Cooking Tip: The French Method for Scrambling Eggs

Katelyn Marchyshyn wrote . . . . . . . . .

If you are in North America, there is a good chance that your scrambled eggs come looking fluffy and dry on the surface. But what if we told you that the French have their own style of scrambled eggs that trade speed and stiff egg bits for patience and custardy eggs.

To achieve this velvety style of scrambled eggs, you need butter, cream, and constant stirring over low heat. By stirring the eggs constantly, you control the coagulation of the egg proteins, so that some can be formed into delicate curds while the rest thicken into a creamy “sauce.”

Source: Eat North

Beef Goulash

Ingredients

2 oz lard
2 lb chuck steak, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch chunks
12 oz onions, peeled and sliced thinly
1 small green pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon paprika pepper
2 tablespoons tomato puree
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1.5 cups beef stock

Method

  1. Heat the lard in a pan, add the meat and fry briskly until the meat is sealed and brown. Remove the meat and place in a casserole.
  2. Add the onions and green pepper to the pan and fry until soft. Sprinkle in the flour and paprika pepper and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the puree and seasoning, then gradually stir in the stock and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
  3. Pour the sauce over the meat and cover the casserole. Cook in a warm oven (160ºC/325ºF) for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, or until tender.
  4. To freeze: Cool quickly, skim off any surplus fat, cover, seal and freeze.
  5. To serve the frozen goulash, reheat, covered, in a moderate oven (180ºC/350ºF) for 1-1/2 hours or until heated through.
  6. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in 1/2 cup soured cream and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Freezer Cookbook

Vietnamese Barbecue is the Healthy Flavor-Packed Meal You Can Make at Home

Kat Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

Barbecue often feels synonymous with two things: summer and America. For many, the term brings to mind racks of ribs kissed with char, bubbling batches of tangy and sweet barbecue sauce, and tender brisket that shreds with the slightest touch. But barbecue isn’t limited to this singular picture of American food. Within the scope of the United States itself, there are regional specialties, like white barbecue sauce from Alabama and all things pork in Memphis. And when you open up the picture even wider, you might just end up with the fragrant, fish sauce- and lemongrass-infused barbecue dishes that hail from Vietnam.

Jimmy Ly and Yen Vo, the husband-wife duo behind Madame Vo BBQ in New York City, have made it their mission to bring Vietnamese barbecue to the forefront of the barbecue and Vietnamese cuisine conversation. As a matter of fact, Ly and Vo bonded over the lack of Vietnamese options in the city when they first met. “We got married because we love Vietnamese food,” Vo, whose surname worked as inspiration for their initial flagship restaurant, told me over a video call with a laugh. “When we opened Vo, we couldn’t find Vietnamese food being represented the way we were used to eating it. I was telling my husband, [Vietnamese barbecue] is one of my favorite things to eat. I want to show the world, I want to show New Yorkers, another side of Vietnamese food aside from the classic [dishes] that people know.”

So after opening up their first restaurant, Madame Vo — which features reimagined classics of Vietnamese fare like steaming bowls of pho and vermicelli noodles laced with pickled veggies — Ly and Vo set their sights on establishing one of the only Vietnamese barbecue restaurants in New York City, complete with grills embedded at the table.

Vietnamese barbecue was always a part of the pair’s upbringing. For Ly, who was born and raised in New York, eating bò 7 món — or seven courses of beef, a Vietnamese barbecue specialty — was reserved for celebratory occasions. “[We ate it] maybe two times a year because it was a ceremonial meal. It was always used to celebrate weddings, graduations, birthdays — just big moments,” he explained. “Mom made bò 7 món at the house and it was very time-intensive and it always required big groups to come.”

Alternatively for Vo, who grew up in Long Beach on the coast of Mississippi — which boasts a large Vietnamese community — bò 7 món was more prevalent. She describes get-togethers with family members that included platters of fresh seafood wrapped in sheets of rice paper and beef cooked in aromatic, sizzling butter.

“We’re deep in our roots and we felt that Vietnamese [food] hasn’t gotten that spotlight yet that it deserves,” Ly explained. “We wanted to push the envelope and introduce a new side of Vietnamese food and dedicate a restaurant fully to barbecue.”

Whether you go gas or charcoal, you have standards to uphold. This summer, complement the cookout with Remy Martin VSOP. With notes of vanilla, stone fruit, and licorice, VSOP is complex enough to drink neat, versatile enough for cocktails, and always in a class of its own. It’s the style upgrade your BBQ deserves.

“We wanted to push the envelope and introduce a new side of Vietnamese food and dedicate a restaurant fully to barbecue.”

What came next were excursions to Vietnam, trying barbecue from all parts of the country. In Vietnam, barbecue restaurants sit on rooftops, where curls of charcoal-tinged smoke can escape. The aroma of meat hangs heavy. In New York, Madame Vo employs electric grills. The smell of caramelizing beef is just as enticing.

For those who’ve never had Vietnamese barbecue, there are a couple things to expect. “Vietnamese barbecue — when you eat it — the flavor is really bold and the meats are already marinated. It’s not like American, when you dry rub,” Ly explained. “For all Vietnamese barbecue, it’s really deeply marinated and embedded in the meat.”

And rather than slather meats with sticky, ketchup-based barbecue sauces, the key ingredients to Vietnamese barbecue marinades call for fish sauce, lemongrass, garlic, sugar, and butter. Then there’s the dipping sauces.

“Vietnamese barbecue is known for their dipping sauces,” Ly explained. “That completes the meal.” At Madame Vo BBQ, Ly and Vo serve three different dips to complement their grilled meats. There’s nước chấm, the classic sweet, tangy, and garlicky fish sauce dip that pairs well with pretty much any protein, fried egg rolls, and fresh spring rolls. There’s mắm nêm, a fermented anchovy and pineapple mixture that’s pungent and salty — a perfect complement to beef, according to Vo. The pair also serve a tamarind sauce reminiscent of Thai cuisine that’s thick and tart from the fresh tamarind pulp.

The last portion of the Vietnamese barbecue equation are the sides. Like Korean barbecue’s banchans, Vietnamese barbecue also has components outside of the meat. “Yes, the meat itself is good but [you don’t] get the full experience of barbecue,” Vo said. “You eat it with the noodles, the rice, the sides, the sauce — you have to do the whole thing.”

As Ly mentioned, Vietnamese barbecue is a celebratory meal meant to be shared with others. There’s a sense of camaraderie to getting together and customizing your own rice paper wraps filled with herbs and grilled proteins (Vo specifically likes putting tart green apples in hers) and dunking the creations into boldly flavored sauces. But with the pandemic looming overhead, dining out and traveling for such a meal is more challenging than ever.

Ly, however, is adamant that people can easily bring Vietnamese barbecue into their own homes. “If you have a grill, like a grill in your backyard, that’s ideal. [Otherwise], the electric skillet is probably the main thing that you need to make it happen. The recipes are very simple,” he explained. “I don’t think you need anything specific to accomplish a Vietnamese barbecue at home. In Vietnam, we’re a very poor country. We had to figure out how to cook with whatever we had. That’s the beauty of it. It’s so simple, but yet complex in terms of flavor.”

Vo agrees, and emphasizes that Vietnamese barbecue can take shape in many ways; it’s not a one-size-fits-all meal. “The secret is of course in the sauce and marinade,” Vo said. “But the thing with barbecue is that it’s not just meat. We do a whole catfish, and we make wraps out of it. [Just] marinate your meat, get the butter going, and rice papers and all the herbs. All of this you can find in grocery stores right now.” Vo cites mint, basil, and tarragon as some of her favorite herbs to include in her wraps.

And if you can’t find herbaceous stalks of lemongrass and funky bottles of fish sauce right now, Vo recommends trying Omsom: a new food brand that specializes in prepackaged Asian sauces and marinades. The Vietnamese barbecue starter from Omsom, afterall, was made in partnership with Ly and Vo. “Obviously people can’t come to our restaurant so they can bring [our flavors] home to them. We’re so grateful,” Ly said. “At the end of the day, we love our culture and we just wanted to represent it properly — the best that we know and we could.”

Source: Thrillist

Postbiotics and Gut Health: An Emerging Field of Research to Support the Immune System

From Nutricia Early Life Nutrition . . . . . . . . .

INCREASED understanding of the role of the gut microbiota in health has highlighted the benefits of pre- and probiotics, and now, postbiotics are emerging as a further source of support for the development of a strong and stable immune system. Produced by a natural fermentation process, postbiotics have been shown to benefit the adaptive and innate immune system and improve gut barrier function.

A healthy gut microbiota composition is essential for optimal immune system development and function in infants, and has the potential to lower the risk of disease in infancy and beyond.

The human body is comprised of trillions of microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc) in addition to human cells. Estimates of the ratio of microbe to human cells have varied from 10:1, to more robust, recent research that suggests the split is much more of equal proportion. The influence of these microbes on our health and body functions is far-reaching.

The digestive tract is host to many of these microbes — the gut microbiota. Our digestive system could not function effectively without them. Bacteria in the gut are not only important for healthy digestion — they also play a vital role in metabolism, cognitive function and immunity.

Early life gut health and immune system development

The first 1,000 days is a critical window when the gut and immune system develop rapidly, as babies move from a protected environment to one where they are exposed to lots of immune challenges. The development of healthy gut microbiota is essential for immune system development and function³. Early nutrition is the main influence on initial microbiota composition; and optimal nutrition fine-tunes the immune system and sets up metabolic homeostasis in early life, influencing long-term health.

Breastmilk is the best possible source of nutrition for a healthy microbiota composition. Recent research suggests around 30% of gut microbiota in breast-fed infants comes directly from their mother’s milk.

As well as being an optimal source of beneficial bacteria, breastmilk contains prebiotic human milk oligosaccharides which positively shape the infants gut microbiota⁹. These prebiotics pass intact to the lower part of the infants’ gut where they are selectively fermented by beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria — allowing the amplification of these bacterial populations. This fermentation process also creates postbiotics — bioactive components that play an important role in the regulation of biologic activity in the gut.

The transformational power of fermentation

Fermentation occurs naturally in the gut, but people have also used fermentation as a method of food preservation throughout history. There are a huge variety of fermented foods in many cultures, which are consumed for both taste and health benefits. It is now recognised that many of the health benefits of fermented foods can be attributed to the postbiotics that fermentation produces.

Fermented dairy products can improve gut health, increase infection-fighting antibodies and boost both humoral (immunity mediated by substances found in body fluids) and cell-mediated immunity. Consumption of fermented dairy products has been shown to reduce the risk of several non-communicable diseases in adults.

The immune-boosting power of postbiotics

A whole range of postbiotic bioactive components are produced during fermentation including short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), enzymes, peptides (proteins), polysaccharides, cell surface proteins, and vitamins.

“Postbiotics stimulate healthy gut microbiota and support immune function through the gut.”

SCFAs are a source of energy for cells and help regulate energy homeostasis. They possess antioxidative, anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties and play an essential role in the immune system.

Postbiotics have been shown to support a healthy gut microbiota. Regarding immune function, postbiotics have also been shown to improve the ability to fight infection by increasing the antibody response to pathogens, as well as directly influencing gut barrier function¹ and intestinal immunity.

Source: Medium


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Study: Marijuana May Hurt Heart, More Research Needed

Marijuana use could hurt the heart and blood vessels, according to a report that found no cardiovascular benefits to cannabis use and called for more research of the drug that is growing in popularity.

Cannabis studies have been limited because it is listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, defined by the U.S. Controlled Substances Act as having no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. A new scientific statement from the American Heart Association, published Wednesday in its journal Circulation, suggests the federal Drug Enforcement Agency remove cannabis from the Schedule I category so it can be widely studied by scientists.

Its use has risen over the past decade, especially among people 18-25. In all, 47 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and 4 of 5 U.S. territories allow some form of cannabis use. Although many states have legalized medical and/or recreational use, cannabis growing, sales and use are illegal at the federal level, further complicating scientific research.

“We urgently need carefully designed, prospective short- and long-term studies regarding cannabis use and cardiovascular safety as it becomes increasingly available and more widely used,” Robert L. Page II, chair of the writing group for the statement, said in a news release. “The public needs fact-based, valid scientific information about cannabis’s effect on the heart and blood vessels. Research funding at federal and state levels must be increased to match the expansion of cannabis use – to clarify the potential therapeutic properties and to help us better understand the cardiovascular and public health implications of frequent cannabis use.”

Observational studies have linked the chemicals in marijuana to an increased risk of heart attacks, heart failure and a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, according to the report.

A recent study cited in the statement suggests 6% of heart attack patients under age 50 use cannabis. Other research found users ages 18-44 had a significantly higher risk of having a stroke compared to nonusers.

“Unfortunately, most of the available data are short-term, observational and retrospective studies, which identify trends but do not prove cause and effect,” said Page, who also is professor in the department of clinical pharmacy and the department of physical medicine/rehabilitation at the University of Colorado in Aurora.

“Health care professionals need a greater understanding of the health implications of cannabis, which has the potential to interfere with prescribed medications and/or trigger cardiovascular conditions or events, such as heart attacks and strokes,” he said.

Although cannabis may be helpful for conditions such as muscle stiffness associated with multiple sclerosis, the new statement said cannabis does not appear to have any well-documented benefits for the prevention or treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

Some studies suggest cannabis – which contains the “high”-inducing THC (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) and CBD (cannabidiol) – may be safe and effective for older populations. Though they are the least likely to use cannabis, older adults have used it to reduce neuropathic pain, common among people with Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers also have reported benefits for people with age-related diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, but there is a dearth of research on the long-term effects of cannabis use among this population. One concern is the potential of interactions with other medications, including blood thinners, antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiarrhythmics for heart rhythm abnormalities, and statin drugs, which reduce cholesterol levels.

Some research has found that within an hour of smoking cannabis, THC may induce heart rhythm abnormalities. THC also appears to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “fight or flight” response, resulting in a higher heart rate, a greater demand for oxygen by the heart, higher blood pressure while lying down and dysfunction within the walls of the arteries.

In contrast, studies on CBD, which does not produce intoxication, have found associations with reduced heart rate, lower blood pressure, increased ability of the arteries to open and potentially reduced inflammation. Inflammation is linked to atherosclerosis, the slow narrowing of the arteries.

The way cannabis is consumed may influence how it affects the heart and blood vessels.

“Many consumers and health care professionals don’t realize that cannabis smoke contains components similar to tobacco smoke,” Page said. Smoking and inhaling cannabis, regardless of THC content, has been shown to increase the concentrations of carbon monoxide fivefold, and a threefold increase in tar, similar to the effects of inhaling a tobacco cigarette.

Marijuana use, and its potential health risks, should be discussed in detail with a health care professional, the report said.

“If people choose to use cannabis for its medicinal or recreational effects, the oral and topical forms, for which doses can be measured, may reduce some of the potential harms. It is also vitally important that people only use legal cannabis products because there are no controls on the quality or the contents of cannabis products sold on the street,” Page said.

In addition to the poisonous compounds in cannabis smoke, vaping cannabis may result in serious health outcomes, especially when mixed with vitamin E acetate oils, which are linked to EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury), the potentially fatal illness that emerged among e-cigarette users last year.

The AHA recommends people not smoke or vape any substance, including cannabis products, because of the potential harm to the heart, lungs and blood vessels.

Cannabis that is legal for medical purposes should align with patient safety and efficacy, according to the statement, which calls on the federal government to create and require standardized labeling about THC and CBD amounts on all legalized products.

The statement advocates folding cannabis into comprehensive tobacco control and prevention efforts, including age restrictions for purchasing; excise taxes; comprehensive smoke-free air laws; coverage of cessation treatment programs by insurers, Medicare and Medicaid; and medical screening, such as when a patient is admitted to the hospital and routinely screened to avoid medication interactions. These efforts should be adequately funded, and at least some portion of the revenue from cannabis taxation should be directed toward programs and services that improve public health.

Source: American Heart Association


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