Monday, July 21, 2014

Homemade Cherry Pie #GardenCuizine

Cherry Pie

Homemade cherry pie tastes better than anything you can buy. Cherry pie makes a great alternative to birthday "cake" too. Cherry pie is Harry's birthday favorite. In fact, today I'm decorating a pie that I made last night for his milestone birthday celebration. Happy 70th Harry!

Why do you think store bought fruit pies are so inexpensive? Because the fruit is stretched with lots of sugar and cheap filling goop! More like a science project than something worth eating.

In the future we hope to harvest our own cherries. We planted two new trees this spring and one appears to have died. So who knows if we'll ever get to grow our own cherries. In the meantime, I bought some at our local farmers market.

Preheat oven to 400 F
Pie dough
use your favorite pie dough recipe
Filling Ingredients
6 cups sweet cherries - pitted

3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons (T) instant tapioca
1 T tapioca starch
1 T key lime juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup water
egg wash: 1 egg whisked with splash water
Putting it all together
  • When pitting cherries be sure to account for each and every pit so your guests don't get a pit
  • Combine all ingredients except the water and egg wash and toss in large bowl. Stir and after 15 minutes if the cherries do not seem juicy add the 1/4 cup water. Let sit while you roll out the pie dough.
  • Roll out pie dough in two 11-inch circles for 9-inch pie plate. Fit one for bottom crust into lightly sprayed pie plate
  • Fill with cherry mixture
  • Use a fluted cutter and cut strips of dough out of the remaining circle for lattice top crust. Press and crimp edges using fingers
  • Egg wash
  • Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake until golden brown and you see the cherry filling bubble - about 1 hour total. You may have to put foil around the edges during baking to prevent getting too dark
  • Allow to fully cool before decorating if serving as birthday 'cake'!
Edible decorations shown in photo: red shiso perilla, chocolate mint, anise hyssop, pansy

GardenCuizine Nutrition data Sweet Cherries:
Good Source: dietary Fiber, Potassium and Vitamin C
1 cup pitted Sweet Cherries: 3g (13% DV) dietary Fiber, 342mg (10% DV) Potassium, 11mg (18% DV) Vitamin C

Photos and recipe Copyright (C)2014 Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Traveling to New Hope or #Lambertville? Thumbs up to Caffe Galleria #GardenCuizine

When traveling to New Hope, PA or Lambertville, NJ be sure to experience the excellent food, service and live music at Caffe Galleria located on the Jersey side: 23 North Union Street, Lambertville, NJ 08530. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

For Harry's birthday dinner we both had their Cedar Plank Fish du Jour, which was Corvina cooked to perfection in their brick oven served with a generous portion of veggies. Their salads are large enough to share. We shared a Pomodoro Salad with fresh mozzarella, basil and balsamic reduction. The photo shows my half salad portion!

They don't have a liquor license but if you would like to order a bottle of wine with dinner they have an arrangement with a nearby liquor store that offers free delivery within minutes without any service charge. 

Desserts are made in-house (an attention getter for me) and featured a full line of gelato and sorbets. We enjoyed a scoop of gelato in espresso on the recommendation of our server that was the perfect ending to a wonderful meal. 

Whole wheat crust option for pizza, vegan and vegetarian foods (seitan, tofu, brown rice) and locally sourced foods including free-range eggs, pasture-raised meats were other menu features that caught my eye. 

Blog post and photos Copyright (C)2014 Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Grow your own potatoes! #GardenCuizine

Growing Your Own Potatoes
~kitchen garden update~
Our organic russet Butte potatoes are now blooming away. As first discussed, seed potatoes were cut into pieces leaving an 'eye' on each piece and planted in trenches (June 9th). As the plants grew (June 27th), about 3 weeks later, the dirt was filled in; a process called 'hilling'.
The goal was to 'hill' the potatoes so more potatoes would grow. We planted ours in a raised bed, which made it difficult to hill the soil higher than the sides of the raised beds. The soil doesn't appear mounded, but since the seed potatoes were started low, in a trench, filling in the trench served as 'hilling'. We opted not to go any higher to avoid the soil rolling out of the raised bed. If the potatoes were planted at ground level we could have continued to mound up the soil. 

The top photo shows Butte potatoes in bloom. We're also growing 'King Harry' and my other favorite, 'Yukon Gold'.  When you grow your own - you can select from many different varieties. When you buy in a store - you are limited to whatever is available.

The potatoes will be ready to be dug up for cooking after the plants die. Check back for follow-up blog posts.
GardenCuizine Nutrition Data: Baked Russet Potato: 
Excellent Source: Potassium and Vitamin B6
Good Source: dietary Fiber and Vitamin C

1 small potato (138g): 4g Protein; 3g dietary Fiber (13% DV); 759mg Potassium (22% DV); 12mg Vitamin C (19% DV); 0.5 mg Vitamin B6 (24% DV)

Happy and Healthy Gardening!
Blog post and photo Copyright (C)2014 Wind. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Today in Our Garden #GardenCuizine #gardenchat #hops

Today in Our Garden
Hops (Humulus lupulus) twine above a wren's bird house. Hops vines add charm to any garden. The green blooms can be boiled to add characteristic flavor to beer. Hops extract also acts as a preservative. According to Mother Earth News, "It's not the flowers themselves, but the resin glands (called lupulin) at the base of the petals that give hops their distinctive properties. The resin itself contains acids that produce bitterness; the volatile oils in the glands yield aroma."

And, no, we've never tried to make our own beer. Why do that with Iron Hill Brewery right up the street!
Blogpost and photo Copyright (C)2014 Wind. All rights reserved. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Is Your BMI above 30? Do You Skip Breakfast and/or Lunch? #GardenCuizine @eatright

Eating "...takes my time away"
"I'm not hungry during the day"
I hear these quotes on a daily basis from obese adults. Out of over one thousand obese individuals that I've counseled to date, I can attest that the majority do not eat breakfast and/OR lunch. Why is that? 

I'm noticing the same trend with obese adolescents. In fact, studies have associated weight gain with increased fast food intake and skipping breakfast in adolescents as they transition into adulthood.

To make up for the calories missed, those who skip breakfast and lunch eventually eat and often end up over compensating and overeating even greater calories than a healthy breakfast and lunch would have provided.

Eating about every four hours fuels the body. Participating in physical activity increases lean muscle and boosts metabolism to burn more calories. Eating a portion controlled breakfast, lunch and dinner provides nutrition and energy for work, play and daily activities.

For meal planning and weight management support consult a registered dietitian nutritionist. If you're struggling with binge-eating be sure to discuss it with your doctor. 

Make time to eat right
  • Food is important
  • Food is Fuel
  • THINK Food Groups
  • Plan ahead
  • Avoid Fast Foods
  • Portion Control
  • Select Quality Foods for Better Health
Related Links
Weight Loss and Nutrition Myths 
Know Your BMI
Healthy Breakfast Ideas 
More Breakfast Ideas 
Meal Frequency and Weight Loss 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sold out! Blueberry Salads with Blueberry Vinaigrette Dressing #GardenCuizine #recipe

Blueberry Salads
with Blueberry Vinaigrette

Sold out! Blueberry salads with Diana's blueberry vinaigrette salad dressing sold out at Trinity Church's Blueberry Festival last night. Special thanks to the Healthy Garden in Moorestown, NJ for providing the tossed salads. A fun time was had by all who stopped by.
GardenCuizine Homemade Blueberry Vinaigrette recipe: click here
Related Links
Jersey Blues and Blueberry Nutrition

Photos and blog post Copyright (C)2014 Wind. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Black Bears in South Jersey @NWF cheers to Coexisting with Wildlife!

Our Yard is a 
Certified Habitat for Wildlife
Black Bears are Wild all right

Black bears are expected in the Adirondack Mountains in New York, and in areas of Northern New Jersey, but in South Jersey backyards? Last year was the first time I thought about black bears in New Jersey after we had a bear cut through our yard! The police shouted through their mega phones to Harry and me, "Get in the house, a bear is in your yard!" 

Today, since we've had another black bear strolling around the corner here in Mt. Laurel, NJ the past few days, it seems appropriate to post this video about black bears in the Garden State. For communities to coexist with bears, education is key. Check out the below video to learn more about black bears. 

Remember, feeding black bears is illegal in NJ and NY. We let our bird feeders go empty during these past few days with the bear in town.

Related Links
Living with Black Bears
Certified Wildlife Habitat

Monday, June 9, 2014

Growing your own potatoes #GardenCuizine #organic

Planting Seed Potatoes
For years we've been growing our own potatoes. Although we've been getting decent harvests out of a single raised bed for a family of 3, we recently learned that by "hilling" the potato plants we could yield even more potatoes. 

Start with quality seed potatoes. We ordered ours from Wood Prarie Farm, a family farm,  located in Maine. Today, I planted out a 1/2 raised bed of Butte organic potatoes. They were planted in a trench about 6 inches deep. We don't have a lot of space to plant them 12 inches apart so they were placed 4-6-inches apart. The trench was then partially filled in with 1-inch of soil to cover the potato pieces. As the potatoes grow, the soil will be filled in a few times until it is mounded - called "hilling."

Before planting, the potatoes were cut in half leaving eye(s) in each chunk. This is another step that we've never done in the past. We've always planted the whole potato thinking that is what you were supposed to do. It worked for us, but for an even greater yield this time we are cutting the seed potatoes first as shown in the below video.

Check back in about 4-weeks or so for follow-up photos of our hilling process. We have to wait until the plants grow to at least 5-6-inches tall.

I found this gardening video helpful on how to plant seed potatoes:

Related Links

Wood Prairie Farm Organic Potato Growing Guide 
Photos and blog post Copyright (C) 2014 Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Homemade Blueberry Vinaigrette #GardenCuizine

Blueberry Vinaigrette
The inspiration for this recipe came from going to Trinity Church's annual blueberry festival to stock up on fresh blueberries. We buy several cases, rinse the berries, let them air dry, then freeze the blueberries in single layers on cookie trays. Once frozen the berries are easily stored in baggies until ready to use in recipes. 

While at the blueberry festival, we usually get a bite to eat. The food is what you typically find at outdoor summer festivals: drinks, plenty of ice cream, desserts, water and hotdogs. I thought, wouldn't it be nice to have a refreshing tossed salad featuring blueberries and blueberry vinaigrette?
Yields: 2 cups (16oz.) dressing
1 1/2 cups Blueberries 
1/3 cup olive oil + 1/3 cup canola oil OR 2/3 cup Smart Balance oil blend
1 tablespoon (T) rice vinegar (can also use apple cider or red wine vinegar)
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T Agave or Honey
2 teaspoons (tsp) coarse ground mustard 
2 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 tsp minced or grated ginger
1/8 tsp salt 
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water (or more if necessary to thin as desired)

Putting it all together
  • Rinse blueberries and remove any stems.
  • Add all ingredients to blender and mix.
  • Pour into washed and sanitized dressing bottle or cruet.
  • Enjoy blueberry vinaigrette on tossed garden salad topped with additional fresh blueberries.
Related Links
a good place to stock up on blueberries
7th Annual Blueberry Festival 
June 20th 5pm-9pm 
Trinity parking lot Located: 207 W. Main St., Moorestown, NJ 08057
Recipe, photos and blog post Copyright (C)2014 Wind. All rights reserved. Revised 6/20/14.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Today in Our Garden #GardenCuizine #gardenchat

Click on the photo for larger view  
Today In Our Garden 
South Jersey
USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)

Such a beautiful day that even the weeds are beautiful including Eastern Daisy fleabane. Our newly planted Chicago Fig and Cherry trees (Blackgold Sweet Cherry and Stark Montmorency Pie Cherry) are looking good and showing new growth.

Hard to believe that store bought pink trumpet-like blooms of potted Italian Heather (Erica ventricosa) could look so amazing. Harry got the plant from Wegmans - a supermarket - of all places! 

Clematis are especially gorgeous this time of year, especially the rich purple Clematis Wildfire - a Polish hybrid.

The bright lights of Amsonia blue star are fading as our attention shifts to bright hot pink climbing rose Zephirine Drouhin growing beneath a locally crafted ceramic bird house. A little, vocal wren has been actively guarding her nest this morning.
A new, beautiful orange-yellow Scotch Broom plant by the roadside is small now, but will grow into a decent sized 4 to 6-foot shrub: Scotch Broom 'Pomona'.

Memorial Day holiday weekend is a good time to plant veggie seeds and plant out seedlings that were home grown or purchased. What are you planting? We have several homegrown, organic, heirloom tomatoes planted including: Chocolate cherry, large red, large yellow, Goldman's Italian American, Berkeley Tie Dye, and Cherokee Purple.

Happy and Healthy Gardening
We plan to prepare something healthy with red, white and blue this holiday weekend. How about you? Watch for blueberry vinaigrette post coming soon.
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)2014 Wind. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Today in Our Garden #GardenCuizine and a fun visit to @popesgardens

Click on the photo for full view
Today In Our Garden 
South Jersey
USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)

May 4, 2014
Flowering dogwood, Kwanzan cherry, and tulips are still blooming along with variegated Solomon's Seal, Cowslip, Bleeding Hearts and Money plants. Grapevines and hostas are leafing out and Azalea blossoms are just opening up to start showing off their beauty. The beautiful colors and pleasant fragrances sure soften the blow of the damage done this past winter of 2013. New Jersey's third coldest winter since 1982.
We enjoyed visiting Popes' Gardens yesterday where we bought new rosemary plants to replace ALL the rosemary that died. Even our larger rosemary shrub, Rosmarinus officinalis 'Gorizia', that we've had for 9 years - died after the 2013 winter. I decided to replace only the rosemary that we use in cooking, so we selected upright blue rosemary and not the coarse-needle ARP or Gorizia shrub-type.
Joan Pope, one of the owners said she heard several of her NJ customers saying that they lost their rosemary AND butterfly bushes. When I got home I checked our butterfly bushes and a few do look dead, including our 10-year old buddleia bi-color. Some shrubs show definite signs of life, but others, not even one leaf. Maybe those that look dead are just late in leafing out, which is normal for buddleias. So if yours looks dead too, yes it could be, but it may just be late. I'd at least give it to the end of the month before you dig it out. 

What else did Winter 2013 kill in your Garden? 
Our little 6-year old fig tree sure appears dead. The black branch tips show no signs of life at all. In fact, lichen is starting to grow on it's slender trunk. I'm not going to completely give up hope yet or dig it up until June, just to be absolutely sure.

Visit Popes' Gardens
Besides the few replacement rosemary plants, hot peppers, sweet peppers and rhubarb, we picked up Coronado Hyssop, introduced by Denver Botanic Gardens and Colorado State University, which will surely please the hummingbirds. The silvery leaves are aromatic too, which makes it a welcomed garden addition to a sunny, well-drained site.

At the entrance to Popes' Gardens you'll be greeted by their friendly goat and mascot, Rosey. Rosey has a goat friend too, not sure of his or her name. In a huge field behind their greenhouses, we visited some interesting animals. Here are a few pictures of their sweet-faced Alpacas and hairy Highland Cattle. The Alpacas were quite personable!
Scottish Highlander
Related Articles
Uncommon Nutrition from the Common Fig ~ Ficus carica - scroll to the bottom of the article to see our little fig tree when it was only 1-year old. It survived 5 winters without protection prior to 2013.
NJ Winter 2013/14 Summary
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)2014 Wind. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Carrot flower Hummus tasting ✿ Owl Sandwich ✿ Kids nutrition education @InspiraHN #GardenCuizine

Last nights event at Family Success Center Vineland was a success for families. SPLI Students from Cumberland County College provided the program. I was consulted as the dietitian from Inspira Health Network to review the nutrition education materials and recipes, and answer any questions by families. Both kids and parents were tuckered out with smiles after the fun, physical activity segment by PJ Ragone from Inspira Fitness Connection PIT program. Great job CCC Visionaries!
Kids learned about the food groups and healthy eating, making and tasting healthy foods, including whole grain bread, low fat cheese, hummus and olives. Olives were used in light Babybel cheese ladybugs (not shown).
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)2014 Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Italian Easter Bread #GardenCuizine #HappyEaster

Italian Easter Bread
Our family tradition is to bake 2 large rings of Sicilian Easter Bread on Easter Sunday. Fruit is added to the dough. This year I added chopped dates, anise seeds and candied orange. Uncooked eggs are added to the dough braid and bake in the oven. Eggs baked in the oven usually come out perfectly hard cooked. This year was the first time I ever had an egg explode during baking! Luckily, it was only one egg and it exploded near the end of baking with only a part of the shell coming off.

In trying to figure out why the egg exploded, I've concluded that in past years I have often peeked into the oven (heat escapes) to look at the bread. This year I never opened the oven at all and heat never escaped. It seems that 350° F is too high a temperature to bake eggs. I now recommend baking the bread for the first 20 minutes at 350° F then reducing the temperature to 325° F for the remaining baking time to avoid risking an egg burst.
Happy Easter!
My revised recipe for whole grain Italian Easter Bread is posted here.
Photos and blog post Copyright (C)2014 Wind. All rights reserved.