Indian-style Stewed Yam and Kidney Beans

Ingredients

2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp Garam Masala
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp rosemary, dried or fresh
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
one 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cups cubed yams
1 cup water
one 14 oz can kidney beans, drained
2 cups cubed oranges

Method

  1. Place the oil, ginger, garlic, and fenugreek seeds in a big pot over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cumin, garam masala, bay leaves, oregano, rosemary, turmeric, and salt. cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, yams, and water. Increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 7 to 9 minutes.
  3. Add the kidney beans and oranges and cook for 1 minute. Turn the heat off and cover with a lid for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Everyday Indian

If You’re Going to Eat Your Veggies, Make It These Five

Leslie Beck wrote . . . . .

There is no better time to increase you vegetable intake than now. And it’s not a hard task, as this is the time of year when seasonal fresh produce abounds. A produce-rich diet is associated with a lower risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, cataract, macular degeneration, cognitive decline and digestive-tract cancers.

Eating local produce has nutritional advantages. Locally grown vegetables (and fruit) have a higher nutritional quality than out-of-season vegetables shipped to supermarkets over far distances. They’re usually sold 24 hours after harvest, at their peak ripeness and nutrient content. Studies have shown the vitamin C content of red peppers and tomatoes, for example, is higher when they’re picked ripe.

Vegetables and fruit grown for far-away markets are often harvested as early as possible (before reaching full nutritional quality) to withstand damage from mechanical harvesting and transport. Produce that spends considerable time on the road also has more time to lose nutrients before reaching the grocery store. As well, farmers growing for a local market choose plant varieties that favour taste and nutrition over shipability.

I advise my clients to eat at least four cups of vegetables a day – and a variety of them – to increase their intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. That said, there are some summer vegetables that deserve a special mention when it comes to their unique nutrient content. Here are my top five summer picks, for June through September.

Asparagus

Available until the end of June in most parts of the country, asparagus is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s high in fibre, vitamin A, vitamin B6, thiamine (B1), vitamin K and potassium and contains a unique combination of anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.

Its claim to fame, though, is folate, a B vitamin that helps in the formation of red blood cells and keeps the DNA of our cells in good repair. One serving of asparagus (1/2 cup or six spears) delivers one-third of a day’s worth of folate (adults need 400 micrograms daily). Not bad for only 20 calories.

Enjoy asparagus grilled on the barbecue; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Save leftover grilled asparagus for sandwiches and salads.

Cauliflower

In season for most of the summer, this cruciferous vegetable has far more nutrition to offer than its pale white colour suggests. One cup of chopped cauliflower provides 2 grams protein, 2 grams fibre, 60 micrograms of folate and more than half a day’s worth of vitamin C (51 milligrams) – all for a mere 27 calories. It’s also a good source of potassium and vitamin K.

But there’s more: Cauliflower, like broccoli, is an outstanding source of glucosinolates, phytochemicals that, once consumed, are transformed into compounds called isothiocyanates that help the liver detoxify and eliminate cancer-causing substances.

To increase the availability of cauliflower’s glucosinolates, eat it raw or lightly cooked. Toss chopped cauliflower in salads and coleslaw. Serve raw cauliflower florets as crudités. Add cauliflower to an omelette with feta cheese, baby spinach and halved cherry tomatoes.

Swiss chard

Like its popular green cousin kale, Swiss chard is hard to beat on the nutrition front. Chard delivers plenty of vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium and potassium. And it’s packed with nitrates, natural compounds shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the amount of oxygen needed during athletic performance.

Swiss chard is also an outstanding source of lutein and zeaxanthin, phytochemicals that protect your retinas against cataract and macular degeneration. One cup of cooked chard serves up 20 milligrams of lutein and zeaxanthin. While there’s no official recommended intake for lutein or zeaxanthin, experts believe that consuming 6 mg to 15 mg a day is optimal for eye health.

Throw a handful of Swiss chard, raw or cooked, into a smoothie or protein shake. Add chard leaves, instead of lettuce, to sandwiches and wraps. Top a barbecued pizza with sautéed Swiss chard.

Sweet red peppers

Red bell peppers are actually green bell peppers that have ripened and matured on the vine, taking on a red colour and milder, sweeter taste. As they mature, red peppers also take on more antioxidants: per serving, red peppers have eight times more beta-carotene and one-third more vitamin C.

In fact, red peppers offer more immune-boosting vitamin C than most citrus fruit. One medium red pepper delivers two day’s worth (152 mg); one medium orange, while still an excellent source, has 70 mg of vitamin C. Red peppers also add B vitamins (including folate), vitamins A and E and potassium to your diet.

Eat red pepper strips with hummus, add it raw or roasted to spinach salad (its vitamin C helps your body absorb more iron from greens), or serve it grilled and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Eggplant

Its dominant nutrients include folate, B vitamins, vitamin A and potassium. Eggplant is also a decent source of soluble fibre, the type that helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol in the bloodstream.

You need to eat its skin, though, to get many of eggplant’s beneficial phytochemicals. Eggplant owes its dark-purple hue to anthocyanins, antioxidants thought to play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and cancer. One particular anthocyanin in eggplant skin, called nasunin, has been shown to prevent cancer tumours from growing.

Grill thick slices of eggplant and serve them on their own or in a burger. Turn eggplant into a low-calorie, crustless pizza: Top sliced eggplant with tomato sauce, shredded cheese and your favourite toppings.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Sorghum: The New Must-have Gluten-free Ancient Grain

Gluten-free White Sorghum Meal

Jane Drummer, Registered Dietitian . . . . .

Why is sorghum the new must-have ancient grain for your menu? In addition to being gluten-free, sorghum is a non-GMO, nutrient-dense whole grain with a variety of culinary applications. The whole grain is small and behaves similarly to seeds such as quinoa but with less fat. It also has a neutral colour, a chewy texture, and a slightly sweet flavour, making it suitable for a range of recipes.

Unless you have lived in the mid to southern USA or follow a gluten-free diet, you may not be familiar with sorghum’s versatility. With the trend to eat healthier and the need for more nutritious gluten-free options, this “new” ancient grain looks set to take centre stage on the culinary scene. And by ancient, I mean a grain whose first recorded remains, dating back to 8000 BCE, were found in the Nabta Playa archaeological site in southern Egypt! It’s thought that it arrived to the Americas in the 1700s. Today, having travelled the globe, sorghum is the fifth most consumed food worldwide behind rice, wheat, maize, and potatoes.

Sorghum and Your Health

When it comes to nutrition, sorghum measures up very well. Eating whole grains such as sorghum as part of a healthy, balanced diet has long been associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. One of the latest pieces of research to support this found that eating more whole grains may reduce the risk of death, especially from cardiovascular disease. The study concluded that replacing refined grains with whole grains, such as sorghum, is also likely to lower mortality.

An interesting attribute of sorghum’s nutrition profile is its high level of antioxidants, including anthocyanin. These assist in combating oxidative stress and promote immune health. A strong immune system is a necessary piece for your body’s defense against certain diseases such as cancer. Sorghum is also an excellent source of dietary fiber, which promotes digestive health. Dr. Nancy Turner, an Associate Professor at Texas A&M University, is currently researching a number of sorghum’s digestive health properties, including its ability to increase satiety (the feeling of fullness) and its potential to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Stay tuned for further research findings about sorghum, as the grain becomes more recognized for its impact on human health.

Cooking, Popping and Baking

Traditionally, sorghum has been used in the gluten-free realm. Currently, both the whole grain and flour are gaining traction in a number of conventional dishes. I was first introduced to sorghum’s culinary versatility by Iron Chef Marc Forgione in New Orleans last year. At that time, Chef Forgione showed us how sorghum can be cooked, popped, and ground into flour for baking, all methods he uses at his restaurants in New York.

How to use it

  • Sorghum is small but hearty and chewy, making it ideal for pilafs, risottos, and cold salads. When cooking it on the stove top as an alternative to couscous or rice, you generally use one cup of sorghum to three cups of water or stock. However, be sure to follow the directions on the package. If you have time in the evening or on the weekend, cook up a batch and split it between different dishes. For instance, you can use it in place of rice or pasta in soups and stews.
  • You can also pop sorghum in the same way as corn. For a fun alternative, why not serve popped sorghum at your next movie night!
  • Typically, sorghum flour has been used as a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour in breads and baked goods. It not only provides increased nutrition to these recipes but it has the ability to improve the texture of gluten-free flat breads, pizza crusts, pancakes, waffles, muffins, cookies, cakes, and risen breads. Enjoy experimenting with it!

Where to buy it

  • Depending on where you live, sorghum may be readily available both in retail and bulk packaging. I have found that it’s available at most specialty grocery stores as well as some ordinary supermarkets.
  • Sorghum flour is sold at many bulk baking supply stores. If you need to buy the flour pre-packaged, check out a specialty food store such as Whole Foods.

Sorghum on Your Menu

Now you know the many ways sorghum can appear on the culinary stage, why not think about building it into your menu a couple of times a week? Here are some delicious recipes for inspiration!

Breakfast

Who doesn’t love homemade waffles with maple syrup on the weekend? Try this gluten-free recipe for Sorghum Belgian Waffles made with sorghum flour and cornstarch. Top the waffles with fresh blueberries for an extra punch of antioxidants.

Lunch

Take advantage of the batch of sorghum you have already cooked and include it in this refreshing lunchtime recipe for Sorghum Tangy Pear Salad.

Supper

Do you have a pilaf in your recipe portfolio? Why not try this savoury Sorghum Pilaf with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon? You can serve it on its own or along with chicken or turkey.

Are you asking yourself, “How have I not been eating this gluten-free, non-gmo, whole grain?” Sorghum has been consumed in other parts of the world for thousands of years. Now, as sorghum moves closer to center stage on the culinary scene, get ready to taste more of this must-have grain on menus in Canada and the USA.

Source: Huffington Post

Opinion: America Needs a Real Definition of What a ‘Natural’ Food Is

Nick Stockton wrote . . . . .

Earlier this week, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut both announced they are going natural. Goodbye Yellow-5. Ciao trans fat. Sayonara unsustainable palm oil. “Today’s customers want simplicity, transparency and choice in the foods they eat,” proclaimed the Bell’s broadsheet. And while it’s great that fast food giants are listening to the public, there’s one problem: In terms of describing food, “natural” is almost completely meaningless.

Online, a chorus of voices sing about natural foods, but with little harmony. It might mean antibiotic-free to some, while others target GMOs. Then there’s the confusingly powerful cries for chemical-free foods (everything is chemicals, people). Even the FDA admits there’s no satisfying answer. That wishy-washiness is a problem. OK sure, maybe nobody has a definition of natural, but we all kind of agree what it means. But what if that shared-ish definition changes? What if next year natural means my hamburger contains no robot parts?

Granted, the Bell and the Hut (both owned by Yum! Brands) each offered some specifics, but without a standardized, enforceable definition, there’s no guarantee that they’ll follow through. Or maybe they will, and in that case the lack of an enforceable definition for natural will hurt them, as other companies looking to cash in on natural’s now-enriched branding exploit the label with crappy products.

“There isn’t any firm definition associated with natural vs. artificial”, says Carolyn Ross, a sensory scientist at Washington State University. Instead, says Ross, it’s up to food companies to come up with their own internal guidelines for the label. When I asked Taco Bell to outline theirs, a representative told me that the FDA makes the rules about what is a natural flavor. That’s technically true (Section 101.22 a-3, if you’re interested). But the only flavors that the FDA excludes from its definitions of natural are ones that are exclusively created by chemical synthesis.

For a flavor to qualify as natural, it has to come from a plant or animal enzyme. But the FDA makes no distinction as to how many bubbling beakers these enzymes pass through on their way to the final product. Nor does it distinguish if the enzyme came from a plant or animal that had been genetically modified, doused with pesticides, or filled with antibiotics. Hell, with modern synthetic biology, this could mean the vanilla in your morning latte was burped up by a specifically engineered strain of yeast.

And it’s not like there’s no other model that the administration could use to guide its rule-making. For instance, the USDA’s standards for organic foods—which the US enacted in 2000—outline biological benchmarks, technical practices, and clear definitions of what is and isn’t allowed in the production of organics. It established a process for certification, and in the long run set the stage for a whole organic sub-industry.

Barbara Rasco, a food scientist and industry legal expert from Washington State University, says the natural label could be similarly organized. “We are going to agree that natural might mean the absence of preservatives, absence of certain colors, absence of certain flavors,” she says. Rasco prefers that these definitions come from the FDA, but says the food industry could also come up with their own guidelines.

After all, having a guideline would be in many companies’ best interests. “Sometimes companies use the Natural label in good faith, because they can’t meet all of the strict guidelines on the Organic label,” says Rasco. These companies are trying their best to be responsible, in the sense that something is minimally processed, locally sourced, or has certain organic characteristics.

Then again, because there’s no way to tell for sure, another company could piggyback on the hard work others have done to raise the value of the natural branding. Suppose the Bell and the Hut do a superb job of cleaning the chemicals out of their supply chain; there’s no guarantee that some other company can’t also use natural to brand a very similar product, which might be completely antithetical to what many Taco Bell customers consider natural.

Centralized guidelines or not, how is Taco Bell ever going to make an all-natural version of the neon insanity that is the Doritos Locos Taco? Rest assured, they’re not. The mad science behind those, and any other co-branded menu items will remain free from any natural alterations.

Source: WIRED


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