Food Is Not Your Enemy

Alfalfa Alert
April 30, 2009, 12:18 pm
Filed under: Vegetables

I just got back from the Park Slope Food Co-op. They made an announcement while I was shopping that they temporarily wouldn’t be carrying alfalfa sprouts due to a health alert. Thank goodness President O. is stepping up food safety initiatives. We need it so badly.

April 30, 2009, 9:36 am
Filed under: Grains, Recipes | Tags: , , ,

Have you ever tried millet? It’s a whole grain that’s widely eaten in much of Asia and parts of Africa, and it’s a great source of B vitamins and protein. Here’s the recipe for a millet dish I cook regularly at home–my kids love it, saying it “tastes like macaroni and cheese.” I serve it as a main dish, with a green salad on the side, but this could certainly be a side dish as well.


Millet and Chickpea Pilaf with Saffron and Tomatoes


2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup millet, rinsed

1/2 onion, finely diced

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Pinch saffron threads

1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed

1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes, fresh or canned

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Salt and freshly milled pepper

2 1/2 cups boiling water or a mixture of water and tomato juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Gruyere (optional)


Serves 4 to 6.


Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy 10-inch skillet, add the millet, and cook over medium heat until the grains begin to color, 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape the millet into a bowl, return the pan to the heat, and add the remaining tablespoon oil along with the onion, basil, and saffron. Cook over medium-high heat until the onion begins to color, 5 to 7 minutes.


Reduce the heat to low and add the millet, chickpeas, tomatoes, and paprika. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and add the boiling water. Cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the millet is done, about 35 minutes. If it’s still a little raw, add 1/4 cup water and continue cooking. Gently break up the grains with a fork. Taste for salt, season with pepper, then stir in the parsley and cheese.  


Recipe from “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison (one of my favorites).

Vegetable Oils: Safe or Scary?
April 29, 2009, 4:58 pm
Filed under: Oils | Tags: ,

AOL’s ParentDish just posted my latest “Safe or Scary?” column, which takes a look at whether or not you should be freaking out about using vegetable oils. See it here.

Red Meat: Oh So Delicious, But…
April 29, 2009, 12:37 pm
Filed under: Meat | Tags: , , ,

“There was a time when red meat was a luxury for ordinary Americans, or was at least something special: cooking a roast for Sunday dinner, ordering a steak at a restaurant. Not anymore. Meat consumption has more than doubled in the United States in the last 50 years.”


So begins this week’s New York Times piece about how red meat is killing us.


Do I enjoy red meat? I sure do. From bacon to hanger steaks, pork shoulder to osso buco, I love it all. But should I be eating it every day, like I did as a kid when we got giant beef deliveries by truck from some deal called “The American Meat Plan”?


I decided about a year ago that the answer is no. As I’ve become more and more interested in nutrition and therefore started reading every nutrition article and study I could get my hands on, it became clear that we’re way better off treating meat as the luxury it once was in this country. The healthiest cultures on earth eat red meat sparingly–once a week, or less. And I’m aiming toward that myself. I’m pretty sure that decision has helped me lose 10 pounds over the past six months or so, weight I wasn’t even looking to lose. But hey, I’ll take it!


-Jennifer Schonborn