Food Safety, Plus 2 Bonus Recipes

By Chef Don Doward


So, as I sat and had breakfast at a local restaurant, I was thinking about sending you a recipe for antioxidant rich foods like red kidney beans and garlic. As I watched the fresh orange juice being made, I realized that the oranges were not washed. I decided to share those two recipes, but I thought we should start with food safety.  Food safety is something that is often overlooked, at home and in restaurants.

If you are recovering from cancer treatments, your immune system may be compromised.   You will need to be careful of the way you prepare your food at home and be aware of food preparation standards in the restaurants you frequent.

One out of six people in the United States will get a food borne illness this year and in most cases they will get sick from food prepared at home. This can be a big problem, especially if your immune system has been compromised. So let share ways of insuring that you have a safe meal.

Foods to avoid are raw or undercooked meat, poultry, or seafood. Unwashed fresh produce, including organic should be washed and dried. Undercooked or raw eggs including any foods made with raw eggs (cookie dough). Raw seafood such as sushi  (frozen seafood, labeled as sushi grade will be better).  Sushi served in a restaurant should be frozen before it is prepared. This insures a safer product.

Meat, poultry and seafood must be cooked properly.  Use a food thermometer to insure the proper cooking temperature.  The minimum temperatures are:

Beef, Pork, Lamb and Veal  – 145 degrees

Ground Beef  – 165 degrees

Poultry – 165 degrees

Seafood – 145 degrees

Lobster, Crab, Shrimp – cook until they turn red and flesh is opaque

Clams, Oysters, Mussels – cook until shells open.  If the shells do not open, do not eat them

Eggs – whites and yolks should be firm.  Do not use raw eggs

Here are a few more tips to keep you safe:

Clean and sanitize cutting boards and counters often.  Do not use cutting boards for raw foods and potentially hazardous foods.

Keep raw food and ready to eat foods separate.

Wash and dry all fresh produce.

Cook all foods to proper internal temperatures.

Cool all perishable foods as soon as possible, within 2 hours.

Wash hands often and always when using different food items.

The above suggestions are ways to reduce the chances of contracting a food borne illness. While this article is directed at cancer patients it is also a great way to protect your family.

Zucchini and Basil Quinoa Pilaf Recipe
2 cups quinoa
1 large or 2 small zucchini, chopped into small, bite-size pieces
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1. In a medium sized pot, cook onions and garlic in about 1/4 cup of broth for a few minutes, or until onions are soft.

2. Add quinoa, a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper, and the remaining broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes.

3. Remove lid, add zucchini, lemon juice and about 3/4 cup of chopped basil. Cover again with lid and let pot sit for about 2 minutes with the heat off.

4. Add remaining basil.  Season with sea salt and pepper. Serve while it’s hot.

Roasted Garlic
1 medium head garlic
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees

2. Slice the top off the garlic, about ½” from the head, exposing the cloves

3. Place the garlic into a sheet of aluminum foil, cover with oil and seal

4. Place on a small cookie sheet

5. Roast about 35-40 minutes until the garlic is soft and golden brown

6. Let cool and squeeze or spread on bread

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