Slow-roasted Pork

Ingredients

3 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
3 lb pork roast, cut from leg or loin
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 pumpkin, cut into chunks
12 mushrooms, whole or sliced
4 cloves garlic, whole
10 pearl onions
2 fresh tomatoes, crushed
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
4 cups beef broth or chicken broth
2 tbsp chopped green onions

Method

  1. Heat butter in a roasting pan and cook onions for 1 to 2 minutes, until transparent. Brown roast on all sides and season with salt and pepper. Add pumpkin, mushrooms, garlic, pearl onions, tomato and parsley. Add broth, cover and cook in a 350 °F (180 °C) oven for 1 hour.
  2. Lower oven temperature to 250 °F (120 °C) and season with salt and pepper again, if needed. Cook 1 hour, then reduce temperature to 175 °F (80 °C). Cook, uncovered for 1 hour more.
  3. Remove roast from oven after 3 hours of cooking, place on a serving dish and decorate with garnish of chopped green onions. Roast can be served with sautéed new potatoes or fresh vegetables.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Source: Manitoba Dairy Farmers

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Obesity May Speed Aging of the Liver

Heavier people might be more prone to liver cancer, insulin problems, researchers say

Extra pounds cause the liver to age faster, potentially explaining why obesity is linked to diseases like liver cancer and insulin resistance, new research suggests.

It’s not clear if this aging directly translates to higher risks of certain diseases. Still, it’s possible that “people whose liver is much older than expected need to be screened more carefully for various diseases even if they managed to lose a lot of weight,” said study author Steve Horvath, a professor of human genetics and biostatistics at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health.

Epigenetic aging is the aging rates of various tissues in the body. “According to the epigenetic aging clock, the vast majority of tissues, cell types and organs age at the same rate,” Horvath said. But these aging rates may differ from person to person.

“Some people are clearly older than others. Genetics plays a big role,” Horvath explained. “Twin studies show that about 40 percent of the variation in epigenetic age is genetic.”

The goal of the new study was to “understand why we age,” Horvath said. “One way of tackling this question it to understand which factors relate to the epigenetic age of different human tissues. Although many people probably suspected that excessive weight ages the body, there was no objective way of demonstrating such an effect,” he said.

The researchers reached their conclusions by studying 1,190 samples of human tissue, including samples from more than 130 livers. They found that the epigenetic age of the liver grew by 3.3 years for each 10 “body mass index” units. The BMI is a measurement of whether a person’s weight and height are proportionate; 10 units refers to the difference between BMIs of, say, 35 and 25.

“Assume there is a man who is 5-foot-8 and weighs 130 pounds. This slender man would have a body mass index of 20,” Horvath said. “Compare him to a man of the same age and height who weighs 230 pounds. The liver of this obese man — who has a BMI of 35 — would probably be five years older than that of the slender man.”

The researchers found that weight-loss surgery didn’t have any effect on the age of the liver. However, the study only looked at surgeries within the previous nine months, Horvath noted.

The researchers don’t know how excess weight may affect the liver, but they found some clues. “We found a very strong adverse effect on liver tissue but we did not find any effect in fat, muscle or blood,” Horvath said.

While an association between obesity and accelerated liver aging was found, a cause-and-effect link was not proven.

Dr. Trygve Tollefsbol, director of the Cell Senescence Culture Facility at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said the study “provides a unique way of looking at aging not only in terms of aging of the liver but also in terms of epigenetic aging.” The findings are important because a liver that ages more quickly may make a person more likely to develop cancer, Tollefsbol added.

Horvath said the next step for research is to understand if epigenetic aging rates will help doctors diagnose diseases in obese people or at least figure out which diseases they should be monitored for. “Ultimately, this line of research might lead to therapeutic interventions that not only keep the liver young but also the rest of the body,” he said.

The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: HealthDay


Today’s Comic

Indian-style Vegetarian Curry with Coconut Sauce

Ingredients

1/3 cup cooking oil
1/2 tsp asafoetida or garlic powder
2 cups puréed tomatoes (4 medium)
3/4 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp crushed cayenne pepper
1/2 tbsp turmeric
1 cup water
2 lbs celery root, peeled and cut in 1-inch dice
1 large cauliflower (about 2 lbs) cut into medium florets
1 cup coconut milk
7 oz rapini (without the tough bottom stems), cut in 1/2-inch lengths

Method

  1. In a large pan, heat oil over medium high heat for 45 seconds. Add asafortida and cook for 30 seconds.
  2. Mix in tomatoes, salt and spices. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until oil glistens on top.
  3. Add water, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in celery root, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in cauliflower, cover and cook for 5 more minutes. Pour in coconut milk, then bring back to a boil and stir in rapini. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and serve hot with rice.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Indian Cooking

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Could This Biochemist’s Veggie Burger Be The Closest Thing To Real Meat?

It’s fair to say that our species, in general, loves to eat meat. But unfortunately, this practice is not without consequences. It’s unsustainable, often involves poor treatment of animals and has an enormous impact on the environment. It’s because of these reasons that scientists are going to great lengths to come up with smart alternatives that can satisfy both meat lovers and vegetarians alike.

This time last year, the world’s first test-tube burger was cooked and eaten at a news conference in London. The burger, which apparently tasted pretty good, was produced from stem cells that were extracted from cows and then cultured in the lab. But this burger is far from close to reaching our shelves as it cost a whopping $330,000.

Opting for a wildly different strategy, Stanford biochemist Patrick Brown has come up with a weirdly wonderful way to produce environmentally friendly beef burger alternatives at a fraction of the previous cost. Unlike the former burger, his patties are entirely meatless, but they look and taste like meat. That medium-rare delight pictured above is actually one of his burgers, which are now being manufactured by his company Impossible Foods.

The secret to Brown’s burgers is an ingredient called heme which can be extracted from a protein found in leguminous plants called leghemoglobin. As the name suggests, leghemoglobin is similar to hemoglobin which is found in our blood. Both of these proteins are involved in transporting oxygen which is facilitated by the heme groups. Hemes consist of an iron atom centered inside an organic ring, and it is this iron that bestows the molecule with oxygen-attracting properties. When oxygen binds to the iron atom, it becomes oxidized, turning the whole protein more red and hence making the burger look bloody. But heme is not just useful in the aesthetics of this burger, it also helps to create flavors akin to those found in meat.

Brown spent a while tinkering with the recipe to get the taste right, adding various different plant ingredients, and what he has come up with is pretty impressive and certainly looks like meat. However, apparently the texture is a bit more turkey-like than beef-like. Still, it only cost $20 to make, which is significantly cheaper than the test-tube burgers. Brown hopes that with further development, his burger will be so beefy that even meat lovers will want it.

Source: IFL Science