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9 tips for eating healthy on the road

9 tips for eating healthy on the road

Maybe you commute and/or spend the workday out and about in your car or public transit and need healthy breakfast/snack/lunch ideas on the run. Or perhaps you travel frequently for business (or pleasure), and want to learn how to eat healthily while traveling. Traveling can […]

How to sauté vegetables

How to sauté vegetables

Sautéing vegetables is a great basic cooking technique to have at your disposal. Once you get the basics down, you’ll be able to use it to make a quick side dish at any meal – no matter what veggies you happen to have on hand. […]

Focus on plantains

Focus on plantains

You say plantain, I say plantain – huh? If you are not aware of regional differences in the way people pronounce plantain you may not know that there are other pronunciations. In the northeast it is common to hear it pronounced “plan-tin”. If you say that in the south you are likely to hear, “oh you mean ‘plan-tane’”.

No matter how you pronounce it, plantains can be a wonderful part of many meals. Part of the family, “Musa” (that includes bananas), they contain more starch and less sugar that bananas. For this reason they are usually eaten cooked.

Plantains feed a huge portion of the world’s population. Plantains are popular in Africa, the Caribbean Islands, coastal regions of South America, tropical regions of Southeast Asia and Oceania. The ways they are prepared and eaten are as diverse as the cultures who live in these regions.

Plantains may be sweet or savory, Green plantains are always eaten cooked and are frequently fried and consumed similarly to chips. In some regions, plantains are boiled and mixed with sugar and water to make the drink, “chap”. Plantains become sweeter as they ripen. Ripe plantains are used in many different ways: snacks, desserts, bases for soups, in fritters, etc.

So let’s get into cooking them. First thing to know, is that even though they resemble bananas, they take a little more prep. To peel a plantain, take a sharp knife, cut off each end, then lightly score down the length of the plantain (taking care not to cut very deeply, as you’re just trying to cut the peel). From here, you’ll be able to peel the plantain fairly easily, particularly if it is ripe.

One popular and simple way to prepare ripe plantains is to simply cut them into pieces and fry them. Fried until golden brown, the sugar will caramelize and create a sweet and tasty snack or appetizer. You may also see these paired with crema fresca and/or cheese (often queso blanco).  Generally, the riper they are before cooking, the sweeter they will be.

To make maduros, or fried sweet plantains, after peeling, you will want to slice the plantain in sections. Some people will cut it into disks, some people into strips. It doesn’t really matter as to which way you go with this one. You’ll need some hot fat to cook them in – preferably something with a high smoke point…pastured lard or beef tallow is a good choice if you have it available to you. You can also use coconut oil or sustainably sourced palm oil. Fry the plantain pieces in a deep skillet in an inch or so of melted hot fat, turning frequently until very brown. Drain and serve. They’re best eaten right after cooking, but if you have any leftovers, they’re still pretty tasty warmed over!

Photo used under Creative Commons ( https://flic.kr/p/8aazN8)

Taco Night

Taco Night

Taco night is a tradition in many homes. Tacos are fun to eat, they’re enjoyed by kids and adults alike, and they can be a very quick, simple meal to prepare. Of course it’s super quick if you buy pre-mixed envelopes of seasonings, but like […]

Focus on black pepper

Focus on black pepper

Most of us season our food with salt and pepper on a daily basis. Salt shakers and pepper grinders are found on most of our dinner tables. But how much do we really know about pepper? What are its origins, how is it processed, what […]

What is levain (and other menu terms you might run into)?

What is levain (and other menu terms you might run into)?

We live in a good time for food lovers. In any fair sized city it is not usually too difficult to find restaurants serving unique food that may be quite unlike the things we are used to eating. It is also not unusual to see some terms on the menu that send us searching google on our smartphones to figure out what they are. Here are a few we have encountered recently:

Levain

Levain is one name for the pre-ferment “starter” used in making sour dough breads. It consists of flour and water containing a colony of microorganisms including wild yeasts and lactobacilli. So if you see “walnut levain” on a menu, it is walnut sourdough bread.

Barding

Barding is a technique for cooking meat where the meat is wrapped in a layer of fatty meat before cooking. Pork fatback or bacon are commonly used as the wrapping.

Puntarelle

Puntarelle is a member of the chicory family. Usually used in salads and can be described as pleasantly bitter.

Stecca

Stecca (meaning “stick”) is a small baguette. Stecca can be used as a sturdy bread for making sandwiches that won’t fall apart even if loaded with lots of toppings and condiments.
Photo used under Creative Commons https://flic.kr/p/dePaRj
Eating veggies at breakfast

Eating veggies at breakfast

There are many ideas about what constitutes a healthy way of eating – should you eat meat and animal products, or not – low carb, moderate carb, carb cycling? One thing most would agree on, however, is that vegetables are important to include in your […]

10 ways I use my Blendtec blender

10 ways I use my Blendtec blender

I purchased a Blendtec blender a couple of years ago, and I have not regretted the purchase at all. I had been eyeing both the Blendtec and the Vitamix for a few years, and had even done a little research as to which I thought I’d prefer, […]

Back to school series: Flax Breakfast Cobbler

Back to school series: Flax Breakfast Cobbler

 

Flax Breakfast Cobbler

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1-2 teaspoons sweetener (such as monkfruitxylitolstevia) to taste
1 tablespoon chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds, etc.)
1 tablespoon healthy fat (gheecoconut oilsustainable palm oil)
1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped or sliced fruit of choice (berries, apples, peaches, plums -whatever you like)

Place fruit in the bottom of a small bowl. The smaller you chop the fruit, the softer it will get while cooking, so go for larger slices if you want firmer fruit. Also, note that fruits with higher water content, such as berries, will get very soft.

In another small bowl, combine the flaxmeal, sweetener of choice, and the chopped nuts. Then measure out a tablespoon of your healthy fat to the mixture and combine throughly until crumbly. Put entire mixture over the fruit in the first bowl.

Microwave on high for approximately one minute (very firm fruits like apples, pears, etc. may take a bit longer). That’s it! You’ve got a very quick and healthy breakfast.

 

Easy Salmon Patties

Easy Salmon Patties

Everybody needs some quick dinner ideas to use when you’re short on time, but still want to cook a nutritious meal. Even better if you can easily keep the ingredients on hand. These salmon patties fit the bill, and can be adapted for your preferred […]