Pasta, swordfish, eggplant — if you like all those, try this

Pasta is always a favorite for me, although these days I eat only multigrain pasta because of my heart issues. I normally make my own tomato sauce to avoid high-salt processed alternatives. But occasionally, I’ll try something without a traditional tomato sauce, like this fun-sounding dish, Sicilian Swordfish Pasta With Eggplant and Tomatoes.

Rigatoni with swordfish, eggplant and tomatoes.
Rigatoni with swordfish, eggplant and tomatoes.

Swordfish is a relatively healthy fish when it comes to the type of fat it contains, but eating large amounts of it could cause other problems since it’s a fish that can contain high levels of mercury (sorry, every food seems to have its ups and downs healthwise doesn’t it).

The recipe is fairly simple to make.

Step 1: Fry the Eggplant
Step 2: Infuse Oil With Garlic
Step 3: Add Swordfish and Cook
Step 4: Add Tomatoes, Wine, and Herbs
Step 5: Add Eggplant, Then Finish

For all the details, simply click here to go to the site where I found this recipe.

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Vacation eating — joy or fear?

I’m trying to walk a middle ground, which has meant ordering seafood as often as possible and minimizing my pasta, pastry and gelato intake.

Maintaining a heart-healthy diet takes a lot of inner discipline given that we’re surrounded by so many food options that are high in salt, saturated fat and sugar. The task becomes even more daunting when you’re on vacation, especially in a foreign country with even more foods you love.

I’ve been vacationing in Italy, my ancestral homeland, with a large group of cousins. That means meals here have been wonderful family affairs with so many food options its difficult to count them all. But most involve salt and sugar. What to do, fear everything I eat or put diet concerns aside for the duration of the trip?

Pasta portions are smaller in Italy, thankfully.

I’m trying to walk a middle ground, which has meant ordering seafood as often as possible and minimizing my pasta, pastry and gelato intake. Southern Italy is a wonderful place to eat seafoods. I had a piece of amberjack in a light tomato sauce last night, for example, something I rarely see on US menus.

I’ve also had oysters and clams, albeit with pasta. Pasta portion sizes are smaller here than in the US, which is a good thing since we tend to fill plates to overflowing at home.

Gelato, of course, is the hardest goodie to pass up, especially when everyone else keeps pushing for it. And with that, I don’t do small portions well.

Grilled vegetables are on every menu in Italy, a wonderful, simply side dish .

I’m assuming I’ll gain weight on this trip, we’ll see how much when I’m back in the States and have a scale again. Then it will also be back to strictly watching the salt, fat and sugar,

Christmas Eve — Time for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

Christmas Eve is a traditional night for Italians to make the Feast of the Seven Fishes. I’ve written about it before, but the idea seems to be catching on.

Iron Chef Showdown recently had a battle of the feast of the seven fishes and Bon Appetit magazine ran this piece, A Feast of the Seven Fishes Menu That Won’t Take a Week to Cook.

The first question most people ask is ‘what are the seven fishes?’ That’s up to you, and traditionally was up to whatever was available in the local village. So the Bon Appetit take on it is as valid as any other. As a kid, I remember talk of eel and squid and octopus and the horrible-looking salted cod Italians call baccala. Continue reading “Christmas Eve — Time for the Feast of the Seven Fishes”

12 days of no-salt, no-sugar Christmas recipes — try a simple scallop dish

We started our 12 days of no-salt, no-fat, no-sugar Christmas meals with a great new chicken recipe I tried recently that includes a strawberry/pineapple salsa. So let’s follow that tonight with a simple but delicious scallop dish.

low salt low fat recipes
My finished scallops, seared brown and delicious.

Scallops can be made simply on the stove-top in hot oil. Add flavorings that you enjoy to spice them up, or have them plain as I do and enjoy the natural flavor.

I’d pair the scallop with a fun side-dish like the roasted carrots with red onions, fennel and mint that I wrote about as a possible thanksgiving side-dish option. It’s a bit more complex and so would be a nice accompaniment to the simple scallops. One simple, one complex makes a nice combination for your taste buds.

 

 

Salmon so simple anyone can make it

Some people shy away from cooking fish at home because they think it too complicated. But eating fish at restaurants often means getting more salt and fat added than you want or need. So check my recipe page for a variety of fish recipes I think you can handle. Or start with this simple yet tasty way to make salmon at home.

My lemon salmon. I used leek instead of scallions and it came great. I loved the garlic flavor.
My lemon salmon..

Salmon is a great fatty fish, with what’s being called good fat these days, so enjoy it in place of steak or other meats you once ate but are giving up now because of “bad” fat concerns. Continue reading “Salmon so simple anyone can make it”

No salt, no sugar, 4th of July recipes

You don’t have to fast on the 4th when you’re trying to eat healthy. We have recipes for you. Enjoy the day!

Happy July 4th everyone, time to heat up the grills and celebrate. And don’t be discouraged that traditional July 4th food is filled with salt, fat and sugar, the devil’s triangle of food additives in our country. I’ve written about how someone trying to avoid them can starve on July 4th at someone else’s house.

In another sheet of aluminum foil, place your four pieces of salmon and separate with aluminum foil. Then rub in marinades for each.
Grilling salmon is a luscious experience. Click the links here to see two grilled salmon recipes form Costco.

So take charge of your diet and look to our recipe page for a variety of dishes you can make today, like:

You don’t have to fast on the 4th when you’re trying to eat healthy. We have recipes for you. Enjoy the day!

John

A flavorful take on cod, but is it low-sodium?

I would have preferred less salt but I think the only way to get artichokes with less salt is to make your own and strip out the hearts.

Cod is a fairly bland fish, probably most familiar to you as the fish in the typical fish and chips dish in which you taste the breading more than the fish itself. As you can tell, I’m not a big cod fan, but I came cross this recipe recently that gave a nice flavor boost to the white fish.

My panko-crusted cod.
My panko-crusted cod.

The recipe calls for coating the cod with a mixture of panko breadcrumbs, artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, basil and pepper. It also calls for adding salt but I did not. Fish does not need salt, period, in my opinion.

You mix all those ingredients and coat the cod fillets with it, then bake in a 400-degree oven for about half an hour.

The salt challenge in this is the artichoke hearts. Most canned ones have 4oo or more mgs per serving. with two-three servings in a can. I found one imported brand that had 240 mgs times three servings, or 720 mgs in the can. I used about a third of the can in the recipe, so 240 mgs of sodium spread over the four cod fillets, of which I ate two.  Continue reading “A flavorful take on cod, but is it low-sodium?”