Why Flat Beer Makes the Best Desserts

Danish Chef Mads Refslund is the co-founder of Noma, one of the most prestigious restaurants in the world, but his first cookbook is about trash. “I had in my brain that my first cookbook would be a restaurant cookbook,” he admits, but his friend and co-author, forager Tama Matsuoka Wong, convinced him to pen something about cooking with wasted food instead. The result is Scraps, Wilt & Weeds, which shows you how to turn things like vegetable juice pulp and coffee grounds into pastas and panna cottas.

“I have always cooked with things no one tends to use because I always thought it was stupid to throw it out,” Refslund explains. “It is money that you are throwing away.” As a chef, he felt it was his responsibility to teach others how to use up foods — like cauliflower cores and fish collars — that are typically tossed without thought. “I think people throw these [perfectly edible] foods away because of a lack of knowledge — they just don’t know how to cook with them,” he says. Leek roots, for example, are trimmed off and binned, but Refslund believes if people realized that the roots could be turned into something delicious, they wouldn’t want to throw it away.

Paired against stark facts — nearly 1 billion pounds of uneaten lettuce goes into the trash each year — the book is filled with ways to turn what you definitely think is garbage into elegant dishes fit for a dinner party. Case-in-point: Refslund’s recipe for a satisfying dessert crafted from old, dried-out bread and stale beer. Yes, stale beer.

The dish is based on the classic Danish porridge known as ollebrod. Back in the day, farmers tended to live off of mainly rye bread and beer, he explains. “When the bread got a little bit old, they would soak it in beer, boil it, and add sugar. If you could afford it, you would eat it with milk. If you really had means, you would eat it with whipped cream.” Refslund’s version of the dish is gussied up with a bit of chocolate and salted caramel ice cream. Count it as breakfast or dessert.

Refslund says that you can use any bread you have lying around, but he prefers dark rye bread for its flavor. As for the beer, he is adamant you use one that is well past its prime. “I realized that when you boil beer to make any recipe, it becomes flat — so why not just use flat beer from the start?”

Flat Beer and Day-old-bread Porridge


1 pound stale rye (or other) bread, torn into small pieces or crumbled (5½ cups)
2 cups flat beer, preferably dark beer or ale (less than 2 bottles)
1-3/4 cups sugar, half granulated/half brown
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
apple balsamic vinegar, for serving
salted caramel ice cream, for serving


  1. In a medium pot, combine the bread, beer, and sugars over low heat and cook, stirring gently, for about 20 minutes, until the bread is softened and the liquid is absorbed. Add the cream and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes more, until it starts to thicken. Finally, add the chocolate chips and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and cool. Store in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled, at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 days).
  2. To serve, spoon into individual bowls, drizzle with apple balsamic vinegar, and add a scoop of caramel ice cream.

Recipe from Scraps, Wilt & Weeds.

Source: Thrillist


Rustic Italian Pie with Blueberries and Ice Cream


3 cups fresh blueberries
1-1/2 cups plus 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp yellow cornmeal
4-1/2 oz cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
3 Tbsp ice water; more as needed
1 large egg white beaten with 2 Tbsp water until foamy
1 Tbsp turbinado or other “raw” sugar


  1. Mix the blueberries, 3 Tbsp of the flour, and the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.
  3. Combine the remaining 1-1/2 cups flour, granulated sugar, and cornmeal in a food processor and process until the consistency of fine sand. Add the butter and pulse until there are no visible pieces of butter.
  4. Add the egg yolk and water and pulse to form a soft dough, adding more water 1 tsp at a time as necessary.
  5. Gather the dough into a ball and divide into 2 even pieces.
  6. On a well-floured work surface, roll each piece of dough into an 11-inch circle and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
  7. Divide the blueberry filling between the circles, mounding the berries and leaving a 1-1/2-inch edge around each circle. Sprinkle any remaining sugar-flour mixture around the berry mounds. Try to get an even amount of blueberries and dry ingredients in each crostata.
  8. Fold the edges up over the filling, pleating as you go, to partially cover the filling.
  9. Brush the exposed dough with the egg white wash and sprinkle with the raw sugar.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes. Rotate the sheets top to bottom and back to front. (If there is any white flour mixture showing, carefully spoon a little of the blueberry juices over to cover.) Continue baking until the crusts have browned and the filling is bubbling, about 25 minutes more.
  11. Remove and cool on the baking sheets on a rack for at least 15 minutes or to room temperature.
  12. To serve, slice each crostata into quarters and add 1 scoop of ice cream on top.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Cooking Fresh magazine

In Pictures: Ice Cream Dessert

Why You Need Plenty of Potassium

Sally Wadyka wrote . . . . . . .

When it comes to ­dietary strategies to control blood pressure, sodium gets all the atten­tion. But too little potassium could be just as important as too much salt.

“When you get enough potassium, it helps your body excrete sodium,” says Angie ­Murad, R.D., a nutritionist at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. “That eases tension in the blood vessel walls, which can help lower blood pressure.”

The mineral also helps blood vessels ­relax inde­pen­dent of the role it plays in sodium balance.

How Much Potassium Do You Need?

The recommended daily dose of potassium is 4,700 mg. But according to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, less than 2 percent of Americans consume that much. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee highlighted the lack of potassium in our diets by designating it a “shortfall nutrient.”

So should you take potassium supplements? Not unless your doctor tells you to. A very high intake of the mineral—which is easier to get with supplements than with food—may limit the kidney’s ability to eliminate potassium, and that can lead to abnormal heart rhythms. The elderly as well as people with kidney disease or type 2 diabetes, and those who take certain medications (such as ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories) are most at risk. In addition, the type of potassium found in supplements is actually a different form than the kind that naturally occurs in food and may not provide the same benefits.

To help make consumers more aware of their potassium intake, the Food and Drug Administration will require potassium to be listed on Nutrition Facts labels once the new version of the labelgoes into effect. (The FDA recently extended the compliance date but has not set a new date.) Having at least eight servings of fruits and vegetables daily is ideal.

“But if you just ­focus on eating fruits and vegetables with every meal and snacks, you will easily get enough,” ­Murad says.

Below is a list of 22 foods (in descending order of their potassium level) that will help you boost your potassium intake. For more potassium-rich foods, search the USDA’s nutrients list.

Where to Find Potassium

Swiss chard, 1 cup cooked: 961 mg

Acorn squash, 1 cup cubed: 896 mg

Spinach, 1 cup cooked: 839 mg

Baked potato, 1 small w/skin: 738 mg

Lentils, 1 cup cooked: 731 mg

Tempeh, 1 cup: 684 mg

Salmon, 5 ounces: 676 mg

White beans, ½ cup: 502 mg

Yogurt low-fat plain, 1 cup: 531 mg

Sun-dried tomatoes, ¼ cup: 463 mg

Cantaloupe, 1 cup cubed: 427 mg

Banana, 1 medium: 422 mg

Carrots, 1 cup cooked: 367 mg

Crushed canned tomato, ½ cup: 355 mg

Sweet potato, 1 medium w/o skin: 347 mg

Avocado, ½: 345 mg

Raisins, 1 small box (1.5 oz): 322 mg

Quinoa, 1 cup cooked: 318 mg

Pistachios, ¼ cup kernels: 310 mg

Prunes, 4 whole pitted: 278 mg

Oranges, 1 cup slices: 274 mg

Apricots, dried, 6 halves: 244 mg

Source: Consumer Report

The Equipment in the Gym Likely Has More Bacteria on It Than a Toilet Seat

Marissa Laliberte wrote . . . . . . .

People rarely feel their cleanest after a workout, but your own sweat might be the least of your issues. Your gym equipment could also be full of bacteria.

Fitness equipment review site FitRated.com got bacteria samples from 27 pieces of equipment from three large gym chains. The results will make you want to take a long shower.

Free weights have an average of more than 1.1 million colony-forming units per square inch, according to FitRated.com. In comparison, the National Sanitation Foundation says you’d find 172 CFU per square inch on a home toilet seat. (FitRated.com used numbers from elementary school toilets, which are even germier than your family’s.) But treadmills and stationary bikes were even worse offenders, with about 7,752 times more bacteria than a home toilet seat. That’s even more than these objects with more bacteria than a toilet. Yikes!

Touching a surface with bacteria won’t necessarily make you sick. Some bacteria aren’t harmful, and others won’t do any harm in small amounts. But the fact that 70 percent of bacteria from the tested equipment FitRated.com tested were potentially harmful isn’t very comforting.

If you tend to skip wiping down your workout machine, take that extra 30 seconds before and after you use the equipment. Even if you’re not a germaphobe, you’ll be doing the rest of us a favor.

And since you can’t control what everyone else does, avoid getting sick by waiting to wipe your sweaty brow until you’ve washed your hands. “Your best defense is to be aware of washing your hands post workout and before eating or touching your face,” Kelly Reynolds, microbiologist and associate professor at the Zuckerman College of Public Health in Arizona, tells HuffPost. Oh, and don’t you dare rewear your sweaty clothes without doing laundry.

Source: Reader’s Digest

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