Friday, September 9, 2016

Beat the heat with antioxidant-rich, hydrating Watermelon @JerseyFreshNJDA #GardenCuizine @KidsEatRight #healthykids

Cool off with a refreshing slice of

Our 7th heatwave continues here in New Jersey. The temperatures have been so hot and dry. Birds were thankful this morning when I refreshed their birdbaths. According to Rutgers NJ Weather, this summer has been the 4th warmest since 1895. Today's real feel temp is triple digits! Everywhere you look, lawns are crispy, shrubs and gardens are withering. We sure are desperate for rain. Even established trees are dying, with some actually falling over. This kind of heat makes me think about a few important reminders: 1) be environmentally responsible - never take water for granted and 2) don't let yourself dehydrate! 

The human body including our brain, heart, lungs and skin is primarily composed of water. Hot temperatures increase risk for dehydration; drink plenty of water. And, eat more Fruits and vegetables to contribute nutrients and water to the body. For example, WATERmelon contains 90% water. Strangely enough, watermelon grows really well in drought conditions like we've had this summer.

On my way home from work at Bridgeton this week, I stopped by Lima Family Farm-stand and spoke with farmer Jacob and his sister, Janice. He said, "it has been a great summer for melons" especially watermelon and cantaloupe. I decided to buy a whole watermelon with seeds rather than seedless. Janice and I think watermelon with seeds have better flavor. Which do you like better?

Watermelon nutrition benefits include: Vitamin A, potassium and antioxidants like citrulline, lycopene, beta carotene and Vitamin C. Fresh watermelons are still available at local farm markets!

Enjoy watermelon for a low calorie, refreshing snack.

Watermelon Nutrition Facts

Excellent Source: Vitamin C
Good Source: Vitamin A
1 cup diced Watermelon = 46 calories; total carbohydrates: 11.5g; dietary Fiber: 1g (2% DV); Vitamin A: 865 IU (17% DV); Vitamin C: 12.3 mg (21% DV); Potassium 170 mg (5% DV); plant sterols: 3 mg; Water 139g
Related Links
The Water in You
Watermelon Nutrition and Growing Tips 
Photo and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Chocolate Souffles #chocolatebliss @AliceMedrich #chocolate #dessert

Chocolate Souffles

It doesn't have to be Labor Day to whip up a batch of Bittersweet Chocolate Souffles. Go for it when you want to treat yourself and your family to chocolate bliss! The gluten-free recipe can be found in Alice Medrich's cookbook, Bittersweet

The recipe requires whipping egg whites so it is easiest to make batter that yields 6-8 ramekins. Chocolate souffles can be covered and refrigerated until ready to bake and serve. Allow 15-20 minutes to bake in preheated 375 deg. F oven.
I used three, 2-ounce bars of Guittard 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate and one 2.7 oz. pack of organic and sustainable, stone ground Taza Mexican style Vanilla. Both chocolate brands were available at Wholefoods.

GardenCuizine Nutrition Data Chocolate Souffles: 1/8 recipe using Guittard and Taza chocolates 
For those of you dying to know the nutrition facts: one souffle serving is comparable to a chocolate donut in both calories and total fat: 273 calories per souffle serving vs 280 calories in a Dunkin chocolate covered donut. And, 14g total fat vs 15g total fat in a chocolate donut. Chocolate is high in saturated fat* and should be considered a treat. 

Since quality ingredients are used in baking a homemade souffle it's higher in protein (from the eggs) than a Dunkin donut: 17g vs 3g respectively. One chocolate souffle is lower in carbohydrates and higher in dietary fiber than a donut: 24g Carbs, 4 g dietary fiber vs 31g carbs and only 1g fiber in a donut. No matter how you look at the nutrition facts consider this as a special treat and enjoy in moderation.
Related Links
*Chocolate: Food of the Gods
Photos and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

@AliceMedrich Baking w/ bittersweet #chocolate for all American #LaborDaydesserts #GardenCuizine

What exactly is Bittersweet?

Many desserts call for Bittersweet chocolate,"What exactly is Bittersweet?" Harry asked me this morning as we discussed experimenting with a Chocolate Souffle recipe from Alice Medrich's Cookbook Bittersweet.

I first learned about the differences in chocolate from working in restaurants, bakeries and of course in culinary school at The Academy of Culinary Arts. Pastry chef Ann Marie Chelius taught me a lot about chocolate and how to work with it. 

Semisweet and bittersweet are types of sweetened dark chocolate. According to Alice Medrich, "The chocolate industry makes no distinction between bittersweet and semisweet chocolate." Bittersweet must contain a minimum of 35% percent of unsweetened chocolate liquor (cocoa butter and nonfat dry cocoa solids). Higher quality bitttersweet chocolate usually contains at least 50-55% more chocolate liquor making it a good choice for baking. 

Bittersweet chocolate is not just for professionals anymore. You can readily find baking chocolates with various percentages and blends of cocoa beans and other ingredients at chocolate shops, supermarkets and online. Most companies clearly label their bittersweet chocolates. Alice notes in her book that by the late 1980's more and more recipes called for bittersweet chocolate. The higher the percentage, the less sugar and the stronger the flavor. 

Unless you need smooth chocolate for making something specific like chocolate curls, truffles or ganache - Harry and I are sold on Sicilian chocolates! Sicilian chocolate is similar to Mexican chocolate. The mouth-feel and texture tastes granular from the sugar, but still melts in your mouth. Once you try Sicilian or Mexican chocolates you'll never go back to the waxy taste of smooth chocolate.

Today, we're going to try baking with Mexican chocolate (made in America) for an all American Labor Day dessert. We plan to buy some today if we can find it at Wholefoods. I will let you know and post the recipe if our chocolate souffles turn out.

Allow yourself to enjoy and savor the flavor of quality chocolate. You can still maintain a healthy body and body weight if you occasionally enjoy a food made with chocolate.

Blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.