Innovative Gourmet Flavor Combinations

Welcome! I've always enjoyed unusual flavor combinations. I am committed to continuing this pleasure, while eating healthy. I hope this blog will allow me to share ideas for eating healthy without losing the excitement of innovative recipes.

I am a follower of the diet plan of Dr. Eric Berg, which in my case means gluten-free, alkaline, low-fat; my health and figure have improved vastly with this. This also fits with raw-food, vegetarian, and Weston Price (nutrient-dense), D'Adamo's Eat Right For Your Type, the Perricone Weightloss Diet, and the proportions follow Barry Sears's 40-30-30 Zone Diet. Organic, ecologic, and local-eating are also guiding principles. (Interesting how they all overlap.)

But looking around the Net, and in books, a lot of what's offered for "gluten-free" eating is versions of baked goods, and imitations of wheat dishes like pizza and burritos. You won't find that here. This site will present a complete re-thinking of how to be "gluten-free".

And followers of chef Michael Roberts and khymos, as well as lovers of Japanese creativeness (as in Iron Chef) should also find gourmet ideas here. The recipes will not just echo American cooking, but present new combinations.

Some of the reasons for this way of eating are: autism, perhaps aspergers, "celiac disease", obesity, perhaps cancer and who knows what else. You won't find the word "disease" used here though. As D'Adamo explains, a large part of the world's population (mostly with "O-blood type") never got the genes to adapt to eating the new foods of wheat, etc that came into the diet during the Neolithic. So don't call it a disease! We are actually an older human type. We're not sick; we just don't have that new-fangled adaption that some folks have. And looking into traditional diets shows that much of the world did not have wheat until very recently, and got along just fine. I know I'm eating quite well. I don't miss gluten at all.

Enough! Welcome to my kitchen . . .

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Innovative Flavor Basics: TASTES


WHILE MEDICAL SCIENCE recognizes four basic tastes—sweet, sour, bitter and salty—a fifth taste is known in many parts of the world. Some researchers believe the taste the Japanese call umami is universal, but largely ignored by Western science because there is no English word for it.

"The idea of four basic tastes came about long before people knew how tastes work," says Michael O'Mahony, professor of food science at the University of California at Davis. Convinced that inadequate descriptions have biased taste research, O'Mahony and research associate Rle Ishii traveled to Japan where umami is a commonly recognized taste.

Umami, most closely described as a meaty taste, has been traced to certain natural compounds found in sea kelp (kombu), dried bonito fish (katsuobushi) and shiitake mushrooms, foods commonly used in traditional Japanese cuisine.

The U.C. Davis researchers found that Japanese tasters are generally more adept than Americans at identifying both sweet and umami tastes. Once Americans learn about umami, however, they can easily recognize the distinctive taste. "Americans get the idea pretty quickly," O'Mahony said. "It's as though they've had the idea in their heads and just didn't have a name for


Substances linked to umami are compounds of amino acids, the naturally occurring acids used by plants and animals to build proteins. American consumers are well acquainted with the flavor-enhancing property of at least one umami substance, monosodium glutamate (MSG). [NOTE: not recommended for use!]

In fact, the flavor-enhancing properties of umami were recognized long ago by the Japanese. Monell taste researcher Gary Beauchamp speculates that traditional Japanese dishes came to rely on certain ingredients because their meaty taste helps counterbalance low levels of protein in the diet. He believes humans may be attracted to the amino acid compounds associated with umami because they signal the presence of protein in foods, in much the same way as sweet taste signals the presence of carbohydrates.

The survival value of having a taste preference for protein is quite clear. Protein is essential to life but not stored in the body, and without an adequate supply we would soon perish. Further research may confirm our innate protein hunger—and perhaps lead to a meatier version of the King's English.

From: Eating Well magazine

A great healthy recipe resource:

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