My Recipe

Roast Duck with Plum Sauce


1 frozen whole young duck, about 4½ lb
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
ol for brushing


4 oz pickled plum (pitted and finely chopped)
4 oz Chinese brown sugar slabs (chopped)
2 oz ginger (1/4-inch slices)
4 large cloves garlic (minced)
1½ oz ground bean sauce

Plum Sauce and Seasoning:

1½ cup thick juice from cavity and water and roasting juice (if using)
1/4 tsp chicken broth mix

Thickening Solution:

1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp water


  1. Thaw frozen duck in refrigerator about 3 days in advance.
  2. Remove giblets and neck from duck and reserve for other use. Trim off all the excess fat and skin from duck.
  3. Wash duck under running water. Drain and dry with paper towel, inside and out. Rub 1 Tbsp salt over the skin of the entire duck, concentrating on the breasts and legs. Marinate for about 1 hour.
  4. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a small saucepan. Sauté garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add remaining stuffing ingredients. Stir and cook until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool.
  5. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  6. Close neck opening and fasten with poultry pin or metal skewer. Stuff body cavity with mixture from Step 4 and close cavity with poultry pin. Tie legs together.
  7. Rub 1 Tbsp of dark soy sauce all over the skin. Then brush the entire duck with oil.
  8. Place the duck, breast side up, on an oiled rack in a large roasting pan or a large rimmed cookie sheet lined with heavy-duty foil. Cover duck with foil and cook in the oven for 1¼ hour.
  9. Remove duck from the oven and pour off all the fat from the roasting pan. Raise the oven temperature to 400°F. Brush the duck again with oil. Cover with foil and cook breast side up for about 25 minutes.
  10. Remove foil and turn duck over. Brush with oil and cook for about 10 minutes.
  11. Turn duck, breast side up, one more time. Cook for another 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F (the thickest part such as breast and leg) and golden brown.
  12. Pour the stuffing mixture from the cavity into a bowl and transfer the duck to a carving board. Cover loosely with foil and leave to stand for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
  13. Discard ginger slices from stuffing mixture and add enough water to make up to 1½ cup (if using roasting juice, skim off fat and add less water). Add chicken broth mix and bring to a boil in a small saucepan. Mix thickening solution by dissolving cornstarch in water and add to sauce. Keep stirring until sauce reboils and slightly thickens.
  14. Serve duck with sauce.

Nutrition value for 3 oz cooked meat with skin and 1 Tbsp sauce:

Calorie 311, Fat 24.2 g, Carbohydrate 6 g, Fibre 0 g, Sugar 5 g, Cholesterol 71 mg, Sodium 917 mg, Protein 16 g.

Survey: The 7 Biggest Diet Trends in 2015

This year’s “What’s Trending in Nutrition” Survey from Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian surveyed more than 500 dietitians to see what they think will be the biggest trends in the coming year—and here are a few of them.

1: Seeds and nuts.

54 percent of the surveyed dietitians said that these will be the go-to superfoods in 2015 (even though they acknowledged that kale, Greek yogurt, avocado, and coconut products—like coconut oil—will continue to see an upswing).

2: Anything but beef.

The nutrition experts suggested that fish and seafood, eggs, legumes and nuts, poultry, and dairy are the healthiest, most high-quality proteins (followed by soy). The nutrition pros think red meat is less healthy—most likely due to the saturated fat, cholesterol, and high environmental demands required to produce beef.

3: Going gluten-free.

The vast majority of dietitians think gluten- or wheat-free diets will continue to be a thing in 2015. “Regardless of the lack of evidence to support eating a wheat- or gluten-free diet for weight loss, consumers believe that eliminating foods with certain ingredients will help them lose weight or be healthier,” says Jenna A. Bell, Ph.D., R.D., senior vice president and director of food and wellness at Pollock Communications. The survey actually showed that 70 percent of dietitians believe consumers will be more interested in nutrition and weight loss in 2015 than in 2014 (dietitians said that people will still be turning to “clean eating” and the Paleo diet to do that).

4: Low-fat diets will likely take a nosedive.

The overwhelming majority of dietitians predict that selecting foods that are primarily low-fat will fall by the wayside, while low-carb diets will continue surging in popularity.

5: Good fat vs. bad fat.

Eighty-four of surveyed nutrition experts agree that we should replace saturated fats with good fats (mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids). Why? “We found that dietitians are making recommendations that align with current guidelines for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association,” explains Bell.

6: Turning to blogs.

There are tons of blogs out there that dish about healthy eating—and 42 percent of nutrition experts say that that’s where many of us are getting our health info. But many of those experts also say that not all of the blogs are giving out the right info, and there may be even more misinformation out there as the new year progresses. In fact, the majority of the experts surveyed say that there the wrong info found on nonprofessional websites may be more likely to lead to confusion. The upshot: When in doubt, ask a registered dietitian, who can provide you with the most up-to-date and accurate nutrition information.

7: Reading labels more carefully.

The experts say that people are already starting to really check out labels, and we’ll do that more in 2015—specifically, looking for GMO-free designations. In fact, the dietitians predict that we’ll be looking more for organic, clean-eating, and gluten-free labels than ever before.

Source: Glamour

To Beet or Not to Beet? Researchers Test Theories of Beet Juice Benefits

Athletes who down beet juice before exercising to increase blood flow and improve performance may be surprised at the results of a recent study conducted at Penn State’s Noll Laboratory. While beetroot juice rich in nitrates did not enhance muscle blood flow or vascular dilation during exercise, researchers found that it did “de-stiffen” blood vessels under resting conditions, potentially easing the workload of the heart.

Endurance athletes have been known to consume the crimson supplement based on the belief that it may improve blood and oxygen flow in their muscles during training and competition. Some strength and power athletes consume it in hopes that it can improve their ability to withstand muscle fatigue during repeated bouts of high intensity exercise. Now, some patients are asking their doctors if they should drink the juice to lower their high blood pressure.

Those potential benefits are what prompted David Proctor, professor of kinesiology and physiology at Penn State, to test the ability of the juice to enhance blood flow to exercising muscles.

Proctor, with other researchers, found that the widely held belief regarding improved muscle blood flow did not hold up to their test. They report their results in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

Proctor and his colleagues gave subjects either a placebo drink containing beetroot juice minus the nitrate or a relatively high dose of nitrate-rich beetroot juice. They found that the latter did not enhance the natural rise in blood flow to the forearm muscles during graded handgrip exercise.

“Beetroot juice also had no effect on the dilation (widening) of the brachial artery in these volunteers,” said lead author and Penn State physiology graduate student Jin-Kwang Kim.

Nitrates, found in highest concentrations in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and beetroot, are converted naturally in the body to nitric oxide, a molecule that relaxes and widens blood vessels and affects how efficiently cells use oxygen. A number of manufacturers have found ways to liquefy beetroots and concentrate the nitrate into beetroot juice “shots.”

“Although several studies have reported indirect evidence of improved muscle oxygenation during exercise after consuming nitrate-rich supplements such as beetroot juice, none of these studies directly measured blood flow to the contracting muscles,” Proctor said. “Our study was the first to directly test this possibility in humans.”

“The absence of any direct effect on forearm muscle blood flow or artery dilator function was not due to a lack of absorption of the supplement into the blood stream,” Proctor added.

“Measurements of the breakdown product of the nitrate in the participants’ blood indicated that these participants absorbed the nitrate from the drink and converted it to nitrite, the precursor to nitric oxide,” Proctor said.

The investigators also observed a direct correlation between nitrite levels in the blood and the slowing of participants’ arterial pulsation velocity, an indication that the supplement did indeed have a biological (artery de-stiffening) effect.

“However, there are circumstances unique to our experimental design that should be considered, as with any study, before drawing any broad conclusions,” Proctor said. “We speculate that the null effects on muscle blood flow observed in this first study resulted from two factors.”

“Subjects were young individuals with blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the ‘very healthy’ range, he noted. “Therefore, the lack of improvement in muscle blood flow and vessel function following nitrate supplementation could result from the fact that these subjects had well-preserved vascular endothelial function to begin with.”

“A second contributor could be the relatively small range of forearm exercise intensities we examined in this study.”

“It is possible that any blood flow enhancing effect of dietary nitrate will only be apparent during higher intensity and fatiguing work intensities; conditions within the muscle that favor the conversion of nitrite to nitric oxide,” Proctor said.

Building on this study, Proctor and his colleagues are currently conducting an investigation of the effects of beet juice/nitrate supplementation on vascular function in older adults, including those with elevated blood pressure and impaired muscle blood flow during exercise.

Source: The Pennsylvania State University

Pumpkin and Salmon Soup


4 cups chicken stock (recipe to follow)
2 lbs pumpkin, skin and seeds removed and diced
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp corn flour
1/4 cup cold water
1¼ cups 35% cream
4 oz butter, cut into small pieces
4 oz smoked salmon, cut into thin strips
2 tbsp 35% cream for garnish
freshly chopped chervil for garnish

Chicken Stock

2 lbs poultry pieces, skin removed and finely chopped
8 cups water
1 tbsp chopped onion
1 tbsp chopped leek, white part only
1 tbsp chopped celery
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. To prepare stock: In medium saucepan, combine poultry and water and bring to a boil. Add vegetables and herbs. Simmer for 1/2 hour, or until reduced by 1/4, occasionally skimming fat off top. Remove from heat and strain through fine sieve. Season to taste.
  2. In medium saucepan, combine chicken stock, pumpkin and sugar; bring to a boil. Cook, covered, about 20 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft. Remove from heat and puree in blender until smooth. Return to saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently, as pumpkin burns quickly.
  3. Meanwhile, mix together corn flour and water. Remove soup from heat and whisk in corn flour mixture. Return to heat and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add 1¼ cups cream; bring to simmer. Remove from heat and transfer to blender, again. On high speed, blend in butter a little at a time, until foamy and creamy consistency. Return to heat. Season to taste.
  5. To serve, pour in hot soup bowls, stir in a little cream and top with salmon and chervil.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Gusto!

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