Tag: alternative

Vegan meat: the possible alternative – Salt & Pepper – Italian Cuisine

Vegan meat: the possible alternative - Salt & Pepper

It has now been well over a decade since some visionary entrepreneurs began to study how to get one "Vegetable meat". Quotation marks required for a protein product which, in fact, is alternative to the meat. And we did not use the term "alternative" at random: because more and more consumers are approaching the world plant based while not being vegans or vegetarians. Not to replace foods of animal origin, but to have an extra food to be included in a diet that remains omnivorous. Among them, the more and more numerous flexitarians who, for various reasons, choose to reduce the consumption of meat, fish and derivatives. But also many curious who discover burgers, meatballs, minced meat and morsels that are ever tastier, fun to cook and with the added value of sustainability.

What are
Let's say immediately that they are protein products which, however, differ greatly from those typical of the soy-based veggie diet, such as tofu, or gluten-based such as seitan. The main feature is in fact that of getting closer, in consistency and taste, to the meat. Thus, the "minced" ones are red and succulent as if they were beef, the "pulpy" ones have an elongated fiber structure similar to that of chicken or pork. They have a good flavor, the so-called “umami” which could be translated as “savory flavor”. As for the formats, in the beginning they were i burger, or patties: the classic mashed meatballs to eat in a sandwich, with fresh vegetables and standard sauces. While today the variations are numerous and, in honor of the traditional specialties of street food, they often have English names like nuggets (nuggets, i.e. croquettes), pulled (frayed), chuncks (morsels), meatball (meatballs), minced (ground), sausages (sausages).

A growing success
The names chosen by the start-ups that, overseas, first launched the green challenge (we told about it in this post and in this other one), they expressed the full meaning of the bet: Beyond Meat (where "beyond" means "beyond") e Impossible Burger they were declarations of intent, even before being trademarks. Today, plant-based meat is a solid reality that is increasingly appreciated, as confirmed by the data collected by the delivery companies: both Just Eat that Uber Eats they put the vegan burger at the top of their customers' veggie choices. And the competitors of the two American companies are more and more. Brazilians of Future Farm they are inspired (and aspire to inspire!) "to the pro-earth generation, finally in favor of our planet". In Europe, the challenge was taken up by the Swede Ikea, which he has revisited in key cruelty free its famous meatballs, while the world of start-ups has recently seen the birth of the Spanish Heura and the switzerland of Planted. The latter, "incubated" in 2019 at the Zurich Polytechnic and become a reality thanks to the initiative of 4 students, has just landed on our market with a very specific choice: not to focus on various burgers and minced meat but only on variations " solid ".

The list of ingredients
The formulas developed by the different companies are, in fact, very different from each other. From the point of view of taste, the most effective proteins proved to be those obtained from peas. However, especially in ground products, they are mixed with many other ingredients: mainly soy, but also other legumes and cereals, fats, fibers, starches, thickeners, stabilizers. Additions needed to get it right consistency of burgers, sausages, meatballs, “chorizo”, frankfurters and company. It is to shorten the list of ingredients as much as possible that Planted has decided, on the contrary, not to "create" anything minced but "meat" solid, easier to "put together". Thus the "chicken", morsels that resemble a tender chicken breast, is prepared with pea protein and fiber, water and rapeseed oil. To these 4 ingredients the "pulled" (pictured above), made up of frays, adds oat and sunflower proteins, while the "kebab" is in thin slices flavored with Middle Eastern spices. The ingredients are a short supply chain, coming from local crops: thus, environmental sustainability is also ensured. Pursued by most of the companies in the sector, which adopt competitive production systems in terms of saving of water resources And drop in CO2 emissions.

The nutritional aspect
Interesting to note how the products plant based have a caloric intake similar, if not inferior, to the corresponding animals and in any case a content of saturated fats significantly lower. Then, of course, it all depends on the recipes: both at the origin (the flavored versions are generally richer) and in the kitchen, where the products natural they can be sautéed, browned and seasoned with oils and sauces, while still being one healthy choice thanks to the starting nutritional composition. And providing one more reason to really make it a viable alternative to change our diet and our impact on the environment around us.

Francesca Romana Mezzadri
January 2022

Wholemeal bread with walnuts, the alternative to the classic loaf – Italian Cuisine

Wholemeal bread with walnuts, the alternative to the classic loaf

Wholemeal bread with walnuts, preparation

1) Prepare a dough dissolving the yeast (mother or beer) in 50 g of milk at room temperature and then knead it with 100 g of flour.

2) Form a loaf, put it in a bowl covered with a cloth and let it rise in a warm place: per 30 minutes if you use brewer's yeast, and up to doubling the dough in the case of mother yeast. After this time, sift the remaining flour, arrange it in a heap and place the leavened dough, honey, salt and remaining milk in the center.

3) Mix everything, add most of the chopped walnuts and knead until the mixture is soft but consistent. Put it in an oiled bowl and let it rise until doubled in volume to one temperature of 25 °.

4) Pour the mixture over pastry board, with extreme delicacy, divide it into three equal parts and make a loaf from each one by thinning the external parts and leaving the central part thicker.

5) Form a braid with the 3 loaves and leave it bump up for another 30 minutes in a warm place. Spread the remaining walnuts on the surface.

6) Dilute the egg yolks with the cream and a pinch of salt, brush the braid with the mixture and cook it in oven heated to 180 ° for about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven immediately and let it cool on a wire rack.

Posted 11/11/2021


How to cook pasta al dente in 6 alternative ways – Italian Cuisine

Passive, express, double, bell-shaped, in a pressure cooker or as a risotto: have you ever tried these methods of cooking pasta? We explain them to you here, because they save water, gas and time

"Al dente"Is the expression it encompasses the Italian way of pasta. This type of cooking established itself in Italy after the Second World War and was definitively consolidated in 1967, when the purity law on pasta sets among the parameters of its quality theuse of only durum wheat it's a minimum level of protein. Until the first half of the twentieth century only the finest pastas were composed solely of durum wheat, the raw material that makes it more tenacious, while in the most common variants it was not uncommon to find percentages of soft wheat higher than 50%, with an evident impact on consistency and chewability.

Al dente or scotta: a question of balance between starch and gluten

Pasta is mainly made of starch (carbohydrates) e gluten (proteins). In contact with water, proteins create gluten, the "cement" that gives structure to the pasta and retains its starch. The stronger the gluten hold, the less starch will escape from the pasta during cooking. This equilibrium is what makes the difference between one held al dente it's a overcooked pasta. In fact, a small spill of starch helps the pasta to bond with the sauce, but it must not be excessive because it would make the pasta sticky.

The pasta should be thrown into theboiling water: the hotter the water, the more quickly it will be absorbed by the hydration paste. in this way the heat will reach the center of the pasta quickly and it will cook evenly.

Good to know: al dente is healthier

A pasta cooked well, al dente, is also one healthier pasta because it has a lower impact on the glycemic index and less stimulation of insulin production. Digestion becomes slower, as does the absorption of the glucose that makes up the starch: the result is a lower glycemic index.

Pasta al dente: 6 alternative cooking methods

According to a Doxa research for the pasta makers of the Italian Food Union, in 2020 1 out of 3 Italians (32%) experimented with new methods of cooking pasta, including taste, savings and environmental sustainability. Are you wondering what they are? Here you are!

1. Passive cooking

Passive cooking of pasta works like this: we throw the pasta into boiling water and let's cook it for 2 minutes from the resumption of boiling, so we turn off fire. We cover and leave the pasta to cook passively in water, without heat loss, for the remaining minutes according to the cooking times indicated on the package.

2. Express cooking

For those who love almost “raw” pasta, this is the ideal cooking method. The pasta is boiled but drained one or two minutes before cooking time indicated on the package. The cooking is then completed in the pan together with the seasoning.

Smoked tea penne with salmon and vodka

3. Risotto pasta

Have you ever tried to do the risotto pasta? Proceed as with a risotto, pouring the pasta and the sauce into a single pan and adding the water little by little while cooking. In this way the flavor of the ingredients that season our dish is enhanced because it is released more starch which makes the condiments more enveloping. However, three precautions are needed: the cooking liquid must be added little by little and always boiling to keep the temperature constant; the dough must be stirred continuously to facilitate the release of the starch necessary to form the cream; thicker pasta shapes should be pre-cooked in boiling water for half the required cooking time. This cooking method is suitable for pasta with not too full-bodied sauces, which would require different cooking times, such as pasta with garlic, oil and chilli or pasta with clams.

4. Double firing

It involves cooking in two different moments. About two or three hours before we sit down at the table, we cook the pasta for half of the indicated time. Then we drain the pasta in a pan with a drizzle of oil, let it cool (preferably in a blast chiller) and we put it away in the fridge covering the pan with a film. When we have to serve the pasta, pour it for a minute (or a half) in boiling water, season and bring to the table.

5. Bell cooking

For the bell cooking proceed as follows: at two thirds of the cooking time, the pasta must be drained well, transferred to a salad bowl and sealed with cling film. The film will swell "like a bell" and cooking will be completed dry. In this way, the pasta will remain intact, good and al dente even for the next day. The only trick: prefer small and short formats.

6. In a pressure cooker

Have you ever thought about cooking pasta in the pressure cooker? The ingredients are all put in a pot, with 100 ml of water instead of the canonical liter for 100 grams of pasta. It takes about 11 minutes from the start of cooking. Try it: you will use less water, less gas, an eighth of the salt you normally need and a pot instead of two (which are also to be washed).

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