Tag Archives: Food

Stuff in the news 6/19/2013 – Tech

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Helping out our friends at Village Memorial in Portland, OR. They’ve entered a contest on the NASA Tech Briefs website and we want you to know about it and vote for them, if you would, please. The concept behind their project is that pathogens stay resident on a human body after it is dead, even up to a couple of days. This, of course , can be a health hazard to survivors of a disaster or first responders. Village Memorial has developed an eco-friendly method of removing these pathogens through the use of “mycelium enzymatic digestion”, or to use layman terms, pathogen-eating fungi. Here’s their video from YouTube:
  • There will be a full blog post coming soon but I want to mention this because it’s such a great use of virtual tech. I am at my new favorite hangout, Hillside Market, this afternoon and had a very nice chat with  the owners, Trish and Pam, who was paying barista today. Also here was Fernando Aleo, owner of the now closed Epazote restaurant that used to be on Agua Fria in Santa Fe.  Turns out that one of Fernando’s projects has been to host virtual dinners between Santa Fe, NM and Chihuahua, MX. He creates the menus and has staff in both locations and they meet by Skype. Is that not cool? Definitely looking forward to his new ventures here in Santa Fe!
  • Haiku Deck is one of those apps that I’ve been meaning to try but I’m so averse to doing anything on an iPad that I have to see extremely well, like spreadsheets. Still, this article is making me reconsider, as the author is pretty honest about the shortcomings it has. May major worry is the notion that you have to upload the presentation to their server and it’s not reliable. I do have a pico projector, so I suppose I could present directly from the iPad but it’s not ideal, since I like to share my slide decks.
  • Good stuff in here: 50 Ways Your Business Can Get The Most Out of Gmail
  • ” In the future, a grandmother’s crowning achievement—the thing she never forgets to remind her grandchildren about—will be that Justin Bieber retweeted her once. The framed screenshot of the RT will become a family heirloom.” — Has The Internet Changed Our Definition Of Success?
  • Feedly rocks! The pending integration with Sprout Social will make it even better. Feedly Cloud Available to All Users Two Weeks Before Google Reader Shuts Down, Press Updates With Support
  • Four ways OS X Mavericks will save your MacBook’s battery.
    • Great. Now fix the battery life on the iPhone….

Holiday cooking

With the the holidays in full swing and everyone on vacation from work, there’s a lot more cooking going on in the house than usual. So, I thought I’d share a few of our more successful recipes.

Beef Wellington for Two

For Christmas dinner, we made individual beef wellingtons. We had done in en masse a few years ago but tonight, we made it for two and the recipe was so simple and so good, I can’t recommend it enough. I also can’t recommend enough the notion of getting some exercise, as just the wellingtons are about 1500 calories each! Here’s the link to the food.com recipe. http://www.food.com/recipe/beef-wellington-for-two-154031 . Sorry I didn’t think to take a picture. I’ll update the post next time we make it.

Breakfast Cookies (with Bacon!)

bacon cookies

Every year at church, we sing Lessons & Carols at both services on the Sunday before Christmas. Because we have to be there from about 7:30a.m. to 12:30 or so, the choir has a potluck breakfast in between services. Murphy’s Law says that if I make an egg strata, so will everyone else. So, this year I made breakfast cookies. I couldn’t find the recipe I used last year, which had granola as a base, so I went rooting around online and found this. We had no leftovers but even as a bacon lover, I can’t stomach more than two of these at a sitting: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Breakfast-Cookies-2

Butternut Squash (with Bacon!)

Butternut Squash with Thyme

The best vegetarian food has bacon in it. Yeah, I know… but, really – it doesn’t take much bacon to add some flavor and make people eat their veggies. All told, each of us had, perhaps, 1-1/2 strips of bacon each. Not much of a health risk, in the grand scheme of things. Use this recipe for Butternut Squash with Browned Butter and Thyme but instead of the butter, soft-cook 4 strips of bacon, remove the bacon and set it aside and cook the squash in the bacon drippings. then before you simmer the squash, cut up the bacon and add it back into the skillet and cover. We served grilled Portobello on the side. Squash recipe: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/butternut_squash_with_browned_butter_and_thyme/

Baked Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash

OK, truth be known, I’d have considered this comfort food, even without the bacon but we had more bacon to use up, so we threw some in, just like the previous squash recipes. Again, a little bacon goes a long way. Just use the drippings, instead of butter or oil (if you end up with a lot, drain off what you don’t need. No need to be gross). Here’s the recipe, sans bacon: http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/baked-barley-risotto-00100000070986/index.html

Venezuelan Empanadas – Hispanic Kitchen

These look really good. Sounds like a session in the kitchen is in order!

From my Venezuelan Cooking Blog [click for more instructional photos on how to make Empanadas]


Empanadas are like Venezuelan hot pockets or calzones. We usually serve them as appetizers (small ones), or as a main dish with delicious fillings and dipping sauces. Empanada fillings are as varied as Arepa fillings, and we use some of the same fillings that we use in Arepas as well.   The most common and easy to prepare are cheese empanadas, and they are the most popular amongst kids. We also have exquisite ones like lobster, or Cazón (small shark), and common ones like ground beef, shredded chicken, shredded meat. Then there are big ones like filled with Pabellón (Shredded beef, black beans and plantains), or combination ones like cheese and beef, or even ham and cheese. One thing is for sure: You will like them no matter what is in them. Another great thing about empanadas is that they are a great way to re-purpose your leftovers, and no one will complain about eating the same thing for lunch that they had the night before for dinner, because everyone loves empanadas. So keep that in mind when you have leftovers, and you don’t want them to go to waste. 

What You’ll Need:

1 cup Harina PAN
1¼ cup Water
½ teaspoon Salt
1/3 teaspoon Sugar

Vegetable Oil (enough to fry all the empanadas)
Your Empanada Fillings (Cheese, beef, chicken, pork, etc.)
Clear Plastic Wrap (Cling Wrap)



1. Just like the Arepas: Add the Harina PAN into a mixing bowl, then add the salt and the sugar to the water and stir it.   Now little by little add the water and knead and mix the dough using your hands.   You must knead the dough until the mix is soft, firm and has a uniform consistency without any grains.

2. Once the dough is ready, make a big ball out of it, and then split into 4 equal parts.

3. Set up your cooking space as shown in this picture in order to have:

a) Your Dough
b) Your Fillings (I have beef and shredded Queso Blanco cheese here)
c) A bowl with warm water with a little bit of oil in it.
d) A bowl to shape your empanadas with.
e) A large enough piece of Cling Wrap


4. Grab one of your four sections of dough and form a ball.

5. Begin to flatten the ball into a disk shape using the entire length of your hands, also use the water with oil to moisten your hands so that the dough doesn’t stick to them.

6. Flatten the ball until it is less than 0.25” thick.

7. Place about two to three tablespoons of your filling right below the center of the circle.

8. With both hands grab the top of the Cling Wrap and carefully fold the circle in two, so that you have a semicircle.

9. Press the Cling Wrap with your fingers over the top dough towards the bottom dough, in order to close the empanada.

10. Now use the extra empty bowl as shown to cut the excess dough and make the famous empanada moon-shape.

11. Open the Cling Wrap and remove the excess dough, which you can add to the remaining dough to make the rest of the empanadas.

12. Carefully remove the empanada from the Cling Wrap, so you can make the rest of them.

13. You can begin to fry them immediately if you have someone else to help keep an eye on the ones in the pan, so you can continue making the other ones and not burn them.

14. Also, it is a good idea to mark them so you know which ones have which filling. In case someone doesn’t want one of the fillings. I use one dot for cheese, two dots for beef, and three dots for beef and cheese.   But you can use whatever you want.

15. Once you have all your empanadas ready, it’s time to fry them.

16. Once they are golden, take them out and lay them on paper towels to remove the excess oil.

17. Serve and enjoy.   Be careful, they are hot!


¡Buen Provecho!


Searching for more good eats?

Even If Chocolate Doesn’t Ward Off Heart Disease, It’s Still Yummy : Shots – Health Blog : NPR

Paul Bratcher Photography/Flickr

Lots of M&Ms were sacrificed in the writing of this post.

Lots of M&Ms were sacrificed in the writing of this post.
Paul Bratcher Photography/Flickr

Lots of M&Ms were sacrificed in the writing of this post.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, but the tools to fend it off — low-fat diets, exercise, statin drugs — leave a little bit to be desired in the charm department.

Then there’s chocolate. It’s hard to resist the notion that eating lots of one of the world’s most delicious foods could be the key to cardiovascular health.

But is chocolate “good for the heart”? That’s just one of the pro-chocolate news headlines sparked by a rather wonky review just published in the British Medical Journal.

To find out, Shots called up Oscar Franco, a clinical lecturer in public health from the University of Cambridge, who was in Paris delivering his chocolate-and-healthy-hearts paper at a conference.

He confirmed that based on his analysis, and the seven studies it reviewed, there’s no proof that chocolate prevents cardiovascular disease. What he did find is that people who told researchers they ate lots of chocolate were about one-third less likely to have heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.

“These are promising results,” Franco told Shots, but we need to do more research to confirm these findings.” That would require scientists to feed people chocolate in a randomized controlled trial, and then monitor their health.


Franco and his co-authors were candid about the shortcomings in their study. For one thing, it didn’t measure how much chocolate the healthier people ate. And since the people had reported their chocolate intake themselves, it’s impossible to know if they told the truth. Obese people tend to underreport their eating in surveys, and they are also more likely to have cardiovascular disease. So it could be that fat chocolate-eaters are much worse off than we think.

Unfortunately, Franco doesn’t advise eating scads of Scharffenberger or Valrhona while we wait for science to do its job. “The advice is not to start eating chocolate,” Franco says. “But for people who are already eating chocolate, to eat it in a moderate manner, on a regular basis, and not in a single gulp.”

Why the moderation? Because chocolate is almost always mated with sugar and fat in candy, ice cream, and desserts. Those treats are hardly a heart-healthy delivery system. Tasty chocolate products that are less dependent on sugar and fat “would be a great benefit for the prevention of cardiovascular disease,” Franco says. So get on it, food scientists.

Given the hype surrounding Franco’s study, it’s not surprising that more than a few readers, and journalists, thought that chocolate has been given science’s seal of approval as the perfect health food. A headline on a press release from BMJ touting the study said as much.

“The headline for that release said ‘It’s official!’,” says Kevin Lomangino, editor of Clinical Nutrition Insight, a newsletter for physicians and nutritionists. “The problem with that of course is it’s not official. It didn’t come from the Institute of Medicine, or the World Health Organization. It’s one group of researchers with one study. “

Lomangino was so steamed over the BMJ release that he wrote a blistering blog post for the health journalism watchdog site Health News Review. His screed may have had some effect; news headlines posted later in the day have been more likely to tone down chocolate’s potential benefits.

So, chocolate still isn’t health food. But the bag of M&Ms consumed in the writing of this blog post was motivating, and delicious.

Seven Independent Coffee Roasters

North American roasters get crafty with South American and African beans

North American roasters get crafty with South American and African beans


Thanks coffee culture spreading far and wide—from Portland’s Stumptown to Chicago’s Intelligentsia—the appeal of independent micro-roasters over corporate coffee houses is starting to catch on not just among connoisseurs but mainstream America as well. To survey the latest, we’ve dedicated our morning—and afternoon and evening—cups of coffee to finding the best artisinal purveyors in the States. Below is a selection of seven cups of black gold that will not only keep you moving, but taste good too.

Check out the list at coolhunting.com

Futurity.org – For sun protection, slather on caffeine?

When caffeine was topically applied to mice, they developed 72 percent fewer squamos cell carcinomas, a form of skin cancer. (Credit: iStockphoto)

RUTGERS (US) — Coffee may be more than a great morning pick-me-up. Suntan lotion laden with caffeine might be an effective way to prevent harmful sun damage or skin cancer.

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The text of this article by Futurity is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives License.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, adds weight to the theory that caffeine guards against certain skin cancers at the molecular level by inhibiting ATR, a protein enzyme in the skin. Scientists believe, based on what they have learned studying mice, caffeine applied directly to the skin might help prevent damaging ultraviolet light from causing skin cancer.

Earlier research indicated that mice that were fed caffeinated water and exposed to lamps that generated UVB radiation that damaged the DNA in their skin cells were able to kill off a greater percentage of their badly damaged cells and reduce the risk of cells becoming cancerous.

Straight from the Source

Read the original study

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1111378108

“Although it is known that coffee drinking is associated with a decreased risk of non-melanoma skin cancer, there now needs to be studies to determine whether topical caffeine inhibits sunlight-induced skin cancer,” says Allan Conney, professor of chemical biology at Rutgers and director of the Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research.

Instead of inhibiting ATR with caffeinated water, Conney and colleagues in collaboration with researchers from the University of Washington, genetically modified and diminished the levels of ATR in one group of mice.

The genetically modified mice developed tumors more slowly than the unmodified mice, had 69 percent fewer tumors than regular mice, and developed four times fewer invasive tumors. When caffeine was topically applied to the regular mice, they had 72 percent fewer squamos cell carcinomas, a form of skin cancer.

But when both groups of mice were exposed to chronic ultraviolet rays for an extended period of time, tumor development occurred in both the genetically modified and regular mice. This seems to indicate inhibiting the ATR enzyme works best at the pre-cancerous stage before UV-induced skin cancers are fully developed.

Sunlight-induced skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the United States with more than 1 million new cases each year. Although multiple human epidemiologic studies link caffeinated beverage intake with significant decreases in several different types of cancer, including skin cancer, just how and why coffee protects against the disease is unknown, Conney says.

“Caffeine might become a weapon in prevention because it inhibits ATR and also acts as a sunscreen and directly absorbs damaging UV light.”

More news from Rutgers: http://news.rutgers.edu/medrel/

(Viewed 348 times)

Sifting through the risks and benefits of coffee

Cappucino. Click image to expand.

Photograph of coffee by Jupiterimages/Thinkstock.

Coffee is one of those things that make curmudgeons like Andy Rooney throw up their hands. They used to tell us coffee is bad for us, he complains. Now they say it’s good. Why should we believe any of it?

Rooney’s complaint about the back and forth nature of coffee studies is no exaggeration. An analysis published last year concluded that coffee consumption may increase the risk of lung cancer. Yet a study published in June found that heavy coffee drinking was associated with a 60 percent decrease in the risk of advanced prostate cancer, and another out this month shows that coffee drinkers are less likely than abstainers to harbor antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their nasal passages.

In the last decade alone, scientists have published hundreds of papers attributing both harms and health benefits to coffee. What gives?

Article continues here: slate.com

Chemical found in grapes may protect against Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that grape seed polyphenols—a natural antioxidant—may help prevent the development or delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The research, led by Giulio Maria Pasinetti, MD, PhD, The Saunder Family Professor in Neurology, and Professor of Psychiatry and Geriatrics and Adult Development at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, was published online in the current issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Read about it at alzheimersreadingroom.com

Chemical found in grapes may protect against Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that grape seed polyphenols—a natural antioxidant—may help prevent the development or delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The research, led by Giulio Maria Pasinetti, MD, PhD, The Saunder Family Professor in Neurology, and Professor of Psychiatry and Geriatrics and Adult Development at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, was published online in the current issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Read about it at alzheimersreadingroom.com

Nosh, an app to make your mouth water | Reuters

This app is available for iPhone. I’m not sure what other phones.

By Om Malik at GigaOm

Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:44pm EDT

One of the best part of Yelp reviews is the comments, that often point you to a good dish on the menu at a restaurant you are visiting. Foursquare does it well with “tips”  left by visitors to an eating establishment or a bar that are essentially a recommendation to order a specific dish, a kind of drink or a type of tea. Of course there are apps like Chewsy and Foodspotting that have focused on food related conversations and social sharing.

Today, Firespotter Labs, an incubator of sorts backed by Google and co-founded by Craig Walker, the co-founder of Google Voice, released Nosh, an app that will compete with the incumbents.

Nosh is a mobile app for iPhone and Android that allows users to check in, rate, review and share menu items. You can think of it as a cross between Foursquare and Yelp for dishes. Nosh helps answer the question of “what’s good here?” by giving users what essentially amounts to an uber-menu on their phone, leveraging the content generated by the Nosh community to create a much better dining experience. It’s a fun and social way to share what you eat and find out what’s good everywhere.

Nosh has approximately 150,000 menus, 475,000 restaurants and 10 million menu items in its database, which makes it pretty easy for one to take a photo of a dish, check-in to a location and start sharing that with friends and family.

I have been using the app for a couple of days and there are a few things which actually will make this app a worthy competitor. Nosh does a good job of creating the follow-follower viral loop that had made Instagram and Twitter very popular with folks who don’t want to share, but want to consume the information others are sharing. Nosh as an app is pretty simple, lacks pretension and is easy to use. I would urge you to give it a try.

Click to view slideshow.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d):

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  • NewNet Q2: Google closes the quarter with a bang
  • The Case for Increased M&A in 2011: Actions and Outlooks

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