Thursday, July 22, 2010

More Fresh Salmon, Less Arthritis Pain?

Did you know that eating fresh salmon not only helps your heart but can help with the pain of arthritis?
If you’ve ever experienced the swelling and pain that comes with rheumatoid arthritis, you’ll be glad to know there are various “super foods” that have been linked to improvement in those with RA. And at the top of that list is none other than fresh salmon!
Alas, arthritis can strike almost anyone. About 1 percent of the U.S. population suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. Women are two to three times more likely to have it, but men are often are more severely affected. While more common in middle age, younger and older persons can also suffer from this ailment which involves joint pain and swelling and stiffness (especially in the morning or after long periods of sitting).
Of course you should seek a proper diagnosis and treatment from a qualified medical practitioner if you have or think you have rheumatoid arthritis. At the same time, it makes sense to keep up with the news on the nutritional front at how your diet can help you. 
I was surprised and delighted to discover that one of the best things we can do for arthritis is to eat more fresh salmon. Here are some of the reasons as covered in the Readers Digest:
·         Salmon is among the riches sources of healthy Omega 3 fats.
·         Salmon is less likely than other cold-water fish to contain high levels of mercury, which is toxic.
·         Salmon contains calcium, Vitamin D, and folate.
The article also notes that “eating salmon may protect the cardiovascular system by
“by preventing blood clots, repairing artery damage, raising levels of good cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure.”

To get the most benefit from the salmon in your diet, you should buy fish that is fresh. Buy fresh salmon. If whole, eyes should be clear and bright, flesh not slimy. Steaks and fillets should be firm and moist. Follow these cooking tips to add the most value to your meal:
  • Cook the salmon within a day or so. Use the refrigerated leftovers during the next couple days in salads or with cucumbers and dill
  • Use low-fat cooking methods. Even the good fat has calories, so don’t load up your dish with more. Cook your fresh salmon by baking, poaching, broiling, or steaming. Aromatic herbs or fresh fruit salsas will add flavor without adding fat.
  • Cook until opaque. Beware overcooking the salmon. It should lose its translucency and be opaque, with clear juices and easily flaked flesh.
While the article especially advocates the eating of more fresh salmon, it also notes nine other “super foods” that can help the arthritis sufferer, including bananas, sweet peppers, shrimp, soy products, sweet potatoes, cheese, lentils and green tea.
Now that gives me an idea! How about combining as many of those into a single meal or day? Imagine a succulent fresh King Salmon steak simmered with sweet peppers and shrimp with a soy sauce, with a side of sweet potatoes and a tall glass of iced green tea? Even without arthritis, that would be a really tempting meal!

Friday, July 9, 2010

How To Saute a Fish Fillet Perfectly

“Sautéing is one of the best cooking techniques for fillets, which tend to dry out when roasted or even grilled or broiled.” 
Joy of Cooking  by Irma Rombauer et al.
Have you ever tried to sauté a lovely fish fillet and had any of these disasters befall you?
·         The fish falls apart while being lifted from the pan.
·         After cooking, the batter is soggy, oily.
·         The oil smoked while cooking.
·         The butter burned and ruined everything.
·         The fillets cooked unevenly, with burned spots.
Take heart. Sautéing fish fillets at home is easy once you know how. Whether you are going to buy fish to fry or throw out a line and catch your own this summer, boning up on the fundamentals of fish frying is essential. 
(1)     First, make sure that when you buy fish that it is fresh. Whether you order from an online seafood market or buy it from a local fishmonger, a fish should never have a “fishy smell.” If it is whole, the eyes should be clear. The flesh should be firm, without any milky or watery liquids. So check that fresh halibut or cod in the market, or those trout your better half brought home. A great alternative is ordering fresh seafood online for overnight delivery.
(2)     Choose the proper pan. Fish like a little personal space, so don’t crowd them in your fry pan. If you have a fairly small pan, you may need to fry your fillets in batches, keeping the cooked ones warm in a warm oven (200° F).
(3)    Choose the right oil or fat. While Irma and friends recommend a blend of olive oil and butter, or even clarified butter, more cooks prefer canola or safflower oil because they do not smoke and burn at high temperatures. So save your expensive olive oil for marinades and sauces, not for sautés.   Avoid bacon fat, lard, and seasoned oils.
(4)    Coat the fish to your taste. Dredge the fillets in flour (or cornmeal or breadcrumbs) seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs of your choice. (You can dip them in first in a mixture of one egg blended with 2 tablespoons milk, or in milk alone, or consult more recipes for batters, such as tempura.)
(5)    Use the right temperature: medium-high. If a bread cube tossed in the oil sizzles and turns golden, you’ve got it right. If it sinks and absorbs the oil or burns to a crisp in a flash, so will your fish. If it’s smoking, lower the temperature. If the cube is soggy, raise it.
(6)    Sauté with care. Don’t wander off. Fish fillets only need cooking for 2 or 3 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Slide them into the oil (which should sizzle but not spatter), leaving space around each fillet. Do not add too many at once as this will reduce the oil temperature drastically. Do not overcook or they fall apart. You can use the time to cut up lemons and/or prepare tartar sauce.
(7)    Remove them with care, serve with pride! To keep the first ones crispier, place on a rack over a paper towel-lined platter, keep warm in oven. Serve hot when all fillets are ready with lemon wedges and parsley garnish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   The next time you buy fish, follow these steps and you’ll discover your own joy of cooking fish as well as the joy of eating it! 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Recipe for … the Perfect Evening for Two!

Looking for some ideas for the perfect romantic evening for two? There are few things in the is world that beat delicious seafood, a perfectly matched wine, some flickering candles and happy conversation. Today we check out some 'recipes' for the perfect evening for two, matching your seafood order to a delicious wine, and pairing the culinary elements up with a venue!
Chardonnay and king crab legs on the boardwalk
Look for a chardonnay that is said to have a rich, buttery and creamy taste - then match it up with the delicate flavors of king crab legs and hollandaise sauce. All that buttery goodness will probably leave you feeling a bit heavy after dinner - so why not pack up your picnic basket (and a few moist towellettes for your face and hands!) and hop down to the boardwalk, a river view, or anywhere else that you can take a spectacular walk after dinner.
Riesling and teriyaki glazed salmon before a county fair
Riesling, especially German rieslings, are light and sweet, and match beautifully with barbecue teriyaki-glazed or even Cajun shrimp. All that sugary sweetness will give you plenty of energy (and stop you looking longingly at the cotton candy) at a local county fair … wander round afterwards in the bright lights and see if you can win your sweetheart one of those giant teddy bears!
Barbecued salmon and pinot noir on your balcony or deck
Bring out a blanket if the weather's getting a little chilly- but don't forego the pleasure of having some beautiful wine and awesome conversation as your fresh seafood order of salmon is barbecueing! It takes no extra cash, and you don't even have to brush your hair if you don't want to … but fresh air, good pinot noir, tasty barbecued salmon and conversation with the stars to look at cannot be beaten for romanticism.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

4 Delicious Homemade Dips for Your King Crab Legs

King crab legs have such a complex, delicious flavor that there are relatively few sauces you can use with them, while still retaining all the natural beauty that they can express to your tastebuds! If you've managed to chase up some delectable king crab legs and have practiced cooking them to perfection, you'll want the perfect sauce to go with them. Today we check out 4 easy king crab leg sauce or dip recipes that will have you salivating in memory of them for days afterwards!
Clarified Butter
Not really a healthy dip for your crab legs … but sooooo delicious! Clarified butter is quick and easy to make - you simply heat the desired amount of butter in a small saucepan until fully melted, and then leave it to stand so that the milk solids and the oil separate. Skim most of the milk solids off, and then separate the oil by slowly pouring it into a dipping bowl. When you can no longer separate the two, just stop and save the milk solids for another creamy dish made with your seafood order, like pasta marinara!
Hollandaise Crab Leg Dip
Another very easy one - you simply combine all ingredients, heat til nearly boiling, then simmer on very low heat until thickened. Mmmm - here's what you need to throw in the pan:
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 2-3 dashes of paprika
  • 2 dashes salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup butter
Bearnaise sauce
Just about any fresh seafood tastes divine with béarnaise sauce, and it's another especially easy one to cook. Simply blend the ingredients and serve the sauce warm:
  • A quantity of Hollandaise sauce (see above)
  • 1.5 tsp tarragon
  • 1.5 tsp parsely
  • 1.5 tsp chives
  • Pepper to taste
Lemon Dill dip
Onee of life's great mysteries is why seafood and lemon go so beautifully together … the reason may be a mystery, but the concept is a fact! You can serve this hot or cold, and all that needs to be done is to blend the ingredients:
  • 6 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp dillweed
  • 1 dash salt
  • Pepper to taste

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Succulent Sablefish

Have you tried sablefish yet? Next time you buy fish, give it a try! They can be baked, broiled, or fried and are especially apt for Asian cooking.

While it was totally unknown outside of Japan until just a few years ago on menus, it has quickly become one of the most popular items on restaurants from San Francico to Rome.
A fish by any other name does taste as sweet. The sablefish gets called “black cod,” but it is not at all related to cod. It also gets called “butterfish,” but it is not a true butterfish either. The fillets are flaky and delicate, and ever so succelent. Moreover they are high in oil content, which is great for your heart health, and may account for the “butterfish” name.
For you scientifically minded, the sablefish belongs to the family, Anoplopomatidae, which includes only sablefish and skillfish. They can range in size from one to 10 pounds.
These fabulous fish are found from central Baja california north to British Columbia. While most of the catch comes from Alaska, you can buy fresh fish, line caught, from great seafood markets along the California coast, where it falls into the category of “sustainable” fish, I’m happy to note. You can even get order them from online seafood delivery services!
These fish are particurly sought for Asian cooking and sashimi. . . so small wonder that more than 50 % of the U.S. catch is exported to Japan, where it fetches a premium price.
Give the sable fish a try at a restaurant or in your home. Kasu cod, or gilled sablefish marinated in sake and leeks, is quite the in thing, as is cold-smoked sablefish. Experiment with various recipes at home. When I googled “sablefish recipe,” I got over 76,000 hits, ranging from lemon broiled to miso glazed.
For a really spectacular but simple recipe, try the Grilled Sablefish with Spicy Soy Glaze from Epicurious. Marinate for at least 20 minutes two sablefish fillets in a mixture of 3 tablespoon light soy sauce, juice of 2 large limes, 1 very hot chili (finely sliced crosswise), 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or honey), dash of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil. Grill 4 minutes on each side and dress with a bit of reserved marinade. Enjoy your fresh fish!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Make Your Own Sushi—It’s Out of This World!

One of the highlights of going out for sushi is admiring the itamae (sushi chef) as he artfully crafts our dinner. Like a well trained artist, he quickly sculpts the nori, rice, and bits of fish and vegetables then slices them into perfectly beautiful rounds reminiscent of the elegant French millefluers paperweight here on my desk—sheer delight of color and form. And of course with sushi, there is that delight to the palate.

With no pretense to becoming an expert, I’ve been fooling around with making sushi at home, much to my own delight and that of my husband. I’d like to share a few key learnings along the way, and I’m sure there will be more later!

1. Buy the best sushi-grade fish you can find.The final product is never better than the ingredients that go in to it. It is really easy to buy fresh fish and sea food on line from reliable sources, which is important here.

2. Get all the other supplies before you get the fish.
You want to use that fresh sushi fish as soon as you can. So in advance, get together the rest of your supplies: the mat, nori (the sheets of seaweed), rice, wasabi, sushi ginger, and the vegetables (avocado or whatever). Make it simple—order on line from a great online
3. Take FREE lessons in your own home.
Watch some on-line videos for great visuals in how to make all kinds of sushi and related dishes. Restaurant sushi chefs work too fast to really serve as models for beginners. It’s amazing to see that there are videos for all kinds of sushi and sashimi—just Google “how to sushi” or substitute something more specific for “sushi” as you wish. (That search brought me 1, 450,000 hits in 0.42 seconds!)
4. Do not worry about being perfect.
If your rolls are lopsided or fall apart, smile like Buddha and eat it anyway. Practice makes perfect. And the taste is still great! Tell yourself “It’s not a mistake, it’s an experiment.”
When you get the hang of it, have a sushi party! Everyone can have some fun inventing new combinations that could rival that ever popular California roll. Just put that fresh fish together with your favorite veggies, and voila! In addition to the popular sushi tuna, try some Fresh King Salmon, and even cooked crab and scallops for those who are skeptical of fresh fish at first.
For entertainment at your sushi party, show a really amazing recent NASA video of the first sushi chef in space -- astronaut Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency aboard the International Space Station. Now that sushi really was out of this world!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Give the Gift of Fresh Sea Food

What’s your idea of the perfect gift to give?

Some know how to say it with flowers. Want something different? Then let me recommend sea food too you! What could be simpler than placing an online seafood order to be delivered to someone special?
Seafood makes a special gift for countless reasons. It is easy to store (much can be frozen), easy to use, delicious, and healthy! Who wouldn’t be delighted to hear the bell ring for a special sea food delivery—and discover that they’ve just received a package of jumbo shrimp or crab legs, or perhaps fresh king salmon or some other delicacy from the sea?
When you think seafood as a gift, the options are many, from fresh or frozen seafood to cookbooks, to accessories. Specialty sea food shops will be glad to offer gift certificates as well.
For Congratulations, Offer the Gift of Pride. More and more people are into gourmet cooking. I remember when my teen-age son added a sushi kit to our shopping cart a few years back. It was amazing to see him develope pride in fixing homemade sushi for family and friends.
Who do you know that loves seafood and just needs a little nudge to develop his or her culinary talents? Consider a great cookbook or a high-quality fish knife as your own encouragement to a budding chef—and you are offering the potential for pride. For the new parent, you might add the gift of convenience with already-prepared seafood dishes! Here are some ways to offer congratulations and best wishes:
· Promotion: Caviar (and champagne!)
· Graduation: King Crab Legs (you are going places!), Seafood cookbook
· New Baby: Chowders and other easy-to-prepare dishes
· Happy Birthday: Fresh Lobster Tails or person’s favorite fish
For Anniversaries, Thank Yous, Offer the Gift of Joy. More and more of my friends are discovering the joy of fresh cooking. Couples will appreciate your gift of sea food or accessories as well. Some of the happiest couples I know are those who spend quality time in the kitchen together, creating a great meal that they then enjoy together afterwards. If this is not a custom yet, let them know that research shows that mates who learn new things together actually become happier!
So to express love or gratitude, here are some ideas about how you can give seafood and seafood-related gifts to create a memorable occasion.
· Thank Yous/Hostess Gifts: Oyster knives or lobster implements
· Bridal Shower: Seafood Cookbook, Fish knife
· Happy Anniversary: Seafood Platter for two
· I Love You: Fresh Oysters (enough to share!)
Those are just a few good ideas for giving unique, memorable gifts. Now expand and adapt—just as you would with any good basic recipe, and enjoy the good feelings you are creating!
P.S. Don't be surprised if you get some great sea food in return when it's your day to celebrate!