Patricia L. Fitzgerald 2013-04-03 18:33:09
The power of these pungent produce favorites is nothing to cry about! FAREWELL, RANCH DRESSING. ADIOS, SUGAR-SWEETENED KETCHUP. It was good knowing you, extra-sharp Cheddar cheese. Salt shaker, there’s no place for you at the table any more. Butter and mayo? It’s time to say “buh-bye.” A fair number of flavor enhancers that are veteran standbys, perking up many a meal, especially for children, are much less welcome in recipes today. How can today’s school and family chefs successfully serve up healthier alternatives that kids won’t call boring, blah or bland? One answer is to turn to two reliable little bulbs fairly bursting with flavor! While the strong odor and taste of onions and garlic can risk overwhelming certain menu items—and some young taste buds—you shouldn’t just dismiss these flavorful options out of hand. With a little trial-and-error practice, they can be ready resources in your culinary toolbox. Indeed, the zesty bite of both are staples in many cuisines and recipes that boast longstanding appeal among children. Consider home fries, garlic bread, French onion soup, garlic potatoes, spaghetti sauce, hummus, chili and so much more. With this inspiration front of mind, it’s up to you to seek out more ways to use onions and garlic as replacements for less-nutritious ingredients. A good first step is to get better acquainted with Allium cepa (onion) and Allium sativum (garlic). The more you understand about any food or ingredient, the more confident you will be in trying out recipes (such as the ones featured on these pages) for yourself, your family and your student customers. There’s too much information about these two vegetables (that’s right, they are classified as vegetables, even though we rarely eat them alone or in large quantities) to provide truly comprehensive overviews of each, but this article highlights some interesting facts, figures and trivia that will provide a solid introduction—and leave you wanting to find out more! Onions There are two primary types of onions: spring/summer fresh onions and fall/winter storage onions. Both are available in yellow, white and red variations, but fresh onions have thin, light-colored skins, with a higher water content that makes them a bit sweeter and milder than their counterparts. Storage onions have multiple layers of thick, dark, papery skins, with an intense flavor and a high percentage of solids. You may have heard of Vidalia Sweets® from Georgia, Walla Walla Sweets® from Washington or Maui Sweets from Hawaii; these are all trade names for certain fresh onions. When it comes to storage onions, the most common are Spanish OnionsTM from Idaho-Eastern Oregon, which produces more storage onions than any other region in America. These tend to be used more for foodservice than at the retail level, as they are grown in fairly large sizes. In fact, unless you are specifying so-called “pearl” or “boiler white onions” for particular recipes, it’s likely that the smallest onion you will purchase for school recipes is a “Medium,” which is more typically found at the retail level. But don’t be surprised to more regularly receive “Large/Jumbo,” “Colossal” or “Super Colossal.” (These last are often used for “onion bloom”-type appetizers, such as those that have become a hallmark of commercial operations like Outback Steakhouse.) Keep your onions in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area, where they will last between 30 to 60 (fresh) to 180 (storage) days. Nearly 90% of all onions produced in the United States are yellow; when cooked they turn a rich, dark brown. White onions are traditionally used in Indian and Latin cuisines, while red onions tend to be preferred for fresh, raw uses or grilling. In general, onions can be braised, boiled, steamed, baked, sautéed, caramelized, roasted, fried or grilled. You also can serve them raw or marinated. Consider a few insider tips from onion experts: ■ Note that high heat makes onions bitter; so, when sautéing, be sure to use low or medium heat. ■ To mellow the flavor of a strong onion, cut it into rings or diced pieces and soak these in lemon juice (1 part) and water (3 parts) for 10 to 15 minutes or longer. ■ Prepare onions as close to cooking or serving time as possible, since an onion’s flavor deteriorates—and its aroma intensifies—over time. ■ Try chilling onions for just 30 minutes before preparation to prevent damage to the onion’s cells—this will produce less of the tear-producing chemicals that irritate your eyes! ■ Cut onions can be stored in the refrigerator in sealable, plastic bags. Last fall, School Nutrition had a firsthand opportunity to learn more about onion production in the United States as part of an Idaho food products tour co-sponsored by the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee. The tour included stops at an onion farm to watch harvesting in progress, two packers and international seed company Nunhems USA. Following are some interesting facts about the region and its Spanish Sweets. ■ Manyofthearea’s300growersare third and fourth-generation farm families. These include many businesses that began as homesteads by Japanese Americans upon release from shameful WWII internment camps. ■ Onion seeds(the size of a large pepper flake) are planted in early to mid-March;“TaxDay”is considered the last day to get seed in. Some 140,000 seeds are planted per acre, at 1-in. depths in double rows. They take two full months to grow to a five-leaf stage. They are left in the ground until the plants are very dry with no green left. Harvest begins in mid-August, wrapping up at the end of October. The high desert climate of the area typically requires additional periodic irrigation. ■ When onions are ready for harvest, they are turned up from under the ground and then left to “field cure” in the warm sunshine for up to 10 days before being collected. This gives storage onions those tight golden skins, “like a suntan.” Onions can bruise easily,so automation is designed for gentle handling to preserve shelf-life. ■ Growers in the Snake River Valley area produce more than a billion pounds of onions each year. Crops are delivered to packers, which grade, weigh, package and ship various quantities of onions all across the world. ■ The Vaquero onion variety was introduced 20 years ago and is said to change the way the foodservice industry deals with onions, as it offers a consistent single center. The center is the growth point; a single center provides more even rings and can be processed more efficiently. Prior to the development of the Vaquero, processors would have to cut open onions in the field to determine what percentage of the field offered single centers and could be considered“usable.” In addition to Idaho, it’s grown in Washington and California, as well as Spain, China and Chile. Garlic Garlic is actually a member of the onion family. There are some 400 varieties; “softneck” is the one most commonly cultivated and the type you will find in your supermarket. Unprocessed garlic is sold in bulbs (or “heads”), with each bulb containing up to 20 individual cloves. Travel to Gilroy, Calif., and you will be visiting the self-proclaimed “Garlic Capital of the World,” since 90% of U.S. garlic is grown there. (China may dispute that assertion, as it produces an estimated two-thirds of the world’s supply!) Despite Gilroy’s predominance, garlic can grow well in a variety of different soils and climates. Unlike many other types of fruits and vegetables, autumn is said to be the more common time to plant garlic for greater yields. It’s not a seed that gets planted, but the largest, healthiest cloves from a bulb. Garlic is usually harvested soon after the lower leaves begin yellowing from the tips on down, typically in July. Ideally, you want to harvest when the bulbs attain maximum size, but the cloves have not started to separate, since separated bulbs store poorly. Unlike onions, garlic bulbs, once removed from the ground, should air dry in an area protected from the sun, to avoid scalding. The drying or “curing” process can take up to several weeks. For the most part, the leaves, stem and stalk are just waste byproducts, although there are some recipes that call for use of the stalk (also called the “scape”). Once they arrive in your kitchen, fresh garlic bulbs should be kept in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place, such as an open container, net bag or wicker basket. As long as the bulb is whole, it could be fine for up to six months. Once it’s broken, however, each unpeeled clove has about a month’s shelf life. Look out for browning or yellowing and mushiness. If the garlic bulb starts sprouting, it’s not a problem; these can be removed. Be advised that the taste of garlic can alter with time, getting a bit sharper with age. You can obtain a number of processed variations of garlic. Garlic powder is ground, dehydrated garlic and a very common seasoning. If you are using this as a substitute for fresh garlic, note that just 1⁄8 teaspoon is the equivalent of one clove of garlic. Garlic salt is simply a mixture of salt and garlic powder. If you purchase peeled garlic, it must be kept refrigerated; it will stay fresh for several weeks, but check for the “best by” date on the package. As long as peeled cloves are not moldy, slick, mushy or overly fragrant, you can use these even past the expiration date. When using packaged minced garlic, a half teaspoon is equal to mincing one fresh garlic clove. On your own, consider looking into dehydrated garlic flakes, garlic puree, garlic juice/extract and infused garlic oil. The legend of using garlic to ward off vampires might have originated simply because of its strong, off-putting odor. But there are centuries-old traditions of using garlic in an attempt to ward off various medical ills, from the plague in 18th century Europe to gangrene as recently as World Wars I and II. In fact, garlic supplements are sold today, and some swear by these to address a variety of conditions, ranging from high blood pressure to the flu. You will be most likely to use garlic in recipes. It can be roasted whole, sliced, chopped, pressed or crushed. It even can be eaten raw; although this boasts the strongest bite, it can be incorporated, minced and sparingly, into salads or on a cooked pizza. Overall, the foods best flavored with garlic include beans, beef, beets, cabbage, chicken, eggplant, fish, lamb, lentils, mushrooms, pasta, pork, potatoes, rice, shellfish, spinach, tomatoes and zucchini. There are some unusual pairings featuring garlic that culinary experts assert are delicacies worth trying, such as garlic and chocolate, garlic and honey or garlic and Clementines. But you may want to stick to more traditional uses in an effort to gain greater acceptance among your student customers. Layers of Flavors “I like anything with onions,” asserted one 4th-grader at Stone Mountain Elementary School in Douglas County (Colo.) School District, after being interviewed by a representative of the National Onion Association. Other students claimed to find onions tasty in salads, roasted and mixed with other things. Of course, some cited less-nutritious menu items, like dips and onion rings. “Kids probably don’t like onions, per se,” concedes Brent Craig, SNS, director of nutrition services. “But they add flavor and the kids like the final product,” he notes. It’s reasonable to expect that similar comments might be made by youngsters if asked for their opinions of garlic. But don’t assume. Instead, make time to experiment with different recipes that help children to grow more familiar with both members of this pungent pair. You can help to peel away their hesitation! CONFETTI SOUP YIELD: 100 servings PER SERVING: 94 cal., 8 g pro., 10 g carb.,3 g fiber,3 g fat,0 g sat.fat,18 mg chol., 488 mg sod., 1 mg iron, 35 mg ca. INGREDIENTS Canola oil—1⁄2 cup + 2 Tbsps. Onions, fresh—3 lbs. + 12 ozs. or 3 qts. Celery, fresh—3 lbs. + 12 ozs. or 3 qts. Carrots, fresh—3 lbs. + 12 ozs. or 3 qts. Salt—2 Tbsps. + 2 tsps. Pepper, black, ground—2 Tbsps. + 2 tsps. Fennel seed, whole—1 Tbsp. + 2 tsps. Pepper, red, crushed (optional)—2 tsps. Black-eyed peas, canned or frozen—11 lbs. +4ozs.or1gal.+21⁄2 qts.(22⁄3#10cans) or 2 gals Water—3 gals., 2 qts. Turkey ham, extra lean—6 lbs. or 3 qts. + 1 cup Kale, fresh—8 ozs. or 1 qt. + 1 cup Parsley, fresh—1 1⁄3 cups DIRECTIONS 1. Dice the onions, celery and carrots. Drain and rinse the black-eyed peas if using canned. Dice the turkey ham into 1⁄4-in.-thick pieces. Coarsely chop the kale into pieces small enough to fit in a spoon. Finely chop the parsley. 2. Heat the canola oil in a 207⁄8x173⁄8x7-in. roasting pan on the top of the stove. Add and sauté the onions and celery for 2-3 minutes or until tender. 3. Add the carrots, salt, black pepper, fennel and optional crushed red pepper. Sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes. 4. Add the black-eyed peas and water. Cook uncovered over medium heat for 20-25 minutes. 5. Add the turkey ham and kale. Cook covered over low heat for an additional 10 minutes or until the kale is tender. Heat to 165°F or higher for 15 seconds. 6. Hold for hot service at 135°F or higher. Add the parsley immediately before serving. 7. To serve: Portion with an 8-oz. ladle (1 cup). Photo, recipe & recipe analysis: Erin Boudolf, RD, school nutrition supervisor, Charleston County (S.C.) School District; Chef Craig Deihl; and Jennifer Moore and Coleen Martin (both from The Medical University of South Carolina’s Boeing Center for Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles in Children and Families), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Recipes for Healthy Kids Cookbook for Schools, http://teamnutrition.usda. gov/Resources/r4hk_schools.html *Notes: A 1-cup serving (using an 8-oz. ladle) provides the following: Legume as meat alternate—1 1⁄2 ozs. equivalent meat/meat alternate and 1⁄4 cup other vegetable or Legume as vegetable—1⁄2 oz. equivalent meat, 1⁄4 cup legume vegetable and 1⁄4 cup other vegetable. KITCHEN WISDOM SAYS . . . • Adjust the optional crushed red pepper to half of the amount called for in the recipe, from 2 tsps. to 1 tsp. • It is important not to overcook the black-eyed peas and kale, as that will ruin the color of this delicious soup. If it looks overcooked or bland, students may not try it. • We used pre-cut vegetables and used celery seed instead of the fennel seed. • Consider experimenting with other types of beans or dried peas to meet meal pattern requirements. The legume vegetable can be counted as either a meat alternate or as a legume vegetable but not as both simultaneously. This recipe makes an estimated 44 lbs. or 5 gals. + 2 qts. yield. ROASTED VEGETABLE BROWN RICE SALAD YIELD: 24 servings MARINADE INGREDIENTS Olive oil—3 ozs. Black pepper—1 Tbsp. Garlic—4 cloves Balsamic vinegar—2 ozs. VEGETABLE INGREDIENTS Tomatoes, plum—6 Squash, yellow—2 Carrots—3 Eggplant—1 Zucchini—2 Broccoli—1 bunch Peppers, red—2 Peppers, yellow—2 RICE INGREDIENTS Onion—1 Rice, brown—2 cups Balsamic vinegar—2 ozs. Water—1 qt. Vegetable base, low-sodium—1 oz. Cilantro—1⁄4 bunch DIRECTIONS 1. Dice the onion. Chop the cilantro. Dice the tomatoes, eggplant, red peppers, squash, zucchini, yellow peppers and carrots into medium-sized pieces. Cut the broccoli into florets. 2. To prepare the marinade: Combine the olive oil, garlic, black pepper and balsamic vinegar and blend well. Toss the marinade with the tomatoes, eggplant, red peppers, squash, yellow peppers, carrots and broccoli; transfer to sheet pans and roast in a 350°F oven until well browned, about 30 minutes. Remove and chill. 3. To prepare the rice: Sweat the diced onion in a small amount of water, then add the rice, water, vegetable base and stir. Cover and bake in a 350°F oven until tender (approximately 35 minutes). Remove, fluff and toss with the vinegar and cilantro and chill. 4. To serve: Combine the marinated vegetables with the rice and toss. Each serving should total a half-cup. Recipe: Hopkins School, New Haven, Conn., www.hopkins.edu, in Whole-Grain Recipes for Foodservice: 2012 Edition, Oldways/Whole Grain Council, http://wholegrainscouncil.org/files/WGFoodserviceRecipes2012.pdf *Notes: If this recipe passes the test with a small group of students, conduct a nutrient analysis. As appropriate, adjust the serving size to meet current meal pattern requirements. CHICKEN STREET TACOS YIELD: 32 servings (64 tacos) PER SERVING: 405 cal., 32 g pro., 40 g carb.,6 g fiber,13 g fat,3 g sat. fat, 68 mg chol., 1,248 mg sod., 55 mg ca., 2 mg iron INGREDIENTS Non-stick cooking spray—as needed Roasted pepper-and-onion mix, frozen— 4 lbs., 7 ozs. Chicken, shredded, frozen—5 lbs. Enchilada sauce—3 1⁄2 cups Tortillas, whole-wheat, 5-in. round—64 DIRECTIONS 1. Defrost the onion-pepper mixture on sheet pans on a speed rack. Drain the excess liquid. Spray new sheet pans with the non-stick spray and arrange the vegetables on top. Roast at 350°F for 12-15 minutes until the mix reaches 145°F. Hold at 140°F in a 4-in. half steam table pan, covered. 2. Thaw the chicken and drain any liquid. Combine with the enchilada sauce. Cover and steam until mixture reache s 165°F. Remove from the steamer and stir well. Transfer to a 4-in. half steamtable pan and cover. Hold in a hot cabinet for service. 3. An hour before service, warm the tortillas. 4. For each serving: Place 1 1⁄4 ozs. of the meat and 1 oz. of the vegetables on a tortilla. Two tacos is a single serving. Photo & recipe: National Onion Association, www.onions-usa.org Recipe analysis: Douglas County School District Nutrition Services Department, Castle Rock, Colo., www.dcsdk12.org/nutritionservices/index.htm Note: As appropriate, adjust the serving size to meet current meal pattern requirements. JAMBALAYA YIELD: 125 servings INGREDIENTS Water—26 1⁄2 cups Chicken base—3 1⁄3 Tbsps. Brown rice—15 cups Olive oil—1⁄2 cup Celery—7 lbs. Onions—7 lbs. Green peppers—7 lbs. Tomatoes, diced—1 #10 can Garlic—8 Tbsps. Cajun seasoning—1 1⁄2 cups Ham—10 lbs. Chicken—10 lbs. Marinara sauce—1 #10 can Taco sauce, prepared— 4 cups Green onions—8 ozs. Parsley, fresh—1 1⁄2 cups Black beans, canned, drained—1 #10 can Hot sauce—6 Tbsps. DIRECTIONS 1. Chop the celery, onions, green peppers, green onions and parsley. Mince the garlic. Dice the ham and the chicken. 2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 3. Prepare the rice according to package instructions, using the water and the chicken base. Hold until service. 4. In a large stockpot, heat the oil. Add the celery, onions, green peppers and tomatoes. Heat for 10-15 minutes on medium heat until the vegetables are about halfway cooked. Add the garlic and Cajun seasoning. 5. Continue to cook for an additional 3 minutes to release the flavors. Remove from heat. 6. Combine the cooked vegetable mixture with the ham, chicken, marinara sauce, taco sauce, green onions, parsley, black beans and hot sauce. Mix very well. 7. Spray steam table pans. Transfer to meat and vegetable mixture to the pans evenly and cover. 8. Bake at 350°F until the internal temperature is 165°F, approximately 20-30 minutes. Stir halfway through the baking time to heat evenly. 9. To serve: Serve the jambalaya over the rice mixture. Each serving should total 8 ozs. Recipe: Holland (Mich.) Public Schools School Foodservice Department, http://tinyurl.com/bl7sudd, in Whole- Grain Recipes for Foodservice: 2012 Edition, Oldways/Whole Grain Council, http://wholegrainscouncil.org/files/ WGFoodserviceRecipes2012.pdf *Notes: If this recipe passes the test with a small group of students, conduct a nutrient analysis. As appropriate, adjust the serving size to meet current meal pattern requirements. VEGGIE BALSAMIC PIZZA YIELD: 1 16-in pizza, divided into 8 slices PER SERVING: 404 cal., 23 g pro., 51 g carb.,5 g fiber,11 g fat,4 g sat.fat,18 mg chol., 592 mg sod., 325 mg ca., 4 mg iron INGREDIENTS Non-stick cooking spray—as needed Prepared cheese pizza, 51% whole grain, frozen*—16-in. round Onion, red—1 oz. Bell pepper, green—2 ozs. Bell pepper, red—3 ozs. Tomato—1 1⁄2 ozs. Italian seasoning blend—1⁄2 tsp. Garlic, granulated—1⁄4 tsp. Balsamic glaze—2 ozs. DIRECTIONS 1. Dice the onions, bell peppers and tomato. 2. Lightly coat a perforated pizza pan with the non-stick cooking spray. Place the frozen cheese pizza on the pan. Partially thaw in a cooler. 3. Top with the onions, peppers and tomato. Bake at 400°F for 6 minutes and rotate, then cook for an additional 6-9 minutes or until the crust is golden and heated through to a temperature of 140°F. 4. To serve: Cut into eight pieces and top with the Italian seasoning and the garlic and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Photo & recipe: National Onion Association, www.onions-usa.org Recipe analysis: Douglas County School District Nutrition Services Department, Castle Rock, Colo., www.dcsdk12.org/nutritionservices/index.htm *Notes: Schwan’s Big Daddy’s pizza can be used for this recipe. If this recipe passes the test with a small group of students, adjust the quantities for batch preparation and conduct a nutrient analysis. As appropriate, adjust the serving size to meet current meal pattern requirements. SPICY BLACK BEAN BURGER & BROWN RICE SALAD YIELD: 50 servings PER SERVING: 450 cal., 20 g pro., 64 g carb., 9 g fiber, 15 g fat, 2 g sat. fat, 0 mg chol., 400 mg sod. INGREDIENTS Brown rice, long-grain, dry—3 qts. Olive oil—1 1⁄2 cups Onions, red, large, fresh—6 Garlic cloves—38 Corn kernels, white, frozen—8 lbs. Spicy black bean burgers*—50 DIRECTIONS 1. Chop the burgers. Dice the onions. Mince the garlic. 2. Bring 25 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, just until tender, about 25 minutes. Keep hot for service. 3. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add the onion and garlic and stir until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. 4. Add the corn kernels and burger pieces to the olive oil/ onion/garlic mixture and cook, stirring, just until heated through, about 3 minutes. Combine the entire mixture with the rice and serve. Photo, recipe & recipe analysis: Kellogg’s Food Away From Home, www.fafh.com *Notes: Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean Burgers can be used for this recipe. Acording to the company: Each serving provides 2 ozs. equivalent meat/meat alternate, 1 3⁄4 ozs. equivalent grain and 1⁄4 cup starchy vegetables. KITCHEN WISDOM SAYS . . . • We recommend serving 1⁄2 cup for elementary students and 3⁄4 cup to 1 cup for secondary students. • We used yellow corn in place of white corn to add color to the recipe. Sliced carrots or broccoli florets also could be included for added color. • We used canned and drained black beans instead of the bean burgers. • We used pre-minced garlic instead of whole garlic cloves. Most of our employees do not have the knife skills to chop sufficient garlic within our time constraints. • Adults loved the taste and flavor of this dish. • This recipe could work as either a bread/grain side or an entrée. To turn it into an entrée, you could top the salad with diced, grilled chicken or diced fajita chicken. Also, 1 cup of this recipe (2 #8 scoops or 1 cup spoodle) could be served as a vegetarian entrée by using 1⁄2 cup black beans with 1⁄2 cup brown rice per serving. Alternately, the same ratio of beans and rice makes it a legume vegetable, as well as a whole-grain bread/grain. • For a black bean and brown rice recipe similar to this one developed by one of SN’s Kitchen Wisdom panelists, see www.schoolnutrition.org/snmagazinebonuscontent. BONUS WEB CONTENT Want to “sniff out” even more details about garlic and onions? Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/snmagazinebonuscontent for a list of web links to explore on your own. Patricia Fitzgerald is editor of School Nutrition. Managing Editor Cecily Walters contributed to this article. Non-recipe photos courtesy of the National Onion Association, Christopher Ranch Garlic and Patricia Fitzgerald.
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