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Monthly Archives: November 2018

Cook Food More Nutritiously

Cook on Medium Heat:

The amount of heat your food cooks at greatly decides its nutritional outcome. Overcooking it would not only deprive your taste buds of the natural tastes but would also destroy delicate nutrients (like complex carbs). It is, thus, advised to cook food at medium heat. It will also prevent it from burning or sticking to the bottom of the cooking pot. Even at medium heat most cookware being made from metals or ceramic (unnatural material) destroy delicate nutrients. Keep reading to find out how this can be fully prevented.

Wash or Rinse foods the right way:

Different foods need to be washed differently to preserve their nutrients. Generally, for most vegetables, it is recommended to wash them right before you cut for those water-soluble nutrients to stay locked in. Avoid soaking your vegetables, as that can remove key nutrients, such as vitamin C.

Don’t overcook vegetables:

Overcooking vegetables makes them mushy and they taste quite bland. It’s important to cook them for just the right duration so they neither remain uncooked nor overcooked. Cooking for too long also reduces their nutritional value by breaking down the nutrients at molecular level.

Always use the right cookware, it makes a big difference!

The cookware makes a big difference to the health of your food. Most conventional metal and ceramic cookware make food unhealthy by contaminating it with reactive metal toxins and destroying nutrients with their harsh heat. You can make your food way more nutritious by choosing the right cookware – healthy and non-toxic pure-clay pots. Pure clay is naturally inert so doesn’t react with food a biochemical entity, and their unique far infrared heat keeps nutrients intact.

Steam management is another important aspect of cooking healthy. Most of the steam generated in food is water-soluble nutrients. Out of the 13 essential vitamins and minerals, 9 are water-soluble, which means they dissolve in water, are quickly used in the body and need to be replenished every day – the body doesn’t store them. With conventional cookware, as steam constantly leaves the pot so do the water-soluble nutrients, cooked food remains deficient in one more way.

Grilling Myths and the Truth

Marinade longer to tenderize the meat

We’ve all heard of it – the longer you marinate your meat, the better it penetrates the meat for flavour and the more tender your meat will be. It’s not entirely true, though. It may work for thin cuts of meat, but for usual cuts such as chicken breast or regular pork chops, marinades are just treatment for the surface. While salt can penetrate deep into the meat, other spices (like garlic and pepper) have huge molecules and can only penetrate up to 1/8 inch of the meat’s surface even when marinated overnight.

To prevent food from sticking, oil your grill grates first

This is probably one of the most common tips you’ll encounter when you first read about grilling. Honestly, it does work sometimes – but the chances that it won’t are bigger. Oiling the grates below smoking point may work (doing so above smoking point will definitely make your food stick), but the better option is to oil your food, not the grates.

The more you check, the longer your food will cook on the grill

Surely you’ve read a tip about this – they usually advise against checking on your food too much because it lengthens cooking time. Some even say that you add 15 minutes of cooking time to long cooks (like beef brisket) every time you peek. The truth is, no matter how many times you check your food, it doesn’t make much of an impact on the temperature, let alone the cooking time. According to Boston University’s Professor Greg Blonder, a food scientist and physicist, opening the lid drastically makes little or no impact on the temperatures of the meat’s surface and center, therefore not changing its cooking time.

How to Braise Meat

Step 1-Choose your favorite cut of meat. Lamb, beef, veal or pork shanks are very common in these recipes. Beef shoulder roast, chuck roast or brisket are also good choices. These cuts are usually tougher with higher levels of collagen. Collagen, when cooked at low temperatures for an extended time creates a gelatin which helps the tenderizing process. You can use chicken but it should not be skinless and bone should be in. Legs and thighs work best. The real secret is in the slow cooking.

Step 2-Brown the meat in some type of fat… olive oil, butter or some combination suggested in the particular recipe. The browning process is intended to add color and flavor enhancement. Frequently, the recipe may call for rolling the meat in flour seasoned with salt and fresh ground pepper. Again… a flavor enhancement. The browning process is done in a Dutch oven or large heavy pot with a lid. The browning step may take 10 -20 minutes to cover all sides of the meat. It only cooks the surface of the meat and the searing locks in flavor.

Some tips… the meat should be patted dry and free of moisture or it will “steam” more than brown… don’t crowd the meat so any moisture can escape. Size of the portions, if not whole, should be the roughly the same for even cooking.

Step 3-Add liquids. As I mentioned earlier, depending on the type of meat and recipe, you can use wine, water, stock/broth… usually a combination of these liquids. At this point you will usually add onions, garlic, spices, vegetables and any other flavoring you may like. Some cooks/recipes say don’t cover the meat & vegetables entirely. I have covered with liquid and the results are very good.

Step 4-Cover the Dutch oven or pan. You can cook over a stove top or in the oven. I prefer the oven as it provides more even cooking on all sides and results in the best flavor and tenderizing. Follow the recipe for the correct oven temperature. Remember it will always be low… 300-325* or less.

Here are some typical cooking times…

Lamb shanks… 4-6 each a pound… 2 ½ hours

Veal shanks… 4-6 each a pound… 2-2 ½ hours

Shoulder roast… 3-4 pounds… roughly an hour per pound

Chicken (remember bone in/skin on)… 1-1 ½ hours

Cooking Tips for Vegetables

In the case of the latter instead of picking the whole head take only a few florets when required. They can be cut or broken from the main stalk as needed. Don’t wash but lightly cook in a microwave if necessary. No longer than a minute on its own or with other varieties but always without water.

Silver beet can be gathered by the leaves as required. One leaf is usually ample for me plus a leaf of kale. Along with a few rounds of carrot or pumpkin my evening meal consists mainly of these beautiful products.

Anyone can grow vegetables as they are the least fussy of any crops. As long as they have sunshine, an occasional feed of seaweed fertiliser and plenty of water there is not much that can go wrong? Even in an apartment one can grow something, including essential herbs.

The best advice is not to over cook and it’s best done dry in a micro-wave. When they are boiled in water the goodness goes down the drain when the liquid is strained off. Don’t make that mistake but think of the wonderful healthy gut you can have by adding that extra fibre along with the other goodies in the food.

Fruit and vegetables that are uncooked or only partially so retain the enzymes and they will work the gut as they pass through it. This is like a huge cleansing bush that not only massages the colon but gets into the crevices and frees it of anything that might otherwise hang there and cause a polyp or worse, cancer.