Olive Oil Is from a Fruit and Not a Vegetable
Did you know that among food oils, olive oil is unique for being extracted not from a dry grain or nut, but from a fleshy fruit, and for carrying the prominent flavors of that fruit? The most prized olive oils are sold unrefined and shortly after harvest, as fresh as possible. They are used more as a delicious, delicate flavoring in their own right, not as a medium in which to cook other ingredients. Italy, France, and other Mediterranean countries are the largest producers and consumers (McGee, 2004).
Many types of oil can be used to make salad dressings. Light, neutral-flavored oils such as canola, corn, cottonseed, soybean, and safflower are relatively low priced and used extensively for this purpose. Other oils can be used to add flavor. But Sarah Labensky emphasized that olive oil is very popular; both mild-flavored pure olive oil and full-flavored extra virgin olive oil are used.
Why Should You Squeeze Lemon into Your Food?
Sparshita Saxena enumerated three highlights of lemons:
- Lemons are an important source of vitamin C.
- The body requires 40mg of vitamin C every day.
- The Limonene present in lemons helps in preventing the growth of cancer.
In addition, she shared that a generous squeeze of lemon makes everything better:
Isn't it true that just a dash of lemon does wonders to elevate the flavors in a dish? Lemon juice, when added to salads, curries, chutneys or drinks takes the preparation to its finality, a state of flawless, impeccable perfection. When added to hot soups and warm broths, it transfers a woolly, fuzzy feeling deep within. And what will our iced teas and summer drinks be without this citrusy delight?
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Lemon enjoys a dedicated favoritism with most. Those who cherish cooking love to play around with its zing, teaming it with many other ingredients. For those who consider eating a strict and serious trade, lemon brings joy to the palate and bliss to life. It is akin to a subtle pop of color in an otherwise bland, plain room – lemon adds the same zing to delicacies.
Cultures across the globe have been known to make use of this citrus fruit for centuries. Its versatility knows no bounds, as it blends well with desserts, meats, vegetables, and even other fruits. Though they are available in different shapes and sizes across the planet, lemons are believed to have originated in Assam and in parts of Myanmar and China. Apart from being central to cooking, lemons are known for their skin and hair benefiting properties as well. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is linked primarily to immunity strengthening.
"Lemons are an important source of vitamin C. According to the National Institute of Nutrition, our body requires 40 mg of vitamin C every day. Vitamin C is great for immunity and essential for healthy collagen formation-framework of our skin and bones. It also facilitates optimum and efficient absorption of iron. Lemons are the easiest way to meet your daily dose of Vitamin C," says Dr. Rupali, Chief Nutritionist, SmartCooky.
Apart from being a storehouse of Vitamin C, lemons are also enriched with vitamin B6, copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc, flavonoids, antioxidants, and phosphorus. Adding lemon to your diet will help keep digestion and tummy troubles like constipation at bay. It is known to cleanse the digestive system along with blood-purifying properties.
The Role of Spices in Cooking
The University of Delaware, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, discussed the use of spices and herbs in food and cooking.
Although spices and herbs have been used since ancient times, they are playing a new and important role in modern food preparation. They not only add unique flavors to our food but contribute color and variety as well. Certain spices and herbs used alone, or in blends, can replace or reduce salt and sugar in foods.
The advice frequently offered today is simply, “In place of salt, use herbs and spices for flavor.” This leaves one wondering: Which spice with what food? How much? In what combination? Here are some tips:
- Because herbs and spices are expensive, start with some of the basics. Americans particularly like pepper, basil, oregano, and cinnamon.
- To become familiar with the flavor of a specific herb, mix it with butter, margarine, or cream cheese, let it stand for at least an hour, then taste this mixture on a cracker.
- Each spice or herb has a distinctive flavor, but certain spices and herbs can be grouped together.
- Strong or dominant flavor – Includes bay leaf, cardamom, curry (actually a blend of spices), ginger, pepper, mustard, rosemary, sage.
- Medium flavors – Use in moderate amounts (1 to 2 teaspoons for 6 servings). Includes basil, celery seeds, and leaves, cumin, dill, fennel, French tarragon, garlic, marjoram, mint, oregano, savory, thyme, turmeric.
- Delicate flavors – Includes burnet, chervil, chives, parsley. May be used in large quantities and combined with most other herbs and spices.
- Sweet flavor (may reduce sugar in sweet dishes) – Includes cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, cardamom, anise, fennel, mint.
- Savory flavor – Oregano, tarragon, chives, dill.
- Peppery flavor – Red pepper, mustard, black pepper, paprika. Use with care since these flavors stand out (approximately 1 teaspoon for 6 servings).
- Consider the flavor of the main ingredient in the recipe. In general, the weaker the flavor of the food, the more seasoning needed to give a satisfactory balanced note in the final product.
- Consider the form that will be used. Dried herbs are stronger than fresh herbs because the chemicals that produce the characteristic flavor are more concentrated. Powdered spices are stronger than crumbled spices since the flavoring chemicals can mix with the food easier. A useful guide is:
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered = 3/4 to 1 teaspoon dried crumbled = 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh.
- When using fresh herbs, chop the leaves very fine. The greater surface area or more cut area exposed, the more flavor will be released. Kitchen shears are ideal for cutting fresh herbs, but a knife can also be used.
- Use whole spices in recipes that require lengthy cooking because there is plenty of time for the flavor to be extracted and spread throughout the food. The flavor of herbs is lost, however, by extended cooking, so add them during the last 45 minutes if the recipe calls for long simmering. Another technique is to use part of the herb at the beginning and the remainder later in cooking.
- In quick- or medium-cooking dishes, crush dried herbs first to release some of the oils. Use a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin.
- Add herbs several hours or overnight to cold foods such as dips, cheese, vegetables, and dressings. This allows the flavors to blend.
- Be conservative in the amount of an herb used until you are familiar with its strength. Start with a pinch. You can always add more, but you can’t remove it. The flavor can be extremely objectionable if too much is used.
- To test herb or spice combinations in soups or stews, remove 1/2 cup of food from the pan. Add a large pinch (1/8 teaspoon) of each and stir. Allow to stand at room temperature approximately 10 minutes. Taste. If acceptable, add the combination to the remainder of the recipe.
- For salt reduction, choose the savory or biting spices and herbs, blends, and vegetable seasonings. Good choices include black pepper, garlic powder or granules, curry powder, cumin, dill seeds, basil, ginger, coriander, onion, tarragon, and oregano.
- When reducing sugar, use sweet spices. They are appealing in sweet dishes, and the amount of sugar may be reduced because they give the impression of greater sweetness.
- When using more than one herb or spice, do not mix two very strong flavored herbs together. Rather, combine one strong flavored with one or more milder flavored herbs to complement both the stronger herb and the food.
In the recipe below, herbs are very important to give your salad a rush of flavor.
Nootropic Herby Carrot and Mushroom Salad4 tablespoons olive oil, additional olive oil can be added depending on taste preference
1 scoop Momental MIND dissolved in
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup mixed herbs, parsley, basil, and chives
Kosher salt and black pepper, coarsely ground
2 beets, medium, sliced thinly
1 cup carrots, sliced thinly
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, very thinly sliced
Parmesan cheese, grated (for garnish)
- In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, Nootropic Meal Replacement, and freshly squeezed orange juice and half of the amount of the herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss beets and carrots and coat everything evenly. Allow to stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
- Spread or line the mushrooms on a plate or bowl and top with carrots and beets.
- Drizzle the dressing on top and garnish with grated parmesan cheese. Serve.