Hi Everybody, Debbie Benson here...
This is where I can tell you about what I know, what I have found-out, and here I can also rant a bit.
Since I was a little girl I have been aware of sodium, both high and low levels, as you learned in my first Season-It Newsletter 3 Tips That Help A Low Sodium Diet. Starting Benson's Gourmet Seasonings has been a dream come true.
As I learn, and find helpful information, tips, products, recipes and websites, I will share the information with you here. Then, you can follow-up and do your own research and make your own, more informed decisions regarding your health, or the health of a loved one. Knowledge helps you and gives you power to make better decisions.
It's not just about what you don't do or can't have. It's also about things you can or should do or add to your diet that can make a difference. Here we go...
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One of the most basic and most important flavor builders is a French cooking term or technique called a mirepoix. This one cooking technique will help you a lot to create more flavorful food. All of you should know about it and start using it when cooking, especially for a low sodium diet.
What is a Mirepoix ?
It’s a combination of chopped aromatic vegetables, traditionally onions, carrots and celery. Many countries or regions have their own unique combinations of vegetables which give their recipes their unique flavor. So you can tell Italian food from Spanish. Here we will learn about the French mirepoix.
Mirepoix - or mire poix pronounced (meer pwah), is a French cooking term. This French flavor base is used to increase flavor, aroma and balance. This is where you start building flavor, especially for stocks, soups, stews, gravies and sauces. Also used as a bed to braise and cook meats or fish upon.
Mirepoix is simply onions, carrots and celery. Two parts onion, one part carrot and one part celery, all chopped the same size for even cooking. This can be large or small depending on what you are preparing. Then usually sautéed or sweat in unsalted butter, olive oil or a combination of the two, to soften the vegetables and start the flavor building process. Then other ingredients are added to your mirepoix base like herbs, spices, seasonings, water, wine, stock, additional vegetables, meats, legumes, etc.
There can be variations but the basic traditional Mirepoix recipe is:
1 cup onion, (about 1 large) peeled and chopped
½ cup carrot, (about 1 medium) trimmed, peeled and chopped
½ cup celery, (about 1 large stalk), trimmed and chopped (the darker the green the better the flavor, and yes, you can have celery on a low sodium diet as an average stalk of celery has only about 35 milligrams of natural occurring sodium), and you don’t usually eat a whole stalk.
Note: Mirepoix is more about percentages than exact measurements.
Look upon your cutting board and see the mound of chopped onion. The carrot and celery should each be the same size mounds which together will be equal to the mound of onions.
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