This is my quest to use Woman's Day magazine as a guide to living a better life, month to month, by incorporating as many of the articles, recipes, and advertising into my life as possible. My goal is to grow as a person, discover more about myself and others, and test my limits, boundaries, and abilities.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's SUPER FOODS!
In this blog, you'll learn how to get thyme leaves off the stem, how to select salmon, and approaching your first time making greens. You'll also learn this, that, and the other.
Let's start with the thyme. This guy does it just like I do. Thyme is one of my favorite herbs next to rosemary and lemon balm.
Why don't we have the Thanksgiving meal more often? Seriously. One of my favorite things is rosemary turkey and gravy. I also have a recipe for thyme biscuits.
Over lunch, my mother and I recently discussed fish. We both love salmon and tuna steaks, although she was aghast that I often eat tilapia. Does "fresh" fish really matter if you don't live on a shore?
Thanks to the Huffington Post--King of Numbered Lists--the top concerns about salmon are summarized neatly:
1. Wild or farmed? The first choice you should make is whether to buy wild salmon (and all Alaskan salmon is wild-caught) or farmed Atlantic salmon. In most instances, I opt for wild salmon. Why? Environmental groups such as Seafood Watch and the Environmental Defense Fund, have put nearly all farmed salmon on their “red” or “avoid” list. The reason: many farms use crowded pens where salmon are easily infected with lice, may be treated with antibiotics and can spread disease to wild fish (one reason Alaska has banned salmon farms). In addition, it can take as much as three pounds of wild fish (and fishmeal) to raise one pound of salmon. However, there’s some good news. Salmon farmers are currently in talks with environmental groups about improving their practices and there is a proposal before Congress to set standards for aquaculture. Already some farms, such as Sweet Spring in British Columbia, are raising coho in closed pens, that reduce the impact on wild fish. Others, such as Verlasso in Patagonia, are using feeds fortified with the omega-3 EPA, which helps cut back the ratio of pounds of fish needed to feed the salmon to 1-to-1.
2. Should I buy organic salmon? There is no USDA organic standard for salmon and no guarantee “organic” label means anything except the salmon was farmed.
3. Is fresh salmon better than frozen? What about canned or packaged salmon? You can order fresh salmon by mail order or find it in your markets from June-September. Most fish is flash-frozen when caught to preserve its freshness and allow for shipping. Frozen salmon is good for up to four months, when properly frozen and thawed overnight in the refrigerator. Canned wild salmon is an excellent and economical choice. Look for BPA-free cans (Wild Planet has these) or better yet, pouches.
4. Does salmon carry PCBs or other toxins? Wild Alaskan salmon, which spend most of their lives in open oceans, generally have very low levels of toxins. Coastal and farmed salmon, depending on the fish and meal they are fed, may have higher levels. The Environmental Defense Fund lists farmed Atlantic salmon as an “Eco-Worst” choice and recommends people eat no more than two servings a month due to high PCB levels.
5. Do different types of salmon taste different? There’s a wide range of price, color and taste among the six species of salmon we commonly eat, so it depends on your budget, what's available and the recipe you have in mind. The largest (and often most expensive), the king or chinook, is prized for its high fat content and buttery texture and is rich in omega-3s. Sockeye, an oilier fish with deep red flesh, is also high in heart-healthy omega-3s but has a stronger flavor and stands up well to grilling. Coho is milder and often lighter in color. Pink and chum are smaller fish and most often used in canning or smoking and are good budget choices. Last, the most common fish you will find at the market, the species known as Atlantic salmon, is a farmed species. It has a rich, fatty taste but is not recommended by environmental groups
1 medium (about 2 pounds) acorn squash, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
1 tablespoon(s) fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoon(s) honey
1 1/2pound(s) skinless salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the squash on a large rimmed baking sheet, toss with 1 tablespoon oil, scatter with half the thyme, and season with 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Roast for 15 minutes
Push the squash to the outsides of the pan and drizzle with 1 tablespoon honey. Place the salmon in the center, sprinkle with the remaining thyme and season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast until the salmon is opaque throughout and the squash is tender, 8 to 12 minutes more.
Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the kale, season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Drizzle with the vinegar and remaining tablespoon honey and bring to a simmer.
I think greens should probably be cooked with some sort of "hock" but these really were delicious and better for you. I do prefer greens with vinegar.
Now, here's the deal about this recipe: if you season squash, potatoes, or parsnips, oil them, and bake or broil them, they are an uber fabulous replacement for fries. Cut them as thin as you can. For seasoning, I use salt, pepper, and Cajun spices. I made this recipe as is. It was delicious.