Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

The Olive Oil Hunter News #122

Chicken Piccata Recipe, Spotlight on Capers and Cutlets, Ward Off Prostate Cancer with Fruits and Veggies, Plus the Health Benefits of Physical Fitness

As the weather gets warmer, farmers markets—and maybe even your own garden—will soon be brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s especially welcome news after the release of research on the protective benefit of these foods when it comes to avoiding prostate cancer. After reading the second study in this newsletter, you’ll want to take a brisk walk right on over to the nearest market to fill up your larder. Fresh vegetables are a wonderful accompaniment to this delicious chicken dish.

Chicken Piccata

  • The Olive Oil Hunter News #122 Chicken Piccata

    The origin of chicken piccata is somewhat in dispute—some say that it was an Italian-American take on a classic veal recipe from the Boot. Certainly, it’s long been a mainstay on many Italian restaurant menus here in the US. No matter who claims credit for it, one thing is certain: it’s delicious and easy to make all in one pan. A side of your favorite pasta and a plate of spring asparagus complete the menu!


    • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
    • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour, more if needed 
    • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
    • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
    • 1 cup white wine
    • 1 cup chicken broth, homemade or low sodium store-bought
    • 1 lemon, halved
    • 1/4 cup capers, plus 1 tablespoon of their brine
    • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 pieces
    • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


    Step 1

    Slice each chicken breast horizontally into 2 or 3 thin cutlets. In a deep pie plate, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Heat a very large skillet and, when hot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Dredge the cutlets in the flour mixture one at a time, shake off any excess, and place them in the pan. Continue until your skillet is full. Don’t crowd the cutlets: work in batches if needed, adding 2 more tablespoons of oil to the skillet before adding the next batch. When the cutlets have browned on the bottom (after about 5 minutes), flip and continue cooking for another 3 minutes (the thinner the cutlet, the less time each will take). Transfer the cutlets to a large clean plate near your stovetop.

    Step 2

    Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and sauté the garlic until fragrant and lightly browned. Add the wine and broth, and whisk the liquids to get up the fond on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and add back the cutlets (submerge them as much as possible) along with the capers and brine. Continue cooking until the liquid reduces by half and the chicken is cooked through. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon half and stir in the butter. Cook for 2 more minutes and sprinkle with the parsley. Cut the remaining lemon half into thin slices and serve along with 2 or 4 cutlets per person.

    Yields 4–6 servings

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: Greek Yogurt

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight

Capers: An unsung Mediterranean flavor booster

Chances are the only time you might have seen capers—apart from chicken piccata—is alongside chopped red onion on a smoked fish platter. But their salty, briny taste can enhance many dishes.

Capers are the green flower buds of the capparis spinosa, a prickly bush native to the Mediterranean region. They’re picked, dried, and then either pickled in brine—the way you’re most likely to find them on supermarket shelves—or packed in salt. Capers come in various sizes, from tiny nonpareils to large capotes.

Experiment by adding them to eggs, tuna salads, potato salads, and tomato sauces, especially those that also include green olives, like puttanesca. If you’re using the large capers, chop them coarsely before adding; otherwise, fold them in whole. Adding a teaspoon or so of their brine will intensify their taste. And always taste any caper-enhanced dish before you add any extra salt—you might not need it.

Quick Kitchen Nugget: Baking Pan Preps

Quick Kitchen Nugget

Cutting Cutlets Made Easy

Thinly sliced cutlets cook quickly and stay moist and tender. If you can’t find breasts already cut scallopini style or just want to save the extra cost that brings, you can easily prep chicken breasts yourself at home. First, give the cutlets a deep chill in the freezer for about 20 minutes—this makes them easier to slice. While you’re waiting, set out a platter for placing the slices and grab your raw-only cutting board and a sharp chef’s knife (remember: it’s a dull knife that’s dangerous). 

Working one breast at a time, place it on your cutting board and place the palm of one hand over the top of the breast. Very carefully, slice the breast horizontally in half if not very thick, or into thirds or fourths if thick (the first slice may be smaller in length than the rest, but should be the same thickness). Now you’re ready to proceed with your recipe.

For Your Best Health: Cutting Caffeine without Withdrawal Symptoms

For Your Best Health

Fruits and Vegetables May Ward Off Prostate Cancer

Two studies done at the University of South Australia and published in the journal Cancers found that men who eat micronutrient-rich colorful fruits and vegetables on a regular basis are less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer; consuming these foods also speeds up recovery for men who undergo radiation treatment for the disease. The research was the first to evaluate blood concentrations of micronutrients and trace elements with respect to prostate cancer in men in South Australia.

Researchers compared levels of micronutrients in the blood of prostate cancer patients with the levels in a healthy control group and found that the cancer patients had low levels of lutein, lycopene, alpha-carotene, and selenium, and high levels of iron, sulfur, and calcium. In particular, they found that men with plasma concentrations lower than 0.25 micrograms/milliliter for lycopene and/or lower than 120 micrograms/milliliter for selenium have an increased risk of prostate cancer and are likely to be more sensitive to the damaging effects of radiation treatment, should cancer occur.

Foods rich in lycopene include tomatoes, melons, papayas, grapes, peaches, watermelons, and cranberries. Selenium-rich foods include white meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, and nuts. Study coauthor Permal Deo, PhD, says eating foods that are naturally rich in lycopene and selenium is preferable to taking supplements, where the benefits are limited, according to previous studies. “Our recommendation is to adopt a Mediterranean diet enlisting the help of a dietitian because people absorb nutrients in different ways, depending on the food, the digestive system, the person’s genotype, and possibly their microbiome,” he explains.

Other risk factors, such as ethnicity, family history, and age, have previously been linked to prostate cancer. “There is strong evidence that being overweight and tall increases the risk of prostate cancer,” adds Dr. Deo. “Diets high in dairy products and low in vitamin E may also increase the risk but the evidence is less clear.” Vitamin E is found in plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.

Fitness Flash: Develop your Core Principles

Fitness Flash

When Half Is a Lot Better Than None

We already know that physical activity has numerous health benefits, and leading health organizations recommend that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week to get them. But now, an international team led by researchers at the University of Cambridge and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that there are still benefits to doing at least half that amount: just 11 minutes a day—75 minutes a week—of moderate-intensity physical activity, like brisk walking.

To explore the amount of physical activity necessary to have a beneficial impact on several chronic diseases and premature death, researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis, pooling and analyzing data from all the published evidence. This let them bring together studies that on their own did not provide sufficient evidence, and sometimes disagreed with each other, to provide more robust conclusions.

In total, they looked at results reported in 196 peer-reviewed articles, covering more than 30 million participants from 94 large study cohorts, to produce the largest analysis to date of the association between physical activity levels and risk of heart disease, cancer, and early death.

The researchers found that, outside of work-related physical activity, two out of three people reported moderate-intensity activity levels below 150 minutes per week and fewer than one in 10 did more than 300 minutes per week. They also found that beyond 150 minutes per week, additional benefits in terms of reduced risk of disease or early death were marginal. 

On the other hand, doing just half this amount came with significant benefits. Accumulating 75 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity brought with it a 23 percent lower risk of early death and reduced the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 17 percent and cancer by 7 percent. For some specific cancers, the reduction in risk was greater: head and neck, myeloid leukemia, myeloma, and gastric cardia cancers were between 14 percent and 26 percent lower risk. For other cancers, such as lung, liver, endometrial, colon, and breast, a 3 to 11 percent lower risk was observed. Looked at another way, if everyone managed at least 75 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, around one in 10 early deaths, one in 20 cases of cardiovascular disease, and nearly one in 30 cases of cancer would be prevented.

Soren Brage, PhD, of the MRC Epidemiology Unit, says, “If you are someone who finds the idea of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week a bit daunting, then our findings should be good news. Doing some physical activity is better than doing none. This is also a good starting position: If you find that 75 minutes a week is manageable, then you could try stepping it up gradually to the full recommended amount.” As a reminder, moderate-intensity physical activity raises your heart rate and makes you breathe faster, but you should still be able to speak during the activity.

Leandro Garcia, PhD, of Queen’s University Belfast, adds, “Moderate activity doesn’t have to involve what we normally think of exercise, such as sports or running. Sometimes, replacing some habits is all that is needed. For example, try to walk or cycle to your work or study place instead of using a car, or engage in active play with your kids or grandkids. Doing activities that you enjoy and that are easy to include in your weekly routine is an excellent way to become more active.”

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The Olive Oil Hunter News #121

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cupcakes Recipe, Spotlight on Greek Yogurt, Proper Baking Pan Prep, Cutting Caffeine without Withdrawal Symptoms and Building Core Strength

It’s wonderful to get all the benefits of olive oil in a healthy everyday diet. But what about when you want to indulge? Using extra virgin olive oil instead of butter in sweets can cut the guilt factor along with the saturated fat, and these double chocolate muffins are a tasty example! Need to take a break from coffee? Findings from an Australian study make it easier. Finally, core work is an area of fitness that many people forget—so I’ve included some ideas to work it into your workouts.

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cupcakes

  • Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cupcakes Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cupcakes

    These cupcakes cake are so rich that they don’t need any icing, but if you want to gild the lily, frost them with vanilla buttercream for a two-flavor sensation.


    • 2 cups all-purpose or pastry flour
    • 1/2 cup cocoa
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1-1/2 cups sugar 
    • 2 extra-large eggs 
    • 1 cup Greek yogurt 
    • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup milk 
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 12 ounces chocolate chips


    Step 1

    Heat your oven to 350°F. Prep a 12-muffin pan with paper liners or lightly coat with some olive oil. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt. In a second, larger bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs until well blended and then whisk in the yogurt, followed by the olive oil, milk, and vanilla. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, folding with a spatula as you go, until mostly incorporated. Add about 10 ounces of chips and finish folding all the ingredients together. Use an ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake liners, then sprinkle the tops with the remaining chips.

    Step 2

    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on your oven—the cupcakes are done when the point of a knife inserted in the center of a few cupcakes comes out almost clean (there may be melted chocolate from the chips, but shouldn’t be wet batter). 

    Yields 12 servings

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: Greek Yogurt

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight

Greek Yogurt

This uber-popular yogurt is so thick and luscious because it’s strained. This step roughly doubles the protein of traditional yogurt, though some calcium is lost in the process. With no shortage of options in the refrigerator case at your local stores, choosing the right Greek yogurt variety might seem like a daunting task. But there are really only two guidelines you need to narrow down the choices. First, always opt for plain. That means you’ll skip any added sugars—add your own fruit or flavorings, such as pure vanilla paste, to customize it yourself. Second, pick the fat content that meets your health needs. Fat-free or low-fat options are great if you want to minimize calories. Some people find that full fat is more filling and may, as a result, lead them to eat less. You might vary these versions and see what works best for you.

Quick Kitchen Nugget: Baking Pan Preps

Quick Kitchen Nugget

Baking Pan Preps

Paper liners are perfect for cupcakes and muffins, but what about other baking pans? My go-to is parchment paper, a simple alternative to greasing and flouring pans. With a pair of scissors, you can cut the paper to whatever size you need for your pan and then use the edges to easily slide out your baked goods after the cooking time is complete. A nifty hack when using a loaf pan is to trim the parchment to the length of the pan but triple the width to allow the paper to hang over both the long sides. You get built-in handles for lifting out the cake or bread when it’s done. (If you feel any resistance, use a spatula to release the short sides from the pan.) 

For Your Best Health: Cutting Caffeine without Withdrawal Symptoms

For Your Best Health

Cutting Caffeine without Withdrawal Symptoms

Need to cut back on or eliminate coffee from your diet for a time and dreading the headache? Researchers at University of Sydney in Australia found caffeine withdrawal symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, bad mood, and irritability, shrank after study participants drank decaf even when they knew it was decaf.

“A convincing cup of decaf has the power to reduce withdrawal symptoms a lot when the person drinking it is unaware it’s decaf. But our study suggests that even if they are aware it’s decaf, their withdrawal still subsides,” said Dr. Llew Mills, a senior research associate at the university’s School of Addiction Medicine.

For the study, 61 heavy coffee drinkers, defined as those who consume three or more cups a day, went without caffeine for 24 hours and had their withdrawal symptoms measured. They were then separated into three groups. Two groups were given decaf, but only one was told it was decaf; the other was deceived into thinking it was regular coffee. The third group, a control group, was given water.

“The group we lied to reported a big drop in caffeine withdrawal even though there’s no pharmacological reason why it should. Because they expected their withdrawal to go down, it did go down. In other words, a placebo effect,” Dr. Mills said. “We’ve found this in several studies now. What was interesting in this new study is that withdrawal symptoms also reduced even when people knew they were getting decaf. Not as much as the group we lied to, but a significant amount.”

This type of reaction is known as an open-label placebo effect, which is an effect that occurs even when someone knows he or she is being given a placebo. Dr. Mills and his colleagues concluded that it was driven by a strong conditioned withdrawal-reduction effect built up over a lifetime of drinking coffee. Years of associating the taste and smell of coffee with withdrawal reduction means decaf can elicit a conditioned withdrawal reduction effect even without the caffeine and even, it turns out, without the expectation.

Dr. Mills added that the effect was probably only short lived—withdrawal wouldn’t be reduced by decaf indefinitely. “But a cup of decaf could help someone who is trying to cut back their caffeine intake to temporarily ride out the worst of the cravings and help them stay caffeine-free,” he said. 

Fitness Flash: Develop your Core Principles

Fitness Flash

Develop your Core Principles

Many of us know the importance of muscle strength—having strong arms and strong legs, for example. But we don’t always appreciate the value of having strong core muscles, those of the abdomen and back. They’re essential for good posture; for moving forward, backward, and sideways; and for other aspects of a healthy spine. Not everyone loves crunches and planks, but some form of core work is a must. Try adding two or three exercises to your existing workouts two or three days a week to start. Another approach is to practice Pilates, a discipline that focuses on the core with unique exercise moves that benefit the whole body; options include mat work and machines unique to Pilates.

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The Olive Oil Hunter News #120

Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil Recipe, Protecting Brain Health Through Diet: More Benefits of the Olive Oil Lifestyle

More and more research is linking certain diets to better brain health and the possibility of warding off various types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. It’s encouraging to read about variations on the Mediterranean diet, all of which deliver the benefits of olive oil. The study I’m sharing owes a huge debt to its participants who were willing to not only keep food diaries, but also allow scientists to examine their brains after they passed, thereby enlightening the rest of us. One clear message I like to communicate is that “good for you” foods also taste great—there doesn’t need to be a trade-off, as the following pasta recipe proves.

Pasta With Garlic and Olive Oil

  • Pasta with Olive oil and garlic Pasta With Garlic and Olive Oil

    This recipe hails from one of my favorite regions in one of my favorite countries—Lazio, Italy. Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club members recently got to savor a bold Canino olive oil from a wonderful producer, an agricultural cooperative of small local farmers who carry on their respective family traditions and passion for growing olives. I’m happy to say that this classic pasta dish is divine with any of the Club’s extra virgin olive oils! You probably have the ingredients in your kitchen already, so you can be enjoying it tonight. For an even healthier meal, choose whole wheat pasta or an alternative made with legumes, such as black beans or yellow pea protein.


    • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
    • 1 pound pasta, any variety, fresh or dried
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 fresh pepperoncini or red chile pepper, thinly sliced, or crushed red pepper flakes to taste 
    • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


    Step 1

    Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil over high heat and add the salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 or 8 minutes. 

    Step 2

    While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet and, when very warm, add the olive oil, garlic, and pepper (if using crushed flakes, add them later, as noted below). Cook over medium heat until the garlic softens and starts to turn color, about 5 minutes. 

    Step 3

    Use tongs to transfer the pasta to the skillet along with a 1/4 cup of its cooking water. Toss well to coat the pasta in the oil and continue cooking for another 2 minutes until the pasta water is just about fully absorbed (if using pepper flakes, add them now). Sprinkle with the parsley, drizzle with more olive oil, and serve.

    Yields 4 servings

Fitness Flash: Get Help for Tech Neck

Protecting Brain Health Through Diet

More Benefits of the Olive Oil Lifestyle

The Study: “Association of Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay and Mediterranean Diets With Alzheimer Disease Pathology,” Neurology, March 8, 2023.

The Findings: People who eat diets rich in green leafy vegetables as well as other vegetables, fruits, whole grains, olive oil, beans, nuts, and fish may have fewer amyloid plaques and tau tangles in their brain—signs of Alzheimer’s disease—than people who do not consume such diets.

The Report: According to an American Academy of Neurology report on the study, researchers looked at how closely people followed the Mediterranean diet and a variation called the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet. Although similar, the Mediterranean diet recommends vegetables, fruit, and three or more servings of fish per week, while the MIND diet prioritizes green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens, along with other vegetables and berries over other fruit, and recommends one or more servings of fish per week. Both the MIND and Mediterranean diets recommend small amounts of wine.

“These results are exciting—improvement in people’s diets in just one area, such as eating more than six servings of green leafy vegetables per week, or not eating fried foods, was associated with fewer amyloid plaques in the brain similar to being about four years younger,” says study author Puja Agarwal, PhD, of RUSH University in Chicago. 

The study shows an association between regularly consuming these diets and fewer Alzheimer’s disease plaques and tangles, although it doesn’t establish a cause-and-effect relationship. “While our research doesn’t prove that a healthy diet resulted in fewer brain deposits of amyloid plaques, also known as an indicator of Alzheimer’s disease, we know there is a relationship, and following the MIND and Mediterranean diets may be one way that people can improve their brain health and protect cognition as they age,” explains Dr. Agarwal.

The study involved 581 people with an average age of 84 at the time of their diet assessment who agreed to donate their brains at death to advance dementia research. Participants completed annual questionnaires asking how much they ate of food items in various categories. The participants died an average of seven years after the start of the study. Right before death, 39 percent had been diagnosed with dementia. When examined after death, 66 percent met the criteria for Alzheimer’s disease.

At autopsy, researchers examined participants’ brains to determine the amounts of amyloid plaques and tau tangles (both are found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease but may also be found in the brains of older people with normal cognition). They then looked back at the food questionnaires and ranked the quality of diet for each person.

For the Mediterranean diet, there were 11 food categories. Participants were given a score of zero to 55, with higher scores if they adhered to the diet in these categories: whole grain cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil, fish, and potatoes. They were given lower scores if they ate red meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy products.

For the MIND diet, there were 15 categories. Participants were scored one point each for eating from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil, and wine. They lost a point if they ate greater than recommended amounts of foods in five unhealthy groups: red meats, butter and margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried and fast food.

Researchers then divided participants into three groups for each diet and compared those in the highest groups to those in the lowest groups. For the Mediterranean diet, people in the highest group had an average score of 35, while those in the lowest group had an average score of 26. For the MIND diet, the highest group had an average score of nine while the lowest group had an average score of six.

After adjusting for age at death, sex, education, total calorie intake, and whether people had a gene linked to a greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers found people who scored highest for adhering to the Mediterranean diet had average plaque and tangle amounts in their brains similar to being 18 years younger than people who scored lowest. Researchers also found people who scored highest for adhering to the MIND diet had average plaque and tangle amounts similar to being 12 years younger than those who scored lowest.

When looking at single diet components, the researchers found that people who ate the highest amounts of green leafy vegetables—seven or more servings per week—had plaque amounts in their brains corresponding to being almost 19 years younger than people who ate the fewest (one or fewer servings per week). “Our finding that eating more green leafy vegetables is in itself associated with fewer signs of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain is intriguing enough for people to consider adding more of these vegetables to their diet,” says Agarwal. “Future studies are needed to establish our findings further.”

Note: A limitation of the study was that participants were mostly white, non-Hispanic, and older, so the results cannot be generalized to other populations.

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The Olive Oil Hunter News #119

Baked Potatoes & Béarnaise Sauce Recipe, Spotlight on Russet Potatoes, How to Prevent Curdled Eggs, Make Informed Choices Based on Salt Content, and Rewrite Your Goals for Greater Success

If you’re like me, you strive to make continual improvements in your well-being but you don’t want to feel deprived. That’s why I love to take favorite recipes and “healthify” them. This béarnaise sauce is the perfect example. By replacing half of the usual amount of butter with extra virgin olive oil, you get all the taste—I’d argue even more!—with the bonus of polyphenols. Another important pro-health step is cutting back on salt—you’ll be surprised at some of the types of packaged foods that researchers named the top culprits when it comes to adding sodium to our daily intake. I’m also sharing advice from a top team of health coaches on how to reframe your wellness goals to make them more attainable.

Baked Potatoes & Béarnaise Sauce

  • Baked Potatoes and Bearnaiise Sauce Baked Potatoes & Béarnaise Sauce

    This rich and flavorful sauce is traditionally an accompaniment for steak, but it’s also a wonderful break from sour cream on a perfectly baked potato—so satisfying it can be the entire meal! Note: Most béarnaise sauce recipes call for making it in a double boiler to avoid curdling the yolks from direct heat—two inches of water are kept at a simmer in the bottom pan while you whisk the ingredients in the top one. However, if you use a low heat and whisk constantly, you can make the sauce in a small saucepan over direct heat.


    For the potatoes:

    • 4 large russet potatoes
    • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, as needed
    • A few pinches of coarse salt and twists of freshly ground black pepper

    For the béarnaise sauce:

    • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
    • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon fresh French tarragon leaves, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon, crumbled
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1 tablespoon water


    Step 1

    To bake the potatoes, preheat your oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a large piece of parchment paper. Scrub and pat dry the potatoes, then place them on the parchment. With the tip of a sharp paring knife, pierce the potatoes on all sides. Rub them all over with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Bake until the tip of the knife easily goes through them, about an hour.

    Step 2

    About 20 minutes before the potatoes are ready, make the sauce. Place the vinegar, shallots, tarragon, and black pepper in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook until the vinegar is reduced by half. Take the pan off the heat and let the vinegar cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

    Step 3

    Melt the butter and set aside. Whisk the yolks and water into the vinegar reduction and place over low heat. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens and nearly doubles in volume. Then slowly whisk in the butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time; repeat with the olive oil. Continue whisking vigorously until the sauce thickens but is still pourable. If necessary, the sauce can sit for 15 minutes or so; whisk gently before serving as needed.

    Step 4

    Plate the potatoes and make a large slash lengthwise in each. Top with dollops of the béarnaise sauce and serve the rest on the side.

    Yields 4 servings

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: Tapping into Hot Sauce 

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight

Russet Potatoes

As much as I love Yukon and red potato varieties, sometimes there’s nothing better than a toothsome russet! When cooked at high heat, these rather large, long, and oval potatoes become fluffy inside and their distinctive thick skin becomes deliciously crispy—eat it up because that’s where so many of its nutrients are. A large potato delivers 5 grams of all-important fiber and healthy doses of potassium, iron, and the vitamins C and B6. Russets are also great cut into even sticks and baked to make oven fries. 

Quick Kitchen Nugget: Cornstarch vs. Flour

Quick Kitchen Nugget

Double Boiler Hack

If you’re nervous about eggs curdling when making sauces or have a testy stovetop whose heat is hard to regulate, it’s easy to create a makeshift double boiler. Just place a metal or glass bowl over a saucepan filled with two inches of water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water and the water should be simmering, not boiling. 

For Your Best Health: Avoiding Long COVID

For Your Best Health

Salt Alert

Health authorities often say it’s the salt in packaged and/or processed foods rather than in your salt shaker that you need to keep track of. Knowing the items with the highest amounts of sodium will help you make better choices when shopping for convenience foods and, in turn, lower your salt intake. That’s important because salt is a risk factor for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. 

Researchers at the University of Toronto studied over 7,000 research subjects using the 2017–2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which consists of information on the health and nutritional status (including dietary recall information on foods consumed) of a nationally representative sample of adults and children in the United States. They identified the top 15 food categories that account for 50.83% of total dietary sodium intake. Some might surprise you and have you rethinking which of your favorite foods you’d be better off making from scratch: 

  • Pizza: 5.3%
  • Breads, rolls, and buns: 4.7%
  • Cold cuts and cured meats: 4.6%
  • Soups: 4.4%
  • Burritos and tacos: 4.3%
  • Savory snacks: 4.1%
  • Poultry: 4.0%
  • Cheese: 3.1%
  • Pasta mixed dishes: 2.9%
  • Burgers: 2.5%
  • Meat mixed dishes: 2.5% 
  • Cookies, brownies, and cakes: 2.4% 
  • Bacon, frankfurters, and sausages: 2.4%
  • Vegetables: 2.2%
  • Chicken nuggets: 1.5%

Said lead author Mavra Ahmed, MSc, PhD, “This data is important in light of the FDA Voluntary Sodium Reduction Goals, which bring renewed focus on the importance of limiting sodium in the food supply and can help focus future efforts.” The research was supported by the Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences, a science-focused nonprofit.

Fitness Flash: Get Help for Tech Neck

Fitness Flash

Rewrite Your Goals for Greater Success

According to the experts at Precision Nutrition, an international nutrition coaching and education company that certifies health professionals, we might be setting the wrong fitness goals.

Goals are important—they can help you feel in charge of your life, boost motivation, and encourage actions that lead to change. So what’s the problem? Too often we zero in on the end result rather than the behaviors that will get us there. To switch your focus, the team at Precision Nutrition suggests that, for each finish-line goal you want, you write out the skills or habits that will help get you there and the actions you can take to help build those skills. They outline three distinct types of goals and how to switch them up: 

Create behavior goals, not outcome goals. Behavior goals represent your commitment to practice a particular set of actions or tasks every day, as consistently and regularly as possible. Examples of outcome goals are losing 30 pounds or “getting a six-pack.” Examples of behavior goals are eating only until you’re satisfied (rather than stuffed) and taking a Pilates class twice a week.  

Create approach goals, not avoidance goals. Avoidance goals, like “don’t eat sugar,” seem straightforward but are counterproductive because telling yourself to stop doing something almost guarantees you’ll keep doing it. Approach goals are steps you take to build a good habit that will naturally replace the one you want to stop. Instead of telling yourself to eliminate all junk food, for instance, prepare healthy snacks, like fruit salad, that will be ready to munch on when hunger strikes and, for motivation, remind yourself of all the nutrients you’ll get as a bonus. If you want to stop stress eating, have a hobby or other stress reliever you can do at a moment’s notice instead.

Create mastery goals, not performance goals. Performance goals, like being able to lift more weight at the gym, can be fleeting. Mastery goals emphasize the process of getting a little bit better each day at a particular skill, and they often result in sustained motivation. So rather than trying to set a personal best at a race, for example, set your focus on running more efficiently and smoothly. 

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