Monday, March 28, 2011

Food and Technology: Free Kindle Applications

My ipad has a wipe-clean screen
protector so I can use it on the
kitchen counter while cooking
  How many of you own a Kindle or an iPad?  Did you know that there are free Kindle applications available allowing you to view your Kindle purchases on your PC, laptop, iPhone or iPad? 

For example, the Kindle is currently only black and white.  However, I have installed the free Kindle application on my iPad, and I have purchased a Kindle version of a Slow-Cooker cookbook, which I am able to view on the iPad as well as my Kindle.

Now I can stand my iPad on my kitchen counter while I make my recipe (my husband bought me a case which includes a stand – like a photo frame), and view the pictures in color.  I can also expand the size of the print to my liking. 

Here is the link on to the various free applications:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Recipe Review: Hearty Cabbage Skillet Supper

A friend of mine mentioned that she’d made a recipe from the Sacramento Bee the other week.  She said it had sausages, cabbage, and apple in it.  I realized I had all those ingredients at home, so I pulled out the recipe and we had it for dinner Sunday evening. 

The recipe calls for 6 cups of coleslaw mix or finely shredded cabbage.  I happened to have red and green cabbage, so I used both.  I think the recipe was supposed to be kind of German, but my sausages happened to be Spicy Jalapeno from Trader Joe’s, so my version turned out a little different, especially as I didn’t have any caraway seeds that the recipe called for. 

You could actually use any kind of sausage, cooked or uncooked.  The recipe says to use cooked and nestle them into the cabbage mixture towards the end.  My sausages were already cooked, but I didn’t want them to look pale and anemic, so I browned them in a fry pan with a very small amount of olive oil. 

As I mentioned, I didn’t have any caraway seeds, so I seasoned the cabbage mixture with salt and pepper, a little apple cider along with the broth, and a pinch of red pepper flakes, just to kick the flavor up a little.  I served this with some oven roasted fingerling potatoes – yum!  Also very quick and easy.

Gillian’s rating: 3 thumbs up (out of 5)

This recipe was back in February, so here is the link in case you’d like to try it.

Tools, Tips, and Techniques: Freezing Eggs

Ever have egg yolks or whites leftover and don’t know what to do with them?  They can both be frozen and used later in recipes.  I often pull out egg whites from the freezer and add them to whole eggs for omelettes, scrambled eggs, etc., making the dish a little lighter. 

Egg whites can be frozen just as they are – just put in a small Tupperware or Zip-Loc bag and label with the date and how many egg whites (very important!).  Freeze them in small quantities, so you can pull out just how many you need. 

Egg yolks need to be beaten before they are frozen, and have a little sugar or salt added to help preserve them.  Add ¼ teaspoon of salt per half cup of egg yolks (about 7 yolks), or 1½ teaspoons of sugar.  Label the egg yolks with the sugar or salt content, so you can adjust the recipe as necessary. 

Whole eggs can be frozen, but should also be beaten first. Whole cooked eggs and cooked egg whites do not freeze well – they get kind of rubbery.  Cooked egg yolks freeze just fine.  Eggs can be kept in the freezer for up to one year – thaw in the fridge where possible, or in cold water if you are going to use them right away. 

Did you know? Food Trivia

Egyptians used to place their right hands on an onion when taking an oath.  Its round
shape symbolized eternity.

Norway consumes more spicy Mexican food than any other European nation.  I guess they often need warming up a little!

When margarine was first marketed in England it was called butterine.

Natural vanilla flavoring comes from orchids.

Japan’s favorite pizza toppings are eel and squid.  Pickled ginger, ground lamb and paneer (similar to cottage cheese) are popular in India.  Australian’s like shrimp and pineapple on their pizzas, and in France a popular pizza combo is the flambe, which is bacon, onion and fresh cream (yum!)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Review: The Sugar Solution Cookbook

The Sugar Solution Cookbook: More Than 200 Delicious Recipes to Balance Your Blood Sugar Naturally (Preventions) by the Editors of Prevention, Ann Fittante

I’m always looking for new ideas for healthy meals and I picked this book up from the library a couple of months ago. By focusing on healthy carbohydrates and fats, the recipes in this book help keep your blood sugar in check, keeping your metabolism up, overeating down, and help quell your cravings for fattening foods.

There are no forbidden foods in this book, so there is even a dessert chapter including treats such as Spiced Kahlua Custard, and Peanut Butter Bundt Cake.

I have been trying to cut down a little on our meat consumption, so I was very interested to look at the ‘It-can’t-be Vegetarian Main Dishes.’ A couple of recipes that I tried were Brown Rice with Butternut Squash and Chickpeas, and Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers. Both were delicious.

Others on my list to try are:
  • Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms;
  • Bean and Veggie Burgers; 
  • Asian Noodle and Mushroom Soup; and
  • Warm Chicken and Cashew Stir-Fry Salad.
Some of the other chapters are:
  • Hearty Sugar-Balancing Breakfasts;
  • Healthy Nibbles: Snacks and Beverages;
  • Hearty Soups and Sandwiches; and
  • Fill-You-Up Soups and Salads.
Of course there are also beef, pork, chicken and seafood chapters, and as I previously mentioned, To-Die-For Desserts.

For those who’d like to learn more about the whole blood sugar deal, there is plenty of information in the beginning chapters, along with a diet plan and tips for success.

I found the recipes very easy to follow, they use every day, easy-to-find ingredients, and the nutritional information is included.

The author, Ann Fittante MS, RD, is a certified educator for the Joslin Diabetes Center affiliate at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. Look for at it the library, or on - $9.98 for the hardcover book (as of 3/25/11), or $12.25 for the Kindle version.

Tools, Tips, and Techniques: Buttermilk

Cultured buttermilk - a handy baking
aid to have in your refrigerator

I expect many of you that are bakers make recipes that call for buttermilk, e.g., biscuits, bread, cornbread, etc.

Usually these recipes call for half or maybe a cup of buttermilk, then a month later we pour the remaining three cups down the sink because it got buried in the back of the refrigerator and forgotten about. I’m sure you can relate.

Well did you know that you can buy powdered buttermilk at the grocery store? It’s actually called Cultured Buttermilk Blend.  It comes in a round canister and can be found in the baking products aisle.

Each canister is equivalent to 3.75 quarts of buttermilk and should be refrigerated once it is opened. I can’t quite make out the sell by or use-by date on mine, but I keep it for months in my refrigerator and it seems to do just fine!

It’s very easy to use also and the directions are on the container. Basically if the recipe calls for one cup of buttermilk, you use one cup of water and four tablespoons of Cultured Buttermilk Blend. Rather than mixing the powder with the water, the powder is added to the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, etc.) in your recipe, and the water is added to the wet (eggs, melted butter, etc.)

It’s very handy for those times when you suddenly get the urge to bake but don’t have any buttermilk in the fridge. Pick some up next time you are at the store.

Food Finds: Crunchy Curls

At 45 cents a serving, crunchy curls are a
healthy gluten-free and vegan snack.
 Growing up in England, my favorite salty snack was something called a Hula Hoop.  These were crunchy little potato snacks that came in different flavors, bbq, cheese and onion, salt and vinegar, and my favorite, the original salted.  As the name implies, these were hoop shaped, and as a kid I would put one on each finger and then munch them off one at a time. 

Well hula hoops are not available here in the United States.  But I've found a good substitute for them at Trader Joe's, and a healthier substitute to boot.  Crunchy Curls don't have quite the same flavor, but have a very similar texture and 'crunch', reminding me of my childhood snack.  

The package states that Crunchy Curls are 'a tasty lentil and potato snack,' they only contain five ingredients, lentil flour and potato starch being the first two, and they are also vegan and gluten free.  For WeightWatchers, a serving is 3 points.

Lentils are a good source of protein and fiber, and these contain 3g and 4g respectively per serving.  A serving by the way is 31 curls (on average 1.5"), which is a lot of crunching! 

Other nutritional information per serving:  calories 130, total fat 4.5g (saturated fat 0.5g), carbohydrates 18g.  There are approximately 6 servings per package and they cost $2.69.  Find them with the other chips and popcorn, etc., at Trader Joe's and enjoy!

Recipe Review: Curried Cauliflower Salad

Curried Cauliflower Salad
The crunch, the color and the curry powder
appeal to the eye and to the taste buds.
This recipe was in The Sacramento Bee February 20, 2011 and sounded intriguing to me.  I can't say I've ever eaten roasted cauliflower in a salad, and the combination of sweet, salty and spicy ingredients sounded delicious.  Not to mention, it sounded like it would be good for me!

First, raw cashews are tossed with curry powder, salt and maple syrup and toasted in the oven.  Then cauliflower florets are also mixed with curry powder, cumin, coriander, ginger, and olive oil and roasted.  The cooled cauliflower and cashews are then tossed together with other tasty ingredients - red bell pepper, dried apricots, frozen peas, and cilantro.  Finally a splash of alight, sweet dressing of agave syrup, lemon juice and olive oil is added. 

I pretty much kept to the recipe.  I did substitute the peas for edamame, as my peas were frozen in a solid ice block and when thawed, tasted like they had been that way for far too long.  Fortunately I had some frozen edamame which were in much better shape.  This also added a little more protein to the dish.

I served the salad at room temperature with some leftover chicken breast and naan bread.  It was very good, and as I mentioned earlier, I loved the combination of sweet, salty, and spicy.  I'm sure leftovers will be good also!

I give this four thumbs up (out of five), and would definitely make it again.

Here's the link to the recipe: