Thursday, July 21, 2016

The new craze sprializing! And it is healthy!

Recent diet fads are using vegetables in new ways to replace carbohydrate foods like pasta.  Spiralizing is the new craze.  Spiralzed vegetable can be used in a main dishes in place of noodles or stir-fries.  They can also be used as a tasty side dish.  They are fun and may encourage children to eat more vegetables.

Americas Test Kitchen tested vegetables and spiraliers and posted the results on their webpage.  See the link below.  Vegetables with solid cores worked best for spiralizing—hollow vegetables like acorn squash or very soft vegetables like tomatoes do not spiralize well.   Some of their favorite vegetable to use were summer squash, zucchini, butternut squash, and carrots. Summer squash and zucchini have delicate, neutral flavor profiles that meld seamlessly with flavorful sauces. They have a pasta-like texture with pleasant chew, and hold their shape nicely once cooked. They are quite easy to spiralize, and they work as short noodles or longer, spaghetti-like strands. Carrots, with their sturdy texture, spiralize beautifully, and make a great base for a side dish where their distinct flavor can shine.
The butternut squash noodles had a subtle sweetness that works well with bold sauces. However, butternut squash is more difficult to spiralize than zucchini and summer squashes, since it is a harder vegetable. They cut off the seed-filled bulbs and reserve them for other uses, spiralizing only the solid necks. Cooked, butternut squash noodles are considerably more delicate than zucchini and summer squash, making it more difficult to get long strands.

Although the flavors of zucchini, summer squash, carrots, and butternut squash work best with our recipes, vegetables like beets, celery root, cucumbers, parsnips, rutabaga, and sweet potatoes can also be successfully spiralized

Vegetables can be eaten raw, sauted or steam, but they liked roasting best: It was easy to spread all of the noodles out on a baking sheet, and the noodles softened evenly while maintaining some texture and chew. Roasting also eliminated excess moisture, preventing the finished dishes from becoming watery.

When roasting tender vegetable noodles like summer squash and zucchini, they roasted them uncovered for the entire cooking time. This allows moisture to evaporate and results in tender, flexible noodles. They found that draining the noodles after cooking helped to further ensure that their was not unwanted moisture in the finished dish.

When roasting firmer vegetable noodles, like butternut squash, beets, celery root, or sweet potatoes, They recommend cooking them covered with foil for part of the cooking time so that the vegetables will steam slightly and become tender. Removing the foil partway through allows the surface moisture to evaporate. Don’t drain these noodles; because they contain less moisture to begin with, they are less pliable once cooked, and transferring them to and from a colander results in unnecessary breakage.

Roasted Carrot Noodles

2 lbs carrots (use carrots that are between 3/4 and 1 1/2 inches in diameter ) trimmed and peeled
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 tsp honey
Salt and Pepper

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.  Using spiralizer, cut carrots into 1/8-inch thick noodles, then cut noodles into 12-inch lengths.  Toss carrots with 1 Tbsp oil, thyme, honey, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper on a rimmed baking sheet.  Cover carrots tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 15 minutes.  Transfer carrots to serving platter, drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serves 4.

Spiralizing 101

Bar-S Hot Dog Recall

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2016 – Bar-S Foods Company, an Altus, Okla. establishment, is recalling approximately 372,684 pounds of chicken and pork hot dog and corn dog products that may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The ready-to-eat, chicken and pork hot dog and corn dog items were produced on July 10, 11, 12, and 13, 2016. The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels (PDF Only)]
  • 16-oz/1-lb. packages of “BAR-S Classic BUN LENGTH Franks MADE WITH CHICKEN, PORK ADDED” with “Use By” date of 10/11/2016 and case code 209.
  • 12-oz. packages of “BAR-S CLASSIC Franks MADE WITH CHICKEN, PORK ADDED” with package code 6338, “Use By” date of 10/10/2016 and case code 6405.
  • 24-oz./1.5-lb. cartons of “SIGNATURE Pick 5 CORNDOGS – 8 Honey Batter Dipped Franks On A Stick” with a “Use By” date of 4/6/2017 and case code 6071.
  • 42.72-oz./2.67-lb. cartons of “BAR-S CLASSIC CORN DOGS – 16 Honey Batter Dipped Franks On A Stick” with “Use By” dates of 4/7/2017 and 4/8/2017 and case code 6396.
  • 48-oz./3-lb. cartons of “BAR-S CLASSIC CORN DOGS – 16 Honey Batter Dipped Franks On A Stick” with package code 14054, “Use By” dates of 4/6/2017 and 4/9/2017, and case code 14038.
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. P-81A” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations nationwide.
Bar-S Foods notified FSIS’ Dallas District Office on July 19, 2016, of its intention to recall five chicken and pork hot dog and corn dog products that could potentially be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The firm has not received test results for Listeria monocytogenes in connection with the recalled products, but due to recurring Listeria species issues at the firm, it has decided to remove the products from commerce as a precautionary measure. There have been no confirmed reports of illnesses or adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.
Consumption of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns. Less commonly, persons outside these risk groups are affected.
Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the contaminated food

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Keep Food Safe During Summer

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 6 Americans  suffer from foodborne illness each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.
Because foodborne bacteria thrive and multiply more quickly in warmer temperatures and we spend more time cooking and eating outdoors, foodborne illness can spike during summer. 
The Danger Zone is the temperature range between 40 °F and 140 °F in which foodborne bacteria grow rapidly to dangerous levels that can cause illness. Leaving perishables out too long in the Danger Zone is one of the most common mistakes people make, especially during summer gatherings.
  • We usually tell people that food should not be left off a heat source or out of refrigeration for more than two hours.  This rule remains if the temperature is below 90 °F.  But if the temperature is at or above 90 °F, the safe time limit for food sitting out is reduced to 1 hour.  If you are not sure how long food has been sitting out, throw it out immediately.
  • An ice chest with ice is an acceptable way to keep food cold during a picnic. Pack an appliance thermometer in your cooler to ensure food stays at or below 40 °F. Don't forget to replace the ice.  Divide large amounts of food into shallow containers for fast chilling and easier use.  Packing drinks in a separate cooler is strongly recommended, so the food cooler isn’t opened frequently.  Keep the cooler in the shade, and try to cover it with a blanket or tarp to keep it cool. Replenish the ice if it melts. 
  • If you plan to marinate meat and/or poultry for several hours or overnight prior to cooking, make sure to marinate them in the refrigerator – not on the counter. If you plan to reuse the marinade from raw meat or poultry, make sure to boil it first to destroy any harmful bacteria.
  • If you are grilling foods, be sure to use clean serving dishes for cooked meat.  Beware of cross contamination in your ice chest.  It is best to pack the meat in a plastic container inside to ice chest to keep the juices from mixing with melted ice and contaminating the other items in the ice chest.
  • Handwashing facilities are often not available.  Bring a supply of wipes to wash cooking surfaces and handsanitizer for cleaning hands before eating.   Bottled water and some soap is a must to wash hands after handling raw meat. 
  • To ensure safety, leftovers must be put in shallow containers for quick cooling and refrigerated to 40 °F or below within two hours.