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Archive for January, 2015

One of my favorite things in the world is a good Asian peanut sauce. If you add noodles, it’s even better! I’ve been trying to achieve the perfect peanut noodles with just the right balance of heat, spice and sweetness. At long last, I think I have found it. Pull out your big noodle bowls because you’re going to want a big helping of this! It also comes together really quickly so make sure you have all your ingredients ready to roll before you turn on the heat.

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KKF Chicken Peanut Noodles

2 c cooked chicken, shredded

8 oz angel hair or thin spaghetti pasta

1/3 cup peanut butter

1 13.5 oz can coconut milk

2 medium red, orange or yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced

¼ cup soy sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp curry powder

2 tsp rice wine vinegar

2 tsp honey

1 T Korean hot pepper paste

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 bunch of green onions, sliced

½ cup chopped cilantro

 

Heat water for cooking the pasta. (Note: angel hair/thin spaghetti cooks very quickly, so plan to add the pasta to the boiling water about the same time you add the chicken and bell peppers to the sauce below.)

Heat the sesame oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat and sauté the garlic for a few minutes. Stir in the peanut butter, chili paste, vinegar, curry powder, and honey. Heat through, stirring constantly to maintain the consistency of the sauce. Add the coconut milk and stir to combine, then add the chicken and peppers and heat through, about five minutes.

Toss the noodles and sauce, top with the cilantro and green onions and enjoy!

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When you think of living creatures in your house, you probably think about your pets, the occasional ant or bug, perhaps a spider or two. But you have many, many more than that. Your kitchen is filled with tiny unwanted pets…bacteria. And they are lurking in places that you might not suspect. Here’s the top five nastiest spots in your kitchen:

The Sink: 45% of kitchen sinks were found to be contaminated with coliform bacteria. Even though those sinks may get wiped down regularly, the cracks around the drain or garbage disposal are veritable bacteria nurseries, pumping out baby bacteria like there’s no tomorrow in that warm, food rich environment. Sanitize your sink a few times a week with a one tablespoon of bleach to one quart of water mixture. That will help clean up the bacteria horror show in the garbage disposal as well.
The Sponge/Rag/Brush: These are some of the most disgusting things in your kitchen, and they are probably in and around your sink where you wash your hands, rinse your fruit, fill up water glasses, etc. Or you use that rag to wipe down your countertop, then your little one comes along and rubs their hands on it, immediately transferring that nastiness to their face. NSF International reports that 75% of household sponges and rags carry Coliform bacteria (you know, like E coli.) Don’t keep your dishrags around for more than a day or the bacteria will fester. You can nuke your wet sponge for two minutes in the microwave to kill bacteria, one of the few uses for a microwave I can actually support.
The Fridge Handle/Oven Knobs: Here’s a scenario: you touch your steering wheel, which is covered with the nasty germs you picked up after pumping gas, then you come inside and put away your groceries in the fridge. An hour later you want a snack, open the fridge and grab a piece of cheese and pop it in your mouth. You just ate whatever junk was on the gas pump. Often overlooked when cleaning or forgotten about because they don’t look dirty, oven knobs, drawer knobs and especially the fridge handle are teeming with bacteria. Make sure to wipe them down regularly and wash your hands before putting food away or getting food out.
The Wooden Spoon: Wood is more porous than other types of utensil materials so it can be a haven for bacteria. Especially because you don’t want to put them in the dishwasher (they will crack eventually, either destroying the spoon or creating an even worse environment for bacteria to grow. Wash your wooden spoons in boiling soapy water and replace them at least every five years and discard them if they get black or discolored spots, as this indicates that they may be rotting. And whatever you do, don’t rub that germy sponge all over them!
The Produce Drawer: Cleaning the fridge is a giant pain in the butt. The only task I hate more than cleaning the fridge is cleaning the oven. Unfortunately a dirty fridge is a ticking time bomb, and the produce drawer is a prime candidate for making you and your family sick. Salmonella, yeast, mold, and other unwelcome guests are probably in your produce drawer right now. Compounding that problem is the fact that many items that are stored there are eaten raw, meaning you could be running that bacteria laden lemon under the faucet, then depositing it right into your water glass, salmonella and all. Wash out your produce drawers with soapy water on at least a monthly basis. And get rid of those parsnips that are still in there from the last time you cleaned it.

There are LOTS of other places in the kitchen that can harbor nasty pets – the can opener, the cutting board, the gasket in your blender. The list never ends. Be on your guard against these little baddies and keep your family safe and healthy!

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When I was a teenager I worked in the kitchen in a rest home. There was one old lady who told me the same story every time she saw me. It would always start the same way.

“Where do you live?” Bertha asked.

“Ridgeway,” I would say, knowing what was coming next.

“I was in Ridgeway once. I didn’t know it was a town. We went there to catch a train to see the doctor because my mother had a goiter.”

I must have heard about Bertha’s mother’s goiter a hundred times. These days people don’t get goiters, or if they do, very rarely. Goiters are a result of iodine deficiency, which is why they starting putting iodine into table salt.

Like many ideas, it was a good one at the time that served a purpose whose time has come and gone. Anyone who eats a half way healthy diet including seafood is getting plenty of iodine. No need for the regular table salt, which, frankly, tastes harsh and if it makes any sense…is too salty.

Other than not really needing the iodine, there are other reasons to ditch the table salt. First, regular table salt is heavily processed, stripping away the nutrients. (This website claims that the salt manufacturers then sell the minerals they took out of the salt to nutritional supplement companies. I have not investigated this, but if true is an eye-opener.) Second, they also add anti-clumping agents, generally talc and silica aluminate. Talc is a known carcinogen (why it’s not in baby powder anymore), and aluminum is highly toxic to neurological systems (also a good reason to seek out aluminum free baking powder). Up to 2% of table salt is permitted to be these “fillers.”

Those are additions I’m just not looking for in my diet, so I strongly prefer sea salts. Even if there were no appreciable health differences between table salt and sea salt, sea salt just tastes better. It comes in fun colors (usually grey or pink, depending on where it came from and is due to the minerals that it contains) and a variety of textures.

Sea salt can be expensive, so I usually get mine as part of a bulk order through a food co-op that I’m part of. I do sometimes need to buy it on my own, and when I do I really like Celtic Sea Salt. It has a really mild flavor and I feel like it enhances the flavor of food the way salt should, instead of just masking blandness with saltiness.

What’s your favorite salt?

 

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