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Fresh  Market: Raspberry—Food for the gods

*BLOOM-Raspberries

By Vicky Babcock

 

It’s raspberry season! We can thank the Olympians for this flavorful fruit. Greek mythology credits the Olympians with the discovery while foraging for food on Mount Ida—so named for the nursemaid of Zeus. The nymph is said to be responsible for the rich red color—the berries, once white, were stained by her blood when she pricked her finger picking berries for the young god.

To dream of raspberries is a good sign as it means success in all things, happiness in marriage, fidelity in a sweetheart and good news from abroad (Elsevier’s Dictionary of Plant Lore).

Some European cultures believe that hanging raspberry brambles over windows and doors will offer protection to the house and its occupants. The practice is also used when a death has occurred in the family to prevent any wayward spirits from entering and stealing the soul of the dearly departed.

Raspberry leaves have been used for centuries as an aid to pregnancies. It is said that red raspberry leaves tone the uterus and the muscles of the pelvic region, ease morning sickness, ease the pain of childbirth and aid in the production of breast milk. While I found no scientific evidence to support these claims, red raspberry leaf tea continues to be used in homeopathic medicine today.

Raspberries are high in manganese and vitamin C, providing 62 percent and 51 percent of our RDA per cup respectively, as well as 33 percent of our dietary fiber. Research shows that raspberries are an antioxidant food, containing ellagic acid, which helps to prevent unwanted cell damage by neutralizing free radicals. Research also suggests that raspberries may have the potential to inhibit cancer cell growth and the formation of tumors (Elsevier’s Dictionary of Plant Lore).  A study in the June 2004 issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology suggests that eating three or more servings of raspberries a day may lower age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) by up to 36 percent. ARMD is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults.

Nutrition aside, these little jewels are a treat to eat, sun-warmed fresh off the bush or cold from the fridge. But don’t wait—raspberries are fragile at best and do not keep well. Try them on cereal or salad.  Or try our fresh raspberry pie. To prolong your enjoyment, spread the berries out on a cookie sheet to freeze and then bag them up for the freezer for later consumption.

 

Fresh Raspberry Pie

For crust:  Stir together

1 ½ cups flour

½ cup vegetable oil

2 T. sugar

½ tsp. salt

2 T. milk

Stir ingredients together. Pat into pie plate, prick with fork. Bake in pre-heated 450-degree oven about 10 minutes. Watch carefully, as this burns easily. Cool. Prepare filling.

For filling:

2 T. cornstarch

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

4 cups fresh raspberries

Jello™

Whipped topping

Bring to a boil water, sugar and cornstarch, stir in 1 small box raspberry Jello™. Gently stir in 2 cups fresh raspberries. Spread 2 cups of fresh raspberries into cooled pie crust and pour hot filling over the top.  Cool. Top with Cool Whip™ or other whipped topping.

 

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

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Fresh Market: Cherries

BLOOM-Fresh-market-cherries-webBy Vicky Babcock

 

“Cherries on the ryse,” or on the twigs, was one of the street cries in London during the 15th century. These cherries likely were fruit from the native wild cherry, as the domestic cherry, introduced into Briton around 71 BC, disappeared sometime in the Saxon period.  It was not reintroduced until Henry VIII’s reign in the early 1500’s. Ancient lore holds that the Virgin Mary—prior to the birth of Christ—once wished to taste some cherries that hung high above her head. She asked Joseph to pick them for her but he refused saying, “Let the father of thy child present thee with the cherries.” As the words left his lips the branch of the tree bowed to the Virgin’s hand, allowing her to gather the fruit and thus, silently reproaching Joseph for his surliness. Thus, the cherry is dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Plant Lore, Legends, and Lyrics: Embracing the Myths, Traditions, Superstitions, and Folk-Lore of the Plant Kingdom, Richard Folkard, 1884).

The ancient Lithuanians believed the demon, Kirnis, to be the guardian of the Cherry. In Germany and Denmark, tradition holds that evil spirits often hide themselves within old Cherry trees, causing harm to anyone who comes near. Folkard’s book also says that to dream of cherries denotes inconsistency and disappointment in life.

A relative newcomer to the States (1600’s), cherries have likely been consumed since prehistoric times.  Romans and Greeks prized the fruit as did the Chinese. Its royal color and its tart flavor likely earned it a place on the tables of nobles and kings.  The cherry tree probably originated in the territories of Asia Minor near the Black and Caspian Seas.

It turns out the sandy soil along Lake Michigan, as well as the tempering effects of the lake on the arctic air, create an excellent growing environment for cherries in our state.   Michigan has the honor of being the leading producer of the tart cherry crop in the United States, with about 75 percen of the nation’s production, which is almost exclusively centered in the Traverse Bay area. Most of these tart cherries find their way into pies and pie fillings, in addition to preserves, jellies, juice and dried fruit. We are also a big producer of sweet cherries and farmer’s markets and roadside stands are rife with these beauties in July. Peter Dougherty, the first European settler in the Traverse Bay area, is credited with the introduction of the tart cherry tree here. In 1852, he planted a cherry orchard on Old Mission Peninsula. Much to the astonishment of the natives and settlers, the grove thrived.

Consumption of cherries has been linked with reduction of uric acid in the body, bringing great relief from the pain associated with arthritis and gout. In a study done by the USDA, it was discovered that consumption of 2 cups of Bing cherries reduced uric acid by as much as 15 percent. Cherries also help reduce inflammation by reducing the amount of C-reactive protein produced. Powerful antioxidants in cherries—especially the dark sweet variety—help keep cancerous cells from growing out of control. They are an excellent source of potassium, which can help reduce blood pressure by keeping sodium and potassium in balance.  One cup of cherries contains as much potassium as a banana. Trouble sleeping? Tart cherries contain melatonin, a sleep aid, and in studies, two tablespoons of the juice were found to be just as effective as a melatonin supplement.

A cup of cherries comes in at less than a hundred calories, making it an excellent choice for your diet. Cherries contain many B-vitamins as well, which are essential for metabolism. So for a skinny choice, choose cherries!

 

Fruit Crisp

2 tart pie apples such as Granny Smith or Spies, peeled and chopped

2 Anjou pears, peeled and chopped

1 cup pitted dark sweet cherries

¼ cup sugar

3 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/3 cup quick cooking oats

1/3 cup flour

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup butter

½ cup pecan pieces

 

Combine fruits and ¼ cup sugar; spread in buttered 8×8 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients except for pecans. Work together until crumbly. Stir in pecan pieces. Sprinkle mixture over fruit layer.

Bake in pre-heated 350 ◦ oven 50 minutes or until crisp is golden and bubbly.  Serve warm with ice cream if desired.

 

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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Basil—The King of Herbs

DIG-Fresh-market-sweet-basil-plantFresh Market

By Vicky Babcock

 

Ah basil. Its heady aroma, its varied and intense flavors, its striking foliage.  How could one not love basil? Its popularity is world-wide, yet none more so than here, with our blend of cultures and cuisines. America’s love affair with basil most likely stems from its association with Italian cuisine, flavorful sauces and pesto. Yet basil was not always loved and it is not native to Italy.

Some sources suggest that basil derives its name from the terrifying basilisk—a creature in Greek mythology, half lizard, half dragon, whose stare could cause madness and death. Perhaps this is the source of the belief, first recorded by scribes dating pre-206 BCE that basil “exists only to drive men insane.” It is also the first known written record of basil in any context. Both the Greeks and the Romans associated basil with hatred. Western European lore claims that basil belongs to the devil and for basil to grow well, one must curse the ground it is planted in. The French idiom, “semer le basilica,” to sow the basil, is synonymous with going off on a rant. Nicholas Culpeper believed it was poisonous. He also adhered to the belief that basil could produce scorpions and that smelling too much basil could create a scorpion inside the brain. Conversely, basil is held by some to protect against scorpions and the herbalist, John Gerard, noted that those who ate of basil would feel no pain from a scorpion sting. There are as many advocates of basil as there are detractors.

Native to India, the word stems from the Greek “basileus” meaning “king.” Jewish folklore suggests that it adds strength while fasting. It is sacred to the god Vishnu in its native country and the goddess of love in Haiti. In Hindu, holy basil, or “Tulsi,” is a symbol of love, fidelity, eternal life, purification and protection.

Basil is a member of the mint family. Its essential oils show both antifungal and insect repelling properties and components of the plant have been proven to be toxic to mosquitoes. The herb is an excellent source of Vitamin K and manganese, and a good source of Vitamins A and C. It is heart healthy, being a good source of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that protects against free radical damage and also prevents free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the bloodstream. Only after it has been oxidized does cholesterol build up in blood vessel walls. Because free radical damage is a contributing factor in other conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, basil may help to lessen the progression of these conditions as well. Studies have shown that components of the oil can act as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting an enzyme called “cyclooxygenase.” Many common over the counter non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen work by inhibiting this same enzyme.

Basil is best consumed fresh, as drying changes the flavor. For cooked dishes, add this herb at the end of the heating process to maintain flavor and nutrition. For future use, try freezing basil in ice cube trays with water for soups and sauces. Or try our recipe for pesto below.

 

Pesto 

1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, (about 2 cups, packed) washed and dried

3 medium cloves of garlic, peeled

1/3 cup raw pine nuts

¾ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

In a food processor, pulse basil, garlic and pine nuts briefly—do not over process.  Add cheese and pulse a bit more.  Blend in olive oil and add salt to taste.

Great on sandwiches or over pasta.  Refrigerate.

Makes about 1 cup.

 

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718. Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

 

 

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Fire up the fun with extreme burgers

Try this Ultimate Backyard Classic from “Weber’s Big Book of Burgers.”

Try this Ultimate Backyard Classic from “Weber’s Big Book of Burgers.”

(NAPS)—Nothing says summer like hamburgers and hot dogs sizzling on the grill. In fact, according to the 25th annual Weber GrillWatch Survey, more than 80 percent of grill owners say that burgers are their favorite thing to grill, followed by hot dogs (75 percent).

To celebrate America’s love affair with hamburgers, brats and other classic grilled fare, Weber Grills has released “Weber’s Big Book of Burgers”—their first cookbook dedicated to fueling America’s passion for backyard classics.

“This book is truly a start-to-finish guide to throwing the ultimate backyard bash,” says New York Times best-selling cookbook author Jamie Purviance. “Each of the 160 recipes features a photo and goes beyond the burger, with fun twists on hot dogs, side dishes and even cocktails.”

“Weber’s Big Book of Burgers” also explores famous regional favorites in its America the Burgerful section, including Santa Fe, where the green chili cheeseburger rules, to Columbia, South Carolina’s own pimento cheeseburger.

An in-depth Sausage and Hot Dog Geography section salutes regional favorites like Classic Chicago-Style Hot Dogs topped with pickled “sport” peppers and neon-green relish, and New York Hot Dogs with Sweet Red Onions.

 

Extreme Burgers 

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Grilling Time: 6–8 minutes

Ingredients:

4 slices thick-cut bacon

1⁄3 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 ripe Hass avocados

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 pounds ground chuck (80 percent

lean)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon onion powder

8 thin slices cheddar cheese

4 hamburger buns, split

4 leaves Boston lettuce

Directions:

1 ripe beefsteak tomato, cut crosswise into 4 slices about ¹/3 inch thick

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels.

Whisk the mayo ingredients, including ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mash the guacamole ingredients, including ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Mix the ground chuck with the Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, the smoked paprika and onion powder, and then gently form eight patties of equal size, each about ½ inch thick and a little wider than the buns.

Refrigerate the patties until ready to grill. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (400° to 500° F). Grill the patties over direct medium-high heat, with the lid closed, until cooked to medium doneness (160° F), 6 to 8 minutes, turning once.

During the last 30 seconds to 1 minute of grilling time, place a slice of cheese on each patty to melt, and toast the buns, cut side down, over direct heat.

Build each burger on a bun with garlic mayo, a lettuce leaf, a tomato slice, two patties, as much guacamole as you like, a slice of bacon (torn in half) and more garlic mayo.

Serve immediately.

Learn more

For more information or to get a copy of “Weber’s Big Book of Burgers,” visit www.weber.com or www.amazon.com.

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The Best Brunch Ever

Delicious dishes your family will love

Denver Hashbrown Omelet

Denver Hashbrown Omelet

 

(Family Features) Only one meal has the power to pull even the most tired souls from the comfort of their beds — a delicious, satisfying and beautiful brunch.

 

With its prime positioning between breakfast and lunch, brunch has quite a following of hungry fans. Whether celebrating a special occasion or “just because,” whether it’s an upscale or laid-back theme you’re after, brunch is an event in itself that brings people together with much anticipation.

 

A savory selection

For hosts who like to dabble in the classic morning components of eggs, hashbrowns and other breakfast fare, there are plenty of delicious recipes to serve up. Take this recipe for Denver Hashbrown Omelet, which supplies all the comforts of the diner-menu staple but is very easy to make at home as the Hashbrowns from Hungry Jack® are ready to use, fully-seasoned and can be easily stored in your pantry.

 

New take on an old favorite

For a hearty, American spin on an Italian favorite, you’ll adore the simplicity of this recipe for Skillet Hashbrown Frittata. This golden, delicious egg dish features mouthwatering turkey sausage, melted American cheese and Hungry Jack® Original Hashbrowns. These easy-to-serve, shredded potatoes are made with 100 percent Idaho Potatoes, cook perfectly crispy every time and can be used in a number of different meals — even those beyond the brunch table.

 

Sweet and special

While savory meals certainly have their place at brunch, a sweet dish is a great complement and the perfect addition for a well-rounded menu. Look for recipes that combine the elements of sweet and salty, like this dish for Potato Cheese and Apple Tarts. Fresh red delicious apples, gooey Smoked Gouda or Jack cheese and the creamy, homemade taste of Hungry Jack® Mashed Potatoes meld together for bite after delectable bite.

 

For more delicious brunch recipes, visit www.hungryjackpotatoes.com.

 

 

Denver Hashbrown Omelet

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

1 carton (4.2 ounces) Hungry Jack® Premium Hashbrown Potatoes

No-stick cooking spray

1 tablespoon butter

1 chopped onion, about 1 1/2 cups

1 diced green bell pepper, about 1 cup

8 eggs

1/2 cup milk (whole or 2 percent)

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup diced cooked ham

 

Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray 9-by- 13-inch pan with no-stick cooking spray. Fill hashbrown carton to fill line with hot water. Let stand 12 minutes. Drain any excess water. Heat skillet over medium heat and add butter. After butter melts, add onion and bell pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. Whisk together eggs and milk in large mixing bowl. Add salt, potatoes, cheese, ham and vegetables; mix to combine. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through and starting to brown.

 

 

Skillet Hashbrown Frittata

Skillet Hashbrown Frittata

Skillet Hashbrown Frittata

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 carton (4.2 ounces) Hungry Jack® Original Hashbrown Potatoes

4 turkey sausage patties or 6 links

6 slices turkey bacon

8 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce, based on brand of hot sauce or to taste

Pinch ground black pepper

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup diced onion

4 slices or 2/3 cup shredded American or cheddar cheese

 

Fill hashbrowns carton to fill line with hottest tap water. Let stand 12 minutes. Drain any excess water. Cook turkey sausage and bacon according to package directions. Crumble or chop. Whisk eggs, milk, hot sauce and black pepper in bowl. Melt butter in 10- or 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened. Spread hashbrowns evenly in pan and part-way up sides. Cook without stirring until light golden brown and crisp on one side, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle crumbled sausage and bacon over potatoes. Pour eggs evenly over and arrange cheese on top. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low; cook until eggs are set in center and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Serve from pan or slide onto platter, then cut into wedges.

 

 

Cheesy Potato and Apple Tarts

Cheesy Potato and Apple Tarts

Cheesy Potato and Apple Tarts

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 servings (24 tarts)

1 1/3 cups Hungry Jack® Mashed Potato Flakes

1 1/4 cups water

3 tablespoon butter, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup milk

1 cup shredded Smoked Gouda or Jack cheese

1 box (14 ounces) refrigerated pie crust, brought to room temperature

1 halved, cored and thinly sliced red delicious apple

1 teaspoon packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons chopped chives

 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat water, 2 tablespoons of butter and salt to boiling in medium pot. Remove from heat, and stir in milk and mashed potato flakes with fork until smooth. Add shredded Gouda or Jack cheese and stir until melted. Cut pie crusts into 24 circles about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Using mini-muffin tin (with cups the size of 1 3/4-by-1-inch), place one pastry circle into each of 24 muffin cups, pressing slightly. Spoon about one tablespoon potato and cheese filling into each cup. Place in oven and bake until pastry edges are golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. In small pan, melt remaining tablespoon of butter. Add apple slices and saute until just tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and cook one more minute. When apple slices are cooled enough to handle, place a slice into each cup at an angle, trimming to fit if necessary. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve. 

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Bite-Sized Valentine’s Day treats get to the heart of the holiday

VAL-Recipe

(Family Features) Nothing says “I love you” on Valentine’s Day more than heart-shaped, homemade treats. This year, try individual treats to make each gift recipient feel extra special. You’ll love the fact that they are simple to create.

“Though small in size, mini-treats deliver a big message to all of the Valentines on your list,” said Nancy Siler, vice president of consumer affairs at Wilton. “Decorating these treats is quick and easy thanks to Candy Melts Candy – a pantry staple for any decorating project.”

With a little help from Wilton you can bake to your heart’s desire this Valentine’s Day.

We Heart Valentine’s Day – Hearts are by far the top shape of the season. From giant heart-shaped cookie pans to cookie cutters to Heart Pop pans, Wilton has a variety of bakeware options.

A Sweet Heart for Your Sweetheart – Create mini cakes, brownies or cookies with the Bite Sized Heart Dessert Shell pan. Once cooled, drizzle with red, pink and white colored Candy Melts candy for the perfect personalized heart-shaped treat.

Homemade Box of Chocolates – Make your own candies using shaped Candy Molds. Choose between hearts, lips, flowers and more. Fill the mold with the Candy Melts candy, color and flavor of your choice, and watch as you melt the hearts of your Valentines.

Give a Little Love – Valentine’s Day is a top gift-giving holiday. Give your made-from-the-heart homemade treats the gourmet treatment with festive packaging like heart-shaped boxes, colorful gift bags and brightly colored baking cups.

For more Valentine’s Day recipes, baking tips and gift inspiration, visit www.wilton.com.

 

Chocolate Heart Petit Fours

Makes about 40 mini cakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, softened

2/3 cup firmly-packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

extract

2/3 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup peanut butter,

chocolate fudge ice cream topping or cherry pie filling

2 containers (14 ounces each) Choco- late or Vanilla Icing Glaze (optional)

Jumbo hearts sprinkles (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 24 cavity bite-sized heart dessert shell pan with Cake Release pan coating.

In large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract; beat until well combined. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk in three additions, beating until just combined. Spoon one tablespoon batter into each pan cavity.

Bake 9-11 minutes or until tops of cakes spring back when touched. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Cool completely on cooling grid.

To decorate, place cakes on cooling grid with cookie pan below. Pipe 1/2 teaspoon peanut butter, chocolate fudge or cherry pie filling into shell; fill only to top of cavity. If desired, warm glaze according to package instructions; carefully pour over shell and tap pan to smooth. If desired, add jumbo hearts sprinkles.

 

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Gather Around Hearty, Comforting Foods

NY-country-stewFamily Features

 

Keep warm with hearty dishes that satisfy appetites and comfort food cravings. From russets to reds, fingerlings to purples, the hearty potato comes in many beautiful varieties that add color and texture to beloved comfort dishes. Bring out the flavors of your down-home creation by pairing it with a perfectly suited wine.

Comforting Complements

A spicy red with raspberry and peppery flavors, Zinfandel pairs particularly well with the flavors of winter — the season where comfort food is king. When searching for the perfect complement to your hearty, comfort fare, go for wines that deliver on quality at a fair price.

Discover Amador County, an up-and-coming wine region nestled in the rolling Sierra Foothills of California, through the wines of Renwood Winery. The winery runs under the direction of Joe Shebl, a talented winemaker whose artistic vision and passion for both Zinfandel and Amador County shows in every bottle.

For more information, visit www.renwood.com.

 

One Healthy Spud

Beyond their appearance in some of the most beloved dishes, potatoes also boast many benefits to your diet. Here are few reasons to add this versatile vegetable into meals:

• Potassium — Potatoes are a great source of potassium, which may help lower high blood pressure, making them a heart-healthy choice. In fact, potatoes contain more potassium than a banana or spinach.

• Vitamins — A spud a day may keep the cold germs away. One medium-sized spud has nearly half the recommended daily value of vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin B6.

• Dietary fiber — Potatoes are also a source of dietary fiber, a complex carbohydrate, which is known to increase satiety and help with weight loss.

• Gluten free — Potatoes are a naturally gluten-free food, so those with gluten sensitivity can enjoy this flavorful vegetable.

For more on potatoes and healthy recipe ideas, visit www.eatwisconsinpotatoes.com.

 

Country Stew 

Pair with Renwood Zinfandel, California

Yield: 6 servings

5 pounds bone-in short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups water

1 1/3 cups Renwood Zinfandel

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 beef bouillon cubes

6 large Wisconsin potatoes, washed, peeled and quartered

1/2 pound small fresh mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed

1 package (10 ounces) frozen whole green beans

1 can (16 ounces) peeled whole tomatoes, undrained

1. Dredge ribs in flour to coat; reserve leftover flour.

2. Heat oil in 8-quart Dutch oven on moderate heat.

3. Add half of ribs and brown on all sides. Once browned, remove ribs. Repeat instructions for remaining ribs.

4. Stir in the reserved flour. While stirring, add 1 cup water and wine and stir until thickened.

5. Return ribs to the pan.

6. Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper and bouillon and bring to a boil.

7. Cover and lower heat to simmer for about 1 hour, or until ribs are tender.

8. Remove ribs with slotted spoon and cover with foil to keep warm.

9. Add potatoes, mushrooms and beans. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

10. Add ribs and tomatoes with liquid, and heat through.

11. Use slotted spoon to remove meat and vegetables to large serving platter.

12. Remove gravy to serving container and serve with ribs.

 

NY-lasagnaHealthy Potato Lasagna 

Pair with Renwood Premier Old Vine Zinfandel, Amador County

Yield: 4 servings

2 links Italian turkey sausage (3 1/2 ounces each)

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon dried basil or Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 egg white

2 cups marinara sauce, divided

1 1/4 pounds Wisconsin Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced, divided

1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1. Remove sausage from casing and crumble into medium skillet with onion.

2. Cook for 10 minutes or until both are browned, breaking up sausage with back of spoon.

3. Stir together ricotta, basil, garlic powder and egg white in small bowl.

4. Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in bottom of 9-inch square baking dish.

5. Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the dish, forming solid layer with no gaps.

6. Drop 1/2 ricotta mixture in spoonfuls over top and spread out just a little.

7. Sprinkle with 1/3 of mozzarella and 1/2 sausage mixture.

8. Add 1/2 cup more sauce then repeat potato, cheese and meat layers.

9. Top with last layer of potatoes, remaining sauce and mozzarella.

10. Cover with plastic wrap and make small slit to vent.

11. Microwave on high for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

 

NY-chickenQuick & Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken & Potatoes

Pair with Renwood Zinfandel, Fiddletown

2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence (or combination of dried thyme, fennel, basil and savory)

1 teaspoon garlic salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon canola oil

4 small (2 pounds) bone-in-chicken breasts, skin removed

1 1/4 pounds small Wisconsin red potatoes

3/4 cup frozen, thawed pearl onions

1 cup small baby carrots

3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

8 ounces small baby bella or white mushrooms

Chopped fresh thyme (optional)

1. Combine Herbs de Provence, garlic salt, and pepper on a dinner plate.

2. Spoon flour onto a second dinner plate.

3. Coat each chicken breast with herb mixture; then dredge in flour.

4. Heat oil in a large skillet.

5. Add chicken and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is golden brown on both sides (approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side). If necessary, cook chicken in two batches so as not to crowd the pan.

6. Once browned, place chicken in large slow cooker and add all remaining ingredients, except fresh thyme.

7. Cover slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

8. Sprinkle with fresh thyme before serving, if desired.

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Pear Perfection

 

Food Images: Tara Donne

Photo Credit: Tara Donne

Sam Talbot’s “The Sweet Life” is available on amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble, and at book stores nationwide. Photo credit: Sarah Kehoe

Sam Talbot’s “The Sweet Life” is available on amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble, and at book stores nationwide. Photo credit: Sarah Kehoe

(Family Features) For the more than 25 million Americans living with diabetes, food choices are critical to maintaining their health.

 

Chef Sam Talbot, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 12 years old, understands those challenges. But with his new cookbook he proves that diabetics don’t have to sacrifice flavor in order to follow a healthy eating plan.

 

Talbot earned national recognition as the runner-up in Season 2 of Bravo’s hit TV show “Top Chef.” In his new book, “The Sweet Life: Diabetes without Boundaries,” he shares how diabetes has affected — but has not compromised — his life and career, and offers 75 fresh, all-natural recipes that can be enjoyed by both diabetics and non-diabetics.

 

Chef Sam Talbot. Photo credit: Sarah Kehoe

Chef Sam Talbot. Photo credit: Sarah Kehoe

Cooking to Manage Diabetes

Doctors recommend that people with diabetes follow a healthy, well balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables and carbohydrates that rank lower on the glycemic index (GI).

The Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) rates carbohydrates on a scale of 1 to 100 based on how rapidly a food item raises blood sugar levels after eating. Foods that rank high on the glycemic index are digested rapidly, which produces marked fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels. Foods with a low glycemic index are digested slowly and raise blood sugar and insulin levels gradually.

Source: University of Sydney Glycemic Index Group, Human Nutrition Unit, School of Molecular Biosciences.

“Pears are one of my favorite fruits to use in recipes,” says Talbot. “They are a low GI fruit, they’re high in fiber, and the flavor of a ripe pear is just out of this world. They are incredibly versatile in sweet and savory recipes in all types of world cuisines. They can be part of any meal of the day.”

 

The two recipes here are from Talbot’s book, and showcase the fresh, sweet flavor of pears. For more information, visit www.SamTalbot.com, and for additional pear recipes visit www.usapears.org.

 

— One medium pear provides 24 percent of your day’s fiber, and 10 percent of your day’s vitamin C — for only 100 calories.

 

— There are ten different varieties of USA Pears, each with its own color, flavor and texture.

 

— More than 80 percent of the fresh pears grown in the U.S. are from the Pacific Northwest states of Washington and Oregon. USA Pears are in season from early fall through early summer.

 

Check the Neck for Ripeness 

Ripeness is the key to enjoying pears at their sweetest and juiciest. To judge a pear’s ripeness, USA Pear growers advise you to “check the neck.” Press the neck, or stem end, of the pear. If it yields to gentle pressure, it’s ripe, sweet and juicy. If it feels firm, simply leave the pear at room temperature to ripen within a few days. Don’t refrigerate your pears unless you want to slow their ripening.

 

Photo Credit: Tara Donne.

Photo Credit: Tara Donne.

Yogurt with Pear and Coconut

Makes 4 servings

Juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup Grape-Nuts or granola cereal

1 tablespoon granulated stevia extract, or to taste

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 ripe pears, such as Anjou or Bosc, slightly firm to the touch

3 cups 2% plain Greek yogurt

 

In medium bowl, combine lemon juice, coconut, graham cracker crumbs, cereal, sweetener and cinnamon.

 

Peel, core and finely chop pears.

 

Spoon yogurt into 4 bowls and top with fruit and coconut mixture, or sprinkle directly onto each individual container of yogurt.

 

Note: This recipe can do double duty as a dessert if you serve it up parfait style. Spoon 1/8 of the pears into the bottom of each of 4 bowls or parfait glasses. Add 1/8 of the cereal mixture, then 1/2 cup of yogurt. Repeat with the remaining pears, cereal mixture, and yogurt.

 

Per Serving: 265 calories, 15 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates, 8 g total fat (6 g saturated), 8 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 157 mg sodium

 

Lavender Poached Pears

Makes 4 servings

2 large ripe pears, such as Bosc or Anjou, slightly firm to the touch

3 tablespoons granulated stevia extract, or to taste

1 tablespoon dried lavender

2 blossoms dried hibiscus

1 chamomile tea bag

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

 

Peel, halve and core pears using a melon baller to scoop out seeds.

 

In large pot, combine 3 cups water, sweetener, lavender, hibiscus, chamomile tea and mint. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Add pears and simmer until you can easily pierce pears with the tip of a knife, about 20 minutes.

 

To serve, transfer pear halves to 4 individual bowls and ladle some of the cooking liquid over the top.

 

Per Serving: 72 calories, 1 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 0 g total fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 2 mg sodium

 

Recipes excerpted from the book, “The Sweet Life: Diabetes without Boundaries,” by Sam Talbot. Published by Rodale. Copyright © 2011.

 

Captions:

Book Cover Image: Sam Talbot’s “The Sweet Life” is available on amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble, and at book stores nationwide. Photo credit: Sarah Kehoe

 

Chef Sam Talbot. Photo credit: Sarah Kehoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fresh Market-Jack o’ the Lantern

AWE-JackolanternBy Vicky Babcock

 

Most of us have heard the story of the wily rascal, Jack, and how he tricked the devil and thereby secured his own soul. Many versions of the tale exist, but all agree on the conclusion that Jack—having barred himself from hell and being unworthy of heaven—was made to wander the world, a lost soul.

One such tale suggests that Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. Not wanting to pay for his drink, Jack convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that he would use to buy the drinks. But Jack instead put the coin into his pocket next to a cross, which prevented the Devil from turning back. Jack agreed to release the Devil on the condition that the Devil never take his soul.  When Jack passed away, he found himself barred from heaven. The devil had provided him with a lit coal in which to light his way. Jack placed his coal into a carved out turnip and so the practice of Jack o’ lanterns began.

In truth, the practice began long before the story of Jack. Carved vegetables, usually turnips or beets, were used in celebrations around the world for centuries.  Wikipedia associates the term jack-o’-lantern with ignis fatuus (foolish fire) named for the phenomenon of strange flickering light over peat bogs.  You may have heard it called the will-o’-the-wisp. Gourds were the choice of the Maori, who used the carved fruit as lanterns over 700 years ago.  s gourds (the pumpkin is one) are the earliest produce known to be cultivated by man—dating back over 10,000 years—it is likely the practice of carving lanterns from them extends back thousands of years.  Irish immigrants have been credited with bringing the practice to the United States however, where they discovered the pumpkin made a much better media than the turnips they used in their home country.

The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the Celtic festival of Samhain—the celebration of their new year, the day of the dead—which took place on November 1. The day marked the harvest, the end of summer and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. The Celts believed that on the eve of their new year the bounderies between the world of the living and the world of the dead became blurred and the dead could return to earth. The advent of Christianity changed and blended with the old rites. November 1 eventually became All Saints Day and November 2 All Souls’ Day to honor the dead. It is commonly believed that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic traditions with more sanctioned beliefs and the two holidays share many aspects, including bonfires, parades and dressing in costume. All Saints’ Day, or All-hallowmas—from Middle English for All Saint’s Day—has itself changed to include more of its pagan roots.  All Hallows Eve, or Halloween as we know it today, became the date of choice and the Jack-o-lanterns we all love, once used to frighten the dead and demons away from our doors, can be found on doorsteps everywhere. Trick or Treat, a mostly American tradition, probably resulted from the old practice of feeding the dead.

You’ve most likely carved your pumpkins for this year. Next year, consider saving the bits of carved out fruit (minus the peal) and throwing it into a pot of chili for a healthy and tasty addition. And the seeds—well we all know what pumpkin seeds are good for.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween, everyone—and Happy Haunting!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

If you’ve never had pumpkin seeds, you’re in for a treat!  While these are great simply roasted and salted, you can make them your own by adding your own special blend of spices. If you’ve already carved your pumpkins, consider purchasing another. Roasted or baked pumpkin makes a great addition to soups and stews, breads, cookies and pies.

Basic ingredients:

Approximately 1 ½ c. pumpkin seeds

2 or 3 tsp. melted butter or olive oil

Salt

Optional choices (partial list):

A dash or two of soy sauce

Garlic powder

Seasoned salt (I like Morton’s)

Chili powder or cayenne pepper

Pre-heat oven to 300◦ Fahrenheit.  Rinse seeds thoroughly in a colander under running water, removing the majority of pulp and strings.  In a medium bowl, toss together seeds, oil or melted butter and seasons of your choice.  You can also make a sweetened version by substituting sugar and cinnamon.

Spread seeds out onto a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden, stirring occasionally. Once these start to brown, they will do so quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on them. Cooking times are approximate.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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Fresh Market the Cranberry

AWE-Cranberries-rgb

It is commonly held that there are only three fruits native to North America—blueberries, cranberries and Concord grapes. While I am not certain of the accuracy of this statement, cranberries are indeed native to America. Native American Indians used the berry as both a food source and a wound medicine, as well as a dye.  Its name is said to come from a variation of “craneberry,” so called because the early settlers from Europe thought the flower resembled the head of a crane.  Also referred to in various parts of the world as mossberry, fenwort or fenberry, marshwort, bearberry, bounceberry (a common method of testing for quality was to bounce them) and Sassamanash.

The rich red color of the berries lends itself well to festive occasions such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. Indeed, many of us associate the fruit solely with Thanksgiving and have not enjoyed the many dishes that can be created from this versatile berry.  If your experience with cranberries has been limited to cranberry relish, it’s time to open the door to a world of culinary possibilities.  Cranberries—used to flavor meats for centuries—make a good addition to breads and desserts as well as salads and cereals.  Because of their tart flavor they are best consumed in a sugared dish or paired with another fruit such as the apple.

Cranberries are one of the Super Fruits. This nutrient rich berry carries its own natural anti-biotic and has been linked—in the form of juice—with urinary tract infections relief in women. Cranberry juice consumption can aid in the prevention of tooth decay as it helps prevent the build-up of plaque. Studies indicate that extracts may have anti-aging effects.  Cranberries are high in vitamins C and K as well as fiber.  Vitamin K promotes cardiovascular health. It, along with phosphorous in cranberries assists in bone and tooth health.

An Indian legend describes how the cranberry came to be:  Long ago, the Yakwawi’àk, or Mastodons, walked the Earth, placed here by the creator to be useful to man. The monstrous beast was fierce, powerful and invincible and a great help to the Lenape’wàk .  But the powerful creatures turned on them and waged war on all of the animals—a great battle was fought. Many lives were lost and the ground ran red with the blood spilled.  Yet the Yakwawi’àk were nearly impossible to kill! Slowly, the battlefield turned into a great quagmire and many of the hugh creatures drown. The Creator, angry with the monstrous beasts, threw lightning bolts, killing all but one bull. Badly wounded, the beast fled to the far north, where it is said, its evil spirit remains. Evidence of the great battle can be seen today. You can find the bones of the Yakwawi’àk as well as other animals in the marshes. The Lenape’wàk were saddened by the lives lost and the loss of potential food and furs. In remembrance and compassion, the Creator caused the cranberry to grow in the marshland so that it might be used as food for mankind. The deep red color of the berry was to remind us of the blood that was spilled on that terrible day.

Cranberry Cake with Butter Cream Sauce

3 T. butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed and halved

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in milk.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.  Stir in cranberries.

Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking pan.  Bake at 350º for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Butter Cream Sauce

½ cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine melted butter, sugar and cream; bring to a boil, stirring often.  Boil for 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla.  Serve warm over Cranberry Cake.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

 

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