Saturday, October 4, 2008

Interesterified Oil

I came across this little tidbit of information and thought it would be interesting to share with you how the food industry is making changes but not necessarily in our best interest. One more reason to eat local, cook your own food and move into a healthier diet.

Q: What are interesterified oils? Are they less harmful than trans fats?

A: The food industry is phasing out artery-clogging trans fat, found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils used in cookies, crackers and other processed foods. As an alternative, some companies are using interesterified oils, vegetable oils chemically altered to provide the properties of partially hydrogenated oils without the trans fat. More research is needed to determine the effect of interesterified oils on health. However, a recent study published in Nutrition and Metabolism suggests that they may lower HDL "good" cholesterol and raise blood sugar, increasing the risks for coronary artery disease and diabetes. For now, play it safe. Read labels, and avoid partially hydrogenated and interesterified oils. Choose foods made with canola, safflower, corn, olive and other unprocessed vegetable oils.

Source: Suzanne Havala Hobbs, DrPH, RD, clinical assistant professor, department of health policy and administration, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

My oil of choice is olive usually but hey, I'm Italian, it may be genetic. Never the less, it's tasty and as oils go pretty darn good for you. Now what you really want to know. What are you cooking with that olive oil Rabbit9? Here my friends is the tasty answer I'm sharing with you. This tasty soup is adapted it from Vegetarian cookbook by Linda Fraser. Thanks so much to her for a warm health soup to go with our crisp fall weather. As always, feel free to improvise. If you don't like white beans, try black. A bean is a bean and they all have something good for you so don't stress it.

White Bean Soup


1½ cups dried cannellini or other white beans
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups boiling water
ground black pepper
Olive oil, to serve

  • Pick over the beans carefully, discarding any stones or other particles. Rinse thoroughly in cold water to ensure that they are clean. Soak in a large bowl of cold water overnight. Drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan of water, bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Drain. Return the beans to the pan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil again. Add the bay leaf and simmer for 1-2 hours or until the beans are tender. Drain again. Remove the bay leaf.
  • Puree about three-quarters of the beans in a food processor or blender, adding a little water if necessary, to create a smooth paste.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Stir in the onion and cook until it softens. Add the carrot and celery, and cook for 5 minutes more.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, garlic and thyme. Cook 6-8 minutes more, stirring often.
  • Pour in the boiling water. Stir in the beans and the bean puree. Season with pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve in individual soup bowls, sprinkled with a little olive oil.

Makes 6 servings

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