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Week of April 18, 2010

I know, I know... most of you are petrified fo cooking fish because of a few bad experiences. Put it behind you and try again. This week, we will talk about broiling seafood.

HOW TO BROIL SEAFOOD

Recommended seafood for broiling: Fillets or steaks 1/4" to 1-1/2" thick, shrimp, scallops, squid (preferably skewered)

Broiled Seafood is cooked in the oven, directly under the heating element. Preheat the broiler before putting the seafood in the oven. Place the rack 3-4 inches from the element. Broiling cooks seafood quickly, so be very careful to keep it moist during cooking so that it does not dry out.

Try marinating more delicate fish (those with less natural oil) to keep it moist during cooking. Fish with a higher fat content, like salmon, sea bass, bluefish, tuna, shark and swordfish are all good choices for broiling.

  1. Lightly season with salt and pepper, or prepare a marinade. Add the seafood to the marinade, turn gently to coat the seafood evenly. Marinate the seafood in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 hours.

  2. Preheat the broiler. Line a broiler pan with foil (love the release foil which is nonstick) and lightly oil. Remove the seafood from the marinade and place it in a single layer on the broiler pan.

  3. Broil one side of the seafood for half of the total cooking time. Turn and baste occasionally with the marinade to keep the seafood moist. Continue broiling until the seafood is cooked in the center. Cooked seafood turns from translucent to opaque in the center when done.

Week of April 11, 2010

Homemade Vegetable Broth

Roasting the vegetables carmelizes the sugars and makes a much richer aromatic broth.

This broth can easily be frozen in 1 to 2 cup containers for future use. So healthy and no added sodium!

  • 1 pound celery
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet onions
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 pound tomatoes, cored
  • 1 pound green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound turnips, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 gallon water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Remove leaves and tender inner parts of celery and set aside.

Toss onions, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers and turnips with olive oil. Place vegetables in a roasting pan and place them in the 450 degrees F oven. Stir the vegetable every 15 minutes. Cook until all of the vegetables have browned and the onions start to caramelize, this will take over one hour.

Put the browned vegetables, celery, garlic, cloves, bay leaf, pepper corns, Italian parsley and water into a large stock pot. Bring to a full boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered until liquid is reduced by half.

Pour the broth through a colander, catching the broth in a large bowl or pot. The liquid caught in the bowl or pot is your vegetable broth it can be used immediately or stored for later use.

Although the vegetables are no longer needed for your broth, don't throw them out. Try making a puree out of them and adding to spaghetti sauce.

Week of April 4, 2010

How to Cook Vegetables

Cooked vegetables can lose vitamins, minerals, colors and flavors if not cooked properly. Here are some fast and healthy ways to cook vegetables.

Steaming

Steaming is fast, preserves nutrients, and it works best for fresh and frozen vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, spinach and roots like beets, parsnips, peas and beans.  If you don't have a steaming basket, you can fill a pot with mixed vegetables and add about 1 1/2 inches of unsalted water and cover. Simmer until the vegetables are just tender, checking often to make sure that the water doesn't evaporate.  If it gets too low, just add a little more water.  Keep the remaining broth for soup if desired.

Roasting

Roasting is quick, simple, and is an excellent way for cooking vegetables as it preserves the vitamins, flavors and minerals.  In a large bowl, toss sliced vegetables with a small amount of olive oil.  Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper or other desired spices.  Place them on a cookie sheet and roast them at 350 degrees or higher temperature until tender. 

Stir-Frying

Stir-frying preserves both flavors and color of vegetables. Place sliced vegetables in a large skillet with a thin layer of liquid such as chicken broth. Add spices as desired. Constantly stir the vegetables until they are crispy and glossy.

Panning

Vegetables can also be cooked by the steam produced by their own vegetable juices. In a fry pan, add a little olive oil, sliced vegetables and your favorite seasonings.  Cover the pan, put it on medium heat, stirring often and within 5-8 minutes you’ll have spicy and crispy vegetables. Panning works wonderfully with carrots, beans, summer squash and shredded cabbage.

Spices and other seasonings can be added to enrich the flavors. I love putting a little jalapeno with salt and pepper with cabbage. Another favorite of mine is to add green pepper, a touch of brown sugar and little butter buds to yellow summer squash.


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