Sep 29, 2018

A Basket Full Of Love

I love mushrooms, but did you know that they are very good for you. They are one of the only veggie foods to contain vitamin D, mushrooms are a great way to boost your daily requirements of this vital compound. They’re also packed with other goodies too, such as selenium, copper, iron, potassium, niacin, and vitamin C, to name but a few.

They’re also a decent way to get a little more calcium into your diet as well. This works symbiotically with the aforementioned vitamin D, as it helps your body absorb calcium. Furthermore, mushrooms are packed with antioxidants and are considered to have a greater capacity than many veggies, making them brilliant immune system boosters. So, you really should be eating more mushrooms.

Here is a great recipe for...

DILLicious Cream of Mushroom Soup
This is an easy soup to prepare. It is thick and rich, with wonderful undertones of dill.

DILLicious Cream of Mushroom Soup
Click on photo to view larger
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon paprika
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried dill, or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 teaspoons sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
fresh dill leaves for garnish

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add the onions and mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms have released their liquids and it has evaporated, about 10-15 minutes.

Mix in the flour and paprika and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the broth, dill, tamari or soy sauce, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Season with salt, pepper, then mix in the lemon or lime juice. Remove from heat and serve with a teaspoon of sour cream, garnished with fresh dill leaves. Serve with crackers or hot crusty bread.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: If you don't have chicken broth on hand, use a 10 3/4 ounce can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup mixed with 3 cups of water.

Sep 28, 2018

Red & Yellow Bell Peppers

Pineapple Mango Pepper Salsa

This salsa goes really well on grilled fish and shrimp, in tacos, and used on chicken and pork chops. Mango and papaya go well together with the pineapple, so feel free to use papaya instead, using the same amount and technique as for the mango. It also is very good with diced avocado mixed in and eaten with chips. 

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 large red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons brown or white sugar
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 8-ounce can of pineapple chunks in juice or light syrup, chopped*
1/2 inch cube of peeled ginger, finely minced
1 small pinch of cinnamon
1/2 red bell pepper-cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch squares
1/2 yellow bell pepper-cut into ¼ to 1/2 inch squares
1 medium jalapeno pepper, de-seeded and de-ribbed, finely diced
1/2 firm but ripe mango, peeled and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice
2 tablespoons cilantro or mint, (or a combination of both)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook to soften, avoiding browning.

Add the sugar to the pan and stir. Now add the vinegar to the pan and stir to mix well. Add the pineapple and the liquid it came with to the pot, and bring to a boil.

Cook to reduce the liquid to an almost syrupy consistency.

Add the ginger and cinnamon and cook to soften the ginger.

Taste for balance and adjust as needed. It should be a balance of tart and sweet. Use vinegar or sugar to balance.

Add the chilis and bells and mix well.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool. When cool, carefully fold in the mango and chill. Add pepper to your liking.

Carefully fold in the leaves of some cilantro, or some finely shredded mint, or a combination of both.

*The reason I use canned pineapple instead of fresh is that fresh, uncooked pineapple contains an enzyme that will break down proteins. These enzymes, along with those found in papaya, are those used most in commercial powdered “meat tenderizers.” Bromelain and papain are the names of the active ingredients in the powders. The other reason I go with canned? It’s easier.

Makes 2 cups.

Sep 8, 2018

The Secret To A Perfect Apple Pie

I love apple pie, and so do Hawaiians. The secret is to use an apple that is tart and crisp after cooking, like Pippin or Granny Smith, the others seem to get mushy. When I am in a hurry I use pre-made refrigerated pie crust, like Pillsbury brand.

Easy Apple Pie

Crust Ingredients:
1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on the box, or make the crust from scratch.

Filling Ingredients:
5 cups sliced, peeled Pippen or Granny Smith apples (5 medium)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (1 large lemon)
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling on top
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 425°F. Place 1 pie crust in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly against side and bottom.

In a large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients; spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust. Wrap excess top crust under bottom crust edge, pressing edges together to seal; flute, or press with a fork like I did in the photo above. Cut slits or shapes in several places in brush crust an egg white, then sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch wide strips of foil after first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving. 

Makes 6 delicious servings, that is if you want to share. When people say “you can’t possibly eat all that apple pie by yourself” I say "watch me".

Note: I usually squeeze a lemon over the apple slices as I cut them to keep the apples from turning brown. Also I like to brush the top of the pie crust with egg white before sprinkling the crust with sugar. It helps the sugar stick and makes the pie look delicious.