Friday, May 31, 2013

Solving world hunger one tree at a time.

English: Sonjna Moringa oleifera in Kolkata, W...
English: Sonjna Moringa oleifera in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the most important pieces I have written to date was published this morning. It was a contract piece for another blog so I can't publish it here but I really wish I could it was a piece about Moringa or Malunggay and how it could make wonderful inroads on the battle to fight world hungry and drinking water shortages. This one simple tree could, if distributed, provide nutrition, commerce, fresh water and shelter to millions of people around the world. It is fast growing drought resistant and easy to cultivate.

Rather than people being dependent on relief organization to survive, Moringa would enable them to once again be self-sufficient. Read more about this wonderful Tree at the address below.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Traditional Chicken Farming versus Modern Poultry Farming Part 2

Free range chicken, searching for scraps from ...
Free range chicken, searching for scraps from a buffet dinner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Modern Farming methods negate Low Fat benefits of chicken

Once heralded as the gold standard of healthy meats, chicken can no longer claim the health benefits that once made it king of healthy meals. Nutritional studies once placed chicken at the top of the list for nutrition and low fat sources of protein. Modern farming methods have not only destroyed the health benefits once found in chicken but have created new health risks.

Chicken low fat no more

Chicken was once the Golden Child for people who wanted low fat high protein diets now it is more of a Golden Ram. The little fat that was traditionally found in chicken was primarily made up of Essential Fatty Acids that our bodies and minds needed to function properly. Modern farming methods have changed that.

Recent studies have found that today's chicken is not only higher in fat but that the composition of that fat is no longer of a healthy type. Traditionally farmed chicken, allowed to free range, provided us with long chain amino acids. Very high in DHA, essential to proper mental function and cell development. Free range chicken was considered a true brain food.

A farmer on Martha's Vineyard moves a mobile p...
A farmer on Martha's Vineyard moves a mobile poultry coop of a type called a "chicken tractor." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Modern farming methods now provide us with chickens that have a fat composition made up of Low Density Cholesterol (the bad kind) and oily fats void of nutritional value. More calories now come from the fat content of a chicken than from the lean protein.

DHA Importance

Chickens loss of DHA content has greater health implications than may be apparent at first. DHA plays many roles in our bodies. It is a powerful antioxidant (Omega 3 fatty acid) and protects us from cell breakdown. This is of major importance in regard to such diseases as Cancer and Alzheimer's.

The human brain uses DHA at a very high rate. A Low DHA level has been tied to clinical depression. Patients suffering with this condition show better a than 70 percent improvement rate. Patients suffering from Chronic Insomnia show similar recovery rates. By coincidence these mental disorders have been steadily rising at a rate that closely mirrors the rate that both chicken and salmon production has been modernized.

DHA also plays a major role in our hearts health and the functioning of our immune system. The implications of low DHA levels for our entire body are at a minimum horrific.

Review Traditional versus Modern Chicken

Chicken when raised more in attune with its naturally environment, allowed to free range and forage is low in fats and the fats it does contain are beneficial to our health both physical and mental. Chicken raised by modern farming methods contains more calories from fat that it does from protein and the fats are saturated fats rather than the beneficial fatty acids it should contain. At a time when obesity has become a major player in the health risk game and true low fat alternatives are vanishing from our grocery shelves I can't help but agree with this from "Public Health Nutrition" as reported by The Cambridge Press "This type of chicken husbandry needs to be reviewed with regard to its implications for animal welfare and human nutrition". You have to love the British knack for understatement.

For more on the comparison of these two farming methods please watch for part 3.

To view "A Chickens Life" the first article, in this series, please follow the link below.

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Paella de Marisco

This is a dish that I haven't had for a long time and there are many different variations of it as well, it serves 8 so be sure to share!

15 cooked mussels
15 cooked clams
10 shrimp....medium size at least
1 and 3/4 calasparra rice that's a paella rice
4 and 1/2 cups clam juice
2 teaspoons paprika
1 small red bell pepper 1/2 chopped the other half sliced into strips
1 head of garlic
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped scallions (green onions)
1 medium tomato chopped
3 ounce fish fillet
2 teaspoons Spanish saffron
1 medium onion chopped
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil for the garlic paste
2 teaspoons salt

First you will need to pound the garlic smooth so you need a pestle and mortar or something you can use the same way for that.
Next add the parsley and continue to pound until smooth then add the paprika and the 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and mix.
Now heat a paellera which is a paella pan or just a really big (wide) frying pan will work with the 5 tablespoons olive oil using a medium flame and pan fry the fish until both sides are golden. Then remove it from the pan and chop into small pieces and set aside for later.
Next pan fry the shrimp in the same oil and their color changes....if you ever cooked shrimp you know the take them out and set aside for later.
Stay with me we're getting saute the onion, scallion, and chopped red bell pepper in the same oil then when the onion gets a little clear add the tomato and continue until the tomato gets soft.
Now pour in the clam juice and let it boil.
Add the garlic paste from earlier and the Spanish saffron then stir to mix it up nice.
Put in the paella rice and let it boil again then add the fish and salt then stir
Turn down the flame to low so it simmers and allow it to cook for 25 minutes, I would suggest covering it so the rice is sure to cook.
After the rice is done arrange the mussels, clams, shrimp, and sliced red bell pepper on top of the rice, make it pretty! LOL
Cover the pan with some foil and now turn the heat off....hope you left it on this whole time...I forgot to say that
A nice garnish for this is some lemon wedges and the juice is good on it also if you and the guests want to do that....I suggest serving this with either a nice cold San Mig or some kind of a nice white zinfandel.

Traditional Chicken Farming versus Modern Poultry Farming Part 1

Free Range Chickens being fed
Free Range Chickens being fed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part 1: A Chickens Life

The first in a multi-part series comparing modern poultry farms to the more traditional Free Range Chicken. Modern farming methods have not only removed the humanity from poultry farming, they have taken the nutritional advantages of one of our healthiest protein sources and turned it into just another form of fat for us to poison ourselves with.

Free Range Chickens

Chicken raised by traditional farming methods were allowed to roam. My Grandmother called them yard birds and that is what they were. These chickens were raised in an open coop and allowed to free-range during the day. They foraged for the majority of their food consuming insects and grasses as well as the little food that was given to them. In return these chickens fertilized the soil in the yard and kept the insect population under control.

Broiler House Prisons

Chickens being transported in trucks, presumab...
Chickens being transported in trucks, presumably for slaughter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Modern farming methods have done away with these free-range chickens. Chickens are packed into long closed Chicken Houses. In the European Union and Australia these are generally 150 meters long, 15 meters wide and will house 40,000 to 60,000 chickens. In the United States houses vary greatly in size but a recommended flock density of one bird per square foot is the norm.

Lights burning overhead are kept dim to encourage calm in the flock. The chickens live in a perpetual twilight broken only by the 4 hour rest period they receive each day for sleep. This is the minimal amount of rest that, research has found, will allow the broilers to survive till harvest. The other twenty hours of their day is spent feeding and drinking. Food is never more than 3 meters from any chicken.

Chickens will spend five weeks (average 5lb weight), their entire life, in these living conditions. Twenty hours a day in twilight. 4 hours a day in darkness and twenty-four hours a day standing in their own filth. Chicken houses are not, normally, cleaned during a growing cycle.
A commercial meat chicken production house in ...
A commercial meat chicken production house in Florida, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This form of poultry farming has been indicated as a NPS (None Point Source) polluter by the USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency). It is considered a major contributor to air, water, and soil pollution. If you have ever lived close to one of these Poultry farms you won't doubt any of these charges.

Free Range or Broiler House

This article was just to introduce you to a subject I plan to cover in-depth. There will be more to come. Mental and physical health, environmental and ecological impact, Food cost and nutrition all these subjects come into play when discussing this subject and hopefully I will be able to share some useful information on all of them. Making educated decisions is the responsibility of each of us. I don't judge another person's choices. I simply hope to give you the information you need to make those decisions.
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Quiche au Fromage

Ok this is a simple quiche and there are many variations that can be made using this as a base.

First you need a mealy pie crust dough which is simple to make
1 and 1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
4 tablespoons of cold water
mix these together until you have your dough and that part is done.

The filling isn't that hard to do either and is the part you can get creative with
4 ounces of cheese.....your choice what kind
3 eggs beaten
4 ounces of cream
8 ounces of milk
1/2 teaspoon of salt
pinch of white pepper
pinch of nutmeg

Ok once you have your crust laid out into the pie pan you will use sprinkle the cheese in the bottom.
Next beat together the filling ingredients thoroughly and pour into the shell
Place the quiche into a 375 degree oven on the bottom shelf and bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the filling has set up
Once you're done you can serve this hot or cold take your pick.....some of the variations I was talking about is you can put mushrooms, ham, spinach...lots of things into this just take your pick.

Indian Samosas

Ok guys this is a long recipe because of all the ingredients but I promise you it is really good! First I will start with how to make garam masala which is a seasoning spice you will need for this dish.

Garam Masala spice

4 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 and 1/2 teaspoon black cumin seeds
1 and 1/2 teaspoon dry ginger
3/4 teaspoon black cardamom (3-4 large pods approx)                              
3/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (2 X 1” pieces)
3/4 teaspoon crushed bay leaves

Here's how we make this, first heat up a frying pan over medium heat then add all the ingredients, except the dry ginger,  leaving the cardamom in the light green gently roast these until they turn a little bit darker then when they started out...maybe two shades darker, use your judgement. Next turn off the fire and let them cool down unless you like to get Once its cooled off and you can touch it take the cardamom out of the pods and put them back with the rest of the spices....yes including the thought I forgot LOL. Now that you have it all set up grind this stuff to a powder seriously a powder and store in a air tight jar because this stuff will keep for a while and its good in a lot of dishes.

First you will need your pastry dough because that's what the filling gets stuffed into before frying.

2 cups unbleached flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 tablespoon oil or ghee
1/2-3/4 cup of water

Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center and pour in your oil and water then mix until you get a slightly wet want it to end up kind of sticky. Next on a lightly floured surface knead the dough for about 10 minutes and cover with a damp towel until you're ready to use it.

Next part is your choice for the filling some people prefer to be vegetarian some like's the meat filling.

Meat filling
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 small cloves garlic
1/2 kilo ground lamb or beef
2 large onions thinly sliced
1 tablespoon garam masala.....added after your done cooking..just stir it in
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
and a little oil if you need it to keep stuff from sticking

Here's how we cook this mix just crush the ginger and garlic before you start your pan on the fire put it all into the frying pan and simmer for 30 minutes over a medium flame until the meat is brown...drain off any extra grease but don't let the stuff stick either. When its done mix in the garam masala spice and set aside until you're ready to stuff the pastry.

Now finally here's the vegetable filling if you choose this version

Vegetable filling

3 medium potatoes cubed to about 1/2 inch size
2 carrots also cube cut...probably slightly smaller would be good since carrots take a little longer than potatoes to boil al dente...that's semi-soft.
1 cup of peas
3 tablespoons oil or ghee
1 cup onion chopped
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large garlic cloves crushed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds crushed
2 tablespoons fresh coriander chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Ok to start with first cube your potatoes and carrots then put into a separate pot to boil until al dente...slightly soft. While that's going heat another pan and put in some oil or ghee and saute the coriander, ginger, onions, and garlic. Stirring constantly this whole time for about 5 minutes add the lemon juice and the carrots and potatoes that should be done by now and the peas last making sure everything is completely cooked. The next part is filling the pastry.

Finally the easiest part really...LOL hopefully you're still with me...When you're done with the filling pinch off a little ball and roll it out into about 6 inch circles that are really 1/8 of an inch thin and cut them in half then fold in half to make a triangle shape. Put enough filling onto one side of the two triangles you made and leave enough room to be able to connect the other triangle on top along the edges....when doing this add a little bit of water and pinch all around the edge to make it stick together. Once you have all your samosas filled and ready to go heat about 2 inches of oil in a large frying pan to about 375 degrees and fry em up until golden brown one side at a time.