green tea and sea salt blend, to taste. Garnish with fresh parsely leaves. Serve immediately. Serves 2.

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