Homemade Popcorn that’s Healthy and Easy to Make

If you consider popcorn, what’s the very first thing that you remember? The movies, isn’t that proper? That’s because the word popcorn has turn out to be synonymous to movie theaters. It is just like the movie home will not be full without having the smell of these luscious snacks. But you need to know though the popcorn you can acquire from those areas is just not precisely what you’d call healthy. The thing is, the popcorn from the film theaters are in fact loaded with butter and grease. They are fattening and calorie-laden. They are not something that you’d want to consume if you’re a health buff.

However, you do not have to ditch popcorn completely. The truth is, popcorn is quite healthy. It truly is higher in fiber content so it helps in digestion and in retaining the toxins out of the physique. What makes it unhealthy is when it’s loaded with grease and salt, similar to what they do in the film theaters. This could be solved should you make your personal popcorn at property. Homemade popcorn isn’t only scrumptious, it is also quite healthy. When you snack this selfmade snack, you will not need to be concerned about ingesting artery-clogging fats or blood-pressure-rising sodium. You will not also have to be concerned about wrecking your diet plan or your slim determine. My nutritionist whom I found on the cv writing platform, recommended to me the recipe of healthy homemade popcorn. 

To create your personal wholesome snack, here are the issues which you need: glass bowl, popcorn kernels, olive oil, popcorn popper and dish towel. Read the instructions within the popcorn popper and adhere to for the dot. Typically, you’ll have to pour about ? cup of kernels into the popcorn device. Verify the quantity of kernels that you are advised to place in and make the changes as necessary. Then begin running the popcorn popper. It’s that easy. Be certain to adhere to all the directions advised within the manual so you are able to get wonderful tasting popcorn snack that you’d wish to have more than and more than once again. Right after you take out the popcorn in the device, dry it off using the dish towel to take away the excess olive oil.

Should you believe that the popcorn is bland, you could include pinch salt and pepper. Add a lot more olive oil if you wish to. This is a good substitute for that butter. In case you don’t wish to sprinkle the snack with salt and pepper, a nice taste to include will be parmesan cheese. This can be greater choice compared to cheese flavoring that you simply find within the industry which can be also wealthy with sodium. You’ll be able to also explore other flavors. Just ensure that you stay organic in selecting the flavors. Cayenne pepper, garlic powder, basil and oregano are just several of the selections you will love.

Wine 201 – Cooking with Wine: Marinating

See…this is the fourth installment of cooking with wine. There was no possible way to cover all of this in one post.

For those of you new to the cooking game, marinations have two purposes…tenderizing meats and adding flavors. I point you to a previous post on marinades. I will also re-iterate a point about Marinades I made in that post:

Kate’s Rule of Thumb #1:You should only use a marinade on a piece of meat that is either lacking in tenderness, lacking in taste, or both.

Keep that in mind when following the tips below.

  • – The better the wine, the better the taste of the food. Conversely, the lower quality of the wine, the better the chance your food will taste pretty strange. Choose your cooking wine accordingly (This is redundant is it not?).
  • – Use freshly opened wine. Wines opened two weeks or later should be looked upon with suspicion, as it probably has oxidized to the point of affecting the wine taste(See parenthetical above).
  • Use only ceramic or plastic dishes for marinades, as metal can re-act to the acidity in the wine, changing its flavor, often to its detriment.
  • Make sure that you turn the meat in the marinade at some point, to ensure adequate coverage.
  • The larger the piece of meat, the more time it will need to marinate.
  • Avoide marinating fish or shellfish in wine for longer than 90 minutes, as the acidity in the wine will actually cook the meat.
  • If you’re using a wine marinade that has been cooked beforehand, let it cool prior to using it, to avoid accidentally cooking the meat, even if only a little.

Wine and Vocabulary

Here’s an interesting piece in the Guardian, letting us know that you’ll have a better chance of remembering the taste of your wine if you just stop trying to say phrases like:

“Mmm. A little citrus. Maybe some strawberry. Mmm. Passion fruit. Mmm. Andah, there’s just, like, the faintest soupon of like, uh, asparagus and there’s an just a flutter of, like, alike a nutty Edam cheese.”

From the article:

“The test was simple. Everyone sampled two different wines. A while later, they sipped from a larger collection of wines, trying to identify which of those were the same as the original two wines. The experts did a pretty good job of it. The others also did an OK job, unless – unless! – they had tried, between the first and second tastings, to describe the first wines verbally.”

I’m curious then, on how one becomes an ‘expert’ in wine, if you don’t try to put words to the tastes you are experiencing? It’s an interesting theory, but color me a tad skeptical…but only a tad.

So simply enjoy your wine, rather than trying to define it. You’ll just end up hurting yourself.

Cooking – Arts or Crafts?

This is more of a philosophical post, written in response to someone trying to convince me of the artistry of cooking.

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve played on the periphery of the arts. Sometimes I have been paid for my endeavors, but most times not. In my earlier life, I’ve also studied various media and mediums in a larger context.

As such, I’ve arrived at a very precise definition of what is art and what isn’t. People may debate it, and that’s fine. These definitions work for me, but may not work for others.

For me, art is the ability to use a medium to convey and/or elicit any number of emotions, be it sadness, joy, angst, whatever.

The medium’s function is to convey a wide range of emotions. Whether these emotions are effectively conveyed are limited strictly by the skill of the person using the medium.

Crafts, on the other hand, are media that have a limited amount of emotions that can be effectively be elicited.

For example, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to elicit sorrow or anger or any other of a wide variety of fun emotions in, as an example, a well made rug. The rug’s primary function is not to convey emotion, but to provide warmth.

Using these definitions as my guidelines, I don’t believe that cooking is an art. Food’s primary function is not to convey an emotion, and the amount of emotions available to be conveyed through the various cooking media are severely limited.

So if you’re saying that cooking is an artform – I ain’t buyin’ it.

What do you think? Do you agree with me? If not, explain what you think and who knows maybe you will make me change my mind. That is not going to be easy though! 😀 Just kidding, but honestly, share your thoughts, I am interested in what you have to say!

Cooking Polenta Can Be An Art Form

Polenta is an Italian dish that actually requires an inordinate amount of attention when cooking. We usually don’t think that cooking what is essentially a corn-based mush, as anything that would require that much attention from the time you put it on the stove to the time you took it off.

That isn’t the case as far as cooking polenta is concerned. Polenta has been described as mush with an attitude, and may not turn out well if not given at least a little bit of tender, loving care during the cooking process. Even if one simply regards polenta as cornmeal, and nothing more, one still has to take certain precautions in cooking up a batch of cornmeal to get it right. We’re used to getting a mix in a box, dumping it in a pan with a cup of water, stirring it once or twice, and that’s it. Not so with polenta.

Not Complicated, But Complicated Enough – Cooking polenta isn’t really much more complicated than that, but it does need to be stirred, and it needs to be cooked over even heat. When cooked over a fire in a large pot, the traditional method, polenta had to be stirred constantly to keep it heated evenly. That’s not so much a problem given today’s modern electric and gas ranges, as well as cooking utensils designed to promote even heating. Still, polenta needs to be stirred on occasion, and the larger the batch being made, the more stirring is needed. One just doesn’t need to be stirring it constantly.

The heat needs to be just right as well, so the moisture won’t evaporate before the cornmeal has fully cooked, or conversely, if too much liquid has been added, the polenta will need to be cooked until the excess moisture evaporates. By selecting a proper pot or pan, getting the temperature right, and carefully measuring the ingredients, cooking polenta should present few problems. Slow cooking in a crock pot can be an ideal way of going about it. Irrespective of just how one is going about cooking polenta, most everyone who does so will agree that the most important thing of all, during the cooking process is the taste test, done when the polenta is nearly done cooking. Tasting can tell if more salt, liquid or meal needs to be added.

Tasting will tell if the polenta has the right texture, which is extremely important. The nearly cooked polenta needs to be checked for consistency as well, in other words not too creamy, although it will thicken, and no lumps. Polenta, when it has the right consistency, will never be runny. If you have a spoonful of it, you’ll need to shake the spoon to get the polenta to run off.

Grits And Polenta – While the two are not exactly the same, a comparison can nevertheless be made between polenta and hominy grits. Many who prepare grits are very precise in their way of doing so. Perhaps those best in a position to make up a batch of excellent polenta are those who day after day, cook up their own grits. It probably goes without saying that time after time, the grits turn out to have just the right texture, flavor and consistency, just as is required in a decent batch of polenta. While cooking polenta in a large iron pot, hanging in the fireplace, stirring it constantly with a long-handled spoon, may seem a bit like going back to simpler ways, even the Italians will probably tell you that modern cooking methods are just as good, as are the results, though there are always a few who will elect to stick with tradition, and whose polenta most likely turns out a little better.

Cucurbitaceae – Cucumbers and Squash

This is what I get for applying all this fancy book learnin’ to real life. Now I have to address a food that I’ve been dreading…Those foods found in the Cucurbitaceae family. This would include those items which fall into the “gourd” family. I, as a rule of thumb, have not made a habit out of eating anything which could also be used as a musical instrument.

This, undoubtedly, makes me a bad person.

Sure, sure, there are cucumbers I can look forward to, even if they are now at the tail end of their growing season. I have nothing against the majority of melons either, although the name “muskmelon” has been known to make me all wobbly. Luckily for me, muskmelons (also known as cantaloupe) weren’t domesticated until roughly 2400 BC. Since I’m still roughly at 5000 BC in my exploration of various food stuffs, there’s still plenty to explore between then and now.

No, it’s the squash that has me all atwitter. There’s the summer squashes, with its zucchini. I can handle that. I suppose it’s the winter squashes, native to North America, which I have intentionally avoided for most of my life. Excluding all pastries pumpkin related (pies and breads and such), I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve volunteered to eat these brutes.

Part of the reason for my skittishness is the name….squash. It gives such violent imagery to a fruit (and yes, technically, they are fruits) that seems to rot if you just give it a dirty look. The other reason they bug me is that they look so alien to me, what with their odd colorings (oranges and yellows) and their pod-like appearance. Have I mentioned that Invasion of the Body Snatchers scared the bejesus out of me when I was a child? Perhaps this is the source of my apprehension to squash.

I do, however, find it interesting that squash is one of the three crops that helped sustain the native American population for 2000 years prior to the Western Europeans arriving. Along with maize and beans, these three products were usually planted together, with the cornstalk providing support for the climbing beans, and shade for the squash. The squash vines provided ground cover to limit weeds. Hows that for efficient agricultural engineering?

I will soldier on, as is my dictate to this site. Expect three cucumber recipes to offset three squash recipes…with pumpkin pie as a dessert.

Cooking Tuna Has Never Been So Easy!

Cooking tuna doesn’t have to feel like a chore, nor does it have to result in a dried out or bland tasting dish. Tuna is a terrific source of nutrients, and it is also one of the most popular choices of fish—even liked by people who generally “don’t like fish”. We are going to go over a few recipes that not only yield moist tuna simply bursting with flavor, but each recipe will also cover a different method of cooking tuna. So say goodbye to boring old canned tuna and hello to a world of yummy possibilities.

Let’s start off with a simple baked tuna recipe. Baking isn’t necessarily a foolproof way of cooking, but it is definitely one of the easier places to get started (if you rule out the microwave). This particular recipe is very mellow and is a nice “trial” recipe for people who aren’t big fans of fishy flavor. For this recipe, you will need about four tuna steaks, one tablespoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of thyme flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. This should create a paste, which should then be rubbed onto both sides of each tuna steak. Once each steak is coated, it’s time to prepare the baking dish. I prefer to use glass because it seems to cook more evenly and is much easier to clean up. Give the bottom of the dish an even coating of olive oil—not much, just enough so that the fish doesn’t stick. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes (or until the tuna is thoroughly cooked). Before serving, you can spritz a bit of lime juice on each steak to give the flavor a little “kick”. For possible side dishes consider fresh steamed vegetables and/or brown rice.

This next recipe is for tuna fish cakes and happens to be one of my favorite tuna recipes, regardless of its simple taste. You will need two cans of tuna (in water or brine—NOT oil), one cup of yellow cornmeal, one cup of milk, two eggs, half a teaspoon of salt, an eighth teaspoon of pepper, and a quarter tablespoon of garlic powder. Drain the juice from each can of tuna and pour them into a bowl. I like to take this chance to comb through it to double-check for bones. Mash the tuna using a fork. Add the milk to the tuna and mix it together. Now you can add the eggs, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Mix well. Now we add in the corn meal and take care to really blend the mixture together well. Start forming the tuna mixture into cakes about the size of a hockey puck. Allow them to sit for about ten minutes while you prepare the pan for frying. You can use either butter or olive oil for frying, but I prefer olive oil. Once the fish cakes have had a chance to “set up”, fry them on a medium-low heat until both sides are a nice golden brown. You can pat the excess grease away from the cakes using a paper towel. I like to serve these with oven fries and peas. It’s a very versatile way of cooking tuna which makes it easy to serve with whatever you have lying around.

Our last recipe is for a tasty tuna stir fry. Yep, that’s right! Tuna makes a very smooth and versatile foundation for a tasty stir fry, and it’s so easy to make. You will need one can of tuna (preferably white albacore), three to four cups of chopped vegetables (throw in whatever you like!), a clove of garlic (minced), three tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of sugar, and oil for frying. Heat up the oil in a large skillet (or a wok, if you have one). Throw in the vegetables and the minced garlic and cook on a medium heat until the vegetables become tender. Add in the soy sauce and give the vegetables a good stir to coat them. Now add the lemon juice, sugar, and tuna. Continue to cook for another minute or two. I like to serve this with rice or chow mien noodles, but this dish is so filling that you may not have need for side dishes!

There are many other ways of cooking tuna, so don’t be afraid to explore with the grill or even the toaster oven! The key to cooking tuna is just to ensure that you don’t over-salt or over-cook it. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do!

Ethics and Fine Dining – Chef Christine Keff talks Organic

To get the costs back down, we found it was simply a matter of manipulating the menu. Instead of saying “This case of broccoli costs half as much this other case”, we instead looked at paring higher cost items with lower ones. We can put higher cost broccoli with lower cost fish, and the costs even out over the course of the entire menu.

You’ve been organic for almost a year now. Where their any problems over the course of this time that caught you entirely off guard? What I didn’t anticipate was the staff resistance. I actually lost a chef over this. I was really surprised by that.

He was one of the people who thought that going organic means going “granola”, for lack of a better word. I had not anticipated that at all, because, for me, I wasn’t thinking about organic meaning “hippies” and “communes” and all that kind of stuff. For me it was something very specific. I was really floored by that. Eventually he just didn’t want to do it, and he left.

When I sat down with Tom Douglas, he said that he makes his food choices based on locality, sustainability and the organic. How much thought did you put into both locality and sustainability? I’ve heard other chefs say “It’s all about local. Organic doesn’t matter.” I think that’s kind of the other end of the spectrum and you don’t want to be there either. They both matter.

I’ve decided to draw the line in the sand with organic and not use fresh ingredients that aren’t organic, and I don’t specify if they’re local or not. It’s a first step and it takes the chemicals out of the equation.

We try to buy local as much as we can. But local here means a very short produce season. What do we do the rest of the year? Do we just go back to buying industrial non-organic stuff? I won’t let people diminish the importance of organic just because they’re focused on local.

Organic is a sustainable practice. There’s no separation between sustainable and organic.

I think a lot of chefs have some sort of “heebee jeebee” about organic – “It’s always expensive”, “I can’t afford it”, “It’s granola and Birkenstock’s”, “It means we can’t have the great ingredients that we want”, when it doesn’t mean any of that at all. You can get fresh organic turmeric from Hawaii for example, and most people don’t even look for organic turmeric.

I think a lot of chefs put organic way at the other end of the spectrum because they don’t know what’s possible. They think that if they have an “organic” restaurant, it will mean having a “granola” restaurant.

What have been the more difficult items to get organic? Lemon grass was hard. Bean sprouts were hard, oddly enough. Evidentially it was the mung beans themselves that are sprayed with something to keep them from rotting.

There have been times when items simply weren’t available. This was the case with turmeric where all the fresh turmeric was gone, and all that was left was stuff that was rotting. So we’ve learned to keep certain items frozen.

What’s been the best part of the last year? Well, our lives are not a lot different than they were before. We just know that we’re doing this and it feels good. It feels good to make some products readily available to those who want to make those choices.

How have been the customers’ reactions? All good. They’ve appreciated it. We’ve given them added value and we haven’t put them through the ringer. What’s not to like?

I spent quite and lot of time to finish this article and I really hope you like it! What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments section below! Love ya’ll! Hugs and kisses!