Of Note

Happy Passover and Happy Easter!

May both these holidays truly bring spring in their wake. Looking for gluten-free matzo? We have the best – the Yehudah brand. We’ve got other Passover goodies, and we’ve lots of sweets and treats for Easter, too. Everything for your holiday meals. Spring. We thought it would never come….

Olive Oil Sampling

Thanks to those of you who came to our olive oil tasting that snowy February evening! Did you know that real olive oil is simply the juice pressed from the fruit (the olives) of the olive tree? Pressing olives for their juice is the way olive oil has been made for thousands of years.

Why do we eat olive oil? Not only because it makes our food luscious, but because it has so many health properties (one US cardiologist recommends we enjoy at least 2 Tbsp per day).

In this country, we consume one quart per person per year, while citizens of Greece consume five gallons each. Citizens of Spain enjoy 3.4 gallons per person per year. We have a long way to go to catch up, don’t we!?!

Help spread the word!

Our television cooking show, Eat Well Be Happy, is releasing four new shows in March. We are having fun! And we’re happy to announce that Eat Well Be Happy is now airing in Cambridge Sundays at 5:00 p.m. and Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. We need a resident sponsor for Watertown, Newton and Wellesley. If you live in one of those towns and would be willing to be our sponsor there, would you let us know?

 What's Cooking
Archive

Bluebird Grain Farms Farro and Amaranth Pilaf with Cherries

Bluebird Grain Farm grows ancient grains like emmer farro, an ancestor of modern wheat. Said to be the first cultivated grain, farro, a hard wheat from the Fertile Crescent in Western Asia, has 20% more protein than modern wheat and seems to cause fewer allergies too. Its insoluble fiber feeds the friendly bacteria in our gut. If you want to cook farro plain, cook it in lots of water like pasta, drain excess water after 50 minutes. It stays al dente. Use hot or cold; risotto-style; in salads or soups.

And amaranth? Grown by the Aztecs and then virtually eliminated in the Spanish conquest, amaranth is tall and bushy with flowers that contain about 60,000 seeds each! Like its relative quinoa, amaranth is gluten free. Its seeds have, according to the USDA, a third more protein than rice, sorghum and rye.

Napa Ginger Beet Slaw

This is a snap to make, and a colorful, cleansing salad (it’s the beets and ginger). Speaking of beets, they are not only versatile, but nutrient-rich. A little goes a long way!  And about ginger, in ancient Rome, a pound of ginger equaled the price of a whole sheep. Ginger was so prized in China that entire dynasties rose and fell over this spicy root. Men went to war over ginger…

I have fallen in love with Napa cabbage because its texture is softer and more delicate (it’s easier to chew than regular cabbage). If you haven’t tried Napa cabbage, do, and let’s try growing it in our gardens this year as well!

Chocolate Halvah Truffles

What is halvah? Some of you may know it as the Achvah-brand sesame confection we sell near our registers (delicious!), or, if your parents shopped in ethnic markets, you may remember halvah cut from large blocks in the olden days…. It’s an addictive chewy, sweet treat, which the dictionary defines as an “Eastern Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, or Indian sweetmeat made of honey and containing sesame seeds, nuts, rose-water, saffron, etc.”

Adam's Corner
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Smoothie Inspiration

Smoothies are great because they’re breakfast in 60 seconds or less, packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients and protein and healthy oils. Plus, they’re delicious if you do them right. Seriously, though, it’s pretty hard to do them wrong...  

The following recipes are meant as inspiration only. Improvise! Each is a hearty meal, or 2 snacks. Most are not too sweet; you can always add something.  [Debra says: Got a Vitamix? These terrific blending machines make every smoothie velvety in seconds. We’ve got the Vitamix 7500, with its lower profile, quieter and much more powerful motor at a great price, $479. Colors? Red, white and black.]

Should I Take It With Food?

To every rule, there are a million-and-one exceptions…

Capsules vs. Tablets vs. Liquids vs. Powders: The really big difference here is tablets vs. everything else. Tablets tend to be hard, compressed pills that take longer to dissolve. Of course all tablets from reputable companies will have passed a USP Dissolution Assay, demonstrating that they can break down within 40 minutes in standard stomach conditions. But not all stomachs are “standard.” And you don’t always get those 40 minutes. And since most of our absorption occurs in the beginning-middle of our small intestines, a tablet that breaks down too far down the tract won’t get absorbed.

Hard tablets need some quality time in the stomach to break down.

If you take a tablet with food, the tablet is trapped there while the food is being mashed and churned. On an empty stomach, however, tablet can sometimes be in-and-out before that has a chance to happen. This is less of a concern with soft tablets, of course.