CulinaryDelights' Weblog

A Blog Devoted to All Things Culinary

Unrefined, low-glycemic carbohydrates

Posted by culinarydelightsgb on July 7, 2010

Low-glycemic foods

Not all carbohydrate foods behave the same way in our bodies. Each has a different effect on our blood glucose levels.

What are the benefits of the Glycemic index? How can we incorporate more low-glycemic foods in our diet?

http://www.culinarydelightsblog.com/?p=136

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Lazy Man’s Pork Barbeque Sandwich Recipe

Posted by culinarydelightsgb on March 17, 2010

This is an easy and flavorful slow-cooker recipe for BBQ flavor at home.

YouTube – nationalporkboard’s Channel.

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Bay Salt Prawns – Jamie Oliver

Posted by culinarydelightsgb on March 4, 2010

Great video of chef Jamie Oliver preparing some fresh and tasty prawns on the grill. Healthy and beautiful.

jamie oliver – my online videos.

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Featured in our Gourmet Store – Rishi Tea Gift Set w/ Organic Black Tea

Posted by culinarydelightsgb on January 30, 2010

Welcome to the grand opening of CulinaryDelights’ Gourmet Store, powered by Amazon.com! This is a huge step for us as we partner with Amazon’s robust platform to bring you “all things culinary” – the highest quality foods, appliances, and reading material available on the subject of the culinary arts.

Our first featured product  is Rishi Tea’s Gift Set with Organic Black Tea.

Rishi Tea Gift Set

Description:

Glass Teapot with Stainless Steel Coil Filter 300ml (10oz). Organic Fair Trade China Breakfast Black Tea. Organic Fair Trade Earl Grey Black Tea. Handcrafted Bamboo Gift Box. Steeps 53 servings. Both teas are First Place Winners at the 2008 World Tea Championship!

For more information, visit our Gourmet Shop.

To learn more about Rishi Tea, watch this entertaining video:

Rishi Tea’s Taste of Origin: Mannong Manmai from Sean O’Leary on Vimeo.

Rishi Tea’s Homepage – http://www.rishi-tea.com/tasteoforigin/

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Food Expert Michael Pollan’s Food Rules – Video – Oprah.com

Posted by culinarydelightsgb on January 29, 2010

Food 101 with Michael Pollan, food expert, featured on the Oprah Show

Chicken: Then vs Now

Photo: Food, Inc.

“There’s no more personal choice than what you feed your body, but what do you really know about the food you eat? Fat, carbohydrates and calories are listed on every label, but where that food comes from, what’s been added and what’s been removed isn’t as easy to see.” Oprah.com

How much do you know? Test your knowledge this Food 101 quiz. I got 3 out of 5 questions correct. How about you?

Watch this short,  informative video.

Food Expert Michael Pollan’s Food Rules – Video – Oprah.com.

Here are a few of Michael’s Food Rules:

1: Eat food .

2: Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.

7: Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.

13: Eat only foods that will eventually rot.

39: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.

“It’s not that hard to eat well if you’re willing to put a little more time into it, a little more thoughtfulness into it and, yes, a little bit more money,” he says.

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How-to Build a Small-space salad box

Posted by culinarydelightsgb on January 28, 2010

Enjoy easy access to fresh greens with this easy-to-build raised planter box.

How to grow vegetables at home – from Sunset.com. Learn how to build an easy-access planter via Small-space salad box – Main – How to grow vegetables – Sunset.com.

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Hulu – The Future Of Food – Watch the full feature film now.

Posted by culinarydelightsgb on January 28, 2010

The Future of Food

Hulu – The Future Of Food – Watch the full feature film now.

I found this film quite eye-opening. It’s surprising to see the sometimes devastating effects that farmers face as a result of the introduction of theses foods and suppliments.

The description reads: “The Future Of Food offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade.”

What do you think?

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Feel-good foods for 2009 – Almonds

Posted by culinarydelightsgb on January 24, 2009

Throughout this year I will be posting articles inspired by a list published in the January 2009 issue of Sunset Magazine called “Feel-good foods of 2009.”  It speaks about good eats to incorporate into our diet for a healthier new year. First on the list – Almonds. Here is a brief background, along with nutritional benefits. The bulk of the information will be provided by Practically Edible – “The web’s biggest food encyclopaedia.”

http://www.practicallyedible.com/edible.nsf/list/Almonds?opendocument&keyword=Almonds#almonds

Almond blossom. Taken in Swifts Creek, Victoria in September 2008

Almond blossom. Taken in Swifts Creek, Victoria in September 2008

Almonds are members of the peach family. The tree blossoms in the spring before it grows leaves.

There are two kinds of Almonds, sweet and bitter. An Almond, technically, isn’t a nut — it’s the pit of a fruit related to peaches, plums and apricots. The Almond fruit is small, green and has soft, velvety fuzz on it; the fruit isn’t any good for eating, as it is tough and fibrous.

Sweet Almonds are usually blanched before use as the outer brown skin can in some people irritate their digestive tube. Some ground Almond packages sold may contain ground peach kernels to lessen the cost to the producer. Sweet Almonds are used both in meals and in desserts. If a recipe calls for Almonds, chances are it means Sweet Almonds.

Bitter Almonds are extremely poisonous when raw and untreated; it is illegal to sell them in their natural state in North America, though their sale remains legal in the European Union. Only the oil and extract is sold. Their oil is mixed with hydrous ferrous sulfate, which reacts with the prussic acid in the Bitter Almonds and causes it to form calcium ferrocyanide crystals, which can be filtered out of the oil, making it safe.

Blanched Almonds have the brown skins removed from the nuts. The Almonds are scalded in boiling water, plunged into cold water, then put through rollers that rub the skin off. The nuts are then dried and packaged. Blanched Almonds cost more than unblanched because of the extra processing required, but not much more, and it’s almost always worth paying the extra to save yourself the fiddling at home.

If you are buying unshelled Almonds, ones that rattle a lot inside the shell have shrunk from aging, so you don’t want those.

Even if you have access to Almond trees, it’s not recommended to pick your own unless you truly know that they are sweet Almond trees and not ones that produce the bitter, poisonous Almonds. California now provides 60% of the world’s Almond production. In China, apricot kernels are often used instead of Almonds.

Cooking Tips
If your whole Almonds came with the skin on, or if you had to shell them, to remove the skin pour boiling water over them and let them soak for two minutes. Then drain, and rub the skin off. These are called Blanched Almonds.

To toast Almonds, spread them out on a baking sheet and then place on middle rack of oven preheated to 350F. You can toast slivers, halved or whole Almonds. If toasting sliced or slivered Almonds, watch them very closely as they can burn quite quickly. Toast about 5 minutes, then take out, toss, and return to oven until they are just turning a golden brown, about 15 minutes total, tops. Play close attention to them after about 12 minutes, as they can go from golden to burnt in a flash. Remove from oven, turn out onto a plate and let cool.

Almonds are often eaten on its own, raw or toasted. Along with other nuts, they are often sprinkled over desserts for an added crunch. Sweet almonds are used in marzipan, nougart, French macaroons, Financiers, baklava and other wonderful sweets.

Substitutes
Other nuts or seeds.

Nutrition
Almonds contain as much calcium as milk.

Bitter Almonds, when mixed with water, let off cyanide gas. For this reason, it is illegal to sell them as is in many parts of the world; you are restricted to selling only a treated extract from them.

Sweet almonds contain almost no carbohydrates, so they can be made into flour for cakes and cookies for low-carb diets. Almonds are also rich in Vitamin E and monounsaturated fat. Recent research shows that including almonds in the diet elevates the blood levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL) and lowered levels of low density lipoproteins (LDL).

Equivalents
1 pound unshelled Almonds = 1 to 1 1/4 cups shelled = 5 to 6 oz shelled = 150 -170g shelled
1 pound shelled Almonds = 450g shelled Almonds = 3 cups whole or halved = 3 1/3 cups chopped = 4 cups slivered or sliced

Storage
Packaged Almonds can be stored at room temperature for up to two years; even longer if refrigerated right from the start. Once opened, refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 months. If your Almonds turn yellowish, taste one: they may be getting quite old and rancid, in which case offer them to your neighbourhood birds or squirrels. Toasted Almonds can be frozen for up to 6 months.

History
The Almond tree is a native of western Asia and North Africa. Almonds were grown in ancient Egypt, and in Israel: they are mentioned in the Old Testament. The Greeks and Romans both grew Almonds and made oil from them. A Greek myth has the gods changing a disconsolate woman (Phyllis) into an Almond tree (probably the bitter kind). The Romans introduced the Almond tree into England during their settlement there.

Almonds
Mixed blanched almonds
– © Denzil Green

The Romans and Greeks believed that Bitter Almonds helped prevent you from becoming drunk, and this belief carried through the middle ages. This theory (noted by the writer Plutarch) may have led to the now out-of-fashion practice of serving salted Almonds with dinner.

Almonds have been found at Pompeii and under the Knossos palace in Crete.

During the Middle Ages, Almonds were an important trade commodity — Almond Milk was used in a great deal of cooking. It wasn’t until about 1562 that people in England began deliberately growing Almond trees, largely as garden plants for their blossoms. Yet Almonds were widely known. At the time of Shakespeare, “An Almond for a parrot” meant the height of temptation, perhaps bad temptation, as they must have noted that Bitter Almonds were not good for birdies.

Almond trees were brought to Spain and Portugal by the Moors; Spanish monks brought Almond trees to California.

Literature & Lore
Almond < Almande (Old English) < amande (French) < amandela (Latin) < amygdalus (Greek)

And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded Almonds. Numbers 17:8

Would I could meet that rogue Diomed! I would croak like a raven; I would bode, I would bode. Patroclus will give me any thing for the intelligence of this whore: the parrot will not do more for an Almond than he for a commodious drab. Thersites. Troilus and Cressida, V, 2. Shakespeare.

Also called: Prunus dulcis (Scientific Name) Amande (French) Mandel (German) Mandorla (Italian) Almendra (Spanish) Amêndoa (Portuguese) Badam (Indian)

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A County in China Sees Its Fortunes in Tea Leaves Until a Bubble Bursts

Posted by culinarydelightsgb on January 22, 2009

An article written in the NY Times January 16, 2009 speaks about the collapse of southwest China’s Pu’er tea market.

Visit article here.

Tea factory in Menghai County

Tea factory in Menghai County

Pu’er is an fermented tea touted as having the ability to reduce cholesterol and cure hangovers, as well as having a number of other health benefits. From 1999 to 2007, its price increased tenfold befold sinking well below its pre-boom numbers. It has been a lesson in gullibility, greed and the risks of speculative trading. A group of manipulative tea buyers and connoisseurs took over the market and drove the prices to astronomical levels, sometimes paying up to 30% more for the “drinkable gold” than in the previous year. When the stock values hit record levels last spring, the buyers unloaded them, took the money and disappeared.

Menghai County farmers were among the worst hit by this crash, many having never experienced the level of success and prosperity available in other cities in China. They built new homes, equipped with t.v.s and refrigerators; and sent their children away to good schools. They bought cars and designer-label clothes.

Chen Li, a trader who jumped into the business three years ago, now survives by offsetting his losses with profits from a restaurant his family owns in Alabama. He does remain one of the few optimists in town. He’s confident that Pu’er’s prices will eventually rebound now that so many farmers have stopped picking.  And the mounds of unsold tea that nearly engulf him?

“The best thing about Pu’er,” he said with a showman’s smile, “is that the longer you keep it, the more valuable it gets.”

Do you share Mr. Chen’s optimism?

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What is Soy Sauce?

Posted by culinarydelightsgb on September 24, 2008

Soy sauce is an extremely important ingredient in Asian, especially Chinese, cooking. It is a dark, brownish, salty liquid made by fermenting boiled soybeans and roasted wheat or barley. Although in the US we are accustomed to one main type of soy sauce, China and Japan create a number of varieties ranging in color and texture.

The History

The soybean plant was not discovered by the Europeans until the early eighteenth century, but the Chinese have been relying on the plant as a food source at least 5,000 years ago. Soy sauce immerges about 2,000 years ago during the Zhou dynasty. It originally started out as a salty paste, then evolved into two separate items – the liquid, called shoyu in Japanese; and miso.

Properly prepared soy sauce is made by mixing boiled soybeans with roasted grain, like wheat, rice or barley; and fermenting that mixture for several months. After the fermentation and aging process is completed, the mixture is strained and bottled. Synthetically-produced sauces, in comparison, can be created in a matter of days using a hydrolytic reaction and colored by caramel, and seasoned by corn syrup, salt and water. They often have a metallic taste.

The Types

Chinese cooking uses two basic types of soy sauce, light and dark. Light soy sauce has a lighter color and texture, and is much saltier than dark soy, and is used more in cooking. Dark soys are aged much longer than lights, which results in a dark brownish-black color and thicker texture. The pungent odor and very dark color limits its use in cooking. It is good, however, for marinating meat.

Soy sauce has been used in the traditional cuisines of many East Asian and South East Asian cultures, and as an important ingredient in Japanese, Thai and Chinese cooking. Although similar in appearance, sauces created in different cultures and regions are very different in taste, texture and saltiness. It may not be appropriate to substitute sauces from one region or culture for another.

Although there are many types of soy sauces, they have a distinct taste called umami by the Japanese (, literally “fresh taste”). The free glutamates which natually occur are what give it this taste quality.

Health

A study conducted by the National University of Singapore shows that dark soy sauce “contains 10 times the antioxidants of red wine, and can help prevent cardiovascular disease.”  [Daniells, Stephen (2006-06-06). "Antioxidant-rich soy sauce could protect against CVD". nutraingredients.com. ] It has also been found to be rich in lactic acid bacteria and has high anti-allergic potential.

In  2001 UK Food Safety Agency tests, various low-grade soy sauces (ones made from hydrolyzed soy protein, rather than being naturally fermented), more than 20% of the samples contained a chemicals at levels higher than those deemed safe by the EU. Both chemicals have the potential to cause cancer and the Agency recommends those products be avoided. [Food Standards Agency (2001-06-20). "Some Soy Sauce Products To Be Removed". Press release. Retrieved on 2008-01-07. ]

Final Word

Few ingredients in Chinese cooking are more essential, yet more misunderstood, than soy sauce. We use it in a number of ways, either as a condiment or during cooking, as a sauce or as a marinade. I hope this post has opened your eyes a bit more regarding the humble brown liquid, and please avoid any soy sauces that are chemically manufactured.

 

References:

 About.com-Chinese Food

http://chinesefood.about.com/library/weekly/aa101698.htm

Epicurious.com

http://www.epicurious.com/tools/fooddictionary/search?query=soy+sauce

Wikipedia.com

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