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August 19, 2019

By CRH Dietitian Mona Van Wart – I loved making this tomato ketchup. I thought it was really fun to do and the end product was fantastic . As I was making the ketchup,it took me back to my childhood when I was a little girl helping my Mom process vegetables from our gardens.

I do not use ketchup as a condiment, but I do have a couple of favorite recipes of my mother’s that uses ketchup as the main ingredient for the sauce. I decided instead of freezing the ketchup as I originally had planned I would make those recipes and then portion and freeze the end products for my lunches.

A pdf version of the recipe can be found on the Health Eating page or by clicking here.

Ingredients

6 pounds tomatoes (about 12 large tomatoes)

½ cup brown sugar

¾ cup onion (finely chopped)

2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

½ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup cider vinegar

½ cup balsamic vinegar (I chose the kind that had 0 mgs. Sodium)

Cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Wash tomatoes.
  3. Halve the tomatoes, drizzle some olive oil over them, and place on 1-2 baking pans.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes or until they are soft and wrinkled looking, but not burnt.
  5. Let the tomatoes cool, and then transfer them to a blender or food processor and puree until they are smooth.  Process in small batches.
  6. In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the sugar, keeping it moving with a spoon, for about a minute.
  7. Add the onion, garlic and the pureed roasted tomatoes.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Add the three kinds of vinegar and continue to cook for another 30 minutes or until reduced by two-thirds.  The ketchup should be thick.
  9. Remove from heat and season to taste with the cayenne pepper, if desired.
  10. Strain the ketchup through a mesh strainer into a glass or stainless steel bowl. 
  11. To cool the ketchup, fill a large stockpot about halfway with a mixture of half ice, half water, and submerge the container in the ice bath to chill.  The ice-water level should come most of the way up the outside of the container, but don’t let any water into the ketchup. 
  12. Stir the ketchup occasionally until the temperature reaches 70°F on a thermometer.
  13. Then remove the container from the ice bath, cover and transfer to the refrigerator where it will keep for 3-5 days.
  14. Ketchup can be frozen in small freezer bags or containers, or I read that it can be put in ice cube trays and then put them in a freezer container.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)

1 serving = 1 Tbsp       Calories: 8      Fat: 0 g      Carbs: 2 g      Protein: <1 g      Sodium: <1 g

(Comparison – Store bought ketchup)

1 serving = 1 Tbsp       Calories: 19      Fat: 0 g     Carbs: 4.5 g     Protein: <1 g     Sodium: 154 mgs

July 31, 2019

I tried a new recipe last night. I thought it was very good. These are the ingredients ready  for Chicken and Grapefruit Stir Fry. A pdf version of the recipe can be found on the Health Eating page or by clicking here.

Ingredients

1 grapefruit, peeled

1# pineapple chunks in unsweetened pineapple juice

¼ cup cornstarch

2 tsp. sodium reduced, soy sauce

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1# boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut across the grain into slices

1 cup snow peas, trimmed

4 scallions, sliced diagonally

Directions

Peel the grapefruit and cut into sections, holding the fruit over a small bowl to catch the juice.  Drain the pineapple well, reserving the juice.  Put the pineapple juice and grapefruit juice into a measuring cup and add enough water to equal 2 cups.  Add the cornstarch and soy sauce and stir until smooth.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the garlic and chicken. Cook until internal temperature of 165°F. (around 8-10 minutes). Add the snow peas and cornstarch mixture; stir-fry until the sauce thickens and boils.  Add the grapefruit, pineapple, and scallions; stir-fry until heated through.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: 1 cup

Calories: 165   Carbohydrates: 20 grams    Protein: 14 grams

Fat:  3 grams      Cholesterol: 31 mgs.          Dietary Fiber:  3 grams

Sodium:  82 mgs.

June 7, 2019

A pdf version of the recipe can be found on the Health Eating page or by clicking here.

2 cups cooked fiddleheads (To cook,  put raw fiddleheads in boiling water. When it comes to a rolling boil again, cook them for at least 15 minutes.)

½ cup onions

4 eggs

1 cup low fat or nonfat buttermilk

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

Dash hot pepper sauce

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

1. Sautee onions in a small amount of olive oil.

2. Mix together cooked fiddle heads and sautéed onions and set aside

3. Blend together eggs, buttermilk, flour and hot pepper sauce. Set aside

4. Mix the 2 cheeses together

Lightly oil a 9” X 13” casserole pan.

Layer as follows:

1/3 of the cheeses (1 1/3 cups)

½ of the fiddleheads (1 cup)

1/3 of the cheeses, (1 1/3 cups)

½ of the fiddleheads (1 cup)

1/3 of the cheeses (1 1/3 cups)

Pour egg batter over mixture in casserole dish

Bake at 350 degrees until thermometer inserted in center reads 165 degrees (usually takes 30-45 minutes)

For information on properly cleaning and cooking fiddleheads you can go to :https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/4198e/

This makes a nice luncheon meal served with a tossed salad that is full of different colored vegetables.

June 4, 2019

Freezing Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads are an early spring treat in Maine. Nearly all ferns have fiddleheads but not all fiddleheads are edible. For information on safely harvesting , cleaning, cooking, and preserving fiddleheads, please  refer to  Cooperative Extension University of Maine Bulletin # 4198.Like all foods fiddleheads have to be handled correctly to decrease risk of food borne illness. https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/4198e/

Cleaned fiddleheads must be boiled or steamed according to instructions in Bulletin # 4198. They should not be cooked by sautéing, stir frying, or microwaving. Fiddleheads should be boiled or steamed as directed in Bulletin # 4198 , prior to use in other recipes that call for sautéing, stir frying, or baking.

I was lucky this weekend to have been given a very generous portion of fiddleheads. They were cleaned at the site and most of the brown sheath was gone. I cut off the ends and  cleaned them per directions of Bulletin # 4198.

I froze seven packages(2 cups each) of fiddleheads this weekend. Per the Cooperative Extension Bulletin these are the steps I did in freezing my fiddleheads. Pictures of each step can be seen at the bottom of the post.

1.        Initial cleaning was done at site

2.        Final cleaning of fiddleheads

3.        Blanched fiddleheads in small batches for 2 minutes in boiling water. I had water boiling when I placed fiddleheads in it. Timing started when water comes to a rolling boil again.

4.        I removed fiddleheads from boiling water and immediately placed them in an ice water bath for 2 minutes. (ice water bath was ½ ice and ½ cold water.)

5.        I allowed  fiddleheads to drip dry  before packaging.

6.        For my freezer containers I used 1 quart freezer zip lock bags.

7.        I labeled, and dated bags and placed them in my freezer.

To use frozen fiddleheads, thaw in refrigerator. After they are thawed, place in boiling water. When water comes a rolling  boil again, boil  for at least 15 minutes.