Vegetable Recipes

The magical world of Mushrooms

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There are many mysteries surrounding the world of mushrooms, we eat them and love it, we integrate them in our kitchen but really we do not know a lot about them. One common mistake in our perception is that mushrooms are vegetables.

Mushrooms are not vegetables; they belong to a different and exciting world. Mushrooms are considered as eukaryotic organisms and by less complicated words –they are actually living organisms. Most mushrooms are multi-cellular organisms but there are also mushrooms that consist of only one cell, such as yeast. The mushrooms world is very diverse, and there are evidences of the existence of a hundred thousand species of mushrooms, that can be found in water, air and soil. The range of mushrooms is so large that there is even a separate area in biology dedicated to studying mushrooms called mycology.

Another mistake commonly made about mushrooms, is that they do not contain any nutritional value. This is a huge mistake because the mushroom is one of the healthiest foods we can use in our kitchen. In all kinds of mushrooms we can find capabilities for its healing diseases and various physical conditions. All mushrooms are fat free, cholesterol free, low in sodium and loaded with antibody-oxidants, vitamins, iron, zinc, minerals and all the best.

We all know the Portobello mushroom champignon, and like all other mushrooms they are also loaded with nutritional values and great taste. But you should also know a few other kinds of mushrooms that taste great and your body will be glad to know.

Mai-Taki mushroom

The Mai -Taki Mushroom comes from the East, where thousands of years ago the Japanese were unable to appreciate the virtues and the special taste. This mushroom is known for its ability to restore energy and vitality to the body and therefore called “dancing mushroom”. The Mai-Taki mushroom is known for its ability to prevent the development of cancer cells, maintaining the immune system and maintaining a balanced blood sugar. May-Taki mushroom can be used in sauces for pasta, soups, stews, and more.

Porcini mushrooms

Porcini mushrooms come from Italy, especially from Central Italy, Florence and its surroundings. Porcini mushroom has a strong and intense taste called umami. This mushroom usually comes to us dried form, but soaking them for  about 20 minutes in boiling water they return to its fleshy form. Combine porcini mushrooms in a variety of foods, steaming mushroom soup, pizza, meat dishes, sautéed mushrooms with garlic and herb bruschetta and more. Each dish will taste unique and addictive and enrich in antioxidants, antibodies against tumor cells, anti-inflammatory substances, zinc and B vitamins, especially B9 (folic acid).

Wonderful pomegranate

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When the pomegranate tree introduced its fruits to the world, somewhere in ancient Iran, it was immediately crowned as the king of fruits. With a Crown on its head, red color, and of course the unique shape and amazing sour sweet taste, there’s no room for doubts about the greatness of the pomegranate. In ancient times the pomegranate became a symbol of fertility and beauty in many cultures, in Judaism the number of grains represent the number of mitzvot that a person should do, and therefore is an important symbol of the Jewish holidays. Following the symbolism and its multiple meanings, it is used to adorn buildings, clothing, coins, ritual objects, and more. Since ancient times the pomegranate was used as a source of medicinal properties and used it to prevent diseases. Nowadays many studies show that pomegranate has multiple health benefits, as its number of grains.

The pomegranate was found 4000 years ago in the mountains of the Caspian Sea where it was domesticated and sent to the Mediterranean coast. The pomegranate is an integral part of the nature of the region and is used by local residents for preparing dishes, drinks and natural remedies.

One of the greatest benefits of the pomegranate fruit is its durability. The hard shell wrapped around its grains protects them from pests, weather and other damage that may impair its core. Because of its durability the pomegranate is traded in the Mediterranean area for many years. At our homes the pomegranate can be used up to half a year, plus you can peel it, separate the granules, freeze and use as needed.

Many studies conducted around the world emphasize the health benefits of this fruit. It was found that eating pomegranate or drinking half a glass of pomegranate juice on a daily basis reduces the risk of heart attacks, stroke and atherosclerosis. Pomegranate helps lower blood pressure, reducing bad cholesterol and helps as an antioxidant and raising iron levels in the blood making it essential for pregnant women who suffer low hemoglobin.

The pomegranate is the king of the kitchen as well…

Due to its sour sweet taste the pomegranate blends greatly in Mediterranean cuisine. You can find it in all its glory, Persian and Turkish kitchen where he fits in with salads and many cooked dishes. Pomegranate juice can be also found on the shelves on many different products, like pomegranate wine, pomegranate syrup, grenadine and more.

You can use a pomegranate for making stews and desserts, due to its unique taste it integrates with almost any dish. You can put the seeds into white rice that giving it a festive touch. You can combine them into a salad, meat dishes and vegetables. One of my favorite recipes that incorporate this great fruit is fried eggplant with fresh pomegranate seeds and lemon sauce, hot pepper, a little sugar, soy, garlic and bazil.

This is the power of pomegranate- the ability to adapt itself to any dish, refresh and upgrade any dish. The pomegranate will turn any dish into a dish of kings.

Cooking and seasoning oil

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Oil, cooking oil, animal fat or vegetable, the health’s enemy advocates, the addiction of those wanting to get thinner and one of the most used products in our kitchen. For years the oil had a negative image, it’s full of cholesterol, increases the chances of stroke and heart attack, and of course, fattening. But nothing can be done and as we are living in modern times most of the foods which we consume during the day are fried or cooked with oil

So what can you do? After all, to avoid oil is almost impossible and undesirable, our body needs fatty acids that exist in oil, they help us produce amino acids such as omega three and omega six, there are certain types of oil that are an excellent source for  vitamin  E and A. So rather than take a radical step and avoid oil completely, you can choose the healthiest version. Our common kitchen oils are soybean and canola oil for frying and olive oil for seasoning. The benefits of canola oil and soybean oil are its durability in high temperatures, but in terms of health disadvantages outweigh the advantages. However there is no dispute about the many health benefits of olive oil, but it’s time to get to know some new stars.

Coconut oil – the coconut oil enters the list of super foods.  The coconut oil is a vegetable oil resistant at room temperature and therefore is the ultimate replacement for butter.

Coconut oil is indeed saturated fat but because it comes from plants is not accompanied by appendices such as cholesterol and other health disadvantages.  The Oil is a natural, not processed, easy to digest, and is resistant to high temperatures and therefore ideal for frying.  The aromatic taste of coconut oil should be considered as it may dominate the taste of your dish. In addition, you can use coconut oil as a cosmetic product; it is excellent for your skin and gives it moisture, elasticity and freshness.

Argan oil –this oil is produced from the Argan, a nut tree which grows in Morocco. This oil follows the authentic Moroccan dishes for years and gives them the unique flavor, slightly reminiscent of the flavor of hazelnuts.  Argan oil is considered very prestigious because of the rarity of this trees and difficulties in raising them; in addition, the oil production itself is a long and complicated process. Argan oil is rich in vitamin E and oxidation antibody.

Grape seed oil – grape seed oil, as its name suggests is extracted from seeds of grapes. Is an excellent source of vitamin D and helps in raising good cholesterol. Grape seed oil is also high heat resistant, and therefore can be a great substitute for soybean or canola oil. Its delicate flavor can spice up the flavor of fresh herbs salad or even green peas sautéed with garlic.

So, despite the concerns and oil’s bad reputation, we cannot get rid of it, and we shouldn’t get rid of it.  Oil is used in almost all our food and we use it for cooking on a regular basis as oil is essential for our body and for maintaining good health. We should try to use the healthiest, most effective and most delicious of course.

How to treat your veggies

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Roasted vegetables, fresh salad, ratatouille or stuffed dim sum with steamed vegetables? What is the best way to cook your vegetables, and how would you feed your family and make sure that they get all the nutritional values that are important to the development, growth and for maintaining good health? Here is the full guide for keeping your vegetables at their peak.

When we add vegetables to our daily menu, we are convinced that we are getting all the vitamins and nutritional ingredients found in them, but we are not aware that the preparation method of the vegetables is critical and can make any vegetable nutritionally meaningless.

There are a number of approaches which relate to vegetable cooking. But there is no debate about the least efficient way, which is cooking the vegetables in boiling water. Once Vegetables are cooked in boiling water all the substances that we are actually looking for, especially vitamins B and C are drained into the sink and vanished. Another way that destroys the values ​​of the vegetable is deep frying at high temperatures. Vegetable oil is absorbed and makes its way to our stomach area, all the nutritional value found in the vegetables evaporate giving way to the shortcomings found in the oil. To preserve all these values, the best method is steaming vegetables. Even cooking vegetables in the microwave, revealed surprisingly, that is the most effective way to keep your vitamin C. Another effective way, particularly tasty is baking vegetables in the oven for a short time, at a temperature of 180 degrees.

Enzymes can be found in many vegetables which are responsible for creating cancer antibodies. Researches show that these enzymes are able to maintain themselves only when the vegetables undergo steaming of three to four minutes. Any other cooking method destroys the enzymes and eliminates the effect. Surprisingly the same study revealed that the enzymes are sustaining themselves, in microwave or cooking in water just when cooked with different vegetables, from other families.

carrots

Carrots

Another powerful substance found in vegetables and fruits is lycopene, an antioxidant, significant at lowering blood pressure and cancer prevention. Lycopene is found in tomatoes, guavas, parsley, asparagus and more. The best way for the body to absorb the lycopene, is to cook the vegetables for few minutes, this way vegetables will release the chemical.

Short cooking will be good for carrots and help release the protein and dietary fiber which are found in it. The quick cooking increases the value of beta carotene and facilitates the digestion of the carrots.

Even the cauliflower and broccoli, cruciferous vegetables, are recommended to be cooked shortly to help the digestion of starch and fiber found in them and to release the vital nutrients to our bodies.

You can use steamed vegetables and cooked al Dante in almost any recipe. All it requires is for us to get used to this different texture of the vegetable and change the perception that vegetables must be cooked until soft. Fresh vegetables allow other flavors, more earthy, flavors which maintain the true taste of the vegetables and allow them to shine as they deserve. You can use steamed vegetables or vegetables al Dante  to filling rice pages in a variety of vegetables, spicy and with a little bit of sesame oil and soy.  Cauliflower can be stirred fried with garlic, olive oil and a little hyssop and thyme. Treat vegetables with respect and they will respect you back and give you all the best they have to offer.

 

 

Japan and the magic beans ; Adzuki

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Beans are considered to be a countryside food. The first connotation that comes to our minds when we think about beans is a tasty casserole, steaming with thick sauce and smoked flavor, a nice and warming winter stew. No one is thinking about sexy and tiny beans accompanied by magical aromas of the Orient.

The adzuki beans are exactly that. It came to us from East Asia 4,000 years ago. Its name in Japanese means small bean, but its named changed, from one country to another and received a variety of names such as “red Chori” from India or a “pat” in Korea. The adzuki beans are very popular in Japan where even Pepsi invented a soft drink, flavored adzuki. The adzuki bean is basically upright shrub that grows small beans, typically reddish in color. The Little bean is used in the Asian kitchen mainly as a spread or flour integrated sweet dishes and desserts due to the sweet and walnut  bean, for example handcuffed pancakes stuffed with adzuki paste, small balls  like pralines, coated and stuffed with sweet  adzuki or the  beans themselves  cooked in sweet syrup and served as candy

Tiny but wonderful

These tiny pulses are full of goodness and help relieve a range of illnesses.  The adzuki is rich in folic acid, iron, zinc, potassium, fiber and many others. Chinese medicine refers to adzuki as a Young Plan characterized as a heater and helps cure colds and dry, mouth sores and oily skin, dry mouth, nervousness, stress, rapid heartbeat, depression, fertility problems and more.

How to cook it

Like most Vegetables, it is recommended to soak the Adzuki for 24 hours before cooking it. Preferably after soaking the beans to germinate them because it increases and improves the quality of the protein. You can use the sprouts in salad or as tasty snack. After soaking the adzuki, cook the adzuki in boiling water. After boiling remove the foam and cook for about an hour. And the beans are ready to be devoured.

The adzuki travels around the western world

So how can these amazing Asian beans be combined in the Western kitchen as we know it?  Very simple! Use these beans to prepare adzuki balls with sweet potatoes and nuts, as meat substitutes in Bolognese sauce mushroom and adzuki stew. This is the adzuki beauty, it can be used in a variety of stews and dishes, it allows creativity and gives you the option to run wild in the kitchen, and integrate it into special dishes both savory and sweet.