Saturday, December 4, 2010

Beet Greens

This is a classic example of one man's trash is another man's treasure. And this one really is a treasure trove. Beet greens are high in iron and folate, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. How many times have you tossed out these green tops and never thought twice? 

Beet greens are versatile. They can be used like you might use spinach, kale or chard. I have used them in quiche and stuffed shells.

This recipe is reminiscent of the flavors of south. You could sub the beet greens for other hardy greens, like kale or collards. This is especially delicious with hoppin' john -  a combination of blackeyed peas and brown rice. Yum!

Sauteed Beet Greens
Greens of three or four large beets
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Half of a small onion or a quarter of a large
1-2 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon honey
2 T apple cider vinegar
A few sprinkles of cayenne or chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash your beet greens to remove dirt. Don't worry about drying them too much. The extra water will create steam for our purpose. Remove the stems, chop and set aside. Roughly chop the greens. Chop the onion and garlic medium dice. 

Stir the honey, vinegar, salt and cayenne together in a bowl to dissolve, and set aside.

Add the olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for a minute or two. Add in your beet green stems and continue to cook for another few minutes until they soften.

Add in the beet greens and saute until they wilt. Do not overcook them. Add in the honey mixture and turn the pan over a few times, then remove from heat, and serve.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cracked Wheat Bread with Molasses

Do you like molasses? I do. Maybe it is my Pennsylvania dutch roots. I used to eat it is slathered on by bagels when I was a child. The heavier blackstrap molasses has a deeper flavorful and it is chock full of nutrients. 20% iron and 8% calcium of your daily requirements. This is in just one tablespoon, folks. If this kind is too bitter for you, there are other lighter and sweeter varieties. Just be sure that they are 100% molasses, without any corn syrup thrown in there. I found mine in the sweetener aisle. So you can have your sweets and eat them too, and then get some valuable nutrients while you are at it. Stir it into some oatmeal or have a little on toast.

About three months ago, I  decided that I was going to start making bread instead of buying it. Why, you ask? The labels drive me nuts. A whole wheat, low-fat, high-fiber bread might sound great, but flip that bad boy over and you might just see that the nutrition facts are not quite as glamorous. The second ingredient is almost always sugar. They have to use it as a filler to make up for the fat they are not adding. This is true in many fat-free and low-fat products, so be aware. Not only that, one loaf of bread is about 3 to 4 dollars. Making it myself, I can save about 50% every time!

After three months of rising and punching, and baking, I found a really great bread. The recipe I am sharing with you today is one from my sister's Moosewood Cookbook. It has a nice molasses flavor, but it is not a sweet bread. It is a soft sandwich bread. Also good for toast, or just with butter when it comes out of the oven(dangerous!). In fact, I used my leftover turkey and leftover gravy from Thanksgiving to have a hot turkey sandwich. Yum!

I also used some of the dough to make a few rolls. I just sprinkled on some cinnamon, threw in some raisins, and they were delicious - a nice change of pace from typical raisin bread. 

Cracked Wheat Bread with Molasses

          1 Tablespoon dry actiive yeast
          1/3 cup warm water(110 to 120 degrees)
          1/2 cup bulgur or cracked wheat (most stores have this)
          4 teaspoons salt
          1/4 cup molasses or honey
          3-4 Tablespoons butter
          1 1/2 cups water
          1 cup milk
          2 cups whole wheat flour
          3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

Butter 2 - 5x9 loaf pans

Cook bulgur (or cracked wheat) in 1 1/2 cup water for 10 min. until water is absorbed. Turn off heat. Add 1/4 cup butter, 4 tsp salt, 1/4 cup molasses. Add 1 cup milk to bulgur mixture.

Proof 1 Tbs yeast in 1/3 cup warm water.

When bulgur mixture is lukewarm, add yeast mix and stir. (If it's hot, you will kill the yeast!) Add 2 cups whole wheat flour and beat well.  Add a little all-purpose flour at a time until dough is stiff enough to knead.
Knead dough for 10 minutes on a floured surface. It should be elastic and soft, not hard. Place in buttered bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic and let rise for 1 1/2 hour in a warm place.

Punch down - knead several times.  Shape into 2 loaves and put in loaf pans - let rise 30 minutes.

Be sure to preheat the oven ahead of time. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.

Makes 2 loaves, about 10 slices per loaf
About 100 calories per slice

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Getting your Greens

It is the perfect time to start my healthy eating blog. Right after Thanksgiving when you think you might just never eat again. Okay, you need to eat, but maybe something light? I have the perfect solution.

Here is a breakfast smoothie recipe. Now calm down. As you can see it is green, but it doesn't taste green. So, let me explain. Every person I ever discuss this with usually wrinkles up their nose a bit, but upon tasting it, let's just say they're pretty impressed. The banana tends to overpower the spinach flavor at which you are currently wrinkling your nose, and you end up with a wonderfully sweet breakfast drink. Very filling, and usually about 250 calories.

Just think! You could start the day with 1 or 2 servings of the best vegetables there is for you, and you wouldn't even know it.Well maybe you would, since spinach contains rubiscolins, which act like opiates. Spinach is full of iron and vitamins C and E. I always say, the one thing people can do to improve their health is to eat more greens! Here is the basic recipe. You can add in just about anything you dream up. Let me know if there are any fun concoctions you try in the comments below.

Green Shake

          2 to 3 cups fresh raw spinach
          1 large, brown spotted banana (the more spots, the sweeter)
          1 large apple, peach, mango, or pear

          Blend with enough water to get all your ingredients moving. 
          Add a little ice if you like it colder.

          A handful of fresh cranberries, cherries, or blueberries
          Yogurt or soymilk
          Add in a tsp of lemon peel or a few sprigs of parsley for a bright taste
          Small carrot
          1 T of wheat germ 
          You can also sub out the spinach for curly leaf kale.