My Recipe

Stir-fried Shrimp with Fennel

Ingredients:

14 oz frozen large shell-on shrimp
14 oz fennel
3 oz onion
3 oz green bell pepper
1 Tbsp garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp shallot (minced)
2 tsp curry powder

Shrimp Marinade:

scant 1/4 tsp salt
dash white ground pepper
1/2 tsp cornstarch

Sauce:

1-1/3 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chicken broth mix
1 tsp cornstarch
4 Tbsp water

Method:

  1. Thaw frozen shrimp in refrigerator overnight or in a colander under running cold tap water. Peel shrimp and devein, if any. Mix shrimp with 1 Tbsp cornstarch. Immediately rinse off cornstarch with running cold tap water. Dry shrimp with paper towel. Add shrimp marinade. Refrigerate if desired.
  2. Discard the fragile fronds from the fennel and use only the white bulbous base and celery-like stems. Cut the base into two halves and in turn into quarters. Discard the center core and slice base diagonally.
  3. Cut onion into thin slices and bell pepper into thin strips.
  4. Mix sauce ingredients.
  5. Heat wok and add 6 Tbsp oil. Toss shrimp in hot oil until colour turns pink. Remove and drain.
  6. Pour off and reserve remaining oil in wok and leave about 1 tsp behind. Stir-fry bell pepper for 30 seconds. Remove.
  7. Add 2 Tbsp oil to wok. Stir-fry fennel for 30 seconds. Add onion, stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Add 6 Tbsp water and 1/4 tsp salt. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes or until fennel is tender and water is absorbed. Remove.
  8. Rinse and dry wok if required. Reheat wok and add 1 Tbsp oil. Sauté garlic and shallot until fragrant. Add curry powder, sauté for 10 seconds. Return fennel, onion and bell pepper to wok. Add sauce ingredients. Keep tossing until sauce reboils. Add shrimp and 2 tsp cooking wine, toss to combine. Remove and serve.

Fry And Fry Again: The Science Secrets To The Double Fry

Angus Chen wrote . . . . .

I’ve been trying to get the perfect crust on my fried chicken for a while now. To be specific, I’ve been working on a dish called Chongqing Sichuan spicy chicken or chicken with chilies. This can be one of the most transformative experiences to ever come out of a wok, and I’ve been chasing a crisp, almost glassy crunch on my chicken for a long time.

But science can unlock many secrets, and cooking is science. To understand how to get the effects I want, there are a couple of universal rules of frying to nail down, according to Scott Andrew Paulson. He’s a physicist at James Madison University, and he’s been through a similar journey trying to create the perfect French fry.

That glorious sizzle is from water boiling away from the potatoes, beginning the fry’s construction of a great crust.

As soon as any food drops into oil, there’s that sizzle and burst of bubbles cradling your fries. “A lot of people say the oil is boiling,” Paulson says. But what’s actually happening, he says, is “you’re boiling the water very near the surface of the food.” Frying is first and foremost a dehydration process. This means that the drier your food is when you start frying, the better your crust will be.

But there’s a problem. The water just below the crust of your food can’t escape easily. As it vaporizes and expands, it creates a kind of bubble trapped under the oil. Aside from helping to puff up certain batters, like the pancake batter on these fried Oreos, this stops the crust from becoming very thick. You could keep it in the oil longer, but that runs the risk of overcooking.

Baking powder and expanding water vapor help puff up the batter on these Oreos. The famous Maillard reactions are turning them golden-brown.

The secret around this problem is to fry your food twice. Paulson fries his potatoes at 350 degrees for a few minutes. Then he freezes them and fries them again.

“The double fry thing works for other food, too,” says Kenji Lopez-Alt, a food columnist at Serious Eats and author of The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. Moisture in the center of the food migrates to the surface after the food cools and the surface gets soggy again. Then you boil off that moisture again on the second fry.

There are a couple of possible reasons why this works. One is there’s already less water in the food after the first fry.

The second reason is that the first fry changes the microscopic architecture of your food. During frying, oil pushes into the food through air pockets that are, in the beginning, warped and twisted channels.

As the cooking progresses, “those pathways are becoming simpler, merging with each other,” explains Pawan Takhar, a food engineer at the University of Illinois, who studied the dynamics of frying potatoes. On that second fry, these straightened, simple pathways make it easier for water to escape, giving you a drier, crisper fry.

This knowledge has completely changed my chicken game.

There’s one last science tip. Once the food starts to cool, that bubble of vaporized water inside your food pops and turns back into water, Takhar says. That creates a suction force that pulls any surface oil deep into the food, making it greasier. So, mop up any excess oil on the food immediately after frying.

Source: npr

In Pictures: Chinese Yee Hing Teapots

Losing Weight with a High-protein Diet Can Help Adults Sleep Better

Overweight and obese adults who are losing weight with a high-protein diet are more likely to sleep better, according to new research from Purdue University.

“Most research looks at the effects of sleep on diet and weight control, and our research flipped that question to ask what are the effects of weight loss and diet – specifically the amount of protein – on sleep,” said Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutrition science. “We found that while consuming a lower calorie diet with a higher amount of protein, sleep quality improves for middle-age adults. This sleep quality is better compared to those who lost the same amount of weight while consuming a normal amount of protein.”

These findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which is affiliated with the American Society for Nutrition. The research was funded by Beef Checkoff, National Pork Board, National Dairy Council, Purdue Ingestive Behavior Research Center and National Institutes of Health.

A pilot study found that in 14 participants, consuming more dietary protein resulted in better sleep after four weeks of weight loss. Then, in the main study, 44 overweight or obese participants were included to consume either a normal-protein or a higher-protein weight loss diet. After three weeks of adapting to the diet, the groups consumed either 0.8 or 1.5 kilograms of protein for each kg of body weight daily for 16 weeks. The participants completed a survey to rate the quality of their sleep every month throughout the study. Those who consumed more protein while losing weight reported an improvement in sleep quality after three and four months of dietary intervention.

A dietitian designed a diet that met each study participant’s daily energy need and 750 calories in fats and carbohydrates were trimmed per day while maintaining the protein amount based on whether they were in the higher- or normal-protein group. The sources of protein used in the two studies varied from beef, pork, soy, legumes and milk protein.

“Short sleep duration and compromised sleep quality frequently lead to metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and premature death,” said Jing Zhou, a doctoral student in nutrition science and the study’s first author. “Given the high prevalence of sleep problems it’s important to know how changes to diet and lifestyle can help improve sleep.”

Campbell’s lab also has studied how dietary protein quantity, sources and patterns affect appetite, body weight and body composition.

“This research adds sleep quality to the growing list of positive outcomes of higher-protein intake while losing weight, and those other outcomes include promoting body fat loss, retention of lean body mass and improvements in blood pressure,” Campbell said. “Sleep is recognized as a very important modifier of a person’s health, and our research is the first to address the question of how a sustained dietary pattern influences sleep. We’ve showed an improvement in subjective sleep quality after higher dietary protein intake during weight loss, which is intriguing and also emphasizes the need for more research with objective measurements of sleep to confirm our results.”

Source: Purdue University

What You Eat Can Influence How You Sleep

A new study found that eating less fiber, more saturated fat, and more sugar is associated with lighter, less restorative, and more disrupted sleep.

Results show that greater fiber intake predicted more time spent in the stage of deep, slow-wave sleep. In contrast, a higher percentage of energy from saturated fat predicted less slow-wave sleep. Greater sugar intake also was associated with more arousals from sleep.

“Our main finding was that diet quality influenced sleep quality,” says principal investigator Marie-Pierre St-Onge, PhD, a research associate in the department of medicine and Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. “It was most surprising that a single day of greater fat intake and lower fiber could influence sleep parameters.”

Study results are published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

“This study emphasizes the fact that diet and sleep are interwoven in the fabric of a healthful lifestyle,” says American Academy of Sleep Medicine President Nathaniel Watson, MD, MSc, who wasn’t involved in the study. “For optimal health, it’s important to make lifestyle choices that promote healthful sleep, such as eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly.”

The study also found that participants fell asleep faster after eating fixed meals provided by a nutritionist; these were lower in saturated fat and higher in protein than self-selected meals. It took participants an average of 29 minutes to fall asleep after consuming foods and beverages of their choice, but only 17 minutes to fall asleep after eating controlled meals.

“The finding that diet can influence sleep has tremendous health implications, given the increasing recognition of the role of sleep in the development of chronic disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease,” St-Onge says.

The randomized crossover study involved 26 adults—13 men and 13 women—who had a normal weight and an average age of 35 years. During five nights in a sleep lab, participants spent nine hours—from 10 PM to 7 AM—in bed, sleeping for seven hours and 35 minutes on average per night. Objective sleep data were gathered nightly by polysomnography. Sleep data were analyzed from night three, after three days of controlled feeding, and night five, after one day of ad libitum food intake.

According to the authors, the study suggests that diet-based recommendations might be used to improve sleep in those with poor sleep quality. However, future studies are needed to evaluate this relationship.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine


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