Week of March 28, 2010
Easy Way to Fix Beets - Roast Them
I love beets no matter how they are prepared, but roasting them, as in this recipe, intensifies the flavor. Use any color of beets you like, such as red or gold.
Preheat oven to 375° F. Place the beets in a small roasting or baking dish in one layer. Drizzle with the oil. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Roast until fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature.
- 1-1/2 pounds medium beets, peeled and quartered
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
Notes: If you can get baby beets, scrub them and roast whole with the peel on. The peel is edible but, if you prefer, will slip off easily after roasting. If you have never worked with red beets, be aware of the fact that the juice will turn anything red. As a matter of fact, it is used as a natural, edible food dye. It is not a problem, but you should protect your clothing and work surface, as well as your hands, rinsing any stains immediately.
Week of March 21, 2010
When to Buy Organic
OK, EVERYONE is on a tighter budget these days. It seems that dollar is shrinking as far as buying power goes.
However since long-term exposure to pesticides has been associated with cancer, infertility and neurologic conditions, such as Parkinson’s, I tend to like the idea of organic fruits and vegetables. And of course they are a little more expensive.
Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group (EWG, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization) has identified ranked fruits and vegetables that are least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues.
If buying all organic is not a financial reality for you—you might opt to buy organic specifically when you’re selecting foods that are most heavily contaminated with pesticide and insecticide residues.
Most Commonly Contaminated*
|If Budget Allows,
|It’s Your Call - Least Commonly Contaminated
Sweet Bell Peppers
Grapes - Imported
Grapes - Domestic
Sweet Peas - FrozenAsparagus
Sweet Corn - Frozen
|*Listed in order of pesticide load
Source: Environmental Working Group.
of March 14, 2010
Adapting Your Recipes for a Slow Cooker
Does coming home to the wonderful aromaa of a flavorful, savory dinner ready in the kitchen sound like heaven?
A great solution is slow-cooking that can be achieved in your handy crock-pot.
If you love to use your crock-pot, but really do not have any favorite recipes, here's how you can adapt your old conventional recipes to the slow-cooking process (cooking that requires moist heat).
Reduce liquids by half. One cup of liquid is usually enough.
Cube meat to ensure complete cooking.
Vegetables cook more slowly than meat in a crock-pot, so place them in the bottom and around the sides of your cooker. Then add the meat and the liquid.
Dry beans should be cooked for 10 minutes before adding them to the slow cooker.
Cook pasta and rice before adding to cooker. And add them at the end of cooking just to warm.
The flavor of leaf or whole herbs will intensify, so add half the amount. Add ground herbs and spices during the last hour.
Add dairy products, including milk and sour cream, during the last hour of cooking.
Most uncooked meat and vegetable combinations will require cooking at least 8 hours on low.
If a conventional recipe says:
- Cook for 15 to 30 minutes: slow-cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours or on High for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Cook for 35 to 40 minutes: slow-cook on Low for 6 to 10 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours.
- Cook for 50 minutes to 3 hours: slow-cook on Low for 8 to 18 hours or on High for 4 to 6 hours.