Better Burger Project comes to WW Farmers Market July 11

I like to cook healthy options and even better learn, and attend food demonstrations, and sample.
Coming soon at the West Windsor Community Farmers market will be a demo of ” The Better Burger”on July 11, 2015. Here’s the link to the article.

NJ SPICE

Better BurgerAn update to West Windsor Community Farmers Market July 11 cooking demo: Chef Will Mooney of The Brothers Moon will be on site (with Allie O’Brien of Garden State Community Kitchen assisting) teaching and demonstrating his Better Burger.

The Better Burger Project is a program of the James Beard Foundation (see link for full information).“Better Burger,” which blends ground meat with finely chopped, cultivated mushrooms, introduces a healthier and more sustainable burger that’s better – with unmatched flavor and inherent nutrition benefits – and helps our environment at large. I have to say, adding mushrooms to your burger sounds like it could be a juicy success to me!

If you try the Better Burger at the farmers market, or at the Brother’s Moon, take a picture (by July 31) and post it onto Instagram, with the hashtag #betterburgerproject and tag @brothersmoon— to help Chef Will win a trip to NY to cook at…

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Cooking with Zucchini- Stove top casserole

Good morning. I don’t know about you, but whenever I have a free morning, I’m at the computer, and looking out the window at the sunshine, sipping some green tea.

While talking with mom on the cordless phone,  our conversation went like this.  I was reading a blog recipe aloud where they mentioned Sea Salt as the ingredient for the salad dressing .  (lemon, white vinegar, and sea salt).  Mom asked,” which one is better Sea salt  or Table Salt? ” If there’s a question, Google has the answer. She was amazed , how fast the computer works.

Sea salts retain the trace elements while table salt has been processed to remove trace elements and include additives.

Table salt is processed to remove trace elements while sea salts, in general, leave these in.  These minerals are indeed important in our diets, but in sea salt they exist in what the Mayo Clinic describes as “insignificant amounts.” Chances are you are getting the same minerals in greater quantities in the fruits and vegetables that you eat.

Mom then posed the question about Salt mines. Where are they located?

Google again.

“The oldest salt mine known to date located in Azerbaijan, Duzdagi mine”


“In order to understand these interactions, CNRS researcher Catherine
Marro and her team have been exploring the Araxes basin (Turkey, Iran,
Azerbaijan) for the last ten years or so. The archeologists have been
focusing particularly on the Duzdagi (4) salt mine situated in
Azerbaijan, more specifically beside the old medieval Silk Road linking
Tabriz (in the north west of Iran) with Constantinople.”

“To the researchers’ surprise, intensive salt production was carried out in this mine at least as early as 3500 BC.”

The economic and symbolic importance of salt in ancient and medieval
times is well-known. Recent discoveries have shown that salt most
probably played a predominant role in protohistoric societies, in other
words those that preceded the appearance of writing.  How is salt
obtained? The two most widely used techniques are based on the
extraction of rock salt, in other words a sedimentary deposit containing
a high concentration of edible salt (2), and the collection of sun-dried
salt in salt marshes, for example.”

http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=90605&CultureCode=en

Mom then said, “Well those mines are older than the Coal mines of Pennsylvania. ”

Stove Top Casserole

zucchini 4 cups sliced

Vegetable oil 3 Tablespoons

Garlic cloves, 2 crushed

salt and freshly ground pepper

spaghetti sauce, 1  16 ounce can, heated

mozzarella cheese, 3/4 pound thinly sliced

oregano, 1 teaspoon, crushed

basil 1/4 tsp

In a large Teflon skillet, saute zucchini slices, 1 cup at a time in 1 tablespoon oil with garlic.

Cook until almost tender and a little brown; drain on paper towels.  pour off any excess oil; then layer hot zucchini in skillet, season lightly with salt and pepper , and spreading each layer with some of the hot spaghetti sauce and sliced mozzarella cheese.  Cover top layer with cheese and sprinkle with herbs.   Cover and cook very slowly until mixture is just bubbly and cheese is melted.

 Serves 6.

Reference: The Zucchini Cookbook by Paula Simmons.

Potato Provencal, recipe

Once the dog days of summer have left and September’s cool weather is here, I ‘m ready to get back to the kitchen and start baking more often with my oven.

There is so much variety when your taste buds tell you to make potatoes.   Red skin potatoes have a thinner skin and are a little quicker to peel than a baking potato,or a  sweet potato.

I don’t recall how this cookbook called, “A taste of Heaven and Earth, a Zen Approach to cooking and eating”, came into my house; perhaps one of my mom’s book collection.  With this title, I think I’ll do some yoga poses after I’m finished, a  Sun Salutation, tree pose, dog or cat pose.   I love the spa close to my house, they have a very serene spa classroom; I just wish they were open on a Wednesday!

Now, its recipe time!

This casserole dish is rich with a variety off Mediterranean flavors.

Ingredients:

1 pound new red potatoes.sliced 1/3 in thick

3 TBSP olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium  red onions,sliced thin

1 TBSp crushed fresh lovage or fresh sage( eek what is lovage?)

1 TBSp chopped fresh thyme

1 tsp tamari

freshly ground pepper

4 tomatoes, thinly sliced in half (about 3/4 lb)

1 cup pitted and halved black olives ( on Sunday after a baby shower, I took my mom shopping to a Dollar store and she wanted me to buy a can of olives!-however, I said, Pat said our pantry is full!)

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese ( as my co-worker  ,Italian Frank just said yesterday that fresh grated Cheese is the best! , have you read the pre-grated variety container?-all the additives!)

Finely chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Cook the potatoes by steaming them for 5 minutes or until halfway cooked and still firm.  Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the oil in a small skillet.  Saute’ the garlic, onions, and herbs over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.  When the onions become translucent, remove from the heat.   In a medium bowl, carefully mix the cooked potatoes with the onions.  Season with tamari and freshly ground pepper.

Assemble all the ingredients in a 2 quart casserole ( mine is a yellow Pyrex that my grandmother gave to me):

Place half the potatoes and onions in the bottom of the dish, cover with half the tomatoes and olives, and top with 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Continue layering in this order until all ingredients are used.

Bake in the oven, covered loosely with foil, for 30 minutes.  Uncover and continue to bake for 20 minutes, until brown on top.  Garnish with parsley.

Serves 4.

Cookbook: A taste of Heaven and Earth   by Bettina Vitale

This Casserole dish

Soup- Vermont Butternut Soup

Vermont Butternut Soup

One of my favorite culinary memories is dining out and eating butternut squash soup at a restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia called “Bilbo Baggins.”

This is not their recipe, however I like to read recipe books to replicate it.  Since then , I enjoy the taste of  butternut squash soup each fall season taking me through winter.

Prep: 20 minutes             Cook 45 minutes                                                            Serves 12

Maple syrup brings out the best butternut flavor. 

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped

3 tablespoons flour

4 cups warm chicken stock

1 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in large cubes (about 9 cups)

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1  1/2 cups  milk

1/2 cup light cream

2 tablespoons maple syrup or to taste

Directions:

In a large kettle melt butter and add onion and carrot.  Cook over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes, until onions are tender. 

Sprinkle with flour and continue cooking for 3 minutes while stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and blend in warmed chicken stock.  

Add squash, garlic, and parsley, and simmer  covered for 45 minutes.  Cool.  Puree in batches in blender or food processor.

 

Transfer to kettle, add milk, cream, and syrup, and heat through.

 Make Ahead:

May be frozen in an airtight container after pureeing but before adding milk, cream, and syrup.  If not using full amount of frozen soup, or if planning to freeze some of it, use 1/2 cup squash puree, 1 teaspoon syrup, 2 tablespoons milk, and 2 teaspoons cream per person.

 

 

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Recipe-Lentil Soup , a source of folate

Preparing carrots with my vegetable peeler
Preparing carrots with my vegetable peeler

What a wonderful day, full of sunshine.

This morning I was reading in Body and Soul magazine, September issue.  I continuosly like to learn about new ways to keep one’s health and immunity level high.

How To Fight Fall Allergies:

A new study from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows that” B vitamins may help keep allergic reactions in check and ease the severity of symptoms”.

Researchers found that higher levels of folate had fewer allergy symptoms and a lower risk of asthma and wheezing.

Good Sources of Folate:

Broccoli, Asparagus, oranges, kidney beans, collard greens, black-eyed peas, spinach, avocado, and lentils.

 

Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Canola oil or Olive oil

3 carrots,  cleaned and diced or sliced in coin sizes

2 stalks celery, sliced or diced ( I like chunky soup so I slice.)

1  14 1/2  ounce  can diced tomatoes ( unsalted or salted depends on preference)

3/4 cups dry lentils ( soaked, rinsed and drained)

1 Quart of vegetable stock or chicken broth

4-6   cups of  water ( depends if want thick or thin soup)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste

1/2 teaspoon paprika

 

Directions: 

1.  In large stockpot, saute carrots and celery for 10 minutes.

2. Add vegetable stock (I used Organic from my local grocery store (or Chicken broth) , lentils, salt and pepper.

Let mixture come to a boil, cook for 30 minutes, covered until lentils soften and vegetables are fork tender.  Then reduce to simmer and cook, simmering for additional 30 mi utes

3.  Add can of diced tomatoes,some of the water, (depends on how thick or thin you want the soup ) paprika., for second 30 minutes of cook 

4.  Sprinkle  with parsley or Parmesean cheese to garnish before serving or instead can add a liitle bit of fresh lemon juice.

Addendum December26, 2011

I have been preparing this Lentil soup for some time now.

You can add the herbs of your choice to spice up the flavor of this soup; substitute Cumin, 1 tea-spoon and curry powder 1 teaspoon and omit the Paprika.

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