Is Duck Fat Actually Healthy for You?

Some people swear duck fat is healthy, and even save it from the roasting pan to use as a spread. Here’s the surprising truth about this fat

“All in all, duck fat is a good fat,” says Alejandro G. Marangoni, a professor in the department of food science at the University of Guelph. Good fat includes monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and bad fats include saturated. “Duck fat is pretty high in monounsaturated fat, and thus not too high in saturates,” he says. “I actually have a jar of it in my fridge.” So consider ordering that duck confit next time you go out for a fancy dinner. As you can see from this breakdown of one tablespoon (15 mL), duck fat ranks between butter and olive oil.

Source: Best Health

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Beef Short Ribs Braised with Tequila

Ingredients

4 lb beef short ribs
1 tbsp Kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups dark tequila
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced yellow onion
1 cup diced celery ribs
3 diced jalapeho peppers, halved
10 fresh cilantro sprigs
3 fresh thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp black peppercorns
6 cups beef broth

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Cook ribs, in batches, in hot oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from heat. Remove ribs from Dutch oven and drain.
  3. Add tequila to Dutch oven, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of pan. Add carrots and next 7 ingredients. Add ribs and broth.
  4. Cover and bake at 400°F for 2 to 3 hours or until meat is tender enough to fall off the bone.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The ABCs of Great Flavor at Home

Americans Are Eating More Butter Than Ever

Leslie Patton wrote . . . . . .

Hipsters are dropping it into cocktails and coffee. A major food distributor is packing it into a trendy new pastry. Bob Evans Farms Inc. is slipping it into waffles and McDonald’s Corp. onto its signature muffins.

What’s this new craze? It’s none other than your grandparents’ standby, butter. Yes, butter, it turns out, is having a moment. Americans are forecast to eat a whopping 8 percent more of the stuff than last year, reaching 940,000 metric tons, almost the weight of three Empire State Buildings. That’s the most since at least 1967, Department of Agriculture data shows.

Once reviled as public-health enemy No. 1, butter is now being pitched as a more wholesome alternative to margarine and transfats. It helps that dietary experts are now training their sights on the evils of sugar, shifting the spotlight away from butter’s artery-clogging glory.

Diners don’t need much convincing when eating delights from distributor US Foods Holding Corp., where butter sales jumped almost 7 percent last year even as overall revenue fell slightly. The company is pitching a pastry, called the Kouign Amann, a 330-calorie variation on a caramelized croissant. It’s one-fourth butter.

“It has this umami quality to it where your mouth just waters, and you want to keep shoving it into your face,” said Rick Gresh, director of U.S. culinary operations for AceBounce in Chicago, a restaurant that will be selling the pastry in June.

Dieters Beware

Like all diet trends, this one may be going too far, cautioned Kristin Kirkpatrick, a dietitian who manages nutrition programs at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

“Butter is still a fat and still has lots of calories,” she said. “If you’re cooking something like an egg, or you’re sautéing something, I think that olive oil is a better option.”

Another strike against butter: escalating costs. Futures prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange are up 14 percent over the past five months and are the most expensive ever for this time of year at $2.19 a pound.

Butter’s popularity soared in the first half of the 20th century when supplies were plentiful. Shortages and rationing of the fat during World War II, however, paved the way for a margarine boom that peaked in the 1970s and ’80s.

No more. Every day, Siena Tavern in Chicago prepares about 500 baseball-sized, golden-fried dough balls called coccoli. The decadent $17 appetizer is served with stracchino cheese, prosciutto di parma and truffle honey.

“It’s basically butter and egg, and that’s it,” said Benjamin Dirck, sous chef at Siena, operated by DineAmic Group, which owns five other restaurants. “Butter is what gives it the richness and makes it nice and flaky.”

Italian restaurant chain Fazoli’s, with 214 U.S. outlets, is ridding its twice-baked lasagna and Alfredo sauce of oil and margarine in favor of butter. Chief Marketing Officer Donna Josephson considers butter worth the extra cost. “There’s an investment,” she said. “But it’s better.”

Wendy’s Co. remains a holdout. The burger chain tried switching entirely to butter for a potato topping, but customers weren’t happy when it didn’t melt as quickly as their previous spread. The company is sticking with its old substance, made with soybean oil, coconut oil and butter.

Bulletproof — a fashionable seller of food and supplements — recommends plopping a couple tablespoons of unsalted grass-fed butter into coffee to “energize your mind and body.”

And don’t forget a classic combination: infusing alcohol with butter. In the trade, it’s known as a fat-washed cocktail. At Back Bay Harry’s in Boston, it’s a popular concoction. One drink, called The King of the North, graces the top of a featured list: old forester bourbon, contratto rosso and, well, butter.

Source: Bloomberg

In Pictures: Foods of The Clove Club in London, U.K.

Modern British Cuisine

The Best Restaurant in U.K. in the List of the World’s Best 50 Restaurants 2017

Study: Listeria Bacteria can Hide Inside Tissue of Romaine Lettuce

A Purdue University study shows that the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes can live inside the tissue of romaine lettuce, suggesting that conventional post-harvest sanitization practices might not be sufficient to kill the potentially lethal pathogen.

Research led by Amanda Deering, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Food Science, showed that the bacteria could live within lettuce in every stage of the plant growth process, residing inside the plant tissue. L. monocytogenes can gain entry into the plant through cracked seed coats, small tears in root tissue during germination and damaged plant tissue. The researchers found that exposing lettuce to the bacteria could lead to infection of plant tissue in as little as 30 minutes.

“Knowing this can happen, we need to keep it on our radar as we continue to follow good agricultural practices,” Deering said.

When ingested, the bacteria can be deadly to those with vulnerable immune systems, including pregnant women, the elderly, infants, or those with HIV. L. monocytogenes can also cross the placental barrier in pregnant women, which can trigger a miscarriage.

“For immune-compromised consumers, it’s important to remember, that canned or cooked produce is better,” Deering said.

While commonly associated with meat, outbreaks of listeriosis – the disease associated with the bacteria – have also been caused by contaminated celery, cantaloupe, sprouts and apples. The 2011 outbreak from cantaloupe was the second most deadly foodborne bacterial outbreak in U.S. history. The contaminated fruit was minimally processed and consumed raw. The bacteria can only be killed by heat.

Symptoms of listeriosis may take as long as two months to appear, and by that time, most people don’t connect the illness to something they ate, Deering said.

After the 2016 recall of contaminated packaged salads, Deering, Haley Oliver, associate professor of food science, and Archana Shenoy, a graduate research assistant, began to investigate the persistence and internalization of L. monocytogenes in romaine lettuce, the fastest growing crop in the U.S. in terms of production, export and consumption.

Their research showed L. monocytogenes in romaine lettuce can persist up to 60 days or until the time of harvest. The bacteria could be found throughout the plant tissue, indicating yet another way foodborne pathogens can reach consumers, especially in ready-to-eat foods.

At the Purdue Center for Food Safety Engineering, researchers are working on detection technologies as they shift their focus to what can happen to the seed and seedlings before planting. They aim to find pre-harvest control strategies to prevent produce contamination, particularly as sanitizers can only treat produce externally.

“Continued education, training and research to minimize exposure of human foodborne pathogens in our soil, water, seeds, plants and produce have become my priority in research,” said Deering.

Source: Purdue University


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