Posts Tagged ‘fish recipe’

Back Again!

September 5, 2015

Well it is sort of official. I am 3 pounds more than when I had my stroke six years ago. Yes, I am still fifty-five pounds lighter than I was at my peak but I once again am officially obese. I live alone with a four burner gas stove and a 36 inch oven. It is far easier to cook three meals at a time than to cook one small meal. Unfortunately, since I lack will power, three meals of 2000 calories only last a day and 1/2. Even worse, when I get into manual labor, I believe I deserve the extra calories and a few beers to wash it down.

The only way I know to break this trend is Coffee Pot Cooking so here I am recycling this blog for the third to fifth time with a twist. I will prepare one portioned controlled meal a day by any means necessary. Tomorrow, I will post on cooking sauteed spicy potatoes and tilapia using my microwave and coffee pot.

I saw Don Bailey from the University tilapia program and swore I was going to get serious about aqua phonics while growing my own fish and greens. Oh well, good intentions pave the way to hell but I did have coffeepot tilapia and sauteed spicy potatoes tonight so the recipe should follow tomorrow. I got lazy and used both my microwave and coffeepot but it was definitely portioned controlled which is my real issue. I have also cooked the same meal in my electric fondue pot set at 275 degrees in a portioned controlled manner but you have to use what you have available.

BTW, I tend to prepare full flavored meals with flexible cooking times that would serve college students, myself as a writer. and other dingy people who are temporally challenged.  The joy of this meal from the coffee pot is you don’t have to watch it as closely as an electric fondue pot.

Also my starting and perhaps final weight if I do not succeed is now 212.

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Spices and the Inflammation Factor

June 16, 2012

Spicy Fish and Baked Potato

I decided this week when I went on my occasional detox for 2 weeks and 2 days to not only drop all wine but to completely modify my diet to see if I could reduce my aches and pains. I know I like what I eat and I have settled on a fairly healthy diet of whole grains, potatoes with the skins on, vegetables, fruits and fish and chicken. I also like spicy food. There is a cute tool over at Nutrition Data, which allows you to track, carbs protein, calories and the total Inflammation Factor for the days consumption.

Pretty much like most people, I eat what’s available and what I crave. I found my consumption of fruits and vegetables is fairly constant so my carbohydrate loading is 150 to 230 grams and I am not likely to change until next winter when fruit is less abundant. I intentionally eat a high protein diet as it is necessary to feed by brain and body for my manic lifestyle so that is not gonna change. The range is 73 to 127 because I like vegan foods once in awhile and that might actually be a little low. Hence, the only number I can focus on is the Inflammation Factor and I am doing pretty good at maximizing but prior to my detox, I was not consistent as I varied from about -300 which is bad to plus 2000.

The concept is that by avoiding foods that rise your Inflammation Factor level, your joints and body will ache less. This diet has not been well received because meats, dairy, fruits vegetables, whole grains and beans vary all over the place, sometimes in a counter intuitive fashion. The huge variation in my diet came not from what I ate but from the spices I used and this I found comforting.

In my heart I know that poor people will eat whatever is available on the prior list without being cave men or vegans and the biggest difference is that people in the poorer nations will use more spices. I tend too look at the foods we chose to eat  as those that heal us, those that are habits and those that are available. I believe that the use of spices and cooking evolved at about the same time and that spices were included in meals to solve some problem know by the Village Shaman.

I do suffer back pains and have suffered chronic pain in the past and the naturally chosen spices on my list seem to top the scale for positive Inflammation Factor and are allegedly helping me. So I did a search of Top Ten Spices for many nutritionists  and compiled a list of the 30 because there was little consensus in the area. After researching those spices and searching for the highest anti-inflammatory properties The following ones were the only ones that could counteract a day of bad eating with enough positive value to turn the whole day positive while using reasonable quantities.

Spice                             Quantity                          Inflammation Factor.

Fresh Ground Ginger    1 Tablespoon                             903
Hot Pepper                       1/2 tsp                                 740
Turmeric                       1 Teaspoon                              508
Crushed Garlic             1 Tablespoon                             500
Onion                             1 medium                               257

It amazed me that their was only one person, Dr. Jeremy Webster, had the most agreement with all the other experts and also got all five spices and herbs with the greatest anti-inflammatory properties correct. He had the best records of anyone for compiling a Top Ten List as most agreed with him in general more than they agreed with each other. Unfortunately, I already had these five items on my list of good stuff so got nothing else for my efforts except that Cinnamon with is almost neutral on the negative side for IF factor made everybody’s top ten list except mine. I rarely use it but I guess I’ll start.

Duck Rack and Fish placed on Grill with Baked Potatoes

The picture above is the setup for me grilling spicy fish on my duck rack because I forgot to show it last time and it is a easy way to grill fish fillets. The anti-inflammatory properties of the two Grilled Spicy Tilapia fillets is an incredible 1944 because I eat all the spices and always have. The first time I tried it because my daughter told me about a similar meal with fewer spices and I just liked the idea after adding a few more of my favorite spices.

I never knew that tasting good could be good for me, but I’m learning.

Grilled Spicy Fish and Grilled Bok Choy

June 15, 2012

Grilled Spicy Fish and Bok Choy

Seems my daughter called a few weeks ago with a recipe for Tandoori Salmon which she got from a magazine called Cooking Light which promised a whole bunch of recipes involving 5 ingredients and 15 minutes. This is one of those slick magazines by the checkout counter in grocery stores published by the people at Coastal Living and Southern Living. The spice list was basic involving Ginger, Turmeric and Cumin.

I laughed and told my daughter I was starting to like and become a fairly decent Indian cook and was sure I had never cooked Tandoori because I didn’t have all the spices and this was so basic that it probably bore no resemblance to real Tandoori. She said she was OK with that because there were limits to what her daughters would eat. I checked Tandoori and I was correct, I didn’t have the spices on hand to cook that style but I could bring this basic recipe up a notch with spices traditionally used in Tandoori cooking. As a matter of fact, these spices are fairly traditional in all Asian Cooking. I used the rub with tilapia which is a fairly bland fish but could see it working with much stronger fishes like tuna.

My Spicy Fish Rub

Ingredients

1 oz ginger grated about 2 Tablespoons
1 T crushed garlic
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 T Lemon Juice

Method:

1. The Ginger was grated and the spices and lemon juice mixed in a bowl.

Coated Bottom of Fish and Spice Mix

2. The spice mix was coated on one side of the fish.

Fish on Duck Rack with Both Sides Coated

3. The fish was placed on a duck rack for Grilling with the spicy side down. I use the duck rack because I don’t have to flip the fish or move it until it is over a platter. This prevents fish in the coals.

4. The spice mix was coated on the other side.

The Grill is set up for Bok Choy (top) and the Fish (bottom)

5. The grill is set up with areas to grill the Bok Choy and grill the fish.

Grilled Bok Choy

Grilling Bok Choy is simple and another nice and easy way to eat it. The Bok Choy is cut in half in the long direction, placed in a bowl and drizzled and tossed with Olive Oil.

The fish is placed on the grill and cooked for about 10 minutes. The Bok Choy is tossed on the vegetable area (top of grill picture) and cooked covered. Every couple of minutes toss it like stir frying. When done remove from grill and serve.

Fish is Brain Food – Fact or Fiction??

May 19, 2012


Salt Fish Marinara (Baccala alla Marinara)

My mother always said fish was brain food and ate a lot of fish. She snacked on sardines and tuna and loved any fish we caught and cooked it for herself if no one else wanted fish. She died at the age of 93 with her brain still functioning and her wit and wisdom intact. I eat a lot of Fish because I like it.

When I first started my lifestyle change, I went to a nutritionist who also supported the consumption of large amounts of fish and the use of a fish oil supplement for improved cardiovascular health and this was definitely not a problem for me. Now that I have been living my new life style for two and a half years I am satisfied with my weight and excercise program so I have started to focus on what I eat. Unfortunately, fish has a tendency to concentrate the highly toxic environmental pollutant methyl mercury. Methyl Mercury is so toxic that a few drops on the outside of a scientist’s protective rubber glove which was cleaned and disposed of instantly still caused death within five days by skin adsorption.

Around 2000, the FDA and EPA put out a joint advisory that women who wanted to get pregnant, were pregnant or lactating should stop eating fish. Many did and the results proved my mom knew what she was talking about. Seems that scientist found a benifit for children of women who ignored the warning and continued to consume ocean fish. Their children had advanced cognitive and motor skill development compared to the children of women who skipped fish in the diet. Moreover, resent research reports from the University of California at Berkley document that eating fish can play a positive role in mental health. Some interesting preliminary studies suggest that fish oil, usually in the form of supplements because they are easy to use in research, may be of some help in treating bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) and schizophrenia.

I never stopped eating fish as the probability of me being pregnant or lactating is remote and at least two (anchovies and tilapia) of the four fish that I regularly eat are low in mercury. I am not too worried about the high mercury level in ahi tuna as I can’t afford to eat it very often. The other fish I love has been worshiped in a bawdy calypso song by the Mighty Sparrow.

Saltfish,
Nothing in the world sweeter than
Saltfish
English, colloquial, Bajans
Saltfish,
It’s sweeter than meat
When you want to eat
All saltfish sweet

If you look up the health benefits of saltfish, people who are not familiar with cooking or eating this fish condemn it for it’s high salt content. If you check Mediterranean or Caribbean Recipes, you find the salt is extracted from the meat over 24 hours with multiple water washes and you sometimes have to add flavor to the pot because all the salt has been removed.

The meal pictured above was actually closer to my Perfect Puttanesca because after washing the saltfish, it had very little flavor. You don’t lose the protein or oil by soaking the fish just the salt. Since I was just starting the meal, I used the following ingredients to build more flavor.

Ingredients:

Tablespoon extra virgin Olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
1 large yellow onion -diced
Thin slice scotch bonnet hot pepper or crushed red pepper to taste
3-4 thin pieces of anchovies the size you get on pizza -diced
1 sprig basil with leaves
1 fresh bay leaf
T capers
Can of diced tomatoes.
4 to 6 ounces of well washed saltfish

Method:

1. The oil, garlic, onion, anchovies pepper, bay and basil are placed together in the coffee pot and and sautéed for about two hours
2. The capers are added to the pot along with the can of tomatoes. Stir and let cook 2-4 hours
3. About 1 hour before dinner, add the saltfish.
Serve with Pasta

A final thought is that all saltfish is not created equal. The three main variety of fish are Ling, Cod and Alaskan Pollock. Ling and Cod have high mercury levels so Alaskan Pollock is the preferred choice. Even at that, the recommended amount of Ling and Cod is no more than 12 ounces of fish per week I eat 4 to 6 ounces of saltfish about once a month so I guess it really wouldn’t matter which one I chose. Given that they are all available and all about the same price, I guess I’ll stick with Alaskan Pollock.

Spicy Fish and Garbanzo Beans

March 24, 2012

Spicy Fish and Garbanzo Beans

The major problem I have in cooking for one person is scaling recipes, especially those using unfamiliar spices or those that call for a pinch of something. I have both problems scaling Indian Foods which are new to me yet are well worth my interest when it comes to flavor. I have been inspired by Monica at the Spice Diary and have been a student of hers for almost two years. Some of the things I have noticed about her recipes are: Indian spices are unique and it is difficult to make substitutes; because of this, don’t even try a recipe unless you have all the ingredients; and don’t second guess the amount Monica uses until you are totally comfortable with the genera.

Initially, I decided to make her recipes using the recommended amounts for the spice blends (masala), marinades and sauces and just reduce the amount of meat and potatoes. Even though I hate to waste anything, I figured if I were to never use the spices again, making too much sauce was really not much of a waste. Eventually, I figured out that I was a real fan of Monica’s cooking and beginning to be a fan of her style of Indian cooking, but still, I was not familiar enough with the spices she used to know where I could scale back. I didn’t want to cook a pound of Chicken for three meals instead of 5 ounces of meat so there was always sauce left over.

Eventually the same solution evolved for all of the Italian, Caribbean and Indian Meals I make and that is rebuilding the sauce into an entirely different meal. Over the next few posts, I will present an example of each type of meal being rebuilt into something entirely different without voiding the concept of portion control or being tempted by leftovers.

The Spicy Fish and Garbanzo Beans is a remake of Monica’s Spicy Chicken Previously Published on February 27. Now I know that that meal was prepared about February 10th because of the flowers with this meal pictured above. I had purchased a dozen carnations on February 13, and gave away half to women I knew in semi random acts of kindness. A couple of nights before, I had a grilled fish and ate half. If you check the Spicy Chicken Recipe closely, you will find about 12 ounces of seasoning and sauce for the two small thighs I ate.

Recipe (if you want to call it that):

I saved the sauce left over from Monica’s Spicy Chicken. I added the deboaned half of the fish to the sauce. I cooked a half cup of garbanzo beans (1 drained can) and added that to the fish and the sauce. Warm in the coffeepot for two hours, serve with flowers and enjoy.

The next day was Valentines and I gave away half of the flowers I had left  to friends at the Palms Resort and kept the rest.

Take note, the bottle to the left of the wine glass is local West Indian Hot Sauce. Talk about cross cultural confusion? Even though I added hot pepper to the original recipe, I wanted just a little more heat with this meal.

Stewed Fish and Beans – Puerto Rican Style

February 22, 2012

Puerto Rican Style Stewed Fish and Red Beans

The Fish and Tomato recipe previously presented is just begging for more creativity and the standard ingredients in Puerto Rican or Caribbean Kitchens and personal preference would help you make choices. I don’t always have fresh bell peppers but there is usually a bottle of Sofrito in the refrigerator. Sofrito is just a flavoring blend with various ingredients usually bell pepper, onions, cilantro, and tomatoes.

Of course, you could use Sazon which is a spice blend which adds a lovely natural red color to the pot and another option would be to add a can (8 oz.) of Spanish Style Tomato Sauce. In the two variations presented today, I chose to add beans. Using Red beans would be a typical Puerto Rican Style recipe whereas my using black beans was just a personal adaptation for my own personal preference.

Ingredients:

1 T. Olive Oil

2 cloves garlic minced

1 medium onion rough cut

1 slice 1/8 inch of hot pepper (Optional)

1-2 oz. Dark Rum

2 T Safrito with tomato paste

1 can diced tomatoes with juice

1 can Red Beans with liquid

½ tsp Adobo

1 packet of Sazon

4-6 oz Piece of Fish with or without bones

Method:

1. Place oil, rum, hot pepper, onion, and garlic in Coffeepot, place on warmer and heat for 1 hour.

2. Add seasoned salt, beans and tomatoes heat for about 2 hours or other convenient amount of time.

3. When pot is hot, add fish and cook for an additional 2 hours.

Stewed Fish and Black Beans

The meal made above uses the more strongly flavored black beans and the biggest difference was I drained the dark liquid from the beans and rinsed them and drained them again before adding the beans to the pot. I didn’t want the dark liquid to alter the color of the red sauce.

When it comes to cooking Puerto Rican and Caribbean Foods, “To each, his own.”

Basic Puerto Rican Fish in Red Sauce, Coffeepot Style

February 1, 2012

Puerto Rican Tomato, Fish and Brown Rice

Over the past couple of years, I find I am eating a lot more fish mostly sashimi grade tuna because I love the flavor and talipia, because it is very inexpensive and fresh from the farm. I have tried the frozen whole taliapa from China which was even cheaper than our fresh local product, but it was so nasty and “off Flavor” that I threw the whole meal out. I’ll stick with fresh, local and still inexpensive Talipia and know I eat the best.

I love tomatoes, garlic, peppers, onions, rice and beans and have taken several pictures of the different combinations I cooked with fish and the best way to eat it is the way you like it. I will start with the absolute simplest ways I have prepared the fish in my coffeepot and later publish slight modifications I have documented over the past couple of years. I am sure I have cooked many more different variations and all are more or less favorable but they are all good. When just starting to cook, you should always start with the most basic ingredients and add more to see if you like it better.

Simple Basic Fish Recipe

Ingredients:

1 T. Olive Oil

2 cloves garlic minced

1 medium onion rough cut

½ Green Bell Pepper

1 can diced tomatoes

½ Tsp Adobo or other seasoned salt

1 slice 1/8 inch of hot pepper (Optional)

4-6 oz Piece of Fish with or without bones

Method:

  1. Place oil and raw ingredients in Coffeepot, place on warmer and heat for 1 hour.
  2. Add seasoned salt and tomatoes heat for about 2 hours or other convenient amount of time.
  3. When pot is hot, add fish and cook for an additional 2 hours.

Extremely flexible cooking times if you have a thermometer. Just heat sauce above 140 and add the fish. Heat the fish between above 160 and serve. I served it with brown rice as shown above. However, since I sometimes want a change, I have also served it with Barley which is also a healthy alternative.