In Pictures: Japanese Hamburg Steak

Ground Beef Hamburg

Tofu Hamburg

Tofu and Black Bean Hamburg

Beef and Black Rice Hamburg

Fish and Yam Hamburg

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French-style Grilled Duck legs with Red Wine Sauce

Ingredients

6 duck leg confit
coarse salt and cracked pepper
1-1/2 to 2 lb thin-skinned potatoes
1/4 cup duck fat or vegetable oil
2-3 tablespoons fresh flat-leave Italian parsley, minced

Red Wine Sauce

10 sprigs fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, or oregano
2 to 2-1/2 cups full-bodied wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1/4 cup veal or poultry demi-glace
1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Method

  1. Bring a pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and parboil just until cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Drain well.
  2. When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes into wedges.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the duck fat until liquefied, 1-2 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the potato wedges and 1-2 tablespoons of the duck fat and toss well to coat. Generously season with salt and pepper and toss with the parsley. Set aside.
  5. To make the red wine sauce, strip the leaves from the herb sprigs. Mince the leaves and reserve the sprigs.
  6. In a saucepan over high heat, bring the wine to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and whisk in the demi-glace, 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the minced herbs, herb sprigs, vinegar, shallots, and garlic and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by one-third, 8-10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan; discard the herbs. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
  7. Prepare a CHARCOAL or GAS grill for DIRECT grilling over MEDIUM-HIGH heat.
  8. Brush and grease the grill grate with duck fat.
  9. Place the duck legs on the grill, skin side down, directly over medium-high heat. Grill, turning once, until grill marks appear, 3-5 minutes per side.
  10. Move the duck legs to the edge of the grill where the heat is less intense to keep them warm. Grill the potato wedges over the hottest part of the fire, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and tender-crisp.
  11. Mound the potatoes on a platter or divide among 6 individual plates. Top with grilled duck legs and spoon the red wine sauce over the top. Serve at once.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Adventures in Grilling

7 Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

1. LOWER BODY MASS INDEX

The frequent consumption of small quantities of dark chocolate is linked to lower BMI, according to a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine. Chocolate consumption frequency (via a questionnaire) and BMI (weight divided by height in meters squared) were analyzed among 1,018 men and women aged 20 to 85. Mood, activity per 7-day period, fruit and vegetable intake and saturated fat intake were considered and factored into the researchers analysis as well. All in all, the correlation between chocolate consumption and low BMI upheld. The mean age of subjects was 57, of which 68 percent were male, with a BMI of 28 who ate dark chocolate two times per week and exercised about 3.5 times per week.

2. BOOST BRAIN POWER

Have a big meeting, test or dinner with the in-laws? Eating dark chocolate can give your brain a short-term boost—increasing your alertness—for two to three hours, a University of Nottingham study found. Flavanols, one of dark chocolate’s key components, dilates blood vessels, allowing more oxygen and blood to reach key areas of the brain, which can help you soldier against fatigue and the effects of aging. The study participants consumed a flavanol-rich cocoa drink, but you can eat dark chocolate by itself—or any foods high in flavanols like red wine, green tea and blueberries.

3. IMPROVE EYESIGHT

Forget carrots—dark chocolate can improve your eyesight too, according to research published in the journal Physiology & Behavior. The researchers found that participants who consumed dark chocolate with 720 mg of cocoa flavanols experienced enhanced visual performance—like detecting motion and reading low contrast letters—likely due to the increased blood flow to the retina and brain.

4. REDUCE INFLAMMATION

After you scarf dark chocolate down, “good” microbes in your gut feast on it, fermenting it into anti-inflammatory compounds that are good for your heart, according to research presented at the 2014 American Chemical Society meeting. Antioxidants and fiber present in cocoa powder aren’t fully digested until they reach the colon where the compounds are absorbed into the body, lessening inflammation within cardiovascular tissue and reducing long-term risk of stroke.

5. PROTECT YOUR SKIN

Aside from sunscreen, you may want to chow down on dark chocolate every day to protect your skin against harmful UV rays, according to research from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. But not just any old dark chocolate—it needs to be specially produced with preserved high flavanol levels (manufacturing processes destroy the integrity of flavanols).

6. LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE

If you have slightly elevated blood pressure, a bite of dark chocolate a day can improve blood flow and bring blood pressure levels down, according to research from the Journal of the American Medical Association. Cocoa polyphenols helped drop the prevalence of hypertension from 86 percent to 68 percent in participants (44 total) aged 56 through 73 who consumed about 6 grams of dark chocolate (containing 30 mg of polyphenols) per day for 18 weeks.

7. RAISE GOOD CHOLESTEROL (HDL)

Polyphenols in cocoa powder and dark chocolate can favorably—though modestly—reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and raising the antioxidant capacity of good cholesterol (HDL), according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Source: msn

The Nitty-gritty behind How Onions Make You Cry

Adding onions to a recipe can make a meal taste rich and savory, but cutting up the onion can be brutal. Onions release a compound called lachrymatory factor (LF), which makes the eyes sting and water. Scientists know that a certain enzyme causes this irritating compound to form but precisely how it helps LF form in the onion remained an open question. Now, one group reports in ACS Chemical Biology that they have the answer.

According to the National Onion Association, the average American consumes 20 pounds of onions each year. When an onion is cut, it has a natural defense mechanism that springs into action, producing LF. This kind of compound is rare — only four known natural types exist. An enzyme in the onion known as lachrymatory factor synthase (LFS) spurs production of LF in the onion. “Tearless” onions, sold exclusively in Japan for a hefty price, don’t make LFS so they also don’t produce the irritant LF. But scientists have been at a loss to explain exactly how LFS helps LF form. That’s because it is extremely reactive, and LF evaporates or breaks down easily. Marcin Golczak and colleagues wanted to take a different approach to solve this mystery once and for all.

The team determined the crystal structure of LFS and analyzed it. With the crystal structure, they could finally see the architecture of the enzyme as a whole and its active site as it bound to another compound. By combining this information with known information about similar proteins, the group developed a detailed chemical mechanism that could explain the precise steps involved in LF synthesis—and hence, why people wind up crying when they chop an onion.

Source: American Chemical Society

Protein at All 3 Meals May Help Preserve Seniors’ Strength

Alan Mozes wrote . . . . . .

Eating protein at all three daily meals, instead of just at dinner, might help seniors preserve physical strength as they age, new research suggests.

The Canadian study found that protein-rich meals evenly spread throughout the day staved off muscle decline, but did not increase mobility, in older people.

Study co-author Stephanie Chevalier said, for seniors, “The important point is to create three meal occasions with sufficient protein to stimulate muscle building and greater strength, instead of just one.”

Chevalier is an assistant professor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal.

The functional decline associated with aging often leads to falls, mental impairment and loss of independence. Chevalier’s team wondered if more evenly distributed protein consumption might be tied to better physical performance and a reduced rate of decline.

To find out, they tracked more than 1,700 relatively healthy Quebec men and women, aged 67 to 84, who were all enrolled in a three-year study.

The participants provided dietary information and underwent yearly hand, arm, and leg strength testing. They were also tested for mobility.

Over the three years, the researchers found that both men and women saw their overall physical performance worsen, with muscle strength fading more significantly than mobility.

But those who consumed protein more evenly throughout the day appeared to retain greater muscle strength — though not greater mobility — than those who consumed most of their protein late in the day.

However, Chevalier stressed the researchers only observed an association between protein distribution and muscle strength, not a direct cause-and-effect relationship.

“In other words, we cannot conclude that older people had greater strength because they were ingesting protein evenly distributed at every meal,” she said.

Establishing direct proof would require more research, she said.

Still, the study finding held up regardless of the total amount of protein consumed, she noted.

Prior research has indicated that adults of all ages should consume a minimum of 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. (To convert pounds to kilograms, divide your body weight by 2.2.)

For a 155-pound man, that would add up to about three ounces of protein a day, Chevalier said. Spread across breakfast, lunch and dinner, that would mean about one ounce of protein at each meal. A 130-pound woman would require a little less than one ounce per meal.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Dietary Guidelines call for those over age 50 to consume 5 to 7 ounces of protein foods daily.

In general, one ounce of meat, poultry or fish or one egg or one tablespoon of peanut butter, one-quarter cup of cooked beans or one-half ounce of nuts or seeds qualify as an ounce of protein, according to the USDA.

An outside nutrition expert offered one explanation why the new findings might work.

“Muscle protein is constantly being broken down and built back up. We need protein in our diet daily to make this happen,” explained Lona Sandon, a dietetic educator.

That’s true at any age, but in late life muscle protein tends to break down faster than it builds up, added Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Also, research has shown older adults require a higher amount of protein, she said.

“Eating protein throughout the day seems to be a means to stay in a positive protein balance longer than just eating most of your protein for the day in the evening meal,” said Sandon.

Sandon said distributing protein intake evenly throughout the day is likely beneficial to everyone, young and old.

Much of the research in this area stems from sports nutrition studies, she added. “This research has also shown a benefit to spreading protein throughout meals over the day for increased muscle mass and strength benefits in active individuals and adults,” she added.

However, she cautioned that eating protein alone is not an anti-aging silver bullet.

“You can’t just eat a steak and suddenly have bulging biceps,” she said, noting the need for some level of physical activity or resistance training as well.

The study was published in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Source: HealthDay


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