Monday, January 30, 2017

Healthy Dinner: Baked Flounder with butter, lemon and capers #GardenCuizine #recipe

Baked Flounder 
with butter, Lemon and Capers

I'll never forget the good 'ole days of family fishing outings in "Spirit the Boat" here in Jersey. Dad loved to fish, like my cousin Bob. I especially remember fishing for flounder. One time we were reeling in flounder so fast, Dad could not keep up with baiting our hooks! Locally caught flounder was often seen on menus back then. 

Now, decades later, commercial fishing and polluted waters has lead to Seafood Watch (a program that helps consumers make healthy, sustainable choices) recommending that we do not buy or eat Flounder from the US East Coast. If Dad were still alive, he may have been shocked to learn that our wild-caught Flounder for dinner tonight came all the way from Iceland.

Flounder is a flat fish similar to sole and fluke. Seafood Watch recommends getting Flounder from Alaska, the U.S. West Coast or British Columbia for the best choices. They don't recommend buying Flounder caught anywhere on the US East Coast unless it is from a "Good Alternative" source. The Seafood Watch uses science-based criteria before making their recommendations to the public.

Compared to other fish, the market price of flounder is among the highest. Even so, the protein in our meal only cost us $4.99 per person. Our veggie and grain side dishes added minimal cost. You can feed a family of three with less than one pound of flounder. We purchased ours at Wegman's supermarket for $14.99 lb. ShopRite was selling it for about the same price, $15.99 lb.

Even cooking one of the most expensive fish, a home cooked meal still costs less and far outweighs the nutrition of a fast-food meal. For example, Filet-O-Fish at McDonald's, has 560 mg of sodium, 38 g total carbohydrates (from the bun), 390 calories and 4 g of saturated fat, and that is just for the fish sandwich without adding in the added salt, fat and carbs coming from fries and soda. The Filet-O-Fish meal costs about $5.79

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish a couple times per week for good health. This is one of my "freestyle recipes", meaning that you can use a slightly different amount of the ingredients as desired and you won't ruin it.

Enjoy!

Serves 3 
Ingredients
3 Fillets of Flounder
Olive oil (to coat bottom of baking dish)
1 Tablespoon butter

lemon juice (fresh squeezed, about 1 Tablespoon)
capers (as desired)

pinch dried thyme (or other herb(s) of choice)
pinch salt and fresh ground black pepper 
preheat oven to 350 degrees
Putting it all together
Add olive oil and butter to baking dish. Melt butter - we put the baking dish briefly in the microwave to melt the butter. Add fish and toss to coat in the oil blend. Season and add capers as desired. Cover and bake in preheated oven until fish is fully cooked and no longer translucent - about 25 minutes.

To complete your meal, serve with a portion controlled grain and a generous side of a vegetable. We served our flounder dinner with leftover quinoa and a side of asparagus
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March soared spirits as high as American Eagles today #USA #environment @NWF #DownJersey @CUMaurice

Eagles in NJ soared high today
as Women's Marches in Washington and around the World made history

While people were traveling to Washington and to destinations for the Women's Marches, American Eagles were soaring high in South Jersey today.

Did you participate in the Women's March? People came out in masses from all across America and the world. I tried to get on a bus from NJ to Washington DC but all the buses were full! At first I was disappointed. But, then I realized how positive it was that so many people wanted to attend. 

The Women's March showed a true outpouring of Americans committed to supporting our democracy. Women (and Men) were able to peacefully express their opinions on how they feel about Trump's behavior and what they hope for in the future of America.   

After watching the news so intensely before and after Trumps inauguration, it felt great to get outside and go for a walk and enjoy nature today. Maybe it was no coincidence that our walk was to see Bald Eagles - symbolic of the United States of America.
American Sweetgum Seed Pods : Winter food source for Goldfinches, Mourning Doves, Sparrows, Squirrels and other wildlife
 
Bald Eagles faced possible extinction after habitat loss and from the use of DDT, a harsh chemical that is now banned. There was only one American Eagle pair left in NJ in 1970. As of 2015, there were 150 American Eagle pairs! Wow, what a significant come back here in South Jersey thanks to recovery efforts.

Today, we marched with the Citizens United (CU) Maurice River group in South Jersey on Bald Eagle Trail at Glades Wildlife Refuge in Cumberland County, NJ. A woman in our group wore a sign echoing some of the many concerns being felt across America.
We were lucky to see around 21 Eagles! The birds of prey were perched in trees while some soared over the pristine Jersey salt marsh and wetland. Some Eagles were looking for love. Believe it or not, now through March is Eagle nesting season. Baby Eaglets fledge in late June to early July.

Birds and wildlife are important reminders to us of the ongoing need to be diligent in preserving and protecting the environment.
All day, the sky was gray and overcast. It was misty with the threat of rain. Luckily, we didn't get any rain. Along the walk, group naturalists and birders pointed out different birds and native plants as well as invasive species.
Boomer
CU Maurice River group is dedicated to protecting the watershed of the Maurice River and the region known as Down Jersey.
Related Event
2017 Cumberland County Winter Eagle Festival
Presentations and Trail Walks
Over 40 Exhibitors and Merchants
Saturday, February 4, 2017
8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
(856) 453-2175

Related Links
Bald Eagle Fact Sheet and Eagle Cam link
Support National Audubon Society
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Just Peachy Hoppin John with Kale #GardenCuizine #HappyNewYear #GoodLuck #cowpeas @foodbankSJ @EatRight_NJ

Just Peachy
Hoppin' John with Kale

This high fiber, low sodium recipe was made similar to my GardenCuizine New Year's recipe post last year. This year I changed the greens from spinach to kale and added one jar of flavorful Just Peachy Salsa - a local salsa blend from The Food Bank of South Jersey.
 

Follow the recipe here 
with the following substitutions:
  • Use black-eyed cowpeas (Fagiolo dell'occhio) from your own garden; or, if you only were able to harvest a small baggie full like us - use store-bought, plus whatever you can spare of your own. I added 1/4 cup extra cowpeas from our garden for good luck!
  • Use Kale greens instead of spinach: rinse kale, pick off stems, break leaves into bite size pieces. Follow recipe.
  • Stir in one, 16-ounce jar Just Peachy Salsa (or 1-2 cups chopped tomatoes)
Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Simmer on low heat partially covered until ready to serve. 

Happy and Healthy New Year 2017!
Related Links

Cowpeas Recipes
Just Peachy Salsa Provides Funds to Help Food-Insecure Families
Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Christmas Lasagna #Sicilian #Dinnerisready #GardenCuizine #holidayrecipe

 Christmas Lasagna
Mom didn't cook much, but she always made us lasagna at Christmas. Last year we made lasagna for Christmas and enjoyed it. This year we made it again and declared lasagna our official Christmas dinner entree! 
Here is my version of Mom's Christmas Lasagna recipe. I may adjust this the next time I make it, so do check back. 

Note: if you are vegetarian, you can sub Boca burger crumbles for the ground beef. And, if you are vegan, simply swap the ricotta with firm tofu, omit the eggs and use soy cheeses.
Ingredients
1 lb. Ground beef (or half beef, half Italian sausage; or for Vegetarian use Boca burgers crumbled)
1 med Onion, chopped
Garlic, 2 cloves chopped

pot of boiling water
9 lasagna noodles 

Homemade pasta sauce (make in advance and freeze in quarts for convenience)
 

1, 32 oz container ricotta cheese (lately we've been using whole milk ricotta)
2 large eggs, whisked
1 1/2 cups (plus another cup for topping) shredded mozzarella
1/4-cup (plus another 1/8 cup for topping) Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (about 3 twists)
pinch ground nutmeg (5 swipes fresh on rasp)
1 1/2 Tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Putting it all together
Preheat oven to 350 deg F.

Set aside a 13 x 9 x 2-inch Pyrex baking dish
  • Saute onion and garlic; stir in the ground beef and cook. (*Mom would include ground Italian sausage too) Drain fat and set aside.
  • Warm up pasta sauce in a sauce pan; cover and set aside.
  • In a bowl, using a rubber spatula, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1 T parsley and eggs 
  • Cook lasagna noodles al'dente; rinse under cold water and set aside.
  • Spoon a layer of sauce on the bottom of baking dish
  • Place 3 noodles, side by side, over the sauce
  • Add a layer of blended cheese (I used a small scoop to portion it out and then pressed it down)
  • Add a layer of cooked ground beef
  • Top with a layer of sauce and repeat with another layer. Note: any leftover ricotta cheese can be saved for other recipes.
  • Top the final layer with sauce and sprinkle with additional shredded mozzarella and Parmesan and dried herbs: oregano and remaining parsley.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes. Remove cover and cook another 10-15 minutes or until top layer of cheese is golden
  • Leftovers can be frozen and reheated.
      Serve with a tossed garden salad and/or a generous side of veggies like kale or broccoli rabe
      Our Christmas desserts this year included pumpkin pie and holiday cookies made with spices, pumpkin seeds and dried fruit. Hope your holiday was just as wonderful!
      Buon Natale!  
      Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved. 
      Merry Christmas! Blessings for a Happy and Healthy 2017