Saturday, February 20, 2010

Celebrity Chef calls for support of Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative

Chef Jamie Oliver’s Power of Food
2010 TED Award Speech
Fight Obesity 

A quick observation will confirm that obesity in America is much more prevalent than ever before. The Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention (CDC) confirm that after smoking, obesity has become the primary lifestyle-related cause of disease and death in the United States. Obesity tops the list of growing global health concerns and is one of America's primary health and economic concerns. British celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver, well known on The Food Network, took his passion for fighting obesity in the UK to the obesity battleground right here in America. Jamie Oliver was the recipient of this year's prestigious 2010 TEDPrize award.

What is TED?
In 1984 a small, nonprofit group dedicated to Ideas Worth Spreading began to bring together inspiring people from Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED). Over three decades since then, TED has grown and has an annual conference in Long Beach, California and in Oxford UK (TEDGlobal). TED also boasts a community program, TEDx, a video site, TEDTalks, and TEDIndia.

Take a look at the video of Chef Jamie Oliver's recent TED prize award speech, shown below. This speech, along with Jamie's ongoing efforts, will aide in generating increased funding and public awareness about the seriousness of obesity on public health. 

Chef Jamie stressed how we must make healthier choices, increase education about food, continue adding gardens, and bring back simple cooking techniques in the home. He urges all Americans to support first lady, Michelle Obama, in her Let's Move initiative calling for healthy choices, healthier schools, physical activity and affordable and accessible healthy food for America's children. 

What caught my eye most about Jamie’s award speech was his passion and obvious dedication to improve America's school lunch program for the sake of our children. Chef Jamie points out the importance of food and nutrition education, along with the need for healthier recipes using more locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.

Children Deserve Better
Jamie Oliver's energy and fight for this cause was fueled by the lack of nutrition that also faces school lunch programs in his homeland, the UK. Jamie Oliver created the UK's Feed Me Better campaign, which generated interest from over 200,000 people, prompting the government to pledge $550 million towards improving school lunch programs in the UK.

Chef Jamie also starred in the award-winning UK series Jamie's School Dinners and Jamie's Return To School Dinners. His shows generated a public outcry for change in the school meals system and his work continues to be recognized by the British government.

Fruits and Veggies More Matters  logo is the registered trademark of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation, Wilmington, DE
Related Links:
Chef Jamie Oliver
Obesity A Growing Epidemic
American Diabetes Association Applauds First Lady

Copyright © 2010 Wind. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

GardenCuizine Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan

Melenzana alla Parmigiana 
Eggplant Parmesan  
Serves 4
Preheat oven to 350ºF

The amount of sauce, cheese, egg and breadcrumbs will vary depending on the size of the eggplant(s) and baking dish used, therefore I have provide a range for some ingredients.
1 1/4lb (548g - 822g) one large eggplant, or two medium eggplants
15 1/2 oz (439g-921g) Pomodoro sauce (classic tomato sauce)  
1 1/2 -2 cups (142g-196g) part skim, shredded mozzarella cheese 
1/4 cup (26g)  grated Parmesan cheese (or Pecorino Romano)

1/2 cup (~15g) fresh Parsley (or Chervil), chopped 
1 teaspoon Oregano (dry or fresh)
3/4 cup Egg Beaters
1/4 cup 2% Milk (or soymilk)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/4 cup (~154g) to 1 3/4 cups (216g) bread crumbs (we prefer homemade, or no salt whole wheat)
Suggested seasonings for unseasoned breadcrumbs: assorted dried or minced fresh herbs, garlic powder, onion powder
cooking oil
(we use Canola) enough for about 1/4" in bottom of your skillet (using less oil does not conduct the heat as well and your eggplant will most likely absorb more oil)

Putting it all together
Wash, dry and peel the eggplant(s). Slice eggplant into 1/2" slices. Peeling and/or soaking are personal preferences. We always peel store bought eggplants and lately have found no need to soak the eggplant slices. 

If you want to soak the slices to remove bitterness, soak the slices (about 1/2 hour) in a pot of water with an added 1/2 teaspoon of salt. After soaking, rinse and drain the eggplant well and blot each slice dry using paper towels.
Prepare three bowls (or pie plates), one for each: flour, bread crumbs and eggs. Mix the dried or fresh herbs, onion and garlic powder into the bread crumb mixture. Set aside. In another bowl or pie plate whisk the eggs with the milk and black pepper. Set aside.

  • In a large skillet heat up the cooking oil on med/high heat
  • While the oil is heating, bread the eggplant slices by dredging them first in the flour to coat, then in the egg, then in the bread crumbs, coating each slice

1) flour
2) egg
3) bread crumb mixture
  • Pan-fry the coated eggplant slices. When nicely golden brown remove them to a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil
  • Prepare a casserole dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom
  • Spread one layer of cooked eggplant over the sauce, and top with mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of parsley and a little more sauce. Repeat layering, this time with an eggplant-sauce-double cheese-parsley layer
  • Cover your casserole dish and bake for 40 minutes
  • Remove cover and finish for 10 more minutes or until the cheesy top is golden brown
  • Serve with a side garden salad
~ Buon Appetito!

GardenCuizine Nutrition Analysis ...coming soon

Photo Credits: Eggplant basket courtesy USDA Wikimedia Commons. Photo Collage
©Copyright 2010 Wind. All rights reserved.

Related Links:
A Chocolate Garden by Diana Wind