Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Healthy Egg Drop Soup

Egg drop soup is a staple in Chinese restaurant and takeout menus. Egg is good as it is high in choline and one of the natural sources of Vitamin K. Unfortunately, most egg drop soups sold in the market are high in sodium. For a healthier take on egg drop soup, try this recipe by Nina Simonds of the Food Network:

1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup minced scallions
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 cup rice wine or sake
5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound snow peas
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 6 tablespoons water
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water

1. Heat oil over high heat until hot. Sauté tomatoes and scallions. Add water, salt, soy sauce, and rice wine. Reduce heat and add snow peas.
2.Slowly add the cornstarch mixture and bring the liquid to a boil, stirring to prevent lumps from forming until slightly thickened.
3. Remove from the heat and slowly add the beaten eggs. Stir once or twice so that the eggs form thin streamers. Taste for seasoning and ladle into serving bowls.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Basil: More than Just Pesto

The round, often pointed, leaves of the basil plant looks a lot like peppermint to which it is related. Its highly fragrant leaves are used as a seasoning herb for a variety of foods, but has become ever popular as the main ingredient in pesto, the mixture of basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese.

The unique array of active constituents called flavonoids found in basil provide protection at the cellular level. Orientin and vicenin are two water-soluble flavonoids that have been of particular interest in basil, and in studies on human white blood cells; these components of basil protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.

Basil is a very good source of vitamin A. Called "pro-vitamin A," since it can be converted into vitamin A, beta-carotene is a more powerful anti-oxidant than vitamin A and not only protects epithelial cells from free radical damage, but also helps prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the blood stream. Only after it has been oxidized does cholesterol build up in blood vessel walls, initiating the development of atherosclerosis, whose end result can be a heart attack or stroke.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ceasar Salad: A Healthier Take On A Classic Recipe

Ceasar salad is a staple in takeout and even in fancy restaurant menus. But most often than not, what should have been a healthy salad is made unhealthy with heaps of bacon and high-fat dressing. Make your Ceasar salad healthier with this Martha Stewart recipe:

Healthier Ceasar Salad

2 cups chopped romaine
2 sardines
1 hard-boiled egg
1 tablespoon grated parmesan
1/2 cup croutons
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Wash romaine leaves in cold water. Drain thoroughly
.2. Debone sardines and ground with a fork into a paste.
3. Whisk together olive oil and lemon juice until emulsified. Stir in sardine paste.
4. Slice hard boiled egg.
5. Toss egg, lettuce, and croutons with the dressing.

Tip 1: If you want bacon in your Ceasar salad, toss a few rashers of turkey bacon onto a baking sheet and bake until crisp. Drain bacon of excess fat and put them inside a brown paper bag. Roll a rolling pin over the paper bag to crumble the bacon. Top your salad with bacon after tossing.

Tip 2: If you like garlic, slice the top off a garlic clove and rub it on the inside of your salad bowl.

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