June Food Challenge: SEAFOOD

Fish cooking

OK, so the cedar plank did catch fire, but the dish came out awesome despite a little set back on the grill.

I got a jump-start on my June Food Challenge. Last night I made a macadamia crusted Mahi-Mahi with cauliflower mash and sautéed mustard greens. I had no idea what I was doing when making the crust. It really was on a whim and not thought out. I ended up topping it with a pesto sauce just in case the crust didn’t come out.

Why A Fish Challenge?
I’ve always hated fish. Always. When I was a kid I’d go fishing with my best friend’s family. I just remember being repulsed by how slimy the fish were and the whole cleaning process. Heck, to this day I still refuse to put bait on a fishing hook. The whole process is just icky to me.  And that pretty much drives most of my aversion to fish.

Most, but not all. Let’s not forget the fishy taste. Canned tuna always made me gag. And salmon…don’t get me started.

However I started rethinking the whole fish thing a few years ago when I tried sushi.  Yep, I ate raw fish…and loved it. No fishy flavor. I didn’t even mind the texture so much. Of course all that dang Wasabi may have had a hand in it, but it got me thinking.

Plus the health benefits. There is no way around that. I’m missing out on Omega-3 because of my aversion to fish. Taking fish oil just isn’t the same.

Finally my husband loves seafood. And it isn’t fair that he rarely eats fish because his wife is grossed out by it.

But eating fish is always hit or miss. Freshness is really important for a fish hater trying to become lover. I’ve had amazingly good Chilean sea bass and god awful salmon (Yes, I’m a bit like Ahab…but salmon is my Great White).

So June I’m making a serious effort to add fish to my diet. This month, twice a week, I’m eating seafood. Ultimately I want to be able to enjoy fish once a week after this challenge ends.

Fire In The Hole
My first attempt at grilling fish exceeded my expectations…despite the fire. The crust was a bit mushy going on but got pretty crispy (not burnt). Rather than chopping the macadamia nuts, I mistakenly pulverized them in my herb grinder. I basically turned the nuts into mush. In an effort to firm up the nut mush, I added my homemade salt seasoning (pink Himalayan salt, fresh cracked pepper, garlic powder and paprika) and some Parmesan cheese.

I ended up patting the crust mix on top and sides of each filet before adding them to the cedar plank.

Keep Calm & Eat Fish
Adding the pesto sauce was done out of panic. Again, this wasn’t planned out. I saw the fish at my grocery store earlier that afternoon and decided to pick up 3 fillets. The pesto sauce was just in case the crust or fish tasted bad.

The panic was for naught. The crust was yummy as was the pesto. And as for the fish…it was delicious. Mahi-Mahi was a good first choice for this challenge. My Wegman’s fishmonger recommended I start my challenge off with a mild white fish before working my way up to the dark and oil rich fish.

Apparently there are 5 types of fish.  So for the first few dishes I’m focused on milder white fish. That should help me get over hangups regarding texture and eating the skin before moving towards stronger flavored fish and eventually wild salmon.

As for the recipe, I tracked how much food I ate, but didn’t calculate the nutrition value of the fish dish. I’m working on that today and will post it later today.

I was too excited (and nervous) about starting this challenge to do some calculations. But I’ll make sure to have it ready to go when I post about my next dish: Steamed Muscles & Bacon-Wrapped Scallops.

Do You Take The Blue or Red Pill?

My vitamin supplements and prescription meds...how deep does the rabbit-hole go?

My vitamin supplements and prescription meds…how deep does the rabbit-hole go?

I lost some good habits when I was in Arizona this summer.  Slowly I’ve added them back into my daily routine.  Today, I’m once again taking my supplements after breakfast. While I didn’t stop taking them completely, I did drop my daily routine.

Well now I’m committed to getting back on track. I take a few because my doctor recommended them, so this is a good thing.  Along with my regular prescription, I’m taking:

Vitamin D – I discovered my Vitamin D deficiency after my 2011 physical.  When your doctor recommends buying the Vitamin D with the “biggest number” on the bottle, you better heed warning sign.  The good news is that after taking it everyday for nearly 2 years, my Vitamin D levels are normal.

Vitamin C – At my last physical, my Vitamin C levels hit the bare minimum. Green leafy vegetables make up my sole source. Since the diabetes scare, I drastically cut back on sugar and switched to low-carb foods. The result, diabetes is no longer a risk, but my fruit intake is nearly non-existent. I’ll start adding fruit back in to my diet when I’m 30 lbs from goal. I’m not deficient in my Vitamin C levels. So I limit it to a low dose a few times a week.

Vitamin B – Another vitamin where I met the bare minimum. Looking to bump this level up, like Vitamin C, I limit this one to every other day. Vitamin B is great for skin health – perfect for my dry skin.

Omega 3 – Yea, fish oil! Good for my blood pressure. One of my dailies.

Baby Aspirin – Again, recommended by my doctor for good heart health. Also a daily.

Multivitamin – I take these every other day because, like all folks changing their eating habits, I’m not getting the full benefits of vitamins in the foods I’m eating.

Supplements are important, but you need to take the right ones. There are lots of problems with taking too many vitamins.  With jacked up levels of vitamins in foods, juices and water, it’s easy to over do it . I only take what my doctor recommends. And I’m careful to read the food labels. My next physical is coming up in November. Hopefully my numbers will improve again and I can drop some of the supplements.

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Marinated Tuna Steaks – I Hope This Turns Out Good

Image courtesy of franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m making a Tuna Steak today. This is a big deal because I am not the biggest fish fan. Well, actually I hate fish. There I said it.

Part of it is the texture. It feels too mushy for meat. But mostly, its that awful fishy taste. Yuck!

My two exceptions – tuna steaks and orange roughy. Both are very good. I won’t say delicious, but they are good. So today, I’m making tuna steaks. The orange juice and olive oil are what brings the carbs here, but the total grams is still below my 6g of carbs per meal. The rest will come from some mixed greens.

I’ll let you know if this is good.

Marinated Tuna Steaks
3.7g Carbs
Serves 4

4 4-ounce Tuna Steaks
1/4 C Orange Juice
1/4 C Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 Clove Garlic, Minched
1/2 Tsp Chopped Fresh Oregano
1/2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper

For marinade, mix together the orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, oregano and pepper. Place tuna in plastic bag, add marinade and seal. Turn bag to coat tuna. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, being sure to turn once.

Preheat grill for high heat. Lightly oil grate. Cook tuna steaks for 5 – 6 minutes, then turn and baste with marinade. Cook for an additional 5 minutes (or until done). Discard remaining marinade.