Archive for July, 2011

Japanese cuisine

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2011 by ecofrenfood

Japanese cuisine has been influenced by the food customs of other nations, but has adopted and refined them to create its own unique cooking style and eating habits.

The first foreign influence on Japan was China around 300 B.C. , when the Japanese learned to cultivate rice. The use of chopsticks and the consumption of soy sauce and soybean curd (tofu) also came from China.

The Buddhist religion, one of the two major religions in Japan today (the other is
Shintoism), was another important influence on the Japanese diet. In the A.D. 700s, the rise of Buddhism led to a ban on eating meat. The popular dish, sushi (raw fish with rice) came about as a result of this ban. In the 1800s, cooking styles became simpler. A wide variety of vegetarian (meatless) foods were served in small portions, using one of five standard cooking techniques. All foods were divided into five color groups (green, red, yellow, white, and black-purple) and six tastes (bitter, sour, sweet, hot, salty, and delicate). The Japanese continue to use this cooking system.

Beginning in the early 1200s, trade with other countries began bringing Western-style influences to Japan. The Dutch introduced corn, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. The Portuguese introduced tempura (batter frying).

After a ban of more than one thousand years, beef returned to Japan during the Meiji Period (1868–1912). Western foods, such as bread, coffee, and ice cream, become popular during the late twentieth century. Another Western influence has been the introduction of timesaving cooking methods. These include the electric rice cooker, packaged foods such as instant noodles, instant miso (fermented soybean paste) soup, and instant pickling mixes. However, the Japanese are still devoted to their classic cooking traditions.

Rice and noodles are the two primary staples of the Japanese diet. Rice, either boiled or steamed, is served at every meal. Noodles come in many varieties. Among the most popular are soba, thin brown noodles made from buckwheat flour; udon, thick white noodles made from wheat flour; and ramen, thin, curly noodles, also made from wheat flour . Soy sauce and other soybean products are also staples in Japan. These include miso (fermented soybean paste) and tofu (a soybean curd that resembles custard). Other common ingredients in Japanese food include bamboo shoots, daikon (a giant white radish), ginger, seaweed, and sesame seed products. Japanese pickles called tsukemono are served at every meal. Seafood is also plentiful in this island nation. Green tea is the national beverage of Japan, although black tea is also available. Sake (SAH-kee, wine made from rice, usually served warm) and beer are also very popular.

Two uniquely Japanese foods are sushi (fresh raw seafood with rice) and sashimi (fresh raw seafood with soy sauce); both rely on freshly caught fish or seafood. Dishes prepared in a single pot ( nabemeno ) are popular throughout Japan. Sukiyaki is a dish made up of paper-thin slices of beef (or sometimes chicken), vegetables, and cubes of tofu cooked in broth. Shabu-shabu is beef and vegetables, also cooked in broth but then dipped in flavorful sauces. Each region has its own selection of favorite foods. People living on the cold northern island of Hokkaido enjoy potatoes, corn, and barbecued meats. Foods in western Japan tend to be more delicately flavored than those in the east.

The Japanese are known for using very fresh ingredients in their cooking. They prefer using fresh, seasonal foods for their meals, buying it the same day it will be cooked. The Japanese are also famous for their skill in arranging food so that it looks beautiful. The people of Japan live long lives and have a low rate of heart disease because of healthy eating habits.

The most important holiday in Japan is the New Year, Shogatsu. Special holiday foods, called osechi , are prepared in beautifully decorated stackable boxes called jubako. Each layer of the box has compartments for several different foods. Glazed sardines, bamboo shoots, sweet black beans, and chestnuts in sweet potato paste are just a few of the many holiday foods. New Year foods are also eaten because they are believed to represent good fortune or long life. At New Year’s, children are especially fond of hot rice cakes dipped in sweet soybean powder.

The Girls’ Festival (or Doll Festival) is held in March. Dolls are dressed in traditional Japanese dresses called kimonos and are offered rice crackers, colored rice cakes, and a sweet rice drink called amazake . Everyone in the family eats the foods. Festive foods for Children’s Day (May 5) include rice dumplings stuffed with sweet bean paste.

The tea ceremony ( cha-no-yu ) is an important Japanese ritual that can be held on a holiday or other special occasion. Developed over several centuries, it plays an important role in Japanese life and culture.

The Japanese eat three main meals a day. The main ingredient in all three, however, is rice (or sometimes noodles). Miso soup and pickles are always served as well. Meals eaten early in the day tend to be the simplest. A typical breakfast consists of rice, miso soup, and a side dish, such as an egg or grilled fish.

Noodles are very popular for lunch (and as a snack), and a restaurant or take-out stand referred to as a noodle house is a popular spot for lunch. A typical lunch would be a bowl of broth with vegetables, seaweed, or fish. The bento is a traditional box lunch packed in a small, flat box with dividers. It includes small portions of rice, meat, fish, and vegetables. Stores sell ready-made bento for take out and some even have Western-style ingredients like spaghetti or sausages. A favorite among young people, and as a take-out food, is a stuffed rice ball called onigiri.

Many Japanese have turned to Western-style food for breakfast and lunch, especially in the cities. However, traditional dinners are still eaten by most people in Japan, such as rice, soup, pickles, and fish. Seasonal fresh fruit makes a great dessert. Sweets are more likely to be served with green tea in the afternoon.

Food is grasped between chopsticks and lifted to one’s mouth. Chopsticks should never be stuck into a piece of food or used to pass food back and forth. It is not considered impolite to sip one’s soup directly from the bowl. At a Japanese meal, people at the table fill each other’s drinking glasses but never their own.

The Japanese do not eat while they are doing other things, such as walking or driving. A Japanese car company once claimed that some of its seatbelts didn’t work properly in the United States because Americans spilled so much food in their cars. They believe people should not eat and drive cars at the same time.

Because Japanese people like to eat a lot of fish, one of the major issues facing the Japanese government relates to fishing privileges. For example, Japan, Canada, and the United States have argued over the rights to fish for salmon. Japan has had conflicts with neighboring Asian nations, including the Republic of Korea, China, Indonesia, and Australia, over fishing rights to waters around those countries.

More than 80 countries, including the United States, have adopted laws that restrict other countries from fishing within 200 miles of their coastlines. This has resulted in Japan being forced to pay fees for the privilege of fishing in many ocean areas around the world.

Salt Intake is vital

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2011 by ecofrenfood

Use of salt is as old as human history. Oldest records come from China. Some 2,700 years B.C.-about 4,700 years ago-there was published in China the PENG-TZAO-KAN-MU. A major portion of this writing discussing of more than 40 kinds of salt, including descriptions of two methods of extracting salt and putting it in usable form that are amazingly similar to processes used today.

Unrefined sea salt contain 98.0 % NaCl (sodium-chloride) and up to 2.0% other minerals (salts) : Epsom salts and other Magnesium salts, Calcium salts, Potassium (Kalium) salts, Manganese salts, Phosphorus salts, Iodine salts, .. all together over 100 minerals composed of 80 chemical elements… Composition of crystal of ocean salt is so complicated that no laboratory in the world can produce it from its basic 80 chemical elements.
Nature is still better chemist than people.

This salt has been used since begining of life, by ocean plants, by animals and by people

Origin of Salt Layers

There are two theories. One says that mineral salt is layer of salt created after evaporation of old seas. According to other theory, layer of mineral salt was created by chemical reaction.

Mineral salt is often in crystal form. It is transparent crystal, or light tan in color with little darker flecks. But, it can also be of many different colors. Not all mineral salts are rich in trace elements. Some are similar to ocean salt, other are not.

If you ask me, I prefer Ocean salt.

Salt is a vital substance for the survival of all living creatures, particularly humans. Water and salt regulate the water content of the body. Water itself regulates the water content of the interior of the cell by working its way into all of the cells it reaches. It has to get there to cleanse and extract the toxic wastes of cell metabolisms. Salt forces some water to stay outside the cells. It balances the amount of water that stays outside the cells. There are two oceans of water in the body; one ocean is held inside the cells of the body, and the other ocean is held outside the cells. Good health depends on a most delicate balance between the volume of these oceans, and this balance is achieved by salt – unrefined salt.

When water is available to get inside the cells freely, it is filtered from the outside salty ocean and injected into the cells that are being overworked despite their water shortage. This is the reason why in severe dehydration we develop an edema and retain water. The design of our bodies is such that the extent of the ocean of water outside the cells is expanded to have the extra water available for filtration and emergency injection into vital cells. The brain commands an increase in salt and water retention by the kidneys. This is how we get an edema when we don’t drink enough water.

Initially, the process of water filtration and its delivery into the cells is more efficient at night when the body is horizontal. The collected water, that mostly pools in the legs, does not have to fight the force of gravity to get onto the blood circulation. If reliance of this process of emergency hydration of some cells continues for long, the lungs begin to get waterlogged at night, and breathing becomes difficult. The person needs more pillows to sit upright to sleep. This condition is the consequence of dehydration. However, you might overload the system by drinking too much water at the beginning. Increases in water intake must be slow and spread out until urine production begins to increase at the same rate that you drink water.

When we drink enough water to pass clear urine, we also pass out a lot of the salt that was held back. This is how we can get rid of edema fluid in the body; by drinking more water. Not diuretics, but more water!! In people who have an extensive edema and show signs of their heart beginning to have irregular or very rapid beats with least effort, the increase in water intake should be gradual and spaced out, but not withheld from the body. Naturally, salt intake should be limited for two or three days because the body is still in an overdrive mode to retain it. Once the edema has cleared up, salt should not be withheld from the body.

Salt has many other functions than just regulating the water content of the body.

Olive oil, Rapeseed Oil and Flaxseed Oil

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2011 by ecofrenfood

Olive oil, Rapeseed Oil and Flaxseed Oil
Olive oil mainly consists of a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid. It has one double bond at the ninth carbon atom, and is therefore an omega-9 fatty acid. Oleic acid is an important part of the cell membranes and it has antioxidating qualities, which means that it can protect the omega-3 from oxidation. The olive oil that is called “Extra Virgin” is the best one. It is extracted from the olives from the first pressing. It has the highest quality and very low acidity. Another type is “Virgin” oil. It is a cheaper way to extract the oil, the quality is slightly lower and it has a little more acidity. There is no refined oil in “Virgin” and “Extra Virgin” olive oil. Olive oil is suitable for cooking, because it contains lots of monounsaturated fat and very little polyunsaturated fat. This means that olive oil is more heat-resistent than many other types of oil.

Rapeseed oil contains more omega-3 than olive oil. It also contains about 60 percent oleic acid, and only 6 percent saturated fat. It also has a more neutral flavour and color. Cold-pressed rapeseed oil are pressed mechanically, and three drops per second are extracted, this according to the Swedish Rapeseed Corporation. The temperature is no higher than 40-45 degrees Celsius.

Flaxseed oil is the oil that contains the most omega-3, and it is therefore very heat-sensitive. Don’t use it for cooking and store it in the refrigerator to avoid oxidation.

FOOD so fun

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2011 by ecofrenfood

Cookie Monster Cupcakes Gone Wrong ha hah a

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2011 by ecofrenfood

Deadly Delicacies : Come Dine With Death!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2011 by ecofrenfood

Deadly Delicacies : Come Dine With Death!

Poisonous or dangerous food is considered a special delicacy by some cultures in several parts of the world. In most cases, a nice feast may turn into a deadly game of Russian roulette.
So, would you take the risks of eating these deadly delicacies?

“Fugu” or Pufferfish

This goes on top of my list as the world’s deadliest delicacy. Even a drop of toxin from a Pufferfish or Fugu (in Japanese) can immediately leave you paralyzed, followed by death.

Fugu is considered an authentic Japanese delicacy and it would take years for a chef to master the art of preparing the dish. The toxin, called tetrodotoxin is concentrated in the roe, ovaries and the liver of the fish.

A slight error during the removal of the toxic parts can allow the toxin to contaminate the entire flesh of the fish. Despite the risk of eating Fugu, it is reported that yearly, there are dozens of death from Fugu poisoning in Japan.


This is one of the world’s popular staple food. Cassava is often used to make the tropical delicacy in the form of tapioca starch or flour. However, if not properly washed or cooked, cassava leaves and roots contain toxin called cyanide which is fatal to humans even in small doses.

Giant Bullfrog

Giant bullfrog is considered a delicacy in Namibia. The Namibians eat the entire giant bullfrog except for the internal organs. In most cultures, only certain body parts of the frogs such as the legs are consumed as most frogs have poisonous skin and poisonous internal organs. A premature bullfrog is said to contain a certain toxin which could lead to kidney failure in most cases.

Ackee Fruit

Ackee plant is originated from West Africa. Later, it was introduced to Florida, USA. Ackee fruit is widely used in Jamaican cuisine, which includes its national delicacy, “ackee and saltfish”.

The fruit looks like a pear, red in color when it’s ripe. The ackee fruit must be picked after it has naturally opened and revealed the seeds. The fruit must be eaten at the right time. The fruit is poisonous if it is both immature and overripe. The fleshy part around the seeds is the only part which is edible. The rest of the fruit contain a type of toxin called hypoglycin which can be fatal if consumed.

Silver-Stripe Blaasop

The silver-stripe blaasop is a delicacy among the locals who live in some parts of the Indian Ocean. The locals are experts in removing the toxic parts of the fish before cooking and consuming it. The poison is concentrated in the liver, reproductive organs and also the skin of the fish which can cause paralysis and breathing problems if consumed by humans.

Somehow, the silver-stripe blaasop made its way to the eastern Mediterranean waters. In early 2007, there are about 10 reported deaths relating to the poisoning of the fish which include 8 in Egypt and 2 in Israel.

Echizen Jellyfish

The giant Echizen jellyfish is a huge, poisonous jellyfish which moves in swarms in the Japan waters. The jellyfish lives on tuna fish and this poses a problem as the tuna supply is affected by the huge consumption. So, the solution is to catch the jellyfish and turn it into a delicacy.

And the most gruesome of all:

“San Nak Ji” or Live Octopus

San Nak Ji or live octopus is a popular delicacy in Korea and Japan. The enjoyment of eating this food is when the octopus is still moving with the tentacles sticking to the roof of the mouth. The challenge is to munch and swallow the live octopus without choking. It is reported that there are on average of 6 deaths due to choking (on live octopus), each year in South Korea.