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Sat, 31 Jan 2009 01:59:10 GMT

Tea kettles: No longer only in Canada

Tea kettles: No longer only in Canada
When I started working in the test kitchen of Canadian Living magazine in the early nineties, I remember being surprised to learn that tea kettles, although common kitchen items in Canada, were relatively scarce is US kitchens. The rationale at the time was that Americans were more likely to drink coffee than tea so they didn"t give up counter space to an appliance they would use only rarely.

According to this poll and lengthy list of responses in popular New York City blog thekitchn, it looks like tea kettles are now popular on both sides of the border.

What about you? Do you plug in a kettle or put one on the stove top when you need a cuppa? And, are your current kettle habits new or rooted in long standing practice?

Edited to add:  I just saw this post on Not Martha which features a supremo kettle that has temperature settings for different kinds of hot drinks. So, if a kettle is on your shopping list, you might want to check this baby out!

Posted by: danamccauley      Read more     Source

Wed, 28 Jan 2009 21:38:10 GMT

How to get a man's attention

We all know the saying:  ”the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”,  but how do you get him to listen?

According to this British gravy mix commercial, the stomach route works pretty well then, too!


Posted by: danamccauley      Read more     Source

Wed, 28 Jan 2009 11:08:46 GMT

Peanut Butter Recall

Peanut Butter Recall
I am sure some of you have been following the peanut butter recall associated with a recent Salmonella outbreak, which has affected over 400 people across America in just the past few months.

According to the FDA, the recall concerns industrial peanut butter and peanut paste (not jarred peanut butter) manufactured since July 1, 2008 by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) at its Blakely, Georgia processing plant because of potential contamination. PCA does not sell peanut butter directly to consumers, only to institutions and food manufacturers. The company distributes its peanut butter and peanut butter paste to be used in the production of commercial products such as cakes, cookies, crackers, candies, cereal and ice cream.  Apparently the CDC started to receive numerous reports of illness around mid-September and initiated an investigation. The investigation by the CDC and the FDA led to the discovery of a strain of Salmonella that was associated with the reported illnesses in an unopened canister of King Nut peanut butter (King Nut distributes peanut butter from PCA to long-term care facilities, hospitals, and cafeterias) indicating that the contamination took place at the PCA processing plant.

Posted by: Editor      Read more     Source

January 20, 2009, 7:05 PM CT

Diastolic dysfunction and reduced capacity for exercise

Diastolic dysfunction and reduced capacity for exercise
Patients with abnormal diastolic function (when the heart is relaxed and expanded) in the left ventricle of the heart have a substantially lower maximum capacity for exercise, as per a research studyin the January 21 issue of JAMA

A number of factors, including age, female sex, body mass index and co-existing medical conditions are known to be linked to a decrease in exercise capacity. Identifying potentially reversible mechanisms underlying the decline in maximum exercise capacity could have important implications. Some research has suggested that assessing left ventricular (one of four chambers in the heart) function could be used to predict exercise capacity, as per background information in the article.

Jasmine Grewal, M.D., of Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and his colleagues conducted a study to examine the relationship between left ventricular diastolic function and exercise capacity. The study included 2,867 patients undergoing exercise echocardiography (a noninvasive diagnostic procedure that uses ultrasound to study the structure and motions of the heart) with routine measurements of left ventricular systolic (contraction of the heart) and diastolic function. Analyses were conducted to determine the strongest correlates of exercise capacity and the age and sex interactions of these variables with exercise capacity.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source

Mon, 19 Jan 2009 02:55:48 GMT

Kitchen math that is worth the effort

Kitchen math that is worth the effort
At this time of year, I know that many people (myself included) are trying to make amends for indulgent food choices we made during the holidays.

Although this writer"s approach to healthy eating requires math, I think it"s an interesting approach since it helps people to evaluate not just the calories of a food but the potential nutrient value, too.

Here"s an excerpt from her article that summarizes how to evaluate foods to determine whether they are good nutrient choices:

First, find the “Percent Daily Values (% DV)” on the right side of the label. These are the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendations for how much fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients you need each day if you’re eating a 2,000-calorie diet.

  • If the DV is 5 percent or less, it’s considered “low” for the nutrients. A 20 percent DV or more is “high.”
  • So for fat, sodium and cholesterol, a Percent Daily Value of 5 or lower is good; a DV of 20 or higher is bad.
  • For total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, a DV of 5 or lower is bad; a DV of 20 or higher is good.

    How do you decide what to eat? Is it all about fat and calories for you or do you count carbs? Or, do you think about other nutrients, too?

    Posted by: danamccauley      Read more     Source

  • Wed, 07 Jan 2009 03:33:31 GMT

    The Best Dim Sum in Toronto

    The Best Dim Sum in Toronto
    The dim sum experience in Toronto is a tale of two cities - the Spadina and Dundas haunts in the heart of Chinatown and the suburban dining halls sprawled north of the 401. Either way, the much loved Cantonese brunch of little dishes is best shared with big mouths and lots of gossip. Expect plenty of noise and so-so service where getting your number called after a wait for a table feels like you"ve won a medal.

    Posted by: Guest Contributor      Read more     Source

    January 6, 2009, 9:13 PM CT

    Gene misbehaves when you eat a high fat diet

    Gene misbehaves when you eat a high fat diet
    New evidence in mice bolsters the notion that a version of a gene earlier shown to protect lean people against weight gain and insulin resistance can have the opposite effect in those who eat a high-fat diet and are heavier, reveals a report in the January 7th issue of the journal Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication.

    The findings suggest that the 12 percent of people who carry the so-called Ala12 version of the gene that serves as a master controller of fat differentiation will be more sensitive than most to the amount of fat in their diets. (That fat-moderating gene is called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma isoform 2, or Pparg2.).

    The Ala12 gene variant in question is less active and less efficient in driving fat cells' formation than the more common Pro12 version, the scientists explained. As a result, individuals carrying Ala12 are generally less obese and more sensitive to insulin, but that can change if they shift to a less sensible, fat-laden meal plan.

    Genetic testing for the variant might therefore be used as a diagnostic tool, said Johan Auwerx of Universit Louis Pasteur in France and the Ecole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne in Switzerland. "Through dietary counseling, carriers could be informed that they really need to watch out for high fat in their diets," he said.........

    Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source

    December 9, 2008, 9:19 PM CT

    Overweight siblings of children with type 2 diabetes

    Overweight siblings of children with type 2 diabetes
    Overweight siblings of children with type 2 diabetes are four times more likely to have abnormal glucose levels in comparison to other overweight children. Because abnormal glucose levels may indicate risk for diabetes or diabetes itself, these children could benefit from screening tests and diabetes prevention education.

    Scientists from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia published their findings today in the online edition of the Journal of Pediatrics

    "To our knowledge, prior studies have not specifically looked at the risk of abnormal glucose tolerance among siblings of children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This group has a unique combination of genetic and environmental risk factors," said Sheela N. Magge, M.D., M.S.C.E., a pediatric endocrinologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and primary author of the study. "Clinical experience suggests that children with type 2 diabetes often have an obese sibling, which makes siblings an appropriate target for prevention trials." .

    The study looked at 62 children: 20 obese subjects with a sibling who had type 2 diabetes and a control group of 42 obese children. The groups were similar for age, gender, racial distribution (predominantly African American), pubertal status and body mass index over 95th percentile.........

    Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source

    Mon, 10 Nov 2008 00:51:34 GMT

    A review of Giada's Kitchen by Giada De Laurentiis

    A review of Giada's Kitchen by Giada De Laurentiis
    Made for lazy afternoons; Spiced Americanos with Cinnamon Whipped Cream. From the book Giada''s Kitchen: New Italian Favorites.

    As the parents of two children under the age of three, I will admit that my husband and I do not frequent restaurants as often as we''d used to. We do still enjoy a meal out now and again, but I have to say that we do not mind the change from eating out to eating in. In fact, we''re all too happy to entertain at home.

    Lucky for us, this shift in our lifestyle looks to be on trend with cookbooks as well. Case in point, Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network''s resident expert in all things Italian, recently released Giada''s Kitchen: New Italian Favorites (Clarkson Potter, 2008), focusing on a fresh, modern versions of classics from the Italian home kitchen. The famed-chef''s fourth book, Giada''s Kitchen promises 100 recipes which offer "the pleasures of Italian food without feeling weighed down ....[and] inspiration for delicious, hearty yet healthy weekday meals."

    Chapter headings are fairly standard, but with some particularly thoughtful additions that help tailor this book to not only weekday family fare, but also to casual entertaining. An entire section on first courses and appetizers include elegant little bites such as Crispy Smoked Mozzarella with Honey and Figs - perfectly crisp phyllo parcels of melting cheese are served alongside succulent honey-warmed figs. Cheese is a popular theme for her first courses, appearing in a goat cheese and tomato strata, a savory cheesecake, crispy crackers and in a decadent Gorgonzola and apple crostata. In this, and a few other chapters, De Laurentiis ends with a drink; this time an Apple and Thyme martini that is both unexpected and delicious.

    The next two sections, Soups, Paninis and Snacks and Salads and Vegetables are far and away the stars of the book. Here you will find fantastic lunch and light supper ideas like a Tuscan White Bean and Garlic soup that is buttery and rich, perfect for a cold afternoon. A sandwich that pairs warmly-spiced chicken salad with sharp radicchio and crisp pancetta is brilliant; the saltiness of the pork playing well against the aromatic chicken and brightened by the bitter chicory. Of particular success were the Spiced Armericanos (pictured) - a simple preparation that has now become our drink of choice this autumn.

    From the Salad and Vegetables chapter, the Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale are said to be a Thanksgiving tradition in the De Laurentiis'' household; after tasting them, I understand why. The perfect amount of heat, along with the richness of the cheese, compliment the vegetables wonderfully. A great way to get your greens. Fregola, those fine beads of semolina pasta similar to couscous, are dressed up in a salad with a tangy-tart orange oil, grapefruit and a generous amount of herbs. Although the Broiled Zucchini and Potatoes with Parmesan Crust were flavoursome, I do question the technique here. As written, the recipe requires boiling, sauteeing and finally broiling the vegetables; three cooking methods for one dish seems a bit much, even if tasty. I tried the recipe a second time, this time roasting then broiling the vegetables, for a similarly-delicious result.

    Surprisingly, even though solid, the remaining chapters were almost a letdown after the standouts of the first three. Orzo-Stuffed Peppers boast good textural contrast, while the Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon oil is fairly standard.

    Meats, poultry and fish are dressed with herbaceous and acidic accouterments like the Spicy Parsley Tomato Sauce paired with roasted beef sirloin, chicken grilled with a mouth-puckering Balsamic Barbecue Sauce, halibut adorned with a grapefruit and fennel salsa, and turkey treated to an Osso Bucco-style preparation, complete with a rough-chopped gremolata to finish. A self-proclaimed fan of butternut squash, De Laurentiis uses the vegetable-like fruit in a Marsala-soused beef stew, a vanilla-flecked risotto and a golden-hued rigatoni with prawns.

    Those familiar with De Laurentiis'' many television programs and previous books will know her for her sweet tooth. Her chapter on desserts must surely tempt that weakness; the Ricotta Cappuccino was dangerously quick to come together, but luxurious in its finish. Creamy, sharp and with a touch of spice, it was a perfect end to a casual meal. The Berry Strata is a brighter version of the classic bread pudding; I especially appreciate the way the juices of the fruit stain the custard in tie-dyed patterns. Gorgeous for breakfast or dessert.

    A chapter on cooking for children rounds out the book, and as much as I understand the desire to please fussy palates, many of these dishes fell flat in testing - but were not without merit. The Proscuitto Mozzarella Pinwheels were easy to assemble, and a fun recipe to try with children. Sadly, a filling of slick, chewy meat can be difficult for little ones to chew. The Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs was great, after I tweaked things a bit. The recipe itself calls for minimal seasoning, and in my mind it verged on bland. However, once tailored to our tastes by concentrating the sauce, a touch of salt and a hefty sprinkling of red pepper flakes, it is a recipe I would make again.

    This section does include a gem of a recipe for Chocolate Chip Pound Cake. Dense without being heavy, with easy preparation that can all be done by hand, the deeply-flavoured treat will definitely be making its way into my gift-giving this holiday season.

    The book is well designed, with an open and easy-to-read page layout. With one recipe per page, there is a generous amount of space devoted to backstory and specific notes in preparation and methodology. The majority of dishes feature accompanying full-colour photographs by Tina Rupp, shot simply and beautifully. Now and again, double page spreads of step-by-step photos complement specific dishes, and work well as a subtle showcase the photogenic author. The styling is homey and welcoming, with a touch of a feminine prettiness fitting De Laurentiis'' established aesthetic.

    Well-suited to the types of foods that many of us are looking to serve in our homes; dishes are fresher, with a strong emphasis on vegetables and creative uses of healthier lean proteins. The book Giada''s Kitchen is a timely addition to a cook''s library, with satisfying meals that would make almost anyone feel right at home.

    Reminiscent of the cascade in a well-drawn pint of Guinness, softy-whipped cream slumps, swirls, and finally melts into aromatic espresso.

    Recipes from Giada''s Kitchen

  • Crispy Smoked Mozzarella with Honey and Figs
  • Artichoke Gratinata
  • Fregola Salad with Fresh Citrus
  • Beef and Butternut Squash Stew
  • Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs
  • Giada''s Carbonara
  • Apple and Thyme Martini
  • Berry Strata
  • Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate
  • Spiced Americano with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

    Cover image courtesy Clarkson Potter.

    Note: In addition to the book, De Laurentiis ended her five seasons of the show that made her famous, Everyday Italian, to begin a new program, Giada at home. The new series premiered in the United States on October 18, 2008.

    Posted by: TARA      Read more     Source

  • Wed, 17 Sep 2008 03:58:16 GMT

    MyFoodAdvisor: What to eat?

    MyFoodAdvisor: What to eat?
    Regarding some medical conditions (diabetes, kidney and heart disease), it’s even more important to know what we actually eat. So The American Diabetes Association came up with a useful tool, MyFoodAdvisor, that can help patients to know more about nutrients, recipes and dishes.

    MyFoodAdvisor provides food information to people with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and those looking to lose weight. This interactive tool compares foods by 22 different nutrients, suggests healthy alternatives, and analyzes what you currently eat. Portion sizes are standardized, based on the American Diabetes Association and American Dietetic Association exchange lists so all carbohydrate-containing foods are shown in servings of about 15 grams of carbohydrate.

    Posted by: Bertalan      Read more     Source

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