A quick round-up of food-related stuff, including a lighter, quicker Red Beans and Rice recipe.
Turns out a healthy dose of spices is good for your health. In the March issue of Bon Appétit, Jack Turner reports on the health and weight loss benefits of spicing up our meals. He writes in “The Spice of Life” that flavor boosters that make dinner taste better also satisfy our hunger faster, so we eat less. And when you cook with plenty of spices, you need less fat to make food taste interesting.
Even more interesting, spices are proving beneficial in “the treatment and cure of a range of illnesses and chronic conditions.” Turmeric has been linked to slowing the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have used ginger to kill ovarian cancer cells. And as Turner tells us, “In clinical trials around the world, spices such as ginger, pepper, cumin, and cinnamon have been credited with helping ailments as diverse as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, depression, and multiple sclerosis.”
Read the complete informative article here. Then head for the spice cabinet and get cooking.
Vote to let the good times roll—officially
New Orleans is one of my favorite cities on the planet. So I was delighted when I got an email from Zatarain’s the other day about their Motion for Mardi Gras petition drive. The goal of the national drive is to collect 100,000 online signatures asking Congress to proclaim the final day of the annual Carnival [the actual Fat Tuesday] a national holiday. According to a recent survey, nearly seven out of 10 Americans support the idea.
More to the point, it’s a way to focus attention once again on this lovely city ravaged by Hurricane Katrina nearly four years ago and further threatened by governmental inaction, ineptitude and neglect. In addition to organizing the petition drive, Zatarain’s is making a donation of $10,000 to the Rebuild Fund of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. Founded in 1889, Zatarain’s has called New Orleans home for 120 years; this donation is part of their continued efforts to give back to the community. Find out more about more about Motion for Mardi Gras and sign the petition here.
The nation’s leading maker of New Orleans–style foods, Zatarain’s expertise in blending spices has built its reputation for delivering authentic New Orleans flavor. Today they make more than 200 products to help families bring the taste of the Big Easy home.
Perhaps no food is more associated with New Orleans than red beans and rice. The hearty dish became a Monday dinner tradition throughout much of Louisiana. Sunday’s leftover hambone flavored the beans—and since Monday’s were also laundry day, the beans could cook slowly, mostly unattended, all day long. Here’s my take on this big-flavored Cajun/Creole classic. I’ve lightened it up with turkey smoked sausage instead of the traditional andouille sausage. And I’ve sped it up with canned beans—no need to presoak or cook them all day. But if I say so myself, there’s flavor to spare in this version. You’ll find my original red beans and rice post and recipe here.
A new source for all things mushroom
And finally, this is apparently my week for receiving delightful emails. I just got word that The Mushroom Council has chosen my Sea Scallops with Shiitake and Oyster Mushrooms—last week’s Valentine’s Day offering—as the Recipe of the Week on their newly launched The Mushroom Channel. Almost as cool as that news is discovering The Mushroom Council’s website. The council is composed of fresh market producers and importers of mushrooms and works with the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Their site is chock full of information about these fabulous funghi—varieties, nutrition, research, care and handling, recipes… Be sure to check it out. I’m sure you’ll be bookmarking it just like I did.