Gadget: Smart Cookware

Heston Cue Connected Cooking System

The smart cookware, induction burner and recipe app all communicate with each other while cooking.

Hestan Cue connects the cook with his or her cooking through Bluetooth® technology and embedded culinary sensors — adjusting the cooking temperature as each recipe is being cooked.

Watch video at You Tube (1:18 minutes) . . . . .


Grilled Pork Belly with Buttery Sweet Corn and A Relish of Cherries


1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb pork belly, skin removed
4 cups chicken stock
1-1/2 cups white wine
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 sprig basil
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig sage
1 sprig thyme
Kosher salt
1-1/2 cups bing cherries, stemmed, pitted, and quartered
1/2 cup sour cherries, stemmed, pitted, and halved
1 tbsp minced chervil or flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp minced cilantro
1 shallot, minced
1 jalapeño, stemmed and minced
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425°.
  2. In a 4-qt saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add the pork belly pieces, fat side down, and cook until the fat renders, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the pork from the pan and drain all but 1 tablespoon of its fat. Return the pork to the pan and cook until golden on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken stock, wine, 1/4 cup honey, the soy sauce, basil, rosemary, sage, and thyme, and bring to a boil.
  5. Partially cover the pan, place in the oven, and cook until tender, about 1-1/2 hours.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the pork to a cutting board, and let cool to room temperature.
  7. Return the pan to the stove and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook the sauce until reduced to 1 cup, about 35 minutes, and then season with salt. Cut the pork belly into 1/2-inch slices.
  8. In a medium bowl, combine cherries with the remaining 2 tablespoons honey, the chervil, cilantro, shallot, jalapeño, and lime zest and juice, and season with salt.
  9. In a 10-inch skillet, melt the butter over high heat. Add the corn kernels, and cook, stirring constantly, until tender and golden, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and keep warm until ready to serve.
  10. Light a grill. Arrange the pork belly slices on the grate and grill, turning, until charred on all sides, about 4 minutes. Season the pork belly with salt and then remove from grill.
  11. To serve, spread the corn on the bottom of platter and top with pork slices. Spoon the cherries onto the pork and drizzle with the sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Saveur

In Pictures: Food and Drink of Pop-up Hello Kitty Cafe in Fukuoka, Japan

5 Causes of Back Pain

Teresa Carr wrote . . . . . .

Most people with short-term back pain recover without ever finding out exactly what went wrong. But especially when pain lingers, discovering the underlying source of the pain can help guide treatment. And understanding what can cause your back to hurt is key to preventing a recurrence.

The following are the most common causes of back pain.

Muscle Injuries

Overstretched or injured muscles, tendons, or ligaments can result in strains, sprains, or spasms. Poor posture, prolonged sitting, strenuous work, and repetitive action such as throwing a ball or weeding a garden can stress so-called soft tissues in your back. In our survey, this was the most common cause of back pain, affecting more than one-third of respondents.

Degenerative Changes

As you age, the gel-like disks cushioning the bones of your spine and the cartilage lining the joints can begin to wear. That allows the bones to rub against one another, causing osteoarthritis. Some degeneration of this kind is harmless and unavoidable. Imaging studies show that almost everyone older than 60 has signs of spinal wear and tear. But most never report significant pain.

Herniated, or Slipped, Disks

Lifting, pulling, bending, or twisting puts pressure on the disks. That pressure can cause them to bulge or slip. When a bulging disk in the lower spine irritates the sciatic nerve, the sharp pain, called sciatica, is often excruciating and can radiate down a leg even when there’s no back pain. Slouching at the waist can worsen symptoms.

Spinal Stenosis

The spine responds to degenerative changes by growing new bone in the joints and thickening the ligaments to provide better support. But over time those bone spurs and thickened ligaments narrow the space around the spinal cord and can irritate nerves. Symptoms include numbness, weakness, or cramping in the back, buttocks, arms, or legs. Walking usually worsens symptoms; rest or leaning forward tends to offer relief.

Spinal Instability

When disks and joints wear, they don’t do as good a job supporting the spine. As a result, vertebrae move more than they should. In some cases a bone slides forward, causing a condition called spondylolisthesis. Symptoms often come and go suddenly, sometimes shifting from one side of the body to the other, and can include a feeling of weakness in the legs with prolonged standing or walking.

Source: Consumer Report

Kicking the Salt Shaker Habit May Not be Enough

Restaurant foods and commercially processed foods sold in stores accounted for about 70 percent of dietary sodium intake in a study in three U.S. regions, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Sodium is an important contributor to high blood pressure, one of the leading causes of heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day, which is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of salt. For nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults, the maximum sodium intake recommendation is even lower – 1500 mg/day – based on their age, race or ethnicity, or existing high blood pressure. Sodium can be difficult to avoid, especially when people eat a lot of processed food from grocery stores or restaurants. In fact, the average American adult consumes more than 3,400 mg of sodium per day. To address this serious health threat, in 2010 the Institute of Medicine recommended gradually decreasing sodium levels in commercially processed foods.

Between December 2013 and December 2014, researchers recruited 450 study participants in Palo Alto, California; Birmingham, Alabama; and Minneapolis, Minnesota; divided evenly among each location. Half of participants were female, and equal percentages, overall, were Hispanic, African American, Asian and white. They ranged in age from 18 to 74 years old.

Participants visited the clinic once at the beginning of the study and then kept records of daily food intake for four days, which they reported to researchers in four telephone interviews along with providing samples of salt replicating the amount they had added to food at home.

Across age groups, the level of dietary sodium was similar, with an average 3,501 mg consumed per day — over 50 percent more than the recommended 2,300 mg.

Researchers found:

  • Sodium added to food outside the home was the leading source (70.9 percent) and sodium found naturally in food was the next highest (14.2 percent);
  • Sodium from salt added in home food preparation (5.6 percent) and added to food at the table (4.9 percent) were next highest.
  • Sodium in home tap water, dietary supplements and antacids contributed minimally (less than 0.5 percent).

“Telling patients to lay off the salt shaker isn’t enough,” said Lisa J. Harnack, Dr.PH., study lead author and professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “Rather, commercially processed and restaurant foods should be the primary focus when educating patients on strategies for lowering sodium in the diet. Food manufacturers and restaurants should be encouraged to lower the sodium content in their food products to support Americans in consuming a diet consistent with sodium intake recommendations.”

“If you’re aiming to limit your sodium intake to the recommended level of less than 2,300 milligrams per day, you’ll need to choose foods wisely when grocery shopping and dining out,” Harnack said. “For packaged foods, the nutrition fact panel may be useful in identifying lower sodium products, and for menu items diners can request sodium content information. Also, if you frequently add salt to food at the table or in home food preparation, consider using less.”

The study was limited in that it did not represent the overall U.S. population because participants were selected based on location and also may have changed their sodium consumption during the study because they knew that it was under watch.

According to the American Heart Association, restaurant and prepackaged food companies must be a part of the solution to reduce sodium and give Americans the healthy options they need and deserve. The American Heart Association encourages packaged food companies and restaurants to reduce the sodium in their products to help make meaningful impact on the health of all Americans. The association has developed a sodium reduction campaign to help.

Source: American Heart Association

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