Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

Vegetables Or Cows

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Argentina: meat central, right? This is not necessarily so anymore. As a committed vegetarian (that means I do eat dairy products) unlike vegans (no dairy or eggs) I feared moving to Argentina and being deprived of vegetarian options. I would be in carnivore heaven and starve, well maybe not. What could I eat except for deep fried cheese, pizza and be completely deprived of nutrients. (and about 25 pounds heavier)

I was surprised! There are many vegetarians in Buenos Aires (compared to the USA its not that high) and numerous vegetarian dining and cooking options.

My top restaurants for a guaranteed healthy and tasty meal include:

Pura Vida Restaurant on Uriburu 1489 and Pena (look for the bright orange awning). This is a juice bar that also serves soup, sandwiches and salads. It has been open less then a year ago by two expats from the United States. One owner is a strict “raw foodist” (nothing baked) and the other is a vegan. At Pura Vida you will have delicious liquados (smoothies) or jugos (juices). My favorite smoothie is the “Strawberry Fields Forever” which has banana, blueberry, raspberry, apple juice and I request spirulina to be added.

The other option although not solely vegetarian but carnivore friendly is California Burrito Company in Microcentro on Lavalle 441 and San Martin (4328-3056). This restaurant was also opened by three expats from the United States. This restaurant has an assembly line system to ordering your meal. They claim 15,000 variations can be created for a fajita, burritio or taco. As a vegetarian, you choose from either pinto or black beans, various salsas, spicy mole, guacamole, sour cream (non-vegan), and vegetables. The burrito also includes a beverage of your choice all for under the price of AR.

In the Collegiales neighborhood, you will find Verde Llama on Jorge Newbery 3623 (4554-7467). This is a raw foods restaurant run by Diego, an Argentine and staunch believer of the “life foods philosophy.” If vegetarianism is radical in Argentina then raw foodism is sacrelegous. At Verde Llama nothing is cooked. The base of the foods is made from cracker like food made from sprouts processed in a “dehydrator.”

The menu includes salads, lasagna, coconut curry, and an extensive juice and wine list. They also have a mate mousse for dessert. Diego is very passionate about “life foods” and gives classes at the restaurants on preparing raw food dishes at home. One of the chefs at Verde Llama is also a baker and sells his wares for AR at the restaurant along with some other ready made products.

As a vegetarian, its easier to prepare meals from home then scout out what I can and cannot eat from a menu. (Its also more cost effective to eat in!) The supermarket chain, Jumbo in Palermo (near the mosque) is a good resource for buying vegetables, soy sauce and some other staples. For more extensive shopping its worth a trip to Barrio Chino in Belgrano.

Barrio Chino is made up of about 2 or 3 blocks and there are many restaurants (some vegetarian) and shops crammed into this little area. You can always find soy milk in Barrio Chino. At Asia Oriental Market on Arribenos you will find an extensive supply of baked tofu, silken tofu,prepared foods such as vegetarian sushi, vegetables and fruits.

I have seen on expatriate websites in Buenos Aires people searchin for coconut oil, sesame milk and other items easily found at The Whole Foods market chain in the USA. However, these products are not easy to find here. The solution? People are learning to make their own almond, and sesame milk. There is clearly a market for a Whole Foods market here in Buenos Aires. There is a growing market to accommodate vegetarians and with all of these people opening up restaurants and markets the demand will increase. Perhaps, Argentina land of carnivores will become famous for vegetarian living too!

Tattooed Fruits And Vegetables

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People aren’t the only ones getting tattoos these days. Pretty soon you’ll see fruits and vegetables with writing on them in the grocery stores. Instead of using stickers, fruit and vegetable labelers will be carving out names and expiration dates from the skin.

A new laser technology has been developed in the past couple of years to etch out “labels” from the skin of both hard-skinned and soft-skinned fruits and vegetables. The system created by Hydroponics is called the Naturall Light Label System and has already been used in farms in South Carolina.

Is it better?

Developers of the laser labeling machines claim that it is. Of course they need to say this to sell their product, but many of the benefits they point out for consumers make sense.

If you compare the laser etching to the current sticker labels, there are a great deal of benefits. For one, you don’t have to deal with peeling off a sticker at all. Two, there will be no potentially harmful and unhealthy adhesive residue left behind. And three, there is no potential harm of accidentally ingesting a sticker. You can just wash your produce and eat it.

On the other hand, some fruit and vegetable consumers say that they would prefer a removable label. Say they’re chopping up vegetables for a party, they’d prefer not to serve the pieces that have writing on them. Writing on vegetables, whether or not it’s edible, can seem unappealing. And removing the written on part ahead of time, or seeking out the cut up pieces with the writing can be much more of a hassle than removing a label.

Will people buy tattooed produce?

The fact of the matter is anything new might be slow to catch on, but once this new system of labeling is implemented, there shouldn’t be much difference. Stickers are considered commonplace for the time being, but in the long run, stickered fruits and vegetables will probably be replaced. To put it another way, consumers aren’t in control of what fruits and vegetables turn up in grocery stores; the retailers are. But, predicted consumer behavior is an important factor for retailers. In order for consumer behavior to fare well in the eyes of retailers, consumers will need to be aware of the technology’s benefits. So, in a nutshell, the key is education. Hydroponics conducted a survey in 4 different big cities asking whether or not they would purchase tattooed produce. The result was: ” When educated about laser labelling, consumers preferred it to the current labelling on edible skin/hard skin fruit and produce.”

Your Vegetables May Be Laced With Antibiotics

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Careful what you eat, especially if you are allergic to certain antibiotics. Recent studies have shown that some vegetables absorb the antibiotic chemicals from the soil they are grown in. Why? Animal manure.

In our vast food chain, it seems that we have come across the ultimate irony. Humans are now being punished by their own attempts to optimize the animal and plant food industries. Instead of people being superior to animals and plants in the food chain, we’re now being “kicked in the pants,” so to speak.

Here’s the explanation: Animals raised for human consumption are often fed antibiotics in order to make them stronger and larger, making them more marketable animals, according to the Journal of Environmental Quality’s report on antibiotic infused crops. In raising these animals, their manure is also collected to be used for soil in raising crops. This manure, used as soil, has now been found to transfer the antibiotics put in the animal feed to the very plants that grow in this soil. In other words, by feeding animals antibiotics to capitalize on the market, we are actual introducing a potential danger in human consumption.

Devastated reactions have come from slow food movements, driving home the point that it is important to know where your food comes from. If you have an allergy to certain antibiotics, it could be very dangerous to consume a potato laced with antibiotics. But, with the way America sells its food in grocery stores, it would be hard to know, wouldn’t it? Not only is it hard to figure out which crops have these problems, but it is known that animal manure is very commonly used as soil across the world.

So far, the animal antibiotics have been found in such foods as corn, lettuce, and potatoes. Potatoes have been found to have the highest amounts of these antibiotics because its actual food closely encounters the soil. Actual dangerous effects of this problem have not yet been fully analyzed. In the meantime, it has been advised by study conductors that those with allergies to any sort of antibiotics should be careful.

For more information, visit:
Journal of Environmental Quality
Slashfood
Environment News Service

Secret To Cooking Vegetables

Vegetables, Cooking Vegetables

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Vegetables are essential to the human diet. We get a great deal of our daily vitamin content from vegetables. We need to make sure that how we cook them does not drain vitamin contents and benefits of consumption.

Cooking vegetables can be tricky. Over cooking can make vegetables bland and soggy. My belief is that vegetables should not be boiled. Boling not only rob us of vitamin content, it is the main culprit in turning vegetables to a lifeless, tasteless form.

If we cannot boil, how do we proceed?

First option, steaming vegetables is always a good choice. This will leave vegetables full of life. They will be crisp and colorful. It will also not deplete the vegetables of their vitamin content.

By rule of thumb, vegetables will only need a few minutes in the steam.

For those who do not have official vegetable steamers, an easy steamer can be fashioned out a of pot, a metal colander, and a pot lid. Place a small amount of water in the bottom of a given pot. Fit the metal colander into the pot. Start to boil the water. You will begin the see the steam rise. Place your vegetables into the metal colander and place the pot lid over the metal colander and pot. This collection of kitchen items will allow you to steam vegetables as good as any fancy store bought steamer.

Another good option is to cook your vegetables in a wok. The secret to the wok is that it cooks quickly at a very high temperature. Vegetables retain their flavors, textures, and colors with small amount of nutrient loss.

My favorite wok recipe for vegetables is to cook broccoli, carrots, bok choy, and snow peas in a very light garlic sauce. The vegetables remain crisp and the garlic adds just the right amount of flavoring. This combination can be served with any cut of meat.

I hope you will see that secret to cooking vegetables is not to over cook. Vegetables need to remain crisp, full of color. As you learn different tricks to bringing your vegetables to life, these will become the most requested dishes on your dinner table.

Planning Helps Make A Party Perfect. Keep dinner simple. Heat frozen vegetables and precooked smoked sausage together for a complete meal.

Parties and family gatherings are popular this time of year. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, a birthday, graduation, a holiday or the start of your favorite sport’s season, entertaining can be quick, simple, affordable and fun if you plan ahead.

• Stock your pantry, refrigerator and freezer with essentials such as precooked, hearty smoked sausage, assorted frozen, refrigerated or boxed side dishes, a variety of vegetables (frozen, fresh or canned), canned or refrigerated soups, and grated cheese for delicious meals in minutes.

• Choose recipes you can prepare ahead to spend more time with guests.

• Last-minute party? Quick and easy solutions are available to help you have dinner in about 30 minutes, including:

− Prepare your favorite seasoned rice mix, then add sliced smoked sausage. Heat through for dinner in 30 minutes.

− Serve smoked sausage alongside refrigerated mashed potatoes for a quick meal solution.

− Add sliced smoked sausage to a quick stuffing mix and pair with frozen vegetables.

− Stir sliced smoked sausage into prepared macaroni and cheese, then heat through for a one-pot meal that’s quick, satisfying, delicious and minimizes cleanup time, too.

− Add sliced smoked sausage to a jar of your favorite pasta sauce and heat through. Serve over any cooked pasta and enjoy.

If you plan to serve dinner, choose a recipe that is a one-dish meal such as Sausage Skillet Dinner.

Smoked Sausage Skillet Dinner

1 (1-lb.) pkg. Hillshire Farm Polska Kielbasa, sliced 1/4″ thick

1 (28-oz.) bag frozen diced, sliced potatoes

1 (16-oz.) bag frozen mixed vegetables

2 Tbsp. cooking oil

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Place oil in skillet with potatoes and vegetables, cover and cook 6-8 minutes. Add the sliced Hillshire Farm Polksa Kielbasa to the skillet and cover and cook 8-10 minutes. Mix in cheddar cheese and serve.

Serving size: 4-6 servings