In the Phillipines, it’s called the “Tree of Life.” Malays refer to it as pokok seribu guna, “the tree of a thousand uses.” Yes, today’s edition of Smart Fuel is all about the coconut. I’m going to focus purely on the culinary benefits, but the non-culinary, utilitarian advantages of the coconut are many, varied, and point to the coconut’s position as the ultimate Primal food. We can imagine early man using the husks for ropes and brushes, the leaves for roofing material and basket making, and the dried shells for musical instruments or food storage. Nowadays, coconut water is used as an intravenous fluid, the empty shells as improvised explosive devices, and the husks as floor buffers. Now, none of that probably concerns you, but I find it absolutely fascinating. Okay – on to the actual meat of the topic.
Sweet peppers aren’t just useful for adding a little pizzazz to your salad, eggs, soups or casseroles (is there no end to their talent?) they’re also a serious smart fuel.
To start, sweet peppers are an excellent source of both vitamin C and vitamin A, providing more than 200% and 100%, respectively, of recommended daily allowance per 1 cup serving. These vitamins contain antioxidative properties which effectively neutralize free radicals, a type of cell-damaging molecule whose rap sheet includes promoting atherosclerosis and heart disease and activating symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and other inflammatory conditions. In addition, sweet peppers contain vitamin B6 and folic acid, which are important for regulating homocysteine levels and thus, blood vessel integrity, as well as fiber for digestive health. Red peppers, in particular, are also an excellent source of lycopene, which is thought to offer a protective benefit against cancers of the cervix, prostate, bladder and pancreas, and beta-cryptoxanthin, which is thought to protect against lung cancer.
Although pierced meat doesn’t sound like a very appetizing menu choice, chances are that if you’ve ever dined at a Japanese restaurant, you’ve eaten just that.
If the Wikipedia Gods are to believed, sashimi – that is, the slivers of raw fish popular in Japanese cuisine – received its name as a result of the culinary practice of pinning the fish’s tail and fin to identify the type of fish being eaten.
In many restaurants, the terms sushi and sashimi are used interchangeably, often occupying the same menu pages or mixed together on “sushi” platters. However, it should be noted that sashimi refers only to raw fish, whereas sushi – which does frequently include raw fish – is defined by its inclusion of vinegared rice.
We’ve known for quite some time that a peanut isn’t really a nut (it’s a legume), but turns out almonds have long been sneaking in to the mixed nuts too! In fact, almonds are nothing more than a seed for an almond tree, a medium sized tree that produces flowers and almond fruit.
But that’s not where the trickery ends: Although similar in that they have an oval shape, off-white flesh, thin, brown-hued skin, there are in fact two kinds of almonds: Sweet, which are the ones we eat, and bitter, which are used to make almond oil or Amaretto but are otherwise inedible. For our purposes today, we’re only going to be talking about the raw, edible kind.
For years, those in the know – and we include ourselves in this category – have been harping on about the multiple health benefits associated with eating fish. But we haven’t written too much about which varieties are best, which pack the greatest nutritional punch, and, quite frankly, which are the most delicious.
Enter Mahi Mahi, or Dolphin fish or Dorado as it is often called. Although often thought of as native to Hawaii, this fish likes its vacation spots, cropping up in warm water locales such as Florida and areas off the Pacific coast. When in the water, Mahi Mahi can be easily recognized by its blunt head and vibrant blue-green and yellow scales. Once out of the water, a quality Mahi Mahi steak or fillet can be identified by its relative odorlessness as well as by the texture of its flesh, which should give slightly when you press it with a finger, and should be moist to the touch.
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