Search results for 'fruit'

Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

18 Apr

These Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are a good example of the boundless possibilities of pancakes.

Good morning! Breakfast this morning was delicious, and is worthy enough to compete with the best. These Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are a good example of the boundless possibilities of pancakes. Serve them topped with your favorite syrup, additional fruit, or fresh whipped cream. These pancakes could even be offered for dessert – try them a la mode.

Because they contain ricotta cheese, use a good-quality nonstick pan or well-seasoned griddle or skillet with even heat distribution, so the delicate batter doesn’t stick or burn.
Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, continued…

Pantry List

16 Apr

Pantry List:  Having basic cooking ingredients at home saves time and makes it easier to eat well day in, day out.  With a well-stocked pantry, you can whip up creative meals with items on hand and shorten your shopping list when preparing a complicated meal.  Consider buying pantry items in bulk from a reliable local store where stock rotation ensures the freshness of food.  That way you get the quality and quantity you want and you’ll save money and consume less packaging.

The staples below are suggestions of foods good to keep on hand.  I certainly do not stock them all, just the things that I use most regularly.  I hope you’ll use the list for inspiration and as a reminder when it’s time to shop for food.

Shelf Items

1. Grains

Barley, bulghur, buckwheat groats (kasha), cornmeal, couscous, grits, millet, oats, popcorn, quinoa, rice (arborio, brown, white).

Note:  Transfer packaged or bulk grains to glass jars with tight-fitting lids for storage: it’s easier to see how much you have on hand and helps protect your grains from insects.  Milled grains, like flours and meals, have a shorter shelf life than whole grains, so unless you use them up within a month, they should be refrigerated or frozen in closed containers.

2. Beans

Dried Black turtle beans, black-eyed peas, chick peas, red kidney beans, cannellini (white beans), lentils (red, brown), limas, navy or pea beans, pintos, split peas (green, yellow).

CannedButter beans, black beans, chick peas, kidney beans, cannellini.

Note:  When buying dried beans, look for those with uncracked shiny coats and good color.  Red the labels on canned beans.  Some are sodium-free, some are organic, some have additives and preservatives.

3. Pasta

Asian Rice noodles, soba noodles, udon noodles.

ItalianSpaghetti, linguine, penne, ziti, farfalle, orzo, lasagna noodles.

Note:  Dried pasta, if stored in a well-sealed container, can last a lifetime, so stock a range of shapes and sizes: tiny pasta to add to soups and stews, chunky pasta to toss with vegetables, and long noodles for saucing.

4. Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts (filberts), peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, tahini, peanut butter.

Note:  Nuts and seeds are terrific to have on hand for cooking, snacking, and for quick, nutritious additions to cereal, yogurt, and fruit salads.  I possible, buy them in bulk, since the tend to be expensive.  Check that they are crunchy, smell fresh, and have good color and sheen.  Always store refrigerated.

5. Oils

Canola, olive (regular and extra-virgin), dark sesame oil.

Note:  Experiment with different brands because the flavor varies.  Oils that are used often can be stored in dark bottles or in a closed cupboard.  Oils that are used less frequently should be stored in the refrigerator.

6. Spices and Herbs

Allspice, annatto (achiote), basil, bay leaves, black pepper, cardamom, cayenne, caraway, coriander seed, cinnamon (ground and stick), cloves, cumin seed, curry powder, dill, fennel seed, five-spice powder, garam masala, marjoram, mint, mustard seed, nutmeg, Old Bay Seasoning, oregano, paprika, rosemary, saffron, sage, tarragon, thyme, turmeric.

Note: An extensive spice collection is a real asset.  Is there anything more frustrating than having everything you need for a recipe except one pesky herb or spice?  since the flavor and fragrance of herbs and spices fade over time, buy in small quantities or store refrigerated in well-sealed containers.  For best flavor, purchase them whole and grind them as needed.

7. Condiments

Chinese chili paste, chinese fermented black beans, fermented black bean sauce, fish sauce (nuoc mam), fruit spreads, hoisin sauce, mustard (Dijon, spicy brown, yellow), soy sauce, hot sauce, vinegars (apple cider, red wine, balsamic, rice wine), wasabi powder.

Note: Condiments add depth, heat, pungency, flavor, and complexity and can make a so-so dish suddenly delicious.  Those that contain fresh ingredients, oil, or high percentages of sugar or other sweeteners should be refrigerated.

8. Canned and Jarred Goods

Artichoke hearts, capers, coconut mik (unsweetened), olives (Spanish, kalamata, black), pinientos, roasted red peppers, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, salsa, tomato juice, tomato paste, whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, clams, clam juice.

Note:  Read the labels and experiment with different brands to find your favorites.  I think canned goods that are free of additives and preservatives taste best.

9. Wines and Liqueurs

Chinese rice wine, dry red and white wines, liqueurs (amaretto, Grand Marnier, Frangelico), Marsala, mirin, sake, sherry.

Note:  Sometimes a splash of wine or liqueur can add the perfect touch to a dish.  If not used regularly, store them in the refrigerator.

10. Frozen Foods

Black-eyed peas, lima beans, peas, corn, okra, puff pastry, filo dough, tortillas (wheat, corn) tempeh.

Note:  Keep frozen foods well wrapped to avoid freezer burn.

11. Miscellaneous

Dried fruits (raisins, currants, apricots, dates, figs, dried cherries) – Store refrigerated in a closed container, if not using quickly.

Dried Mushrooms Store in a cool, dry place

Fresh Garlic – Store in a vented jar.

Seaweed (Hijiki, Nori) – Store in a dry place

Sun-Dried Tomatoes – Store in a closed container or plastic wrap in the refrigerator.







Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, Copyright 2001, Moosewood, Inc., Clarkson Potter, Publishers.

Functional Foods

11 Apr

Foods that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition are called “functional foods.”  Functional foods do more than meet your minimum daily requirements of nutrients.  They can also play roles in reducing the risk of disease and promoting good health.

Phytochemical:  Sources – Potential Health Benefit

Allylic sulfides: Garlic, chives, leeks, onions, shallots – Detoxifies; antiviral properties; offers cancer resistance

Beta-carotene: Apricots, carrots, peaches, squash – Enhances immunity; helps prevent cataracts

Catechins: Green and black teas, chocolate – Reduces risk of cancer

Diadzein: Soybeans, tofu – Prevents estrogen from binding to receptors; has anticancer potential

Ellagic acid: Blackberries, cranberries, grapes, strawberries, walnuts – Provides antioxidants

Genistein: Tofu, soymilk, soybeans – Inhibits tumor growth; protects against heart disease

Isothiocyanates: Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower) – Reduces risk of cancer

Lutein: Spinach, collard greens, kale – Promotes against age-related eye disease; decreases risk of lung disease

Lycopene: Tomatoes, kiwifruit – Reduces risk of prostate cancer

Monoterpenes: Orange and citrus oils, kale – Slows growth of cancer cells

Omega-3 fatty acids: Fish oil (mackerel, salmon, trout) – Reduces risk of heart disease

Proanthocyanidins: Cranberries, cranberry products, cocoa, chocolate – Improves urinary tract health; reduces risk of cardiovascular disease

Resveratrol: Grapes, red wine, peanuts – Lowers blood pressure and risk of heart disease

Saponins: Soybeans, soy foods – Helps to lower LDL cholesterol; controls blood sugars; prevents cancer

Zeaxanthin: Arugula, collards, horseradish, yellow corn, mustard, sorrel – Provides antioxidants; boosts immune function

Miracle Foods

11 Apr

As a child you may have been told to eat your vegetables because they’re good for you.  Research shows that eating certain fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and fish can reduce your risk for various diseases, such as cancer, and can promote good health.  Being healthy allows you to have more time to do things you enjoy and to live a longer and healthier life.

The Whole Grain Gain

Whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and hundreds of disease-fighting phytochemicals.  They contain many substances that have been linked to a lower cancer risk.  These include soluble and insoluble fiber, antioxidants, phenols, lignans, phytoestrogens, and saponins.

According to the USDA Food Guide, eat at least three servings of whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta every day.  Other whole grain foods include oatmeal, plain popcorn, wild rice, kasha, and tabbouleh (bulgur wheat).  Get adventurous and try different grains such as quinoa and millet too.  Beans, legumes, and seeds such as flax seed are also great sources of fiber and phytochemicals.

Cut Back on the Fat

Choosing foods rich in poly- and monounsaturated fats, or “good” fats, (olive oil, nuts, salmon) and avoiding those high in saturated and trans fats (processed baked goods, fast food, high-fat meats) may help lower your risk of cancer and may help to decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Vary Your Veggies and Focus on Fruits

Fruits and vegetables not only fill you up, they are full of substances that help prevent and fight disease.  In particular, tomatoes, garlic, dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, romaine; and leaf lettuces; mustard and collard greens; chicory; and Swiss chard); cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale), and berries may reduce your cancer risk.

Eating five to nine servings a day of a variety of fruits and vegetables is the best way to obtain all of the potential disease-fighting benefits.  You’ll also get a boost of fiber and important vitamins and minerals.

Drink the Best Beverages

While no single beverage or food can prevent or cure diseases, research has shown that some have effective properties.  Both green tea and purple grape juice contain compounds that may lower the risk.  Green tea is an excellent source of catechins, a potent antioxidant that is thought to protect against cell damage.  Grape juice is a rich source of resveratrol, a type of natural plant chemical called a polyphenol that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Choose low-fat or fat-free milk, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese.  If you don’t eat milk products, be sure to include other calcium-fortified foods and beverages in your diet.

Strawberry Bread

10 Apr

strawberry bread image

This Strawberry Bread has the flavor of summer, full of juicy strawberries, and if you like, you can add some chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts would be wonderful). It is delicious cut into thick slices, with or without a slathering of butter. Frozen strawberries allow you to make this bread any time of the year.  If you have fresh strawberries available, go ahead and use them.  Fresh local strawberries can really maximum flavor. If you like, when cutting them into bite sized pieces, before adding them to the batter, you can toss the strawberry pieces in a couple tablespoons of flour, making sure they are completely coated. This will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the pan during baking. Strawberry Bread is a delicious way to use everyones favorite fruit.  Our family loves this one.

Strawberry Bread, continued…

The Hungry Wife