Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Some herbs to keep you healthy

Here are the ones I use and like. Ginger, garlic, green tea. I use these regularly. Others that are as good are mushrooms, cinnamon and mint.

I only use mint in the form of leaves. Cinnamon in the form of powder or root. If you like fresh mushrooms you can use them as they are. I do not like mushrooms unless they are shitaake or one of those rare ones that come in funny shapes. So, I buy them once in a while and make cheese stuffed mushrooms or create this simple vegetable dish.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Check out this week's recipe

An easy, tasty recipe. Takes hardly any effort and is always a big hit at parties where you need to cook for a crowd.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cleaning up after Thanksgiving

That's one of the worst jobs after Thanksgiving. Storing leftovers is the other hard one. Finding the right containers to store, then finding them in the refrigerator the next time, ... it turns out to be endless during the couple days after Thanksgiving. I've had enough of the pies and icecreams already. I can't wait to start back normal cooking.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The weather here is so drab!

I certainly got spoiled. Until a couple days ago the weather was so warm in the 70s. Today it's grey and dark.

Enjoying an easy Thanskgiving day. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you - my dearest friends and family.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Love this vegetarian variety

I have been following these recipes for several weeks now. A great mix of soup, salad, stew, quiche, dessert and more.

What do you feed people right before the Thanksgiving dinner?

That's the question I always need to plan ahead for. We all pig out during the Thanksgiving meal but it's not that we don't eat prior. Breakfast, lunch - what do you do when you have a crowd that comes the day before or the morning of.

I generally make a dish or two that would serve as a good lunch on Thanksgiving day. Last year I remember ordering sandwiches from DeFabio's. Except for myself and a couple others who were pure vegetarians, the rest enjoyed this sandwich variety tray.

This year is different. We are a minimal crowd in a different city. Feels quite weird. However, we are all set with the usual frills,bells and whistles for the Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.

Gosh, I miss my extended family and all my friends.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A new recipe for your Thanksgiving left overs

Recipe of the week - a vegetarian spicy flavor for your Thanksgiving left overs.

Favazza, an Italian restaurant at the Hill in St. Louis

It was one fanatastic evening at the Lavazza at the Hill in St. Louis. Authentic Italian food for extremely reasonable prices. We were given beautiful patio seating but we chose to be in the warm dining area inside near the fireplace.

The Hill is a unique area in St. Louis where the Italian immigrants settled when they came to this part of the country around 1830. Most of them worked at the clay mines, lived here and created a 'Little Italy' for themselves. It attracted other Italians and is now a close-knit Italian community.

The Hill was originally a part of Charles Gratiot's League Square, granted to him by the Spanish territorial government in 1798. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the League Square had been subdivided into large tracts. Several of the Hill restaurants were started years ago and still continue to thrive because of their fantastic food.

There are several other restaurants in this area and I plan to try them all out one every month if possible.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Where are those specialy shops?

For a person who enjoys cooking and can't find the special ingredients of mediterranean or chinese cooking, or those gourmet cheeses necessary for some recipes, it can be quite frustrating.

I am still looking and hope to find them this weekend. The only problem with weekends is they disappear as fast as they appear. Somehow got to fit this in.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Your body will not budge no matter how rigorous your exercise routine is

What does one say to that? The latest that I read about exercise and its effects say the following.

No matter how systematically and rigorously some people exercise their bodies just will not respond. Apparently this is the conclusion reached after a Finnish study that says that's just the way some people are genetically composed.

Yey. A good excuse to not exercise at all and just take to the couch. I know a few people I can show this to that'll make them happy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sweet potatoes baked in maple syrup

I always baked sweet potatoes with brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon.

Here's another recipe. Wash, peel and cut 2 pounds sweet potatoes into cubes. Add 1/2cup maple syrup, 1 stick of unsalted butter, 1/2 tsp. lime juice, a touch of salt, 1/2tsp. cinnamon powder if you'd like. Bake together until done. You may stir a couple times in between. When almost done remove cover and bake until top turns slightly brown.f

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lower calories and cutting back on portion sizes...

A combination of the two in restaurants can certainly help with the Americans' waistlines. Chefs have been trained everywhere in the world to create tasty recipes and not worry about calories or the health of a consumer. Caring about health and intake clearly is a consumer's reponsibility.

However, in the U.S. being the most obese country in the world, there are conscious efforts in the food industry, to pay attention to using better ingredients. There are regulations for some restaurants to list calories on their menus. Not sure why only some need to follow that rule. I believe it would be a great idea to train chefs on general rules of healthy cooking and nutrition. This way they will not be held responsible if for eg. they are sued. There was a recent news item where one of the fast food chains was sued by a customer for his obesity and health issue. Hmm! Not sure how this logic works. The customer won the lawsuit too!

Restaurants and chefs can do all they can. However, the consumer is the one in control of his/her quantity intake.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Buckwheat and Black Kale With Brussels Sprouts

A great fall recipe by chef Michael Anthony I just love this recipe and felt compelled to share with you.

3 medium onions, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups buckwheat
6 cups water
1 bunch black kale, blanched and finely chopped
2 parsnips, diced and blanched
1 tablespoon whipped cream
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 small red onion, sliced and sautéed
12 large shiitake mushrooms, quartered and sautéed
12 brussels sprouts, quartered or split into leaves (roasted in 375 degree oven until just tender).

1. Meanwhile, In a saucepan over medium heat, sweat the onions and garlic by cooking them in 1 tablespoon oil until they release some of their moisture and become slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. (“Sweating” vegetables means slowly softening them over gentle heat to draw out the flavor without browning them.)
2. Add buckwheat, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with water and bring to a simmer for approximately 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let buckwheat rest in water for approximately 10 minutes. Strain excess water.
3. Once the buckwheat has been drained, immediately add kale and parsnips. Add whipped cream and parsley, and stir gently. Garnish by topping with shiitake mushrooms, onions and roasted brussels sprouts.
Yield: Serves 8.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shifting the cost of health care to the employees?

This is ridiculous. The employer passing on health care cost to a higher paid employee. So, do we have to pay back if we are earning more than $50,000? This is unacceptable and looks like several employers have already implemented the program.
My take is employee benefits should be the same across the board at a company regardless of the salary levels. No employee should be punished for doing well.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Who cares?

That's right. Who cares about consumers' health? Nobody. Definitely not the McDonald's or the Pizza Hut's of this country. When consumers become conscious of their own health and stop having these fat, rich foods, sales start to drop at the other end. Marketing companies then jump to the rescue and think of various ways to get us back to buying the same foods by using clever marketing tactics.

For eg. Domino's pizza started losing market share,then partnered with an organization called Dairy Management to boost sales. The marketing company suggested the more cheese on pizza idea, lured back the consumers to its pizza pies, sales doubled and they are back in business. Who are the losers? Consumers. In what way? Our health. More cheese, more fat, more heart attacks, more high cholesterol, more hypertension, more diabetes, more medical bills and more of everything that are just not good.

So, while warning about fat, U.S. pushes cheese sales on the other end through these firms similar to Dairy Management. Nobody cares about the consumer. Companies are only interested in making money.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

At last!

Schools are slowly but surely realizing that school lunches are as important in contributing to good eating habits and nutrition as are our homes.

When was the last time anyone saw a menu as this one? And for this price?

-Vegetarian chili, sofrito brown rice, confetti corn salad, pico de gallo, salad bar, milk. Making the menu even more appealing was the price: $1.50. This is a typical lunch menu of Public School 29 in Brooklyn. Actual student chefs produce and prepare these menus. How many school districts can get that lucky?

Well, eating healty has become quite popular in many schools across the country. They are starting little vegetable gardens to produce their own vegetables and use them for school lunches. However, this percentage is a miniscule. Most schools don't do this. They don't provide the required nutritional calories. Most of the statistics lean totally toward non-nutritious meals such as chicken nuggets, pizza, fries, hotdogs ... you name it. The cost of coming up with nutritious meals 5 days a week is probably part of it. But, I am sure growing the vegetables in the school garden might help in addition to the federal subsidies.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Vino lovers

There are several types of wine lovers/drinkers. Where do you belong within that range?

For some reason, maybe it's the French influence of style, people who have anything to do with wine think they are wine afficionados. I have seen a range of such people. Some who drink a glass or two everyday; some who think wine is a must when they are with their dates and want to impress them; some who buy and keep buying them but hardly drink them; some who have a temperature controlled wine cellar and think of it as an investment. I could go on and on. Essentailly, some of us love wine while others love those who love wine, or love the wines of others, or love hoarding wine.

Who are you exactly? A drinker, a collector, a hoader, the expert or the amateur?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just like real people, real food has curves

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, vegetarians can look forward to all the side dishes that are way more exciting than plain old turkey. Can cook any vegetable or a mix of vegetables with a dash of herbs, seasonings and cheeses too! Add to the mix add some sauteed onions and garlic. Then top it off with light cream and black pepper and bake until done. More specific recipes on their way. Stand by.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Where should we store vitamins?

I don't know and sometimes even change spots so that they are not exposed to too much of heat or humidity. I have at times stored vitamins in my refrigerator. And I am glad I have never stored them in the bathroom. So, which is the right place for vitamins?

In any dry place of the house like the bedroom. Any place far away from the constant shift between humidity, heat and cold. So, if you are reading this blog, move them out from your bathroom shelves that are behind the mirror.

Check out recipe of the week - home made buttermilk

Check out the easiest and most nutritious way to make buttermilk. That's the recipe of the week.