Monday, November 28, 2011

White House Squash Soup #GardenCuizine @letsmove @ObamaFoodorama

Squash Soup with
French Espelette Pepper

Check out White House Chef Cristeta Commerford's seasonal recipe for Roasted Pumpkin Squash Soup With Pepitas And Greek Yogurt. Chef Commerford adds Espelette pepper powder in just the right amount for medium heat and delicious flavor. 

Learn more about nutritious Espelette peppers from France. Read my article "Warm Up Your Recipes With Espelette" coming this Friday, December 9th on Dave's Garden. The link for Chef Commerford's nutritious squash soup recipe is posted below.
Photo credit: Piments sur les façades and Piments - France - Espelette - Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64) - 2005-08-05 taken by Pinpin courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. GNU Free Documentation license. 
Related Links: Roasted Pumpkin Squash Soup with Pepitas and Greek Yogurt Obama Foodorama blog
Pepper, Pepper, and Espelette pepper. The Basque pepper. With a touch of Armagnac thrown in. FrenchFoodFreaks blog 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Reduced Salt and Fat * Instant CHIA Mashed Potatoes #GardenCuizine

CHIA Mashed Potatoes

Home harvested or farm fresh whole organic potatoes make delicious mashed or smashed (with skins) potatoes. We savor and save our homegrown potatoes for rosemary roasted potatoes, home-fries for special breakfasts and brunches, or scalloped potatoes for
dinners. When we make mashed potatoes, for convenience and speed, we often whip up instant 100% real potatoes. 

If you have the time, and don't want to use instant potatoes, make them from scratch. You could also mix instant with homemade. I've seen chefs do that in commercial kitchens, depending on the restaurant. It's your preference.

Reduce Sodium and Fat
In general, a good rule of thumb for healthy individuals is to avoid consuming excess sodium and fat. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day and less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day for those with or at risk for high blood pressure. The American Heart Association would like to see everyone consume less than 1,500 mg TOTAL sodium per day.

To put sodium content in perspective, the average American consumes over 3,400 mg of sodium a day. Just one McDonald's Quarter Pounder® with cheese contains 1,660 mg of sodium. Their Angus Bacon and Cheese has 2,540 mg, McRib® 980 mg, 10 pc Chicken McNuggets® 900 mg; even an EggMcMuffin® has 1,050 mg of sodium. If you're thinking, "But I don't eat at McDonald's?" Sodium can add up from just using a pinch here and there too. Look out for high sodium in canned goods, processed foods, prepared foods, soups, snacks, seasoning blends, lunch meats, cheese and even in milk (if drinking more than a few glasses). 

Health tip for instant mashed potatoes
Don't follow the recipe on the box! Do you and your family a heart healthy favor, use less salt and fat than what is called for; no one will even notice. 

Recipes given by food companies on boxes of instant mashed potatoes are usually too high in salt and butter. The dried potato flakes themselves are low in sodium and are fat free. You can't eat them dry though! This fully seasoned comfort food recipe cuts the salt from 1 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon, and the margarine from 1/4 cup to 1 tablespoon. Chia seeds add additional nutrients, including omega-3 and dietary fiber.

Reduced Sodium and Fat instant Mashed Potatoes
Yields 4 servings

2 cups water
1 1/3 cups low fat milk (or non-dairy alternative if vegan)
1 tablespoon (~14g) margarine or butter (we use Smart Balance® Heart Smart spread w/plant stanols; use soy margarine if vegan)
2 teaspoons (~10g) minced horseradish (optional)
1 tablespoon raw Chia seeds
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
few slices hot peppers dried or fresh from your garden (optional)
2 cups 100% real instant dried potatoes (we use Potato Buds® or Bob's Red Mill)
Putting it all together
  • Combine all the ingredients except the potato flakes in a large pot and set aside. We like to let the mixture sit while we get the rest of the meal together so the chia seeds can soak and soften up. This way the chia seeds will fully blend into the mashed potatoes. You will see the seeds, but they won't interfere with the creamy, comfort food texture.
  • When ready, bring the liquid milk mixture to a boil. 
  • Stir to combine all the ingredients and break up any clumps of chia seeds. 
  • Turn off or remove the pot from heat. 
  • Quickly stir in the potato flakes until evenly moistened. Stir in more potato flakes if the mixture seems too loose. Or, add more milk if the potatoes are not creamy enough. 
~Buon Appetito!

GardenCuizine Nutrition Analysis
Good Source: dietary Fiber, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium
Excellent Source: Vitamin C and Thiamin
Serving size 238g: 178 calories, 5g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, Omega-3 323 mg, Cholesterol 7 mg, Sodium 244-394 mg (10-16% DV depending on how much salt you use), Carbohydrate 30g (2 starch), dietary Fiber 3g (11% DV), Protein 6g, Vitamin A 346 IU (7% DV), Vitamin C 25 mg (42% DV), Vitamin D 35 IU (9% DV), Thiamin 0.3 mg (22% DV), Ribovlavin 0.2 mg (11% DV), Niacin 2 mg (10% DV), Vitamin B6 0.3 mg (13% DV), Calcium 120 mg (12% DV), Potassium 465 mg (13% DV)

Related Links: CHIA, an Indigenous Food by Diana Wind
AHA Urges Stricter Guidelines for Sodium, Fat Intake
Revised 3/11/13. Photos and blog post Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved. McDonald's Nutrition Data cited was generated by effective 11-22-2011.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fine dining at home > Compound Butter adds a touch of elegance! @SmartBalance #GardenCuizine

Making Compound Butter

"Beurres composés", French for compound butters, are blends of butter mixed with other ingredients, such as fresh garden herbs and spices. Compound butters are traditionally made with pure butter, but a healthier version can be made using lower fat spreads like Smart Balance.
Smart Balance makes different spreads. My favorite is Heart Right Light because it contains plant stanols, Omega-3 and Vitamin E. Compound butters are often frozen - they unthaw quick - making it all the more convenient to have gourmet butter pats available at any time.   

Compound butter blends can be used to flavor fish, chicken, meats, vegetables or in finishing sauces. I made my first compound butters with herbs and garlic at the Academy of Culinary Arts, in Mays Landing, NJ. We made rosettes and froze them until ready to serve. They really added a nice touch of elegance and flavor to the breads and dinner rolls that we served in Careme's, an upscale, fine dining restaurant.

  Compound Butter Ideas
  • Beurre au citron – lemon butter  
  • Beurre à la bourguignonne garlic and parsley butter
Herb Storage Tips
DILL Cut dill at its peak. Wash and wrap in a paper towel and seal inside an airtight plastic baggie and freeze. When you need fresh dill just slice off whatever you need. BASIL can also be preserved at its peak by whizzing it in a food processor with olive oil. Label and store in freezer. Use basil in oil just as you would fresh basil. 

  Special Occasions
Compound butter adds a special touch to holiday and special company meals. This is the recipe I used for Thanksgiving. You do not need to follow exact measurements for compound butter. Use this as an idea. Be creative and add whatever you have available.

Smart Balance Compound Butter recipe
12 oz tub (340g) Smart Balance Heart Right Light buttery spread

garden herbs and spices -
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil (or garden basil preserved in oil)
Putting it all together  
Simply soften butter at room temperature, or if using Smart Balance buttery spread, it will be soft enough straight from the fridge. Mix in chopped herbs of your choice. Make rosettes or mold into logs or squares and freeze. To avoid clogging the tip in the pastry bag if piping out rosettes, try not to use stems or big pieces of herbs in your mixture.

  Smart Balance Rosettes
After mixing the herbs into your soft buttery herb spread, put the blend into a pastry bag with a large star tip and pipe out individual rosettes onto wax-paper-lined plates or sheet pans and freeze. Once frozen, the pats can be combined together in airtight freezer containers or freezer baggies. Smart Balance spread is softer than butter; serve them directly onto your guests bread plates rather than onto a separate serving plate, about 10 minutes before dinner is served.

  Smart Balance Herb Log or square
The soft buttery herb spread could also be formed into a log by rolling in parchment paper, wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen until firm. Or on a lined baking sheet press the spread into a smooth, even 1/4-inch thick square or rectangle block, cover with wax paper or clear wrap and freeze. When ready to use, slice and use in cooking or serve as you would butter. 

Related Links: Plant Sterols and Stanols
Homemade Butter and Compound Butter Ideas 
The Hungry Mouse blog - good step-by-step wrapping in parchment 
Photos and blog post Copyright Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Low Sodium, delicious moist Mesquite Apple Cake #Recipe #GardenCuizine

~ Low Sodium ~ 
Mesquite Apple Cake
A few notes about this delicious dessert: It's not your typical Jewish Apple Cake. This cake is lower in saturated fat and sodium and darker in color. The abundance of apples keeps the cake moist. Apple sauce replaces half the fat. If you happen to have snack size apple sauce (4oz) on hand, that's the perfect amount needed for this recipe, 1/2 cup. What if you have flavored, not "plain" applesauce? Any natural flavor would taste great too. 

Mesquite Flour
Why mesquite in apple cake? Well, it's not adding smokey flavor if that's what you're thinking. Mesquite smoke flavor comes from burning wood chips from Mesquite trees. Mesquite chips used in grilling add a distinct smoke flavor to foods. My recipe uses Mesquite Flour. Mesquite flour comes from Mesquite bean pods that grow on drought tolerant trees in places like Arizona,Texas and Mexico. The pods can be dried and ground. Mesquite flour is fat free and a source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin C and other nutrients. It doesn't change the flavor of baked goods. The cake tastes like apple cake.

And, although this is not a gluten-free cake, Mesquite flour is gluten free and can be used in gluten-free recipes. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup 100% mesquite flour. Mesquite is a specialty flour with limited availability. I mail ordered it online from Casa deFruta, (update 6/30/17: I was recently notified that they no longer stock it; see links below for other sources). You can substitute regular all purpose flour for mesquite flour in this recipe, but I recommend you give mesquite flour a try. Mesquite flour gives baked goods added nutrition and appealing gingerbread color. 

Yields 1 Apple Cake


1 1/4 cup (250g) sugar
2 teaspoons (4g) ground cinnamon

4 large apples: 5 cups (~864g), peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup (118ml) vegetable oil
1/2 cup natural unsweetened apple sauce

2 large eggs (100g)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup mesquite flour (if you don't have it, can use all purpose)
1/4 teaspoon (1.5g) salt
1 teaspoon (4g) baking soda
Putting it all together
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)
  • Lightly spray and flour one round spring-form cake or bundt pan with hole in center
  • Combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside
  • Peel, core and chop apples to equal about 5 cups. Toss the chopped apples in a large bowl with the cinnamon sugar and set aside.  
  • In a mixing bowl, beat together oil, applesauce, eggs and vanilla until creamy.
  • In another bowl, sift together flours, salt and baking soda
  • Slowly add flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined and makes a thick batter
  • Fold in the apples using a plastic spatula. Spread batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes or until cake tests done.
  • Let cake cool on a wire rack. Once cake is cool, remove from pan and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.
~Buon Appetito!

GardenCuizine Nutrition Data:
Calculated using USDA Nutrition Data
Good Source: Selenium
Serving size 1/16th of recipe (109g): calories 224, total fat 8g, saturated fat 1g, Omega-3 635mg, cholesterol 26mg, sodium 125mg (5%DV), carbohydrate 38g, dietary fiber 2g (8%DV), protein 3g, Vitamin C 3.9mg (7%DV), Vitamin E 1.3mg (7%DV), Vitamin K 5.4 mcg (7%DV), Thiamin .1mg (9%DV), Riboflavin .1mg (8%DV), Folate 32mcg (8%DV), Iron 1mg (6%DV), Manganese .2mg (9%DV), Selenium 7.4mcg (11%DV)

Related Links:  
Source and Recipes for Mesquite Flour

Velvet mesquite Prosopis velutina 
Desert Harvesters

Photos and Recipe Copyright ©2011 Wind. All rights reserved. Updated 6/30/17.