Archive for the ‘Discussion Topics’ Category

Summer 2013 Southern Italy Culinary Excursion

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Summer of 2013 I decided to leave NYC (2 months) and travel to the South of Italy. My experience will stay with me a lifetime, and has made a very big impact on me and the way I express myself as a chef.

The best gift in my opinion I could ever give myself would be the gift of learning. As a professional chef traveling to the Mediterranean was a wonderful way for me to improve and also learn new techniques in the kitchen.

Before I take you all on a tour of my 2013 experience in various kitchens, I would like to thank each and everyone I met on my travels. Each chef I worked with in Italy has taught me techniques and ways of cooking I use today in my own practice. The culinary schools I attended were all very different, ranging from peoples homes to some of the best restaurants and celebrated chefs in the South of Italy.

4 Gluten-Free Baking Flours

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Buckwheat Flour is related to rhubarb, not wheat, this flour comes from buckwheat groats has a robust earthy flavor and is filled with B vitamins, fiber, and rutin, a powerful antioxidant. Its whole grain taste is great for baked breakfast foods including pancakes, crepes, bars, scones, quick breads, and maple cookies. TRY: Arrowhead Mills buckwheat flour

Garbanzo Flour also known as Chickpea flour is made from roasted or dried chickpeas.  It is sky high in protein and fiber (6 and 5 grams per 1/4 cup).  You can work it into bread dough, a savory pie-crust, falafel mix, hummus blends, and burger or meat-loaf recipes. Also you can try it out as a thickener for soups, stews, gravies, and sauces. TRY: Bob’s Red Mill garbanzo flour.

Teff Flour is the world’s tiniest grain and yields a sweet, malty flavor when milled. The flour is a good source of calcium and iron that perks up batters and doughs for flat-breads, waffles, gingerbread cookies, and anything baked with chocolate. TRY: Bob’s Red Mill teff flour

Quinoa Flour is easy to digest and full of protein, magnesium, fiber, zinc, and folate. Its delicate nutty flavor is ideal for banana bread, biscotti, shortcakes, and pizza crust. Also great for dredging fish and chicken before cooking. TRY: Ancient Harvest quinoa flour

Food Sadhana

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Make mealtime a sacred or honored event. Research indicated that you will maximize how you digest and assimilate food when you are relaxed. Sadhana, a Sanskrit word that means “practice,” can describe a spiritual practice or an ordinary activity that is undertaken mindfully or with a focused purpose. That purpose can be to get more nourishment from food or to spend quality time with loved ones. When you practice eating and preparing food slowly, carefully, and with intention, you are practicing food sadhana. When you eat alone, avoid computer screens, televisions, and books. Focus on the moment and savoring the flavor and texture of your food. When eating with others, don’t answer the phone or open a magazine. Perhaps spend the first five minutes with those at the table in silent appreciation of your meal. Slowing down and reducing stimulation from your environment during meals can help you digest more effectively and can contribute to a better spiritual and emotional connection with food.

Eat Local

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The world has a bounty of healing foods. Sometimes the best eats come close to home. Goji berries harvested from the Himalayas might make you live longer, but so could strawberries grown a few miles away from your doorstep. Easier on the pocketbook, local food is not only good for you, it’s kinder on the planet. Think of all the energy wasted away by the trucks, trains, and jet planes that travel thousands of miles to bring food to consumers. There is a bounty of healthy foods available from around the world, but eating primarily locally grown, seasonally produced foods has other benefits for your health. The food is usually fresher, and in some ancient healing traditions, the food grown in the environment new where you live has greater balancing and healing effect than food cultivated far away. Look for “locally grown” signs at the supermarket, or shop at farmers markets for the freshest local foods. Even better, grown your own food. Front or backyard and even container gardens can yield a delicious harvest of fresh herbs and produce.

6 Reasons to eat more Raw Food

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Much has been written about the pros and cons for raw food diets. Proponents eat uncooked whole foods such as nuts, seeds, sprouted grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. While there’s some debate about the exact temperature, most experts agree that is you heat foods past 118 degrees Fahrenheit, you destroy the plant enzymes that contribute to digestion and nutrient absorption. Scientific research links greater consumption of raw veggies with decreased risk for certain cancers. On the flip side, cooking some vegetables, such as carrots and tomatoes, makes important photochemicals more available to the body.

A Balanced Approach

While raw food diet can be healthy, followed long-term it can lead to nutritional deficits in calcium, protein, B12 and iron “unless it is astutely balanced” according to integrative physician Elson Hass, MD, author of Staying Healthy with Nutrition.

Given that- and the fact that we naturally crave warm and comforting foods at this time of year-many raw food experts recommend shooting for certain percentage of one’s diet being raw-say, 75 percent. Whatever percentage you decide on, you can anticipate reaping at least come of the following benefits.

1. Better digestion. Going raw acts like an elimination diet. If you follow its general guidelines for a week and then reintroduce eggs or conventional, non-sprouted bread into your diet, you will quickly  realize if those foods are problematic for you gastrointestinal system.

2. Weight loss. Raw food books tend to run inspiring before-and-after photos for reasons. People who follow this diet often shed excess weight.

3. Improved health. Cutting back on meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, nicotine,  caffeine, and processed foods can have dramatic effects one one’s health.

4. Easy access. Health food stores offer a variety of products for those following a raw diet. Breads, fresh juices, and bars made of sprouted grains are a few examples. Some natural food stores may also carry books that offer delicious raw food recipes so you won’t be eating just salads.

5. Reduce cravings. The healthier you begin to eat, the more you will crave whole foods such as fruits and veggies rather then pizza or snack foods.

6. Regularity. The typical American diet lacks fiber. Eating more raw foods will make it easier to get the fiber you need  to stay regular.

Most & Least Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Top Twelve Most Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables:

Peaches, Apples, Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Cherries, Strawberries, Lettuce, Grapes, Pears, Spinach, Potatoes

Twelve Least-Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables:

Asparagus, Avocados, Bananas, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Corn, Kiwi, Mangoes, Onions, Papaya

Although washing fruits and vegetables reduces surface residues of harmful chemicals, come pesticides are absorbs directly into the edible portion of the pant. Some chemicals specifically resist removal and are designed  to adhere to the surface of the fruit or vegetable. Peeling will remove some pesticides, but you will also lose extremely beneficial nutrients located in the skin of a fruit or vegetable.

Fruit and Vegetable Serving Sizes

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

In general, fruit and vegetable portions are rather small, making it easy to get your fill. According to the American Cancer Society, one serving of fruit or vegetables is equal to the following:

  • 1/2 cup fruit
  • 1 medium piece of fruit
  • 1/4 cup dried fruits
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) of 100% fruit juice or vegetable juice
  • 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
  • 1/2 cup cooked or raw vegetables