We here at Healthy Kitchens are concerned about today's food supply and how it affects our families' health. This blog will be devoted to increasing awareness to all our readers about how to increase the nutritional content of the food that we feed our families daily. We don't want to make it harder, so we have some great ideas on how to do this much easier with the use of some great tips and tricks. We hope to have some great suggestions, recipes, nutritional information etc. that you all can use. Please feel free to email us back with your comments and we will answer your questions and concerns or just add them to the posts.
The purpose of using butter and oil in your baking is to retain moisture for even baking. Water evaporates quickly where as fats do not. Fats break down slowly and weaken the gluten in baked goods. This creates tender, and even heat distribution for browning through.
Butter - is usually the fat of choice for baking because of the flavour. It does a great job of making baked goods soft and flakey. We caution the use of margarine. It is a cheaper alternative for butter, with matching fat content but not the same flavour. The Vegetable oils made up to create margarine contain trans fats, beware.
Why Use Oil in Baking?
Many oils are used in baking. Sometimes oils and butters are both called for in recipes to perform different roles as food is baked. In contrast of butter, oil will bring a denser appreciation to the baked goods. Think of brownies or fudge for examples of butter and oil interacting together. However, different baking oils bring a variety of qualities to the baking process.
Vegetable oil – many vegetables are tossed in the mix to create this oil generally has little to no flavour. It is not recommended as primary fat source.
Olive oil – If you enjoy a milder flavour from regular Olive Oil or a stronger flavour from Extra Virgin Olive Oil, be sure to choose the appropriate option for your suited baking needs.
Coconut oil – This sweet unique flavoured oil brings a different dynamic to your baking. The extra sweetness in the oil may need to be balanced out with the amounts of sugar the recipe has called for.
Shortening VS Lard
Lard - is made by rendering pork fat, this baking fat adds a light, flaky flavour to baked goods. It has no effect on cholesterol levels and can be used in everything.
Shortening - is made from vegetables and can give the same flakey results in baking. However the flavour is not a desirable especially when a waxy or artificial aftertaste lingers. It is a good alternative for vegetarians and those that choose not to consume pork or meat in general.
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 6:01 am - 0 comments
10) Weather. Standard “room temperature” is right around 70 degrees F. If you bake when it’s really hot outside or bitter cold, and the outside temperature is affecting the inside temperature, your results will be different. If the humidity is higher or lower than normal, your results will be different. That’s why our grandmas use to tell us never to bake on a rainy day. The heavy moisture in the air effects the ability of the dough/batter to rise and dry.
We get a lot of calls about bread making at our office because our customers love there homemade bread. We receive interesting reactions with we ask “What’s the weather like when you baking?” Not realizing that this could be a relevant question we continue to explain. The pressure, humidity or elevation above sea level are important factors that cause variable reactions to the dough. With spring always being so undecided about letting the sun shine or not, this is what we have learned over the years. Low pressure days with rain and cloud your bread with need more flour in the recipe. The sunny days with high pressure, less flour is needed for a successful loaf.
This is our rule of thumb and hope this helps improve your baking experience!
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 6:00 am - 0 comments
Chef's Tip: Walk into any restaurant kitchen and you'll see a set of tongs in almost every cook's hand — usually gripped low down on the handle for maximum control. Use it to flip meat, pull a pan out of the oven, stabilize a steak while slicing, the list goes on and on.
15 Secrets from Top Chefs That Every Home Cook Should Know - Good House Keeping Blog
Get a secure grip on hard-to-grasp foodwithperfect kitchen tongs: for cooking, serving, catering, barbecue, buffet, salad, ice, oven use. The essential kitchen tool at Healthykitchens.com, and our favourite for size, price and colour is the Nesting Tong Set by Progressive. This set of 3 nesting tongs are designed to keep the clutter out of your kitchen. These tongs come in three different sizes that snuggly nest for compact storage. Our nylon tongs are perfect for any kitchen task from serving appetizers, salads and toppings to turning foods on the stove or grill.Durable nylon tongs are heat resistant up to 400 degree F, and have diagonal ridges for improved grip.
Here is Carol’s favourite kale salad. I loved it mostly because I can hardly taste the kale, haha! If you love the nutrition of healthy kale but not in love with the taste this recipe is perfect for you. Don't forget to serve with tongs!
Crazy Kale Salad
1 head of Kale (greener is better) stripped off stems and chopped or sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 can black pitted olives, sliced
1/2 cup cilantro chopped fine
1/2 cup (or more) feta cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, cut into bite-size pieces,
Mix above ingredients in a large salad bowl.
(You can chop the onion and red pepper with the dice blade of the Bosch Slicer/ shredder)
Here is where we cheat just a little
1/2 jar Lighthouse Blue Cheese dressing/dip
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. tarragon leaves chopped
Mix dressing and add to salad and let sit at least 1/2 hour. This salad will not wilt and actually gets better tasting with age. I love to eat it the next day and it is just as good.
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 6:17 am - 0 comments
Always buy the freshest garlic you can find; the fresher it is, the sweeter it will be. The best garlic has firm tissue-like skin and should not be bruised, sprouted, soft or shriveled. If you find cloves that have green shoots, discard the shoots – they will only add bitterness.
One ingredient that is used on a daily basis here is garlic! A common style of serving garlic with strong and powerful flavour is with a raw miced clove. The more the garlic is chopped in its raw state the more scent, flavour and essential oils are released in the air. Salsa, guacamole, herb and garlic butter are examples of when this style is typically used.
For a sweeter flavour of garlic it will need to be cooked slower and longer. A slow roasted head of garlic with a few drops of olive oil is the way to this flavour. The softening of the cloves make it easy to extract from the skin. The gently caramelized garlic will bring wonderful flavour to any dish. Cutting the top off a garlic head and placing it in a crock pot with olive oil is an easy appetizer to enjoy on your favourite style of bread.
Another way to cook a clove of garlic for the mild sweeter taste is boiling it. When boiling the garlic with a pot of potatoes that will be mashed adds a subtle complexity to the dish. At the end of this post is a Julia Child recipe of Braised Garlic Simmered in Cream. It is perfect to add to potatoes, pasta sauce, or simply to enjoy on its own.
Here is a list of our Top Selling garlic tools.
Garlic, Ginger, and Mini Veggie Cutter- struggle getting that garlic skin off? This product will have it off in seconds. The cutter helps keep smells away from sensitive sking and fingers away from blades.
Julia Child Braised Garlic Cloves Simmered in Cream
Ready: 25 min Yield: 1 batch
1 head garlic (with large cloves)
2 Tbsp butter
½ cup heavy cream
1 pinch salt
1 pinch fresh ground white pepper
1.Separate the garlic cloves from the head.
2.Take a smallish saucepan and heat to boiling about a cup of water; add the cloves of garlic and simmer for about 1 minute- drain, peel the garlic (which should be soft and should peel easily) and set aside.
3.Melt the butter in the saucepan; add back in the peeled garlic and sauté over low for 10 to 15 minutes, until they're a creamy yellow color and are very tender.
4.Add the cream to the saucepan, as well as the salt and a bit of freshly ground white pepper, and simmer over low for 5 to 10 minutes until garlic is "meltingly tender".
5.Notes: These can be used in many recipes, such as mashed potatoes, in a creamy pasta sauce, over sautéed spinach, or just snack on them all by themselves!
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 6:07 am - 0 comments
Brine, baby, brine! Ya gotta brine that poultry to really give it the super flavor. Guy Fieri
If you have ever wondered how these chef’s create such complex and memorable flavours in their meat, this is one technique worth trying.
1 gallon of water with 1 cup of salt is a great recipe for beginners. You know you have enough salt when you can float a raw egg. The salt will do 2 things for the meat. First, it will help the meat to absorb more water. Second, it will help the protein to tenderize. For small cuts of meat it will only take 30 minutes to brine. Large pieces take 1 hour per pound. Flavouring the water with garlic and spices to enhance flavour is fun as well as trying different types of meat. For example: brining fish, beef, pork, poultry, or wild game when ready to experiment.
This brine is usually called a cure or rub. Cover the meat with salt, placing it in a sealed bag to rest in the refrigerator. This is also called making it sweat. This technique is very common with making salmon jerky.
When brining the meat it will want to float to the top of the water. Place a heavy lid or plate on the top to keep it submerged. Here at healthykitchens.com our favourite pot is the Pensofal Pasta Pot. Of course a pasta pot can have multiple uses and brining is one of them.
The Italian made cookware has the innovative RPP-2 Technology that goes 9 layers deep for ultra non-stick performance. The hard mineral coating is abrasion and resistant.It holds 5 liters, oven and dishwasher safe.The last functional and very practical feature is the lock-on lid with built in strainer for the win!
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 6:22 am - 0 comments
To optimize the juice you get from a lemon or lime, roll it hard under your palm for a minute before juicing. (Or- never say I told you this – microwave it for 10-15 seconds.) - Patricia Yeo
Any huge citrus fans out there?! Here are some tips on maximizing the volume of juice from fruit to cup.
Our chef tip today talks about softening the fruit by rolling. The pressure works very well to loosen the rind, begin braking, or tenderizing those pockets of juice.
Warming the fruit will make the rind soft and easier to squeeze. Lemon and limes keep longer in the fridge wrapped in plastic, so when you are ready to use it the cold fruit will be so much easier to work with after a good 15-20 second warm up.
I grew up watching my mother stabbing her fruit with a fork. If you love a beautiful bowl or fruit sitting on the counter, the fruit will start to get hard and tough. Using all of our top 3 tips of rolling, microwaving, then poking it before squeezing or reaming will give you the best results.
Here is a list of our products that will get every last drop from your well chosen fruit.
Squeeze as much lemon juice as you need without the seeds and pulp. Made from strong metal this heavy duty Lemon Squeezer will extract the juice ones the fruit is cut and placed cut side down in it to be squeezed. It is dishwasher safe and has a 1 year warranty.
“Fresh basil keeps much better and longer at room temperature with the stems in water.” Elisabeth Prueitt
Who doesn’t love that garnish of perfect green to finish a dish with colour, flavour and aroma? Not to mention how HEALTHY herbs do matter for benefitting anyone’s quality of life. If you like to buy your fresh herbs from the grocery store or grow them in your garden here are some tips to keeping them fresh.
Washing and Cutting the Stems
A salad spinner comes in handy with washing and drying herbs. If you don’t have a salad spinner hand washing tender herbs and setting them on a paper towel to dry. After washing and drying your herbs I like to pull any extra foliage at the bottom of the stems off. Anything other than stems in the water will cause the water to go yellow quickly. Trim the stems for freshness and better quality of drinking.
Time to Drink
Give your herbs 24 hours to liven up. A good drink over night will do the trick to brighten them up.
Where do you put your herbs? I keep the Herb Keeper by Progressive on hand. It can store 1-3 bunches of herbs such as parsley, cilantro, or oregano for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator, or on the counter without cross flavoring. The Herb Keeper also works great for keeping asparagus fresh and hydrated. It comes with a lid to protect herbs from absorbing refrigerator odors, and stores upright to save space.
All herbs can be treated like a bouquet of flowers. Only 2 prefer to be left on the counter: basil and cilantro. The rest keep in the refrigerator.
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 9:05 am - 0 comments
We think it's time for some of our new customers to be a little braver and try some newbread baking recipes with your Bosch machines. Here is a great way to make Homemade Crescent Rolls that are light and yummy and will be a big family hit. You can make it with half whole wheat flour as well. Here is the recipe! Click here for Crescent Roll Recipe
So for our next adventure into bread making, let's try a great crusty french bread that you can also make with half whole wheat. We call it French Bread made Easy. Here is the recipe. Click here for French Bread Recipe
Whole Wheat Pizzas are easy to make with the Bosch using the dough hook with the newDough Hook Extender that picks up every bit of dough. Here is an easy Whole Wheat Pizza recipe to make. Click here for Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe
Now let’s get real adventurous and make some Whole Wheat Pitas. These are easy to make and exciting to watch rise and bake in the oven for only 5 min. and they are great with any filling. Click here for Pita Bread recipe.
Finally to end off our Bread Baking 101, how about trying to make some bagels? Basically we boil the dough first and then bake them. They are really easy to make and fun to add differenttopping like poppy seeds or even cheese. Click here for our Easy to make Bagel Recipe.
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 5:29 am - 0 comments
The Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine is one of the most versatile kitchen machines on the market. We thought you would like to hear which attachment are our staff’s favourites! There are up to 13 different attachments that can be added to a Universal Plus to change it in to a different function. Our staff have narrowed down there favourites and here they are.
I like it because I like to dice veggies with the french fry blade for carrots, onions, celery, parsnips, potatoes. This is perfect for stews and soups. It does the job making Japanese Coleslaw one of my favourite salads.
This attachment comes with 3 blades. The French fry blade, thick and thin slicing and thick and thin grating. The Bosch quality steel is what makes all the difference for me.
The food processor is one of the most popular large accessories for the Bosch Universal Mixer. I feed a large family and we love our guacamole and salsa for Tuesday taco night. The traditional knife blade in the bottom of the bowl for mixing and chopping makes it so easy. The bowl holds 5 cups and that is all we need (can’t get enough guac!). This attachment also comes with 3 blades, a thick and thin slicer, thick and thin grater and a very fine grater. I love knowing that with the Bosch quality steel these any vegetable, cheese or meat will be processed with ease.
Another recipe that the processor makes easy is biscuit or pastry dough. I find the knife blade cutting the dough is a great technique to blends and mix the dough.
No pasta can compare to fresh pasta! We only use Semolina flour for the best results. The Durham grain finely ground to make fresh semolina flour we found to give the best results. My favourite pasta noodle to make is lasagna style noodles. We make sure to keep any scraps and use for chicken noodle soup.
The pasta set comes with all chrome 3 rollers, angel hair (spaghetti) cutter, fettuccini cutter, and flat roller for lasagna and ravioli.
At the Bosch Kitchen Centre we love our Bosch mixer and all the many functions it offers to make our lives easier! What is your favourite attachment? We would love to hear from you, and if you have any questions about the attachments you have we are here to help.
posted by Carol or Pam Stiles at 5:26 am - 0 comments
Additional mix-ins of your choice (Fruit, candy, cookies, etc)
Simmer cream, milk, salt and sugar in a saucepan until sugar dissolves then remove from heat.
In Bosch Universal Mixer whisk egg yolks constantly then slowly add the hot cream mixture. Once mixed turn of wire whisks and transfer the yolk cream mixture back to the saucepan and cook at a medium-low heat until cream thickens enough to coat a mixing spoon. (If using a thermometer 170 degrees)
Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least four hours.
Replace Bosch mixing bowl with plastic bowl for ice cream maker and place ice bucket in the middle of the plastic bowl.
Fill ice bucket with cream mixture close with lid.
Fill the space between the ice bucket and the plastic bowl with small ice cubes and rock, alternating and keeping a 3:1 ratio, respectively.
In Bosch Universal Mixer mixing bowl add water, sugar and yeast. Let rest for 5 minutes while proofing. Then add oil, salt, eggs and 3 cups flour and mix with paddle attachment until blended.
Switch to dough hook and add the rest of the flour one cup at a time until dough is tacky but no longer sticky. Let rest for 10 minutes and preheat oven to 400 degrees.Dump onto well floured surface and divide in half.
Roll each half into large rectangle, about ½ inch thick. Mix together melted butter, sugar and cinnamon and spread half of mixture onto one rectangle and the other half on the second rectangle.
Roll up dough and divide into 12 rolls then place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise for about 30 minutes then bake 12-15 minutes.
When rolls come out of the oven mix butter, salt, vanilla and powdered sugar in the Bosch mixer bowl with wire whipsuntil creamy. Add milk 1-2 T at a time until desired consistency. Spread over warm cinnamon rolls.
About 8 cups peeled, cored and sliced Granny Smith apples
1 T lemon juice
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ all purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup butter
For the crust add flour, salt, cold butter and shortening into Bosch food processor with regular blade attached. Pulse a few times to lightly mix the ingredients. Run the motor and quickly pour the ice water into the bowl until the dough just comes together in a crumbly mixture.
Stop the motor and dump the crumbly mixture into a clean bowl and work with hands to squeeze together into a ball. Flatten into disc and cover with plastic wrap then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
While the crust chills peel your apples, cut into quarters to remove core and use the Bosch Universal slicer to slice enough apples for 8 cups. As you place slices into a large bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice.
Then once the apples are all sliced mix sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour with the apples until all are evenly coated.
Pull the crust out of the refrigerator and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough into a circle large enough to fit pie pan (9-10 inches) and place in the bottom of pie pan. Pour your apple filling mixture into the crust.
In your Bosch food processor combine all topping ingredients and pulse into a crumbly mixture. Pour over top the apple filling. Bake pie in pie plate on a cookie sheet for 50-55 minutes. If the top starts to brown early cover with aluminum foil for remainder of cook time.
In the Bosch Universal food processor add flours, salt, cocoa and egg yolks. Pulse until well blended. Slowly add oil then water until mixture forms a tacky dough. If the dough is too dry add an additional single tablespoon of water at a time.
Dump contents onto floured surface and shaped dough into ball and knead until smooth. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Once dough is chilled cut into 4 equals parts and press each piece flat.