No Oven, No Problem by Julie Busteed

Somehow it seems to happen that whenever we have out of town guests, something breaks, or clogs, or freezes. Think plumbers on Christmas Eve, or a dozen guests enjoying the warmth of the fireplace – because the power has gone out. This visit was no different, the day before company arrived our ovens decided to quit working. Not a total disaster since the stovetop still functioned, but I needed to alter my menus none the less.   

It has been several years since we’ve owned a grill and we’ve been planning to get one. As luck would have it, we were gifted a Kamado Joe! Yes, they were those kind of out of town guests, and yes, they probably figured it was their best shot at eating a home cooked meal. 

To be clear, the Kamado Joe is to “grill” as Ferrari is to a riding mower. This thing is on another level. The heat is enclosed entirely in a thick, ceramic shell, making common recipes that say “Bring the temperature to 700 degrees.” My ovens don’t go to 700 degrees…even when they’re working. The delivery crew shows up to assemble the unit dressed like they were going to a wedding… Which they were.  (Thanks Jill and Bob…)  And, like Ferrari, most of the Kamado Joes are red. Think of Marcel’s as the showroom, with free delivery and setup. 

I’ve had to skip over “grill” recipes for many years, and now here was my chance to dive back in. So far, we’ve seared steaks, grilled shrimp, warmed bread, grilled romaine and even baked banana bread. The surprising one was grilling salmon.  I had adapted this salmon recipe for the oven and it had proven quite tasty, but now I was actually able to grill it and wow, what a difference!

 

Asian Grilled Salmon
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Ingredients
  1. 1 side fresh salmon, boned but skin on (about 3 pounds)
  2. 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  3. 3 tablespoons good soy sauce
  4. 6 tablespoons good olive oil
  5. 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Instructions
  1. While the grill is heating, lay the salmon skin side down on a cutting board and cut it crosswise into 4 equal pieces. Whisk together the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle half of the marinade onto the salmon and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Place the salmon skin side down on the hot grill; discard the marinade the fish was sitting in. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn carefully with a wide spatula and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes. The salmon will be slightly raw in the center, but don't worry; it will keep cooking as it sits.
  3. Transfer the fish to a flat plate, skin side down, and spoon the reserved marinade on top. Allow the fish to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the skin and serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
  4. Grilling with high heat is a little like learning a new language. There’s a bit of a transition, but once you have the basics, a lot of exciting culinary adventures become available. And the flavors that will appear are astounding. Plus, it’s a great option to have when your appliances go on the fritz.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

No Bake Granola Bars

No Bake Granola Bars
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Ingredients
  1. 1 heaping cup packed dates, pitted
  2. 1/4 cup maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey
  3. 1/4 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter or almond butter
  4. 1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped
  5. 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  6. 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  7. optional additions: chocolate chips, dried fruit (Jill used dried cranberries), vanilla, etc.
Instructions
  1. Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain (about 1 minute). It should form a "dough" like consistency.
  2. Toast your oats (and almonds if raw) in a 350 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
  3. Place oats, almonds and dates in a large mixing bowl - set aside.
  4. Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout.
  5. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8x8-inch baking dish or other small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily.
  6. Press down firmly until uniformly flattened - use something flat, like a drinking glass, to press down and really pack the bars, which helps them hold together better.
  7. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let firm up in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Remove bars from pan and chop into 10 even bars (or 9 squares). Store in an airtight container for up to a few days.
Notes
  1. Can store in freezer
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

A New Year and a New Focus in the Kitchen by Paul Lindemuth

The holiday decorations are taken down and packed away. The last of the Christmas cookies are eaten. And now I’m finally able to move forward to the first weekend that does not involve the responsibility of entertaining or being entertained! It was a very busy season of holiday cooking and baking with so many lists that needed checking and re-checking with a work-related event on the calendar nearly every day.

If you’re like me, a New Year brings a new focus to so many aspects of everyday life and it’s a good time to bring that focus to our homes and kitchens. Here are some thoughts (OK….resolutions) that I’m bringing into our kitchen and home in 2017:

BRIGHTEN UP YOUR KITCHEN

You’ve spent so much time in the kitchen and looked at the same four walls and all the surfaces for hours on end. January is a great time to give your kitchen a good cleaning from top to bottom. And when you’ve finished that chore, create a new focal point with a planter of bright green herbs on the counter or a new food photo hung on the wall or a new cookbook displayed in a book holder.

GET ORGANIZED

This is a great time to open all the cabinets and drawers and take control of the clutter. Kitchen tools are often thrown into a drawer in haste when you’re busy, so pull everything out to clean up and organize. The same holds true for cabinets and drawers with ingredients and spices that may be past their prime. Toss that stuff out and get a fresh start.

EAT MORE HEALTHILY

 Begin with small goals that are easily achievable on an everyday basis. Start packing a healthy lunch to take to work. Grab an apple for your snack to ease into eating more nutritiously. Once you’ve conquered the small steps add more healthy habits like cutting back on bad carbs and sugar until you’re eating more healthily regularly.


MAKE TIME FOR FAMILY

I think we’ve all had our fill of office parties, holiday feasting and revelry. Before the New Year gets too busy, make sure to set aside time for family. Block off some time that’s reserved just for activities at home. Eating together around the dining table is a great way to bring focus back to home and family.  Please enjoy this beautiful and vibrant recipe around the table together!

Baked Whitefish with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. canola oil spray
  2. four 6-ounce whitefish fillets
  3. 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 1/2 cup light reduced-fat coconut milk
  5. 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  6. 1 teaspoon peeled chopped fresh ginger
  7. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  8. 2 garlic cloves
  9. 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  10. fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with canola oil spray. Sprinkle the fish with the salt and place it in the pan.
  2. In the jar of a blender combine the coconut milk, cilantro, ginger, garam masala, garlic and jalapeño. Pulse until fairly smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture over the fish. Bake until the fish is just opaque in the center, about 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer the fish to heated plates. Garnish with more cilantro and serve right away.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Delicata Squash & Black Bean Tacos

Delicata Squash & Black Bean Tacos
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed and cut into 1/4” slices (skin can stay on)
  2. olive oil
  3. kosher salt
  4. freshly ground black pepper
  5. ground cumin
  6. 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  7. 4 ounces fresh ricotta
  8. cilantro, chopped
  9. 8 street taco sized tortillas (4”)
  10. pico de gallo (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Use convection heat.
  2. Toss squash slices with olive oil, a generous sprinkle of kosher salt, a few grinds of black pepper and cumin to taste (1/2 teaspoon is a good place to start). Spread onto a baking sheet - do not overlap pieces. Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until starting to caramelize.
  3. Toss black beans with a touch of olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and cumin to taste.
  4. Mix fresh ricotta in a small bowl with kosher salt, pepper and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.
  5. Heat tortillas for a few minutes in oven until warm.
  6. Spread each tortilla with the ricotta mixture, top with black beans, squash and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with pico de gallo if desired.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound green beans
  2. 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  3. 1 can cannellini or navy beans, drained
  4. 1 large shallot
  5. 3 T. red wine vinegar
  6. salt
  7. freshly ground pepper
  8. ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  9. basil or other herb, optional
Instructions
  1. Trim green beans and parboil them in salted water until tender. Drain and immediately spread them to cool. Cut tomatoes in half. These steps can be done in advance.
  2. For the vinaigrette, peel and dice the shallot finely and put it in a bowl with the vinegar and salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil. Taste and adjust the balance with more vinegar, oil, or salt, as needed. Toss the cherry tomatoes with the vinaigrette; this can sit awhile.
  3. Do not add green beans or cannellini beans until just before serving or they will discolor from the acid in the vinaigrette. Garnish with basil or another herb.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Vitamin Boosted Black Rice Salad

Vitamin Boosted Black Rice Salad
Serves 4
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For the vinaigrette
  1. sea Salt and pepper
  2. 1 t. French Dijon mustard
  3. 1 t. honey
  4. 2 T. sherry vinegar
  5. 6 T. olive oil
For the salad
  1. 1 oz. walnuts
  2. 1 cup black rice
  3. 1 pink grapefruit or 1 orange
  4. 1 fennel bulb, without greens, cored and sliced paper-thin (use a mandolin)
  5. 1 cup red grapes, cut in half
  6. 2.5 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  7. 1 T. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  8. 1 T. chopped chives
  9. 1 T. chopped dill
To prepare the vinaigrette
  1. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients in the order listed. Whisk to emulsify.
To prepare the salad
  1. Toast the walnuts in a frying pan over medium heat for 5 min., or until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove from the heat and let cool. Chop coarsely and set aside.
  2. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package. Check whether it’s well cooked and drain if there’s still water in the pot; let cool.
  3. With a sharp serrated knife, peel the skin and pith from the grapefruit. Cut the fruit into segments, discarding the membrane; dice, cover, and set aside until ready to serve.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the rice, fennel, grapes, grapefruit, cheese and walnuts. Toss the salad gently with the dressing and fresh herbs and serve.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Quinoa Salad with Apples, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries and Gouda

Quinoa Salad with Apples, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries and Gouda
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Ingredients
  1. 1 ½ c. quinoa
  2. sea salt
  3. 5 T. olive oil
  4. 1 large red onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  5. 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  6. 4 oz. arugula, thinly sliced
  7. 4 oz. gouda, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  8. 3 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
  9. 1 large crisp apple cut into ½ ” dice
  10. 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  11. 1 cup finely diced fennel
  12. ¾ cup dried cranberries
  13. 3 T. sherry vinegar
  14. freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Rinse the quinoa. Drain and place in 3 quart pot with 2 ½ cups water and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer covered until the quinoa is tender, about 15 min. Drain the quinoa, return to the pan, cover and let rest for 5 min. Fluff with fork. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring frequently, until tender and brown around edges, 6-8 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss with the onions until the vinegar cooks away, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the quinoa, onions, arugula, cheese, celery, apple, walnuts, fennel and cranberries.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 3 Tablespoons olive oil with the sherry vinegar and ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  5. Add the dressing to the salad and gently mix.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

What YOU Need to Know about the New Dietary Guidelines for Americans by Lynn Dugan

DietaryGuidelinesJust recently, the Obama administration released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines are revised every 5 years with the purpose to help us make healthy food and beverage choices and to serve as the foundation for vital nutrition policies and programs throughout the US. If you are interested in learning more, here is the Executive Summary.

After sifting through the report, I have prepared some noteworthy points to highlight. Let’s start with how healthy eating is defined by the Guidelines:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the color groups–dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and others.
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Dairy foods (milk, yogurt, cheese and or fortified soy beverages), fat free or low fat
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds and soy products
  • Oils

This healthy eating plan is nothing new but keep in mind, many people with a goal of ‘healthy eating’ may have cut dairy foods from their diets. But dairy foods are recommended to help meet the calcium, vitamin D and potassium needs for everyone— these are the nutrients we are not getting enough of. The Guidelines recommend 3 servings of dairy daily for everyone 9 years and older. One serving equals 1 cup milk or yogurt and 1-1/2 ounce of cheese.

Next, let’s look at what to limit in our eating. You may have already heard the big news: cut down on sugar and sodium and keep saturated fat intake ‘in check.’  Saturated fat is found mostly in animal protein foods. By purchasing and preparing lean cuts of meat and varying your protein choices to include legumes and fish, this recommendation is manageable.

The sugar recommendation includes any sugar added to foods but does not include the natural sugar found in foods like fruit and dairy. The recommendation is to cap added sugar to about 12-1/2 teaspoons (50 grams) daily (that is, 10% of calories for a 2,000 calorie diet). This can add up quickly if you enjoy sweet desserts and sugared beverages. But know that hidden sugar counts, too.  Common sources include jarred pasta sauces, energy drinks, canned fruit, and breakfast cereals. Food labels are a valuable resource to determine the sugar content of packaged foods.

For sodium, the cap is 2,400 mg daily. This amount of sodium is found in a teaspoon of salt. To meet these guidelines, it does help to avoid the salt shaker at the table, but unfortunately a major part of the sodium in American diets (80%) comes from processed and packaged foods. These foods include: frozen meals, canned or pickled foods, snack foods, condiments, and soda. Cutting sodium from your diet may make foods suddenly taste bland. But over time, your taste for sodium will adapt and you will be able to use less for the same flavor. It will also be important to rely on herbs and other seasonings to bring more flavor to your palette. Your Marcel’s chefs can help you with that!

bananaReading labels for both sodium and sugar content is the only way to know what you’re eating. However, eating foods without labels is the best kind of eating!  The less processed, the better. Making small changes that stick over time is the best strategy for tackling these latest recommendations. As stated in the Guidelines, “A lifetime of healthy eating helps to prevent chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes… it is one of the most powerful tools we have.” In the spirit of healthy eating, I am sharing a simple fruit dessert recipe, Banana “Ice Cream.” Enjoy!

Banana "Ice Cream"
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 2 small (or one large) ripe banana, peeled and sliced
  2. chopped nuts, if desired
Instructions
  1. Freeze sliced bananas for at least 2 hours in an airtight container.
  2. Blend frozen bananas in a small food processor. Scrape down food processor as banana goes from crumbled to gooey and again to smooth consistency.
  3. Transfer to airtight container and freeze until solid, about 1 hour. Or eat immediately if a soft consistency is desired. When serving, garnish with chopped nuts.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

The Power of Breakfast by Lynn Dugan

We all know how important breakfast is…but more than half of American adults do not eat breakfast everyday and it’s estimated that 12 to 34 percent of children and adolescents regularly miss this morning meal. There are many benefits of eating breakfast that you won’t want to miss…here are the highlights:

  • Breakfast fuels your brain after the overnight fast.  That is why it’s called break-fast.  Your brain needs the energy and you benefit! Kids benefit, too.  Studies have shown that children do better in school (improved memory, alertness, concentration, and test scores) compared to kids who skip breakfast.
  • Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers.  Unfortunately, many people skip breakfast just to save calories.  The fact is that breakfast skippers are at a greater risk for weight gain and obesity.
  • Eating breakfast helps you meet nutritional goals, especially for whole grains, dairy and fruits.  Let’s face it, it’s hard to get all of the recommended servings of whole grains (3), dairy (3) and fruits and vegetables (5) in your diet even spread across three meals and one or two snacks.  If a meal is skipped, it is even harder to meet the requirements.  Breakfast is a natural opportunity to include whole grain (with ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, hot cereals, and whole grain toast and waffles), fruit (100% juice, fresh, canned, frozen or dried fruit) and fat-free or low-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese).
  • Emerging research suggests that eating breakfast may improve your overall health, helping your heart, digestion, and bones.  All of these benefits may be due to the nutritional boost from breakfast- fiber from fruit and whole grains for heart health; fiber for digestive health; and calcium from dairy foods for bone health.

breakfast lynnOne of my family’s favorite breakfast recipes is baked oatmeal, especially on colder mornings. We often eat it topped with vanilla Greek yogurt and it keeps us satisfied until lunchtime.

Enjoy!

.

Baked Oatmeal
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups oats
  2. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  3. 2 t. cinnamon
  4. 2 t. baking powder
  5. 1 t. salt
  6. 1 cup milk
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 1/3 cup melted butter or Earth Balance spread
  9. 2 t. vanilla
  10. 1/4 cup dried apricots, quartered
  11. 1/4 cup dried cherries, halved
  12. 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
Instructions
  1. Mix oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the milk, eggs, butter and vanilla; whisking to blend.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until moistened.  Add the dried fruit and sunflower seeds.  Stir to mix.  Pour into a greased 9×13 baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  2. Serve warm (or at room temperature) with vanilla yogurt and chopped nuts, if desired.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/