Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bleu and 'Shroom Bison Burger w/ Baked Steak Fries

Dinner Tonight: Bleu and 'Shroom Bison Burger w/ Baked Steak Fries


To me the best tasting Burgers are Bison Burgers! I had a Bison Ground Sirloin Burger that I seasoned with Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper. Fried in Extra Virgin Olive Oil about 4 minutes per side. Topped with Sauteed Mushrooms and Murray's Maytag Crumbled Bleu Cheese. If you love Bleu Cheese as much as I do you have to try the Maytag Bleu, Murray's if you can find it. I served it on an Healthy Life Whole Grain Bun. As a side I had Ore - Ida Steak Fries with a couple of splashes of Heinz 57 Sauce. For dessert later a bowl of Del Monte Sugarless Sliced Pears.

National Dish of the Week - Saudi Arabia

Kleeja
Saudi Arabia

Food staples in Saudi Arabian cuisine include lamb, grilled chicken, falafel (deep-fried chickpea balls), shawarma (spit-cooked sliced lamb), mutabbaq and Ful medames. Arabic unleavened bread, or khobz, is eaten with almost all meals, and is often used as an edible utensil to scoop foods. Kabsa, rice with chicken and lamb, is very popular and is considered iconic. Traditional coffeehouses used to be ubiquitous, but are now being displaced by food-hall style cafes. Arabic tea is also a famous custom, which is used in both casual and formal meetings between friends, family and strangers. The tea is black (without milk) and has herbal flavoring that comes in many variations.

The same types of foods have been consumed by the Saudi Arabian people for thousands of years. Basic ingredients include wheat, rice, chicken, fava beans, yogurt and dates. Saudi Arabia produces approximately 600 million pounds of dates annually. Per capita, Saudis consume the largest number of chickens in the world, at an average of 88.2 pounds of chicken per person annually. Lamb is served traditionally to guests and during holidays.

Sheep, goat and camel milk are also staples of Bedouins. Yogurt is consumed whole, made into a kefir-type of drink called laban and used to prepare sauces.

Islamic dietary laws forbid the eating of pork and the drinking of alcohol, and this law is enforced throughout Saudi Arabia. According to halal Islamic law, animals must be butchered in a particular way and blessed before they can be eaten. In 2008, Saudi Arabia was the world's fifth largest importer of both sheep meat and goat meat.

Both western style grocery stores and typical Arabic marketplaces are plentiful in Saudi Arabia. For those that prefer wide aisles, stainless steel carts and a single location for shopping, the Kingdom aptly caters with popular chain stores like Tamimi, Panda (and its mega version, Hyper Panda), Othaim, Carrefour, Danube, and Halwani.

The expat population in Saudi Arabia may feel at ease in the company of so many English labels, but often many of the goods are imported and are proportionately expensive.

As an alternative, Saudi Arabian vegetable markets source some of the freshest produce for negotiable prices. Each of the big city neighborhoods tend to have their own markets. Frequenting particular stalls and developing relationships with vendors can often help to reduce prices or inspire "specials".

Kabsa - Saudi Arabia

Kabsa

Kabsa is a family of rice dishes that are served mostly in Saudi Arabia — where it is commonly regarded as a national dish — and the other Arab states of the Persian Gulf. Kabsa, though, is believed to be indigenous to Yemen. In places like Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait the dish is popularly known as majbūs or machbūs ,but is served mostly in the same way.

These dishes are mainly made from a mixture of spices, rice (usually long-grain basmati), meat and vegetables. There are many kinds of kabsa and each kind has a uniqueness about it. Pre-mixed kabsa spices are now available under several brand names. These reduce preparation time but may have a flavour distinct from traditional kabsa. The spices used in kabsa are largely responsible for its taste; these are generally black pepper, cloves, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, black lime, bay leaves and nutmeg. The main ingredient that accompanies the spices is the meat, such as chicken, goat, lamb, camel, or sometimes beef, fish, and shrimp. In chicken machbūs, a whole chicken is used. The spices, rice and meat may be augmented with almonds, pine nuts, onions and raisins. The dish can be garnished with ḥashū and served hot with daqqūs — home-made tomato sauce.

Meat for kabsa can be cooked in various ways. A popular way of preparing meat is called mandi. This is an ancient technique, whereby meat is barbecued in a deep hole in the ground that is covered while the meat cooks. Another way of preparing and serving meat for kabsa is mathbi, where seasoned meat is grilled on flat stones that are placed on top of burning embers. A third technique, madghūt, involves cooking the meat in a Pressure cooker.

Saudi Kabsa

Ingredients

          o 1 whole chickens, cut into 8 pieces
          o 1 cup basmati rice, washed and rinsed
          o 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
          o 2 bay leaves
          o 1 chicken bouillon cubes
          o 1 onions, diced
          o 2 garlic cloves, diced
          o 6 green cardamom pods, whole
          o 5 cloves
          o 2 cinnamon sticks
          o 2 black limes
          o 1 teaspoon cumin
          o 1 teaspoon coriander
          o 1 teaspoon salt
          o 1 teaspoon pepper
          o 1 teaspoon ginger
          o 1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
          o 1 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
          o 4 hard-boiled eggs (optional)
          o pine nuts and raisins (optional)

Directions

   1. NOTE: place basmati rice in bowl with water over it to expand, it will not cook and will stay hard unless you do this. Leave for 15 minutes at the least.
   2. 1. In an 8-quart stockpot on medium-high heat add onions, garlic and. Allow onions to turn golden. Add bay leaves, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon sticks, black limes, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, ginger and ground cardamom. Blend well and allow to sauté for 30 seconds.
   3. 2. Add tomato sauce and chicken bouillon. Mix well until sauce thickens, reduce heat to low-medium. Add chicken allow to sauté for a 1 minute. Rotate chicken so that it gets all of the flavors. Add water until chicken is completely covered. Bring to a full boil then reduce to low. Cook for 35 minutes covered.
   4. 5. After the chicken has cooked reserve broth for rice. In a 2-quart saucepan, add rice and enough sauce from the chicken just so that the rice is covered. Bring to a boil then immediately turn heat to low and cook covered for eight to ten minutes. Meanwhile, why the rice is cooking turn oven on high broil. Add chicken to a roasting pan and broil for five minutes or until golden.
   5. 8. Add cooked rice to a serving platter with chicken arranged on top. Garnish plate with hard-boiled eggs, pine nuts, and raisins.


http://www.food.com/recipe/saudi-kabsa-252557

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Salmon w/ Creamy Parmesan Risotto, Asparagus Bits, and...

Dinner Tonight: Copper River Salmon w/ Creamy Parmesan Risotto, Asparagus Bits, and Whole Grain Bread


Salmon and Risotto, what a fantastic and delicious pairing! You could pair anything with the great tasting Copper River Salmon but the Risotto is a perfect match. I seasoned the Salmon with McCormick Grinder Sea Salt and McCormick Grinder Black Peppercorn and then sprinkled a light coating of Italian Style Bread Crumbs. Fried in Extra Virgin Olive Oil about 6 1/2 minutes. As sides I had Lundberg  Creamy Parmesan Risotto, great tasting and takes about 25 minutes to make. Topped it with about half a handful of shredded Parmesan. I also had a small can of Del Monte Asparagus Bits and Healthy Life Whole Grain Bread. A light dessert later tonight of Yoplait Delight Chocolate Eclair Parfait.

Eating the right foods can do a number on bad cholesterol

This article ran in most newspapers yesterday. Thought I would post it in case you missed it.


Nutrition experts have known for years that some foods, such as oatmeal, nuts and soy products, lower cholesterol.

Now, a new study shows that a diet with several of these foods can decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol significantly.

David Jenkins of St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto and colleagues recruited 345 Canadian men and women with high cholesterol. Their LDL (bad) cholesterol was an average of about 170 mg/dL at the beginning of the study.

All participants in the study were following heart-healthy diets low in saturated fat (butter, beef fat) and rich in fruits and vegetables, beans and whole grains, Jenkins says. Those in the control group stuck with their healthy diets.

Others in the intervention group were taught how to incorporate four cholesterol-lowering types of foods into their eating plan, including nuts; soy products; foods rich in viscous fiber (a type of soluble fiber); and plant-sterol-enriched margarine.

Example of those on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet:

•An average of a handful of nuts a day.

•A couple of teaspoons of sterol-enriched margarine such as Take Control.

•Two servings a day of soy-protein products, such as a glass of soy milk and a soy burger.

•Two servings a day of viscous-fiber-rich foods such as oatmeal, psyllium-enriched cereals, barley and vegetables such as okra and eggplant.

The findings, after 24 weeks, are reported in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association:

•LDL cholesterol in the control group: Dropped by an average of about 3% or about 8 mg/dL.

•LDL cholesterol in the participants eating cholesterol-lowering foods: Decreased by about 13% to 14% or about 26 mg/dL.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Turkey Enchiladas

Dinner Tonight: Wow! This recipe turned out fantastic! I made some changes to recipe I had. I used Ground Turkey instead of Ground Beef,  Low Carb Tortillas and Kroger naturally Preferred Organic Black Bean and Corn Organic Salsa. I know it's good when my Mom can't resist them.

Turkey Enchiladas

Ingredients:

    1 lb. extra-lean Ground Turkey
* Sea Salt, Pepper, Ground Smoked Cumin, and Cilantro to taste for the Ground Turkey
    1 jar  (16 oz.)  Salsa, divided
    1 pkg. (8 oz.)  2% Mexican Style Shredded Four Cheese, divided
    1 pkg.  (10 oz.) Flour Tortillas (12 [6-inch] tortillas) or use Low Carb style Tortillas or 6 of a  larger Tortillas

Directions: Microwave or Oven

Microwave:
    Brown Turkey in large nonstick skillet; drain. Stir in 1/2 cup salsa and 1 cup cheese.

    SPOON 1/4 cup meat mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Spread 1/2 cup of the remaining salsa onto each of 2 microwaveable plates. Place 6 enchiladas, seam-sides down, on each plate. Top with remaining salsa and cheese.

    MICROWAVE each plate of filled tortillas, loosely covered with waxed paper, on HIGH 2 to 3 min. or until heated through.
   
 Oven:
    Heat oven to 350ºF. Spread 1 cup salsa onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish. Fill tortillas as directed; place, seam-sides down, in baking dish. Top with remaining salsa. Bake 20 min. or until heated through, topping with remaining cheese after 15 min.
Option:
    Top each serving with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and 1 Tbsp. Breakstone's Reduced Fat or KNUDSEN Light Sour Cream. Serving on a bed of Rice would be good also.
   

Fruit of the Week - Jujube

Jujube

Ziziphus zizyphus commonly called jujube (sometimes jujuba), red date, Chinese date, or Indian date is a species of Ziziphus in the buckthorn family Rhamnaceae, used primarily as a fruiting shade tree.

The jujube is a small, deciduous tree, growing to 40 feet tall in Florida, but smaller in size in California. The naturally drooping tree is graceful, ornamental and often thorny with branches growing in a zig-zag pattern. The wood is very hard and strong. Jujube cultivars vary in size and conformation, with some being very narrow in habit and others being more widespread. One cultivar, the So, seems to be fairly dwarfing in habit. After 30 years of growth in an average site, trees can be 30 feet tall with a crown diameter of up to 15 feet. Plants send up suckers (often with intimidating spines) from their roots, and these suckers can appear many feet from the mother plant. Currently, these root suckers must be controlled by mowing or hoeing.

The fruit is a drupe, varying from round to elongate and from cherry-size to plum-size depending on cultivar. It has a thin, edible skin surrounding whitish flesh of sweet, agreeable flavor. The single hard stone contains two seeds. The immature fruit is green in color, but as it ripens it goes through a yellow-green stage with mahogany-colored spots appearing on the skin as the fruit ripens further. The fully mature fruit is entirely red. Shortly after becoming fully red, the fruit begins to soften and wrinkle. The fruit can be eaten after it becomes wrinkled, but most people prefer them during the interval between the yellow-green stage and the full red stage. At this stage the flesh is crisp and sweet, reminiscent of an apple. Under dry conditions jujubes lose moisture, shrivel and become spongy inside. Tests in Russia indicate a very high vitamin C content. The fruit has been used medicinally for millennia by many cultures. One of its most popular uses is as a tea for sore throat

The freshly harvested as well as the candied dried fruits are often eaten as a snack, or with tea. They are available in either red or black, the latter being smoked to enhance their flavor. In China and Korea, a sweetened tea syrup containing jujube fruits is available in glass jars,[16] and canned jujube tea or jujube tea in the form of teabags is also available. Although not widely available, jujube juice[17] and jujube vinegar are also produced; they are used for making pickles  in West Bengal and Bangladesh.

In China, a wine made from jujubes, called hong zao jiu is also produced.Jujubes are sometimes preserved by storing in a jar filled with baijiu (Chinese liquor), which allows them to be kept fresh for a long time, especially through the winter. Such jujubes are called jiu zao; literally "spirited jujube". These fruits, often stoned, are also a significant ingredient in a wide variety of Chinese delicacies. In Korea, jujubes are called daechu and are used in teas and samgyetang. It is said[by whom?] to be helpful in aiding the common cold.

In Lebanon, the fruit is eaten as snacks or alongside a dessert after a meal.

In Persian cuisine, the dried drupes are known as annab, while in neighboring Azerbaijan it is commonly eaten as a snack, and are known as innab. In Pakistan, the fruit is eaten both fresh and dried, and is known as ber (a generic term for berry).



In Tamil-speaking regions, the fruit is called ilanthai pazham. In Kannada this fruit is called "Yelchi Hannu" and in Telugu it is called "Regi pandu". Traditionally, the fruits are dried in the sun and the hard nuts are removed. Then, it is pounded with tamarind, red chillies, salt, and jaggery. Small dishes are made from this dough and again dried in the sun, and are referred to as ilanthai vadai. In some parts of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, fresh whole ripe fruit is crushed with the above ingredients and dried under the sun to make delicious cakes

Jujube Butter


Ingredients:
6 pt     Chinese Jujubes
    5 pt     Sugar or Splenda equivalent
    2 tsp     Cinnamon
    1     Lemon
    1 tsp     Nutmeg
    12 tsp   Clove
    14 pt     Vinegar

Directions:

   1. Boil fruit until tender in sufficient water to cover it.
   2. Rub cooked fruit through a sieve or colander to remove the skin and seeds.
   3. Cook slowly until thick, put in jars, leaving 1/2" head space.
   4. Wipe rim, cover and screw on bands; process in boiling water bath 15 minutes.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Couple of Great Shows on The Cooking Channel

If your looking for a couple of interesting food shows check out the Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Hook, Line and Dinner! From coast to coast great tasting food across America. Check them out!

Tune in: Tuesdays at 8pm ET
Eat Street with James Cunningham

Eat Street is a lip-smacking celebration of North America's tastiest, messiest and most irresistible street food. From Tijuana-style tacos served out of an Airstream trailer and pizzas baked in a brick oven on wheels to classic dogs with all the fixins and sirloin burgers slathered in bacon jam — food cart fare is the hottest trend going. The stars of the show are the vendors — food mavericks with creative takes on mobile meals and inspiring stories to tell. Seeking out the very best curbside eats all over North America, Eat Street is your grease-stained road map to the ultimate street food experience. less

Hook, Line and Dinner

Ben Sargent embarks on the ultimate coastal road trip to uncover the best seafood joints in America on Hook, Line and Dinner. Tune in Tuesdays at 10:30 pm ET.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Baked Shrimp w/ Shells & Cheese and Whole Grain Bread

Dinner Tonight: Baked Shrimp w/Shells & Cheese and Whole Grain Bread


I tried Gorton's Classic Grilled Shrimp with Herbs and Spices. easily fixed, bake at 425 degrees for 10 - 11 minutes and you have Shrimp! There's 8 Shrimp per serving and it's only 110 calories and 5 carbs. Tasty nice size Shrimp, I'll be buying more of these. I made a Shrimp Dipping Sauce. I took a 1 cup of Kraft Reduced Fat Mayo w/ Olive Oil, 2 Tbsp. Chili Sauce, 1 tsp. Curry Powder, 1 Tbsp. Prepared Hot Horseradish Sauce, 1 tsp. Dry Mustard, and 1 tsp. Garlic Salt and mixed until well blended with a spoon. Then refrigerated it for 1 hour before serving it with the Shrimp. As a side I had a Velveeta/Kraft 2% Cheese and Shells Pasta and a Healthy Life Whole Grain Bread. For dessert/snack later a bag of Jolly Time 100 Calorie Bag of Pop Corn.

Bunyan's Diabetic Sweet Potato Gingersnap Cheesecake with Maple-Whipped Cream

Came across this one from Just A Pinch web site and had to pass it along, Thank you Chef Paul! I left the link at the end of the post where you can see this recipe and more of Paul Bushay "Cooked to Perfection".

Bunyan's Diabetic Sweet Potato Gingersnap Cheesecake with Maple-Whipped Cream

Ingredients
CRUST:
1 1/2 c     crushed gingersnap cookie crumbs
1 1/2 Tbsp     splenda blend
4 Tbsp     melted butter (don't use margarine. it doesn't work.)
CHEESECAKE:
4, 8 oz     packages of neufchatel cream cheese (1/3 less fat), room temperature
1/2 c     splenda blend
2 tsp     pumpkin pie spice mixture
1, 15 oz     can of sweet potatoes in light syrup
3 lg     eggs
1 Tbsp     vanilla
MAPLE-WHIPPED CREAM:
2 tsp     sugar-free maple syrup
1 c     whipping cream

Directions
1
To make the Crust:
2
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Get out your 9-inch springform pan. Put the crumbs, Splenda blend and margarine in the pan. Mix with a fork until the butter is completely mixed into the crumbs and the Splenda sort of disappears into the mixture. Pat this mixture with your fingers into the bottom of the pan and partially up the sides of the pan. It should come up the side a half inch or more. You don't have to be too precise. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes until set. Let cool.
3
To make the Filling:
4
First drain the sweet potatoes in a colander. Put the sweet potatoes in a food processor and whiz them to make a puree. You can add up to a half cup of water to make the potato puree smooth. Sometimes you need a little liquid to get the processor started in its chopping process.
5
In a large bowl, put in your cream cheese, Splenda blend, sweet potato puree mixture, spice, and one egg. Mix for one minute, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides. Add the next egg and mix another minute. Add the last egg and the vanilla and mix one more minute. This makes your filling nice and fluffy. Pour this over your crust. Level it with your spatula
6
Wrap your cheesecake pan in two layers of aluminum foil. You want to seal it good and tight so no water will get in. Wrap the bottom and up the sides. Set the pan in a larger roasting pan and then add water so the water level will be one inch up the side of the cheesecake. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes until the cheesecake is set. Remove the cheesecake from the water pan and put it back in the oven (now turned off) with the door open for 15 more minutes so the cheesecake cools down slowly. Then let it cool on the counter. Take off the aluminum foil side cover. Finally, chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight before serving. You can put a loose covering of plastic wrap on top of the cheesecake after it has cooled on the counter so it doesn't soak up any refrigerator flavors.
7
To make Whipped Cream:
8
Whip your cream as usual. Instead of adding vanilla or sugar when the cream reaches soft peaks, add the syrup and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Make the whipped cream right before you serve.
9
To serve
10
Take a sharp knife and slide it along the edge of the cheesecake to make sure it is loosened from the pan edge. Place it on your platter and unlock the springform to release the cheesecake. Gently lift off the outer ring. Clean up any little crumbs or messy edges. Slice your cheesecake with a very sharp knife that has been dipped in warm water and wiped off with a towel. This will make a very smooth cut.
11
The cheesecake will taste best on days 2 through 4. As the days progress, the cheesecake flavor intensifies. Depending on the humidity in your refrigerator, your crust might start to get soggy, but the cheesecake will still taste good. As with all cheesecakes, I recommend taking it out of the refrigerator at least 15 to 30 minutes or even longer before you serve it. The colder it is, the less the flavors come through. Savor each bite by rolling it over on your tongue. Yum!

http://www.justapinch.com/recipe/chefbunyan/bunyans-diabetic-sweet-potato-gingersnap-cheesecake-with-maple-whipped-cream/cake?k=Bunyan%27s+Diabetic+Sweet+Potato+Gingersnap+Cheesecake+with+Maple+Whipped+Cream&p=1&o=r

Friday, August 26, 2011

Montgomery Inn Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich w/ Chili Beans

Dinner Tonight: Montgomery Inn Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich w/ Chili Beans


I warmed some of the Montgomery Inn Pulled Pork BBQ for dinner tonight. The BBQ is some of the best you can buy. The Pork is tender and tasty an d the Sauce is fantastic. A big plus for me is the 110 calories and a low 8 carbs! Very easy to fix. Just unthaw and heat in a medium size pan, stirring often. Served it on a Healthy Life Sandwich Whole Grain Bun. I had a side of Joan of Arc Spicy Chili Beans that I had added Crumbled Turkey Bacon, 5 dashes of Frank's Hot Sauce, 1/3 cup Jack Daniel's Honey BBQ Sauce, and 1/2 Tablespoon of Splenda Brown Sugar. For dessert later a Yoplait Delight Chocolate Eclair Parfait.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Leftovers! Velveeta Cheesy Skillet Nacho Supreme

Dinner Tonight: Velveeta Cheesy Skillet Nacho Supreme w/ Tostio’s Scoops


It was leftover night for dinner. Warmed up the Velveeta Cheesy Skillet Nacho Supreme and a side of  Tostio’s Scoops. You can check out recipe on last night's post. Have a good one, later!

National Dish of the Week - Russia

 Plates of vareniki, a type of dumpling, with smetana (sour cream) and onion.
Russian cuisine (Russian: Русская кухня, tr. Russkaya kuhnya) is diverse, as Russia is the largest country in the world. Russian cuisine derives its varied character from the vast and multi-cultural expanse of Russia. Its foundations were laid by the peasant food of the rural population in an often harsh climate, with a combination of plentiful fish, poultry, game, mushrooms, berries, and honey. Crops of rye, wheat, barley, and millet provided the ingredients for a plethora of breads, pancakes, cereals, kvass, beer, and vodka. Soups and stews full of flavor are centered on seasonal or storable produce, fish, and meats. This wholly native food remained the staple for the vast majority of Russians well into the 20th century.

Russia's great expansions of territory, influence, and interest during the 16th–18th centuries brought more refined foods and culinary techniques, as well as one of the most refined food countries in the world. It was during this period that smoked meats and fish, pastry cooking, salads and green vegetables, chocolate, ice cream, wines, and liquor were imported from abroad. At least for the urban aristocracy and provincial gentry, this opened the doors for the creative integration of these new foodstuffs with traditional Russian dishes. The result is extremely varied in technique, seasoning, and combination.

From the time of Catherine the Great, every family of influence imported both the products and personnel — mainly French and Austrian — to bring the finest, rarest, and most creative foods to their table. This is nowhere more evident than in the exciting, elegant, highly nuanced, and decadent repertoire of the Franco-Russian chef. Many of the foods that are considered in the West to be traditionally Russian actually come from the Franco-Russian cuisine of the 18th and 19th centuries, and include such widespread dishes as Veal Orloff, Beef Stroganoff, and Chicken Kiev.

Soups have always played an important role in the Russian meal. The traditional staple of soups such as shchi (щи), ukha (уха́), rassolnik (рассо́льник), solyanka (соля́нка), botvinnik (ботви́нник), okroshka (окро́шка), and tyurya (тю́ря) was enlarged in the 18th to 20th centuries by both European and Central Asian staples like clear soups, pureed soups, stews, and many others.

Russian soups can be divided into at least seven large groups:

    * Chilled soups based on kvass, such as tyurya, okroshka, and botvinya.
    * Light soups and stews based on water and vegetables.
    * Noodle soups with meat, mushrooms, and milk.
    * Soups based on cabbage, most prominently shchi.
    * Thick soups based on meat broth, with a salty-sour base like rassolnik and solyanka.
    * Fish soups such as ukha.
    * Grain- and vegetable-based soups.

In traditional Russian cuisine three basic variations of meat dishes can be highlighted:

    * a large boiled piece of meat cooked in a soup or porridge, and then used as second course or served cold (particularly in jellied stock—see Kholodets' below)
    * offal dishes (liver, tripe, etc.), baked in pots together with cereals;
    * whole fowl dishes or parts of fowl (legs or breasts), or a large piece of meat (rump) baked on a baking tray in an oven, so-called "zharkoye" (from the word "zhar"(жар) meaning "heat")

The 16th century "Domostroi" aimed at affluent households also mentions sausage-making, spit-roasted meats, stews and many other meat dishes.

As a garnish to meat dishes in the past the most common were porridges and cereals, in which the meat was boiled, later on boiled or rather steamed and baked root vegetables (turnips, carrots) as well as mushrooms; additionally the meat, without taking account its type, was garnished with pickled products—pickled cabbage, sour and "soaked" (marinated) apples (mochoniye yabloki), soaked cranberries, "vzvar"s. Pan juices, alone or mixed with sour cream or melted butter is used as gravy to pour on garnishing vegetables and porridges. Meat sauces i.e. gravies based on flour, butter, eggs and milk, are not common for traditional Russian cuisine.

Fish was important in pre-revolutionary cuisine, especially on Russian Orthodox fast days when meat was forbidden, similar to the Catholic custom of eating fish instead of meat on Fridays. Strictly freshwater fish such as carp and sudak (Sander lucioperca, Zander) were commonly eaten in inland areas, as well as anadromous sturgeon and in northern areas salmon, pike and trout. A greater variety of fish—including saltwater species—were preserved by salting, pickling or smoking and consumed as "zakuski" (hors d'oeuvres).

Cabbage, potatoes, and cold tolerant greens are common in Russian and other Eastern European cuisines. Pickling cabbage, cucumbers, rutabagas and other vegetables in brine is used to preserve vegetables for winter use. Pickled apples and some other fruit also used to be widely popular. These are sources of vitamins during periods when fresh fruit and vegetables are traditionally not available.

Many traditional drinks are indigenous to Russia and are not present in other national cuisines. The most notable of these are vodka, sbiten', kvass, medovukha and mors. Many of them are no longer common and have been replaced by drinks originating in Europe. Nonetheless, these beverages were formerly drunk as a complement to meat and poultry dishes, sweet porridge, and dessert. Of particular note is sbiten, an immensely popular medieval drink which has since been replaced by tea as the Russian mainstay beverage.

Pelmeni - Russia

Pelmeni are dumplings consisting of a filling wrapped in thin, unleavened dough that originated in Siberia and is a dish of Russian cuisine.
 A plate of pelmeni

The dough is made from flour and water, sometimes adding a small portion of eggs. The filling can be minced meat (pork, lamb, beef, or any other kind of meat), fish, or mushrooms. The mixing together of different kinds of meat is also popular. The traditional Udmurt recipe requires a mixture of 45% beef, 35% mutton, and 20% pork. Pelmeni in Perm (west of the Ural Mountains) are often filled with mushrooms, onions, turnips, or sauerkraut instead of meat. Various spices, such as black pepper and onions, are mixed into the filling.


 Pelmeni

Ingredients
# 2 c flour.
# 1 c milk or water.
# 1/2 ts salt.
# 1 tb vegetable oil.
# 3 ea eggs.
# 250 g beef.
# 250 g pork.
# 1 ea onion.
# salt, pepper.

Method
Grind beef and pork twice in meat chopper. Then add chopped onion, salt,pepper. To make mincemeat more tender and juicy, add a bit of milk. Reserve. Mix flour with eggs and milk, salt and oil until a soft dough forms. Knead on floured surface until dough is elastic. Take some dough and make a "sausage" (1 inch in diameter). Divide into pieces (1 inch thick). Roll each piece into a circle close to the size (a little bit larger ) of the mold holes so that it is 1/16 inch thick. Place a dough sheet on the dumplings mold, then the filling in every opening, then cover with another dough sheet. After that roll the dough circle with a rolling-pin and you have a two dozens of pelmeni at a time! Use the rest of the dough that comes out from the mold to roll another circle.

Pelmeni can be frozen to be cooked later ( you can keep them in the freezer for a long time), or cooked immediately. To cook pelmeni, boil much water, so that they cannot stick to each other. Salt water. Carefully drop pelmeni into boiling water. Dont forget to stir them from time to time. Boil for 20 minutes. Pelmeni can be served with butter, sour cream, vinegar or ketchup.


http://www.russianfoods.com/recipes/item00074/default.asp

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Velveeta Cheesy Skillet Nacho Supreme w/...

Dinner Tonight: Velveeta Cheesy Skillet Nacho Supreme w/ Tostio's Scoops


Tried another of the Kraft/Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Dinner Kits. They have different kinds and I tried the Nacho Supreme this time. This dinner kit includes: Pasta, Velveeta Cheese Sauce, Salsa and Seasoning Pack. All I had to do was add the water and 1lb. of Ground Turkey. It’s ready in about 20 minutes. I’ll leave the instructions at the end of the post. It’s 360 calories and 31 carbs but that’s your complete meal. I had a side of Tostio's Whole Grain Scoops. When you get the chance try the new Velveeta Cheesy Skillet Dinners, the Nacho Supreme is as good as the Ultimate Cheeseburger, both are delicious.

Ingredients:
* 1 LB. Ground Beef or Ground Turkey
* Cups Water
* Nacho Chips (Optional)
* 1 Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Dinner Kit/Nacho Supreme

Instructions:
* Brown 1 LB. Ground Turkey in large skillet. Drain
* Add 2 cups water, seasoning and pasta. Bring to a boil. Reduce Heat.
* Cover, Simmer and stir often until most of water is gone about 9-11 minutes. Remove from heat.
* Add Cheese from Velveeta Cheese Pouch and Salsa Pouch. Stir in Cheese Sauce and serve!
* You can add Nacho Chips as a side or crumble some chips and add them to the mixture

Banana Cake Roll

Thought I would pass this diabetes friendly dessert along, Banana Roll Cake. From Deneece Gursky a member of     http://www.justapinch.com/ web site. If you haven't checked this site out yet it's time! Just full of recipes and info.


Banana Cake Roll

Ingredients
- 4 eggs, separated
- 10 Tbsp sugar substitute
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 c cake flour, sifted
 
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 sugar free banana pudding (prepared)
- vegetable cooking spray
Directions

1.   Beat egg yolks till thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in 3 tablespoons of sugar substitute. Add vanilla.

2.   Beat egg whites to soft peaks. gradually beat in remaining sugar substitute until soft peaks form. Fold yolks into egg whites.

3.   Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Fold into egg mixture.

4.   Spread batter into 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1 inch jelly roll pan.(coated with vegetable spray and lightly floured) Bake at 375 for 10 to 15 minutes or until done.

5.   Loosen sides and turn out on towel lightly sprinkled with flour and sugar substitute mixture. Roll up cake and towel from narrow end. Cool completely and unroll. Spread evenly with prepared banana pudding. Roll up and frost with chocolate drizzle.

6.   Chocolate drizzle: Blend 2 teas, cornstarch, and 1/4 cup cold water. Pour into small saucepan. Add dash of salt and 1 oz unsweetened chocolate. Cook on low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is thick. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/3 cup sugar substitute. Blend in 1/2 teas. butter.

7.   Exchanges per serving: 1 bread 1/2 fruit 1/4 milk calories per serving: 62





Tuesday, August 23, 2011

St.Louis Style Ribs w/ Sliced New Potatoes, Asparagus, and...

Dinner Tonight: St.Louis Style Ribs w/ Sliced New Potatoes, Asparagus, and Whole Grain Bread


I had my fix of ribs today! I used Lloyd’s St. Louis Style Ribs. A breeze to make with no mess! Just heat the oven on 375 degrees and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, done and great tasting! For me the sauce is perfect. Only had the suggested serving size of the Ribs along with Boiled Sliced New Potatoes, frsh Asparagus, and healthy Life Whole grain Bread. I seasoned the Potatoes with Thyme, Parsley, Sea Salt and Ground Pepper. For the Asparagus I cut the stalks into 3 pieces and ligtly fried them in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. Seasoned them with Garlic Salt, Ground Pepper, and Sea Salt and topped with Crumbled Turkey Bacon and Sliced Almonds. For Dessert later a bowl of Breyer's Vanilla Carb Smart Ice Cream topped with Del Monte Sliced Sugarless Peaches.

Bison Recipe of the Week - Bison Meatloaf

Bison Meatloaf

Thank you to my friend Amii for passing this one along!

Ingredients:

    * 1/2 a Onion, diced fine
    * 1 tbsp Butter, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (Stick)
    * 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    * 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
    * 3 tbsp Ketchup
    * 2 cloves crushed Garlic or Minced Garlic from a jar
    * 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
    * 1 Egg, beaten or Egg substitute like Egg Beaters
    * 1/2 cup 2% Milk
    * 1 cup Italian Breadcrumb
    * 2 tsp Sea Salt
    * 1 tsp Black Pepper
    * 1 tsp Smoked Ground Cumin
    * pinch of Cayenne
    * 2 pounds Ground Bison/Buffalo Sirloin

    * For the Glaze:
    * 3 tbsp Ketchup
    * 3 tbsp Brown Sugar, Splenda
    * 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Preparation:

   1. Prep the onions with a knife, or in a food processor. Add to a large sauté pan with the butter and oil, and cook on med-high heat, for about 10 minutes until the mixture is lightly browned. Add to a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

   2. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the meat, and mix well. Add the meat and mix gently until combined. Do not over-mix.

   3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. - Lightly grease the bottom of a shallow roasting pan with a few drops of oil. Form the meatloaf mixture into a loaf shape, about 6 inches wide, by about 3 to 4 inches high.  Bake for about an hour, or until the meatloaf has an internal temperature in the 155 to 160F range. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Top Sirloin Steak and Sauteed Mushrooms w/ 4 Cheese Mashed Potatoes and...

Today's Menu: Top Sirloin Steak and Sauteed Mushrooms w/ 4 Cheese Mashed Potatoes and Harvest Grain Bread





Normally when I have Steak it's a Bison Sirloin but while at the store they had some beautiful Top Sirloin Beef Steaks so that's what I went with for a change. I seasoned it with JB's Fat Boy Steak Rub and pan fried it about 5 minutes per side in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Topped it with Sauteed Mushrooms that were seasoned with Ground Smoked Cumin, Parsley, Thyme, Ground Pepper, and Sea Salt. Sauteed in Extra Virgin Olive Oil for about 4 minutes. As sides tried a new product I ran across, Idahoan Four Cheese Mashed Potatoes. I really liked these! Easy to fix (Microwavable) it comes in a microwavable cup. Just open the cup up and add water to the top line of the cup. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes and then stir and mix well and you have Mashed Potatoes! If you get a chance give them a try. They are 110 calories and 20 carbs. I also had Kroger Bakery Harvest Grain Bread. For dessert later a Yoplait Delight Chocolate Eclair Low Fat Yogurt, 100 calories and 19 carbs and very tasty!  

Fruit of the Week - Olives

Olive

The Olive s a species of a small tree in the family Oleaceae, native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean Basin (the adjoining coastal areas of southeastern Europe, western Asia and northern Africa) as well as northern Iran at the south end of the Caspian Sea. Its fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the Mediterranean region as the source of olive oil. The tree and its fruit give its name to the plant family, which also includes species such as lilacs, jasmine, Forsythia and the true ash trees.

The olive tree is an evergreen tree or shrub native to the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa. It is short and squat, and rarely exceeds 8–15 meters (26–49 ft) in height. The silvery green leaves are oblong in shape, measuring 4–10 centimeters (1.6–3.9 in) long and 1–3 centimeters (0.39–1.2 in) wide. The trunk is typically gnarled and twisted.

The small white, feathery flowers, with ten-cleft calyx and corolla, two stamens and bifid stigma, are borne generally on the last year's wood, in racemes springing from the axils of the leaves.

The fruit is a small drupe 1–2.5 centimetres (0.39–0.98 in) long, thinner-fleshed and smaller in wild plants than in orchard cultivates. Olives are harvested in the green to purple stage. Canned black olives may contain chemicals (usually ferrous sulfate) that turn them black artificially. Olea europaea contains a seed commonly referred to as a pit or a rock.

The olive tree has been cultivated for olive oil, fine wood, olive leaf, and the olive fruit. The earliest evidence for the domestication of olives comes from the Chalcolithic Period archaeological site of Teleilat Ghassul in what is today modern Jordan.

Farmers in ancient times believed olive trees would not grow well if planted more than a short distance from the sea; Theophrastus gives 300 stadia (55.6 km/34.5 mi) as the limit. Modern experience does not always confirm this, and, though showing a preference for the coast, they have long been grown further inland in some areas with suitable climates, particularly in the southwestern Mediterranean (Iberia, northwest Africa) where winters are mild.
Olive plantation in Andalucía, Spain

Olives are now cultivated in many regions of the world with Mediterranean climates, such as South Africa, Chile, Peru, Australia, the Mediterranean Basin, Israel, Palestinian Territories and California and in areas with temperate climates such as New Zealand, under irrigation in the Cuyo region in Argentina which has a desert climate. They are also grown in the Córdoba Province, Argentina, which has a temperate climate with rainy summers and dry winters . The climate in Argentina changes the external characteristics of the plant but the fruit keeps its original features. Considerable research supports the health-giving benefits of consuming olives, olive leaf and olive oil (see external links below for research results). Olive leaves are used in medicinal teas.

Olives are now being looked at for use as a renewable energy source, using waste produced from the olive plants as an energy source that produces 2.5 times the energy generated by burning the same amount of wood. The same reference claims that the smoke released has no negative impact on neighbors or the environment, and the ash left in the stove can be used for fertilizing gardens and plants. The process has been patented in the Middle East and the US (for example).

There are thousands of cultivators of the olive. In Italy alone at least three hundred cultivator's have been enumerated, but only a few are grown to a large extent. None of these can be accurately identified with ancient descriptions, though it is not unlikely that some of the narrow-leaved cultivator most esteemed may be descendants of the Licinian olive. The Iberian olives are usually cured and eaten, often after being pitted, stuffed (with pickled pimento, anchovies, or other fillings) and packed in brine in jars or tins. Some also pickle olives at home.
Olives being home-pickled

Since many cultivators are self sterile or nearly so, they are generally planted in pairs with a single primary cultivator and a secondary cultivator selected for its ability to fertilize the primary one. In recent times, efforts have been directed at producing hybrid cultivate with qualities such as resistance to disease, quick growth and larger or more consistent crops.

Olives are one of the most extensively cultivated fruit crops in the world. In 2009 there were 9.9 million hectares planted with olive trees, which is more than twice the amount of land devoted to apples, bananas or mangoes. Only coconut trees and oil palms command more space. Cultivation area tripled from 2,600,000 to 8,500,000 hectares (6,400,000 to 21,000,000 acres) between 1960 and 2004 and in 2008 reached 10.8 mln Ha. The ten largest producing countries, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, are all located in the Mediterranean region (with the exception of Argentina, located in South America) and produce 95% of the world's olives.



Sweet and Salty Carrots with Olive Dressing.


Sweet and Salty Carrots with Olive Dressing.


Ingredients
2 lb medium carrots , peeled
NaN cup olive oil (or butter)
2 medium garlic cloves , peeled and sliced
2 tbsp chopped parsley
8 oz canned green olives , pitted
4 pinch fresh thyme , rinsed
1 pinch salt and pepper
6 tbsp light whipping cream


Directions
1 Slice carrots into 1/2-inch thick matchstick pieces. Combine carrots with 2 tablespoons butter in a slow-cooker.
2 Place lid on slow-cooker ad set on high. Cook 2 to 3 hours, or until carrots are soft. Stir only 2 times. Strain.
3 Ten minutes before serving time, heat the rest of the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Mix in garlic and parsley and cook 1 minute. Add carrots, olives, thyme, and salt and pepper. Stir in cream, place lid on pan, and cook over medium-low heat 5 to 7 minutes; liquid should be thick when finished.

This can be made up to step 2 about 1 hour in advance. To pit olives, gently tap each one with a wooden mallet or the flat side of a knife blade; halve olive and pull out pit.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Salmon with Sesame Ginger Sauce

Today's Menu:  Joe's Crab Shack Salmon with Sesame Ginger Sauce

Well I broke down and tried Joe's Crab Shack Salmon with Sesame Ginger Sauce. It had some good reviews but I was disappointed in it. The Salmon Fillets were small, but tasty, and the Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans were bland even after seasoning and the added sauce. If you would try this I would recommend microwaving each item separately, together they didn't get done. I ended having to heating the Green Beans and Sweet Potatoes separately an extra 2 minutes. For dessert later a slice of Walmart Bakery Sugar Free Angel Food Cake topped with the Mango/Pineapple Salsa I had made the other day.

Info from Joe's Crab Shack: Salmon with Sesame Ginger Sauce

You say Sal-mon, I say Sam-un. No matter how you pronounce it, you’ll want to take home this meal. Joe’s Salmon with a Sesame Ginger Sauce, includes Petite Green Beans and Sweet Potatoes in a Dark Sugar Sauce, and is one of Joe’s gluten free meal options.  The Sesame Ginger Salmon has 360 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 26 grams of protein per serving. The meal is a natural source of Omega 3’s and is a low sodium option with only 105 mg of sodium per serving.

Ingredients:

Sweet Potatoes, Salmon (Salmon, Water, Trisodium Phosphate), Green Beans, Honey, Water, Brown Sugar, Butter, Sesame Oil, Canola Oil, Garlic Powder, Cinnamon, Sesame Seeds, Ginger, Black Pepper. Contains Fish, Milk, Sesame Seeds.


Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 12 Oz.

Servings Per Container 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 440     Calories from Fat 140
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16 g     25%
Saturated Fat 4.5 g     23%
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 50 mg     17%
Sodium 170 mg     7%
Potassium —     —
Total Carbohydrate 51 g     17%
Dietary Fiber 4 g     16%
Sugars 20 g
Protein 27 g

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Monterrey/Jack and 'Shroom Bison Burger w/ Baked Steak Fries

Dinner Tonight: Monterrey/Jack and Mushroom Bison Burger w/ Baked Steak Fries


Love that Bison! I had a Ground Sirloin Bison Burger seasoned with Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper. Fried in Extra Virgin Olive Oil for 4 minutes per side. I topped with a slice of Monterrey/Jack Cheese and Sauteed Mushrooms. The Mushrooms were seasoned with Ground Smoked Cumin, Thyme, Parsley Ground Black Pepper, and Sea Salt. Sauteed in Extra Virgin Olive Oil about 4 1/2 minutes. Served it on an Healthy Life Whole Grain Bun. As a side I had Baked Ore Ida Steak Fries. For dessert later a bowl of Breyer's Vanilla Carb Smart Ice Cream topped with Del Monte Sliced Sugarless Peaches.

Picadillo Chicken Pizzettas

Looking for a good game day treat, here it is from one of my favorite sites: http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com


Picadillo Chicken Pizzettas

Sweet, spicy, and salty ingredients make a lively pizza topping.
CARB GRAMS PER SERVING: 8

1     6- or 6-1/2-ounce package pizza crust mix
1     cup salsa
1/4     teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4     teaspoon ground cumin
2     cups sliced or chopped cooked chicken or turkey
1/2     cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2     cup pitted green olives coarsely chopped
1/4     cup sliced green onion or chopped onion
1     tablespoon sliced almonds
1     cup shredded Manchego or Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces)
1     tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare pizza crust according to package directions. Pat dough into a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan (crust will be thin). Bake for 5 minutes. Combine salsa, cinnamon, and cumin in a small bowl; spread evenly over crust. Top with chicken or turkey, cranberries or raisins, olives, onion, and almonds. Sprinkle with cheese.

2. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges of crust are golden. Remove from oven; sprinkle with cilantro. Cut into 12 pieces, cut each piece in half diagonally. Makes 24 servings.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

    * Calories87
    * Total Fat (g)4
    * Saturated Fat (g)1
    * Cholesterol (mg)15
    * Sodium (mg)226
    * Carbohydrate (g)8
    * Fiber (g)1
    * Protein (g)6
    * Vitamin A (DV%)0
    * Vitamin C (DV%)0
    * Calcium (DV%)0

http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/recipe/appetizers-snacks/picadillo-chicken-pizzettas/

Friday, August 19, 2011

Broiled Mahi Mahi w/ Long Grain and Wild Rice, Mango/Pineapple Salsa , and..

Today's Menu: Broiled Mahi Mahi w/   Long Grain and Wild Rice,  Mango/Pineapple Salsa, Cut Green Beans and Whole Grain Bread


What a dinner! I bought a huge Mahi Mahi fillet and cut it into three fillets for myself and my Mom and Dad. I seasoned the fillets with Sea Salt and Pepper and drizzled them with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I broiled the fillets for 5 minutes per side. They turned out perfect! I used Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice. At the end of the post I'll leave the Mango/Pineapple Salsa recipe and instructions. A really easy and tasty recipe that goes great with Seafood or Pork recipes. The Green Beans were leftover from last night's dinner and I also had Healthy life Whole Grain Bread. Dessert later tonight a cup of Jello Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding topped with Cool Whip Free.

Mango/Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients:
2 Cups Chunked or diced Mango. I used Dole Mango Chunks
1 Cup Pineapple diced
Juice of a 1/4 Lime, Use a fresh Lime if you can if not Lime Juice will work
2 Tbsp Finely Chopped Cilantro
Salt, to taste

* Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving
* This goes good over a Sugar Free Angel Food Cake also.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Veal w/ Glazed Carrots, Cut Green Beans/Shelley Beans, and...

Dinner Tonight: Veal w/ Glazed carrots, Cut green Beans/Shelley Beans, and Whole Grain Bread


Can't get enough of the Kroger Brand Cubed Veal Steak. I think it's one of the best tasting and most tender Veal I've ever had. I always pick one up when at Kroger. Anyway I seasoned it with McCormick Grinder Sea Salt and Grinder Black Peppercorn then lightly coating it with Italian Style Bread Crumbs. I fried it Extra Virgin Olive Oil, about 3 minutes per side. As sides I had Glazed Sliced Carrots and Cut Green Beans/Shelley Beans along with Healthy Life Whole Grain Bread. For dessert later a Yoplait Delight Chocolate Eclair Parfait.

National Dish of the Week: Poland

  Various kinds of Polish kielbasa
Polish cuisine (Polish: Kuchnia Polska) is a style of cooking and food preparation originating from Poland. It has evolved over the centuries due to historical circumstances. Polish national cuisine shares some similarities with other Central European and Eastern European traditions as well as French and Italian similarities. It is rich in meat, especially beef, chicken and pork, and winter vegetables (cabbage in the dish bigos), and spices. It is also characteristic in its use of various kinds of noodles the most notable of which are the kluski as well as cereals such as kasha (from the Polish word Kasza). Generally speaking, Polish cuisine is hearty and uses a lot of cream and eggs. The traditional dishes are often demanding in preparation. Many Poles allow themselves a generous amount of time to serve and enjoy their festive meals especially Christmas eve dinner (Wigilia) or Easter breakfast which could take a number of days to prepare in their entirety.

Traditionally, the main meal is eaten about 2 p.m. or later, and is usually composed of three courses, starting with a soup, such as popular rosół and tomato soup or more festive barszcz (beet borscht) or żurek (sour rye meal mash), followed perhaps in a restaurant by an appetizer of herring (prepared in either cream, oil, or vinegar). Other popular appetizers are various cured meats, vegetables or fish in aspic. The main course is usually meaty including a roast or kotlet schabowy (breaded pork cutlet). Vegetables, currently replaced by leaf salad, were not very long ago most commonly served as 'surówka' - shredded root vegetables with lemon and sugar (carrot, celeriac, beetroot) or sauerkraut (kapusta kiszona). The sides are usually boiled potatoes or more traditionally kasza (cereals). Meals often conclude with a dessert such as makowiec, a poppy seed pastry, or drożdżówka, a type of yeast cake. Other Polish specialities include chłodnik (a chilled beet or fruit soup for hot days), golonka (pork knuckles cooked with vegetables), kołduny (meat dumplings), zrazy (stuffed slices of beef), salceson and flaki (tripe). Great Polish national dish, it might well be bigos, pierogi, zrazy, roast and barszcz

After the end of World War II, Poland fell under Communist occupation. Restaurants were at first nationalized and then mostly closed down by the authorities. Instead, the communists envisioned a net of lunch rooms for the workers at various companies, and milk bars. The very few restaurants that survived the 1940s and 1950s were state-owned and were mostly unavailable to common people due to high prices. The lunch rooms promoted mostly inexpensive meals, including soups of all kinds and staples such as pierogi. A typical second course consisted of some sort of a ground meat cutlet served with potatoes. The kotlet schabowy is similar to the Austrian Wiener schnitzel.

With time, the shortage economy led to chronic scarcity of meat, eggs, coffee, tea and other basic ingredients of daily use. Many products like chocolate, sugar and meat were rationed, with a specific limit depending on social class and health requirements. Physical workers and pregnant women were generally entitled to more food products. Imports were restricted, so much of the food supply was domestic. Thus no tropical fruits (citrus, banana, pineapple, etc.) were available and fruits and vegetables were mostly seasonal; to be had only in the summer. For most of the year the Poles had to get by with only domestic winter fruit and vegetables: apples, onions, potatoes, cabbage, root vegetables.

This situation led in turn to gradual replacement of traditional Polish cuisine with food prepared from anything available at the moment. Among the popular dishes introduced by the public restaurants was an egg cutlet, a sort of a hamburger made of minced or instant egg and flour. The traditional recipes were mostly preserved during the Wigilia feast (Christmas Eve), for which most families tried to prepare 12 traditional courses.

With the end of communism in Poland in 1989, restaurants started to reopen and basic foodstuffs were once again easily obtainable. This led to a gradual return of traditional Polish cuisine, both in everyday life and in restaurants. In addition, restaurants and supermarkets promoted the use of ingredients typical to other cuisines of the world. Among the most notable foods that started to become common in Poland were cucurbit, zucchini and all kinds of fish. During communist times, these were available mostly in the seaside regions.

Recent years have seen the advent of a slow food movement, and a number of TV programmes devoted to traditional Polish cuisine have gained much popularity. In 2011 a nostalgic cookbook (written in English) combining a child's memories growing up in the Gierek era with traditional Polish recipes was published in London.

Fast food is growing more and more popular in Poland, most commonly with the McDonald's chain, KFC and Pizza Hut. Doner kebabs are also gaining popularity. Nonetheless, in most of Poland you can still get traditional Polish fast-food such as zapiekanka. There are also many small-scale, quick-service restaurants which usually serve items such as zapiekanka (baguette with cheese, sometimes meat and/or button mushroom and ketchup), kebap, hamburgers, hot dogs and kielbasa. In Warsaw, Poland's capital city, a 3-course meal in one of Warsaw's top restaurant's costs on average twenty-six GBP.

Poland has a number of unique regional cuisines with regional differences in preparations and ingredients. For an extensive list of the dishes typical to Galicia, Kresy, Podlaskie, Masovia (including Warsaw), Masuria, Pomerania, Silesia, Lesser Poland, the Tatra mountains and Greater Poland see the List of Polish cuisine dishes.

Pierogi - Poland

A plateful of pierogi ruskie with cheese and potato filling, topped with fried onion - Poland
Pierogi (Polish pronunciation: [pjɛˈrɔɡʲi]; also spelled perogi, pierogy, pierógi, pyrohy, or pyrogy) are boiled, baked or fried dumplings of unleavened dough traditionally stuffed with potato filling, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit. Of central and eastern European provenance, they are usually semicircular, but are rectangular or triangular in some cuisines.

The Polish word pierogi is plural; the singular form pieróg is rarely used, as a typical serving consists of several pierogi. Time Magazine voted Pyrohy to be the number one greatest European food in a 1997 edition.

The origins of pierogi are difficult to trace. While dumplings as such are found throughout Eurasia, the specific name pierogi, with its Proto-Slavic root "pir" (festivity) and its various cognates in the West and East Slavic languages, shows the name's common Slavic origins, predating the modern nation states and their standardized languages, although in most of these languages the word means pie. In English, the word pierogi and its variants: perogi, pyrogy, perogie, perogy, pirohi, piroghi, pirogi, pirogen, pierogy, pirohy, and pyrohy, are pronounced with a stress on the letter "o". The Turkish word börek for a kind of pie or stuffed pastry may be a borrowing.

Pierogi are popular among the peoples of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The West Slavic Poles, Czechs, and Slovaks, as well as the East Slavic Belarusians, Russians, Ukrainians and Ruthenians, and the Baltic Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians all consume this dish, although under different names (e.g., kalduny in Belarus, pirukad in Estonia, pīrāgi in Latvia, and koldūnai in Lithuania). In some East European languages, variants of this dish are known by names derived from the root of the word "to boil" (Russian: варить, varit', Ukrainian: варити, varyty), see "varenyky".

There is a similarity to Italian ravioli, culurgiones, tortelli, tortelloni, and tortellini. Also there is a similarity to Ashkenazi kreplach. In Turkey, Transcaucasus, and Central Asia round pockets of dough with a meat filling are called manti, khinkali, or chuchvara. In East Asia, similar foods are served, such as Chinese wonton or Jiaozi, Korean mandu or Songpyeon at the Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving Day, jiaozi, Japanese gyoza, Mongolian buuz, Nepalese/Tibetan momo, and Afghani mantu. In the Indian state of Gujarat, a similar item is called 'Ghooghra' (or Ghugra), which is of very similar shape, stuffed with grainy sweet flour and small pieces of dry fruit. It is usually eaten during India's biggest (Hindu) festival of Diwali.

Ruskie Pierogi (Pierogi With Cheese & Potato Filling)

Ingredients

      Filling
          o 2 potatoes, cooked & mashed ( 1/2 cup instant or leftover mashed potatoes is fine too)
          o 1 cup cottage cheese, drained
          o 1 onions, minced & sauteed in butter until clear
          o 1 egg yolks, beaten
          o 1 tablespoon butter, melted
          o 1 teaspoon sugar
          o 1/4 teaspoon salt
          o pepper, to taste
      Dough
          o 2 1/4 cups flour
          o 1/2 teaspoon salt
          o 2 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
          o 1 large eggs, at room temperature
          o 1 egg yolks, at room temperature
          o 1/2 cup reduced-fat milk, at room temperature
          o 2 tablespoons sour cream, at room temperature
      To prepare
          o 12 cups salt water

Directions

   1. Combine all of the ingredients listed under filling and refrigerate until ready to assemble pierogi.
   2. Combine flour, salt and butter in food processor.
   3. In a separate bowl, blend together egg, egg yolk, milk and sour cream.
   4. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and process until dough cleans sides of bowl and sticks together (the dough will be slightly sticky).
   5. Remove from processor, shape into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for 3 hours or overnight.
   6. Cut dough into thirds; roll each section out on floured surface into 12" round.
   7. Cut each round into 8 (3") circles (using a glass works well).
   8. Place about 2 tsp filling on each dough circle.
   9. Moisten outer edges with water and fold dough over to close.
  10. Seal edges by pressing gently with the back of a fork or pinching together with your fingers.
  11. In large pot, bring salted water to boil.
  12. Cook 12 pierogi at a time, reducing heat to a gentle boil; boil until pierogi float to the surface (about 5 minutes).
  13. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towel and transfer to serving dish.
  14. Repeat with remaining pierogi.
  15. At this point you can serve them warm, freeze them for later use or fry them in butter over medium heat, lightly browning both sides before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 (326 g)

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount Per Serving
    % Daily Value
Calories 550.1
   
Calories from Fat 150
    27%

Amount Per Serving
    % Daily Value
Total Fat 16.7g
    25%
Saturated Fat 8.7g
    43%
Cholesterol 166.8mg
    55%
Sugars 6.4 g
Sodium 752.6mg
    31%
Total Carbohydrate 79.6g
    26%
Dietary Fiber 4.7g
    18%
Sugars 6.4 g
    25%
Protein 19.5g
    39%

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pulled Pork Sandwich w/ Steak Fries

Dinner Tonight: Pulled Pork sandwich w/ Steak Fries


The good thing, besides some great eating, about doing a Pork Shoulder in the crock pot are the great leftovers! I used the Pork left over from yesterday's dinner. Served it on a Healthy Life Sandwich Bun and topped it off with a couple of splashes of JB's Fat Boy Haugwash Sauce. As a side I had a serving of Ore Ida Steak Fries. For a dessert/snack later a bag of Jolly Time 100 Calorie Mini Bag of Pop Corn.

The Webmd Web Site

If you haven't been on webmd.com web site check it out! Full of great advice, health tips, recipes, and more. I thought I would pass this article along on Spices.

6 Spices and Herbs You're Not Using
By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Expert Column

Gone are the days of seasoning food with just salt and pepper, or of jars of herbs and spices collecting dust for a decade in a kitchen cabinet.

The exciting era of herbs and spices has begun and you can either let it boost your home cooking to a higher level of flavor and health or be left behind clutching your jar of Old Bay Seasoning.

There’s a whole world of exotic herbs and spices available to you now over the Internet or at specialty stores that you might not know about because they aren’t called for in Grandma Martha’s recipes. You might not even see the following up-and-coming herbs and spices in magazine and cookbook recipes either -- yet.

Herbs and spices aren’t just about adding flavor. They may also have health perks related to their antioxidants. And using herbs and spices in your foods may help you cut back on fat, sugar, and salt, which could help your waistline, blood pressure, and overall health.

Here are six herbs and spices that you probably aren’t using yet, but should.
1. Smoked Serrano Chili Powder

Serrano chili peppers are known for their bold, spicy heat. Now you can find serrano chilies that are smoked and ground into a fragrant powder.

How it improves dishes: Smoked serrano chili powder adds a rich, smoky flavor and lively heat to your favorite dishes, including a variety of Mexican and Southwestern dishes, stews, casseroles, egg dishes, and chili.
2. Turmeric

Turmeric, a favorite ingredient since ancient times, is the root stalk of a tropical plant in the ginger family. It adds a bright golden color and a pungent flavor found in everything from Indian curry powder to traditional American mustard.

How it improves dishes: Turmeric can be added to Southeast Asian recipes including curries; soups; rice and pilaf dishes; and vegetable, chicken, or lentil dishes. It can also be used to add some punch to relishes and chutneys.
3. Saigon Cinnamon

Cinnamon is not a new spice, but Saigon cinnamon, prized for its sweet and spicy taste and aroma, is considered the finest and most flavorful cinnamon in the world.

How it improves dishes: Cinnamon is an old favorite called for in fancy coffee drinks, hot oatmeal, cookies, and fruit crisps. It's also a popular spice for main dishes (including chicken, seafood, and lamb) from international cuisines such as Indian, Greek, Mexican, and Middle Eastern. Saigon cinnamon is an important ingredient in the popular Vietnamese noodle soup called pho.
4. Vanilla Paste

Vanilla extract is ubiquitous in dessert recipes, but the next generation of recipes might start calling for vanilla paste instead. Vanilla paste is much more preferable to vanilla extract because of flavorful flecks of vanilla bean dispersed throughout its syrup consistency. Vanilla paste has the benefits of using the actual vanilla bean (where you cut the long, thin bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the center) but is so much easier.

How it improves dishes: Vanilla paste has a more concentrated flavor than extract, and the flecks of vanilla bean can be particularly appetizing used in single-color dishes such as ice cream, sugar cookies, and vanilla frosting. It’s a treat to see and taste those flavor-packed little black dots.

This is an up-and-coming herb, according to the Spice Island Marketplace at the Culinary Institute of America. Although this is a relatively new herb to many American cooks, epazote has been used in Mexico for cooking and medicinal purposes for thousands of years.

In Mexico, epazote is best known for flavoring bean dishes and making herb tea. One new use, suggested by the Spice Island Marketplace, is to drizzle some olive oil on top of flat bread, then sprinkle epazote over the top, heat, then serve.

How it improves dishes: Epazote has a powerful flavor similar to licorice and can be used in bean dishes as well as eggs, burritos, rice, soups and stews, salad, quesadillas, and meat dishes. There is one way that epazote may improve your bean dishes beyond flavor: It's known in Mexico for helping to diffuse the gas-inducing effect of beans.
6. Herbs de Provence

Herbs de Provence (also called Herbs of Provence) is a blend of five or six herbs reminiscent of France's sunny Provence region. The herbs included in the blend vary by brand but usually include thyme, basil, savory, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, and/or lavender. When you buy it in a blend, the individual herbs are already in balanced amounts ready to inspire flavorful and convenient cooking.

How it improves dishes: This sweet and fragrant aromatic herb blend adds depth and complexity to your hot dishes. It can be used as a rub on roast, meats, and fish and works great on the grill. It can be added to marinades, sprinkled into sautés, omelets, vegetable dishes, sauces, and soups.
Tips for Buying, Using, and Storing Dried Herbs

If your grocery store doesn't stock the spices or herbs mentioned in this story, try searching for them online.

   1. Store dried herbs in a cool, dark place, especially if they come in a clear glass container.
   2. Dried herbs are usually stronger-tasting than fresh. So if a recipe calls for fresh herbs and you're using dried instead, use about 1/3 less. If the recipe calls for a tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs, a teaspoon of dried herbs will do.
   3. Dried herbs lose flavor over time. If stored correctly, they will last about a year. Sniff the herbs before you use them. If you can't smell anything, they're past their prime.

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the "Recipe Doctor" for WebMD and the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/exotic-spices-and-herbs

http://www.webmd.com/default.htm

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Blue Ocean Institute

INSPIRING OCEAN CONSERVATION
Blue Ocean Institute uniquely works through science, art, and literature to inspire solutions and a deeper connection with nature. We share reliable information that enlightens personal choices, instills hope, and helps restore living abundance in the ocean.

Just a fantastic and informative web site for Seafood lovers, Chefs, and those concerned about our Oceans and it's natural resources. I also left a link for another similar site Ocean Friendly Chefs. Check them out!

http://www.blueocean.org/seafood/seafood-guide

http://www.oceanfriendlychefs.org/

Savory Mushroom & Herb Pork Roast w/ Mashed Potatoes and...


Dinner Tonight: Savory Mushroom & Herb Pork Roast w/ Mashed Potatoes and Whole Grain Bread.


Came across this recipe yesterday and had to give it a try and very glad I did! Nothing easier than making the meal in a crock pot. I'll leave the recipe and instructions at the end of the post. Cooked on low for 6 hours and everything was delicious! Another recipe added to the dinner rotation! I did add 1/2 teaspoon Ground Smoked Cumin to it and I turned the crock pot on high for the final 2 hours. The Pork Shoulder was moist and fork tender. I had purchased the Pork Shoulder earlier this morning from Meijer. As sides I had Simply Potatoes Mashed Potatoes and Healthy Life Whole Grain Bread. For dessert later a Yoplait Delight Chocolate Eclair Parfait.


Ingredients

    * 2 medium onions, chopped
    * 12 fresh baby carrots
    * 1 boneless pork shoulder butt roast (3 to 4 pounds)
    * 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
    * 3/4 cup chicken broth
    * 1 can (4 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
    * 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    * 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    * 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
    * 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
    * 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    * 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    * 2 tablespoons cold water
    * French-fried onions, optional

Directions

    * Place onions and carrots in a 5-qt slow cooker. Cut roast in half;
     add to slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the soup, broth,
     mushrooms, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, marjoram and
     pepper; pour over pork. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until meat is tender.
    * Remove pork to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a  large saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil.
    * Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually stir into the
     pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
    * Serve pork with gravy. Sprinkle servings with French-friend onions if
     desired. Yield: 8 servings.


Nutrition Facts: 5 ounces cooked pork with 1/2 cup gravy (calculated without French-fried onions) equals 335 calories, 19 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 103 mg cholesterol, 533 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 30 g protein.


Fish Tacos with a Kick!

A friend of mine passed this one along to me and I thought I would pass it along to all of you! Serve it with a side of Brown Rice or some fresh fruit like Pineapple or Mango.

 Fish Tacos with a Kick

Preparation

4 servings
Serving size: 1 taco
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes (including 30 minutes of marinating)

  Ingredients

2 limes, juiced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. minced cilantro
1 tsp. Frank's Hot Sauce
1 lb. mahimahi or orange roughy fish fillets
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. olive oil
4 (6-inch) whole-wheat or corn tortillas, warmed

Sauce
1/3 cup nonfat sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt
¼ cup diced fresh avocado
1 small tomato, diced
¼ cup red onion, diced
2 Tbsp. minced cilantro
1 Tbsp. canned green chilies
1 cup chopped cabbage
Pepper to taste

 1. In a medium bowl, combine the lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and hot sauce. Add the fish and turn to coat. Let the fish marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator, turning once after 15 minutes.
   2. Remove the fish from the marinade and pat slightly dry. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.
   3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the fish and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes per side or until tender and cooked through.
   4. Remove the fish from the pan and cut into bite-sized pieces.
   5. Combine the sauce ingredients. Divide the fish among the warmed tortillas. Top with the sauce. Fold over the sides to form a taco to eat.


Nutrition

Nutrition facts
Starch exchanges 1
Lean meat exchanges 3
Fat exchanges 0.5
Amount per serving
Calories 245
    Calories From Fat 55
Total Fat 6 g
    Saturated Fat 1 g
    Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 85 mg
Sodium 335 mg (without added salt)
Total Carbohydrate 20 g
    Dietary Fiber 3 g
    Sugars 4 g
Protein 25 g

Monday, August 15, 2011

Diabetes-Friendly - Whole Wheat Bread

Another good and informative series of articles from http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/
With this one I'll be posting all their Bread category's and winners.

Taste-Tested & Diabetes-Friendly

Do you avoid the bread aisle just to escape the confusion felt by so many carb-conscious consumers? It's true: Bread is a tricky product to buy, especially for people with diabetes. Now you can return to the bread aisle with confidence -- thanks to a list of products that recently received the Diabetic Living What to Eat™ seal of approval. Our staff and dietitians picked through the loaves to find those that met our nutritional guidelines. Next we brought in more than 100 people, including PWDs, to taste the brand-hidden products. The top breads, buns, tortillas, and English muffins were awarded the Diabetic Living What to Eat™ seal of approval.

Nutritional Guidelines
Every bread tested had to meet these health requirements per 2 slices, 1 tortilla, or 1 bun:
-- 150 calories or less
-- 3 g total fat or less
-- 1.5 g saturated fat or less
-- 0 g trans fat
-- 30 g carb or less
-- 300 mg sodium or less
-- At least 2 g fiber

Whole Wheat Bread Finalists

The breads in this category had to be 100% whole wheat.

Great Value (Wal-Mart brand) 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Per 2 slices: 140 cal., 2 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 300 mg sodium, 24 g carb., 4 g fiber

Sara Lee 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Per 2 slices: 150 cal., 2 g total fat (0.5 g sat. fat), 210 mg sodium, 27 g carb., 4 g fiber

Whole Wheat Bread Winner

And the winner of the 100% whole wheat bread category is:
Wonder Soft 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Per 2 slices: 110 cal., 1.5 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 220 mg sodium, 20 g carb., 3 g fiber

Taster's comment: "I love the lightness, and it's nice that it's only 110 calories."

Why it won: Tasters noted how this bread wasn't dry or stiff. Instead, it was soft and delicious. We're impressed with the 3 grams of fiber in every 2-slice serving.

Fruit of the Week - Dates

Dates have been a staple food of the Middle East for thousands of years. They are believed to have originated around the Persian Gulf, and have been cultivated since ancient times from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt, possibly as early as 4000 BCE. The Ancient Egyptians used the fruits to be made into date wine, and ate them at harvest. There is archaeological evidence of date cultivation in eastern Arabia in 6000 BCE. (Alvarez-Mon 2006).

In later times, traders spread dates around South and South West Asia, northern Africa, and Spain and Italy. Dates were introduced into Mexico and California by the Spaniards by 1765, around Mission San Ignacio.

A date palm cultivar, known as Judean date palm is renowned for its long-lived orthodox seed, which successfully sprouted after accidental storage for 2000 years. This particular seed is presently reputed to be the oldest viable seed but the upper survival time limit of properly stored seeds remains unknown.

The fruit is known as a date. The fruit's English name, as well as the Latin species name dactylifera, both come from the Greek word for "finger," dáktulos, because of the fruit's elongated shape. Dates are oval-cylindrical, 3–7 cm long, and 2–3 cm diameter, and when unripe, range from bright red to bright yellow in colour, depending on variety. Dates contain a single seed about 2–2.5 cm long and 6–8 mm thick. The type of fruit depends on the glucose, fructose and sucrose content.

The date palm is dioecious, having separate male and female plants. They can be easily grown from seed, but only 50% of seedlings will be female and hence fruit bearing, and dates from seedling plants are often smaller and of poorer quality. Most commercial plantations thus use cuttings of heavily cropping cultivars, mainly 'Medjool' as this cultivar produces particularly high yields of large, sweet fruit. Plants grown from cuttings will fruit 2–3 years earlier than seedling plants.

Dates are naturally wind pollinated but in both traditional oasis horticulture and in the modern commercial orchards they are entirely pollinated manually. Natural pollination occurs with about an equal number of male and female plants. However, with assistance, one male can pollinate up to 100 females. Since the males are of value only as pollinators, this allows the growers to use their resources for many more fruit producing female plants. Some growers do not even maintain any male plants as male flowers become available at local markets at pollination time. Manual pollination is done by skilled labourers on ladders. In some areas such as Iraq the pollinator climbs the tree using a special climbing tool that wraps around the tree trunk and the climber's back to keep him attached to the trunk while climbing. Less often the pollen may be blown onto the female flowers by a wind machine.


Dates ripen in four stages, which are known throughout the world by their Arabic names kimri (unripe), khalal (full-size, crunchy), rutab (ripe, soft), tamr (ripe, sun-dried). A 100 gram portion of fresh dates is a source of vitamin C and supplies 230 kcal (960 kJ) of energy. Since dates contain relatively little water, they do not become much more concentrated upon drying, although the vitamin C is lost in the process.

Dry or soft dates are eaten out-of-hand, or may be pitted and stuffed with fillings such as almonds, walnuts, candied orange and lemon peel, tahini, marzipan or cream cheese. Pitted dates are also referred to as stoned dates. Partially dried pitted dates may be glazed with glucose syrup for use as a snack food. Dates can also be chopped and used in a range of sweet and savory dishes, from tajines (tagines) in Morocco to puddings, ka'ak (types of Arab cookies) and other dessert items. Date nut bread, a type of cake, is very popular in the United States, especially around holidays. Dates are also processed into cubes, paste called "'ajwa", spread, date syrup or "honey" called "dibs" or "rub" in Libya, powder (date sugar), vinegar or alcohol. Recent innovations include chocolate-covered dates and products such as sparkling date juice, used in some Islamic countries as a non-alcoholic version of champagne, for special occasions and religious times such as Ramadan.

Dates can also be dehydrated, ground and mixed with grain to form a nutritious stockfeed. Dried dates are fed to camels, horses and dogs in the Sahara. In northern Nigeria, dates and peppers added to the native beer are believed to make it less intoxicating.

Young date leaves are cooked and eaten as a vegetable, as is the terminal bud or heart, though its removal kills the palm. The finely ground seeds are mixed with flour to make bread in times of scarcity. The flowers of the date palm are also edible. Traditionally the female flowers are the most available for sale and weigh 300–400 grams. The flower buds are used in salad or ground with dried fish to make a condiment for bread.

Date seeds are soaked and ground up for animal feed. Their oil is suitable for use in soap and cosmetics. They can also be processed chemically as a source of oxalic acid. The seeds are also burned to make charcoal for silversmiths, and can be strung in necklaces. Date seeds are also ground and used in the manner of coffee beans, or as an additive to coffee.

Stripped fruit clusters are used as brooms. In Pakistan, a viscous, thick syrup made from the ripe fruits is used as a coating for leather bags and pipes to prevent leaking. Date palm sap is used to make palm syrup and numerous edible products derived from the syrup.

Date palm leaves are used for Palm Sunday in the Christian religion. In North Africa, they are commonly used for making huts. Mature leaves are also made into mats, screens, baskets and fans. Processed leaves can be used for insulating board. Dried leaf petioles are a source of cellulose pulp, used for walking sticks, brooms, fishing floats and fuel. Leaf sheaths are prized for their scent, and fibre from them is also used for rope, coarse cloth, and large hats. The leaves are also used as a lulav in the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Date palm wood is used for posts and rafters for huts; it is lighter than coconut and not very durable. It is also used for construction such as bridges and aqueducts, and parts of dhows. Leftover wood is burnt for fuel.

Where craft traditions still thrive, such as in Oman, the palm tree is the most versatile of all indigenous plants, and virtually every part of the tree is utilized to make functional items ranging from rope and baskets to beehives, fishing boats, and traditional dwellings

Dates have a high tannin content and are used medicinally as a detersive (having cleansing power) and astringent in intestinal troubles.[citation needed] As an infusion, decoction, syrup, or paste, dates may be administered for sore throat, colds, bronchial catarrh, and taken to relieve fever and a number of other complaints. One traditional belief is that it can counteract alcohol intoxication. The seed powder is also used in some traditional medicines. It is said that if dates are consumed with cucumber one can easily come out from the problem of over-slimming. Because of its laxative quality, dates are considered to be good at preventing constipation.