Francine Segan’s article in Italy Magazine answers the question as she scours Italy, attends a major event in Umbria and gives us the step by step test you can do to tell so-so pasta from artisan. Check out this site https://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/pricey-pasta-really-worth-it
Organic BRAISED GREENS
with Organic Beans, Whole Grains and Uncured Sausage, Serves 4-6
There’s nothing like an unexpected blustery evening with this warming mix of healthy foods. Braising greens brought home from the farmers market cook right up into a hearty taste treat for dinner! Read more….below.
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek, small (or shallot/red onion), chopped fine
2-4 strips of cooked uncured bacon, chopped
a colander full of snipped or cut braising greens (baby cabbage, mustard greens, bok choy, chard, radish leaves, etc.)
2-4 T EACH extra virgin olive oil and BRAGG’S LIQUID AMINOS*
Uncured, organic, fully cooked sausage (optional), cut into coins (Teton Waters Beef Thuringer is 100% grass-fed Beef)
Whole Grain organic packet (Seeds of Change makes one to simply heat)
Organic 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 oz Lindcove Ranch Candied Blood Orange Peel, or similar homemade variety, chopped, then minced.
In large skillet, drizzle olive oil and sauté garlic quickly, about one minute.
Add onion, bacon and sauté two minutes.
Add your mountain of chopped greens, one handful at a time, stirring continually.
Add more olive oil, a drizzle of lemon juice and liquid aminos about half way through.
When greens have wilted completely, push to side of pan and add sausage. Let brown.
Add packet of whole grains, then the beans, cover to let steam, 2 minutes.
Mix greens together with other ingredients in the pan.
Stir in finely minced candied orange peel and…
.you’re ready to serve!
Seem too involved? This recipe incorporates many of the organic foods we have adopted. It’s amazing, once you start thinking All Organic, how you find products with
no hormones, no antibiotics, no feedlot, made without chemical additives, additives and
really toxic preservatives like nitrites and nitrates. Farmers Markets are a good bet, but
supermarkets are picking up on the increase in consumer demand for Healthy Please, too. The candied blood orange peel I found at a farmers market was a boon! All the ones I’ve seen in supermarkets are not chemical free. Adding whole grains not only reduces the sugar spike in traditional carbohydrates, they provide healthy digestion, vitamins, minerals and immunity factors your body will enjoy.
Take this a step further, and make it a soup by adding homemade bone-broth or other stock.
*Bragg’s Liquid Aminos is an all-purpose seasoning from Soy Protein, a natural soy sauce alternative with less sodium, no preservatives, Non-GMO.
Here’s another way to get your whole grains. Delicious in the morning or during any part of your day. This one is made with a whole grain medley from Bob’s Red Mill called “Grains of Discovery.”
Whole Grain Berry Good “Rice” Pudding
1 cup Whole Grain Medley* (Bob’s Red Mill “Grains of Discovery”)
3 cups whole milk, almond or coconut milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup date sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Zest from one (1) lemon
1-2 cups strawberries (chopped) or blueberries
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)
- Add grains, milk, salt, sugar and spices to a medium pot; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or more until most of the liquid has absorbed and grains are tender, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and stir in berries, vanilla, lemon zest and nuts, if using. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*Your own mix of grains can be substituted, e.g. quinoa, brown rice, whole grain oats, barley, buckwheat, etc.
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Greetings from Placerville, California and welcome to the Green Chef Press newsletter!
This month, Green Chef Press launched its new blog on WordPress. I am excited to share my passion for farm-to-table cuisine, health, nutrition, wellness, and recipes that will get you cooking in your kitchen. I look forward to meeting you and welcome any of your questions. I want to hear from you!
The Latest News from the Blog:
Spring is in the Air!
While we wait for cherries, berries and other spring bounty, our garden is in grow mode. Don’t forget to keep your roots moist so plants can access nutrients. It’s such a beautiful season with the scent of blossoms fresh in the air. Find out here how to recognize the blossoms you see.
Celebrate Spring with Asparagus
ASPARAGUS! The spring veggie loved by many, or few? We Italians love it every which way and, from the excitement this past weekend at the San Joaquin Asparagus Festival in Stockton, California, we know many enjoy this wonder veggie.
It’s not surprising since this is the biggest festival of its kind in the west! San Joaquin County grows the most asparagus of any place in the U.S.
Did you know asparagus is rich in vitamins B and E, is great for your immunity, and slows the aging process?
Celebrate spring’s first green vegetable with these recipes: Fried Asparagus with Dipping Sauce or mixed with spinach into a fabulous Asparagus and Spinach Frittata. Check out the wild asparagus notes from my friend Anne in Italy!
Placerville in the News
Spring is the season for festivals and I just happened to be in Placerville when our local news station was in town interviewing the Fausel family, the proud owners of the oldest hardware store west of the Mississippi, Placerville Hardware. They shared their preparations for the Gold Prospecting and Mining Summit and the next big event, the World Gold Panning Championship at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds which will take place in September 2016. More on that to come.
Are you eating enough whole grains? Whole grains are an excellent way to nourish your body and boost your intake of protein and fiber. Combine whole grains with vegetables in this Multi Grain Pilaf that will satisfy even your pickiest eaters. Remember brown rice pasta is another way to get your grains. Try this Brown Rice Pasta and Shrimp Entree for a quick and healthy meal.
For a sweet treat, use whole grains to make this delectable gluten-free Vanilla Coconut Pound Cake. I recommend using products from Bob’s Red Mill, which are available in most grocery stores, outlets and health food stores.
From the Green Chef Press Kitchen:
Recipes for April
Artichoke and Sun-dried Tomatoes Pasta Dinner
Asparagus with Quinoa
Asparagus and Spinach Frittata
Fried Asparagus with Dipping Sauce
Brown Rice Pasta and Shrimp Entree
Eggplant, Tomato and Feta Salad
Lemon Blackberry Pie
Multi Grain Pilaf
Orange Poppyseed Muffins
Vanilla Coconut Pound Cake
Until next time, be well and bon appétit!
About the Author
Betty Albert is a native Californian and resident of Placerville since 2003. She is retired from her own Health Nut Products company where she worked as a baker, caterer, personal chef, and served on the board of the Placerville Natural Foods Co-op. She recently published an ebook, “Lost in Italy and Loving It!” Her latest endeavor will be a “Farm to Table” series, reflecting her admiration for the farms and their owners, and in celebration of food everywhere.
From “TRAVEL TIPS from SeeCalifornia.com” comes this Festival Feature in Fresno, April 15-17:
San Joaquin County grows the most asparagus of any place in the U.S.
Top 3 California Asparagus Counties:
San Joaquin 42.2% | Fresno 28.6% | Monterey 27.4%
- Asparagus is planted in the ground three years before it can be harvested for the full season; the plant grows for 15 to 20 years.
- Short growing season February – June
- Watch it grow! Can grow 7″ in a day when the temperatures reach 90 degrees.
- #66 California farm commodity
Fried Asparagus with Dipping Sauce
Breaded asparagus is fried in coconut oil then served with a healthy chili ranch dipping sauce.
- 12 asparagus spears
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, seasoned
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups fresh bread crumbs, seasoned
- use half panko crumbs, if desired
- 1/2 cup coconut oil for frying, or as needed
- 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- ¼-½ cup almond milk
- 2-4 T mayonnaise
- 1 4-oz can chopped green chili peppers
- dashes hot pepper sauce (such as Siracha), or to taste
- 2 T Seasoning Mix (2-4 tsp. EACH onion flakes, parsley leaves, basil, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper)
- Dampen asparagus lightly with water. Coat with flour; trying to avoid coating the tips.
- Dip asparagus in beaten egg.
- Roll and coat asparagus in a layer of breadcrumbs.
- Place coated asparagus on a plate and refrigerate, allowing coating to stick, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Stir mayonnaise, milk, yogurt, green chilies, seasoning mix and hot pepper sauce together in a small bowl for dipping sauce.
- Heat coconut oil in a fry pan over medium heat.
- Fry coated asparagus in the hot oil until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
ASPARAGUS! The spring veggie loved by many, or few?
We Italians love them every which way, especially found wild and wrapped up in some farm fresh eggs as a frittata. You can roast them, sauté them, put them in a pie, use in a cheese fondue. I’ve found them on a pizza, in a salad, wrapped in prosciutto, speared through a hot dog or sausage and toasted on the grill. If you want to really appreciate asparagus wild, take a look at Anne Robichaud’s article from Italian Notebook.
Asparagus with Quinoa
Saute two sliced shallots in 1 T each butter and olive oil until softened. Add a bunch of asparagus sliced on the diagonal and season as desired. Cook on lowered heat, covered, until softened, but still firm to the bite.
To serve, portion over cooked quinoa with a squeeze of lemon. Drizzle with bacon bits, or Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Asparagus and Spinach Frittata*
1 lb each spinach and fresh asparagus, washed, drained, tough ends discarded
3 T whipping cream or water
s/p to taste
¼ c Parmesan or Romano cheese
4 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Cut asparagus into 1-inch lengths, cook in boiling, salted water until tender to pierce, about 3 minutes. Drain, immerse in cold water and drain again. Cook spinach in a covered pan until wilted, stirring. Drain, cool, coarsely chop. Set aside.
Beat eggs, cream, salt and pepper, cheese. Set aside.
In a large on-stick skillet, place olive oil, and garlic cloves over medium heat until just beginning to brown, do not scorch! Add spinach and asparagus, and sauté 2 minutes. Pour egg mixture over asparagus and cook until eggs begin to set. Sprinkle with cheese and reduce heat to medium-low. When almost set, place skillet under broiler until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let frittata stand 4 minutes before loosening, and sliding onto a plate.
- Omit spinach, add 1 seeded, diced tomato and Fontina cheese instead of Parmesan.
- Use spring onions in addition to or instead of garlic, and Gruyere or Swiss cheese.
- Cut unpeeled red potatoes 1/8” thick and sauté w/green onions 6-8 minutes, covered, then uncover, brown well another 7-8 minutes. Add to asparagus/egg mixture.
Here is a delicious recipe for Lemon Blackberry Pie made with fresh blackberries and lemon cookies. It’s sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. Continue reading
Whole grains mean brown rice pasta, too!
If you want a lighter version than a grain pilaf for example, try these recipes using rice pasta. It comes in all styles: fettucine, spaghetti, spirals, elbows, fusilli, shells, and penne! This pasta adds 4g protein per 2 oz serving and 3g fiber. Continue reading
Made quick and healthy with whole grain rice, and fresh veggies cooked all together. Make it tasty with a toss of basil/garlic pesto, lemon and evoo. Add a few options of your own, like cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, olives or homemade croutons. A bit extra makes lunch next day! Continue reading
Gluten-Free ORANGE POPPYSEED MUFFINS
MAKES 12 375º oven
spray or line 12 muffin cup pan
1½ c Bob’s Red Mill Organic Quinoa Flour
2 T Bob’s Red Mill Poppy Seeds*
1½ T Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour
1/1/2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs
¾ c plain yogurt
¼ c organic coconut oil softened
½ c honey, brown rice syrup or agave nectar
1 T finely grated orange or tangerine zest
In large bowl, whisk flour, seeds, tapioca flour, baking powder, salt and soda.
In med. bowl, whisk eggs, yogurt, oil, honey and zest.
Add egg mix to the flour mix and stir until combined.
Divide batter equally into prepared muffin cups.
Bake 20-24 minutes til golden and pick comes out clean. Cool in pan a few minutes then transfer to rack to completely cool.
Notes: These freeze well, each wrapped in plastic wrap and freezer bag.
Thaw at room temp. 2 hours.
Poppy seeds go rancid quickly, so keep fresh supply.
Warmed marmalade can be spooned over warm muffins for added treat.
Options: Almond extract in place of orange zest; lemon in place of orange.
Made healthier by the gluten-free whole grain flours you need for better digestion and immunity as told by Bob Moore in The Short Story About Bob.