Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti recipe #GardenCuizine

Christmas Cranberry  
Pistachio Biscotti

Red cranberries and green pistachios are the stars of these Christmas cookie jar favorites. I first saw this holiday combination dipped in white chocolate in Bon Appetit in 2003. Since then I've seen several variations online that seem to have dropped the anise seeds. I dropped the white chocolate instead. This is my take on a great holiday cookie with fruit and nuts that we always find time to make during the holidays. Enjoy!

Yields: approximately 6 dozen


1 pkg Craisins (or dried cherries)
3/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons whole anise seeds

4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

12 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs (1 for egg wash)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
lemon zest from 2 lemons

1 1/4 cups shelled raw pistachios 
Putting it all together
prepare 2 cookie sheets with foil or parchment; no need to spray
preheat oven to 350 deg. F
  • Roast pistachios on a baking sheet; set aside to cool.
  • Place orange juice, anise seeds and Craisins in medium pot and heat to boiling. Turn off heat and let sit until cool. After cool, allow to strain in colander.
  • Meanwhile, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light.
  • Crack 4 eggs into measuring cup; add vanilla.
  • Add 4 eggs to butter/sugar mixture one at a time, mixing well after each addition
  • Slowly mix in flour mixture and lemon zest until just combined.
  • Fold in nuts and dried cranberries.
  • Divide dough and press and form into 4 logs directly on cookie sheets. Tip: wet hands under water and shake off excess to help prevent dough from sticking.
  • Whisk remaining egg with a splash of water for egg wash. Brush logs with egg wash and bake until golden. remove from oven and cool on counter 20 minutes before peeling off foil from bottom. Move cookies to a cutting board and slice on an angle into 1/2 inch slices.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325 deg. F. Position sliced biscotti back on cookie sheets and bake again on each side for 10 minutes or until desired dryness.
  • Cool completely before storing in airtight containers.
Merry Christmas!
Related Links
Pistachios, small nut - Mighty Nutrition 
Diana's Anise Biscotti

Recipe and photo Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.
Craisins are a registered trademark of Ocean Spray.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Warm up with homemade Broccoli Soup #GardenCuizine

Broccoli Soup
Afraid to make your own from scratch soup? If you're planning on using an instant broccoli soup packet mix, may I make a suggestion? To prevent sodium overload, only use 3 tablespoons rather than the entire packet as the directions often call for. Don't worry, your broccoli soup will still taste delicious! Broccoli soup is a nutritious beginners soup that can be easily made without using soup mix. 

2-3 cups chopped Broccoli: reserve 5-7 small florets
4 cups low fat milk
1 potato, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon butter (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic

pinch thyme (dried or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese and sea salt to taste
  • OR 3 tablespoons* instant broccoli cheddar cheese soup mix
*Note: often times instant soup packets call for using the entire packet which would be far too much sodium per serving (often greater than 1,200 mg sodium) and not necessary. Do not use the entire soup mix packet! Instead, try using just 3 tablespoons to provide plenty of flavor. Taste and see for yourself. You can always add more. 

You decide if you want to add soup mix or not. Instant soup mixes often contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils such as palm kernel and cottonseed oils, as well as flavor enhancers (disodium guanylate), corn syrup solids and artificial colors.

Serves 3-4

Putting it all together
  • Saute onion in oil/butter blend. 
  • Add garlic and saute until the onion is transparent. 
  • Stir in the thyme, chopped broccoli and potato. 
  • Pour in the milk. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cover and simmer until the veggies are soft, stirring occasionally.
  • Using an immersion blender, pulse the soup to a puree texture directly in the soup pot. 
  • Stir in the reserved broccoli florets and cheese (or soup mix). Cover and simmer until florets are tender.
  • Serve and enjoy with toasted whole grain bread. 
Photo and blog post Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 29, 2013

No Shortening @SmartBalance @FAGEUSA Diana's PIE DOUGH #Healthy #HolidayBaking #GardenCuizine

No Shortening Pie Dough

Home baked pies are enjoyed by all during the Holidays. Many people I speak to may bake off a pie using a store bought crust. I encourage you to make the crust too! Store bought pie crust is convenient but lacks terribly in nutrients and is mostly empty calories. After several attempts at modifying pie dough to use less fat and no shortening, here is one that got two thumbs up from my family for our Thanksgiving pie last night.


Yields: 2 crusts

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup Fage Greek yogurt* plain
  • 2 tablespoons Smart Balance* oil blend
  • 1/4 cup ice water
Putting it all together

Sift or whisk together the dry ingredients. Cut the cold butter into ¼ inch cubes and mix into the dry flour. If you are using a mixer, the paddle attachment works well. Drizzle in the oil. Mix in the cold water. Add yogurt one tablespoon at a time while mixing. When the dough starts to come together, turn the mixer off and finish pressing together by hand. Divide the dough into 2 balls and flatten into 1 inch discs, wrap in clear wrap and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

This all-purpose pie dough is soft and easy to work with. The taste is more like a butter cookie and will not be flaky as a crust made with shortening or lard. It works well for Pumpkin and fruit pies.

Happy Baking!
*Adding 2 tablespoons Smart Balance oil (a blend of mono and polyunsaturated fats: olive, canola and soy) adds vitamin E and 2,000 mg Omega 3's. You can use canola oil OR trans fat free shortening if you don't have Smart Balance. Also, I use Fage lowfat (2%) Greek yogurt, which adds calcium and protein to the recipe. 

Related Links
Diana's Pumpkin Pie recipe  
Blog post and photos copyright (C) 2013 Wind. All rights reserved. Revised 2015.
Greens in the photo collage: Cold hardy Arugula and Parsley harvested Thanksgiving Day!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fiber and Vitamin C Whole Cranberry Jelly #GardenCuizine #HappyThanksgiving

Whole Cranberry Jelly

Add dietary fiber and vitamin C to your Thanksgiving table with homemade whole cranberry jelly. Homemade cranberry jelly can be prepared in under 10 minutes. You can reap even more fiber and antioxidant benefits from using more whole cranberries than canned cranberry jelly when you make it yourself at home.

We've used Ocean Spray Cranberries; this year we came across Paradise Meadow Cape Cod Cranberries. Select any brand, just read the label and look for just one ingredient - Cranberries. You can find whole cranberries at your grocery market in the produce section. Bags of whole cranberries can be frozen for later use in baking and cooking.
  • Most commercial cranberry recipes call for using one cup of sugar; you can reduce the sugar as low as desired. This year we cut the sugar in half. Using less sugar will result in slightly more tart flavor and looser texture that is more like compote than jelly.
  • Persimmons or other fruit can be added to your cranberry jelly for a variation. 
  • Also, Splenda can be substituted for sugar for those who must avoid sugar after bariatric weight loss surgery.
12 ounce bag of whole cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (or 1/4 tsp ground)

Putting it all together
Rinse and drain the cranberries. Place all ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to simmer. Cover and periodically uncover, stir and squish the whole burst berries along the side of the pot using a spoon. When most of the berries are smashed, turn off heat and cool for a few minutes before pouring into your serving bowl. Set aside to cool a little more before moving to the refrigerator until serving.

Cranberry Nutrition
Cranberries are a good source of dietary Fiber and Antioxidants including Vitamin C
2 ounces (56g) fresh cranberries: 2.6g dietary fiber (10% DV); 6.8g carbohydrate (2% DV); 7mg vitamin C (12% DV)

Happy Thanksgiving!
Related Links
Cranberry Anti-Inflammatory and Cardiovascular benefits 
Photo and blogpost Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved. Updated 11/25/2021

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ho Ho Ho Grinch Kabobs #GardenCuizine #Christmas #eatmorefruit

Grinch Kabobs
Made Grinch Kabobs tonight for our calendar party at Trinity Church. Our month was December and the theme was Christmas Afternoon Tea with berry scones, lemon curd, tea sandwiches and of course dessert. These were served on the dessert tray. Got the idea from Pinterest and gave them a try. The fruit was a tight squeeze on the toothpicks, so excess was trimmed off the large grapes and strawberries. Also, the mini marshmallows were cut in half. The sliced banana was tossed in a drizzle of fresh squeezed lemon juice to keep the fruit from browning. 

Because of the banana slices, they won't hold up long; make them as close to your party as possible. I made these about an hour before the event and kept them in an airtight container until serving time. Also, buy extra strawberries because some might not be cone shaped and won't work well as a Santa hat. These were a big hit! Serve them at a Christmas party or for a healthy holiday snack.
Have fun party planning this holiday season! 
Photo and blog post Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Nutritious KALE salad by Chef @SeamusMullen #GardenCuizine @pfizer @SpiritOfWomen @InspiraHN @arthritis_org

Kale Salad
with Fruit and Heirloom Veggies 
Yesterday, celebrity chef Seamus Mullen took a drive from the Big Apple to visit South Jersey to share his tips on living and cooking with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). He was diagnosed with RA in 2007. Seamus prepared an inflammatory fighting veggie recipe - kale salad. The event took place at Appel Farms and Music Center in Elmer, NJ.

Chef Mullen made diet and lifestyle changes to deal with RA swelling, stiffness and pain – a challenge for chefs especially, since they stand long hours on hard kitchen floors and have to be able to bend their fingers around and grip chef’s knifes. Rheumatologist Dr. Barry Shimmer spoke before the cooking demo about the clinical diagnosis and the importance of communicating disease symptoms to your doctor.

Seamus lived in Spain for years and enjoys cooking Spanish cuisine. He was Executive Chef and Partner of Boqueria’s flagship Spanish restaurant when it opened in New York's popular Flatiron district in 2006. Five years later (August 2011) he opened Tertulia in Manhattan’s West Village. Tertulia’s boasts 2-stars from The New York Times and 3-stars from New York Magazine. 

Chef Mullen's latest culinary venture is about to open real soon this Fall - a tapas and wine bar El Colmado located at 600 11th Ave, NY, NY in Gotham West Market. Despite such a busy work schedule, Seamus has committed himself to spread the word about RA and share his story and love of cooking in hope of inspiring others to improve their diet and lifestyle. You may find kale in some recipes in his cookbook released last year: Hero Food: How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better - Andrews Mcmeel Publishing.

Kale - Brassica oleracea
“Kale is delicious,” said Chef Mullen as he prepared kale salad. “Kale is dense in micro-nutrients,” including vitamins A, C, B6, dietary fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium and potassium. Tuscan kale (also known as Dinosaur kale) is a popular kale cultivar you can grow at home or find at farm markets. He tore Tuscan kale off the ribs and set it aside in a salad bowl and added whole grapes and Spanish Marcona almonds. 

Chef Mullen used a food processor to thinly slice nutrient-rich, locally grown patty pan squash, heirloom watermelon radish and shallots that he added to the kale. The salad was seasoned with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper before being tossed with creamy vinaigrette - Yum! Kale has been a favorite of mine for decades. 

Honey Buttermilk Vinaigrette 
Ingredients for the flavorful vinaigrette dressing included: buttermilk, garlic, champagne vinegar, honey, dill, salt and fresh ground black pepper. Olive oil was blended in last and slowly to maintain an emulsion.

The kale salad was delicious considering kale can be a tough green. In years past kale was most often relegated as a garnish or only served in health food restaurants, but today, thanks to more delicate varieties like Tuscan Kale, you see home cooks and chefs using raw kale in everything from salads (especially kale Caesar salad) to smoothies.

Event sponsors included Pfizer and Spirit of Women.
Related Links 
Rethink RA with Chef Mullen 
More about Rheumatoid Arthritis
Photo collage and blog post Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What in the world are these ginormous green seedless GRAPES? #GardenCuizine

"I've never seen grapes this large!" 
says Junetta, my 82 year old mom

In a time of super-sized sodas, fast foods and portion distortion, finally an over-sized food dietitians and the public can embrace. A grape bigger than any grape ever seen makes me wonder, what kind are they?  

Giant Seedless Green Grapes
Super-sized, enormous green grapes seen in markets September through December are most likely Autumn King - an increasingly popular table grape variety released by the US Department of Agriculture in 2005. Autumn King grapes ripen late season, later than Thompson seedless, expanding the grape varieties available for fall. The grapes are so large, it's hard to imagine what they must look like growing on the vines!

Note to Carb Counters
Remember fruit is a carbohydrate, so if you are diabetic or counting carbs, do not go by 17 grapes equals one carbohydrate serving with these big boys. Instead, go by weight of 3 ounces for an estimate of one carb serving.

Related Links

Introduced just eight years ago, Autumn King now dominates late season green market

Why Grapes are Good for You 
Portion Distortion Quiz
Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Grapes 
Blog post Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Extra Garden Hot Peppers? Make Hot Pepper Jelly︱Adds gourmet touch to muffins and entrees #GardenCuizine

Homemade Jalapeño
 Hot Pepper Jelly

Growing peppers will always provide you a bountiful harvest. Insects seem to stay away from pepper plants and peppers will keep on coming right up until a killing frost. The photo above shows yet another batch of organically grown peppers (and heirloom tomatoes) fresh picked during October in our backyard garden. And, here it is November already, and peppers are still growing!

Even with just a few plants, extra hot peppers can pile up quickly. Hot peppers can only be utilized in recipes so fast. Ways of preserving the harvest are good to know, such as hot sauce, salsas or drying and grinding hot peppers for Homemade Ground Pepper Spices. This year we've already made a few batches of hot pepper jelly. 

Unlike what you may think, pepper jelly is not just for hot pepper lovers, even mom - who coughs at the thought of eating spicy foods - says, "this tastes pretty good." Especially when served as a condiment or glaze with pork, chicken, tofu or fish. Try a dab of pepper jelly over your favorite creamy cheese on whole grain crackers, or as a spread on fresh baked cornbread or muffins. Creative culinary ideas are endless - the flavor is memorable. 
Watch for the recipe 
to be published tomorrow, November 2, 2013
Jalapeño Nutrition
  • Good source Vitamin C
GardenCuizine Nutrition data: 1 Hot Jalapeño pepper (14g): 4 calories; dietary Fiber (2% DV); 112 IU Vitamin A (2% DV); 6 mg Vitamin C (10% DV)
    Related Links: USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning
    Capsaicin - used medically
    More about Capsicum - American Cancer Society
    Blog post and photos Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

    Saturday, October 26, 2013

    Energizing breakfast or brunch: Peppers and Eggs #GardenCuizine

    Add Nutrition to your scrambled
    egg breakfast with
    Sweet Banana Frying Peppers

    Low sodium, low fat, Sweet Banana Frying Peppers in scrambled eggs adds great flavor and an excellent source of dietary Fiber and Vitamins B6, C, and K to your recipes. Sweet Banana Peppers also provide a good source of potassium and vitamin A. Enjoy this tasty, easy way to add veggies to your breakfast.

    GardenCuizine Peppers and Eggs freestyle recipe: meaning that you do not need to measure ingredients. Use as many eggs or Egg Beaters that you wish to use to serve the number of guests coming for breakfast or brunch. Figure on at least one sweet banana pepper per person.

    Eggs* (we prefer free range organic or Egg Beaters. *You can use tofu for a vegan option)
    Sweet Banana Frying Peppers (nothing beats organic home grown)
    Olive oil
    fresh herbs as desired  (add turmeric in scrambled tofu)
    ground black pepper at the table; no need for added salt
    • Wash peppers first
    • Cut in half and remove seeds
    • Place in microwave safe container with a little water and steam for 1-2 minutes on high
    • In a skillet with a generous amount of olive oil, saute, continuously stirring so peppers don't blacken
    • Remove and set aside cooked peppers, drain excess oil
    • Add Egg Beaters or scrambled eggs to skillet
    • At the very end of cooking the eggs, stir in cooked peppers
    • Serve hot and enjoy!
    GardenCuizine Sweet Banana Peppers Nutrition data: 4 medium (4 ½-inch long) sweet banana frying peppers: 48 calories; 0.8g total fat (1%DV); 24mg sodium (1%DV); 8g dietary fiber (32%DV); 624 IU vitamin A (12% DV); 17.6 mcg vitamin K (22%DV); 0.8 mg vitamin B6 (40%DV); 152 mg vitamin C (253%DV WOW!!); 472 mg potassium (13%DV)
    Related Links
    Eat More Fruits and Vegetables 
    Veggies for Breakfast? yes!
    6 Sly Ways to Sneak Veggies into Breakfast
    Photo collage and blog post Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

    Friday, October 25, 2013

    Another collander full of Heirloom Goodness #GardenCuizine

    Fresh picked heirloom tomatoes. 
    Pick them green. 
    Tomatoes don't care for even a light frost.
    Today may be one of our last days picking Jersey tomatoes and peppers. Parsley, arugula, lettuce and kohlrabi can better tolerate frost. 
    Related Link
    Frost Tolerance of Vegetables

    Saturday, October 12, 2013

    Hot Jalapeno Pepper Jelly in test kitchen︱ Colorful fall harvest today #GardenCuizine

    Today in Our 
    South Jersey Garden
    October 12, 2013
    Still picking organic heirloom tomatoes and jalapenos. Harry made a test kitchen batch of hot jalapeno pepper jelly today using a new recipe. We'll post the recipe soon if it gels.

    Happy and Healthy Gardening!
    Photo Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

    Sunday, October 6, 2013

    Today in Our Garden feels and looks more like Summer than Fall #GardenCuizine

    Today in Our Garden
    South Jersey
    USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)
    October 6, 2013
    Figs are finito. Lettuce, arugula, peppers and tomatoes will continue until frost. Dahlias seem to be slow to bloom for us this season. Pineapple sage is late to bloom too. Rosemary and Jersalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) are blooming now along with so many other blooms including re-blooms on our roses. Rain is headed our way with cooler air to end this dry spell and unseasonal burst of warm weather.

    Shown above (clockwise from left to right):

    • Japanese Anemone, Phlox, Goldenrod
    • Chiltepin hot peppers
    • rose (no ID)
    • ornamental 'Black Pearl' peppers
    • Lady in Red salvia
    • Spanish Flag vine (Ipomoea lobata)
    • Nicotiana Sylvestris 
    Now is a good time to collect heirloom seeds to share and plant in your garden next season. What's blooming in your garden?
    Photo collage Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    Kitchen Garden Guide to B Vitamin Plant Foods #GardenCuizine #gardenchat

    Kitchen Garden Guide 
    to Plant Foods
    with Vitamin B
    There are 13 vitamins that our bodies absolutely need - some fat soluble, some water soluble - among them are eight important B vitamins. Vitamin-B-rich foods often grown in home and community gardens include asparagus, spinach, mint, parsley, beans, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and peanuts. Read more in my article published on Dave's Garden.
    The below chart highlights some of the fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that contain essential B vitamins. For best comparison the calculations are based on portion sizes of one (1) ounce unless otherwise noted. Please keep in mind that this list is by no means all inclusive; there are many other foods that contain Vitamin B that are not shown. 

     Blog Post and Vitamin B Chart Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.