Tuesday, July 26, 2011

#GardenCuizine #Recipe: Homemade Italian Crepe Manicotti

Once you, your family and friends taste melt-in-your-mouth crepe-style Italian manicotti made with homemade crepes rather than store bought manicotti pasta shells, you will always want to take the little bit of extra time it takes to make a batch of savory crepes and fill them. Crepe manicotti make any meal a special celebration with pleasing flavors and delicate, light, texture that hits the spot any time of year, including summertime.
Manicotti Ricotta Filling
fills 10-13 manicotti*

2lbs (907g) 1 large container part skim ricotta
8 oz (~226g) shredded part skim mozzarella, divided
1/2 cup (~113g) Pecorino Romano grated cheese, divided
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons; 5g) fresh parsley, divided (harvested from your garden if possible)
2 eggs (100g), whisked
1/4 teaspoon (~1.5g) salt
pinch ground black pepper
pinch fresh ground nutmeg

In a large bowl, hand stir using a rubber spatula: all the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella, 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan), 3 tablespoons chopped parsley and all the remaining ingredients (reserve the rest of the mozzarella, grated cheese and parsley for the topping). Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

Prepare a batch of savory Crepes
Check out GardenCuizine's savory crepe recipe
*Crepes make manicotti taste the most tender and delicious, but of course you can cook and use manicotti pasta shells with this ricotta filling recipe. If you use them instead, it helps to use a pastry bag with no tip (or a large round tip) to pipe out the filling into the manicotti shells. 

Putting it all together
serves 4-5; yields 10-13 crepe-style Italian Manicotti

Pomodoro (tomato) sauce (how much you use is up to you)
10-13 Crepes (or al dente cooked and drained manicotti pasta shells)
Ricotta filling
1/4 cup grated cheese
Remaining shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley 
  • Spoon some Pomodoro pasta sauce on the bottom of your baking dish and set aside. 
  • Fill each crepe, one at a time, with the ricotta filling. I use 3 small, 1-ounce scoops. Hand roll, leaving the sides open.
  • Place each filled crepe, seam side down, in a 15x10x2-inch baking dish atop the sauce.
  • Extra can be prepared in a small baking dish and cooked or frozen for a later meal.
  • Top with additional sauce and a sprinkle of both grated Pecorino Romano and shredded mozzarella cheese; sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley  
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350° F (177°C) for 30 minutes.
  • Remove cover and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until edges are bubbly and cheese is slightly golden brown.
  • Serve with meatballs or mussels and a generous garden salad.
Buon Appetito!  
GardenCuizine Nutrition Analysis per filled crepe: coming soon
Related Links: GardenCuizine about Classic Italian Pomodoro Sauce  
GardenCuizine Recipe: Pomodoro Sauce

Monday, July 25, 2011

#GardenCuizine #Recipe: Savory Crepes for homemade Italian Manicotti

Savory Crepes
~ Low Fat, Low Sodium ~
Savory Crepe Batter Recipe
yields 10-13, 7-inch crepes

3/4 cup all purpose unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/3 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup water
nonstick spray
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour and salt
  • Add the eggs
  • Pour 1/3 cup of milk directly into a measuring cup. Add water to the 2/3 cup mark. Add to the eggs and flour mixture
  • Whisk together until combined
  • Cover with clear wrap and set aside for 30 minutes to rest at room temperature (Food safety note: If your kitchen is hot with no air conditioning, let batter rest in your refrigerator and bring back to room temperature before using)
  • Stir before using
Heat a small 7-8-inch non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Spray with non-stick pan spray. Using about 3 tablespoons of batter quickly and all at once (I use a 2oz ladle and fill it to just below the top) - pour the batter into the pan while simultaneously swirling the pan to spread the batter evenly to completely cover the bottom. You have to work fast because the batter is thin and will begin to cook as soon as it hits the pan.

After a few crepes you will develop your own technique. Cook until the bottom begins to get lightly browned then flip over and cook the other side (I use a small spatula and grab the edge with my fingers to flip). 

Remove from skillet and cool on a piece of wax or parchment paper. Repeat until all of the batter is used up. If some edges get a little crispy, don't worry because generally they will soften up again when they get used in your recipe.

Make Crepes Ahead
Crepes can be stacked up in single layers and frozen for later use. To prevent them from sticking together you can separate each crepe with a piece of parchment or wax paper. Cover them tightly with clear wrap and refrigerate or freeze for later use. Savory crepes work well in recipes like Italian crepe-style manicotti. 

Cooking for Company
If you are cooking for company, some of your guests may have never made a crepe, let alone seen them used in Italian crepe-style manicotti or other recipes. If you have room in your kitchen or your kitchen is an open kitchen and you feel up to it, your guests may enjoy watching the process! 
Buon Appetito!  

GardenCuizine Nutrition Analysis per crepe, 1/13 of recipe (26g): calculated from USDA nutrition data
Calories: 46 (2%DV); Total Fat: 1.3g (2%DV); Saturated Fat: 0.4g (2%DV); Cholesterol: 49mg (16%DV); Sodium: 42mg (2%DV); Potassium: 33mg (1%DV); Total Carbohydrate: 6g (2%DV); Dietary Fiber: 0.2g (1%DV); Protein: 2.4g (5%DV); Iron: 0.5mg (3%DV); Vitamin D: ~7IU (~2%DV); Thiamin: 0.1mg (4%DV); Riboflavin: 0.1mg (6%DV); Folate: 19mcg (5%DV); Vitamin B12: 0.2mcg (3%DV); Phosphorous: 36mg (4%DV); Selenium: 6.3mcg (9%DV) 

Related Links: GardenCuizine Recipe: Homemade Italian Crepe Manicotti
GardenCuizine Recipe: Pomodoro (Tomato) Sauce
Percent Daily Values (%DV) are reference values based on eating 2,000 calories for adults and children age 4 or older. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.
Blog Article and photo collage Copyright © 2011 D.Wind. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Prevent Nausea, Vomiting and Diarrhea from Food Poisoning #Foodsafety #Publichealth

4 C’s of Summertime, all-the-time   
1) Clean  
Wash you hands often! Sanitize and clean your sinks and counter tops. Rinse all fruits and vegetables before eating them - even if they are organically grown.
2) Check 
Check what foods you’re preparing: Keep raw meats and ready-to-eat foods separate from each other to avoid cross contamination.

3) Cook 
Cook to the proper internal temperatures. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature. Be sure your thermometer is sanitized, clean and calibrated so your temperature is accurate.

4) Chill 
Refrigerate food right away. The temperature should be below 41°F. A thermometer in your refrigerator makes it easy to check.
Prevent Summer Sickness
Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 76 million people in the United States get some form of food sickness and food poisoning every year? Food poisoning can leave you with flu-like symptoms, fever, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea from harmful bacteria, toxins, viruses or parasites. The good news is that it can be prevented.

Avoid the Danger Zone
The FDA Food Code now identifies the temperature danger zone that most of these foodborne pathogens thrive in as between 41°F and 135°F (5°C and 57°C). For foods to be safe cold foods must be refrigerated at 41°F or below and cooked foods must be kept hot at above 135°F. It should be noted that when reheating cooked foods, the temperature should first be reheated to above 165°F for at least 15 seconds for the food to be safe. According to the FDA, foods should not be held hot for longer than 4 hours.

Easy Food Safety Tips

Get yourself a few food thermometers and a refrigerator thermometer if you don't have them already. Remember my food safety 4 C’s: Clean, Check and separate, Cook to the proper internal temperature and Chill in the fridge at a cool temperature below 41°F and above 32°F [32°F (0°C) is freezing].

Enjoy your summer in good health. Follow GardenCuizine's 4 C’s of Summertime, all the time!  Help your family and friends be food safe. S
hare this link with those you care about: Homefoodsafety.org.

"For helping spread the word about the importance of home food safety, I was entered into a drawing for a $15 Starbucks gift card and an iPad through Summertime Food Smarts, a contest run by the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods' Home Food Safety program. Home Food Safety is dedicated to raising consumer awareness about the seriousness of foodborne illness and providing solutions for easily and safely handling foods. Learn more at www.homefoodsafety.org"
Related Links:  
Grilling Guide/Safe temperatures for foods  
Use a Food Thermometer 
Blog Article © 2011 D.Wind. All rights reserved.
Photos courtesy of USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Nutrient-dense Bok Choy (Pak Choi) #GardenCuizine

Growing and Cooking Nutritious
Bok Choy (Pak Choi) 

Cruciferous vegetables like nutrient-dense Bok Choy (also known as Pak Choi) provide numerous health benefits and may reduce cancer and inflammation risks. Bok Choy provides excellent nutrition with vitamins, minerals and cholesterol reducing plant sterols. This super nutritious Asian veggie comes in white or green ribbed varieties that deserve a place in your garden and on your plate.

Cruciferous Vegetables
Other healthy cruciferous veggies include: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, kale, collards, mustard greens, turnips, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, rutabaga, watercress, horseradish and radish. Members of the Brassica genus and Brassicaceae mustard family contain beneficial phytonutrients, such as isothiocyanates.

For Best Health
The US Department of Agriculture recommends adults eat 2 1/2 - 3 cups of vegetables every day. The amount recommended varies depending on your age, sex and level of physical activity. For optimum health, vary your vegetable intake with: 
  • dark-green vegetables (bok choy, broccoli, spinach, collards, romaine, mustard greens, etc.)
  • red and orange vegetables
  • beans and peas (legumes)
  • starchy vegetables
Use the new Food Guide Plate (MyPlate.gov) as a guide and make half of your plate a generous serving of fruits and vegetables. Balance the rest of your meal with a serving of lean protein food, whole grains, calcium sources and a low amount of fat.

Where can I find Bok Choy?
Ideally the best way to obtain the freshest and most flavorful Bok Choy is to grow your own. But, if you are not a gardener, no need to worry, you can usually find Bok Choy in your local supermarket or Asian market. 

When to Plant
Bok Choy grows best in the spring or fall. We plan on ordering seeds now to plant some later this summer for a fall harvest.

GardenCuizine Bok Choy Nutrition: calculated from USDA nutrient values
Good Source: Calcium, Potassium, Manganese, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron
Excellent Source: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K

1 cup of chopped Pak Choi (170g): Vitamin A - 7223IU (144% DV); Vitamin C - 44mg (74%DV); Vitamin K - 58mcg (72%DV); Calcium - 158mg (16%DV); Potassium 631mg (18%DV); Manganese - 0.2mg (12%DV); Vitamin B6 - 0.3mg (14%DV); Folate - 70mcg (17%DV) and Iron 1.8mg (10%DV).

For how to cook Bok Choy check out my
Super Nutritious Bok Choy (Pak Choi) article on Dave's Garden.

Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a caloric intake of 2,000 calories for adults and children age 4 or older.
Blog Article and photo Copyright © 2011 D.Wind. All rights reserved.

Related Links: Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer
How Many Fruits and Vegetables do You Need?