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Food Room

a place for talking about food, specially Kurdish food recipes

Re: Food Room

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 22, 2021 10:00 am

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1316

All Olive Bread Is Good—But This One Is Great

Castelvetrano olives are named after an eponymous town in Sicily, where they’re grown both for pressing into olive oil and simply for snacking. Unlike the typical green olive you’d find in a salad or entrée, Castelvetranos’ mild flavor comes from being harvested at a younger stage, and because they’re typically packed in a brine that has less salt than other jarred olives. The flavor of these bright green gems leans subtly sweet and buttery, with a mellow tang. When compared to the ubiquitous little green olive in a can, the Castelvetrano is larger and substantially meatier, meaning it truly is an olive you can sink your teeth into

All of these attributes make for an olive that is simply perfect for baking bread. The reduced salt content means less interference with your intended flavor profile (much like a baker who prefers to use unsalted butter so the salt content is completely under their control) and the thick, meaty olive flesh makes for a dramatic presentation in the loaf’s cross sections—and a substantial bite with every slice of bread.
How many olives should I add to the dough?

I find adding a proportion of olives somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of the total flour to be a good starting point: Any lower and you end up with a loaf that lacks enough olive punch—a bread with olives as opposed to an olive bread. If you go the other direction, a higher than 30 percent olive-to-flour ratio starts to impact the dough’s structure and eating experience, resulting in a loaf that has less height and an overpoweringly olivey flavor.

Through several rounds of test-baking, I found 24 percent Castelvetranos to total flour weight to be just right. The flavor of the olives permeates the entire loaf even if you don’t catch a bite of the fruit. But when you do snag a piece of olive, and this happens often, the flavor is exuberant and rich, lighting up your palate.

If you can’t find Castelvetrano olives, swap them out for any pitted green olive you enjoy eating all on their own. Chances are, if you like them as a snacking olive, they’ll also be wonderful in a loaf of sourdough bread.
How do I prepare olives for baking?

Olives are typically jarred or canned in a brine, which tends to be rather salty (great for a snack plate and martinis, not so great for bread), so it’s best to thoroughly rinse the olives a few hours before you want to add them to your dough to remove the brine and excessive salt, then leave them out to dry on a layer or two of paper or kitchen towels to help wick away even more moisture.

After the olives are rinsed and totally dry, if they still contain their pits, it’s necessary to remove them. I find it’s easiest to use the side of a wide-bladed knife to smash the olive on a cutting board. Smashing splits the fruit open and exposes the pit, which can then easily be removed and discarded. While pitting olives is a bit of work, I actually prefer starting with olives that still have their pits, as I find the flavor is more intense than their pitted brethren. Additionally, smashing them leaves the fruit into convenient pieces which disperse easier throughout the dough during bulk fermentation.

You can choose to chop the pitted olives further if you’d like them to disperse more thoroughly through each loaf, leave them whole for a more striking presentation, or do a mixture of both.
Why is the salt percentage in the dough slightly lower?

For the vast majority of my lean sourdough bread baking ("lean" meaning doughs that don’t include enrichments like dairy, sugar, or eggs), I tend to peg salt to 1.8 percent of the total flour in a recipe. This is mostly a personal preference, as I find that amount of salt plenty for a tasty loaf of bread, but salt that’s anywhere in the range of 1.8 to 2.3 percent is common for a lean dough. But when adding in olives, which are already salty, it’s helpful to reduce the salt percentage slightly to offset the fruit.

For my latest sourdough bread recipe with Castelvetrano olives, I reduced the salt to 1.7 percent to ensure the final loaf isn’t excessively salty. On the surface, 0.1 percent (meaning only a gram or two less salt) might not seem like a drastic reduction, but I can assure you, the difference is profound.
Why add olive oil to the dough?

In my Olive Oil Sourdough With Castelvetranos, I added a bit of extra-virgin olive oil to the dough for both flavor and texture. Olive oil brings an undeniable fruitiness (which can be more or less pronounced depending on the variety), which certainly complements the olives in this dough, but it also affects the loaf’s overall texture. Olive oil, like any fat, inhibits gluten formation, resulting in a loaf that’s softer and more tender overall. The added flavor and modified texture make for bread that’s texturally a bit different from the classic sourdough boule you’d pick up at a bakery, and if I may say so, a quite deliciously different loaf.

https://food52.com/blog/26161-how-to-ma ... obal-en-GB
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Re: Food Room

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:52 pm

4 Ways Exercise Helps Fight Aging

Everyone knows that exercise is good for you. But it’s not just beneficial for the young, healthy and already fit. It’s also one of the best defenses against the toughest aspects of aging

Exercise not only improves heart and lung health, but research shows that even modest physical activity is good for the brain, bones, muscles and mood. Numerous studies have found that lifelong exercise may keep people healthier for longer; delay the onset of 40 chronic conditions or diseases; stave off cognitive decline; reduce the risk of falls; alleviate depression, stress and anxiety; and may even help people live longer.

“Exercise is the best defense and repair strategy that we have to counter different drivers of aging,” says aging researcher Nathan LeBrasseur, professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. It can’t reverse aging, per se, he cautions, but “there’s clear evidence that exercise can activate the machinery necessary for DNA repair.”

Of course, the sooner you begin and the longer you remain physically active, the better. But physical activity is important at every age. Research on the effects of exercise on nursing-home residents found improvements in their physical and cognitive abilities as well as on their mental health.

Something else to keep in mind, says LeBrasseur, is that while your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer or other conditions of aging may not substantially increase until middle age or later, the underlying biology for those conditions is in motion early in life. Genetics and the lifestyle factors you choose will determine that trajectory, but these can influence your likelihood for disease at any point. “So, there’s no such thing as too little, too late.”

The good news is that you don’t have to run a marathon or go to the gym to reap the anti-aging benefits of exercise. Even modest physical activity—taking the stairs instead of the elevator, gardening or walking the dog—has physical and cognitive benefits, as long as you do it regularly. Here are just some of the ways research shows regular activity benefits your health.

It builds muscle strength

As people age, they lose muscle mass and strength, a condition known as sarcopenia. Scientists say resistance training is one of the best ways to help slow that decline. It not only maintains muscle strength and power (what you’ll need while opening a jar or pushing a heavy door), but it makes everyday activities like cooking, cleaning and climbing stairs less difficult. It can also help reduce susceptibility to disease, improve brain health and mood and help you maintain independence longer. Researchers at the University of Alabama found that resistance training is safe and effective for older adults, with rates of injuries extremely low and similar across all ages and intensities.

It improves bone density

To keep bones strong, the body breaks down old bone and replaces it with new bone tissue—but around age 30, bone mass stops increasing. In your 40s and 50s, you slowly start losing more bone than you make. Exercise can help increase bone density when you’re younger and stave off osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bone and increases the risk of breaks as you age.

Almost half of all adults 50 and older are at risk of breaking a bone due to osteoporosis, which costs the health system $19 billion annually, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. But that doesn’t mean that older people are powerless; doing weight-bearing exercise throughout life helps increase bone mass and strength.

Since osteoporosis affects women more often than men, activities like walking or aerobics are especially important after menopause. While older people can’t gain more bone mass, physical activity can help prevent bone loss. Lower impact activities like cycling, yoga and swimming aren’t enough to affect bone loss, but when combined with weight-bearing exercises, they can help improve balance and reduce risk of falls and fractures.

Exercise can lengthen telomeres

Telomeres are the caps on the ends of DNA strands, similar to the caps on shoelaces. Their length decreases with aging, and this contributes to cell senescence, meaning the cells can no longer divide. Telomere length is connected to certain chronic conditions, especially high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Several studies have found that higher levels of physical activity are related to longer telomere lengths in some people, compared to those who are sedentary. This seems to be especially true in older people. However, it’s still not clear whether that relationship is causal, and it’s likely that multiple processes affect telomere length. But in general, longer telomeres are believed to be a plus for reducing risk of age-related diseases.

It can improve cognition

Your ability to shift quickly between tasks, plan an activity and ignore irrelevant information are all signs of good cognitive function, according to the National Institute on Aging. Physical activity is now seen as one of the most promising methods for improving cognition throughout life and reducing risk of age-related cognitive decline. While researchers can’t yet say for sure that exercise can actually prevent dementia, studies show that more physical activity is linked to reduced risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

As scientists continue to research the effects of exercise, they’re finding all kinds of exciting benefits, says Steven Austad, senior scientific director at the American Federation for Aging Research and chair in the department of biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. For example, “exercising muscle produces myokines, which are small molecules that have all kinds of benefits in your brain,” he says. ”It’s also one way to really improve the quality of your sleep, and we know that the quality of your sleep is related to the quality of your health.”

There’s still a lot we don’t know about how exercise affects the aging process, but what we do know is this: moving your body regularly—five times per week, for at least 30 minutes daily—is better than moving less often. Exercise is cumulative; you don’t have to do it all at once (and of course, check with your health provider before starting any new activity). And a combination of aerobic and resistance exercises seems to provide the most benefits for most people.

Best of all, it’s never too late to start
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Re: Food Room

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:16 pm

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Pastila

The Historic Russian Recipe That Turns Apples Into Marshmallows Disarmingly simple, pastila is lighter than air

Dostoevsky loved it. Catherine the Great enjoyed it. Sofia Tolstaya, Tolstoy’s long-suffering wife and assistant, made it. It was once the quintessential Russian dessert: pastila.

Sweet, fluffy pastila was a classic afternoon tea snack at aristocratic Russian soirees of the 19th century. To make it, apple puree—essentially, applesauce—egg whites, and sugar are leavened with lots and lots of air that’s forced into the mixture with hard whisking. What happens next is improbable but stunning. The earthy apple gloop transforms into a gleaming white cloud, as light and soft as a goose-down comforter.

Next, this soft cream is gently spread into pans and baked at a low temperature for hours. What results is, for lack of a better description, a pale, caramel-colored marshmallow or meringue that’s exquisitely apple-flavored.

To Darra Goldstein, though, pastila stands apart from both meringue and marshmallow. “Some people have compared it to a marshmallow, but it’s not as chewy and it is not crisp like a meringue,” she explains. “But it has that quality of softness that you get inside some soft meringues.”

Goldstein, one of the foremost experts on Russian cuisine and the founder of Gastronomica magazine, knows what she’s talking about. And she’s been obsessed with pastila for decades. Her many cookbooks include pastila recipes. According to her, pastila is hundreds of years old, though she hesitates to name an exact era of origin. What she does know is that it started out as fruit leather, sweetened with honey and dried in an oven. The name, she says, comes from the Slavic postel, or bed, likely due to the mixture’s fluffy appearance in the wooden trays used to dry it.

Pastila’s popularity springs from the long-held Russian love of apples. My friend, Stanislav “Stas” Nikiforov, agrees. A tech CTO living in New York, he spent the first half of his life in Russia. Across the ocean, his passion for his national culture and cuisine has only grown. As for why apples are so present in his mother cuisine, he responds with a question in turn. “Why is cheese important to the French or potatoes to Peruvians?” he asks rhetorically. Russia, he points out, has historically had an enormous variety of apples, and familiarity in this case bred affection. “It’s a tree that can provide—like wood, shade, fruit—and grows really, really well,” especially in chilly Russia, he says. “And it’s pretty good-looking to boot.”

Before the Russian Revolution, the apple-growing towns south of Moscow vied to produce the most glorious varieties of pastila. The finest, it’s said, is made with the hardy, huge, cold-loving Antonovka apples. But the main feature of Antonovka apples is their acid. Sour and underripe apples, as it happens, have the most pectin, the substance that gives pastila its gummy texture.

Kolomna and Belyov are still the most famous pastila-producing cities, and, according to Goldstein’s cookbook Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore, each claims to be responsible for one major pastila innovation. One legend has it that Kolomna was the first to whip pastila into airiness, sometime during the 14th century. A Belyov merchant in the 19th century, on the other hand, was the first to add egg whites, making the treat even fluffier.

In the days before electricity, making pastila was painful labor. Without a mechanical mixer, beating cooked apples into fluff had to be done by hand. One “particularly exquisite” 19th-century variety, says Goldstein, had to be beaten for an agonizing 48 straight hours. “So in Russia, you had serfs and they were in the kitchen and they were whipping the pastila,” notes Goldstein. “So it wasn’t any effort on the part of the people who would be enjoying it.”

Cue the Russian Revolution. Under the restrictions and scarcities of the Soviet Union, pastila slowly faded away. “It wasn’t part of the necessary food groups,” says Goldstein. “It was hard enough for them to get basic foods to market, which they didn’t succeed in doing either.” Many of Russia’s traditional, unusual, or unique foods met the same fate. But recently, there has been a massive upswing of interest in recovering ancestral Russian recipes. A decade ago, my friend Stas took notice that the interest in restoring Russian foodways became mainstream. To him, it was especially poignant. “We always grew up thinking that a lot of our culture had been just completely obliterated,” he says. “Then there’s this wave of people unearthing really old recipes such as Belyov pastila. And so everybody’s like, holy shit, this is what this thing is supposed to look like.”

Makes 8 to 10 slices

This recipe takes a cue from Belyov-style pastila, which is stacked into layers, dried again, and then sliced. But Goldstein recommends simply taking two layers and sandwiching them together with jam.

Ingredients

6 large apples (if you’re outside Russia, Granny Smith makes a good substitution for Antonovka)
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 egg whites
Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350º F. Wash the apples, and place them into a shallow, oven-safe dish with a ¼ inch of water at the bottom. Then, roast the apples for an hour, or until they’re golden, saggy, and wrinkly.

2. Remove the apples from the oven, and allow them to cool completely. (For now, turn off the oven.) Then, scrape the skins and cores until you have a mound of soft, seed-free puree. With a blender, process the puree until smooth.

3. Next comes the fun part. Put the puree, egg whites, and granulated sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer (or get out your handheld mixer and the largest mixing bowl you have). Whip the apple-sugar-egg mixture for 10 minutes, making sure to scrape down the sides occasionally.

4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven once again, this time to 180º F or the lowest setting it will go. Line a cookie sheet, including the sides, with parchment paper.

5. Back at the mixer, the puree will have nearly quadrupled in size after 10 minutes. Stop the machine once you have a bowl filled with gleaming, thick white foam. Scrape the foam into the pan, reserving about a cup and a half and putting it in the fridge.

6. Spread the remaining foam in the pan evenly, and leave it in the oven for 4 to 6 hours. The pastila needs to be dry to the touch, and solid enough to pick up as one entire sheet without being extremely floppy. If not, return it to the oven.

7. Remove the pastila from the oven and allow it to cool completely before peeling away the parchment paper.

8. With a knife dipped in hot water, cut the pastila into three identical pieces (you’ll want three rectangles instead of three long strips). Using the reserved puree as glue, stack the three pieces on top of each other, using the puree to patch any holes or fill any pits.

8. Then, on a baking sheet lined with more parchment paper, return the pastila to the oven once more, for an hour and a half. After making sure the layers have all molded together, remove it from the oven and let it cool.

9. When the pastila is cool, rub it all over with powdered sugar, and carefully slice down through the layers in inch-long increments (the resulting pieces will look like ladyfingers). The pastila, now ready to be eaten with tea, will keep in a sealed container.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/h ... ke-pastila
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