Wednesday, June 30, 2010
According to a new book called "Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles," eating certain fruits now in season can help protect your skin from the damaging effects of the strong summer sun.
Yes, use your sunscreen, but check out what author Allison Tannis says about cherries, nectarines and watermelon.
Cherries: Eat a daily handful and you may enjoy fresher, less puffy skin. It's all thanks to the inflammation-fighting anthocyanins and melatonin in cherries, writes Tannis. Melatonin may boost UV protection and cell growth as well -- two great ways to keep wrinkles at bay. Tart cherries tend to be highest in melatonin.
Nectarines: These smooth-skinned sisters of the peach provide a mini-spa's worth of nutrients that may help correct sun damage from the inside out, according to Tannis. They offer skin goodies like lycopene, lutein, niacin, copper, and vitamins A, C, and E. The A, C, and E trio also works to control inflammation and free radical damage in both the watery and the fatty layers of skin.
Watermelon: Nibbling on watermelon wedges has the power to refresh your face as much as your palate, thanks to the high water and lycopene content. Lycopene helps protect and preserve connections between skin cells so skin is tighter, smoother, and better able to retain moisture.
We've all been waiting eagerly for the opening of Chef de Cavel's next Cincinnati restaurant.
My husband ran into Jean-Robert last weekend at Findlay Market and asked him how things are coming along at Jean-Robert's Table (713 Vine St.).
Chef says that the "relaxed French" eatery should open between mid-July and the beginning of August.
That's soon, and exciting!
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
It's wild salmon season, but the stuff is expensive ($20 or more per pound) and hard to find. However, most nutritionists believe that it's so much healthier to get your fish oil and beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids from wild vs. farmed salmon.
The good news is that most canned salmon is from wild fish. Try these easy to prepare salmon cakes from canned, wild salmon -- I think you'll love them, and your kids should, too!
RECIPE: Easy Salmon Cakes (adapted from Eating Well magazine)
2 T olive oil, divided
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
2 T chopped fresh parsley
One 15-ounce can salmon, drained and patted to remove excess moisture and flaked with a fork (remove any skin or bones)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 T Dijon mustard
1 3/4 cup bread crumbs, preferably whole wheat
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Creamy dill sauce (recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray
Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onion and celery for about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and remove from heat.
Place salmon in a medium bowl; mix in egg and mustard, then add the cooked veggies, breadcrumbs and pepper. (You do not need salt because the salmon and mustard already are salted.) By hand, shape the mixture into 8 patties.
Bake the salmon cakes until they are golden brown on top, about 20 minutes. While the salmon is baking, make the sauce.
Creamy Dill Sauce:
Mix together 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayo, 1/4 cup plain yogurt, and one tablespoon each lemon juice, chopped dill and diced scallion.
Serve the salmon cakes with lemon wedges and the dill sauce.
Monday, June 28, 2010
I love to grill certain lettuces -- especially radicchio, and grilled romaine lettuce has become somewhat common on restaurant menus.
As is true with many vegetables, grilling lettuces downplays some of their bitterness and can bring out sweet flavors. This works really well with the red-colored radicchio.
For dressing, I tried a somewhat lightened version of blue cheese. Truly, the only way you can make that dressing really light is to use just a small amount of it on your salad!
Another variation on the topping for your grilled lettuces would be to omit the cheese and add lemon juice and a little honey, which would further offset any bitterness in the vegetables. Throw a few cherry or grape tomatoes on your salad if you want more variety in the flavors.
I personally like grilled radicc so much that I don't care about much else on my plate.
Recipe: Grilled Radicchio and Romaine Salad
1 large head radicchio, cut in half, limp outer leaves removed
1 head romaine lettuce, any limp outer leaves removed
For the dressing:
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/4 cup light or nonfat sour cream
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese OR 2 T lemon juice, 1 T honey and a dash of salt
Brush or spray lettuces with olive oil and place on a preheated, medium-hot grill. Turn every couple of minutes, allowing lettuce to char only slightly. Cooking time will vary depending on how hot your grill is, but it should take no more than 10 minutes to cook the lettuce on all sides. Remove to a platter and let cool for at least 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
Cut the radicchio halves in half again, and cut the romaine into four pieces. Put one piece of each lettuce onto four salad plates.
Drizzle with half the dressing and serve, passing additional dressing at table.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
This coffee mecca and bakery at the center of Findlay Market's main house is something I tend to take for granted. A steady stream of folks stops there in the AM for the good coffee, and there's always a line at the pastry case. I buy the coffee but usually skip breakfast pastries -- either because I've already had breakfast before hitting the market or I tend to frequent other vendors for scones or (rarely) croissants.
This week, though, I paid more attention to Bean Haus.
Its central location and constant bustle make it seem like the beating heart of Findlay Market. As I sat at a nearby table sipping coffee and observing the scene, I noticed trays of fresh baked goods emerging from a back room. It turns out that all the bread, sweets and other baked items are made fresh from scratch on the premises!
Above is a close-up shot of their just-made savory pastry -- I didn't catch the ingredient list but obviously it looks terrific.
If you're a marketgoer, you're probably way ahead of me about Bean Haus. If you only go occasionally, be sure to stop by next time you're there.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
This salad combines sweet corn, crunchy bread cubes and salty ham, all pulled together by a creamy dressing. It's light enough to be healthy, but also satisfying and filling.
You could almost make this a main course but I like it as a side with grilled fish, chicken or veggies. I also like to use frisee for my greens, but other lettuces or tender spinach works fine, too.
This recipe serves 8, but you can easily cut it in half for a small group, or double it if you're having a big cookout.
You can adjust the amount of ham -- add more, if you want a meatier, higher-protein salad.
Recipe: Ham and Corn Salad
For the dressing
2/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
4 T white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
Salt and pepper to taste
For the salad:
12 cups mixed salad greens, or frisee, or a combination
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 cups fresh corn kernels, from 2 ears of corn*
2 cups toasted croutons, preferably from whole-grain bread
1 cup diced ham
*After stripping off the husks and silk, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the cob. Break clumps of corn kernels apart with a fork if desired.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper.
Add the remaining ingredients and toss well to coat.
Our local growing season is hitting its stride. Yesterday many farmers and other vendors braved the horrid heat and humidity to offer their goodies at the Northside Farmers Market, which runs 4-7 Pm every Wednesday until at least September.
The baby squash, most with their blossoms still attached, were tender and quite lovely simply sauteed in a little olive oil with onion and garlic.
One or two vendors had several varieties of tomatoes, and local peaches also made an appearance. I didn't see corn yet, but perhaps some will show up on Saturday at Findlay Market.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
For the next week, I'll be posting some of my favorite recipes for an Independence Day celebration.
Meanwhile, check out the luscious ideas at Epicurious, including the foods pictured above.
Click here for a link.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Local strawberries are on their way out, but several vendors at our markets still have a few. And the California crop was humongous this year, so we do have a bounty of these berries on hand.
Since they are so widely available, there's no reason to settle for inferior baskets of these sweet treats. Here are some tips about choosing strawberries, from an article we (Mary Ann Barnes and I) wrote last spring for Whole Living Journal:
Strawberries: How to select the best ones
Have you ever been seduced into buying a carton of big, fat, shiny strawberries only to take them home and feel like you’re eating damp cardboard? Experiences like that make us eye those bright red temptresses with a little more skepticism the next time we cross the produce aisle of the grocery. However, there are a few tips to selecting strawberries to assure your family the best taste and nutritional benefit.
The first word of advice is to look for fruit that is not damaged, soft, or have liquids on the bottom. Strawberries do not ripen once picked. Make certain the red coloration extends all the way to a snug green cap of leaves.
Mendelian genetics have been used by local farmers and agribusiness to improve crop production by making produce more resistant to pests and selecting out the specimens that yield the largest volume and quality of fruit. At times, these genetic modifications have come at the expense of taste and nutrition.
Fortunately, the battalions of powerful antioxidants that make strawberries so legendary in nutrition circles are also the source of the wonderful sweet fragrance that awakens our senses. You can find me shamelessly sniffing at each variety proffered at local groceries. If they smell good to the nose, they’ll be even better on the palate.
Also here's a re-post of a favorite spring salad of mine that uses strawberries and another ingredient now at the markets, arugula.
Recipe: Arugula salad with strawberries and walnuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons walnut oil
3 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups arugula, rinsed and patted dry
2 cups strawberries, sliced
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
½ cup shaved good quality Parmesan cheese, or more to taste
Combine oils and vinegar in a small bowl and whisk vigorously to blend.
Add salt and pepper to dressing and set aside.
Combine arugula, strawberries and walnuts in a large bowl and add dressing, tossing to coat arugula. Divide into salad bowls or plates, sprinkle with cheese and serve.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Looking for a hearty, healthy side dish that's more nutritious and less fattening than potatoes, pasta or rice? Try barley -- it's a whole grain that's quick cooking and easy to pair with other ingredients to accompany fish, poultry or meat. If you add a little protein, such as beans or chicken, it's a meal in itself.
Recipe: Barley and Black Bean Salad
Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main course over mixed greens
1 cup barley, cooked according to package directions
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced, sauteed in a nonstick pan in a little oil until browned
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large or 2 small zucchini, diced
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut into fourths
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or basil
2 T lime juice
1-2 T olive oil
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper, to taste (if needed)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently. Adjust seasonings, as needed.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
When a PB craving comes upon me, a lovely way to satisfy it is to make this sandwich.
Generously spread a couple tablespoons of natural peanut butter on two slices of fresh multigrain or whole wheat bread. (Avoid PB with added salt, and choose smooth or chunky, whichever you prefer.)
Add very thin slices of apple, sliced banana and a drizzle of honey.
Carefully slice the sandwich in half. Be sure to have a vegetable side -- either a small salad or crudites, which I always have on hand. My accompaniment is sugar snap peas and sliced orange bell pepper.
Monday, June 7, 2010
...but we scarfed it up and licked our fingers.
This is the Copper River salmon, grilled with just salt, pepper and garlic powder.
The black blobs on the plate are grilled radicchio -- brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper added after cooking. I'm not crazy about raw radicc but grilling makes it scrumptious.
I also briefly grilled slices of that Blue Oven ciabatta, also brushed with a little but of olive oil.
Because dinner is not complete without something green, we had steamed local broccoli with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. And some delicious French rose.
It was a great meal--healthy, and simple. Summertime!
Sunday, June 6, 2010
I learned about Mayberry through their sister establishment at Findlay Market, World Food Bar, which is an interesting gourmet-to-go spot inside the main market building. Both it and the tiny downtown restaurant, Mayberry, are the brainchildren of Owner/Chef Josh Campbell, a native Cincinnatian who went to culinary school in Florida, cooked down there at some impressive restaurants, and moved back to cook for the hometown crowd.
Within the past week, I had lunch at the restaurant (915 Vine Street, next door to Hamburger Mary's) on Friday afternoon then went back for dinner Saturday night.
The place has just three tables, and about 12-14 additional seats at counters around the edge of the room. There's no liquor license, so it's BYO -- something we always appreciate (not paying restaurant markup prices for wine, that is).
The turkey sandwich at Mayberry on my lunch visit was the best doggone sandwich I've had in eons, and my friend adored her massive and deliciously dressed veggie burger, as well.
Above are some shots of the food at dinner. I thought the best-conceived dish was the bottom photo -- mahi with bok choy and a delicious slice of melon -- a winning combo of flavors. Also shown, top to bottom, are pasta with ramps, garlic and a pheasant egg; endive and caramelized onion tart; sea scallops with carrots and mushrooms; and the aforementioned mahi. We liked the tart and the pasta, and while the scallops were nice, we thought the "bacon date jam" that went with them didn't quite come off. Otherwise though, it was all good. Really good.
The dinner menu Monday-Thursday is the same as the lunch menu, but on Friday and Saturday evenings there's a special tapas menu, and that's what we had. The weekend dinner menu changes every week, and you can look on the website to see what they'll be serving.
No reservations, so go early or take your chances on having to wait. Maybe someday they'll move to a larger location -- this one is amazingly cramped. But the food is high quality and not at all expensive, which makes up for all that.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Since I've sworn off farmed salmon -- even the organic version -- the start of wild salmon season is especially welcome.
Today at Findlay Market, Luken's has Copper River salmon for $22 a pound. That's steep, compared to the farmed stuff, but it's so healthy and tastes great.
I am old enough to remember when salmon was a rare treat because it was expensive. That was before salmon farming and the resulting $8 a pound "Atlantic salmon" or other similarly named products.
If you're not convinced that farmed salmon is a health hazard, click here. It's from Dr. Andrew Weil, whom I consider a credible source. Also check out the blog Farmed and Dangerous. And here's a site that goes into detail about what "organic farmed salmon" is.
Meanwhile, wild salmon season only lasts a couple of months, at most. Look for it at Whole Foods, Jungle Jim's, and seafood specialty stores. (Best prices tend to be at Jungle Jim's.)