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Organic Eating And Growing With Italian & Mexican Chiles

The other day I overheard two shoppers at Whole Foods having a friendly disagreement about the value of conventional vs. organic eating and growing. I learned that food grown organically has a certified organic label. Who knew? The label guarantees the food to be free of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, antibiotics and GMOs. So much to know but as the saying goes “caveat emptor,” or “buyer beware.” Other questions concern why organic costs so much more than conventional foods even though sales are growing by about 20 percent a year, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. Still this isn’t enough. … Continue reading Organic Eating And Growing With Italian & Mexican Chiles

Mole: The Delicious Mexican Sauce

Mole is as old as antiquity. Today this wonderful sauce continues to be as popular as ever. Moles are found across Mexico but especially in the marketplaces of Mexico City, the capital, and Oaxaca where historic pre-Aztec ruins are visited by tourists. Not surprisingly Oaxaca is the home of modern day moles which satisfy even the most discerning food critic. The Town of Oaxaca, which was part of the Zapotec civilization, who spoke the language of Nahuati, is located in this area of southern Mexico. In fact, mole is a Nahuatl word that simply means “mixture.” But not necessarily one … Continue reading Mole: The Delicious Mexican Sauce

Summer Time Fitness While Eating Well

 It’s getting to be that time of year again when the sun shines like you kind of remember it did many months ago, and winter attire has been put away.  Summer has arrived but there is still time to get ready  for that August vacation.  In fact I hear many folks still  thinking about shedding a few pounds so we can get into those slacks we bought on sale after Christmas—and the idea of starting a few exercises feels good and maybe even helps the waistline. Where do we begin? Here’s a few popular diet books and some habits that … Continue reading Summer Time Fitness While Eating Well

Green Beans – Healthy Casserole or Easy Saute

Green beans are one of my favorite vegetables and are enjoyed throughout the world. They are made up of small seeds in long pods. Because beans are harvested while still young, the green pods are tender and edible. They are available with a peak season of May to October. Green beans grow on vines or bushes. If you are buying them, look for green beans that are loose rather than in packages so you can pick the freshest ones. They should be crisp and bright green, without blemishes or signs of wilting. Although they taste best if eaten right away, … Continue reading Green Beans – Healthy Casserole or Easy Saute

New Study on Exercise and Mental Health – Amazing Findings!

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS , NY Times Blog: APRIL 7, 2016           April 7, 2016 More people are living longer these days, but the good news comes shadowed by the possible increase in cases of age-related mental decline. By some estimates, the global incidence of dementia will more than triple in the next 35 years. That grim prospect is what makes a study published in March in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease so encouraging: It turns out that regular walking, cycling, swimming, dancing and even gardening may substantially reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Exercise has long been … Continue reading New Study on Exercise and Mental Health – Amazing Findings!

Eggplant Rollatini With Quinoa Or Spinach

India is the birthplace of eggplant. But seldom do we see Indian varieties. In fact, many people assume that eggplant, which is actually a fruit and not a vegetable, comes from the English who originally thought of eggplant as having an ornamental virtue rather than a culinary one. Perhaps the bitterness of eggplant may have compounded these biases further, which is why cookbooks will tell you to use salt to draw the bitter acid out of the eggplant, which can be washed away after an hour of salting. But by the 18th century, eggplant had been developed that was less … Continue reading Eggplant Rollatini With Quinoa Or Spinach

Check out Apple’s Weekly News Up Dates – Eg. A Meaty Issue in China

Recently I began to receive news articles published by Apple, about   popular subjects.  Many  are worth the price of admission — which is free.   See Apple News <newsdigest@insideapple.apple.com>I particularly liked the one on China titled — A “Meaty Issue” China is enlisting celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and David Cameron to push people to eat less meat. If the campaign works, it could have a surprisingly large effect on global warming.     Updated by Brad Plumer on June 21, 2016, 9:20 a.m. ET Plummer tells us that the 2015 US Dietary Guidelines remained fairly muted on the topic after fierce … Continue reading Check out Apple’s Weekly News Up Dates – Eg. A Meaty Issue in China

The Popularity of Salads Year Round

Salads have become one of life’s special meals year-round. Winter, spring, summer and fall, they have taken on their own personality. Eaten raw, roasted, baked or boiled, cold or hot, salads have become the healthy, quick and easy replacement meal for working adults. Although children can learn to love salads before they are called such a thing as an “adult.” I remember I did.If you haven’t tried salads as a satisfying meal by themselves or with a cup of soup, give it a go. You won’t be disappointed. Just add your favorite vinaigrette to some greens and vegetables, and voilá—a … Continue reading The Popularity of Salads Year Round

The Ancient and Forever Popular Hot Dog

I remember the joy of discovering gourmet sausages on Rush Street in Chicago, working at Consolidated Freightways, the summer before my senior year in college. No one had ever heard of eating hotdogs with sliced tomatoes, coleslaw, caramelized onions and BBQ onions; or, the pleasure of eating a thick, Braunschweiger German sausage which is a blend of pork meat and pork liver almost like a pate slathered with mustard. Sausages are considered among the oldest forms of processed food, that go back as far as 9th-century B.C. Frankfurt, Germany, is traditionally credited with originating these hot dogs. Others say the … Continue reading The Ancient and Forever Popular Hot Dog

Seafood Paella for Father’s Day

Eating with my father was often an enjoyable process.  Sunday night we would charcoal steaks on our grill. Weekend breakfasts often included waffles or sometimes kippers and herring with sautéed onions. And the local delicatessen sold delicious corned beef sandwiches on bagels with mustard that we all enjoyed. When I got older my dad often invited me to join him on business trips that often included memorable meals. Years later when I began to travel on business my father joined me as I did with him. One of our favorite trips was to Barcelona, located along the Mediterranean Sea, and … Continue reading Seafood Paella for Father’s Day

The Popularity of Spaghetti Bolognese

Date: May 9, 2016   Spaghetti Bolognese is an Italian meat-based sauce or ragù, which is said to come from Bologna, that wonderful city of food located in Emilia Romagna. Curiously, spaghetti Bolognese is very popular outside of Italy, but is said to have never existed in Bologna itself. Meat-based ragù, not meat balls, was always served in Bologna with local egg pasta like tagliatelle or lasagne. Spaghetti bolognese, on the other hand, is usually eaten with a wheat pasta or gluten-free pastas. When the war ended, it’s possible that American and British soldiers who returned to Italy as tourists … Continue reading The Popularity of Spaghetti Bolognese

Mother’s Day Chocolate Cake

It’s a time to remember and to celebrate the mothers in our lives. It’s always fun to make a special meal or to eat at a special restaurant when the weather is starting to turn warm and temperate. Mother’s Day in the United States was given birth by Anna Jarvis of West Virginia in the early 1900s. It was conceived as a day to honor the sacrifices mothers made for their children. With the collaboration of the department store owner John Wanamaker, who held a Mother’s Day event, the holiday was off and running. Jarvis started a letter-writing campaign promoting … Continue reading Mother’s Day Chocolate Cake

Borscht, The Wonderful Roasted Beet Soup

Borscht is usually a beet soup that is a part of many religious holidays and cultural traditions from Eastern Europe. When I used to visit New York City with my father I loved eating the exotic flavors found in “kosher cafes” that followed Jewish law not to mix dairy products and meat.  Most people think of Kosher as being a Jewish tradition but actually Islamic kitchens follow several dietary traditions as well called Halal which are similar to kosher rules. For example, both traditions do not eat pork or shell fish among other differences. Back in the day when kosher … Continue reading Borscht, The Wonderful Roasted Beet Soup

The Extraordinary Seafood Reuben Sandwich

Reuben sandwiches have always been a favorite of mine, especially during the season of St. Patrick’s Day when cabbage and pastrami are easily found in grocery stores. Meatless alternatives have become an option many enjoy. Consider cooking your Reuben with fish caught in the chilly waters off Massachusetts and New York such as striped bass, flounder, tuna, cod, haddock, halibut, or  crab caught a bit further South. I love Soft Shell crab but cod is more accessible in the waters of the  Northeast and Alaska, flown in frozen. All seafood should give a briny scent of the sea as they … Continue reading The Extraordinary Seafood Reuben Sandwich

Green Is The Color Of St. Patrick’s Day

Visiting family in Chicago during St. Patrick’s Day shocked me when I saw the Chicago River, which winds along Wacker Drive, to be as green as a four leaf clover. Other cities across America celebrate the holiday with the color green as well. Parades, hats, banners and clothing of all types are green as the Emerald Isle in tribute to St. Patrick’s Day. Joining friends at local pubs on this special day is a time to enjoy a beer and a sandwich that are also bright green. I am generally OK with these menu choices but find myself less enchanted … Continue reading Green Is The Color Of St. Patrick’s Day

The Best Crockpot Chicken Soup—Jewish Penicillin

Virtually everyone likes chicken soup, especially with egg noodles, matzo balls or elbow macaroni. It’s nice and warm and filling during the colder months of the year while it satisfies our taste buds even during the spring and summertlme. Chicken soup is also said to be a healing dish that soothes our aches and pains, and clears our stuffy nose during cold season and the flu. Some even swear that this “Jewish penicillin” raises our resistance and our immune system to illness of all kinds. All I can say for sure is that it’s certainly delicious in all its many … Continue reading The Best Crockpot Chicken Soup—Jewish Penicillin

It’s Leap Year Again, The Season For Gumbo Soup

Every four years we celebrate Leap Year, the 29th of February. While this day amazingly has been around since 45 BC, many of us think of it as a recent event. In fact it’s an ancient invention that was added to the calendar to keep it in line with the seasons of the year. Still, many Americans in the 1930s associated Leap Year with a made-up event called Sadie Hawkins Day. Created by the cartoonist Al Capp ,the day celebrated where women and girls could marry their favorite partner by catching them in an annual race held in the small … Continue reading It’s Leap Year Again, The Season For Gumbo Soup

A Meal With Chinese Dumplings—Vegan And Shrimp

Dumplings go by different names depending on their country of  origin. In China they are called jiaozis; in Japan, shumai or gyoza; in the United States, wontons or pot stickers; Latinos call them empanadas, pierogies are Polish; kreplach are Jewish; and raviol are Italian. All of these dumplings are readily available in the United States or you can make your own. The rules are open-ended. The stuffing is dependent on one’s culture and the creativity of the chef. Eating them is extraordinary, and preparing them is almost more enjoyable. In New York City, Chinatown dumplings are special. We discovered our … Continue reading A Meal With Chinese Dumplings—Vegan And Shrimp

The Delicious Spiny & Maine Lobsters- Asian Style

 It’s fun to think about warm weather when March comes around even if we can’t travel to Florida or the Islands. Sunshine makes me think of warm seas and briny chowder. I can almost feel the sand beneath my feet while eating the delicious Spiny lobster that is found in waters throughout the Caribbean and surrounding Florida and Australia. Contrary to popular belief these beauties are not closely related to the Maine lobster. Yet they are similar in appearance in that they have a hard bony shell and tails that are wonderful to eat. But it’s easy to tell them … Continue reading The Delicious Spiny & Maine Lobsters- Asian Style

Cooking With The Fiery Datil Pepper, St. Augustine, Fla.

  When I think of peppers or chiles I think of warm summer—even tropical climates. I imagine splashing waves, hammocks, sea breezes, steel drums, seafood, dark, lovely ladies and handsome men with a lightness in their walk and a song in their heart that make cold winds disappear, at least in my imagination. This is also the time of year when many of us are fortunate enough to visit such warm weather places like St. Augustine FL, and try the fiery yet fruity datil pepper. Datils are similar in strength to habaneros or Scotch Bonnets, but have a sweeter flavor. … Continue reading Cooking With The Fiery Datil Pepper, St. Augustine, Fla.

Creole Mexican Chocolate Cake

Serves 8 (Adapted from Rosalie Murphy’s The Quick Adobe Cookbook Dell Publishing, 1988) 1 cup sour cream 1 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup milk 2 cup flour 1/4 tsp sea salt 1 tsp baking soda 2 eggs, beaten 4 squares (4 oz) unsweetened chocolate 1/2 cup hot water Frosting 8 oz cream cheese 2 squares (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate 1/8 cup milk 3/4 cup powdered sugar 1 cup pecan halves Directions for Cake 1 Preheat oven 350 F 2 Mix sour cream, 1 1/2 cup sugar and milk in a large bowl 3 Sift in flour, salt, baking soda 4 … Continue reading Creole Mexican Chocolate Cake

Food News: Food Giant Monsanto Lays off 16% as Organic Food Sales Increase

Monsanto foods just laid off another 1000 employees in addition to the 2600 jobs cut last Fall– a cut of 16% of it’s overall workforce.  This is a direct by-product  of the loss in revenue Monsanto has felt from  consumers who have increasingly rejected food grown by genetic modification engineering of an Organism (GMO’s),  while  choosing the benefits of a natural, organic diet. European countries  in response to the opposition many have felt from environmentalists,  farmers and political activists, have restricted or outlawed GMO cultivation all together. And these restrictions are being instituted by many other countries and food companies … Continue reading Food News: Food Giant Monsanto Lays off 16% as Organic Food Sales Increase

Food News: Campbell Soup Pressured to Remove some GMO Ingredients

Campbell Soup Company has just announced it will become one of the  major food companies to adopt food labels that will disclose  genetically modified ingredients.  This is in direct contrast with the company’s prior stance to fight GMO labeling efforts across the country. As Denise Morrison CEO, put it: “We will withdraw from any coalition that doesn’t suport mandatory labeling.” However, this decision does not mean that Campbells is no longer using GMO ingredients.  Rather they are no longer fighting the labeling process ifself. The public will know what products they make that have GMO ingredients  and those that don’t. … Continue reading Food News: Campbell Soup Pressured to Remove some GMO Ingredients

Sweet & Sour Pot au Feu for Winter

Pot au Feu is a French pot roast made in a savory style with vegetables, cold water, and condiments. It’s a dish to remember. It takes a while to finish cooking although a slow cooker saves time and trouble. It’s easy to make and quite different than so called “American pot roast” which browns the roast and braises in red wine and chicken stock. The American sweet and sour version is also one of my favorites. This can be done by merely adding 1/2 lemon, 2 tbsp brown sugar, plus dried fruit. This version is wonderfully different and refreshing. Be … Continue reading Sweet & Sour Pot au Feu for Winter

Food News: For Some, Soup is the New Juice

In a recent article published in the NYTimes, Thursday, February 4, 2016,  reporter Rachel Felder tells us that juicing is too extreme for many of us. Ms Felder reports that for the last few weeks, Vivienne Zhao, an investment banker who lives and works in Manhattan, has spent each Monday on a cleanse, consuming over a week’s time liquid based meals.   Her menu includes: pinto and black beans cooked with tomatoes, spinach and bok choy; garlicky carrots, mixed  onions and alkaline water; and pureed pumpkin with cardamon and Saigon cinnamon.  She came to this soup cleanse– known as “souping”– after … Continue reading Food News: For Some, Soup is the New Juice

Chef Alan Zox, Ph.D cooks, writes and teaches about healthy, flavorful food.