Cute Sweets for Mid-autumn Festival (月見) in Japan

This year’s mid-autumn falls on October 4th


Rice with Pork Belly and Salt-preserved Lemon


150 g of pork belly slices
1 tsp minced salt-preserved lemon (recipe below)
ground black pepper
white sesame seeds, green onion, and lemon zest
cooked rice


  1. Cut pork into smaller pieces of 2-inch in length.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a fry pan, fry pork until done. Remove and place on paper towel to absord excess fat.
  3. Pour away fat in the pan with about 1 tsp remaining. Add preserved lemon and stir-fry briefly. Return pork to pan and toss to combine.
  4. Season with black pepper and remove to place on top of cooked rice in the bowl. Garnish with white sesame seeds, green onion and lemon zest before serving.

Salt-preserved Lemons


9 organic lemons
Kosher salt
1 heaping teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves


  1. Scrub 3 to 5 organic lemons, enough to fit snugly in a medium jar with a tight-fitting lid (have 2 to 4 more ready on the side). Slice each lemon from the top to within 1/2 inch of the bottom, almost cutting them into quarters but leaving them attached at one end. Rub kosher salt over the cut surfaces, then reshape the fruit. Cover the bottom of the jar with more kosher salt. Fit all the cut lemons in, breaking them apart if necessary. Sprinkle salt on each layer.
  2. Press the lemons down to release their juices. Add to the jar the peppercorns and bay leaves, then squeeze the additional lemons into the jar until juice covers everything.
  3. Close the jar and let ripen at cool room temperature, shaking the jar every day for 3 to 4 weeks, or until the rinds are tender to the bite. Then store it in the refrigerator.

Source: Hong Kong magazine

Croissant Stuffed with Freshly Churned Ice Cream

CroCream by Churned Creamery

Watch video at You Tube (1:30 minutes) . . . . .

Scientists Discover Anatomical Link for the Loss of Smell in Parkinson’s Disease

The first symptom of Parkinson’s disease is often an impaired sense of smell. This neurodegenerative disease primarily causes irreparable damage to nerve cells in a brain area involved in movement control. How it affects the olfactory system has been unclear. Researchers at the Max Planck Research Unit for Neurogenetics in Frankfurt and the University of Auckland in New Zealand have now carried out a study comparing the olfactory bulbs of individuals with and without Parkinson’s disease. The researchers found that the total volume occupied by the functional units in the olfactory bulb – the so-called glomeruli – is in Parkinson’s cases only half that in normal individuals. Moreover, the distribution of the glomeruli within the olfactory bulb is altered in Parkinson’s cases.

Nine out of ten patients with Parkinson’s disease suffer from defects of the sense of smell in the early stages of the disease – often years before the appearance of the motor symptoms that are characteristic of the disease. The motor symptoms are caused by a loss of nerve cells in the region of the substantia nigra in the brain that is responsible for controlling movement. What causes this cell death has not yet been fully clarified, but a key role appears to be played by Lewy bodies. These are inclusions, inside the cells, that contain a misfolded, defective version of the alpha-synuclein protein. Lewy bodies are found in the olfactory bulb before they appear in the substantia nigra.

The so-called olfactory vector hypothesis for Parkinson’s disease proposes that environmental factors, such as viruses, heavy metals or pesticides, are risk factors or even causes of the condition. No other sensory system than the olfactory system is in such close contact with the external environment – the inhaled air. The hypothesis posits that the disease-causing agent is introduced from the nasal cavity into the olfactory bulb, where Parkinson’s disease is triggered and gradually spreads through other parts of the brain.


Study: Zinc Can Halt the Growth of Cancer Cells

Zinc supplements can significantly inhibit the proliferation of esophageal cancer cells, according to a new study co-authored by a University of Texas at Arlington researcher.

Previous studies had shown that zinc is essential for maintaining human health and protects the esophagus from cancer. However, it has never been fully understood why zinc has the ability to prevent cancer in the esophagus. In this study, a team led by Zui Pan, an associate professor of nursing at UTA’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation and a noted esophageal cancer researcher, discovered that zinc selectively halts the growth of cancer cells but not normal esophageal epithelial cells. The finding was published this month in The FASEB Journal, the official journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of human cancer deaths around the world, according to the National Cancer Institute. The institute estimates that there were almost 16,000 esophageal cancer deaths in the United States in 2016. The average five-year survival rate is less than 20 percent.

Pan said this study could provide a pathway for better esophageal cancer prevention and treatment.

“Zinc deficiency has been found in many cancer patients,” said Pan, whose study was funded in part by a research grant from the National Institutes of Health – National Cancer Insitute. “Both clinical data and animal studies have shown that this mineral is very important for overall body health and for cancer prevention.”

Zinc is an important element in many proteins and many enzymes and the absence of zinc makes it impossible for cells to function, she added.

“But previously we didn’t know why the same physiological concentrations of zinc inhibit cancer cell growth but not normal cells. Our study, for the first time to our knowledge, reveals that zinc impedes overactive calcium signals in cancer cells, which is absent in normal cells, and thus zinc selectively inhibits cancer cell growth.” said Pan. “It now appears that zinc and calcium can have a cross talk, meaning that they can be linked.”

An insufficient amount of zinc can lead to the development of cancers and other diseases, Pan said.

“That’s why it is important to have a good diet,” she said.

Zinc enriched foods include spinach, flax seeds, beef, pumpkin seeds and seafood like shrimp and oysters.

Pan said that in the future they will study these two signals link, how they impact each other and how researchers can take advantage of what they know. Such a step will guide them in developing a better prevention and treatment strategy, she said.

Anne Bavier, dean of UTA’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation, called Pan’s study a classic example of UTA’s commitment to high impact research.

“It re-affirms UTA’s position as a major player in the global battle against cancer,” said Bavier. “Zui’s work on esophageal cancer gets straight to the heart our goal at the College of Nursing and Health Innovation to help solve health problems to build a healthier world.”

Source: The University of Texas at Arlington

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