Category: Healthy Eating / Weight Loss
Eating Cheese Can Lead To Weight Loss And A Healthier Lifestyle!
Ever wonder why Europeans have a lower heart rate and are more physically fit than their cross-ocean neighbors, Americans? Even though it seems as though European diets consist of intake that is seemingly through the roof in saturated fats, they still yield some of the most physically fit populations on the planet. Researches formerly attributed this to lifestyle practices and their penchant to indulge in wines. However, recent studies have shown that, you guessed it, cheese may also contribute a vital roll in the everyday healthy lifestyles of most Europeans. How can this be when many cheeses are high in fat content? Well, to counteract the high fat content, the healthy benefit stems from the potentially high metabolic rejuvenation within the cheese.
For the purpose of the study, scientists compared bodily fluid samples from a group of people whose diets consisted of higher intakes of milk or cheese as well as a controlled diet of butter but no other dairy was a part of their diet. Findings showed that those whose diet consisted of cheese had higher levels of butyrate in their bodily fluids as compared to other groups of people. Butyrate is a short chain of fatty acids that are produced by bacteria in your stomach. In a similar light, the increase in butyrate levels resulted in lower cholesterol. This makes the very valid argument that cheese could be a included in a diet geared toward to healthier lifestyle.
While science has not truly revealed exactly how butyrates contribute to a healthier lifestyle, other studies have shown butyrates improves insulin sensitivity, energy levels, all while reducing stress levels. A study conducted in 2009 that was presented in the journal of Diabetes, linked butyrates to a markedly reduced risk of obesity.
As much as some cheese has its health benefits, other cheese do not exemplify or promote as much of a healthy lifestyle as others. Aged cheeses will be your best shot at improving your healthy lifestyle and tackle the weight loss mission. Such cheese include aged cheddar, Parmesan and Greyere… among others. Butyrate can originate from two sources, mainly. I can be produced from cheese itself or from bacteria produced in the stomach after the consumption of certain foods. An expert in this study noted that in both instances, aged cheeses tend to result in an increased amount of butyrate than fresh cheeses.
As studies have shown, it’s something we should be aware of as it meshes well with earlier research showing that cheese can have the benefits of reducing cholesterol compared to other dairy products with similar fat content. With that in mind, consider adding aged cheese to your diet as it may prove to be a healthy move!
How to Make Delicious Banana Bread
While historians and banana bread “experts”, if there is even such a thing, claim knowledge to the origin and primitive creations of banana bread, the true origins and historical beginnings of this delicious dessert-style bread is not entirely known, albeit large doses of speculation exist at the forefront. What we do know is that banana bread is a a moist and delicious after-meal eat.
One thing we do know is that history of bananas gives us insight that bananas have been around and a mainstay of agriculture for about the last 200+ years.With the birth and inception of such ingredients as baking powder ad baking soda, came the invention of banana bread. When baking banana bread, the ideal bananas are not the green ones that came in just hours ago, but the ones that are soft, yellow and much more ripened and appear golden-yellow in color. Bananas tend to ripen very quickly. A good practice is when you have very green (not yet ripe) bananas, place them in a brown paper bag and they will nearly-instantly begin turning ripe, albeit, by “instantly”, we’re looking at about 12 hours in a brown bag, rather than 12 minutes.
Essentially, a banana muffin recipe nearly parallels banana bread as it exhorts a very similar texture and flavor. A critical component to both recipes (banana muffin and banana bread) is to mix the ingredients when dry with wet ingredients only until they become blended with each other. Of both recipes, banana muffins seem to be the easier recipe. Banana bread and banana muffins are a great breakfast item and a very easy to grab, on-the-go food. Both recipes are taken to an entirely different level when nuts are added, increasing the moisture and sweetness of the bread and muffins.
Here is some recipes for banana bread, banana muffins and all-bran banana bread:
HOW TO MAKE BANANA BREAD
- 2 bananas (ripened, yellow-look)
- 1 cup of sugar
- ½ cup of oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups of flour
- 3 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/8 Teaspoon salt
- 1 Cup chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.
- Grease and lightly flour bread loaf pan.
- Mash ripe bananas in a bowl; add sugar, oil, and eggs and beat until smooth.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; stir in the nuts
- Combine the dry mixture with the banana mixture and stir in until blended.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 60 minutes or until pick comes out clean.
BANANA MUFFIN RECIPE
When I learned how to make banana bread, here is my muffin recipe.
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1 ¾ cups of flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 1 beaten egg
- ½ cup of milk
- ¼ cup of cooking oil
- ¾ cup of mashed ripe bananas
- ½ cup of chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 400°F degrees.
- Line muffin tins with paper liners.
- Combine in a mixing bowl flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nuts; Blend and make a well in the center.
- Combine in another bowl the milk, egg, oil and bananas; blend well.
- Add the banana mixture all at once in the well of the dry ingredients; stir just until moist.
- Fill prepared muffin tins 2/3 full and bake about 20 minutes or until pick comes out clean.
ALL BRAN BANANA BREAD RECIPE
- ¼ Cup solid shortening
- ½ Cup sugar
- 1 Egg
- 1 Cup All Bran Cereal
- 1 ½ Cups mashed bananas
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ Cups flour
- 2 Teaspoons baking powder
- ½ Teaspoon salt
- ½ Teaspoon baking soda
- ½ Cup chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 350°F degrees; grease loaf pan.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda; stir in the bran and nuts and set aside.
- Cream shortening and sugar; ad egg and beat well.
- Add mashed bananas and vanilla; beat until well blended.
- Add dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until well blended.
- Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan and bake about 1 hour or until the pick comes out clean.
Source: Recipes/photo from http://www.painlesscooking.com/how-to-make-banana-bread.html
The Best Ways To Each Cheese: Part 1
Who doesn’t like eating cheese? As a culture with a strong, burning passion for food, at or near the top of this list, we often find cheese. Cheese is an overlooked, and often underappreciated food. In can be integrated into countless dishes, or it can be used as a topper for so many more dishes, salads and even desserts. We, as a civilization, never seem to run out of ideas for our uses of cheese. Every day, it seems that culinary experts and chefs around the world are experimenting with different cheeses and dishes in their efforts to create new dishes whose main attraction is cheese, in some way, shape or form.
Let’s taker a gander at some of the more ingenious creations in which cheese is used, or hidden, for that matter. Now, keep in mind, some of these dishes or cheese concealments require a “think outside of the box” approach…
When making meatballs, add some “umpf” to it by integrated some of your favorite cheese when rolling the meat to form meatballs. As the cheese meets the heat when cooking, the cheese will expand and will add an extraordinary flavor to an already delicious meatball.
Ham, Egg and Cheese Crepe
- Make your pancake, as you normally would… the thinner, the better in the case of this recipe.
- When the underside is nearly cooked, place a slice of ham on top, topped off with some of your favorite cheese.
- Fold the sides into to make a square, or as close as you can get to one.
- Break your egg into the space left… leave sunny-side up.
- Squish the sides down with your spatula to seal as the cheese melts.
- Cook for 3 or 4 minutes until the egg is turning white.
- Pop under the grill for a further 2 or 3 minutes until the yolk is just starting to cook, or however you like it. (Although, if you like it any way other than runny you’re way crazy.)
A Cheesy Pie Crust… literally
Making a pie crust with cheddar cheese baked directly into the crust gives it an entirely new dimension of flavor. Try baking an Apple Pie with a cheddar cheese infused crust. Goodness, that sounds absolutely amazing just thinking about it.
For the Gluten-Free
For those who are in search of gluten-free foods, try using cheese as bread crumbs over zucchini. If this peaks your interest, try this recipe for starters… Parmesan Baked Zucchini.
- 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Basil
- 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh Parsley leaves
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a cooling rack with a nonstick spray such as Crisco and place on a baking sheet.
- In a bowl, combine the following: Parmesan, Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Garlic Powder, salt and pepper. Taste to determine if this meets desired taste.
- Place the quartered zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle olive oil and as well as Parmesan mixture.
- Place into oven and bake until tender. This usually takes ~ 15 minutes. Then broil for around 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.
- Serve immediately. Garnished if that is your thing…
Cheese-Infused Loaf of Bread
This is quite the old-fashioned move, but as they say, “an oldie but goodie” and this no doubt falls in this league. When baking a loaf of bread, step up your culinary game and inject a concoction into the center of the bread; a concoction of your favorite cheese, spices, herbs, etc. Bake and enjoy!
More Cheese… More Bread
With the Cheese-Infused Bread in the back of your mind, try this cheese creation on for size. The Bread Bowl of Cheese is another cheese creation, or should I say, masterpiece, that is in yet another league of its own. Try this recipe…
- 4 bread rolls (soft or crusty)
- 4 small slices of ham, or 2 big ones cut in half
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cut tops off the bread rolls.
- Scoop out the center of each bread roll and reserve. Although this can be quite an intricate step in the overall recipe, try to keep your cuts and scoops nice and neat.
- Line the bread bowl with a layer of ham, using a single slice or multiple slices as needed.
- Crack in an egg. This is the part of the recipe where Humpty Dumpty came to mind with me.
- Top each with 2 tablespoons of Mozzarella and a sprinkle of parsley, if desired.
- Put the tops back on each roll. Wrap with foil and place in oven to bake for ~10 to 15 minutes, making certain to check periodically, ideally, in 10 minute intervals.
- 10 minutes = very runny yolks. 15 minutes = firm just cooked yolks. 15 minutes + = very cooked yolks.
- Remove from oven, unwrap, serve immediately and enjoy heaven in a bowl.
Revolutionary Uses for Chocolate That Could Change Your Life and Love of Chocolate
Let me start out by premising this article with this question… who loves chocolate? Wait… scratch that… who “doesn’t” love chocolate? If you are not a lover of one of the greatest inventions on this planet, then this read will not be for you. Chocolate has been around. seemingly, since the begin of the world, in a galaxy far, far away… sorry, was waiting for the day I could use a Star Wars reference (I’m sure even Yoda loves chocolate). Chocolate used to be a decadent treat, or dessert, but over the years, has since taken the thrown as a “superfood”, reaching the echelon of culinary supremacy in countless ways and forms.
Is chocolate a food or a dessert? Well, call it a food to someone baking chocolate chip cookies and call it a dessert to someone who is sprinkling chocolate shavings in their salad or dish, and see how far you get. Chocolate is a revolutionizing culinary food, errr… dessert. You get it, I hope. It is multi-functioning, multi-purposed and loved by so many. And, to top it off, chocolate can be healthy for you! No, seriously, it does have health benefits. Don’t believe it? Keep reading!
Here are a number of things you may or may not have known about Chocolate…
Cash Crop – Yes, at one point in history, chocolate was used as a form of currency. In the day of the Mayans, chocolate grew on trees in the form of cocoa beans. These cocoa beans were extracted from trees and used directly as forms of currency. The Aztecs followed suit.
As Body Paint – Don’t think I need to go into much further detail… use your imagination, and please, keep it to yourself.
With Cheese – Nothing too new or bold here, but adding a sweetness to cheese, even chocolate, can heighten the flavor of both the cheese and the chocolate. And, as old school as it may be, chocolate-swirled cheese cake is an incredible dessert.
Chocolate and Bacon – If you are not aware of this amazing culinary marriage, it’s about time to familiarize yourself with the existence of this fine creation. Bacon coated in chocolate might be the best thing ever created by the people, and for the people.
Dental Health – You’ve got to be kidding, right? Actually, not so much. A cocoa extract has recently been found to be more effective than fluoride in maintaining a healthy set of teeth.
A Happy Heart – Dark chocolate, studies have shown, actually improved coronary circulation. If that isn’t incentive to eat chocolate, I’m not sure what is.
Happy Skin – Cocoa Butter is said to improve the rich, smooth qualities of your skin with an added aroma that will make you the center of attention, in a good way, of course!
Put an End to Hypertension – Studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate can actually lower your blood pressure due to its link with polyphenol-rich chocolate.
Increasing your IQ – Yes, dark chocolate contains higher levels of flavanols that are known to improve blood circulation throughout your body and even your brain. This helps combat mental fatigue, making you more alert and responsive.
Putting that Smile on Your Face – Feeling a bit down? It’s almost natural and a cultural habit to go for that box of chocolates to make you feel better. But it there merit to this? Studies have shown that eating chocolate has similar physiological effects as that of kissing. Chocolate improves bodily circulation and serves as a mild stimulant, making you become more euphoric, which essentially, turns that frown upside down!
Can Cheese be the Answer to a Long and Healthy Life?
When you think of foods that promote and maintain healthy living, you think of salads, fruits, vegetables and grains among other foods. Unbeknownst to many, though, are the enormous health benefits of cheese. Contrary to the common view that cheese contains fat and less known for its health benefits, cheese can indeed “right the ship” in terms of bodily health. Cheese contains a number of nutrients, proteins and essential vitamins and minerals. Among these are Vitamin A, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and Vitamin B12, among others.
The benefits of cheese are numerous. Below, you’ll find the biggest, overall benefits in promoting health.
When it comes to dental hygiene, cheese serves as the proverbial “one-two punch” in fighting germs. Given that is contains rich amounts of calcium which is vital for good dental hygiene by building strong teeth, cheese is an ideal candidate for thwarting cavities and plaque build-up. Also known for its low levels of lactose, cheese just adds to its repertoire of promoting those healthy, pearly whites as too much lactose content can promote cavities and plaque.
When cheese comes to mind, one benefit of cheese that likely does not come close to striking the mind is the benefit it can have in cancer prevention. In fact, cheese can prevent the growth of cancer. A few byproducts of cheese-making include conjugated Linoleic Acid and Sphingolipids which are instrumental in cancer prevention efforts. A critical vitamin found in cheese is Vitamin B which can protect the body and its immune system when fending off potential diseases.
Maintaining Body Balance
Some cheeses contain low levels of fat content which can help regulate body fat in an effort to maintain good, healthy body balance. These cheese also assist in the development of muscle mass and increase bone density through fats, calcium, proteins and vitamins and minerals.
As noted before, cheese contains a good number of calcium and Vitamin B which is essential for the development of healthy bones among elderly folks, children and pregnant women. As cheese is consumed, the Vitamin B in the cheese absorbs and distributes the calcium within the body.
A Good Heart
It is fairly common knowledge that high intakes of sodium and cholesterol can lead to poor heart health and high blood pressure. Cheese that contains low amounts of sodium can reduce the threat for heart disease, similar to the means in which Vitamin B reduces high blood pressure levels.
Cheese can promote a healthy pregnancy through its calcium content which can aid in the stimulation of contractions during labor. The good amounts of calcium found in cheese can also be beneficial for women when breastfeeding as this helps in proper breast milk production.
Vitamin B, found in cheese, is known to be a premier contributor to healthy skin as it is beneficial in maintaining silky, smooth and glowing skin.
Again, the calcium content in cheese can be beneficial in preventing or relieving migraines.
Found in cheese is an amino acid called Tryptophan which can stimulate one’s sleeping patterns by lowering stress and aiding in inducing better sleeping patterns.
Are you a fan of cottage cheese? Well if you are not, you might want to reconsider, especially if you love your hair. Cottage cheese with low-fat content contains a lot of protein and a tremendous amount of calcium which promotes and maintains healthy hair.
5 of the Healthiest Cheeses You Never Knew About… or Did You?
Cheese gets a might bad rap for clogging arteries and packing on the pounds. But just because you shouldn’t eat an entire platter of Paula Deen’s cheese balls doesn’t mean you have to avoid cheese altogether.
Cheese can be both delicious and a great source of lean protein, calcium, phosphorus, and other health benefits — if you choose the right varieties. Here are five cheeses that belong on any shopping list.
A key component of Greek cuisine, feta is lower in fat and calories than most cheeses, says Natalie Caine-Bish, an associate professor of nutrition and dietetics at Kent State University. A one-ounce serving — enough to make a Greek salad lover happy — has 4 grams of protein and only 74 calories.
Caine-Bish says feta’s characteristic strong flavor means you can get away with using less cheese without feeling cheated. Feta’s salty flavor makes it a good choice to crumble on salads and soups. It also pairs well with sweeter produce, like watermelon or sweet potatoes.
Tip: Although domestic feta is often made with cow’s milk, Greek feta is made from sheep or goat’s milk, which makes it a good choice for someone with problems digesting bovine dairy products. Keep in mind, though, that unpasteurized feta and other soft cheeses have a higher risk of containing the Listeria bacteria than other cheeses — so be sure to buy pasteurized feta if you’ll be serving it to a pregnant woman or someone with a compromised immune system.
2. String cheese
Seriously. String cheese, that favorite kid snack, is a great choice for adults too.
For starters, if you choose string cheese made of part-skim mozzarella, it’s low in calories and high in protein (a one-ounce serving has 71 calories and 7 grams of protein).
What’s more, string cheese isn’t actually a processed cheese — mozzarella naturally behaves in that stringy way, so it counts as a whole food. (Just make sure to buy string cheese that’s 100 percent mozzarella.)
Tip: String cheese is “quick and easy — grab and go, and already portioned out for you,” says Silvia Veri, the nutrition supervisor at Beaumont Health System’s Weight Control Center in Royal Oak, Michigan. The fact that it’s prepackaged makes it handy for healthy snacks at work, between errands, or at home.
Like feta, Parmesan is a great choice because just a little packs a potent, nutty punch.
Parmigiano-Reggiano comes from the Parma area of Italy, and its strong flavor has inspired a lot of buzz throughout history: Samuel Pepys famously buried his Parmesan cheese to keep it safe during the Great Fire of London, and Boccacio, in The Decameron, imagines a mountain of Parmesan inhabited by macaroni and ravioli makers.
Parmesan is relatively low in calories (110 in a one-ounce serving), but it’s high in sodium (449 milligrams for the same serving size), so be sure to use it in moderation.
Tip: Try shaving pieces onto a salad or eating small slices with ripe apples or pears, in addition to grating it over pasta and pizza.
Swiss is another strong cheese that’s good for you. What we call Swiss cheese is often Swiss Emmentaler (or Emmental), though other cheeses with a similar taste and hole-studded texture are sometimes lumped in as well.
Swiss is a popular cheese, and Caine-Bish likes it specifically for that reason. Since it comes in a number of varieties, including low-sodium or low-fat, it’s easy to find a version that fits your dietary needs.
As a hard cheese, Swiss is also richer in phosphorus than nearly all soft cheeses. According to Caine-Bish, “Calcium and phosphorus are key to bone formation and to maintaining bone density” — important for women of any age.
Tip: Try adding a slice to your sandwich or grating a few ounces into scrambled or baked eggs. Small slices or cubes make a great snack, especially with fruit instead of crackers.
5. Cottage cheese
There’s a reason dieters love cottage cheese: It’s high in protein, low in fat (if you buy a low-fat variety), and versatile enough to add to most any meal or snack.
“You can eat it with almost anything,” says Veri. “You can eat it with veggies and make it savory, or add fruit and cinnamon and make it sweet.”
A one-ounce serving of low-fat cottage cheese has 3 grams of protein and only 20 calories. Like all cheeses, it’s also high in calcium.
Indian paneer, Mexican queso fresco, and other types of farmer’s cheese are simply pressed versions of cottage cheese. If you are the DIY-type, this cheese and its firmer derivatives are some of the easiest cheeses to make at home.
Tip: Cottage cheese can have a lot of sodium, especially when it’s low-fat or nonfat. Be sure to check the nutrition label on the container before buying it. Some companies, such as Lucerne and Friendship Dairy, make no-salt-added versions.
Healthy Eats: Bocconcini Salad With Figs & Pears
Making cheese is a simple process. Take some fresh milk and heat it up to 45-50 °C, add an acidic component like lemon juice to curdle the milk, strain the off the liquid whey and you have cheese. This process has remained unchanged since the beginning of cheese-making time.
Scientists have analyzed the residual fatty acids found in unglazed pottery discovered from around Europe. The results showed that humans have been making and consuming bovine based cheese products for more than 7,000 years. The pottery, which is perforated, is believed to have been used as a cheese sieve or strainer.
Seven thousand years ago we were beginning to smelter metal, invented the wheel and for the most part the human populace was lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance happens when the small intestine does not make enough of the enzyme lactase. This enzyme is essential in the digesting of lactose, a naturally occurring sugar present in all dairy products.
Somehow we had discovered that the cheese-making process allows for maximum nutrient absorption from the milk while drastically reducing its lactose content, allowing the lactose intolerant populace to consume it without getting sick.
True mozzarella cheese is made from buffalo milk curds kneaded and pulled while repeatedly dipped in hot whey. They are hand shaped into tennis-ball sized bals. This process yields a cheese that has a spongy texture that easily absorbs the flavours of other ingredients.
These cheese balls are then packaged in salted whey to preserve them. Clearly I’m not speaking about the rubbery blocks of North American, factory produced mozzarella. When the mozzarella is shaped into smaller balls it’s known in its singular as bocconcino or its plural as bocconcini, which translates to little mouthfuls in Italian. In essence, bocconcini are small pieces of fresh mozzarella.
Goat’s milk is slowly becoming more popular in Canada, mostly due to the increase in those individuals who are lactose intolerant. Although goat’s milk is not free of lactose, it does have less than cow’s milk, making it easier to digest.
As well, goat’s milk forms a softer curd and does not need to be homogenized, as the fat globules are small and well-emulsified, which means the cream remains suspended in the milk instead of rising to the top, as in raw cow milk, once again making goat milk easier to digest.
So what happens when we make bocconcini from goat’s milk? We get a soft textured cheese that is easy to work with and has an exceptionally reduced amount of lactose, and who better to make this cheese than the Kawarthas’ very own Crosswind Farm?
I suggest trying this week’s recipe provided by Judy Filion, a Crosswind Farm employee and up-and-coming area chef.
Baked Bocconcini with Fig and Pear Salad
- 1 pound Crosswind Farm Bocconcini
- 1 ½ cups bread crumbs
- 10 roasted figs, cut in half
- 2 pears, cored and sliced in thin wedges
- 2 lbs arugula or mixed greens
- ¼ cup toasted almonds
Drain the bocconcini of its excess oil and liquid. Place bocconcini and bread crumbs into a plastic bag and gently massage the bread crumbs into the bocconcini. Spread the bocconcini onto a parchment lined baking sheet and let them rest in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
In a preheated oven, bake the bocconcini at 450°F oven until lightly browned, about 7-10 minutes. Remove cheese from oven and allow it to cool down. While the cheese is cooling prepare the remaining salad ingredients by gently grilling the figs on a barbecue or roasting them in the oven. In a medium-sized bowl toss the leaves with a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Dress the top of the salad with bocconcini, figs, pears and almonds and serve immediately.
Yields: 4-6 portions
Manchego Cheese: A True Taste of Spain
If you go to the La Mancha region in central Spain, home to the famous Don Quixote, you’ll have the pleasure of tasting queso Manchego, or Manchego cheese. Of course, you can sample this cheese in other parts of the country, and even abroad, but there is nothing like nibbling on the real thing in the land of its origin.
This cheese, which is made from sheep’s milk, and aged no less than 60 days, has got a lot of history behind it. Archeological digs have turned up evidence suggesting that this very unique cheese was being made well before the time of Christ. One of the main purposes of making cheese in the past was to persevere the milk and the health benefits derived from dairy, since refrigeration wasn’t available at the time.
These days, only very special ewes (female sheep) are used in the Manchego cheese making process. The queso is actually protected by the Spanish Government with a ‘Denominación de Origen,’ which means only certain cheeses can be labeled as Manchego cheese. For this tasty and buttery cheese to be called ‘Manchego,’ it has to come from La Mancha. Only the fatty milk from authentic Manchega ewes, which are descended from sheep that have been roaming these lands for centuries, can be used to create the cheese. And the cheese itself must be aged in local caves.
The technical cheese making process consists of milking the ewes by hand, and then putting the milk in curdling vats, where natural curdling enzymes are added to the mix. Then the cheese curd is sliced up into tiny bits and aged. If you ask any of the locals what is the most important aspect in making Manchego cheese, you’re sure to get different answers, but aging the cheese, and the special nature of Manchega ewes will be sure to top the list.
If all of the above requirements are met, you still have a choice between classic Manchego cheese that comes from unpasteurized milk, and the kind that comes from pasteurized milk. In addition to these basic distinctions, you can also select quesos of different ages. Manchego cheese is well-known for its creamy texture, but the flavor varies between the semi-cured Manchego Curado and the richer Manchego Viejo. There is even a fresh cheese, Manchego Fresco, you can buy and sample before it has completed the aging process. The best thing for you to do is to head to La Mancha and try all of these wonderful cheeses for yourself.
We all know that a good cheese is a very complete food, a real concentrate of all the fine nutritional qualities of milk.
Today I found out that Manchego cheese actually has such a high proportion of proteins that is in fact even richer in proteins than meat! That’s great news for all the veggies out there.
Proteins are the building blocks of life. The body needs protein to repair cells and make new ones. Furthermore, protein is also important for growth and development during childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy (and Manchego is a safe cheese for a preggo to eat!).
So now you know, next time you fancy some Manchego, stop feeling guilty about it. Yes, it might be rich in calories, but it’s good for you too!
LOW IN LACTOSE
According to recent studies, more than 40 Million Americans are lactose intolerant.
Like all hard cheeses, Manchego is naturally low in lactose. Additionally, being made with sheep’s milk – which has a lower percentage of lactose than cow’s milk – makes it more suitable for sensitive stomachs.
Furthermore, as the longer a cheese is aged the less lactose it has, and Manchego can be aged for up to 2 years, lactic sensitive people have the perfect alibi to reach for the most exquisite of all Manchegos: the most aged ones.
THOUSANDS OF YEARS IN THE MAKING
Manchego is one of the world’s cheeses with the most valuable history and heritage. That’s a well-known fact.
But, did you know that Pre-Historic men and women already enjoyed the pleasures of fine Manchego cheese?
Yes, as locals tell it, archeological remains dating back to the Bronze age show that the inhabitants of La Mancha used to make a sheep’s milk cheese with the milk of a race of sheep that’s considered the ancestor of our modern Manchega sheep. Weren’t they clever!
Of course, we don’t know what methods our ancestors used to make this natural product, but we could assume that their cheese tasted very much like ours, and that their cheesemaking methods were most probably similar too.
Next time you queue up to buy your Manchego think about those cave men & women who were already in the know. When a little pleasure survives the turn of so many centuries it must mean it’s worth passing it on!
HOW TO CUT MANCHEGO CHEESE
Ok… so you bought a whole Manchego cheese. You are all excited about the great cheese you’ve got and can’t wait to start eating it.
Now you are home staring at the cheese and wondering what would be the best way to cut a wedge out of it without destroying the masterpiece.
Have you been there? If so, here’s how to do it properly in a few simple steps:
- Cut the cheese in two halves.
- Cut a wedge out of one the halves – You should only cut as much as you plan to eat.
- Take the bottom bit of rind off.
- Cut it into slices about 5mm (1/4”) thick.
- Serve – if possible – at room temperature. Manchego cheeses taste their best at 68°
Be sure to stop in at Shisler’s Cheese House and try some Manchego Cheese and enjoy a taste of Spain!
Insalata Caprese: Simple, Elegant, Refreshing, Delicious
INSALATA CAPRESE: THE ENDURING STYLE OF ITALIAN CUISINE
No one can quite say when or where the most famously simple of all salads — the insalata caprese — first appeared on the scene, or the exact origin of when it was named after that beautiful sun-soaked isle of Capri, part of very historic Campania region. But one thing we do know is that it is absolutely one of the most enduring of all Italian antipasti and so evocative of those heady days of fun, vino and romance along the Mediterranean coast. (Speaking of fabulous Italian things, be sure to check out the recent post Studio of Style did on Campari.) Of course, the famed tricolor look of the dish which, like the equally famed Margherita pizza of Napoli, depict the colors of the Italian flag. But let’s dig a little bit deeper into history, okay? (We know how you regular readers of Studio of Style just love a little bit more of everything, right?) First of all, so much of the world associates Italian cuisine with that wonderful deep red tomato sauce found on many dishes — but wait! The word “pomodoro” from the words “pomo d’oro” or “golden apple” doesn’t quite match up with the color red, now does it? That’s because the first tomatoes brought to Europe from the New World (i.e. The Americas) were actually more likely to have been yellow than red! More on that in a moment. But some say that “pomo d’oro” might also be a mistranslation of the phrase “pomo di moro” or “fruit of the Moors” who had introduced so many exotic foods to Italy. You see, it was Italian physician and botanist Pietro Andrea Mattioli who wrote in 1544 that a new type of eggplant had been brought to Italy which was blood red or golden in color that could be eaten like an eggplant — and 10 years later Mattioli used the words “pomo d’oro” in print. The yellow variety of the tomato definitely made landfall in Europe sometime after 1521 when Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés captured the Aztec capital of Tenochtítlan in Mexico — though Christopher Columbus of Genoa (who was also working on behalf of the Spanish monarchy) might very well have brought some back around 1493! And did you know that the earliest known Italian cookbook with tomato recipes was published in Naples (naturally!) around 1692 — most likely the recipes were translated from Spanish sources. Thus, by a slight twist of history the famed marinara sauces became red and not yellow (but the name “golden apple” still stuck!). But the bigger question is: who put together that amazing combination of basil, mozzarella di bufala, tomatoes and olive oil — crowned with a light sprinkling of salt and black pepper — a combo that epicureans have been raving about ever since? To enjoy this antipasto to the fullest, try to find the freshest handmade mozzarella, the ripest seasonal tomatoes, absolutely fresh basil, the best extra virgin olive oil and high quality salt and freshly ground black pepper (and please, novinegar of any kind!!). Said perhaps one of the most famous Italians of all history, Leonardo da Vinci: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” And how right he was…and still is! The simple yet profound pleasures found in insalata caprese transcend time itself! And in the words of so many Italians throughout the ages: Mangia bene, vivi felice!
Once again, you can see the colors of the italian flag in this dish. Insalata Caprese is one of my all time favorite salads. I like to serve it over a bed of fresh spinach. Refreshing and light!
The word mozzarella comes from the italian verb “mozzare” which means to cut. Mozzarella di bufala is made from the milk of the domestic water buffalo, a bovine which has it origins in Asia but is now found in southern Europe, South America, Northern Africa and India among others. Mozzarella di bufala is a bit saltier and softer than regular cow’s milk mozzarella. The best quality is considered by many Mozzarella di Bufala di Campania made in the geographical areas of Lazio (near Rome) and Campania (Naples, Salerno, Paestum, Pompeii, including Capri) Regions which became protected by the European Union under Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC like in wines) in the 1990’s. It literally melts in your mouth! In short, mozzarella is made by heating the milk (to separate the whey form the curds), resting, spinning and pulling the cheese curds to shape into balls. The cheese maker will knead the curds like bread by hand, pull-out and cut the mozzarella balls once the cheese curds have reached the desired consistency. This is a semisoft cheese and has a high moisture content. That is why it is sold in specialty food shops in brine and vacuum sealed. On the other hand, good quality mozzarella di bufala is made in many other countries in Europe and the Americas.
Insalata Caprese (salad made in the style of Capri) can also be called Tricolore Salad which also includes avocado. If you want to splurge (it is more expensive than regular mozzarella) and the best flavor and quality, use mozzarella di bufala when you make homemade pizza. Use it as a topping or make Insalata Caprese Pizza. It is amazing!
Instructions on making Insalata Caprese…
2 7 ounce mozzarella di bufala balls
2-3 Roma tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh basil coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pepper to taste
Drizzle of good quality aged balsamic vinegar (optional)
1. Slice mozzarella and tomatoes. In a plate, alternate placing one slice of tomato over each slice of mozzarella.
2. In a small bowl, place the chopped basil with olive oil, salt and pepper and stir with a spoon.
3. Spoon mixture over mozzarella and tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.
4. Enjoy this delicious and healthy dish!
Make sure to stop by Shisler’s Cheese House and let us help you create this simply, beautiful and delicious work of culinary art with our supply of fresh Mozzarella Cheese!
Make Your Breakfast Healthier With Cheese!
5 Reasons To Eat Cheese For Breakfast
A common trend among dieters is to cut out cheese from their diet the minute they embark upon a weight loss mission. What they fail to realize is the immense nutritional and purported weight loss benefits that they are missing. Cheese is arguably one of the most underrated health food today. It provides ample amounts of proteins, calcium, vitamins, and minerals – everything that a person needs for a healthy start to his day. Still not convinced? Read on to know about the health benefits of eating cheese right in the morning, the best forms of cheese to include, and the healthy cheese dishes.Benefits of eating Cheese for breakfast
1. Complete Food
Cheese is one of the healthiest sources of high biological value proteins. Each serving of cheese can provide close to 30 gms of protein, which is almost 50% of the RDA for protein. Unlike other protein rich foods, cheese also contains all 3 proximate principles including carbohydrates. Apart from the energy providing nutrients, it also provides a trove of minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients essential for maintaining a fit body and mind.
2. Promotes and maintains bone health
Cheese is arguably the richest source of calcium. Each serving of cheese can provide anything between 700 mg to over 1000 mg of calcium, which covers more than 70% of daily-recommended dose for an adult woman. Importance of calcium in bone health and prevention of osteoporosis is well-known. Apart from calcium, cheese is also rich in 15 other essential nutrients including phosphorus and small quantities of Vitamin C, which help in calcium absorption.
3. Protects teeth from cavities
Several studies have shown that eating cheese after a starchy meal (the key culprit to cavities) helps prevent development of cavities. This is attributed to several factors, including the high calcium content, which is believed to help maintain healthy teeth enamel. Cheese promotes salivation, which too might be the reason behind the anti-cavity property. Whatever be the reason, it is a good idea to have a piece of cheese after a starch filled breakfast.
4. A chock-a-block of vitamins and minerals
Cheese contains over 50 vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients. It is a B vitamins in cheese help maintain healthy glowing skin, while fat-soluble vitamins contribute to long lustrous hair. Other elements like zinc, phosphorus, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin A boost immune system.
5. Slows aging and prevents cancer
The high amounts of antioxidant nutrients in cheese helps prevent free radical damage and cell mutations, thus helping retard ageing process of the cells. Several studies have also shown that Conjugated Linoleic acid, a compound found in cheese may help prevent formation of tumor cells and metastasis of cancer cells.
Best cheese to have for breakfast
Even though, cheese is a great health food with several nutritional benefits, not all varieties of cheese can be recommended for a person trying to lose weight or control their fat intake. That said; one can find several cheese types that are naturally low in fat and/or salt. These offer the same nutrients as the full fat ones. Some of the varieties best suited for a weight watcher include:
- Skim milk mozzarella
- Skim milk cottage cheese
- String cheese
- Farmer’s cheese
As a thumb rule, goat milk cheese contains least amount of fat followed by cow’s milk, and buffalo milk cheese. So, the trick is to choose the right kind of cheese to eat for breakfast rather than cut out all cheese from your menu.
Best ways of eating Cheese for breakfast
- Fruits and cheese: This is a classic combination and easiest to fix up on a busy morning. Farmer’s cheese is the best choice for this combination and you can include a variety of seasonal fruits. The fruits add much need fiber to your breakfast, while the benefits of cheese are already discussed.
- Sandwich: Cheese sandwich is probably the most popular and easy to prepare breakfast and snack item. You can use a variety of cheese, but low-fat cheddar seems to be the healthiest best. Do not forget to use whole wheat bread and add some veggie slices for added nutrients.
- Feta with eggs: Cheese and eggs makes a lethal nutrient combo for sure. Feta with slices of eggs, olives, whole meal bread, and a mug of coffee – a perfect Greek breakfast.
A breakfast without cheese is like peanut butter without jelly. Include cheese in your breakfast for the immense health benefits and of course the scrumptious taste. Stop by Shisler’s Cheese House and let us help you enjoy the most important meal of the day by adding cheese to your breakfast!