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Archive for September, 2010

TIP OF THE DAY: Choose Sourdough As Your White Bread

You’ve no doubt heard over and over again that you should switch empty-carb white bread for whole grain breads.

We love the complex flavor of whole grain breads—wheat, oat, rye, spelt and multigrain combinations.

But what if you just can’t give up your white bread?

According to Pick It Kick It: Simple Choices, Huge Results, sourdough is the champion of white breads.

Like other white breads, sourdough bread is made with processed white flour, stripped of nutrients. But it contains beneficial lactic acid.

The starter contains bacteria, lactobacilli, that create lactic acid. In turn, the lactic acid creates the slightly acidic signature flavor of sourdough.

Crusty sourdough loaves. Photo courtesy
Wikimedia.

And now the good news: The lactic acid breaks down the sugar content produced when the carbs break down, producing a lower-glycemic bread.

For a double hit, there are also sourdough breads made with whole wheat flour.

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PRODUCT: Best White Chocolate

Get to know the world’s best white
chocolate. Photo by Claire Freierman |
THE NIBBLE.

Yesterday was National White Chocolate Day. Many people, including professionals, perpetuate the old news that “white chocolate isn’t real chocolate.”

But it is!

White chocolate was once not classified as chocolate by the FDA, because it has no cocoa solids (which make chocolate brown). That’s changed.

In 2002 the FDA agreed that the cocoa butter qualified it as true chocolate, and classified this ivory delight as chocolate. The other components are milk, sweetener such as sugar, vanilla and a drop of lecithin as an emulsifier.

White chocolate used to be classified with the chalk-white product called “confectionary coating.” This product, which is made with cheaper vegetable oil, milk and sugar, has no relation to chocolate (and in our opinion, doesn’t taste so terrific—if you think you don’t like white chocolate, you may have been eating confectionary coating.)

 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Lemon Zest

If you’re zesting lemons, limes, oranges or other citrus for a recipe, buy organic fruit if you can.

Conventional citrus crops are heavily sprayed with pesticides, and a simple rinse won’t dislodge all of it from the nooks and crannies of the rind.

The zest is the outermost part of the rind of citrus fruits (the white part underneath is called the pith). It has both a strong citrus flavor and intense, perfume-like aromatic oils.

To zest a citrus fruit:

  • If you’re handy with a knife, peel the zest from the rind with a sharp paring knife; or use a vegetable peelere. Then use a chef’s knife to cut it into julienne strips.
  • The less handy can use a special utensil called a zester.
  •  

    They may look pretty, but they’re covered in pesticide. Photo courtesy SXC.

  • If you need grated zest, simply use your hand-held grater and grate gently, avoiding the pith. A microplane makes this easy.
  • If you can’t get organic lemons and limes and don’t have a spray bottle of fruit and vegetable wash, take a kitchen brush and scrub the citrus thoroughly. You can use a bit of soap, as it washes off easily.

  • See the different types of lemons in our Lemon Glossary.
  • See the different types of limes in our Lime Glossary.
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    FOOD FACTS: Baking Vs. Roasting

    What’s the difference between roast chicken
    and baked chicken, both made in the oven?
    One is cooked whole, the other in pieces
    with some liquid. Photo courtesy
    MackenzieLtd.com.

    Both take place in an oven, so what’s the difference between baking and roasting?

    They’re the same process: cooking the food in an airtight device, surrounded by radiant heat (hot air) instead of direct flame.

    The two words originated in different cultures and became more specific over time—roasting for meats (the genesis is roasting meat on a spit over a fire, which dates back to the discovery of making fire), baking for breads and cakes.

    Yet, there are baked meat dishes—baked chicken and fish, for example. Why are they called baked instead of roasted?

    Back to the cave men: Roasting refers to cooking an entire bird, fish or large cut of meat (which we refer to as a “roast”). The outer level of the meat coagulates, keeping in the juices (and in the case of poultry and fish, crisping the skin).

    Baking takes place in a pan covered with foil or in a casserole dish with a lid. The protein is not cooked whole, but is quartered, fileted, etc. A liquid is added to the pan and the cover keeps the steam in. The result is moister and softer than roasting.

    Today, cooking meat over a direct fire—whole or in pieces—is called…grilling.

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    TIP OF THE DAY: The Right Cooking Oil

    When you’re making a choice of cooking oil at the supermarket, do you know why you choose that particular type? Is it habit, what your mother used, whatever is on sale?

    There are three reasons to pick a cooking oil:

    1. The first is for your health: Unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are heart healthy.

    These include avocado oil, canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil and nut- and seed oils.

    Saturated fats and trans fats are unhealthy oils. It’s best to avoid tropical oils: coconut oil, palm oil and others.

    Trans fats, saturated fats that occur in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, have gotten so much press over the last couple of years that most of us know to avoid them. While many products have been reformulated, look closely at the labels of margarine and shortening.

     

    Avocado oil is heart-healthy and has a very
    high smoke point. Check out Olivado avocado
    oil
    , a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. Photo
    by Melody Lan | THE NIBBLE.

    While they’re delicious, limit your intake of animal fats (butter, bacon grease, chicken fat, lard, etc.).

    2. The second reason to choose an oil is the smoke point. Sautéing occurs at a much lower heat than deep fat frying, for example.

    Take a look at our smoke point chart to see the different temperature tolerances of the major oils and fats.

    3. The flavor you prefer (or lack thereof) is another reason to choose an oil. But first, be sure it’s healthy and the right smoke point.

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