Introducing: Beach Plum White Balsamic

By Katie Shernan
on December 09, 2018

Introducing: Beach Plum White Balsamic

We are thrilled to introduce our very own Beach Plum Balsamic Vinegar!

Beach Plums, the namesake of the local Plum Island, are a wild fruit native to the East Coast from Maine to Maryland. Featuring a sweet-tart flavor, Beach Plums are most often used in jams and baked goods.

After a particularly beautiful walk in the Parker River Wildlife Refuge, we were inspired to create Beach Plum Balsamic Vinegar. We found an expert in Beach Plums who combined his own whole fruit with high quality White Balsamic Vinegar and allowed it to age for 3 months. The result is a unique, fruited, white balsamic vinegar with notes of ripe cherry, cranberry, and plum.

This exclusive and unique balsamic can be used to add flavor and zest to all sorts of dishes.

  • Combine with lemon or blood orange olive oil and mustard for a delicious salad dressing
  • Brush it on pork or chicken
  • Add to roasted squash or Brussels sprouts
  • Drizzle over fresh fruit, yogurt, and ice cream
  • Mix with club soda and vodka for a fabulous holiday cocktail!

Guest Blogger: Food Sensitivity and How It Can Affect Us

By Maggie Griffin
on November 14, 2018

Guest Blogger: Food Sensitivity and How It Can Affect Us

At Port Plums, we often receive a lot of questions about how olive oil and vinegar can be included in certain diets, thus impacting different ailments and allergies. In her article, Dr. Alia Elias explains how recognizing food sensitivities can improve our health and help us understand what our bodies truly need to remain strong.

 

Food sensitivities and resulting conditions affect at least 100 million people worldwide. In the US about 50 million people suffer from food sensitivities and the prevalence has increased to more than 50% in adults and more than 70% in children in the past years. These numbers continue to be on the rise.

Food sensitivities are the underlying cause of endless chronic conditions including digestive issues such as IBS, Crohn’s, or Ulcerative Colitis, hormonal imbalances, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, skin conditions, arthritic conditions, autoimmune disease, low energy, fatigue, migraines, anxiety, depression and blood sugar issues. Any health issue with increased inflammation can be exacerbated by exposure to foods that negatively affect your immune system. This is because the vast majority of disease can be boiled down to one thing - inflammation.

Inflammation is a general term that refers to the actions of the immune system that includes various cell types and specific proteins that work together to fight infection or any potential “invaders”. There are different potential ways that your body can have an immune response to a food. This can be confusing, but basically food “allergies” and food “sensitivities” are completely different reactions.

Our immune system produces antibodies, or immunoglobulins (IgM, IgA, IgG, IgE and IgD) in response to food, food additives and chemicals, as well as environmental substances (which are all called antigens). When outside antigens enter our body, our immune system has to decide if they can stay or if they should be attacked. It does this by labelling proteins on the surface of the antigens so that certain immune cells can be called into action. It is this protein marker that elicits an overreaction by a specific immune compound. The specific type of immune compound called into play is what determines the type of reaction that is going to happen.

In the case of a food allergy, there is an overreaction to a particular food by the Immunoglobulin E (IgE) that occurs typically within seconds or minutes from the time of exposure to a couple of hours later. This is called an immediate reaction. Anything can be a food allergy, however common ones are eggs, shellfish, milk and tree nuts. The resulting reaction can be mild or severe; mild can look like allergies with congestion, itchiness or mild swelling of face or lips or wheezing, or there can be abdominal cramping and diarrhea or vomiting. In severe reactions, there can be more severe swelling, including the throat, and in worst cases a respiratory reaction in life-threatening anaphylaxis.

 Food sensitivity reactions, on the other hand, are mediated by IgG antibodies and a compound called Complement which are bound to immune complexes. A significant action of Complement is to recruit inflammatory cells to the area. Therefore, it contributes to tissue inflammation and symptomatology. These reactions, mediated by IgG, are called delayed hypersensitivity reactions because they can occur anywhere from hours to days after ingestion. Because the result isn’t immediate, the symptoms are more difficult to discern. These insidious symptoms such as a slow onset of lethargy or fatigue can be nearly impossible to pair with a previously ingested food. Since food sensitivities aren’t immediately life threatening like food allergies, they are often dismissed and not readily recognized, especially conventionally. However, these food sensitivities that are often ignored can have a great impact on your long-term health.

If we are eating several foods that are causing this IgG reaction on a regular basis, there will always be an underlying level of inflammation in the body. These foods are not only uncommon allergens, but they can be anything at all. The healthiest foods, with an example of wild salmon or broccoli, can cause this reaction as any other food can. Over time, this inflammation will reach a sort of threshold that will result in tissue damage and symptomatology.

The digestive system is integral to all of this inflammation because a large percentage of the body’s immune system resides within the tissues surrounding the gut. This is because the gut is a very essential barrier between the inside of the body and the outside world. The entire gastrointestinal tract from beginning to end is essentially one continuous tunnel. Nutrient absorption occurs at the level of the small intestine and the barrier is what allows nutrients to come in and all else to stay out of the gut.

Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, occurs when the integrity of the lining of the intestinal tract is compromised. In a healthy state, the gut lining, made up of enterocytes, has a tight barrier that controls what is able to be absorbed. When enterocytes or the proteins that form bonds between them are damaged, microscopic holes are formed. Then bacteria, viruses, toxins and partially digested food from the gut are able to penetrate the tissues and escape into your bloodstream and also to the immune cells of the gut. These “foreign objects, or invaders”  are marked by the immune system as pathogens and attacked. More immune cells from the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (the immune system in the gut) are recruited. When large amounts of pathogens escape, other parts of the body such as the liver contribute to the response, increasing the systemic inflammation and gearing up the immune system. Bacteria particles and toxins cause generalized inflammation by stimulating the release of chemical messengers that travel in the blood and tell white blood cells to attack. These chemical messengers are called inflammatory cytokines and are responsible for widespread inflammation because there is not a specific target tissue. This resulting immune activation with immune complexes being formed causes further destruction to the gut barrier. Now a vicious cycle is occurring where more and more food proteins and pathogens are going in and the gut is getting more damaged. This in turn causes further food sensitivities, or reactions to more and more foods, as the immune system is working overtime. Probiotics play a role here, as growing evidence suggests that the gut microbiome is a key factor of the gut barrier. Probiotics may be able to reverse leaky gut by enhancing the production of proteins in the gut lining.

How can this scenario affect the rest of the body and cause any number of chronic conditions? These immune complexes won’t just stay local to the gut but will also travel in the bloodstream to distant areas including joints, skin, nervous tissue or endocrine tissue. They can travel virtually anywhere in the body, causing tissue damage. In individuals with a genetic predisposition, a leaky gut may allow environmental factors to enter the body and trigger the initiation and development of autoimmune disease. This is because a leaky gut provides the trigger to the body to produce antibodies as well as an extra stimulus to the immune system. These two factors, in addition to the third factor of which is genetics, are the necessary elements for autoimmune disease to develop.

The scenario painted above does indeed appear to be grim. The ongoing end result for many is enduring years of chronic illness or symptomatology without knowing that certain foods have caused or contributed to these conditions. However, you don’t have to continue with your symptoms, wondering which foods are causing what, or periodically avoiding certain foods thinking they might be the culprit. If you experience any ongoing symptoms, consider being tested for food sensitivities. Almost any food can be a sensitivity, and genetics as well as other factors control the immune response, so the types of foods reacted to vary quite a bit for each person.

There is one test on the market facilitated by health professionals that measures both IgG and Complement. The test utilizes methods that yield the most complete profiles of the causative agents in food sensitivities. The methods used detect both IgG antibody and Complement antigen together in order to determine the reactivity of each sample against a wide variety of food antigens. This test stands out over others because it includes the necessary component of Complement. As mentioned above, Complement is even more important that the IgG response to food. Even if there are several foods with a significant IgG reaction, the foods that bring Complement into play are the ones that significantly boost the immune response and have the potential to do the most tissue damage. Most testing only looks at IgG, which is only part of the picture, and leaves out the sensitivity and specificity that Complement provides. This test is the most sensitive test available clinically and measures 132 foods, colorings and additives. It also tests for leaky gut, so there is a tremendous amount of information obtained from the results.

Undergoing food sensitivity testing is just the beginning step for gut healing to take place. The offending foods causing an immune reaction, or an IgG and Complement response, need to be eliminated for a period of time. Then, a gut healing protocol has to be put into place. Based on the test results, we design a 12 week elimination of the inflammatory foods, followed by a systematic reintroduction to check for reactions. During this time, if a gut healing regimen is closely followed, antibody production in response to a given food will decrease or be eliminated within that time. If this is the case, you will most likely be able to reintroduce the food again without symptoms. The testing is a huge opportunity to identify the offending foods that have been causing inflammation in your body and to finally address the problem. It is not enough, however, to just identify the offending foods. Removing the foods to reduce the inflammation and give the gut a reprieve provides a window of opportunity to actually put in the work to heal the gut without the stimulus of those foods. Therefore, both of these factors are critical. If the above is effectively done, there is enormous potential for healing to take place, to be able to enjoy the foods again, and best of all, for symptomatology to be alleviated and even eliminated.

 

Dr. Alia Elias, N.D., M.S.O.M.

 

 

 Learn more about Dr. Alia and her business, Your RX Meals at her website: http://www.yourrxmeals.com/what-we-do/

Maple Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

By Katie Shernan
on October 30, 2018

Maple Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Give your Brussels Sprouts some love with maple balsamic, evoo, and flaky sea salt! Maple balsamic roasted brussels sprouts are one of our favorite fall side dishes.

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Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread

By Katie Shernan
on September 22, 2018

Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread

Port Plums Pumpkin Bread

We made this rich, aromatic bread in store and got lots of recipe requests. Try it at home, you won't be disappointed! Keep one loaf for you and give one to a friend.

 

Makes (2) 8 ½” Loaves

Recipe Adapted from Martha Stewart

 

Ingredients

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed dark-brown sugar

4 large eggs

9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt.

Combine pumpkin puree and sugars in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs and melted butter and beat to combine, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat to combine.

Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops. Bake, rotating once, until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 70 to 80 minutes for large loaves, 45 minutes for small. Transfer to wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out of pans, re-invert onto wire rack, and cool completely.

4 Ways to Use Smoked Olive Oil

By Katie Shernan
on August 25, 2018

4 Ways to Use Smoked Olive Oil

This extra virgin olive oil is cold smoked in Puglia using natural olive wood. On the palate, it combines delicate softness with a smooth, smoky middle interspersed with gentle spicy notes and a lingering floral finish. Here are 4 ways to use smoked olive oil

 

Marinated Steaks with Smoked Olive Oil

4 - 2" thick steaks: use either strip, porterhouse, t-bone or tenderloin steaks weighing about 8 oz. each
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs thyme or rosemary (optional)
2 garlic cloves (optional)
2 shallots, thinly sliced (optional)
2-3 tablespoons smoked olive oil
  1. Generously season the steaks with salt and pepper. Place 2 tablespoons smoked olive oil, shallots, rosemary, and garlic into resealable bags along with the steaks. Marinate for 2 hours.
  2. Remove the steaks form marinade and prepare your grill. Grill to desired doneness.

Original Recipe

 

Corn Salad with Smoked Olive Oil

4 ears of corn, raw or cooked to your taste
¾ cup of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 small jalapeño, cleaned, de-seeded and diced
1 small red onion, small diced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons smoked olive oil
½ lime, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. First trim the kernels off the corn cob, and place into a large bowl. Combine with the tomatoes, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, olive oil and lime juice. Mix to combine, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  2. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Original Recipe

 

Caprese Salad with Smoked Olive Oil

 
1 ball of fresh mozzarella (about 125g / 4.4oz)
1 large juicy and ripe tomato
1 Tbsp of smoked olive oil
Cracked black pepper, to taste
5-10 basil leaves
  1. Slice both your mozzarella and tomato into thick slices.
  2. Assemble in overlapping layers on a plate.
  3. Grind some black pepper over the top.
  4. Drizzle with smoked olive oil.
  5. Garnish with basil leaves.

Original Recipe

 

Basil & Smoked Olive Oil Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
¼ cup smoked olive oil
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. Combine the basil in with the pine nuts and pulse a few time in a food processor or blender (you may use walnuts instead of pine nuts, just pulse them a few times first before adding the basil).
  2. Add the garlic and pulse a few times more.
  3. Slowly add the olive oils in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the processor with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Original Recipe

Guest Blogger: Everything You’re Doing in the Gym Just Might Be Wrong

By Katie Shernan
on August 14, 2018

Guest Blogger: Everything You’re Doing in the Gym Just Might Be Wrong

At Port Plums, we seek to bring joy and health to your life - even outside of the kitchen! We've partnered with subject matter experts to bring you this guest blogger series. Please enjoy the first installment by local fitness expert, Bruce Cohn of Bruce Cohn Fitness.

 

Everything You’re Doing in the Gym Just Might Be Wrong

You’re a busy person who knows it’s important to be fit. You want to be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck while training in the gym. And as a strength coach who focuses on performance, I want the same for my clients. But too often the workouts I see are not effective and are, at times, counterproductive.

My first goal in training is to Do No Harm. My clients train hard but they follow scientific principles of progression which take into account both acute and chronic injuries, illnesses, life stressors, and past training experience.

My training programs help clean up faulty movement patterns by looking at what my clients do regularly and include exercises that counter the effects of repetitive movements and postures. Most people sit far too much with shoulders rounded forward, hip flexor muscles shortened, and butt muscles deactivated. The cumulative effect is tissue damage leading to back pain, sore shoulders and necks.

Too many people in the gym are reinforcing bad movement instead of improving movement. I have heard it suggested that if you follow the average male around the gym and do the exact opposite of what he is doing for a workout then you will get a pretty effective workout. You know the routine: bench press, bicep curls, and maybe some time on the bike or treadmill.

Females tend to focus on the inner and outer thigh machines, lifting light dumbbells to avoid “bulking up”, and the long, slow walk to nowhere on the treadmill. Neither gender ends up working on the things they most need.

In either case, these workouts tend to reinforce repetitive movement patterns and muscle imbalances that are responsible for chronic pain and injury. Our predisposition to take the path of least resistance and only do those exercises we already do well, actually hurts us and makes workouts ineffective.

Bruce Cohn Fitness programs address these issues and empower clients to improve performance with reduced injuries as they participate in the game of life. Our programs reinforce function through practice and progression.

At Bruce Cohn Fitness all of our clients do Kettle Bell swings, Medicine Ball throws, and Battling Ropes to improve power and burn more calories. And make no mistake about it: power is not just for athletes. Every time we get up from a chair, climb stairs, or react to a fall we are using power. Does your workout involve force production and force absorption? If not, why not?

In addition to power training, our programs include all of the 5 basic movement patterns: hinging at the hipsbending at the kneestabilizing the spineupper body pulling, and upper body pushing. In simple terms we program exercises involving:

  • Lowering to and raising from benches, floor etc.
  • Balance, core stability and improved tissue length
  • Raising knees, toes, and extending hips
  • Pulling shoulder blades down and in
  • Doing upper body pulling exercises in 2:1 ratio to pushing

Want to perform better in your recreational passions or activities of daily living?

Call Bruce today at 781-454-8500 or email: bruce.coach@gmail.com

3 Ways to Use Espresso Balsamic Vinegar

By Katie Shernan
on August 14, 2018

3 Ways to Use Espresso Balsamic Vinegar

Today we're highlighting one of our lesser known infused balsamics, Espresso! There are countless ways to use this flavorful ingredient in your cooking, but here are 3 ideas to get you started.

 

When you're done reading, use code ESPRESSOYOURSELF at checkout or mention this post in-store to receive 20% off any size bottle of Espresso Balsamic Vinegar

 

Espresso Balsamic Grilled Flank Steak

Ingredients:

  • 1 flank steak, 1 1/2 - 2 lbs
  • 1/2 c Espresso Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients and place in a sealable plastic bag or flat, shallow container large enough to hold the meat.
  2. Rinse the meat, pat dry, and place in the marinade, covered, for 2 hours minimum (up to 24 hours). Turn occasionally.
  3. Heat the grill of your choice to medium-high heat.
  4. Remove the steak from the marinade, scraping any clinging sauce and shallots back into the dish with a spatula.
  5. Pat the steak dry, and oil and salt the surface lightly. Grill 3-6 minutes per side, taking care not to overcook. Baste with the marinade while cooking, reserving at least 1/2 c. When done, set on a platter to rest, tented with foil, while you finish the sauce (let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing).
  6. Put the remaining marinade in a small saucepan and bring to the boil along with any juices that collect on the platter.
  7. Reduce to a simmer and cook for a minute or two; the sauce should thicken slightly.
  8. Slice the steak thinly against the grain and spoon the sauce over to serve.

Original Recipe

 

Espresso Spritzer

This recipe does not actually contain espresso balsamic but demonstrates just how much of a shortcut infused balsamics can be!

A shrub is a sweet and acidic liquid used in making beverages (similar in concept to bitters). Historically it was know as "drinking vinegar." Balsamic vinegars behave beautifully as shrubs in mixed drinks.

Rather than going through the process of creating a coffee shrub as demonstrated in the following recipe, try adding a teaspoon or more of espresso balsamic to a glass of sparkling water for a refreshing treat!. 

Coffee Shrub Recipe

 

Espresso Balsamic Roasted Pears

This is another recipe in which the original version does not contain espresso balsamic but trust us! The deep, caramelized notes of espresso balsamic perfectly complement the mild, sweet pears. Add some salty Manchego or Roquefort for an amazing foil.

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 firm-ripe Bosc pears, halved lengthwise and cored
3 tablespoons espresso balsamic vinegar
4 oz Manchego or mild fresh goat cheese, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Melt butter in an 8-inch square glass baking dish in middle of oven, about 3 minutes.
Arrange pears, cut sides down, in 1 layer in butter and roast in middle of oven until tender, about 20 minutes.
Pour vinegar over pears and roast 5 minutes more.
Transfer pears, cut sides down, to serving plates with cheese and spoon some of juices from baking dish over pears. Drizzle pears and cheese with honey and sprinkle with pepper.

Original Recipe

 

Feeling inspired? This discount is available through the September 30th!

So Hot! 2 Cayenne Chili Infused Olive Oil Recipes

By Linda Davis Siess
on February 17, 2018

So Hot! 2 Cayenne Chili Infused Olive Oil Recipes

Our Cayenne Chili infused olive oil is hot! Its brilliant red hue hints at the bitingly hot flavor - which lends itself perfectly to spicy hot recipes. Try these two very quick recipes to savor that tongue-tingling flavor, and let us know what you think!

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You Make It! Homemade Olive Oil Pizza Dough

By Linda Davis Siess
on February 07, 2018

You Make It! Homemade Olive Oil Pizza Dough

You Make It! Homemade Olive Oil Pizza Dough

Our flavorful olive oils are the secret ingredient in easy-to-make homemade pizza dough. Check out the simple, inexpensive recipe and set aside some time to make impressive and delicious pizzas in your own kitchen!

Read more »

Healthy Resolutions with Winter Veggies: Slaw & Sprouts

By Linda Davis Siess
on January 06, 2018

Start the new year off well with a healthy resolution: eat your veggies!

Maple balsamic vinegar, mild extra-virgin olive oil, and Tuscan herb infused olive oil are the stars of these recipes, 2 ways to enjoy cabbage and Brussels sprouts.

Read more »

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From the Blog

Introducing: Beach Plum White Balsamic

Introducing: Beach Plum Whi...

December 09, 2018

We are thrilled to introduce our very own Beach Plum Balsamic Vinegar! Beach Plums, the namesake of the local Plum...

Read more →

Guest Blogger: Food Sensitivity and How It Can Affect Us

Guest Blogger: Food Sensiti...

November 14, 2018

At Port Plums, we often receive a lot of questions about how olive oil and vinegar can be included in certain...

Read more →