Category Archives: Food Channel

Celebrating Mediterranean diet month

May is Mediterranean diet month and registered dietitian Jennifer Fillenworth from Mercy Health joined My West Michigan to show us how the Mediterranean diet can be not only healthy, but also flavorful.

The Mediterranean diet has been a favorite of health care professionals for a long time.

Studies have shown that the diet has positive effects on heart health, anti-cancer properties and could potentially extend life. This is thought to be due to the high antioxidant, fiber, and healthy unsaturated fatty acid content.  

The Mediterranean diet encompasses the cooking styles of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

Foods typically included are fish, heart healthy oils, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and yes, even wine.

Mediterranean pasta

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1lb whole grain spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 12oz grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 scallions (green onions), top trimmed, both whites and greens chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 6oz marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/4 cup pitted olives, halved
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 10-15 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Preparation:

  1. Follow package instructions to cook thin spaghetti pasta to al dente
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat
  3. Lower the heat and add garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook for 10 seconds, stirring regularly. Stir in the parsley, tomatoes and chopped scallions. Bring down heat to low
  4. Remove pasta from heat, drain cooking water and return to its cooking pot
  5. Pour the warmed olive oil sauce in and toss to coat thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and sprinkle with black pepper
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy

Mediterranean shrimp with feta, olives and oregano

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lb tail-on medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/3 lb feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves

Preparation:  

  1. Cook the Israeli couscous according to the package instructions
  2. Stir in 2 Tbsp of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm and set aside
  3. Preheat an oven to 400°F
  4. Lay the tomatoes in the bottom of a shallow 2-quart baking dish and drizzle with the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil
  5. Bake just until the tomatoes release their juices, about 8 minutes
  6. Remove from the oven and top with the shrimp, olives, feta and oregano. Bake until the shrimp are bright pink and opaque throughout, 12 to 14 minutes
  7. Fill bowls with couscous, top with the shrimp mixture and drizzle with olive oil
  8. Serve immediately

Baked Mediterranean peaches

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 peaches
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup pistachios (crushed)

Preparation:

  1. Slice peaches in half
  2. Grill flesh side down until lightly charred
  3. Fill with ¼ cup of Greek yogurt in each half
  4. Drizzle each half with ½ Tbsp honey
  5. Top each half with crushed pistachios

Resources:

 

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Parenting 101 – Homemade Baby Food

Making your own baby food is a lot easier than you might think. It’s also a way to save on the grocery bill and control what’s in the food for some families. My sister — Michelle Whiteman — has first hand experience with making her own meals for her kids. She says it’s something every parent should try.

Michelle lives with her husband and my nephew Aiden and niece Haleigh in Riverview, Florida. I spoke to her through Facetime to talk about her experience with making her own baby food.

“To me it was almost a difference between going out to eat and cooking at home. When your child is that young, you’ll know exactly what’s in it,” Whiteman says. “No preservatives or additives, it gives me peace of mind knowing that you’re giving the best you can to your babies.”

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Renee Waggoner is a dietician at Lourdes Hospital. She says it’s a great option if you have the time.

“If you have other children and everyone’s hungry and life is crazy, it might be a little harder,” Waggoner tells us.

She recommends starting with greens. Use vegetables first for about six months. Waggoner says to make sure it’s really smooth and don’t add any butter, salt or sugar.

My sister says freezing food always comes in handy. You’ll have less meal prep time during the week.

“One day a week, I would make all the food at once, freeze them in ice cube trays. You can put the different trays into bags and mark when you made them. Just mix the foods later on.”

WHAT DO YOU NEED?

All you need is a food processor. You can find those at any store that carries kitchen appliances. You will also need a way to steam your food. You can find steaming pots and sets just about anywhere. You will also need some good recipes based on heavily on fresh vegetables.

WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS?

PRO: You know exactly what you are feeding your baby. You are guaranteed there are only fresh fruits and vegetables – not chemicals or sugars.

CON: It takes more time. You’ll spend most of your time cooking, preparing and storing your baby’s food than you would just buying it from the store.

PRO: It’s more economical. You may be washing your dishes more, but you won’t have a collection of glass or plastic containers in your trash.

CON: It’s less convenient. Prepackaged foods are already measured and ready to serve. You won’t have that luxury if you make it yourself.

PRO: Your baby will get used to eating the same kind food that your family does. It’s just in puree form.

CON: Another issue is storage. Prepackaged food can be kept in your pantry. The stuff you make yourself will have to be kept cool or frozen, so you will have to sacrifice some fridge space.

WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS?

Most pediatricians will tell you homemade baby food has bigger benefits for your child than processed foods you buy at the store. Here are some of those health benefits.

Source:

http://www.wpsdlocal6.com/story/35402228/parenting-101-homemade-baby-food

Gerber Recalls Baby Food Over Allergy Concerns

The Gerber baby food company is recalling its Cheese Ravioli Pasta Pick-Ups because the egg allergen is missing from the “contains” statement on the back of the packaging statement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. The products were distributed nationwide through retail and e-commerce sites.

No other baby foods sold by New Jersey-based Gerber Products Co. are included in the voluntary recall. No one has been sickened, according to the recall notice.

Gerber said the full ingredient list on the package does list “egg” as an ingredient, however the “contains” statement, designed to further alert parents to allergens in the recipe, did not include “egg” as is required, the FDA said. Only consumers who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to egg are at risk of serious allergic reaction if they consume this product.

The labeling oversight was brought to Gerber’s attention as a result of a consumer contact. Gerber said that following an internal review, officials confirmed egg was included in the ingredient list but was not listed in the “contains” statement. Gerber is in the process of updating its food package labels to make it easier for parents to identify foods that contain allergens such as egg, milk and wheat.

Source:

https://patch.com/michigan/detroit/gerber-recalls-baby-food-over-allergy-concerns

Raising fish alongside plants? “Water farmers” dive into aquaponics

It sounds like a grow-op designed by Ikea. Paul Shumlich is describing the farm he’s planning to build. It will contain no soil and admit no sunlight. The walls will be industrial-chic concrete, the floors spotless. Plants will grow in meticulous rows under LED lights, their roots suspended in water. Fish will swim placidly in blue pools. It’s all very clean, very tasteful, very Scandinavian. It’s Deepwater Farms, an aquaponics operation, and Shumlich is betting it’s going to change the way Calgarians eat.

I’m interviewing Shumlich in his marketing manager’s downtown office. As we speak, he’s finalizing details with an investor to make the indoor farm a reality. If all goes according to plan, Deepwater Farms will be the largest, most advanced aquaponics farm in the Calgary area. (His preferred site is in the Chestermere area.) He’s convinced me that if anyone can make it happen, it’s him. Dressed all in black, he looks the part of the entrepreneur, but his youthful optimism and cherubic good looks drive home the fact that he’s only 26. “Local isn’t just a fad,” he tells me. “We need a resilient food system. That’s my drive.” He thinks the answer is aquaponics, a system of agriculture that few Calgarians have even heard of.

The unconventional farming method combines aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants in water) in a single, closed system. Fish are kept in ponds or pools, and produce waste that is broken down into nitrites and then nitrates by micro-organisms. The waste water is sent to the plants, which absorb the nitrates and, in the process, clean the water, which is then sent back to the fish. Recirculation means that the system uses approximately 95 per cent less water than conventional farming methods. It’s completely organic, and it grows plants at incredible rates, many times faster than conventional methods.

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Aquaponics was arguably developed by the Mayans, who cultivated chinampas, systems of canals and manmade islands on which they grew vegetables. There are also historical accounts of fish being farmed in rice paddies in China and Southeast Asia, but modern aquaponics is generally attributed to the work of the New Alchemy Institute and the research of Mark McMurtry, a graduate student at North Carolina State University in the 1980s. In the late 1990s, James Rakocy, a professor of aquaculture at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), and his colleagues used their research on effluent treatment and raft cultures to develop a reliable and replicable commercial system. Rakocy and his colleagues taught the UVI method of aquaponics to students all over the world.

The field of aquaponics was becoming well-established and commercially viable. And that’s when Rakocy came to Alberta. In Brooks, a place more typically associated with feedlots and slaughterhouses than with permaculture, he and Nick Savidov, an Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development researcher, built a replica of the UVI system at the Crop Diversification Centre South. Lethbridge College was also experimenting with aquaponics, beginning with research in 1989 that examined whether triploid grass carp could control aquatic vegetation in irrigation canals. In 2015, the college recruited Savidov, cementing its reputation as an important centre of aquaponics research.

Aquaponics producers speak of Savidov in reverential tones. He is the Yoda of the field and is sought out by anyone in Alberta who’s interested in aquaponics. “Savidov handed us a big chunk of research that he’d already done. He’s already doing all the commercial viability studies. It was basically the reason that convinced me to get involved,” says Dan Ronald, owner of Aqua Terra Farms, a small Okotoks-based business. But like most aquaponics producers, the hard science wasn’t what triggered Ronald’s interest. For him, trips to the Arctic and the Amazon in 2008 “really bummed me out. I came back and was talking to my buddy, and we started talking about the future: ‘We’re going to be living on Mars in a hundred years! The planet’s in trouble.’ ”

Shumlich’s interest began when he was a student running a window-washing business. It was paying his way through university, but it wasn’t satisfying. “I wanted to put time and money into something more meaningful. I wanted it to be about the triple bottom line: people, profit, planet,” he says. Shumlich started scouring the Internet for ideas, and discovered aquaponics. He dove in, but at the back of his mind he wondered, “Is this some sort of hippy technology?”

He drove down to Lethbridge College to meet Charlie Shultz, Savidov’s predecessor, and came back convinced that he needed to start unconventional farming. The next step was rounding up a bunch of his window-washing buddies to help him build a rudimentary aquaponics system in the backyard of his parents’ rental house. They hit an immediate roadblock when they discovered that the bacteria needed to run the system would take 18 months to mature. But Shumlich found a guy on Kijiji who was selling his home aquaponics system, and was willing to include the bacteria. “It was like a one-in-a-million chance,” he says. With a few supplies from Home Depot, and some koi off Kijiji, the first system was ready to go.

“Stuff grew crazy quick,” Shumlich says. And that’s when he had his a-ha moment. “I was in Safeway. I was buying organic produce, and I said ‘Why is everything grown in Mexico or California?’ It was really sh—y-looking produce. I’m growing this stuff in my backyard.” He’d found his new business.

The main problem with backyard aquaponics systems in Alberta is called winter. Shumlich and his friends found some greenhouse space at Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary, and spent the winter focusing on the nutrient balance and trying to integrate the fish and plants. But the winter sun wasn’t adequate for growing plants, and, what’s more, Shumlich was asked to leave the greenhouse because MRU didn’t have a fish licence. He and his crew moved to a friend’s greenhouse, which worked well until a cold snap and an unsealed door made them realize just how sensitive the system was to temperature fluctuations. It was a turning point. “I said, ‘We’re going completely indoors, and we’re using LEDs,’” Shumlich recalls.

Source:

Raising fish alongside plants? "Water farmers" dive into aquaponics

How to Prepare Maple Chicken Mixed with Wild Rice and Bartlett Pear Pilaf

When you come to think of making a healthy and tasty chicken meal for your family, you can always trust this recipe to take you there. Baked maple chicken with wild rice and pear pilaf has been a favorite for many, not just for its delicious taste, but also for its vibrant, healthy content, not to mention that it is also very easy to prepare and does not take much of your time as well. The meal is complete in itself, but splashing in some Bartlett pears throws in a fresh and even tastier touch. For the best of flavor, you need to get the maple syrup on board, brushing it into the chicken from the oven. You can never go wrong with the antibiotic-free chicken. Without much ado, let’s get into the recipe.

Yield

Servings for 6

Time

Total time: 55 mins

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 45 mins

 

Ingredients

1 whole chicken (about 3 ½ pounds), cut into 8 pieces

4 teaspoons divided extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon black pepper, ground

½ teaspoon divided fine sea salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 chopped small onion

1 rib thinly sliced celery

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 ½ cup brown rice

3 cups of chicken broth

2 pears (organic Bartlett), peel, core and cut into pieces

1 teaspoon of thyme leaves, fresh and chopped

 

Directions

Start by heating your oven to 400 degrees F. then put your chicken on a rimmed baking sheet or a roasting pan, and then coat with about 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle the pepper and about ¼ teaspoon of salt on top, and then bake in the oven for about 45 minutes to make sure it is well cooked through before removing from your oven.

In the meantime, heat the rest of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Now, add onion, together with celery and the garlic and let cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden. Add the rice and broth and continue cooking until they boil. Then reduce the heat, cover, and leave them to simmer for about 365 minutes. Once ready, add the pears, thyme and the rest of salt. Keep cooking for 10 more minutes until the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid. Now, serve with chicken.

Nutritional value:

Total fat 22g

Saturated fat 6g

Cholesterol 115 mg

Sodium 380 mg

Carbohydrates 53g

Dietary fiber 5 g

Sugar 9g

Protein 39 g

 

This meal offers the best you can find in chicken and rice combinations. If you are into getting some proteins and a fair share of carbs, then this is the way to live the best of both worlds. If you have not tried it yet, then the time to get down and prepare this fantastic meal is now, and you can as well include it in your diet list because it is most likely once you try it out, you cannot resist the urge. Do not take it for my word, go ahead and see it for yourself.

Peruvian-Style Roasted Chicken with Sweet Onions

You know Peruvian dishes never disappoint, and the case is no any different with this chicken delicacy. You will love this excellent and aromatic dish not only due to its flavor, or quick preparation but also for the nutritional content and value. Even better when the flavors get to meld, and if you happen to marinade the chicken overnight, you give it a taste you will fall in love with, and you can serve it with rice and salad as well. Here is the recipe to get you on the track to making this fantastic meal.

Yield

Servings for 6

Time

Total time: 55 mins

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 45 mins

Cooking method

Baking

 

Ingredients

1 ½ teaspoons expeller-pressed canola oil, plus more for oiling the pan

1 ½ tablespoon sweet paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 ½ tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 large sweet onions, thickly sliced

1 chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces

2 red or yellow bell peppers, seeded and chopped into chunks

1 lemon, sliced

 

How to cook

First, heat your oven to about 425 degrees F. Then, put oil in a large saucepan and set 9it aside. Now, in a small bowl, mix your cumin, salt, paprika, garlic, pepper, oil, and vinegar until they combine to a fine paste. Put the onion in a large bowl and add about 2 tablespoons of your prepared paste. Use the remaining paste to rub the chicken pieces, and then place them in a pan. Cover them with the peppers, onion, and lemon.

Roast your chicken for about 45 minutes, until it is well cooked through and the vegetables cook tender, and remember to baste it from time to time with pan juices. Then remove it from the oven and set aside to rest for about 5 minutes, and then serve.

 Notes:

If your chicken was precut into 8 pieces, all you need is to divide each breast half-way across the rib cage for better cooking. Alternatively, you can request your butcher to cut the chicken into 10 pieces, and debone the breasts.

Nutritional value per serving:

470 calories (290 from fat)

9g of saturated fat

32 g total fat

140 mg cholesterol

730 mg sodium

9 g of carbohydrates

3 g of some dietary fiber

4 g sugar

34 g protein

 

The ingredients say it all; this meal is ideal if you want to make something delicious for your family occasionally, or regularly. The content here is assuring, and the taste is as well a guarantee to go for when you want to give your family a special treat. If you want to try this dish on a party, you can go ahead and check it out. The best part is that the preparation is pretty easy, quick and straightforward, you do not have to spend the whole evening in the kitchen, and this makes this dish a go-to choice for those cooks who do not like the idea of taking too long making meals. Besides, you can take advantage of the whole content.

Credit Source:

wholefoodsmarket.com

Who Buys Cookbooks and Why?

If you’re a cookbook author or hoping to become one soon, do you know who would want to buy your cookbook and why?

Adam Solomone, associate publisher of Harvard Common Press, answered this question for attendees at the recent IACP conference, where he gave a slide presentation of data collected by Nielsen, in conjunction with several North American publishers. Answers came from a core group of 2500 cookbook purchasers, a subset of 80,000 book buyers, based on the the last book they bought.

Here are the top findings:

1. Sixty-five percent of all cookbook buyers are women. You’re probably not surprised. Most buyers are college-educated. About half read blogs and discuss cookbooks with others.

2. Thirty-three percent said they bought the cookbook on impulse, either by discovering it online or in a store. Another 24 percent said they bought it because they looked through it and liked it, which implies they saw a physical copy. Indeed, when asked how they discovered the book, the highest percentage said it was displayed in a bookstore (23%).

3. Buyers are most interested in general categories of cooking, baking, and food and health. Other categories of interest were

  • Kitchen gardening (31%)
  • Home entertaining (28%)
  • Canning and preserving (22%)
  • Urban farming (15 %) and
  • Table setting (14%).

Regarding which cuisines they like to cook, respondents want to make

  • American food (86%)
  • Italian food (70%)
  • Desserts (56%)
  • Seafood (48%)
  • Southwestern/Tex-Mex (42%) and
  • Mexican/Central American (39%) dishes.

Gluten free and vegan brought up the rear with 6 percent interest each.

4. These folks only buy a few cookbooks a year, and most are for themselves. Thirty-nine percent bought between one and three cookbooks in the last year. Only 12 percent bought four or more. While most buy cookbooks for themselves (70%), the remaining 30 percent are gift purchases, nearly twice the percentage of regular books bought as gifts.

5. Half said they cook at least once a week. They were not asked if they cook more often than that. The next largest group, 26 percent, said they cook once per month or less.

6. The top factor that influenced them to buy the cookbook was easy recipes (60%). Other reasons were:

  • Recipes match my and my family’s tastes (48%)
  • Variety of recipes (48%)
  • Step-by-step instructions (47%)
  • Ingredients are easy to find (47%)
  • Recipes are healthy (44%)
  • They wanted the cookbook for their collection (39%), and
  • The cookbook was a great value (37%).

Surprisingly, when asked if “lots of color photographs of food” were a buying factor, only 21 percent said photos influenced their purchase decision. So many authors panic when their book deals do not include photography — now they can relax. If you’re worried about good book reviews, only 5 percent said they mattered. And if you’re concerned about the jacket description or testimonials, only 3 percent said they mattered.

7. Print is not dead. When asked where they got ideas on what to cook, respondents said they still read cooking magazines (64%), other magazines (61%) and newspapers (58%). However, the majority (69%) discover and use recipes from free online sites (69%) and print cookbooks (65%).

8. They recognized top brands, but not necessarily the ones you think. Betty Crocker was the most recognized cookbook brand (44%), AARP magazine was the most recognized magazine (24%), and Allrecipes.com was the most recognized website (25%).

9. Most cookbook buyers use social media and read blogs. Some 49 percent said they read or used recipes from blogs. While 34 percent said they do not use a social media networking site, that means 66 percent do so. They like Facebook (62%). If they’re finding recipes on Facebook, that should make you nervous. See this post about Facebook pages that cut and paste rccipes.

10. Online cookbooks have a way to go. Only 16 percent of cookbooks bought are ebooks, and only 11 percent of respondents said they read cookbooks on mobile phones.

Caveat: This study was conducted in 2012, and the 2500 recipients could only select an answer that was already provided.

What do you think of these findings? Are you surprised by any of them? Intrigued?

Source:

http://diannej.com/2014/who-buys-cookbooks-and-why/

The 100 best restaurants in London

Setting the criteria for our annual list of the 100 best restaurants in London was the easy bit. Anywhere we felt compelled to revisit again and again was instantly in. The Time Out Food & Drink team spend the whole year independently visiting the newest joints in town and revisiting the greats, so our critics know which restaurants truly deserve their place in our annual top 100. Nevertheless, we fretted, we sweated, we chewed on toothpicks while dramatically shortening shortlists with a big red marker. Until, at last, we had London’s best restaurants, ranked in order of greatness.

So in the list below – surely the ultimate guide to the best restaurants in London – you’ll find it all: zeitgeist-defining celebrity haunts, the best new restaurants in London, Michelin star restaurants with starched linen napkins and restaurants serving down-to-earth cheap eats. What they all have in common is that they serve some of the best dishes in London at fair prices, with service befitting the setting. In short, if you’re looking for a great meal, you’ve come to the right place.

Source: