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Food Health Benefits and History https://totally-food.com/category/food-articles/ Great things to eat! Tue, 06 Apr 2021 07:06:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.0.1 135451410 The Difference Between Curly Parsley, Italian Parsley and Cilantro https://totally-food.com/the-difference-between-curly-parsley-italian-parsley-and-cilantro/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-difference-between-curly-parsley-italian-parsley-and-cilantro https://totally-food.com/the-difference-between-curly-parsley-italian-parsley-and-cilantro/#respond Sun, 12 Jan 2020 03:51:44 +0000 https://totally-food.com/?p=3949 In the supermarket, Curley Parsley, Italian Parsley (flat leaf parsley) and Cilantro generally sit right beside each other.  I’ve heard people say they have confused one for the other. I […]

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Italian parsley

In the supermarket, Curley Parsley, Italian Parsley (flat leaf parsley) and Cilantro generally sit right beside each other.  I’ve heard people say they have confused one for the other. I suppose when it comes to Italian parsley and cilantro that could be possible They both have flat leaves, though cilantro leaves are somewhat larger and rounded where Italian parsley leaves are pointed.

This can be taken even a step further and add a confusion between cilantro and coriander leaves.  They are actually the same plant but cilantro refers to the leaves and coriander to the seeds.  However some recipes say to use coriander leaves.  You’ll have a hard time finding them.  They mean use cilantro.

Difference in How Curly Parsley, Italian Parsley and Cilantro Taste

cilantro
Fresh Cilantro

Truthfully, there is more similarity in look between the herbs than in the taste.  And I don’t consider them interchangeable.  Cilantro has a strong flavor and it tends to be used in Mexican and Indian dishes. 

Italian or flat parsley (pictured at the top of this post) is more subtle than cilantro, but with a stronger flavor than curly parsley.  It’s used as an ingredient in dishes that don’t have a strong flavor.  It’s also used in Mediterranean dishes frequently.  Some chefs regard it as similar to basil or oregano, though I don’t find much similarly in the taste. 

Curly parsley is almost flavorless.  If you left it out of the recipe, probably no one would notice unless you were having Gordon Ramsay to dinner.  It’s use is primarily as a garnish and the curly leaves lend themselves well to looking attractive on a plate.

 

Health Benefits of Cilantro and Parsley

Regardless of the flavor impact, all three of these herbs add to the nutritional value of the meal they are incorporated into.  They are good sources of vitamin A,C and folate.  They support eye, bone and heart health.  Thy are also high in vitamin K, a vitamin I’ve been hearing more and more about in terms of how necessary it is for good health.  Both are also known to help control blood sugar levels, though for different reasons.  Parsley contains a flavonoid called myricetin that’s been shown to lower blood sugar levels.  Cilantro contains enzymes that help process the sugars in our bloodstream.

Cilantro is known to be detoxifying and can help cleanse heavy metals out of the body.  It also contains a flavonoid called quercetin that fights inflammation and has been said to help prevent cancer.

The message here is don’t omit them from your recipes.  They add to the taste and impart additional health benefits.

More photos after the break…

parsley
Curly parsley garnishing a raw steak.

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What Makes Cheddar Cheese Yellow and Sharp? https://totally-food.com/what-makes-cheddar-cheese-yellow-and-sharp/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-makes-cheddar-cheese-yellow-and-sharp https://totally-food.com/what-makes-cheddar-cheese-yellow-and-sharp/#respond Sun, 17 Nov 2019 23:06:35 +0000 https://totally-food.com/?p=3572 I love cheese and cheddar cheese.  Apparently so does everyone else.  Cheddar cheese accounts for 50% of cheese consumption in the UK and is the second most popular cheese in […]

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I love cheese and cheddar cheese.  Apparently so does everyone else.  Cheddar cheese accounts for 50% of cheese consumption in the UK and is the second most popular cheese in the US behind Mozzarella cheese.

Since it’s my favorite cheese I got curious as to where it originated and just what makes it sharp… as compared to medium or mild.  And why is some cheddar cheese white and some yellow?

It turns out that cheddar cheese originated back in England, in a town called Cheddar.  Makes sense.  It’s a cow’s milk cheese that begins the process like other cheeses but then undergoes a “cheddaring process.”  The curds are formed into slabs, piled together and repeatedly flipped to make them denser.  Then they are passed through a mill to make them into curds again and finally pressed into molds to drain and age.

It’s the age of the cheddar that determines if it’s mild, medium, sharp or extra sharp.  Mild cheddar is aged about 3 months, sharp is aged six to nine months and extra sharp… the best variety… is aged one and a half to two years.  As it ages, the flavors get richer and more complex. 

Now we know whey the sharp cheeses are more expensive.

As for the color, cheddar cheese is naturally white.  I once thought it was a special blend because it was usually the extra or extra-extra sharp cheddars I’d see available as white.  It isn’t.  It just means that it hasn’t been dyed.  As cheddar cheeses began to be manufactured in places outside of Cheddar England they were often dyed with anatto to distinguish them.  It became a consumer preference to see the cheddar cheese yellow so it is now the predominant color.

A word to the wise though.  You might be better off going with the white cheddar cheese when you can find it.  While anatto is a natural food coloring, not all food colorings are and some contain ingredients our bodies would be better off without!  If not check the label to see what was used to dye it if you can.

Now that you’re probably craving some cheddar cheese (I know I am), try our Chicken Quesadilla with Cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheese Recipe.  

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How Green Bean Casserole Became a Thanksgiving Tradition https://totally-food.com/how-green-bean-casserole-became-a-thanksgiving-tradition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-green-bean-casserole-became-a-thanksgiving-tradition https://totally-food.com/how-green-bean-casserole-became-a-thanksgiving-tradition/#respond Sun, 17 Nov 2019 05:55:09 +0000 https://totally-food.com/?p=3548 Green bean casserole has been a holiday tradition since the Fifties, but I doubt many people have given too much thought to where the recipe came from or how it […]

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Green bean casserole has been a holiday tradition since the Fifties, but I doubt many people have given too much thought to where the recipe came from or how it came to be a traditional part of the Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts.

Food processors, kitchen appliance companies and anyone in the food industry have long seen recipes as a means of increasing their sales.  We commonly see recipes printed on the packaging, or little recipe booklets attached to the products.  Many large brands have test kitchens where they develop new recipes to increase demand for their products.

One of these test kitchens belonged to the Campbell’s Soup Company. Doris Reilly worked in the kitchen and in 1955 she devised and tested the recipe for green bean casserole.  The recipe has a bit of love hate relationship, but it managed to become a traditional part of holiday dinners despite there being some green bean casserole haters at many of the tables.

It’s success as a holiday side dish is likely due to the Associated Press who featured the recipe in their Thanksgiving edition in 1955.  It has been a holiday tradition ever since!

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Difference Between Parmesan, Asiago and Romano Cheeses https://totally-food.com/difference-between-parmesan-asiago-and-romano-cheeses/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=difference-between-parmesan-asiago-and-romano-cheeses https://totally-food.com/difference-between-parmesan-asiago-and-romano-cheeses/#respond Sat, 23 Feb 2019 03:34:26 +0000 https://totally-food.com/?p=2957 Parmesan, romano and asiago cheeses are all Italian cheeses.  They have a somewhat similar appearance but there are distinct, albeit subtle, differences in the taste. Parmesan Cheese Parmigiano Reggiano, the […]

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Parmesan, romano and asiago cheeses are all Italian cheeses.  They have a somewhat similar appearance but there are distinct, albeit subtle, differences in the taste.

Parmesan Cheese

Parmigiano Reggiano, the cheese we all know as Parmesan was first created in the regions of Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy Italy.  Parmesan cheese is made from cow’s milk and cooked pressed which results in a hard cheese with a harder crust.  Parmesan looks similar to Romano cheese, but it has a milder flavor.

Romano Cheese

Romano cheese, or Pecorino Romano is also cooked pressed resulting in a hard cheese.  It comes from the Lazio, Sardinia, and Tuscany.  Romano cheese is actually made from unpasteurized sheep’s milk rather than cow’s milk which gives it a sharper flavor than Asiago or Parmesan cheeses.

Pecorino Romano cheeses are usually aged for 8-12 months and the aging process also contributes to its sharper flavor.  Romano cheese is often blended with Parmesan and or Asiago cheeses to create a more mellow taste.

Asiago Cheese

Asiago cheese originated in the Vicenza and Trento regions of Italy. Asiago is a softer cheese than Romano or Parmesan but it can be found in semi-soft to hard blocks depending on how long it has been aged.  It’s also a moister cheese than Parmesan or Romano.

Which Cheese to Use?

I don’t think there is a right or wrong cheese to use with your Italian foods out of these three choices  It’s common to find cans of grated Romano and Parmesan side by side in the grocery store.  Very often we see blends of the three cheeses together in pre-shredded package cheeses.

I wouldn’t turn away a plate of pasta because it had the “wrong” kind of Italian cheese on it, but as you experiment with the different cheeses you will probably find you lean toward certain ones in different recipes due to the slight differences in the consistency and flavor.

Be sure to check out our post on what makes cheddar cheese sharp and why it’s yellow.

A wedge of aged parmesan cheese on a cutting board

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Mimolette Cheese: The Utterly Delicious Cheese You Might Not Dare Eat https://totally-food.com/mimolette-cheese-the-utterly-delicious-cheese-you-might-not-dare-eat/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mimolette-cheese-the-utterly-delicious-cheese-you-might-not-dare-eat https://totally-food.com/mimolette-cheese-the-utterly-delicious-cheese-you-might-not-dare-eat/#respond Sat, 15 Sep 2018 02:49:27 +0000 https://totally-food.com/?p=2705 I was in one of the more exclusive grocery stores when I happened to notice a bright orange wedge of cheese with a crust that looked a bit like the […]

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gourmet Mimolette cheese

I was in one of the more exclusive grocery stores when I happened to notice a bright orange wedge of cheese with a crust that looked a bit like the surface of the moon.  It’s a French cheese called Mimolette.  I decided to try it.

Then I read what it was and found the idea of actually eating it a bit much to stomach.  Fortunately, I talked myself into “just a taste.”  It is the most utterly delicious cheese I have ever tasted.  I’d have to describe it as a deep flavored cheese with sweet, caramelized cheddar type taste.  It also has a rather unique texture: hard and crumbly while also a bit like a fudge that smears when you touch it…  Yeah, I know it contradicts.  You’ll have to see for youself.

My one little taste led to another, and another….

mimolette
A wedge of Mimolette cheese with gourmet crackers

So why the concern about eating it?

Well, it’s the bugs!  Part of the process for making Mimolette cheese involves covering it with thousands of “cheese mites” to munch away at the crust while it is aging for years…. hence the deep craters in the crust of the cheese.

The mites are blown and brushed off the crust before shipping it to market, but enough of them remain that the FDA confiscated tons of the cheese being imported into the United States and banned its import in 2013.  They said it was above the allowable 6 mites per square inch limit.  Yet there is no established legal limit for mites on cheese.

This made the cheese sound pretty unappetizing to me until I read up on it a bit more.  

Cheese mites are microscopic little bugs that live on the surfaces of aged cheeses, munching the microscopic molds that grow there. On most aged cheeses, they’re considered a nuisance and brushed off the cheeses. But for Mimolette cheese they’re actually encouraged. They aerate the cheese and help the aging process and flavor.

As I educated myself on it, there are probably no more mites on Mimolette cheese than any other good aged cheese.  Mimolette just had the bad luck of coming under the hammer of the FDA and getting tons of it seized back in 2013.  But then, the same thing happened to tons of orange juice simply because the label bore the word “fresh” when it was made from concentrate (which was also stated on the label).

Whatever the situation was then, it is apparently no longer banned in the US.  Otherwise I could not have bought my wedge of the delicious orange cheese in a Los Angeles grocery store.  The unfortunate consequence of the FDA seizure of the cheese is that you can no longer read anything about Mimolette cheese without also reading about the mites!  Pity.

Mimolette cheese can be added to salads, omelets and other cooked dishes. It’s delicious on fine crackers and pairs well with Banyuls, Merlot and Sherry.

Be sure to check out our posts on what makes cheddar cheese sharp and on the difference between parmesan, romano and asiago cheese.

Mimolette cheese and crackers
Closeup of gourmet aged Mimolette cheese

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Have You Discovered Apple Pears Yet? https://totally-food.com/have-you-discovered-apple-pears-yet/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=have-you-discovered-apple-pears-yet https://totally-food.com/have-you-discovered-apple-pears-yet/#respond Fri, 07 Sep 2018 03:50:18 +0000 https://totally-food.com/?p=2674 Apple Pears have been grown in the United States since the Gold Rush day, but they remained relatively unknown until recently.  Now they are being described as the hottest new […]

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Asian Pears

Apple Pears have been grown in the United States since the Gold Rush day, but they remained relatively unknown until recently.  Now they are being described as the hottest new item since the Kiwi and are considered the hot new taste sensation.

The only mystery about that is why it took so long!  They are utterly unique and delicious.  The flavor is much like that of a pear, but they are less sweet and much crisper.  The consistency is more like that of an apple, but not quite.

Apple Pears
Pin it and tell your friends about Apple Pears, the hot new taste sensation.

Apples pears are actually pyrus pyrifolia is a species of pear tree native to East Asia. I believe it is most often called an Asian pear, but it is also known as a Chinese pear, Korean pear, Japanese pear, Taiwanese pear, and sand pear.  Apple pear seems to be a nickname assigned to the delicious fruit because of how well it describes the taste.

There are actually a number of varieties of Apple Pears.  This has to do with the color of the fruit ranging from yellow, to green, to various shades of golden brown.

One of the advantages of Asian pears is their long shelf life.  They ripen on the tree.  They store for 10 to 14 days at room temperature; three to four weeks in the crisper of a refrigerator; and up to three months in a commercial fruit cold storage facility.

Asian pears are not generally baked in pies or made into jams because they have a high water content and a crisp, grainy texture.  They are eaten as you would an apple.  Many people slice and peel them.  The peel is a bit thicker than on traditional pears, but I find it quite good.   They can be served with other fresh fruits, meats, or cheeses. The crispy Apple Pear is perfect in fruit salads, bread puddings, and stir-fry dishes. 

As far as the mention that they are usually not used in pies, I would suggest trying them in any recipe where apples are used.  The consistency is about the same.  Apple pears might be a little less sweet than many varieties of apples though.

Asian pears
Delicious ripe apple pears

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How Turkey Became a Thanksgiving Tradition https://totally-food.com/turkey-became-thanksgiving-tradition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=turkey-became-thanksgiving-tradition https://totally-food.com/turkey-became-thanksgiving-tradition/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 06:51:02 +0000 https://totally-food.com/?p=925 Serving Turkey has been a Thanksgiving dinner tradition since “The First Thanksgiving,” the 1621 feast between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony.   Wild turkey took its place […]

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Thanksgiving Turkey DinnerServing Turkey has been a Thanksgiving dinner tradition since “The First Thanksgiving,” the 1621 feast between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony.  

Wild turkey took its place at the table along with venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Many of these foods have become staples of the modern Thanksgiving dinner.

Serving turkey in the USA for Thanksgiving precedes Lincoln’s nationalization of the holiday in 1863. Alexander Hamilton is said to have said that no “Citizen of the United States should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day.” Dining on turkey on Thanksgiving is such a part of American culture that each year since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey to the President of the United States prior to each Thanksgiving.

Turkey is such a tradition for Thanksgiving dinner that Thanksgiving day is typically referred to as “Turkey Day.”  Currently American turkey growers raise around 270 million turkeys a year.  The tradition of eating Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner has spread to include consuming it as a traditional Christmas food as well  One third of all turkey consumption occurs during the Thanksgiving-Christmas season.

Most Thanksgiving/Christmas turkeys are stuffed with a bread-based mixture and roasted. The stuffing, or dressing (what it is called if prepared outside of the Turkey), is commonly seasoned with sage, chopped celery, carrots, and onions. Other ingredients, such as chopped chestnuts or other tree nuts, crumbled sausage or bacon, cranberries, raisins, or apples, are frequently used.

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