My Recipe

Thai Spicy Vermicelli Salad


6 oz lean ground pork
8 oz frozen small or medium shell-on shrimp
150 g bean thread vermicelli
2 tsp garlic (minced)
4 iz onion (very thinly sliced)
1 Tbsp shallot (minced)
2 tsp or to taste fresh Thai bird chili (minced)
3 Tbsp or to taste cilantro leaves (chopped)

Pork Marinade:

1½ tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp oil


3-1/3 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
2-2/3 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce for chicken


  1. Defrost frozen shrimp in refrigerator overnight or in a colander under running cold tap water. Peel shrimp and devein, if any. Dry shrimp with paper towel.
  2. Add marinade to pork. Set aside for about 15 minutes.
  3. Cook bean thread vermicelli in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove. Rinse under running cold tap water until vermicelli is completely cooled. Drain thoroughly. Cut into shorter sections and set aside.
  4. Mix dressing ingredients.
  5. Heat wok and add 3 Tbsp oil. Sauté garlic until fragrant. Add shrimp. Toss until colour turns pink. Remove. With remaining oil in wok, stir-fry pork until no longer pink. Remove.
  6. Put bean thread vermicelli in a large bowl or platter. Add dressing ingredients and toss well. Mix in cooked shrimp, cooked pork, onion, shallot, chili and cilantro. Toss to combine. Serve cold.

In Pictures: Hello Kitty Chinese Cuisine

Food Container Plastics Linked to Hypertension

Chemicals supposed to be safe replacements for harmful chemicals in plastics are linked to hypertension and insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes, find scientists from NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

The phthalate compounds in question – di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) and di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP) – are replacements for another chemical, di-2-ethylhexylphlatate (DEHP), which the same researchers proved in previous research to have similar adverse effects.

The phthalates are meant to strengthen plastic wraps and processed food containers, among other household items.

The two new pieces of research are published in the journals Hypertension and The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

In the Hypertension study, for every 10-fold increase in the amount of phthalates consumed, there was a 1.1 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) increase in blood pressure.

In the other study, one in three adolescents with the highest DINP levels had the highest insulin resistance, while for those with the lowest concentrations of the chemicals, only 1 in 4 had insulin resistance.

Growing concerns over environmental chemicals and insulin resistance

Study leader Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a professor at NYU Langone, says:

“Our research adds to growing concerns that environmental chemicals might be independent contributors to insulin resistance, elevated blood pressure and other metabolic disorders.”

Prof. Trasande would like the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act updated: “Our study adds further concern for the need to test chemicals for toxicity prior to their broad and widespread use, which is not required under current federal law.”

Other research from Prof. Trasande in 2013 confirmed a link between DEHP exposure and hypertension in Americans. DEHP was used as a plasticizer but banned in Europe in 2004 – DINP and DIDP are designed to replace it. Perhaps the safer alternatives lie in not using plastics at all.

“Alternatives to DIDP and DINP include wax paper and aluminum wrap; indeed, a dietary intervention that introduced fresh foods that were not canned or packaged in plastic reduced phthalate metabolites substantially.”

Prof. Trasande adds that there are “safe and simple” steps that can limit exposure to phthalates, including:

  • Do not microwave food in plastic containers or covered by plastic wrap
  • Do not wash plastic food containers in the dishwasher, where plasticizers can leak out
  • Avoid phthalates by avoiding plastic containers labeled with the numbers 3, 6 or 7 inside the recycle symbol.

The results of the research come from blood and urine sample analysis of participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Since 1999, NHANES has surveyed 5,000 volunteers annually about risk factors and diseases. As part of the NYU Langone investigation, blood and urine samples were analyzed from a diverse group of children and adolescents aged between 6 and 19 years.

Blood and urine samples were collected once between 2008 and 2012, and the study volunteers’ blood pressure was similarly measured. Diet, physical activity, gender, race/ethnicity, income, and other factors independently associated with insulin resistance and hypertension were also factored into the researchers’ analysis.

Source: Medical News Today

Appetizer with Quail and Foie Gras


2 quails
about 3/4 cup olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
sea salt and black pepper
1 thyme sprig
2 tbsp butter
1O oz foie gras, cut into 1/2-inch slices


2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
5 thyme sprigs
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
generous 1/3 cup dry white wine
generous 1/3 cup Madeira
4 tsp honey
4 tsp soy sauce
2/3 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup veal stock


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Remove the legs and breasts from the quails and set aside. Remove the giblets from the carcasses and chop up the bones. Put the bones in a roasting pan, drizzle over a little olive oil, and roast for 15 minutes until browned.
  2. Season the quail breasts and legs and place in a pan with the thyme. Pour over enough olive oil to cover and place over low heat. Poach slowly for 20 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Let cool.
  3. For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a pan and saute the shallots with the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes until softened and golden brown. Add the quail bones, wine, and Madeira. Let bubble until reduced to a sticky glaze. Add the honey and soy sauce and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the stocks and reduce by two-thirds to a syrupy consistency. Strain into a clean pan.
  4. Pan-fry the quail’s legs in a little olive oil, turning until browned. Add to the sauce in the pan and braise over low heat for 10 minutes until the meat is tender. Keep warm.
  5. Sear the quail’s breasts in a little olive oil and butter in a skillet until golden brown all over. Remove to a plate. Drain excess fat from the pan, then return to the heat. Season the foie gras and pan-fry for 30 seconds on each side until lightly caramelized at the edges.
  6. To serve, drizzle a little sauce over each plate. Place a quail breast on each plate and top with a slice of foie gras. Sprinkle with chopped black truffle if you like, and snipped chives. Serve the braised quail legs on the side.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Gordon Ramsay’s Maze

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