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Archive for Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Banza Chickpea Pasta

Banza Penne Bolognese

Mac and Cheese

Banza Rotini

Enjoy your favorite pasta dishes with more protein and fiber, fewer carbs, and no gluten! [1] Penne Bolognese. [2] Mac and Cheese. [3] A box of rotini, one of five Banza pasta shapes (all photos courtesy Banza).

 

Toward the end of 2016, we went on a gluten-free pasta-thon, tasting every type of GF pasta we could find.

We love rice noodles: gluten free, but they don’t complement European pasta sauces and other noodle dishes.

So we tried pasta made from brown rice, brown rice-kale blends, corn, farro, lentils, soybeans, even quinoa. (We found the last, which we like as an earthy grain, undesirable as pasta.)

The winner by far: chickpea pasta, which looks, cooks, and tastes like regular pasta.

Yes, the same lovely legume that gives us hummus makes the best pasta!

The pasta has a slight chickpea flavor if you eat it plain; but covered with sauce, cheese and perhaps meatballs, sausage or anchovies (or sausage and anchovies, for surf and turf), most people aren’t likely to notice a difference.

Bonus: Chickpea pasta has double the protein, four times the fiber and almost half the net carbs.

Interestingly, Banza was not developed because the founder sought a GF pasta, but because he wanted more nutrition from pasta, one of his favorite foods.

He achieved just that: The nutrient-dense pasta boasts 25 grams of protein, 13 grams of fiber and just and C43 grams of carbs in each serving.

It has been embraced by athletes and vegans looking for more protein in their diets, by the gluten-sensitivite community, by parents trying to sneak more “good stuff” into the family’s diet via their favorite carbs.

The line includes:

  • Elbows
  • Mac And Cheese: Classic Cheddar, White Cheddar, Deluxe Rich & Creamy
  • Rotini
  • Penne Rigate
  • Shells
  • Spaghetti
  •  
    There are delicious recipes on the brand’s blog. You can buy the pasta on the website, or at some 5,000 retailers and etailers nationwide.

    Even if you aren’t looking for gluten-free pasta, how about some high-nutrition pasta—for hot dishes, cold pasta salads, even a sweet noodle pudding, made with elbows, ricotta and raisins?

    The brand is certified kosher by OU.

     

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Tofu Sandwiches

    What’s trending in sandwiches?

    According to Technomic, a food industry research and consulting firm, it’s tofu.

    The company’s MenuMonitor tracks more than 7,000 commercial and noncommercial menus to identify new ideas, including new menus, seasonal promotions and limited-time offers. The next trending sandwich protein, they say, will be…tofu!

    Chicken and bacon are, by far, the most popular “hot” proteins on sandwiches, the company says. But tofu is on the rise due to growing consumer desires for:

  • Healthy eating
  • Sustainable eating
  • Vegan foods
  •  
    So don’t be surprised to find tofu on the sandwich and burger menus of mainstream venues.

    Why not try it in your own kitchen?

    Chop tofu into “egg” salad; grill or pan-fry it to replace sandwich meats or burger patties.

    For starters, here’s a tofu burger recipe from tofu specialist House Foods. They also sent us recipes for:

  • Eggless Egg Salad Sandwich
  • Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich
  •  
    RECIPE: TOFU SLIDERS OR BURGERS

    Ingredients For 8 Sliders Or 4 Burgers

  • 1 package firm or extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons soy oil
  • 8 small slices mozzarella cheese
  • 8 slider buns or small dinner rolls or 4 burger buns, split and toasted
  • 16 fresh basil leaves or 8 small lettuce leaves
  • 8 slices plum tomato
  •  
    For The Pesto Mayonnaise

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the pesto mayonnaise. Stir all ingredients for in a small bowl; refrigerate until ready to use.

    2. QUARTER the block of tofu into 4 equal pieces. Slice each quarter horizontally into 2 thin pieces.

    3. BEAT the eggs with the mustard in shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. In a third bowl, combine the flour and herb seasoning.

    4. HEAT the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Dip the tofu in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, then the bread crumb mixture. Add to the skillet and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Top with the mozzarella slices after turning the slices.

    5. SPREAD the sides of the buns with the mayonnaise; place the tofu slices on the bottom halves, topping with basil and tomato slices.

    TIPS

  • BUY premium quality tofu. If you care about non-GMO foods—93% of soy is genetically modified—rely on a brand like House Foods, which uses only non-genetically modified soybeans grown in the USA and is Non-GMO Project verified.
  • STORE leftover tofu in a water-filled, airtight container in the fridge. It can keep for two to three days, but change the water every day or two.
  • FREEZE excess tofu in its original container or a freezer bag. To thaw, just leave it out on the counter for a few hours (don’t microwave it). Defrosted tofu’s texture becomes more spongy, great to soak up marinade sauces and great for the grill.
  •    

    Tofu Banh Mi

    Eggless Egg Salad

    Tofu Sliders

    Tofu Pizza "Burger"

    House Foods Extra Firm Tofu

    [1] Tofu banh mi sandiwich (here’s the recipe from Cooking Light). [2] Eggless egg salad, substituting tofu (here’s the recipe from House Foods). Make tofu sliders or burgers, garnished anyway you like: [3] with pesto mayonnaise and fresh basil, or [4] pizza-burger style, with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. [5] House Foods Extra-Firm Tofu. House Foods tofu is non-GMO.

    MORE TOFU RECIPES

  • Tofu Bean Chili
  • Tofu Caprese Salad
  • Tofu Chocolate Mousse
  • Tofu Fries
  • Tofu Fritters
  • Tofu Salad Dressing
  • Tofu Scramble
  • Tofu Tomato Skewers
  • More Ways To Use Tofu
  •  

    Tofu Blocks

    Tofu Breakfast Scramble

    Tofu Chocolate Pudding

    [6] Tofu blocks (photo courtesy Hodo Soy Beanery). [6] Tofu breakfast scramble (here’s the recipe from Oh My Veggies). [7] Tofu chocolate pudding, or budino in Italian (here’s the recipe from House Foods).

     

    WHAT IS TOFU

    Tofu is made from curding soy milk, much in the same way cheese is made from dairy milk.

    First, soybeans are ground with water and heated. The soy milk is separated from the solids (analogous to milk curds), the hot soy milk is stirred and a coagulant (a natural firming agent, analogous to rennet) is added.

    The curds that form are poured into a forming box (a mold) and the whey is pressed out. The pressing action forms the curd into a solid block of tofu, which is also known as bean curd.

    Here’s more about tofu, including the history of tofu.
     
    TOFU HEALTH BENEFITS

    Nutritionists, physicians and other healthcare providers want you to eat more tofu.

    Tofu offers a variety of health benefits. It’s low calorie, cholesterol-free and an excellent source of high-quality protein, iron and calcium.

    Soy foods in general are associated with decreased risk of cancer. A comprehensive analysis of 28 previously published studies on Chinese adults shows that intake of soy foods in the form of tofu (and soy miso) does a better job of reducing risk of stomach cancer than soy in general.

  • In the U.S., a study released in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism last spring that showed soy might counter the harmful effects of bisphenol A (BPA), and that diets high in soy may improve women’s fertility.
  • More and more experts point to recent studies that demonstrate its benefits, such as lower risk of breast cancer and reduced levels of inflammation.
  •  
    It’s still January, the window for new year’s resolutions is still open. Why not turn Meatless Mondays into Tofu Tuesdays?

    Take a look at these tofu cookbooks:

  • The Guide to Cooking Tofu: The Ultimate Tofu Cookbook That You Will Ever Need
  • This Can’t Be Tofu: 75 Recipes to Cook Something You Never Thought You Would–and Love Every Bite
  • Giant Book Of Tofu Cooking: 350 Delicious & Healthful Recipes
  • Tofu Recipes: The Ultimate Tofu Cookbook With Over 30 Delicious And Amazing Tofu Recipes
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Nona Lim Soups

    Nona Lim Thai Curry Soup Cup

    Nona Lim Carrot Ginger Soup

    Nona Lim Noodle Bowl

    Pho Ingredients

    Nona Lim Green Curry

    Nona Lim Green Curry

    [1] One of the grab-and-go soup cups, in five flavors. [2] Soup pouches, in 10 flavors. [3] Combine one of six varieties of noodles with a broth for a delicious noodle bowl. [4] Add pho ingredients to pho broth. [5] Enjoy Thai Green Curry plain, or [6] loaded with fresh veggies, proteins and/or grains of choice. Photos courtesy Nona Lim.

     

    January is National Soup Month, a hot repast for colder weather.

    The category of grab-and-go soups have grown and grown, first thanks to chains like Hale and Hearty following deli take-out, followed by fresh packaged brands in store refrigerator cases.

    Boulder Organic and Healthy Choice are two of the larger brands. They are typically regional or store brands. For example, Fresh Direct carries Ladle Of Love and Splendid Spoon. Whole Foods in New York City sells their own brand plus a small selection of others, including today’s tip, Nona Lim.

    NONA LIM: DEVELOPED FOR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
    DELICIOUS FARE FOR THE REST OF US

    Nona Lim soups were developed in Oakland, California, by a former professional athlete who constantly sought natural ways to gain a competitive advantage. She discovered the power of the right foods as “functional medicine.”

    She observed how inflammatory foods would hurt her performance, and found that her body and brain would only function at peak performance—or recover faster— when fueled with whole, clean foods.

    Nona went to the drawing board and created a healing, nutrient-dense, non-inflammatory meal program made with fresh, plant-rich, whole food ingredients and clean preparations made from scratch. Word spread, and the brand took off.

    The variety of prepared meals and soups, broths and noodles are infused with the Asian flavors of Singapore, where Nona spent her childhood. The products are dairy free, mostly gluten free (some noodles are wheat-based), and in Nona’s words, “100% crap-free.”

    You can customize any of the soups and broths with your favorite meats, seafood, and vegetables. Products include:

  • Soups
  • Broths
  • Soup Cups
  • Rice Noodles
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Seasonal Specials
  •  
    SOUP CUPS

    We love these soup cups: light and delicious soups and broths in convenient 10-ounce “heat-and-sip” cup. Just pop it in the microwave (the soups are also tasty chilled).

    They’re low in calories, so also work as a light snack; and certainly, a more nutritious alternative to a mocha latte.

    The cup and lid can actually be re-used for refills or anything else you want to carry and sip. We’re avid re-cyclers, and we love it!

    Flavors include:

  • Carrot Ginger Soup Cup
  • Miso Broth Soup Cup
  • Thai Curry & Lime Bone Broth Soup Cup
  • Tomato Thai Basil Soup Cup
  • Vietnamese Pho Bone Broth
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    SOUP POUCHES

    Multi-portion soup pouches include:

  • All Bean Chili
  • Asian Lemongrass Soup
  • Carrot Ginger Soup
  • Celery Root Soup
  • Kale & Potato Soup
  • Red Lentil Veggie Soup
  • Spicy Rice Soup
  • Thai Green Curry
  • Tomato Thai Basil Sou
  • Zucchini Soup
  •  
    For a lighter touch, we like the:

    BROTH POUCHES

  • Miso Ramen Broth
  • Spicy Szechuan Bone Broth
  • Thai Curry & Lime Bone Broth
  • Vietnamese Pho Bone Broth
  •  
    You can enjoy them as is; but they’re so easy to customize with whatever vegetables, meat, seafood, tofu, or grains you like. Our secret: Toss in all the leftovers.

    Here’s a store locator.

    The products can be purchased online. Consider gifting them to your favorite athletes, dieters, and anyone down with the flu.

    Discover more at NonaLim.com.

     

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Seacuterie

    Every foodie knows charcuterie: meats crafted into pâtés, rillettes sausages, terrines and more.

    In the U.S., it is served as a first course and often appears on appetizer boards alongside cheeses and cold cuts.

    But whether for palate preference, avoidance of so much animal fat or pescatarianism, a new trend is redefining charcuterie: seacuterie, an appetizer platter* of seafood.

    Seacuterie is a new term for smoked and cured fish and shellfish dishes prepared with techniques typically associated with meats.

    The first example we know of was the salmon pastrami developed by pioneering chef David Burke at Park Avenue Cafe in New York City, in the early 1990s (photo #4—he called it pastrami salmon).

    It was adopted by other chefs, and led to other fish pastrami, culmimating in the most gorgeous mosaic of octopus pastrami from Chef Markus Glocker at Bâtard in New York City (photo #3). Now, chefs from coast to coast—especially seafood specialists—offer seacuterie plates (photo #2).

    While you may not be up for making salmon pastrami or octopus pastrami (we couldn’t even find a recipe for it!), you can put together a “seacuterie” board of assorted appetizer fish. We did it for New Year’s Eve—it’s great with champagne and other sparkling wines—and are planning it again for Valentine’s Day.

    CREATING A SEACUTERIE PLATTER

    This is not an exercise for the faint of pocket, but you can save money by seeking out frozen seafood and limiting your choices (photo #1).

    Everything should be easy: nothing in the shell, like crab claws; nothing drippy, like calamari salad.

    Select five types of seafood. Some suggestions:

  • Anchovies (we like Cento brand, delicious on buttered bread)
  • Cold smoked salmon (types of smoked salmon)
  • Gravlax (recipe)
  • Hot smoked salmon
  • Salmon pastrami (David Burke’s original recipe)
  • Salads: crab, herring, shrimp, tuna, whitefish
  • Sardines (look for the flavored ones from BELA-Olhão
  • Shrimp
  • Taramasalata (Greek caviar spread, from the supermarket)
  • Tuna or salmon tataki (recipe)
  •  
    ACCOMPANIMENTS

  • Cocktail sauce (recipe)
  • Dill spread (recipe)
  • Horseradish spread (recipe)
  •  
    Plus

  • Assorted breads, flatbreads, specialty crackers
  • Capers or caperberries, drained
  • Lemon or lime, thin slices or wedges
  • Olives
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ARRANGE the items on a large serving platter or board. Some items (capers, olives, salads) will require ramekins or small bowls).

    2. GARNISH the platter with sprigs of dill.

    3. SET OUT cocktail forks or picks, small spoons (like espresso spoons) and spreaders; plus cocktail plates and napkins.

    4. SERVE the breads and crackers on a separate plate or basket, unless you have a jumbo plate that holds everything.

     

    Seacuterie Plate

    Seacuterie

    Octopus Pastrami

    Salmon Pastrami

    [1] You can put together a basic seacuterie board with fresh or frozen seafood (here, formerly frozen shrimp and tuna tataki from Provigo, with dill dip). [2] An elegant seacuterie board from Chef Aaron Black of PB Catch in Palm Beach. [3] Octopus pastrami by Markus Glocker (photo by NY Eater). [4] The original seacuterie: salmon pastrami from Chef David Burke.

     
    ________________
    *A seacuterie platter is different from a plateau de fruits de mer, a platter of shellfish—lobster, oysters, shrimp, etc.—served on a bed of ice, along with condiments such as mignonette sauce, cocktail sauce and lemon wedges. It is usually served on a silver stand instead of a flat plate or platter.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: More Ways To Enjoy Carrots

    What’s up, Doc?

    The humble carrot, dressed to impress.

    Winter, with its paucity of produce choices, is the best time to enjoy root vegetables. The most familiar—and the easiest to convince family members to eat—is the carrot. Here, some ideas from the familiar to the less so. First…

    A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO ROOT VEGETABLES

    Root vegetables most common in the U.S. include the beet, carrot, celery root (celeriac), Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, kohlrabi, onions (use baby onions), parsnips, potato (use small waxy potatoes), radishes, rutabaga, salsify, and turnip.

    Root vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals, which they absorb from the ground. Many are high in vitamin A, B complex and C; plus antioxidants. Root vegetables are an excellent source of fiber.

    Many of these can be eaten raw, steamed, sautéed, baked, roasted, stir fried, or fried.

    In the case of carrots, Whether baby, heirloom or standard, carrots and their root kin are waiting at your nearest market.

    COOKING CARROTS

    Beyond boiled carrots, carrot salad and crudités, consider these preparations:

  • Brochette: Parboil and skewer them, then grill them and serve as a fun brochette.
  • Classic: Steam them and toss in butter with fresh dill or parsley.
  • Gratinée: Roast or steam, top with shredded Gruyere or other cheese and broil until melted.
  • Fancy cut: Cooked the carrots shredded, as you wood a slaw; or use mini vegetable cutters to make small flowers and other shapes.
  • Roasted/Grilled: Roast them in garlic butter and garnish with chopped parsley.
  • Pan-fried: We just tried this for the first time. Here’s a recipe.
  • Pickles: Pickle carrots as you would cucumbers or any vegetables. You can quick-pickle in just an hour.
  • Purée: A terrific way to eat most dense vegetables.
  • Raw: as crudites or grated into a slaw/mixed slaw, or mixed into a salad. Just grate them or slice thinly. Beyond carrots, think beets and radishes. Anything sold fresh with the greens attached—kohlrabi, turnips—will be moist, sweet and of course, crunchy, when raw. While not sold with its greens, rutabaga is mild and often sweet. Although drier than turnips or kohlrabi, it contributes a pale yellow color to the mix.*
  • Soup: When was the last time you made soup? Carrot soup is a perennial favorite. Make it chunky—like a thin purée. Garnish with fresh herbs and, as desired, a slice of bacon or sausage.
  • Sandwich:
  • Different choices here: Roasted carrot or mixed roasted vegetable sandwich, with or without goat cheese; or carrot pickles or carrot slaw on a ham, turkey or other sandwich.

  • Stew: For Meatless Mondays, try this hearty Carrot-Mushroom-Barley Stew from Food Network.
  •  
    WAYS TO TREAT ANY CARROT PREPARATION

  • Blended: Combine with other root vegetables†: beet, celery root (celeriac), Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, kohlrabi, onions (use baby onions), parsnips, potato (use small waxy potatoes), radishes, rutabaga, salsify, turnip, etc.
  • Garnishes: Beyond herbs, consider toasted breadcrumbs, pecans, raisins, seeds or a mix. For color, try dried cranberries, dice red bell pepper or pomegranate arils. Rings of red jalapeño with the seeds and pith remove also work. Those who don’t like heat can set them aside.
  • Heat: Add your choice of heat—cayenne, chile flakes, hot sauce, etc.—to the dish.
  • Herbs: Basil, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme are naturals with carrots.
  • International: From Indian to Moroccan, French to Japanese, your favorite international flavors work with carrots.
  • Spices: “Fall” spices such as allspice, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg are delicious with carrots. Also try coriander.
  • Sweet: Add a bit of brown sugar, honey or maple syrup.
  •  
    Do you have a favorite carrot preparation?

    If it’s not listed here, please let us know!

    CARROT HISTORY

    The original wild carrots were white, like parsnips. According to Colorful Harvest, marketer of rainbow carrots, the cultivated purple and yellow carrots—mutations—were eaten more than 1,000 years ago in what is now Afghanistan.

    Other colors are the product of generations of traditional plant breeding. Orange carrots were first successfully bred in Holland from an orange mutation by Dutch farmers. Here’s the history of carrots.

    FROM WHERE DO CARROTS GET THEIR COLOR?

     

    Shredded Cooked Carrots

    Grilled Carrots & Radishes

    Pan-Fried Carrots

    Glazed Carrots With Pomegranate

    Grilled Carrot Sandwich

    Colored Carrots

    [1] “Cooked” carrot salad. Here’s the recipe from Walnut Frog. [2] Carrots with other root vegetables (here, radishes and baby onions). Here’s the recipe, with a maple-honey glaze, from Kalamazoo Gourmet. [3] Pan-fried carrots with parsley. Not the red skin: It’s an heirloom variety. Here’s the recipe from The Nourishing Gourmet. [4]. These glazed carrots are accented with sesame seeds and pomegranate arils for more color. Here’s the recipe from The Café Sucre Farine. [5] Grilled carrot sandwich on crusty bread with goat cheese, apricot jam and toasted pine nuts, at The Wayfarer | NYC. [6] This picture is not Photoshopped: These are natural mutations. See how it happens, below (photo courtesy The Wayfarer).

     
    Deeply colored produce are rich in nutrients, including antioxidants. Different antioxidants produce the different colors or carrots:

  • Red carrots get their color from lycopene, an antioxidant that may promote healthy eyes and a healthy prostate.
  • Orange and tangerine carrots get their color comes from beta-carotene, an antioxidant and precursor of vitamin A.
  • Purple carrots get their color from anthocyanins, the same potent phytonutrients (antioxidants) that makes blueberries blue,. Anthocyanins are flavonoids that may help increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood and may help maintain good brain function.
  • Yellow and white carrots get their color from lutein, which studies suggest may promote good eye health.
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    ________________
    *Tenderness, moistness and delicacy depend in part on how and where a vegetable is grown. Those grown in a hot, dry climate without sufficient irrigation can turn out to be pretty hot and spicy. If you end up with that character, you can reduce the spiciness by blanching the cut pieces in salted, boiling water. (Source)

    †Other common root vegetables, that don’t necessarily lend themselves to these preparations, include include daikon, ginger, horseradish, jicama and turmeric.

      

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