What’s for Dinner?

Home-cooked Japanese Dinner

The Menu

Baby Leaves Salad with Ponsu and Bonito

Cooked Daikon and Wakame

Grilled Flounder


Seared Salmon with Baked Fennel and Tarragon


6 baby fennel, trimmed, halved
sea salt
Freshly ground black peppercorns
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup fresh tarragon leaves
2 tsps finely grated lemon rind
6 Atlantic salmon fillets, about 180 g each


  1. Place fennel in large baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper Add stock, wine, tarragon and rind, bake in slow oven (150°C) about 40 minutes or until fennel is tender.
  2. Cook salmon, in batches, in oiled frying pan until lightly browned on both sides and cooked as desired. Serve salmon with fennel mixture

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Simply Lite Food

Why These Nachos Are Worth $30 a Plate

Kate Krader wrote . . . . . .

Would you pay $30 for a plate of nachos?

Your answer should be generally be negative, unless you’re one of those people who likes their food dusted in gold. (In which case, have we got the $1,000 ice cream sundae for you.)

There is an exception to this rule, however: I’m here to make a case for the $30 nachos at the month-old Empellon Midtown, the creation of Alex Stupak, who reigns over a small Empellon empire. Each outpost focuses on a different aspect of Mexican food, from the forward-thinking Cocina to the casual, taco-centric al Pastor. But for years, Stupak resisted the calls to serve nachos.

At his midtown location, Stupak decided that if he was going to do nachos, he would go big. Here, they’re stocked with chunks of crab and tongues of sea urchin, drizzled with a “queso” made from more uni and pureed with softened butter to create a creamy, slightly tangy sauce. Seafood nachos sound like something to be avoided at most restaurants; they are terrific here because the smoky flavor of the roasted garlic and chipotle salsa pulls the dish together. Plus the thick, crunchy chips, made from house-made tortillas (which are, in turn, made from ground-in-house masa) have a compelling corn flavor that goes so well with the sweet seafood.

What to Order

The crab nachos aren’t the best thing at Empellon. That title probably goes to the spit-roasted beef tacos, stuffed with juicy fragments from a gyro-styled, mountain-sized hunk of beef shoulder. (The shoulder, layered with dry-aged beef fat, slowly spins in the restaurant kitchen’s window and acts as a powerful magnet for people walking down 53rd Street.) Also be sure to get a side of hash brown tacos—little tortillas stuffed with crispy strands of potato, roasted poblanos, and a sharp, tomatillo ketchup. It’s a powerful argument for steak and potatoes.

But you want to get the nachos, and not just because they’re so tasty. They’re also an exceptional deal, not just at the new Empellon—where prices reflect midtown rents (tacos start at $14 for two)—but also in that neighborhood. A lot of valuable seafood is scattered on top of those tortilla chips. Specifically, Stupak arranges a dozen pieces of premium Hokkaido uni on each serving, along with three ounces of Maryland lump crabmeat. If you ordered 12 pieces of sea urchin sushi at the nearby Sushiya, the cost would be $72; at Blue Fin, across town, it would come to $118.

Stupak says he’s not losing money on the dish, though he admits that its food costs are dangerously high. He makes up for the loss with other dishes, particularly the guacamole and the seven-salsa snack that servers offer as soon as you sit down. “Avocados aren’t cheap,” said Stupak. “But if you can have guacamole and salsas on every table for $21, that definitely pays the rent. Well, it’s not there yet, but we’re trying.”

Midtown Dining, Reimagined

The chef designed the nachos, and the entire menu, to riff on dishes you typically find in midtown restaurants. The nachos are a Mexican-inflected take on a seafood platter. “It’s a fun dish,” Stupak noted. “Midtown dining rooms are historically meant to be fancy, but when fancy chefs put burgers on their menu, it’s what people want to eat. I wanted to make nachos like a cool, sophisticated but fun, midtown dish.” It’s one of the best sellers among the starters.

Unsurprisingly, Stupak has no qualms about serving expensive chips and cheese. “I love dishes that seem emotionally unsophisticated, that you might feel guilty for ordering. But then there you are at the bar, eating $30 nachos, drinking a $15 cocktail, and you’re happy. It’s not even a money thing; it’s an easing of cultures, it’s giving Mexican cuisine an edge. If I hadn’t taken this space, someone would be serving a burger at this bar. And we’re not serving a burger. Ever.”

Source: Bloomberg

Gluten-free Diet Should not be Eaten by People Who are not Coeliac, Say Scientists

A 24-year long study published in The BMJ this week has said people without coeliac disease shouldn’t be cutting out gluten from their diets as it could mean they are missing out on whole grains.

The researchers warn that promotion of gluten-free diets for the purpose of coronary heart disease prevention among asymptomatic people without coeliac disease should not be recommended.

The trend of gluten-free or low gluten diets has increased recently due to beliefs that gluten can cause risk of chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease.

A growing trend

Gluten is a storage protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats, and can cause inflammation and intestinal damage to those with coeliac disease.

Sufferers of coeliac are also at a higher risk of coronary heart disease, which can be reduced with a gluten-free diet.

Recently, growing worry has formed that gluten can have detrimental health effects including heart disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome and neuropsychiatric symptoms, regardless of coeliac status.

It is as a result of these concerns that the trend of gluten-free has become so popular.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the adoption of a gluten-free diet by non-coeliac sufferers has risen more than threefold from 0.52% of people to 1.69%, since 2009-10 to 2013-14.

In 2013, 30% of US adults said they were trying to minimise, or cut out completely, their gluten intake, despite the much higher prices of gluten-free alternative foods.

Say yes to gluten

The study found that for mean daily estimated intake of gluten at baseline was 7.5g for women and 10g for men in the highest fifth and 2.6g for women and 3.3g for men in the lowest fifth.

It was found that gluten intake correlated inversely with alcohol intake, smoking, total fat intake and unprocessed red meat intake.

However, gluten intake correlated positively with whole grain intake and refined grain intake.

Coronary heart disease was diagnosed for 6,529 participants, fatal myocardial infarction developed in 2,286 participants and non-fatal myocardial infarction developed in 4,243 participants.

In the lowest fifth of gluten intake, coronary heart disease was measured at an incident rate of 352 per 100,000 person years, whereas in the highest fifth the incident rate was 277 per 100,000 person years.

No significant association between estimated gluten intake and either fatal myocardial infarction or non-fatal myocardial infarction was found.

The lack of association was the same for gluten intake and coronary heart disease risk, for both men and women.

The study concluded that avoiding gluten had no effect on risk of coronary heart disease but did mean participants may be avoiding whole grains which have cardiovascular benefits.

The study

The US based researchers monitored just over 110,000 healthy participants with food questionnaires every four years from 1986 to 2010.

Participants were excluded if they had diagnosis of myocardial infarction, angina, stroke or coronary artery bypass graft surgery, or cancer.

Those with a diagnosis of coeliac were also excluded.

The food questionnaires asked participants about their food items and portion sizes. The researchers then used the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health nutrient database to calculate the amount of gluten consumed.

Any deaths occurring throughout the study were examined through hospital records and autopsy reports.

As it was an observational study the researchers say no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect.

However, the researchers did conclude that their study results “do not support the promotion of a gluten restricted diet with a goal of reducing coronary heart disease risk”.

Source: The BMJ

Walking vs. Running — Which Is Better?

Regina Boyle Wheeler wrote . . . . . .

Running and walking are both popular ways to get a great cardio workout. But is a brisk walk really as good an exercise as a sweaty, heart-pounding run?

Research reported by the American Heart Association finds that walking is just as good as running when it comes to lowering your risk for heart disease.

Researchers analyzed the health of some 48,000 runners and walkers mainly in 40s and 50s. They found that, mile for mile, brisk walking lowers the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure as much as running does.

The difference? You’ll have to spend more time walking than you do running to get the same health benefits simply because it takes longer to walk than to run the same distance. For instance, a 15-minute jog burns about the same number of calories as a half-hour brisk walk.

Keep in mind that the chance of being injured is greater in runners because running puts more stress on the body — on the joints in particular.

But if you’re still thinking of stepping up the pace to running, first check with your doctor, especially if you have arthritis or other health conditions, like heart disease.

And keep in mind that you don’t have to stick to either walking or running. You can stay motivated by mixing it up. What’s more, adding short sprints to your walking routine will give you a bigger calorie-burning boost for your efforts.

Source: HealthDay

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