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News from the Dairy Section

News from the Dairy Section

Most of the time I’m blathering about food, but now I’mma tell you about your breasts, okay? Because I’m a mammographer as well as a food writer and cookbook editor. This makes me (as far as I can tell), a Venn diagram of one. Anyway, about once a week, a woman asks if she reaaaallllly needs a mammo every year. Until about 2009, there was an official answer for this question, which was “it’s a good idea, yeah.” But then there was this report (a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report, to be exact), a huge study of studies that concluded an annual screening mammogram for women ages 40-49 doesn’t do more good than harm. The task force gave a grade “C” to the recommendation for routine annual screening mammograms for women in their forties. In its own words, that’s a recommendation against the every-year mammogram as needless expense, inconvenience and worry for not much benefit. It’s sort of shocking. The annual mammogram is carved in stone for so many women. It’s common for a woman to schedule her mammogram on her birthday as a way to remember to get those mamms grammed. Walking out of a yearly mammogram feels like getting a clean bill of health. It’s hard to change a routine that feels safe, so it’s understandable that women and clinicians have been slow to change (although there was a measurable drop in mammography numbers last year, 2014). The report’s complexity is another speed bump on the road to less rack-smashing. The recommendation is sort of the legal equivalent of saying someting “is not not legal.” It’s full of qualifications and “howevers,” starting with a risk assessment statement: “Applies to women 40 and over who are not at increased risk by virtue of a known genetic mutation or history of chest radiation.” Most women haven’t been tested for the mutation, so they don’t know whether or not to start or continue with annual mammograms. And this statement, which presumes a woman knows a whole lot about her breasts, her genes and her family’s medical history: “The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) makes recommendations about preventive care services for patients without recognized signs or symptoms of the target condition.” What is your action step if you don’t know whether you have recognized signs or symptoms? And what the heck is the “target condition”? And then there is this note that screening does save lives. “The frontier curves for the mortality outcome show only small gains but larger numbers of mammograms required when screening is started at age 40 years versus age 50 years.“ Huh. So there were some small gains in extra years of life. That definitely...

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Anadama Bread

Anadama Bread

My house isn’t warm enough when it’s really cold outside. So I bake a lot of bread in the winter, because that gives me an excuse to stand near the stove for a couple of hours. If we’re not eating carbs, I give the bread to neighbors, friends, whoever. Even, and especially, people I’ve just met. Anadama is sweet and light and easy to love. You can make a no-knead version or use the bread machine. You’ll be warm, and everyone who eats this bread will say nice things to you. That’s how you win winter.   Anadama Bread 2015-02-15 14:47:16 I always thought Anadama was Southern, but several sources seem to say it originated in New England. Write a review Save Recipe Print Ingredients 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal 1/2 cup boiling water 2 teaspoons (1 package) yeast 1/2 cup warm water (about 100-115 degrees) 1/4 cup molasses 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened 1 teaspoon salt 2 1/2 to 3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour Butter or margarine for the top of the loaf Instructions Combine the cornmeal and boiling water. Let cool. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water water and let stand about 5 minutes until foamy. Add the molasses, butter, salt and cornmeal mixture. Stir in the bread flour until a stiff dough forms. Knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Lightly butter or oil the outside of the dough and let it rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour until roughly doubled in size. Shape the dough into a ball. Set it in a greased pie dish. Let it rise until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until golden. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped. A thermometer should read 195 degrees. By Beatrice Ojakangas Adapted from Great Whole Grain Breads Adapted from Great Whole Grain Breads The Project Kitchen http://theprojectkitchen.com/  ...

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Better lemon slices

Better lemon slices

I cut lemons into hemispheres to juice, then into quarters or wedges for tea or drinks. The seeds slow me down, and it’s kind of a pain to flick them out. What are gonna do? Then I somehow landed on a video of a Lao chef prepping vegetables for a stir-fry. His lemon slicing is seedless and simple, and the pieces are easier to squeeze. Here’s how he does it. It’s so much easier that now I cut apples this way too. Cut a quarter off the side Continue cutting wedges off the center of the lemon Seedless, easy-to-grip lemon...

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Concord Grape Bread

Concord Grape Bread

The book’s I’ve edited, I love them like children. Beautiful Breads & Fabulous Fillings by Margaux Sky (Rutledge Hill Press, 2006) was my quirky child, full of odd recipes like roasted red pepper-brie-mint bread and creamy viognier and pineapple sauce. At the same time I’m trying to clear out the cabinets and freezer of the various bit and bottles, I flip through the book and, behold, Concord Grape Bread! Just what I need to use I have a jar of concord grape syrup from summer 2013! It’s a strange recipe: boysenberry yogurt, powdered sugar, grape jam, soy milk. At least there’s a reason for the soy milk: unlike cow milk, it doesn’t have to be scalded and cooled before using. (Something about lactose inhibits yeast growth.) The ingredient list sounds as if the author flung open the cabinets, rounded up all the stray ingredients, and made something. In other words, my kind of recipe. The dough was very damp, so knowing when the bread was done was challenging. I used a probe thermometer and let the bread bake to 200 degrees. That temperature middle of the range for yeast bread doneness, 190 to 210. The taste? Grapey, soft, a little doughy. Delicious with almond butter. It even toasted reasonably well. Will I make it again? Only if I have soy milk, boysenberry yogurt and grape jam on hand.    Concord Grape Bread 2015-01-14 10:58:51 Yields 1 The original made 2 loaves & I halved it. So obviously this recipe will double successfully. Write a review Save Recipe Print Cook Time 1 hr Cook Time 1 hr Ingredients 1 envelope dry yeast 1 cup warm vanilla soy milk 1/2 cup boysenberry or blackberry yogurt 1 cup grape jelly 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar 4 tablespoons butter 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons salt Instructions Grease a large mixing bowl and a loaf pan. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Let stand 5 minutes, or until foamy. Add the yogurt, jelly, confectioners' sugar and mix well. Stir together the flour and salt in another large bowl. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing with your hands or a wooden spoon. The dough will be damp and heavy, but shouldn't be too sticky. Transfer the dough to the greased bowl. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Press the dough into the prepared loaf pan. Let rise for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the bread for about 1 hour until the internal temperature is about 195 degrees and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. Let cool for 30 minutes in the pan. Remove and cool for 30...

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Southern Cooking for Company: Mexican Quiche

Southern Cooking for Company: Mexican Quiche

Southern Cooking for Company is already edited, so I had this inspiration a little late, but I think a better name for this dish is Tortilla-Crust Quiche. Using tortillas instead of pie crust is a ridiculously simple idea that just everyone should try. Better tasting than storebought pie shells and easier than homemade pastry.  The full recipe will appear in Southern Cooking for Company when it comes out in 2015, but you should go in the kitchen and experiment with it...

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Hello, I’m Nicki

I've written about food for a living since The Silver Palate was new. Discovering a new cookbook or technique is my idea of fun. And kitchen gear--I'm helpless to resist. Like kitchen projects, the posts here are occasional and open-ended, so please subscribe. You can read more about my work at the "About Nicki" page.

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