It’s Picnic Time! | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 03 September 2015 11:26

090315fLabor Day marks the unofficial end of vacation season for most of us. It’s a great time to get out with family and friends for a picnic in the park before the back-to-business fall pace sets in.

GRILLED CORN ON THE COB

Peel husks back, but do not remove. Using your fingers, remove silk from corn and pull husks back up around corn. In a large pan, cover corn (husks on) with cold water. Soak for at least 1 hour. Drain, shaking corn to remove excess water. Cover corn as much as possible with husks. If necessary, tie the tips of the husks together with wet kitchen string.

Grill corn (with husks) on an uncovered grill directly over medium-hot coals about 25 minutes or until tender, turning several times. Carefully remove the husks and strings.

Meanwhile, melt some margarine or butter with a little lemon juice, and thyme. Brush mixture over the corn before serving.

PICNIC HOT DOG PLATTER

12 frankfurters or turkey sausages
1 dozen hot dog buns
Favorite mustards
Other condiments (sliced tomatoes, pickle relish, etc.)

Pierce uncooked sausages all over with a fork or cut several shallow crosswise slits in each uncooked sausage.

In a grill with a cover, arrange preheated coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above the pan. Grill franks (or other cooked sausages) on grill rack above the drip pan for 10 minutes or until brown and a thermometer registers 165°F.  Place in buns and top with desired mustards and condiments.

HAM & MACARONI SALAD

1 cup packaged elbow macaroni
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1-1/2 cups fully cooked ham (8 ounces), cubed
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, cut into cubes (4ounces)
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons diced pimiento
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1 to 2  tablespoons milk
Dash pepper, to taste
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh parsley sprig (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions, Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again.

In a large mixing bowl combine pasta, ham, cheese, peas, celery, onion, and pimiento. Toss gently to mix.

For dressing, in a small mixing bowl stir together mayonnaise, pickle relish, milk, and pepper. Pour dressing over pasta mixture. Toss to coat. Cover and chill overnight. Just before serving, stir in milk, if necessary. Spoon pasta mixture into a serving bowl. Arrange cherry tomato halves around the edge of bowl. If desired, garnish with parsley. Makes 4 main-dish servings.

TUNA-APPLE SALAD SANDWICHES

12 ounces tuna, packed in oil, drained
2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 apple, such as Gala, peeled, cored, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 slices fresh sourdough

In a medium bowl, combine tuna, celery, apple, mayonnaise, basil, and lemon juice; mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

On a work surface, divide tuna salad among 4 slices bread; top with remaining 4 slices bread.

 

 
Starting the School Day Off Right | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 27 August 2015 14:12

082715fBreakfast has long been known as the most important meal of the day, and that’s especially true for youngsters.

Skipping the first meal of the day increases the chances of becoming obese and eventually developing such diseases as diabetes and heart disease.

In 2005, nearly a third of California’s school kids were considered overweight and despite heavy media coverage, the message doesn’t seem to be getting through.

Of course, some breakfast foods can be the villains themselves. So just what constitutes a good breakfast?

In baked goods, 100% whole grains are superior to white flour products. Fruits are far better than fruit juices, especially the so-called “juice cocktails” which often contain more sugar than a bottle of soda.

Using only lean meats, “balanced” vegetable-oil margarines, low-fat mayonnaise, yogurt and milk, and substituting egg whites or egg substitutes in recipes calling for whole eggs, are important ways to greatly reduce the intake of fats and cholesterol, without sacrificing any flavor.

Here are some breakfasts to consider.

CRUNCHY OAT BRAN WAFFLE

2 egg whites
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup nonfat milk
2/3 cup unprocessed wheat bran
2/3 cup dry quick-cooking oats
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat a nonstick waffle iron. Beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. Set aside.

Combine sugar and oil and stir until completely smooth. Add milk and mix well. In another bowl, combine bran, oats, baking powder and salt and mix well. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just thoroughly moistened. Do not over mix. Fold in beaten egg whites.

Spray preheated waffle iron with nonstick vegetable coating. Use 1/2 cup batter for each waffle. Cook until steam stops escaping from waffle iron. (It is essential to use a nonstick waffle iron for this recipe because of the low fat content of the waffle.)

Per waffle: 149 cal, 5 g fat, 1 mg chol, 458 mg sodium

FRUITED FRENCH TOAST

3/4 cup fat-free egg substitute
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 slices Italian bread
2 cups raspberries or other berries
1/4 cup maple syrup

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the egg substitute, milk, cinnamon and vanilla. One by one, dip the bread slices in the batter, turning to coat both sides.

Coat a large no-stick frying pan or griddle with no-stick spray. Place over medium heat until warm. Working in batches, add the slices in a single layer and brown on both sides.

(Keep finished pieces warm in an oven set at 150°F until all the pieces are done.)

Serve topped with the berries and drizzled with the syrup. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 282 cal., 0.4g. fat (1% of cal.), 4.4g. dietary fiber, 1 mg. chol., 383mg. sodium.

MUESLI WITH FRUIT & YOGURT

For each serving:
1/2 cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
1/4 cup diced apple
1/4 cup diced banana
1/4 cup unsweetened muesli (see note below)
1-2 teaspoons honey or pure maple syrup

Note: Muesli is a combination of uncooked rolled oats, fruit, nuts and seeds. Look for it with other cereals or in the bulk section in well-stocked supermarkets or natural-foods stores.

Stir together yogurt, blueberries, apple, banana, muesli and honey (or maple syrup) to taste in a bowl.

Per serving: 291 cal; 4g fat; 2mg cholesterol; 60g carb; 9g added sugars; 12g protein; 7g fiber; 96mg sodium; 536mg potassium

ALMOND OATMEAL

3 cups water
1-1/3 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped dates
2 tablespoons ground almonds
2 tablespoons honey
1 large banana, thinly sliced
1-2 cups skim milk

In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring the water, oats, dates, almonds and honey to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until thick. Serve with the bananas and milk. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 229 cal., 3.3g. fat (12% of cal.), 2.9g. dietary fiber, 1 mg. chol., 39mg. sodium.

LOW-FAT PINEAPPLE COFFEE CAKE

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups diced fresh or canned pineapple chunks, drained and chopped
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray.

Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Whisk egg, yogurt, oil and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just blended. (Do not overmix.) Fold in pineapple. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Combine pecans and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the batter.

Bake the cake until the top is golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Serve warm. Yields 9 servings.

Per serving: 253cal; 9g fat; 24mg cholesterol; 38g carb; 5g protein; 2g fiber; 476mg sodium

 
Cool Suppers | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 19 August 2015 20:37

082015fThis past weekend is a reminder of things to come in the East Bay during the late summer months.

Here are some recipes worth trying for cool suppers.

ROAST BEEF & CHEDDAR SANDWICH

For each sandwich:
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 crusty roll, split
1 teaspoon mango chutney
1 ounce thinly sliced sharp
Cheddar cheese
3 ounces thinly sliced roast beef
4 sprigs stemmed watercress

In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise with Dijon mustard; spread on roll. On bottom slice, spread mango chutney.

Layer with cheddar cheese, roast beef, and watercress. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to overnight.

VEGETABLE WRAPS

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas, warmed
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, sliced
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 head lettuce, chopped
1 (8-ounce) package fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced

Prepare spread: mash diced avocado, mayonnaise, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a bowl with a fork until well blended.

Assemble wraps: spread tortillas with a layer of avocado spread. Place diced tomatoes, cucumber slices, bell pepper strips, lettuce, and Mozzarella cheese slices onto each wrap, leaving about 2 inches of space at the bottom. Fold bottoms up. Roll tortillas over vegetables firmly to enclose fillings. Makes 8 wraps.

COLD GINGER & CARROT SOUP

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, grated
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 pounds carrots, sliced
6 cups vegetable broth
Juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges for garnish
1 cup plain yogurt (not nonfat)
Salt and black pepper

Warm oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Raise heat to medium-high; stir in carrots. Pour broth into pot, cover and bring to a simmer. Remove cover, reduce heat to medium to maintain a simmer and cook until carrots are very tender, about 25 minutes. Remove soup from heat and let cool.

In batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

Just before serving, stir in lime juice and yogurt. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chilled, garnished with lime wedges, if desired. Yields 8 one-cup servings.

GREEN APPLE SLAW

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Dash of cayenne (optional)
6 cups coleslaw mix (1-pound bag)
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into matchsticks
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup raisins

In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and cayenne, if using. Stir in the coleslaw mix, apples, pecans, and raisins.

Taste for seasoning and adjust with more salt and pepper if desired. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

STRAWBERRY, ORANGE & SPINACH SALAD

3 bacon strips, chopped
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
2 medium navel oranges, peeled and chopped
12 fresh strawberries
1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

In a small skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon; drain.

In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, honey, oil, mustard, pepper and salt. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, oranges, strawberries (cut into quarters), cucumber, onion and carrot. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Sprinkle with walnuts and bacon. Serve immediately. Yields 8 servings.

FRESH LEMONADE

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (5 to 6 lemons)
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, to taste
1 cup crushed ice
4 cups water

Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until completely smooth. Serve over ice. Yields 1-1/2 quarts.

MANGO-AVOCADO SALSA

1 mango, peeled, seeded and diced
1 avocado - peeled, pitted, and diced
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine the mango, avocado, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic. Stir in the salt, lime juice, red onion, and olive oil.

To blend the flavors, refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

 
Annual Zucchini Crop a Test of Creativity for Cooks | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 13 August 2015 08:00

081315fThe harvest starts out innocently enough – just a few tiny fingers of zucchini emerging at one time, orange blossoms still attached. But anyone who has grown zucchini can tell you the harvest is hard to keep up with. A few of the squash turn into a basket full, then into large bags full.

Fortunately there’s no shortage of zucchini recipes. And more are introduced each year at the popular Hayward Zucchini Festival which is being held this weekend. Here are some favorites.

ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

2 medium zucchini, trimmed
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
10 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
      finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
      (optional)
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Using the large holes of a box grater, grate zucchini into a medium bowl. Add salt, lemon zest, chopped parsley, garlic, pepper, and eggs. Mix well to combine. Slowly add flour, stirring so no lumps form.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until oil sizzles when you drop a small amount of zucchini mixture into the pan. Carefully drop about 2 tablespoons zucchini mixture into pan; repeat, spacing fritters a few inches apart.

Cook fritters until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Turn fritters, and continue cooking until golden, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer fritters to a plate; set aside in a warm place. Cook remaining zucchini mixture, adding more oil to pan if necessary. Garnish with parsley sprigs and lemon wedges, if desired. Serves 4.

GARDEN ZUCCHINI BISQUE

2 tablespoons butter
2 medium zucchini cut into 1/8-inch slices
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup of fresh parsley
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1 (10-3/4 ounce) can chicken broth
1/4 cup of whipping cream
Pinch of pepper

In 3 quart saucepan melt 2 tablespoons butter; add zucchini, onions, mushrooms and parsley. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until vegetables are crisply tender (6-8 minutes). Meanwhile, in 2 quart saucepan melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat; stir in flour until smooth and bubbly (1 minute). Add chicken broth; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until soup is thickened (5-7 minutes). Stir in cream, pepper and zucchini mixture. Continue cooking until heated through about 5 to 6 minutes

SOUTHWESTERN ZUCCHINI CASSEROLE

1-1/4 pound of zucchini, cubed
1/2 pound Monterey Jack
1/2 pound Sharp Cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons flour
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
1 (4-ounce) can green chilies
3 tablespoons butter

Boil zucchini in salted water 5 minutes. Drain and cool. Mix remaining ingredients (except butter) with zucchini. Pour into a 9-inch square pan. Dot with butter. Bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes. Serves 6.

SKILLET ZUCCHINI & TOMATOES

1 teaspoon soft margarine
2 small onions, chopped
4 small (6 inch) zucchini, thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
Freshly ground pepper

In a large nonstick skillet, melt margarine over medium heat, add onions and cook, stirring, until softened. Add zucchini and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until zucchini is tender-crisp. Season to taste with pepper. Serves 4.

ZUCCHINI-OATMEAL MUFFINS

1/2 cup shredded zucchini
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup oatmeal
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Wash, but don’t peel zucchini. Use the coarsest surface of a grater to shred the squash. If the shreds are very watery, place in a colander to drain while preparing the batter.

In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add the milk, egg, oil and molasses.

Mix just until combined. Gently stir in the zucchini and nuts.

Fill well-greased muffin tin 2/3 full. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes or until done. Serve hot with butter, if desired.

ZUCCHINI LEMON COOKIES

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 packed teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour, spooned and leveled
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1 medium zucchini, finely grated

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. Stir in vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Add flour and cornmeal and mix until mixture is crumbly. Add zucchini and stir until a thick dough forms.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are light golden brown at edges, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool completely on wire racks. Yields about 2 dozen cookies.

 

 
You Say Tomato... | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 06 August 2015 14:16

080615fWhether they’re from your back yard or the local market, August is the best time to enjoy garden-fresh tomatoes.

There are thousands of ways to fix tomatoes, but they are probably at their tastiest when eaten raw, thickly sliced or roughly chunked and dressed with olive oil, salt, pepper, a little fresh basil and maybe a sprinkling of vinegar.

But cooking tomatoes concentrates flavors and, surprisingly, makes them even more healthy. Cook them up with herbs and garlic for an unbeatable tomato sauce. Or slice them thick and sauté them in olive oil, then pour eggs and chopped basil over the browned tomatoes.

To seed tomatoes, slice them in half and squeeze, just like an orange, into a strainer over a bowl to catch the juice, which can be added back to the dish.

To peel a tomato, dunk it into boiling water for about a minute, then plunge it into ice water for a few seconds. Drain, then peel and core using a paring knife.

Or, spear the stem end with a long-handled fork and slowly rotate the tomato over an open flame until the skin chars, blisters and splits. Then plunge into ice water and peel as above.

TOMATO & HERB SALAD

2 pounds assorted ripe tomatoes
12 to 14 slices fresh Mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 sprigs marjoram
10 to 12 basil leaves

Slice large tomatoes; cut small tomatoes in halves. Arrange on a platter with cheese.

In a small bowl, whisk salt, vinegar and honey until salt is dissolved; whisk in olive oil. Spoon over tomatoes.

Strip marjoram leaves from sprigs onto salad. With kitchen scissors, snip basil leaves over tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Makes 8 servings.

FRESH TOMATO BISQUE

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups water
4 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into pieces
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
6 whole cloves
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup medium cream

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and toss to coat. Stir over medium heat until the onion is tender. Sprinkle on the flour and continue stirring over medium heat until the mixture foams. Stir in the water and bring to a boil.

Measure out 3/4 cup of the tomato pieces and set aside. Add the remaining tomato pieces to the boiling mixture. Stir in the brown sugar and cloves. Reduce the heat and cook, uncovered, at the gentle bubble for 30 minutes.

Transfer to a food mill and force through. Return to the saucepan and stir in the reserved tomato pieces. Blend in the salt, pepper, and cream. Place soup over medium heat and warm gently, but do not boil. Yields 6 servings.

BASIC TOMATO SAUCE

1-1/2 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Salt to taste
Pinch of hot red pepper flakes

Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over moderate heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and parsley and sauté 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer.

Adjust heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes collapse and form a thick sauce, about 10 minutes. Purée the sauce through a food mill into a clean bowl.

Return the sauce to the skillet and reheat gently. Taste and adjust seasonings. Yields enough for a pound of pasta.

Variations: Add 1/2 teaspoon of crushed fennel seed with the tomatoes. Or, add 8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, hand torn, when reheating the sauce. Or, stir in a little cream when reheating. Or, add finely minced anchovies, as many as you like, when reheating.

MAC & CHEESE STUFFED TOMATOES

1 package macaroni & cheese, cooked according to package directions
4 large, fresh tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
4 slices bacon, fried, drained and crumbled
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons butter or margarine, melted

Hollow out tomatoes, leaving a 1/4-inch wall around sides and bottom. Salt and pepper insides of tomatoes. Place in 9-inch-round cake pan or pie plate to prevent tipping.

Combine hot macaroni and cheese, bacon and onion in medium bowl; fill tomatoes with mixture.

Combine bread crumbs, cheese and butter in small bowl; sprinkle mixture evenly on top of each tomato.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serves 4.

GRILLED TOMATOES

6 tomatoes, red and yellow
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped freshbasil
Fresh basil sprigs for garnish

Cut tomatoes in half; thread onto skewers, alternating colors. Brush with 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium heat (300°F to 350°F) 10 minutes, turning skewers often.

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and basil; drizzle over kabobs. Garnish, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

 

 
Potato Salad – A Summer Staple | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 31 July 2015 10:43

073015fPotato salad is a summertime favorite, whether it is served at a picnic or for a Sunday night supper. And that big scoop of creamy, chunky goodness on your plate isn’t just “salad,” it’s a mound of emotion, reminding us of all the good times in our lives.

We think of it as an American original, so closely tied as it is to our red, white and blue celebrations. And in true American style, the variations are endless.

The best potatoes for salads are white, Yukon gold, fingerlings and red bliss. Russets can be used, but they are starchy and tend to fall apart.

Whether cooking whole potatoes or in quarters, make sure they are all about the same size so they cook evenly. Potatoes often cook faster than recipes say.

OLD-FASHIONED POTATO SALAD

5 potatoes
3 eggs
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
Ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool, peel and chop.

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, celery, onion, relish, garlic salt, celery salt, mustard, pepper and mayonnaise. Mix together well and refrigerate until chilled. Serves 8.

SOUR CREAM POTATO SALAD

1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
2 teaspoons water
4 cups cold, diced cooked potatoes
1/2 cup peeled, diced cucumber
1 tablespoon instant minced onion
1-1/2teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 large hard-cooked eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Mix mustard with water and let stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, separate the egg yolks from the whites and dice the whites. Combine the egg whites with the potatoes, cucumber, onion, salt, celery seed and pepper.

Mash 3 of the egg yolks and blend with the mustard, sour cream, mayonnaise and vinegar.

Add egg yolk mixture to potato mixture, mix lightly. Put remaining egg yolk through a sieve to garnish salad.

Serve on lettuce. Serves 6.

POTATO CAESAR SALAD

2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon anchovy paste or 2 anchovies
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Romaine lettuce leaves

Place potatoes and enough water to cover in 2-quart pan over high heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain.

In food processor or blender, blend lemon juice, anchovies, Parmesan, mustard, garlic and pepper. Gradually add olive oil until mixture is smooth. Toss potatoes with dressing and parsley.

To serve, arrange on lettuce leaves. Serves 6.

BLUE CHEESE POTATO SALAD

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, divided use
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
Salt and pepper to taste
3 pounds small, red-skinned potatoes, quartered
12 Romaine lettuce leaves
8 bacon slices, cooked, drained and crumbled
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 hard-boiled egg, grated

Whisk oil, vinegar, shallots, parsley, 1 tablespoon chives, mustard, honey and lemon peel in large bowl until well blended. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain; add warm potatoes to dressing and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate.

Arrange lettuce around edge of platter; mound potato salad in center. Sprinkle with bacon, blue cheese, egg and remaining 1/4 cup of chives. Serves 8.

 

 
Too Much Garlic? Don’t Say That in Gilroy! | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 28 July 2015 08:44

072315fYou have to wonder about people who don’t like garlic. What can be more tantalizing than the scent of sautéed garlic, or the buttery aroma of roasted garlic? Just ask the folks in Gilroy, who turned what was once a culinary outcast into a world famous celebration which has raised millions for local charities.

For details on the 37th Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, which starts this Friday, visit www.gilroygarlicfestival.com/.

Here is a sampling of the hundreds of recipes the festival has spawned.

GARLIC FESTIVAL CHICKEN WINGS

15 (or so) chicken wings or drumettes
3 heads (bulbs) garlic
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
10-15 drops Tabasco sauce
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon black pepper
Chopped parsley

Disjoint chicken wings, discarding tips. Rinse and pat dry. Separate garlic cloves and peel. Place garlic, olive oil and Tabasco in blender or food processor and purée.

Combine cheese, bread crumbs and pepper in plastic  bag. Dip wings in garlic purée and roll in bread crumb mixture, 1 at a time, coating thoroughly. Coat shallow nonstick baking pan with oil and add wings in single layer. Drizzle with remaining purée and sprinkle with any remaining bread crumb mixture.

Bake at 375°F for 45 to 60 minutes or until brown and crisp. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serves 6.

GARLIC POTATO PIE

1 pound boiling potatoes, scrubbed
6 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup milk
1⁄4 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons of butter

Preheat oven to 380°F. Butter a 9-inch pie plate.

Slice potatoes thinly. Arrange a layer of potatoes, garlic slices, Parmesan and slices of butter.

Repeat using the rest of the ingredients (other than the milk), saving some of the cheese and the butter.

Heat the milk and pour over top of the potatoes. Top with bread crumbs and remaining cheese and butter.

Bake for 1 hour, until the potatoes are tender and top has turned golden brown. Makes 4 servings.

GARLIC PENNE

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (28-ounce) can Italian tomatoes, seeded and chopped, juice reserved
1/2 bouillon cube (optional)
1 pound uncooked penne
Grated Parmesan cheese

Place olive oil and garlic cloves in a medium sauté pan. Cook over medium-low heat until the garlic is soft and a light golden-brown. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Add the tomatoes and their juices, salt and pepper and the bouillon cube (if using). Cook until a sauce forms.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in abundant salted, boiling water according to package directions. Drain well and place in a serving bowl. Add the sauce and toss well. Serve with grated cheese on the side. Serves 4.

GARLIC FRIES

1 pound frozen french fries
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
2 teaspoons finely minced parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

Prepare french fries according to package directions (bake or fry, your choice!). 2 Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl. 3 Pour cooked french fries in a large bowl and pour garlic mixture over. Toss well; add additional salt if desired, and serve! Yields about 4 servings.

GARLIC SOUP

10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
5 cups of beef broth
1 cup of dry Sherry
1⁄4 cup of olive oil
French bread, sliced and toasted
Grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Sauté garlic in the olive oil until golden. Heat the beef broth with Sherry. When the broth reaches the boiling point, add garlic and the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste; then simmer for about 30 minutes.

Strain out the garlic and reheat.

Sprinkle toasted French bread slices generously with Parmesan cheese, then place them in a 425°F oven for about 3-4 minutes.

Put hot toast in the bottom of soup dishes; then pour the soup over top.

Yields 4 servings.

PORTUGUESE BAKED RIBS WITH GARLIC

26 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons salt
6 whole cloves, crushed
6 allspice berries, crushed
2 bay leaves, crumbled
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup water
1 lemon sliced
4 pounds thick country-style spareribs, cut in serving-size pieces

Crush 6 garlic cloves with salt in a mortar or with the flat of a knife on a board. Transfer paste to a bowl and work in cloves, allspice, bay leaves, paprika, cayenne, wine and water. Add lemon slices.

Place ribs in a shall dish and add marinade, turning ribs to coat them all. Marinate for at least 2 hours, and preferably longer.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove ribs from marinade and place in a shallow baking dish. Add the remaining 20 cloves of garlic and 1 cup of marinade to the pan.

Cover and bake for 1-1/2 hours or until tender, basting every 30 minutes. Bake uncovered for the final 30 minutes. Yields 4 to 6 servings.

 

 
Summer and Smoke | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 16 July 2015 14:23

071615fWhat other than barbecue sauce inspires such raw creativity, passionate de-

bate and celebration of regional differences?

There’s no limit to the variety. There are sweet sauces, mild sauces, thick sauces, raw sauces, ketchup-based sauces, sauces that burn the tongue...

SMOKY-SPICY BBQ SAUCE

1 cup ketchup
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark amber maple syrup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-1⁄2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper, or to taste

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and place over medium heat. When it begins to steam, reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 20 minutes, or until slightly thickened and flavors are combined. Yields about 1 cup of sauce.

SOUTHWESTERN BBQ SAUCE

4 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
1/2 grated onion
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1-4 chipotle chiles in adobo (depending on how hot you want your sauce)
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
Salt to taste

Note: Use gloves, or a plastic bag to protect your hands when handling the hot chiles in adobo. Wash hands thoroughly after handling and avoid touching your face or eyes for several hours.

Heat the butter in a heavy pot over medium-high heat until if froths (or heat vegetable oil until hot), then add the grated onion. Sprinkle a little salt over the onion. Sauté until the onion just begins to color, about 4-5 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, finely chop the chipotle chiles in adobo. They are hot, so start with one chile. You can add as many more as you want later.

Add the chipotle to the onions, then add the tomatoes, vinegar, molasses, sugar, liquid smoke, and chopped sage. Stir to combine and let this simmer for 5 minutes. Taste it and add salt and more chipotle if you want.

Simmer the sauce gently, uncovered, for 1 hour. Before serving, taste one more time for salt and chile. Yields 2 cups.

KANSAS CITY BBQ SAUCE

2 cups tomato sauce or ketchup
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon chipotle powder (optional)
4 finely chopped garlic cloves
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon liquid smoke, or to taste
Salt to taste
Cayenne to taste

Heat the butter in a pot over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to brown. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.

Pour in the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Simmer slowly for at least 30 minutes, and up to 2 hours. Adjust the heat and salt levels with the cayenne and salt right before you plan to use this sauce, which is great on ribs, chicken and pork shoulder.

Makes about 2-1/2 cups, enough for 4 racks of ribs.

TEXAS LONGHORN BBQ SAUCE

1/4 cup butter
2 onions, finely chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 small green pepper, minced
1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon salt
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 tablespoon Tabasco
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
Juice of 1 lemon

Melt butter in heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, celery and green pepper. Cook until limp and tender, but not brown.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, dry mustard, salt, bay leaves, vinegar, molasses, Tabasco, liquid smoke and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove bay leaves. Process in a blender or food processor.

Store in refrigerator. Makes 1-1/2 quarts.

NEW ORLEANS BBQ SAUCE

1 (14-ounce) bottle ketchup
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons molasses
2 teaspoons Creole or whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
Dash hot pepper sauce
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Pinch salt
Pinch cayenne
2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
Pinch ground black pepper

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine all of the ingredients. Process until smooth, about 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Pulse 2 or 3 times. Refrigerate overnight before using. Yields 2 cups.

CONSUMER REPORTS’ BASIC BBQ SAUCE

1 teaspoon crushed garlic
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup light molasses
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon liquid smoke

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except liquid smoke. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add liquid smoke and stir. Yields about 2 cups.

 

 
July is Peach Month | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 09 July 2015 11:28

070915fNothing compares to the first bite of a ripe, juicy peach. Except maybe the second bite.

While they’re great to eat out of hand, in summer desserts they are just spectacular.

Especially in pies.

CALIFORNIA PEACH PIE

3 pounds ripe peaches 
   (about 7 medium-sized), 
   peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Unbaked pastry for a double 9-inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In large bowl, gently toss the peach slices with the lemon juice. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon and mix well. Add to peaches. Mix well and pour into pie shell.

Place pastry for top crust over pie, trimming the edges of the shell and top crust to 3/4-inch beyond pie pan. Press edges together slightly, cold under and seal. Flute with fingers or crimp with a fork. Cut small slits near the center of the top crust for vents.

Place pie on cookie sheet and bake on center rack for 20 minutes. Remove pie from oven and cover edges of crust with foil Reduce heat to 350°F, return pie to oven and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until well-browned and bubbly. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

FRESH PEACH CAKE

1/4 pound butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy.

With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.

Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yields 8 servings.

PEACH CRUMBLE

6 cups peeled, thinly-sliced fresh peaches
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup uncooked oatmeal

Place peach slices in 8-1/2 inch microwave-proof cake dish. Stir in lemon juice and lightly toss.

Cut better into flour in medium mixing bowl until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts and oats. Sprinkle mixture evenly over peaches. Microwave on high until fruit is tender, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating dish once, Makes 6 servings.

FRESH PEACH COBBLER

2 pounds of peaches, sliced
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
4 tablespoons minced candied ginger
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix peaches, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of the flour and the ginger in a large frying pan. Heat, stirring until juices start to thicken, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour into a 9-inch square glass casserole 2 inches deep. Set aside.

Mix flour, sugar baking powder and baking soda together. Add butter and mix with a pastry knife until a granular texture about the size of small peas is formed. Add buttermilk and mix only long enough to incorporate the liquid. Overmixing will toughen the pastry. Turn onto a flour board and  gently press out to the shape of your casserole or baking pan. Lift carefully onto the sliced peaches and bake for 20-25 minutes until a golden brown color on top.

GRILLED PEACHES WITH BLACKBERRY BUTTER

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup blackberry jam
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
Garnish: fresh basil leaves

Stir together softened butter, blackberry preserves, and chopped fresh basil until blended. Makes 3/4 cup. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve with warm grilled peach halves.

 

 
Haute Dogs for the 4th | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 02 July 2015 10:38

070215fAs we Americans prepare to celebrate the 4th of July, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has released a survey revealing that (big surprise!) mustard will be the go-to topping.

Although the Council’s rules of etiquette say “no ketchup on a hot dog after the age of 18,” Americans defied the rules, naming ketchup as their second choice – news that has raised the eyebrows of Council leaders.

According to an online survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the Council, nearly three quarters (71 percent) of Americans who eat hot dogs say they top their hot dogs with mustard, followed by ketchup (52 percent), onions (47 percent), chili (45 percent) and relish (41 percent).

A warning: Anything you stack in a teetering pile atop a hotdog, will end up on the floor as soon as you take a bite.

CLASSIC AMERICAN HOT DOGS

8 hot dogs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped bread and butter pickles
1/4 cup coarsely chopped dill pickles
8 hot dog buns
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cucumber cut into wedges

Preheat broiler. Place hot dogs on baking sheet lined with foil. Broil 4 to 5 minutes, turning often, until heated through. Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together pickles. Serve hot dogs in buns with pickles, onion, cucumber and mustard. Makes 8 servings.

FAMOUS CHICAGO HOT DOGS

8 all-beef wieners
8 poppyseed hot dog buns, (preferably local-bakery-made)
Yellow ballpark mustard
Chopped cucumber
Pepperoncini, chopped
Chopped onion
Chopped red ripe tomato
Celery salt
Dill pickle spears

Fire up the grill, bringing the temperature to high (1 to 2 seconds with the hand test).

Grill the wieners uncovered for 3 to 5 minutes over high heat until deeply browned, rolling to crisp all surfaces.

Toast the buns at the same time on the edge of the grill.

Place the dogs on the toasted buns and top each with a good squiggle of mustard. Then pile on, in approximately equal portions, generous spoonfuls of cucumber, peppers, onion and tomato.

Sprinkle celery salt over each bulging bun. Serve with dill pickle if desired. Serves 8.

NEW YORK CITY HOT DOGS

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
6 beef hot dogs
6 hot dog buns
Spicy brown mustard
Sauerkraut

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown in places, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking, 1 minute more. Stir in tomato paste, red wine vinegar, hot sauce, sugar, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until onion relish is thick and glossy.

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a deep-sided skillet. Add hot dogs, reduce heat, keeping water at a bare simmer, and heat through at least 10 minutes, or until ready to serve.

Line a steamer basket with three layers of cheesecloth and place inside a pot with 1/2 inch of boiling water. Place hot dog buns on cheesecloth, cover pot, and steam buns, 2 minutes.

Assemble by placing hot dogs inside buns, top with onion relish, spicy brown mustard, and sauerkraut and serve immediately. Yields 6.

MARTHA STEWART’S HOT DOGS

6 all-beef hot dogs
6 hot dog buns
Mustard, for serving
Classic Creamy Coleslaw, for serving
Chili, for serving
Chopped onion, for serving

Preheat griddle to medium heat. Fill a medium saucepan three-quarters full of water; bring to a boil. Add hot dogs, reduce heat to simmer, and cook until hot dogs are plump and heated through, about 6 minutes.

Transfer hot dogs to griddle. Open buns and place interior-side down on griddle. Cook hot dogs and buns until lightly browned.

Serve hot dogs in buns with mustard, coleslaw, chili, and onions. Yields 6 servings.

MEXICAN HOT DOGS

12 flour tortillas
12 hot dogs
1 cup refried beans
1/2 cup feta or other cheese
1/2 cup your favorite salsa

Spread the heated beans on a warm tortilla. Place a frankfurter on top. Sprinkle with cheese and roll up the tortilla. Microwave for 2 minutes or place in preheated 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.

Serve with salsa. Serves 12.

RED DEVIL HOT DOGS

1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
4 tablespoons margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup chili sauce
1 pound hot dogs
8 hot dog buns

Cook onion and garlic over medium-low heat until onion is tender, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt, pepper, Worcestershire, mustard, sugar and chili sauce. Continue heating until flavors are well blended, about 5 minutes.

Split each hot dog lengthwise, and arrange split-side up in shallow pan. Spoon sauce over hot dogs and heat under broiler for 3-5 minutes, until sauce is bubbly.

Serve hot on buns, spoon on extra sauce.

 

 
A New Way to Enjoy Coconut | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 29 June 2015 08:19

062515fFlaked and shredded coconut, coconut milk, and coconut cream have been been around for years, used in everything from tropical drinks to macaroons and pie. And lately, coconut water has made its way to the endless row of bottled waters on supermarket shelves.

Now, add coconut flour. You may have seen it at your local grocers and thought it was just another novelty fad or “diet food” that will soon fade out of popularity.

But coconut flour deserves a second look and may soon become a staple in your pantry. It’s naturally sweet and rich textured and, unlike grain flours, it’s gluten-free. Low in calories, it is a good source of dietary fiber and contains healthy saturated fats.

Coconut flour is very absorbent. For this reason, it takes less flour when cooking with coconut flour than it does wheat. A recipe for pancakes using coconut flour will typically use only one-half cup of flour, maybe less, in a recipe that calls for a cup of wheat flour, and yet it will yield the same amount of pancakes.

Although coconut flour can be used to bake delicious cakes and breads, it requires some adjustments to wheat flour recipes, including adding extra liquid. So its best to use recipes, like these, that were designed especially for coconut flour.

Store the flour in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer, as it contains no preservatives or sulfites.

COCONUT FLOUR CHOCOLATE CAKE

1 cup butter, softened
1-2/3 cups sugar
10 eggs (at room temperature) 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 2cups coconut flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/3 cups whole milk

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch layer pans with coconut oil and dust with cocoa powder.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar, and beat together for about 2 minutes. Add eggs in one at a time and beat high speed for about 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla while beating the eggs and butter mixture.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients together and add alternately with the milk to the butter mixture. Beat batter for about five minutes on high speed. Spoon batter into the two prepared cake pans and smoothen out tops.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. Place pans on wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool cakes completely before frosting. Use your favorite frosting to frost the cake.

Cupcakes: Make recipe as directed but spoon batter into muffin cups and bake for about 26-30 minutes. Frost after cupcakes have cooled completely. Makes about 24 cupcakes.

GLUTEN-FREE PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

3/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Whisk flaxseed meal, coconut flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl. Stir peanut butter, applesauce, eggs, butter, and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl; mix into flaxseed meal mixture until dough is just mixed. Spoon dough onto a baking sheet, pressing a wet fork into each cookie to flatten.

Bake in the preheated oven until cookies are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Yields 12 servings.

COCONUT-BANANA PANCAKES

1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup almond flour*
2 eggs
1 mashed ripe banana
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil, plus more for pan
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt

Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl, be sure there are no lumps.

Coat griddle or pan with coconut oil on medium heat and drop in pancake mix (1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons).

Flip once slightly browned on bottom, approximately 3 minutes. They are ready when well-formed and easy to flip. Cook additional 2 minutes and remove from pan. Yields 4 servings.

These pancakes are delicious on their own but can be topped with honey, maple syrup, homemade jam or fresh fruit.

LEMON-BLUEBERRY WAFFLES

6 eggs, separated
3/4 cup applesauce
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat waffle iron to low heat.

Separate egg yolks from whites. Use a hand blender to whip egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. Set aside.

Combine applesauce, lemon zest and juice, vanilla and melted butter, mixing together with the egg yolks. Sift in coconut flour and baking soda.

Fold in egg whites with the rest of the waffle batter being careful to not completely flatten the egg whites. Gently mix in blueberries.

Generously grease waffle iron with coconut oil or butter and drop a large spoonful of batter into the center. Do not fill iron completely with batter. Carefully remove waffles when they are done and repeat with remaining batter. (These waffles are very light so remove them carefully with a flat spatula). Yields 4 servings.

BACON, EGG & CHEESE MUFFINS

6 strips bacon
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons coconut flour 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded/diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tin or use paper inserts.

Fry bacon in a skillet until crispy. Set aside.

Blend eggs, 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add coconut flour and baking powder. Mix until there are no lumps.

Crumble bacon and add to batter along with cheese. Mix until incorporated.

Pour batter into muffin tin and bake for 15 minutes. Serves 6.

CAPTION: Coconut flour is made from dried coconut meat that has been finely ground to a powder. It is gluten-free, low in calories, and has other healthy attributes.



 
Father’s Day 2015 | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 17 June 2015 23:23

061815fLike everyone else in the family, the modern-day Dad is probably more concerned than ever before about staying trim and healthy. So it stands to reason that breakfast on his special day – whether at home or at his favorite restaurant – should not only be a treat, but it should be heart-healthy as well.

These recipes are designed to greatly reduce the amount of fat and in some cases completely eliminate cholesterol by using nonfat cooking sprays and egg substitutes.

SOUTH-OF-THE-BORDER QUICHE

1 frozen 9-inch pie crust, thawed
1 tablespoon margarine
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper or pimento
1-1/3 cups fat free milk
1 cup (8 oz) egg substitute
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup drained canned whole kernel corn
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and  green chilies, drained

Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly prick side of pie crust with fork. Bake 5 minutes or until lightly browned; set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Melt vegetable margarine in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook and stir 6 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Beat milk, egg substitute, flour, salt and black pepper in medium bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Add onion mixture, corn and hot pepper sauce; mix well.

Pour into prepared pie crust; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the cilantro. Cover edge of crust with aluminum foil to prevent overbrowning.

Bake 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Meanwhile, combine drained tomatoes and the remaining cilantro in small bowl for the salsa. When quiche is done, let stand 10 minutes before cutting into 8 slices. Serve topped with the salsa.

ASPARAGUS FRITTATA

1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) egg substitute
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese
1/4 cup skim milk
No-stick cooking spray
10 fresh asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon  salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium tomato, chopped

Preheat broiler. Mix egg substitute, cheese and milk in medium bowl until well blended; set aside.

Spray medium skillet with ovenproof handle with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add asparagus, onions, salt and pepper; cook and stir 3 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add tomatoes; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add egg-substitute mixture. Reduce heat to low; cover skillet with lid. Cook 12 minutes, or until bottom of frittata is set but top is still slightly moist. Remove lid from skillet.

Place skillet under broiler. Broil 2 minutes, or until top is set but not browned. Cut into 4 wedges to serve.

CARAMELIZED ONION & PARMESAN OMELET

1 tablespoon vegetable margarine
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
4-1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Olive oil no-stick cooking spray
1/4 cup arugula
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For onions: heat margarine and oil in medium saute pan over medium-low heat. When margarine has melted, add onions; stir to coat. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When onions have softened and start to brown, add vinegar.

Cook onions an additional 20 minutes or until very soft and dark brown in color. Reserve 1/3 cup of the onions for omelet. Cool and store remaining onions in an airtight container for another use.

For omelet: lightly spray 10-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add the reserved onions, arugula and garlic to skillet. Saute 1 minute or until arugula has wilted.

Combine egg substitute, cheese and pepper; pour mixture into skillet. Cook untouched 1 minute or until edges begin to set. Gently pull edges towards center to allow uncooked portion to run beneath. Repeat twice; cover with lid. Continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes more or until center is set.

Fold omelet in half. Cut in half; serve immediately. Serves 2.

 

 

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