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Low-Carb Cauliflower – A healthy food substitute- Tuesday, August 15, 2017

This week, we wanted to place the produce spotlight firmly over one of our favorite vegetables, cauliflower. This may seem like an odd choice, but if you are a foodie or simply keen on cooking, you've probably already come across a number of articles and other media featuring this under-appreciated vegetable. It's become popular as a low-carbohydrate substitute in many recipes, replacing common ingredients such as flour in certain dough recipes (ex., gluten-free pizza crusts), or as an alternative to starch- and carb-laden dishes like mashed potatoes.

A little about cauliflower

While there are many different cultivars of white cauliflower, they are all marketed under the same name. In addition to the white varieties we're all well aquainted with, cauliflower also comes in other shades, including orange, green, and purple. Such varieties include the "broccoflower", a genetic cross which combines the physical features of cauliflower with the chlorophyll of broccoli, while mostly maintaining the cauliflower's unique flavor. With heads ranging from yellow-green to lime-green, broccoflower has a slightly sweeter taste than conventional cauliflower.

Selecting and storing a head of cauliflower

When choosing a cauliflower, look for a clean, white head with tight bud clusters – you'll want to avoid cauliflower whose florets are starting to separate or sag. The head of the cauliflower should be surrounded by thick green leaves, leaving the florets better protected and ensuring freshness over a longer period. Spotted or dull-colored cauliflower, of course, should be avoided if possible.

Cauliflower will keep forup to five daysif stored in a perforated plastic bag or in an open dry container in the refrigerator, but is best eaten as soon as possible. Never seal your cauliflower in a plastic bag or other closed container and always keep the head stem-side up to prevent moisture form collecting on it during storage, which can accelerate rot.

Cauliflower recipes

So, how to prepare your cauliflower? As mentioned previously, you have plenty off options when it comes to cooking this incredible vegetable. There are a number of substitution options for more complex recipes, and cauliflower can serve as a standalone ingredient for simple sidedishes in place of other, more conventional veggies. Consider the following examples...

Cauliflower Rice

Instead of the usual white rice, substitute cauliflower in your favorite recipes. Just pulse the florets in a food processor or grate them on a box grater (via medium-sized holes) until you have small, rice-sized pellets. Once you have your "rice", just saute in a skillet over medium heat in olive oil; cover and allow the heat to steam the cauliflower until desired tenderness. You can then season your "rice" as you see fit. - Cauliflower rice can be used in any dish that calls for white rice, including sushi.

Cauliflower in place of potatoes

This applies to both mashed varieties and chopped. Instead of diced potatoes in your corned beef or breakfast-style hash, try cauliflower. It cooks up roughly the same without any additional fuss, and really provides the texture you'd expect from a good hash. The cauliflower does an excellent job of soaking up the other flavors, whether you are cooking with bacon or meat or simply spices, and is an excellent base for highly seasoned dishes.

Cauliflower also makes for a fantastic mashed potato substitute. If you are trying to shave off calories and carbs, serve up mashed cauliflower at your next meal. It's easy to prepare: Just steam the cauliflower for about 14 minutes then place in a food processor. Add some cream or buttermilk, some butter, salt and pepper, and garlic if desired. Pulse until desired consistency and serve.

Basically, the sky's the limit when it comes to subbing cauliflower for potatoes. Shredded or diced cauliflower works splendidly in other potato-heavy dishes...Cauliflower Tots and Cauliflower Pancakes (fritters) are also fantastic. Just use your imagination!

Cauliflower pizza crusts

One of the most talked about uses for cauliflower these days is as an ingredient in low-carb and gluten-free pizza crust. Preparation is a bit more involved than making mashed cauliflower, but you're using many of the same utensils. Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor until you have a powder – this is your flour alternative. For the specifics on preparing your cauliflower crust, see below.

Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com:

Ingredients

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg

2 cups freshly grated mozzarella

1/4 cup Pizza Sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor to a fine snowy powder (you should have about 2 1/2 cups). Transfer the processed cauliflower to a microwave-safe bowl and cover. Microwave until soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a clean, dry kitchen towel and allow to cool.

When cool enough to handle, wrap the cauliflower in the towel and wring out as much moisture as possible, transferring to a second towel if necessary. In a large bowl, stir together the cauliflower, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt, egg and 1 cup of the mozzarella until well combined. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and press into a 10-inch round. Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven and top with the pizza sauce and remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 10 minutes more.

Cauliflower in place of pasta in some dishes

Everyone loves macaroni and cheese, right? Well, even if you don't personally, surely you know someone who does. Cauliflower makes it possible for folks who love their mac to continue enjoying it, albeit modified. Just substitute small, bite-sized cauliflower pieces for the macaroni: Cook the cauliflower in boiling water for about five minutes; you're going for a more al dente texture, crisp-tender. Drain well and pat dry, then transfer to a baking dish. Pour your preferred cheese sauce over your "mac" and cook until browned on top and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Serve.

Cauliflower in cookies

This may not seem very appetizing, but it turns out that powdered/processed cauliflower can make a pretty good substitute for regular flour in cookies. For a tasty treat, try this recipe courtesy of thesmartcookieblog.com:

Flourless Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup frozen cauliflower, thawed

1/2 cup cottage cheese (I used 1%)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 tbsp milk

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp honey

2 prunes, soaked in water for a couple minutes (the longer they soak, the better)

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup raisins

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine cauliflower, cottage cheese, cinnamon, ginger, milk, maple syrup, honey, and prunes in food processor. Process until smooth. In a large bowl, mix together oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar. Pour the mixture from the food processor into the bowl with oats. Mix to combine. Fold in cranberries and raisins. Form dough into cookies and place on greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Let cool before removing from baking sheet and serving.

 

Sensational summer blueberries are now available!- Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summer is the best times to purchase blueberries. This amazing fruit is officially in its peek season and not only readily available, but in its prime in both texture and flavor. You'd be hard pressed to find blueberries bursting with this much sweetness any other time of year. Why are blueberries hard to beat? Here are a few reasons:

Nutrition

Blueberries are considered a superfood. Superfoods, for those not familiar with the term, are foods (usually raw items, such as fruits and vegetables) that have been confirmed to be nutrient-rich and especially beneficial for the health and well-being of the consumer. Blueberries fall into this category because they are high in fiber and low in calories, and an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals (such as K1, vitamin C and manganese) and antioxidants.

While blueberries are often eaten fresh, they make for an excellent ingredient in many baked goods, and are perfect in jams and jellies, and even juiced. They are also easy to store, lasting several days if refrigerated (be sure they are dry and free of mold before placing them in the fridge), or months if frozen.

Freezing blueberries:

There is a specific process to this if you want to maximize consistency: First, spread your blueberries out on a rimmed baking sheet and let them firm up in the freezer for a couple hours. Afterward, transfer them into a resealable plastic bag and pop them back in the freezer. They should keep for a few months. Note: Because freezing can break down the cellular structure of the berries, you may wind up with a less plump texture. Because of this, your best bet is to use your (still delicious!) berries in baking recipes or smoothies once they are removed from the freezer.

Try some of these fabulous blueberry recipes

For fresh blueberries, try:

If you have frozen berries:

 

So, Just What is a Nectarine?- Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A nectarine is a fuzz-less variety of peach. It is NOT a cross between a peach and a plum. Every once in a while, a peach tree mutates – the gene responsible for the fuzz is turned off, and out comes a smooth-skinned nectarine. Peach seeds may occasionally grow into trees that bear nectarines, and nectarine seeds may grow into trees that bear either nectarines or peaches. It is not possible to know which fruit will grow on trees grown from nectarine seeds, so nectarine branches are grafted onto peach trees to guarantee a crop of nectarines.

The word 'nectarine' means sweet as nectar, and this is very likely the origin of the name. Nectarines, like peaches, probably originated in China over 2,000 years ago and were cultivated in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. They were grown in Great Britain in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, and were introduced to America by the Spanish.

Nutritionally, a nectarine is a real dynamo. A medium nectarine is approximately 4-5 ounces in weight and will cost you only 60 calories. In return, you get a lusciously sweet snack with 2.5 tsp worth of sugar, evened out by 1.5 grams of fiber. Nectarines are a good source of vitamin C and also have good vitamin A and potassium values, and they are also contain an abundance of antioxidants.

If you love nectarines, now is the time to buy them as their season, as with other soft fruits such as peaches, plums, apricots, etc., is limited in the US.

Four Common Food Myths Debunked- Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Myth 1 - You can eat as much healthy fat as you like

The truth: While olive oil, packed with monounsaturated fat, is better for your heart than the artery-clogging saturated fat in butter, both have 100 to 120 calories per tablespoon. In fact, all fats have roughly the same number of calories, says Samantha Heller, RD. So go easy. One way is to try an oil mister—one spritz delivers a fraction of a teaspoon.

Myth 2- Dark bread is always better than white

The truth: A dark bread might just have caramel coloring but be no better than white bread, University of Scranton psychology professor Michael Oakes, PhD, says. Look for the words “whole grain” or “100 percent whole wheat” on the package: that means the bread is made from unrefined wheat, which has more than double the fiber and is also higher in selenium, potassium, and magnesium.

Myth 3 - "Eggs are bad for your heart.”

The Truth: Eggs do contain a substantial amount of cholesterol in their yolks—about 211 milligrams (mg). But labeling eggs as “bad for your heart” is connecting the wrong dots, experts say. Studies show that most healthy people can eat an egg a day without problems,” says Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State University.

The cholesterol we eat in eggs doesn’t have a huge impact on raising our blood cholesterol; the body simply compensates by manufacturing less cholesterol itself. The chief heart disease culprits are “saturated and trans fats, which have much greater impact on raising blood cholesterol,” notes Kris-Etherton. Seen through that lens, eggs look more benign: a large egg contains 2 grams of saturated fat (10 percent of the Daily Value) and no trans fats.

As with any food, it’s not the eggs but the amount of eggs that you eat that can become unhealthy. According to the American Heart Association’s diet and lifestyle recommendations, which Kris-Etherton helped write: Limit your cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg daily. Rule of thumb: it’s safe to eat a bit less than one egg per day, say two or three per week.

Myth 4 - High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is worse for you than sugar

Not true… The truth is neither one is good for you and both should be limited or eliminated for a truly healthy diet. “The debate about HFCS and sucrose [table sugar] is taking the focus off the more important question,” says Kimber Stanhope, Ph.D., R.D., a researcher at the University of California, Davis, who has studied the sweetener extensively. “What we should be asking is ‘What are the effects of all sugars (HFCS and sucrose) in the diet?”

Our bodies weren’t designed to handle a large amount of fructose at a time, Stanhope notes, because we wouldn’t have come across it in our food supply. “If you look at what nature provided for humans to eat, we only had fructose in whole fruit, in amounts that are relatively dilute.” Problems arose when we learned how to turn foods—which contain fiber, water and other nutrients—into pure sources of sugars (e.g., refining sugarcane into table sugar). Despite its name HFCS contains only a little more fructose than sucrose does, Stanhope emphasizes. It’s the sheer amount of the sweet stuff we consume that matters or, once again, it’s the dose that is the problem. Too much honey, agave syrup or dehydrated cane juice would likely cause the same health problems.

“The American Heart Association recently recommended that women consume no more than 100 calories a day in added sugars [6 teaspoons]; men, 150 calories [9 teaspoons],” Stanhope notes. Our current intake, however, hovers around 355 calories per day. “The U.S. population isn’t anywhere close to [the AHA’s] goal.”

What you may not know about almonds.- Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Just a handful of almonds per day may help you get more of the nutrients your body needs while helping maintain a healthy weight and cholesterol levels. A handful of almonds is a tasty way to help crush cravings and keep energy levels up throughout the day. Almonds are also easy to take on the go and pair well with lots of other foods.

Here are some other good-to-know facts about almonds:

  • When asked "What is an almond?", folks naturally reply "It's a nut." This is true, but only partially so. As a member of the peach family, the almond is technically the hard-shelled fruit of the almond tree.

  • Almonds are among the lowest-calorie nut meats. A single serving of almonds (1 oz. – 23 whole almonds) provides just 160 calories. They also have more calcium than any other nut, plus nearly 9 grams of monounsaturated, heart-healthy fats, 6 grams of protein, and 3.5 grams of fiber.

  • Almonds are healthiest for you raw or dry roasted. You will want to avoid "roasted" almonds as they may have been heated in unhealthy fats.

  • There are 98 published research papers to date (with 19 more in progress) on the health effects of almonds, in particular their positive effect on heart health, diabetes and weight management.

  • Almonds eaten as a mid-morning snack can help moderate your blood sugar levels throughout the day. They help to slow absorption of sugar and carbs

Sweet, refreshing cantaloupe- Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Everyone has their favorite summer melon. For most, the watermelon has become iconic; look at stock photos of picnicking families and you will see it frequently, often alongside sandwiches, hot dogs or burgers. The reality is, come warm weather watermelon is available everywhere, and it dominates the produce department from May all the way through August. But the second most recognizable melon, the cantaloupe, is available year-round and never goes out of style. Unlike its more watery cousin, the cantaloupe is popular because its flesh is similarly sweet but much more dense, making it far better for recipes and anyone who prefers to bite into a firmer fruit.

[info courtesy of nutrition-and-you.com & organicfacts.net]

Many varieties of cantaloupes are grown all over the world. However, two common types have become popular in the western world. The European cantaloupe (Cucumis melo cantalupensis) derives its name from the Italian papal village of "Cantalup" and features lightly-ribbed, pale green skin that looks quite different from the North American cantaloupe. Galia melon and charentais belong to this category. North American cantaloupe (Cucumis melo reticulatus), famous in the United States and some parts of Canada, is named reticulatus due to its net-like (or reticulated) skin covering.

In general, cantaloupe fruits feature round or oblong shape, measure 4.5- 6.5 inches in diameter and weigh 1-2 pounds. Internally, its flesh color ranges from orange-yellow to salmon, has a soft consistency and juicy texture with a sweet, musky aroma that emanates best in the completely ripe fruits.

What's so great about cantaloupes?

They help boost the immune system. Cantaloupes not only have the beta-carotene and phytochemicals working in its favor against free radicals, but also a healthy dose of vitamin-C. Vitamin C similarly scavenges disease-causing free radicals and act as an important line of defense for a healthy immune system. Also, vitamin-C stimulates the production of white blood cells, which seek out and destroy dangerous bacteria, viruses, and other toxic substances.

Cantaloupes may help in preventing cancer. Cantaloupes are rich sources of beneficial nutrients, including beta-Carotene, an essential carotenoid that the body requires and a powerful antioxidant. It has been linked to reduced chances of a number of different types of cancer, and the phytochemicals present in fresh fruit like cantaloupes have also been linked to anti-tumor behavior.

Cantaloupes contain substances which are known to help maintain eye health. Cantaloupes contain carotenoids, which are associated with a reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, as is the vitamin-C content of cantaloupes.

Cantaloupes have a high amount of dietary fiber, which is an essential component of healthy bowel movements and digestive health. Eating a proper amount of dietary fiber can bulk up your stool and reduce your chances of becoming constipated, and can make your bowel movements more regular and consistent. By insuring a smooth flow through your digestive tract and colon, you reduce your risk of colorectal cancer and other dangerous gastrointestinal conditions.

Eating cantaloupes is good for your skin. Cantaloupes are wonderful places to find beta-carotene, which is the precursor to vitamin-A. The body converts the beta-carotene into vitamin-A, which enters the skin and stimulates the membranes of skin cells and increases regrowth and repair.

They help reduce stress and anxiety. Potassium is one of the essential nutrients found in cantaloupes. Potassium has been shown to relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. Excited levels of blood pressure can act as a stressor on the body, and can even induce the release of stress hormones like cortisol. Potassium also increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain and reduce the presence of stress hormones in the body, which can seriously reduce symptoms of anxiety.

The phytochemicals in cantaloupe also have anti-inflammatory qualities. This means that having a proper amount of cantaloupe in your diet can help prevent oxidative stress on your joints and bones, thereby reducing inflammation. Chronic inflammation of these vital areas can lead to conditions like arthritis.

Cantaloupe Recipes

There are plenty of ways to consume cantaloupe aside from raw... Not that there is anything wrong with a nice, juicy slice or cube of cantaloupe. However, eating raw cantaloupe is common; most of us have enjoyed melon slices and fruit salad numerous times over the courses of our lives. Consider this an opportunity to experiment a little with this wonderful fruit, rather than doing the same old thing!


Grilled Sea Bass with Cantaloupe-Lime Salsa

Chicken Cantaloupe Salad

Cantaloupe and Blueberries with Vanilla Sauce

Easy Fruit Tarts

Cold Melon Soup

 

Gazpacho - This summertime cold soup is not only delicious, it’s healthy! - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Unfortunately, far too few Americans have ever enjoyed this delicious summertime treat, and it’s a real shame because it is quite tasty; and once you see how healthy it is, you will want to add it to your regular summer meal plans.

Originally from the Andalusian area along the south Mediterranean coast of Spain. History tells us that it has many different influences, from Greece and Rome, as well as from the Moor's and Arab culture. The original soup was blended stale bread, olive oil and garlic, with some liquid like water or vinegar that was pounded together in a mortar. Different vegetables and almonds that were available were also added. This soup evolved into different varieties, the most popular around the world being the tomato-based variety, which is served cold.

It was common for Roman soldiers to carry dried bread, garlic and vinegar to make the basics of this early soup. Christopher Columbus probably took this soup with him on his voyages from Spain. When he brought back tomatoes, cucumbers and different peppers, that is when the soup evolved to its present state. Now all kinds of things are added, such as watermelon and cantaloupe.

Here are some of our favorite homemade recipes. Note the nutritional information and the ingredient list and you will see why it’s really worth getting acquainted with.

Tamar's Gazpacho

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

88 cal.

0.6g

20 g

3.2 g

4.7 g

12 g

0 mg

120 mg.

 

Mexican Gazpacho

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

86 cal.

0.5g

21 g

3.6 g

3.9 g

12 g

0 mg

100 mg.

 

Gazpacho Andaluz - Cold Tomato Soup

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

56 cal.

1.0g

11 g

2.2 g

2.4 g

6 g

0.2 mg

54 mg.

 

The term Gazpacho has also become synonymous with any soup served cold. Here are a few of our summer favorites:

 

Blackberry Gazpacho

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

210 cal.

3.8g

34 g

2.5 g

8.3 g

23 g

6.3 mg

9.4 mg.

 

Chilled Strawberry Soup

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

200 cal.

0.9g

49 g

2.0 g

6.1 g

40 g

0 mg

4.2 mg.

 

 

Salmon - A popular seafood choice for Americans- Tuesday, April 25, 2017

After shrimp and canned tuna, salmon comes in as the third most consumed seafood in the US. The average American consumes 2 pounds/year. When you consider the large number who either don’t like or eat much seafood, or those with limited access to seafood, it means that some folks are eating quite a lot of salmon. While it truly is popular, there is a lot that most folks just don’t know about salmon.

The thing about salmon that makes them very recognizable versus other species of fish is their distinct pink color. We’ve even coined a name for the color, which you will find in clothing store catalogs and paint samples. “Salmon” (or “salmon pink”) is meant to describe a delicate, reddish-pink hue that has become extremely popular in recent years. However, the famous salmon color is not something that is dictated by the fish’s DNA. Instead, salmon get their color thanks to their diet. Specifically, the color comes from an anti-oxidant carotenoid called astaxanthin. This chemical is produced in the chloroplasts of yeasts and algae. Salmon don’t feed on algae and yeast, but the smaller fish on which salmon feed -- and which make up the majority of their diet -- do. Once again, it goes to prove that we are what we eat.

The most compelling thing we should know about salmon is that, generally speaking, it is good for our health. Salmon is one of the most nutritious types of fish to add to your diet. It supplies iron, zinc, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, in addition to a whole host of other nutrients.

Salmon is also a source of unsaturated fats -- healthy types of fat that help protect your health -- called polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Both kinds of healthy fats help normalize your heartbeat and ease inflammation, which is a response from your immune system that can increase your risk of cancer and other chronic illnesses. A 3-ounce serving of wild Atlantic salmon supplies 4.9 grams of unsaturated fats, and the same portion of coho salmon contains 4.4 grams. Three ounces of sockeye salmon have 2.5 grams of unsaturated fats, and a 3-ounce serving of farmed Atlantic salmon provides 7.4 grams.

Salmon contains a specific type of unsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids lower your risk of dying from heart disease, according to Mayo Clinic. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon help keep your heart healthy by protecting the health of your blood vessels. They help lower triglycerides, reduce your blood pressure and prevent blood clots, effects that go a long way toward protecting your heart. Choosing salmon over red meat can help lower your cholesterol -- the waxy substance that can build up in your arteries and increase your risk of heart attack -- because salmon is much lower in saturated fat than beef, pork, and some cuts of poultry.

In addition, salmon is a very good source of protein. While the specific protein content varies depending on what type of salmon you're eating, a 3-ounce serving contains an average of about 20 to 21 grams. Eating a serving of any kind of salmon is a nutritious way to make sure you're getting plenty of protein.

A few cooking tips regarding salmon

  • Dealing with the bones - You should remove the pin bones—but carefully. Pulling them up and out of the salmon will rip up its flesh, which is not a good look. Take tweezers and carefully pull out the pin bones in the same direction the bones are oriented in the salmon’s flesh.

  • Skin, keep it or remove it? Skin is tasty and will enhance the flavor of your fish. So when you’re cooking salmon, keep that skin on. The meat itself is quite delicate and the skin provides a safety layer between your fish’s flesh and a hot pan or grill. Start with the skin-side down, and let it crisp up. Then it's easy to slide your spatula under the salmon’s skin to turn it and the flesh won’t stick to the pan. There is an exception to the keep on the skin rule, however: When poaching salmon, you will want to remove the skin first with a sharp filleting knife.

  • When poaching, add flavor to your water – There is no reason to poach your salmon in plain tap water. Add zest and flavor by spiking the water with lemon or a half head of garlic. Another good idea is to poach the salmon in dry white wine. Not only will these ideas add flavor to your fish, they go a long way in preventing your kitchen from smelling like a fish house.

  • Don’t overcook it – We’ve all heard the phrase, “Cook it till it flakes”.Turns out that this in one of the most common mistakes made when cooking salmon. If using a grill or a pan, sear salmon skin-side down on high heat until the skin is crispy, then, whether you flip your fish or not, finish cooking it on low heat. The fish’s sections should give and pull apart easily, not flake into dry pieces.

  • Enjoy the leftovers – How often do you hear people say, “I’m not saving the leftovers because reheated fish is never any good”? Perhaps that is true, but who says that you need to reheat the leftover salmon? Cold, day-old salmon is delicious; flake it into a salad, turn it into a sandwich, or just eat it straight from the fridge.

Hope we’ve piqued your taste buds and have you thinking of delicious, fresh salmon. Here is a collection of Salmon recipes that you might like to review.

 

So, Onions – with or without… Love them, or not so much?- Tuesday, March 28, 2017

An extraordinarily common vegetable in virtually every cuisine, the onion and its relatives stand out prominently worldwide as one of the most, if not the most, popular ingredients in cooking. From common white and yellow onions to the more "exotic" ramps and leeks, onions are everywhere and used in every imaginable type of dish. Indeed, it can be argued (and often is!) by chefs and home cooks alike that onions are indispensable: They add a baseline of sweet and earthy flavor to many cooked dishes and contribute an essential, spicy accent when served raw.

But even if you use them almost every time you cook, onions can still be pretty bewildering. With about a dozen varieties readily available in most markets, as well as several less common types, it can be hard to know which kind of onion to choose for a particular dish. Here is a list of the most commonly used onions, as well as a couple less well-known varieties that are well worth checking out.

A Guide to Onion Varieties

[info courtesy of seriouseats.com]

Scallions

One of the most versatile onions around, scallions are long and thin, typically no fatter than a finger. Sweet and mild with hardly any bite to them, they can be used raw or cooked and fit right into any number of dishes.

What They Look Like: Bright white at the bottom with hollow, dark green tops, scallions are usually sold in bunches.
How They Taste: Scallions provide a gentle onion flavor, but are just as much about their texture: they're crunchy and juicy at the same time. Their dark green tops tend to have a bit more bite to them and are best used as an accent, as you would fresh chives or parsley.

How to Shop and Store: Look for scallions from late spring to late summer, when they're harvested fresh and are at their peak. The onions' white sections should be firm and bright, without any moisture or sliminess, and the tops should be sturdy—avoid any bunches that have wilted tops. Never store fresh scallions in a plastic bags: their high moisture content will quickly lead to rot. Reusable mesh produce bags tucked into a crisper drawer are a great option: they allow air circulation, but keep the scallions from drying out. If your scallions still have roots, trim them slightly, stick 'em in a glass jar you've filled with a couple inches of water, and stash 'em in the fridge for up to a week.

How to Use Them: Along with garlic and ginger, scallions are indispensable to stir-fries. They also make an excellent contribution to soups, either as part of the stock or a garnish.

 

Vidalia Onions

Vidalia is the legally registered name of the squat, ovoid, sweet yellow onion that's grown in and around the town of Vidalia, Georgia. Extremely low in pyruvic acid—which, when exposed to air, makes your eyes tear—Vidalias are among the mildest in the onion kingdom.

What They Look Like: Narrow at the stem and root, and wide around the middle, like a spinning top, with a thin, papery, light yellow skin.

How They Taste: Super-sweet and crisp, ideal for eating raw.

How to Shop and Store: Look for Vidalias in the markets between late April and early September. Firm, medium-sized onions without any bruises will taste the best. To store, wrap each onion in a paper towel and store in the fridge; they'll keep for weeks.
How to Use Them: In late summer, when both Vidalias and tomatoes are at their peak, it's tough to beat a basic sliced tomato salad with slivered onions and a simple oil-and-vinegar dressing. In winter time, how about grilled tomato and cheese sandwiches with seasoned soup?

 

Ramps

Whether you can't get enough of them or think they're a wee bit overrated, there's no denying what ramps signify: spring, and the return of fresh, delicate produce after a long, cold, potato-filled winter. Count us in the ramps-loving camp: these wild spring leeks have a pungent garlic-onion flavor in their base, which softens and becomes mild in the leaves.

What They Look Like: Kind of like scallions, but with large, broad, flat bright-green leaves up top. The slender white bottom sections often have a dash of bright purple or magenta joining them to the leaves. While they're pretty expensive in many major cities, ramps grow like weeds in places like Appalachia and Quebec.

How They Taste: Like a cross between garlic and onions, with a pronounced funk that's almost cheese-like. The edible tops are notably milder and sweeter than the bulbs at the bottom.

How to Shop and Store: Often heralded as one of the first signs of warmer weather, ramps have a short season, showing up in farmers markets in late winter and only staying there until early spring. Their bottom sections should be firm, never slimy, and the tops should be bright without any wilting. Ramps don't store super well but will keep in the refrigerator for a few days in reusable mesh produce bags tucked into a crisper drawer.

How to Use Them: Throw 'em on the grill. Or pickle them. Put ramps in your dumpling filling or in your chorizo quesadilla. Add ramps to biscuits and frittatas. Make ramps into soup with fresh asparagus.

 

Yellow Onions

Yellow onions are undoubtedly Americans' favorite: nearly 90 percent of onions grown in the US are yellow. Their deep but not-too-strong flavor makes them endlessly versatile in cooking. Larger, slightly sweeter yellow onions labeled Spanish onions are often found right next to plain old yellow onions; they're a milder choice that works well for raw applications.

What They Look Like: Ranging in size from golf ball to softball, with light yellow flesh and golden, papery skin.

How They Taste: Assertive when raw, deeply sweet when cooked.

How to Shop and Store: Yellow onions are available year-round: in summer and early fall, when they haven't been in storage long, they taste sweeter, with their sharpness intensifying through the winter months. Look for firm, unbruised onions that are heavy for their size. If you plan on using your bulb onions within a few weeks, they can be stored at cool room temperatures in a dark place: an open basket or a bamboo steamer in a cooler part of the kitchen works. If you plan on storing them longer, wrap them individually in paper towels or place them in a breathable vegetable storage bag and keep them in the refrigerator. Cut or peeled onions can be stored, wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator for only a few days before they go mushy.

How to Use Them: Yellow onions are ideal for long-cooking in soups, stews and braises, and of course are sticky and delicious when caramelized.

 

White Onions

Many cooks don't know the difference between white and yellow onions. The white versions are somewhat sweeter and cleaner in flavor but don't store quite as well as yellow onions do.

What They Look Like: Ranging in size from baseball to softball, with white flesh and bright white, papery skin.

How They Taste: Milder in flavor than yellow onions, white onions can be eaten raw.

How to Shop and Store: White onions are available year-round and taste the same throughout the seasons. Look for firm, unbruised onions that are heavy for their size. Bulb onions should be stored in a dark, cool, dry location.

How to Use Them: Because of their crisp texture and mild flavor, white onions are great raw slivered in salads, thinly sliced on your favorite sandwich, or scattered over a pizza. Popular in Latin American cuisines, white onions are a great addition to huevos rancheros, refried beans, and Cuban picadillo.

 

Red Onions

Though they can be pungent and spicy, red onions are great for eating raw, bringing crunchiness and brightness to a variety of dishes. You might see them all the time, next to the yellow onions on the supermarket shelf, but red onions only make up about eight percent of the onion market in the US.

What They Look Like: Ranging in size from golf ball to softball, with bright maroon flesh and dark red, papery skin.

How They Taste: Assertive and spicy when raw; still strong, but sweeter, when cooked.

How to Shop and Store: Red onions are available year-round: in summer and early fall, when they haven't been in storage long, they taste sweeter, with their sharpness intensifying through the winter months. Look for firm, unbruised onions that are heavy for their size. Bulb onions should be stored in a dark, cool, dry location; see advice for yellow onions.

How to Use Them: Red onions take extraordinarily well to pickling, whether they're destined for the top of tacos or folded into a bright ceviche. Put red onions on your pizza and try them in a chopped salad with cherry tomatoes and bell peppers. We also love red onion jam as a burger topping or spread on crackers.

 

Shallots

Where would be without shallots? They're often seen in French cuisine, where they're featured in classic sauces such as mignonette. They're also indispensable to Asian dishes—often crisp-fried or ground into curry pastes.

What They Look Like: Shallots are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Western shallots, the kind you're most likely to encounter in a U.S. supermarket, are small, slender and lighter in color than red onions, with pinkish-orange papery skin and light purple flesh. In an Asian market, you might find Asian shallots, which are very small and deep dark purple.

How They Taste: Milder in flavor than red onions, but more assertive than yellow, with a hint of garlic flavor.

How to Shop and Store: Available year-round, shallots' flavor intensifies throughout their winter storage. Look for firm, compact shallots with shiny, unblemished skin. Kept dry and stored in a cool, dark area of the kitchen, like a cabinet, shallots will keep for several weeks to a month.

How to Use Them: Thinly sliced and fried for topping Thai curried noodles, congee, or deviled eggs; minced into basic vinaigrettes for added crunch and flavor.

 

Pearl Onions

Tiny and sweet, pearl onions come in yellow, red, and white varieties, with the latter being the most common.

What They Look Like: These cuties look just like regular onions but are about the size of a jawbreaker.

How They Taste: Much milder and sweeter than large bulb onions.

How to Shop and Store: Pearl onions are sold year-round, usually in small mesh bags—they're not easy to find loose and can be difficult to find altogether, so frozen, pre-peeled bags of pearl onions are an appealing option. If buying fresh, store as you would large bulb onions.

How to Use Them: The biggest annoyance about using fresh pearl onions is peeling them: to do so quickly and easily, blanch them in hot water, then slip off the skins with your fingers. After that, simply glaze them, cream them in a bubbly gratin, or pickle them for use in a Gibson cocktail.

 

Cippolini Onions

These little disc-shaped yellow onions, which might remind some people of visitors from outer space, were once reserved for the world of gourmet stores and fancy restaurants, but nowadays are pretty widely available in large supermarkets.

What They Look Like: Slightly larger than pearl onions, with a squat disc shape and pale yellow skin.

How They Taste: Extra sweet.

How to Shop and Store: Cippolini are sold year-round, sometimes in mesh bags. Store in a cool, dark place.

How to Use Them: I'll be honest: cippolini are kind of annoying to peel. You'll need to lop off their root and stem ends with a sharp knife, then use a paring knife to strip away remaining peel. Because of their high sugar content, cippolini take wonderfully to caramelizing.

 

Leeks

Leeks look a lot like scallions, but in fact, they're a totally different plant. Larger in size than their spring counterparts, leeks' white portions are tender and sweet, but their dark green tops are woody and best reserved for flavoring stocks.

What They Look Like: You might mistake them for big, overgrown scallions.

How They Taste: Extremely mild, with a pronounced sweetness. Because they're so fibrous, leeks generally aren't eaten raw.

How to Shop and Store: Leeks have been bred to survive the winter months, and are in season from late fall to early spring. Leeks can be pretty gritty and sandy: be sure to wash carefully before cooking. If you need to store them, trim off a portion of the dark green tops, place in a reusable mesh produce bag or roll them in a just-slightly-damp kitchen towel, secure with a rubber band, and store in the crisper drawer for up to one and a half weeks.

How to Use Them: Though too tough to eat when raw, leeks melt into wonderful softness when cooked. One of the most appealing ways to cook them is braised in stock and olive oil, then dressed with a lemony vinaigrette. Leek soup with lemon and dill is an economical winter warmer, and a beef and leek stir-fry is lightning-fast and delicious.

 

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Use food to detoxify your body- Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Although detox is primarily thought of as a treatment for alcohol or drug dependence, the term is also used to refer to a program of diet, herbs, and other methods of removing environmental and dietary toxins from the body.

Detox is short for detoxification, which refers to the body's natural, ongoing process of neutralizing or eliminating potentially harmful chemicals from the body. Toxins are anything that can harm body tissue, including waste products that result from normal cell activity and human-made toxins that we are exposed to in our environment, food, and water.

So, why should you try to actively detox your body, rather than letting it take care of itself? Well, a growing body of research suggests that many of the chemicals we ingest daily can become deposited in our fat cells. Pesticides, antibiotics and hormones in food, chemicals from food packaging, household cleaners, detergents, food additives, heavy metals, and cigarette smoke are a few such toxins. A detox diet is intended to help eliminate these chemicals more quickly.

There are many different types of detox diets. Generally, a detox diet is a short-term diet that:

  • Minimizes the amount of chemicals ingested (for example, by eating organic food).

  • Emphasizes foods that provide the vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that the body needs for detoxification.

  • Contains foods, such as high fiber foods and water, that draw out and eliminate toxins by increasing the frequency of bowel movements and urination.

The following foods are considered wonderful for detoxifying, and most of them are readily available, too:

Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil -- are loaded with essential fatty acids, particularly the omega-3s. They are essential for many cleansing functions and maintaining a healthy immune system. They are also critical to maintaining a healthy brain. The health of every cell in your body is dependent on getting adequate amounts of essential fatty acids.

Garlic -- helps cleanse harmful bacteria, intestinal parasites, and viruses from the body, especially from the blood and intestines. It also helps cleanse buildup from the arteries and lowers blood pressure. Garlic has anti-cancer and antioxidant properties that help detoxify the body of harmful substances. It also helps cleanse the respiratory tract by expelling mucous buildup in the lungs and sinuses.

Kale -- contains powerful anti-cancer and antioxidant compounds that help cleanse the body of harmful substances. It is also high in fiber, which helps cleanse the intestinal tract. Like cabbage, kale helps neutralize compounds found in cigarette smoke and contains a substance that jump-starts the liver’s production of cleansing enzymes.

Legumes -- are loaded with fiber that helps lower cholesterol, cleanse the intestines, and regulate blood sugar levels. Legumes also help protect the body against cancer.

Lemons -- are superb liver detoxifiers. In addition, they contain high amounts of vitamin C, a vitamin needed by the body to make a substance called glutathione. Glutathione helps promote liver detoxification, thereby reducing the likelihood of negative effects from environmental chemicals. Vitamin C and other antioxidants found in lemons are integral to ward off cancer, fight the effects of pollution and cell damage. Fresh lemon juice contains more than 20 anti-cancer compounds and helps balance the body’s pH levels.

Seaweed -- could be the most underrated vegetable in the Western world. Studies at McGill University in Montreal showed that seaweeds bind to radioactive waste in the body so it can be removed. Radioactive waste can find its way into the body through some medical tests or through food that has been grown where water or soil is contaminated. Seaweed also binds to heavy metals to help eliminate them from the body. In addition, it is a powerhouse of minerals and trace minerals.

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