Moroccan-style Chicken Sandwich


1 lb ground chicken (preferably not 100% breast meat)
1/2 medium yellow onion, grated on
the large holes of a box grater
3 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 Tbsp harissa
1-1/2 tsp groundcumin
1-1/2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
Kosher salt
3 medium carrots, grated on the large holes of a box grater or cut into thin strips with a julienne peeler
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice; more to taste
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp cumin seed
vegetable oil for grilling
4 mini whole-wheat pitas, slit open
1-1/2 oz crumbled feta (1/3 cup)


  1. Prepare a medium (350°F to 375°F) gas or charcoal grill fire.
  2. With your hands, gently mix the chicken, onion, 1 Tbsp of the mint, the harissa, ground cumin, ginger, and 3/4 tsp salt in a large bowl. With wet hands, form into four 1/2-inch-thick patties.
  3. Toss the remaining 2 Tbsp mint with the carrots, lemon juice, sugar, cumin seed, and 1/4 tsp salt. Season to taste with more lemon juice and salt.
  4. Oil the grill grate and grill the burgers, flipping once, until cooked through (165°F), 8 to 10 minutes total. Serve the burgers in the pitas along with the feta and slaw.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Cook Fresh magazine


This Slow Cooker Cookbook by A James Bead Award-winning Chef Has Delicious Gourmet Recipes

Deena Shanker and Polly Mosendz wrote . . . . .

The season of the slow cooker is nigh.

Once relegated to the back of the deepest kitchen cabinet, the inexpensive, no-frills appliance is taking its rightful place as a stalwart of the cold weather home cook. U.S. sales are up 50 percent, from $473 million in 2007 to $712.5 million in 2016, according to data from Euromonitor, as are consumers’ options. Buy a basic two-mode, two-quart slow cooker for less than $20, or choose among an array of $200+ Wi-Fi-controlled, timer-enabled, seven-plus-quart, multitasking machines.

Recipe searches show that people are actually using, or planning to use, their new pots. There are over 20 million slow cooker recipes on Pinterest, making them one of the most popular types of recipes on the content-sharing site, according to a spokeswoman. Interest over time, as measured by Google Trends, has gone from a score of 16 out of 100 in January 2004 to 99 in the same month this year. The recipes show a 143 percent year-over-year increase in saves on Pinterest. The possibilities have never seemed so endless.

The beauty of slow cooking is in removing, not adding, complication. The best recipes are those that require the least amount of work. Simply throw the ingredients in, turn the slow cooker on, walk away, and be done with it for anywhere from one to 24 hours. But just as easily as a cooker can turn a tough piece of meat into a succulent one, with the wrong recipe it can also yield a pile of bland, brown mush instead of the promised warming winter stew.

In The Chef and the Slow Cooker, out Tuesday from Clarkson Potter, the James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and restaurateur Hugh Acheson offers his take. “The beauty of the cooker is that it’s a shortcut that doesn’t sacrifice quality or taste,” he writes in the introduction. It’s “a device that makes life more productive and enjoyable by freeing you up to do other things.”

With recipes from such a decorated foodie, far from the masses of Pinterest, the promise is not just low-effort meals but the impressive, gourmet kind that will lead your dinner guests to exclaim, “You made that in a slow cooker?”

Acheson’s recipes can generally be broken down into two main categories: the standards (short ribs) and the surprises (poached cod). Where Acheson excels is in his use of the slow cooker to offer improvements on, or variations of, the standards that don’t substantially increase prep time or cost—and in techniques most home cooks might not have considered.

A two-hour chickpea-and-eggplant stew (plus 35 minutes of prep time, assuming you ignore Acheson’s call for dried beans and go with the much easier canned version) fits well into a Crock Pot cook’s repertoire. Even without featuring a single particularly rare ingredient, the result is a spicy, complex, and vibrant meal that will not only please on day one but make for hearty lunches all week and even freeze well. The vegetable stock ingredients list doesn’t need to be followed exactly; using an assortment of vegetable ends stored in the freezer is a tried-and-true method, though adding a lemon makes for a nice twist. The technique turns an annoying chore into a painless one.

The short ribs, paired with maple syrup-dosed mashed sweet potatoes, were classic, as the recipe promised, yet elegant. The port wine sauce elevated the dish, making it slightly more complex than the old school version. The dish also lacked the mushiness that makes many slow cooker recipes, while yummy, not particularly photogenic. These ribs had Instagram appeal.

Where Acheson falls flat: Rare, expensive ingredients, such as ground black cardamom in a recipe for apple butter, or exactly 10 dried juniper berries in the braised short ribs, appear to be so indispensable that no substitute is recommended. Nor will certain time-consuming prep work, such as chopping three onions two different ways, ultimately make a noticeable difference in the final product, 12 hours of cooking later. In a recipe for tomatillo salsa verde, a companion to pork tacos, the chef calls for “coarsely chopped” ingredients, only to later have them thrown into a blender, where they will be pulped.

The beer-braised pork tacos, a beloved cuisine among carnivores, were surprisingly complex for a recipe that called for drinking five cans of beer as you wait for the meat to cook. The end result was delectable and enough to feed a small army. Good thing, since a pricey, eight-pound, bone-in pork shoulder is used as the base.

As with other recipes in the book, some ingredients were hard to come by (lard, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce), and again, substitutions weren’t listed. Unsure whether Crisco or butter would suffice as a replacement, the home cook may travel to a half-dozen grocery stores and receive a shaming from just as many store clerks, who wonder why, in the age of clean eating, lard might be necessary.

Those cooking for a family will appreciate the quantities in which Acheson works, but home cooks feeding fewer than a half-dozen mouths, or looking to avoid trays of leftovers, might be disappointed by the lack of halving directions in the book. Reducing the short ribs recipe, for example, seemed pretty simple, as the ingredients were all listed in round numbers (six pounds to three, four sprigs of fresh rosemary to two), while cooking time was a bit of a mystery. The recipe called for a lengthy 12 to 15 hours, and while six hours certainly seemed too short, is the full time necessary for half the meat?

The home cook will need to make such decisions alone. Those with the time, sense of adventure, and deep pockets to hunt for gochugaru, or Korean chile, for their poached cod will probably enjoy cooking with a new spice. Those without can be consoled: You can’t taste it. Same with the suggested garnish of edible flowers.

But poaching cod in leeks, celery, butter, and vermouth produces a delicate flavor and silky texture in just the right amount of time—an hour and 20 minutes—to cook whatever else you decide to serve it with. It takes the slow cooker from an advance-planning-only appliance to part of the weeknight rotation.

And a $20 machine works just fine. No Wi-Fi required.

Source: Bloomberg

Is Alcohol Really Good for Your Health?

Julia Calderone wrote . . . . . .

We’ve long been told that a little wine with dinner may help prevent heart disease and perhaps offer other health benefits.

But some researchers are now questioning whether the perks of moderate drinking—one drink per day for women, two for men—really outweigh potential downsides.

We know that in older adults, too much alcohol can exacerbate high blood pressure, increase the risk of falls and fractures, and lead to strokes, memory loss, and mood disorders. And in this group, alcohol problems, such as the uncontrollable urge to drink, shot up 107 percent between 2001 and 2013, according to a study published in August in JAMA Psychiatry.

Even small amounts of alcohol can interact with medication, and contribute to cancer risk and potentially cognitive decline.

Here’s the latest research and tips on how to ensure that you’re not going overboard:

Benefits and Risks

More than 100 studies have found that a drink or two per day is linked to a 25 to 40 percent reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiac-related problems, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Another study published in August, one that followed more than 333,000 people for 12 years, found that light to moderate drinkers were 21 to 34 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

But no studies have yet proved directly that alcohol boosts human health. Most research in this area has looked at whether people’s reported drinking behaviors are “associated” with positive or negative health outcomes.

A growing stack of research also suggests that regular, moderate alcohol consumption may have its hazards.

A 30-year study published in June in the British Medical Journal found that men who consumed eight to 12 drinks per week had three times the odds of having an atrophied hippocampus, which is a possible sign of early Alzheimer’s disease. That’s according to the study’s author, Anya Topiwala, Ph.D., a clinical lecturer in the department of psychiatry at the University of Oxford in the U.K.

And other research has found that moderate drinking may be linked to an elevated risk of breast cancer and—especially in smokers—esophageal, mouth, and throat cancers.

Watch Your Intake

Although moderate drinking isn’t without risks, a daily glass of wine is generally fine, says George F. Koob, Ph.D., director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, even if you’re in your 80s or 90s.

“We don’t want to panic people,” Topiwala adds.

But if you don’t drink, she says, there’s no reason to start for your health’s sake. And if you find yourself exceeding the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, Koob says, there’s no controversy: Consider cutting back.

These strategies can help:

Size up your pour. It can be almost impossible to eyeball a standard drink (5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1½ ounces of distilled spirits). Some wineglasses can hold up to 22 ounces, more than the amount in four drinks. So use a measuring cup or a shot glass to get it right.

Keep tabs. Tracking how many drinks you have per day or week—perhaps with tick marks on a cocktail napkin—can help you stay within your limit.

Alternate with water. Sipping a glass of water or club soda after each alcoholic drink will help you slow down.

Talk to your doctor. If you’re concerned about your drinking, don’t be afraid to bring up the issue at your next checkup.

Source: Consumer Reports

Read also:

Don’t Drink Alcohol While Taking These Medications . . . . .

Diabetes Pill Might Replace Injection to Control Blood Sugar

Serena Gordon wrote . . . . . .

An injectable class of diabetes medication — called glucagon-like peptide-1 or GLP-1 — might one day be available in pill form, research suggests.

Based on the results of a global phase 2 clinical trial, the study authors reported a significant drop in blood sugar levels for people on the oral medication, and no significant increase in low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) compared to a placebo over six months.

The findings also showed that people taking the highest dose of the pill lost a large amount of weight — about 15 pounds — compared to a weight loss of fewer than 3 pounds for people on the inactive placebo pill.

The research was funded by Novo Nordisk, the company that makes the drug, called oral semaglutide.

“Semaglutide could transform diabetes treatment,” said Dr. Robert Courgi, an endocrinologist at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y.

“Glucagon-like peptide receptor agonists are agents that are highly recommended according to diabetes guidelines, but rarely used because they require injection. Most patients prefer a pill,” Courgi explained.

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, agreed that these new findings were exciting.

“This medication looks pretty good. The high dose matched the [injection] version. There was low hypoglycemia. It controls blood glucose. There was weight loss and it’s not an injection. This is the same molecule that’s been shown [as an injection] to decrease cardiovascular mortality,” Zonszein said.

“It has all the ingredients for an excellent medication. If this comes to market, it would be very good for people with type 2 diabetes,” he added.

Zonszein and Courgi were not involved in the current study.

The study included just over 1,100 people with type 2 diabetes recruited from 100 centers in 14 countries around the world.

The volunteers’ average age was 57. The average time they’d had type 2 diabetes was six years. On average, they were considered obese.

The participants’ average hemoglobin (HbA1C) levels were between 7 and 9.5 percent. HbA1C — also called A1C — is a measure of average blood sugar control over two to three months. The American Diabetes Association generally recommends an HbA1C of less than 7 percent for most people with type 2 diabetes.

The study volunteers were randomly placed into treatment groups that lasted 26 weeks. One group was given a once-weekly injection containing 1.0 milligram (mg) of semaglutide. Five groups were given one of five doses of oral semaglutide — 2.5, 5, 10, 20 or 40 mg. Another group was given escalating doses of the pill version, starting with the smallest dose and ending at 40 mg. The final group was given an oral placebo.

The highest dose of the pill performed similarly to the injectable form as far as blood sugar control and weight loss. Those on the 40-mg oral dose and those who got the injection saw an average drop in their HbA1C of 1.9 percent, the study showed. More than 70 percent of those who took the pill saw a weight loss of at least 5 percent.

According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Melanie Davies, “The A1C reductions and weight loss were very impressive and similar to what we’ve seen with the weekly injection of semaglutide.” Davies is a professor of diabetes medicine at the Diabetes Research Centre at the University of Leicester in England.

The two forms of the drug were also similar in the reported side effects, which affected up to around 80 percent of those taking both forms of the drug. The most common side effects were mild to moderate digestive concerns that tended to go away with time. Nausea was less common in people who started on the lowest dose and then were given stronger doses.

There were three reported cases of pancreatitis — inflammation of the pancreas — a potentially serious condition that has been linked to this class of medication in previous studies. One person was taking the injectable form of the drug. The other two were on the oral drug — 20 mg and 40 mg.

Zonszein noted that “pancreatitis was a bit more in those who took the drug. This may be an issue we have to pay attention to, and it may help to start with a lower dose.”

He also added that GLP-1 drugs, whether by injection or by mouth, should be given in combination with the standard first line type 2 diabetes drug metformin.

“We get more mileage from combining drugs and patients really do much better,” Zonszein said.

Findings from the study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Davies said phase 3 trials of the pill are already well under way.

Source: HealthDay

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