Nutrition class. Finally. I have been looking forward to this particular course since I enrolled into culinary school and it has not ceased to challenge and excite! I have the same instructor from Traditional Euro Cuisine lab, she is by far one of my favorite instructors because not only does she offers relevant information and shares personal culinary experiences and tips, she is very open to suggestions and to allowing us to concoct and experiment with different recipe modifications. Morning lectures center on the role macronutrients – carbohydrates, fats, and proteins — play in our dishes and how they impact our bodies. This course is not about eliminating butter, heavy cream, cheese, and bacon but about expanding food knowledge beyond the French cooking style and challenging oneself to try new flavors and products. As a vegetarian, my food knowledge has definitely increased over the past years because I have had to research and test out different plant products that would replace the nutrients I would source from animal products. Believe it or not, there are still many products I’m just starting to learn how use and eat like bulgar, hominy, vegetables of all sorts, wheatberry, even that young jackfruit I experimented with a few weeks ago.
Simple ways to make dishes healthier:
1. Replace white, refined wheat products with whole wheat/grain products
2. Depending on the role of your sweetener — replace white sugar with honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, or splenda.
3. Steam or poach instead of boiling vegetables — the longer plant products sit in water the more the good nutrients (water-soluble vitamins/minerals) leach out.
4. Steam or poach chicken and fish — you can use the en papillote method of enclosing your desired product with parchment paper and then bake, the entrapped steam will cook your food…and your guest will be very impressed with the “complex” looking presentation.
5. Incorporate more fiber (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) into your dishes — bulks up the dish, increases a “fullness” feel without increase of calories, and supports a healthy digestive system.
6. Use low-fat products: lean cuts of meat, egg substitutes, 1% or non-fat milk, low fat sour cream, low fat yogurt, cooking spray, etc.
7. Use more spices instead of salt to pump up flavor!
The most important tip to keep in mind when deciding to modify a recipe is understanding the role a certain ingredient plays in the production and taste of the final product. For example, if you replaced all the sugar for a cookie with splenda, the result would be a sad lump of sweeten flour. That’s because sugar crystals’ structure cuts into the fat component (butter) of the cookie causing the dough to spread out as it bakes. Splenda is just a sweetener, it’s structure does not enable it to do the same.
and now…culinary life according to my iPhone
Even the Baking & Pastry Majors that ate lunch with us that day were impressed by the brownies…score!
And a clue to my next post’s topic of interest…
I think I’ve managed to change some of my classmates’ mind about tofu…of course when you blend it with chocolate who could resist?