Glowing, radiant health is the new black. Our Green Table is serving it up, for the whole body! Healthy recipes and tips, the latest on eco-friendly food and "skin food"products and a head's up on ingredient safety are all woven into family-centered stories and discoveries. Bring informed, aware and empowered looks good on everyone!

Abrazos! xox Penny

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Squash that rain! The picnic's on !

Today's New Clean Plate Club menu was supposed to kick off our new theme for August: sun-drenched summer picnics. However, as I was writing the newsletter, it was absolutely pouring outside. So rainy, rivers of water were surging down our street and so dark, all the lights have been on inside, all day. Nothing sunny about tonight's picnics plans. However, it won't be the first picnic to have a change of plans and menus, right?

I remember stubbornly holding onto those picnic thoughts when we lived in Ohio. It was Memorial Day weekend, our children were 1 and 4 and I was determined that we would do what other Americans were doing elsewhere, cooking out and eating picnic style. It didn't matter that it was still winter-like in Cleveland. No sirree, what's a 30 degree temperature when you want to have picnic fun? It adds a little nip to the occasion for sure! And so, as well as shoveling off the 'barbe, I also dressed myself and the kids in our parkas, lit the grill, cooked outside and my husband hauled the picnic table and benches out and we ate picnic style...mittens and all!

Here is a warm food recipe for a cool weather (or a rainy weather) picnic! It has all the tastes of summer and just a little heat to take the chill out of the day.

Squash Fritters

1 zucchini or summer squash, shredded
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Sea salt or kosher salt
1 egg, beaten to blend
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons light beer or club soda
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Extra virgin olive oil or canola oil

In a bowl, combine shredded squash with the flour and a pinch of sea salt. Stir in the egg, baking soda, beer or club soda and basil. Continue stirring until the mixture is the consistency of pancake batter. Heat about 1/4 inch oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons into the skillet. Fry on each side about 2-3 minutes or until puffed and golden brown (and no runny insides!) You may need to add a little more oil. Place cooked fritters on a paper towel to drain and keep warm until ready to eat or devour immediately! Serves 4.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cool, delicious, red and sweet

"Cool, deIicious, red and sweet". Oh, can only mean of summer's sweetest fruits. When our kids were young, we had an "old fashioned" ice cream freezer and hand cranked it at every occasion. (I think the electric freezers are a real improvement!!). We made "anything but plain" vanilla and chocolate, creamy frozen custards and fruity flavors like fresh peach, blackberry and pumpkin. The flavor and velvety texture of handmade ice cream (to say nothing of the fun of licking the paddle) can't be topped. I found this recipe that is sure to cool down the hottest day and make an already delcious part of summer eating, even better. Go grab a spoon and an electric ice cream freezer and get cranking!

Watermelon sorbet is one of the best summer desserts that's ever been invented. Because the fruit is so naturally sweet, you only need to add a little bit of sugar syrup. Makes 1 quart.

3-4 cups cubed watermelon (about the amount in a quarter of a whole mid-sized watermelon)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1-2 tablespoons vodka (do not use a flavored one)

Tip: Have your ice cream maker prepared by placing the drum in your freezer for at least 24-hours before you plan to make this dessert. Also try to make this sorbet at least 8 hours before you plan to serve it, giving it time to be fully frozen.
Tip: The vodka keeps the sorbet from freezing into a solid block of ice after you place it in the freezer but it adds no discernable taste. If you cannot or don't want alcohol in your sorbet, be attentive to how long you freeze the finished mixture before you serve it or else leave at room temperature for some period before serving it so that it softens bit.

In a saucepan combine the sugar and the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook at a low boil or high simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 10 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and let cool. This sugar syrup can be made in advance and refrigerated until you're ready to use it.

Prepare your watermelon by cutting the pieces from the inner, darkest part of the melon where it's the sweetest, and make the effort to remove all the seeds, including the little white ones.
Place the cubes of melon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until the fruit is completely smooth and liquefied. Pour the puréed fruit through a fine mesh sieve set over a large bowl or a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Press down on any fruit that remains in the sieve so as to extract all the juice. This captures any seeds you may have missed. Discard anything collected in the sieve.

Combine the strained watermelon purée with the sugar syrup. You should have about 4 cups of dark pink, very sweet purée that has a strong watermelon flavor. Cover and place in the refrigerator until it's well chilled, at least an hour and maybe longer depending on how cooled the syrup was.
When the purée and syrup mixture is very cold, add the vodka and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to its manufacturer's instructions.
When fully thickened and slushy and frozen (this may take 20 or so minutes), transfer to a plastic container and place in the freezer to finish reaching its finished frozen state.

Enjoy every bite!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cook it like it is, Sister!

My sister-in-law, Alice, is a wonderful cook and between us, I think we have cooked everything imaginable from scratch. She has a wonderful flair with fresh foods and actually grows many foods on the farm she and my brother have in Nova Scotia. While our family was together, my brother and I had many "cook-off's", but Alice was on her own and in her glory with this dessert. Challenging her was futile..the girl can make a pie!

She usually holds out on this recipe but begging paid off and so here is Alice's Grasshopper Pie.

1 8 1/2 ounce package chocolate wafers
2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
3 1/2 tablespoons green creme de menthe
4 1/2 tablespoons white creme de cacao
6-8 drops green food coloring*
1 egg white
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons vanilla
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
chocolate shavings

Preheat oven to 375. Crush wafers and combine with 1 teaspoon sugar and then, cream with butter, using an electric mixer. Line a 10-inch pie plate with the crumb mixture and bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Cool. While crust is cooling, sprinkle gelatin into 1/2 cup cold water in a saucepan. Add 1/3 cup sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt and egg yolks. Stir until well mixed and heat gently, stirring constantly until gelatin has dissolved and mixture has thickened (do not boil!).

Remove from heat and stir into it the green creme de menthe and white creme de cacao. Stir in green food coloring *( you may want to omit this). Refrigerate for about 15 minutes or until mixture starts to gel slightly, about the consistency of unbeaten egg whites. Beat the 4 egg whites with cream of tartar and remaining salt to stiff peaks. Gradually beat in remaining sugar and fold into liqueur-flavored mixture. Combine 1 cup heavy cream with 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla and 1 1 /2 tablespoons confectioners sugar and whip. Fold whipped cream into liqueur-flavored mixture and then turn into pie crust. Chill pie several hours or overnight. Top with remaining cream, whipped and flavored with remaining vanilla and confectioners sugar. Garnish with chocolate shavings.

Serves 8-10, maybe!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Family Feud

Well, not really a feud!! Every time my brother and I have a chance to get together, which is not very often, we cook and have fun turning dinner into a "cook-off". While our inclinations are different...he is usually all about meat and as you know, I am the Veggie Queen, we both love to have at it with the 'barbe. While we were in New York, however, it was so rainy that the thought of firing up the barbecue in the rain was less than appealing. We made excuses until the very last night he was there and then, let it rip. Rick braved the elements, mixed up his "magic marinade" and I brushed it over tuna steaks and sweet Shinnecock bay scallops. We served these delectable morsels with fat, al dente asparagus topped with herbed summer squash and wild mushrooms. Divine, if we say so ourselves... and not a feuding word uttered!
Rick's Magic Marinade
Grated peel of 2 lemons
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Combine all in a glass jar, give a good shake and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes one cup.