America’s food supply is among the safest in the world, yet the recent salmonella outbreak in eggs has some people wondering about what is safe to eat and what to do to avoid food-borne illness. Today’s blog takes a look at foods with the lowest risk and includes tips on how to handle and prepare food to keep contamination at an all time low.
Although, the FDA estimates that there are more than 76 million cases of food-borne illness annually, making wise food choices and taking simple precautions can lower risk dramatically. The best way to avoid food-borne illness is to prevent it. Foods most likely to cause food poisoning include raw or undercooked meat, poultry and fish, and unpasteurized milk.
1 loaf French bread, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 packages Hokto White Beech mushrooms, ends trimmed and mushrooms pulled apart
8 ounces jarred roasted red bell peppers, sliced into thin strips
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Brie cheese round, cut into 1/4-inch slices
September is a busy month for food and is the monthly host for additional culinary delights, some of which pair quite nicely with mushrooms. It turns out that September is also National Wild Rice and National Organic Harvest Month. What a great fit if you’re in the mood for celebrating these monthly themes!
Four 6-ounce salmon fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Two 6-ounce packages of Hokto King Trumpet mushrooms, ends trimmed and mushrooms sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil, separated
1 stalk green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Teriyaki sauce (recipe below)
Easy Teriyaki Sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
2 teaspoons sugar
September is National Mushroom and National Cholesterol Education Month
Posted on September 13th, 2010
We continue to commemorate mushrooms during the month of September; however, the ninth month of the year is also host to National Cholesterol Education Month and National Self Improvement month (no kidding).
Over twenty years ago, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) launched the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) in order to help reduce illness and death from coronary heart disease (CHD) by reducing the percent of Americans with high blood cholesterol.
Your day should always start off right with a good, healthy breakfast, and a quick sauté of Hokto’s Brown Beech or White Beech mushrooms with fresh tomatoes served over toast gives you enough energy to last you throughout of the morning. Breakfast shouldn’t be complicated, and this recipe takes only five minutes to create and is even vegan. Substitute the whole wheat bread with your favorite gluten-free version, and you’ve also got a perfect gluten-free breakfast.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 green onion, minced
1 package Hokto Brown or White Beech mushrooms (or a mix)
1/2 tomato, diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 piece toasted bread, cut in half diagonally
September is National Mushroom Month and a great time to enjoy an exotic food once reserved for royalty. I’d like to present some fun facts about mushrooms. Let’s see how mushroom savvy we are!
Did you know?
While often thought of as a vegetable and prepared like one, mushrooms are actually a fungus, a special type of living organism that has no roots, leaves, flowers or seeds.
Mushrooms are more closely related to animals than plants and like most living organisms, are 85-95 percent water. Also similar to mammals, mushrooms take in oxygen for their digestion and metabolism and “exhale” carbon dioxide as a waste product.
Mushrooms grow from spores, not seeds, and a single mature mushroom will drop as many as 16 billion spores!
Most kids are excited about the prospect of going back to school–new clothes, new books, new supplies, –an opportunity to reconnect with classmates. But going back to school also means increased exposure to germs. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that nearly 22 million school days are lost each year due to the common cold, flu and other infections.
And, unfortunately, nationwide budget cuts will likely result in larger class sizes, a shorter school year and fewer staff, including janitorial services meaning less clean classrooms.
When preparing children for going back to school, learning about germ prevention and healthy habits are just as important as reading, writing and arithmetic.
Frozen dinners have come a long way since the ‘50s. Today, with the increased use of microwave ovens and less time spent stove cooking, frozen dinners have become a large part our dinner meal time. According to a Harris Interactive online survey, each American chills out with six frozen meals per month. Research by the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) reports that over $4.5 billion is spent on frozen meals per year, mostly because consumers want convenience and prefer to eat dinner at home after a busy week. Summer excursions and back-to-school shopping trips cut further into dinner prep time, resulting in even less time spent on meal planning and cooking and increased spending on frozen entrees and pizza.
1. Each man, woman and child in America eats an average of 46 slices (23 pounds) of pizza a year.
2. Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day, or 350 slices per second.
3. Kids between the ages of 3 to 11 prefer pizza over all other food groups for lunch and dinner.
Food Trends of 2010 & Hokto Mushroom’s Flavorful Nutrition – Part 3
Posted on August 12th, 2010
Emphasis on Flavorful Foods with Nutritional Benefits
The standard American diet (also known as SAD) is typically high in processed foods, which tend to be high in saturated and hydrogenated fats, high in sugar and salt and low in complex carbohydrates and fiber. Two emerging food trends in the US have been identified as a demand for more nutritious food and food with flavor. The latest food trends include get back to basics with meals that are quick, but with an emphasis on flavor and also offering superior nutritional value.
Food with Health Benefits – Functional Foods
While there’s no formal definition for “functional food,” the meaning typically includes foods that provide a health-promoting or disease-preventing property beyond the basic function of supplying vitamins and minerals. For example, tomatoes contain the “phyto-nutrient” (plant compound) known as lycopene associated with a lower risk for prostate cancer. So tomatoes could be referred to as a functional food for men with increased risk for prostate cancer. Functional foods definition has been extended to include processed foods or foods and beverages fortified with health-promoting additives, such as calcium enriched orange juice (to lower risk for osteoporosis). Fermented foods with live cultures are also included in the functional food category with probiotic benefits.
Food Trends in 2010 & How Hokto Mushrooms Fit In – Part 2
Posted on August 6th, 2010
Last week’s blog targeted the growing trend of simplifying meals with an emphasis on flavor and health. Today’s blog continues with more food trends identified by The Food Channel and CNN for 2010, and how Hokto mushrooms fit right in.
Food Trends in 2010
• Back to basics economy and a return to natural ingredients
• Flavor delivery using international foods
• Food Safety
• Foods with nutritional benefits
• Food with flavor (Umami)
Store fresh udon noodles in the refrigerator or in the freezer. If you don’t have fresh udon noodles, you can substitute with dry pasta or dried noodles of your choice. The vegetables are up to you – keep the vegetables thinly sliced so that they cook quickly. Sliced zucchini, small broccoli florets, cabbage and even frozen corn/peas are great.
A Look at Food Trends in 2010 – Plus a Recipe Makeover Using Hokto Mushrooms
Posted on July 29th, 2010
Despite the abundance of convenience foods and drive-thrus, in today’s economy, families are beginning to cook more at home. According to research published by the Food Channel, CNN and others, quick, simple meals expressing individuality, flavor delivery, and sprinkled with a dash of ethnicity are a few of the latest trends in 2010. Home cooked meals in minutes. Hokto mushrooms can certainly contribute to that!
Also, more and more people are moving away from a “meat and potatoes” diet to include more vegetables and less meat in their home-cooked meals. According to USDA statistics, consumption for meat has been decreasing over the last three years. In fact, this trend has created a new word, “flexitarian”. While not true vegetarians and not quite fulltime carnivores (meat-eaters), flexitarians tend to eat a mostly plant-based diet composed of grains, vegetables, and fruits, but they occasionally obtain protein from lean meat, fish, poultry, or dairy. A quarter of Americans fit the description, consuming meatless meals at least four days a week, according to the American Dietetic Association.
Hokto Kinoko’s Culinary Seminars at the San Diego County Fair – Part 3
Posted on July 12th, 2010
The 2010 San Diego County Fair is in its final week of “Taste the Fun” theme that celebrates food and local venders from San Diego County. The main, theme-based attraction continues with the “Tour of Tastes,” an exhibition featuring cooking competitions and demos. Today, I had another opportunity to work with one of the chefs and speak on behalf of Hokto at the San Diego County Fair on June 29th, demonstrating the continued versatility and great flavor of Hokto mushrooms with the theme of vegan and vegetarian meals. Vegetarians may eat dairy and eggs (ovo-lacto), but vegans avoid all animal products. So mushrooms are a great compliment to a meatless dish in adding a savory flavor and mouthfeel.
Again we had a record breaking audience observe Chef David prepare three dishes made with all four varieties of Hokto mushrooms –King Trumpet, White Beech, Brown Beech and Maitake.
Hokto Kinoko’s Culinary Seminars at the San Diego County Fair – Part 2
Posted on July 12th, 2010
The 2010 San Diego County Fair opened last Friday, June 11, with a “Taste the Fun” theme that celebrates food. The main, theme-based attraction is “Tour of Tastes,” an exhibition featuring cooking competitions and demos. Again, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak on behalf of Hokto at the San Diego County Fair on June 22nd, demonstrating the versatility and flavor of Hokto mushrooms. We continue to have a great turnout, with more than 150 people in attendance to observe Chef David prepare three dishes made with all four varieties of Hokto mushrooms –King Trumpet, White Beech, Brown Beech and Maitake.
An “Iron Chef” mini-competition began using two volunteers from the audience! I was selected to participate in the contest to see who could prepare a stir-fry in six minutes or less that tasted fabulous and looked great. A panel of four judges would compare the meals for flavor, eye-appeal.
Hokto Kinoko’s Culinary Seminars at the San Diego County Fair – Part 1
Posted on June 22nd, 2010
The 2010 San Diego County Fair opened on Friday, June 11, with a “Taste the Fun” theme that celebrates food. The main, theme-based attraction is “Tour of Tastes,” an exhibition featuring cooking competitions and demos. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak on behalf of Hokto at the San Diego County Fair on June 15th, demonstrating the versatility and flavor of Hokto mushrooms. We had a great audience, with more than 150 people in attendance to observe Chef Robert Reid prepare three dishes made with all four varieties of Hokto mushrooms –King Trumpet, White Beech, Brown Beech and Maitake.
The first dish was roast quail stuffed with Maitake mushrooms sautéed in olive oil. While the chef prepared the dish, I had an opportunity to share some facts about Hokto mushrooms and highlight some of the special qualities these locally grown Japanese mushrooms have to offer, such as the nutritional value, health benefits and savory flavor. The prepared dish was passed around so the audience could appreciate a true work of culinary art.
National Men’s Health Week: Men, Umami and Hokto Mushrooms
Posted on June 15th, 2010
National Men’s Health Week is celebrated each year as the week leading up to and including Father’s Day, which this year occurs June 14th – June 22nd. The purpose of Men’s Health Week is to increase awareness of preventable health problems and to encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Research has shown us that a diet high in plant foods can help lower risk for disease such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. Good dietary habits can begin at any age and mushrooms may contribute significantly towards better health.
Now that the introductions are out of the way, are you’re ready to try a rather exotic looking mushroom but not sure how to begin? Wash? Rinse? Peel? The good news is that Hokto’s mushrooms are ready to be cooked right out of the bag. They do not need to be washed, rinsed, or peeled because they are not grown in dirt and are completely bug-free!
Welcome to Hokto’s new website! My name is Leslie Kay and I am a registered dietitian, author and frequent presenter on the various topics of food and nutrition. My specialty area is working with clients and patients that want a more natural approach to better health by increasing foods in the diet that contain unique properties that help to prevent or manage an illness or disease. For example, adding enough fish oil to the diet can help lower triglyceride levels; increasing fiber can help manage glucose levels, and adding the right combination of nuts and plant foods can help manage high blood pressure and heart disease.
You can’t beat a simple and quick stir fry! Serve this dish with a bowl of rice and enjoy the classic Chinese flavors. Here’s a new stir fry technique for you: instead of adding the ginger and garlic first to the pan, you’ll be adding them AFTER the chicken is almost cooked through. This ensures that the aromatics do not burn! (Serves 4)
Everyone loves sauteed mushrooms over steak. Here’s a great twist, using Hokto Kinoko White Beech Mushrooms. The mushrooms are briefly sauteed in a little pat of butter and gets a jolt of flavor from the addition of whiskey. (Serves 2)
This Brown Beech Mushroom Flatbread makes a wonderful appetizer as it comes together in less than 15 minutes. Or you can double the recipe and serve it for dinner with a nice salad. I love using Naan flatbread because of its soft airy interior and crunchy crust once it comes out of the oven. If you can’t find naan flatbread, you may use pita bread, prepared pizza crust or even regular tortillas. The sauce base is a flavorful basil pesto, and you can find prepared pesto in jars right next to spaghetti sauce at the grocery store. (Serves 2)
Sauteed Maitake mushrooms is a quick and easy addition that takes your burgers to another level. The combination of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce blends well with the earthy flavor of the Maitake Mushroom. If you’d like, you can substitute ground turkey or ground pork for the beef, just make sure you cook the burgers all the way through. (Serves 4)
Easy and elegant, this roasted mushroom and asparagus dish only comes together in less than 15 minutes. The King Trumpet mushrooms are thick, meaty and very satisfying even as a main dish. Roasting the vegetables intensifies the natural flavors without losing any of the wonderful nutrients. (Serves 4)