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David Burke Helps Launch Line of Low-Calorie Dressings

David Burke Helps Launch Line of Low-Calorie Dressings

Serendipity, a new line of 15-calorie whipped dressings and dips, will hit grocery store shelves this spring. The new dressings are made with "real dressing," according to a release, and have 90 percent fewer calories, carbs, sugar, fat, and sodium than leading brands. They also lack trans fat, artificial colors or sweeteners, and high-fructose corn syrup.

Unlike traditional creamy salad dressings that get lost in the greens, Serendipity takes pride in the fact that their dressing stays on top of the salad to give diners an accurate idea of how much they are consuming. The products will be sold in sleek cans and will be available in six flavors: blue cheese, honey French, Caesar, ranch, creamy Italian, and Thousand Island.

So how did this unconventional idea come into play? Jimmy Lee, a New York entrepreneur and investor with a background as a health care venture capitalist, created the product in hopes of enforcing healthy eating.

"Serendipity was born out of a desire to spur easy healthy eating habits without sacrificing taste, the 'holy grail' and what all consumers want," he explained. "This really is an unparalleled, revolutionary product, as the only known 15-calorie whipped dressing and dip made of real dressing."

Even though the idea of putting your dressing onto your salad as if it’s whipped cream may seem a little weird, chef David Burke is all for it. In fact, after being contacted by Lee during the development of the product, Burke ended up joining the company as its chief culinary advisor.

"After talking to Jimmy about Serendipity, exploring the product, and tasting the different flavors, I immediately became a Serendipity fan," chef Burke added. "I truly feel that this product will be a real game-changer for consumers because while it maintains a position of being low-calorie, it does not do so at the expense of great flavor; my fundamental reason for getting on board."

Although this sounds like a cool idea and is backed by one of the most famous chefs around, the ingredient list has yet to be released. All we know thus far is that the new line is made with "real dressing," so we will have to see for ourselves what else goes into the can when it goes on sale; they’ll be available to purchase online and in select Northeast locations beginning this May.

Skyler Bouchard is a junior writer at the Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter at @skylerbouchard.


Flavor Adventure Inside

Campbell&rsquos eyes dinnertime dollars, countertop meal market.

Taste meets technology for new whipped dressings and dips with added nutritional appeal.

Consumers know such familiar phrases as “time in a bottle” and a “message in a bottle.” But, how about “adventure in a bottle?” More supermarket shoppers are finding flavor and appetite adventure in bottles of new dressings, sauces and spreads.

Mintel Group Ltd. says the cooking sauces, marinades and dressings market exhibited steady growth from 2008-2013, with dollar sales increasing 3.5% in 2011, 5.1% in 2012 and 2.9% in 2013. Specifically, researchers say the category posted $7.4 billion in sales in 2013. Broken down, Mintel finds dry sauces leading -- with an estimated $3.2 billion in 2013 sales -- while dressings sold $2.6 billion, and liquid sauces posted $1.6 billion. Officials predict the overall category will grow to $9.1 billion by 2018.

“The post-recession climate has many Americans still weathering weak spending power, shaky consumer confidence, and unemployment or under-employment,” notes Mintel. “Such conditions limit the ability of these types of consumers to spend on dining out, forcing many back into the kitchen to save money, which has benefited the market, because consumers are looking for products that help them prepare home-cooked meals.”

Putting those sentiments in more “foodie” terms is Kraft Foods’ Barry Calpino, vice president of Breakthrough Innovation. Last year saw Kraft introduce more than 40 new products, including rubs, dressings, dips and sauces. When Kraft announced its new product blitz, Caplino noted that bold flavor adventure was the underlying theme.

“Bland and boring do not cut it anymore,” he said. “We’re seeing an all-out quest for fun, passion and adventure in food and beverages, as people embrace a multitude of global and regional flavors. Culinary experimentation is ‘in,’ so everyone wants the flexibility to customize their food.”


A Family Crisis Inspires an Adaptive Clothing Company

By Shane Pfender, Fri., Feb. 12, 2021


In November of 2007, Brittany Burke's brother, Brandon, was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. As Burke witnessed her brother's pain and the impact his eventual leg amputation had on his way of living, she was inspired to action.

"I decided to start hosting charity fashion shows and events, fundraisers for different cancer research centers, and different nonprofits," Burke recounts. She met people with chronic illnesses for whom shopping and putting on clothing was a challenge. Burke saw there was a stunning lack of practical inclusivity from brands that pride themselves on representation in their marketing. "There's still a lot of representation [in fashion] . the models are disabled, but it doesn't really translate down to the product."

With these challenges in mind, Burke attended the Founder Institute in Austin, a startup accelerator program. It was with the help of this program that she founded Uniteable, an inclusive clothing line designed for wheelchair users and people with amputations. With a background in manufacturing and fashion merchandising, Burke was determined to bring a stylish perspective to an overlooked side of clothing design.


From her Austin home, Burke talked about the launch of her business and the gap in the fashion world when it comes to clothing built specifically for amputees, wheelchair users, and the broader population of people who require more customized clothing. She describes Uniteable as "fashion for a cause," a remedy for the lack of options for people in the adaptive community.

On Feb. 26, Uniteable will debut two lines: one for wheelchair users and one for people with an amputation. The prosthetic-focused pants will have inseam zippers up to the upper thighs so amputees can have access to their prosthetic throughout the day without removing their pants. The pants designed for people using a wheelchair will provide an easy, fashion-forward dressing solution a future line, Burke says, will offer inseam length options for wheelchair users of varying height.*

"Building a community is just as important as selling the product," Burke says. Uniteable has partnered with nonprofits within the adaptive community, with 5% of profits going to an organization which the customer chooses. All garments will be designed and manufactured by the Uniteable team, are American made, and will be available directly through the company's website (Uniteable.co).

Burke mentions future plans of clothing customization, activewear, and an ambassador program. Right now, her focus remains on providing comfort and confidence for her brother and the greater adaptive community. "I see so much potential, so many unmet needs."

Editor's note: This story has been amended since publication to clarify that inseam length options will not be available at the time of Uniteable's launch, and to clarify that 5% of profits (not all sales) will be donated.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.


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Of course, there are occasions when you're not in control of the food yet eager to enjoy the event. So how can you navigate a table laden with tempting goodies and stay on track with your health goals?

'Try to focus on enjoying the event as a whole — an opportunity to catch up with family and friends you may not have seen for a while — and to see the food as a secondary issue,' advises Julia Westgarth.

There are also some practical steps you can take.

'It's so tempting to try a bit of everything on a buffet and end up with a much bigger plate of food that you'd originally planned,' says Julia. 'Try to be strategic about portion size from the outset pick a smaller plate and choose plain grilled meats or seafood and salads that are not drenched in mayonnaise or full-fat vinaigrette dressings.

'If you're well-prepared, you could even slip a little pot of low-calorie dressing into your bag to add to undressed salad so you know exactly how many SmartPoints you're using.'

Another useful trick is to find somewhere to sit away from the food, to avoid the temptation to nip back to a buffet for 'just a bit more'.

'But if you do slip up, don't beat yourself up. It's not the end of the world and it's certainly not a reason to abandon your healthy eating goals,' says Julia. 'Be kind to yourself. Tomorrow is a new day and you can easily get back onto your programme and carry on working towards a healthier, happier you.'

If you've resolved to shed unwanted pounds you gained during lockdown and transform your health and fitness, you'll be keen to ensure that social gatherings don't scupper your weight loss goals. Try serving healthy dishes like Peruvian chicken (pictured)

Prep: 20 mins l Cook: 1 hour

  • Calorie-controlled cooking spray
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1tbsp paprika
  • 1tbsp ground cumin
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1.5kg whole chicken, skin removed
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • 30g pack coriander, leaves picked
  • 2 small green chillies, roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 4tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 Romaine lettuce, shredded
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 avocado, peeled, stone removed, and thinly sliced
  • ½ lime, juiced

Preheat the oven to 200 c/fan 180 c/gas mark 6. Mist a metal rack with cooking spray and put in a roasting tin.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, paprika, cumin, garlic, oil, salt and cayenne pepper.

Make a few slits in the thickest part of the chicken, then rub the spice mixture all over the chicken and inside its cavity. Put the chicken, breast-side up, on the prepared rack and roast for 1 hour or until cooked through.

Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce and salad. For the sauce, put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Season to taste.

For the salad, combine the lettuce and onion in a salad bowl, top with the avocado and sprinkle over the lime juice. Season to taste.

Put the chicken on a platter, before carving at the table. Serve with the salad, sauce and lime wedges on the side.

myWW+: 8 SmartPoints value (green, blue and purple)

SMOKEY BEAN & BARLEY BURGERS

Our fabulous exclusive WW series to help you lose up to a stone in time to enjoy the freedoms of summer after lockdown, we're sharing inspiring and delicious recipes for the great British barbecue that won't leave you counting the cost on your bathroom scales like these smokey bean and barley burgers (pictured)

Prep: 25 mins l Cook: 55 minutes

  • 100 g pearl barley, rinsed
  • Calorie-controlled cooking spray
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 198g tin sweetcorn, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 400g tin pinto beans in water, drained and rinsed
  • Handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 20g vegetarian Italian hardstyle cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp 0% fat natural Greek yoghurt
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 6 x 60g wholemeal burger rolls
  • 1 Little Gem lettuce, leaves separated

Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the barley, then bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 35 minutes, or until tender.

Drain well and spread out on a large plate to cool.

Meanwhile, mist a large nonstick frying pan with cooking spray and set over a medium heat.

Cook the chilli, onion and sweetcorn, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables start to brown. Add the garlic, paprika and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Transfer to a plate to cool and wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper.

Put the pinto beans in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl, add the cooled barley along with the chilli and onion mixture, coriander, egg and cheese. Season and stir to combine.

Transfer half of the mixture to a food processor and process until finely chopped but not completely smooth. Return the mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.

Divide the bean mixture into 6 equal balls, then flatten to form 10cm round patties. Add the oil to the frying pan and set over a medium heat. Cook the burgers, in batches, for 5 minutes on each side, until cooked through.

Meanwhile, combine the yoghurt and lime juice and season.

Split the burger rolls and toast until golden, then top with the lettuce, bean burgers, lime yoghurt and bun tops.

myWW+: 10 SmartPoints value (green), 7 SmartPoints value (blue) and 8 SmartPoints value (purple)

Loosening lockdown restrictions and the onset of summer bring family barbecues and alfresco lunches but with dishes like onion rings (pictured) you can enjoy these occasions while keeping on track with your health goals

Prep: 20 mins l Cook: 20 minutes

  • Calorie-controlled cooking spray
  • 60g plain flour
  • 80g panko breadcrumbs
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic granules
  • 3 onions, cut into 1.5 cm-thick slices and then separated into rings
  • 120ml buttermilk
  • 90g reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ tsp rice vinegar

Preheat the oven to 200 c/fan 180 c/gas mark 6. Mist a large non-stick baking tray with cooking spray.

To make the dip, whisk together all the dip ingredients in a small bowl until blended, then season to taste.

Set aside to allow the flavours to blend. To make the onion rings, spread half the flour on a plate and all the breadcrumbs on a second plate.

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, remaining flour, cayenne pepper and garlic so you have a smooth batter, then season.

Coat the onion rings, five at a time, with flour. Dip them into the batter, letting any excess batter drip off, then coat with the panko breadcrumbs.

Transfer to the prepared baking tray, then repeat with the remaining onions. Mist the rings with cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes, turning halfway through, or until the onion is tender and the coating is crisp and golden.

Serve the onion rings with the buttermilk dip on the side.

myWW+: 5 SmartPoints value (green, blue and purple)

HOW IT WORKS

WW's healthy eating programme, myWW+, works because it's flexible and based on solid science.

It is based on four key elements: healthy eating, exercise, good sleeping patterns and a mindset package that helps you to adopt a healthier frame of mind.

To tailor your food choices to your lifestyle, myWW+ offers a choice of three plans: Green, Blue and Purple.

You can go to ww.com or the myWW+ app for a personalised assessment to discover which plan is best for you.

All plans are based on SmartPoints and ZeroPoint foods every food and drink has a SmartPoints value — one easy-to-use number that naturally guides you towards a healthier pattern of eating.

On top of this, you can enjoy ZeroPoint foods. These are vital for your health and have a SmartPoints value of 0, meaning you can eat them without counting or weighing them.

When you join myWW+, you're given a customised SmartPoints Budget according to which plan you are matched with. The list of ZeroPoint foods also depends on your plan.

GREEN : For people who eat on the go or enjoy pre-prepared foods, Green gives a Daily Budget of 30 SmartPoints and 100+ ZeroPoint fruits and veggies to choose from.

BLUE : If you like cooking, but also want the flexibility of the occasional ready-meal, Blue offers a Daily Budget of 23 SmartPoints and 200+ ZeroPoint foods.

PURPLE : Tailored for someone who cooks from scratch and doesn't want to weigh or measure ingredients, Purple gives the lowest Daily Budget of 16 SmartPoints but the highest allowance of 300+ ZeroPoint foods.

You also get a weekly allowance (weeklies) for splurges or bigger portions up to four unused SmartPoints from your Daily Budget can be rolled over to your weeklies.

On top of this, you can also boost your SmartPoints Budget by earning additional FitPoints for any activity you undertake.


Cooler packs get a pick-me-up

The Seagram's Coolers Escapes line, managed and marketed by United States Beverage and owned by Pernod-Ricard, now has new flavors and a more modern, new look, following the beverage's 20-year celebration in the market. Unveiled nationally last year, the appealing flavors appear in a beer-bottle-shaped, 12-oz container from O-I (www.o-i.com), bedecked with colorful body and neck labels featuring beachy, tropical-style graphics designed in-house. Cameo Crafts (www.cameocrafts.com) gravure-prints the bottle labels in six colors. Consumers researched said they wanted a change and a more premium-shaped bottle, according to United States Beverage, which replaced the brand's former, cone-shaped bottle.

United States Beverage says it expects the redesigned packs, which also include paperboard four- and 12-bottle carriers made by Smurfit Stone (www.smurfit-stone.com), to open up a new era of excitement and competition in the vast market for fruit-flavored, light alcohol refreshers sold in supermarkets and convenience stores. "Seagram's new, contemporary image has led to strong growth over the summer, vastly outperforming its competition and the cooler category overall," explains Justin Fisch, senior brand manager of United States Beverage. The new flavors, Calypso Colada and Strawberry Margarita, are part of the line's 10-flavor collection that varies by market. The new look is also helping to fuel a turnaround in sales, the company reports. So far, the market response has been excellent, it says.


Antonia Li: How To Practise Selfcare In a Pandemic

With COVID-19’s fourth wave upon Hong Kong, most of us are likely feeling anxious or demotivated. But what if you were to leverage this time of social distancing and turn it into something positive? It’s not too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle while staying home with fewer social distractions. Before we look into establishing a new routine though, it’s important to understand certain habits that people have been shown to develop during quarantine. Nutrisystem did a survey on 2,000 American adults in June 2020 and these were the findings.

TOP PRIORITIES DURING SELF-ISOLATION

  • Focusing on the positive parts of their life 49%
  • Eating healthier 45%
  • Being more physically active 45%
  • Improving their mental health 44%
  • Losing weight 33%
  • Being more productive while working from home 27%

TOP STRUGGLES DURING SELF-ISOLATION

  • Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule 44%
  • Staying physically active 42%
  • Maintaining a consistent eating schedule 42%
  • Maintaining a positive attitude 41%
  • Staying motivated while working from home 34%
  • Eating healthy 33%

Asserting control over your life and taking charge is key to overcoming anxieties and fear sparked by the uncertainty of the pandemic. Taking the first step is daunting but here’s my advice on ways to help you stay active, recover faster and eat healthier (Christmas-aside) in the weeks ahead.

To get fit, improving endurance or stamina is key, and tracking nutrition and fitness is vital in this, achieved via a device or phone application that can accurately measure. I would suggest Garmin, adored by triathletes around the world, as it tends to be the most accurate. You will be able to track how much you burn for each activity, from cardio and strength to balance sports like snowboarding or wakesurfing.

To track your calorie consumption, the MyFitnessPal App by Under Armour is very user-friendly. It’s able to track almost any food type, from a fillet of chicken to specific dishes like Ma Po tofu. You don’t need to use these devices or Apps forever but it’s helpful to be able to estimate the nutritional value of certain foods. It’s important to note that everyone has a different calorie count per day, varying with gender, age, hormones, or weight. It is best to consult a personal trainer or nutritionist to decipher.

Adequate cardio is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It helps strengthen the immune system which is important during these uncertain times. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, per week, or a combination of both.

Why is aerobic exercise important to you? It prompts faster and deeper breathing, thus maximising the amount of O2 in our blood, causing the heart to beat faster and spurring blood flow to the lungs and muscles. It also carries waste products, such as CO2 and lactic acid, through the capillaries.

My usual routine is to run 25-30 km per week. I usually run a combination of 10km, 8km and 5-6 km depending on how I feel that day. I particularly enjoy the runner’s buzz which is not a myth but a tangible by-product of running. More than 40 years ago, researchers discovered that the brain produces its own mood-elevating chemicals. These chemicals, known as endorphins, act in a similar way that morphine does. Endorphins are the naturally-occurring drugs that lead to a runner’s high – they are what makes you feel good.

Hong Kong winters are a great time to start running as it’s less humid. “As humidity increases, thermal strain and premature fatigue increase exponentially, and so running at your normal pace will feel very difficult,” says George Chiampas, D.O., the medical director of the Chicago Marathon. Feeling sluggish on a humid day does not indicate a lack of fitness but is the natural response of your body to a stressful environment. Regardless of age, weight or athletic ability, aerobic activity is good for you and, as your body adapts to regular exercise, you will get stronger and fitter. Sweating is good for the heart and soul. If running seems too strenuous, and you are a beginner at working out, try brisk walking also known as power walking.

STRENGTH TRAINING

Having more muscle increases metabolism and strengthens muscle, bones and connective tissue, which means you will be less prone to injuries, and it can even improve sleep. My usual routine includes strength training for around 30 minutes 3-4 times a week.

Quit synthetic sugar and also note hidden sugars – “sucrose,” “fructose,” “glucose” – in sauces, dressings and drinks. Sugar in its natural form, in fruits and honey, for instance, is good for you and can be consumed in moderation. The fibre in fruits, when eaten whole, also helps with digestion while berries are an excellent, nutritious choice for stopping sugar cravings – they taste sweet, but their high fibre content means they are actually quite low in sugar.

Stick to lean meats – white poultry, lean beef or pork loins – for a good source of protein. Poultry is a good source of selenium, vitamins B3 and B6, and choline. Other lean proteins include white-flesh fish, plant-based protein, low fat yogurt, cottage cheese, and low fat milk.

Avoid inflammatory foods such as processed meats, fried foods and excessive alcohol. Anti-inflammatory foods include olive oil, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, nuts like almonds and walnuts, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines for Omega 3, and fruits like strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.

Eat good fats like half an avocado or a light salad dressing such as olive oil. Cutting out fat altogether can disrupt hormones for women and can cause changes in stress levels, emotions, digestion, immune system, sex drive, menstruation cycle and metabolism. Swap white rice or bread with whole grains, wild rice, or lentils which also contain antioxidants that repair cell and tissue damage. Choose healthy snacks for Netflix binges. I love Nut Thins rice crackers, fruits or kale chips.

SUPPLEMENTS

  • Fish Oil and CLA – combat inflammation and help to reduce body fat
  • Vitamin D and Vitamin K – two key supplements that work well together to improve recovery
  • Mutlivitmain – your insurance plan for health/recovery
  • Primrose Oil – a great source of fat and useful for offsetting some of the negative feelings you experience during menstruation
  • Magnesium – combats stress and improves sleep

Solid rest and relaxation is vital for optimal performance and taking a rest day or two is certainly necessary for the body. Part of a great recovery process is getting sufficient and good quality sleep. I used to sleep less and exercise more rigorously, trying to keep up with mileage per week and training harder than needed as I was anxious and impatient to improve my performance. Remember that your body is not a machine and it needs to rest.


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Here's how to make your evaluation and treatment smoother

Few things are as scary as having to go to the emergency room. Perhaps, walking down the aisle (kidding!)? In truth, the E.R. is there to either save your life or to help you feel better. The important thing is that you utilize emergency services when you need to, and not allow fear of having a bad experience dissuade you from going. Interesting fact: according to the most updated CDC website, in 2016, the mean wait time to see a medical provider was 24 minutes in less busy emergency rooms and 48 minutes in the busier ones. Expectedly, people with more concerning symptoms such as chest pain are seen quicker than those with the complaint of a stubbed toe (I really did think I had broken it).

For those of you who are off to the emergency room, here are some (hopefully) helpful tips for making your evaluation and treatment smoother. Of course, depending on your symptoms and on whether you are being brought to the emergency room by an ambulance, you may not have the time or capacity to follow these tips (it's difficult to pack an overnight bag when you are unconscious).

Bring Another Set of Eyes and Ears

Whether it be a friend, family member or a work colleague. Having someone there to help advocate for you (asking the charge nurse why you haven't been seen in six hours) and to also listen to what the nurses and doctors tell you is extremely helpful. Additionally, s/he can act as a liaison and keep your other friends and family members informed of how you are doing.

Be Prepared

This step can be done months earlier in anticipation. You should keep an updated list of your current medications along with dosages (including vitamins and herbal supplements) as well as a record of your medication allergies. A great place to store this information is under notes if you use a smartphone. Otherwise, the old-fashioned method of keeping these details on a piece of paper tucked away in your wallet will also suffice. Other particulars you should keep handy are your insurance information, your doctor's name and phone number, a brief summary of your medical history, such as previous diagnoses such as asthma or kidney problems, and a list of your prior surgeries. For those of you with a history of heart disease or who are presenting to the emergency room with chest pain, shortness of breath or dizziness, having a copy of your most recent electrocardiogram (EKG), which is an image of your heart's electrical activity and can signify signs of heart disease, can be extremely helpful. In fact, you should consider keeping a copy of your most recent EKG under pictures if you use a smartphone, or in your wallet, if you are a technophobe.

Try to Be as Nice and Understanding as You Can Be

Clearly, you are likely very nervous and not yourself, as being in pain and not feeling well can bring out the worst in us. However, it is important to remember that the professionals in the emergency room are likely working their hardest and have the best of intentions, and you are likely not their only patient. Try to envision how you would respond if you had to deal with your worst self (frankly, I would probably call security and have myself thrown out).


David Burke Helps Launch Line of Low-Calorie Dressings - Recipes

"Bacon is texture . texture, crunch, nuttiness, sandwiched layers of fat and meat . it's beautiful," says Ambarish Lulay, chef instructor for the Dining Room at Kendall College.

"Bacon is far more than a food," writes Joanna Pruess, author of the new cookbook "Seduced by Bacon" (The Lyons Press, $24.95). "Can it be a religion?"

Whether it's the lingering influence of the low-carb diet craze, the increasing availability of artisanal smoked meats or just happy chance, bacon is big. Preuss' book, which suggests popping corn in bacon fat and includes a recipe for brown sugar and bacon ice cream, is just the latest of the recent cookbooks showcasing the versatility of bacon.

Sara Perry helped drive the trend with her 2002 book, Everything Tastes Better With Bacon (Chronicle Books, $18.95), offering helpful tips and 70 bacon-flavored recipes for everything from soup to nuts. The 2003 Bacon Cookbook (CQ Products, $4.50), a pocket-sized guide, offers 101 different bacon-enhanced dishes.

According to the National Pork Board, the United States produces more than 2 billion pounds of bacon annually, making it the most popular pork product on the market. "Fifty-three percent of Americans always have bacon on hand," says Pork Board spokeswoman Pamela Johnson.

Its appeal goes far beyond breakfast. On food-discussion Web sites like eGullet.org and Chicago's LTHForum.com, gourmets are trading notes on curing their own bacon, making mayonnaise from bacon fat and roasting Thanksgiving turkeys wrapped in bacon. While the reliability of online cooking information can be hit or miss, a Web search turns up recipes for bacon cookies, chocolate-covered bacon, tempura bacon, spiced bacon and bacon butter. Googling on "bacon-wrapped" yielded 570,000 results.

"Wrapped in bacon is the new pink," proclaims Ed M., a contributor to Yelp.com.

Web logs devoted to bacon include The Bacontarian (bacontarian.com) Bacon Unwrapped (baconunwrapped.com) I♥Bacon (iheartbacon.com) and The Bacon Show (baconshow.blogspot.com), which posts a new bacon recipe every day.

Locally, chefs are finding all sorts of uses for the crispy, salty meat. "We throw bacon in everything," says Chef Paul Kahan at Blackbird in the West Loop. "It's kind of a crutch. If something doesn't taste good, we put bacon on it." Among other things, Kahan wraps trout in bacon and poaches rabbit in pancetta fat. Lulay likes to use it in one-bite appetizers. "A little bit will go a long way," he says. He also uses bacon fat to make vinaigrette and, for one of the autumn items on the Kendall Dining Room menu, braises smoked slab bacon with apples and apple cider until it takes on a rich, silky texture.

Chef Christophe David at NoMI in the Mag Mile's Park Hyatt hotel tops his artichoke soup with foamy bacon-and-Champagne espuma and then adds a garnish of crisp, paper-thin bacon. At The Stained Glass Wine Bar in Evanston, they wrap citrus- and celery-seed-rubbed pork tenderloin in bacon and serving it over grilled red onions, potato and celery-root puree and pomegranate jus. At The Signature Room on the 95th in John Hancock Center, Chef Mark Pivoney braises bacon with brussels sprouts.

At Fixture in Lincoln Park, Chef Sarah Nelson is serving a three-course fall Bacon and Beer menu featuring a frisee salad topped with aged Cheddar, quail egg and lardons of boar bacon (the remaining two courses use other parts of the pig). Over at David Burke's Primehouse on Rush Street, Chef Jason Miller makes maple-bacon satay, lacing bacon on skewers and coating it with maple syrup and black pepper.

Bacon crosses all ethnic borders. Chef Douglas Rodriguez at DeLaCosta in River East Plaza serves a warm, bacon wrapped banana with prawns and coconut-braised chicken in a Brazilian-influenced dish called xim-xim. At Edelweiss in Norridge, they dice bacon into the German fries.

Chefs Mark Chmielewski and Hiroshi Takaishi at River North's Blue Water Grill are making bacon sushi: For their salmon tataki and applewood bacon maki, the chefs roll bacon and cured salmon around rice filled with avocado, pineapple and basil, then sear it with a torch to crisp the bacon.

"Hiroshi's very traditional with his sushi," Chmielewski said, "but when we get an idea like this, we run with it."

Restaurants like Blackbird, Custom House in the South Loop and Parlor in Wicker Park are curing and smoking their own bacon. "For some customers who are regulars, we've served the bacon with our brownies," says Parlor's chef, Tim Small.

Although bacon is less fattening than you may think. According to the National Pork Board, two slices of regular cooked bacon contain 73 calories and 6 grams of fat. In comparison, two slices of a leading brand of turkey bacon contains 70 calories and 6 grams of fat.

What about nitrites? Should you be concerned? "No," the Pork Board's Johnson says flatly.

The salt sodium nitrite, which occurs naturally in vegetables like spinach and celery, has been used along with sodium chloride (table salt) in curing bacon for centuries. Nitrite helps the salt penetrate evenly throughout the raw pork and prevents the formation of toxic botulinum spores and malonaldehyde. It also contributes to bacon's characteristic color and flavor. Nitrite-free bacon tends to be bland.

Marketing of such bacons plays on concerns over nitrosamines, which in large quantities have caused cancer in animal tests. Nitrosamines can form when nitrites combine with chemicals found naturally in some foods and in the stomach.

However, after three decades of review of studies about sodium nitrite in cured meats, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have concluded that nitrite is a safe ingredient and not associated with cancer in humans at the levels permitted &mdash which are no more than 200 parts per million of sodium nitrite in the finished product.

You can find bacon smoked with applewood, hickory, juniper, alderwood, maple, mesquite and corn cobs, and flavored with cinnamon, pepper, garlic, paprika, soy sauce and more. At Paulina Market, 3501 N. Lincoln, they make a double-smoked bacon. The Grateful Palate, an Oxnard, Calif., company, offers a Bacon of the Month Club that will deliver a different artisan-made bacon to your door every month for $140 plus shipping per year (888-472-5283, www.gratefulpalate.com).

The best artisanal bacons are dry-cured, rubbed with a mixture of salt and sugar or spices, and dried before smoking. Most supermarket bacon is cured in a liquid brine or injected with a saline solution. Cheap bacon, pumped up with fluid, exhibits the most shrinkage in cooking.

When shopping, look for bacon with an equal ratio of meat and fat streaks. Bacon with strips of lean meat distributed throughout tends to cook crisply, while bacon with the same amount of lean concentrated in larger sections will be chewier. Thinly sliced bacon will cook to crunchiness, while thick slices provide a meatier chew.

For best results, store bacon in vacuum-sealed packages in the coldest part of the refrigerator till the "use by" date on the package. Once opened, use within a week. Uncooked bacon can also be frozen for up to two months.

Let bacon come to room temperature bacon before separating the slices to prevent them from tearing. If you can't wait, insert a thin-bladed spatula to help pry the slices apart. (If you're going to cook a whole pound, you also can warm it in the microwave in three pulses of 20 seconds each, rotating each time.)

Bacon lends itself to myriad cooking methods. We've heard of grilling it on the barbecue, sandwiching it in one of those clamshell grills, dropping it in a deep fryer and cooking it with an electric clothes iron, but we've achieved good results with these methods:

Pan-frying: Lay strips of bacon flat in a single layer in a heavy, cold skillet or on a griddle. Cook over low to medium-low heat, turning once or twice, for 10 to 15 minutes, until it achieves the desired crispness. Fry at low temperatures for the least shrinkage and spattering.

More frequent turning, or a heavy metal bacon press can help keep it flat. Tongs make flipping the bacon easy. Drain on paper towels.

Baking: A great method of preparing bacon for a crowd. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay strips of bacon in a single layer in a rimmed jelly-roll pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crisp. Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels. For less crisp bacon, cook on a rack.

Microwaving: Our favorite method for fast, no-muss, no-fuss cooking of small amounts of bacon. Line a heavy-duty paper plate with several layers of paper towels. Lay strips of bacon on the paper in a single layer. Place another sheet of towel on top. Microwave on high about 1 minute per slice. Remove the bacon promptly or it may stick to the paper.

If you fry or bake bacon, strain the rendered bacon fat into a covered container and refrigerate. It will keep indefinitely in the fridge, ready to flavor all sorts of dishes. A little bacon fat is ideal for cooking eggs (of course), but also potatoes, vegetables and even chicken and fish. It also can be used in dressings and sauces.

Leah A. Zeldes is a local freelance writer.

MAKES 12 HORS D'OEUVRES

6 slices thin-sliced bacon

12 slices Canadian bacon (about 1/2 pound)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Stir together the chutney and mustard. Set aside.

Lay the bacon on paper towels on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with another towel and microwave on high 2 minutes, or until translucent. Cut in half crosswise.

Roll the Canadian bacon slices into tight cylinders. Wrap each in a half slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.

Place on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp. Drain on paper towels. Brush generously with the mango mustard and serve hot.

Nutrition facts per serving: 62 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 11 mg cholesterol, 5 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein, 381 mg sodium, 0 g fiber

2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

4 tablespoons maple syrup

3 slices bacon, diced small

1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced small

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

In a medium skillet over high heat, saute the corn with the maple syrup until golden brown and caramelized. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until crisp. Add the onion and cook until the onion is clear. Return the corn to the pan and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat, add sage and salt and pepper to taste.

Note: Serve this with chicken or pork. For zestier flavor, add a chopped chili pepper with the onion.

Nutrition facts per serving: 163 calories, 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 33 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 68 mg sodium, 2 g fiber

From The National Pork Board

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) chopped pecans

1/3 to 1/2 cup cooked bacon bits (6 to 8 ounces uncooked bacon)

Grease or butter a large nonstick baking sheet.

In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a boil. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan, increase the heat to high, and cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 290 degrees. Immediately remove from the heat.

Stir in the butter, vanilla, baking soda, pecans and bacon bits. Watch out, the mixture will foam. When the foam subsides, pour the hot mixture onto the prepared baking sheet as thinly as possible. Do not use a spatula.

Cool at least 10 minutes before breaking into pieces. Store in a covered container.

Nutrition facts per serving: 233 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 41 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 327 mg sodium, 0 g fiber

From "Everything Tastes Better With Bacon"

BACON: In America, this means cured, smoked pork belly, typically cut in strips. However, any cured meat from the sides, back and jowls of the pig can be called "bacon."

BACON BITS: Crumbled cooked bacon. The term is also used for bacon-flavored soy protein pieces.

BACK BACON: Cured, smoked pork loin.

BEEF BACON: A baconlike product made from cured and smoked beef plate, a near substitute that can be religiously correct for Jews or Muslims.

CANADIAN BACON: United States term for cured, smoked, fully cooked meat from the eye of the pork loin, typically sliced in rounds, which is called "smoked back bacon" in Canada.

CHICHARRON: Snack made from twice-fried pork skin, a Mexican specialty.

COTTAGE BACON: Cured shoulder of pork, thinly sliced in ovals.

COUNTRY-STYLE BACON: Thick-sliced bacon.

FATBACK: A slab of fresh fat from a pig's back.

FRESH BACON: Uncured pork belly.

GAMMON: British term for the cured back leg and hindquarters of a hog.

GUANCIALE: Unsmoked Italian-style jowl bacon.

GYPSY BACON: Cured, roasted pork belly seasoned with paprika, a Hungarian specialty.

HAM: Cured pork thigh.

IRISH BACON: Cured, smoked pork loin. It differs from Canadian bacon in that it includes a tail of fatty meat. English bacon is similar, with a somewhat different cure and cut.

JOWL BACON: Cured meat from the cheeks and jowls of hogs.

LARDO: Seasoned, cured, aged fatback, an Italian specialty. If smoked, it's called lardone.

LARDONS: Small oblongs cut from slab of bacon, used for seasoning, garnishes.

LOP YUK: Pork belly cured in shaoxing wine and soy sauce and air-dried, a Chinese specialty.

PANCETTA: Cured but unsmoked pork belly, an Italian specialty.

PEAMEAL BACON: Canadian back bacon, sweet-pickled, unsmoked and traditionally rolled in ground yellow peas but now usually in cornmeal.

PORK BELLY: Fatty, boneless side portion of the hog (after removal of the loin, fatback and spareribs).

PROSCIUTTO: Dry-cured Italian ham.

SALT PORK: Salt-cured, unsmoked pork-belly fat.

SIDE BACON: American bacon.

SLAB BACON: Unsliced bacon, typically still attached to the rind.

SPECK: Pork leg cured with herbs and spices, air-dried and lightly smoked, a specialty of the Italian Alps.

STREAKY BACON: British term for American-style bacon.

TURKEY BACON: Smoked turkey made to resemble bacon, but tasting little like it.

VEGETARIAN BACON: Made from soy protein, it tastes like smoked plastic.

At the Blue Water Grill they're wrapping sushi in bacon. Which only goes to show, bacon can be wrapped around just about anything.

While cooking times will vary with the food being wrapped, this all-purpose recipe will work for many bacon-wrapped cocktail nibbles: Parcook the bacon till translucent let cool and cut in half or thirds crosswise. Wrap around the food of your choice and cook in a preheated 450-degree oven till the bacon is crispy, about 10 minutes.

For foods that take longer to cook, start with raw bacon and/or parcook the filling.

So next time you're looking for a quick bacon wrap, consider putting it around anything from artichoke hearts, cheese, figs, mini sausages, pineapple chunks or scallops.

From noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 5, the historic farm at Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary, 1111 E. Schaumburg Road, Schaum-burg, will offer a special program, "From Hog House to Smokehouse," a demonstration of the whole process of breaking down a hog into bacon, ham, sausage and other products, just as they did to preserve meat for winter in the 1880s.

"Pork was a big part of the German-American diet," says the sanctuary's Dave Brooks. "It's a realistic portrayal of how food was put on the table." Every part of the animal would have been used.

"Nothing was wasted," Brooks says. The demo will use a pig raised on the farm. The prepared products will be used in cooking demonstrations later in the year.


Influential Others

Gums develop networks depending on the length (molecular weight) of their polymer chains. For viscosifying or thickening agents, adjacent chains join together via hydrogen bonding, whereas gelling agents rely on cations to crosslink chains into a network.

Protecting chain integrity from acid hydrolysis is critical in maintaining functionality over time. Therefore, the pH of a product application has direct bearing on gum selection, particularly for thickening. Some gelling agents susceptible to acid hydrolysis prior to gelation possess enhanced resilience after network formation. The three-dimensional molecular structure of some gums confers resilience (e.g., xanthan gum, gellan gum).

Low-pH conditions help to facilitate gelation for some gelling agents (e.g., high methoxyl pectin, gellan gum). Manipulating a product's pH is a useful tool in controlling the release of cations in systems for gelling polysaccharides that rely on ionic crosslinking of polymer chains.

Solids level. Sugars or low molecular weight carbohydrates bind water strongly enough to control water activity. Sugars compete for available moisture, making gum hydration difficult they should be added after the gum is hydrated (though some sugar or corn syrup can be used for dispersion). In high solids environments, heat facilitates hydration. For gelling hydrocolloids, high solids typically raise the set temperature.

Other polysaccharides. Systems composed of more than one gum capitalize on unique hybrid textures from more than one gelling agent, synergies that result in thickening efficiency, or hybrid rheologies and textures with sensory and processing advantages.

The use of multiple gums offers a range of suitable solutions. The best gum decision may be the choice of a service-oriented supplier truly focused on offering solutions.


Multiple Choice Quiz

Take the quiz test your understanding of the key concepts covered in the chapter. Try testing yourself before you read the chapter to see where your strengths and weaknesses are, then test yourself again once you’ve read the chapter to see how well you’ve understood.

1. Most exported consumer products are adapted in some way to suit the needs of people in different countries. True or false?

2. Any USPs that today’s products have are most likely to be derived from additional services or from brand values than from physical product features. True or false?

3. Packaging is an important part of brand equity. True or false?

4. A line extension is usually a higher risk strategy than a brand extension. True or false?

5. Regular customers are loyal customers. True or false?

6. The Parker pen company make good quality pens and pencils. Their ballpoint pens come in various styles and with different coloured ink. Which ring of the total product offering model does the coloured ink fit into?

  1. core benefit
  2. core product
  3. basic product
  4. augmented product
  5. perceived product

7. Which of the following is a truly global (i.e. standardised) product?

  1. Coca-Cola
  2. Big Mac
  3. chicken tikka
  4. all of the above
  5. none of the above

8. Gerry is the product manager for a fruit drink. Competition is building and so his strategy is to encourage existing customers to become more regular purchasers and to build brand loyalty. He is introducing different flavours, different sized bottles and low calorie options. He is trying hard to keep the price down and this has helped him to find more distribution outlets for his product. It sounds like this drink is at what stage of the product life cycle?

  1. the value of the brand
  2. the brand’s values
  3. the shareholders’ perception of the brand
  4. relative brand image
  5. the brand’s market share

10. Speedy Sports manufacture athletics equipment and, until recently, sold only to wholesalers and export agents who sold the goods on. Now they have a website and can sell directly to consumers. In addition, several major retailers have approached them with orders. Consumers will be able to buy from retailers or from Speedy Sports Direct. Retailers will be able to buy from wholesalers, agents or the manufacturer. Some of the wholesalers are considering setting up their own direct sales operations. What is this an example of?

  1. supply chain management
  2. channel conflict
  3. distribution channel design
  4. a zero-level channel
  5. logistics

11. What is a ‘branded house’?

  1. a department store
  2. a company that sells multiple brands
  3. an alternative name for corporate branding
  4. a single master brand which spans a set of sub-brands
  5. a company that owns multiple individual and competing brands

d. a single master brand which spans a set of sub-brands

12. Why do many advertisements contain a pack shot?

  1. It is to help customers to recognise the packaging and remember the message of the advert.
  2. It is a legal requirement.
  3. It is a requirement of the advertising code of practice.
  4. It ensures customers will remember the advert and what product it was for.
  5. It is because packaging represents a major investment and should therefore be shown off at every opportunity.

a. It is to help customers to recognise the packaging and remember the message of the advert.

13. What is pattern advertising?

  1. adverts for designer clothes
  2. adverts that do not show the product being advertised
  3. a sequence of adverts that tell a story
  4. abstract advertising designed to get around the advertising code of practice
  5. adverts that look similar but use different images and slogans for different audiences

14. What type of brand is Tesco Cola?

  1. copycat brand
  2. own label brand
  3. public limited brand
  4. umbrella brand
  5. individual brand

15. Why did the makers of the cleaning product Jif change its name to Cif?

  1. It was done as part of an international standardisation strategy.
  2. They were sued by the makers of Jif lemon juice.
  3. It was done because ‘cif’ means ‘clean’ in a number of languages.
  4. It was done as part of their product portfolio management – they had too many similar products.
  5. It was a printing error.

a. It was done as part of an international standardisation strategy.

16. Who tried, unsuccessfully, to re-brand themselves as Consignia?

  1. British Telecom
  2. Mercury
  3. Royal Mail
  4. Virgin Media
  5. The Home Delivery Network

17. Which of the following is part of a brand’s identity?

18. Sony laptops have a sticker on them which says ‘Intel inside’. This is an example of what?

  1. corporate branding
  2. dual branding
  3. piggyback branding
  4. multibranding
  5. co-branding

19. Little Piggy is a brand of upmarket sausages sold through independent groceries and butchers. The marketing team want to build on the brand’s success by broadening their product portfolio. They plan to start with Little Piggy pies. What kind of branding strategy is this?

  1. line extension
  2. range extension
  3. multibranding
  4. brand extension
  5. brand stretch

20. Which of the following is a range brand?

21. During the product’s growth stage, organisations should be focusing on building brand ______ and encouraging repeat purchases.

22. A global brand is unlikely to have a completely standardised marketing mix but it will have the same brand ______ all over the world and this will be expressed through a brand identity that is standardised as far as possible.

23. The marketing mix will be more effective if it is ______ (i.e. each element fits with the others so that there are no contradictory signals).

24. Organisations with trading partners or customers overseas have to agree on a ______ in which to price contracts.

25. Packaging is sometimes referred to as the silent ______ because of its marketing communications role.