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Archive for April, 2011

What is Tofu?

April 26th, 2011
by Bernard Kinsella

In a few words…Also known as soybean curd and bean curd, custard like white tofu is made from curdled SOY MILK, an iron-rich liquid extracted from ground, cooked SOYBEANS. The resulting curds are drained and pressed in a fashion similar to cheese making. The firmness of the resulting tofu cake depends on how much WHEY has been pressed out. It has a bland, slightly nutty flavor that gives it a chameleon like capability to take on the flavor of the food with which it’s cooked. Tofu’s texture is smooth and creamy yet it’s firm enough to slice. It’s available in health-food stores, Asian markets and many supermarkets. The cakes are sold in a variety of forms including packaged in water, vacuum-packed and in bulk (usually in large crocks or jars of water). Tofu, which is sometimes fortified with calcium, is very perishable and should be refrigerated for no more than a week. If it’s packaged in water, drain it and cover with fresh water. All tofu should be stored covered with water, which should be changed daily. Tofu can be frozen up to 3 months. Freezing will change its texture, making it slightly chewier. The versatile tofu can be sliced, diced or mashed and used in a variety of dishes including soups, STIR-FRIES, casseroles, salads, sandwiches, salad dressings and sauces. It’s easy to digest, low in calories, calcium and sodium, high in protein and cholesterol-freeall of which makes it one of today’s most healthful foods! From the food dictionary @ epicurious.com  

And in other words, I think it’s easy to prepare, inexpensive and as stated above quite versatile. The unfortunate issue is that most people don’t really give it a try. Those I speak to about tofu will say “I have had it in a stir fry”, but that’s about it. You would think with all the goodness packaged into these white cube’s of multiple textures (silken, soft, firm or extra firm) blocks, they be flying off the shelf. I hear advertisements on the radio for the WIC program which supports the purchase of Tofu. I’m curious to know how many enrollees purchase tofu in their quest to eat healthier. A recipe I’ve played with most recently using tofu is in a dessert which is really nice, I hope you give it a try and if your already using tofu let us know how you do?

Thanks and Ciao….Bernard Kinsella  

Low Fat Chocolate Mousse                                                                           Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 package (12.3 ounce) of silken tofu, drained
1 bar (3.5 to 4 ounces) high quality bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao) Ghirardelli’s pcs
1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1⁄4 cup water
1 tbsp brandy or 1⁄2 tbsp vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 cups strawberries, washed and sliced (optional) for garnish

 Procedure:
1. In a food processor, puree the tofu until extremely smooth. It should be the consistency of yogurt.

2. In a bowl set over simmering water, add in 3 ounces of chocolate, the cocoa powder, water, and brandy. Stir together until just melted and smooth. Remove from heat and slowly add in the sugar, stirring until smooth.

3. Add the chocolate mixture to the tofu and blend together. Pour into a serving bowl or individual ramekins and refrigerate at least one hour.

Garnish with sliced strawberries

 
 

Enjoy the Spring!

April 18th, 2011
by Bernard Kinsella

These are some of my indicators that the season is changing; gardens being turned over, more runners along the water, kid’s vacation from school and longer days of sunshine… but the nights are still chilly! But anyway you can’t have everything, but when you can have is over the next four weeks some great recipes that are packed with fresh ingredients, that are easy to prepare and full of everything that is good for you! Lately I’ve been teaching multiple health and wellness classes with a company called Wellness Workdays. Check out there site (www.wellnessworkdays.com) and what they can do for your company and employees.

 I’m amazed at the number of individuals who find cooking such a challenge and to eat healthy; is like another chapter in their novel of life.  But that’s great for me, then I get to do what I love and have fun doing!

So give this recipe a try and let us know how it comes out, then look each week for another compliment to add to you recipe repertoire and insight on the ingredients were using.

     Pearl Barley & Fresh Vegetable Salad      Serve warm or chilled        Serves 6

Ingredients

2 cups water

1 cups uncooked medium pearl barley

1 cups fresh broccoli florets

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup halved grape tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup julienned sweet red or green pepper

1/2cup fresh basil cut thin

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Procedure

  1. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add barley. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 30-35 minutes or until tender. Rinse with cold water; drain well.
  2. Place broccoli in a steamer basket. Place in a saucepan over 1 in. of water; bring to a boil. Cover and steam for 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Rinse with cold water; drain.
  3. In a large salad bowl, combine the barley, broccoli and carrots, tomatoes, onions and red pepper.
  4. In a blender, combine the lemon juice, oil, vinegar, lemon peel, garlic, salt and pepper; cover and process until combined.
  5. Pour over barley mixture and stir to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan cheese. 

Barley and your health:
According to the FDA, barley’s soluble fiber reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and can lower cholesterol. But that’s not all that this amazing food does! Barley also contains insoluble fiber, which reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes and colon cancer. One cup of cooked barley provides 193 calories, 6 grams of fiber and 3.5 grams of protein. With less than one gram of fat per serving, barley is a virtually fat-free food and is also cholesterol-free. ….From About.com

 Thanks and ciao,

Bernard Kinsella