Healthy Cooking From The Start
Eating Is An Enjoyable Experience
I'm an ardent believer that it is wise and healthy to eat foods that are filled with nutrients. Some folks, however, have the notion that eating nutritiously has to taste bad and non- palatable. So, what tends to happen is that a lot of people give up on all this health nut. 'Hocus-pocus' they tend to say. Then there are those who are more concerned about their good health, so no matter what, they choose to eat foods that provide them with the most adequate nutrients. They choose which foods have the greatest return on their health. Of course, most of our health and diet habits have more to do with how we were brought up. Many of our eating habits and food preferences has to do with the way dear Mom prepared our meals. But as we grew, we read and learned about other interesting and great tasting foods.
It's not my intention to made anyone feel that they don't know what they are doing in the kitchen. Most foods after all are for the purpose of repairing or replacing worn-out body tissues, healing, and mood changing. Yes, I did mean to say healing and mood changing. The food you eat can heal your body. The food you eat can also correspond with the particular mood you are in. People often associate this 'mood' eating with the notion of gaining weight. It is often said that when people eat because they feel bored or what have you, there goes the weight up and up.
Since the consumption of food plays a major role in the replacement of muscle tissue, skin cells, and keeping the heart and bones strong, what is left to do but eat? Well what is left to do is to prepare the food right. Take chicken. It doesn't need to be fired. The process of frying food is considered unhealthy because the oil is heated above 300 degrees Fahrenheit. When food is fried at such high degree, the oil used to fry it in, having been heated at such high temperature, breakdown into undesirable components. This damages the oil causing toxin formation. There is a chemical reaction which increases the rate of oxidation. Many toxic products occur including trans fatty acid and other unnatural products. The cells in our body accumulate these toxic products and age more rapidly.
Eating is a social experience. It serves a dual purpose. When you go out to eat in a restaurant, it is not just to fulfill one's hunger; rather it is also for, and in most cases, the mere pleasure of enjoying socialization and relaxation. It is that element of social contact that many people go out to eat. Eating is definitely a personal experience. It is a personal experience especially if you enjoy cooking. Being a good cook, I mean a really great cook involves many elements. First of all you should enjoy cooking, you should know how to prepare nutritional meals. Nutritional meals should not consist of a lot of fat, they should not be too high in carbohydrates. They should consist of adequate amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, vitamins and minerals. Most of all it should taste good!
Cultivate Healthy Eating Habits
Although Sushi is perhaps the most popular Japanese food eaten in the Western Culture, particularly in restaurants; miso soup is fast becoming the most popular by far. And, it is prepared more so in the homes of many Americans. Throughout Japan and in the homes of most Japanese Americans, miso soup is eaten at the start of their day for breakfast.
Miso has been eaten in Japan and China for many centuries and now in the west because of its health and anti-aging benefits. But it is the consumption of traditional fermented soy that is providing the real benefits. Traced from ancient China, where it was known as hisio, miso was perfected in Japan from the 7th century to today.
But when you speak of miso soup you must think first of dashi. Dashi is a fish stock that is used to prepare many Japanese foods. Noodles, such as ramen can be cooked in this nutritious fish stock. Also rice as well as a host of fresh vegetables can be cooked in it as well.
The Main Ingredients For Dashi
Making miso soup is a two-step process. You make first the dashi and then you put your vegetables in. I like to cook white fish fillets in my dashi. This is followed by spinach. You can also put wakame which is a seaweed in place of the spinach, or you can use a little of both. So the first step is to prepare the dashi. It is a very simple and easy procedure.
You must first take a little bit of kombu and place it in a pot of cold water (one quart of water) just as it is shown above, and slowly bring to a simmer. Don't boil it! Then you can add dried shiitake mushrooms. (add them at the same time you put in the kombu) Kombu is also known as kelp. It is a member of the brown marine algae family. The benefits of Kombu are well established. Kombu has been used in Japan and China for centuries. It is rich in organic iodine. The health benefits range from wellness support to cancer prevention.
Next, you want to put in two handfuls of bonito flakes. This is a dried fish in the tuna family. Let them simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes to get the full-bodied flavor from the bonito flakes. It will have a light and delicate fish flavor. Remove the kombu and drain the dashi from the bonito flakes using a strainer sieve. Throw the kombu and bonito away.
Now you are left with the dashi, the simple delicate fish flavored stock. Now is the time I put in my white fish fillets. Return the mushrooms. I put tofu in my miso soup. So cut the tofu into bite-size cubes and place them into the dashi. Use the extra firm tofu. When the fish has cooked, put the fresh organic spinach in. The spinach is ready the moment it wilts, which takes less than 2 minutes. I put in lots of fresh baby spinach. Finally, here comes the miso.
Miso is made of fermented soybeans. It can also be made from rice and barley as well. It comes in a paste form. You want to take a heaping tablespoon or two and mix it in about one half cup of the dashi until the miso has totally dissolved into the liquid then pour it into your pot. Stir well. Ladle up the soup into wooden or ceramic bowls. Your family or guess will think you are a mighty great chef or expert in the kitchen. I almost forgot to mention: Chop up some scallions or chives, to top it off. Chow.
Miso soup is very, very nutritious. The ingredients in the soup consist of live cultures and the bonito fish flakes and kombu have lots of minerals and amino acids. It is a nutritious and delicate meal. When you taste it, you will say "uhm, uhm, good." There is no better way to describe it.