Monday, February 27, 2012

Don't "Turn Up" Your Nose at Turnips

I am so excited to introduce my new look designed by Melissa who writes a terrific blog called  “20 going on 80”. She is a graphic design student who also offers blog design. Melissa is a very talented young woman and I am thrilled with the work that she did to make my blog look great! If you are in the market for a blog makeover go to this link to see what she has to offer! 

Now to the featured recipe this week: Indian-inspired Turnips with Kidney Beans. Turnips are certainly not on my favorite foods list but I am not yet ready to admit that I dislike them either. It is challenging to find an acceptable way to serve this root veg without making my family turn up their noses and say “No Way!” 

This recipe blends so many great Indian inspired seasonings that the taste of the turnip is mellowed and the color turns to a golden yellow, helping mask the ingredient. Pairing with the kidney beans and serving over rice makes for a well-balanced and healthy meatless meal. And knowing that nearly all the ingredients, including the spices, are super nutritious and beneficial making this dish a winner! I hope you try it- you may turn into a turnip lover.

recipe adapted from
Indian-inspired Turnips with Kidney Beans 2 turnips, peeled and cubed, Nolte Hills Nursery, Morrison, MO
14.5 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
 1/2 tsp ground cumin (whole cumin seeds would work well too)
 1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds
 1 cup finely chopped red onion, Yellow Wood Farm, Hermann, MO
 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger root
 1/2 tsp minced garlic, Roundabout Farm
 1 cup chopped tomatoes, Hilty Bee Yard, Silex, MO
 1/2 tsp salt
 1 tsp paprika
 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
 1/2 tsp ground ginger
 2 Tbsp water
 1/2 tsp garam masala (optional)

1.    Place turnips in a saucepan with 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the turnips are soft, about 5 minutes. Drain, add kidney beans, keep warm.
2.    Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the cumin and fennel, and cook until the spices toast and become fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the onion, and cook until it turns golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced ginger and garlic, cook and stir for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and salt, and continue cooking until the mixture turns pasty. Finally, stir in the paprika, turmeric, ground ginger, and 2 tablespoons water; cook 2 minutes more.
3. Combine the tomato mixture to the turnip-kidney bean mixture and simmer about 10 min. Sprinkle with garam masala if desired. Serve over a bed of cooked rice.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mrs. Betterworth It - Pure Maple Syrup Bran Muffins

Maple syrup seems to be a hot topic recently. Not the sticky stuff many of us grew up drenching our pancakes in, but the real syrup that comes from the sap of maple trees.  It is pricy, but well worth it for taste and for our health. Recent scientific studies show pure maple syrup contains over 50 identified polyphenol compounds protecting us against all kinds of internal inflammation that can lead to diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and cancer. Maple syrup is completely plant based so is a great sweetener for vegans. It actually has a low glycemic index so won’t cause big spikes in blood sugars as other sweeteners do. Pure maple syrup is also high in manganese, an essential mineral.

Think about it… artificial pancake syrup is made from corn syrup and other sweeteners that are not found in nature, provides no polyphenol compounds, has a high glycemic index, and doesn’t contain any essential vitamins or minerals. So go ahead, buy real maple syrup. You’re worth it!

Pure Maple Syrup Bran Muffins
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice  (As a substitute for buttermilk, I use milk mixed with lemon juice since I hardly ever purchase buttermilk and when I do, I never seem to use it all up before it goes bad.)
2 cups bran flake cereal
1 cup whole wheat flour (Missouri Grain Project)
1 ¾ baking powder
¾ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. baking soda
2 eggs, beaten (Dry Dock Farms)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (Morris Maple Leaf Farm)
3 Tbsp. canola oil
½ cup raisins or chopped dried fruit of choice

Pure Maple Icing (optional but really tasty): 
Stir together 1/3 cup powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup, 2 tsp. or more milk to desired consistency.

1. Heat oven to 350 F, coat muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, pour in milk & lemon juice, let stand about 3 minutes then add bran cereal; let sit for about 30 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda.
4. Add eggs, maple syrup and oil to bran mixture; add flour mixture to bran mixture. Stir until just combined; add raisins or dried fruit.
5. Spoon into muffin tin; bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
6. Cool completely then drizzle with maple icing if desired.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Easy Peesy (Meyer) Lemon Squeezy - Candied Meyer Lemon Peel and Broccoli with Hazelnut Topping

There is something so gratifying when an ingredient can serve more than one purpose. When getting more than one use out of an ingredient it certainly plays into the “reduce-reuse-recycle” side of me and feels like I'm getting more bang for my buck.

In the case of the Meyer lemon, the rind is so tender, and because the white pith is not bitter like other citrus the entire lemon can be eaten. Meyer lemons are certainly not growing locally here in the Midwest, but during the winter months, I like to experiment with more unusual ingredients. This week, I purchased a bag of Meyer lemons (grown in U.S.) and put them to use:

I peeled all of the lemons with a dandy citrus peeler making it a cinch to remove the peels. Then I juiced all of the naked lemons using a juicer. 

I used the lemon juice and some of the peel in a few dishes this week including a shrimp risotto that was outta this world (sorry no picture, we devoured it too quickly) and a delicious Hazelnut Topping on steamed broccoli (just a mixture of chopped hazelnuts, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, pepper and shaved Parmesan). 

Some of the peel was placed in the freezer to use in future recipes that call for lemon zest. And the rest of the peel I made Candied Meyer Lemon Peel (recipe below).

The lemon infused simple syrup that remained after making the candied peel was poured over fresh blackberries, served with a dollop of mascarpone, and garnished with the candied lemon peel.

The only part of the lemons left unused was a bit of pulp and lemon seeds which I dumped into my compost bin. Who knows…maybe a Meyer lemon tree will start growing from it.  Hey, a girl can dream can't she!

Candied Meyer Lemon Peel
In a saucepan, heat 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water until sugar is dissolved and simmers to a syrup, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat, add slivers of Meyer lemon peel. Let stand and steep for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle granulated sugar on a plate. Take peels out of syrup and working in batches, toss a few of the lemon peels into the sugar to coat. Allow to completely dry then store in a container for up to two weeks.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

An Ode to Stir-Fry

There are so many things that I enjoy about stir-fry.  This week’s post is not featuring an overly fancy gourmet recipe but instead pays homage to a winner meal every time:

An Ode to Stir-Fry
Oh stir-fry, how I love thee so. With your chameleon like qualities, you help me adapt whatever veggies I have on hand or what I can find in season.
            (This time I happened to have fresh carrots and frozen peas so that is what went in this stir fry, but next time it could be mushrooms, green beans, any type of cabbage, onions, broccoli, etc.)

You care about my health and pocketbook, allowing me to pack in lots of vegetables and include less meat without ever leaving me feeling jipped.  
(This time I used frozen shrimp that had already been shelled, deveined and cooked. I ran the frozen shrimp under warm water to thaw, popped the tails off and tossed in the stir fry at the end. Certainly small bits of pork, beef, chicken or tofu could be added instead.)

You are considerate of my time, helping me to prepare dinner in a flash. Once the rice is cooked, the dish comes together in literally a few minutes!
(I personally think it is worth the time to use regular long grain rice instead of quick cook rice. If you are in a rush, try making buckwheat udon noodles- they cook up super fast!)

You make eating fun, begging to be enjoyed with chopsticks, and in so doing helping me to eat slower and therefore not overeat.

You help bring peace to my home. When making stir fry the whole family is happy!

Stir Fried Rice: 
1 Tbsp oil (I like to sauté in sesame seed oil to give that distinct Asian flavor. I also used a drizzle of ginger oil for an extra flavor boost.)
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped garlic & ginger (always add fresh grated ginger and garlic- so worth the flavor and health benefits)
1 cup diced vegetables (I used 1/2 cup diced carrots (Yellow Wood Farms & 1/2 cup frozen peas)
1 egg, beaten (Dry Dock Farms)
1/2 cup protein choice (shrimp, small bits of beef, chicken, pork, or cubed extra firm tofu)
3 cups cooked rice (Martin Rice)
2 Tbsp. tamari soy sauce (I recommend using tamari which has a richer flavor than regular soy sauce)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds (adds a little crunch and extra boost of nutrition)

1. Heat oil in skillet or wok; toss in garlic and ginger, saute for about 1 minute.
2. Add chopped veggies of choice, cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Move veggies to side, add egg, scamble; add shrimp or cooked bits of meat, then add cooked rice. Stir to combine.
4. Mix together soy sauce, garlic powder, sugar and white pepper. Mix into vegetable and rice mixture. 
5. Top with toasted sesame seeds and serve.

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