Film & Foodie Review: Rejoice and Shout

The Film: Rejoice and Shout is a documentary exposing centuries of the evolution of African American Gospel music. With commentary from musical legends such as Smokey Robinson, Andrae Crouch and more, a documentary which took years into making finally comes to life.  READ MORE

What in the world is Ghee?

Dosa (rice pancake) with a cup of ghee (clarified butter) at Mavalli Tiffin Room in Bangalore. (Wikimedia)

What in the world is ghee? Perhaps, you’ve heard about it in passing but never took the time to find out. Well, just sit back and  let MCCN give you a few facts on the subject.  Ghee is a form of clarified butter originally from South Asia used in Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepali and Pakistani cuisines. It is made by simmering unsalted butter in a cooking vessel until all the water has boiled off, the milk solids (milk proteins) have settled to the bottom, and a froth has floated on top.

The foamy and watery froth is then removed and the clarified butter is spooned out as not to disturb the milk solids that have settled on the bottom. Chefs often use the clarified butter because it does not burn down. Refrigeration is not required as long as as it is kept in an air tight container. It must be kept dry…so even dipping a wet spoon in ghee can cause oxidation.

What foods are cooked with ghee? Well, it is a staple in the Indian culture when cooking rice and biryani dishes. Naan and roti are also brushed with ghee, and  the clarified butter is also used in making many desserts. If you think that South Asia has a lock on ghee, you are mistaken. Other countries which use their own form of ghee include Egypt, which has a very similar process; Ethiopia, also uses a similar process except spices are added during the process that result in a distinctive taste, and Brazil uses an unrefrigerated butter very similar to ghee  called manteiga-de-garrafa (butter-in-a-bottle) or manteiga-da-terra (butter of the land). Morocco has a very unique process in making their clarified butter, aging spiced ghee in the ground for months or even years, resulting in a product called smen.

Ghee is very high in Vitamin A and Vitamin D content. It can be supportive for eye and bone health and helps the absorption of not only vitamins and minerals but also phytonutrients. The downside to ghee is it  contains a approximately 14 grams of fat per tablespoon, so moderation is the key when using as ingredient or using directly on your food.

The Benefits of Ghee

1.  Ghee stimulates the digestion (Agni) better than any other oil.

2.  Ghee has a high smoking point and is excellent for frying unlike vegetable oils

3.  Ghee increases the medicinal properties of spices when spices are sautéed in ghee

4.  Ghee is said to be more alkaline than other oils and resulting in a smoother skin tone and makes one look younger

5. One needs less ghee (half or two-thirds) as compared to oil to achieve the same goals.

6  Ghee balances both Vata (the Ayurvedic mind/body operator that controls movement in mind and body) and Pitta (the operator that controls heat and metabolism).

7.  Like aloe, ghee is said to prevent blisters and scarring if applied quickly to affected skin.

8. A high concentration of butyric acid, a fatty acid that contains anti-viral properties, is believed to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors.

Information obtained from: Wikipedia, Associated Content and Indian Foods Co.

Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade

 

 

On Sunday June 12th New Yorkers will celebrate the Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.  The theme is “Celebrating the Natural Beauty of Puerto Rico.”

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) takes place annually along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, on the second Sunday in June, in honor of the nearly 4 million inhabitants of Puerto Rico and nearly 4 million people of Puerto Rican birth or heritage residing in the United States.

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Film and Foodie Pick: Kings of Pastry

Kings of Pastry is a truly thrilling and informative look at the somewhat secretive and incestuous world of French patisserie – specifically, the pastry- and candy-making portion of the quadrennial Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) competition among craftsmen in various disciplines. Acclaimed filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus (Don’t Look Back, The War Room) follow three competitors as they prepare and compete in this high-pressure contest whose winners will forever hold the highest distinction in their field.   READ MORE

MCCN Interviews Tatyana Ali

Photo: Contactmusic.com

The actress/singer most famous for appearing as Ashley Banks in the Television series, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, was born to a father of East Indian ancestry from Trinidad and Tobago named Sheriff Ali. Her mother, Sonia is of Afro-Panamanian heritage.  In an interview with MCCN the actress talks about her “Trini” and Panamian roots.   She also talks about the foods of the culture. READ MORE

Indian Egg Bread Recipe

Photo by MultiCultualCookingNetwork.com

What is the concept of French toast but not? Indian Egg Bread.  It is similar but minus the sweet flavor.  Think savory.  While staying at a friend of mine’s home a British woman of Indian descent, her older son offered me his stab at Egg Bread.  Below is a recipe from Spark Recipes.  Click on their website for nutritional facts.  If you are conservative with flavors then go with merely egg, salt & pepper. 

Jari’s Indian Egg Bread Recipe

Ingredients

1 Egg White
1 Egg, large
2 tbsp Chili powder
Salt to taste
Pepper, black, 1 dash
2 slices Whole wheat bread
Scallions (spring onions) optional
1 green chili

Directions
Beat egg until light and fluffy. Stir into the egg mix onions, chilli powder, salt, black pepper , green chili and Scallions. Dip bread into the mixture until the egg covers it and it is well saturated

Heat a non-stick frying pan. Place bread in the pan cook until golden brown.

I sometimes make a sandwich, buy placing cheese between the bread.

Review of Don Francisco’s Coffee Flavors

Photo by Multiculturalcookingnetwork.com

The folks of Don Francisco provided MCCN with a wide variety of their flavors of Coffee.  Here is my review.  I try to offer insight on the experience of trying it black and then with cream in most cases. 

  • Hawaiian Blend-  If you drink you coffee black, the roasted flavor is prominent to the degree that it comes across over roasted.  Add cream to the coffee and experience rich flavor with complex notes.   
  • Kona– This flavor has more of a well balanced roasted flavor.  Easy to drink black.  Nutty notes come through with cream added. 

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Hungry For More Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender has a growing track record of deliciously great roles.   Whether it is his magnificent portrayal as the tormented Magneto in X-Men First Class or dramas like Jane Eyre.  Audiences find themselves hungry for more of this actor.

The actor Michael Fassbender was born in Heidelberg, Germany. He is of German and Irish parentage. His father is from Germany and his mother is from Northern Ireland. Michael was raised in the town of Killarney, Co. Kerry, in south west Ireland.

A few years ago, Fassbender starred in Hunger.  The film follows life in the Maze Prison, Northern Ireland with an interpretation of the highly emotive events surrounding the 1981 IRA Hunger Strike, led by Bobby Sands. IMDB– On his preparation for Hunger, Fassbenders says,  “I felt really focused, really centred, really strong. Hungry all the time, obviously.We live in this society where nowadays if I want something, I take it, I eat it – it’s so easy and readily available. ” He goes on to say, “When you take all that away, you actually become more appreciative of the things around you. I don’t want to do it again, but there is a level where it humbles you in a good way.”

Learn more about X-Men Co-star and ex- Girlfriend Zoe Kravitz(Angel Salvadore)

Nicole Beharie is Fassbender’s new squeeze.

Chef Kate’s Salmon Brown Rice Salad Recipe

Brown riceChef Kate Ferrara Homes of Carried Away Catering has away of making healthy lifestyle selections delectable. Kate says, “this recipe is inspired by the chopped salmon salad at Tavern on Main in Westport , CT, one of my favorite lunch spots.” 

Ingredients

  • ¾ c long grain brown rice
  • 1.5 c water
  • 1T olive oil
  • ½ t salt
  • 1, 1lb salmon filet.  Cooked and cooled (I prefer slow poached but baking or steaming is fine)
  • 1 c. sweet grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 persian cucumbers or 1 regular – deseeded and diced
  • 1T chopped parsley
  • 1.5 T capers- chopped
  • 2 c baby spinach- rough chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2T olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

 

Method

In a small saucepot over med, heat the 1 T olive oil.  Stir in the rice, toast until fragrant, then add the water.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer.  Cook 40 min or until done. Cool.

 

While the rice is cooking, poach the salmon.  Bring a large pot of water up  to just below a simmer.  Remove any pin bones from salmon, season with salt, pepper and olive oil and wrap in two layers of plastic wrap, trying to cover the seams (unless you have a vacuum sealer, in that case, seal it up!) Poach, submerged in the water 15-25 min.  Check to make sure its done, remove the skin and let cool.

Combine rice with the tomatoes, cucumber, parsley and capers.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add lemon juice and olive oil and stir in spinach.  Break up the salmon into chunks and gently incorporate into salad as not to make the pieces too small.  Serve!

 

Notes

When corn is in season and super sweet, I’ll add an ear to this salad, sliced raw right off the cob!

How to Plan a Father’s Day Menu & Gift Ideas

Our Dads mean the world to us and we want to show them just as much love on Father’s Day as we show our Moms on Mother’s Day but I feel that men are a lot more expensive than women are.  So I had to think quickly and do some research to plan a fulfilling Father’s Day on a budget.   This article will feature some great tips for that very special day that we share with our Dad. Also a spicy Barbecue Menu that will bring the man of the house to his knees and tips on a cake that will show your Dad how much the special moments mean to you. SEE GIFT IDEA & RECIPES

by Event Specialist, Artraya Daniels