Blogs: Cooking with Beth
Diane Weeks, a registered dietitian and nutritionist for more than 20 years, and a chef at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway, shares a kosher summer outdoor dining recipe with readers from an older cookbook, “Still Life With Menu.”
According to Weeks, “People can jazz up a regular barbecue by serving a cold soup as well as taking advantage of several tasty variations on gazpacho. (Eee one of the earlier Cooking With Beth Blogs.) One fun and delicious summer dining trend that is sure to please is the inclusion of lots of fruits in a fresh salsa. A fruit salsa can add plenty of flavor to a typical barbecue favorite: chicken. You can also make your own healthy dip in a blender using beans and garlic. And for the perfect finish to an outdoor barbecue, I recommend turning once again to some wonderful varieties of summer fruits and lightly brushing them with a cinnamon sauce that will be the hit that keep all your guests talking for the remainder of the summer season.” –DW
Weeks also provides outpatient nutrition counseling and community presentations. She regularly conducts healthy cooking demonstrations.
Mediterranean Lentil Salad
Preparation time: 40 minutes to prepare, plus several hours to chill.
Yield: Easily serves 6
Sweet and savory combine harmoniously in this colorful, fruity marinated salad. Streamline the preparation time by getting everything else ready while the lentils are cooking. The whole salad can be made up to two days ahead of time, but postpone adding the bell pepper and fresh herbs until shortly before serving.
Note about cooking lentils: Try to prevent the water from getting agitated while the lentils are cooking, as that will cause them to burst and lose their shape. The goal is to have perfectly cooked lentils, light and distinct.
2 cups dried lentils (preferably small French lentils-but any kind will do)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1 to 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar
1/4 cup very finely minced red onion
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. each grated orange and lime zest
1/2 cup (packed) dried currants
1 small carrot, shredded or finely minced
1/2 each of a small red and yellow bell pepper, minced
A handful each: finely minced fresh parsley, chives, and mint
1. Rinse the lentils in a colander. Meanwhile, set a large pot full of water to boil—at least 6 cups of water. After the water has reached the boiling point, lower the heat to a simmer. Add the lentils, and cook very gently in the simmering water, partially covered, until they are tender. (Check the water level and add more if necessary). Cooking time should be around 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the lentils when they are done and gently rinse in cold water. Drain again and place in a large bowl.
2. Add the remaining ingredients except the bell pepper and fresh herbs, cover tightly, and chill at least 4 hours.
3. Add the bell pepper and herbs within an hour of serving. Serve cold or at room temperature.
All that ‘s needed with this meal is a few pieces of delicious salmon? Tilapia? Flounder? Maybe even prepared on the grill… be sure to buy a pan just for grilling fish and spray well with a non-stick spray. Add a delicious salad.. be generous by chopping up mango or strawberries.. and you will have a delicious dinner. Your family or guests will love the ambrosia, too. Refreshing when served iced cold.
Greek Spinach Pie (spanakopita)
1 onion chopped finely
1 tbsp. butter
18 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
1 lb. low fat cottage cheese
12 ounces crumbled low fat feta cheese
5 large eggs beaten
1 stick butter
2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper
9 sheets phyllo dough
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook onion in 1 tbsp. butter until soft. In a bowl add the spinach, cottage cheese, eggs, feta, cooked onion, and seasonings and stir well.
In another pan, melt a stick of butter.
With a brush, coat a 12 x 9 inch baking dish with the melted butter. Put one phyllo sheet into bottom of baking dish and let the rest hang over the pan. Using a brush, gently paint the sheet with butter. Do this for 8 layers. Add the spinach mixture and fold over the phyllo sheets, one by one, which were hanging over the sides. You can brush butter on them. Add one more sheet of phyllo dough over the filling and top that with butter. Bake until brown, about 50 minutes and cool before serving.
2 cans peaches (or fruit cocktail) drain well
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup walnuts finely chopped (optional)
1 bag mini marshmallows
2 cups flaky coconut
1 large container sour cream
In a large bowl, mix together the peaches (or fruit cocktail), and oranges. Add the coconut, marshmallows, and nuts, and lastly, fold in the sour cream. Recipe can be halved or doubled. Spoon into pretty glass bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, preferably two. Stir well before serving. Garnish with mint leaves.
Foil packet barbecue ribs
2 sheets (18x24-inches) Reynolds Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
3/4 cup original barbecue sauce
2 tbsp. orange marmalade
2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
4 lbs. baby back ribs, cut
Preheat grill to medium. Mix together barbecue sauce, marmalade, and pepper sauce; set aside. Put half of the ribs in the middle of a sheet of the aluminum foil and the same for the other. Bring up the long sides of foil. Double fold the top and one end to seal. Pour 1/4 cup water (or 3 to 4 ice cubes) into foil packet through opening on side. Double fold the remaining end, leaving room for heat to circulate inside packet. Repeat with remaining ribs to make 2 packets.
Grill covered for 45 minutes or until ribs are cooked through. Remove from foil. Make drainage holes in the foil with a grilling fork. Place foil sheet on grill grate with non-stick (dull) side facing up. Place ribs on foil. Brush ribs with barbecue sauce mixture. Grill uncovered an additional 10 to 15 minutes; turning every 5 minutes and brushing with the remaining sauce.