Have you noticed all the popcorn snacks popping up on supermarket shelves? Some might even merit a spot in your shopping cart. This whole-grain snack (yes, corn qualifies) is naturally gluten-free and filled with fiber, protein, iron and antioxidants. One ounce of kernels will pop into more than 3.5 cups of popcorn and total only about 100 calories.
In this week’s news: Peas get ready for their 15 minutes of fame; statins aren’t a get-out-jail-free card; and food shaming is counter-productive (enjoy your cookie, already!).
On the “Pulse” of the Food World
Ever wonder how they cram so much protein into a Larabar? Sure, the nuts help, but the real power player turns out to be a yellow pea powder that’s thrown into the mix, barely impacting flavor. Along with beans, chickpeas, and lentils, yellow peas fall into a subset of the legume family known as pulses. Although their cultural impact might not yet be on par with the “puffing gun,” a 1930s cereal-piece inflator that’s responsible for the Cheerios we know and love today, pulses are getting ground up and used in everything from soup to pasta and pound cake. The reason? Pulses are exceptionally high in protein (along with fiber, B vitamins, iron, and zinc) — and with more people trying to reduce their meat consumption, pulses seem to be the food of the hour. Cementing the trend: The United Nations announced it will observe the “International Year of the Pulse” in 2016.
Last month I shared here on Healthy Eats that we discovered my daughter is gluten intolerant, and so for nearly a year I have been navigating the new waters of gluten-free living in our house. Since then I have been asked many questions by gluten-free folks wondering everything from whether going gluten-free has made a difference in my daughter’s life (answer is yes, like night and day) to wanting tips on going gluten-free or accommodating gluten-free guests.
I’ll back up and tell you that my initial response to gluten-free cooking was to head straight into my arsenal of recipes (and luckily, I have a lot of them) and start the swapping — corn starch for dredging, gluten-free flour blends for baking flour, tamari instead of soy sauce. While this wasn’t a bad start, it was ignoring an obvious solution, which is my number No. 1 tip for gluten-free neophytes: Start out making foods that are just naturally gluten-free.
“It’s called mole verde oaxaqueno, and we love it because it’s probably the lightest, simplest and freshest of moles,” says Tamer Hamawi, owner of Gran Eléctrica, in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood.
In this recipe, Hamawi’s beloved mole cooks down with crisped chicken legs and a scattering of plump white beans. This particular mole hails from Oaxaca, in Southwestern Mexico, and possesses all the depth that darker mole poblano is known for, but, thankfully, fewer calories. “Mole poblano is what people generally associate with mole and it is typically thickened by nuts, seeds and raw bread. It’s also seasoned with lot of spices and chocolate,” Hamawi says. “This one is about fresh.”
Given the premium often charged for organic fruits and vegetables, many shoppers have asked themselves if that pricier bunch of kale or pint of tomatoes is really worth it. For those who want reduce their exposure to pesticides, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released its latest version of the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Each year, the advocacy group measures pesticide residues on conventionally grown produce and ranks fruits and vegetables from “dirty” to “clean.”
People often confuse coconut butter with coconut oil. Coconut oil contains only the oil from the coconut, whereas coconut butter is made from coconut flesh, so it retains more nutrients. Coconut butter is made by blending dried coconut into a paste-like consistency that is similar in texture to nut butter.
Japanese-born Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto planned on becoming a baseball player. But luckily — at least for the food world — a shoulder injury sidelined those plans and he switched careers. Today, he oversees a family of restaurants around the world, including New York City’s Morimoto. While true to his Japanese roots, Morimoto’s cooking fuses the best of both Eastern and Western gastronomy, with results that are as delicious as they are innovative. Here, he answers the Healthy Eats Q & A.
What health food trend would you like to see go away?
Anything that is too extreme. For example, low-carb versus no-carb. If you go for a no-carb diet, you cannot eat even healthy dishes like sushi. So, if you eat everything in moderation, including carbs, you can enjoy your favorite dishes without overdoing it.
Chia seeds: Love them or leave them?
I have not tried Chia seeds before, so I don’t know if I love them or want to leave them!
What shortcuts do you use when you’re cooking?
Using the microwave! There are many high-tech microwave these days, and you can adjust the cooking time and temperature easily. My wife often microwaves sweet potatoes for our dog, and I like to eat them too!
If you spend more time on the phone with the takeout-delivery guy than, let’s say, your family members, this is the moment to put down your device and head to the kitchen. The best part about turning out your own takeout favorites: You might just wind up with some leftovers you feel good about.
Lightened Shrimp Fried Rice
The words “light” and “fried” don’t usually travel in the same sentence. But with protein-rich shrimp and fresh veggies as the main event, this homemade rendition proves the stir-fried standby can pull up a seat at the healthy table.
Hemp products are making more appearances at health-food stores, but what exactly is the story with this plant? To answer just one burning question: Yes, hemp is a species of Cannabis sativa, but no, it’s not the same as marijuana.
White beans are deliciously creamy, extremely versatile and can be made into tasty protein-rich meals or snacks in minutes. When using white beans or any other canned beans, be sure to drain off the liquid in the can, rinse them a couple of times and then drain them well. These steps will remove any flavors the beans have absorbed from the can and give you the perfect base for any of these recipes. In general I like to use cannellini beans for their larger size and creamy interior but navy beans will also work well.