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Homemade Pasta

Necessary ingredients for 1 person (can be cooked 100-130 g dry pasta):

1 egg

100-120 g of flour.

Hit the egg in a dry bowl and Beat with a spoon slightly. Add sieved flour. The mass is mixed until all the flour is sticking and formed in one dough ball.

Put the dough on the table. Knead the dough with palms of your hand pushing away from you. Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and firm. Setting up ball of dough, sprinkle it with just flour and leave for 5-10 minutes.

Then dividing that into pieces and roll out as thinly as possible. Use flour if the dough sticks, but not too much. Again, leave for 5-10 minutes. By this time you can roll twisted into other pieces. When all roll twisted into, you can start to cut the first piece of dough. Cut into strips and put a thin layer on the paper or cotton fabric. Allow to dry up for 3-5 days. If you have, you can also use the pasta making machine. There is no imperative need for it. But if you love and plan to cook noodles very often, then the machine will come in handy.

You can also cut the other shapes of pasta:

1. Cutting into large squares of them can make lasagna.

2. The ribbed pastry knife sagries many small rectangles. A rectangle in the middle squash together to form the bow.

3. Skip through the mincer, there will be a spaghetti pasta.

4. You can also make ravioli from this dough. Just think of the filling, which you think will taste better.

Now you can please yourself and your family with a great, healthy, self cooked noodles or any other shaped pasta.

*Remember!* Do not wash with water, the pasta making machine. Water damages it. It must at the time be in flour. Before you use it, clean it with small piece of dough, repeatedly skipping it through. If you really need for more cleaning, then clean it with a dry cloth or oil damped cloth.

Some Simple Breakfast Ideas

Pasta with tomato sauce:

• Pasta is an appetizer-filling food that can be consumed both during lunch as breakfasts. Apart from stuffing yourself with heavy meals like rice and roti with ghee, try replacing it with a pasta dish.
• Pasta served with spicy tomato sauce is one of the favorite meals amongst people.
• You can even consider adding fresh chopped veggies and cheese to your pasta recipe and elevate the nutritional intake.

Chapatis with dal:

• Pulses are rich in protein content and they aid in healthy metabolism. Chapatis on the other hand are usually made from wheat flour and they contain carbohydrates.
• Eating plain roasted chapattis with dal is a healthy meal option for Indian origin people.

Vegetable khichdi:

• Khichdi is a delicacy that is prepared by mixing rice and dal together.
• Addition of freshly chopped veggies and spices not only elevates the taste of your vegetable khichdi, but also enhances the nutritional value.
• Some of the veggies that you can add in your vegetable khichdi are tomato, potato, peas, cauliflower, carrot, and beans.

Frozen yogurt with fruits and nuts:

• Plain low-fat yogurt serves as an excellent source of calcium and tastes delicious as well.
• To elevate the nutritional content, you can prefer adding fresh fruits like mango, apples, banana and nuts like cashew nuts or almonds in your yogurt.

Eating Healthy

I keep thinking how junk food is readily available no matter where you live in the city, so then why would anyone be motivated to cook healthy and stock up on fresh ingredients? The hold that takeout places and fast food have on us is intoxicating, to say the least because they are always there for you when you feel famished and they take little effort and much less money than buying all the things you would need for lunch or dinner. It is like they know our minds and how to sway them!

Even though it is not always possible to eat right; try to make a goal of squeezing in one nutrient-rich meal each day. At least this way you will be on track. Our problem is that we want to be in good shape with minimal elbow grease but that’s not always possible is it? Our bodies are worth the extra mile so don’t take shortcuts! If you want to have a longer, happier and healthier life, you need to redesign your priorities and improve your standard of eating. Your future self will thank you for it!

No one wants a time to come in their lives in which they are constantly rushing to the doctor and having all kind of ailments. Apart from avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, it is wise to evolve when it comes to deciding what to put in your body! I have in my experience heard people telling me how they don’t eat or enjoy potentially delicious vegetables like spinach, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens- not to mention their attitude towards Omega 3 oils rich fish, legumes, and probiotic-rich yogurt. I mean can you imagine the wonders these can do for your energy level and health? A tasteful salad can easily include all of these in one meal!

Every now and then treat yourself to a dessert or something fried, there is no harm in it but be wary of making it your whole life. Train yourself to enjoy the things that are good for your body and also taste brilliant. Trust me there are all kinds of recipes out there that will make you forget you ever wanted French fries. So go ahead and start taking care of yourself by eating more wholesome food! You won’t regret it!

About Cook Spaghetti Perfectly

First things first, the cheapest spaghetti may be the right price for your budget but may not always be the best tasting. If budget allows upgrade to semolina/durum wheat pasta, it will be a little more expensive but you will taste the difference.

A good weight ratio for pasta in grams to water in liters is 1:10. So 200g of pasta works with 2 liters of water. Use the largest pot you have.

How to perfectly boil spaghetti:

  • Fill your large pot with the correct amount of water fo your pasta, add 3/4 tablespoon of salt and a small drizzle of olive oil
  • Bring the water to a vigorous boil
  • Add your pasta and allow it back to a boil
  • After 8 minutes test the pasta by taking a piece on a fork and carefully eating it, then 9, 10, 11, 12 minutes – Sometime in this time frame your pasta will reach it’s al dente (Italian for Just Right, not underdone like many think!).
  • Drain the pasta immediately and ideally serve or let cool for cold dishes

Dry Fruits

  • Almonds: Almonds are undoubtedly the healthiest options of all the time that help you fight against a number of health issues, including constipation, respiratory problems, heart diseases, hair or skin problems, etc. So, the very next time when your mother or grandmother give you a handful of almonds to munch, don’t cheat, just eat them. They are known for their health benefits and having them regularly in an appropriate quantity keeps the diseases away.
  • Cashew: Another popular and common dry fruit that you need to incorporate into your diet is cashew. They have property to fight against health, hair and skin problems. Additionally, they keep your bones strong and fulfill the need of calcium in your body. It’s an energy food that eliminates your need of having junk by keeping you full for a longer period.
  • Walnut: These brain-look nuts have the ability to improve your memory and keep you fit. It contains omega-3 that provides great relief to asthma patients. Apart from that, it also has the ability to deal with the Alzheimer’s disease. It is also good for the people who fail to fall asleep. It supplies protein, fiber and essential nutrients to your body that keeps you healthy and alive.
  • Raisins: These dry fruits are love and everyone. These are sweet in taste and offer so many benefits to everyone. They have the property to cure constipation, dental as well as the eye problems. Having them in appropriate quantity can do wonders for your health that you’ll never regret.

Coconut Oil Is a Super Food

Coconut oil is quite unique because unlike other types of cooking oil (palm oil, sunflower oil), its benefits extend to more than cooking. Let us see what these benefits are.

It is rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs)

This been receiving a bad press because it is rich in saturated fats but that is not entirely true. The major saturated fats in coconut are caprylic acid, palmitic acid, myristic acid and lauric acid. These saturated fatty acids actually belong to a category called medium chain triglycerides or MCTs. These not only metabolize faster than long chain triglycerides, they are also healthier.

It has a high smoking point

It has a high smoking point (177 degrees). Most seed, nut and vegetable oils have a low smoking point. Smoking point is the heating point beyond which the oil will begin to burn. Foods that are cooked in oils with a low smoking oil usually have a burnt flavour. Another advantage of a high smoking point is that beyond that point, the fatty acids in the oil oxidize and produce free radicals which are dangerous to health.

It has antimicrobial properties

It has two important ingredients that give it antimicrobial properties- caprylic acid and lauric acid. Once ingested, the lauric acid gets converted into monolaurin which is effective against many viruses, bacteria and protozoa. It also keeps a check on the yeast (candida) population in your intestine, restoring balance to the digestive tract. If the yeast population increases, it can lead to persistent bloating, burping, flatulence, diarrhea and constipation.

It is an excellent hair oil

Suffering from split ends, itchy scalp, dandruff or lackluster hair? Try applying it to your hair and scalp. It is rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. A study published in 2005 in the Journal of Cosmetic Science also said that it penetrates hair follicles better than mineral oil, the major constituent in hair conditioners. Most people aren’t aware that dandruff is caused by bacteria and fungi. The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil kills these microorganisms, keeping dandruff under control.

It aids digestion

The medium chain triglycerides in it, especially lauric acid transform into antimicrobial agents in the digestive system. They kill bad bacteria like helicobacter pylori while leaving the beneficial bacteria intact. So it reestablishes balance in the digestive system and promotes colon health. It is also effective against digestive problems like colitis, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and gastritis. Many people even recommend coconut oil for colon cleanses.

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Ingredients

– 1 Pound thin spaghetti(or whatever long pasta you like!)
– 1 lb medium shrimp(or shrimps as my mother might say), cleaned and deveined
– 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
– 1/2 cup butter
– 1 cup dry white wine
– 3-4 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
– salt & black pepper, to taste

Put on large pot of water on the stove and turn up the heat! While you are waiting for the pasta water to boil you can start to prepare your skillet with the oil you’ll cook the shrimp in. When the water comes to a rolling boil, toss in the pasta and about a tsp of salt and let it cook.

In the meantime, heat the oil in the skillet. Throw in the chopped up garlic and let it simmer for about a minute. Then add the shrimp, seasoning it with a dash of salt and pepper. It should only take about a minute or two for the shrimp to cook, so when they turn pink and look about ready, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon.

Add the butter and wine to the skillet and turn the heat to a medium-high setting. (Don’t forget to keep an eye on your pasta in the meantime! An occasional stir never hurts)

Reduce the wine and butter mixture until it has reduced to about half the original amount. Return the shrimp to the pan and let reheat. In the meantime, drain the pasta – but reserve about a cup of the water in the pot! If your skillet is bit enough, toss the pasta in with the shrimp, add the parsley and toss over high heat. If not, transfer to a large bowl and mix there. If the pasta is a little dry, add a little of the boiled water and an extra spoon of olive oil.

Taking Fish Oil

1. Heart Health

Most deaths in the world happen because of heart disease. According to studies, people who eat fish are less likely to suffer from a heart disease. With regular consumption, it can increase your HDL levels while reducing the bad cholesterol. It also controls your blood pressure.

2. Mental Disorders

According to science, 60% of your brain is made up of fat. Interestingly, most of the fat comprises omega-3 fatty acids. So, having enough emega-3s is good for your brain function. As a matter of fact, studies show that people who have any type of mental disorder may benefit from fish oil. If you go for the supplements, you will experience a reduction in the symptoms of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

3. Weight and Waist

If you have a BMI value of greater than 30, you are obese. According to statistics, around 30% of the world population of adults is overweight. On the other hand, around 13% of adults are obese. The obesity ratio is higher in developed countries, such as the USA.

Some Creamy Soups

The Classic Mushroom

What you need:

  • 1 cup chopped Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter then cook Portobello mushroom, shiitake mushroom and shallots until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add flour and stir until smooth. Carefully add chicken broth and continue stirring until mixture is thick. Stir in half-and-half and cinnamon then season with salt and pepper. Cook until heated through.

Sausage Potato Warmer

What you need:

  • 1/2 kilogram kielbasa sausage, sliced into half moons
  • 1/2 kilogram smoked sausage, sliced into half moons
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt

In a large pot over medium heat, cook smoked sausage, kielbasa sausage and onions until sausages are browned. Add potato, water and bay leaves to the pot. Simmer over low heat for 1 to 2 hours. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine butter and flour then carefully add milk. Stir until mixture is thickened. Add mixture to the pot with sausages and mix until all ingredients are well-combined. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Zucchini Cream

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 kilogram zucchini, sliced
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

In a large pot, combine zucchini, bacon, garlic, onion, water, chicken broth, salt, pepper and basil. Bring to a boil and continue cooking for 30 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Puree mixture in batches until smooth and creamy. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Perfect Pasta Recipe

• Spaghetti
Spaghetti is one of the most favorite pastas among all. It is long, thin and cylindrical pasta of Italian origin which goes perfect with tomato-based marinara and bolognese sauces. It also works best with light to medium density sauces like sauce made from egg, prosciutto and cream. To make your spaghetti pasta recipe more luscious, coat the pasta with your favorite tomato sauce and keep it aside for some time before serving.

• Penne and Ziti
Medium length tubes with ridges, cut diagonally at both ends are known as Penne pasta. The ridges on these shapes provide great hold on sauces. And therefore, Penne pastas are served with medium to heavy sauces and sliced veggies. It also tastes best when served with Arrabiata sauce and beef ragu.

• Pappardelle
Pappardelle which is pronounced as papa-dell-lay is egg-based pasta which is thick flat ribbon in shape. To make this pasta recipe more delicious, serve it with a range of sauces. In winter you can cook it with a lamb or sausage ragu. In spring it will taste amazing when served with a seafood sauce.

• Conchiglie
Pronounced as con-keel-yay, it resembles a seashell shape. They can be served with meat or tomato sauces, or can be used in salads. Smaller shells are great in soups and the very large shells can be stuffed and baked in a tomato, or creamy, sauce.

• Farfalle
These fanciful bow-ties or butterflies shaped pasta are excellent in light to medium sauces or salads.To add a juicy flavor to the pasta recipe, mix farfalle pasta with vegetables, soups and crushed cheese.

• Fettucine
A longer and thicker spaghetti-like noodle is best suited with thick cream based sauces.

• Vermicelli
Vermicelli is angel hair shaped pasta. If you love to enjoy making this dish, then pair it with tomato or olive oil based sauce to make the best pasta recipe.

• Gnocchi
Gnocchi are minute dumplings which are usually made of potato. It tastes perfect when combined with rich, creamy sauces such as pesto genovese as well as with lighter sauces such as tomato and chunky sauces made from small peas and beans.

• Fusilli
Foo-zee-lee is corkscrew-shaped pasta which comes in various sizes and with different names. The twists and curls of this particular pasta shape hold the sauce and hence they are paired with thick creamy sauces such as Alfredo or meat sauces.

Eating Fresh Oysters

The best way to preserve them is to place them on a bed of ice or in a perforated box with damped clothe wrapped around them. Ensure that the oysters will not suffocate in the melted ice or submerge under water in a case or cooler-remember that oysters are living creatures that will deplete the quantity of oxygen present in a small volume of water very quickly.

For the last 700 years edible oysters have been a part of the human diet but may have been eaten in a raw or cooked form for a longer time. The meat inside the oyster is the edible part; once the shell has been cracked open, the meat can be cooked in various ways.

Oysters contain lots of vitamins, minerals and organic compounds. Other components of nutritional value include Selenium, iron, manganese, copper, vitamin B12, vitamin D and high levels of protein. They are also a huge source of water, omega-3 fatty acid, antioxidants and cholesterol. They also contain sodium, potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin C.

These elements make oysters a very healthy food that can greatly increase the health and overall functions of the body.

Eating oysters can help in boosting the immune system. The vitamin C and E content, together with other minerals, contain anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that protect the body against free radicals produced by cellular metabolism. These radicals can mutate the DNA of healthy cells into cancerous cells. Wherever they are lodged, they can also cause premature aging, heart disease and general body disrepair. These free radicals can be obliterated by anti-oxidants and vitamins found in oysters.

Oysters can also can help in increase libido in men. It contains incredible zinc content and over 1,500% of daily dosage in a single serving. Zinc deficiency has been closely linked with erectile dysfunction and impotency. Oysters can give back sexual energy to men and increase their feeling of masculinity.

Recipe Spicy Spaghetti Pie

Ingredients:

4-ounces Spaghetti pasta, dried & broken

1-cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded

1-pound Pork sausage, ground

1-cup Black olives, sliced

1-cup Onion, chopped

1-teaspoon Garlic, minced

1-teaspoon Salt

1-teaspoon Pepper

14½-ounces Tomatoes, diced & with juices

⅓-cup Tomato paste

1-teaspoon Italian seasoning

¼-teaspoon Crushed red pepper

2-tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

Cook pasta according to instructions on package; drain; rinse and drain again. Pour cooked pasta over the bottom and up towards the side of a greased 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and set aside. Cook sausage, olives, onion, and garlic over medium heat until sausage is brown and onion is tender; drain. Stir in tomatoes with juice, the tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Pour sausage mixture over cheese in dish. Cover with foil. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese; let cool for five minutes before serving.

French Cuisine

The French cuisine of the Middle Ages stand as a sharp contrast to the present time. The cooking style then involved generous usage of spices, herbs, rich sauces and mustards for strong flavors. Numerous dishes were prepared consisting of sliced off meats like beef, pork, fish & poultry, pies, roasted swans & peacock, preserved vegetables and desserts. The food type was greatly determined by the respective seasons. The visual appeal was of paramount importance hence special attention was given to usage of colors with saffron, spinach, egg yolks and sunflower. Beer took a more prominent place than wine. The feasting was an extravaganza, service en confusion was the serving style predominant back then wherein food was served in unison. Only centuries later this practice got revolutionized under the auspices of King Louis XIV and meals were served in succession at different courses individually at the table.

The Italian Influence

The much advanced culinary arts of Italy came along with Catherine De Medicis when she married King Henry II. Her Italian chefs introduced innovative styles that greatly influenced the French cuisine. Decorative tableware, ornamental crockery and stunning glassware became commonplace and introduction of new foods like green beans and tomatoes were appreciated.

Ancien Règime and French Revolution

Paris marked the seat of the best culinary craftsmen in the 16th and 18th century—the period of Ancien Règime that saw the advent of the guild system of food distribution. Chefs were restricted to an assigned style or area, thereby hampering their proficiency and expertise. The French revolution later ceased the guild, opening new doors for chefs who could now experiment new dishes fluxing their cookery talents.

The French cuisine owes its eminence to their royal chefs— Carème, Montagnè and Escoffier, the pride of their time who introduced contemporary dining etiquettes, food dressing, artistry and décor, modern cooking styles that focused more on delectable ingredients rather on abundance of meal; categorized food preparation by specialists and authorized marvelous cookbooks that pared down and refined French Cuisine.

The Haute Cuisine

Escoffier was the eminent figure behind the French haute cuisine—‘high cuisine’ that unfolded in the 17th century. Accolades to Francois Pierre La Varenne who is also credited for publishing his cookbook Cvisinier francois that ushered in modern techniques of preparing light dishes and desserts with modest arrangements in a more codified manner. Escoffier not only brought in the ‘brigade system’ (segregation of kitchens in 5 sections) to fuse more efficiency in the culinary art but also penned down several cookbooks that turned him a much revered legend of French cuisine.

Info about Spaghetti Casserole

ngredients:

1-large Egg

½-cup Milk

8-ounces Spaghetti, uncooked

1-teaspoon Salt

½-teaspoon Black Pepper

½-teaspoon Garlic powder

½-pound Ground beef

½-pound Ground sausage

1-medium Onion, finely chopped

½-cup Chopped green chilies

½-cup Black olives, pitted and sliced

24-ounces Spaghetti sauce

2-cups (8 ounces) Mozzarella cheese, shredded

1-cup (4 ounces) Parmesan cheese, fresh grated

Instructions:

Cook spaghetti according to instructions on package; drain; rinse; drain again and set aside. In a medium bowl beat egg, milk, salt, pepper and garlic powder; add cooked spaghetti; toss to coat. Place coated spaghetti in a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish.

In a large skillet, cook the ground sausage, ground beef, finely chopped onion, chopped green chilies and sliced and pitted black olives over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and drain. Add spaghetti sauce and mix well; spoon over the spaghetti mixture.

Bake uncovered at 350° for twenty minutes. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted. Let stand for five to ten top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve warm with some nice toasty garlic bread.

Italians And Pasta

The Italians bravely claim that pasta is all theirs from the beginning since it has fed the poorest southern Italian regions for hundreds of years. The gentle texture of pasta is a great partner to all sorts of toppings, spices and sauces. It has also been attributed to a lot of unique names as the Italians cannot seem to resist giving the strings, ribbons and other shapes with different names.

A passionate Italian eater of long ago – whoever he was – blessed pasta with its first name – maccheroni which is a derivation from the words ma che charini meaning, “My, what little dears.”

Today, there are different kinds of pasta ranging from the humble snail (lumache), bridegrooms (ziti), little loves (amorini), to the one-of-a-kind kiss catchers (tira-baci). All these are flour and water mixtures reminiscent of Italian lifestyle and all can be paired with artful sauces.

You would be surprised that there are more than three hundred names for a hundred different shapes of pasta. This, again, reflects the expansive nature of Italians and how they love variety in all that they do. To them, it is not enough that there are farfelle or bow pasta. To give variety, there must also be little bows are what’s known as farfallette. The bigger bows were christened with the name farfalloni.

All these descriptive words for a single food is not surprising when it comes to the animated nature of the Italians. This is a nation that is known for its artistry and gusto for life. Just imagine how their government is changed at least once every year and you will have a good grasp of who they are as a people.

Only a few people outside of Italy would understand the dramatic variations in pasta from one region to another. History says a lot about this and so does the Italian temperament. In spite of the 1861 unification of 19 different regions, there remained individualism when it comes to cuisine and culture. The cliffside Sorrento restaurant is likely to offer spaghetti alle vongole because it is near the Mediterranean Sea. In Sicily, it is not uncommon to find raisins with your pasta since this region was dominated by the Saracens for about two hundred years.

Effects of GMO Foods

Several animal studies show Serious Health Risks associated with GMO foods including:

1. Infertility

2. Immune Problems

3. Accelerated Aging

4. Faulty Insulin Regulation

5. Major Changes in Organs

6. Major Changes in the gastrointestinal system

7. Causing major Allergies to GMO and non-GMO foods

You may be wondering why the FDA has allowed this harmful process to be part of our food supply. In 1992, The Food and Drug Administration claimed they had no information showing that GMO foods were substantially different from conventionally grown foods. Thus, being safe to eat. However, internal memos made public by a lawsuit reveal that their position was staged by political appointees who were under orders from the White House to promote GMO’s. Also, the person in charge of creating the policy was Michael Taylor, the former Attorney for Monsanto, the largest biotech company. He later became Monsanto’s Vice President. The FDA scientists had warned that GMO food can be unpredictable, have hard to detect side effects, causing allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They used long-term studies but their suggestions and studies were ignored!

So, how can we protect ourselves and our families? First, educate ourselves on GMO foods. Second, read ALL FOOD LABELS and INGREDIENTS before purchasing food items. Please understand that labels such as “All Natural”, “Gluten Free”, and “Organic” mean absolutely NOTHING! It’s a Marketing tactic! We now must read every ingredient listed on the label. A key to remember is if the ingredient is more than 5 to 8 ingredients and contains words you can’t pronounce, leave it on the grocery shelf!

Superfood, Yuca

Yuca is a perennial plant that is found in tropical climates. In Africa, Asia, and South America, it has been used as a major food source. Indigenous people use it along with other high-starch foods like yams, taro, plantains, and potatoes. While it is still not well known outside of the tropics, it accounts for about 30% of the world production of roots. Recently popular in the Americas is tapioca. Grinding the yuca root into small powder balls forms tapioca balls- enjoyed in boba teas and various drinks.

To clarify some dispute, YUCA and YUCCA are two very different plants. Yuca, is the root while Yucca is a scrub.

Why the sudden interest?

As the world continues to connect more and more, people are able to enjoy the benefits of fruits and vegetables that were once out of reach. Not long ago, if you were not born in the tropics, yuca would have been virtually intangible. But now, people all over the world can reap the benefits.

The general population also has access to endless amounts of new information. So with that comes new opportunities to incorporate in daily life. Previously you would have walked into a grocery store, unable to decipher what this long brown root was. Now with a quick Google search the information is there for you disposal. Recipes for this root are endless. The endless recipes allow you to experiment and diversify your diet.

The Energy it Provides is Incredible!

In Peru, South America we visited a local family. They were simply the most welcoming, humble, and hardworking family I’d ever encountered. In many cultures around the world it is very common for large families to live together. In one home you may have your mother, father, grandparents, great-grandparents, children and grandchildren. It is very common to take in family members and live as one large family unit. What we saw in this family was that everyone was extraordinarily hard working. Even the great-grandparents would pitch in to help around the house. While the activity they partook in was more limited than those of the younger generations, it was incredible to see the how agile and energized these men and women were.

I remember asking one day how they found the energy to work so hard at their age.

With a smile the older lady said, “comer bien.”

That was it, a simple explanation. “Comer bien” translates to “eat well.” These families eat fresh and powerful superfoods everyday. The yuca root is only a supplement to the other superfoods Peruvians have been enjoying for centuries.

How is it that this simple answer: comer bien, could lead to a long-lasting and healthy life.

I thought back to the United States where much of our older generation are forced to reside in Nursing Homes, or never make it to be a great-grandparent. These older generations thrive in Peru and are well respected. Their persistent activity and nutritious diets help them excel in life.

Buffalo Mozzarella

The cheese is soft with a rubbery texture, has mild flavor and is known to be rich in proteins, calcium, mineral salts, iron and vitamins. The cheese is liked by chefs for its versatility in the kitchen and for its special characteristics that make it a perfect ingredient for Mediterranean dishes like pizza, pasta and the Caprese salad.

Mozzarella is the diminutive form of the verb ‘mozzare’, which means ‘to cut off’ derived from the Neapolitan dialect spoken in Campania in southern Italy. It refers to the process of making mozzarella, as the large mass of curd is cut up by hand, into smaller sizes.

The buffalo mozzarella from Italy sold as Mozzarella di Bufala Campana is protected under the European Union Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status and may only be produced in select locations in the regions of Campania, Lazio, Apulia and Molise.

The origin of the buffalo mozzarella is said to be the Campania region where it has been produced in the provinces of Caserta and Salerno for many centuries.

The history of the buffalo mozzarella in Campania dates back to the 13th century when the dairy farmers in the region are said to have started making the mozzarella cheese from buffalo milk, mainly for local consumption, which at that time was regarded as a cheaper alternative to cow or goat’s milk cheese.

The history of the water buffalo in Italy is important to consider as it is closely tied to the buffalo mozzarella cheese.

The water buffalo originated in Asia and is known to have been domesticated in the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia civilizations between 2000 BC and 3000 BC.

According to the Consorzio per la Tutela del Formaggio Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, it was the Arabs who introduced the water buffalo to Sicily, during their conquest of Sicily which began in 827. The Normans later introduced the water buffalo to Campania and other parts of southern Italy.

Eat Spaghetti Without Making A Mess

Nowadays there is a certain degree of snobbery about this method. Today those in the know prefer to use just a fork alone and deride those who use the spoon as well.

The reason for the change in spaghetti eating etiquette is that the wide bowls that are now commonly used were once a rarity in both restaurants and homes outside Italy. Pasta was frequently served on a flat plate which made the spoon essential for spaghetti.

With a bowl there is no need for a spoon. You can wind the pasta against the edge of the bowl.

The idea is to use the edge of the bowl to allow you to twirl the spaghetti around your fork. That’s fine if your pasta is served on a bowl rather than a plate.

Even so it takes some practice. The key thing is not to get too much spaghetti on your fork in one go. Just a few strands are enough.

Twirl your fork around until the whole length of the spaghetti is gathered up, then bring it up to your mouth. If you notice that there is too much spaghetti on your fork or the ends are dangling then lower your fork and start again.

You will only get into a mess with spaghetti if you leave those ends dangling. If you try to suck them up like the dogs in The Lady and the Tramp you will splatter sauce all over yourself. Oriental noodles are made to slurp and are served in a bowl that you can pick up for that reason, spaghetti is not.

In Italy spaghetti used to be sold in metre lengths. It was kept in a drawer and the shopkeeper would break it in two so that it could be carried home more easily. Today in Italy, spaghetti is sold in shorter lengths as it is everywhere in the world so there is no need to break it up before cooking.

If spaghetti is cooked correctly it should wrap around your fork easily. If it is overcooked it is more likely to slide off the fork or refuse to stay wrapped around it. This is why spaghetti is often difficult to eat when it is served outside Italy.

So spaghetti should be eaten with a fork. However, a spoon may be provided even in Italy. This is not like the fork that is provided in Oriental restaurants a concession to foreign ineptitude. The spoon is to allow you to toss the spaghetti in its sauce and to scoop up every last drop of that sauce.

Opinions differ on whether it is correct to use bread to mop up the sauce. Some authorities regard serving bread as a feature of impoverished households, others accept that today it is normal in restaurants. When the bread if a good quality ciabatta or focaccia it would be shame to pass up the opportunity of enjoying it with the sauce in the name of out moded etiquette.

About Bowl of Cherries

While many of us associate cherry blossoms with Japan, interestingly, most of those beautiful blossoms do not turn into fruit. Edible cherry producing trees were brought from the West in the late 1800s (think what they were missing all those centuries). However, Japan does not value the fruit as we do, and pies are definitely not on most menus.

In America, because of their beautiful blossoms, cherry trees were planted by settlers up and down the Northeast coast. Early Dutch and French immigrants planted thousands in the NY city area as well as points west, in what is now Michigan. When George Washington purportedly chopped down a cherry tree, he just might have started the ball rolling.

There are basically two types–sweet and sour. They have a relatively short growing season and are not particularly hearty trees. The U.S. is the second largest producer of cherries at 300,000 tons annually, after top producer, Turkey, which weighs in with 460,000 tons. Northwest and Midwest states grow the bulk of cherries, Traverse City, Michigan reigns as the cherry capital of the world and holds a huge festival annually. Known for their sour cherries, they feature the world’s largest cherry pie each year (bring your own vanilla ice cream). The wood of cherry trees is a popular type for furniture in the U.S.

French chefs have given their seal of approval (what more validation do you need?) and use cherries as a sauce for roast duck, flaming desserts (jubilee), crepe fillings and a popular tart called clafoutis. Americans love their pies, and although cherry takes a back seat to timeless apple, it still ranks in the top 5. And we enjoy them in more ways than one:

  • cherry cobbler
  • garnish for whipped cream
  • include in cocktails
  • flaming cherries jubilee
  • New York cherry ice cream
  • cherry jam
  • cherry sauce
  • snacking fresh or dried
  • duck with cherry sauce
  • cherry cola
  • cherry compote
  • cherry turnovers
  • fruit dumplings
  • chocolate covered candy
  • wine and liqueur

Not only are cherries great for cooking and eating, but they tout health benefits as well, including anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, reduce risk of gout, promote better sleep, lower uric acid, all proven by studies at Mayo Clinic and numerous others. Although the season is short, they are readily available year-round in frozen and canned forms, and some groceries and health food markets sell juice and dried cherries.