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Some wild game, such as venison, rabbit, squirrel and pheasant, are very lean; duck and goose are not.
Select lean pork such as tenderloin, loin chops, center-cut ham (fresh and cured) and Canadian bacon.
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Week of July 24, 2005

Like cabbage, to which it is related, the turnip has long been thought of as "plain folks" food. It is economical; it grows well in poor soil; it keeps well; and it supplies complex carbohydrates. It is grown for its root vegetable as well as for its greens, which are rich in vitamins and minerals. And they are "really low" in calories!

Turnips/1 cup cubes, boiled

Calories 33
Total fat (g) 0.1
Saturated fat (g) 0
Monounsaturated fat (g) 0
Polyunsaturated fat (g) 0.1
Dietary fiber (g) 3.1
Protein (g) 1
Carbohydrate (g) 8
Cholesterol (mg) 0
Sodium (mg) 78
Vitamin C (mg) 18

The turnips you'll find in the supermarket may range from roughly the size of a golf ball to that of a baseball. More or less smoothly spherical or top-shaped, the most common varieties have a creamy white skin that shades to purple or reddish pink or green at the top. Other turnip varieties, however, are completely white from top to tip.

Newly harvested turnips are sometimes sold in bunches with their leaves; these should be crisp and green. If in good condition, the leaves can be cooked and eaten. Topped turnips (with the greens cut off) are frequently sold in plastic bags. Leaf scars at the stem end of topped turnips should be few. The turnips themselves should always be firm and heavy for their size, with a minimum of fibrous root hairs at the bottom. Their surface should be smooth, not shriveled or bruised.

Small turnips, around 2 to 2 1/2 inches, have the best flavor and texture.
Young small turnips can be eaten raw, but larger more mature ones may be strongly flavored. You can lessen the stronger taste somewhat by blanching them in boiling water for about five minutes before baking, braising, or stir-frying. To keep the flavor mild, don't overcook these vegetables.

Raw: Serve young raw turnips in salads, slaws or sliced and served with your favorite dips along with other vegetables like carrots, celery and green peppers.

Baking/Roasting: Place 1/4"-thick slices of turnip in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of water. Cover and bake in a 350°F oven until tender. Quartered turnips can be roasted alongside meat or poultry. Cooking times: for turnips, 30 to 45 minutes; for rutabagas, 50 to 60 minutes.

Boiling: Drop whole turnips into a pot of boiling water, cover, and cook just until tender. Uncover the pot occasionally during cooking to allow the gases to escape and to ensure a delicate flavor. If a little sugar is added to the water, it will sweeten the taste of either vegetable. Cook thick slices of turnip in a skillet with 1" of boiling water; blanch julienne turnips in boiling water for just one to two minutes. Cooking times: for whole turnips, 20 to 30 minutes; for sliced or diced turnips, six to eight minutes.

Braising: Place sliced or cubed turnips in a heavy skillet. Add enough broth to cover the bottom of the pan, cover, and simmer until tender. Cooking time: 10 to 12 minutes.

Microwaving: Place a pound of cubed turnips in a microwaveable baking dish, add 3 tablespoons of liquid, cover, and cook until tender. Stir halfway through cooking time; let stand three minutes after removing them from the microwave. Cooking time: seven to nine minutes.

Steaming: Whole or cut-up turnips can be steamed over boiling water, then cooked until just tender. Cooking times: for whole medium-size turnips, 20 to 25 minutes; for cut-up turnips, 12 to 15 minutes.

Stir-frying: Stir-fry thinly sliced turnips until they are crisp-tender. Cooking time: six to seven minutes.

Week of July 17, 2005

While you have the grilled fired up, don't forget the vegetables. Grilling vegetables is not only easy but they are extremely flavorful. The secret is to cut the vegetables into pieces that will cook quickly and evenly. Make sure that pieces are not more than 3/4 to 1 inch thick and are of a uniform and same thickness. Give veggies a bath in cold water for about 30 minutes before grilling to keep moist. Pat dry, then brush or spray lightly with oil to prevent sticking. If you want to add spices or herbs, you can dramatically change the flavor. One of my favorite blends to add is garlic salt, red pepper, basil and a little brown sugar.

Do not over cook. For grilling vegetables that are smaller, use a grilling basket to keep them out of the fire.

Vegetable/Fruit
Preparation
Grilling Instructions
Asparagus
Cut off ends. Soak in water for 30 minutes to an hour. Pat dry and brush with olive oil. Place on grill, turning every minute.
Chili Peppers
Brush with oil. Grill whole on each side, 2-3 minutes. To reduce the heat, cut off the stems and pull out the seeds.
Corn
on
the
Cob
Gently pull back the husks but don't remove. Remove the silk and cut off the very end. Soak in cold water for about 30 minutes. Dry and brush with butter. Fold the husks back down and tie or twist the ends. Place on grill for about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn to avoid burning.
Eggplant
Cut lengthwise for smaller eggplants or in disks top to bottom for larger eggplants. Soak in water for 30 minutes. Pat dry, brush with oil. Grill 2-3 minutes.
Garlic
Take whole bulbs and cut off the root end. Brush with olive oil. Place cut side down over a hit fire. Grill garlic bulbs for about 10 minutes or until the skin is brown.
Mushrooms
Rinse off dirt and pat dry. Brush with oil. Grill 4-5 minutes for small mushrooms, 6-8 minutes. Use a grill basket or topper for small mushrooms.
Onions
Remove skin and cut horizontally about 1/2 inch thick. Brush with oil Grill 3-4 minutes.
Tomatoes
Cut in half, top to bottom. Grill cut side down 2-3 minutes.
Potatoes
Wash thoroughly and dry. Rub with oil. Wrap in aluminum foil. Grill 35-40 minutes, turning occasionally.
Zucchini
and
Summer Squash
Slice 1/2 inch thickness. Brush with oil. Grill 2-3 minutes per side. Small squash can be cut down the middle and grilling in halves.

Week of July 10, 2005

Bell peppers can add brilliant color, exceptional flavor and vitamins and nutrients to your summer entrees, side dishes and salads. Whether green, yellow, orange or red, bell peppers complement almost any meal.

Bell peppers in favorite recipes adds very little fat, no cholesterol and no sodium. Bell peppers are also an excellent source of vitamin C.

Nutritional analysis of one medium bell pepper: Calories - 25; Protein - 1g; Cholesterol - 0g; Sodium - 0g; Carbohydrates - 5g; Dietary Fiber - 2g; Fat - 1g

When buying sweet bell peppers, you should look for peppers that are firm and well-shaped with uniform, glossy color and thick walls.

Soft watery spots found on the sides of bell peppers indicate decay. Avoid bell peppers with pale skin and soft, pliable flesh, which indicates immaturity.

Store bell peppers in the refrigerator crisper, and they will stay fresh for up to two weeks. When cooking with bell peppers, remove the seeds before serving.

Week of July 03, 2005

Glorious In Season Local Tomatoes

Real old fashion beefsteak tomato. are tomatoes without a center core, all tomato inside, no white hard core in the middle. Sometimes called "ugly ripes", they are often misshaped with cracks coming from the stem end making them ugly to look at, but delicious to eat.

A real good tomato is sweet, tender and juicy with a deep rich red color. The key to getting a great tasting tomato is maturity. The longer on the plant the riper the tomato is, the better the taste. Most tomatoes are picked green and shipped in refrigerated trucks because they are highly perishable. Tomatoes will continue to ripen once picked but they will not get any tastier, (sweet or juicy).

Scientists and marketers got together and developed different hybrids of the old good tasting tomato, the beefsteak, to produce a tomato that could be shipped from one coast to the other without bruising. They succeeded, but regrettably, they also bred out all the flavor. Tomatoes today look great, are hard and don't have any flavor.

A great tomato is worth scouting out. A good place to find them are at local farm to market stands. Grab several pounds and bring them home. Just remember NOT TO REFRIGERATE!

Refrigerating kills the flavor, the nutrients, the texture. Tomatoes ripen from inside out with the center of the tomato always riper than the skin. The ideal temperature for tomatoes is somewhere between 55 to 70 degrees F. At this temperature the tomato will ripen inside and out. The tomato will have a full flavor and stay moist and plump and slice better.

Heat makes them mushy and flavorless and speeds up decay. Never ripen tomatoes in direct sunlight. Just keep on counter, stem up to keep from bruising.

A ripe tomato will be soft - but not squishy.

One of my favorite summer treats is to cut up big, juicy, thick slices of fresh local tomatoes and place on fresh homemade bread with thin slices of red onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of dried oregano or a few chopped fresh basil leaves and a little salt and pepper. THIS IS REAL FLAVOR!!!

 


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