May 2011 archive
Memorial Day Weekend is here! Nothing kicks off the summer quite like a poolside bbq with friends. If I was a betting gal, I would say you’re planning on heating up the barbie this weekend and grilling some of your favorite foods.
Not to be a giant buzz kill, but grilling certain foods like steak, salmon, & chicken create the cancer causing chemicals Heterocyclic amines(HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons(PAHs). These form anytime muscle is cooked over a high heat source- like grilling or pan-frying. When meat is grilled the protein, sugar, and creatine in the meat react with high temperatures and become mutagenic- meaning they cause changes in DNA that may increase the risk of cancer. Meat that is cooked the longest (think well-done) have the highest concentrations of these chemicals.
In animal studies, rats fed HCAs developed tumors of the breast, colon, liver, skin, lung, prostate, and other organs. Those that were fed PAHs also developed cancers, including leukemia and tumors of the gastrointestinal tract and lungs. While the doses of HCAs and PAHs used in these studies were very high (1000X the doses that a person would consume in a normal diet) the results should be noted.
“We know these compounds can probably cause cancer in humans,” says Elizabeth Snyderwine, Chief of the Chemical Carcinogenesis Section at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland. “What we don’t know yet is how significant a problem they are in the American diet.”
Until there’s more evidence, “it makes sense to avoid (HCAs) when we can,” says Mark Knize of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California.
What’s a BBQ host to do!?
If you are planning on serving and grilling meat, the National Cancer Insitute has developed some guidelines to help reduce the amount of HCAs and PAHs:
- Avoiding direct exposure of meat to an open flame or a hot metal surface and avoiding prolonged cooking times (especially at high temperatures).
- Using a microwave oven to cook meat prior to exposure to high temperatures can also substantially reduce HCA formation by reducing the time that meat must be in contact with high heat to finish cooking.
- Continuously turning meat over on a high heat source can substantially reduce HCA formation compared with just leaving the meat on the heat source without flipping it often.
- Removing charred portions of meat and refraining from using gravy made from meat drippings can also reduce HCA and PAH exposure.
You can also skip the meat all together and choose from my favorite grill recipes:
Grilled Corn: Maybe the simplest indulgence summer can offer. Peel the husk down, remove the silk strands, add margarine/EB butter and seasonings. Pull the husks back up, wrap with kitchen string and soak in cold water. Grill with husks on for 30 minutes.
The BEST vegetarian burgers
Banana & Pineapple sundaes: Split a whole banana lengthwise, keeping the peel on. Place pineapple slices on grill and cook 3-5 minutes per side. Add banana to grill and heat until it starts to soften. Dice the pineapple slices place inside the sliced banana. Top with a scoop or two of your favorite ice cream and dig in!
Fire up the Grill Fajitas
What are your thoughts on this topic? What are you planning on grilling this weekend?
Sugimura T, Wakabayashi K, Nakagama H, Nagao M. Heterocyclic amines: Mutagens/carcinogens produced during cooking of meat and fish. Cancer Science 2004; 95(4):290–299. [PubMed Abstract]
Ito N, Hasegawa R, Sano M, et al. A new colon and mammary carcinogen in cooked food,2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP). Carcinogenesis 1991; 12(8):1503–1506.
Kato T, Ohgaki H, Hasegawa H, et al. Carcinogenicity in rats of a mutagenic compound, 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline. Carcinogenesis 1988; 9(1):71–73.
Rohrmann S, Zoller D, Hermann S, Linseisen J. Intake of heterocyclic aromatic amines from meat in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Heidelberg cohort. British Journal of Nutrition 2007; 98(6):1112–1115
Hello! I apologize for the lack of posts this month. I got back from Jamaica last week and have slowly been catching up on my recipes and posts. That being said, I have quite a few new Carribean inspired items for you so watch for those to go up this weekend/next week.
These tostadas are awesome! Roasted vegetable salsa & creamy pinto beans are the perfect topping for crisy corn shells. Make extra of this salsa, it’s great as a dip, salad topping, or mixed in with morning scrambles.
Roasted Vegetable Tostados
1 recipe roasted vegetable salsa, recipe follows
1 recipe creamy pinto beans, recipe follows
8 corn tortillas
Optional garnishes: cheese, lime juice, cilantro, sliced jalapenos
Heat a non-stick pan to medium-high heat. Add 1 corn tortilla at a time, and cook for 2-3 minutes per side until firm and slightly crispy. If you want your shells really crispy you can fry them in a tbsp. of oil but I find that a non-stick pan works just fine.
Top tostada with pinto beans and roasted vegetable salsa. Garnish how you prefer!
Roasted Vegetable Salsa
1 medium eggplant
5 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 medium zucchini, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 jalapenos, minced
Preheat oven to 425 F. Peel the eggplant and chop. Place in a large bowl with the other cut vegetables and toss with 1 tbsp. canola oil. Place in oven and roast 30-40 minutes until vegetables are soft. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Place in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice, salt, pepper, cumin, and jalapenos.
Creamy Pinto Beans
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 white onion, finely diced
1.5 cups dried pinto beans, pre-soaked
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
3 1/2 cups water
Place all ingredients in a stock-pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1-1 1/2 hours stirring occasionally. You want the beans to be very soft so they are easier to mash. You can also do this in a pressure cooker or slow-cooker. If you use a pressure cooker, follow your directions for water amounts and cook time. Remove beans from heat and mash with a potato masher, fork, or immersion blender for more whipped beans (if you do it this way, you will need to add more liquid- water or broth).
Enjoy! Makes 8 tostadas. Per tostadas: 222 calories, 3.2g fat, 9g fat, 10g protein
One thing I know for sure, whole wheat scones with fresh fruit jam is the perfect way to welcome summer into your house. Now is the best time for making your own jam and these recipes couldn’t be easier. While I love canning and do so often, I know the thought can be daunting. No worries, these recipes don’t need to be properly canned nor do they rely on pectin. Yup, it’s a lot of sugar so share the bounty and no need to eat the entire jar in a week. Like all sweet foods, a little goes a long way.
If you can get your hand on organic strawberries, those work the best here. Californians, I encourage you to learn more about strawberry farming and what you can do in rejecting the use of methyl iodide.
Have you ever eaten a kumquat? We received a huge package of these in our CSA a few weeks ago and I was stumped on what to make. I love orange marmalade and thought kumquats would make a great stand in. Marmalade is one of those great secret ingredients that perk up spicy, savory dishes as in my Kumquat BBQ Sauce .
DK’s Summer Strawberry Jam
2 pounds fresh strawberries, stem removed
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cups sugar
Mash strawberries in a large bowl, a potato masher works great. Combine the mashed berries with the sugar and lemon juice and place in a large saucepan. Heat on low until sugar is dissolved and then bring to a boil. If you are canning, make sure the internal temperature of the jam reaches 220 degrees F. When ready, pour into clean, sterile jars leaving 1/4″ space at the top of the jar, place clean lid on top. You can process these in a water bath or not, the jam will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.
Do you like to make your own jam? What are your favorite kinds?
Yes, another wrap for you. A testament to it’s delicious powers? I made it three times last week and as I write this post I am seriously craving it again. Do yourself a favor and make it, a perfect weeknight meal that will please everyone. This makes 4 huge wraps, but you could easily stretch it to 6 servings or cut the wraps in half.
4 whole wheat wraps
1 recipe Cilantro-Lime Rice, below
1 can Cuban Style Black Beans (Trader Joe’s has them or regular black beans will do)
1 recipe Cheesy Chipotle Sauce, below
1 pound spinach
2 red peppers, sliced thin
1 onion, sliced thin
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup uncooked white rice (Jasmine rice taste great in this dish)
1 handful cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. salt
1 small lime, juiced
Bring 2 cups water and salt to a boil. Add the rice, cover and lower heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes and fluff with fork. Stir in cilantro leaves and lime juice.
Cheesy Chipotle Sauce
1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water at least 1 hour
1/2-3/4 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 chipotle chili’s in adobe sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
In a high-powered blender, combine the ingredients for the sauce and blend for 4-5 minutes until very creamy. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more water. The power of the blender should heat the sauce but if it’s too cold, transfer to a saucepan and heat until ready to use.
Directions: Begin by making the rice. While the rice is cooking, heat the beans in a saucepan and make the spinach. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp. canola oil and add the garlic. Quickly stir until fragrant and add the sliced onion. Lower heat and cook for 10 minutes until onions are translucent and reduced. Increase heat back to medium-high and add the bell peppers and spinach leaves. Continue 8-10 minutes until peppers are soft and spinach is soft. If the vegetables stick to the pan, add a little water to help them steam. While the vegetables are cooking prepare the Cheesy Chipotle Sauce. To assemble: warm a tortilla either in the microwave, stove-top, or oven. Add 1/2 cup rice, 1/4 cup beans, and 1/4 of the spinach mixture. Top with 2 tbsp. cheesy chipotle sauce. Devour!