Hamilton Herald Masthead Hamilton Herald


Front Page - Friday, June 3, 2016

Food column medley

Kay's Cooking Corner

Kay Bona

This column was originally published in the Hamilton County Herald on June 5, 2015.

This week, I decided to write about a little of this and a little of that. You know, tips on foods, a little trivia, etc. Maybe you’ll learn something you didn’t know. And the recipe is super healthy, tasty, and fast!

Are vacuum sealers

really worth having?

Meat, fish, and other perishables stored in your fridge don’t have a long shelf life the way they’re packaged. Vacuum-sealing helps keeps flavor in and bacteria out, so food can be stored up to five to six times longer. (It saves money, too!)

For example, fish generally lasts four months in the freezer, but once vacuum-sealed, it will last two years. Meat will typically stay good for five months, but it will last up to three years when vacuum sealed.

Vacuum sealing works on foods kept in the fridge as well. Lettuce, when it’s sealed, can last for two to three weeks, and cheese can last for up to eight months.

Are you getting enough iron

in your diet?

Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin, a protein that allows red blood cells to carry oxygen to every part of your body.

Dietary iron is found in both plant and animal-based foods. In fact, these 13 foods are all excellent choices for boosting your iron intake:

Oysters: A serving of six raw oysters has almost 4 milligrams of iron.

White beans: One half-cup serving has more than 3 milligrams iron.

Beef liver: One slice of liver has more than 4 milligrams of iron.

 Lentils: Half of a cup has more than 3 milligrams of iron.

Dark chocolate: A serving of dark chocolate (45-59 percent cacao solids) has almost 3.5 milligrams of iron.

Canned tuna: One six ounce can of tuna has over 2.5 milligrams of iron.

Chickpeas (aka Garbanzo beans): Half of a cup of chickpeas has almost 2.5 milligrams of iron.

Tomato juice: One cup of tomato juice has one milligram of iron.

Potatoes: One large baked potato with the skin has more than 3 milligrams of iron.

Cashews: One ounce has close to 2 milligrams of iron, making cashews a perfect iron-rich snack.

Spinach: One cup of cooked spinach has 6.5 milligrams of iron.

Raisins: One little box (about one-third of a cup) has almost one milligram of iron, which isn’t bad for a mid-afternoon snack.

Beef: One six-ounce tenderloin steak has more than 3 milligrams of iron.

Food bans you may not

know about:

U.S. import laws are the reason you can’t get Mirabelle plums in the States. They’re only grown in the Lorraine region of France.

In Wisconsin, it’s illegal to serve margarine in state institutions like schools, prisons, and hospitals.

A 1938 FDA act prohibiting the distribution of food items “containing imbedded, non-nutritive objects” is why Kinder Egg Surprise is illegal in the U.S. The toys that come inside Europe’s (and the world’s) favorite chocolate egg remains banned because it poses a choking risk to children.

The sale or possession of shark fins is banned in nine states (Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, California, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, New York, and Massachusetts), making shark fin soup illegal in those states. Similar bills have been introduced in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Nebraska. Such measures are meant to conserve shark populations.

There has been a federal import ban on traditional Scottish Haggis since 1971. The reason is that the U.S. prohibits foods containing sheep lungs, a key ingredient in the sausage that also features sheep liver and heart, and various spices, packed into a sheep’s stomach and boiled.

The sale of raw milk is prohibited in some states. Unpasteurized milk (aka raw milk) can come from cows, sheep, or goats. As it hasn’t been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria, this product may contain salmonella, E. coli, or listeria. Its sale is fully prohibited in some states.

The best bedtime snacks consist of foods containing tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps the body make serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that aids in the sleep process. For the best bedtime snack, try combining a food containing tryptophan with a carbohydrate that will help the tryptophan to function more efficiently. A healthy bedtime snack includes complex carbohydrates, some protein, and a bit of calcium for good measure. Foods might include:

– Low fat milk or cheese

– Seafood, meat, or poultry

– Whole grains, such as a bowl of cereal with skim milk

– Scrambled eggs

– A peanut butter sandwich

– Yogurt with granola sprinkled on top

– A sliced apple with one ounce of cheese

Spinach Salad with

Pineapple and Tuna

For the vinaigrette:

1/8 cup orange juice

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix all ingredients together, except olive oil. Drizzle in olive oil and whisk until creamy, then remove garlic clove.

For two tuna steaks:

Season steak with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Heat skillet to very hot. Add tuna to skillet, and sear on one side about one minute. Turn steak and sear other side. Remove tuna to cutting board. Slice into strips.

For the salad:

Fresh baby spinach leaves

1 red pepper, sliced thin

1/2 small red onion, sliced thin

Fresh pineapple, cubed


Combine all salad ingredients together and toss with the vinaigrette. Place on plate, and then top with sliced tuna. Serve immediately.


Kay Bona is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at kay@dailydata.com.