Five Useful Cooking Techniques No One Teaches You

Most of us learn to cook through trial and error, the Food Network, or being forced to feed ourselves when no one else will do it. So naturally, no one’s born knowing how to sauté chicken, or blanch vegetables. Here are some basic (but useful) cooking techniques chefs use every day, but the rest of us rarely pick up.

Source: Five Useful Cooking Techniques No One Teaches You

#6: Sous vide 101.  How much did you know already?  Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” is a good show – last I heard, most was available on Netflix.

Quick Pickle Pretty Much Anything with One Simple Ratio

Ask me what I’d do with nearly any summer vegetable, and the answer is almost always the same: “Pickle it.” Yellow squash, pickle it. Green beans, pickle them. Cherries, pickle those too. It’s hard to beat the sharp tang and crisp snap of a good quick pickle, a fast and easy process that leaves them tasting of summer.

Source: How to Pickle Basically Everything

I’ll have to make room by eating the oven roasted peppers I did a while back…

Upgrade Homemade Salsa by Marinating It for an Hour Before Serving

Your chips, tacos, and grilled meats deserve the best. And by “best,” what we really mean is a salsa that’s chunky, saucy, scoopable, and packed with fiery, smoky, fresh flavor. You’re not going to find all that in a jarred supermarket salsa. For that kind of flavor, you’ve got to make your own at home. But first, read up on the most common mistakes people make for DIY salsa. Now pass us those tortillas.

Source: Just Say No to Jarred, Watery Salsa: 8 Common Mistakes to Avoid

You can also add a can of diced tomatoes along with the fresh ingredients to give a more blended look and flavor. Canned tomatoes have a flavor and texture that cannot be reproduced by just chopping up fresh tomatoes.

Marinating is a great way to get more flavor from sauces, soups, stews and chile. When making fresh salsa, then serving the next day, I will chop up some fresh tomatoes and onions and mix them in just before serving it, to give it a “fresh look.”

Study: The Healthiest Way To Eat Eggs

For those who eat eggs…

While the egg yolk debate (to eat or not to eat) may continue among doctors, nutritionists and others in the health industry, researchers from Purdue University are giving the whole egg the thumbs up.

In fact, they’ve discovered that eggs consumed with raw vegetables can actually increase the nutritional value of the veggies.

This study, which was presented earlier this month at the American Society for Nutrition’s Annual Meeting, consisted of 16 healthy young men who were instructed to eat three different salads — one with no egg, one with one-and-a-half scrambled whole eggs and another with three scrambled whole eggs. “And what we observed was that there was a progressive increase in the absorption of the carotenoids from the vegetables as you had more eggs, which we attribute to the fat component of the yolk,” lead study author Wayne Campbell, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition science at Purdue University, tells Yahoo Health.

Source: The Healthiest Way To Eat Eggs

They don’t quite know how, just that for a small sample it did.  I have a recipe for scrambled eggs, which reminds me that I haven’t made scrambled egg pita pockets in a while…

An Everyday Pasta Sauce, Hold the Tomatoes

For those of you who are allergic to tomatoes, can’t eat nightshades, don’t care for marinara, or are simply looking for an alternative to ubiquitous red sauce, here’s an idea: braised onion pasta sauce.

Source: An Everyday Pasta Sauce, Hold the Tomatoes

Alfredo is just butter and parmesan— that’s it. I mean the real original Alfredo—it’s not milk and flour and garlic and other things in a jar. That vegan recipe is closer to a Salsa di Noci (without the cream, obviously, and with cashews instead of walnuts) than to an Alfredo. Why not call it Garlic Cashew Sauce? It would be the right name.

Can You Substitute Strawberries For Tomatoes When Cooking?

Strawberries are at their sweetest right now, going all the way through the summer. And while everybody knows how delicious they are in desserts, we’ve actually heard you can use them as a replacement for a tomato. I decided to try this out and see how well it worked.

I can’t take credit for this concept. That would go to Dave Woolley, a Denver-based culinary consultant (who, full disclosure, does work with California Strawberries). He said: try using strawberries in place of tomatoes in a veggie sandwich with goat cheese, in a Caprese-style salad, or in a salsa with seafood dishes.

Source: Tip Tester: Can You Substitute Strawberries For Tomatoes When Cooking?

No mention of spaghetti with strawberry sauce…  How about a big ol’ slab of strawberry on a BLT or burger?  You can also put them on pizza. They benefit from some balsamic reduction added post-bake. Slice like pepperoni.

An interesting idea for people who are allergic to tomatoes!  I’m not, but a co-worker is.  The article admits that this isn’t cost-effective.

Another tomato substitute is watermelon. It doesn’t have the acidity, but you can add lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or what-have-you.

Juicing Unlocks More Vitamins, But Also Calories and Sugar

We all could probably eat more fruits and vegetables. But if forced to choose between whole fruit or a glass of juice, which one seems more healthful?

The general advice is to opt for the fruit, since juices are stripped of the fiber – which most us don’t get enough of — in whole fruit. And let’s face it: Most juice contains a lot of sugar, which most of us consume too much of.

So our interest was piqued when we spotted a study suggesting that, when it comes to oranges, juice might actually unlock more carotenoids and flavonoids – both beneficial phytonutrients — than an equivalent amount of fruit.

Source: What’s More Nutritious, Orange Juice Or An Orange? It’s Complicated

Fruit juice has also been criticized as a sugary, fiberless drink no better for you than cola. The study shows that orange juice does make certain nutrients more accessible to your body, but not enough to recommend juice over whole fruit.  Keep in mind that a home juicer is not going to pasteurize your OJ. It is well known (or not) that pasteurizing sweetens juices quite dramatically. And since this was done is a test tube (in vitro), actual blood sugar spikes to a cohort population was not even tested.

So is orange juice healthy? That depends on whether it helps you meet your goals. If you’re trying to reduce the sugar in your diet (as many of us should), the sugar concerns may outweigh the benefits you get from the extra micronutrients.  For those who must maintain a very low fiber (low residue) diet, juicing is a great alternative to otherwise problematic fruits and veggies.

What about blending the whole fruit into smoothies instead of just juicing?  In the study, the puree’s nutrients were less bioavailable than the juice.

8 (Well, 7) Foods You Should Eat Every Day

It’s all content, no fluff…

Source: 8 Foods You Should Eat Every Day

The nice part is they list alternatives.  Spinach is the first mentioned, and understandably all the alternatives for spinach should be avoided by those on warfarin/coumadin.  The next worst offender on the list for us is blueberries.  All things in moderation, but the rest of the list is OK for us.

Tomatoes & Refrigeration? Further Testing Says…

If you haven’t been following Tomatogate—my name for the minor controversy I caused with two previous articles that challenged the commonly held belief that refrigeration is never an acceptable way to store tomatoes—then you may not know just how strongly people feel about the topic.

Source: Should You Refrigerate Tomatoes? Further Testing Says…

Long but good read.  They didn’t get full-on lab coat and beaker science, but a good effort.

7 Healthy Foods Dangerous if Overconsumed

Get some variety – make plan out your meals for the week.

You know that eating an entire box of cookies in one sitting isn’t good for you—but experts say overdoing it with certain more nutritious foods could be just as dangerous. There’s no need to ditch these foods from your diet altogether—but you’ll want to avoid taking in excessive amounts since that’s when they can start to compromise your health.

Source: 7 Healthy Foods That Are Dangerous If You Eat Too Much of Them

Lots I know of in body building use tuna/fish for their protein, so I defer to their resources (like this one) because they tend to be a big (heh) group with reasonable testing and assessment skills.

There’s also Carotenosis, which is harmless.  It’s where the skin takes on an orange hue, from eating foods high in carotenoids (IE: carrots).