Monday, January 25, 2016

@birdsblooms Peanuts are for the Birds! #GardenCuizine #Blizzardof2016 #Jonas

"More Peanuts Please"
chirps our Backyard Wildlife
As people were racing to and from food markets in preparation for winter storm Jonas, backyard birds and animals were racing around too. Along with electric water bowls, our NJ Certified Wildlife Habitat provides food and shelter, including seeds and nuts for nourishment during the winter. This is especially important when the ground becomes snow covered making seeds scarce. Peanuts were a popular treat before and after the blizzard. 
We expected to attract squirrels and Blue Jays, but were very surprised to see small-sized titmouse birds fly off with peanuts too! According to Birds and Blooms Magazine and PennState Extension, peanuts attract a variety of birds including: Jays, Titmice, Nuthatches, Chickadees and Woodpeckers.

Peanuts provide energy yielding unsaturated fat and protein, which helps some critters and birds survive the winter. 

Related Links
Feeding Birds Peanuts In The Backyard
Winter Bird Feeding 
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Feed your gut microbiota Marcella Beans #GardenCuizine #2016foodtrend

Sorana Italian Beans
Marcella Beans

Have you ever heard of Marcella Beans? I just read the wonderful story and thought I'd post the information here. Marcella Beans are white cannellini beans grown in California from Sorana Italy seed stock by heirloom bean growers at Rancho Gordo. They were named Marcella after Marcella Hazan, Italian cook, author, and lover of good, wholesome foods. Sadly, Marcella past away in 2013 before tasting these US grown beans that she inspired.

This year we will be enjoying more beans in our cooking repertoire. As a dietitian I'm always seeking out what foods can help people I know; many of whom suffer from inflammatory diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. 

I remember learning about the importance of Butyrate at Rutgers. The high fiber in foods like beans feeds gut microbes that in-turn fights inflammation. Gut microbes are attracting more research and studies and sure are a fascinating topic.  

NY Chef Seamus Mullen recently shared with GQ Magazine that he predicts more gut-friendly, high fiber foods will be among the hottest food trends in the New Year. Eating more fiber-rich foods makes sense for better health.

White beans can be incorporated into many recipes. I like the way Marcella Hazan herself said she enjoyed Sorana beans - simply drizzled with olive oil and fresh black pepper on good crusty bread. I can't wait to taste these. Please share how you prepare Marcella beans if you get a chance to try them too.

Buon Appetito!

Related Links
Changing Your Diet Changes Your Gut Bacteria
Seamus Mullen: the Chef who Cured Himself of Arthritis

Friday, January 15, 2016

Dry your own Parsley! America's favorite kitchen herb #GardenCuizine

Dried Parsley
More than just a garnish, garden parsley tops the list of America's favorite kitchen herbs used in green juices, soups, salad dressings, eggs and entrees. Green parsley is one of my favorite biennial herbs to grow - Italian flat leaf or curly leaf. In the winter if we don't have any growing at the time we need some, we'll pick up a bunch at the store. 

You can always count on parsley being readily available. The best bet is to purchase parsley by the bunch and not just a sprig or two sold in little plastic containers. Extra parsley can be easily preserved by air drying.

Many recipes just need some parsley, not all of the bunch. When we have extra parsley sitting in the refrigerator, before it goes bad, we dry it. You don't have to tie it up or do anything time consuming, simply:
  • Give parsley a rinse, shake off excess water
  • pat dry, spread out in a single layer and let air dry on plates or cookie sheets for several days
  • Once it is crispy dry, simply crumble leaves with clean hands
  • store in an airtight spice jar 
  • discard stems in compost
GardenCuizine Nutrition Data Parsley: based on USDA Nutrient Reference Data
Excellent Source: Vitamin C and Vitamin K
Good Source: Vitamin A

10 Parsley sprigs (10g = about 2 Tablespoons): Calories: 4; Vitamin A: 842 IU (17% DV); Vitamin C: 13 mg (22% DV); Vitamin K: 164 mcg (205% DV); and other vitamins, minerals and compounds such as flavonols and apigenins, which may be helpful in fighting cancer.

Related Links
Health Benefits of Parsley
Blog post and photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Savor the Flavor of Eating Right #NNM #GardenCuizine Tell me your favorite Flavors to Savor
Mark your calendar for National Nutrition Month® (NNM) 2016, which is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. NNM is held every year throughout the month of March to focus attention on the importance of Eating Right. 

In South Jersey, Inspira Health Network will be offering a public cooking class at the Fitness Connection in Vineland, NJ on March 10, 2016. Watch for the details from Inspira's PR department to be released soon!

Help us in planning our specific tastes and recipes for this fun cooking class: What does Savor the Flavor mean to you? What are your favorite flavors?

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you!


Logo Copyright (C) Academy of Nutrition - used with permission.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Baked Heirloom Beans. Fiber Superstar! #GardenCuizine #HealthyCooking

Baked Heirloom Beans
Christmas Limas
dietary Fiber Superstar!
Resolve to eat more beans in the New Year! Beans provide excellent dietary Fiber and minerals and are a low cost, lean protein for healthy eating. Christmas Limas have a pleasant chestnut texture. Prepare them as you would any bean. You'll notice that after cooking, the beans will become huge - up to the size of a quarter!
Prepare heirloom beans into a vegan or vegetarian main course or side dish; or enjoy Christmas Limas any time of year as a side to compliment a lean protein (tofu, chicken, fish, pork, etc.). We served Christmas Limas last night as a side dish with grilled chicken and a salad. As you can see in the photos, the beans become more brown when cooked.
We haven't tried growing limas yet, but have heard that they are easy to grow. You can look for dried heirloom Christmas Lima beans from local gourmet suppliers or online from suppliers like Rancho Gordo, which is where we bought ours.

Lima beans are indeed a bean, but they are also starchy, so rather than classifying them in the bean (legume) category, the DGA classifies Lima beans in with starchy vegetables like potatoes, green peas, corn, plantains and cassava. Beans are unique; because of their excellent protein content, 1/4 cup of cooked beans can count as one ounce of protein. 

Research shows diets rich in high fiber foods, such as beans, may reduce cholesterol and the risks of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. 

1 1/2 cups dried Christmas Limas 
small piece dried kombu seaweed - optional

1/2 cup onion, diced
1 Tablespoon (Tblsp) olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tblsp molasses
1 teaspoon (tsp) dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon minced hot pepper
1 small sweet pepper - optional (we happened to have some frozen from summer) 
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
pinch black pepper

Putting it all together
  • Place dried beans in a stock pot. Top with water to cover by an inch or so. Let soak for 3 hours (or whatever works with your schedule; there really is no set time).
  • Drain water. Refill pot to cover beans by 2 inches. Add small piece dried kombu seaweed. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer partially covered until tender. Drain and set aside so beans don't overcook - SAVE bean liquid. Remove and discard kombu.
  • Saute onion in 1 Tblsp olive oil. Add peppers. Stir and cook until onions are translucent. Stir in molasses, dry mustard and sugar. Add ketchup, Worcestershire and liquid then beans. Stir gently to combine ingredients. Stir in cider vinegar, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil.
  •  Transfer to a baking dish and bake covered 30 minutes at 375 deg. Uncover, reduce heat and cook another 15-30 minutes. 
Related Links
Heirloom Christmas Limas - my article on Dave's Garden
Nutrient Profile Beans
Beans top the charts as a Fiber Superstar! Today's Dietitian
Benefits of Beans and Legumes 
Baked Limas with Tomatoes and Peppers 
Blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

We all need Dietary Guidelines #GardenCuizine @EatRight

We All Need
Dietary Guidelines

From the time of your birth, the need for adequate nutrition was born. We all need dietary guidelines to thrive and grow. Adequate food and nutrition helps keep us healthy with a balance of nutrients to prevent chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Today the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the USDA released the long awaited, new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines to encourage healthy eating patterns for disease prevention.

If you or someone you know needs science-based dietary advice, make an appointment to speak with a registered dietitian nutritionist like myself. We base our expert advice on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Dietitians can be found throughout your community: at your local hospital, some doctor's offices, super markets, schools, community centers, work, retirement homes or in private practice. 

All ages should focus on Healthy Eating. Your choices matter!
Focus on Portion Control, variety and nutrient density 
Limit calories from sugars and saturated fats
Reduce Sodium
Make Healthier Food choices and Rethink Your Drink!
Be a Healthy Eating Role Model for your family and friends

Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Related Links 
Support Healthy Choices for All Americans 
Comparison of 2010 and 2015 DG
Blog post and photo Copyright (C)Wind. ALL rights reserved.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Nigerian Ewa Dodo for a New Year's Good Luck #recipe #GardenCuizine

Ewa Dodo
Black-eyed Peas and Plantains
low sodium

Celebrate the New Year with this Nigerian good luck meal featuring black-eyed peas and plantains. We grew black-eyed peas last year for the first time and found them fun and easy-to-grow. I saved some dried to use for a special recipe to ring in the New Year. Last year we made Hoppin' John. 

This recipe is my version of Ewa Dodo. Ever since I learned how to cook beans from macrobiotic cooks back when I had my health food restaurant, to this day, I still add a small piece of dried kombu seaweed to the bean pot. I also add a splash of vinegar to bean dishes when they are cooking. 

For flavor, adding garden herbs and hot pepper enhances the recipe without adding extra salt. I also added a few sweet peppers because we had a bountiful fall harvest and have a freezer full! Stews are like soups - you can be creative and use up ingredients that you may have available.

Serves 4

fish or shrimp (can be salmon, tilapia or we used grilled Chilean Sea Bass)
2 ripe Plantains
Vegetable oil enough for frying
1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas
small piece dried kombu seaweed

1 cup chopped onion
1-2 small sweet peppers, chopped
dried hot pepper, minced (however much you want to add)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon minced ginger 

2-3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Putting it all together
Decide how you want to cook the fish: in the stew or cook it and then add it to the stew. Traditional Nigerian stew cooks the fish directly in the stock pot. We used sea bass and grilled it before adding it to this New Year's dinner.

In a stock pot, rinse and soak the black-eyed peas for 2 hours. Drain and refill with fresh water add a small piece of dried kombu seaweed. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, partially cover and cook until tender. Drain (to stop cooking), saving cooking liquid and set aside.

Fry the Plantains
Peel ripe plantains (ripe plantains have black sections all over skin), slice on bias (diagonal), and fry plantains in veggie oil until golden. Place on paper towels to cool and blot off excess oil, set aside.

In stock pot, heat olive oil; saute onion and peppers; stir in garlic and ginger. Add seasonings and tomatoes, stir. Add beans and saved bean cooking liquid - add as much as desired. You may or may not use all of it, depending on how much water you cooked your beans in. Use your judgement. Stir in vinegar, fish and parsley; cover and simmer to blend flavors. 

Note: this was our first time frying plantains, we fried yellow plantains and found them to taste starchy and dry so we added them in with the stew rather than serving as a side. We learned that you should wait until the plantains get some blackening on the skin before peeling and frying. 

Happy New Year!
Related Links
Beans, Beans, They're Good for your Heart...
Recipe, photos, video and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Plantain Nutrition and Questions about Plantains versus Bananas #GardenCuizine

Plantain Nutrition
Good Source dietary Fiber

Today, Harry and I had some food photography fun shooting some fresh fruit on the table. In the arrangement we included plantains. Plantains (Maduros) are enjoyed in Latin America and many parts of the world; including the USA, Africa and throughout the Caribbean. Our family never really bought them before. Questions that we had were:

1) Do plantains taste like a banana?
2) Can you eat plantains raw?

3) Do you eat plantains green?

Plantains have thicker skins and are larger than bananas. Like bananas, plantains are a carbohydrate food, but unlike bananas, they are not as sweet so plantains are usually served as a starch rather than a fruit and are cooked before being eaten. Most people do not eat plantains raw. 

As you can see in the photo, plantains can be pretty green compared to the bright yellow lemons. Go ahead and cook them when green, but they taste better if allowed to ripen. At any stage of ripeness, plantains can be boiled, fried or grilled*. To peel plantains, cut off each end then score the thick skin lengthwise with your knife. The skin can then be easily peeled off.

Since we are still celebrating the New Year, we plan to fry our plantains and serve them with black-eyed peas for good luck!

Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!

*update: 1/4/15- last night we made Nigerian Ewa Dodo with fried plantains. In just one day after I took the above photo, the green plantains turned yellow. We should have let them ripen a few days longer. After cooking the yellow plantains, we thought they tasted too starchy and dry. We learned that for best flavor, allow plantains to ripen to the point of showing black spots before peeling and cooking. 

GardenCuizine Nutrition Data Plantains
Good Source: dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium

1/2 cup cooked mashed Plantain 100g = 116 Calories; total Carbohydrate 31g; dietary Fiber 2.5g (9% DV); Protein 1g; Vitamin A: 909 IU (18% DV); Vitamin C: 11mg (18% DV); Vitamin B6: 0.2mg (12% DV); Folate: 26 mcg (6% DV); Potassium 465mg (13% DV) 

For Comparison 1 small Banana raw = 101g; 90 Calories; total Carbohydrate 21g; dietary Fiber 3g (11% DV); Protein 1g; Vitamin A: 65 IU (1% DV); Vitamin C: 9mg (15% DV); Vitamin B6 0.4mg (19% DV); Folate 20mcg (5% DV); Potassium: 362mg (10% DV)
Photo and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.