March 17, 2011 by Chef Ian
Top of the morning to you! How’s everyone doing this St. Patrick’s Day? I’m sure a lot of you are wearing green today, but are you eating green as well? Nutritionists suggest eating a rainbow of colors in order to get the essential vitamins and minerals. And green foods provide some of the best nutrients around. Not to mention, there are so many options you’re bound to find a few you like or even love: lettuce, peppers, peas, asparagus, edamame, avocado, limes, pears, apples, kiwi, and on and on.
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach are a great source of iron and calcium. That’s why Popeye ate so much.
- Green peppers can offer more vitamin C than an orange. Vitamin C is needed to prevent scurvy, a disease often associated with pirates. Scurvy was common among sailors because they went long periods without fresh fruits and vegetables to eat. The English were the first to carry citrus fruits (mainly limes) to ward off this disease which is where the nickname “limey” came from. It’s less common in modern day, but still possible if your diet consists solely of pepperoni pizza.
- Avocados provide healthy fats as well as folate. Folate helps prevent birth defects in unborn children so pregnant mothers might want to consider eating more guacamole.
- Eat your pears and apples with the skin on and you’re gaining an excellent source of dietary fiber. Fiber can help reduce your appetite while also reducing your risk for heart disease and colon cancer.
So as you prepare to drink your green beer, keep in mind all the health benefits naturally green foods can provide. Maybe that’s why the Irish are lucky…they understand the power of green.
Category: All Topics, Fruits, Produce, VegetablesComments (0)
October 15, 2009 by Chef Ian
Picking the best and freshest produce – demystified.
First rule of cooking: use the best quality, freshest ingredients available to you. Simple rule really. A dish can only be as tasty as the ingredients used to prepare it.
Subtlety is a chef’s greatest tool. Many of my favorite dishes consist of mixing flavorful, fresh ingredients together and doing little else to them.
Mouths beginning to water. Pushing forward.
The above mentioned first rule of cooking is especially true when selecting fresh produce. Here are a few secrets from the MCL Restaurant & Bakery test kitchen to help you ensure you’re getting the good stuff.
- Organic is good, but local is better. Fruits and vegetables lose nutrients the longer they sit after harvest. Local produce has less distance to travel thus retaining more of its nutritional value, and flavor.
- Eat whatever is in season. It’ll be the most flavorful.
- Choose fruits and vegetables that snap when broken. If a green bean bends it is no good.
- To tell if a melon is sweet, hold it right up to your nose and smell it. Ignore the odd stares from other customers. If it smells sweet it’ll taste sweet too. Sweet is good.
- Don’t store tomatoes in the fridge. It stops the ripening process and makes them lose their flavor.
If you have specific questions, shoot me an email. I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
Now I’m off to prepare some tasty goodness concocted from in-season, locally grown fresh produce. Encouraging you to do the same.
Category: All Topics, Fruits, Ingredients, ProduceComments (9)