Right Stuff vs. Food Porn

November 2009

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Right Stuff

New Veg on the Broc

What looks like broccoli but with a longer, slender stem and smaller flowering buds?

It’s broccolini, a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale. You can find it in the produce section of your local grocery store. (The name is trademarked by Mann Packing Co., which introduced broccolini to the United States in 1998. Other companies call the vegetable baby broccoli or asparation.)

Like most green vegetables, broccolini is loaded with vitamin C (130 percent of a day’s worth) and vitamin A (30 percent). And it’s not too shabby in the potassium (8 percent), calcium (6 percent), and iron (4 percent) departments. That’s for an eight-stalk serving (three ounces) that will cost you only 35 fat-free, nearly sodium-free calories.

The taste has hints of broccoli and asparagus. It’s a bit sweet and peppery when raw and milder and sweeter when cooked. But unlike broccoli and asparagus, the stalks aren’t at all woody. It’s completely edible, from flower to stem.

Try sautéeing broccolini with sliced garlic in a bit of the oil from a bottle of sun-dried tomatoes, then top with a few of the chopped tomatoes. Or toss with a little olive oil and roast at 450º F on a baking sheet for 12 to 15 minutes. Season with a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice, a dusting of freshly ground pepper, and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.

In a hurry? Just steam your broccolini, then drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette or some toasted sesame oil. Last year was broccolini’s 10th birthday.

Thanks, Mann. And keep ’em coming.

Mann Packing Co: (800) 285-1002

Food Porn

Burial Grands

Pillsbury Grands! Cinnamon Rolls with Icing are “Made with Cinnabon Cinnamon,” boasts the label.

If you have a Cinnabon nearby you may be familiar with its cinnamon rolls on steroids. Each humongous 7.8-ounce Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll has roughly 800 calories, 8 grams of saturated fat, and 55 grams (13 teaspoons) of sugar. Plus there’s a bonus for your hardworking arteries: 5 grams of trans fat, the worst kind you can eat.

Pillsbury Grands! don’t quite measure up. Each 3½-ounce roll has 310 calories and 2 grams of sat fat plus 2½ grams of trans fat and 23 grams of sugar. It’s essentially a third of a Cinnabon with more than a third of the icing. Isn’t that grand?

Companies are dumping their partially hydrogenated oils left and right, yet Pillsbury still makes most of its rolls and biscuits with partially hydrogenated (soybean oil and cottonseed oil) shortening. Did the company get the oils at a fire sale?

No one thinks of cinnamon rolls as health food. To see what their refined white flour, oils, and six teaspoons of sugar do to your belly, ust peel off the wrapper and watch the contents of the tube.

But 2½ grams of trans fat in each roll? That may not sound like much, but in 2004, a panel of scientists advising the Food and Drug Administration considered recommending 2 grams of trans as the limit for an entire day.

“My heart to yours,” says the package. How sweet of the Pillsbury Bypass Boy to share.

Pillsbury: (800) 775-4777

Dish of the Month

Dress up your garbanzo beans. Mix together 1 Tbs. each of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and toss with a can of drained and rinsed garbanzos.

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