Sunday, October 31, 2010

Caffeine and Alcohol Drink Is Potent Mix

I have seen a lot of adults do this. After several glasses of wine or scotch,they manage to fit in some coffee as well. Now, it is proven to be really deadly for the young. That's what the research says but what would make it any different for the adults?

"A brand called Four Loko — a fruit-flavored malt beverage that has an alcohol content of 12 percent and as much caffeine as a cup of coffee — has come under particular scrutiny after students who drank it this fall at Ramapo College in New Jersey and Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash., ended up in emergency rooms, some with high levels of alcohol poisoning." If this is followed by coffee the body is tricked and the counter effects of high alcohol don't kick in until late.

The drink apparently was just introduced and is misleading because it looks like any other energy drink but has a high alcohol content. The more shocking part is that it is found in refrigerators because moms think it is a regular drink like iced tea. There are different flavors available and they are cheap as well. So, students buy them cheap and get the high of regular alcohol. Apparently, it doesn't even taste like alcohol.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mi Lupita

One of my new favorite Mexican restaurants near my home in St. Louis is Mi Lupita. Very cheerful waiters, good service, tasty food. I ordered a plate of grilled veges. with a side of guacamole, and a cheese tortilla. Perfect for lunch.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A glass of red wine a day does a whole lot of good for the heart

They say men are allowed 2 glasses and women 1 a day. I am not a wine drinker or any kind of drinker, but once in a while at a social gathering for instance I'd go for an apple martini or a glass of margarita over wine. Those are my two favorites. The mood though that red wine sets especially when served with chocolates, strawberries or strawberries dipped in chocolote is beyond ordinary. November is almost here, so the rest of November and December I guess are all about wines and chocolates.

Just last week we were at a neighbor's and he took us to their beautiful bar. I initially refused to drink anything and that's when my neighbor reminded me about the good effects of wine and what the doctor recommends nowadays. So, I accepted and continued talking to another guest. My host came up with a glass of wine. Yep a glass except it could hold a gallon of wine instead of a cup of wine. The doctor has recommended a glass, but I haven't read anywhere about how large or small the size should be.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Which is your favorite Indian spice?

Indian spices top all cuisines since they use the most number of spices in their cooking. On my Web site, I have listed I believe almost all of them with some explanations of what they are and how they are used. Obviously, we cannot use all of these spices in our cooking, but combinations of two or more specific ones produce distinct tastes.

Can you tell me which spice is your favorite?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Iron Chef show and the talents in them

Just the other day I was watching a popular show here in the U.S. called the Iron Chef. Award wining chefs compete in one of the toughest cooking competitions. In a short period of time they come up with a whole 3-5 course meal out of the blue creating incredible on the spot recipes. The chefs are not only creative in cooking but also in the presentation of the meal. And, the presentation is truly a combination of arts and the sciences.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bloggers and Followers - Any creative ideas on this?

There are always challenges at every point in our lives. What I am facing now is marketing challenges for this serious hobby of mine - healthy vegetarian cooking. I have some tested and proven methods but need additional help.

Do write back to me or blog here and thanks in advance for your help.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A great article on how to help children with anorexia

I have come across people with anorexia who I have known personally. One of them passed on, the other is fighting to overcome this illness.

Here is a great article that says family therapy works best. It is a lot on the family but if they work together, the person suffering can come out ahead.
Bringing in Family to Combat Anorexia by RONI CARYN RABIN

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vegans, why do you put yourself through hell?

I do understand if vegans have no choice but go for non-dairy and many of the non- foods. But if you are choosing it over being a regular vegetarian, then life can get difficult. Here is one comment that I think drives home a point.

“Vegan cupcakes can have just as much far, sugar and calories as any other cupcake, They are not healthier, except perhaps that by tasting like dog food, you will eat fewer of them.”

Monday, October 18, 2010

Not a favorite of eggs, but they come in handy at crunch time

I've been working hard and multitasking too much; which has become the way of my life. So, planning for dinner is not something I waste time on during some busy weeks. I create quick spur of the moment dinners which usually turn out to be pretty good.

Eggs are not my first choice but when push comes to shove, there they are. Scrambling eggs after cooking a mix of vegetables with herbs and spices always turn out good. Saute a good mix of vegetables with garlic and ginger. Then pour some beaten eggs over the cooked vegetables and stir a couple times in low heat. You may add spices such as dry powerdered cilantro, cumin, cayenne pepper as the vegetables continue to saute on the pan. Vegetables can be cooked prior to adding eggs and refrigerated. But do not freeze the vegetables. Frozen cooked meals are never as good as just made.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Green Beans with Ginger, Garlic and Sesame Seeds

Check out this week's recipe at vidyaswamys

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Creamy Risotto

I think Risotto is one of the easiest and simplest foods to create. Here is a great recipe.

Pick a variety of rice that has substance. It gives texture and body to the taste. Saute garlic, scallion, 1/2 cup diced mild onion. You may also add a green vegetable such as beans or peas but not too much. Grind a variety of toasted nut such as pumpkin or pine along with basil and create a pesto. Use olive oil to saute the raw rice. Use vegetable stock to cook the rice. After the broth boils, add rice, vegetable and the pesto. Pour some (1/2 cup) dry wine such as Pinot as the rice is cooking. Use parmesan cheese or pecorino romano, stir them into the broth. Add cheese toward the end. Add some salt if needed since cheese has salt. Sprinkle black pepper and stir the mixture well. It should be creamy and wet. You may add some more stock if the finished risotto appears dry. Taste delicious.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My experience at Penang

There are few restaurants that are consistently good. Being a critical foodie, I can vouch for the Malaysian restaurant in downtown Philly called Penang.

A great starter there is roti kanai, you have vegetable and meat varieties as side dish. I skip that to do justice to my actual entree which is spicy vegetables in a clay pot. It is outrageously delicious. I think I have figured out the taste but haven't tried it yet. Very soon in my new kitchen. I will let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chefs tell us what to watch out for in the kitchen

Watch out for big carrots: Mark Ladner (Del Posto, New York) explaining how he lost a bit of finger while slicing and dicing.

Be wary of crowded kitchens: Harold Dieterle (Perilla, New York) suffered a deep hand cut when a dishwasher bumped into him while he was deboning a steak.

Don’t tackle too many onions at a time: Michael Laiskonis (Le Bernardin, New York) lost a bit of thumb while “trying to bust through a very large pile of onions.”

Use care when carving Jack-O-Lanterns:: Anita Lo (Anissa, New York) tells about a deep cut to her fingers when her hand slipped carving a pumpkin.

Pay attention while shucking oysters: Dominique Crenn (Luce, San Francisco) was distracted by a guest and put an oyster knife through her hand.

Keep hot pans off of stainless steel counters: Andrew Carmellini (Locanda Verde, New York) says he made a “classic, stupid mistake” when he burned himself on a counter where he had recently placed a hot pan.

Stay focused: Paula Deen (The Lady & Sons, Savannah, Ga.) recently burned herself taking cookies out of the oven because she was distracted.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not sure how some chefs just whip up recipes

I see on so many blogs and Web sites chefs especially those who are popular come up with random recipes. They can create something exotic sounding out of the simplest vegetable and ingredients. With some cheese in there I am sure anything can be created into an appetizing food item especially if that is accompanied by a great photograph. However appetizing it may sound or look, the taste is questionable unless these recipes have been tried and tested.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What's for dinner today?

Not sure. It's past dinner time. No picky person around to demand anything, but that person will be coming home soon. So, here's what I am going to do. I have fresh spinach, olive oil, and have garlic. I am going to get something together, along with the left over Indian bread I made yesterday. Maybe a salad. And, a raita. What's your dinner?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pesto in warm cherry tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed With Pesto

I’ve been serving these appetizers for decades. You can also make a warm side dish with medium-size tomatoes (see variation below).

1 or 2 garlic cloves, to taste
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds or Mediterranean pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan
1 pint cherry tomatoes

1. To make the pesto, turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and drop in the garlic. When it is chopped and adhering to the sides of the bowl, stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the basil, pumpkin seeds or pine nuts, salt, pepper and olive oil to the food processor, and process until smooth and creamy. Add the Parmesan, and pulse until well combined.

You can also use a mortar and pestle. Add the basil leaves gradually, and mash with the pestle. Add the pumpkin seeds or pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper. Mash to a paste with the basil. Work in the olive oil and the Parmesan.

2. Using a paring knife, cut thin slices from the tops of the cherry tomatoes. Use a grapefruit spoon or small spoon to scoop the seeds and flesh from the center of each tomato. Lightly salt the hollowed out tomatoes if desired, and place them, cut side down, on a rack to drain for 15 minutes. Fill with the pesto, arrange on a platter and serve. Refrigerate or freeze any excess pesto.

Variation: Warm stuffed tomatoes with pesto: Use six to eight medium tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the tops off the tomatoes, and scoop or gently squeeze out the seeds. Fill with pesto, and place in a lightly oiled baking dish. Heat through for 15 to 20 minutes until warm; the tomatoes should still be intact. Serve.

Yield: Serves 12 as an hors d’oeuvre, six to eight as a side dish.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How do you pick a place that pleases everyone?

Have you been through this? On a Saturday evening, you'd like to do something fun but by the time you make a decision that everybody is agreeable to, it gets to be too late. Then the excitement fades and everyone ultimately decides to stay home.

That's what happened to me this evening. After a lot of going back and forth, choices and suggestions, we turned around to look at the time and realized it was 8:30 P.M. I was too lazy to even change my clothes and got too comfortable doing nothing. So, did nothing. Actually am loving it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Eggplants often get a bad rap

I hardly see eggplants being used in homes. One reason is the huge eggplants we find in regular stores with lots of seeds are absolutely tasteless or simply taste bad.

Smaller eggplants or the asian varieties are the best, they literally melt in your mouth. Sometimes, produce junctions carry them. If you like Eggplant Parmesan with those humongous tasteless ones, wait until you try the real eggplant. They are also good baked or roasted in olive oil. You may add peppers and sprinkle some herbs and spices to make them more interesting.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Anything goes when it comes to food I guess

Dead, fresh, live, stale, hot, sour, pungent, salty, sweeter, bitter, tangy,and of course in all shapes, colors and textures; annnnnnything goes.

So, how do you like this combo? Spaghetti Taco. It even sounds gross to me. Apparently though kids love it. A mom even served it as a meal at her kid's teen party. And, it was a hit. I read Karen Petersen, 'a mother of two from Rye, N.H., fries her own taco shells and breaks the spaghetti into thirds to make the strands fit more easily'.

The fever is catching on. Boys in particular and I can believe that love it!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Diets,Weight loss - up and down and around it goes

Does it sound familiar? I think it would to many people. Can be exasperating.

Although I am no expert, the following has worked for many in my family and for me. The best answer that I have found is to have 3 good meals a day, empty calories maybe okay here and there but staying away from them will produce the right results. Just don't buy them. Limiting if one must to the weekends may not be a bad idea. Egs. A cookie or two, a glass of soda, or a cup of ice cream I think wouldn't be so bad.

Three meals are a must. Never go hungry and get the good calories from real food. That's it. The best secret is never to try any diet. Never feel bad about eating. Never search for food when you are either sad or happy. Although I do that off and on. Guilty on that count. About drinking - not on a regular basis. Movement in any form is a must. Swim, walk, bike, jog, lift weights, anything.

Oh, one more thing. Never combine food and TV.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How does one get rid of the pesticides from vegetables?

I have always wondered. How far should one go? I have read Meryl Streep uses a scrubber and soap or something similar on apples to remove the wax and the sprays. I have never done that. All I do is wash everything at least once under running water. I rub them while rinsing; sometimes on things like tomatoes, I don't do that either. It just may not be enough I understand but wouldn't cooking on high heat remove all the toxic stuff?

I wash my hands before, after and during cooking. Don't have to worry a about cleaning the cutting board since there is no meat involved. I just rinse them after cutting vegetables. I know it's not enough. Starting today I will consciously do more of the rubbing, maybe scrubbing and rinsing. Friction should be enough to take care of those pesky pesticides.

Hmm. Too many things to worry about.

Monday, October 4, 2010

It is not happening and probably will never happen

Consumption of vegetables in the U.S. - As far as I have known, it's always been the absolute minimal if not absolutely nil.

Just this year with Michelle Obama's push for vegetable consumption among children it has received some noticeable press. But until then, I can definitely believe that most homes did not really promote it. I have sat at dinner tables at many homes where vegetables made a guest appearance. They can't be appetizing if they are just steam cooked with a dash of butter and a sprinkle of salt. You've got to add taste to it. Day after day of steamed veges can be truly unwelcoming.

Recommendations are: at least four to five vegetable servings daily. A serving: half a cup of cut-up or cooked vegetables, one cup of fresh greens, half a cup of cooked dried beans, or, if you must, six ounces of vegetable juice.

That's a lot even for a complete vegetarian like me. But, it's easy to do since it does add not calories. One can start with two servings and then consciously build it up little by little. A no-meat day will help to up the vegetable intake as well.

What's so great about vegetables? You'll never know until you try. It can make a world of difference to lose weight and feel healthy; and it translates to a whole lot of other things from physical to psychological.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Avial - Check out my recipe of the week

A popular mixed vegetable dish from the south.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Stretching before or after exercise?

I have always wondered which is better. Or, if both are necessary. After my rigorous routine on the stairmaster it's become a habit of mine to stretch. It helps me relax my muscles and also take a breath.

I seldom do it before exercise and skip it mainly because it would cut into my actual exercise time. Maybe it's for the better. The NYT article says that stretching before running for instance does not help and in fact hinders athletic performance.