Tag Archives: Antioxidants

Espresso Black Bean Chili

25 Jan

From one of my favorite chefs, Mark Bittman.  Here is a unique spin on chili.  Personally I adore coffee and black beans are so yummy (and healthy).

Why are black beans so healthy?  They are a wonderful source of dietary fiber, which has shown to help lower cholesterol. In addition, the high fiber of black beans helps to prevent blood sugar from rising too rapidly after a meal, which is beneficial for people with diabetes or other similar diseases. In addition, black beans are especially high in insoluble fiber, which helps keep your digestive tract healthy. Most importantly, black beans are a high source of protein with virtually NO FAT. Recent research has also found that black beans are rich in antioxidants, the highest level of antioxidants among other beans. These antioxidants, known as anthocyanins, found in black beans help destroy free radicals in the body, which can help fight against heart disease, cancer and aging.

Espresso Black Bean Chili

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours, largely unattended

3 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups chopped ripe tomato (about 1 1/2 pounds whole; canned is fine; don’t bother to drain)
1/2 to 1 cup freshly brewed espresso, 1 to 2 cups brewed coffee, or 2 tablespoons espresso powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 cup dark brown sugar or 3 tablespoons molasses
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 pound dried black beans, washed, picked over, and soaked if you like
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put the oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

2. Stir in the tomato, espresso, chili powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, and beans and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the liquid bubbles steadily but not violently. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are beginning to soften, 30 to 40 minutes. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Continue cooking until the beans are tender, anywhere from another 45 minutes to 11/2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more sugar, salt, or pepper. Serve or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days

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Where’s the Meat?

12 Jan

Do you want to strengthen your immune system?  Then load up on your antioxidants!  It is a known fact that adding more fruit and veggies to your diet will improve your health,  but some foods are higher in antioxidants than others.  The 3 major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E.  You’ll find them in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially those with purple, blue, red, orange and yellow hues. To get the biggest benefits of antioxidants, eat these foods raw or lightly steamed (blanch); don’t overcook or boil.

So, why shouldn’t you over-steam or boil your veggies?  The enzymes and nutrients in your vegetables are destroyed when they reach 100 degrees, so you are not getting the most out of your veggies. Steaming can release just as many nutrients as boiling, the water will still absorb just as many vitamins and minerals. Have you ever steamed a green vegetable only to find that your water is green?

Blanching your vegetables is a good way to ensure you keep your vegetables crisp, bright in color, and full of nutrients. Blanching is very different than boiling. Your vegetables are placed in simmering salted water for about a minute. This is a method of flash cooking that barely cooks your vegetables.

Below is a nifty table with photos of some of the major antioxidant food sources.  Where is the meat on this chart?  When discussing how to improve health, I don’t ever hear that we need to incorporate more beef.  As I mentioned earlier, we all know more fruits and vegetables are what we need to be healthier.

Berries

11 Jan

I found the most beautiful berries at my local farmers market.   Makes you wanna go to your farmers market this weekend, huh?

Just had to share.  Click the photo for a larger version.

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