Why is gluten bad for some people?

gluten-freeNovember 16 — A 2013 survey showed that one-third of all Americans are actively trying to eliminate gluten from their diets. Here’s why:

  1. Gluten is a protein composite found in several types of grains, including wheat, spelt, rye and barley.
  2. It consists of two proteins: gliadin and glutenin. It is the gliadin part that people react negatively to.
  3. When flour is mixed with water, gluten forms a sticky cross-linked network of proteins, giving elastic properties to dough and allowing bread to rise. (Indeed, the name gluten is derived from these glue-like properties.)
  4. When gluten reaches the digestive tract and is exposed to the cells of the immune system, they mistakenly believe that it is coming from some sort of foreign invader, like a bacteria.
  5. In certain people who are sensitive to gluten, this causes the immune system to mount an attack against it.

But there are plenty of yummy things to eat that are gluten-free, including Edible Education’s Thanksgiving Quinoa dish with butternut squash, cranberries, and pecansSweet Potato Fries, and here’s a great gluten-free flour made from oats.

Quinoa is the world’s most popular “superfood”

flickr_Meal Makeover Moms_quinoaYou may have heard of Quinoa, or maybe it’s part of your daily diet. But do you know why it’s called a “superfood?” Mostly because it’s loaded with protein, fiber and minerals — and for anyone who needs to steer clear of gluten, it doesn’t contain any of that.

Here are some fun facts you might now know:

  • Quinoa is a grain crop that is grown for its edible seeds.
  • It technically isn’t a cereal grain, but a “seed” that is prepared and eaten similarly to a grain.
  • Quinoa was an important crop for the Inca Empire. They referred to it as the “mother of all grains” and believed it to be sacred.
  • It has been consumed for thousands of years in South America, although it only became trendy and reached “superfood status” a few years ago.
  • Today, Quinoa and products made with it all over the world and there are three main types: white, red and black.

SourceHealth Ambition

Click here for a yummy recipe starring Quinoa that’s a new twist on a sweet treat!: Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes.

How does yeast make bread rise?

flickr_Paul Sullivan_breadcirttersNovember 14 — Yeast are living, single-celled organisms and are found everywhere in the world. Varieties are on our skin, in the air, and on the skins of fruits and vegetables. The scientific name for the active dry yeast that we use to make yummy baked good is Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, otherwise known as “sugar-eating fungus.”

But how does yeast help make bread rise? According to Chef Ann Butler, and kidsdiscover.com:

  1. The yeast love to eat their favorite sugar in a warm, moist environment where they will multiply in numbers.
  2. As the yeast munch away, a process called anaerobic fermentation takes place. The by-products of this process are alcohol and carbon dioxide.
  3. During this time, the carbon dioxide is trapped by a series of strands of gluten in the rising bread. This is what causes the bread dough to rise, or expand on the surface, leaving behind a series of air pockets in the dough.
  4. The yeast eventually dies off, from the heat when baking, and any remaining alcohol evaporates. The air pockets left behind are what give baked bread its crunchy goodness.

Now put your knowledge into action! Click here to make Bread Critters.

Get the juice out of an orange, lemon, or lime in seconds

flickr_Mike Mozart_lemonsNovember 13 — What’s the fastest way to get the juice out of your citrus? Microwave it for 15-20 seconds.

How does it work? By getting the lemon warm and applying pressure are the two key components in maximizing your juice output.

Edible Education founder Ann Butler says: “Both actions go a long way in weakening the membranes that trap the juice inside the fruity flesh.”

 

Cook cartelized onions in half the time

Flickr_Jeff DrongowskiNovember 12 — Remember we told you about the magic of how baking soda works? Here’s another great tip: Add a little baking soda to your caramelized onions to cook them in half the time.

What’s the science behind this tip? It turns out that the pectin (the chemical glue that holds the cells together in the onion) weakens due to the baking soda. The faster breakdown means faster release of chemicals, which means faster overall cooking.

Don’t have a pastry cutter? Try this great trick!

Flickr_Faruk AteşNovember 11 — At Edible Education, we are big fans of improvising. And today, we honor our nation’s veterans who are also very good at thinking on their feet!

And when it comes to stocking your kitchen, who has the time, space, or need for dozens of cooking tools?

Sure, fancy things like fancy pastry cutters are cool — but really, there are lots of ways to make a great dish with the materials you have on hand.

So if you don’t have a pastry cutter, try this tip: Use a cheese grater to grate frozen butter directly into your pastry dough. Easy peasy.

What are your favorite improvs when it comes to cooking real food? Send them to us via email and we’ll publish your clever ideas: info@edibleedu.com.

Hug a Veteran today!

Prepare boil-in-a-bag pasta for pennies

flickr_sabotraxNovember 10 — Making real meals quickly is always important to busy families. To create boil-in-a-bag pasta for pennies simply soak a serving of pasta in water in a sealed bag for a couple hours, or overnight.

Then you can cook it in about a minute in boiling water. Or, just add it straight to a warm tomato sauce in a pan to let it finish cooking.

 

 

What’s the best cutting board to use?

bamboo-boards-sampleNovember 9 — At Edible Education, our favorite cutting boards are made of bamboo. Why? Not only is this super hard grass a sustainable, renewable resource that needs no chemicals to thrive or to be harvested — they do absorb less liquid than wooden boards, which makes them more sanitary. Buy ones that only use formaldehyde-free glues.

What about plastic cutting boards? Once considered to be the most sanitary, especially as you can wash it in the dishwasher, a study by the University of Michigan study found that “more bacteria are recovered from a used plastic surface than from a used wood surface.” Plus, plastic boards quickly fill with knife marks, and that makes it really tough to clean and disinfect them manually.

How about glass cutting boards? While glass cutting boards are popular — they are also less kid-friendly because they are heavier, slippery, and they dull your knives … which can send shivers down your spine!

What’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder? And why do we need it in our baked goodies?

flickr_GinnyNovember 8 — Who doesn’t love to bake during the holiday season? And why in most every recipe we add in baking soda or baking powder?

The answer is to make our baked goods fluffy. And the reason is that this ingredient creates air bubbles in the mixture, which helps the batter rise.

But what makes the bubbles? If you remember making a volcano in school, you know that when you mix vinegar and baking soda your get “lava” that erupts. Baking soda needs an acid to react with, such as the vinegar, which creates the bubbles.

And here’s a great Edible Education tip: If you don’t have baking soda or baking powder on hand, you can use buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, citrus or yogurt as the acid in the recipe. Cool, right?

For a lighter whipping cream — use the freezer

flickr_Patrik NygrenNovember 7 — If you love whipped cream (and seriously, who doesn’t?) try this trick: Place your metal mixing bowl and whisk into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before making the cream. Pull it out, add in the cream, and start whipping.

Why does it work? The cold bowl chills the cream; and the colder the cream is, the easier and faster it is to whip. And guess what: The leftover cream doesn’t have to go to waste. Whipped cream actually freezes just fine. Store the unused portion in in a freezer bag until you need it again.