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.