Tuesday, February 2, 2016

3 Pasta Recipes if You Are On a Diet

Putting an end to the misguided notion that all pasta is fattening, here are three healthy, tasty recipes that are perfect for when you’re watching what you eat.

Three recipes and three handy hints you should always bear in mind: make sure you cook the pasta until it’s al dente (lower glycaemic index, more energy expended on chewing it and more time spent digesting it); go for whole wheat pasta (more nutrients and higher in fiber) and eat it for lunch rather than dinner (to make sure you burn off the energy). Now that that’s all clear, let’s get cooking!

Farfalle With Avocado and Salmon
Avocado and salmon are both rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, potassium and zinc. This recipe combines this healthy energy with farfalle cooked in salted water, strained and flavored with a dash of our STAR Infused Olive Oil With Lemon Peel.

Add the fresh, cubed avocado. You can use either fresh or smoked salmon, depending on whether you prefer a warm or cold version. If you go for fresh salmon, cut it into cubes and sautée with salt and a little coriander.

Penne With Roasted Vegetables 
For this recipe you can use whatever vegetables you like: fresh asparagus, courgette, aubergine, carrots or whatever else you enjoy. Wash the vegetables well, chop them up and arrange them on an oven tray together with a couple of fresh tomatoes. Add salt and pepper, drizzle with STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil and roast for 25 minutes at 400 ºF. Remember to stir the vegetables regularly.

Meanwhile, boil the penne in plenty of salted water. Strain and sautée the cooked pasta in a frying pan with a dash of a STAR Infused Olive Oil With Fresh Basil. Serve with the roasted vegetables.

Spaghetti With King Prawns and Soy Sauce
Peel and cut an onion into chunks. Cut off the tips and clean a bundle of fresh asparagus. Add the onion and asparagus to a wok or frying pan with a little STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil, together with some fresh peeled king prawns. When it’s almost ready, add the soy sauce and stir for a couple of minutes.

Now it’s time to add the cooked, strained spaghetti, which should take on all the flavors and aromas of the stir fry, transporting you from the U.S. to the Far East.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Five healthy habits for better eating

It’s a proven fact that a balanced diet is one of the keys to physical and mental wellbeing. We need nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals), fiber and water to keep our body running properly.

That’s why it’s important to follow a series of healthy steps and build them into our daily routine. Food is one of the best preventive medicines, so take note!

1.    Follow a varied diet that doesn’t leave out any of the different food groups, since they all have a role to play and the nutrients they provide are vital for our body to work at full potential. For example, carbohydrates and fats give us the necessary energy for our vital functions and physical activity, proteins help build our tissues, and minerals help regulate the body’s functions.

2.    Keep cholesterol at bay! Eat healthy, unsaturated fats, which you will find in foods like olive oil and nuts, rather than saturated fats (sausages, full-fat dairy products, etc.) and as far as possible avoid trans fats (mass-produced baked goods, margarine, etc.).

3.    Don’t skip meals. You should have a full, varied breakfast (with dairy products, fruit or vegetables and cereals) to start the day firing on all cylinders. It’s best to eat carbohydrates at lunch (to avoid accumulating energy you’re not going to burn) and have a light dinner. And don’t forget to have some fruit or yogurt as mid-morning and afternoon snacks.

4.    Add fiber to your diet. Don’t forget to eat the recommended five pieces of fruit and vegetables a day, as well as pulses and cereals. Fiber does not count as a nutrient because it does not act in the body’s internal processes, although it does play a major role in digestion.

5.    Drink water. Human beings need water to stay alive so we should drink water regularly throughout the day, even before we feel thirsty. About half a gallon of water a day is enough, given that we also take in water from other foods such as fruit and vegetables.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Sufganiyah - Deep Fried Jelly Doughnuts

It is traditional to eat fried foods on Hanukkah because of the significance of oil to the holiday. One-day worth of oil for the lights in the temple lasted for 8 days.  Among Eastern European Jews, this usually includes latkes, pronounced "lot-kuhs" or "lot-keys" depending on where your grandmother comes from.  If you are not Jewish, it is pronounced "potato pancakes".

Another traditional food is a Sufganiyah.  It is basically a round doughnut that is deep-fried, filled with jelly or custard and topped with powdered sugar.  We found this Sufganiyah recipe on marthastewart.com and adapted it to use STAR® Grapeseed Oil, a healthier alternative when it comes to frying.

It is best to enjoy these treats while they are still warm!

Sufganiyah - Deep Fried Jelly Doughnuts
  • 3/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast (1 scant tablespoon)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for coating
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or unsalted butter, room temperature
  • STAR® Grapeseed Oil, for frying, plus more for bowl
  • 1/4 cup raspberry or strawberry jam or jelly
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the warm water and yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt; mix until well combined. Add egg yolks and remaining 1 3/4 cups flour. Mix until combined, then knead dough in bowl until all flour is incorporated. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead a few minutes until smooth. Knead in margarine until incorporated.
  2. Transfer dough to a bowl well-oiled with STAR® Grapeseed Oil turning several times to coat entirely with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Bring dough to room temperature, about 30 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough into an 11-inch square, about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter (or a glass), cut out about 24 (2-inch) rounds, dipping cutter in flour as needed to prevent sticking. Re-roll scraps; cut out about 16 more rounds.
  4. Line a baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg whites. Brush edge of a dough round with egg white, then mound 1/2 teaspoon jam in center. Top with another round; press edges to seal. Repeat with remaining rounds. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; let rise until puffy, 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Heat a few inches of oil in a large, heavy pot until it reaches 360 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer or a scrap of dough sizzles upon contact. Working in batches of 4 or 5, carefully slip doughnuts into hot oil. Fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 1 minute (doughnuts will fry very quickly and puff up). Using a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain.
  6. Place remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a medium bowl.  While doughnuts are still hot, dip them in sugar, turning to coat.  Serve immediately.

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