Sharon Thompson: Where can you find great soup in Central Kentucky?

swthompson@herald-leader.com,Sharon ThompsonJanuary 15, 2014 

Sharon Thompson

MARK CORNELISON | STAFF

The polar vortex has left Central Kentucky — thank goodness! — but we still have several weeks of low temperatures to battle. One of the best ways to warm up is with a bowl of hot soup or stew.

Does your favorite restaurant serve great soup? Let us know who makes the tastiest soup, and why it's the best, and we'll share your responses with other readers in a couple of weeks. Email me at swthompson@herald-leader.com or leave a message at (859) 231-3321.

Yahoo Food worth a look

Cooks who find great recipes on Pinterest will like the new Yahoo Food. It's not about pinning your favorites but finding great stories about food, gadgets, techniques and trends.

The site, like Yahoo Tech, is designed with smartphones and tablets in mind, but even on a computer screen these magazines offer a fresh design with photographic tiles that represent the various stories. When you click a tile, it expands in place so you can read the article; you never have to deal with browser tabs, multiple windows or the back button.

When you reach the end of that article, you can collapse it again, or just click another tile to read more articles. Go to Yahoo.com/food.

Some stories you'll want to read: sweets in the slow cooker; 13 gadgets every kitchen should have; French cooking tricks that will simplify dinner; how to cook for the sick and heartbroken; and three ways to cook that deer you just killed.

Trending diet ideas

In 2014, some of us have resolved to eat a cleaner diet or follow a diet that makes our skin and hair healthier.

Here are some predictions from experts who can help you keep those resolutions.

Eating clean

Mareya Ibrahim, "The Fit Foodie," is a nationally recognized expert on food safety and eating clean. She created EatCleaner.com for fit food information, wrote The Clean Eating Handbook, is a featured chef on the Emmy-nominated cooking show Recipe Rehab, and founded the Cleaner Plate Club. Here are her projections for the new year.

■ Sales of snacks made from nutritionally dense and functional ingredients — seaweed, dried legumes, flax, chia and hemp seeds, coconut oil — are on the rise. Try incorporating these healthier ingredients into recipes where they can be added easily without detracting from flavor (breakfast pastries, desserts, side dishes). We will see a boom of functional drinks made with chia, hemp, and flax.

■ According to Food Allergy Research & Education, 15 million Americans live with food allergies. Gluten-free and vegan alternatives will become pervasive, even in chain restaurants and cafés.

■ As consumers become increasingly aware of the negative effects of highly processed foods, more are reaping the benefits of nutrient-dense foods. Ibrahim predicts you'll start seeing greens pop up in nontraditional ways, such as puréeing them into egg whites.

■ The clean eating idea is to eat maximally nutritious foods in their most natural, whole state. The Paleo Diet was the hot trend in 2013, and it will remain prominent but with a "lighter" twist. In 2014, you'll see people following a clean eating approach, choosing cleaner, leaner meats; plentiful, low-starch vegetables, legumes and nuts; fruit; and "smart carbs" like farro, an ancient grain that breaks down slowly to sustain blood sugar.

■ In 2013, bacon was pushed into every food product possible, but in 2014, meat-free alternatives will gain momentum, as will seafood in dishes such as shrimp burgers.

■ Stevia and other calorie-free, natural sweeteners will become more prevalent. Monk fruit is the newcomer to the low-calorie natural sweeteners lineup. Monk fruit sweeteners (like Nectresse) have a low glycemic index, natural ingredients and have not been criticized as other sugar alternatives have been in recent years.

■ In 2013, it was all about kale, but in 2014, Brussels sprouts will become the giant.

■ Cronuts are out; the quookie is in. Qookies — cookies made with quinoa — are energy-rich and high in fiber, and have a nutty flavor.

Beauty foods

Celebrity nutritionist Christine Avanti, author of Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food, predicts that consumption of real food is great for avoiding premature aging of skin and helping to get beautiful hair.

■ Real food is high in antioxidants that fight free radical damage. Free radicals are the villains behind aging because they break down cells and slow cell rejuvenation. Avoiding packaged foods and consuming a diet of real foods means you are loaded up on essential vitamins and minerals — such as vitamin C, which the body requires to produce collagen — thus improved skin.

■ "Beauty foods" include oranges, strawberries, kiwi, and papaya. Vitamin C-rich foods might help to ward off wrinkles, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vitamin C's skin-brightening effects might be due to its antioxidant abilities to mop up free radicals produced from too much sun. Vitamin C also plays a major role in collagen synthesis and production.

■ Ginger has anti- inflammatory properties and might help reduce puffy eyes.

■ Olives, avocados and buckwheat contain monounsaturated fatty acids and help keep skin youthful and taut. Buckwheat also contains a flavonoid called rutin that might help skin retain its elasticity.

■ Mussels and oysters are rich in zinc, which plays a major role in skin renewal and repair.

■ Wheat germ and other foods high in B vitamins are important for beautiful skin because they are responsible for making new cells and support rapid cell division.

■ For beautiful hair, omega-3 fatty acids are essential. People who do not get enough omega-3s might suffer from a dry scalp, causing dry brittle hair. Vegetarians should consume 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed a day.

■ Greek yogurt and other low-fat dairy products, including low-fat cheese, offer calcium, a mineral that plays a major role in growing healthy hair. A Greek yogurt parfait with fruit and ground flax seeds is a perfect snack for beautiful hair and skin because it packs calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.

■ Broccoli, kale and spinach are excellent sources of vitamins C and A, which are needed to produce sebum, an oily substance secreted by hair follicles. Sebum is basically your body's natural hair conditioner, adding shine and strength and decreasing the chances of having dry, brittle hair.

Changes in Food & Wine

Food & Wine magazine has a new look. The redesign debuts with the February issue, which hits newsstands Friday.

Food & Wine now has six celebrity chefs-in-residence: Grant Achatz, Hugh Acheson, Mario Batali, David Chang, Eric Ripert, and Andrew Zimmern. Along with illustrator-in-residence Anthony Bourdain, they will share their expertise every month on topics ranging from cooking to travel. Go to Foodandwine.com/fwchefs, or follow Food & Wine on Twitter and Instagram with #Fwchefs.

Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.

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