Gluten Free Fried Triggerfish

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Triggerfish are colorful, powerful fish that have chisellike teeth for cracking coral and eating mollusks.  The most common areas to catch them are in the West Indies, or Florida.  Triggerfish are generally about 1 lb, but some varieties can get quite a bit larger.

Triggerfish, although light and flakey, is still hardy enough to hold together to fry.  I use grapeseed oil which is flavorless and can reach a medium-high heat point without losing integrity.  I pat the filets if too wet before dipping in egg.

As far as the gluten free flour, Arrowhead is by far the best (and I’ve tried plenty, including making my own.)  To save time, just throw in your salt, pepper, and seasoning then mix it right into the flour so its evenly distributed for coating.

Preheat the oil to where you can see it swirling a bit in the frying pan.  I use my hands to lay the fish in the pan, be careful not to get splattered.  If splattering too much turn to medium-low.  Make sure you get it crispy, about 3 minutes on each side. This makes it easier to use a spatula to flip it over, and thus remains in one piece which makes for a nice presentation.

The sriracha aoili I use is by Stonewood Kitchen.  Its easy to make it from scratch and I guess I could have been more creative, but its delicious none-the-less.  Even fantastic chefs have to prioritize and at times cut corners.  Stonewood has many jarred versions which are great for not just putting on fish, but vegees and meat as well.  I used it to dip the green beans in which were sauteed with fresh ginger, 3 cloves of garlic, s/p, and coconut oil aminos (a healthy substitute for soy sauce).

My tip with the green beans is to pre heat the grapeseed oil, quickly blister the beans, turn them down then sautee all the other ingredients except for the aminos until fragrant.  Douse with the aminos or soy sauce to deglaze the pan, and the beans should still be al dente.  This is a quick process and I usually cook them last.

The potatoes were simply cut into chunks and I did not peel them.  They crisp up better that way.  I broiled them after throwing a couple dashes of red wine vinegar and coating them with lemon/dill seasoning.  Sometimes I add a chopped onion or bell pepper and they blister up nicely with the potatoes.  Time to broil is about 25-30 minutes.  Dip them in the sriracha for an extra added kick!

GO GLUTEN!

Let’s recap the issues with gluten from our newsletter, and expand on some options:

Gluten is like glue, it is hybridized, deamidated (processed), and often tainted with pesticides.
While we cannot do much about this “new wheat”, we can stay away from processed foods and stick with only organic varieties when possible.   If we do not do this then not only will our tummies be upset and our immune system a mess, but these reactions break down the blood brain barrier.  This breakdown allows pathogens and toxins to access the brain, causing neurological disfunction, i.e., “gluten brain”.
Avoiding eating out is not always possible, so trying a product like Premier Digest can offer enzyme support when the gut cannot quite do it on its own. Knowing that whole grains hold a remarkable amount of vitamins, minerals, omegas, not to mention fiber, it would be ideal to be friends with this food group.
One of my favorite breads is made by a very special friend and fellow business woman,
Rosemary Murphy.
All ingredients are organic: hard red and white wheat, flax seeds, millet, quinoa, amaranth, oats, gluten, sesame seeds, sea salt, egg, yeast and olive oil. Because it is milled and immediately placed in the oven, the integrity of nutrients are in tact.  While I admit I am not much of a bread or sandwich person, it is always delicious and my children can snack on it as they please, smearing organic peanut butter, honey or eat it just plain for a healthy treat!

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To learn more about Rosemary and her bread making process, visit her website or contact her directly. She often does classes around the area so if you get a chance to see her in action it is worthwhile.

904-612-7760

http://www.boschkitchencenters.com/rosemary-murphy/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Jamaican Fish Wraps

This recipe is sure to knock the socks or more off of your Valentine.

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Start with 2 banana leaves, available usually at your local Thai food market. Alternatives would be collard green leaves, parchment paper or even fig leaves.  Our Greek neighbor has fig trees so that’s actually doable here.  Thanks Nick.

In attractive bowls place the following:

1 cup rice or quinoa….a little firm is fine since all ingredients will be joined and steamed.

1 cup organic black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup diced pineapple

4-6 ounces  favorite fish per person, or use shrimp and andouille sausage

A variety of fresh vegees such as baby carrots, broccoli, onion, grape tomatoes, and zucchini

Place the banana leaves on the counter and fill them with whichever ingredients look best.  Garnish with sprigs of rosemary, garlic, lemon slices, coconut or olive oil, cumin or cayenne for an extra kick.  s/p if desired.

 Get creative, anything goes at this point.

Use kitchen twine to wrap all ingredients in each others  leaves…

Don’t worry about keeping your hands to yourselves.

Steam for 8-10 minutes.  Best to let them sit for a bit to cool down before opening…..use this opportunity to give your partner a little extra attention,

Unwrap and devour when appetite builds.

 

Connect with Coconut!

Many people may be scared of this saturated fat, but coconut oil, being a medium chain triglyceride, is metabolized by the body differently that other saturated fats found in meats or cheeses.  This is a good thing, because this allows it to be turned into energy much quicker and is actually considered to be useful in weight loss.  Its high content in lauric acid makes it a potent immune system supporter.  Coconut oil is also known for its anti fungal, anti viral, and anti bacterial properties and is why it is used in so many nutraceutical as well as beauty products.

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Instead of hair conditioner or lotion, it can be very effective as a hair treatment as well as body lotion.  Its really not too greasy if used minimally, but can be comedogenic for some.  Coconut oil is also a great sun protectant, which is why sunscreens often include it.  Sometimes I put the oil on my skin after getting too much sun since it has a “cooling effect”.

Note: If you do not have coconut oil in the bedroom then all I can say is that you and your partner are really missing out:)  Think about it, it smells good, is good for the body inside and out, and tastes great? You don’t need to tell me twice. 

With that said, it is easy to add coconut oil to the diet, and it is important to only purchase the “extra virgin” version.  Any other options may have destroyed its many healing components and may contain harmful trans fats.  Keep in mind it is a lower heat oil, so sautéing at a higher heat is not desirable for its delicateness.  I find myself using coconut oil in baking, particularly muffins or pancakes, substituting it for the other oil or butter called for.  Another way I enjoy incorporating it is by adding it to my rice.  Its very delicious if you also put a teaspoon of curry, turmeric, or squeeze a lemon in the mixture.  Stir in some fresh chopped cilantro for a bold, tasty, as well as colorful kick.

Below is a nice link I ran across that has a ton of great recipes with coconut oil, check it out!

http://coconutoil.com/gallery-of-coconut-recipes-and-coconut-oil-uses/

Kale Salad with Avocado Dill Dressing

I’ve made many different versions of this recipe for workshops at my studio, but this mixture was a major hit that everyone asked me to post.  Its so quick, easy, and visually appealing.

2 bunches fresh Kale, take out middle rib and tear leaves, then rinse.  (I used one batch of purple kale and one batch of green…I prefer not to use baby kale for this recipe)

1 handful fresh dill, coarsely chopped

1 small avocado

juice of 1/2 lemon

a couple dashes of honey

2 tbsp vinegar (I used champagne vinegar, but any white, or apple cider  vinegar would do)

2 cloves garlic (optional)

S/P to taste

1 organic tomato, diced

1/2 cucumber, sliced or diced

1 small onion, diced

handful of sliced almonds

Directions:  Put the Kale in a bowl with everything but the tomatoes, onion, cucumber and almonds as you will toss them in later.  By masticating the Kale with the garlic and liquids, it will become a bit softer and will be easier to digest.  It will look brighter as well as reduce in quantity in the bowl.  Your hands will get a nice exfoliation as well as soften from the avocado and lemon juice…..but may be a little smelly if you added garlic.  Toss with the rest of the toppings for  a bright, healthy presentation!

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Potstickers

If you’ve ever been to the Blue Bamboo Restaurant, then you know Chef Chan is quite famous for his culinary delights and book: “Hip Asian Comfort Food”.

I found this recipe in that cookbook and of course….revised to my liking with an extra Holiday Twist!

2 lbs sweet potato, baked and flesh scooped out  (I used 4 med size sweet potatoes)

1 tbsp organic butter

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 small onion, sliced and sautéed

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp organic maple syrup

1 package of wonton wrappers (round or square)

1 egg, beaten

grape seed or canola oil for frying

I mashed all of the ingredients together, then scooped about 1 tsp of the mixture onto the wonton wrapper, sealed the edges with the egg using my fingers, then folded in a triangle.  Mine were hardly as pretty as pictured in the book in the beginning, (he used round wrappers and I had square), so I made them a bit more decorative by pressing a fork onto the edges.  It only takes about 2-3 min in the oil on med-high heat to cook a batch.  They were amazing.

Tuna Ceviche with Homemade Plantain Chips

Tuna Ceviche with Plantain Chips

I recently went to dinner with my husband at The Blue Bamboo, Founded by Chef Dennis Chan.  I’m not sure why we haven’t been to this great restaurant before, maybe because its all the way on Southside and we are at the beach, but we are sure glad we went!  In glancing at the hip Asian menu and a being totally impressed, I was informed Chef Chan wrote a book of his favorite recipes.  Of course I jumped at the chance to buy it and Chef Chan came out to sign it for me.  Turns out he and my husband went to the same high school around the same time, go figure.  Dennis is a sweetheart to talk to and I am certain the food there has good energy!

I revised this recipe a bit, but most of it came from his cookbook called “Hip Asian Comfort Food”.

1 1/2 lbs tuna loin, diced

1/2 red pepper, 1/2 yellow pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 tbsp ginger, grated

2 tbsp sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup lime juice

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 cup corn kernels (I used 2 corn on the cob, boiled, cooled, then sliced off)

1 tbsp cumin

handful fresh chopped cilantro, (his recipe calls for chives)

Himalayan sea salt/white pepper to taste

After dicing the tuna add the juice, ginger, oil and garlic.  You only need to let it marinate for 2 hours, maybe a little less as I found. Then mix in all the other ingredients before serving.

Homemade Plantain Chips:

Slice unripened plantains about 1/2 inch thick, saute til light brown on each side using grape seed oil or canola, smash on plate flat then refry.  Dry on paper towels.  Serve with the ceviche.

Food and Its Energetic Value

Did you know that food has more power than just its nutrient value?

What if I told you that before you even eat put food into your mouth, it has already nourished or influenced you in some way good or bad?

This is the concept of food energetics, the notion that what we put into our bodies affects us emotionally, physically, as well as spiritually.  First off, it would be ideal to not be completely reliant on food that was was flown in from overseas or trucked across the country.  This produce was probably not picked at its highest energetic peak or therefore would have rotted by the time it got to its destination.  Anything local and in season will have a higher nutrient value, will be easier to digest, and thus will provide more nourishment to the body.  What if you are buying animal food and the cow or chicken was treated inhumanely, forced to live in terrible conditions or fed a diet not natural to their needs?  That meat is not going to resonate with the body as well as consuming an animal that was taken care of and fed properly.  Also keep in mind when deciding to purchase from local stores in support organic, sustainable farming,  we are  choosing to be more connected spiritually to our neighborhood, our surroundings, and Mother Earth in general.

Observe how you feel after you’ve made your meal.  Is it visually appealing? Does it smell good or are you salivating? You see, digestion is actually taking place before you even put your food into your mouth.  What if you were stressed out while making it, or rather disgruntled and cooking without a cheerful heart?  That puts bad energy into our food, as well as upsets the stomach which interferes with a healthy digestive process.  Think of a restaurant that is noisy or perhaps behind the scenes the wait staff is negative and annoyed.  Do you want to be served food from someone like that?  We’ve all had those experiences, and I can think of times that my stomach was upset before I even SAW the plate of food!!! (even in my own home…..EEK!)

There was an energetic reason why grandma’s soup tasted so good, yes?

And last but not least, it is nice to have a balance of YIN and YANG for our bellies.  That contrast being a salad that is light along with a root vegetable that is grounded.  Sometimes we feel somewhat flighty in our day, and that is why were are craving soups or root vegetables to bring us into balance.  While we do not need to control everything about our food, being mindful of what and when we eat allows us to appreciate its many energetic qualities that are truly beautiful gifts.

Is there such a thing as healthy sausage?

 

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Is there such a thing as fresh, healthy sausage?  To cut to the chase, not really.  Pigs are known to eat just about anything and are fed a lot of corn and grains to fatten them up.  Pork is high in saturated fat, and very high in omega 6 which tends to be inflammatory to the body. In addition,  sausages are sometimes cured, high in sodium, and usually contain nitrites which is a dangerous preservative that when eaten frequently, can increase your risk for cancer.

Now for some better news.  Besides staying away from sausages with nitrites added, you can actually find some that are quite lean, have not been cured, nor contain MSG or “spices”, (which can also mean MSG).  I have even read that some pig farmers feed their pigs flaxseed to increase the Omega 3 content in their meat, but I haven’t found any brand, nor butcher in particular that advertises this as of yet.

The place I prefer to get my sausage is at The Butcher Shoppe in Ponte Vedra.  The butchers trim the fat off the cap, add only some peppers, onions, garlic and parsley.  They are proud of the fact that there is hardly any grease when grilling or sautéing, and tout the fact that they are antibiotic, hormone, and gluten free.

My second choice would be the Fresh Market meat dept.  They have finally removed the MSG from their sausages, and from the label recently I didn’t see anything suspect.  Keep in mind though Fresh Market will change things up from time to time, so check before ordering to keep them honest as I have been tricked in the past.

And last but not least, I do get my andouille from time to time at Beachside Seafood on 3rd Street (close to Beach BLVD, across from McCancer).  It is cured, and there are nitrites, but no MSG. Unfortunately I also see the word “spices”, so I’m not too excited about that, but I mention this place because I adore Timothy who is the Manager. He is a great cook, and so helpful. Besides, they have the freshest FISH in town.  As for the sausage, Timothy says “awe don’t worry about it”. He shrugs his shoulders and I laugh.

Curry Quinoa with Carrots and Cherries

Quinoa with Cherries and Carrots!

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(pronounced “keen-wa”)

First of all, let’s describe what Quinoa really is. It is not a grain actually, but a seed from the same family as spinach, beets, and swiss chard.  Known for its rich protein and omega content, it has a long list of anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation leads to disease, so its a great idea to incorporate Quinoa into the diet to combat any poor diet habits from our pasts.

The best tip I can give anyone who cooks Quinoa is to rinse it beforehand.  Some packages say it doesn’t matter but in my experience it DOES!

You see, Quinoa has an outer coating that can taste bitter as well as upset our tummies.  After rinsing, if time, saute until brown or fragrant for just a couple of minutes.  Once it is browned, add about 1 1/2 cups of liquid per 1 cup quinoa.  Most recipes call for more liquid, but I like it a little firmer and also keep in mind adding a marinade afterwards will soften it up further.  Bring to a boil, and don’t overcook…..it usually only takes 6-8 minutes of covered simmering.

The recipe shown above contains the following ingredients:

1 cup of chopped carrots, handful of chopped cilantro, 1-2 scallions, 1 handful apple juice sweetened cherries, 1 tbsp curry powder, 1-2 tsp gallberry honey, juice and zest of 1 orange, a little lemon juice, sea salt and pepper to taste

Mix well, refrigerate if desired.  I love to save the leftovers to add in wraps or salads the next day.  Yum!!