January 22nd, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Family is one of the most powerful influences on a child’s weight and health.
Win at Weight Loss: A Healthy Guide for the Whole Family offers simple steps parents can take to improve their own health habits and help their children “grow into” a healthier weight.
Today’s recipe, excerpted from the cookbook, features Alaskan cod—a sustainable fish choice. Avoid Atlantic cod, which makes the eco-worst list.
Start-to-finish time is 30 minutes, and all of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
Easy Corn Flake-Crusted Fish
Makes 4 servings
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
3 cups corn flakes, crushed to make about 1-2/3 cups
4 Alaskan cod fillets (4 to 6 ounces each)
2 tablespoons canola oil
- In a shallow dish, mix flour and salt. In another shallow dish, beat egg and water with fork. Place crushed cereal in a third shallow dish.
- Dip fish in flour, coating well; shake off excess.
- Dip floured fish in egg mixture and then in cereal, coating all sides completely. Place coated fish on an ungreased plate.
- In a 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Keeping at least 1 inch between fish fillets (and cooking in batches, if needed), cook fish in oil 3 to 4 minutes on each side, turning once, until well browned and fish flakes easily with fork.
- If needed, place cooked fish on paper towels on a cookie sheet and keep warm in a 225°F oven while cooking remaining fish.
Recipe and photo reproduced by permission from Win at Weight Loss: A Healthy Guide for the Whole Family by Betty Crocker. Copyright © 2005 by Betty Crocker. All rights reserved.
Read More:Easy Corn Flake-Crusted Fish
December 10th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Christmas in Napa Valley, Calif., is a wine-centric time. The new vintage has already been crushed and pressed, and bottles are making their way to holiday tables everywhere.
“This is my favorite time of the year in Napa,” says Colin Crowley, executive chef at Terlato Wines International. “The pace has slowed down, and everyone turns their attention to celebrating the bounty of the season in a very relaxed, yet elegant, way.”
December dining in Napa “is about classic recipes with contemporary updates that give the food an exciting, enticing vibrancy,” he says.
Here is Chef Crowley’s recipe for a five-star entrée that pairs beautifully with a chardonnay. All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
Halibut with Tomatoes, Capers and Olives
For the Fish
- 1 halibut filet (about 4 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Coat halibut filet with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast in a 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 135°F.
For the Tomatoes
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans (28 ounces each) premium tomatoes
- 8 ounces Kalamata olives, halved
- 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
- 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- In a 12-inch skillet, over medium-low flame, heat the olive oil; add garlic. Cook for 1 minute; do not let the garlic brown.
- Add tomatoes (undrained), olives, capers and red pepper. Bring sauce to a brisk simmer, and cook about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Spoon sauce over fish, and garnish with basil.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Terlato Wines International
Read More:A Very Napa Holiday
October 22nd, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
The Monterey Bay Aquarium has launched a national campaign that asks top U.S. chefs and well-known foodies to take a Save Our Seafood pledge.
In signing the pledge, chefs agree to stop using fish and seafood on the aquarium’s Seafood Watch “Avoid” list.
Let’s support restaurants whose chefs have signed on, including:
For a full list of chefs and foodies who have signed the pledge, click here.
Chefs who are interested in signing on can call (877) 229-9990 (toll-free) or e-mail the aquarium.
Read More:Chefs Take Sustainable Seafood Pledge
October 21st, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Turning the Tide: The State of Seafood, a new report from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, reveals that international efforts to protect the ocean’s ecosystem and our sustainable seafood supply are paying off.
Chalk it up to “a growing consensus on how best to manage fisheries and fish-farming operations, and new commitments by consumers, major buyers and the fishing community,” the report notes.
“Ocean life is still in decline, and we clearly need to take urgent action to turn things around,” says Julie Packard, the aquarium’s executive director. “The good news is that we know what it will take and that key players are working more closely than ever to solve the problems. I’m confident that we can and will create a future with healthy oceans.”
Recent improvements in seafood management include:
- A scientific study that unified marine ecologists and fisheries management scientists on a set of principles for restoring ocean ecosystems and commercial fish populations
- Significant new commitments from major seafood buyers—including retailers like Walmart and North America’s largest food-service companies—to shift to sustainable seafood offerings
- Growth in the supply of sustainable seafood certified by reputable international organizations, notably the Marine Stewardship Council
- Policies adopted by governments around the world to better manage fisheries and fish-farming; reduce the rate at which wildlife is caught and killed accidentally in fishing gear; and protect critical ocean habitat vital to maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems
Turning the Tide: The State of Seafood includes a Super Green list of wild and farmed seafood choices, prepared collaboratively with the Environmental Defense Fund and the Harvard School of Public Health. The aquarium will update the list every 2 years.
Click here to download a sustainable seafood guide for your area.
Read More:Good News About Our Sustainable Seafood Supply
October 11th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
October is National Seafood Month, so we’re offering some buying and cooking tips from the experts at Bonefish Grill. Needless to say, we encourage you to shop for sustainable fish.
“We want to share our passion for exceptional fresh fish and seafood with our customers, whether at home or by serving them a wonderful meal at our restaurant,” says Tim Curci, the restaurant chain’s founder. Here are some of his suggestions:
Use Your Senses. If a fish smells “fishy,” don’t buy it—and don’t eat it. For whole, fresh fish, look for vivid gills and shiny skin or undamaged scales. A fresh fish will have elasticity to it. Press firmly on the skin, and it should quickly retake its original shape. It should also look freshly caught, not as though it has been abused. As a general rule, the whiter the fish, the milder it will taste. The deeper in color, the more robust flavor a fish will have.
Double Duty, Half the Work. Marinate your fish to add zesty flavors. Set aside some extra marinade to serve as a basting liquid when baking or broiling.
Remember the 10:1 Rule. When baking or grilling fish, cook the filet for 10 minutes per one inch of thickness at 400°F to 450°F. Flip the fish halfway through the cooking time.
Keep an Eye on Your Seafood. Oysters and clams require only 3 to 5 minutes of cooking time. Scallops and standard shrimp are fully cooked in 7 to 9 minutes; rock shrimp will be ready in just under four minutes.
12 Recipes from Our Blog
- Florida Flounder Sandwich with Lime and Sweet Onion Tartar Sauce
- Catfish with Peanut-Coconut Crust
- Halibut Kabobs with California Dried Plums and Bay Leaves
- Shrimp Chile Rellenos
- Spring Thyme Salmon
- Salmon Burgers with Dill Sauce
- Maple Wasabi Glazed Salmon
- Gremolata-Crusted Fish Fillets
- Graham-Crusted Fish Fillets
- Pepita-Crusted Halibut with Blood Orange Jicama Chutney
- Steamed Fish with Hot Oil
- Baja Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa
Photo courtesy of Bonefish Grill
Read More:Celebrate National Seafood Month
September 13th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
There are many reasons to avoid eating a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich.
We can start with taste.
Next comes nutrition: The fried, soggy mess has 380 calories, 45% of which come from fat. The sandwich also delivers 640 mg sodium. That’s virtually on par with a Quarter Pounder, which has 410 calories (42% from fat) and 730 mg sodium.
Now, there’s another reason to Filet-O-flee: ecosystem damage.
While McDonald’s claims to use sustainable fish, the fast-food titan is drawing fire from environmental groups.
Instead of buying the expected Pacific cod or Alaskan pollock (both eco-friendly choices), much of the chain’s fish is New Zealand hoki, whose sustainability is being questioned.
As New York Times reporter William J. Broad reveals in From Deep Pacific, Ugly and Tasty, with a Catch:
Without formally acknowledging that hoki are being overfished, New Zealand has slashed the allowable catch in steps, from about 275,000 tons in 2000 and 2001 to about 100,000 tons in 2007 and 2008—a decline of nearly two-thirds.
Peter Trott, fisheries program manager for Australia’s World Wildlife Fund, told Broad that his group has “major concerns” about hoki. Click here to read the full story.
And here’s an idea: Avoid fast-food fish by making an eco-friendly choice and grilling or baking it to perfection. We can suggest the following recipes from our organic blog:
- Fish Sticks in a Flash
- Gremolata-Crusted Fish Fillets
- Graham-Crusted Fish Fillets
- Catfish with Peanut-Coconut Crust
- Moroccan Sauce for Fish/Seafood
- Madras Curry Dip for Fish/Seafood
- Creole Mustard Dip for Fish/Seafood
- Grilled Catfish Tacos with Citrus Slaw
Read More:Hoki Pokey
August 16th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
When they hear the word “plank,” many people immediately think of pirates—and an untimely demise.
But chefs have long been fans of planking, a grilling method first embraced by Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest. Not surprisingly, they planked the region’s bountiful fish and seafood, creating a barbecue trend that’s experiencing a resurgence today.
As the name implies, fish fillets and shellfish are placed on a wet, aromatic wooden plank, which flavors the food.
You can purchase precut planks at barbecue and grill shops, supermarkets, some natural and organic food stores, and online. Read labels carefully to ensure you’re buying organic planks, such as Elizabeth Karmel’s Grill Friends Organic Cedar Grilling Planks, made from organic American wood that comes from sustainable forests.
Another source for planks is your local lumberyard; just be sure to buy untreated hardwood lumber (again, preferably organic).
The best wood choices for planking are cedar, alder and oak. Hickory and maple also work well. Do not use pine or other soft woods, as they are too resinous.
Before grilling, presoak the plank in water for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Pat planks dry with paper towels, and spray-coat or lightly oil one side. (You’ll place seafood on the oiled side.)
Season fillets or seafood lightly with an herb blend, such as Taj Rub, or simply use salt and pepper. Go easy, as you don’t want to overpower the flavor imbued by the plank.
Preheat one side of the grill to medium-high, and place the planked seafood on the indirect (nonheated) side. Close the lid, and turn down the heat to medium. After 10 minutes, check fish and seafood frequently for doneness.
Be advised: Seafood changes from translucent to opaque as it cooks, and it will continue to cook after it is removed from the heat. Cook just until opaque throughout.
If you’re grilling fish without a plank, follow the tips provided in Fish on the Barbie.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: The Plank Grilling Cookbook: Infuse Food with More Flavor Using Wood Planks
Tips courtesy of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
Read More:Plank Grilling with Organic Wood
August 9th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
If I had to choose my favorite way to cook fish or seafood, grilling over an open flame—caveman style—would trump indoor methods.
I usually apply a dry rub, such as Friday’s recipe for Taj Rub. The grill can take it from there.
If you prefer to sauce your fish or seafood, I’d suggest the following recipes from our Organic Blog:
Sustainable salmon is a year-round favorite. It’s high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and has the perfect texture for grilling.
Preparing the Grill
- Fish cooks best over a medium-hot fire; shellfish requires a hot grill.
- Make sure the grill is hot before you start cooking.
- Liberally brush oil on the grill just prior to cooking.
Grilling Fish and Shellfish
- Cut large steaks or fillets into meal-size portions before grilling.
- Use a grill basket or perforated grill rack to keep flaky fish or smaller shellfish from falling through the grill bars.
- Brush fish or shellfish with oil very lightly just before cooking.
- Always start to grill fish with the skin side up. (If the skin has been removed, the skin side will appear slightly darker.) This allows the natural fat carried beneath the skin to be drawn into the fillet, keeping it rich and moist. It’s also easier to turn when the more delicate or “flesh” side cooks first.
- Turn fish/shellfish only once. For easy turning, use a two-prong kitchen fork inserted between the grill bars to slightly lift fish fillets or steaks; then slide a metal spatula under the fish and turn. Use long-handled tongs to turn shellfish. (Check out this slotted fish spatula.)
- Cook fish approximately 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Fish/shellfish continues to cook after it’s removed from the heat, so take it off the grill just as soon as it’s opaque throughout. To check for doneness, slide a sharp knife tip into the center of the thickest part of a seafood portion, checking for color. Remove from the heat just as soon as it turns from translucent to opaque throughout.
Tips and photo courtesy of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
Read More:Fish on the Barbie
August 7th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Spice rubs, often called “dry rubs,” are carefully crafted spice blends that are used to season meat, poultry and fish in lieu of a wet marinade or grilling sauce.
Simply coat your protein of choice with the rub, and allow it to marinate so the flavors can be absorbed.
Our weekend recipe is an Indian spice rub that’s ideal for a sustainable fish like Alaska salmon. It starts with garam masala, an aromatic blend of coriander, black pepper, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon. Commercial blends are available in the spice aisle of your local supermarket, natural and organic food store, or Indian market.
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 to 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Blend all ingredients. Rub 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (per portion) onto fish.
Recipe and photo courtesy of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
Read More:Taj Rub
June 13th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah Winfrey may have personal chefs, but mere mortals do their own chopping.
“People are busier than ever and looking for ways to eat well within their lifestyles,” says Dave Lieberman, a personal chef, Food Network host, and author of Young and Hungry: More Than 100 Recipes for Cooking Fresh and Affordable Food for Everyone.
“What many types of personal chefs do isn’t necessarily that hard,” he explains. “It’s primarily about cooking smarter, and all that it requires is a little planning.”
Here are some of Lieberman’s tips for incorporating personal chef know-how into your organic kitchen routines:
- Grab a good deal on sustainable proteins. From a jumbo pack of chicken breasts to a whole side of salmon, nice-priced main ingredients will save money and provide culinary inspiration. If you’re not going to cook your proteins immediately, create individual fillets for the fridge or freezer. It takes only a few minutes.
- Prep your most-used ingredients ahead of time, and store them in quick-grab containers. Chopped onion, grated cheese, pie crusts and bread dough are great items to have on hand in your fridge or freezer. Lieberman also suggests freezing stocks in ice cube trays—“great for leftover wine, too,” he says.
- Pre-prep flavorful starters to jump-start weekday meals, while leaving room for last-minute creativity. For example, boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be individually wrapped and frozen in a favorite marinade. By the time they thaw, they’re packed with flavor and ready for a variety of recipes, from salads to fajitas.
- High-impact ingredients can transform even the most basic foods. “Adding a handful of fresh herbs to a pre-made dish—even if it’s just yesterday’s leftovers—is a great way to bring it to life,” Lieberman says. He freezes small quantities of butter blended with herbs, spices and other seasonings, which he uses to top steaks, fish, grilled or steamed vegetables, and baked potatoes.
- When cooking basics like potatoes or rice, up the quantity so you have prepared ingredients for later in the week. “That way, you’ve always got the makings for a fast and easy side dish—simple sautéed potatoes, impromptu fried rice, you name it,” Lieberman says.
- When whipping up large batches of favorite recipes, package leftovers in smaller-size portions. Freeze individual servings for quick family meals.
With simple organic ingredients and a little planning, family and friends may think you have a personal chef in your pantry!
Tips courtesy of Dave Lieberman and Glad Press’N Seal
Read More:Tips from a Personal Chef