CameO Apple and Swiss Chard Tart for Ovarian Cancer Awareness!

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Last week marked the first day of Autumn for us, in the Northern Hemisphere. The Autumn Equinox, Harvest Home, Mabon, or whatever you like to call it, is officially my favorite day of the year, because it marks my favorite season of the year. Autumn for me is like the beginning of a new year, a re-birth of sorts, a time for inner reflection as we turn inwards while hunkering down for colder weather. There is much to celebrate – cooler temperatures, fireplaces, time with family, cozy evenings sipping hot beverages, snuggling up in blankets and reading stories, beautiful colors, and seasonal fare. I feel like fall foods, are some of the most universally seasonal eating people do – hearty soups and stews, pumpkins and other winter squashes, roasted root vegetables, and fruits like pears and apples figure prominently for most people without even having to think about it. There is something about the crisp air that hearkens to change.

To celebrate the change of seasons, I always like to make a special dinner on that day. So for this equinox I prepared Apple and Swiss Chard Tart. You may remember me making this before, but this time, I prepared my own gluten free crust, using a combination of garbanzo bean, fava bean and rice flours. I also used Cameo apples, one of my favorites. It goes wonderful with a nice slice of sharp cheddar – another ingredient in the pie. We always have the Seriously Sharp Cabot Cheddar in our fridge. It is amazing to eat plain, but also goes great in cooking. It also makes us feel closer to the home in our heart, the state of Vermont.

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Because this is such a comforting, yet healthy dish, I wanted to make it in honor of something else, besides just the changing of the guards so to speak. Just like last year, when I baked it for Breast Cancer Awareness. This year I wanted to make it for the O Foods Contest for Ovarian Cancer Awareness. This is its second year running and is done to raise awareness about Ovarian Cancer. The O Foods tradition is in honor of our friend, award-winning pastry chef Gina DePalma,  author of Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen. Gina has been fighting ovarian cancer for the past year and a half, and in addition to physically battling the disease, she has also started the Cowgirl Cure Foundation to raise awareness and money for research as well. She is an amazing woman, and I wish her all the best. She will be judging this years O Foods Contest!!! But since I am posting this on the last day of the contest (and I apologize profusely for that), you can also participate by just donating money to the Cowgirl Cure Foundation.

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We raised a toast to Gina and Autumn by sipping some nice and sparkling Italian Prosecco with our tart dinner! If you are looking for some delicious fall flavors, this tart has it all, apples, chard, cheddar and caramelized onions. For the recipe, click here . As for the crust recipe, I adapted it from a recipe on About.com. The flavor was amazing, but the crust did stick to the tart pan. So I would suggest using butter (I used oil) to grease the pan with. If anyone else has other suggestions for greasing tart pans, I would love to hear them!

O Foods Contest Winner! and another O Foods Recipe: PierOgi Pasta

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I have the very distinct privilege of announcing one of the O Foods Recipe Winners, from those participants who were featured on Bleeding Espresso. We had a really hard time deciding as there were so many great recipes. So Michelle and I decided to share our top three and go from there – but we both had the same exact top three:
Olive Ascolane from The Flavors of Abruzzo , Octopus in a Stew from Spanish Recipes and Chard stuffed with Riso Arborio and Portobello Mushrooms from Feed Yourself.
Uh oh! How to chose now???

So I decided to enlist the help of a real expert – our new pup Peperoncino!

I saw on Wendy’s blog that she recently had a contest and her puppy, Marco chose the winner, which I thought was brilliant. So I put the recipes on a slip of paper, put them on the floor and the first one he sniffed was the winner! Well it looks like Peperoncino wants some Octopus! So congratulations to Nuria, from Spanish Recipes who has won a $50 gift certificate from Amazon, with her Octopus Stew! :)

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Thanks again to all of you who participated and be sure to stop over to Nuria’s blog for some more great Spanish Recipes!

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PierOgi Pasta

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Here is a great fall pasta dish, that is so satisfying and chock full of veggie goodness. My best friend Jen, who lives in MA is Polish and all the women in her family get together the Saturday after Thanksgiving and make Pierogi for Christmas. I have always thought this is a wonderful family tradition. I love Pierogi, but have never made it myself. A long time ago, when I still lived in MA I was at Jen’s house…she was making a dish for dinner that she called Lazy Man’s Pierogi, which was from what I can remember: sauteed cabbage, onions and mushrooms tossed with sauerkraut, cottage cheese and egg noodles. It looked and smelled great and I always put it on the back burner for a “someday recipe”. Well that day came. But I decided to change it up a little.

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I sauteed the cabbage, onion and mushrooms like she did. Then I added sauerkraut, some leftover tomato sauce and some Greek Yogurt. I cooked it all down until it was soft but still crunchy and then added whole wheat tortellini to it and continued to cook it for another 10 minutes so the tortellini had time to steam in the juices. I seasoned everything with salt, pepper, cumin and paprika. It turned out great and made enough to feed a small army! We loved it and it is something I will certainly be making down the road again! Plus I get to see Jen a week from today, when we head up north for our yearly trip to New England! YAY! :)

O Foods Round Up Part 3 – Awareness!

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Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone around the world. I know you came here expecting to see this week’s Finest Foodies Friday picks, however, instead I give you something that deserves to take its place today – the roundup of blogs for the O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Contributors. Which is another way to check out some great new blogs! :)

I must say how touched I was seeing all the participation, enthusiasm and outpouring of generosity surrounding this event. It just re-affirms how special and how much there is a sense of community in the blogosphere. We’ve raised $415, gathered 45 fabulous O Food recipes, and hopefully reached many women with important information about ovarian cancer, particularly regarding signs and symptoms .

These fine blogs listed helped us, me, Michelle from Bleeding Espresso and Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy publicize this event, and get the word out about Ovarian Cancer awareness – so thanks guys! We appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts.

Suitcase Contents a blog about the life of a Colombian nomad.

Art and Bob Live in Italy , the adventures of a couple who moved from Kentucky, USA to Umbria, Italy.

My Life’s Joys!, an Italian American who loves blogging.

Milanese Masala ,The life of a Desi-Canuck mom living in Italy.

Don’t forget that you can still donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. We’re going to leave the donation page active the rest of the year and we’ll keep checking back on it. Help us spread the word! Stumble the round-up pages! You can even raise awareness through jewelry – be sure to visit Bleeding Espresso for more info on that

Please be sure to visit Bleeding Espresso and Ms. Adventures in Italy for all the delicious O Foods recipes that bloggers all over the globe put together for this event!

This guy sure thought they were great!

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Thanks again everyone for all your help and support.

To Your Good Health!

O Foods: Oatmeal Carrot Date Bread, the Banana Bread Alternative!

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Here is my O Foods recipe. If you have not heard about the O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness month contest, please check the details on my last post!

Quick breads are like cake to me. I am not a big fan of icing and so for me the subtle sweetness that quick breads offer is perfect for me. I love the idea of banana bread and there are variations on banana bread wherever you turn, but I am not a lover of bananas. For some reason I just never really got into them. I find that their taste overpowers everything and for me they mess up and overwhelm and ruin the flavor of smoothies to quick breads. I understand that they add sweetness and bulk, and are great for binding ingredients together. But I am still plagued by childhood memories of the banana in my lunch box that made my turkey sandwich taste like bananas, and my chips too!

So when I came across a recipe for oatmeal date carrot mini muffins, I knew that I wanted to experiment with making it a quick breakfast bread. It is chock full of great ingredients that are healthy and delicious! I changed it up a bit using what I had and it turned out moist, flavorful and filling. This is a great bread for breakfast or snacking and perfect for an afternoon spot of tea (or coffee).

This is adapted from floridagirlinsydney‘s blog Deviously Delicious
Don’t forget to start coming up with your O Foods recipe! :)

Read the rest of this entry »

O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Contest!

Some of you may remember last year’s Dolce Italiano contest to spread the word about the wonderful cookbook by the 2008 Bon Appetit award-winner for best Pastry Chef Gina DePalma.

A few months ago, I found out from some my other Dolce Italiano participants that Gina was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was undergoing a whirlwind of treatment. A few of us decided that we wanted to lend Gina our support by raising awareness through the blogosphere – because that is what bloggers do best! Michelle from Bleeding Espresso got in touch with Gina to see how we could help.

Gina was already on our wavelength thinking about what she could do to raise ovarian cancer awareness and money to fight the disease. So a few of us from the Dolce Italiano contest got together and we proudly announce:

O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of Gina DePalma, author of Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen and Executive Pastry Chef of Babbo Ristorante in NYC, who was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy, Jenn of The Leftover Queen, and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso are asking you to donate to the:

Ovarian Cancer Research Fund

and then, out of the goodness of your hearts and to be eligible for the OFoods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Contest, please do the following:

  1. Post a recipe to your blog using a food that starts or ends with the letter O (e.g., oatmeal, orange, okra, octopus, olive, onion, potato, tomato) and include this entire text box in the post;

    OR

  2. If you’re not into the recipe thing, simply post this entire text box in a post on your blog to help spread the word about the event and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

    AND

  3. Then send your post url [along with a photo (100 x 100) if you've made a recipe] to ofoods[at]gmail[dot]com by 11:59 pm (Italy time) on September 30, 2008.

We will post a roundup and announce prize winners on October 3.

Prizes:

  • 1 Recipe Prize for best “O food” concoction: $50 gift certificate to Amazon;
  • 1 Awareness Prize for only publicizing event: Copy of Dolce Italiano cookbook.

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From the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund:

  • Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women; a woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is 1 in 67.
  • The American Cancer Society estimates that 21,650 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the U.S. in 2008 and about 15,520 women will die from the disease.
  • The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and subtle, making it difficult to diagnose. There is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer but there are tests which can detect ovarian cancer when patients are at high risk or have early symptoms.

  • In spite of this patients are usually diagnosed in advanced stages and only 45% survive longer than five years. Only 19% of cases are caught before the cancer has spread beyond the ovary to the pelvic region.

  • When ovarian cancer is detected and treated early on, the five-year survival rate is greater than 92%.

Please donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
and help spread the word!

Please join us today by spreading the word about Ovarian Cancer Research!