New Dessert – Kit Kat Quesadilla from Taco Bells in the United States

The quesadilla, called Chocoladilla, was filled with chocolate and Kit Kats instead of cheese.

The dessert is available in some locations at Wisconin for a limited time only.

Advertisements

Braised Monkfish with Mushroom and Wine

Ingredients

5 tbsp unsalted butter
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps halved and thinly sliced
1-1/2 lbs monkfish medaillons, about 1 inch thick
flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream
thyme sprigs for garnish

Method

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and saute the garlic, shallot and shiitake mushrooms until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the oil and remaining butter to the pan and raise heat.
  3. Dredge the monkfish in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Lay the fish into the pan and sear on both sides for 1 minute. Lower heat and add vermouth, shiitakes, garlic and chopped thyme.
  4. Cover and simmer until the fish is tender, about 7 or 8 minutes. Transfer fish to warmed serving plates.
  5. Raise heat and cook the liquid remaining in the pan until reduced by half. Stir in cream and cook until the sauce is thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  6. To serve, spoon sauce over the fish and garnish with thyme sprigs.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Metropolitan Home magazine

Can the Smart June Oven Really Replace Home Cooks?

Laurie Ellen Pellicano wrote . . . . . .

I never met a kitchen appliance that I thought might be smarter than me.

Then I spent a few weeks with the June Oven, testing everything I could think of to push the limits of this evolving appliance. After all, the oven is designed “for anyone who wants to make cooking easier and tastier,” says June Life Inc. co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Matt Van Horn. “We not only wanted to create the best oven for your home, but also to give people the confidence and ability to cook anything and everything.” The oven, which was first available for purchase in February, has continually added new features; most recently came a slow cook feature and a keep warm setting. A built-in unit was released in August.

June Oven’s most notable feature is its utilization of smart technology. The app-based oven can be programmed from a distance, and its camera and digital thermometer mean you can closely—yet remotely—monitor your food. June offers a variety of programming to mimic a range of appliances, which it hopes to replace. Using a feature called Food ID, June claims to recognize more than 25 foods. It offers Adaptive Cook Presets—recommendations for cooking, based on visual recognition using the Food ID software or selection from a main menu for over 50 foods. June purports to learn as it cooks; it’s a feature that holds promise but also raises doubts.

The other attribute that makes June Oven unique in the world of cooking is its expansion of convection oven technology. Convection heating, which uses fans and exhaust systems to distribute heat and speed up cooking times, has been commonplace since the 1990s. June evolves convection cooking by adding carbon fiber elements, which are lightweight, high heat tolerant, and quick cooling. Combined with the fact that June is well-insulated, the oven is remarkably quick to preheat, one of its most rewarding attributes.

A Kitchen Appliance via the Apple Store

Set on my kitchen table, the assembled June Oven resembled a newfound gadget I might have impulsively bought from the Apple Store. (It comes neatly packed in a box, along with a pan, roasting rack, thermometer, wire rack, and crumb tray.) The oven’s handsome industrial design boasts an interface that looks like a superimposed smartphone on the surface, with a three-dimensional dial that harks back to the clickwheels of an early iPod. It has the rolled steel, sleek black, and glowing glass accents you’d expect from an Apple product, with the footprint of a large microwave.

A 24-Hour Testing Marathon

I decided to subject June to a 24-hour test. If the intention is to make cooking more foolproof, I hoped this smart oven could improve my ability to host a party at any hour of the day by allowing me to spend more time with my guests and less time monitoring cooking.

My first experiment was shakshuka, a Middle Eastern breakfast dish of eggs nestled in a bed of peppers, tomatoes, spices, and herbs and baked in individual ramekins. June’s Food ID didn’t recognize eggs. (Says Van Horn in response, “We’re constantly adding new presets depending on customer feedback, and eggs could be something we add in the future.”) Because the glass oven door allows for an unobstructed view during cooking, I ended up using visual clues to cook the eggs. The oven stays hot and maintains a consistent oven temperature, which encourages peeking during baking. I pulled the baked eggs out when they had achieved a soft yolk and creamy white; they were delicious.

The June functions as a broiler and roaster for meats; it also has a slow cooking mode.Photographer: Evan Sung/Bloomberg

Next, I combined several ingredients for a lunch of tacos de carnitas, the tender Mexican pulled pork. I utilized the “high” slow-cooker mode on June to cook the pork for four hours, based on recommendations for a similar recipe on their website. The app reports the temperature stuck around 320F, about 100 degrees hotter than a similar setting in a standard oven. Although it was technically cooked, I gave the meat an extra hour so it could be truly pull-apart tender. The June Oven doesn’t raise a kitchen’s temperature as much as a regular oven does, making it a good tool for cooking on a warm day. However, the noise the oven emitted gave it unearthly life, as if the June was breathing heavily with the exertion of long cooking.

The option to broil the carnitas in the same device used for slow cooking is what sets this experience apart. But as I prepared to crisp the meat, I realized I had to run to the store for a forgotten ingredient. Typically I would have halted, to prevent unmonitored cooking. Not with the June. One of the oven’s best functions is its ability to control cooking from afar using the iOS app. The pork, as promised, was tender and moist, crispy outside, with a sauce made from its own fat.

For dinner I had planned a meal of surf ’n’ turf. The dish offered the opportunity to test June’s food thermometer, which is meant for proteins that are best cooked to specific temperatures, from duck breast to tuna to pork loin. I ran two tests: surf (flounder) and turf (New York strip steak).

A New York strip is usually a crowd pleaser, but the June Oven version needed improvement. The steak I broiled was more than an inch thick, a good test for the thermometer. I selected a medium-rare preset, and June delivered a 137F steak in 30 minutes’ cooking time. As I watched the steak cook, I wished it would display a more appealing sear through a mix of broiling and flipping (June claims “no flipping required”). I learned that just because the oven has a steak preset doesn’t mean you should use it. A steak cooked in a pan with butter to your best guesstimate of doneness beats a steak cooked to perfection in a smart oven.

The resting time for the steak gave me a chance to cook the fish fillets. Because my fillets were too thin to allow the thermometer to register, the probe didn’t “recognize” the flounder. (The oven recognized the fish fillet but couldn’t proceed with the Adaptive Cook Preset.) I gave up and used the recommended time. Unfortunately, the fish scent lingered in the oven despite a short cooking time: The insulation had locked the fish smell in. The next day I left the door ajar to air the oven out before using it again.

I chose to make blueberry hand pies for dessert. June recognized “pie,” but the time recommendation wasn’t appropriate for the smaller versions I had assembled. So I used the camera that’s built into the oven’s ceiling, watching a live feed of oozing blueberry from my sofa. Akin to a baby cam in quality, the image sharpness, color, and angle of the camera leave something to be desired. The video works for things that undergo large changes of state in baking or heavy browning reactions, but isn’t fine enough to differentiate minute changes. The app saved the videos in case I wanted to latergram my baking. The hand pies were lovely and golden all over.

My late-night snack was loaded nachos. The June is a dream at melting cheese. Although this may sound insignificant, it’s difficult to achieve perfectly melted layers of cheese and refried beans alternating with warm chips. Topped with fresh salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and pickled jalapeños, the nachos’ cheese remained luscious in an elongated state of melt, which I attributed to well-circulated heat and insulation within the oven.

After 24 hours with my June Oven, I was exhausted and full. And I hadn’t even started on the frozen foods portion of my testing (results below).

Rating the June Oven

June fared well on dishes that benefit from even heating, like nachos and hand pies, but fell short on the smarter settings it offers. It didn’t recognize as many of the items I cooked as I had hoped, nor were any new foods programmed in while the oven was under my care. And while the smart oven could ID simple recipes, like steak, it was confused by varied textures, where you placed food in the oven, and even the volume of an item. The Adaptive Cook Presets and Food ID were limited: June still required a lot of work from me as a chef. It’s smart but not as smart as it thinks it is.

Like the preset buttons on a microwave, it’s best not to rely on June’s suggestions. Testing a selection of frozen and prepared foods yielded the following results: A pizza came out overdone. Chocolate chip cookies, made from prepared dough, were still raw, while frozen French fries and chicken fingers emerged more steamed than baked. When June Oven presets were compared side-by-side with the packaged instructions, the latter was almost always superior, yielding crispier, better-cooked results.

Who Is the June Oven Designed For?

June is new technology, and with it come the kinks of being an early adopter. At about $1,500, it’s not a must-buy, but it’s definitely technology to watch. The June company is working on a built-in, full-size oven that will address some of the above issues, like volume. The app and interface are a breeze for anyone who has used a smartphone.

The ultimate verdict: Fully stocked kitchens don’t need a June Oven. It’s not a replacement for any one piece of equipment, least of all a stove, but it is a decent, all-purpose umbrella. It’s for a cook with a hefty budget and a yearning for one appliance to narrowly cover the job of many, like a millennial who worships at the gospel of tech looking to stock an economy-size apartment. And who is cooking for one. (It’s worth noting that the app is only currently available with iOS.) By comparison, a toaster toasts quicker, a microwave reheats faster, and a standard oven has the volume to prepare entire meals. June wouldn’t be able to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey, but would be perfect for a cheesy casserole, not to mention those late-night nachos.

June is a great miniature convection oven. In fact, it delivers, better than any convection oven I have ever used. It heats up fast, reheats quickly when heat escapes, and stays cool on the surface. Consider it an Easy-Bake Oven for adults and the future: compact, good at baking, and—with all its bells and whistles—playful. But June disappoints at its value proposition, which is smart cooking. Despite the number of June Oven users, a team constantly working to improve it, and pedigreed consulting chefs, June only has expertise in 50 items and can only recognize half of them with its software. The oven is over two years old; shouldn’t it have learned more by now?

How Did the June Perform on These Specific Tasks?

Packaged or prepared foods – Bakes well, but follow the package instructions.

Proteins – For proteins that don’t require a sear and are more than a half-inch in thickness, use the thermometer. For a sear, consider this hack: Cook to one temperature suggestion lower than desired, and finish by searing in a pan on the stove.

Roast chicken and smaller-size proteins – These came out well-cooked and moist, but watch that the oven doesn’t get confused by size or the shape of the cooking vessel.

Baked goods – This is what June was meant to do, and it browns evenly.

Reheating leftovers – It performs well here, keeping foods moist because of its compact size and insulated door. Note the time involved: It takes 15-20 minutes to reheat, vs. 2-3 in a microwave.

Baked casseroles – A match made in heaven. I can only imagine what a mac ’n’ cheese would be like.

Source: Bloomberg

Video: Breast Cancer Treatments Today — and Tomorrow

Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. Fortunately, the rate at which we’re learning about this disease means patients have a lot more treatment options and far better chances of survival than they did 100 years ago. In observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Reactions describes what’s changed about how we treat breast cancer and what patients can expect in the future.

Watch video at You Tube (5:32 minutes) . . . . .

Yoga and Aerobic Exercise Together May Improve Heart-Disease Risk Factors

Heart disease patients who practice yoga in addition to aerobic exercise saw twice the reduction in blood pressure, body mass index and cholesterol levels when compared to patients who practiced either Indian yoga or aerobic exercise alone, according to research to be presented at the 8th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology Middle East Conference October 19-21, 2017 in Dubai.

Lifestyle intervention has been shown to aid in reducing the risk of death and heart disease comorbidities when used alongside medical management. Indian yoga is a combination of whole exercise of body, mind and soul, and a common practice throughout India. Researchers in this study looked specifically at Indian yoga and aerobic training’s effect on the coronary risk factors of obese heart disease patients with type 2 diabetes.

The study looked at 750 patients who had previously been diagnosed with coronary heart disease. One group of 225 patients participated in aerobic exercise, another group of 240 patients participated in Indian yoga, and a third group of 285 participated in both yoga and aerobic exercise. Each group did three, six-month sessions of yoga and/or aerobic exercise.

The aerobic exercise only and yoga only groups showed similar reductions in blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, weight and waist circumference. However, the combined yoga and aerobic exercise group showed a two times greater reduction compared to the other groups. They also showed significant improvement in left ventricular ejection fraction, diastolic function and exercise capacity.

“Combined Indian yoga and aerobic exercise reduce mental, physical and vascular stress and can lead to decreased cardiovascular mortality and morbidity,” said Sonal Tanwar, PhD, a scholar in preventative cardiology, and Naresh Sen, DM, PhD, a consultant cardiologist, both at HG SMS Hospital, Jaipur, India. “Heart disease patients could benefit from learning Indian yoga and making it a routine part of daily life.”

Source: American College of Cardiology


Today’s Comic