What To Do When Food Gets Recalled?

by in Food News, Food Safety, June 2, 2014

paper plate and plastic utensils
With a number of sizable food recalls in recent news, it’s important to be aware of products that have been identified as posing a food safety risk and to know what to do when they are.

Recent Recalls
Walnuts and hummus dips were on the recent food recall hit list. Last month, Sherman Produce Company, based in St. Louis, voluntarily began recalling 241 cases of walnuts, after routine sampling of the product purchased by stores in Illinois and Missouri found traces of listeria. Also in May, Massachusetts food manufacturer Lansal Inc. (aka Hot Mama’s Foods) voluntarily pulled 14,860 pounds of their hummus in various retailers, including Target and Trader Joe’s. This was done after a single 10-ounce container tested positive for listeria.

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7 Healthy Takes on Summery Seafood

by in Healthy Recipes, June 1, 2014

fish taco
You may have plunked a few salmon burgers on the grill last weekend, but typically meat gets all the glory at Memorial Day barbecues. These light, healthy fish dishes are exactly what you’ll crave as the warm-weather months heat up. 

Fish Tacos with Watermelon Salsa (above, from Food Network Magazine)
The chipotle-chile powder-dusted sea bass stuffed inside these corn tortillas is jacked up even more by the presence of jalapeno-red onion-cilantro salsa. But, a burst of refreshing watermelon cools it all down. 

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Farewell, My Sweets: The Sugar Shunning Trend

by in Trends, May 31, 2014

cake
If fat was the star dietary villain for the past few decades, sugar is quickly stepping up to take its place. The sweet stuff figures prominently in the recent documentary Fed Up. There are websites, such as I Quit Sugar, devoted to eliminating sugar from the diet. And several books published this year chronicle or advocate similar nutritional journeys, including Year of No Sugar — which recounts a family’s quest to rid their lives of added sugars — and The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, written by Dr. Mark Hyman, who just so happens to advise the Clinton family on matters of healthy eating.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, May 30, 2014

forks

In this week’s news: Michelle Obama hits a spork in the road to school lunch reform; researchers give a quick lesson on food costs and weight gain; and a former restaurant critic says it’s time to give up on the miracle diet pills already.

First (Lunch) Lady
Segments of the food industry and Republican legislators have criticized the 2010 federal dietary school lunch standards (called the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act), citing lack of flexibility and questioning their cost and effectiveness. The School Nutrition Association, a group representing cafeteria administrators, say enrollment has gone down after the standards — which limit sodium, fat and calories, and require that fruits, vegetables and whole grains replace unhealthy menu choices. Adding bite to that bark is a new measure that would allow poorer school districts to opt out of the program. This week, Michelle Obama has been speaking out strongly against this move, penning a New York Times Op Ed that cites some tough numbers: One in three children is overweight of obese, one in three children is expected to develop diabetes, and currently $190 billion a year is spent treating obesity-related conditions. These lunch regulations can help, says Sam Kass, White House chef and the director of Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, who cites academic studies showing that all children were eating healthier after the standards were established.

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5 Star Ingredients of Latin Food with a Healthy Side

by in Healthy Recipes, May 29, 2014

pork tenderloin

The ingredients that make frequent appearances in the many variations of Latin cuisine are not only delicious, they can also provide numerous health benefits.

Guava
One delicious guava provides 37 calories, 3 grams of fiber and has twice the daily recommended dose of vitamin C. It’s also rich in potassium and phosphorus. Guava is also packed with the phytochemical quercetin, which may help reduce inflammation.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin a la Rodriguez with Guava Glaze and Orange-Habanero Mojo (above)

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The Chef’s Take: Roasted Salmon with Peas and Potatoes from Kelsie Kerr

by in Chefs and Restaurants, May 28, 2014

salmon
“There is a niche for really delicious, finely made takeaway food — one that puts an emphasis on quality not just convenience,” Kelsie Kerr says. A Chez Panisse alumna who worked with Alice Waters on her last two cookbooks and contributed to many of the celebrated restaurateur’s other works, Kerr opened the Standard Fare, in Berkeley, Calif., to fill that hole in the marketplace this April.

Far from the average takeaway joint, the Standard Fare’s meals change daily and, to befit Kerr’s cooking, each dish comes in handmade, ready-to-serve ceramic bowls. “I wanted the food to be homey but also have a mindfulness to it,” she says. “The bowls I designed so you could have a beautiful thing to take the food home in. Ceramic both protects and heats the food nicely.”

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Breakfast of the Month: Poached Eggs with Asparagus and Leeks

by in Amy's Whole Food Cooking, May 27, 2014

poached egg
Handsome fresh spears of asparagus are now in markets everywhere, promising effortless meals that sum up spring perfectly. This simple braise of leeks and asparagus is exactly that: an easy-to-assemble bowl of spring flavors. The addition of a poached egg completes the meal, enveloping the vegetables in a creamy yolk.

You’ll want to get out your best grassy olive oil here, as it doesn’t get cooked but instead cloaks the vegetables and brings all of the flavors together. If ramps grow in your area, you might try swapping them in place of the leeks. (You will want to cut their stems thin, as ramps need longer to cook than leeks.) This braise is also the perfect vehicle for other spring vegetables, like peas, pea shoots, watercress and spinach.

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The Next Big Thing in the Produce Aisle: Tiny Vegetables.

by in Trends, May 26, 2014

baby vegetables
Baby corn has long been a stir-fry staple, and those so-named baby carrots have become the obligatory sidekick to hummus. But small vegetables only seem to betting bigger — at least in supermarkets and restaurants. Earlier this year, California’s Shanley Farms introduced “single-serving” avocados (trademark name: Gator Eggs) sold in clever packages reminiscent of egg cartons. Produce titan Green Giant sells Little Gem Lettuce Hearts, a lettuce hybrid that resembles romaine in miniature. Not to mention the countless iterations of baby broccoli — in fact, a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale — that appear in grocery stores everywhere. Are bitty vegetables merely an eye-catching novelty or are there culinary benefits to downsized produce?

At least for chefs, the most desirable baby vegetables are generally the ones that are indeed babies — that is, harvested young. “When grown well and picked fresh, baby vegetables eat beautifully,” says Aimee Olexy, chef and owner of Talula’s Garden and Talula’s Daily, in Philadelphia. “Often tender and sweet, they require less overall cooking and retain a more perky mouthfeel and appeal on the plate. Young baby peas and beets are almost always wonderful, and a dainty little treat worth the work,” she says.

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Taste Test: Kale Chips

by in Taste Test, May 25, 2014

kale chips
Crunchy versions of this leafy green vegetable are taking the chip aisle by storm. There’s no doubt kale is delicious and nutritious — but do its dried spin-offs live up to the hype?

The Criteria
We rated these leafy snacks on a 5-point scale (5 being highest) and judged them on taste, texture, price and nutrition, with special attention paid to stats such as calories and sodium. All of the brands were vegan and gluten-free, but none contained only kale. Most featured various spices and nuts, so it’s worth reading labels carefully, particularly for anyone who has food allergies.

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7 Vegetarian Summer Party Dishes

by in Healthy Recipes, May 24, 2014

stuffed cherry tomatoes
Even if summer isn’t officially here, it’s fair to say Memorial Day marks the beginning of the backyard food-fest season. Whether you’re a host or a guest, make this your motto: No vegetarian left behind!

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes (above, from Food Network Magazine)
Start the party off right with these one-bite wonders, which come together in 20 minutes. Feta-stuffed cherry tomatoes take a quick turn in the broiler to get the cheese soft and slightly charred before getting drizzled with olive oil.

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