Video: Unmanned Dumplings Factory in Qinhuangdao, China

Watch video at You Tube (3:04 minutes) . . . .


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Inside the Chinese dumpling factory where robots do all the work . . . . .

Mediterranean-style Baked Cod with Eggplant

Ingredients

butter for greasing
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 eggplant, sliced
1 large onion, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 Tbsp capers
1/3 cup black olives, pitted
2 cups chopped canned tomatoes
1 Tbsp chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, oregano, marjoram
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 lb cod fillet, skin removed

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Butter an 8-inch ovenproof serving dish.
  3. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and fry the eggplant slices gently until tender but not brown. Drain on absorbent paper towels.
  4. Add a little more oil to the skillet if necessary, then add the onion and cook until softened and just starting to brown.
  5. Stir in the garlic, capers, and olives, then add the tomatoes and herbs, and season to taste. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes, until it is slightly thickened and the onions are cooked.
  6. Pour the tomato sauce into the prepared dish.
  7. Divide the cod into 4 portions and add to the sauce. Cover the fish with the fried eggplant slices and dot with butter.
  8. Place the dish on a baking sheet if it seems very full and likely to bubble over, then bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes, until the eggplant slices are browned. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Garlic

Narezushi: A Taste of Ancient Sushi in Japan

Narezushi

Kate Springer wrote . . . . . . .

“I don’t think we should open it here,” warns Kazuyuki Ohashi, the executive chef at Lake Biwa Marriott Hotel, as he motions toward a crowd of diners.

“It’s like blue cheese — some people like the taste, but it has a very strong smell.”

Ohashi is talking about sushi, but not the kind most of us are used to. Narezushi (なれずし), the most primitive, earliest form of sushi, is a world away from your California rolls and sliced sashimi.

Dating back to the 10th century in Japan, this fermented fish was preserved with salt and raw rice, eventually giving way to the nigiri (sliced seafood atop rice) we know and love today.

On a trip through the Shiga prefecture, where narezushi is still common, CNN Travel tracked down this ancient food tradition.

Narezushi is fermented fish pickled with rice — a practice common in much of Southeast Asia around the 2nd century CE.

It’s thought to have migrated to Japan around the 8th century, but written documentation of “narezushi” didn’t appear until the 10th century.

“It’s not totally clear when exactly narezushi began, but many people here consider this a family-style fish,” says chef Ohashi. “Most families had their own recipes, passed down from generation to generation.”

Around Lake Biwa — the largest lake in Japan, just north of Kyoto — narezushi was a household staple and an important source of protein.

In a time before refrigerators, families relied on rice and salt to ferment and preserve the fish — usually stored layered in barrels — in the hope of saving it for as long as possible.

Narezushi can be made with yellowtail, mackerel or ayu, but the most common type in the Lake Biwa area is funazushi (ふなずし), made from nigorobuna fish.

Funazushi

Most families have their own distinct recipe, but all share a similar methodology.

First, the fish is scaled, gutted and preserved in salt for a few months. Then, it’s combined with rice and left to ferment.

As long as there’s a dark storage space at room temperature, the fish can be left for a few months, years or even decades.

For many centuries, people ate only the fish and threw the fermented “stinky rice” out.

But around the 1500s, people began consuming half-fermented fish and rice together — thus paving the way for modern sushi.

“The technique is a thing to be proud of — we are proud of making this sushi for 1,000 years. When you eat funazushi, you can feel the history”

At first glance, narezushi looks nothing like modern sushi. It’s usually sold as one whole fish, covered in a goopy, yogurt-like sauce.

To serve, sushi chefs will slice the fish into thin layers and arrange them atop a bed of rice in a beautiful pattern.

Sometimes, they prepare narezushi as porridge with hot tea (called ochazuke-rice), or even fry it up like tempura.

But no matter how it’s prepared, narezushi is one of those divisive foods that will either make or break your dinner because of the sushi’s sewage-like aroma and mouth-puckeringly sour taste.

Of course, for connoisseurs, the stinkier, the better.

“The people who love funazushi, they really love it. The first time I tasted it, I was actually in high school, around 16 or 17 years old,” says Ohashi.

“I thought it was really gross. But my father, who was also a chef, enjoyed these things. He put it in a soup for me, which I enjoyed much better.”

While he couldn’t quite stomach it at first, Ohashi says the taste has grown on him over time.

“Now I enjoy it. Over time, the lactic acid and bacteria in the rice breaks down the fish and, if done properly, even the head can be fully consumed. That’s the sign of a good funazushi,” he adds.

“The technique is a thing to be proud of — we are proud of making this sushi for 1,000 years. When you eat funazushi, you can feel the history.”

To Ohashi’s knowledge, the oldest funazushi has been fermented for a century.

“If it’s 100 years old, it’s still not rotten because of the fermentation,” says Ohashi. “By that time, it wouldn’t be much more than liquid.”

The older it is, the rarer it is — and old narezushi can cost hundreds of US dollars, though the most common types will have aged for about one year.

Ancient sushi, modern times

If you’re in Japan, narezushi is actually pretty easy to find.

It’s even sold on Amazon. But for higher-quality versions, travelers will find traditional vendors along the shores of Lake Biwa.

Kimura is one such institution, having sold the dish for more than 50 years.

“Because the fish itself is scarce nowadays, people can’t catch enough and we consider this a special meal… it’s no longer a common thing,” Akiko Higashimomo, a shopkeeper, tells CNN Travel.

“It’s reserved for family gatherings and special occasions. Because it has a distinctive strong taste it’s not a thing that you eat every day.”

Finding it in a restaurant is a bit more challenging, at least for travelers, partly due to language barriers.

One restaurant that comes highly recommended is Korian. Located on the northwestern edge of Lake Biwa, the restaurant serves funazushi several ways — on a bed of rice, in porridge or in soups.

Enjoy it in the traditional Japanese tatami-mat rooms or by the terrace overlooking the lake.

“If you eat a little bit, try it with sake,” suggests Higashimomo. “It also goes well with wine, because it’s like a blue cheese.”

Source: CNN

EFSA confirms health concerns for hydroxyanthracene derivatives in food

Some substances belonging to a group of plant ingredients known as hydroxyanthracene derivatives can damage DNA and may cause cancer, said EFSA after assessing their safety when added to food.

This group of substances naturally occurs in plants such as aloe or senna species. Extracts containing them are used in food supplements for their laxative effect.

In 2013, EFSA found that hydroxyanthracene derivatives in food can improve bowel function, but advised against long-term use and consumption at high doses due to potential safety concerns. The European Commission subsequently asked EFSA to assess the safety of these plant ingredients when used in foods, and provide advice on a daily intake not associated with adverse health effects.

Based on the available data, EFSA concluded that certain hydroxyanthracene derivatives are genotoxic (they can damage DNA). Therefore it was not possible to set a safe daily intake. When tested in animal studies, some of these substances have been shown to cause cancer in the intestine.

These conclusions are in line with previous assessments on the botanical sources of these substances by other European and international bodies, including the World Health Organization, the European Medicines Agency and, most recently, Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment.

Source: European Food Safety Authority

Winter Temps Raise Health Risks for Seniors

Older adults are at increased risk for hypothermia, a dangerous drop in body temperature, the U.S. National Institute on Aging warns.

This can be due to chronic health conditions or the use of certain medicines, including over-the-counter cold remedies.

Hypothermia occurs when your core body temperature drops to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Warning signs include:

  • Slowed or slurred speech.
  • Sleepiness or confusion.
  • Shivering or stiffness in the arms and legs.
  • Poor control over body movements.
  • Slow reactions.
  • A weak pulse.

To prevent or reduce the chance of hypothermia, older adults can take a number of steps, according to the institute.

First, ask your doctor or pharmacist if any prescription or over-the-counter medications you’re taking increase your risk for hypothermia.

Then, keep the thermostat in your home to at least 68 to 70 degrees. Even inside temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees can put older adults at risk for hypothermia.

Indoors, wear long underwear under your clothes, as well as socks and slippers and a hat or cap. It’s also a good idea to use a blanket or afghan to keep your legs and shoulders warm.

When going outside, wear a hat and scarf to prevent the loss of body heat through your head, and gloves or mittens to prevent the loss of body heat through your hands. Wearing several layers of loose clothing helps trap warm air between the layers.

Also, let someone know when you’re going outside — and be sure to carry a fully charged cellphone.

If you notice any of these symptoms or suspect hypothermia, call 911.

Source: HealthDay


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