Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes With Blueberry Frosting (gluten-free)

2 cups gluten-free scone and baking mix (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup superfine/caster sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vanilla bean
1 cup milk 

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Whisk eggs, milk, vanilla, vanilla bean, and melted butter. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold gently with a wooden spoon until well combined. 

Scoop mixture into a lined muffin pan or 12 small ramekins. Fill 3/4 full. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean (about 15-20 minutes).

1 cup fresh cream
1 cup soften cream cheese
1/2 cup blueberry preserve or puree 
2 tablespoons powdered/icing sugar

Whisk all the ingredients together until it forms stiff peaks. Frost cupcakes.

Scientists Reject Human Trials Of GM Wheat

A group of prominent scientists and researchers from around the world has urged Australia not to go ahead with human trials of genetically modified (GM) wheat.

The CSIRO is carrying out a study of feeding GM wheat grown in the ACT to rats and pigs and could extend the trial to humans.

The modified wheat has been altered to lower its glycaemic index in an attempt to see if the grain could have health benefits such as improving blood glucose control and lowering cholesterol levels.

But eight scientists and academics from Britain, the US, India, Argentina and Australia believe not enough studies have been done on the effects of GM wheat on animals to warrant human trials.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Panko-Crusted Chicken Bites with Fruit Chutney

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper
2 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

Cut chicken into small chunks and grind/mince in a food processor. Remove from the food processor.

In a large medium mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients with half a cup panko breadcrumbs and half of the freshly grated parmesan cheese. Use a teaspoon to form large nuggets (refer to picture). Repeat until all the ground chicken is used up.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs and the remaining freshly grated parmesan cheese. Season well with salt and black pepper and coat chicken with a thick coating.

Heat a deep sided frying pan with enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan on medium to high heat until oil is ready for frying. Add 6 pieces at a time so as not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for 3-4 minutes on the first side or until it's a deep golden color. Flip over for another 3-4 minutes or until it's cooked through. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and black pepper. Repeat until all the chicken is cooked.

Pre heat oven to 400 F

In a large greased baking sheet, arrange nuggets in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked and crispy.

Serve hot with fruit chutney or any dipping sauce of choice.

Grass-Fed Beef Market Is About To Explode!

The market for natural and organic beef products, currently at $350 million annually, could grow to over $1 billion within the next five years, attendees at a recent grass-fed beef conference were told.
The conference, at Texas A&M University, was sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Attendees learned about several topical areas, including fundamentals of growing forages, nutrient needs of cattle, beef processing, economic sustainability, and production and marketing.
The growth-potential numbers were provided by Bob Meeks, a South Texas producer who was part of a panel of speakers who discussed their own experiences in the grass-fed beef business.
“This is a niche market and there are a growing number of consumers who want access to locally grown meat,” Meeks said. “Consumers will pay 30% more for natural meats and 15-200% more for organic meats."
 “Whether you call it grass-fed or organic, it’s one of the most interesting aspects of the cattle business right now,” said David Anderson, an AgriLife Extension livestock economist.
Read More

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Exposure To Pesticides Could Cause Parkinson's

Scientists have shed new light on a link between Parkinson's disease and two pesticides, which they hope will improve both prevention and treatment for the neurodegenerative disease.

At present fewer than five per cent of Parkinson's cases are attributed to genetics while 95 per cent have unknown causes.
Now a team from the University of Missouri School of Medicine thinks toxins such as pesticides could play a part.

The scientists studied the molecular dysfunction that happens when proteins are exposed to enivironmental toxins such as rotenone and paraquat.

'This study provides the evidence that oxidative stress, possibly due to sustained exposure to environmental toxins, may serve as a primary cause of Parkinson’s,' said assistant professor Zezong Gu.

Three Bean Pork Chili

1/2 lb pork loin, chopped into bite sizes
1/2 lb ground/minced sirloin steak
1/2 cup* red kidney beans
1/2 cup* pinto beans
1/2 cup* black beans
2 cups fresh sweet corn
2 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
12 ounces tomato paste
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large garlic, peeled (whole)
1 large white onion, chopped
4 cups* vegetable stock
4 tablespoons chili powder 
3 tablespoons cumin powder
1 tablespoon mustard
Salt and black pepper

Rinse and sort beans in a large pot. Add 3 cups vegetable stock, 1 large garlic clove, peeled (whole) and half the onion. Season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a rolling boil on medium to high heat. Lower temperature. Simmer gently for 2 hours or until bean is soft and cooked.  Drain and keep warm.

In a large pot on medium to high heat. Drizzle extra olive oil to coat the bottom. Fry onions until soft. Add garlic and toss quickly to soften. Do not burn. Add meat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until just cooked. Drain meat and return to the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients.  Mix well to combine and lower the temperature. Simmer gently for one hour, stirring occasionally (Add more vegetable stock if the chili is too dry).

*Double the bean mixture if you want the vegetarian option. Add 2 extra cups of vegetable stock when cooking the beans.

Enjoy hot with your favorite corn bread or muffins.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Feta And Sweet Corn Muffins

1 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal
2 tablespoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh sweet corn
1 cup feta crumbles

Pre heat oven to 350 F.

With an electric mixer, beat all the wet ingredients and sugar to fully combine. 

In a mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients, including feta cheese and corn. Add to the wet ingredients. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Scoop into a prepared 12 cup muffin pan.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and drizzle honey on top of the muffins.

Zero- Packaging Grocery Store for Austin,TX.

Austin, Texas is already home to Whole Foods, but that won't stop a group of entrepreneurs from founding a new grocery store right in the natural food behemoth's backyard. While the new store "In.gredients" will also specialize in local and organic ingredients, there's one major difference between this venture and its hometown competion: In.gredients promises to be the country's first ever "package-free, zero waste grocery store."

The idea is so simple, it's surprising that no one in the United States has implemented it yet. (The United Kingdom, on the other hand, got the bulk food-only Unpackaged in London last year). Just like many people bring tote bags to the grocery store, shoppers at In.gredients will be encouraged to bring their own containers to pack up items like grains, oils, and dairy. If a shopper doesn't have his own containers, the store will provide compostable ones. It's as if the specialty bulk food section rebelled and took over the rest of a traditional grocery store. In.gredients will replace unhealthy, overpackaged junk with local, organic, and natural foods, and moonlight as a community center with cooking classes, gardening workshops, and art shows on the side.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Strawberry Chocolate Biscotti

2 1/4 cups all purpose unbleached flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, diced
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 F

Combine all the dry ingredients and strawberries in a large mixing bowl.

Beat oil, vanilla extract, and eggs with an electric mixer until well combined. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon to combine. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times.

Divide dough in half and shape into 8-inch by 8-inch square shapes. Flatten dough to about 1 inch thickness and place 6 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool for about 10 minutes. Using a very sharp cutting knife, cut into 1-inch wide biscottis. 

Reduce oven to 325 F
Place biscotti cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake a further 20 minutes, turning biscotti halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Dip bottom half of the biscotti in dark melted chocolate (or spread on - refer to picture).


Is Tea The New Coffee?

Philadelphia's coffee culture is going full steam, but as days get longer and stickier, our cool-me-down and pick-me-up beverage options are moving beyond the bean. Heads up, iced coffee: Local drinkeries are giving more love to the leaf.

"People are starting to appreciate teas more," said Courtney Rozsas, 26, owner of Lotus Farm to Table in Media. "There is a higher demand, so we can experiment with flavors."

When she envisioned opening her BYO restaurant in her hometown in 2009, she wanted the emphasis to be on cups of tea as much as plates of food. She's happy to have created some converts. "We have some coffee drinkers that now only drink tea."

Hotter temperatures don't sway her philosophy one bit. When an order from her thoughtful ice tea menu is placed, Rozsas, with her California-girl looks, heads straight to the restaurant's back counter and mixes, weighs, adjusts, and muddles with the concentration of a chemist.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shrimp Tacos

8 small flour tortillas (about 6-inches)
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 small red cabbage, finely sliced
2 small garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
4 limes
2 teaspoons hot sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 cup sour cream

Combine garlic, hot sauce (optional), juice of two limes, half the chopped onion, and half of the cillantro in a medium size bowl. Season with salt and black pepper. Marinade for 20 minutes in room temperature.

Grill shrimp on medium heat until it turns pink and opaque (about 2 minutes on each side) basting with the marinade during cooking. Take off grill, drizzle extra virgin oil on top and cover to keep warm

Grill tortilla on both sides for 10 seconds  or until warm.

Fold your tortilla in half to make a soft taco.  Fill with cabbage, onion, and shrimp. 

Garnish with extra cilantro, sour cream, fresh guacamole, and lime wedges.


Would You Eat Steak Made Of Human Feces?

Mother Nature Network - June 23, 2011

If you prefer your steak to be cooked rare, you may want to reconsider that choice after hearing about the latest advancement in food technology to come out of Japan: an edible steak made from human feces, reports Discovery News.

Take a moment to let that gag reflex subside. Now consider this: it's already been taste-tested, approved, and could eventually become a practical solution to sewage treatment. Someday "bowel burgers" may even provide an easy source of protein for the hungry.

The poop steaks were first envisioned by Japanese researcher Mitsuyuki Ikeda after he was approached by Tokyo Sewage to come up with a solution for the city's overabundance of sewage mud. Although "eating it" probably wouldn't have occurred to most people, Ikeda recognized that the mud was stocked full with protein-rich bacteria.

After isolating those proteins in the lab, Ikeda's team then combined them with a reaction enhancer and put them in an exploder. What eventually came out was no filet mignon, but it was edible.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Classic Chocolate Mousse

11 ounces of dark chocolate (the best you can find)
6 large very fresh eggs
1 ounce grass fed unsalted butter
1 ounce grass fed salted butter
2 ounces superfine sugar
Pinch sea salt

Melt chocolate and butter in a bain-marie (double boiler). Add sugar to the melted chocolate. Whisk egg yolks one by one into the melted chocolate until creamy and thick. Remove from the bain-marie. Whisk egg whites in a separate bowl until it forms stiff peaks. Delicately fold egg whites into the chocolate. Pour into serving dishes and refrigerate for up to six hours.

TV Industry Masks Role of Food Industry in Childhood Obesity

Television coverage of childhood obesity is less likely than print media to focus on the role of the food and beverage industry, according to a new report in the journal Pediatrics.
On the other hand, TV networks more often mention solutions on the personal level, like exercising and eating healthy foods.
That is concerning, researchers say, because spotlighting individual ways to combat obesity instead of focusing on underlying societal issues can pull the public's attention away from needed changes.
"If we think the answer to solving the problem is all about individuals changing their behavior, then there is no role for policy changes," said Colleen Barry of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, who worked on the study.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than tripled over the past three decades, reaching close to 20 percent in 2008.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blue Corn Encrusted Fish

4 white fish fillets (any firm textured white fish works well)
2 cups blue corn tortilla chips with sea salt
1/2 cup cillantro, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 small poblano chili, finely chopped (remove seeds for milder taste)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons peanut oil
Salt and black pepper

Combine lime juice, garlic, cillantro, poblano chili, onion, and peanut oil in a blender. Blend well to make a thin paste (add a little water if it's too thick). Season well with salt and black pepper. Marinade fish for 20 minutes (room temperature).

Remove fish from marinade.

Crush blue corn chips to make crumbs. Coat the fish in the crumbs, making sure the fish is fully covered with a thick coating.

Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Heat a large frying pan on medium to high heat with enough peanut oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Make sure it is hot before you start frying the fish. Fry the fish for 2-3 minutes, flip over for another 2-3 minutes (until it's fully cooked), crispy, and golden brown. Remove from pan and place on paper towel to drain excess oil before serving. Season with salt and black pepper.

If you prefer to bake. Preheat oven to 450 F. Arrange fish in a single layer on a greased baking sheet, making sure to leave room between each fillet. Drizzle fish with peanut oil and bake for about 5 to 10 minutes or until fully cooked and crispy. Season with salt and black pepper.

Once plated, lightly garnish with a fresh salsa, sour cream, and cilantro (as desired).'re next!

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has approved $20 million in new monies toward the development of "golden rice" -- an untested, highly controversial GE (genetically engineered) crop that threatens biodiversity and risks bringing economic and ecological disaster to Asia's farms.

Sarojeni V. Rengam, executive director of Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP), has called the rice a "Trojan horse." According to Rengam, the rice is "... a public relations stunt pulled by the agri-business corporations to garner acceptance of GE crops and food. The whole idea of GE seeds is to make money."

In Thailand at least, however, a little known and unpublicized agricultural policy protects Thai rice from the risks of GMO's. The Thai Ministry of Agriculture's "Rice Strategy" is a master plan committed to strengthening the nation's rice production while promoting farmers' livelihoods and consumer confidence -- which includes keeping Thai rice GMO free.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Peanut Coleslaw with Ginger-Sesame Dressing

1 small red cabbage, thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup raw peanuts, chopped or whole
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (toasted optional)
Juice of half an orange
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons ginger sauce or ginger marinade
1 tablespoon raw honey
Salt and black pepper

Blend all the wet ingredients and sesame seeds in a blender for 10 seconds or until well combined. Season well with salt and black pepper and set aside. 

Toss all the vegetables, peanuts and half the vinegarette in a large mixing bowl to coat. Serve cold with extra dressing on the side. 

Perfect with grilled meat, fish or chicken.


Genetically Modified Fish?! - June 20,2011
Genetically modified salmon will not go on sale in the U.S.

The House of Congress has voted to ban the Food and Drug Administration from passing the fish fit for human consumption. The salmon which grows at double-speed was created by Massachusetts company AquaBounty. They claim it is safe and environmentally sustainable.

But Alaskan Republican Don Young moved to block the move and offered an amendment to a farm spending bill on Wednesday that would prohibit the FDA from spending money to approve AquaBounty's application.

Other critics have labelled the modified salmon a 'frankenfish' that possibly could cause allergies in humans and eventually decimate the wild salmon population.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

White Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Cookies

2 1/4 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1 cup white chocolate chunks
3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup raw brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon baking power
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325 F

Using an electric mixer, beat butter, peanut butter, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and continuing beating.

In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and chocolate chunks.

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix to combine. Drop tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.


Hunger Is Not A NATURAL Disaster!

In the fight to address global food crises, will the French presidency at the G20 summit succeed where others have failed? On the eve of the G20 agriculture summit on 22-23 June, we urgently need to adopt an ambitious action plan. G20 leaders have a decisive role to play in Paris: they must tackle the problems in the food system.

Let's recognise where we have been wrong: hunger is neither the result of demographic problems nor just the result of a mismatch between supply and demand. It is primarily the result of political factors that condemn small farmers, the main victims of hunger, to poverty. These factors include insufficient access to land, water and credit; poor organisation of local markets; lack of infrastructure; and lack of bargaining power against an increasingly concentrated agro-industrial sector.

The failure of these long advocated "solutions" can be seen everywhere. Price spikes occur repeatedly. Environmental degradation accelerates. Rural poverty and malnutrition persist.

Hunger is not a natural disaster – it's a political problem. And that is precisely why this scandal can and must be stopped. Today France, with its G20 partners, has a unique opportunity to contribute decisively to this end, and I am confident it will do so.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Meat Lasagna

1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound ricotta
I packet Italian six cheese mix (8 oz) or similar
1 pound container roasted tomatoes
1 15 ounce container tomato paste
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 cups fresh baby spinach
3 tablespoons pesto
1 small onion, chopped
2 small garlic cloves, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F

In a large frying pan, add onion, garlic and ground sirloin.  Stir continously to cook and brown. Add all the wet ingredients and continue stirring until it starts to bubble. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer slowly for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped basil and fresh spinach. Mix through.

In a mixing bowl, mix ricotta cheese, half of the italian cheese blend and fresh basil. Salt generously with salt and black pepper.

Spread a 9" by 13" inch baking dish with the meat sauce generously. Cover the sauce with  4 lasagna sheets. Spread a thick layer of the cheese spread on top of the lasagna sheets.  Repeat until all the ingredients is used up. Sprinkle with a good amount of the Italian cheese blend. Season with salt and fresh black pepper. Cover with tin foil and bake for 1 hour or until the lasagna sheets are soft and cooked. 

Remove the foil for the last 20 minutes of cooking so that the cheese gets to brown and crispy.


No Plastic Please!

According to recent research, even at room temperature, saran wraps leach plasticizers into food containing fat. The research found that at 25 degrees Celsius, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) wraps leak 1.98 milligrams of DEHP per kilogram of greasy food wrapped, while PE (polyethylene) wraps leak 0.05 milligrams.

Most plastic food wraps and containers are made with PE or PVC plastics. PE is more eco-friendly than PVC, and is not known to leach carcinogenic chemicals. It is mainly used in plastic packaging and as food containers. PE products can be identified by the “PE” triangular recycling mark on product packaging.

PVC is adored for its convenience: with the addition of plasticizers, PVC plastic softens and could be easily shaped. However, it is the most hazardous plastic as it is greatly stabilized by the additives and cannot be degenerated at all.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Muffin

3 cups all purpose unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup white chocolate chunks
8 tablespoons butter, melted
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
1/2 cup greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 F

Whisk all the dry ingredients to fully combine. Fold in chocolate and fresh raspberries. Set aside. Beat all the wet ingredients to combine and fold into the dry.

Scoop into a lined 24 cup muffin pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a stick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the pan.


Local is Best

When it comes to locally grown food, there's more to it than just better nutritional value. You are also helping to save the environment.

As you prepare dinner tonight, take a look at the food that you bought and try and guess where it came from. Is it from a local farm that practices safe, organic growing methods ? Or are the ingredients you are using full of preservatives to keep them fresh and used hundreds of gallons of gas to travel thousands of miles to end up on your dinner plate?

When you support local businesses, it helps to create and sustain jobs for local communities. And local businesses are more likely to use other local businesses for services such as banking and advertising.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, some 5 million farms have been lost since 1935. Most likely, those were farms that communities supported. Not only are local farms producing more nutritious food for you and your family, but they help the environment too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Split Pea Soup

2 cups split peas
4 cups vegetable stock
Salt and black pepper

In a medium pot add the vegetable stock and split peas. Season with salt and black pepper. Cover and bring to boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer a further 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until peas are soft. Let soup cool and blend in a blender for a smooth consistency (about  10 seconds). Heat thoroughly just before serving. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.


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