I just returned from the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) in San Francisco. The conference was good, the weather was perfect (sunny and 21°C) and the food was excellent. California boosts an incredible agriculture landscape. I’m sharing my love for avocados in this blog. I specifically love their smooth, creamy texture and I like using avocados as a spread. What is the alligator pear? Avocados, also known as the “alligator pear,” are grown in tropical climates, with Mexico currently as the largest producer. They have green leathery skin, and fleshy pear-shaped bodies. Botanically, avocados are fruits that grow on trees, and commercially, they ripen after harvesting. Although avocados are not particularly sweet or flavourful, they have a distinct taste. They are eaten alone, used to make foods such as guacamoles, salads, salsas and added to sandwiches, soups and other Mexican inspired dishes. California Avocados California Avocados are grown along the microclimatic coast of central and southern California between San Luis Obispo and the Mexican border. They are harvested annually from spring through the fall by nearly 5,000 growers on 50,000 acres of land. Due to their thick, pebbly skin, the fruit inside of a California Avocado is naturally protected, placing California … Continue reading
Many nuts reach their peak of freshness and quality in the late fall which leads to their harvest. As a result, there is an abundance of nuts during the holiday festivities. I have yet to roast chestnuts on an open fire, but it seems to be a Christmas tradition (or at least lyrics in the Christmas carol lead me to that conclusion). One nutty tradition in my family was my Aunt Doris giving out bottles of her homemade Christmas Nuts and Bolts. We looked forward to that special container of salty deliciousness every year! The Twelve Nutty Facts for the Holidays The nutcracker is commonly associated with Christmas, but it wasn’t always that way. These functional, decorative objects were once used in Germany year-round as protectors of homes, bringing good luck to the residents of the household. Today, nutcrackers are most commonly seen during the Christmas season, both in homes and on stage. Although nutcrackers have been around for over 300 years, they only became popular for collectors in Canada and the USA in the 1950s after WW II soldiers brought them home from Germany. The botanical definition of a nut refers to a seed enclosed by a hard-shelled fruit … Continue reading
Every year, the Heart and Stroke Foundation dedicates the month of February as Heart Month. It is used to raise awareness across the country about the serious risks associated with heart disease and stroke. This year’s campaign is titled “Make Death Wait”, with startling and effective commercials used to raise awareness. You can check out the commercials at http://mdw.heartandstroke.ca. According to the Heart and Stroke foundation of Canada, heart disease and stroke are two of the three leading causes of death in Canada, with someone becoming another victim every 7 minutes in Canada. Over the past 40 years, the rates of heart disease and stroke have been steadily declining, with a 25% decrease in the past ten years. What some people may not know, is that each year more women than men die from a stroke. Nine out of ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke. These major risk factors include: smoking, excess alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes. You have the power to control all lifestyle factors that might put you at risk and prevent or delay your chances. Try to fit in healthy eating … Continue reading
The research suggests virgin olive oil is known for its heart healthy properties including reducing cholesterol. A traditional Mediterranean diet has shown some protection against other chronic diseases by decreasing inflammation. It has been partially attributed to the high intake of virgin olive oil with this dietary regime. Virgin olive oil contains numerous phenolic compounds that exert potent anti-inflammatory actions in the body. I use virgin oil olive for salad dressing and it fits perfectly with bread dipping, sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese. And I use olive oil for sautéing my favourite veggies! How do you use olive oil and virgin olive oil?
It was 2004 and the ‘No Carb Craze’ still had momentum (more in the US than in Canada), when I was invited to a conference about Glycemic Index (GI) with experts from around the world. We were discussing topics such as the recognized scientific method to determine the GI of foods and how the Canadian Diabetes Association educates their patients on GI. The conference was held in Toronto, the perfect venue, where twenty-three years earlier in 1981 at University of Toronto, Dr. David Jenkins and his colleagues developed a standardized system of ranking foods based on their effect on blood glucose levels known as the GI. What is GI? The GI is ranked from 0 to 100 and the unit of measure is percentage. To make a fair comparison, all foods are compared to a reference food such as pure glucose (the original standard) or white bread (more commonly used and preferred reference), which have a GI rating of 100. The number indicates whether a food raises your blood glucose rapidly (GI rating of 70 or more), moderately (GI rating of 56-60) or slowly (GI rating of 55 or less). Generally, foods that are digested quickly and cause your blood … Continue reading