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Monday, January 24, 2011

SWEET BAY LEAVES--Deceptive Name, Delicious Addition


Image source: www.newyoungworld.com
The Bay Leaf, found on Bay Laurel evergreens and shrubs throughout Europe, North America, and India, has become a staple of Mediterranean cuisine and serves as a healthy and delicious supplement to any diet.
Contrary to its deceptive nickname – “Sweet Bay” – the Bay Leaf is actually intensely bitter and may even be harmful if ingested whole due to its razor-sharp edges. However, it has become quite a popular food additive due to its exotic flavoring, olfactory appeal, and long shelf-life (one year!). Most often, it is ground up and used in spicy dishes, such as biryani (see recipe below), or boiled in soups, sauces and stews. Many are also attracted to its distinctive scent, which can brighten any meal!
Bay Leaves are an excellent choice for type 2 diabetics, because they help the body process insulin more efficiently, therefore lowering blood sugar, and reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels (diabetics are at higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease). Additionally, they have been used throughout history to cure migraines, bacterial and fungal infections, indigestion, and much more!

Try this Recipe for… Biryani
A spicy Persian/South Asian Dish

Image source: quick-recipes-online.blogspot.com
Ingredients:
-2 lbs. Chicken with bones (cut into small pieces)
-2 cups Basmati Rice (washed)
-1 packet Shan Special Bombay Biryani Mix
-2 tablespoons crushed garlic
-2 tablespoons cup plain yogurt
-2 tablespoons grated ginger
-1/2 onion (finely sliced)
-1 tomato (cut into small pieces)
-5 tablespoons oil
-3 medium potatoes (peeled & halved)
-Water
-Crushed bay leaves

Preparation:
1. Fry the onion in hot oil until golden. Add tomatoes and fry until the oil separates.
2. Add meat, garlic, ginger, potatoes, yogurt, bay leaves, and Shan Bombay Biryani Mix. Fry for 15 minutes.
3. Add 1-2 cups of water and cook on low heat until the meat is tender. Then increase the heat and stir fry until oil separates from the gravy.
4. SEPARATELY, boil the washed rice in 12 glasses of hot water. Boil until the rice is more than half cooked. Remove from heat and thoroughly drain the water.
5. Spread the cooked meat and curry over the rice in TWO layers. Cover the pot and cook on low heat until the rice is fully cooked and tender. (Approximately 30 minutes) Mix before serving.
*This recipe serves 6-8 people

by Zuhayr Mallam, Founder of the UC Davis Diabetes Advocacy and Awareness Group (DAAG).  

Monday, January 10, 2011

Eggplants -- The "Mad Apple"


 by Felix Munoz-Teng, Vice President of the student-run, UC Davis Diabetes Advocacy and Awareness Group (DAAG).
When Europeans first encountered the eggplant, they gave this delectable food a rather dark nickname – mala insane or “mad apple/egg” – because it comes from a family of poisonous plants. Although this dreary name stuck, people quickly realized the eggplant’s tremendous health benefits, and it became a staple crop of the Mediterranean.
Nutritional Value 
Although eggplants have an unflattering reputation, they deliver a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including Thiamine, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Copper, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorous and Potassium. Wow! They are also a good source of fiber, which is found in the skin, and are low in sodium and overall calories.
Health & Disease
Eggplants contain bioflavonoids, which may be helpful in preventing strokes and hemorrhages. They also contain an antioxidant known as phytochemical monoterpene, which may be beneficial in preventing heart disease and cancer. The National Cancer Institute is currently conducting research to determine whether they may help with the inhibition of steroidal hormones that stimulate tumor development.
However, the fruit contains some negative toxins like solanine, which may be harmful to some individuals. Solanine is an alkaloid that can result in heart failure, headaches, diarrhea, and vomiting if ingested. Be sure to check with your doctor to see if you are sensitive to this toxin before consuming large quantities of eggplants.
And remember! Eggplants can be found at the UC Davis Good Life Garden!
Try This Recipe for…Baba Ganouj – A Delicious Dip (brought to you by Eating Well Magazine)



Ingredients:
  • 2 medium eggplants, (1 pound each)
  • 4 cloves garlic (unpeeled)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (garnish)
  • Ground sumac or chopped pistachios (garnish)
Preparation:
Prick eggplants all over with a fork. Thread garlic cloves onto a skewer. Grill the eggplants, turning occasionally, until charred and tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Grill the garlic, turning once, until charred and tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the eggplants and garlic to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, peel both. Transfer to a food processor. Add lemon juice, tahini and salt; process until almost smooth. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sumac, if desired. Enjoy!
This blog was brought to you by the Diabetes Advocacy & Awareness Group (DAAG)
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