Sunday, March 31, 2013

Candied Organic Orange Rind for Italian baked goods #GardenCuizine

Candied Orange Rind
Candied orange peel adds flavor to Italian baked goods. I especially enjoy it added to whole grain Easter Bread and Hot Cross Buns. The candied peel can be stored for a long time in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Assuming you are like us and don't have an orange tree in your back yard, the ideal time to make it is when you come across organic oranges on sale. Sometimes when I make it, I like to toss in some kumquats too. My recipe was inspired from the late Anne Casale's book, Italian Family Cooking. She was a culinary professional and author of 5 cookbooks.


4-5 organic navel oranges

kumquats (optional) 
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar
Putting it all together
  • Wash the oranges
  • Using a paring knife, cut each orange from top to bottom through the skin, making 6 sections. Use your finger to push off the rind; try to keep the segments in one piece.
  • Place all the peels in a stock pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain, rinse in cool water. Repeat.
  • Blot the rinds dry with a paper towel. Using a teaspoon gently scrape away any excess top layer of white pith from the inside of each peel. You want to leave 1/8 inch or so of peel - so don't scrape it too much. Set aside the peels.
  • Reusing the same pot - add water and sugar. Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes. 
  • Turn off the heat and add in the peels (and whole or seeded sliced kumquats). Stir to coat them with the syrup.
  • Place into sterilized jars and cover. 
  • Let cool at room temperature. Store in refrigerator.
  • The next day empty the jars into a stock pot. Bring to a boil. Turn off. Then place the rinds and syrup back into the jars. Cool to room temperature. Store in refrigerator. Repeat again a third day. This softens and candies the skins. 
  • Store in refrigerator. Use as desired in your baked goods. 
Blog post and recipe Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Today in Our Garden ... smells of Spring #GardenCuizine

Today in Our Garden
South Jersey

USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)
March 15, 2013

Finally, feels like Spring today. Lots of birds flying around looking for nesting materials and warm enough you don't really need to wear a coat outside. You can smell the hyacinths along the garden paths. New growth can be seen everywhere.

I haven't planted the usual amount of seeds that I normally do. But, those that I did get in the dirt are starting to sprout life. The first sprouts are a favorite pink salvia.

In the garden: garlic is sprouting, horseradish is coming up too. No sign of any Jersey asparagus yet. Arugula is hearty and budding already. Weeds are everywhere and blooming; they actually look pretty nice... What's growing in your garden?

Blessings for a Happy Passover and Happy Easter!

Photo collage Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Make your own ricotta and mozzarella cheese! @cherrygrovefarm #GardenCuizine @NOFANJ

Ricotta and Mozzarella
Cheese-making Class 
at Cherry Grove Farm!

As Harry and I set out for Cherry Grove Farm in Central New Jersey, we knew we were headed for a fun experience. We handmade ricotta, stretched mozzarella and stuffed ricotta burrata balls from grass fed whole cows milk. Even when we were in Sicily last spring we didn't get the opportunity to make or even observe how ricotta cheese was made. My last real cheese-making adventure was when I attended the Academy of Culinary Arts and learned how to make farmers cheese.
  • Cheese is an excellent source of protein and calcium, but can be high in sodium and saturated fat - so enjoy in moderation
  • What's nice about organic farm cheese is that the milk is more nutrient-dense from pastured cows that feed on organic grasses and weeds like clover. For example, some milk may have a yellow hue, a visible sign of having more beta-carotene. 
  • Milk from free roaming pastured cows also contains much more beneficial conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than milk from grain-fed cows.
  • Making ricotta and mozzarella is easier than you may think. But, before you make your own cheese at home it helps to understand curds and whey.
Bariatric clients may like this information too because whey protein is recommended initially after weight loss surgery as an excellent form of supplemental protein.

What is Whey Protein?
Remember the nursery rhyme Little Miss Muffet, who sat on a tuffet, eating of curds and whey? Well, curds come from coagulated milk. And, whey comes from the leftover liquid when milk coagulates and the curds are removed. Whey is a byproduct in cheese-making and is used to make ricotta.

Whey cheese is ricotta. Ricotta means "recooked". it is made from the leftover fluid after straining out the curds, which are coagulated proteins in cheese-making. Proteins are coagulated by low pH and high temperatures. Milk can be coagulated through the action of adding acid such as lemon juice or citric acid powder to the solution. Time and temperature become important elements in the cheese-making process. 
In Sicily we had plenty of tastings though of warm, fresh made ricotta from sheep's milk. Molded Sicilian ricotta was served on the table with fresh bread. In Sicily, we used fresh ricotta in Italian Cassata - a classic Sicilian dessert. Ricotta is also popular in cannoli and in savory eggplant and pasta dishes.

Here in the US, most ricotta is made from cow's milk versus sheep's. There is a distinct difference in taste - with sheep's milk having more flavor, and cow's milk ricotta being more bland.

Cheers to Cherry Grove's cheese-making class!
In the cheese class, we didn't make Ricottone (whey only) ricotta, we made a ricotta variation from whole milk that some call farm cheese. The results are similar. Ricottone is finer in texture. Farm cheese has delicate ricotta curds that can be used as you would Ricottone or made into mozzarella like we did in the class. In the class, we took our stretched mozzarella and stuffed it with a creamy ricotta filling to make burratas.

Cherry Grove has over 50 milking cows that graze on 230 acres of certified organic grass pastures located in Lawrenceville, NJ. Cheese-maker Sam Kennedy, CIA graduate, uses their fresh milk production for making artisan cheeses that are sold at their farm and to chefs, restaurants and stores in the tri-state area.

I first visited Mercer County as a food vendor with my former health food store and restaurant, Garden of Eden Natural Foods and Country Kitchen, Inc. We proudly served organic foods at the NOFA Organic Country Fair on the grounds of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed. NOFA-NJ is dedicated to supporting sustainable food and agriculture throughout New Jersey. 

If you live in the area and get a chance, visit Cherry Grove Farm for some sustainable agriculture fun. In addition to providing cheese-making classes, they have a small market that offers organic eggs, hormone and antibiotic-free meats and of course, their award-winning artisan cheeses.

Here are a few photos we took at Cherry Grove Farm
Thanks for a fun cheese-making class! 

GardenCuizine Ricotta Nutrition: Based on USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference calculated by Diana Wind, RD
Excellent Source: Protein, Calcium, Phosphorus, Selenium
Good Source: Riboflavin, Vitamin A
Whole milk Ricotta: 1/2 cup (124g): Calories 216; Protein 14g (28% DV); Calcium 257mg (26% DV); Magnesium 14mg (3.5% DV); Phosphorus 196mg (20% DV); Selenium 18mcg (26% DV); Riboflavin 0.24mg (14% DV); Vitamin A 552IU (11% DV); Vitamin D 12 IU (3% DV)

Related Links
Making Mozzarella, a Hands-on Affair
Ricotta recipe and using leftover whey
New England Cheesemaking Supply Co 
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Low fat Irish Soda Bread recipe #GardenCuizine #StPatricksDay

Irish Soda Bread
Enjoy soda bread throughout the year - no need to wait for the feast of St. Patrick. True Irish soda bread is low fat and does not use oil, butter, sugar, eggs, yeast or added fruits in the recipe. Of course, you can add whatever you desire to your soda bread version. I added whole grain flour and a teaspoon of poppy seeds to this simple recipe. And, since we don't always have buttermilk on hand, I used Greek yogurt and low fat milk instead. You can use 2 cups buttermilk instead of the yogurt and low-fat milk if you have it. 

Irish Soda bread does not require kneading and is more like a quick bread. The texture has a moist crumb and is not as light as breads made with oil, butter, yeast and eggs. 

Yields: 1 loaf (21 slices)

3 cups (375g) unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup (120g) white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (7g) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt

1 teaspoon (3g) poppy seeds (optional)
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
1/2 cup low fat milk

Putting it all together
  • Prepare a baking sheet with a sprinkling of semolina flour and set aside.
  • Combine the yogurt with milk, stir; it does not have to become lump free. Set aside.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  • mix in the liquid ingredients (I used a Kitchenaide mixer, but you could do it by hand)
  • Shape the dough into a round disc about 2-inches high. If the dough sticks to your hands, wet your hands to make it easier.  
  • Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet. Score the top with a cross using a serrated knife.
  • Bake 425° F for 25 minutes until golden brown; reduce heat for the remaining 15-20 minute cooking time. Sometimes I lay a piece of foil loosely over top if the bread seems like it is getting too brown.  
  • Tap on the bread and when it sounds hollow - it's done.
  • Serve warm topped with your favorite jam, or see the below link for a tasty serving suggestion.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

GardenCuizine Irish Soda Bread Nutrition Data calculated by Diana Wind, RD based on USDA Nutrient Data Reference 
Good Source: Manganese, Thiamin, Selenium
Serving size per slice (49g): calories 103; total fat 1g; saturated fat 0; trans fat 0; sodium 159 mg (7% DV); dietary fiber 1g; total carbohydrate 20g; protein 4g; Thiamin 0.2mg (12% DV); Riboflavin 0.1mg (9% DV); Niacin 1.4mg (7% DV); Folate 38mcg (9% DV); Manganese 0.3mg 17% DV); (Selenium 11mcg (16% DV) 
Percent Daily Values (%DV) are for adults or children aged 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.
Related Links
Irish Soda Bread idea top with handmade ricotta, herbs, honey and sliced kumquats!
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

An Hour in the Garden puts life's Problems in Perspective... #GardenCuizine #gardenchat

Today in Our Garden
South Jersey
USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)
March 15, 2013
Finally, spring is in the air. Cool weather greens like arugula are being harvested for salads. Crocus and black pussywillows (Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys') are blooming. Garlic, iris flags, rumex (Rumex sangunieus), sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata), daylilies, horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) and sedum are sprouting. As mom says, "It won't be long before a ta-da day..."

Plant a seed and watch it grow. Spring is just days away.
Happy Gardening! 
Spring begins with the vernal equinox at 7:02 A.M. (EDT) on March 20, 2013 in the Northern Hemisphere. 
Blog post and photo collage Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Product Comparison: @MyArcticZero vs Turkey Hill Frozen Yogurt #GardenCuizine

Have you tried Arctic Zero frozen desserts yet? 
I’m always on the lookout for low calorie treats, especially since the majority of my nutrition counseling sessions focus on weight management. Arctic Zero was mentioned today by @eringraysonRD on my Twitter feed and I thought I’d check it out. Arctic Zero has been sold in stores since 2009. 

I decided to compare it with fat-free Turkey Hill frozen yogurt. Compared to frozen yogurt, Arctic Zero has less than half the calories and even has a little dietary fiber. In today's obesogenic environment, this is a good thing.

Read the Label
Calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients for optimal bone health; they are both lacking in American diets according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Just something to keep in mind when you make your food choices.

Reading food labels is always recommended for any product you plan to buy. A good rule of thumb is to think food groups: 
  • Protein
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • and Dairy (calcium-rich products, can be non-dairy too) 
Hmmm...what food group does Arctic Zero fit into? ZERO. It is a treat. As their name says, "frozen dessert."

Nutrient Comparison
Compared to frozen yogurt, Artic Zero doesn’t have nearly as much calcium - a nutrient you can always count on in yogurt. Their protein content is comparable. Sodium is slightly higher in Arctic Zero. 

If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, Arctic Zero has much less carbohydrate per serving, which may be a good thing if you are counting carbs and desire a larger serving size or want to add a topping of fresh fruit without going over your carb count.  

Watch Your Portion Size!
Arctic Zero temps you to consume the entire pint of their product as a single serving. Front and center on their product label they promote that there is only 150 calories per pint. Remember, you would need to multiply the below nutrition facts by 4 (2 cups equals 1 pint) since one serving size is 1/2 cup. So eating a pint of Arctic Zero would mean you would consume 320 mg of sodium. Low sodium is considered 140 mg or less per serving.

Compare the nutrition facts for yourself; per ½ cup serving Arctic Zero vs. Turkey Hill frozen yogurt. And, as with any dessert or treat, enjoy in moderation.
Ingredients in Artic Zero include organic cane sugar, Monk fruit concentrate and one of my favorite garden plants in the Aster family - chicory root (Chicorium intybus).
Blog post Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Taste of Spring at the Philadelphia Flower Show @PhilaFlowerShow #GardenCuizine #gardenchat

Flower Show 2013
The harbinger of Spring for us is always the Philadelphia Flower Show. The show is held annually in March. Today is spring-like, but yesterday was snowing as we departed for the show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. We were hoping for less of a crowd, but as always it was packed with people like us with spring fever.

The cost was on the expensive side. We had to purchase our tickets at their box office at $32.00 per ticket with no discount for senior citizens. I had to remind my family that the proceeds from the Flower Show benefit the year-round programs that PHS offers, such as their PHS City Harvest program, which helps to fight hunger and supports community gardens; plus, provides green jobs for families in need.


The Philly Flower Show's grand entrance stopped us in our tracks. With cameras in hand, we snapped away, taking pictures of the creative floral gate adorned with a crown filled of red roses.
We slowly made our way past white birch trees and down the red carpet that directed us to the 38-foot tall center of attraction - Big Ben. The real Big Ben is in London located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. I was in London only once, many years ago to see it. At the show, Big Ben periodically played music videos by the Beatles. The display was surrounded by a water feature and gardens that featured large white illuminated pots. Surrounding plantings included English roses and spurge.
The show displays showcased many colorful delphiniums and hollyhocks. One of my favorite areas was a display that focused on clematis by Raymond Evison Clematis, a popular breeder from the UK. Of course, now I'll have to get my namesake - Clematis Diana's Delight. 
And, being a green plant lover, I especially liked the vertical wall behind PHS Meadowbrook Farms garden display that featured green chrysanthemum spider mums. 
Some of my favorite plants were:
Here are a few more photos from the show:
Happy and Healthy Gardening! 
Don't forget, now is the time to get your garden plans going. You can start your seeds now indoors and then transplant your seedlings outside when the soil warms. I picked up dirt for our seeds today.
Related Links
Philadelphia PHS Flower Show  
Meadowbrook PHS Farm 
Blog post and photographs Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.