Sunday, August 15, 2010

Leader Enterprise - August 2010

Can we even imagine it's time for school to begin again? Somehow, summer zips past us.

It's the time of year we are harvesting many vegetables from the garden. Even if you don't grow your own garden, take a trip to the farmer's market and support those that do.

I saw that The New York Times recently highlighted creative and fancy ways to solve common problems,using cucumbers.

Here are a few of those interesting ideas. Who knew this little veggie was packed full of so much goodness or could be so useful? When cucumbers are ready to be picked,they will be firm and the spikes will easily brush off.

1.Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day. Just one cucumber contains 5 forms of Vitamin B. They also have folic acid,Vitamin C, Calcium,Iron,potassium and zinc.

2.Consuming cukes help cool and calm the body,and they also help quench thirst.

3.Feeling tired in the afternoon?Put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. They can provide a quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

4.Just finished a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath. It will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for halitosis.

5. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean. Not only will it remove tarnish and bring back the shine, it won't leave streaks or harm your fingers, and your bathroom will smell fresh and clean.

This cucumber salad recipe is a favorite and one of 300 in my just-released cookbook.We enjoy eating it over fresh sliced tomatoes.

KANSAS CUCUMBER SALAD

1 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. vinegar
1/2 tsp.dill weed, optional
1/2 tsp.salt, optional
4 c. cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
3 green onions, sliced

In medium bowl, combine mayo, sugar, vinegar, dill weed and salt. Add cucumbers and onions;toss. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Yield: 6 - 8 servings.(I always use Splenda instead of sugar and it's delicious.)

I couldn't wait to share this next recipe with you.It's new to me,and we were so delighted with the flavor.

CARAMELIZED VEGETABLE TRIO

2 lbs. small red potatoes, cut into 1-in. pieces
1 lb. fresh green beans, cut in half
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. margarine or butter
2 lg. onions, chopped
1/4 c. balsamic or cider vinegar
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

In Dutch oven, bring to boil 1" water. Add potatoes, green beans and 1/2 tsp. salt. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook about 10 minutes or until veggies are tender; drain and set aside. While vegetables are cooking, melt margarine in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Stir in vinegar, brown sugar and 1/4 tsp. salt. Pour onion mixture over potatoes and green beans; stir to coat. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.

This is another new recipe I've made recently.The frosting is awesome.What a great way to use up ever-abundant zucchini.

ZUCCHINI CUPCAKES


3 eggs
1-1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. orange juice
1 tsp. almond extract
2-1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1-1/2 c. shredded zucchini

CARAMEL FROSTING:

1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice and extract. Combine dry ingredients; add to the egg mixture and mix well. Add zucchini and blend. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.
Frosting: combine brown sugar, butter and milk in a saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually beat in powedered sugar until frosting reaches desired spreading consistency. Frost cooled cupcakes.
Yield: 1-1/2 - 2 dozen.

Make a batch of healthy vegetable soup using the produce from your garden. Add chicken or beef broth, beans, and your family's favorite veggies. Simmer for an hour or more until veggies are cooked & tender. Freeze a few batches to enjoy this winter.

I would love to see you at one of my upcoming book signings!