October 21, 2014

Everyday Gourmet: Umami bomb


By Kim Dannies

Always on my to do list is to lose the five stubborn pounds that perpetually come and go, and recently, I did (again). Not to humblebrag, but it was easier this go round. Instead of strictures and restraint, I focused MORE on food, not less. This notion, counter-intuitive to anyone who has ever dieted, came as a revelation to me. The fresh thinking was sparked while reading about chefs who have lost a significant amount of weight while on the job. Much of the advice was simple common sense — portion control, exercise, knock off the booze.

What really got my attention was the concept of the “umami bomb.” Umami is why we go bonkers for bacon; it is the fifth flavor delivered by goodies such as aged cheese, ripe tomatoes, seaweed, pork, seafood, mushrooms, poultry, soy and fish sauce. Chefs who regularly infuse food with umami bombs are consistently more satisfied with their food, faster. This means less consumption and more opportunities to eat foods they ENJOY. The result: less hassle with the scale.

ENJOY is the operative word here. I don’t deprive myself of what I like, within reason. For example, I could easily eat 600 calories of healthy stuff I don’t particularly enjoy, and be haunted for the next three hours feeling unsatisfied. (So then maybe I backslide by eating another 400 calories of raw cashews.) I’d rather just eat 600 calories of something I really like in the first place. Savoring food, not suffering over it, makes me happier, healthier and more committed to my target weight.

Amplifying the flavors of food helps to satisfy cravings. I aim to steer clear of processed ingredients, white flour and sugar, but enjoy adding combinations of sautéed mushrooms and onions, tomatoes, shaved parmesan, anchovies and soy and fish sauces, to dishes. Dream meals contain bits of bacon, sausage and Emmentaler Swiss cheese. Other tricks of the trade ­­— poach garlic in olive oil until soft and use it like butter, cut way back on red meat by eating more seafood, especially clams and scallops.

Takeout portions are for two and loaded with sugar and butter—take control of your own destiny by cooking umami bomb meals and you won’t surrender even one precious notch on your belt.

Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France.  She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.

Library Notes


Did you know that the library …
…has classes to teach people how to use their online library account, library databases, access e-books and e-audio and more? Or, we can offer you our undivided one-on-one attention? You can call the library and set up a private appointment with library staff anytime or with our teen tech tutor twice a month.

Youth News
After-School Games
Monday, Oct. 20, 3-4 p.m. Bring your own trading cards (Magic, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh) or play one of the library’s games. Grades 3 and up. Snacks provided.
Friday, Oct. 24, 3 p.m. A misunderstood boy takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse. Rated PG, 87 minutes, grade 1 and up. Free popcorn. Children 8 and younger must be accompanied by adult.
Spanish Musical Playgroup
Saturday, Oct. 25, 10:30 a.m. Spanish rhymes, books and songs for children birth to age 5. Includes a craft activity and snack. Music with Constancia and crafts with Natasha. Sponsored by Building Bright Futures.
Read to Van Gogh the Cat
Monday, Oct. 27, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Call 878-4918 to pre-register for individual reading sessions. All ages.
Pumpkin Story Time
Tuesday, Oct. 28, 11 a.m. Stories and a simple craft activity for children ages 3-5.
Read to a Dog
Tuesdays, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Bring a book and read to one of our registered therapy dogs. All dogs registered with Therapy Dogs of Vermont. Call 878-4918 to pre-register for individual sessions. All ages.
Maker Program: Squishy Circuits ‘Creepy Creatures’
Tuesday, Oct. 28, 3 p.m. Use basic circuitry to make a 3-D creature using Playdoh and LED lights. Kindergarten and up. Pre-register at 878-4918. Children ages 8 and younger must be accompanied by an adult while at the library. Pre-register at 878-4918.
Halloween Stories
Wednesday, Oct. 29, 6:30 p.m. Bring kids in PJs or costumes with their favorite stuffed animals for stories, a craft and a bedtime snack. Presented by Building Bright Futures.

Adult News
Dorian Michael Guitarist & Storyteller
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 6:30-7:45 p.m. Guitarist Dorian Michael will play a mix of finger-style instrumentals and a big bunch of blues, from original tunes to traditional American roots music. Michael has been playing music for more than 40 years.
Armchair Tour of Historic Williston Village
Saturday, Oct. 18 at 11 a.m. Local historian and author Richard Allen will offer a slide-talk presentation on “Along the Winooski Turnpike: Historic Tour of Williston Village.” Explore the past and present buildings and streetscapes, with the stories that have defined the main street of Williston over the last 150 years. Sponsored by the Friends of Dorothy Alling Memorial Library.
Chair Yoga with Jill Lang
Tuesday, Oct. 21 and 28, 1-2 p.m. Presented by Williston resident, Jill Lang. Enjoy free classes. Bring your own mat.
Gentle Yoga with Jill Lang
Tuesday, Oct. 21 and 28, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Presented by Williston resident, Jill Lang. Enjoy free classes. Bring your own mat.
The Tech Tutor
Wednesday, Oct. 22, 5:30-8 p.m. Stop by anytime during tech hours for one-on-one technology help from a teen. Guarantee a time by making a 15-minute appointment. 878-4918.
Putting Your Garden to Bed
Wednesday, Oct. 22, 6:30 p.m. Local Author Ron Krupp will read from his new book “Woodchuck Returns to Gardening” and talk about putting your garden to bed. Bring your questions. Book signing available.
Shape and Share Life Stories
Monday, Oct. 27, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. Learn to craft engaging stories from life experiences. Led by Recille Hamrell.
The Dorothy Alling Memorial Library is located at 21 Library Lane in Williston and can be reached at 878-4918. All events are free. www.williston.lib.vt.us

Letter to the Editor


Fruit fly remedy
I wonder if other people are bothered with fruit flies this fall? We seem to have more than usual. I buy apples, bananas, lemons, cantaloupe, pears and leave in a fruit bowl on the kitchen counter.
I have begun to wash all the fruit when I first bring it home rather than just before using it to see if this makes a difference.
I found a remedy in my vinegar book I would like to share with readers (also a visiting cousin from Washington state said he has had a big problem at home on the west coast and uses this solution.)
Pour about 1/4 cup cider vinegar into a small glass, and add a drop of dish liquid. Take a sandwich bag and cut a hole the size of a quarter in the center of the bag and place over the top of the glass. I use a rubber band to hold it in place. Once the fruit fly discovers the vinegar solution, it will fly into the vinegar and it doesn’t seem to know how to get out.
In the last six or seven days, I have counted 32 fruit flies in the glass.
If someone knows why we have fruit flies, what attracts them and any other info, I would like to hear his or her story.
Ginger Isham

GUEST COLUMN: Charting the future of Efficiency Vermont


By Jim Merriam
Efficiency Vermont was created in the year 2000 to help Vermont homes and businesses reduce their use of electricity. At a larger level, we work in partnership with all of Vermont’s traditional utilities to help reduce strain on the electric system and defer the need for expensive investments in new power plants and transmission lines.
Since its start, Efficiency Vermont has evolved significantly to help meet the changing energy needs and priorities of our customers and Vermont’s energy system. Today, Efficiency Vermont helps to reduce not only the use of electricity, but heating fuels as well. We are even providing incentives for renewable energy systems such as biomass heat and solar hot water.
The benefits of this work to reduce Vermont’s energy usage have been measurable and substantial. In 2013, electricity use in Vermont was 13 percent lower than it would have been. That same year, nearly 1,200 homes were buttoned up to lower their heating costs. According to VELCO, the state’s transmission company, Vermont’s investments in energy efficiency will help to defer $279 million in transmission and electric system upgrades over the next decade.
Those are results to be proud of and they are certainly not Efficiency Vermont’s alone. They are due to the decisions of thousands of Vermont homes and businesses to take steps to reduce their energy use and costs. Our top priority has always been to make those decisions easy and cost-effective—and to ensure that we offer guidance and solutions that will help you meet your long term energy goals.
As we look to the future, this is a good moment to pause and take stock of how Efficiency Vermont works today and how that work needs to evolve as the world around us continues to change. Are we keeping up with the newest technologies? Are we supporting broader state energy goals? Most importantly, are we meeting the needs of all Vermonters, especially those for whom energy costs are a challenging burden?
To help answer those questions and others, Efficiency Vermont is convening a series of community forums across the state. From Lyndonville to Bennington, we will be seeking input from Vermonters about what our priorities for the next three years should be.

If you would like to help shape the future direction of Efficiency Vermont, I invite you to attend a forum, give us a call at 1-888-921-5990 or visit our website www.efficiencyvermont.com/communityforums to learn more and share your perspective.
Efficiency Vermont Community Forum schedule (all forums run 6 – 7:30 p.m. and include a light supper):
Oct. 27: Bellows Free Academy, St. Albans
Oct. 28: Spaulding High School, Barre
Oct.r 29: Lyndon State College, Lyndonville
Nov. 5: Southwest Vermont Career Development Center, Bennington
Nov. 6: Vermont Agricultural Business Education Center, Brattleboro

Jim Merriam is the director of Efficiency Vermont.