Sunday, April 17, 2011

Native New Yorker, Italian Food, Gardens and Family Memories...

Salottolo Family Memories 
by Junetta Salottolo Mehl

post 1: I Can Remember

Mom's short stories will be posted as I get them from her. She will be celebrating her 80th birthday June 11, 2011. Now that she is retired, we all thought it would be nice if she started to share family memories and stories of food, fun and special times. Mom (Junetta) has had to wipe away many-a-tear as she routes through her treasure box of beloved photographs to pick the ones she wants to share most with you. Mom will be typing her memories on her computer and I will be blogging them without any alteration to her content. Buona lettura 

I can remember, as early as seven years of age, visiting my grandparents at 2753 Briggs Avenue, Bronx, NY. My grandmother, Nonna, would beat the yolk of two or three eggs, mix this with sugar and it was a delicious treat that I would have every time we visited. My grandfather, Nonno, would usually talk with the men in Italian. And Nonna would talk to the women in Italian. But the funny thing was that, when they spoke to me, they would speak in English.

My grandparents' home was a three-story row home. I think my father's cousin, Babe, lived on the third floor (before she married). No one ever went up there. It was out-of-bounds. There was a basement which was accessible from an inside door in the pantry. And there was a back yard with a garden that Aunt Sally, my father's sister, took care of. I loved that back yard. It was my first introduction to gardening and that interest has stayed with me my whole life. Thank you Aunt Sally. You were a good teacher!

The garden was as wide as the house was wide with row homes on either side. If you stood in the yard with the house behind you and looked up, you'd see an eight or ten-story apartment building. That's why that little garden was like a 'Garden of Eden' right in the middle of the Bronx.

A few relatives of my grandparents lived on Valentines Avenue which was within walking distance. I especially remember one elderly woman who was called Zia. Once in a while we'd visit her apartment. However, if you kept on walking past Zia's house, you'd come to Fordham Road. This was a major shopping area anchored by the department store called 'Uptown, it's Alexanders.' I visited this store many times with Aunt Sally and /or her sister, Aunt Mary.

Related Links
The Salottolo Family

Photographs: Top picture is my grandmother, Phyllis Salottolo, with mom - her first child - Junetta Josephina Maria. The picture was taken in the backyard garden at Briggs Ave.

Second photo is Junetta, taken from the back porch at Briggs Ave.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Portanini Portabella Mushroom Panini

Grilled Portabella Mushroom Panini
with Roasted Red Peppers 
and low-fat Garden Basil spread
This sandwich special sold out in the cafe at South Jersey Healthcare's Regional Medical Center. Sales were strong, even before 12 noon. At that time we knew this recipe was on its way to being a popular National Nutrition Month grill special. And it was indeed. 

Never having offered this special, my supervisor had me start with preparing 3 cases of portabella mushrooms. They sold quickly - we had to prepare another 3 cases. Everything had to be remade, not just once, but three times! I quickly mixed together another batch of low fat garden pesto spread and roasted another batch of red bell peppers. Some of the PortaniniTM success was attributed to the fact that it was a meatless Friday for people observing Lent.

Recipe and Development

I came up with the PortaniniTM during National Nutrition Month® - a promotion from the American Dietetic Association focusing attention on 'Eating Right with Color' from all the food groups. Each dietetic intern (there were 5 of us) had a chance to feature their own specials during the month. After another intern had success the previous week with a zucchini squash panini, I decided to feature my portabella mushroom sandwich as a panini too.

PortaniniTM Nutrition
The vegetable-packed, portabella mushroom panini provides an excellent source of Vitamins A, C and K, dietary fiber, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, potassium, selenium, copper, manganese and iron. And it is a good source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, phytosterols, zinc, magnesium and calcium. The dressing and cheese are sources of sodium, as well as flavor; therefore the seasoning should be used sparingly. 

Eating the recommended daily amount of vegetables is easy with a PortaniniTM. MyPyramid recommends adults consume 2 1/2 - 3 servings of vegetables a day. This panini packs in 2 servings of sliced portabella mushrooms, and 1 serving of dark green spinach.
Putting it all together

Yields 4 servings (note: you can easily use this recipe as a guide and make it for large crowds as we did at the hospital cafe)

4 Portabella mushroom caps
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
5 oz frozen chopped Spinach (or 4-5 cups raw fresh)
3 oz low-fat shredded cheese blend (we used a Tex-Mex 4-cheese blend)
4 slices roasted red peppers
2 Tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garden basil pesto (homemade is the best kind!)
Grill Mates Montreal Chicken Seasoning to taste (garlic, salt, onion, black pepper, parsley, red pepper, orange peel, paprika, green bell pepper)
8 slices Italian Panini (or gluten free) bread

Prepare the next 5 steps and then you will be ready to make your Panini sandwiches
  1. Rinse mushrooms under water and rub tops with hands to clean off surface microorganisms. Slice each mushroom into 4-5 slices and place in a large bowl or pan. Drizzle olive oil and San-J dressing over mushrooms and gently toss to coat; set aside
  2. Unthaw spinach and squeeze out excess liquid. Hand mix together the spinach and shredded cheese; set aside
  3. Combine the mayo and garden basil pesto with seasoning and set aside
  4. Roast red peppers, slice (skin on) into 1/4" strips and set aside
  5. Grill or sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until tender. Remove to a holding pan.
Panini sandwich assembly
  1. Spread the basil mayo on each slice of bread.
  2. Arrange 4-5 cooked mushroom slices on one slice of bread.
  3. Top with 2 ounces of cheese/spinach blend.
  4. Top with 4 slices of roasted red peppers.
  5. Grill using a Panini press or on a flat top griddle or cast iron skillet until heated through.
Buon Appetito!

GardenCuizine Nutrition Analysis: serving size 1 sandwich (266g): calories: 347; total fat 15g; saturated fat 3g; trans fat 0; cholesterol 10mg; sodium 548mg; total carbohydrates 40g; dietary fiber 5g; protein 16g; Vitamin A (73%DV); Vitamin C (58%DV); Calcium (19%DV); Iron (20%DV)

Special Thanks to Janelle, Holly, Victor, Tammie, Art, Joel, Linda and everyone who helped me at SJH!

Related Links
San-J products and recipes
for Vitamin D: Read product labels - try Dole portabella mushrooms with vitamin D. Vitamin D is added the same way that milk gets fortified - by UV light. 
Blog Article and photos Copyright © 2011 D.Wind. All rights reserved. 'Eat Right with Color' is a slogan for the American Dietetic Association's National Nutrition Month®

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Eat Right with Color all year! #NNM #GardenCuizine

Eat Right with Color all Year!

Now that National Nutrition month is officially over, the American Dietetic Association's theme of Eating Right with Color is a good motto to continue throughout the year in our daily diets. Affordable, colorful foods include common fruits and vegetables from apples to zucchini. Eating a variety of fruits, veggies and whole grains every day energizes and provides our bodies with a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, disease-fighting antioxidants and other important nutrients.

Colorful foods does not mean exotic or expensive hybrid veggies like cheddar-colored, green or purple cauliflower, although they can be. Cheddar-colored cauliflower varieties are higher in Vitamin A than regular white cauliflower. Purple cauliflower boasts higher amounts of anthocyanin antioxidants than other colors. And in general, all colors of cauliflower (raw or cooked) are good sources of dietary fiber and folate, and are excellent sources of Vitamins C, K and beneficial phytonutrients.

Other nutrient dense cruciferous veggies include: broccoli, kale, collard greens, watercress, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kohlrabi, mizuna, turnips, rutabaga, broccoli rabe, arugula, mustard (seeds and greens) and radish.
I'm Blogging National Nutrition MonthRelated Links
Top 10 ways to enjoy Cauliflower
Cruciferous Vegetables Linus Pauling Institute 
Cauliflower Popcorn Recipe Video Kids Eat Right
Aloo Gobi (Punjabi-style Cauliflower and Potatoes with Ginger) Recipe
Blog Article and photo Copyright © 2011 D.Wind. All rights reserved. 'Eat Right with Color' is a slogan for the American Dietetic Association's National Nutrition Month®