Gadget: Device for Sous Vide Cooking

Anova Precision Cooker with Blue Tooth and WiFi Connectivity

Watch video at Vimeo (2:15 minutes) . . . . .

Source: ANOVA

Check out other immersion sous vide cookers

Sansaire . . . . .

Joule . . . . .

Thai-style Fried Noodles


4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
100 g pork, cut into slices
4 large shrimps, peeled, deveined, with tails intact
1 tablespoon dried shrimp
2 tablespoons pickled white radish, finely chopped (optional)
50 g firm tofu, diced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
150 g rice-stick noodles, thicker ones preferably, soaked at least 15 minutes in warm water, then drained well
2 eggs, beaten
50 g bean sprouts
3 tablespoons crushed peanuts
2 tablespoons chopped garlic chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves
1/2 teaspoon roasted chili flakes, optional
lemon or lime wedges for garnish


  1. Heat oil in a wok. Saute garlic until golden. Add pork, increase heat and stir-fry until cooked.
  2. Add shrimps, dried shrimp and pickled radish and continue to stir-fry. Stir in tofu. Reduce heat. Add lemon juice, fish sauce and sugar, stirring to dissolve. Add noodles and stir-fry briefly.
  3. Push everything in the wok to one side and, adding a little oil, quickly add beaten eggs. Once they begin to set, gently scramble them.
  4. Place most of the bean sprouts and a handful of crushed peanuts, garlic chives and coriander leaves on top of the noodles. Stir-fry to combine with scrambled eggs and the noodles. Remove to serving platter.
  5. Add remaining bean sprouts, peanuts, garlic chives, coriander, chili flakes and the lemon wedges before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Thai Cooking Class

Cute Omelet Rice

Opinion: Splitting the Pros and Perils of Genetically Modified Foods

Leslie Beck wrote . . . . .

On Nov. 19, the U.S. FDA approved a genetically engineered Atlantic salmon as safe for human consumption. The AquAdvantage salmon, genetically modified so that its growth hormone remains continually active, reaches market size considerably faster than conventionally farmed salmon.

Genetically modified (GM) foods aren’t new. Since 1994, Health Canada has approved more than 120 GM foods, from apples and squash to soybeans and canola oil.

Unless your diet includes only foods labelled non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) or certified organic, you are probably eating GM foods. Whether that’s a bad thing is a matter of ongoing debate. Here’s what you need to know about GMOs and GM foods.

What is genetic engineering?

Genetic engineering allows scientists to transfer one or more genes from one organism (e.g. plant, animal or microbe) to another organism. The resulting organism is said to be a GMO because it has one or more genes from an unrelated species.

In most cases, the new gene gives the organism a useful trait. Genetically altered crops are more resistant to disease, pesticides, cold temperatures and/or drought. GM corn and soybeans, for example, have been given genes from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a bacterium that produces proteins that kill insects. These GM crops are able to produce the same toxic proteins and protect themselves from disease-causing insects.

What are the benefits of GM foods?

Food crops engineered to tolerate insects, disease, pesticides, dry soil and extreme temperatures will produce higher yields and, as GM food advocates contend, can help feed our growing global population.

Depending on the crop and the introduced trait, GM crops can also benefit the environment by reducing pesticide use.

Genetic engineering can also give plants qualities that affect their shelf life, taste or nutritional profile. Some soybeans, for instance, have been modified to produce healthier oil.

Golden rice, genetically modified to contain high amounts of beta-carotene, has been developed as a potential way to combat vitamin A deficiency in poorer countries.

Besides salmon, are other GM animal foods in the food supply?

No. The AquAdvantage salmon is the first animal food to be allowed in the U.S. food supply. (It’s not expected to arrive in American grocery stores for at least two years.)

Health Canada has not yet approved any GM animal foods. But that doesn’t mean it won’t.

Scientists at the University of Guelph have genetically engineered a line of Yorkshire pigs, which have been submitted for regulatory approval from Health Canada and the U.S. FDA. The pigs excrete up to 70 per cent less phosphorus in manure than regular pigs, making them more environmentally friendly. (Phosphorus can pollute streams, rivers and lakes, killing off marine life.)

Which foods in Canada are genetically modified?

To date, the Canadian government has approved more than 120 GM foods. The four GM crops grown in Canada are soybean, canola, corn and sugar beets. That means food products made from these crops – including corn flakes, corn chips, canola oil, margarine, soy beverages, tofu and table sugar – are considered GM foods.

Food ingredients that come from GM crops include cornstarch, caramel colour, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), sugar, maltodextrin, dextrose and lecithin are added to thousands of foods. (It should be noted, though, that when a GM crop is processed into certain ingredients such as HFCS, sugar or corn oil, virtually all of the DNA and protein – including the engineered gene – is eliminated.)

Genetically modified papaya and zucchini are approved for import from the United States. So is GM cottonseed oil, which may show up in cereals, breads, potato chips and snack foods.

Arctic apples, approved in March, 2015, and expected to reach Canadian grocery stores by late 2016, are genetically altered so they don’t turn brown when sliced.

Are GM foods safe to eat?

The potential health risks of GM foods remain theoretical. Opponents of genetically engineered foods contend they could give rise to allergies and antibiotic resistance and question their long-term safety to human health.

According to numerous regulatory agencies and scientific bodies, including Health Canada, the U.S. FDA, the European Food Safety Agency and the National Academy of Sciences, there is no evidence that GM foods pose any health risks to people.

Yet, there are no continuing epidemiological studies investigating the potential health effects of long-term GMO consumption. (Since GM foods are not labelled in North America, such a study is impossible to conduct.)

Do GMOs pose a threat to the environment?

It’s possible that crops engineered to tolerate pesticides could breed with weeds and lead to the development of so-called superweeds, which would require increased pesticide use.

Contamination of organic and conventional crops with GMOs, harm to insects that are not pests and loss of plant biodiversity are among other environmental concerns.

How are GM foods regulated in Canada?

Health Canada regulates the approval and sale of GM foods through the Novel Foods Regulation. Companies that wish to bring a GM food or GM crop seed to market are required to submit detailed scientific data to Health Canada, whose scientists then assess if the food is safe and won’t harm the environment.

How can I avoid eating GM foods?

In Canada (and the U.S.) GM foods are not required to be labelled unless the introduced gene poses a safety concern from allergens or a change in nutrient content. (GMO labels are mandatory in the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.)

Companies can, however, voluntarily label foods as “GMO-free or “does not contain GMOs.” If you want to avoid GMOs, you can also buy certified organic foods, which cannot be grown or produced with GMOs.

If you are unsure about a food, call the manufacturer to ask if GMOs are used to produce it.

Source: The Globe and Mail

What Your Father Ate Before You Were Born Could Influence Your Health

There is increasing evidence that parents’ lifestyle and the environment they inhabit even long before they have children may influence the health of their offspring. A current study, led by researchers from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, sheds light on how.

Researchers in Associate Professor Romain Barrès’ laboratory compared sperm cells from 13 lean men and 10 obese men and discovered that the sperm cells in lean and obese men, respectively, possess different epigenetic marks that could alter the next generation’s appetite, as reported in the medical journal Cell Metabolism.

A second major discovery was made as researchers followed six men before and one year after gastric-bypass surgery (an effective intervention to lose weight) to find out how the surgery affected the epigenetic information contained in their sperm cells. The researchers observed an average of 4,000 structural changes to sperm cell DNA from the time before the surgery, directly after, and one year later.

“We certainly need to further examine the meaning of these differences; yet, this is early evidence that sperm carries information about a man’s weight. And our results imply that weight loss in fathers may influence the eating behaviour or their future children,” says Romain Barrès from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research.


“Epidemiological observations revealed that acute nutritional stress, e.g. famine, in one generation can increase the risk of developing diabetes in the following generations,” Romain Barrès states. He also referenced a study that showed that the availability of food in a small Swedish village during a time of famine correlated with the risk of their grandchildren developing cardiometabolic diseases.

The grandchildren’s health was likely influenced by their ancestors’ gametes (sperm or egg), which carried specific epigenetic marks – e.g. chemical additions to the protein that encloses the DNA, methyl groups that change the structure of the DNA once it is attached, or molecules also known as small RNAs. Epigenetic marks can control the expression of genes, which has also been shown to affect the health of offspring in insects and rodents.

Molecular carrier

“In our study, we have identified the molecular carrier in human gametes that may be responsible for this effect,” says Barrès.

By detecting differences in small RNA expressions (where the function is not yet determined) and DNA methylation patterns, the researchers have proven that weight loss can change the epigenetic information men carry in their spermatozoa. In other words, what is transmitted in the father’s sperm can potentially affect the development of a future embryo and, ultimately, it can shape the child’s physiology.

“We did not expect to see such important changes in epigenetic information due to environmental pressure,” says Barrès. “Discovering that lifestyle and environmental factors, such as a person’s nutritional state, can shape the information in our gametes and thereby modify the eating behaviour of the next generation is, to my mind, an important find,” he adds.

If we consider it in an obesity context, a worldwide heritable metabolic disorder which is sensitive to environmental conditions (diet and physical activity) the discovery that weight loss in fathers-to-be potentially affects the eating behaviour of their offspring is ground-breaking.

“Today, we know that children born to obese fathers are predisposed to developing obesity later in life, regardless of their mother’s weight. It’s another critical piece of information that informs us about the very real need to look at the pre-conception health of fathers” says Ida Donkin, MD and one of the lead authors of the paper. She continues, “And it’s a message we need to disseminate in society.”

“The study raises awareness about the importance of lifestyle factors, particularly our diet, prior to conception. The way we eat and our level of physical activity before we conceive may be important to our future children’s health and development,” says Soetkin Versteyhe, co-first author of the paper.

It is still early days in this field of research, but the study disrupts the current assumption that the only thing our gametes carry is genetic information, and there is nothing we can do about it. Traits that we once thought were inevitable could prove modifiable, and what we do in life may have implications not only for our own health but also the health of our children and even our grandchildren. This work opens up new avenues for investigations of possible intervention strategies to prevent the transmission of disorders such as obesity to future generations.

Source: University of Copenhagen

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