27 December 2011

Lucky Foods to Ring in the New Year — Recipes for Health - NYTimes.com

Simple, healthy, filling:

"I love the fact that beans, lentils and greens symbolize prosperity in the New Year in places as disparate as the American South and the South of France. I wonder if it’s really because lentils and beans are round like coins and swell when they cook, or if it’s because that’s about all anybody can afford to eat after the excesses of the holiday season."

For article and recipe:

Lucky Foods to Ring in the New Year — Recipes for Health - NYTimes.com

07 December 2011

Tried And True Tricks From 'America's Test Kitchen' : NPR

An entertaining and informative article from NPR Radio:

"The mission of America's Test Kitchen is simple: to make "recipes that work." The syndicated PBS cooking show, hosted by Christopher Kimball, simplifies recipes in ways that home chefs can easily replicate with a fairly high degree of success."

For the entire article go to:

Tried And True Tricks From 'America's Test Kitchen' : NPR

WHFoods: Walnuts

More and more recently, walnuts and the benefits attributed to this tree nut have been in the news:

"Researchers are convinced - more than ever before - about the nutritional benefits of walnuts when consumed in whole form, including the skin. We now know that approximately 90% of the phenols in walnuts are found in the skin, including key phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonoids. Some websites will encourage you to remove the walnut skin - that whitish, sometimes waxy, sometimes flaky, outermost part of shelled walnuts. There can be slight bitterness to this skin, and that's often the reason that websites give for removing it. However, we encourage you not to remove this phenol-rich portion."

For more information:

WHFoods: Walnuts

27 November 2011

Rhode Island: King of squid | The Providence Journal

Do you like squid, aka, calamari, to some?

"Cornell University researchers completed a study last month, commissioned by Saunderstown-based Commercial Fisheries.
They concluded that more pounds of squid are brought to shore in Rhode Island than any other seafood. And Rhode Island accounts for 54 percent of squid landings in the Northeast.
Who knew?"
The story below:
Rhode Island: King of squid | Breaking News | Rhode Island news | The Providence Journal

25 November 2011

What's hot: 139 of the latest recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen - latimes.com

From pretzels to squid, there's a recipe here for everyone and every occasion:

BPA Lurks in Canned Soups and Drinks - NYTimes.com

Another study reinforcing the dangers of BPA, this time in canned products.

"The new study, which was published Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first to measure the amounts that are ingested when people eat food that comes directly out of a can, in this case soup. The spike in BPA levels that the researchers recorded is one of the highest seen in any study."
Read the entire article below.

BPA Lurks in Canned Soups and Drinks - NYTimes.com

Recommendations: go with frozen foods, or even better, fresh.

15 November 2011

Cornmeal - Recipes for Health - NYTimes.com

Another in a series of quickie blogs -- just click on the article (below the photo) for the story and recipes.

Cornmeal - Recipes for Health - NYTimes.com

23 October 2011

Label Plan Offered to Rate Food Nutrition

Well, the government seems about to offer another worthless plan to those who need nutritional information the most.

"Label Plan Offered to Rate Food Nutrition" is the newest attempt to by The Institute of Medicine's to make food labeling clear and easy to read for the vast majority of consumers.

"In a report to federal regulators, the Institute of Medicine called for a simplified label that would go on the front of food packages and show the number of calories per serving and contain zero to three stars to indicate how healthful a food was."

And who is the judge of whether high-fructose-corn syrup is more healthy than sugar or if whole wheat bread is nutritionally the same as 100% whole wheat bread? And what about the plethora of added ingredients in processed foods. Because fats, sugars and salts fall into "acceptable" levels, what about preservatives, flavorings, dyes and other myriad ingredients too long to list added to these foods, these foods are "safe" to eat.

If parents have poor eating habits, they will care little if a food has one or ten stars. "“It’s simple,” said Alice H. Lichtenstein, a nutrition professor at Tufts University, who served on the committee that prepared the report. “It’s interpretive. People don’t need to look at numbers or do any calculations to figure out what they mean. Three stars are better than no stars.”  Huh, what a dumb assumption.

The changes have to start with the food manufacturers.

01 September 2011

Mark Bittman Explains 'How To Cook Everything' : NPR

Image: iStockphoto.com

Mark Bittman Explains 'How To Cook Everything' : NPR

If you have a minimum of cookbooks in your pantry, Bittman's How to Cook Everything should be one of them. Besides the varied and mostly healthful recipes, they can be read for pure entertainment.

"Aside from preheating pans, Bittman says he doesn't have any golden secrets that he uses on his own dishes. 'I think the tricks that I have are not secrets at all,' he tells Fresh Air's David Bianculli. 'I think they're things that just come from really a life of cooking and become sort of second nature.'"

For the entire article go to NPR.org

27 August 2011

Quick and Easy Cooking With Grains - NYTimes.com

Image: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Grains are a powerhouse of nutrition: vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. There are never-ending recipes for preparation. Here is an article from The New York Times, Quick and Easy Cooking With Grains, by Tara Parker-Pope, to get you started.

"I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a well-stocked pantry to a healthy diet. If you have grains and legumes on hand — especially quick-cooking ingredients like bulgur, quinoa, rice and lentils — you’ll always have the basis for a healthy meal."

05 August 2011

7 Foods That Keep Us Fat | Care2 Healthy Living

7 Foods That Keep Us Fat | Care2 Healthy Living

By Sara Novak, Planet Green
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that the quality of the foods that you eat has more to do with weight than the quantity of food. I’ve pulled together a list of foods that keep us fat compiled from various studies as well as recent articles and research:
7 Foods That Keep Us Fat | Care2 Healthy Living

Quoted in the above article, in many of the foods mentioned is the ingredient High Fructose Corn Syrup. From George Mateljan and whfoods.org read the following about this ubiquitous sweetener:

Healthy Food Tip

I am confused about high fructose corn syrup? Do you think it is a good sweetener?

No, I do not think that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a healthy sweetener. From my perspective, a "good sweetener" would have to meet the same type of standards that are used to evaluate other foods. It would have to be minimally processed and very close in composition to the whole, natural food from which it was produced. Unfortunately, high-fructose corn syrup fails miserably on all counts. Although its starting point might be whole, natural grains of corn (I use the word "might" here since a large amount of non-organic corn has been genetically engineered), that corn must first be milled and processed into corn starch. That corn starch must then be treated with a series of enzymes that help trigger the conversion of starch to sugars, including glucose and fructose. Once this processing is completed, you end up with a product that contains fewer than 20 micrograms per tablespoon of any vitamin or any mineral! HFCS is therefore the opposite of a whole, natural food. It's highly processed and cannot offer balanced nourishment in any respect.

Just how problematic is HFCS in the diet of an average U.S. adult? There is a reasonable amount of evidence linking increased intake of HCFS with increased risk of obesity, risk of type 2 diabetes, and also with changes in insulin secretion and leptin production that might help to explain these increased disease risks. Use of corn syrup as a sweetener has increased dramatically in the U.S., particularly following the development of high-fructose versions of this sweetener that brought its fructose content up to 90% of total sugars. On a percentage calories basis, the average U.S. citizen now consumes about 10% of all calories from HFCS. This amount represents 220 calories, or 55 grams, or nearly 3 tablespoons of HFCS each and every day.

On our website we feature some healthy sweetener alternatives to HFCS. These include honey, cane juice, maple syrup, and blackstrap molasses. You can find links to the write-ups on these sweeteners at http://whfoods.org/foodstoc.php

04 August 2011

The Chef Seamus Mullen Finds Healing in Food - NYTimes.com

A Chef Finds Healing in Food, by Jeff Gordiner

Image: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Many people are aware foods play a critical role beyond simple nutrition in the body. And many know, the less processed, and more natural and organic a nutrient is, the better it is nutritionally for you. All the pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and whatever else huge agri-business throws in to produce larger and "better" crops do not translate to better nutrition.

A new publication scheduled for publication next spring, “Seamus Mullen’s Hero Food: How Cooking With Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better”, by Seamus Mullen, is worth placing on your "watch list".

From The New York Times:

"Mr. Mullen calls these “hero foods,” and he’s just finished the manuscript for a cookbook called “Seamus Mullen’s Hero Food: How Cooking With Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better.” Scheduled to come out in the spring, it will celebrate these gustatory “super friends” for what he sees as their power to beat back inflammation, boost the immune system and amplify an eater’s overall health."

I for one, do believe in the power of foods to help with a great number of mild to moderate afflictions.

For the article, go to A Chef Finds Healing in Food.

30 July 2011

Dining Advice for a First Trip to New York - NYTimes.com

This article genre, "New York at First Bite: Oh, the Places You’ll Go", by Sam Sifton, for neophyte NYC visitors is always an enjoyable exploration of new, different and/or unknown restaurants. My favorite (for decades, now) is the Oyster Bar, in Grand Central Terminal. And yours?

Image: Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times

"Dead of summer, but still the postman trudges forth to the mountaintop with questions for Mr. Critic, meditating on his zafu pillow. This week brought queries about a first-time trip to New York City, about where to feed a world-weary New Yorker and about where to hold a rehearsal dinner for American expatriates in from London and seeking British food. You may add your own voices to the choir at the Diner’s Journal blog. And feel free to send your questions about restaurants in New York City to dinejournal@nytimes.com."

Dining Advice for a First Trip to New York - NYTimes.com

19 July 2011

Chilled Pea, Lettuce and Herb Soup

Image: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Summer. Heat. Chilled soups.

Everyone knows of gazpacho (I think). But what about 'Chilled Pea, Lettuce and Herb Soup' in this artiicle from The New York Times.

"...some of these blended soups were elegant enough to serve not only as meals but also as dinner party aperitifs. I poured them into shot glasses and espresso cups and passed them on a tray."

Chilled Pea, Lettuce and Herb Soup

This elegant soup is sweet and heavenly. The texture is silky and the consistency thick -- but only because there are lots of peas in it. I used water rather than stock when I tested this recipe, and it worked just fine.


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 leeks, white and light green part only, cleaned and sliced

Salt to taste

5 cups frozen or fresh peas (1 1/2 pounds, or 2 12-ounce bags frozen)

3 cups, tightly packed, coarsely chopped Boston or bibb lettuce

5 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water

1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh tarragon leaves

1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup chopped chives, plus additional for garnish

Chopped fresh tarragon, chives and/or mint for garnish


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the peas, lettuce and stock or water, and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste, reduce the heat, cover and simmer five minutes. Remove from the heat. Drain through a strainer set over a bowl, and allow the vegetables and the broth to cool for 15 minutes. Taste the broth, and season as desired.

2. Working in batches, purée the vegetables and herbs in a blender with the broth and additional olive oil for two minutes until frothy and smooth. Pour into a bowl, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill for several hours.

3. Serve, garnishing with additional chives, tarragon and/or mint.

Yield: Six regular servings or 12 aperitifs.

Advance preparation: You can make this dish a day ahead.

Nutritional information per serving (six servings): 183 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 22 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 155 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 9 grams protein

14 June 2011

Farm-Fresh Favas - Recipes for Health - NYTimes.com

Fava beans of any sort are sometimes hard to find; especially organic. If you do come across some, do try the recipe in the article below.

"Not everyone is enthusiastic about them. They require double peeling, a job you might find tedious. But it goes more quickly than you’d think, especially if you have some company around to help, glasses of rosé in hand. Don’t believe those who tell you that young favas in particular don’t require double peeling; the light green skins that surround the beautiful darker bean have nothing going for them -- they’re bitter and fibrous."

Farm-Fresh Favas - Recipes for Health - NYTimes.com

02 June 2011

Plate replaces pyramid in USDA food guidelines - Yahoo! News

It's official: The plate has replaced the pyramid.

"The Department of Agriculture unveiled its new icon, MyPlate, on Thursday to help guide Americans toward eating balanced meals. The dinner plate is divided into four sections for fruits, vegetables, protein and grains, with a dairy cup beside it."

Plate replaces pyramid in USDA food guidelines - Yahoo! News

Or visit the USDA's MyPlate.

At the National Archives, Life, Liberty and Carp - NYTimes.com

As a prelude to the new food "pyramid" that is to make an appearance, now a "pie", a look at the old in an exhibition, “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?”, at the National Archives:

Long before the makers of fatty crackers tried to sell Americans on their nutritional value, the government was pushing enriched white bread as a fantastic source of vitamin B1, through public service ads displayed here. The ever-evolving food pyramid was presaged by a nutrition chart that counted butter as its own food group.

At the National Archives, Life, Liberty and Carp - NYTimes.com

10 May 2011

2011 James Beard Foundation Awards Winners

The 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards Winners were announced on May 9th.

The highlights in the top categories are:

Outstanding Chef: Jose Andres (minibar, Washington, D.C.)

Outstanding Restaurant: Eleven Madison Park (NYC, Owner: Danny Meyer)

Rising Star Chef: Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon, Portland, OR)

Best New Restaurant: ABC Kitchen (NYC, Chef/Owner: Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Owner: Phil Suarez)

"Industry leaders from across the country attended the highly-anticipated festivities, which celebrated this year's Awards theme of "The Ultimate Melting Pot," a tribute to the nation's wonderfully diverse food culture, a mosaic of influences from many lands, as described by James Beard himself in American Cookery, in which he acknowledged the unique character of American food that resulted from the varied backgrounds of American citizens.  In a nod to this year's theme, the Foundation invited both chefs who have emigrated from various places to America as well as chefs born in America that have been inspired by international cuisines to present dishes that reflect the country's multi-cultural influences.  At the Gala Reception immediately following the Awards Ceremony, guests enjoyed a dine-around gala prepared by these notable chefs, including many of this year's winners and nominees, among them Jose Andres, Saipin Chutima, Tyson Cole, Andy Ricker and Michael Solomonov."

For all the other winners and further information visit JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION AWARDS 2011.

25 March 2011

Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking

Ah, the ultimate, of the moment, gastronomic publication: "Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking" [Hardcover], by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, Maxime Bilet.

At $625 (Retail) for six volumes, and 40 pounds, that works out to about $104.16/lb. But you can find it discounted at major booksellers (see below).

Seriously, a major publication I would love to have, but out of my price range. Will someone please buy it and write a review?

From The New York Times:

"“Modernist Cuisine” is the cooking world’s equivalent of a complete Encyclopaedia Britannica, or of a library filled with first-edition Dickens or Proust."

From the Publisher:

"A revolution is underway in the art of cooking. Just as French Impressionists upended centuries of tradition, Modernist cuisine has in recent years blown through the boundaries of the culinary arts. Borrowing techniques from the laboratory, pioneering chefs at world-renowned restaurants such as elBulli, The Fat Duck, Alinea, and wd~50 have incorporated a deeper understanding of science and advances in cooking technology into their culinary art. In Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet scientists, inventors, and accomplished cooks in their own right have created a six-volume 2,400-page set that reveals science-inspired techniques for preparing food that ranges from the otherworldly to the sublime. The authors and their 20-person team at The Cooking Lab have achieved astounding new flavors and textures by using tools such as water baths, homogenizers, centrifuges, and ingredients such as hydrocolloids, emulsifiers, and enzymes. It is a work destined to reinvent cooking..."

Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking

by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, Maxime Bilet 
Pub. Date: March 2011
Publisher: Cooking Lab, The
Format: Hardcover , 2400pp
ISBN-13: 9780982761007
ISBN: 0982761007
Edition Description: 6-Volume Set

Available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

21 March 2011

New York University - Feature: From Zero to 55,000

An item of interest for food historians, "From Zero to 55,000: How NYU Amassed the Largest Collection of Food Books in America":

"Tucked away on the third floor of Bobst lies what many would consider a hidden gem: the Fales Library, the primary repository of rare books and special collections at NYU. In addition to its impressive holdings in literature, American history, and downtown NYC art, Fales houses an extensive food studies collection that ranges from cookbooks featuring every cuisine imaginable to the personal papers of some of the most influential figures in American food culture. And thanks to a recent gift of some 21,000 books and other food related materials from the private library of restaurateur George Lang, the food studies collection at Fales is now the largest of its kind in the country."

New York University - Feature: From Zero to 55,000

20 March 2011

Quinoa’s Global Success Creates Quandary in Bolivia - NYTimes.com

Quinoa, which I have highlighted in several blogs over the years, is catching on in the food world; good and bad, but read the article:

"Now demand for quinoa (pronounced KEE-no-ah) is soaring in rich countries, as American and European consumers discover the “lost crop” of the Incas. The surge has helped raise farmers’ incomes here in one of the hemisphere’s poorest countries. But there has been a notable trade-off: Fewer Bolivians can now afford it, hastening their embrace of cheaper, processed foods and raising fears of malnutrition in a country that has long struggled with it. "

Quinoa’s Global Success Creates Quandary in Bolivia - NYTimes.com

From Wikipedia:

"Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods.[10] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights."

01 March 2011

Coconut Oil - From Villain to Health Food - A Good Appetite - NYTimes.com

I am ambivalent about all the health claims for coconut oil: lowered cholesterol, weight loss, et. al. -- no, I don't trust the claims, mostly from manufacturers. But I'll let you read the article and decide for yourself, and give your opinion! I do believe that if you are at risk of high cholesterol or high blood pressure, you should stay away from coconut oil, at least until definitive studies prove otherwise:

Image: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

"...The last time I checked, coconut oil was supposed to be the devil himself in liquid form, with more poisonous artery-clogging, cholesterol-raising, heart-attack-causing saturated fat than butter, lard or beef tallow..."

Coconut Oil - From Villain to Health Food - A Good Appetite - NYTimes.com

11 February 2011

R.I. chowder, coffee milk baffle faraway (?) New Londoners, but our wieners are winners - Projo Subterranean Homepage News

Having grown up in Rhode Island, I can not resist posting this link to an article in The Providence Journal about some peculiar local food favorites in that state. Some of my local hometown recipes, vary however.

 Photo credit: Providence Journal photo

"Day staffers Rick Koster and Katie Warchut drove to Providence to experience a Rhode Island tradition: the hot wiener.

Katie: I sometimes feel like crossing the Rhode Island border is like entering a foreign country, and I'm not talking about the accents.

Their clam chowder is clear. Their lemonade is frozen. They put coffee syrup in their milk, and apparently instead of hot dogs they eat hot wieners. Do you find this at all strange?"

Fun article at:

R.I. chowder, coffee milk baffle faraway (?) New Londoners, but our wieners are winners - Projo Subterranean Homepage News

29 January 2011

Maria Rodale: How Big, Cheap and Fast Do We Want to Be?

A recent article in The Huffington Post about farming and nutrition is well worth reading:

"About 98% of the food grown in America comes from factory farming. Only 0.5% of the US farmland is certified organic. When I say factory farming, I mean that most food has significant amounts of synthetic hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, and GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) ingredients. Those are all components that are very good at making money for some agrochemical companies, but are not good for people, or for the planet. By the way, about 95% of the products that you can find in the supermarket now have some GMO content. And to make matters worse, there is no label regulation that warns us about this presence. [Editor's note: Food labeled USDA Organic, or certified by the Non-GMO Project, cannot contain GMO ingredients.]"

Read the article at:

Maria Rodale: How Big, Cheap and Fast Do We Want to Be?

The Minimalist Makes His Exit - NYTimes.com

One of my favorite food columns may be gone, but Bittman will still haunt us by other means:

"TODAY marks the exit of The Minimalist from the pages of the Dining section, as a weekly column at least. There may be return appearances, but the unbroken string of more than 13 years and nearly 700 columns ends here. (I’m not leaving the Times family; more about that in a minute.) ".

 Image: Evan Sung for The New York Times

The whole story at:

The Minimalist Makes His Exit - NYTimes.com

09 January 2011

The China Study

Recently featured again in an article in The New York Times, The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, this publication deserves the attention of more readers.

From The New York Times:

"Six years ago a small Texas publisher released an obscure book written by a father-son research team. The work, based on a series of studies conducted in rural China and Taiwan, challenged the conventional wisdom about health and nutrition by espousing the benefits of a plant-based diet.

To everyone’s surprise, the book, called “The China Study,” has since sold 500,000 copies, making it one of the country’s best-selling nutrition titles. The book focuses on the knowledge gained from the China Study, a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine that showed high consumption of animal-based foods is associated with more chronic disease, while those who ate primarily a plant-based diet were the healthiest."

From the publisher:

"Referred to as the "Grand Prix of epidemiology" by The New York Times, this study examines more than 350 variables of health and nutrition with surveys from 6,500 adults in more than 2,500 counties across China and Taiwan, and conclusively demonstrates the link between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. While revealing that proper nutrition can have a dramatic effect on reducing and reversing these ailments as well as curbing obesity, this text calls into question the practices of many of the current dietary programs, such as the Atkins diet, that are widely popular in the West. The politics of nutrition and the impact of special interest groups in the creation and dissemination of public information are also discussed."

The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health
by: T. Colin Campbell, Thomas M. Campbell II
Pub. Date: June 2006
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
Format: Paperback , 417pp
ISBN-13: 9781932100662
ISBN: 1932100660

Available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.