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    • NBC News: "Is your favorite seafood toxic?"

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    •  11/27/2010 7:09:30 PM
    •  

      I am married to a serious meat-lover, and of course I naturally want to please him when I cook.  I find myself turning to shrimp to find a "happy medium".  It's easy to make a yummy vegetarian dish and then throw a little shrimp or fish in it to appease him.  Well, over the last year I have been reading/seeing more an more about how contaminated seafood can be.  They discussed this exact issue on the Today Show last week (see video above).

       

      As a consumer I wish that I had more faith in the FDA.  I wish I could completely trust that they are doing everything that they can to ensure the quality and safety of my food. Unfortunately, at this point, my faith has seriously dwindled.  But, as a consumer, I also feel a lot of personal responsibility in that area.  I shouldn't always rely on someone else (i.e the government) to take care of my needs.  I should actively educate myself about where my food is coming from and what, precisely, is in it. 

       

      Watching this video is simply another step for me.  It isn't necessarily about passing judgment.  It's about trying to look at all sides and then making an educated decision.  I will say, that the video has certainly made me more aware.  And truthfully that has been my secret wish for everyone that eats - simply that we are aware! The fish industry is up in arms about it (of course) and they want their side to be heard also.  

       

      A federal law passed in 2005 (P.L. 108-199) mandates that retailers label fresh and frozen unprocessed fish and shellfish with the country of origin and method of production (wild-caught or farm-raised). Your local fishmonger also should be able to tell you which of the "U.S. origin" seafood is from your region or state.

       

      I will say that the next time I decide to purchase seafood of any kind I will check to find out where it is coming from!

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    • Eggplant Parmesan with Whole Wheat Couscous

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    •  12/20/2010 5:29:26 PM
    • I have been loving my subscription to 'Vegetarian Times' and both of these were inspired from there.

       

       

      Eggplant Parmesan

      1 cup spaghetti sauce, divided

      2/3 cup bread crumbs

      2 TBS canola oil

      2 small eggplants, cut into 1/4 inch strips

      2 eggs, beaten

      1/4 cup Asiago cheese

      2 TBS Parmesan cheese

      1 tsp dried basil

      salt and pepper

       

       

      Preheat oven to 350.  Spread half of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.  Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium high heat.  Dip the eggplant slices in the  egg and then in the breadcrumbs. Cook slices in a single layer in the oil for about 2 minutes on each side.  Remove to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.  Place half of the eggplant slices in a single layer in the baking dish and sprinkle with half of the cheese and seasoning.  Repeat this step with the remaining ingredients and the remaining sauce.

      Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

       

      Whole wheat  basil couscous

       

      2/3 cup whole wheat couscous

      1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

      1 cup of yellow pepper

      1/2 cup finely chopped basil *

      1/2 tsp cinnamon

       

      Heat a pan over medium heat and add the couscous.  Toast for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a plate.

      Spray the pan with cooking spray and saute the green onions for about 2 minutes.  Add the peppers, basil and cinnamon and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Add the couscous and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. 

       

      * I froze a ziplock bag full of fresh basil this summer while it was in season.  I wasn't sure how well I would be able to use it in recipes.  For this recipe I took a handful out of the freezer and crumbled it with my hand.  It worked perfectly!

       

       

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    • Veggie Sushi wraps w/ miso dipping sauce (super easy)

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    •  11/11/2010 1:47:37 PM
    • My husband and I just got back from Europe.  The food there is exquisite, and the Asian and Indian foods are starting to pick up popularity. While we were walking down a very popular (and busy) street in London we stopped at a "fast-food" sushi restaurant.  They had individually wrapped sushi pieces and wraps ready to go.  They also had a container filled with Japanese noodles, and fresh veggies (the container said soup, but there was no liquid in it).  When you take it to the register, they fill it with hot miso soup which slightly cooks the vegetables.  I definitely need to make this at home sometime. Anyway, I decided to come home and whip up some of the sushi wraps.  I recently took a cooking class at Viking Cooking school where I got this recipe for the dipping sauce (slightly adapted).  These wraps make a quick snack or a healthy meal.  If you already have cooked rice in the fridge (which I usually do),  they can make for a very fast lunch or dinner.

       

       

       

      Sushi Wraps

       

      1 cup cooked brown rice

      1 TBS of brown rice vinegar

      2 nori sheets, cut lengthwise

      1/2 red pepper, cut into thins strips (julienne)

      1 large carrot, peeled and cut julienne

      1/2 an English cucumber cut julienne

      10 sugar snap peas cut in half lengthwis

      1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

       

      Add the vinegar to the cooled brown rice.  Place a 1/4 cup of the rice on the nori sheet and top with the desired vegetables.

      Slowly roll the nori, trying to make a cone shape.  If this is difficult, you can practice rolling with a piece of paper.  You can

      seal the edge with a dab of water if you want to.

       

       

      Miso dipping sauce:

       

      2 TBS mellow white miso paste *

      1/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice ( I just used 1 small mandarin orange)

      1 tsp of wasabi powder

      2 tsp honey

      1 1/2 TBS tahini

      2 tsp finely grated ginger

       

      Mix all the ingredients together and set aside until needed

       

       

       

      There are a few different varieties (and colors) of miso.  The white miso is a milder flavor than the red and is perfect for suaces

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    • Tom Kha Gai Soup - a little intense, but worth it!

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    •  11/4/2010 8:31:51 AM
    • This soup is absolutely incredible and worth every bit of the effort.  It may seem a little instense the first time you attempt it, but after that it really is quite simple.

      The ingredients may seem a little "out there" but a good Asian store should have everything.  Get aquainted with the owner and they should help you to find what

      you need. 

      10 lime leaves

      3 pieces of lemon grass

      10 thin slices of galangal

      3 cups of water or broth

      1 can of coconut milk

      1 can of straw mushrooms, drained

      2 pieces of palm sugar

      1/2 cup of Tom Kha Paste

      juice of 2 limes

      1 tbs fish sauce

      2 TBS fresh basil (optional)

       

      STEP 1 Prepare the  first 3 ingredients:

      Cut the lemon grass into 2 inch pieces, discarding the straw-like tops.  Then smash each piece with a mallot to help release its flavor.

       

       

      The first 3 ingredients are aromatics, which means they are used for flavor, but are not eaten.  Put these in the broth and let simmer for about 20 minutes and then remove.  The easiest way to do this is to put them in cheese cloth and then put it in the water or broth.  This makes it very easy to remove them. I also like to add the palm sugar at this point to give it time to dissolve.

       

       

      Step 2:

       

      Remove the aromatics and add the coconut milk, mushrooms, and Tom Ka Paste.

       

       

      Let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the lime juice, fish sauce, and basil.  Serve immediately.

       

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