Recipes

Hearty Garden Vegetable Farro Soup Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 35 mins Total Time: 50 mins

Hearty soups are great for Fall and Winter.  They warm you from the inside out, and just make you feel so-o-o good!  This one is high in fiber and uses an ancient grain — farro.  Many people consider it to be interchangeable with spelt, but farro is an ancient grain and will cook in about 30-45 minutes. Spelt has a different texture and takes hours to cook.  Both belong to the wheat family, so if you have sensitivities, you might want to skip this version (although spelt is digestible for some).

Farro is an Italian emmer wheat, and is high in fiber and a good source of iron and protein. It’s also very easy to digest, so your body can absorb all of those great nutrients. All you have to do is cook it directly in the simmering soup liquid until tender.

The proper way to cook Farro

Select pearled farro because it cooks more quickly than whole or semi-pearled. Farro does not swell and absorb all of the water, as rice does. The correct proportion is 1 cup farro to 2.5 cups water. Bring the water to a boil; reduce and simmer about 25 minutes, until the grain is tender but not mushy. Cook it directly in the soup, or drain and cool it and add it to salads. It’s so versatile and it has so many  the health benefits!

Hearty Garden Vegetable Farro Soup

INGREDIENTS
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, extra-virgin
• 3/4 cup celery, 1/8-inch slices
• 1/2 cup yellow onion, 1/4-inch dice
• 1 cup fennel, 1/4-inch dice
• 1 cup carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 cup baby tomatoes , cut in half
• 4 cups vegetable stock, unsalted recommended (32 ounces)
• 4 cups water
• 1 cup pearled farro, rinsed
• 15 ounces cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 cup peas, frozen, fresh or canned
• 2 tablespoons basil, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped fine
• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated for garnish

Instructions
1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Throw in the celery, onion, fennel, carrots, garlic, thyme and salt. Cook, stirring a few times until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste.
2. Now it’s time for the sliced baby tomatoes, vegetable broth, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add the farro and beans. Reduce the liquid to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, or until farro grains are tender.
3. Put in the peas. Cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide evenly among bowls and top with the basil, parsley and Parmesan cheese.


Recipe Notes
1. If you substitute vegetable broth, use 8 cups of broth and omit the water.
2. Chicken stock can be a substitute for vegetable stock. Use unsalted, if you can find it, so you can control how much you add to the soup.

 

DOWN EAST MAINE PUMPKIN BREAD SO-O-O DELICIOUS!

“This is a great old Maine recipe, moist and spicy. The bread actually tastes even better the day after it is baked. Great for holiday gift giving!” — Laurie Bennett

on cooling rackI must admit that I take some liberties with this pumpkin bread recipe from Down East Maine. I like to play around and substitute some of the ingredients. For instance, I’ll use applesauce or orange juice or brown sugar in places. And I’ll add nuts sometimes. Also, I usually have to bake it longer than the directions indicate. It has always come out delicious. Hope you have fun adding your own touches!

INGREDIENTS
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup water

3 cups white sugar

3 1/2 cups all-purpose  flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

(may add 1 tsp vanilla)
DIRECTIONS
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3, or two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
2.    In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
3.    Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

PEARS – THE SUPER FRUIT Prevent Colds & Flus

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Pears are the super fruit of Asia and around the world. They have been called the “gift of the gods” and were presented as a delicacy at some points in history. They are rich in Vitamins C and K, and hold powerful nutrients and minerals. They are known to have healing attributes for many ailments, especially coughs, colds and flus.

According to Cheryl Murphy, “Pears add approximately 3 grams of water, non-soluble fiber to the diet. The fiber binds to unwanted toxins and bacterium in the colon and leads the way out of the body, reducing the onset of heart disease, cancer and Type-2 Diabetes. Pears reduce cholesterol due to the fiber involved.

 

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“The pear works as an anti-inflammatory in the respiratory system. The pear helps maintain moisture in the lungs. Pears, due to their sour properties, help eliminate phlegm. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, when the lungs take in dry, pathogenic factors, then the intestines, plus other areas of the body, get involved. The pear is a cooling food that prevents lung damage and adds moisture to the lungs and prevents bacteria.

“Colds and coughs usually find their way into the body from August through April when humidity levels drop in the air. A cold or cough within the body is usually the body’s way of saying that it needs to rid excess toxins, waste and bacteria overgrowth. Over 66 million Americans catch colds per year and catching a cold in the Fall usually signifies the lungs are being challenged. If a cough is present, the body is trying to release unwanted toxins to cleanse itself. There is usually an energy imbalance or stagnation, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is better to harmonize with the body than to fight it. You can help the body to bring harmony and balance on its own, and speed the recovery process, with diet and natural remedies. Adding pears to the diet, especially in the Fall, can boost immunity, release toxins and deliver all that is needed to keep colds and coughs away.”

 

Here are some easy recipes that you can enjoy this season and boost your immune system in the process!

 

PEAR REMEDY
Pears hold precious cooling compounds to energize the lungs, keeping the area moist and free of bacteria.

cored-peeled-halvedStewed Sweet Pears
2 pears, peeled and sliced                                        4 cups water
1 tablespoon honey

Boil the pears and honey in water for about 30 minutes. Drink while hot.

 

EASY PEAR SAUCE
Pear Sauce is easy to make and is delicious served plain. It is also great as a topping for pancakes, waffles, and toast (for a real treat, spread the toast with almond butter under the pear sauce and top with blueberries). Try spooning it over ice cream for desert.
This recipe yields about 4 cups.

Ingredients:
8-10 pears; peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces (I use Bartlett)
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pear-sauceDirections:
1. Combine pears, water, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pears have softened, about 25-30 minutes.
2. Use an immersion blender to process the pear sauce until smooth. If you prefer a chunky pear sauce, mash with a potato masher. You can also transfer the cooked pear mixture to a food processor or blender to process, just make sure the pear sauce has cooled down.
3. Once the pear sauce has cooled down, pour into glass or plastic containers. Cover and store in the refrigerator. The pear sauce will keep in the fridge for one week. You can also freeze or can the pear sauce.

 

Here’s one from Chef Nick Stellino that’s a little more elegant, but still uncomplicated. 

PEARS IN RED WINE SAUCE – Pere al Vino Rosso
Serves 4
Ingredients:
4 large pears, peeled and cored
2 cups red wine
1 cup sugar

poached-in-wine

Instructions:
Cut a small slice from the bottom of each of the pears so they will stand up straight in the saucepan without falling over. In a saucepan large enough to hold the pears, bring the wine and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring well. Once the mixture reaches a boil, cook for 3 more minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and gently place the pears, standing up, into the saucepan, being careful not to splash yourself with the hot wine-and-sugar mixture.

Place the pan back on the stove and cook the pears over medium-low heat—15 to 20 minutes for a firm texture or 30 to 40 minutes for a softer texture—braising the pears with the wine-and-sugar mixture every 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the pears stand in the wine sauce until they reach room temperature. Use a slotted spoon to transfer each of the pears to a dessert dish, and top with plenty of the wine sauce.

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CHEF’S NOTE: For an elegant presentation, serve the pears with sweet whipped cream or whipped mascarpone cheese, and top with toasted chopped pistachio nuts.

AN APPLE A DAY ~ YUM! IT KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY, TOO

a-painting

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We all know this saying from childhood. So what exactly are those benefits? Research has come up with quite a few interesting facts. What they have discovered just may inspire you to eat more apples!

 

apple-benefits

  1. An apple is high in fiber, pectin, flavonoids and antioxidants, which fight disease.
  2. Fiber regulates the water balance in your colon. This balance prevents constipation and diarrhea. Fiber pulls water out to keep things moving when you’re backed up. And it absorbs excess water from your stool when you need to slow your bowels down. Added benefits are prevention of hemorrhoids and neutralization of  irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  3. The pectin in an apple lowers LDL cholesterol (the “bad” one). Eating 2 apples a day could lower your cholesterol by as much as 16%.
  4. Many cancers are helped by apples. In a study of 10,000 people, those who ate the most apples had a 50% lower risk of developing lung cancer. A study on rats at Cornell University showed that rats that ate an apple a day reduced their risk of breast cancer by 17%. Three apples a day reduced their risk by 39%. And six apples a day reduced it by 44%. One study showed that rats fed an extract from apple skins had a 43% lower risk of colon cancer. Other research shows that the pectin in apples reduces the risk of colon cancer and helps maintain a healthy digestive tract. Still other studies found that rats fed an extract from apple skins showed a 57% reduced risk of liver cancer.
  5. Weight loss – A Brazilian study showed that women who ate three apples or pears a day lost more weight while dieting than those who did not eat fruit while dieting.

sliced-stacked

 

SO! . . . ADD AN APPLE A DAY TO YOUR DIET!!!

Here are a couple of delicious recipes for you to try.                         Bon Appetit!

 

APPLES WITH PINE NUTS AND GOLDEN RAISINS

  • INGREDIENTS                                                                                                                                                                                 
  • 9 apples, peeled and cut in bite-size chunks                                                                                                                                          
  • 2 packages pine nuts                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • 1 package golden raisins
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  •  sugar to taste                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • fresh cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

    DIRECTIONS

    • Place cubed apples in saucepan in approximately 1 inch water. Bring to boil. 
    • Reduce heat and add all other ingredients except pine nuts.
    • Simmer approximately 30-45 minutes. 
    • Remove from heat. Toss in pine nuts.
    • May be served hot, warm or chilled.

 

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SOME OF MY PERSONAL TOUCHES

~ Try a variety of apples, like Pink Lady, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, cooked together etc.

~ To me, it tastes better when you don’t peel the apples.

~ Honey, instead of sugar, is a delicious alternative.

~ Include cloves and allspice with the spices. Remove them before serving.

~ This dish makes a tasty desert – either alone, over ice cream, or with certain cakes (like sponge, pound, lemon, etc.).

~ I love it on toast for breakfast – sometimes with mascarpone or cream cheese, sometimes with banana slices, but mostly just alone. It’s wonderful mixed into a bowl of oatmeal, too. I’m sure you’ll find your own new favorite ways to serve it to friends and family.

 

APPLE ONION SAUTE 

This is a quick savory-sweet accompaniment for your favorite meat. If you are in the mood for a bit of a twist, use Bermuda onions and Idared apples for an attractive pink presentation.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 medium firm New York State (or similar) apples, cored and sliced
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. marjoram
  • salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat the butter in large skillet. Add the onions and apples.
  • Saute over medium heat until tender.
  • Season with marjoram, salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice.

 

SERVE HOT WITH CHICKEN BREASTS,

PORK CHOPS, AND OTHER MEATS.

 

                                                                                                                                 

 

 

Here’s a short video: 4 Ways To Add Apples To Your Diet