Monday, June 29, 2009

Help Save the Rainforest

How would YOU like to save
100+ square feet of Rainforest?
It is really easy, I just did it and here is how: In reading the nutrition facts label on the back of our Tropicana orange juice container, I learned that Tropicana is offering this terrific program to help Rescue the Rainforest. They are working together with an organization called ‘Cool Earth’ and are saving thousands of acres of endangered rainforest.

  • Why not replant forest that's already been destroyed?
  • Do I own the land I save?
  • Who is Cool Earth?

These questions and more are answered on the web site.
It is really easy to participate and no money is necessary except to purchase a larger than 12oz container of Tropicana orange juice labeled with the unique Rescue the Rainforest message and code stamped on it . Participating products include their 32 oz, 59 oz, 64 oz, 89 oz and 128 oz orange juice.

Fruit juice - part of a Healthy Diet
Orange juice, especially 100% pure juice, can be purchased with added Calcium and Vitamin D. Orange juice is always an excellent source of Vitamin C and a good source of Thiamin, Folate and Potassium. Juice is a great way to incorporate the health benefits of fruit into your diet. To benefit from dietary fiber, make most of your daily fruit choices whole or cut-up fruit. 

Tropicana's Rescue the Rainforest promotion has been extended to March 31, 2010
Drink up some nutritious Orange Juice today!

Join team GardenCuisine*

*Note: the spelling is the correct way to spell 'Cuisine'.
This contest was before we jazzed up our name to Cuizine, spelled with a "z"

Every team member’s code will add towards the team total. Together we can watch our plot of rainforest in Peru grow as more codes are entered.

Team Update: As of 2/17/10
1,900 sq ft of Rainforest Saved!
(in the Ashaninka Corridor in Peru)

start your own team by contacting 

Green thumbs up to Tropicana!
Related Links: Rainforest Report Card
TROPICANA is a registered trademark of Tropicana Products, Inc.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Kitchen Herb - Chervil

Chervil is a member of the Apiaceae family, and is a much underused kitchen herb. Culinary Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) should not be confused with wild Chervil (Anthriscus sylvestris (L.) Hoffm.) which, according to the USDA Plants Database, is a noxious weed in Washington State and is prohibited in Massachusetts. Chervil is one of my favorite herbs and I grow it every year starting from seeds. It can be planted in your herb garden or grown in pots, as shown in my photo above. The blooms are white -- similar to parsley umbels -- but much smaller and sized to fit the 12-18 inch plant. When the flowers go to seed, the seeds are easy to collect and save.

Chervil reminds me of a smaller, more delicate version of parsley, only chervil has a hint of anise flavor to it. Chervil can be used alone or in combination with other herbs; and is one of the classic herbs in the French 'fines herbes' (pronounced FEEN erb or FEENZ ehrb) - a blend of: chervil, chives, parsley and tarragon.

Chervil is wonderful in compound butter blends, herbal vinegars and can be added to just about any food you can think of. Its delicate flavor is most appreciated in foods such as Fines Herbes Sauce for roast chicken or in recipes with eggs, like quiche, custards and omelets. Chervil also adds a pleasant taste to soups, seafood, potatoes and sautéed vegetables.

  • This little herb will increase the nutrition profile of your GardenCuizine. Use it liberally and reap the benefits of the following per teaspoon: Dietary Fiber 0.1g, Calcium 8g, Iron .19g, Magnesium 1g, Phosphouus 3g, Potassium 28g, Vitamin C 0.3g, Folate 2g, Vitamin A 35 IU plus other nutrients
Calculated per teaspoon dried chervil, USDA National Nutrient Standard Reference

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Help the Hungry

More than 36.2 million people live in U.S. households facing a constant struggle against hunger. SNAP/Food Stamp participation continues to set record Levels, with more than 33.1 million participants in March 2009.

Food secure households don't have the stress and constant worry about the availability and accessibility of their next meal. Food insecurity is no fun.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign

Share your harvest
for the Hungry
    • Plant veggies, fruits, and herbs
    • Deliver to a soup kitchen or food pantry nearest you
    • You can make a difference ~ Thanks! 
Plant-A-Row for the Hungry is sponsored by 
The Garden Writers Association
For more information visit
or Call Toll Free (877) 492-2727
 Search for a Food Pantry:

 Mt. Laurel, NJ Contact: 
Diana Wind, member Garden Writers Association

South Jersey local food agencies ready for fresh produce include:
  • The Food Bank of South Jersey is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help eliminate hunger and malnutrition in the four counties it serves in southern New Jersey - Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem.
Related Links: USDA Food Security 

Bella Italia

Bella Italia

I discovered a southern Italian squash at the 2009 Philadelphia Flower Show. The show gardens displayed a feeling of majestic Rome with its formal topiary, statues and fountains. Tiered displays and cobblestones transformed the gardens into the local feel of Liguria, Venezia, Toscana, Abruzzo, Umbria, Campania and Calabria. 

At the show, as always, we enjoyed viewing the numerous display gardens and meeting up with a few other gardeners from Dave’s Garden. One of my favorite parts was to visit the vendor area in search of interesting garden related products, plants and seeds. While in line to purchase seeds I met a lovely Italian woman. She had a pack of seeds that I’ve never seen before from Italy called, ‘Zuchetta Serpente di Sicilia’. As soon as I saw the name, I knew we had to try it. 

Folks in southern Italian regions often refer to this veggie as Cucuzzi. My new Italian acquaintance said to me, “Give Cucuzzi room, it’s a very vigorous vine. It climbed up one of our trees!” This Southern Italian squash is actually a gourd. The blooms are white, rather than the yellow blooms seen on squash. The fruit itself should be picked when it is one foot long or shorter, if left on the vine, it can grow to three feet long, hence the name ‘serpente’. Like squash, the buds can be used in GardenCuizine and stuffed or sautéed in olive oil. To grow -- plant in mounds six feet apart with 3-4 seeds per mound. Yields in approximately 70-75 days. For Cucuzzi and more vegetable seeds from Italy visit:

My dream is to someday visit the sunny gardens of Sicily. Our family on my mothers side has southern Italian roots. Foods of Italy have always fascinated me with the various Arab, Greek, Spanish and French cultural influences. My favorite recipes are simple and wholesome, utilizing flavors, blossoms, fruits and nuts such as olive, anise, citrus, jasmine flowers, figs, and almonds.

Edited 12/30/11 to add: Cucuzza squash is quite a vigorous grower! Plant it away from your garden in its own area, or on its own pergola letting the gourds hang down for show. For eating, harvest when only 12-inches - NOT when 4-6 feet! 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Soups On

I’m helping out again at an advanced food production facility in North Jersey. One of their customers placed a sign last summer for all to see, outside of the'll never guess who it was? It was The Original SoupMan. The “SoupMan” was the guy who inspired the famous “Soup Episode” on Seinfeld. You may remember the actor, Larry Thomas, who portrayed him in a scene - pointing his finger at George while shouting, “No Soup for you!”

The Seinfeld episode was based on "SoupMan", Al Yeganeh, and in real life local New Yorkers and tourists used to wait for hours for his crab bisque, jambalaya or mulligatawny soups. (Remind me to post a recipe for mulligatawny soup, it's really good. I made it for the first time while interning at Tavistock Country Club).

Mr. Yeganeh founded “Soup Kitchen International”, that was located at Eighth Avenue and 55th Street in New York City in 1984. So the "SoupMan" was based on a real man after all. When I took a look at his website, I found the people associated with this heck-of-a-soup cooking guy, are not mean at all. They have supported over the years, a charity dear to my heart, feeding the hungry.

The SoupMan franchise has grown to include restaurants and retail locations in NY, NJ, PA, RI, SC, NC, TX, FL, DC and locations throughout the USA . For more information visit

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gardens and Summer Cookin' in New Orleans.
..coming soon

If you happen to read this, please feel free to post your favorite garden areas and restaurants for delicious gourmet food in New Orleans. I'll be writing about it.

Thanks! ~ChefDi

(photo: Saint Charles Avenue Streetcar on Canal Street ~ GNU Free Documentation License, Wikipedia)