Teaching Kitchen

Original Image by Stanford University via Stanford Dining
Original Image by Stanford University via Stanford Dining

By: Nikki Nies

Celebrity chef and food advocate, Jamie Oliver is at it again!  With his motto of

Start with nutritious ingredients and savor the cooking experience

at the forefront of all ventures, his new collaboration with Stanford University Residential & Dining Enterprises Stanford Dining, students have the opportunity to not only learn how to cook flavorful meals, but better understand how to make them healthier without trading flavor. In addition, with an open concept kitchen,  with glass partitions for onlookers to see food as it’s prepared, this will increase the students’ confidence, skill and provide more opportunities to interact with guests.

I wish I was closer to Stanford to take advantage of this unique opportunity. So, I hope if you’re in the surrounding Stanford area you sign up!

Where: Arrillaga Family Dining Commons

When: upcoming Fall 2015

Stanford Dining and Enterprises welcomed Award Winning Chef Jamie Oliver to Stanford’s Teaching Kitchen at Arrillaga Family Dining Commons. In toques are student Ameena Tawakol, Hanah Yendler, student outreach coordinator, students Kathleen Howell, Carla Sneider, Rachel Crovello, Maggie Ford, Chef Jamie Oliver, Andrew Beckman, and Jisoo Keel.
Stanford Dining and Enterprises welcomed Award Winning Chef Jamie Oliver to Stanford’s Teaching Kitchen at Arrillaga Family Dining Commons. Original Image by Stanford Dining

By using Jamie Oliver’s curricula, recipes, and inspiring teaching style, students will walk away with a greater appreciation for ‘fresh food.’ Not familiar with Jamie Oliver, get up to speed on some of his latest projects, such as Food Revolution and his demonstration on what’s really in your kid’s chicken nuggets.  Intrigued? Sign up today!

Sources: https://web.stanford.edu/dept/rde/cgi-bin/drupal/dining/teaching-kitchen





How Fast Do Burgers Age?

By: Nikki Nies

J. Kenji López-Alt, a restaurant-trained chef and managing director of the blog Serious Eats, performed an experiment that explored why fast food burgers seem immortal presence of some special preservative in the meat or bun, high salt content in the burger, low moisture content, no mold spores ever coming into contact with the burger, or no air where the burger was prepared.

The burger was obviously cooked where there is air and mold spores are fairly omnipresent no matter where you go, but they would have been killed when the burger was cooked. Thus, the latter two hypotheses were quickly thrown out. The ingredient list for a McDonald’s bun isn’t much different from those bought at the store and the patties claim to be 100% beef, so there were no obvious preservatives that would inhibit mold. Still, hedecided to test the burgers from McDonald’s against some that he made in his kitchen.

Nine different burger combinations were made by mixing and matching the buns and patties from McDonald’s and from his kitchen. Some of his patties had added salt, while others did not, and he also varied the types of packaging. His hands never made direct contact with any of the burgers, which were all left in the open air.

More than three weeks later, the McDonald’s food hadn’t rotted, but neither had the homemade patties. The homemade patty with no added salt looked no different than the those with extra salt, indicating it wasn’t the causal factor.

The key appeared to be moisture levels. The burgers had each lost a quarter of their weight within the first week, indicating that they had dried out. Without moisture, the mold can’t grow. Since McDonald’s uses thin patties with a lot of surface area, they quickly dry out before they can start to rot. This is the entire principle behind beef jerky. A McDonald’s burger sealed in a plastic bag will be completely consumed with mold within a week.

As far as the Buzzfeed video goes, it’s possible that different burger joints use different patty thicknesses, or contain varied ingredients that add moisture, such as different types of cheese or condiments. Also, there’s no way to know if the burgers were sealed within the jars at the same time after purchase, or if some had been given more time to dry out than others. There wasn’t enough due diligence in this video to hail Burger King as haute cuisine and condemn McDonald’s as mysterious Frankenfood quite yet.

This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s appropriate to eat fast food several times a week, either. Many drinks from McDonald’s far exceed the WHO’s new recommendation of 25 grams of sugar per day. Heck, a large chocolate shake has 120 grams all on its own. Additionally, most of their sandwiches and wraps make up over half of the recommended daily sodium levels, while medium fries are a quarter of the fat one should consume for the day.

If you want to hate fast food because you find the nutritional content objectionable, go right ahead. But criticize what it is, don’t speculate and fear monger about what it is not.




Living on One

By: Nikki Nies

Living on One is a production studio that produces educational films and videos on pressing global issues and fighting the war against poverty. Yes, ‘global issues’ is a vague term, but encompasses all that Living on One covers. The production started in 2010, when four college students lived in a Guatemalan village, living off of $1 a day.

Going from a first world country to such living was a harsh awakening, battling everything from hunger to parasites.

Donate today to Living on One to help fund future productions and to aid in the distribution of videos.

Check out Living on One‘s Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Sources: http://livingonone.org/

How Much Is Eaten Around The World

Original Image by Faith D'Alusio and Peter Menzel via Amazon.com
Original Image by Faith D’Alusio and Peter Menzel via Amazon.com

By: Nikki Nies

Photographer Peter Menzel and his wife, writer Faith D’Alusio traveled the world for three years to document the eating habits of 80 people in 30 countries. Their findings have been compiled into the couple’s book, What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diet . As we know, a picture is worth a thousand words and the photographs they took are very telling. They captured the amount and type(s) of food typically eaten in the course of one day.

The profiles of each person photographed is organized by the total number of calories consumed per day.

Third wife out of four wives. Noolkisaruni Tarakuai in Kenya consumes 800 calories/day
Third wife out of four wives. Noolkisaruni Tarakuai in Kenya consumes 800 calories/day
 Marble Moahi, who's HIV, in Botswana consumes 900 kcal/day
Marble Moahi, who’s HIV, in Botswana consumes 900 kcal/day
Munna Kailash, a rickshaw driver in India, consumes 2400 kcal/day.
Munna Kailash, a rickshaw driver in India, consumes 2400 kcal/day.
Maria Ermelinda Ayme Sichigalo, a farmer and mother of 8, cooks over a hearth, consumes 3800 kcal/day
Maria Ermelinda Ayme Sichigalo, a farmer and mother of 8, cooks over a hearth, consumes 3800 kcal/day
Soldier Curtis Newcomer, in Fort Irwin, California, consumes 4000 kcal/day.
Soldier Curtis Newcomer, in Fort Irwin, California, consumes 4000 kcal/day.

While the above pictures show only a glimpse of the 80 people shared in the book, it’s humbling and a great start to understanding how blessed we are to have food on the table without worrying about what will be eaten in the next meal. What are you waiting for? Grab your copy of the What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diet now!

Sources: http://www.idealistrevolution.org/15-people-from-around-the-world-next-to-the-amount-of-food-they-eat-every-day/



Stone Fruits Are Optimal with Soft Exterior, Hard Interiors!

Original Image by Jitze Couperus via Flickr
Original Image by Jitze Couperus via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

As members of the Prunus genus species, it’s not a coincidence that peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots,cherries and their hybrids (e.g. pluots and apripums) are more alike than different. These fruits are grouped in the ‘stone fruit’ family due to their large, hard seed. Often times these fruits are picked when underripe to limit bruising during transit.

When choosing stone fruits, gently squeeze, choosing those that yield sightly. Peaches and plums should not have any green or wrinkly patches. To store, It’s best to opt for stone fruits that are full of color and leave stem end down at room temperature for a few days to allow them to soften to optimal texture.  No need to place in the fridge until ripe as stone fruits can develop a mealy skin. Cherries can be placed in fridge right away and should be used within 10 days of purchase.

We’re at the end of the stone fruit season, which is between June through September, with stone fruits susceptible to injury from low winter temperature.  Nectarines are more likely to brown rot as they are more susceptible to disease organism, while cherries will crack if there is an excess of rain.

You may be asking why go to all the trouble to get these fruits in season? Packed with fiber, potassium, vitamin A and C, these tiny fruits should be a mainstay in your house during June through September.

Original Image by allisonmseward12 via Flickr
Original Image by allisonmseward12 via Flickr

If you’ve ever been past the Mason Dixon line, you may start to expect to see peach cobbler as a mainstay of desserts. Since my parents moved to Georgia in 2012, I’ve learned to appreciate peaches more than ever. I’ve experimented a bit with making peach cobbler myself, finding that All Recipes’ Peach Cobbler recipe is the best! The recipe calls for a 1/4 cup of white and 1/4 cup of brown sugar, which isn’t too bad  in comparison to other recipes, where I’ve seen up to an entire cup of sugar requested!

Stone fruits are a perfect addition to any cobbler, cake or pie, but it’s natural, pure form as a fruit is equally good or roast, poach or saute with your next meal! Plus, when it’s just ripe enough, it doesn’t get much better than a juicy peach! Other fun ways to incorporate stone fruits into dishes are as jams, chutneys, fruit salsa, grilled fruit, add to a salad and/or in breakfast cereal or yogurt! Enjoy!

Sources: http://extension.psu.edu/plants/gardening/fphg/stone







Natural Licorice

Original Image by J Brew via Flickr
Original Image by J Brew via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a plant, most commonly associated with flavorings in food, beverages and tobacco.  However, the root is used to make Eastern and Western medicine.

Licorice can be used for:

  • Digestive issues: heartburn, indigestion, GERD, stomach ulcers, colic, ongoing inflammation of the stomach’s lining-chronic gastritis
  • Sore throat
  • Canker sores
  • Eczema
  • Bronchitis
  • Cough
  • Infections from bacteria or viruses
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Liver disorders
  • Malaria
  • Tuberculosis
  • Food poisoning
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

It can be used in many forms:

  • Dried root: 1 – 5 g as an infusion or decoction (boiled), 3 times daily
  • Licorice 1:5 tincture: 2 – 5 mL, 3 times daily
  • Standardized extract: 250 – 500 mg, 3 times daily, standardized to contain 20% glycyrrhizinic acid
  • DGL extract: 0.4 – 1.6 g, 3 times daily, for peptic ulcer
  • DGL extract 4:1: chew 300 – 400 mg, 3 times daily 20 minutes before meals, for peptic ulcer

If one has the following disease states or situations, use of licorice should not be used: liver disease, pregnancy and breastfeeding, high blood pressure, hypertonia, low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia), kidney disease, surgery, sexual problems in men and/or hormone sensitive conditions (i.e. breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and/or endometriosis).

Natural licorice can increase cortisol concentration, leading to increased sodium retention, potassium excretion, high blood pressure (aka hypertension) and/or an increase in sodium reabsorption.  These changes can antagonize the action of diuretics and antihypertensive medications.  Some herbs have a stimulant laxative effect (i.e. aloe vera, castor oil, senna and rhubarb) should be avoided to lower potassium in body.

Furthermore, use of certain medications can negatively interact with licorice.

Medication Use Potential interaction with licorice
Warfarin (Coumadin) Slow blood clotting Licorice may increase breakdown; decrease effectiveness of warfarin, which may increase the risk of clotting
Cisplatin (Platinol-AQ) Treat cancer Licorice may decrease how well cisplatin works
Digoxin (Lanoxin) Treats atrial fibrillation and heart failure Large amounts of licorice can decrease potassium levels, which can inhibit digoxin’s effectiveness
Ethacyrnic Acid (Edecrin); Furosemide (Lasix) Treats edema; diuretic When etharynic and licorice are taken together, may cause potassium to become too low
Furosemide (Lasix) Treats edema When furosemide and licorice are taken together, may cause potassium to become too low
Medications associated with the liver (i.e. cytochrome P450 2C9, cytochrome P450 3A4, CYP3A4, phenobarbital, dexamethasone) Liver issues Licorice may change how the liver breaks down medications, may increase/decrease effects of medications
Antihypertensive drugs (i.e. captopril, enalapril, losartan, valsartan, amlodipine, hydrochlorothiazide, Lasix) Treats high blood pressure Might decrease effectiveness of medications for high blood pressure
Corticosteroids (i.e. hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, methylprednisone, prednisone) For inflammation Some medications for inflammation can decrease potassium in the body; when corticosteroids are taken in conjunction with licorice, can decrease potassium in the body too much
Diuretics (i.e. Lasix, Diuril, Thalitone, HCTZ, Microzide) Water pills In conjunction with licorice, diuretics can decrease potassium in body too much

Lastly, when taking licorice, drinking grapefruit juice may increase licorice’s ability to cause potassium depletion. Licorice can increase sodium/water retention and increase blood pressure. Licorice can be a great solution to certain disease states, however, take caution with use of licorice if you’re on medications. Best to check with your primary care physician if it is safe to use licorice.

Sources: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/881.html