shade market cooking

Shade Market Cooking: Condiments Part 1

Shade Market Cooking: Condiments Part 1

When I sit down at a restaurant, whether it's fine dining or a diner, I want a bottle of hot sauce close to me.  In Thailand, they feel my struggle.  Places that serve great food and those that serve up mediocrity will almost always have condiments set at each table. It is actually a sign of a quality restaurant if their table side seasonings look fresh and abundant.  Our favorite spot for Khao Ka Muu, braised pork shank over rice, is a great example. The traditional garnishes of raw whole chiles, raw whole garlic cloves and scallions are usually crisp and unblemished.  The same can't be said for their competition.

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Shade Market Cooking: Fresh Tofu

Shade Market Cooking: Fresh Tofu

For years I completely ignored tofu.  It just never excited me.  In my eyes, it was white-ish, bland soy mush.  How ignorant of me!  But, in all fairness, we are not taught to appreciate tofu in the States.  As we mention in our post on soy milk, the mass produced "tofu" that's common in the United States is not real tofu.  It's just soy protein concentrate pressed into a cake.  Real tofu is a whole soy product, including most of the fiber and healthy fats in the soy bean.  Real tofu isn't bland.  It has a slightly sour flavor from the vinegar used to curdle the soy milk.  Real tofu has a vegetal taste from the skin of the legume.  It has a toothsome quality akin to queso fresco or haloumi.  Tofu's porous nature allows it to soak up sauces and flavorful oils. I will continue to ignore the mass produced soy-food that is found in supermarkets, instead opting for fresh tofu at asian markets.  Or, better yet, home-made tofu.

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The Breakdown: Antioxidants

The Breakdown: Antioxidants

It seems that television news broadcasts are constantly advertising a new antioxidant-rich "superfood".  They tout the cancer prevention values of antioxidants as if it's a miracle.  It's no wonder that cancer prevention is a hot topic in the news. About 25% of deaths in the United States are caused by various forms of cancer.  But for all of the talk about antioxidants, I for one, was clueless about what they actually do. What are antioxidants?  How do they help prevent cancer?

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Shade Market Cooking: Soy Milk

Shade Market Cooking: Soy Milk

Whole soybeans are extremely nutritious; one cooked cup contains 43% of daily omega-3 fatty acids, 49% of iron, 41% of fiber, and 57% of protein as well as a host of other beneficial nutrients.  For all of that nutrition, one cup of cooked soy only contains about 15% of daily calories.  For vegetarians, whole soybean consumption is a must, but they can also be a great source of protein and nutrients for meat eaters.  Soy is not a meat alternative, it's a delicious legume all its own. Whole soy products include: tofu, soy milk, and fermented soybean products such as miso and tempeh.

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Shade Market Cooking: Pickle Brine

Shade Market Cooking: Pickle Brine

So often we buy vegetables with a plan on cooking them, and so often they rot in our fridge.  An estimated 28% of vegetables that are purchased are thrown in the garbage by the consumer.  Besides being a sad thing, waste has larger repercussions.  Wasting food also wastes all of the money, effort and time that go into getting produce from the farms to our tables.  Having some pickle brine handy can help reduce waste at home. 

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Shade Market Cooking: Hard Boiled Eggs

Chicken eggs are a low calorie, nutrient dense food.  One large, boiled egg contains only 78 calories while providing a great source of complex protein, omega-3 fatty acids, choline and iodine, as well as a variety of B vitamins.  Without getting too scientific, all of these nutrients are necessary to our bodies' proper functioning, and some are hard to find in such high levels in other foods.  Eggs are also high in cholesterol, which has at times been seen as cause for alarm.  However, the cholesterol found in eggs is called HDL and is considered the healthy type of cholesterol.  There is no evidence to show that, in an otherwise healthy diet, eggs pose a threat to cardiovascular health. 

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Shade Market Cooking: Seasoning

Shade Market Cooking: Seasoning

We all want to reduce our risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes by eating healthier. But, we didn't fall in love with food because of its health qualities. We fell in love with the taste. This is why seasoning is so important to us here at Shade Market.  In its most basic sense, seasoning is the application of salt to our food, which accentuates the natural flavor and aroma. Salt is also an essential nutrient.  For these reasons, salt is the only ingredient that appears in virtually all recipes since the beginning of time. With salt as the foundation of seasoning, a well-seasoned dish is one that attains a balanced flavor. 

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Shade Market Cooking: Stewed Lentils

Shade Market Cooking: Stewed Lentils

 Whether you are looking to develop a more healthy way of eating or are a strict vegetarian or vegan, if lentils are not a mainstay of your pantry they should be. Just one cup of cooked lentils contains 63% daily intake of fiber, 36% daily intake of protein as well as being a good source of several different minerals and B vitamins. Combine this with the fact that lentils contain virtually no fat and you have a food that gives you tons of energy and fills you up without weighing you down. Lentils are eaten around the world as a side dish for meats and fish, in salads, in soups and more. Here is a recipe for basic stewed lentils.

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