Archives for: November 2010
I have always cooked fish in the oven. I don’t know why. That’s the way my mother cooked fish. That’s what most of my recipes have called for.
After a recent blog about cod, Basma sent this comment, “Never ever cook fish in the oven. It turns out dry and tastes awful. I always cook fish (any kind) in a non-stick saucepan. I add some olive oil, brown the fish on one side, flip it over and then add the juice of one lemon and let it simmer on a low heat in the juice until all the juice is absorbed and the fish is browned and moist. Add spices like Cajun and it becomes a very yummy fish indeed.”
Her enthusiasm alone made me want to try this as soon as possible. A few days later I was at the store looking for something to fix for dinner that night. Mahi Mahi was on special. This – I knew instantly – would be the ultimate test for pan vs oven cooking.
You see, eight or ten years ago I had read about what a great tasting fish Mahi Mahi was. One night, when we were having company for dinner, I bought a Mahi Mahi fillet. I cooked it and served it with a flourish. It was terrible. Dry, tough, tasteless. I was embarrassed. I was also irritated - Mahi Mahi was expensive.
Last summer in South Carolina, our son recommended Mahi Mahi fish tacos. I said, “no way.” But he insisted and I tried them. I had to admit, they were delicious.
I decided to try Basma’s cooking method on Mahi Mahi. I had two things going for me this time. (1) the fish was on sale and (2) my husband and I would be alone for dinner. The experiment would not be expensive or embarrassing.
I followed her instructions, except I was out of lemons. Oh Mahi, it was good - tender, flavorful, very enjoyable. Even the leftovers two days later were acceptable. I can imagine that lemons would make it even better. I have become a fan of pan cooked fish.
There are lots of clichés about a woman’s prerogative to change her mind.
I’ve changed my mind about mayonnaise. It wasn’t long ago that I wrote a blog about the grape seed mayonnaise called Vegenaise. There are still things I like about the ingredients, and I’m going to finish the jar I have without any qualms at all.
However, my reading this week has had me so focused on Omega 3s, that I’m going to go back to cold processed canola mayonnaise. That looks to me like the best source of Omega 3s among the various mayonnaise brands.
The real advantage of grape seed oil seems to be for cooking. I use light olive oil when I cook, and will continue to do so, because the BTD and the GTD classify it as beneficial for Type Os and Type As.
Mayonnaise is a product that I use sparingly, because there is always an avoid somewhere near the bottom of the ingredient list. When I am cooking for myself, I often leave out the mayo and use olive oil or flax oil. But some things just taste better with mayonnaise. When I am preparing food for guests, mayo is often required. Cold processed canola mayonnaise looks like the lesser of evils. But if something better comes along, I reserve the right to change my mind again.
I have nudged my Honorable Husband toward the BTD for years. He eats what I serve him, and usually takes my advice in restaurants, so he has been pretty close to a Type A diet without much effort or thought on his part. I knew at the beginning that if I pushed too hard he would resist, so some things I have left alone, respecting his preferences and his comfort zone.
He is changing. As he has gone into retirement, and particularly as we watch our friends face increasingly serious health problems, he is asking more questions.
Sunday we had lunch with friends at Chili’s. I like Chili’s because they will give me a hamburger with broccoli instead of French Fries without any fuss. I get a side order of black beans for me and a take out box for the bun. Sometimes I make HH a turkey sandwich with the bun the next day; sometimes I put it in the freezer and feed it to the ducks.
We were eating with our Type O doctor friend who for years was totally convinced that a very low fat diet was best. You have met her in my blog several times. She has come to recognize her need for essential fatty acids, but she is still rightly worried about the danger of hydrogenated vegetable oils and trans fats.
Before she ordered, she asked our server what kind of oil they used at Chili's. The server was clueless, but went to the kitchen to find out. The answer was that they use 100% vegetable oil, so MD decided on a salad.
She asked what oils I used. I said that flax oil was the best source of Omega 3s, but that it is not a good cooking oil, so I cook with either ghee or light olive oil. She asked what I thought about canola, and I said that it was a neutral choice and certainly better than corn oil or coconut oil. She wasn’t familiar with flax oil, and I said that I had started using flax oil on my salads instead of extra virgin olive oil.
We were in a lively discussion and I had no idea that HH was paying any attention. Suddenly he chimed in with “Do you give me that flax oil?” It caught me off guard. I said “No, because you always want salad dressing.” He said, “If flax is that good for you, give me half salad dressing and half flax oil.” MD was laughing hysterically.
Last night I gave HH a salad with half salad dressing and half flax oil. He said he couldn’t taste any difference and said to keep making his salads that way. I am delighted to do so, but I am still recovering from the shock.
First impression: What was God thinking when he made a pomegranate? Seriously, you cannot cut into this fall fruit and believe in evolution. The pomegranate didn’t just happen. Someone with an imagination created it.
Second impression: Do not attempt to eat a pomegranate without instruction. My sister, who lives in Europe, has talked about how much they enjoy pomegranates. When I bought my first one this fall, I emailed her and asked how to eat it. She told me to look it up on the internet. What?!? How complicated can eating a piece of fruit be? She was right. I looked at several internet sites but liked this one the best.
How to eat a pomegranate
If you cut into a pomegranate without knowing what to expect, you will make a mess and probably throw the whole thing in the trash.
Third impression: Delicious. I ate the seeds with a spoon. There was a burst of sweetness, followed by a satisfying crunch. I kept them in a covered container, eating a few spoons every night as I cooked dinner. One pomegranate lasted four days.
This pomegranate did bring back some of my frustration with the differences between the GTD and the BTD. On the GTD, pomegranates are black dot for Hunters, and toxic for Gatherers, Teachers, and Warriors. That sounds like they would be bad for my family of Type Os and Type As. However on the BTD pomegranates are neutral for both Type Os and Type As. They are rated Superbeneficial for Type Os on Dr. D's Cancer Prevention Diet.
I decided that I would consider them a beneficial food for my son and myself. I probably won’t give them to my husband and daughter.
A reader, frustrated by cooking cod and having it turn out too dry, asked how I cooked frozen cod. I have the same problem when I buy thin cod fillets at the grocery store; they often come out dry.
I have the best results with cod loins, which I can only buy at a wholesale store like Sams or Costco. I do not thaw them. I put the frozen cod loins in a glass baking dish, top them with seasoning, and bake them at 350 degrees. I watch through the oven window for the juices that cook out of the cod. When the edges of the juice start to turn golden brown, I test for flakiness. The moment the cod flakes all the way through, I take it out of the oven.
When I’m in a hurry, I use a no-salt seasoning like Mrs. Dash or Spike on cod. When I have more time, I like topping cod with fresh foods – onions, celery, lemon, pineapple, whatever I have in the house.
***Basma added a comment about cooking fish in a pan vs in the oven. Make sure you scroll down to the bottom and read how she cooks fish***
The cod question reminded me that my husband asked me if we ate much tilapia. He had heard a news report about tilapia being dangerous. I spent some time doing internet searches about tilapia safety this morning. I am no expert, so do your own searches, but this is a summary of what I found.
Most tilapia is farm raised in China. The Director of Food Safety at the University of Georgia went to China to inspect fish farms, and found to his horror that they were feeding tilapia human and animal excrement. The fish were given a big dose of antibiotics prior to being prepared for market. This report is evidently several years old.
Some more recent reports indicate that China has made an effort to “clean up” their fish farms. I can’t tell whether this is advertising/marketing talk or whether they have really made significant changes.
Equally alarming is that people buy tilapia thinking that it is a less expensive way to get the good benefits of eating fish. A recommended ratio of Omega 6:Omega 3 is 1:1. The typical American daily intake is estimated at 30:1. Aren’t you glad you are on the BTD and not on a typical American diet?!?
People are being encouraged to increase their Omega 3 intake, and the three best sources of Omega 3 are Flaxseed walnuts and cold water fish. When you look at the ratio, you want the first number to be smaller than 1. That means the fish has more Omega 3 than Omega 6.
You can see that tilapia is not a good choice for people wanting to increase the Omega 3s in their diet. Unlike other fish, it is low in Omega 3 and high in Omega 6.
I notice that the fat content of farm raised salmon is higher than wild caught salmon. Frankly the farm raised tastes better to me, and it is usually less expensive. I was almost ready to abandon wild caught and start buying farm raised. But in the course of looking up ratios, I learned that because of the grain based food fed to farm raised salmon, the increased fat content is the undesirable Omega 6.
As for me and my house…we will continue to buy cod loins over cod fillets. We will continue to buy wild caught salmon. And we won’t be buying any more tilapia. This blog is making me hungry. It’s time to fix lunch.
I like to buy meat at Sams Club. I can get good ground beef and turkey at the grocery store. I am delighted that I can get ground bison there as well. But I’m usually disappointed in grocery store roast and brisket. Grocery store lamb is so expensive I would never consider buying it. However the meat counter at Sams Club is both BTD and budget friendly.
Today I bought boneless leg of lamb. I froze it. I’ll thaw it out and roast it with fresh rosemary the next time my son comes for dinner. The smallest eye of round roast they had today was 4.55 pounds. I will cut it in half tomorrow morning. Then I will roast half and freeze the other half for later.
Sams also carries Cod Loins in their frozen food section. The cod in the grocery store is thin and falls apart. It reminds me of orange roughy or whiting, neither of which are on my favorite fish list. But the Cod Loins are thick. They have both a good flavor and texture. I bought a bag of Cod Loins today. I like to keep them in the freezer for days when dinner time sneaks up on me.
I mentioned bison, which reminds me of a funny incident. I have a facebook friend who posts a lot of animal youtube links. She is a dear person, and it’s fun to talk with her about books and travel, but I think she drifts into the “animals are people, too” way of thinking. She had posted a link to a video bemoaning the tragedy of bison from Yellowstone National Park wandering out of the protected park lands and being shot by hunters. I commented, all in fun, that “bison is delicious, good for Type Os, and available at HEB.”
My friend was not bothered by my post at all, but one of her friends screamed at me in all caps. I assume she is a Type O frustrated with trying to be vegetarian. I’m certainly glad I understand why my Type O body needs meat. I came home from today’s shopping trip with plenty of high quality beneficial protein.