Bookmarks–April 1, 2023

In this edition of Bookmarks: advice on using up leftovers; changing lifestyle and eating habits for better gut health; knowing when to stop mixing batter; interesting uses of hot sauce; and fun facts about fungi.

Tamar Adler shows you how to make the most of your leftovers in her new cookbook

This book is right up my alley. I am always trying to find ways to use up leftovers. I also happen to be in urgent need of ideas for lettuce. We bought a very large package of mixed greens in anticipation of company but the gathering had to be postponed because of illness. I find it very difficult to find uses for lettuce beyond salad but it sounds like she has some. 

Adler gives new life to the foods that many of us leave in the fridge to waste away until they wilt to the point of no return and go into the trash. The way she sees it, by making something new, you’re honoring and extending the labor you put in the first time around.” (NPR)

Chew slowly, keep moving and eat 30 plants a week: 12 rules for gut health

I was recently told I am prediabetic so I have accelerated a change in diet that I had only taken tentative steps toward previously. I’ve added more whole grains, steel cut oats especially. I don’t eat after supper. And, in addition to exercising more, I am making a conscious effort to increase daily movement and become less sedentary. It has made a huge difference in my energy levels, my weight, and, yes, my gut health, evidenced by a sharp decrease in heartburn and indigestion. I still eat foods I enjoy, but focus on achieving more balance so I can avoid the blood sugar spikes and cravings they created. I’ve made small but significant changes and none of this feels like deprivation. This article provides an excellent overview of how to improve gut health, and health in general; its “rules” are not onerous and there are plenty of examples to show how easy this is.*   

“‘Food is just one part of it, and I think people either engage in food-blaming, or think they need to eat all these expensive things,’ says nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik. ‘But actually, there are other things, such as sleep, exercise and how we’re eating, that are just as important.’ The good news is they’re easy, low cost, and you can start right away.”  The Guardian

Why does overmixing matter in baking and how do I avoid it?

The issue of overmixing is a serious one in baking and, as this article notes, it can be hard to know how far is too far with mixing. There are some good tips here. I especially like the guidance to slow down and get to know your recipe. And, above all, with baking, practice makes perfect, or close to it. 

“It’s worth remembering that baking is often touted as a science, but recipes are written by people—they are not controlled experiments. Understand your oven, heed other key directions, use the right tools (including timers and scales), but most importantly, take your time.” Epicurious

11 unexpected foods that taste delicious with hot sauce, from ice cream to apples

I thought this headline sounded gimmicky and very much like clickbait, but the ideas in here are all pretty good. First on my list to try: salmon with a hot sauce and mayonnaise mix. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that one before. 

“Abreu says that the first step to pairing any unexpected food with hot sauce is to choose the right flavor. ‘When thinking of lighter dishes and foods like fruit and fish, you want something to bring out the brightness instead of drowning or overpowering it,’ says Abreu. ‘In this case, a lighter and high-acidity hot sauce (either citrus- or vinegar-based) would work well, like a green or fruit-based hot sauce.’” Martha Stewart 

I went to mushroom camp and came home with these incredible fungi facts

I’ve become so interested in fungi lately. This article shares some interesting tidbits, including the fact that mushroom cells are made of chitin, i.e. the substance that shellfish shells and insect exoskeletons are made of. That’s why mushrooms are so high in fibre. And, much to my surprise, mushrooms can be used in desserts. There’s always something new to learn about fungi.  

“Fungi remain understudied and misunderstood. There’s research funded by groups trying to sell you stinkhorn aphrodisiacs. There are cultural biases against eating certain mushrooms, some with good reasons for caution. And the knowledge we have is constantly changing: Just last month, scientists published new research identifying a toxin that allows oyster mushrooms, apparently carnivorous, to kill and eat worms.” Saveur

*I will clarify that this is easy for those who can afford the foods listed in the article. Food inflation and the resulting food insecurity it has caused are real problems. If you would like to make a donation to help people living with food insecurity, here are a couple of organizations I have supported: Food Banks Canada and Breakfast Club of Canada. Your local food bank would also welcome donations of food or cash.

Image of books: ID 141398627 © EnkaParmur |

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