Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #115
Pulling Out the Stops
I attended an organ concert last week, a noontime offering by Dr. Wyatt Smith at Kilworth Chapel on the University of Puget Sound campus, and it was unusual, to say the least. The traditional chorales of Franck or harmonic flourishes of Bach were replaced by a decidedly different style of music by a young composer named Nico Muhly. The chords were atonal, dissonant, piercing, jittery, sounding almost improvisational. I sensed that many in the audience were taken aback by this modern use of their beloved pipe organ, but I was thrilled.
The rule of thirds states that odd-numbered groupings are most pleasing to the eye. I find beauty in asymmetrical floral arrangements, hymns in minor keys, poetry that does not rhyme, and yes food styled with an odd number of elements on the plate.
And isn't that what life is truly like? Our days are not an orderly 4:4 time in the key of C. Open your mind and your heart to those things that are different, perhaps even a bit off-kilter. You might be pleasantly surprised at the beauty of a new type of concert.
Let's Open the Mailbox
Let's get started with today's mailbox. If you're an old friend, you already know how this works. But, if this is your first visit, let me introduce you to my kitchen.
Each week I receive questions about food ingredients, cooking or baking terms or methods, requests for recipes, and queries about nutrition. Just about anything food-related has been covered here.
I'm sharing this past week's questions and my responses; it happens every Monday. Want to join in the fun? You can leave your question in the comments below, and next week the answer will be right here. It's that easy.
Ideas for Flavoring Rice
Linda, I have a question regarding flavorful rice side dishes. I always keep brown rice and basmati rice on hand but don't know what to do with it, so I end up buying Near East rice mixes. As a from-scratch cook, what are your go-to recipes for delicious (but uncomplicated) rice sides?
Shauna, rice is so much fun; I love its versatility. With just a few seasonings it can take on Asian flavors, Tex-Mex, Italian, Moroccan, and on and on.
To get us started, here's a recipe for a seasoning mix that you can put together in just minutes from things you probably already have in your pantry. It makes enough for 4 batches of rice. That's easy. How about something a bit more imaginative?
Low-Fat Unfried Rice - I mentioned Asian flavors, and this brown rice side dish has all the tastes of fried rice but no frying, no oil, no guilt.
Tomato-Basil Rice - All the flavors you love in a rich pasta sauce in your bowl of rice.
Rice Pilaf - You've probably made Rice A Roni, the white rice/orzo blend in a box flavored with dried chicken bouillon powder, herbs, and spices. This is how to make your own. It's fresher and less salty (thank goodness). I like to add dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and feta cheese.
Turmeric Coconut Rice - Instead of water or broth, simmer brown rice (or basmati) in coconut milk. The color is stunning, and if you stir in a rinsed can of black beans you have a complete meal.
And then, if you want a one-pot meal with rice you might try this article. Not to toot my own horn, but here are five ideas for cooking chicken thighs on a bed of rice in your oven. Easy-peasy and amazing flavors.
How to Make Protein Powders More Palatable
"My husband, since his surgery, is trying to gain weight. He has bought protein powder to help supplement what he's eating. The problem is he doesn't like the taste. Here they are flavored. Vanilla was the best option, but it's hard to incorporate that into a savory meal. He can't drink it.
Do you have any ideas about making custard or something sweet that is easy to swallow using the protein powder. It is made from egg whites."
Mary, I don’t have any personal experience with protein powders but I’ll give you a few ideas off the top of my head, and then some links from the internet.
- I’m wondering if the powder could be stirred into oatmeal (unless, of course, Ian detests oatmeal). Do you have a pumpkin (or squash) curry soup recipe that he likes? I’ll bet you could hide some vanilla powder in there. And then these from the internet:
- Banana oatmeal breakfast cookies
- Vanilla protein pancakes
- Vanilla avocado protein pudding
I also did some research on how to wisely gain weight; obviously cake and ice cream are fun but not the way to put on pounds in a heart-healthy way. The Mayo Clinic offered these suggestions:
- Eat 5 or 6 smaller meals rather than the standard breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You'll actually end up eating more by doing this.
- Watch when you drink; consuming liquids just before sitting down for a meal will make you feel full(er).
- Also, make sure that every bite counts. That's probably why you are bulking up Ian's foods with protein powder, but you can also focus on nutrient-rich foods such as seeds, nuts, avocado, or fat-free powdered milk stirred into soups and stews.
Foods to Help Offset Dementia
"Hey, Linda, what foods do you suggest for early-onset dementia? I think we are doing good with antioxidant foods but maybe there is more?. I am doing well with research but you are my go-to gal."
Eric including antioxidant foods in the diet certainly puts you on the right track. For those who don't know what those foods are, I'll list the best ones below. But it's important to not only take care of what does into the diet but also what is omitted.
- limit refined sugars
- keep sodium to a minimum
- avoid red meat
- delete margarine from the diet and use butter sparingly
- no cheese
- no pastries
- no fast foods
- no deep-fried foods
Taking care of the body will also improve overall health. Make sure your loved one takes care of herself each day by:
- Exercising at least 30 minutes each day
- Getting 8 hours of sleep
- Reduce stress (very important. Meditation or yoga can help)
- Do things to stimulate the mind—crossword puzzles, play an instrument, paint, etc.
Red or purple grapes
Dark-green leavy vegetables
Did you know that there is a Table of Contents for this series? I have created an article that provides a detailed listing of each question I've received. It's broken down by category, and within each category, the questions are listed alphabetically. Each question is actually a hotlink back to the original post.
Here's a link to that Table of Contents.
I have also cataloged all of my personal recipes that I have shared with you in this weekly Q&A series and in all of my other articles as well. The link to that Index is here. There are hotlinks to each recipe and this will be updated as new recipes are shared.
Let's do this again next week. If you have questions about foods, cooking techniques, or nutrition you can ask them here. If you are in search of an old recipe or need ideas on how to improve an existing one I can help you. If you want to learn more, let's do it together. Present your questions, your ideas, your comments below. Or, you can write to me personally at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, I promise that there will always be at least one photo of a kitty in every Monday post.
© 2019 Linda Lum