Best way to Introduce Children to Herring

Apr 20 2016

It is too bad that most of the foods that are really healthy are often foods that are somewhat disliked, especially from little humans. You may name broccoli and very likey you will get that special frown and you may name herring and your child may have suddenly disappeared from the table.

Herring are small oily fish of a distinct silver color belonging to the Clupeidae family (Clupea harengus). The most common species are the Atlantic herring and the Pacific herring. They live by eating plankton and they tend to travel in schools. Herring are caught by the use of nets often producing a large catch. They are consumed differently depending on the country in which it is prepared.

In the United States most herring is found canned. Some are pickled, smoked or used to produce fish oil. In Europe instead, most herring is found smoked or salted and pickled in barrels. Pickled herring is very popular in Hokkaido, Japan and in many Finnish, Swedish and Jewish dishes.

However it is prepared, herring is a very beneficial fish with a good nutritional value.

Herring is usually caught when it reaches a point of having a minimum of 16% fat. This fat is what makes this fish particularly tasty. The fish is very rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and is a good source of vitamin D. The Omega 3 fatty acids are very helpful for the eyes, brain and for a healthy heart.

It is very important that parents find where their herring is coming from and how safe it is to eat. Unfortunately, many wild fish contain mercury and dioxin nowadays. Farm fish on the other hand may contain chemicals and traces of antibiotics Herring is amongst them, however in some cases the benefits may outweigh the risks.

Herring is hardly found fresh because it has a short shelf life. It is mostly consumed pickled or it can be found salted. Those that eat it fresh are mostly fishers that consume it fresh from the sea.

Children that dislike eating herring may be enticed by simply getting them more interested. For instance, bring them along to the market and ask them to help choose a nice healthy fish. Teach them about how the fish is caught, how it is prepared and ask them if they will help at home in preparing it.

Children that are involved in preparing meals are generally also particularly interested in eating the food prepared as well. Allow them to get in touch with their inner artist, and ask them to garnish the final dish with some colorful vegetables. A nice beet salad with herring may entice children to eat it because of its interesting final color.

Generally, most children like dips. Prepare a variety of dips and encourage your kids to try the chunks of fish dipped in the different sauces. Many times, children simply need to give the fish a try before they claim they dislike it.

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About Sea Urchins or Uni as Food

Apr 19 2016

A sea urchin is an ocean animal that is covered with spines. It usually isn’t particularly large and is normally roundish in shape, when viewed from above. While they can be interesting creatures to observe, it is likely that a lot of people have never considered eating one. Sea urchins are indeed edible, though, and they are considered to be delicacies in such places as Japan. 

Closer look at urchins

There are many species of sea urchins, each with slightly different appearances and habitats, which means that the group, as a whole, is widely distributed. Most species tend to live in moderately shallow ocean waters, eating mostly algae, seaweed and plant material, though they may also eat some animal matter. The spines might lead a person to think of a porcupine or hedgehog, however they are more than defensive. The spines also serve as a means of locomotion, since the spines are actually hydraulically operated tube feet. Still, they are a form of protection and some species have spines that can give a rather nasty sting. 

Urchins tend to be somewhat compressed, top to bottom, and this is most noticeable once the spines have been removed. The normally thin shell is marked into five divisions, which is appropriate since they are related to common starfish, which have five obvious limbs or “legs”, though other species may have more. Some urchins can be locally abundant and wide spread. For instance, the purple sea urchin is common on the west pacific coast of North America, but it is also distributed widely and found in many other areas.

Part that is eaten

The part of the sea urchin that is normally eaten is the roe, generally meant to refer to the reproductive organs, and this is considered to be a delicacy. The roe can be eaten raw as sashimi, over the top of sushi, or cooked. However, it is important that the urchins are as fresh as possible. As they age, the roe can take on a strong and unpleasant flavor. When it is very fresh, though, the flavor is mild and sweet.

Getting to the roe

Raw or cooked, the first step is naturally to get to the roe. This is done by carefully cutting the top of the shell in a circle and removing it. The urchin shell cavity will likely be filled with fluid and this can be poured out. Looking into the open shell the five wedges of roe should then be revealed. As already stated, this is most often eaten raw by the Japanese. However, they can also be lightly cooked in lemon-butter or olive oil for an unusually tasty treat. 

Just looking at a sea urchin, many people in the United States might be inclined to think that it was inedible. This would be an incorrect assumption, because this seafood can be quite delicious and for many people, it is a delicacy. In fact, these creatures can fetch a high price in fish markets and restaurants. Many Americans who are fond of sushi or sashimi may have already eaten it without knowing what they were eating. However, for those who have not tried it, it is worth sampling. Arguably, it is no stranger than getting the eggs out of a sturgeon and marketing it as caviar.

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Which is Healthier Boiling or Steaming Vegetables – Steaming

Apr 19 2016

While it is deemed best to eat most vegetables raw, cooking with heat increases its digestibility  and deactivates harmful elements present when  the vegetables is  eaten uncooked.  Examples of   harmful foods when eaten raw are  root vegetables such as yams, casava and  legumes and nuts such as fava beans and cashew nuts. Starch in tubers and root vegetables get gelatinized by heat and inactivates anti-amylases enzymes improving digestibility and taste.

Cooking vegetables also removes the ‘raw  smell’ by breaking down the responsible enzymes only present in its raw form, thus making the food more palatable.

Although boiling vegetables seems to be an easier  option, steaming is a better choice in terms of health benefits. Even though the temperature of steam ( in a domestic setting, not pressurized ) and boiling water ( at sea level ) are essentially  the same, there are several reasons why steaming is the way to a more healthful meal.

Loss of water soluble nutrients by boiling :

Vegetables are a rich source of  minerals , vitamins and folates , of which vitamins and folates are water soluble and easily destroyed by prolonged exposure to heat.  This is especially so when the boiling water is salted, which increases its boiling temperature.

As a result, the nutrients in vegetables can be destroyed in a fairly short time. Being water soluble, vitamins such as vitamin B and C will be lost in the boiling liquid. Most preparation practices requires the boiled vegetables to be cooled under running water to stop its cooking, thereby further  increasing the loss of the nutrients. 

Although minerals are not destroyed by  heat in cooking,  they can be lost together with the water which is discarded upon boiling.

Retention of nutrients by steaming :

Nutrient  loss in vegetables  can be reduced by steaming ; less water soluble vitamins is leached  as steaming removes the need for blanching or running over cold water. When well prepared, most vegetables  can be cooked by steaming in a couple of minutes, thereby retaining its nutrients, shape, texture and color.

Ease of preparation by steaming :

Beside the use of the traditional stove steamer and steaming basket,  vegetables can also be steamed by  microwaving. Simply  wash and drain them before cutting. Arrange the vegetables on a microwavable dish and cover with a cellophane wrap.  Most vegetables  can be cooked under two minutes prepared in this manner, looking brilliant green with its shape retained.

Cooked on a serving dish, the steamed vegetables can even be served from steamer to freezer, reducing the need for a separate warmed plate.

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Filleting Fish

Apr 18 2016

Fish is not only an enjoyable addition to the main diet but an essential one. In the past many people rigidly adhered to the ‘fish on Friday’ as part of their religious observances.

This adherence effectively kept fish in the diet. Today however many have drifted away from this weekly serving and many of the arts associated with preparing fish have been left to the fish sellers.

Filleting fish is necessary for the enjoyment of eating without the hassle of too many bones. A decent sized fillet will depend on the size of the fish and the way it is filleted.

Tools required to fillet are:-

(a) A decent flat cutting board or surface,

(b) A thin flexible blade (filleting knife) for slicing along the back bone, and,

(c) A broad flat blade for removing the hard skin.

(1) Holding the fish flat on the cutting board pierce the skin behind the front dorsal fin, (this is the fin at the gill just behind the head),

(2) Slice the knife diagonally across the fish cutting to but not into the backbone,

(3) Hold the fish by the head and run the knife down the backbone toward the tail fins,

(4) When nearing the tail area, hold the knife flat against the backbone and push the point right through the side of the fillet. Cut right through the remainder of the fillet towards the tail,

(5) Peel the fillet back with one hand while cutting the fillet away from the backbone using small slicing motions. It is better to use many small stokes than to cut away too much with one stroke. Use the bone structure to guide your knife to remove all the flesh.

The hardest part is removing the fillet from the ribcage. A very sharp flexible knife is essential.

(6) Turn the fish over and repeat the process to get the second fillet. Some people will leave the first fillet slightly attached to make it easier to remove the second fillet as the shape is maintained.

Next the skin is removed.

(7) Cut a small hole in the skin sometimes called a ‘finger hole’, use this hole to hold the fillet as you work the broad blade knife under the skin gently removing the skin. It is vital you hold the knife at the correct angle and pull on the skin as you work not pushing or cutting with the knife.

Now you have your completed fillet and its time to decide which cooking method you prefer.

A simple cooking method it to spray olive oil on a small tray place the fish in the centre and squeeze lemon juice and butter over the top, bake for a few minutes (about five to seven) in a hot oven. Serve with a sprinkle of chopped chives on top. Simple delicious and healthy.

If you are like me and prefer a slightly more unhealthy meal of crispy battered fish, you can’t go past a beer batter.

Put a few cups of plain flour into a metal bowl, into the flour mix some lemon pepper and a dash of sweet paprika. Make a well in the centre and add half a bottle of beer. Mix through add a dash of vinegar, and if too thick add some water. Mix should be fairly thick but still run well. This should be allowed to stand for a while until little bubbles show all over the surface then it is ready to use.

Dip the fish in flour and shake of excess. Dip into the batter mix and allow excess to run off place carefully into very hot oil. Turn after half a minute and remove within a total cook time of a minute and a half. Fish should never be cooked to long as it ruins the texture and taste. Serving with a salad will ease your conscience regarding the batter!

Always serve with lemon pieces and preferably with a tartare sauce option.

Fish is simple, healthy and a pleasure to eat. It has the added benefit of being one of the fastest foods around and so much better for you than the Big M!

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How to Make Bulgogi

Apr 17 2016

Bulgogi is Korean barbeque. It’s got a unique taste all its own. It’s even been voted one of the world’s most delicious foods. Part of the secret is in the garlic — this isn’t a dish for garlic haters.

Classic bulgogi

A tender steak is the basis of a good bulgogi, cut against the grain into thin melt-in-your-mouth slices. It’s a lot easier to get really thin slices of meat if you place the meat in a freezer for about 20 minutes before you start slicing.

You can also make bulgogi with chicken, pork, or even use a bulgogi marinade over spare ribs. Some people like to slice up a medium onion into half rings and broil them up with the meat. Others chop up an egg and throw it in during the cooking stage, either with the bulgogi itself or with the steamed rice that traditionally goes with it.

What makes all the difference in making proper bulgogi is the marinade and the way the meat’s cooked. Your cooking time is almost entirely devoted to the marinade. Grilling takes very little time at all.

The marinade

Your seasonings are:

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • a pinch each of black pepper and ginger

You’ll also need three cloves of garlic and two green onions. You can add a pinch of red pepper flakes to spice up the marinade a little. Chop everything, and mix it all together.

Making the bulgogi

Gradually place the meat and any extra onion half-rings into the marinade and press it into each small sliver of meat with your hands. Really work it in! When you’ve moved all the meat into the marinade, cover the whole thing and leave it in the fridge for at least an hour. Use that hour to make some steamed rice to accompany the dish.

Now, this isn’t a grill like a traditional barbeque grill. These small slices of meat would fall right through that and onto the coals. You’re looking at a teppan-style grill, if you’ve got one. If you haven’t, a frying pan works just fine.

To cook the bulgogi in a frying pan, just lay the meat flat in a hot pan. Sear one side, flip, and sear the other side. That’s it! The marinade ought to have enough oil in it for flash-frying your meat slices, but you can add a little more sesame oil if you think you’re going to need it.

Serving

The cooking is going to be very fast. Bulgogi tastes best when it’s fresh off the grill, so you should be ready to serve it immediately afterwards. Load up each plate with steamed rice and pile the bulgogi next to it. You can add a couple of pickles, a bit of sauerkraut dusted with paprika, or traditional kimchee as a small side dish. Enjoy!

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What to look for when Purchasing a Knife for Filleting Fish

Apr 16 2016

Learning to fillet fish can be a fairly difficult process for a beginner. Different species of fish are of very different shapes and consequently have extremely varied skeletal structures. A knowledge of the bone formations of each type of fish you intend to fillet before undertaking the job is always useful, as is an idea of how the filleted fish is subsequently going to be cooked. If there is one essential for filleting fish properly, however, it is possession of a quality filleting knife.

Any knife used in food preparation is required to be as sharp as possible and a filleting knife is no exception. When buying a fish filleting knife, it will often be possible to obtain one with a sharpening stone included in the price. If you do not have a knife sharpener at home, paying a little extra for a filleting knife in this range will prove to be a very worthwhile long term investment.

Fish filleting knives come both with straight blades and with curved blades. When filleting what is deemed to be a round fish – such as a bass, mackerel or cod – the straight bladed knives are perfectly acceptable. If you intend filleting fish with a more complex bone structure, however, such as flat fish, you may find that the blade’s curvature assists you in making the often tricky manoeuvres required.

The factor which perhaps above all else sets fish filleting knives apart from other knives used by home cooks and chefs is the blade’s flexibility. Rigid bladed knives are no use for filleting fish as they cannot be made to twist around the bones to a sufficient extent. While all knives sold as filleting knives should have flexible blades, where doubt exists, it is worth asking for any packaging to be opened that a check may be made.

Accidents can and do occur when using any form of sharp knife and the often tricky movements made with filleting knives can pose greater danger of even the most careful hand slipping. Look for a filleting knife which has a bulbous protrusion at the base of the handle, just before it meets the blade. This is a safety guard which will stop your fingers slipping off the handle on to the sharp blade and help prevent a potentially nasty cut.

Fish filleting knives are not only used in the home but frequently by fishermen for cutting up bait or cleaning their catch immediately after it is caught. If a filleting knife is required for transporting in a tackle bag or attached to a belt, be sure to purchase one with a hardy sheath, both to protect the knife and prevent accidents.

Filleting knives can be found at a variety of prices and to suit most budgets. It is usually best, however, to purchase a knife in the higher reaches of your price range. By ensuring you buy a quality blade in the first instance, and being careful to take care of it properly, you are likely to get the best use from your knife for a period of many productive years.

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Tips for Cooking Simple Asian Food

Apr 16 2016

Asian food, from Thai to Japanese to Chinese cuisine, is becoming increasingly popular. One of the reasons for its popularity is the ease of preparing the food at home. Cooking simple Asian food is quick and easy to learn with the following tips.

Collect the ingredients before you begin cooking. In general, you do not need to go to an Asian supermarket to have access to Asian ingredients. Some American supermarkets will carry soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger root, Asian noodles and rice. Then, keep your pantry stocked with the non-perishable items such as noodles and rice. The soy sauce will keep well in the refrigerator, and can be used as a condiment just as easily as mustard or ketchup.

Having certain cookware at your disposal will also make cooking Asian food easier for you. For example, making a stir fry or noodle dish is more easily accomplished using a wok than a frying pan. The former will have high, sloping sides, while the latter will be too shallow and you may lose a lot of the noodles. Tongs are useful, too, and a large metal spoon will help you when you need to scoop large amounts of food, such as fried rice.

Start with recipes that do not require too many unfamiliar ingredients. It is easy to get carried away when making Asian food. There are so many recipes from different Asian countries, and from provinces within those countries, that it is tempting to want to try them all. But, sometimes the best recipes are those that only include a few ingredients. For example, stir fry dishes are easy to make and customizable. You can use shrimp instead of beef, or chicken instead of pork, or you can make a purely vegetarian stir fry. You can also make chicken satay or Thai basil chicken very easily because the ingredients are not difficult to find and they are relatively inexpensive.

And perhaps the best tip to remember when you want to cook simple Asian food is that this type of cuisine is as simple as you want it to be. You can add exotic ingredients to recipes and make them your own, or you can reduce a recipe to the very basics. You can make your own sauces and curries, but don’t be afraid to try the prepackaged ones, too. And, serving entrees such as butter chicken or Korean barbeque with plain rice can be just as good as making a complex homemade curry.

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Fish Fillet

Apr 15 2016

A fillet of fish is simply a flat steak of fish. However, it is important for the fillets to be cut correctly. First of all, the type of fish used determines the quality of the fillet. A thickset fish (i.e. salmon, herring, or tilapia) is easier to cut intact than a slim fish because it has more fat allowing it stay intact. Another thing to watch out for are fishes with small bones inside (i.e. shad), because they get in the way of the knife. The knife is as significant as the type of fish needed. It is very important for the knife to be extremely sharp. A good way to test a knife’s sharpness is to cut a tomato by using one quick stroke. If the knife squeezes the tomato before cutting the skin, it is not sharp, but if it cuts cleanly without much force, then it is sharp. Make sure the knife’s width is about one inch; this amount of width is for supporting the fish as it is being cut. The length should be 7 inches long as it will cover the necessary width of the fish. The knife should also be flexible to conform to the contour of the fish and allow easier handling. Once you’ve checked all of these necessary measurements it’s time to fillet.

Place the fish on the cutting board. The fish should ideally be descaled and cleaned. Once on the cutting board, turn the board until the head faces you, and the tail is away from your body. Always cut away from your body. Start two inches below the head by sinking the knife down perpendicular to the bone until it meets the bone, then turn the knife parallel to the bone of the fish and continue cutting until you stop one inch above the tail. Remember to stabilize the fish. Make sure to keep close to the bone all the way to the tail and leave it as is. So the fish should be cut, but still attached. Gently pick up the fish making sure to press down on the part that has been cut and turn it to the other side. Repeat the same directions for this side as well. However, this time when you get to the tail, slide the knife out and cut the fillet by sinking the knife one inch above the tail perpendicular to the bone. Do the same on the other side that is still attached. Now you have two well cut fillets to cook with. Rub one teaspoon of sea salt, dried basil and pepper to the fish. You can either steam the fish using a double boiler or fry it in coconut oil. Both options are extremely healthy. However, if you decide to fry the fillets, then add onions, red peppers, string beans, shallots, and carrots to the pan to stir fry along with the fish. Be careful not to disturb the fish too much by not mixing in the vegetables, but gently turning them over along with the fish.

As a reminder for everyone to live green, the rest of the fish can still be used. It can be boiled for fish stock. Just make sure to be careful with the bones. Spice up the fish stock with basil leaves, one shrimp bouillon cube and sea salt to taste. Use the stock to cook rice or couscous to give it an authentic seafood taste. Put the fillets with the vegetables on top of the rice or couscous. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice and wedges to garnish.

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Negative Factors on Wines

Apr 14 2016

No doubt that you may have a few bottles of wine in your cellar that you want to grow old. However there are conditions to respect, namely the storage to maintain the quality of the wines.

So let us review the situation:

Wine is a living organism and even now, the chemistry that occurs in the bottle has not yet yielded all its secrets. We know that if we do not observe certain rules essential for the conservation of the bottles, we shall have some surprises when we open the bottles, something that may shatter your meals or luncheons with friends.

Indeed, like any living organism [we must admit this idea], wine will evolve over time and remains sensitive to environmental influences. To find the correct storage conditions for successful aging, we must consider what can be good and bad for the wine if we want it to retain all its organoleptic qualities:

– the bottles  must be stored in the dark with a relative humidity above 55%.

– no vibration, a good ventilation and low temperature are essential.

Temperature is the most important parameter and all parameters are required, namely you cannot choose a fine place to store your bottles and forget about its temperature

Indeed, the temperature conditions the oxygen consumption of the wine. If the temperature is high, the wine consumes its oxygen and shades of color changes appear as time goes by. Conversely, when the temperature is too low, there can be a precipitation of tannins and an unusual sediment down the bottle.

We also know that the wine freezes at its alcoholic level ( the one indicated on the body label) divided by two minus one. For example, if the label reads 12°C, the freezing point of the liquid will be 12 divided by 2 minus 1 is less than 5 ° C. It is for this reason that the wines can be transported in containers called “reefers” (containers that can be heated or chilled – with the engine at the front of the container), the container temperature being fixed at a relatively low point over zero (in general +5° C), as in a cellar, the aim being that the wine does not freeze during transportation.

Contrarily bottles stored at high temperatures may become sour because the wine is subjected to a high temperature and as a result it will expand in the bottle and push the cork forward, allowing air to come in. As a result of the air inlet, the fluid may oxidize over time.

We are talking about the wines we want to keep under ideal conditions. For table wines to be consumed quickly, the conservation criteria are irrelevant.

Storage conditions are very important when you wish to store and age these wines over the long term.

The ideal storage temperature is between 12 and 14° C.

In conclusion, bear in mind that bottles must be laid in a cool place and in the dark. Avoid direct sunrays to the bottles. Avoid popping in and out in the storage room for unnecessary reasons and let the bottles sleep..

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Sri Lankan Food is among the Tastiest anywhere in the World

Apr 13 2016

Sri Lanka’s delicious cuisine draws its influence from India, but as a main trading hub – dating back to ancient times – the Sri Lankan people have long been renowned for their own exotic spices that bring a rich diversity of cooking styles to the dinner table. 

Ingredients:  King prawns, normal prawns, curry powder, chopped onion, almonds, coconut milk, boiled rice. 

Fry up the onion before adding the prawns, almonds and coconut milk; then stir in the curry powder to your requirements – Some Like it Hot!      

Make a pyramid of boiled rice in the middle of each dish and using a holey spoon, scoop the prawns on top when the sauce is piping hot. 

Pour the more liquidy sauce over the rice with it dripping down to soak in, while the prawns sit wedged at the top and make the dish look as wonderful as you can. 

You can add fresh mushrooms (or any other vegetable) to go in with the onion if you like. This avoids having to make a vegetable curry side dish and makes the meal more filling.

This Sri Lankan prawn curry is called Kerala and the recipe needs to be made more freshly than any other as reheated coconut milk tastes a bit odd!             

Experiment with what works so then the recipe belongs to you, thus the procedure must be written down once you have it sussed and before long there’ll be a recipe book for ever more on the kitchen shelf; this is something that can be done over a period of years to slowly build up the best recipes – it takes very little extra time – and if you don’t get this recipe book published, get it copied and hand it down to the next generation of your family. 

Sri Lankan food consists mainly of traditional rice dishes, however Sri Lankan chefs often use lentils and more exotic fruit in their curries. One famous side dish from the island is the renowned sambol and it is made from ground coconut that has been mixed with chili peppers, dried Maldive fish and lime juice – doesn’t it just sound exquisite?       

Sambol is ground to a paste and eaten with rice, giving zest to the meal, while other well known dishes are kiribati meaning “milk-rice” and “mallung” which are chopped leaves mixed with grated coconut and red onions. 

Coconut milk is very popular in Sri Lanka, thus most people cook using it there. Often they use spices liberally in recipes with everyone having their own unique style. Furthermore, people from the countryside traditionally cook in different ways to people from the coast, while religious groups tend to prepare their dishes according to their rituals and customs.  

The Island of Sri Lanka is the jewel in the crown of South Asia; steeped in history, the cuisine is among the most exotic and tasty anywhere in the world and delicious food is perhaps Sri Lanka’s biggest tourist attraction.

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