This website is meant for information purposes and should not in any way be a substitute for medical treatment. Always consult your personal physician for specific medical concerns.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hunkering Down on a Cold Winter Day

I don't know about you but when the winter hits I get a craving for soup. There is nothing like a warm bowl of soup on a cold winter day to "warm the cockles of your soul" as my mother says. Soup is not only good for your soul but also for the rest of your body. Although you can certainly make soup with a chicken or beef stock, I recommend taking the opportunity to make any number of vegetarian options. If you add beans to your soup you'll add alot of protein and vitamins without having to add meat of any kind. Some examples of recipes that are readily available on the web and in many cookbooks are: lentil soup, white bean and escarole(my wife makes an amazing one!), chickpea soup and black bean soup. Here's a simple sketch for lentil soup:

Sautee a chopped onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 4-5 minutes. Add about 1/2 tsp of ground cumin and maybe 1/2 tsp of ground ginger. Next add about 4 cups of water or vegetable stock and a cup of red lentils. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 45 minutes until the beans are cooked. Season with salt and pepper and maybe add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Enjoy!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Jonathan Safran Foer on Eating Animals


check out the above link for a really insightful look at eating meat in this country and the consequences both health and environment related.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Revival of an Old Grain

Farro is an old form of wheat. I learned about it at a conference last year and had been trying to find it ever since. After searching a bit, I did find it on Amazon.com and after some ordering issues I finally received a package of farro last week. The recipes that I had heard about were mostly grain salads. Wheat salads are great with fresh produce and really shine when vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers are in season. Since these veggies are not in season now, I chose to make the traditional Italian recipe which was listed on the package. Really delicious. The grain takes about 20 minutes to cook at which time it is soft but chewy(kind of like barley). Once the grain is cooked, you set it aside, sautee a small onion with a carrot and celery stalk and add about a cup of tomato sauce and some white wine if you like. Add the farro and warm for a few minutes. It makes a great whole grain side dish and is quite filling.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fish Farming Issues

Here's an interesting interview regarding farmed fish. For the most part I recommend everyone try to eat wild caught and not farmed fish, but the oceans are becoming overfished and an many studies point to a severe depletion in the ocean's fish populations in the nex fifty years. Perhaps some safer fisher farming is on the horizon.


Too Much of a Good Thing?

Common knowledge seems to dictate that if we need vitamins to keep us healthy, then more vitamins can only be better for us. Unfortunately, this is not always true. While some vitamins taken in excess are merely excreted out in the urine, others can accumulate in the body and cause problems. Some vitamins that were at one time thought to make us healthier, have turned out to be dangerous when taken in excess.

Vitamins are substances that the body requires to grow, stay healthy and maintain the immune system amont other functions. They are either fat soluble or water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins (A, D,E and K)are stored in the body and used as needed. For this reason, taking too much of certain vitamins can cause abnormally high levels as the body does not readily use them up or excrete them. Water soluble vitamins (all B vitamins and C) are used up daily and any excess taken in is excreted in the urine. Taking too much of these usually is not harmful, but one might question the need to take them in high doses if you eat a healthy diet. In general, if someone has no chronic illnesses, feels well and eats an adequate diet, it is not necessary to take a multivitamin. The key here is to eat a healthy diet. To be sure you are getting adequate vitamins, you need to eat a wide variety of different colored fruits and vegetables. Be adventurous, and try many different kinds. Make sure the at least half of any plate of food you eat for a meal is fruit or vegetable. A diet rich in plant based components is a healthy one!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Breakfast Frittata

Here's a neat way to utilize those sauteed mushrooms the next morning and have a great breakfast. This is a spinach and mushroom frittata that my wonderful wife made for me this morning. We shared this frittata which is basically three eggs, two egg whites(you can reverse that ratio or use all egg whites!), sauteed mushrooms from last night, and spinach. First throw in the veggies in a pan with some butter or olive oil, wilt the spinach, add the eggs, cook for about 3 minutes, then put in broiler in oven proof pan(no plastic handle) for about 10-15 minutes until eggs are cooked through. Delicious!! by the way, a word about eggs. An excellent source of protein and omega 3's they've gotten a bad rap in years past. True the yolks have a high degree of cholesterol and fat that increases the caloric density. However if you use half the yolks, or just the whites you'll get alot of protein and still alot of taste, especially if you add veggies an seasoning. Consult with your physician as to where your cholesterol should be, but in most people eating eggs with the yolks once or twice a week is ok, won't bump your cholesterol much and gives you more of those healthy omega 3's.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mushrooms to Accentuate Any Meal

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. Case in point, sauteed mushrooms. I used to hate mushrooms until about 9 years ago when I met my wife and we started cooking together. Since then I've expanded my mushroom repertoire to include shitakes, creminis and portabellos(I love grilled portabellos!). Nutritionally, mushrooms are not a powerhouse for anything. On the other hand, they make a great complement to many meals adding alot of flavor without alot of calories(depending how how you prepare them). Recently I made sauteed mushrooms for a dinner party...they were a hit. Here's the basic recipe:

1 pound sliced mushrooms(any type really)

1 cup minced yellow onion

1/2 tsp kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

1 tbsp fresh thyme chopped

olive oil

a little white wine or cognac(optional)

Heat oil in pan, add onion and cook until soft and translucent. Next add mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook on high heat for a few minutes and then try to flip the mushrooms to get both sides slightly browned. Cook a few more minutes(total of about 5-6 minutes). Next add a splash of cognac or white wine and heat for a few seconds. Remove from heat and serve(on toast, with chicken, lean steak, on a cracker, or even by themselves!)