Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What’s Wrong with Something Old?

A few days ago, I checked out an online video on what’s new at the grocery store. Cooking Light - http://bit.ly/d6Y8cH. And I got to thinking, “what’s wrong with the old stuff”. Before you become upset, I have nothing against new foods. I am all for advancement and improving the nutritional value of one’s diet. It’s just that I believe we sometimes undervalue foods that have been around. We always seem to be looking for the next great fix. So today, I am taking the time to talk about a few old favorites of mine.

Let’s start with the much maligned potato. The poor potato gets no respect. It’s about time we paid the potato it due. One serving (about 5.3 ounces) contains 110 calories, 620 mg of potassium, and 45% of the daily vitamin C requirements. When consumed with the skin, you get 2 g of fiber. As an added bonus, potatoes are a fat free food. For a new take on potato salad, try the recipe for lemon chive potato salad - http://bit.ly/9T3V1H. I tried it. It’s great!

Now is a great time to reach for a fresh tomato. And added bonus, tomatoes don’t require cooking. One medium tomato contains 35 calories, 100 IU of vitamin A, and 24 mg of vitamin C. Try this recipe for Caprese Salad http://bit.ly/d6Y7wy. Also give this Greek Salad a try. They both come together in a snap!

Greek Salad
Serves 4.

1 cucumber
2 medium vine ripened tomatoes
½ small red onion
¼ cup Kalamata olives
Salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces feta cheese, block or crumbles
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 to 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 to 4 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Oregano, for garnish

1. Peel and dice cucumber. Core tomatoes and dice tomatoes. Combine cucumbers and tomatoes. Slice onion and add to salad. Add olives, salt, pepper and oregano. Toss ingredients together.

2. Top with feta cheese. Pour a small amount of olive oil over salad. Add vinegar. Garnish with a little oregano. Fresh oregano can be used if desired.

And last, but certainly not least, try green beans. They do not need to be smothered in bacon fat, however, as a good Southerner; I would not turn them down. One serving (100g) of green beans contain only 31 calories; almost 3 g of fiber, 690 IU of vitamin A, 12 mg of vitamin C, and 33 mg of folic acid. A simple method to prepare green beans is to steam them and add a vinaigrette dressing. This makes a terrific salad. Or try this recipe for Green Beans with Bacon-Balsamic Vinaigrette. http://bit.ly/bKKzWl.

Enjoy some these old favorites. If you have a favorite oldie, we would love to hear about it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Greek Yogurt – My New Favorite Food

I have eaten Greek yogurt periodically. However, on my recent trip to Greece, I ate the stuff every day. I just couldn’t get enough of it. I would have licked the bowl, but I think my companions might have been embarrassed.

Greek yogurt is different from regular yogurt. You can stand a spoon in Greek yogurt. To say that it is thick is an understatement. Most Greek yogurt is sold minus the fruit and sugar. At one time Fage was about the only brand available in the US. With increasing popularity, companies such as Dannon, Stonyfield Farm and Yoplait have gotten on the Greek yogurt bandwagon.

Sources of Greek Yogurt:
There are two good things about these websites – recipes and coupons.
True yogurt connoisseurs prefer plain yogurt. I prefer mine with honey or homemade jam. I also like to toss in a little granola. It’s great for a quick breakfast.
Greek yogurt stars in lots of common dishes such as:
Roasted Fruit with Greek Yogurt

I am not sure if the Greeks actually make this dessert, but I love their yogurt so much that I am using for this recipe.
Serves 4.
Plums, apricots, peaches, enough for 4 servings
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons chopped nuts, toasted
1 Tablespoon honey

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking dish with parchment paper. Place fruit, cut side up, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until soft and some juices run off, about 15 minutes.

2. Divide among 4 dessert plates; top each with 2 tablespoons yogurt, sprinkle with nuts and drizzle with honey.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fruit Crisps, Cobblers, Pies

You name it and I like them. I don’t make them too often. I don’t want to roll out the crust. Don’t have the time to make the topping. Let’s face it. Sometimes we just don‘t have the time to prepare some of the dishes that we would really like to.

However summer fruits are just too good to pass up a cobbler or crisp. Recently I came across a crisp topping recipe that makes enough for two crisps. The real high light of this recipe is that it can be frozen and used when needed. So now I get to have my crisp without a lot of extra work when I a short on time. An added bonus is that this mixture can be used for individual crisps. This way you won’t have crisp in your refrigerator for days on end.

Crisp Topping

½ cup chopped nuts
1 cup old fashioned or quick oatmeal
1¼ cup all purpose flour
⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons butter, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet; toast until aromatic, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir the nuts occasionally to ensure even toasting. Remove from oven; cool completely.

2. Place nuts and oatmeal in a food processor and process until coarsely ground. Add flour, both sugars, cinnamon and salt. Blend to combine.

3. Cut butter into one tablespoon size and add to flour mixture. Process on low speed until pea-size clumps form, 4 to 5 minutes. Makes enough for two crisps.