What is Nowruz? Persian New Year traditions and food explained | CNN

Editor’s Note: Sign up for CNN’s Eat, But Better: Mediterranean Style. Our eight-part guide shows you a delicious expert-backed eating lifestyle that will boost your health for life.



CNN
 — 

Just as spring is a time for rebirth, the Persian New Year is a time to celebrate new life. Nowruz is celebrated on the spring equinox, which Tuesday, March 19.

This celebration of spring is filled with symbolism around rebirth and renewal, because spring is a time when life is coming back after a long, cold winter, said Yasmin Khan, the London-based human rights campaigner turned author of “The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen,” “Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen,” and “Ripe Figs: Recipes and Stories from the Eastern Mediterranean.”

These three cookbooks from Khan inspire and provide a window into the cultures and stories of people from the Middle East through food.

The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

CNN: What are some of Persian New Year’s traditions and rituals?

Yasmin Khan: On the last Tuesday before the New Year, there is a tradition to make small bonfires in your garden. Traditionally people jump over the bonfires, and it’s supposed to be a symbol of purification, challenges of the year gone by, and energetically cleansing you and preparing you for the year ahead.

A key tradition is to set up an altar in your house called a Haft-seen, which means seven S’s in Farsi. You place seven things on your altar that begin with the letter S in Farsi, which are symbols or qualities you’d like to invite in for the year ahead. You can have apples for good health, candles for light, eggs for fertility, wheatgrass for rebirth and renewal, vinegar for wisdom, and a gold coin for abundance and prosperity. Each person chooses items that have meaning for them.

The festival lasts two weeks. At the end of the festival, you take the wheatgrass you’ve been growing on your altar and you take it down to some running water somewhere. You tie knots in the wheatgrass then throw it into the running water. It would float off along with all your hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

CNN: What food is important for the holiday?

Khan: Like all cultural celebrations, food is a really integral part. Because it’s a festival celebrating spring, we eat lots of green and fresh herbs. For example, there’s this dish called Kuku Sabzi (see recipe below), which is a gorgeous herb and spinach frittata that we always eat on the first day of the year in our house. The frittata is fragrant and aromatic and is served with flatbreads, sliced tomatoes and pickles.

The first meal of the Persian New Year is always fish served with herb-flecked rice filled with dill, parsley and chives in it. The two-week festival is a time of celebration with people you know … traditionally you go to people’s houses and eat lots of delicious sweets and pastries.

CNN: What are some easy ways people can join in the celebrations?

Khan: Cooking is probably the easiest and most fun way to celebrate the new year. I really recommend that people give some Persian recipes a go. As well as being delicious, they’re healthy and vibrant with all the herbs that are packed in them.

In the weeks before the new year, we do a big deep spring cleaning called “shaking down the house” in Farsi. It’s really lovely to have a focus and have something that is about bringing in new life, renewal and rebirth during this difficult time.

And no one regrets a spring clean, so I think that’s also a really great idea. I think this is a beautiful kind of nonreligious festival that everyone can join into and that we can all relate to. It’s a time where we really try and let go of any difficulties that we’ve had in the past year and try to start the new year with a clean slate.

This Iranian frittata is a sensational deep green color and tastes like spring on a plate, bursting with fresh herby flavor. It is incredibly quick to throw together, will keep for a few days in the fridge, and can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Serve as an appetizer or as part of a mezze spread, wrapped up in a flatbread with some slices of tomato and a few salty and sour fermented cucumber pickles, or add some crumbled feta and lightly toasted walnuts for a more substantial main.

Makes 4 servings as a main or 8 servings as a starter

Prep time: 15 minutes | Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

7 ounces|200 grams spinach

1 3/4 ounces|50 grams fresh parsley

1 3/4 ounces|50 grams fresh dill

2 2/3 ounces|75 grams fresh cilantro

5 medium eggs

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaf

2 teaspoons sunflower oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Instructions

1. Wash spinach, parsley, dill and cilantro, then dry well on paper towels or in a salad spinner. Squeeze out as much moisture as possible; if the greens are wet when they are cooked, they will make the kuku go spongy. Chop finely or blitz in a food processor, in a couple of batches.

2. Heat broiler to high. Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add turmeric, flour, salt, pepper and fenugreek leaf. Stir in the chopped spinach and herbs.

3. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Add garlic and gently fry over low heat to soften, about 2 minutes.

4. Make sure garlic is evenly distributed around the skillet, then pour in the egg mixture. Cook over low heat until kuku is almost cooked through, 5-8 minutes. Finish off in hot broiler.

5. Let kuku cool slightly, then cut into triangular slices to serve.

This is typically the first meal served during Nowruz, according to cookbook author Yasmin Khan.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

Marinade

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dark soy sauce

Juice of 1 medium lemon

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

4 salmon fillets

Mixed herb rice

1 3/4 cups white basmati rice

Sea salt

Pinch of saffron strands

Pinch of granulated sugar

2 tablespoons freshly boiled water

1 small bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 small bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped

2 tablespoons bunch fresh chives, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

Sunflower oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

Instructions

1. To make the marinade, combine garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil and cayenne pepper, if using, in a deep bowl. Add salmon, turn to coat well, cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

2. Rinse and parboil rice and prepare the saffron liquid. Place saffron in a pestle and mortar with sugar and grind until you have a fine powder. Add just-boiled water and let steep for 10 minutes.

3. Very carefully, fold rice, chopped herbs, garlic clove and 1 tablespoon oil together, being careful not to break the rice grains.

4. Preheat oven to 400°F/Gas 6. Place an 8”-wide nonstick saucepan with snug-fitting lid over a medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 2 tablespoons oil. Add 1 tablespoon saffron liquid and season with a pinch of salt. Once the fat is hot, sprinkle a thin layer of rice over the bottom and firmly press down to line the base of the pan. Using a large spoon, gently layer the rest of the rice on top, building it up into a pyramid shape. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, make 4 holes in the rice. Dot remaining 1 tablespoon butter into holes and then pour over the rest of the saffron liquid.

5. Place a clean tea towel or 4 paper towels on top of the pan and fit the lid on tightly. Tuck in the edges of the tea towel, or trim paper towels to fit, so they won’t catch the flame. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to very low and cook 15 minutes more. Take rice off heat and let sit. Do not be tempted to sneak a peek while it is cooking as this will disturb the steaming process. When rice has been cooking for 10 minutes, place salmon on a baking tray and bake skin side up until cooked to your liking, 10-15 minutes.

6. Once rice has cooked, fill sink with 2” cold water and place saucepan – with lid still tightly on – in the water. This will produce a rush of steam that should loosen the base of the rice. Remove lid, place a large plate on top of pan and quickly turn rice over. Present the herbed rice with the fish and serve immediately.

This recipes are adapted from Yasmin Khan’s book “The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen.”

Source link

#Nowruz #Persian #Year #traditions #food #explained #CNN

Rat poop, bug bits, mice hair: How many ‘unavoidable defects’ are in peanut butter and other foods you eat? | CNN



CNN
 — 

Brace yourselves, America: Many of your favorite foods may contain bits and pieces of creatures that you probably didn’t know were there.

How about some mice dung in your coffee? Maggots in your pizza sauce? Bug fragments and rat hair in your peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

Oh, and so sorry, chocolate lovers. That dark, delicious bar you devoured might contain 30 or more insect parts and a sprinkling of rodent hair.

Called “food defects,” these dismembered creatures and their excrement are the unfortunate byproduct of growing and harvesting food.

“It is economically impractical to grow, harvest, or process raw products that are totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects,” the US Food and Drug Administration said.

So while there’s no way to get rid of all the creatures that might hitch a ride along the food processing chain, the FDA has established standards to keep food defects to a minimum.

Let’s go through a typical day of meals to see what else you’re not aware that you’re eating.

The coffee beans you grind for breakfast are allowed by the FDA to have an average of 10 milligrams or more animal poop per pound. As much as 4% to 6% of beans by count are also allowed to be insect-infested or moldy.

As you sprinkle black pepper on your morning eggs, try not to think about the fact you may be eating more than 40 insect fragments with every teaspoon, along with a smidgen of rodent hair.

Did you have fruit for breakfast? Common fruit flies can catch a ride anywhere from field to harvest to grocery store, getting trapped by processors or freezing in refrigerated delivery trucks and ending up in your home.

Let’s say you packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone’s lunch. Good choice!

Peanut butter is one of the most controlled foods in the FDA list; an average of one or more rodent hairs and 30 (or so) insect fragments are allowed for every 100 grams, which is 3.5 ounces.

The typical serving size for peanut butter is 2 tablespoons (unless you slather). That means each 2 tablespoon-peanut butter sandwich would only have about eight insect fragments and a teensy bit of rodent filth. (“Filth” is what the FDA calls these insect and rodent food defects.)

Unfortunately, jelly and jam are not as controlled. Apple butter can contain an average of four or more rodent hairs for every 3.5 ounces (100 grams) and about five whole insects. Oh, and that isn’t counting the unknown numbers of teensy mites, aphids and thrips.

Apple butter can also contain up to 12% mold, which is better than cherry jam, which can be 30% moldy, or black currant jam, which can be 75% moldy.

Did you pack some of the kid-size boxes of raisins for your child’s midafternoon snack?

Golden raisins are allowed to contain 35 fruit fly eggs as well as 10 or more whole insects (or their equivalent heads and legs) for every 8 ounces. Kid-size containers of raisins are an ounce each. That’s more than four eggs and a whole insect in each box.

Any Bloody Mary fans? The tomato juice in that 14-ounce Bloody Mary could contain up to four maggots and 20 or more fruit fly eggs.

And if you’re having a fruity cocktail, just be aware that the canned citrus juices that many bars use can legally have five or more fruit fly eggs or other fly eggs per cup (a little less than 250 milliliters). Or that cup of juice could contain one or more maggots. Apricot, peach and pear nectars are allowed to contain up to 12% moldy fruit.

Oh, gosh, the possibilities are endless! Did you know there can be 450 insect parts and nine rodent hairs in every 16-ounce box of spaghetti?

Canned tomatoes, tomato paste and sauces such as pizza sauce are a bit less contaminated than the tomato juice in your cocktail. The FDA only allows about two maggots in a 16-ounce can.

Adding mushrooms to your spaghetti sauce or pizza? For every 4-ounce can of mushrooms there can be an average of 20 or more maggots of any size.

The canned sweet corn we love is allowed to have two or more larvae of the corn ear worm, along with larvae fragments and the skins the worms discard as they grow.

For every ¼ cup of cornmeal, the FDA allows an average of one or more whole insects, two or more rodent hairs and 50 or more insect fragments, or one or more fragments of rodent dung.

Asparagus can contain 40 or more scary-looking but teensy thrips for every ¼ pound. If those aren’t around, FDA inspectors look for beetle eggs, entire insects or heads and body parts.

Frozen or canned spinach is allowed to have an average of 50 aphids, thrips and mites. If those are missing, the FDA allows larvae of spinach worms or eight whole leaf miner bugs.

Dismembered insects can be found in many of our favorite spices as well. Crushed oregano, for example, can contain 300 or more insect bits and about two rodent hairs for every 10 grams. To put that in context, a family-size bottle of oregano is about 18 ounces or 510 grams.

Paprika can have up to 20% mold, about 75 insect parts and 11 rodent hairs for every 25 grams (just under an ounce). A typical spice jar holds about 2 to 3 ounces.

By now you must be asking: Just how do they count those tiny insect heads and pieces of rodent dung?

“Food manufacturers have quality assurance employees who are constantly taking samples of their packaged, finished product to be sure they’re not putting anything out that is against the rules,” said food safety specialist Ben Chapman, a professor in agricultural and human sciences at North Carolina State University.

Sometimes they do it by hand, Chapman said. “They take 10 bags out of a weeklong production and try to shake out what might be in here,” he said. “Do we have particularly high insect parts or was it a particularly buggy time of year when the food was harvested? And they make sure they are below those FDA thresholds.”

What happens if it was a buggy week and lots of insects decided to sacrifice themselves? Can they get all those eggs, legs and larvae out?

“They really can’t,” Chapman said. But they can take the food and send it to a process called “rework.”

“Say I’ve got a whole bunch of buggy fresh cranberries that I can’t put in a bag and sell,” Chapman said. “I might send those to a cranberry canning operation where they can boil them and then skim those insect parts off the top and put them into a can.”

That’s gross. Will I ever eat any of these foods again?

“Look, this is all a very, very, very low-risk situation,” Chapman said. “I look at it as a yuck factor versus a risk factor. Insect parts are gross, but they don’t lead to foodborne illnesses.”

Much more dangerous, Chapman points out, is the potential for stone, metal, plastic or glass parts to come along with harvested food as it enters the processing system. All foods are subjected to X-rays and metal detectors, Chapman said, because when those slip through, people can actually be hurt.

Also much more dangerous are foodborne illnesses such as salmonella, listeria and E. coli, which can severely sicken and even kill.

“Cross-contamination from raw food, undercooking food, hand-washing and spreading germs from raw food, those are the things that contribute to the more than 48 million cases of foodborne illness we have every year in the US,” Chapman said.

Well, put that way, I guess my disgust over that rodent poop in my coffee seems overblown.

Maybe.

Source link

#Rat #poop #bug #bits #mice #hair #unavoidable #defects #peanut #butter #foods #eat #CNN

Blueberries have joined green beans in this year’s Dirty Dozen list | CNN

Editor’s Note: Sign up for CNN’s Eat, But Better: Mediterranean Style. Our eight-part guide shows you a delicious expert-backed eating lifestyle that will boost your health for life.



CNN
 — 

Blueberries, beloved by nutritionists for their anti-inflammatory properties, have joined fiber-rich green beans in this year’s Dirty Dozen of nonorganic produce with the most pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental health organization.

In the 2023 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, researchers analyzed testing data on 46,569 samples of 46 fruits and vegetables conducted by the US Department of Agriculture. Each year, a rotating list of produce is tested by USDA staffers who wash, peel or scrub fruits and vegetables as consumers would before the food is examined for 251 different pesticides.

As in 2022, strawberries and spinach continued to hold the top two spots on the Dirty Dozen, followed by three greens — kale, collard and mustard. Listed next were peaches, pears, nectarines, apples, grapes, bell and hot peppers, and cherries. Blueberries and green beans were 11th and 12th on the list.

A total of 210 pesticides were found on the 12 foods, the report said. Kale, collard and mustard greens contained the largest number of different pesticides — 103 types — followed by hot and bell peppers at 101.

Dirty Dozen 2023

2023 Dirty Dozen (most to least contaminated)

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale, collard and mustard greens
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Bell and hot peppers
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Green beans
  • “Some of the USDA’s tests show traces of pesticides long since banned by the Environmental Protection Agency. Much stricter federal regulation and oversight of these chemicals is needed,” the report said.

    “Pesticides are toxic by design,” said Jane Houlihan, former senior vice president of research for EWG. She was not involved in the report.

    “They are intended to harm living organisms, and this inherent toxicity has implications for children’s health, including potential risk for hormone dysfunction, cancer, and harm to the developing brain and nervous system,” said Houlihan, who is now research director for Healthy Babies, Bright Futures, an organization dedicated to reducing babies’ exposures to neurotoxic chemicals.

    There is good news, though. Concerned consumers can consider choosing conventionally grown vegetables and fruits from the EWG’s Clean 15, a list of crops that tested lowest in pesticides, the report said. Nearly 65% of the foods on the list had no detectable levels of pesticide.

    2023 Clean 15

    2023 Clean 15 (least to most contaminated)

  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapple
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Frozen sweet peas
  • Asparagus
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Mushrooms
  • Mangoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Carrots
  • Avocados topped 2023’s list of least contaminated produce again this year, followed by sweet corn in second place. Pineapple, onions and papaya, frozen sweet peas, asparagus, honeydew melon, kiwi, cabbage, mushrooms, mangoes, sweet potatoes, watermelon, and carrots made up the rest of the list.

    Being exposed to a variety of foods without pesticides is especially important during pregnancy and throughout childhood, experts say. Developing children need the combined nutrients but are also harder hit by contaminants such as pesticides.

    “Pesticide exposure during pregnancy may lead to an increased risk of birth defects, low birth weight, and fetal death,” the American Academy of Pediatrics noted. “Exposure in childhood has been linked to attention and learning problems, as well as cancer.”

    The AAP suggests parents and caregivers consult the shopper’s guide if they are concerned about their child’s exposure to pesticides.

    Houlihan, director of Healthy Babies, Bright Futures, agreed: “Every choice to reduce pesticides in the diet is a good choice for a child.”

    Nearly 90% of blueberry and green bean samples had concerning findings, the report said.

    In 2016, the last time green beans were inspected, samples contained 51 different pesticides, according to the report. The latest round of testing found 84 different pest killers, and 6% of samples tested positive for acephate, an insecticide banned from use in the vegetable in 2011 by the EPA.

    “One sample of non-organic green beans had acephate at a level 500 times greater than the limit set by the EPA,” said Alexis Temkin, a senior toxicologist at the EWG with expertise in toxic chemicals and pesticides.

    When last tested in 2014, blueberries contained over 50 different pesticides. Testing in 2020 and 2021 found 54 different pesticides — about the same amount. Two insecticides, phosmet and malathion, were found on nearly 10% of blueberry samples, though the levels decreased over the past decade.

    Acephate, phosmet and malathion are organophosphates, which interfere with the normal function of the nervous system, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    A high dose of these chemicals can cause difficulty breathing, nausea, a lower heart rate, vomiting, weakness, paralysis and seizures, the CDC said. If exposed over an extended time to smaller amounts, people may “feel tired or weak, irritable, depressed, or forgetful.”

    Why would levels of some pesticides be higher today than in the past?

    “We do see drops in some pesticides since the early ’90s when the Food Quality Protection Act was put into place,” Temkin said. “But we’re also seeing increases of other pesticides that have been substituted in their place which may not be any safer. That’s why there’s a push towards overall reduction in pesticide use.”

    Chris Novak, president and CEO of CropLife America, an industry association, told CNN the report “willfully misrepresented” the USDA data.

    “Farmers use pesticides to control insects and fungal diseases that threaten the healthfulness and safety of fruits and vegetables,” Novak said via email. “Misinformation about pesticides and various growing methods breeds hesitancy and confusion, resulting in many consumers opting to skip fresh produce altogether.”

    The Institute of Food Technologists, an industry association, told CNN that emphasis should be placed on meeting the legal limits of pesticides established by significant scientific consensus.

    “We all agree that the best-case scenario of pesticide residues would be as close to zero as possible and there should be continued science-based efforts to further reduce residual pesticides,” said Bryan Hitchcock, IFT’s chief science and technology officer.

    Many fruits and veggies with higher levels of pesticides are critical to a balanced diet, so don’t give them up, experts say. Instead, avoid most pesticides by choosing to eat organic versions of the most contaminated crops. While organic foods are not more nutritious, the majority have little to no pesticide residue, Temkin said.

    “If a person switches to an organic diet, the levels of pesticides in their urine rapidly decrease,” Temkin told CNN. “We see it time and time again.”

    If organic isn’t available or too pricey, “I would definitely recommend peeling and washing thoroughly with water,” Temkin said. “Steer away from detergents or other advertised items. Rinsing with water will reduce pesticide levels.”

    Additional tips on washing produce, provided by the US Food and Drug Administration, include:

    • Handwashing with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after preparing fresh produce.
    • Rinsing produce before peeling, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.
    • Using a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce like apples and melons.
    • Drying the produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.

    Source link

    #Blueberries #joined #green #beans #years #Dirty #Dozen #list #CNN

    High-quality bone broth comes ready-made. Here’s why you should make it yourself | CNN

    Sign up for CNN’s Eat, But Better: Mediterranean Style. Our eight-part guide shows you a delicious expert-backed eating lifestyle that will boost your health for life.



    CNN
     — 

    After everyone at your table has devoured the juiciest pieces of a roast chicken and you’ve treated your canine to the edible rejects, hold off on sliding that picked-over carcass into the trash. Your bird has another gift for you: broth.

    Making homemade broth requires only a few minutes of your time, and the benefits extend far beyond sensory pleasure: to your health, wealth, and even the world around you.

    For centuries, humans have been simmering otherwise inedible animal parts in water, sometimes for days, extracting maximum flavor and nutrients from those bones for nourishing meals to come. Thrifty grandmas and chefs the world over have refined that technique, adding vegetables and seasonings reflecting their cultures and customs. Traditional recipes earned reputations for purported healing powers.

    Over the last few decades, followers of the Paleo diet have incorporated 24-hour broth-making into their everyday kitchen routines, often sipping on their extra-strength broth as a gluten-free pick-me-up in place of coffee and tea — both of which are off-limits on their regimen.

    New York City chef and Food Network personality Marco Canora turned to bone broth — which was regularly available to him at his popular restaurant, Hearth — to help him combat the effects of years of poor lifestyle habits. In 2014, he opened a takeout window called Brodo (Italian for broth) to sell to-go cups of his chef-crafted potions as beverages. He went on to write a book about it and sell it prepackaged and frozen nationwide.

    Breathless testimonies from celebrity influencers of bone broth’s purported magical powers — from easing joint pain to reducing wrinkles to improving gut health — flooded the internet. Products labeled “bone broth” popped up on supermarket shelves. The trend shows no sign of abating. When last checked, TikTok videos with the hashtag #bonebroth had received more than 158 million views.

    Some dietitians and medical professionals agree that bone broth can be a worthy addition to a balanced diet — supplying collagen and other important nutrients. But given that every bone broth recipe and human body are different, specific health claims linked to bone broth should be taken with a grain of salt.

    I had been skeptical of the hype all along, and uninterested in exploring it for myself, until I made a batch last fall by accident while cleaning up after Thanksgiving dinner. Unable to find room in the fridge for the half-eaten turkey, I sawed off the remaining sandwich-worthy slices and dumped the picked-off carcass and grisly parts into my slow cooker, along with half an onion and a few odds and ends from the crisper.

    I set the cooker to low and left it alone for a full 24 hours, giving me time to recuperate from the previous festivities while basking in the tantalizing fragrances wafting from the kitchen.

    The first taste of the finished broth blew me away — richer and more complex than any packaged product or broth I’d made from scratch on top of my stove in a fraction of the time. I could practically feel the nourishment coursing through my bones. I placed the strained broth in the fridge and was happy to find it congealed to a jiggly consistency the next day, a clear sign that those picked-off turkey parts had done their job. And now I had the foundation for restaurant-quality gumbo made almost entirely with remains of the feast: a win-win all the way around.

    My curiosity was piqued. So what if bone broth wasn’t the cure-all it was cracked up to be. It was wholesome, grocery-stretching and most importantly to me, freaking delicious. I wanted to figure out how to reap the full spectrum of advantages bone broth had to offer. I turned to experts for guidance.

    Linton Hopkins, a James Beard Award-winning chef who helms the newly reopened Holeman & Finch Public House in Atlanta along with other high-profile spots in the South, learned the craft the classic way at the Culinary Institute of America.

    “As a chef and a cook, I don’t feel good without a stock going. It’s one of my things,” Hopkins said. “We make all our stocks at our restaurants. And I do it all the time at home for me and my wife, Gina. They’re the easiest thing in the world. I’ll roast a whole chicken, we’ll eat what we can, and the rest will go right into the Instant Pot. I did the same thing with the bones from a beef roast last night. I’m no doctor, but I know good food is good for your life.”

    Besides taste and nutrition, broth-making  can be a sound economic decision for the budget-conscious.

    The terms “stock” and “broth” are often used interchangeably, Hopkins noted. But stocks typically indicate a higher bone-to-meat ratio. Broths can even be made with just the meat. “But as a whole-animal, whole-vegetable cook, all my stocks and broths are essentially bone broth. I see stock as an ingredient I cook with. Broth to me is a finished word — meaning it’s ready to serve in a bowl as is.”

    Aside from taste and nutrition, he views stock- and broth-making as both an economic decision and an ethical responsibility.

    “In the restaurant business, the margins are very thin, so we have to strive for zero waste,” he said. “We ask a lot of an animal to give its life for our diets. If we’re going to bring these items into our kitchens and throw them away after a single use, then we’re part of the problem.”

    Michelle Tam grew up in a traditional Cantonese American household in California’s Bay Area where her mother served multicourse meals that always ended with soup.

    “And she would always throw a bone in there. I remember as a kid we would walk down to the neighborhood butcher, and he would step out of the freezer with this giant plastic bag of bones for 25 cents,” Tam said. “We would get a variety of different kinds of bones with some meat left on them that would flavor the soup, and it was really delicious.”

    But it wasn’t until she and her husband began eliminating processed foods from their diets and replacing them with wholesome ones as part of a fitness regimen that she considered making broth from scratch herself. “I don’t know that it’s some magical elixir,” said Tam, a former clinical pharmacist who now creates recipes full time for her popular Nom Nom Paleo blog and spin-off cookbooks. “But it’s a great source of collagen, which most people don’t get enough of and is really important for joints and gut health and all that stuff.”

    Chicken feet can be among the tasty bone broth ingredients, providing a great source of collagen.

    Collagen is the main constituent of connective tissue fibrils and bones that releases gelatin into liquid as it cooks. It’s most abundant in skin, feet, joints, marrow and knuckles. Tam may mix parts from different animals — lamb, pork, beef, chicken. The results, she said, are inevitably tasty.

    “I’m always collecting chicken thigh bones, and I buy chicken feet when I see them at the butcher,” she said. Chicken feet contain tons of collagen, she said. But she warned not to go overboard, or you may wind up with a rubber ball. “I tried that, and it wasn’t delicious. One or two should do the trick. I also like to include something meaty for flavor, like a chicken leg. And chicken wings are excellent.”

    Because bone broth can be “a spectacular growth medium for bacteria,” Tam refrigerates hers as soon as it reaches room temperature, and whatever isn’t consumed within a few days goes into the freezer. She offers ways to store bone broth conveniently and safely in usable portion sizes (she’s tried muffin tins, ice cube trays and silicone baking molds) and recipes for her favorite ways of using broth in a super-simple egg drop soup and slow cooker Korean short ribs on her blog.

    With her multi-cooker, Tam can now produce collagen-rich bone broth in as little as an hour. But she’s not above buying bone broth ready-made when time is short or personal bone supplies are low, now that she’s found several brands she can trust. Roli Roti, which began as a food truck in the Bay Area selling rotisserie chicken, contains only a couple of ingredients and is “super high quality and super gelatinous.” Bonafide Provisions, found in many supermarket freezer sections, has become another standby.

    Cassy Joy Garcia, a certified holistic nutritionist and New York Times best-selling cookbook author, became a fan of bone broth more than a decade ago during her marathon-running days and writes about it regularly on her healthy lifestyle blog, Fed + Fit.

    “I think bone broth is getting some new attention now with grocery prices on the rise and people wanting to do more with less,” Garcia said. “I feel like it’s an easy entry point for some good DIY kitchen basics. If you’ve already roasted a chicken, just go ahead and throw that carcass in your pot or pressure cooker along with that random onion in the pantry and scraggly carrot in the fridge, and lo and behold, you’re going to save yourself some money and have broth that tastes better and is better for you than anything you’d buy.”

    Toss in vegetable scraps from your fridge such as carrots and celery when preparing a bone broth.

    She collects leftover bones from roasted meats and chicken in silicone freezer bags and keeps a veggie bowl at the forefront of her fridge for tossing in vegetable scraps, peels and all that could go into a homemade broth.

    Now with more mouths to feed as a mother of three preschoolers, she does allow herself to take a shortcut from time to time with a quality premade product. One of her favorites is Fond sipping broth made of grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chicken bones, which come in flavor combinations such as ginger and cayenne, and shiitake and sage.

    “They’re definitely a luxury product,” she said. “But they’re really a cool way to show what a broth can be and can open our eyes to exploring different flavors we can play with at home.”

    On her blog, Garcia offers a detailed guide to making beef and chicken bone broth, and a slightly more complex one boosted with turmeric and ginger, which she uses for making her favorite chicken soup.

    She gives you the options for making the broth in various vessels but makes no bones about her preference for her high-speed pressure cooker.

    As for myself, I’m sticking to my slow cooker for now, content to inhale those 24-hour aromatics all day and allow them to soothe me to sleep.

    Since Thanksgiving, I’ve made several more batches of bone broth following advice from the experts and falling down many rabbit holes of online research along the way.

    I’ve been patronizing the nearby international farmers market more often to seek out a variety of bones from animals that have been responsibly raised without harmful chemicals that could negate my broth’s potential health benefits.

    Freeze whatever hasn't been consumed of your bone broth within a few days of making it.

    Some purists only use bones and water, giving them more flexibility to add layers of flavor later. But I can’t resist throwing in a few extras to amp up the nutritional and flavor profile (roasted mushrooms and a splash of red wine for beef, fresh ginger and turmeric for chicken, and always extra cloves of garlic).

    I’ve made a habit of stashing yogurt containers of my finished products, along with baggies of leftover bones and trimmings, so long as space permits in my freezer.

    Serious chefs boil the bones first to rid them of some of the impurities and then caramelize them in a 400- to 450-degree oven to deepen their flavors before proceeding. One day maybe I’ll find the motivation to give that a try.

    I have quickly learned that, as easy and satisfying as bone broth is to make, I’m lucky if I can produce 2 quarts at a time — barely enough for one batch of soup or gumbo. But I wasn’t planning to replace my morning coffee with steaming broth anyway. And if I’m really hankering for the real deal before I get around to making another batch, I’m happy to have discovered I can buy Roli Roti, the brand Tam recommended, in the meat department of my neighborhood Publix.

    You don’t have to follow any recipe to make bone broth. But it does help to have some guidance until you get the hang of it. Here’s the basic formula I’ve been loosely going by based on several recipes I’ve studied. Feel free to deviate with what the local butcher needs to dispense of, or what’s soon to go south in your fridge. Mother Earth will be grateful.

    Susan Puckett’s recipe for bone broth is highly flexible. If you have no leftover bones, chicken or turkey wings, drumsticks, necks and gizzards also work great. For extra collagen, a few chicken feet will do the trick. For beef broth, follow the same procedure as for chicken. Or feel free to use bones from other animals as well — lamb, pork, game. Larger bones will take longer to break down so you may want to allow more simmering time.

    Makes roughly 2 quarts (or more, if you have a larger vessel)

    2-3 pounds roasted or raw chicken or beef bones, or a combination

    2 carrots, cut up

    2 celery stalks, cut up

    1 medium unpeeled onion, halved

    5 unpeeled garlic cloves, smashed

    2 bay leaves

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon peppercorns

    2 tablespoons cider vinegar

    Water

    1. Place the bones, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt, peppercorns and vinegar in a slow cooker (mine holds 6 quarts) and add enough water so bones are submerged but not floating.

    2. Cover with the lid and let simmer on low setting for 12 to 24 hours.

    3. Skim off any scum that’s collected on the surface. Turn off the heat and let it cool slightly. Discard the solids (picking out edible meat bits for yourself or the dog.)

    4. Set a large fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl, strain and let it cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate. Scrape off the fat that congeals on the surface.

    5. Use within four to five days or transfer to jars or plastic containers, label and freeze for up to five months. (Or pour the broth into ice cube trays, muffin tins or silicone molds, and freeze and pop them out into freezer bags.)

    Source link

    #Highquality #bone #broth #readymade #Heres #CNN

    Proposed changes to school lunches aim to reduce sugar and sodium, but flavored milk stays | CNN



    CNN
     — 

    If new US Department of Agriculture school food guidelines stand as proposed, chocolate milk is in, but for the first time ever, at least some added sugars will be out – and sodium levels will be reduced gradually.

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack publicly announced the changes on Friday.

    “The purpose of this is to improve the health and welfare of our children. And I think everybody who comes to this issue shares that goal and hopefully, collectively, we can make sure it happens,” Vilsack told CNN in an interview Thursday ahead of the announcement.

    The federally assisted school meal program provides nutritionally balanced meals at school at low or no-cost.

    More than 15.3 million kids every day get breakfast at school in the US and 29.6 million get a school lunch, Vilsack said. The numbers were higher earlier in the pandemic, when meals were offered free to all children regardless of their family’s income, but in June, Congress did not extend the Covid-19 pandemic waivers that had expanded the program.

    While school meals are paid for by local and federal funding, the standards for what goes on a kids’ cafeteria tray are set by the USDA. The agency’s job is to make sure any meal served at school is nutritious and falls in line with the US Dietary Guidelines.

    Flavored milk with “reasonable limits on added sugars” would be allowed under the proposal. Vilsack said school meal administrators tell the USDA that kids just won’t drink much no-fat skim milk or unflavored milk. “That’s not what they get at home,” Vilsack said. “We want to encourage kids to drink milk because there are there’s tremendous nutritional value in milk.”

    However, the proposed standards would limit added sugar in certain high-sugar products like prepackaged muffins, yogurt, and cereal. Eventually, the guidelines would then limit added sugars across the weekly menu.

    The standards would reduce sodium limits, but that would happen gradually over several school years.

    “The [US Food and Drug Administration] provided some insight and direction by suggesting that it is easier for people to accept and adopt to reduced sodium if you do it over a period of time in small increments,” Vilsack said.

    A gradual reduction would also give industry time to reformulate their products, said Dr. Lauren Au, an assistant professor at UC Davis’ Department of Nutrition who studies the effectiveness of school nutrition programs.

    The guidelines would also place a bigger emphasis on whole grains, but still leave options open for an occasional non-whole grain product.

    “Maybe a biscuit can be instituted for a little variety, or grits can be provided where that may make sense from a geographic standpoint. You are sensitive to cultural demands and needs,” Vilsack said.

    The proposed rule would also strengthen the Buy American requirements encouraging schools to use more locally grown food.

    The USDA will invest $100 million in the Healthy Meals Incentives initiative which offers farm-to-school grants and grants to buy equipment. In the 1980s, schools around the country tore out kitchens and bought prepackaged processed food. To make more nutritious meals, schools have had to rebuild or update kitchens.

    “A lot of schools have outdated ovens, freezers, fridges, and that puts limitations on how they can prepare food, so grants that have helped with equipment have been really successful,” Au said.

    The money would also reward schools that do a good job providing nutritious meals. Grants would also be aimed at small and rural districts and training.

    Vilsack said the USDA created these proposed standards after the USDA received thousands of comments and held 50 listening sessions with parents, school food administrators, the food industry, public health and nutrition experts.

    “Establishing these standards are difficult because you have to follow the science you have to follow the dietary guidelines, but you also have to understand that they need to be implemented in the real world which is which is which is tough,” Vilsack said in an interview with CNN.

    Real world circumstances are tough already with the higher cost of food, staff shortages and supply chain problems.

    Au hasn’t seen all of the proposed policies, but she said what she has seen look good.

    “It’s a step forward in terms of promoting healthy nutrition in schools,” Au said. The reduction of added sugar, she added is a big deal.

    “Reducing added sugars for this age range is so important,” AU said.

    Megan Lott, deputy director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program Healthy Eating Research, said that the policies seem to be heading in the right direction.

    “There are a couple of things we would probably like to see strengthened, but it also seems like there are plans to do that over time,” Lott said.

    The sugar standard is a good start, she said, but she’d prefer the proposal instead say that no more than 10% of calories should come from added sugars across the meal plan.

    “But we recognize that schools might need a little bit of time for implementation,” Lott said.

    Lott had also hoped they would take flavored milk off the menu. Research shows that schools that have gotten rid of flavored milk show a drop in milk consumption for a year or two, but milk sales eventually rebound.

    School food has become a proverbial hot potato.

    After decades of bipartisan support for school meals, the program has been politicized in about the last 10 years Lott says, meaning there is bound to be some pushback.

    Friday’s proposed changes would be the first large scale reform of school meal standards since President Barack Obama signed the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act into law.

    The law that went into effect in 2012, championed by first lady Michelle Obama, really did improve US kids’ diet, studies show. The law raised the minimum standards and required schools to serve more whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and fat-free and/or low-fat milk more frequently and serve fewer starchy vegetables and foods high in trans fat and sodium.

    Meals that were eaten by students – not just served to students and then tossed into garbage cans – were much healthier and had better overall nutritional quality, the study showed. Students who didn’t participate in the national program did not see an improvement in their diets.

    Despite the program’s success, in 2018, the Trump administration announced a proposal to roll back many of the policies in the name of “flexibility,” including ones that involved sodium and whole grains. Trump’s policy would essentially create a loophole letting schools sell more burgers, pizza and french fries and reduce the fruit and vegetables sold. A federal court struck down the rule in April 2020.

    During the pandemic, some of the polices were relaxed, like for whole grains, because it was difficult to find products, Lott said.

    Studies show kids who eat meals at school ate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy, compared with those who ate at school less frequently.

    Better nutrition can help prevent obesity. About 20% of the US population ages 2 to 19 live with obesity, which can cause kids to have high blood pressure, breathing problems and type 2 diabetes, and lead to lifelong health problems, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Hungry kids have a hard time paying attention in class. Students who ate healthy meals at school scored better on end-of-year academic tests, studies have shown.

    The new standards are just a proposal. The USDA will ask for additional feedback.

    Vilsack is hopeful the standards will incentivize more schools to offer more healthy options.

    “In terms of future of this program,” Vilsack said, “we want to see more and more school districts push themselves not only to meet the standards, but in some cases to exceed them.”

    Source link

    #Proposed #school #lunches #aim #reduce #sugar #sodium #flavored #milk #stays #CNN

    FDA proposes new levels for lead in baby food, but critics say more action is needed | CNN



    CNN
     — 

    The allowable levels of lead in certain baby and toddler foods should be set at 20 parts per billion or less, according to new draft guidance issued Tuesday by the US Food and Drug Administration.

    “For babies and young children who eat the foods covered in today’s draft guidance, the FDA estimates that these action levels could result in as much as a 24-27% reduction in exposure to lead from these foods,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf in a statement.

    The

    Baby foods covered by the new proposal – which is seeking public comment – include processed baby foods sold in boxes, jars, pouches and tubs for babies and young children younger than 2 years old, the agency said.

    While any action on the part of the FDA is welcome, the suggested levels of lead are not low enough to move the needle, said Jane Houlihan, the national director of science and health for Healthy Babies Bright Futures, a coalition of advocates committed to reducing babies’ exposures to neurotoxic chemicals.

    “Nearly all baby foods on the market already comply with what they have proposed,” said Houlihan, who authored a 2019 report that found dangerous levels of lead and other heavy metals in 95% of manufactured baby food.

    That report triggered a 2021 congressional investigation, which found leading baby food manufacturers knowingly sold products with high levels of toxic metals.

    “The FDA hasn’t done enough with these proposed lead limits to protect babies and young children from lead’s harmful effects. There is no known safe level of lead exposure, and children are particularly vulnerable,” Houlihan said.

    The director of food policy for Consumers Reports, Brian Ronholm, also expressed concerns. In 2018, Consumer Reports analyzed 50 baby foods and found “concerning” levels of lead and other heavy metals. In fact, “15 of them would pose a risk to a child who ate one serving or less per day,” according to Consumer Reports.

    “The FDA should be encouraging industry to work harder to reduce hazardous lead and other heavy metals in baby food given how vulnerable young children are to toxic exposure,” Ronholm said in a statement.

    Exposure to toxic heavy metals can be harmful to the developing brain of infants and children. “It’s been linked with problems with learning, cognition, and behavior,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

    Lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury are in the World Health Organization’s top 10 chemicals of concern for infants and children.

    As natural elements, they are in the soil in which crops are grown and thus can’t be avoided. Some crop fields and regions, however, contain more toxic levels than others, partly due to the overuse of metal-containing pesticides and ongoing industrial pollution.

    The new FDA guidance suggests manufactured baby food custards, fruits, food mixtures — including grain and meat-based blends — puddings, vegetables, yogurts, and single-ingredient meats and vegetables contain no more than 10 parts per billion of lead.

    The exception to that limit is for single-ingredient root vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, which should contain no more than 20 parts per billion, according to the new guidance.

    Dry cereals marketed to babies and toddlers should also not contain more than 20 parts per billion of lead, the new FDA guidance said.

    However, the FDA didn’t propose any lead limit for cereal puffs and teething biscuits, Houlihan said, even though the products account for “7 of the 10 highest lead levels we’ve found in over 1,000 baby food tests we have assessed.”

    The limit set for root vegetables will be helpful, Houlihan added. Because they grow underground, root vegetables can easily absorb heavy metals. For example, sweet potatoes often exceed the 20 parts per billion limit the FDA has proposed, she said.

    Prior to this announcement, the FDA had only set limits for heavy metals in one baby food — infant rice cereal, Houlihan said. In 2021, the agency set a limit of 100 parts per billion for arsenic, which has been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes and neurodevelopmental toxicity.

    There is much more that can be done, according to Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental health organization.

    “We can change where we farm and how we farm to reduce toxic metals absorbed by plants,” Faber said. “We also urge baby food manufacturers to conduct continuous testing of heavy metals in all their products and make all testing results publicly available.”

    Companies can require suppliers and growers to test the soil and the foods they produce, and choose to purchase from those with the lowest levels of heavy metals, Houlihan added.

    “Growers can use soil additives, different growing methods and crop varieties known to reduce lead in their products,” she said.

    What can parents do to lessen their child’s exposure to toxic metals? Unfortunately, buying organic or making baby food at home isn’t going to solve the problem, as the produce purchased at the grocery store can also contain high levels of contaminants, experts say.

    A 2022 report by Healthy Babies, Bright Futures found lead in 80% of homemade purees or store-bought family foods. Arsenic was found in 72% of family food either purchased or prepared at home.

    The best way to lessen your child’s exposure to heavy metals, experts say, is to vary the foods eaten on a daily basis and choose mostly from foods which are likely to have the least contamination. Healthy Babies, Bright Futures created a chart of less to most contaminated foods based on their testing.

    Fresh bananas, with heavy metal levels of 1.8 parts per billion, were the least contaminated of foods tested for the report. After bananas, the least contaminated foods were grits, manufactured baby food meats, butternut squash, lamb, apples, pork, eggs, oranges and watermelon, in that order.

    Other foods with lower levels of contamination included green beans, peas, cucumbers and soft or pureed home-cooked meats, the report found.

    The most heavily contaminated foods eaten by babies were all rice-based, the report said. Rice cakes, rice puffs, crisped rice cereals and brown rice with no cooking water removed were heavily contaminated with inorganic arsenic, the more toxic form of arsenic.

    After rice-based foods, the analysis found the highest levels of heavy metals in raisins, non-rice teething crackers, granola bars with raisins and oat-ring cereals. But those were not the only foods of concern: Dried fruit, grape juice, arrowroot teething crackers and sunflower seed butter all contained high amounts of at least one toxic metal, according to the report.

    While buying organic cannot reduce the levels of heavy metals in infant food, it can help avoid other toxins such as herbicides and pesticides, Dr. Leonardo Trasande, director of environmental pediatrics at NYU Langone Health told CNN previously.

    “There are other benefits to eating organic food, including a reduction in synthetic pesticides that are known to be as bad for babies, if not even more problematic,” Trasande said.

    Source link

    #FDA #proposes #levels #lead #baby #food #critics #action #needed #CNN

    Making the case for an underappreciated but full-of-flavor ingredient | CNN

    Editor’s Note: Sign up for CNN’s Eat, But Better: Mediterranean Style. Our eight-part guide shows you a delicious expert-backed eating lifestyle that will boost your health for life.



    CNN
     — 

    Among foods that spark a strong reaction, anchovies are at the top of the food chain.

    Whether they’re adored or abhorred, it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t have a strong opinion about these small silvery swimmers.

    Food writer Alison Roman wants the haters to think differently. Anchovies are more versatile than most people think and deserve to be approached with an open mind, according to Roman.

    She might be biased — anchovies are one of her all-time favorite foods — but she has a strategy to change cooks’ minds.

    “They’re more of a condiment than an ingredient,” Roman said. “To cook with them, you don’t need to eat them whole.” She incorporates anchovies into many of her dishes in the same way that she would add garlic, herbs or other flavorful aromatics. “Most of the time when I’m eating (anchovies), I can’t even see them.”

    Even if you think your taste buds will rebel if you try an anchovy, your brain and heart will be happier if you do. “Anchovies are a small but mighty fish,” said Michelle Dudash, registered dietitian, nutritionist and author of “The Low-Carb Mediterranean Cookbook.”

    “They’re packed with the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are important for brain, cardiovascular and skin health,” she added. Anchovies are on par with salmon and tuna as one of the fish with the highest amounts of omega-3s per serving, and are a good source of protein, niacin and vitamin B12.

    Following Roman’s lead of using anchovies as one of many elements in a dish instead of as the spotlight ingredient, cooks who want to incorporate anchovies into meals “can start small,” Roman suggested. “They don’t have to dump a whole jar into their salad.”

    Here are three ways Roman likes to introduce anchovies to the wary but curious. Ready to change your “anchoview”? Read on.

    Move over, ranch dressing — there’s another dip in town. Bagna cauda, the Italian dipping sauce made from anchovies, garlic, butter and olive oil, is traditionally served with crudités as an appetizer.

    Roman loves using bagna cauda as a vehicle to introduce unsuspecting dinner guests to anchovies because it hits the taste trifecta of “salty, buttery, garlicky” flavors. “It’s mostly about garlic and vegetables,” Roman said. In addition to the traditional accompaniment of raw, crunchy vegetables, she likes to include steamed artichoke hearts and tender cooked potato slices.

    Bagna cauda is also an answer to the ever-present question about anchovies: What about the bones? “They are so tiny, they mostly all melt” and dissolve into the dish when heat is applied, Roman said. “They’re not going to choke you.”

    “High-quality anchovies shouldn’t have many bones,” she added, and they should not be noticeable like they would be in larger fish, such as a salmon fillet. If you happen to see many bones in your anchovies, “spring for a more expensive tin,” Roman said.

    If the presence of whole anchovies resting atop a bed of romaine in a Caesar salad has been historically too much to handle, Roman’s Caesar-adjacent salad will be a refreshing revelation.

    Roman likes to pair bitter greens from the chicory family, such as radicchio, with a dressing that can stand up to their strong flavors. “I put anchovies in my salads all the time,” she said, but when hidden in the dressing, they add body and nuance without overpowering any of the other ingredients with which they’re paired.

    Anchovies in a dressing can add body and nuance to a salad without overpowering other ingredients.

    Her preferred dressing blends finely chopped anchovies and capers with lemon, whole grain or Dijon mustard, and good quality olive oil. “It’s anchovy-heavy but more about the mustard and the garlic,” Roman explained, which she finds “meatier and saltier and more interesting” than the usual Caesar dressing.

    Finally, the same strategy of dissolving the umami flavors of anchovies in a sauce comes into play when making a rich and comforting pasta. Based on the Venetian dish bigoli in salsa, in which long strands of thick bigoli pasta are tossed with slow-simmered onions and anchovies, Roman’s version can be used with any long, thin pasta.

    Pasta alla puttanesca features garlic, olives, capers, tomatoes and anchovies.

    Roman adds whole anchovies and chopped dried chili pepper to a skillet of sliced onions, garlic and fennel caramelized in olive oil. The whole fillets might look intimidating, but as with the bagna cauda, the anchovies melt and dissolve as the sauce simmers, leaving only a rich and meaty undertone. Finishing the dish with freshly squeezed lemon juice and parsley brightens up the intense sauce.

    A free-form pasta sauce such as this lets you adjust the flavor balance based on what you like best. If you love lemon, squeeze more on. If fennel isn’t your favorite, use more onions instead. If you like it spicy? Amp it up with more chili pepper. “Gauge your own personal preferences,” Roman recommended.

    When choosing a tin or jar of anchovies, Roman said to make sure the anchovies are oil-packed, salt-cured anchovy fillets, not brined, pickled or whole anchovies. The former is the most common style of jarred or canned anchovies on the market, but it always pays to double-check the label.

    Second, “always try a bunch of brands. They really are all different,” Roman said. Though the ingredients in each container should be the same — anchovies, salt and olive oil — the fillets will vary in saltiness, taste and texture. “Ortiz and Cento are available nationally,” she said, and many other brands are available in brick-and-mortar and online specialty food stores.

    One note on the salt-curing: “The only downside of anchovies is the sodium,” Dudash noted, since they are packed in salt during the curing process. “If you are concerned about your sodium intake or if you simply prefer less salty food, briefly rinse the anchovies and pat dry with a paper towel” before using them.

    Source link

    #Making #case #underappreciated #fullofflavor #ingredient #CNN