Sundried Tomato and Berry Caprese Salad

Salad

Typically, Caprese salad is a simple Italian salad, named after the island of Capri and consists of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, seasoned with salt, and olive oil. It was made to resemble the colors of the Italian flag: red, white, and green. I have reinvented the classic Italian appetizer by adding a few new flavor twists to this seasonal summertime sensation! The base uses a healthy bed of greens layered with creamy mozzarella, fresh garden tomatoes and ribbons of basil. A touch of natural sweetness comes from the added fruit and this starter literally becomes a light and healthy meal all in one dish. The vinaigrette is made with our Sundried Tomato and Basil Bread Dipping Blend and a splash of good quality balsamic lends a nice finish to the dish. Your guests will be coming back for more!

Sundried Tomato and Berry Caprese Salad

Igredients
• 2-4 C. leafy greens
• 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced or 1 C. cherry tomatoes, halved
• 16 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced
• 1 C. blueberries or raspberries, (whole) or strawberries, sliced
• ¼ C. pistachio nuts, chopped
• 3-4 fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette
• 6 T. olive oil
• 2 T. balsamic vinegar
• 4 tsp. Zesty Moose Sundried Tomato Basil Blend

Method:
Prepare the vinaigrette and set aside. Roughly cut the leafy greens for the salad base. Slice tomatoes or if using cherry tomatoes cut in half. Slice the cheese into ¼ inch thick rounds then, cut each round like a pizza to form the triangle cuts. If using strawberries, I suggest slicing them; blueberries and raspberries leave whole. Slice the fresh basil into thin ribbons and chop the pistachios.

Assemble the Salad: Place leafy greens onto a serving platter. Add the tomatoes, cheese, berries and fresh basil by creating layers on top. Finish with pistachio nuts. Drizzle prepared vinaigrette over top right before serving.

Serves: 4-6

Total Time: 35 Minutes
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Assemble Time: 5 Minutes

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Asian Inspired Fried Rice

Plated (2)

Everyone Loves Fried Rice! This easy-to-follow quick recipe has an Asian inspired flare and flavor as compared to many other traditional style recipes. We are using our Hair Raisin’ Asian Seasoning Blend for this recipe. This can be served as a healthy main course or side with other Chinese or Asian dishes. You can easily add chicken, pork, shrimp or other protein to this dish. White rice may be substituted over the brown and the versatility of this dish means you can substitute a variety of other vegetables such as snow peas, bell peppers, broccoli, squash or bok choy. Here are some basic cooking tips you will want to make note of here to achieve the perfect Fried Rice.
Cooking Tips for Fried Rice:
• Use a high temp cooking oil. I prefer Grape Seed Oil
• Use a wok, as the cooking technique here is stir-fry. You’re doing this using a very hot pan with hot oil, while cooking in constant motion. The shape of the wok facilitates that action.
• The rice needs to be cooked properly. It should not be a sticky mess and you should be able to separate and fluff the rice easily by using a fork.

 

Asian Inspired Fried Rice

Ingredients (2)
• 2 C. cooked whole grain brown rice
• 1 C. mixed vegetables, thawed & uncooked
(Corn, carrots, peas, green beans)
• 2 T. grape seed oil or other high temp cooking oil
• 2 green onions, chopped
• 1 C. yellow onion, chopped
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• ¼ C. soy sauce
1 T. Zesty Moose Hair Raisin’ Asian Seasoning Blend

Method:

Rice
Cook the rice according to the package directions, set aside.

Oiled Wok

Preheat a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the grape seed oil and heat.

Onion and Veg

Add in the yellow onion and the vegetables

Onion and Veg Mixed

and cook until tender.

Egg in

Slide the onion and vegetables to one side and pour the beaten eggs onto the other side.

Scrambled

Using a spatula, scramble the eggs.

Egg Mixed In

Once cooked, mix the egg in with the onion and vegetables.

Rice and Seasoning

Add in the pre-cooked rice, soy sauce and Hair Raisin’ Asian Seasoning Blend.

Rice Mixed

Mix until heated through and combined.

Green Onion

Add in the green onions, serve with your favorite dipping sauce

Plated (2)

Yields: 4
Prep Time: 20 Min.
Cook Time: 15 Min.
Total Time: 35 Min.

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Lemon Thyme Balsamic Roasted Asparagus Spears

Plated

Roasting vegetables is really the ultimate way of bringing out the best flavor in your garden favorites in the healthiest way. The oven method brings out the sweet notes of the vegetables naturally; using a cooking technique referred to as caramelized. The result is a golden crisp outside with a tenderness on the inside. There are a few tips to keep in mind when roasting: Chop or trim your vegetables equally in size. Next, arrange your vegetables evenly in a single layer onto a baking sheet so they roast evenly. For this recipe I am using olive oil and a good quality balsamic vinegar. Infused olive oils are also a good choice to use as you can pair a variety of flavors with different vegetables. Our Lemon-Thyme Finishing Salt gives a light and delicate flavor to the dish and pairs nicely with any green vegetable.

Lemon Thyme Balsamic Roasted Asparagus Spears

Ingredients
• 1 lb. Asparagus
• 1 T. olive oil
• 1 T. balsamic vinegar
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 2 tsp. Zesty Moose Lemon Thyme Finishing Salt

Prepare the Asparagus:

Snap1
To remove the woody ends, gently bend the end of one asparagus spear

Snap2

until it snaps.

Cut

Line up the entire bunch on a cutting board and using the snapped piece as a guide, cut off remaining woody stems and discard. Gently wash under cold water and drain thoroughly.
Method:

Suace Before
In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and the minced garlic clove. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray using a non-stick cooking spray.

Sauce After

Place asparagus into a bowl and toss with the olive oil, vinegar and garlic, until fully coated. Season the spears with the Zesty Moose Lemon Thyme Finishing Salt.

Sheeted

Place asparagus in a single layer onto the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, turning the spears one time.

Plated

Plate and serve.

Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes

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Stuffed Meat Loaf

Plated

Meat Loaf Again….Honestly, I was never really a big fan of meat loaf. We had it quite often when I was growing up as it’s relatively easy to make and serves as an economical meal. Traditional meat loaf is basically hamburgers, formed into a loaf verses a patty and then slathered in a sweet sauce otherwise known as, Ketchup! Over time, recipes have evolved for this All-American comfort food by adding some innovative cooking techniques such as grilling and smoking it. Some recipes call for wrapping it in bacon which adds loads of flavor and extra calories. My new sentimental favorite way to prepare it is by stuffing it! We need to flavor the meat, so for this recipe we are using the No Moosteak Grill n’ Rub Seasoning Blend. It’s great for burgers, and even better for meat loaf! The sautéed mushroom stuffing gives it that comfort feel and adds an elegant touch to the dish. The Lemon Thyme Finishing Salt really enhances that next layer of flavor, while the soft bread keeps it moist.

Stuffed Meat Loaf

Igredients
• 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 2 T. whipping cream or milk
• ¼ C. tomato sauce
• 2 T. Zesty Moose No Moosteak Grill n’ Rub Seasoning Blend
Stuffing:
• ½ lb. (8 oz.) Mushrooms, sliced
• 1 C. white onion
• 2 T. unsalted butter
• 2 C. soft fresh bread cut into cubes
• 2 T. fresh parsley
• 1 tsp. Zesty Moose Lemon Thyme Finishing Salt

 

Method:

Mix Together
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, cream or milk, tomato sauce and the No Moosteak Grill n’ Rub.

Finished Mix
Add beef and mix well.

Fill Bottom of Pan

Pat half of the meat mixture into a greased 9-in. x 3-in. loaf pan; set aside.

Mushroom and Onions
For stuffing, saute` the mushrooms and onion in butter over medium heat for 3 min.

Add Bread

Add the bread pieces, parsley and the Lemon Thyme Finishing Salt.

Reduced Down

Saute` until the bread crumbs are lightly brown.

Half Stuffed

Stuffing

Spoon the stuffing over the bottom layer of meat;

Topping

cover with remaining meat mixture and gently press down. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, drain fat as needed.

Out of the Oven

Serves 6

Prep Time: 30 Min.
Cook Time: 1 Hr.
Total Time: 1 Hr. 30 Min.

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Food and Flavor Forecast 2015

Fancy Food

My recent trip to the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco showcased over 1,400 exhibitors  from across the US and 35 Countries and regions specializing in some of the most amazing and exotic foods and trends for 2015. Snack foods and bars have gone to new levels which include seaweed to unexpected ways to elevate veggies. Exotic teas and drinks are gaining in popularity. Bitter, fermented foods and drinks are on the rise. Smoked and grilled foods remain popular. Incorporating ingredients into foods that offer health benefits is a huge plus. Consumers are paying even closer attention to food labels. According to Mintel, ¾ of American Adults consider themselves foodies. One of the trends for this year has consumers wanting an adventurous culinary experience in addition to simplicity.

I had the opportunity to get a firsthand look at some of this year’s top food and flavor trends.

Flavor and Food Trends for 2015

  1. Spicier Complex New Regional Style Foods

Consumers are acquiring a more sophisticated palate for spicier and more complex flavors such as Asian and new regional style foods that include exotic dishes from other regions like Thai Japanese, Filipino and Vietnamese.

  1. New Flavors and Ingredients Offering Health Benefits

Seaweed showed up in a multitude of snack foods such as chips, hummus and popcorn. Seaweed also has its health benefits and is chocked full of thyroid-supporting iodine and vitamin B-12. Food Artisans have managed to turn vegetable haters into lovers by making them the star ingredient in a convenient and healthy snack food. For starters we have Broccoli Chips with White Cheddar, Brussel Bytes; how clever is that? If you are really adventurous; give the Arugula Cabbage Veggie Crunch a try!

  1. New Twists on Sweet and Salty Snack Foods

Companies are getting innovative when it comes to snack food and health bars. Consumers are embracing the unusual combinations of ingredients and flavors in their favorite snacks and bars. Savory flavors like Roasted Jalapeno, Sweet chili and even honey-smoked barbeque top the list. Sweeter combinations include Orange Honey or Cherry Pistachio. How about Sundried Tomato with Basil or Olive with Walnuts for a new twist on flavor!

  1. Bitter Foods and Beverages

Consumers are looking for bold flavor food experiences. Craft Beers, Dark Chocolate, Coffee and Arugula have maintained their popularity. Consumers want to try even stronger and more intense flavors with darker coffees and chocolates, hoppy beers, cocktails with bitters and vegetables such as kale and collard greens.

  1. Sodium and Sugar Reduction Solutions

Public health debates continue about added processed sugars and high levels of sodium being put into our foods. Consumers are on the lookout for ways in which to reduce sodium and replace processed sugar with alternative sweeteners. Diabetes and obesity are on the rise, and the attention towards food labels continues to grow. The FDA has recently issued a recommendation for companies to display information about added sugars on food labels. This will be a top priority for consumers and food manufacturers. Sweeteners that are gaining in popularity are, Stevia, Maguey Syrup, Honey, Agave and Maple Syrup. The newest introduction to the all-natural sweetener trend is the use of Monk Fruit.

  1. Turmeric: The Exotic Superfood

Turmeric is a culinary spice native to Southeast India. It is a plant of the Ginger Family. Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger. It is best known as one of the main ingredients used to make curry. Because of its deep yellow-orange color, Turmeric was traditionally called, “Indian Saffron.” Turmeric, the bright yellow of the spice rainbow has long been used as an Anti-Inflammatory Agent to treat a variety of conditions.

  1. Food Packaging Trends

Consumer’s expectations demand sustainable earth-friendly products with a transparency about what they are consuming, where the product is made and clarity about what they, the company stand for. Labels will move from clean to clear with simpler claims and packaging. Biodegradable and reusable are likely to expand. Food manufacturers will undergo a similar transformation as companies are taking it upon themselves to align with the shifting expectations of the consumer along with the FDA Label Overhaul.


Resources:

http://www.solutionstalk.com/home/2015/01/23/foodie-friday-6-flavor-trends-from-the-fancy-food-show/

https://cargillsaltinperspective.com/2015-whats-next/

https://www.specialtyfood.com/news/article/trend-forecast-10-predictions-specialty-foods-2015/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78

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Chili Lime Shrimp Enchiladas with Parmesan Jalapeno Cream Sauce

Plated Enchiladas

Dining out is a rarity for us but one of our local favorite places for Mexican Fare has a fabulous seafood enchilada dish on their menu, and of course I had to pick apart the dish and re-create it at home. I did get a little tip or two from our waitress. So, after two attempts at it….Here It Is! For this dish I am using two of our most popular products that really add to that depth of flavor I was looking for. The Chili Lime Finishing Salt adds a nice finish to the perfectly roasted shrimp. In my opinion, this is the absolute best method for cooking shrimp. The jalapeno cream sauce by itself was a little bland for my taste, but our Parmesan Pepper Pesto Blend really added a richness that finished out the entire dish. If you are looking for a quick go to dinner this would not be my choice as the recipe does take a bit of time. If you follow my prepping method below and prepare the sauce the day before this can easily be a real time saver here. I like to make this on the weekends when I am not pressed for time and you can easily freeze half of it for later. I will say the extra time is worthy of the effort as this dish will not disappoint! ~Enjoy!

Ingredients

• 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 2 T. olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 small onion, diced
• 2 C. green cabbage, shredded
• 4 C. spinach leaves
• 2 C. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
• 1 ¼ tsp. TZM Chili Lime Finishing Salt
• 20 (6 inch) corn tortillas

Sauce Ingredients

Preparing the Parmesan Jalapeno Cream Sauce:

• 2 T. unsalted butter
• 2 T. flour
• 1 ½ C. chicken broth
• ¾ C. sour cream
• 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
• ¼ C. cilantro, chopped
• 2 tsp. TZM Parmesan Pepper Pesto Blend

Method:

Preparing the Shrimp and Filling:

Shrimp Prep

Peel and devein the shrimp.  Place shrimp in a bowl and drizzle with half of the olive oil. Season with ½ tsp. of the TZM Chili Lime Finishing Salt and gently toss to combine. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Shrimp B4 Cooking

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray using non-stick cooking spray. Arrange the shrimp on the sheet. Place the shrimp in the oven

Shrimp After Cooking

and roast until pink, firm and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool

Shredded Shrimp

before dicing into bite size pieces.

Saute Onions & Garlic

In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil, add the garlic and onion and cook until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add Spinach

Add the cabbage and spinach and

Cook Down Spinach

cook down. Once the spinach has cooked down, season with remaining TZM Chili Lime Finishing Salt.

Add Shrimp

Add the shrimp and gently toss to combine.

Complete Mixture

Set aside.

For the sauce:

Rue Ingredients

In a heavy duty saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour to form a paste.

Melted Down

Slowly add the chicken broth and stir constantly until well blended, about 2 minutes.

Add Seasonings to Rue

Stir in sour cream; add the jalapenos and the TZM Parmesan Pepper Pesto Blend.

Finished Rue

Simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes.

Add Cilantro to Rue

Remove from heat and add in the cilantro.

For the Tortillas:

Fry tortilla

Pre-heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Spray pan with an olive oil cooking spray. Place one tortilla into the skillet; then using a spatula, lift and turn and spray the second side with the cooking spray. Use the spatula to press down on each side until you have a nice light brown color. Each tortilla will take approximately 10 seconds.

To assemble:

Add Mixture to Tortilla

Lay tortilla on a flat surface and spoon the shrimp mixture down the center,

Add Cheese

sprinkle with cheese. Resist overfilling; I use about 3 teaspoons. Roll the tortilla and place seam side down onto a sprayed baking dish. Fill remaining tortillas with the shrimp mixture.

Pour Sauce on Top

Pour the cream sauce over the top. Place in a 375 degree oven, cover and bake for 20 minutes.

Plated Enchiladas

Yields: 20 Enchiladas

Total Time: 1 Hr. 45 Min.
Cook Time: 2o Min.

Prep Time: I like to prep this dish in the order using the method steps above. The sauce can be made the day before, refrigerated and then warmed up again prior to pouring over the top.
Ingredient Prep – 30 Min.
Shrimp & Filling – 15 Min.
Sauce – 10 Min.
Fry Tortillas and Assemble – 30 Min.

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Understanding Processed Foods and Why Eliminating Them Matters

-By Diana Tap – May 28, 2014

Processed-Foods
What Is Processed Foods:
Processed foods can vary slightly, but it usually refers to foods that are packaged in boxes, cans, bags or packages. These foods need to be processed extensively to be edible and are done so by adding additional ingredients that are usually unpronounceable. These additions then change the food from its original natural state.
You can determine whether a food is processed by looking at the ingredient list. The longer the ingredient list, the more processed a food is likely to be. The more processing steps involved the more nutrients and vitamins are then lost. Processed foods are usually found in the center aisles of the grocery store and are more likely to contain ingredients that are unrecognizable such as preservatives, food dyes and chemicals. These are not real food ingredients that you would cook with at home.
Processing also refers to the structural change in some foods like crackers. These usually have Trans fats added to increase their shelf life. Trans fats are created when vegetable oils are overheated and the molecular structure of the fat changes. Trans fats are linked to serious diseases like heart and cancer and should be avoided. In other words, processing usually means removing nutrients, swapping good nutrients for bad, increasing calorie content and removing other valuable things like fibre.

Processed Food Facts:
Did you know that 90% of the food in grocery stores is processed? 70% of the average American’s diet is made up of processed foods. In 2007, I made the decision to eliminate the majority of processed foods from our diet and that percentage was 70% of what we were consuming.
Processing affects the taste and properties of the food. Food manufacturers will then add cheap or artificial ingredients such as sugars, salt, fats or additives to restore the lost flavor properties and improve the texture for appearance and to extend the shelf life of the food.
Did you know that 100 years ago, the leading cause of death in my grandparents generation was infectious diseases. They ate a lot more whole foods, with higher nutritional value. Obesity wasn’t a problem.

Why Foods Are Processed:
Convenience is the main drive for processed foods. Food travels long distances and it sits in supermarket shelves for long periods of time and so preservation and safety concerns regarding some foods are an issue. Processing is used to kill harmful bacteria and other microorganisms in order to extend the shelf life.

The Trouble With Fat-Free:
• Fat-Free foods must have less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving
• Low-Fat foods must have 3 grams of fat or less per serving
• Reduced Fat foods must have at least 25% less fat than regular versions of those foods.
• Light foods must have either 1/3 fewer calories or 50% less fat
Fat-Free also lacks in taste and flavor and to make up for that, food makers will add other ingredients like sugar, flour, thickeners and salt and this adds calories. The foods are usually not appealing and less satisfying and you end up consuming more of them.

Ingredients and Foods To Avoid Whenever Possible
• Canned foods that are high in sodium or fat.
• Flavored chips, crackers and snacks.
• Frozen dinners
• Sugary cereals
• Processed meats – Look for meat labeled, Minimally Processed.
• Most condiments including bottled sauces, dressings, marinades, pre-flavored packaged products and boxed foods.
• All soda/pop – regular contains sugar and diet contains Aspartame
• Any products that specifically list these ingredients on the label: MSG, Corn Syrup Solids, Yellow 5&6, Blue#1, Red40, artificial colors and sweeteners.

Take A Reasonable and Practical Approach (Baby Steps Here Or You Will Get Discouraged)!
It’s important to understand that you are not going to eliminate everything, but you can significantly reduce it! You have to take a practical approach and eliminate what you can, and then look for healthier alternative products. Incorporate the use of fresh ingredients, like fruits and vegetables. Cook more at home and look for healthy recipes that contain minimal ingredients. Plan ahead and prepare meals in advance. Eliminate Fast Food!! If this is the only thing you end up eliminating altogether, trust me when I say you will notice a huge difference in the way you feel and your body will thank you!

If you have any questions or you just need a little encouragement along the way….I’ll be there for you!
I’ve been through this myself and the most difficult step is going to be the first one. It does get easier and you will feel better and have more energy. Send me an email at info@thezestymoose.com and let me know your progress. I’d love to hear from you!

Source: WebMD

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