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Food Matters: Austinite's diabetic cookbook bright, accessible

Staff Writer
Austin 360

It's been almost six years since Bobby Flay surprised Angela Shelf Medearis for the first season of his Food Network show, "Throwdown! with Bobby Flay," and the national media appearances just keep on coming for the Austin cookbook and children's book author. In between trips to New York to appear on "Dr. Oz" or the "Today" show, Medearis continues to write books and teach cooking classes

Her newest book, "The Kitchen Diva's Diabetic Cookbook: 150 Healthy, Delicious Recipes for Diabetics and Those Who Dine With Them" (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $24.99), tackles a subject she knows all too well. "My sweet husband, Michael, has diabetes, going on 18 years. My mom, dad and sister are diabetic, and I can't even count the number of friends and cousins that have diabetes," she says. On a recent book tour, so many people were asking her specifically for recipes that were suitable for diabetics that she decided to dedicate an entire book to dishes that include ingredients that naturally keep your blood glucose from spiking.

"Most diabetic cookbooks are horrifying," she says. "They are so boring and depressing. I wanted this to be a bright, beautiful and informative book with recipes that are accessible no matter who is preparing them." She worked with a registered dietitian to make sure the recipes were nutritionally sound and teamed with food photographer Penny De Los Santos, who recently moved from Austin to New York, to make sure the pictures were better-than-average, too. One of the recipes is this jerk chicken salad that uses the spice mixture that ultimately defeated Flay way back in 2006.

Medearis will have a book signing at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28 at the Barnes and Noble in Round Rock (2701 Parker Road), as well as a Juneteenth event at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center on June 19. For more events and information about the book, go to divapro.com.

Jerk Chicken Salad with Tropical Fruit Dressing

For dressing:

1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1/4 cup fresh squeezed pomegranate juice

1 Tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil

2 tsp. stevia granulated sweetener or agave syrup

1/2 tsp. grated orange or lime zest

1/4 cup fresh orange juice or lime juice

For marinade:

1/4 cup no-sugar-added apple cider vinegar

3 Tbsp. stevia granulated sweetener or agave syrup

2 to 3 Tbsp. habanero hot sauce (or your preference)

2 tsp. ground allspice

2 tsp. onion powder

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 green onions, including green parts, chopped

4 (4-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Olive oil cooking spray

1 (3- to 6-oz.) bag prewashed mixed salad greens

1 1/2 cups chopped or shredded radicchio

8 figs, quartered, or 12 green or purple seedless grapes, halved

1 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks in natural juices

Pomegranate seeds, for garnish

To make the dressing, mix together dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

To make the jerk marinade, mix together vinegar, sweetener, hot sauce, allspice, onion powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, salt, pepper and green onions in a small bowl until well blended.

Spray the chicken with the olive oil cooking spray. Place the chicken in a resealable plastic bag. Pour the jerk seasoning marinade over the chicken and press and shake the bag until all the pieces are thoroughly coated. Press out any air, seal the bag, and place it in a baking pan to prevent leaks. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Discard the marinade and allow the chicken to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Spray a large skillet with the olive oil cooking spray and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook the chicken for about 6 minutes, on each side, or until browned and no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the skillet, and let it rest for 6 to 7 minutes. Thinly slice each chicken breast.

Toss together the greens, radicchio, figs or grapes and pineapple. Divide the salad among 4 plates. Arrange the warm chicken slices on top of each salad. Drizzle each with 1 Tbsp. of the tropical fruit dressing. Reserve extra dressing for other salads. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, if desired. Serves 4.

- From "The Kitchen Diva's Diabetic Cookbook" by Angela Shelf Medearis (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $24.99)

Slow Food Texas hosts film screening, potluck

- Slow Food Texas is hosting a free film series and potluck at the UT Concho Community Garden, 2108 Concho St., that continues Thursday with a screening of "Forks Over Knives." Potluck starts at 6 p.m., with the movie starting around 6:30 p.m. On April 26, you can catch "The Real Dirt on Farmer John" at 6 p.m. More information at http://on.fb.me/HAtTez .

- Faraday's Kitchen Store, 1501 RM 620 North, has a number of cooking class on Saturday to teach customers how to use the popular Vitamix blender. The classes ($25) start at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and you can sign up by calling 266-5666. faradayskitchenstore.com .

Round Rock's Sunday farmers market moves

The farmers market in Round Rock that used to take place at Dell Diamond has a new home, a new website and a new day of the week. The Round Rock Farmers Market is now from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Sundays at St. Richard's Episcopal Church, 1420 E. Palm Valley Blvd. Market manager Carla Jenkins has also merged the websites for both her Cedar Park Farmers Market and this market at texasfarmersmarket.org, where you can find details about vendors and special events. The Saturday farmers market in Round Rock, which is run by the Georgetown Farmers Market Association, takes place from 9 a.m. to noon in the Scott & White Hospital parking lot at the corner of Oakmont Drive and University Boulevard. That market recently became a year-round farmers market. You can find more information at gtfma.com. For a list of area markets, farm stands and community-supported agriculture programs, go to austin360.com/go/farmersmarkets .