As the holiday season kicks off, beginning with the celebration of Thanksgiving, millions of Americans join together with family and friends in homes and restaurants all over the country. On “turkey day” we consume epic portions of traditional favorites, seasonal dishes, and flavorful desserts. And we can be thankful not just for our food – but also to know that everything on our table is safe to eat. This is because our country’s government agencies – the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) – determine the safety and protect the quality of what ends up on our plates and in our cups.
What do you make for Thanksgiving dinner when half of the people who will be at the table are watching their blood pressure? Ideally, you’d lighten up on the salt to reduce the sodium, but why go to all of the trouble to cook a feast if it’s going to taste bland? Salt may add flavor and enhance other flavors, but it’s not the only solution. There is a way to make food taste salty while using less salt.
We hope our readers don’t mind another blog about chicken! Chicken has become the most consumed meat in the U.S., so the odds are that many of you enjoy it quite often. It’s a versatile and affordable source of protein and can be prepared in a multitude of ways; from fried, baked and grilled to use in salads, stews, soups and casseroles.
It’s not just about the much-touted boneless, skinless white meat chicken breasts or kid-favorite chicken legs. Chicken wings are “in” so I feel it’s my duty to share some recipes with you.
Here are three distinctive chicken recipes (including wings!) that are full of savory goodness.
Not only does MSG give dishes a savory, umami taste, but it is considered to be the purest form of umami. Why is that? And what does it even mean?
First, let’s explore what umami is.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a standing-room only session on umami at the annual meeting of the American Culinary Federation. I will admit to being a bit self-conscious in this room full of culinary experts in their beautiful stiff white chef coats. (I was an inch away from purchasing a coat of my very own at the little stand in the meeting exhibit hall, but somehow it seemed a bit inauthentic. Like wearing a stethoscope at a medical meeting. But I digress…)
Chef Chris Koetke, Vice President at the Culinary Institute at Kendall College, spoke eloquently about the human’s innate drive toward taste and nourishment and the chef’s complimentary drive to meet those needs by delivering good-tasting foods. He explained the fifth taste of umami and how the amino acid glutamate is picked up by receptors on the tongue, sending biological signals of “protein” to our brains. Chef Chris talked about the many sources of glutamate in foods – it’s one of the most abundant amino acids in our bodies and in our foods.
Then the story got more interesting.