Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pass the JUICE, Harry - and I Don’t Mean Tequila 

By Terri Wilson Godfrey

We see a variety of books, programs and info-mercials these days about juicing and what it does for our health. Good things!  No, really, GREAT things!  Food heals.

There are expensive juicers. I have a fabulous, expensive machine that took a hefty amount of dollars out of my pocketbook a few years ago and it now sits on the shelf collecting thoughts and dust.  I could have had a facial, a massage and 10 pedicures for the price of that baby. It has a multitude of parts to take apart, scrub clean and reassemble. 

It is too much work and it separates the pulp from the juice instead of making the “whole” food available for consumption and enjoyment.  That whole food is what feeds the body, brain, genes and energy.   Instead of taking a vitamin pill we can ingest liquid vitamins with an immediate energy boost for the day.  We are truly feeding our cells.  Those over-50 cells will thank you, be healthier every day, and pay you back into old age.

Smaller, more powerful and efficient juicers have come on the market in recent years. They save time, are simple to use and wash, PLUS the cost is reasonable.  My current juicer of choice is a Nutri-Bullet which pulverizes the foods down to a liquid.  The cost is now well under $100 and if you have a coupon, even better.

Juicing allows us to feed our bodies with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, etc. that taking vitamins can’t provide. Nature is infinitely smarter in the natural way it provides nutrients to our bodies in actual foods (vitamins are a man-made product. As an aside here I once read an article about how the portable potty companies when washing down their portable toilets found tons of undigested vitamin pills in the waste. What a “waste” of money. I found that vitamin pills either gave me a headache or caused heart palpitations.) Without too many details I will say that juicing has helped to improve my thyroid function so I’m taking much less medication and I’m on no heart medication after A-fib and cardiac ablation surgery. That’s in conjunction with living a basic Paleo lifestyle for more than 15 years.

Juicing is easy.  Use what you have on hand or shop for the flavor and color rainbow. Go organic if you can afford it.  Wash the fruits and veggies. The darker the color of the vegetable or fruit the better it is for you. Human bodies need chlorophyll for health and vitality.  It can be as simple as a carrot, an apple, a few leaves of dark lettuce or as robust and full bodied as you can make it. Even if you can only juice a couple times a week, then do that.  You will notice a difference in your energy, vitality, skin, hair, nails, brain power, sleep patterns and stamina. Here are some frequent recipes that I use. Vary your own amounts according to what you desire.  Make a cocktail that pleases YOU. If you must keep your blood sugar in check, keep to low glycemic fruits, less fruit, more vegetables, eliminate sweeteners or use a dash of stevia. Don’t be afraid to use herbs or spices, lemon, lime, tabasco. Add a variety of nuts for added nutrition.  Make it fresh and interesting!
  1. Fresh strawberries, almond milk or water, ice cubes, peeled orange, arugula, dash of honey, agave or stevia.
  2. Fresh blueberries, watercress, ice cubes, cashew milk or water, fresh mint, red lettuce leaves, cinnamon and raw honey.  
  3. Peeled grapefruit, peeled orange, carrots, any kind of greens, cucumber, water, ice cubes and chopped candied ginger.
  4. Fresh pineapple, unsweetened coconut milk, banana, handful of mint, agave, raw honey or stevia (if desired).  Your own Pina colada packed with nutrients!
  5. Fresh tomato, green pepper, greens, sweet potato, celery, mushrooms, green onions, water, ice cubes.   Mama’s own V-8.    Add tabasco for a hot one!
For simplicity and make ahead prep, take an hour, put the ingredients for one whole juice smoothie into a freezer bag.  Make 14 bags, toss into the freezer. When needed put the bag contents and your chosen liquid into the juicer and whirl it! Five minutes gives you cell food and energy for the day.

Have fun! Get creative! Keep it simple! Don’t give up.

DISCLAIMER: Juicing has not turned me into Christie Brinkley or Cindy Crawford and no one has called to offer a TV contract but I like to imagine that I could be a work in progress. In old age one can dream. Humor me.

Friday, January 16, 2015

By Linda Vernon

~~~"So the pie isn't perfect? Cut it into wedges. Stay in control, and never panic."~~~

~~~Martha Stewart

My sister is almost a decade older than I am. That means by the time I had my legs under me and a functioning presence in our home, she was in the throes of adolescence, which—as all of you know—is proof that animals are right when they eat their young. She was studying home economics, an elective that was required curriculum for all girls, when Lemon Pie became the bane of our existence.

JoAnn dove into Home Ec the same way she did everything: full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes, because she was going to be at the top of the class. She learned to sew like a New York City tailor, making clothing for everyone in our house except Daddy and the cat. She learned recipe planning, budgeting, and child care. She also learned to cook.

Lemon Pie took a while.

Sis was determined to make a perfect pie, so our kitchen became a test center for crust, filling, and meringue. For weeks, probably a school quarter, maybe a semester, we ate lemon pie. And God forbid we hurt my sister’s feelings. Ever the perfectionist, she could be found, any night of the week and all day on Saturday, weeping over bubbling crusts or whispering incantations to simmering filling that was, by turns, too thin, too thick, or burnt. Her determination went far beyond striving for a grade; this was a quest!

And we were her taste testers, quickly learning the futility of excuses like, “I’m full, I’m sick,” or, heaven help us, “I DON’T WANT ANY OF THAT. IT LOOKS HORRIBLE.” To this day, mention lemon pie to my big brother Bill and his lips curl, his chin quivers, and he gets the look of a man remembering a very long, painful journey. I don’t think he’s eaten a bite of that dessert in forty years. His stint as a prisoner in the Lemon Pie Gulag was enough to put him off it forever.

But it remains a favorite of mine to this day. So, here’s my best recipe for it. Making this pie takes a little time, but it’s worth it. It’s cobbled together from several sources, including my sister.

Enjoy! And for the love of all that’s holy—when I say butter, use butter.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake and cool 1 nine-inch pie crust.

For meringue stabilizer:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup boiling water

For filling:
1 1/3 cups sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups cold water
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons butter

For meringue:
3 egg whites
7 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt

Start by making the meringue stabilizer: 
Mix the tablespoon of cornstarch and two tablespoons of water together. Add to boiling water in small saucepan on stove. Stir constantly, reduce heat and cook until clear, a minute or so. Mixture will be very thick. Scrape into small prep bowl and set aside to cool completely.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or double boiler, mix sugar and cornstarch together. Add the two cups cold water. Set aside.

Separate eggs, placing whites in stand-mixer bowl. Set aside.

Whisk yolks and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Add to the cornstarch mixture whisking constantly until well-blended. Cook mixture on medium heat, continuing to stir until mixture thickens, which takes 6 or 7 minutes. Do not overboil mixture or it will not set properly. Be careful not to scorch!

Remove from heat. Add lemon extract, butter and vinegar. Stir thoroughly. Pour into cooled pie shell. Set aside to make meringue.

With stand mixer on high, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add in sugar until mixture is stiff but not dry-looking. Turn mixer to low, add pinch of salt and vanilla. Gradually beat in cold stabilizer.
Turn mixer to high again. Beat well. Spread/pile meringue onto cooled filling, spreading to seal to crust all around. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Allow to cool before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

By Barbara Winters

The tree is down*, the weather is dreary and we're craving a flavor besides ham or turkey.  If the thought of one more cookie or piece of fudge makes you want to throw  up, it's time to move into ... The Comfort Food Zone.

Comfort food is something Mom or Grandma usually made.  It was delicious.  It slid down easily.  If it had any nutritional value that was downplayed to let you enjoy its flavorful goodness.  It mostly made you feel warm inside and loved.

Robb Walsh, food writer and cook book author, once defined patriotism as the memory of foods eaten in childhood.  I cannot disagree with that, and besides I like dropping names. (Pick that up.)  If your family celebrates its heritage then there are most likely delicious things Nana made which made you proud to be a member of the family.

After the holidays it's nice to be able to use up some leftovers, so my comfort food is wild rice soup.  It's creamy and smooth and has good basic ingredients in it.

The first time I made wild rice I had never even heard of it before. Turns out it is technically not rice but some paddy-raised grass grown by Native Americans in Minnesota.  Good for them.  I hate to think of them stuck with making pemmican all winter.

I was given a huge box of wild rice and didn't really read the instructions until the kitchen was completely occupied by Thanksgiving dinner.  It seems that I had to empty the whole box into a soup kettle to accommodate all the water needed, then bring it to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for an hour.  Then, I was to strain it through a sieve into another soup kettle, then put the rice back in the liquid, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for an hour.  Lather, rinse, repeat. 
The final time I drained it, the husk had opened and the grains were a little fluffy.  It had a nutty flavor. Some people add butter. I learned that if you cooked it in stock it tasted even better.  My effort made up for the fact that my stuffing came out of a box.  Shut up, it was years before anyone noticed.

The good news is that the Reese company now produces wild rice in little managable 4 oz. boxes.  If you left over, make some and add it to the soup.  I think you'll find it a delicious dinner for the cold new year.
(*or it should be, you slackers.)


1/3 cup wild rice (or 1 cup left over wild rice,
and skip the cup of liquid)
1 cup water or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
1 cup cream

To Prepare Rice:
In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add rice and salt. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes or until tender.

To Prepare Soup:
Melt butter, add onions, celery, and mushrooms, cover and gently cook for 5 minutes until tender. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant.

Stir in 2 teaspoons salt, pepper and flour. Remove from heat and add milk, stirring until flour is well blended.

Return to low heat, cook stirring constantly until soup has thickened. Add cooked rice and simmer a few minutes to blend flavors.

Serve hot, garnish with chopped chives or grated cheese, optional.

By Nels Biggelsson

Tillagas framför allt med kärlek. Därför är "mammas köttbullar" ett
begrepp i Sverige och favoritrecepten är många. Somliga tycker att
det ska vara riven gul lök i själva smeten, andra hackar hellre löken
och steker den vid sidan om. En del tycker att köttbullar ska serveras
med redd brun sås, andra föredrar tunn sky till, och på smörgåsbordet
är det bäst att avstå från sås helt och hållet.

I söder får färsen gärna vara lite fetare, men ju längre norrut man
kommer desto mindre inblandat fläsk är det i smeten. Ströbrödet,
eller skorpsmulorna, som får svälla i mjölk är dock lika viktiga som
de tillhörande lingonen. Det ger köttbullarna deras speciella, mjuka

4–6 pers.
1 ägg
1 1/2 dl vetemjöl
3 dl mjölk
2 tsk salt
800 g potatis
50 g smör
400–500 g rimmat sidfläsk
Rårörda lingon

Gör en pannkakssmet av ägg, mjöl och mjölk.
Tillsätt salt. Skala potatisen och riv den på ett
rivjärn. Blanda och stek små plättar av potatissmeten
i smör tills de blir gyllenbruna på båda
sidor. Stek fläsket knaprigt.
Serveras med rårörda lingon. 

By Marilyn Michael

My grandparent’s kitchen was the hub of their small house. Taking up a whole house end, it had an amazing-to-a-child trap door that led to a musty dirt-walled basement lined with shelves of canned peaches, and pears, dill pickles, apricot preserves and other assorted jellies and jams. The kitchen’s window looked out on a full city lot sized garden from which my Grandfather would emerge with corn to be husked, shiny fat pea pods to be shelled and other fresh food like my Grandmother’s favorite-turnip greens. By the time I was old enough to store memories, the wood and coal stove had given way to electric and the icebox was now a refrigerator, but my Grandmother still had eggs and cream delivered by a local farmer.

Every Christmas of my childhood was spent in this simple, inviting house in walking distance from my own. There were family traditions, often involving food. Christmas Eve was a buffet and always included my two favorite dishes, brown beans and ham bone and Grandma’s potato salad. We opened our presents that night and Christmas day was spent enjoying them and preparing a traditional feast of turkey, ham and all the trimmings.

One Christmas Eve tradition was a treat but always seemed a bit odd for my family. No one drank alcohol and milk was something had ice cold with a meal or plate of cookies. On that night every year, though, they made Tom and Jerry’s all around. A rare bottle of whiskey would appear for the adults and the kids would enjoy vanilla poured straight into the hot milk thickened with a powdered sugar and egg batter. A dusting of nutmeg gave it an exotic taste as it went down smooth and warm. I’d savor the smells of the nutmeg and vanilla and wonder why we had this yummy drink only once a year. It just didn’t occur to my family that the Christmas Eve tradition of this sweet, hot milk drink could be enjoyed at other times.

As an adult, I stayed close to middle class culinary roots and never tried hot milk drinks outside of a couple Christmas Eve attempts at Tom and Jerry’s. When coffee became a culture declaring basic drip passé, I began drinking mochas. The steaming hot milk and sweetness of chocolate brought memories of the creamy milk drink of my Christmas Eves. The presence of coffee, though, somehow made it different. But, it was comforting and exotic in a similar way. And, they even had freshly grated nutmeg on the counter.

When a new libation called Chai began appearing in coffee shops I never tried it. Not having been raised on tea, I had never developed a taste for it. I vaguely remember my Aunt Mame sipping tea from china cups, but she was an anomaly in my coffee-fanatic family. We had sturdy percolators that sat on stovetops with little glass toppers for a view of the perking brew. Dad had an odd-seeming habit from his farm family upbringing of sometimes adding a few eggshells in the coffee grounds to “take the bitterness out.” We were definitely coffee people. Even after retiring, my father kept the tradition of morning and afternoon coffee breaks, usually with a sweet treat, often pie.

As an adult, two women who had grown up in India became my close friends and offered to teach me to make some of their traditional dishes. Developing a taste for this cuisine opened my mind to food traditions other than the basic comfort foods of my youth. I was eager to try it all. I learned to make Tandoori marinades, vegetable dahls, meat and vegetable curries, rice-based pulaos, coconut sauces for fish, spicy chutneys and I discovered a store that made heavenly garlic Nan, a delicious flatbread to accompany the dishes.

One day a new friend from Pakistan shared that his favorite food memory was the Chai his mother would always have for them. He offered to make it for me. Though concerned the element of tea would preclude my enjoyment of this libation, I looked forward to trying it. He used loose black tea that came in half-inch strings, not the powder filled tea bags that characterized, for me, a cup of tea. Into the boiling water went the tea, and then brown sugar, whole cloves, chunks of cinnamon sticks, and small 'coins' of fresh ginger. When the milk and cardamom powder were added to the boiling aromatic brew, it foamed up impressively. Then, his Mom’s secret, several fifteen-second removals of the pot from the heat and reboiling.

The aromas grabbed me. This was clearly not the watery, tepid brown drink I thought of as tea. He strained it and poured me a steaming cup. I was in love. Cupping my hands around the mug I was transported to exotic lands and at the same time back to my Grandma’s kitchen on Christmas Eve. It was lightly sweet and creamy smooth. And, beyond the nutmeg and vanilla of my Tom and Jerry memories, its spice blend was exotic and yet comforting. How lucky he had been. He’d enjoyed this amazing treat year around. It was his favorite food memory; I’m sure in a similar way that I look back fondly on those Christmas Eve cups of hot sweet milk and nutmeg.

Makes 5 cups

3 cups water
2 cups milk
5 rounded teaspoons loose black tea (one per cup or
       1 tea bag per cup)
10 whole cloves (two per cup)
5  -  ½ cinnamon sticks (one per cup)
5 teaspoons brown sugar (one per cup) or to taste
5  - 1/4 inch thick slices of 1" round fresh ginger,   
       unpeeled (one per cup)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder (just 1/2 teaspoon
       for the entire batch)


Bring water to a boil. Add black tea. cinnamon, brown sugar, cloves, and ginger. Boil for 2 minutes then add milk and cardamom. (It expands in pot, watch it.) Bring back to boil, take off heat for 15 seconds return it to heat and boil. Do this twice more. Strain off the spices. Serve. (This can also be made with equal parts water and milk or all milk.)