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asian recipes, healthy food, seafood, seaweed, diet, delicious, health, nutrition, japanese

The New Seafood: Cooking with Seaweed

Gourmet seafood isn't just fish, calamari, crab, lobster, shrimp and other shellfish. Plants from the sea are becoming a culinary craze all across the country and are cropping up on menus at some of the finest restaurants around the world. Seaweed can be a delicious addition to your diet, and one that offers incredible health benefits at the same time.

The Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed

Seaweed has long been a staple of Asian and Scandinavian cooking, where aquatic freshwater and saltwater plants are readily available. Now, more and more people are adding seaweed to recipes, largely for the health benefits of the plants. A single serving of seaweed provides more immune system-boosting vitamin C than a serving of orange, grapefruit and other citrus fruits. In addition, seaweed is a natural source of vitamin D, providing more than what's found in a glass of milk. A serving of seaweed also treats your body to iron needed for producing healthy red blood cells, iodine for supporting thyroid function and the essential immune system mineral zinc. You'll also get a heaping dose of omega-3 fatty acids, the essential healthy fats that many people take fish and krill oil capsules to treat their bodies to get the benefits of.

Types of Seaweed for Cooking

There are many types of seaweed available at Asian food stores and online with which to experiment in recipes. The three most commonly used types are:

  • Nori - these Japanese algae is usually sold as a dry-food in sheets. If you've ever eaten a maki sushi roll, you'll quickly recognize the crispy blackish-green seaweed as the wrapper most commonly used by sushi chefs.
  • Kombu - Made up of broad leaves, kombu is a staple in Japanese cuisine and can be purchased fresh or as a dry-food.
  • Wakame - Sold as a dry-food and then rehydrated, this type of seaweed has a bright green color and a flavor that is slightly sweet.

Ways to Enjoy Seaweed

There are a number of ways that you can enjoy seaweed at home. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Take sheets of nori and bake them in the oven as a potato chip alternative that is great for dipping and rich in vitamins and minerals.
  2. Add a small bit of kombu to a sauce to bring a touch of unique flavor.
  3. Use crumbled nori in marinades for fish, chicken or seafood.
  4. Rehydrate wakame and serve it in an Asian dressing with octopus, shrimp or crab for a DIY version of a seaweed salad.
  5. Crisp kombu in a skillet and then crumble it. Use it in place of salt on all types of foods for delicious, healthy seasoning.
  6. Soak wakame and add it to a stir-fry with mushrooms, vegetables and your favorite protein like seafood or chicken.

Adding seaweed to your diet will please your palate and supply your body with essential vitamins and minerals. Don't be afraid to experiment. Dry-food seaweed is simple to work with and guaranteed to bring nutritious results.

 

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Florence B. Harrell

There are many kinds of beans that provide a very rich source of protein as well as an abundance of vitamins, minerals and that all important fiber. Protein is used by your body to build healthy cells which make up everything. When your cells are compromised, so is your bloodstream, your bones, skin, muscles, tendons and cartilage. Cells also make up the hormones and enzymes in your body. In order to stay healthy you must have a well-balanced diet that includes foods that are high in top quality protein, and that have low amounts of saturated fats. You will be able to achieve health benefits if you choose to make your meals and snacks from an assortment of beans and lean meats, which can include turkey, chicken, seafood, even pork and beef.

Lean meats are the cuts that are lower in fat

Beef and Pork

Lean meats can be found in many different varieties of meat, including pork and beef. So you do not have to give up your favorite meals when following a low-fat diet. What you do need to do is be picky, you need to choose the cuts that are lower in fat. Both beef and pork are rich in iron and they do have good quality protein, but you’ve got to know which cuts have less fat.

For steak, which is beef, the leanest cuts would be:

  • Top sirloin
  • Top Loin
  • Arm roasts
  • Top round
  • Eye of round
  • Bottom round

For a recipe that calls for ground beef such as hamburgers you would look for extra -lean ground beef. It should say on the label what percentage of fat is in the ground beef. You should be able to find 90%, 93% and 95% lean written on the label.

There are the cuts of pork that are leaner than others and if you want to stay true to your low-fat diet choose among these:

  • Tenderloin
  • Center loin
  • Pork loin
  • Ham

Don’t forget to cut away any slivers of fat that you see once you’ve taken it out of the package.

Chicken and Turkey

Chicken and turkey tend to have less fat content than beef and pork. The leanest cuts would be chicken breasts and boneless is the way to go as it’s got less fat than if the bone is in. For turkey the leanest cuts would be the turkey cutlets. There’s always a layer of fat beneath the skin of both chicken and turkey and that is why you need to remove the skin before cooking, whether or not your recipe calls for this. If you fry or sauté chicken in oil you are adding fat to your diet so instead cook poultry by roasting, broiling, grilling or even boiling. Any excess fat can be drained off after cooking. If you avoid recipes that call for breading the meat you’ll be way ahead of the game. The same goes for fatty sauces and gravies. Left over chicken or turkey sandwiches make for a great kids’ snack and if you serve with fruit and nuts you’re teaching your children that healthy eating can be delicious.

Fish and Shellfish

Seafood is rich in many important nutrients including Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. There are many different kinds of fish that can make delicious meals including shellfish like shrimp, lobster, crab, clams and mussels. Everyone should have at least 8 ounces of seafood included in their diet every week as this is known to help reduce the likelihood of developing heart disease. When seafood is cooked correctly it can be very beneficial but if not, it can be harmful. Stay away from recipes that call for breading or frying or any that call for a sauce made of butter or drawn butter. These only add triglycerides to a really good source of lean protein. When you’re cooking use a fresh lemon squeezed over your seafood or cocktail sauce it’s delicious so no added fat is needed at all. When making snacks from left-over seafood dishes avoid using mayonnaise. You’ll find that all you need to flavor and moisten the fish is a freshly squeezed lemon and maybe a slice of tomato.

Beans are a better source of nutrition

The reason I say this is because beans provide a wider range of nutritional benefits than do animal sources that mainly provide just protein. Beans contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that are critical to good health. These include the B vitamins and folic acid, selenium, and zinc. There are many kinds of beans to choose from which are easily available and can be included in many different recipes:

  • Kidney beans
  • Navy beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Soy beans
  • Chickpeas

You can easily add them to your diet if you’re not already doing so by using them to salads, soups, stews, and stir-fry vegetable recipes. Beans come dry, usually in clear packaging and if you read the directions you will see that you need to rinse them before cooking with them so soak them in water and boil beans before you use them in your recipe. Otherwise you can buy them already prepared in cans and of course this is more convenient. Don’t add any fat when cooking them and when you go to a restaurant make sure the dish isn’t prepared with fat, like in the case of refried beans. Avoid ordering those and perhaps ask for fruit instead.

 

0 Comments | Posted in Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Florence B. Harrell

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