Saturday, October 29, 2016

Cooking Calabaza Squash #pumpkin #pumpkinpuree #GardenCuizine

Cooking Calabaza
(Pumpkin Puree)
Nutritious Calabaza squash (West Indian Pumpkin) grows in several parts of the world including: Central America, South America, parts of Africa and North America and throughout Caribbean tropical areas. Ours may have come from Costa Rica, we bought it at ShopRite. The squash was beautiful with streaks of green throughout the melon color. We usually prefer to buy and support locally grown Jersey Fresh produce. 

Locally grown Pumpkins or other varieties of large squash can be cooked in the same way described below. Simply wash and roast whole. There is no need to waist time and try and cut into a hard-as-a-rock, large pumpkin and risk getting cut; when cooked it slices like butter.

1 Calabaza squash


  • Before cooking, wash and rinse outside of squash. 
  • Place the whole squash on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in a pre-heated 375 deg.F oven for about 1 hr, 15 min. Take out and check to see if done. When cooked the flesh will feel soft when pressing on the sides.  Let it cool before touching so you don't burn your finger!
  • Let cool on baking sheet another 10-minutes or so. 
  • Cut out and remove top stem and cut the squash in half. 
  • Allow to cool another few minutes and spoon out the seeds. 
  • When cool enough to handle, spoon out flesh into food processor.
  • Process until smooth.
  • Store in freezer containers and freeze or refrigerate and use in recipes calling for pumpkin puree as needed.
Happy Fall Baking and Cooking!
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 24, 2016

"But, I can't afford to eat healthy..." Cooking Healthy 101 #GardenCuizine pinto #beans #legumes #pulses

Cooking Healthy on a Budget
Cooking Pinto Beans
Frijoles Pintos
Yields 2 quarts of cooked beans!
  • Start with a 16 ounce bag of Goya Pinto Beans, Frijoles Pintos for about $1.39 at your local supermarket. Rinse the beans in a strainer. Place in a stock pot. Cover beans with an inch or so of water. 
  • I like to add a 2-inch dried piece of Wakame sea vegetable (available at Asian markets and natural foods stores). But, beans cook fine without it, if you don't have it.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover leaving a small opening for steam to escape; simmer until beans are cooked to taste.
  • No need to pre-soak the beans. Cooking time only takes about 30-45 minutes.
  • Also, no need to salt or season the beans. Wait until you use them in your recipes. 
Note: don't worry if you overcook them - pinto beans are delicious mashed with a little salt, pepper, onion and olive oil as refried beans, or as a spread in fajitas or mixed with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic as a bean dip.
  • When cooked, strain and save the bean liquid. Divide beans into two quart storage containers. Top with bean liquid and refrigerate until ready to use in recipes. Any extra bean liquid can be tossed or used in recipes. I used our extra bean liquid in a quinoa recipe.
Buon Appetito!

Related Links
Take the Pulse Pledge
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fall side dish: Quinoa with #garden tomatillos and yellow split peas #GardenCuizine #recipe #healthycooking

Tomatillo Arvejas Partidas 
Amarilla Quinoa
whole grain side dish
Serves 6
2 T olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion (or however much you want to add)
2 garden tomatillos skin removed, rinsed and chopped

1 T chopped sweet garden pepper
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 cup dry quinoa grain
2 cups water or left over bean water (we just cooked a pound of pinto beans that yielded 2 quarts of beans with liquid and had some leftover bean liquid)

1/4 cup dried yellow split peas
1/4 tsp dehydrated garlic
1/4 tsp dehydrated ginger
pinch salt and black pepper

1 T fresh parsley or 1/2 tsp dried parsley 
1-2 Tblsp of your favorite hot salsa
Putting it all together
In a medium-sized pot with lid: heat olive oil, saute onion and tomatillos
Stir in curry powder, thyme then quinoa
Add remaining ingredients and stir
Bring to a boil, immediately reduce to a simmer
Cover and cook until all liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes)
Stir in parsley and hot salsa
Keep covered until ready to serve

We served this nutritious side dish with Harry's (his mom's recipe) homemade crab cakes and steamed broccoli.

Buon Appetito!
Recipe and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Harvesting Passon Fruit. When are they ripe? Freezing the pulp #GardenCuizine #JerseyFresh

Harvesting Passion Fruit
Stage 2
Stage 1: Grow Passion Flower vines.  

Stage 2 brings us to yielding and harvesting Passion Fruits.

We allowed our passion fruit vines to take over Mom's tomato raised bed. Their spiral tendrils gripped the San Marzano supports allowing the vines to quickly grow up towards the sky. Throughout the summer we enjoyed a spectacular show of extraordinary purple blooms. Passion flowers last for just a day before developing into fruit.  

The vines grew to the top of each tomato support and formed a huge canopy. We soon discovered abundant, lime-sized, green fruits dangling beneath the vines. Unlike limes, passion fruit skins were smooth.

At first, we weren't sure how to tell when they were ripe. But, it didn't matter once I heard the weather was going to dip to our first frost. I decided to pick all that I could gather before they were ruined. Some fruits were small, but I picked them anyway. Ideally, a longer growing season would have been nice. It would have been best to allow the fruits to ripen on the vines and fall to the ground.

Our passion fruit harvest filled 2 large colanders! The majority of fruits were firm so I left them out on the kitchen counter this past week. As they ripened, the skin color changed from lime green to a paler, yellow-green and the skins got crinkly and soft. And, the flesh around the small, watermelon-like seeds was juicy and translucent when ripe.

Today, I decided to sacrifice a fresh picked firm fruit to see if there was a difference between the pulp of a paler, soft fruit vs a greener firm one. Test for ripeness by pressing the outside of the fruit with a finger - like poking a finger into yeast-risen bread dough to check readiness. Soft, ripe fruit will leave an indent; those are the ones I've been washing and cutting in half first. 

The pulp easily scoops out with a spoon leaving 3 rows of pithy, weird-looking bands along the inside walls of the fruit, which I imagine taste bitter like the pith of a lemon or lime. I tossed the skins in the compost and saved the juicy seeds in a storage container and froze it. I've been adding more to the container as the fruits ripen. 

There are different types of flamboyant passion flowers that yield different tasting fruits. For example, purple, more juicy fruits from Passiflora edulis, known as lilikoʻi in Hawaii, and some yield more banana-like shaped fruits. Ours is commonly known as Maypop - Passiflora incarnata.

Stay tuned for Stage 3 - Passion Fruit Recipes and Nutrition Data! 
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

#PattypanSquash Potato Pancakes #GardenCuizine #lowcarb #latkes

Pattypan Latkes
~ low Carb, high Vitamin C ~

End of Summer, early Fall garden harvests can be quite interesting. Look at the above photo of the white, scalloped-edged veggie on the far right. Have you ever seen anything like it? Pattypan squash reminds me of a creature from outer space or in the ocean. I've seen 2- inch-size yellow/green types before, but never a giant, pure white pattypan. My initial thought was, "What do you do with it?"  

After harvesting our first one, I posted a photo on Facebook and Sheila, a long time special friend and chef, commented, "These were my favorite summer squash that our Mama used to make for supper..........lightly dredged in salt and pepper seasoned flour, fried, of course, in the iron skillet." At that moment I knew that frying was going to be my cooking method for our first dining experience with this scalloped wonder

What's great about pattypan is that it's not like eggplant or potatoes; the squash does not soak up oil like a sponge. These Latkes taste flavorful without containing excess fat or salt. Pattypan squash can be cooked in as many ways as you would prepare zucchini: sauteed, steamed, stuffed, stir fried, baked, grilled, veggie lasagna, etc.

My first pattypan "potato" pancake recipe didn't use any potato, just 100% summer squash; they were tasty, but I used more flour than I wanted to. In our next batch, I used much less flour and added just a little potato flakes. The end result was yum! Harry couldn't stop at eating just one. Pattypan squash remains the star of this low carb recipe: 2 cups grated pattypan (skin on) to only 1/2 cup potato.

Note: The squash turns to mush if frozen raw. Try leftover squash Julienne cut and added raw to salads. 

Yields: 6 large pattypan-potato pancakes
2 cups grated pattypan squash (about 3/4 of one large 572g squash)
2 eggs (100g)
1/4 cup (61g) low fat 2% milk
1/2 cup (30g) potato flakes 

2-3 (30g)Tablespoons (Tblsp) fresh grated onion
2 Tblsp (56g) all purpose flour (or Matzah meal)
1/2 teaspoon (2.5g) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1.5g) salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
Peanut oil or oil for frying
Putting it all together
  • Wash squash - dry w/paper towel; cut in thick slices and trim out the stem area. Spoon out any visibly large seeds (can save and dry seeds on a plate for planting next year).
  • Grate squash and set aside.
  • In large bowl, add eggs and milk and whisk. 
  • Stir in potato flakes and remaining ingredients. 
  • Heat oil in a large skillet. Test heat by dropping in a pinch of batter; it should sizzle and turn golden.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, spoon one scoop batter into hot oil; using the scoop, flatten the mixture in the center to press into a pancake shape. Cook one at a time.
  • Cook until golden - carefully flip to cook both sides. Drain on a paper towel.
  • Remove from paper towels to a baking dish, cover and keep warm in preheated 150 deg F oven.
  • Serve warm with a dollop of Greek Yogurt or applesauce.
Garden Cuizine Nutrition Data: 1/6 of recipe (92g) approximately one large Scalloped Squash Latke
Excellent Source: Vitamin C
Good Source: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate
110 calories; total fat 4g; saturated fat 1g; sodium 170 mg (vs 500+mg in a classic potato Latke recipe!); total Carbohydrate 14g (vs 32g in a classic potato Latke recipe); dietary Fiber 1g (~3% DV); Protein 4g; Vitamin C 12 mg (20% DV); Thiamin 0.2 mg (11% DV); Riboflavin 0.2mg (10% DV); Folate 42 mcg (10% DV)

Related Links
White Scallop Squash Recipes
Seasonal Spotlight: Pattypan Squash
Recipe and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

5th Annual Cape May Dragon Boat Race 2016 #capemay #dragonboatrace @letsmove #paddle

Hooked on Paddling!
Cape May Dragon Boat Race 2016 

Back in the day, I enjoyed paddling at Boat House Row in Philly and racing my Sunfish sail boat at Cooper River Yacht Club and in the International Sunfish Class Association races. Dragon boat racing is a whole new ball game that depends on timing, technique and teamwork sync and coordination. It's all about the team vs a solo venture. I knew when I got an email of a team forming at work, this was something I wanted to try. 

Inspira Health Network took home 2 medals for 1st and 3rd at Cape May's annual Dragon Boat Festival, which was held September 24th. Traveling teams came from all over, including the University of Maryland and the Philadelphia Police Dragon Boat Team, who won 1st place overall.

Inspira entered two dragon boats with 3 heats (races) planned. And, it just so happened it was my birthday weekend!
We decided to stay overnight and took Mom with us.
Dragon boats have a drummer who sits up front to set the pace and a helmsman who steers. This year was unusual - boat captains were given special instructions: 1) to forgo the traditional, festive dragon boat heads and tails; 2) to not use a drummer and 3) to reduce boat weight even further by cutting back to 16 people vs the usual 18 to 20 people per boat. 
Weather conditions were less than ideal. We experienced heavy winds, which made the harbor choppy, splashing water up over the sides and into the long boats. The Coast Guard assisted in bailing water out of our boats just before launching us off the beach.  

As my team stood on the beach waiting our turn watching the end of the previous race, we were surprised to watch a boat fill with water and sink below the water surface! That team managed to stick together, holding on to their boat as they drifted back to shore. 

We got in our boat and set off as waves washed over the gunnels. Luckily, the water was warm. After our winning race, it was disappointing, but not a surprise, that the 24-mph winds caused a race delay followed by cancellation of the remaining races
The conditions reminded me of the overcast, windy, rough bay with white caps at the Sunfish North American Championships with Derrick Fries on a megaphone shouting directions when I raced at Rehoboth Bay Sailing Association in Delaware back in 1987. Nothing like dating myself... but, I'll never forget it. I never sailed so fast in all my life! I was on a high for days after that event. 

Now, I'm hooked on paddling and am proud that I was able to participate and be part of Inspira Dragons. 

Harry made the above video that features Inspira Dragon's 2nd wet practice at Harbor View Marina and our boat taking first place! We wore blue T-shirts - I was in the last seat in the back right of boat #3.
The wheelchair we snagged at a yard sale came just in time to give Mom a tour around Cape May. 

On our way home we visited Cape May Lighthouse. I loved spotting a few migrating monarch butterflies, and Mom loved the Lighthouse; but I'm sure 'Ole Barney' is still her favorite.  

We also traveled to Cape May Point. Harry guided Mom to a bench on Sunset Beach while he reminisced of family visits to look at the concrete ship USS Atlantis. I remembered when my Dad was alive and my sister and I were kids collecting Cape May Diamonds...

See you again soon Cape May!

Related Links
Cape May Dragon Boat Festival
Dragon Boat History
Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.