Archive pour 14 — Fine Dining

Apple Varieties for Every Taste

Apple Varieties for Every Taste

Apple varieties: The old saw about an apple a day notwithstanding, an apple only gives you about 10 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin C and a little bit of calcium. But unpeeled apples ar high in fiber, low in calories, and delicious – a healthy dessert choice. Grocery stores used to stock just a few apple varieties, but in recent years, tasty hybrids and imports have invaded the apple aisle. The International Apple Institute offers these suggestions: (more…)

Reading Tea’s Healthy Leaves

Reading Tea’s Healthy Leaves

Green tea may lower cholesterol and even help fight cancer

In the never-ending rivalry between coffee and tea drinkers over whose beverage is superior, the tea drinkers seem to hold the current edge. Not only is tea the second most popular drink in the world after water, but researchers are now investigating whether one variety of tea has properties that can lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure and even inhibit the development of several forms of tumors. (more…)

Bottled Water

Why Bother with Bottled Water

What you are getting for your money

Bottled water has become a major presence in the United States.Sales have shot up over 400 percent in the last 15 years. Billions of dollars are spent on bottled water annually. There are over 700 different regional brands and almost 100 imported brands available around the country, and Americans now guzzle billions of gallons of the stuff each year. Why do son many spend so much for something they can get from the tap for pennies? (more…)

Another Cup of Coffee Please

Another Cup of Coffee Please

Cup of coffee: Studies show that a little caffeine in the morning poses no offense

Coffee may not have the medicinal power of green tea, but for most people it gets a relatively clean bill of health. A recent study by researchers at the Harvard University School of Public Health found no significant increase in the risk of heart disease or stroke among men who drank up to four cups of coffee a day. (more…)

Ripe for Picking

Choosing Fresh Fruits – Ripe for Picking

A grocery shopper’s guide to choosing fresh fruits

For many consumers, choosing fresh fruits and buying fresh produce is like a game of roulette. There’s no telling whether their fruits and vegetables will be fresh and ripe at home because they don’t know how to choose produce at the grocery store. (more…)

Substitutes to Save Family Recipes

Some Substitutes to Save Family Recipes

These substitutes keep the comfort in comfort food, not the cholesterol

Switching to a diet low in fat and cholesterol does not means you’ll have to pitch your favorite family recipes. (more…)



Why chocolate isn’t verboten – the answer lies in the cocoa butter; which soothes like olive oil

We have Christopher Columbus to thank for introducing cocoa beans to the European palate in the 15th century. But it fell to several American medical researchers recently to reveal that indulging a chocolate habit may be a reasonably healthy thing to do. Not that anyone is recommending that you substitute chocolate for fruits and vegetables, but when it comes to your heart’s health, certain types of chocolate seem to have the same salutary effect as olive oil. (more…)

A Perfectly Perfect Dinner

A Perfectly Perfect Dinner

Dr. Dean Ornish’s recipes for a healthy heart

On learning they have coronary heart disease, many triple-bypass candidates probably wish they could go back in time to change their eating, exercise, or smoking habits. Time travel, of course, isn’t an alternative to heart surgery. But researchers have found that making immediate lifestyle changes just might reverse even the most severe case of heart disease. (more…)

A Fish Story Not to Ignore

A Fish Story Not to Ignore

Thread carefully when it comes to the catch of the day

Because fish are basically swimming filters, they soak up pesticides, industrial waste, and chemicals that have been dumped into waterways for decades. With more polluted waters than ever, the risk is rising that you’ll find a contaminated fish on your dinner plate. Salmonella and scombriod poisoning, which is caused by a histamine produced by bacteria on fish, can also make certain fish unsavory.

Part of the reason that inedible fish are ending up in the grocery store is that there’s no government-run process to inspect fish. In fact, fish and shellfish are the only major sources of protein that do not receive comprehensive government inspections for potential contamination. The $9 billion industry is overseen by a piecemeal system led by the Food and Drug Administration, whose inspectors visit processing plants an average of once very four years.

In a 1991 report issued by the National Academy of Sciences, current safety regulations were deemed “insufficient” and “too limited in frequency and direction to ensure enhanced safety of seafood.” While some efforts to improve seafood handling have been made since then, substantial problems remain.

Freshwater fish are more likely contain toxic chemicals than fish that spend their lives in the ocean. Because of industrial dumping and air pollution, the Great Lakes have been found to be swimming with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), which are suspected of raising the risk of cancer and birth defects. Residues of DDT, the cancercausing pesticide banned decades ago, have been found in Great Lakes whitefish being sold in southern California.

Fish that live in deep, offshore waters, such as cod and haddock, are considered low in chemicals because the areas they live in aren’t easily contaminated. But chemicals can be found in saltwater fish that live close to polluted urban shores, or in fish that commute to freshwater. Puget Sound, the Chesapeale Bay, and Santa Monica Bay are all considered risky sources, according to the National Academy of Sciences.

Among ocean-swimming fish, fin fish from tropical or subtropical areas have the most problems. Barracuda, grouper, amerjack, and certain tropical snappers have been linked to scombrod as well as ciguatera – a sometimes-severe disease that affects the nervous system and can cause vomiting and nausea. Nether bacteria is destroyed in the cooking process.

Methyl mercury poisoning from swordfish is a great enough risk that the National Academy of Sciences recommended that couples who intend to have children in the near future should avoid the fish. Tuna and Mahi-mahi can also contain methyl mercury in small amounts, but the danger in swordfish is much greater.

The riskiest seafood of all is molluskan shellfish such ad oysters, clams, and mussels. The intestines and internal organs of these mollusks are fertile ground for contaminants. The problem is worsened by fishermen who illegally harvest shellfish in polluted waters. Many mollusks get contaminated because they live where rivers and seas meet and, because of nearby cities, these waters often are contaminated.

Oysters, clams, and mussels are also vulnerable to Norwalk viruses, which can cause sever diarrhea unless the shellffish is fully cooked. Another source of contamination is the algae called “Red Tides.” The FDA and the coastal states all test for these blooms, and when they appear the waters are closed to all fishing.

Even oysters taken from clean waters occasionally harbor a naturally occurring, unfriendly bacteria known as Viro vulnificus, according to reports from the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It contaminated mollusks are eaten raw and the bacteria remains alive, it can make a person very sick. Healthy people will probably just get a bout of indigestion. But for those with their liver ailments and depressed immune systems, Viro vulnificus can be deadly. Symptoms can include sudden chills, indigestion, fever, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

So what is safe? According to the National Academy of Science report, catfish, trout, salmon, and other formed species are generally reliable as long as they are cooked immediately before serving. Processed fish, such as fish sticks and fish nuggets are also safe bets because they are made from white-fleshed fish, such as cod, haddock, and pollack. And canned tuna is not only the safest of all seafood, but it is also the most popular.

No matter what the fish, there are some simple precautions you can take when shopping for and storing seafood, though. Here are some tips from Get Hooked in Seafood safety, which is published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Select seafood with a fresh, mild odor: It should not smell unpleasantly fishy. Fish fillets should be moist, without any traces of browning or drying around the ages.

Check the gills, scales, and eyes: The gills should be bright pink or red. And the eyes should be bright and clear, not cloudy or sunken. Scales should cling tightly to the skin, and they should be slimy.

Mollusks in the shell should be alive when you buy them. When a clam, oyster, scallop or mussel is alive, its shell is tightly closed or closes when it is lightly tapped.

Test shellfish for freshness. Hold the shell between your thumb and forefinger and depress it, as though sliding two parts of the shell across one another. If the shell moves, the shellfish is not fresh. Throw away any mollusks whose shells aren’t closed tightly.

Unless you freeze it, cook fish within two days of purchase. Smoked fish, pickled fish, and vacuum-packed fish should always be refrigerated. Whatever the fish, keep it its original wrapper and store in the coldest part of your refrigerator, which is usually under the freezer or in the meat drawer, until it is ready to be cooked.

If you did freeze it, allow one day to thaw. Thaw frozen seafood in its own container in the refrigerator. Do not thaw seafood at room temperature or under warm running water.

Store mollusks live. Keep mollusks in your refrigerator in a container covered loosely with a clean damp cloth. Do not store live shellfish in an airtight container or in water.

A Taster’s Guide to Ordering Fish: Consult this list and you’ll never need to ask the waiter again to describe the fish entries. If you’re cooking at home, you can substitute one fish from the same list for another in a recipe.

White meat

Very light, delicate: Cod, Dover sole, Haddock, Lake Whitefish, Orange Roughy, Pacific Halibut, Pacific Sanddab, Southern Flounder, Witch Flounder, Yellowtail Flounder, Yellowtail Snapper.

Light to moderate: Butterfish, Catfish, Cobia, English Sole, Mahi Mahi, Pacific Whiting, Red Snapper, White Sea Trout, Rock Sole, Snook, White King Salmon, White Sea Trout, Whiting, Winter Flounder.

Light Meat

Very light, delicate: Alaska Pollock, Brook Trout, Giant Sea Bass, Grouper, Pacific Ocean Perch, Rainbow Trout, Smelt, Walleye, White Crappie, White Sea Bass.

Light to moderate: Atlantic Ocean Perch, Atlantic Salmon, Black Drum, Carp, Chum Salmon, Croaker, Jewfish, King Salmon (Chinook), Lake Herring, Lake Sturgeon, Lake Trout, Monkfish, Mullet, Northern Pike, Perch, Pink Salmon, Pollock, Sand Shark, Stripod Bass, Swordfish.

Pronounced Flavor: Atlantic Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel.

Dark Meat

Light to moderate: Black Seabass, Bluefish, Sockeye (Red) Salmon, Tuna.

How to Clean a Fish

  • Scale: Wash first, cut off pectoral fins.
  • Draw: Cut from vent to head, remove entrails.
  • To remove head: Cut above the collarbone and snap the spine. Cut tail where it joins the body.
  • Remove the dorsal fin bones: Cut along length of each side. Remove connected bones with a quick pull toward the head.
  • Filleting: Begin slice behind the collarbone just beyond the gill. With the knife flat against the backbone, cut with a sliding motion to the tail.
  • Skinning: Begin Cut about 1/2 inch from the tail. With the knife held flat against the skin, slice toward the head end.

fish story pond

Illustration: Megan Jorgensen

Ones that can get away

The National Academy of Sciences report, Seafood Safety, judged the following seafood to be unsafe at times: Amerjack, barracuda, raw clams, the pasty mustard in crabs, finfish from subtropical waters, finfish from tropical waters, grouper, green-colored tomalley in lobsters, mahi-mahi, salmon caught in the Great Lakes, Shelfish (especially raw oyesters, mussels, scallops).

Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet

Following the Appian Way

Pasta, olive oil, and some vino aren’t a bad way to keep your heart happy

The Greeks and the Romans have long been celebrated for the genius they displayed in creating everything from temples, arches, and statuary to poetry, drama, and the foundations of democracy. Now, researchers are discovering that these ancient innovators also bequeathed their countrymen a diet that may be as close to nutritionally perfect as the world has ever seen. (more…)

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