Archive for December, 2013

Bolognese Meat Sauce with Spaghetti Squash

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Winter is here and this authentic, hearty, wonderfully flavored Ragù – as the Bolognese call their celebrated meat sauce – is perfect after a long day in the cold. The difference between an acceptable Bolognese sauce and an excellent one is simmering the meat in milk before adding the wine and tomatoes in order to protect it from the acidic bite of the latter. Even better, instead of enjoying your Ragù over pasta, try spaghetti squash as a grain- and gluten-free alternative – its delicate sweetness is a perfectly satisfying complement without the digestive heaviness of wheat pasta. This recipe is adapted from Marcella Hazan’s recipe in her book, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

Bolognese meat sauce over spaghetti squash!

Bolognese meat sauce over spaghetti squash!

Ingredients

4 tablespoons MELT® Organic

½ cup chopped onion

2/3 cup chopped celery

2/3 cup chopped carrot

¾ pound ground beef or venison

Salt

Black pepper, ground fresh

1 cup whole milk

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup dry white wine

1½ cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up with their juice

1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise

Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Directions

  • Place the chopped onion and MELT in a pot that retains heat, such as enameled cast-iron pot with a heavy bottom, and turn heat on to medium.
  • Cook and stir the onion until it has become translucent, then add the chopped celery and carrot. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring the vegetables to coat them well.
  • Add the ground beef, a large pinch of salt (to extract its juices for the sauce), and a few grindings of black pepper.
  • Crumble the meat with a fork, stir well, and cook until the beef has lost its raw, red color.
  • Add the milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely. Add the ground nutmeg and stir.
  • Add the wine, let it simmer until it has evaporated, then add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all ingredients well. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down so the sauce cooks at the laziest of simmers with just an intermittent bubble breaking through to the surface.
  • Cook uncovered for 3 hours, stirring from time to time. While the sauce is cooking, it may dry out with the fat separating from the meat. To keep it from sticking, add ½ cup of water whenever necessary while it continues to cook. At the end, no water at all must be left. Taste and correct for salt.
  • While the Ragù sauce simmers away, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the halves of spaghetti squash face down on a cookie sheet and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
  • When done, use a spoon to remove the seeds and a fork across the squash (not lengthwise) to loosen the spaghetti strands, scraping them into a bowl or plate.
  • Serve the Ragù over the spaghetti squash with freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese and enjoy!

Chocolate-Covered Sea Salt and Cognac Caramels

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Made with MELT® Organic, cognac, and a dash of flaky sea salt, these luscious cognac caramels are holidays treat not to be missed. Sweetened condensed milk makes an extra-rich confection. This recipe makes about 120 square-inch caramels.

IMG_20131218_214617_019

Ingredients

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

2 cups sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

½ cup MELT® Organic cut into pieces
2 tablespoons cognac or bourbon

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Flaky sea salt, like Maldon
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

Equipment

Candy thermometer

9 x 13 baking pan

Parchment paper

Directions

  • Line the baking pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches overhang on all sides, and spray with nonstick spray.
  • Bring sugar, corn syrup, and ¼ cup water to boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture turns a deep amber color, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove pot from heat and whisk in sweetened condensed milk and MELT Organic (the mixture will bubble vigorously) until smooth. Fit pot with the candy thermometer and return to medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until thermometer registers 240 degrees.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in cognac and kosher salt.
  • Pour into prepared baking pan and cool in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
  • Melt the chocolate chips slowly on very low heat in thick-bottomed pot, like an enamel cast iron sauce pan. Be careful to not burn the chocolate.
  • Pull the caramel from the refrigerator. Pour the chocolate over the caramel in the baking pan and spread evenly over the caramel. It should be a thin coat of chocolate over the caramel.
  • Evenly sprinkle the flaky sea salt over the chocolate and place the baking pan into the refrigerator for another hour of chilling.
  • Wipe down a sharp knife with canola oil (or any liquid oil) to cut your caramel otherwise the caramel will stick to your knife.
  • Wrap individually in parchment paper to keep at room temperature or store in a cookie tin with parchment paper separating the layers of caramels until ready to enjoy!

Tangible Benefits of Choosing Organic Confirmed!

Friday, December 13th, 2013

What do organic, grass-fed milk and MELT® Organic have in common? Both have naturally ideal Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratios of 2 to 1. Unlike conventional dairies, cows raised organically have access to grass, which naturally provides more nutrient dense milk. Melt Organic does so through the Perfect Blend of organic oils we carefully choose for our luscious butter improvement spreads.

In addition, neither organic milk nor MELT Organic benefit from agricultural programs that subsidize genetically modified (GM) grains such as soybean or corn. Unlike most margarines and cooking oils, MELT contains NO soy or corn oils and is Non-GMO Verified.

Why is organic milk twice the price of conventional milk? The answer: federal subsidy programs distort the market by affecting the availability and price of conventional milk and the GM grains used for livestock feed. Politicians panic at the notion of the Farm Bill expiring because they expect it will result in a doubling of the price of conventional milk.

If you could choose between conventional milk or organic, grass-fed milk for the same price, which would you buy for your family:

Conventional Milk  

Lower levels of Omega 3s

Mediocre farming practices:

Added hormones (rBST)                 VS

Antibiotic residues

Feed lots

Higher food safety risk (e. coli)

Cheap, GM, nutrient-poor diet

Organic, Grass-Fed Milk

Higher levels of Omega 3s

More sustainable farming practices:

No added hormones

No antibiotic residues

Organic diet, including grass

Lower food safety risk

Tangible Benefits of Choosing Organic
A recent study from Stanford called into question the nutritional benefits of organic produce; however, criticism of this study focused on its flawed methodology and its lack of addressing the well-documented evidence demonstrating the negative effects of increased exposure to pesticides. This study also ignored the noteworthy negative impacts of introducing the armory of chemicals used to grow conventional produce into the environment.

While this study may have confused some into believing the differences between organic and conventional produce are insignificant, new research from Washington State University (WSU) concludes organic milk has quantifiable nutritional advantages over conventional milk.

In the first large-scale study to compare milk from organic and conventional dairies across the U.S., researchers found significantly higher levels of heart-healthy Omega 3s in organic milk and an “optimal” ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3s of approximately 2.3 to 1. In comparison, conventional milk was found to have a ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3s of 5.8 to 1, a 2.5-fold increase over organic milk. Averaged over 12 months, organic milk contained 25% less Omega 6s and 62% more Omega 3s than conventional milk.

The difference in levels of Omega 3s is primarily due to diet: organically raised cows eat less corn and grains and more grass, which is much more nutrient-dense and translates into more nutrient-dense milk.

Over the last century, consumption of Omega 6s in Western diets has dramatically increased, while omega 3 intakes have fallen. This shift is due to increasing consumption of foods containing nutrient-poor oils and grains (e.g., soy, corn, safflower) high in Omega 6s and low in Omega 3s. As a result, the American diet generally has intake ratios of Omega 6 to Omega 3 of 10 to 1 or 15 to 1, instead of a more optimal ratio of 2 to 1. Omega 3 nutritional deficiencies, caused in part by high levels of Omega 6s in the diet, contribute to a wide range of developmental and chronic health problems.

According to the WSU study, switching to whole-fat organic milk and reducing intake of foods high in Omega 6s (e.g., soy, corn, safflower oils) can decrease the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio among adult women by ~80% of the total decrease needed to reach a target ratio of 2.3, making organic milk the better choice.

Those benefitting most could be people predisposed to heart disease, young children and women of childbearing age, so drink more whole-fat organic milk and eat MELT Organic every day.

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0082429
http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2022432964_organicmilkxml.html

MELT® Organic Love

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

When Lori B was diagnosed with a very rare lung condition (LAM), she was advised to drastically reduce fat from her daily diet. After three years, she was able to slowly re-introduce fat in restricted amounts. When she discovered MELT was made from ‘good fats’ and was soy free, she immediately consulted her doctor and tried MELT to see if it triggered her LAM. Now, more than one year later, Lori is a huge fan of MELT and sat down with Founder Cygnia to discuss why MELT is so important in her life.

Why are you so excited about MELT?

“In 2010, my life changed dramatically when I was diagnosed with a very rare lung condition called LAM (short for lymphangioleiomyomatosis) that only affects women of child-bearing age. With cysts covering the inside of my lungs, I was told I had five to ten years to live. I was 38 years old. I was instructed to stop eating fat because the vessels in my chest were leaking, and one of the primary causes of this leakage was dietary fat because I did not process fat like other people.

For almost three years, I was restricted to 10g of fat or less per day. At the time I used MCT oil (i.e., medium-chain triglycerides derived from virgin coconut oil) as my fat supplement. But MCT oil is both difficult to find and challenging to use – I had to swallow it off of the spoon. Because of my experience with MCT oil, I was already on board with the medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in MELT.

I came across MELT on the internet and immediately wanted to try it because of the virgin coconut oil and because it is soy free. Since LAM exclusively affects women, I had to be very careful with eating soy due to the naturally occurring estrogen. When my doctor gave me the green light to add fat back into my diet, I had to go slowly and be mindful about the fats I eat. I started with avocado, then a little magic product called MELT appeared and I thought, “Boy, I need to try this.” I printed out the home page and took it to my doctor who approved of the MCFAs in MELT.  I then passed on the information to my dietician and she told me it looked like a great product for me.

We haven’t bought anything else since. I have been eating MELT for one year so I know it doesn’t trigger LAM as it would cause congestion in my lungs. My follow up x-rays are completely clear. I am so grateful to have access to medication that slows the progression of my disease and MELT while I am on a restricted diet.”

Does your family like MELT?

“My husband LOVES MELT; he doesn’t even flinch. At least once per month he’ll check to see if Target is carrying it. We are never going back to the other butter substitutes with junk oils we used before my diagnosis.

I have turned a lot of people on to MELT, including several members of my family and co-workers. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like MELT.”

What are your favorite ways to use MELT?

“I love making tuna casserole with MELT instead of butter. I also use MELT in brownies, cake mix, and cup cakes. I love sautéing with MELT – it functions like regular butter.  Getting my husband to eat MELT was a big deal. He’s picky and for him to switch is amazing. He uses MELT to support his cholesterol levels and increase heart health.”

Any parting thoughts?

“It is really cool you are willing to do this. You have my full support. If I could afford it, I would buy a billboard for MELT. I want to get the word out, not only about my condition but also MELT really is amazing. I can’t tell you enough how excited I am to have it, how much I enjoy having it as a part of my life.”

For more information about LAM please visit the LAM Foundation website at: http://www.thelamfoundation.org/what-is-lam.

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