Thursday, August 30, 2012

Recalls: More Cantaloupe, Italian Blend Salad, Salmon, and Mangos

  • Chamberlain Farm Produce of Owensville, Indiana, has issued a voluntary recall of all of its cantaloupes because some of them may be contaminated with Salmonella.
    During the period June 21, 2012 to August 16, 2012, Chamberlain Farm Produce, Inc., marketed cantaloupes to four retail grocery stores with grocery store retail outlets in Vanderburgh, Warrick, Gibson, and Dubois County, Indiana, and Wabash County, Illinois; and also to four wholesale purchasers located in Owensboro, Kentucky, St. Louis, Missouri, Peru, Illinois, and Durant, Iowa, respectively.
    Some 178 cases of persons that may have become sick in connection with the consumption of cantaloupes has been reported. News Release.
  • Not for the first time, Dole Fresh Vegetables is recalling their Italian Blend Salad due to a possible risk from Listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been reported, and no other salads have been included in the recall. News Release.
  • Spence & Co. Ltd. in Brockton, MA, has recalled Wellsley Farms brand 16-oz Nova salmon and Spence & Co brand 8-oz smoked trim salmon because of possible contamination by Listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been reported. News Release.
  • Giant Food of Landover, Md., has followed a voluntary recall by Splendid Products LLC Daniella mangos due to possible salmonella contamination. Illnesses have been reported in Canada. News Release.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Eggplant Braised in Coconut Milk and Triple Sec

When eggplant is on sale at Treasure Island it's a no-brainer for me to grab one. I wanted to use the dried mango that has become a new favorite with it, so I decided to switch it up and use triple sec and coconut milk to give it a little Asian flair instead of my usual vegetable broth and sherry. I was out of both pistachios and walnuts so I used toasted slivered almonds to provide much-needed crunch and texture.

This made a satisfying meal all by itself for me, but it would pair quite nicely with meat, especially lamb.
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes


Makes 4 main or 6 side servings

1 large eggplant, sliced in half crosswise and then sliced lengthwise into 2" pieces
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup triple sec (or other liquor of choice)
1/2 cup coconut milk
Water as needed
4 slices of dried mango, chopped into 1/2" pieces, divided
Kosher salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Slivered toasted almonds for garnish
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1-1/2 cups water

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the eggplant in a single layer, cut sides down. Do not overcrowd the pan; cook in batches if necessary. When the cut sides are browned, turn the eggplant and brown the other sides. When all of the eggplant is browned, return it all to the skillet. Remove the pan from the heat and add the triple sec. Let it cook for a few seconds and then add the coconut milk and enough water to thin it into a sauce. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until the eggplant is thoroughly soft and you can easily cut the skin with a fork. Reduce the heat as low as possible and simmer, uncovered, while you prepare the couscous.

Bring the water and the remaining chopped mango pieces to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the whole wheat couscous, stir once, cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the pan sit for five minutes. Remove the cover and fluff up the couscous with a fork.

Serve the eggplant over the couscous, garnished with the chopped cilantro and slivered almonds.


Exported from Home Cookin 6.46 (

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Recalls: Mushrooms, Lettuce, Beef, Soup, Sausage, and Cilantro

  • Ciolino Produce was notified that the 8-oz packaged sliced white mushrooms they sell may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Grower/processor Highline Mushrooms of Leamington, ON, is voluntarily recalling the affected product, which was on sale in Temperance, MI and Monroe, MI. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is warning the public not to consume the sliced mushrooms. No illnesses have been reported. News Release.
  • In related news, Pure Hothouse Foods of Leamington, ON, has issued a voluntary recall for a total of 1,402 cases and 8,412 individually distributed Meijer Brand grilling trays because they contain whole or sliced mushrooms. The recall includes items distributed to retailers in the following states: Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. News Release.
  • Tanimura & Antle Inc. has issued a voluntary recall of a single lot of romaine lettuce that may be contaminated with E. coli 0157.H7. A total of 2,095 cases were distributed throughout the US and Canada on August 2. A total of 1,969 cases were shipped to AL, AR, AZ, CA, KS, KY, MD, NC, NM, NV, NY, NJ, PA, SC, TN, TX, WA and Puerto Rico. No illnesses have been reported. News Release.
  • Dale T. Smith and Sons Meat Packing in Draper, Utah has recalled about 38,200 puonds of beef products that might be contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7. The products were distributed for further processing to wholesale and retail establishments in California and Salt Lake City, Utah. No illnesses have been reported. News Release.
  • There are some 4,100 pounds of Wegmans meat and poultry soup products that are being recalled by Blount Fine Foods in Fall River, Mass. They might contain fragments of plastic, the FSIS announced.
    The problem was discovered after consumers complained to the firm about finding plastic fragments in various Wegmans brand soup products. The problem likely occurred during the production of the soup containers.
    The cases of soup were sent to distribution centers in Pennsylvania and New York and from there were sent to retail establishments in Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. News Release.
  • Johnsonville Sausages, LLC, of Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, has recalled approximately 48,000 pounds of Turkey Sausage with Cheddar Cheese products that may contain pieces of gloves. The affected product is the 13.5-oz. vacuum pacakges. The recall was issued after the company received two customer complaints. News Release.
  • Real Mex Foods, a Vernon, California establishment, is issuing a recall for about 77,688 pounds of Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Kits that include dressing made with the cilantro that is the subject of the Fresco Green Farms Inc., recall due to Salmonella contamination. No illnesses have been reported. News Release.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Corn Casserole with Escarole and Tomato Sauce

I had half a bunch of escarole that needed to be used and some corn fresh off the cob, so I decided to try a version of my corn casserole with escarole and onion. I sauted the onion in a large skillet until it was just translucent in a scant tablespoon of olive oil and added the escarole at the end and cooked it just until it wilted. I removed it from the heat to let it cool while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.

I also had a fourth of a cup of tomato sauce from a pizza I made earlier in the week and I didn't have any other plans for it so I thought I could use it up as well. I knew there was not enough of it to add much flavor to the casserole if I just added it to the mix so I thought about the best way to incorporate it for maximum effect and flavor.

Maybe it was because I had just used it for pizza that I got the idea to just spread it in a thin layer over the top (like ketchup on top of a meatloaf). I thought cumin might give it an extra boost of flavor so I stirred cumin and a little salt into the sauce before I spread it over the top. I even got fancy and dragged a toothpick through it to make it pretty.

It came out much better than I expected. The tomato cooked down to a thick paste that was packed with an intensely sharp tomato flavor that was strong enough to infuse every bite. Both the cumin enhanced tomato sauce and the oregano that I threw in with the escarole with a last-minute burst of inspiration provided just a hint of contrast to the overall mildness of flavor of the original. Not that the original isn't flavorful, and I will make it that way again I'm sure. But these additional touches elevate it just that little bit from comfort food for family to something you could easily serve to guests.
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes


Makes 6 large or 8 side servings

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 a medium onion, chopped
1/2 bunch of escarole or other greens, chopped
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cup corn kernels, divided
2 eggs
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup cornmeal
4-oz can chopped green chilies
1 cup cheese, diced or grated
1-1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent. Add the oregano and escarole and cook a minute or two longer, until the greens are just wilted. Remove from the heat and let

Combine the butter, 1 cup of corn, and the eggs in a blender. Puree until well combined and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the yogurt, cornmeal, green chilies, cheese and salt and mix well.

Pour intoa buttered 3-quart casserole or large cast-iron skillet. Gently spoon the tomato sauce over the top in three stripes or any other pattern you like. If desired, take a toothpick and drag it through the sauce, creating a spiky design. Bake at 350 deg. F. for 45 minutes to an hour, until the center has set.

adapted from a recipe I received years ago from a co-worker.

Exported from Home Cookin 6.46 (

Friday, August 17, 2012

Whole Wheat Pasta with Peanut Sauce and Bok Choy

There's nothing new about this dish. I've been making peanut sauce for years now, bok choy has been a regular in my kitchen, and I've been making my own pasta since I took my first Master Class at FENI 2010.

What makes this so exciting to me is that it was my first attempt to make whole wheat pasta (as opposed to the white whole wheat pasta which, while better than all-purpose flour, is still not quite as healthy as regular red whole wheat). I used whole wheat pastry flour, which has a different texture from the white whole wheat so I wasn't sure that it would work. But I am showing some friends how to make pasta next week and one of them prefers whole wheat so it was a good opportunity to test it.

I followed my usual recipe of 1-1/2 cups flour, 2 eggs and 1/4 of a teaspoon salt. I started with 2 cups, made a well, cracked the eggs into it and added the salt. I beat the eggs and salt together, slowly incorporating the flour until it made enough of a dough to put down the fork and start working with my hands. It came together nicely, although it was a little more stiff and required more elbow grease to bring the dough together and to knead it. It had less spring than the all-purpose version, enough that I was a little worried that it would not hold together during the rolling, but it turned out to be easier to roll out than the all-purpose dough.

The next test was to cook the pasta. I had the thought that the noodles might dissolve in the hot water, but they held together perfectly. I cooked them for about 4 minutes, which was enough to cook them through without turning them to mush.

It had the same taste and texture of dried whole wheat pasta compared to regular. While more dense than regular, there was less tooth to it, but the deliciously nutty taste more than made up for that.

I only cooked half of the pasta the night that I made it. I wanted to make sure it would hold up in the refrigerator for a few days before cooking so I held off and cooked the second half two days later. The result is what you see here. The result was just as fresh and delicious as the first batch had been.

The entire dish came together quickly. I made the peanut sauce while bringing a large pot of water to a boil. I salted the boiling water and added the chopped bok choy stems and cooked them for 2 minutes. (I put the chopped leafy green part at the bottom of a large bowl without cooking it at all - thinking it would wilt enough with the heat from the cooked stems and the pasta.) I removed them from the water and put them on top of the stems, then I added the pasta to the water and cooked it for 4 minutes. I added that to the bowl, then the peanut sauce, and stirred it all together. I served it garnished with fresh cilantro and peanuts.

While there is nothing like the taste and texture of freshly made pasta, regular or whole what, this dish would work just as well with dried.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Recalls: Licorice, Tomatoes, Cheese, Cilantro, Melons, and a Lot of Apples

  • Lucky Country Inc. in Lincolnton, NC has recalled one lot of Lucky Country Aussie Style Soft Gourmet Black Licorice from Costco and Smart & Final stores in California, Arizona and Utah. Seems like this lot has elevated levels of lead. Yep, lead. News Release.
  • Menno Beachy of Cresco, Iowa, has issued a recall for one-pint containers of Certified Organic Grape Tomatoes due to possible Salmonella contamination. Fifteen cases containing twelve one-pint containers were distributed to retail stores in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. News Release.
  • Cheese distributor Tomales Bay Foods, Inc., Petaluma, CA, issued a recall of partial wheels of two cheeses they distribute due to "an abundance of caution" (?). The cheeses could possibly be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The cheese was distributed to restaurants and retail stores in California, North Carolina and Florida between June 25th and July 27th. No illnesses have been reported. News Release.
  • Fresco Green Farms, Inc. of Winchester, CA has recalled 1.643 cases of cilantro harvested last month that has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The cilantro was on sale in California and Minnesota. The salmonella was discovered through routine testing. News Release.
  • Burch Equipment LLC has expanded their cantaloupe recall to include honeydew melons. The honeydew melons do not have any identifying stickers.
    The cantaloupes and honeydew melons involved in this expanded recall were sold to distributors between June 23rd and July 27th, in the following states: FL, GA, IL, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, and VA, VT and WV. The melons may have further been distributed to retail stores, restaurants and food service facilities in other states [emphasis mine].
    Bottom line, don't buy any honeydew melons this season. Bummer. News Release.
  • Missa Bay, LLC, a subsidiary of Ready Pac Foods, Inc. in Swedesboro, New Jersey, is voluntarily recalling 293,488 cases and 296,224 individually distributed units of fruit, vegetable, and sandwich products that contain apples that might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. It would be easier to list the states NOT affected by this recall: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. There are a lot of products included in this recall. No illnesses have been reported. News Release.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Recalls: Caribbean Gold Cantaloupes (not the Athena variety that was originally listed), Sliced Apple Dippin' Stix, and Armour Active Packs

  • Here's a big "Oops." Burch Farms (Burch Equipment, LLC,) North Carolina, has issued a correction for the variety of the melons that were involved in their 8/2/12 recall. It turns out that the cantaloupes affected are the Carribbean Gold variety, and not the Athena cantaloupes as originally identified.
    The whole Caribbean Gold variety cantaloupes were shipped between July 15th and July 27th and distributed in FL, GA, IL, MD, ME, NC, NJ, NY, PA, SC and VA. The whole cantaloupes are identified by a red label reading Burch Farms referencing PLU # 4319.
    The melons being recalled have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. News Release.

  • Reichel Foods, Inc., issued a voluntlary recall for Dippin' Stix Sliced Apples and Caramel with Peanuts and Armour Active Packs Cheese Pizza Lunch Kits due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been reported to date. News Release.

  • Reichel Foods has also issued a recall for some 15,880 pounds of ready-to-eat meat and poultry products due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Being recalled are 5.6 oz. packages of "Armour Active Packs Turkey & Cheese Wrap" and 5.6 oz. packages of "Armour Active Packs Ham & Cheese Wrap." Third party testing discovered the problem. No illnesses have been reported. News Release.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Red Cabbage and Bacon Braised in White Wine

Even though it is unseasonably hot and I have not been much in the mood for cooking, my vegetable project is proceeding along quite nicely. I met my friend Misreall at the Green Market the week before last, and one of the things I picked up was a beautiful baby red cabbage. I had not intended to buy it; it basically just told me that it was coming home with me. What could I do?

I did nothing with it at first. I wasn't sure what I even wanted to do with it, so I let it sit in the crisper while I waited for inspiration to come. I finally decided to braise it in white wine, along with bacon and onion. At the last minute I remembered that I had caraway seeds in the freezer and put in a half teaspoon of those.

I braised the cabbage in the white wine for only 10 minutes, which was long enough to let it soften some but keep some crunch. I decided on white wine rather than the apple cider vinegar with which it is usually paired mostly because I had an open bottle in the refrigerator that I wanted to finish off, and I think it was a good decision. The wine provided a refreshing acidity that complemented the heavier tones of the bacon-onion-cabbage combination. There was just enough caraway to punctuate every bite without shouting its presence, for more of that "what is that extra flavor in there?" vibe. At first even I couldn't identify it, even knowing that's what it was.

This would be perfect with pot roast, short ribs or meat loaf. It also made a pretty nice meal in and of itself.
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes

Makes 4 side servings

1 Tbsp oil
1/4 lb thick-cut lean bacon, chopped
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1 small head red cabbage, cut into ribbons
1/4 cup white wine (or white wine vinegar)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp water

Heat oil in large skillet. Add bacon and cook until browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove excess drippings, leaving 1 to 2 tablespoons in the skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it turns translucent.

Add the caraway seeds and let them sit for a few seconds, then stir them into the onions and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring frequently, until the cabbage just begins to wilt.

Add the wine and deglaze the pan, then add about 1/4 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and lower the heat. Let the cabbage steam for about 10 minutes. Remove the cover, season to taste with salt and pepper, then turn the heat to high and cook for a few minutes longer to let the liquid reduce.

Combine the cornstarch and the water to make a slurry. Add it to the cabbage and stir until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Exported from Home Cookin 6.46 (

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Recalls: Too Many To List in This Title, Most Involving Gills Onions, LLC

Brace yourself, kids. It's been a busy week.
  • Gills Onions, LLC of Oxnard, CA has expanded its July 18 voluntary recall of packaged diced onions. The expansion includes additional products contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Among the expanded items are "diced, slivered and whole peeled onions and diced onion/celery mix with use-by-dates on or before August 3." No illnesses have been reported so far. News Release.
  • And in related news:
    • Spartan Stores is recalling a Three Bean Salad from the Deli Section and the 10-oz Broccoli Stir-Fry from their produce section, both produced under the Fresh Selection brand. Release.

    • Publix Super Markets issued a voluntarily recall for custom sub sandwiches that contain onions received from Gills Onions. The onions were used in sandwiches in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Release.

    • Huxtable's Kitchen has recalled Trader Joe's Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Quinoa and Wheatberry Salad. The onions used in the salad came from Gills Onions, LLC. The affected stores are in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington only. No illnesses have been reported. Release.

    • GH Foods CA, LLC recalled products containing yellow onions distributed by Gills Onions to retail supermarkets. The products list is too long to post here and affects mostly California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, with some products having a broader range. Release

    • Busch's Fresh Food Market recalled various products processed between July 20 and July 27 because they contain onions provided by Gills Onions. No illnesses have been reported. Release.

    • Simmering Soup, Inc., Atlanta GA has recalled Trader Joe's brand of Salsa and Balela that contain the onions. Release.

    • Whole Foods Market in the state of Florida had to recall an incredibly long list of products that used the onions. Release.

    • Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is recalling prepared foods that contain the onions. Release.

    • Cool Creations, LLC of North Kansas City, Missouri recalled specific packages of products containing the onions. It's another fairly long list. Release.

    • Ken's Foods, Inc. has recalled a limited number of branded dressings and sauces that were prepared using the onions. Release.

    • Garden Fresh Foods, Inc. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has recalled some 13,600 pounds of meat and poultry salad products. specific packages of products using the onions. Affected states: WI, MN, IA, IL, OH, IN, TX, FL, MA, MO, MI, PA, AZ, CA, and distributed to retail stores and food services. Here is the long list of products, and the Release.

    • San Miguel Produce, Inc. of Oxnard, CA has recalled 48 cases of Cut 'N Clean, Comfort (Cooking) Greens Kits that contain onions from Gills Onions, LLC. Release.

    • Stop & Shop Supermarket Company LLC has issued a recall of their Calico Bean Salad following a recall from Costa Fruit & Produce due to a possible risk of listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been reported to date, and there is no reference to the Gills Onions< LLC recall. Release.

    • Huxtable's Kitchen in Vernon, California has recalled about 5,610 pounds of barbecued chicken salads that contain diced onions that are part of an FDA recall due to possible Listeria moncytogenes contamination. Again, there is no reference to Gills Onions, LLC. The product being recalled: 14.5-oz. trays of Trader Joe's BBQ Chicken Salad. News Release.
  • Enslin & Son Packing Company in Hattiesburg, MS has recalled approximately 314 pounds of 1.5-lb. and 2-lb. packages of "Cedar Grove Red Hots" that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The product shipped before the test results that showed positive for the contamination were received by the company. No illnesses have been reported. News Release.
  • The New York State Agriculture Commission warned consumers in the Metropolitan New York area not to consume "Quesito Colombiano, Colymbian style Cheese" made by Productos Tita Corp in Glendale, New York, as there is a possible contamination of Staphylococcus aureus.
    The recalled Colombian style cheese under the Brand name “Tita” is contained in 8oz. clear plastic pouches or tubs with a plant code of #36-8440 and with a stamped code of “AUG 10 2012” stamped beneath the label bar code. The product was distributed in the Metropolitan New York area.
    No illnesses have been reported to date. News Release.
  • Burch Euipment LLC, North Carolina, has expanded its original recall of 580 cases of whole Athena cantaloupes that may be contaminated with Lysteria monocytogenes. They are now recalling 13,888 cases of the melons and 581 bins, for a total of 188,902. That's a lot of melons. Affected states: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. No illnesses have been reported. News Release.
  • Hannaford Supermarkets has advised its customers of the Burch Equipment cantaloupe recall, as they carry them. The product has been removed. News Release.
  • And finally, Kenosha Beef International, Ltd., out of Kenosha, Wisconsin, issued a recall for approximately 37,600 pounds of frozen bacon cheeseburger patties that may contain pieces of gasket material, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The patties were distributed in Indiana, Maine, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin. The recall was issued after the company received a consumer complaint. News Release.
Whew. I didn't think I was going to make it through all of that.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Chinese Cabbage and Celery Stir-fry

What to do with that last quarter of Chinese cabbage and celery? Toast up some almonds and whip up a satisfying stir-fry side. It is awfully green, I will admit, which would have bothered me more if it were meant to be the main attraction, but as a side I think it works. That being said, the next time I make it I hope that I have maybe some red bell pepper or a fresno chili around to add a splash of color.

Both the cabbage and the celery cook quickly so this comes together in just a few minutes. If the almonds aren't already toasted, you can do that while you are getting everything else ready and they have time to cool while you're cooking the cabbage and celery. Then you just throw them in at the end.

I didn't have any
garlic ginger paste, or even any ginger for that matter, so I did not add either garlic or ginger. The cabbage and the celery are both so mild that I was afraid they would be overpowered by the aromatics, and I do think it made for a better dish without them. It certainly made for a faster dish.

I used what has become my regular stir-fry sauce. By now, it takes almost no thought for me to pull down the wok and put together a tasty little side.
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes

Serves 4

3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sherry
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp peanut oil
1/4 Chinese cabbage, shinly sliced
3 - 4 celery ribs, sliced into 1/2-inch angled pieces
1/4 cup toasted skinned almonds
Toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the cornstarch with a tablespoon of water and stir to combine.

Heat wok until it is smoking. Add the celery and cook for a minute, then add the cabbage and cook for only another minute. Add the almonds and stir once. Add the sauce and as soon as it is boiling add the
cornstarch and water and stir just until thickened. Turn off the heat, stir in a little bit of toasted sesame oil and then remove the vegetables from the hot wok and serve immediately, garnished with cilantro.


Exported from Home Cookin 6.46 (
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