It’s fun to find a dad’s eyes and a mom’s smile on a toddler’s face, and when I can figure out the sisters in a group just by their mannerisms, I feel proud, like I just solved a puzzle. The sensitive me always notices a dad carrying a baby and wishes I could reverse time and hold my kids at that young age one more day. The professional me is quick to note when one kid appears thin and athletic and the other looks round and soft. Same gene pool. Same food in the fridge. Same access to exercise and likely similar lifestyles.
Earlier this summer, the Food and Drug Administration announced revised recommendations for children, suggesting two to three servings of low-mercury fish a week. But it can take some enticing to get the younger set excited about digging into seafood. Here are five recipes that are sure to lure — and might even entice a few seafood-phobic grown-ups too.
Shrimp: Shrimp Stir Fry (above)
Kids love this high-protein crustacean — and stir-frying shrimp with a colorful mix of vegetables offers a quick way to turn them into an eye-catching dinner. If you’re confused about whether to choose wild or farm-raised shrimp, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide for shrimp.
You may have plunked a few salmon burgers on the grill last weekend, but typically meat gets all the glory at Memorial Day barbecues. These light, healthy fish dishes are exactly what you’ll crave as the warm-weather months heat up.
Fish Tacos with Watermelon Salsa (above, from Food Network Magazine)
The chipotle-chile powder-dusted sea bass stuffed inside these corn tortillas is jacked up even more by the presence of jalapeno-red onion-cilantro salsa. But, a burst of refreshing watermelon cools it all down.
“There is a niche for really delicious, finely made takeaway food — one that puts an emphasis on quality not just convenience,” Kelsie Kerr says. A Chez Panisse alumna who worked with Alice Waters on her last two cookbooks and contributed to many of the celebrated restaurateur’s other works, Kerr opened the Standard Fare, in Berkeley, Calif., to fill that hole in the marketplace this April.
Far from the average takeaway joint, the Standard Fare’s meals change daily and, to befit Kerr’s cooking, each dish comes in handmade, ready-to-serve ceramic bowls. “I wanted the food to be homey but also have a mindfulness to it,” she says. “The bowls I designed so you could have a beautiful thing to take the food home in. Ceramic both protects and heats the food nicely.”
It doesn’t take much to bring out salmon’s rich flavor, but let’s face it: The old lemon-with-a-dash-of-salt routine gets old. The good news: Salmon need not be boring. Try these tasty ways to amp up an old standby.
Mustard Maple Roasted Salmon (above)
Mustard and maple syrup? The two condiments may seem worlds away, but they make the perfect marriage of sweet and savory in a sauce for salmon fillets. Cilantro keeps the flavor light and fresh.
A few weeks back I posted a curried quinoa salad recipe. Over the winter I ate that salad as a main dish or lunch but recently I decided to pair it with a protein for a new dinner option. I decided to use salmon because it cooks up in the oven in no time and I don’t have to fuss over it. I love topping fish with roasted tomatoes but didn’t like the idea of the tomatoes with the curried quinoa so I opted for grapes which act similarly to tomatoes in many recipes. The sweet roasted grapes paired with savory thyme was a delicious addition to my already tasty grain salad.
So what’s the deal with miso? Readily known as the base flavor for the popular Japanese soup, miso is a thick paste made with fermented soybeans and barley or rice malt. It’s used heavily in Japanese sauces and soups because the salty, tangy flavor adds depth and complexity to a wide variety of dishes. I add miso to salad dressings, marinades and glazes because it’s a one-stop-shop for tons of flavor. Typically, the type of grain used determines how dark the miso is and, the darker the color, the more intense the flavor. If you’re a bit shy at first, opt for the white or yellow miso. If you’re ready to knock it out of the park, use the brown miso (often made with barley malt). When shopping, look for miso with the other Asian ingredients or in the produce section of the grocery store. Any variety is amazing on the salmon below. I blended tangy miso with sweet honey, mirin, salty soy sauce and refreshing orange juice. The glaze caramelizes on the salmon as it bakes in the oven (I add the glaze in two steps so it truly sticks to the salmon).
Enjoy, and then send me YOUR favorite uses for miso!
Most folks are hip to the fact that they need more omega-3 fats in their diet, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually eating enough. Here’s a refresher on why omega-3s do the body good and some delish recipes to boost your intake.
There are 3 main types of omega-3 fats that are typically referred to by their abbreviated names DHA, EPA and ALA. The DHA and EPA types are plentiful in fish and help fight inflammation. They also contribute to heart health, brain function and immunity. If that’s not enough, they also help with healthy joints, skin, eyes and skin. The ALA type of omega-3 is found mostly in plant-based foods. Once eaten, the body converts ALA to a small amount of DHA and EPA. ALA-rich foods are good for you for a variety of reasons but to really reap the benefits of omega-3, you want to make sure to get most of them from EPA and DHA.
Experts recommend getting about 1,000 milligrams of omega-3s per day, mostly from DHA and EPA.
Salmon is one of the best fish choices for healthy fats. A 4-ounce (raw) portion will serve up more than 1600 milligrams of DHA and EPA.
Recommendations for eating seafood can be confusing. Fish can be a low-calorie and heart-healthy choice and the omega-3 rich fish have additional health-protecting benefits. On the other hand, some seafood contains mercury, which can be harmful in large amounts. There are plenty of seafood options with little or no mercury. Here are some fabulous options.
Tilapia is mild, tender and super budget-friendly. According the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, American farm-raised tilapia is the most sustainable choice.
Fennel is underutilized by many home cooks. I’m not sure why because it’s fresh (ever seen canned fennel?), uniquely flavored and super nutritious. Maybe some Fennel 101 will get you stoked:
Fennel belongs to the carrot and parsley family and is a cousin of cumin, dill, caraway and anise (hence its subtle licorice flavor). The bulb is crisp and can be sautéed, stewed, braised, grilled or eaten raw. The bulb is a unique and fresh addition to warm or cold salads, vegetable and pasta dishes and risottos and is an excellent palate-cleanser between and after meals. The leaves (fronds) are delicate and taste somewhat like dill, making them the perfect edible garnish. Fennel seeds are often used to flavor Italian sausages and meatballs.
Like many spices, fennel contains a unique combination of phytonutrients, including the flavonoids rutin and quercetin, plus additional compounds that give it powerful antioxidant properties. But the most fascinating phytonutrient in fennel is anethole, repeatedly shown to reduce inflammation and prevent cancer.