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Mary’s Memo #2130

OCTOBER IS NATIONAL PORK MONTH

Let's talk about the "other white meat." Living alone, it's convenient to keep boneless pork loin chops in the freezer to grill or broil. I watch for sales on whole or half loins and ask a Chief meat cutter to slice it into 1-inch chops (they do it free). At home each chop goes into a plastic sandwich bag and then all are stored in a dated freezer bag. I do miss pork roasts but reserve those for company meals.

In addition to having a grilled or broiled chop, I may cube a chop for stir-fry entrees or this stovetop dish.
PORK GOULASH

2 1/2 pounds cubed pork loin

1 cup sliced onions

1/4 cup canola oil

1 16-ounce jar sauerkraut

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1/8 teaspoon dry thyme

1 can undiluted beef consomme (I use Campbell's)

1 bay leaf

1 cup sour cream (can be reduced fat one)

Shake pork cubes in sack with flour to coat. In a Dutch oven, brown pork and onion in hot oil. Add other ingredients except sour cream. Cover and simmer until tender. Add sour cream and heat through but do not boil. Recipe makes 8 servings.

Sausage, Peppers and Onions, a microwave recipe, was one of the best recipes of 1991. Did you make it?
SAUSAGE, PEPPERS AND ONIONS

1large onion, halved and sliced

1 large green bell pepper, cut into strips

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 pound sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch slices

1 14-ounce jar spaghetti sauce

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In 8x12-inch baking dish cook onion and pepper, covered, on high for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Add sausage, recover and cook on high 5 to 6 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink. Stir half way through cooking time. Carefully discard drippings. Stir in garlic powder and spaghetti sauce. Cook covered 4 to 5 minutes until sauce is hot, stirring halfway through cooking. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Microwave on high 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Recipe makes 4 servings.

Source: Good Housekeeping magazine, August 1991.SLOWER FOOD COST GROWTH IN 2010

After a couple years of above average food price inflation, a Purdue University economist believes the inflation rate will return to normal next year.

Corinne Alexander, an agriculture economist, estimated 2010 food prices would increase between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent, not near the records that were set in 2008 of 5.5 percent. The 10-year average for food price inflation for 1997 to 2006 is about 2.5 percent, she said.

Several factors have been driving the decline in those inflationary numbers including significantly lower commodity prices as well as lower cost of fuel. "Grain prices peaked last summer. We had $8 corn and $13 wheat," Alexander said. "We also had $147 per barrel oil."

The recession also slowed growth in developing countries, reducing the demand for meat and other food exports. That has increased the supply available in the United States, driving down the price.

"You just can't have rising meat prices with domestic supplies so high," Alexander said. "This year domestic demand weakened because of the recession."

Alexander warned, however, that inflation could go higher based on the economy. "If the U.S. and world economies start growing and the recession is finished sooner than expected, that will boost inflation," she says.

Source: Purdue News Service, August 29, 2009.
NUTRIENTS RELATED TO LOWER ALZHEIMER'S RISK

A diet high in vegetables, nuts and fish and low in high-fat dairy products may be just the right combination to help reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease, according to findings released at an American Academy of Neurology meeting. Researchers led by Yian Gu, PhD, of Columbia University analyzed seven nutrients thought to be related to Alzheimer's in the diets of 2,136 healthy seniors in New York: saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and folate. Their goal was to identify dietary patterns that explain, as much as possible, the variation of nutrients believed to relate to Alzheimer's disease risk.

"Because foods are not consumed in isolation, dietary patterns taking into account the interactions among food components may offer substantial advantages," Gu and colleagues explained.

Over an average follow-up of almost four years, 251 subjects developed Alzheimer's. A dietary pattern high in cruciferous and green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, nuts and fish but low in red meat and high dairy products was associated with lower risk of Alzheimer's.

The one-third of the subjects most closely matching this dietary pattern were 42% less likely to develop Alzheimer's than those whose diets most diverged from that pattern. Even the middle group, matching the dietary pattern less closely but better than the bottom one-third, saw a 23% lower risk of Alzheimer's.

The dietary pattern linked to lower Alzheimer's risk was positively correlated with omega-3, omega-6, folate and vitamin E, and negatively correlated with saturated fat and vitamin B12 intakes. The B12 finding was a surprise, Gu commented, because low B12 levels are associated with dementia. Since a chief dietary source of B12 is meat, those consuming more B12 might also be getting lots of saturated fat.

Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, September 2009. Download PDF of Memo #2130

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