GRAPEFRUIT: ENEMY OF MANY MEDICATIONS
A whole grapefruit or a single small glass of grapefruit juice (less than 8-ounces) may be sufficient to cause an interaction. In one case, grapefruit marmalade was the trigger. The culprit in grapefruit is a chemical group called furanocoumarins. Seville oranges, limes and pomelos contain the same chemical. Although interactions between at-risk drugs and these less common fruits are not so widely reported, it might be wise to avoid them, also. When used with certain medications including statins (used for lowering cholesterol), grapefruit and grapefruit juice can affect the way these medications are metabolized in the body. In most cases, the result of this interaction is an increased drug level that may lead to a serious adverse affect. There is no safe margin for preventing a drug-grapefruit reaction. It is important for patients to tell their health care providers and pharmacists if they consume grapefruit products so medications can be screened to ensure that they don't interact.
SOURCE: Duke Medicine HealthNews, February 2013.
BE YOUR OWN VALENTINE WITH HEART HEALTHY
ARSENIC AND OLD RICE
We are exposed to trace amounts of arsenic all the time. Based on its findings, Consumer Reports recommends that adults should consume no more than 2 to 3 servings of rice products a week. Children, who are more vulnerable to arsenic's toxicity due to their smaller body size, should eat
only about 1 to 1-1/2 servings a week and should not drink rice milk as part of their daily diet. Look for rice grown in California and imported basmati and jasmine rice, which may have lower arsenic levels. Cook rice in a lot of water like you cook pasta (6 cups water of boiling water for 1 cup dry rice). When rice is done, drain of the remaining water. You may lose some of the nutrients in the water but you reduce arsenic by as much as 45 percent.
SOURCE: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, February 2013.
WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
Wintertime brings its share of days when leaving home isn't advisable. We learned during the blizzard of '78 that many people in northwest Ohio found themselves without necessary staples. Some of us had electricity but others didn't. My spouse was at the local radio station for 3 days but he never worried about our youngest son and me because he knew I kept a "full larder." I can still manage a meal or two when I can't get to the supermarket for one
reason or another. The internet is a source of recipes but it also helps the cook create an entree. For example, I had a 7-ounce can of tuna and thought tuna patties sounded good for a meatless meal. So I typed in tuna patties and a list of possibilities appeared on the screen. I chose one calling for a 6.5 to 7-ounce can tuna plus 1 egg, 1 tablespoon tuna liquid, 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard and 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs, all items I had. Using the cooks.com recipe as a guide, I came up with my version for a Lenten meal.
•1 large egg
•1 (6.5 to 7-ounce) can albacore tuna packed in water,
drained, reserving liquid
•1 tablespoon tuna liquid
•1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
•1/4 cup Italian dry bread crumbs
(panko crumbs would work, too)
•1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter for frying
Combine egg, tuna, tuna liquid, mustard and half the bread crumbs. Mix well and shape into 4 patties. Pat surface on both sides with rest of crumbs. Heat olive oil and butter in 10-inch skillet. Cook patties over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown on one side. Turn gently and cook several minutes longer until browned on the other side. Be careful not to overcook. Recipe makes 2 servings. Cocktail or tartar sauce on the side would be flavorful additions.
SOURCE: Adapted from cooks.com recipe
Download PDF of Memo #2307
Some of my favorite foods to indulge in are buffalo chicken wings. Deep-fried, crispy, coated in buffalo sauce and dipped in copious amounts of ranch dressing. They are not the healthiest food in the world... so I try not to eat them too often. However, I love to create meals that still capture the 'buffalo wing' flavor without being so unhealthy. Case in point - Buffalo Chicken Tacos & Buffalo Chicken Bites. This week's recipe is a quick dinner that comes together in less than 30 minutes, start to finish. Buffalo Chicken French Breads - chicken breast pieces doused in buffalo wing sauce, all atop french bread, covered with two types of cheese, and toasted until bubbly perfection. Thinking about it, this really isn't that healthy either. [Carbs + cheese overload!] At least it's topped with some vegetables... green onions & cilantro count, right? ;)
Buffalo Chicken French BreadsServings/Yield: 4-6 servings
- 1 loaf French bread
- 1½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ⅔ cup buffalo wing sauce
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3-6 tablespoons ranch dressing
- 8 ounces colby jack cheese, shredded
- 6 ounces feta or blue cheese
- 4-6 green onions, sliced
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF
Knowing many of you are Taste of Home subscribers, I rarely mention their cookbooks although I've bought a few that were available to me for $10.00. Taste of Home 2012 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes, however, cost $22.99 plus postage. Bryan shoppers tell me they prefer recipes that are easy to make and don't take a grocery bag full of ingredients to make so this should be a winner.
The cookbook came on a cold winter day when I didn't plan
to leave the house. Fortunately, I happened to have the ingredients for Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce. When pork loin halves are on sale, meat department people cut a roast into 1-inch chops for me. That way I'm rarely without pork chops in the freezer. Although the original recipe said to cook pork chops to 160oF, I only cook them to 145oF. The National Pork Board follows the guidance of the U.S.D.A. which recommends cooking roasts, tenderloins and chops to an internal temperature of 145oF, followed by a 3 minute rest time. Ground pork, however, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160oF.
PORK CHOPS WITH MUSTARD SAUCE
•4 boneless pork loin chops (about 6 oz. each)
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1/4 teaspoon pepper
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
•3 cloves garlic, minced
•1/2 cup chicken broth
•1 tablespoon butter
•1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
•1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
•1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, brown chops in olive oil. Add wine and garlic, stirring to loosen brown bits from pan. Bring to a boil; cook for 2 minutes. Add broth; cover and cook for 8 minutes or until internal temperature is 145oF. Remove pork from skillet and cover with foil. On medium high heat bring pan juices to a boil; cook until juice is reduced to 1/3 cup. Stir in butter, lemon juice, mustard and Worcestershire sauce; heat through. Serve with pork. Yield: 4 servings.
SOURCE: Adapted from Taste of Home 2012 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes.
My Mary Ann started brining pork and poultry way before I did but I'm here to say it does make meat juicier. The following proportions are enough for 4 pork chops or a chicken half:
•1/4 cup kosher salt
•2 tablespoons sugar
•1 quart water
Whisk salt and sugar together in quart of water until both are dissolved. Add meat and brine in the refrigerator 1 hour per pound. Drain brine and proceed with grilling, broiling or roasting.
AVOIDING THE FLU
The flu season extends into March so we're hearing a lot about how to avoid it. I have a soap dispenser at the sink that I don't have to touch and I use it a lot. The hand towel in the kitchen as well as the bathroom is changed daily. Invest in Clorox wipes to sterilize surfaces. Daddy was way head of his time by cleaning counter tops, etc., before dishes are washed, not afterwards with dirty dishwater. In addition to cleaning vegetable brushes in the dishwasher, clean toothbrushes as well. Especially during flu season don't share the same toothpaste tube. With all the additional hand washing, do keep them lubricated with CeraVe moisturizing lotion, recommended by dermatologists. Regarding laundry, follow directions for washing delicate and colored clothes in your automatic washer but when it comes to bed linens, kitchen towels, wash cloths, also ones used in the bathroom, only hot water will kill bacteria. One other thing: Do avoid anti-bacterial soaps because you could build up immunity to bacteria that could later save your life. This is a well known fact and I can't understand why antibacterial soaps and detergents are still on the market!
CONVENIENCE FOODS NOT ALL BAD
My generation cooked more "from scratch" but I've added some of the produce department's pre-packaged mixed vegetables to my shopping list. Remember the recipe made with the zucchini stir-fry combo on the January 14 memo? This weekend I tried the broccoli stir-fry with La Choy's new Orange Ginger Marinade and Sauce. Since I like fresh mushrooms, I also added them to the mix.
ORANGE GINGER BROCCOLI STIR-FRY
•8 oz. package button mushrooms, sliced
•1 tablespoon olive oil
•1 tablespoon butter
•1 package broccoli stir-fry (mine weighed about 3/4 lbs.)
•2/3 cup La Choy Orange Ginger Marinade and Sauce
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute mushrooms in olive oil and butter until nicely browned. Add broccoli stir-fry mixture and Orange Ginger Marinade and Sauce, stirring constantly until just crisp-cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately. Recipe makes 4 portions. Note: To make this a quick main dish instead of a side, add 1 cup cut-up rotisserie chicken.
PS: Salt is mentioned twice in the list of ingredients in the Groundhog Soup recipe in the January 28 memo. The amount needed is 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste), not an additional 3/4 teaspoon!
Download PDF of Memo #2306
Sometimes the winter can seem to drag on forever... week after week of cold weather, snowstorms, and not a whole lot of excitement going on. My solution to getting through the winter doldrums? Celebrate each and every little holiday out there! Make a big deal for Groundhog's Day on February 2. Go all out for Valentine's Day on February 14. Celebrate National Banana Bread Day on February 23. (Just kidding on that last one. Maybe...) One of the bigger celebrations throughout the month of February is definitely Mardi Gras. While I've never been down to New Orleans, I do enjoy the typical Mardi Gras cuisine. Gumbo, jambalaya, catfish, bananas foster, and you can't forget the beignets! Today I've got two Mardi Gras recipes that would be perfect for a little party or get-together. First up, Cajun Crab Dip. Creole spices play up the traditional warm crab dip. Add in some pickled okra and bell peppers, and you've got a delicious snack, perfect for scooping up with toasted baguette slices. Next, Muffuletta Paninis. Layers of salami, ham, provolone, mozzarella mixed with tangy olives salad make this sandwich hard to beat. All pressed between two crusty slices of ciabatta bread, it's a fun twist on the classic muffuletta sandwich. To get the dip started, saute celery and bell peppers in some butter until tender. I'm not gonna lie... I was skeptical about these at first. But if you like pickles, you'll love them![/caption] Now for the panini, start by preparing the olive salad - green olives, black olives, vinegar, olive oil, & seasonings. It adds a great tang to the sandwiches. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Cajun Crab DipServings/Yield: 10-12 servings
- ¼ cup butter
- 6 green onions, sliced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 1 cup chopped red & green bell peppers
- 16-oz imitation crab meat, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1½ teaspoons Creole seasoning
- 8-oz package cream cheese
- ¾ cup sliced pickled okra
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- toasted French baguette slices
Muffuletta PaninisServings/Yield: 4-6 sandwiches
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced
- ½ lb. hard salami
- ½ lb. ham
- ¼ lb. sliced provolone
- ¼ lb. sliced mozzarella,
- Olive Salad
- 10-oz jar pimento-stuffed green olives, drained & chopped
- 8-oz jar black olives, drained & chopped
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
This is another super simple recipe that makes for a satisfying meal. 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained 15 oz. can sweet corn, drained 12.5 oz. can white chicken breast, drained 10 oz. can green enchilada sauce 14 oz. can chicken broth 1 taco seasoning packet Mix all ingredients together in a large stock pot or crockpot. Heat through until warm, stirring occasionally. Serve with tortilla chips and sour cream.
Here's an easy weekday meal solution that can easily be sized down or sized up, depending on how many you plan to feed. 2 cans Chief canned beef2 1/2 cups salsa 2 1/2 TB. chili powder2 1/2 TB. oregano 2 1/2 TB. cocoa powder 1 tsp. salt Drain beef and break apart in a crockpot with a fork. Stir in salsa and remaining ingredients. Cook on high in crockpot, stirring often until hot. Serve in taco shells or over tortilla chips, like nachos. Feel free to add toppings such as tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, olives, peppers, avocados, sour cream, refried beans, black beans. The possibilities are endless!
Hearty Hamburger Soup is a recipe I turn to when I need a quick, satisfying meal. It's appealing to nearly everyone and it's flexible enough that you can add in other veggies or leave them out, depending on your own preferences. SERVES 8 • PREP: 10 MIN. • COOK: 30 MIN. 1 lb. ground beef 4 cups water 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained 3 medium carrots, sliced 2 medium potatoes, peeled & cubed 1 medium onion, chopped 1/2 cup chopped celery 4 tsp. beef bouillon granules 1 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper 1/4 tsp dried oregano 1 cup cut fresh or frozen green beans In a large saucepan, brown beef; drain. Add the next 10 ingredients; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Add beans. Cover and simmer 15 minutes longer or until the beans are tender.
FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF
I made a point of watching the ABC program, The Chew, before writing a review of the New York Times best selling cookbook, The Chew (Hyperion Books 2012; $19.00/softback), a Christmas present from godchild, Gina Decker. What I really like best about the program and the cookbook is the camaraderie between the featured chefs. Their tips are interesting as is over 100 seasonal recipes. Each one includes skill level and price range. From entertaining to family dinners to holiday planning, The Chew TV show and the cookbook make life a little bit easier and a lot more fun! Since we're in the middle of winter I settled on a recipe from that section. Although I made my version of Eggs in Hell for the West Unity Egg-N-fest years ago (mine wasn't as spicy as Iron Chef Mario Batali's), my fondness for grits drew me to Top Chef Carla Hall's Eggs in Heaven. Hall says the secret to having creamy grits is to use half water and half whole milk.
EGGS IN HEAVEN
•1-1/2 cups water
•1 cup whole milk
•1 teaspoon salt
•1 cup stone-ground hominy grits or quick grits
•4 tablespoons butter
•1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
•1/4 cup parsley
•Vegetable oil spray
•Black pepper to taste
•1 ham steak, grilled
Preheat oven to 305oF. In a 3-quart heavy bottomed pot, bring water, milk and salt to a boil. Gradually stir in the grits and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until thick. Whisk often to prevent lumps. Stir in butter and cheese. Pour grits into an 11-by-7-inch glass baking dish. Make 6 depressions in the grits mixture about 2-inches apart with the back of a spoon sprayed with oil spray. Carefully break one egg into each depression. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Bake uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, or until eggs are at the desired doneness. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve hot with a grilled ham steak. Recipe makes 6 servings.
SOURCE: Recipe used with permission of Hyperion Books, a division of HarperCollins.
FOCUS ON CALCIUM
Don't worry that the calcium you consume from food or supplements will build up in coronary arteries and cause atherosclerosis. Such coronary calcification is a marker for increased coronary risk, and some researchers have claimed that calcium intake, especially supplements, contribute to it. But new research from the long-running Framingham Offspring Study has concluded that people who consume the most calcium from food and/or supplements, as much as 3,000 milligrams a day, do not have more coronary calcium.
SOURCE: University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, February 2013.
BEANS, BEANS, BEANS .... THEY'RE GOOD FOR
With Valentine's Day coming up this week, you might be wanting to cook your sweetie a special meal. Sometimes going out to eat on Valentine's can be a bit overrated - long waits and high prices make the experience not so enjoyable. Plus, a romantic meal at home can be just as fun! One of my favorite things to do is to surprise my husband with one of his favorite comfort foods. (The man could eat meatloaf and mashed potatoes every day for the rest of his life and not complain a bit.) He also really loves macaroni & cheese. I decided to kick it up a notch by adding lobster, to make it a little more fancy for Valentine's Day. Served in individual gratin dishes, this was the perfect special occasion meal! Rich & creamy, with two types of cheese, this meal did not disappoint. Definitely worth the splurge! First, the lobster. If you can find already prepared lobster, you can use that, but I decided to be adventurous and cook lobster tails for the first time. It was actually pretty easy! Just cut a slit up the center of the shell, and very carefully pull the shell apart.
Lobster Mac & CheeseServings/Yield: 4-6 servings
- 8-oz. rigatoni
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- 6-oz. baby swiss cheese, shredded
- 4-oz. white cheddar cheese, shredded
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced chives
- 12-oz. cooked lobster or crab meat,, cut into chunks
- ½ cup panko crumbs
FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF
There must be a cookbook for just about every food I
can think of so it came as no surprise when a review copy of Man Bites Dog by Bruce Kraig with colored photos by Patty Carroll came in the mail recently. Man Bites Dog explores the transformation of hot dogs from unassuming street fare to paradigms of regional expression, social mobility and democracy. Author Bruce Kraig, professor emeritus at Roosevelt University and noted food historian, investigates the history, people, decor and venues that make up hot dog culture and what it says about our country. It's a must for the dog fan, the foodie, the pop culture maven and the street-cart obsessed. Recipes are also included like Split Pea Soup with Hot Dogs, perfect fare for the middle of winter! My suggestion: make this recipe with good quality beef hot dogs.
SPLIT PEA SOUP WITH HOT DOGS
•2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
•1 clove garlic, minced
•1 medium onion, diced into medium pieces
•1 medium carrot, diced into small pieces
•1 cup split peas
•4 cups water
•1 bay leaf
•1 teaspoon salt
•Ground pepper to taste
•6 hot dogs, cut into 1-inch rounds
Place oil or butter in a deep pan and heat. Add diced onion, carrot and garlic and saute until onion is somewhat transparent. Add split peas, water, bay leaf and salt. Cover pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 45 minutes or until peas are very soft. Remove bay leaf from pan. Using a hand blender or a fine-bladed masher, puree the peas until a thick soup is formed. Add water if necessary. Add salt, and pepper to taste (more is better), and hot dogs. Cook until hot dogs are heated throughout. Serve with good bread. Serves 4.
SOURCE: Man Bites Dog by Bruce Kraig (AltaMira Press, a
division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing, December 2012, $40.00/cloth). Order from Amazon.com.
Broccoli - a nutrition champion!
Like other cruciferous vegetables in the Brassicaceae
family, it's rich in vitamin C, folate (a B vitamin), and fiber,
plus potassium, vitamin K and beta carotene. One cup (3
ounces, raw, chopped) has about as much vitamin C as a medium- sized orange. And all for only 30 calories per cup.
Studies have linked cruciferous vegetables to a reduced
risk of bladder, colon, lung and other cancers and have attributed this to their unique phytochemicals. Most recently, an analysis of 13 existing studies from the U.S., Europe and China, published in the Journal The Breast, linked broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables to a 15 percent reduced risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Broccoli is an especially good source of sulforaphane
which is formed from another compound, glucosinolate,
when the vegetable is chopped, chewed and digested. According to test-tube studies, sulforaphane may inhibit cancer, in part, by boosting production of enzymes that detoxify carcinogens and inhibiting other enzymes that activate carcinogens. In addition, phytochemicals in broccoli may reduce the spread of cancer cells or cause them to self-destruct.
SOURCE: University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, February 2013.
You knew I would follow up the broccoli article with a
broccoli salad. Sporting 4 chopped hard cooked eggs, consider this one a main dish entree.
RAW BROCCOLI SALAD
•2-1/2 cups cleaned and finely chopped broccoli
•2/3 cup finely chopped onion
•2 ribs celery, chopped
•1/2 cup Spanish stuffed olives, chopped but not
•1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
•1/4 teaspoon pepper
•4 hard cooked eggs, chopped
•1/2 cup Light Hellmann's mayonnaise
•1/3 cup regular or reduced-fat sour cream
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight. Recipe makes 4 main dish salads or 6 sides.
"AN APPLE A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY"
I don't always want an apple pie to deal with but a recipe of Microwave Red Hot Apple Slices is a tasty alternative and satisfies my sweet tooth. Chances are you have the ingredients on hand to make them. Milli Simerl shared this
recipe years ago.
RED-HOT APPLE SLICES
•3 Gala or Golden Delicious apples, peeled and sliced
•1/4 cup red-hots
Arrange apple slices in glass 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle red-hots over top. Microwave on high 3 to 4 minutes, just until apples are tender, stirring twice. Remove from dish. Discard any red-hots that haven't melted. Pour remaining syrup over apples.
Download PDF of Memo #2304