A great option for eating at a friend’s house — cook your own

Eating at someone else’s home when you’re on a  low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar diet can be a bit excruciating. I’ve written about how I went hungry one July 4th at a cookout with traditional holiday fare, all of it high-fat, high-sodium. I actually dread being invited to friends now and prefer having them over to our house where I can control the menu.

Our host allowed me to cook alongside him, so the back tray has salmon marinated with Mrs Dash salt-free marinades, the front with his home-made, high-salt marinade.
Our host allowed me to cook alongside him, so the back tray has salmon marinated with Mrs Dash salt-free marinades, the front with his home-made, high-salt marinade.

But an acquaintance recently gave me a great alternative. After first asking me what I could eat, she invited me to simply cook my own at her house, working in the kitchen alongside her husband who was doing the cooking for everyone else there.  Continue reading “A great option for eating at a friend’s house — cook your own”

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Eastside Cafe, a little Austin gem deep in the heart of Texas

Austin, Texas gets a lot of publicity as a great place to live but I had never had the opportunity to check it out until just recently. My first tip to Austin brought me to several food places where I was able to find some relatively low-salt, low-fat treats..and one place where I walked away from my diet for a night to enjoy a classic Texas barbecue. More on that in another post.

My Eastside Cafe tuna
My Eastside Cafe tuna

In this post, I’ll be talking about Eastside Cafe, a little unassuming place recommended to us by a staffer at the LBJ Library on the University of Texas campus.

After driving by it a few times, we found the place and were glad we did. I ordered a tuna steak sandwich for lunch, asking the mayo be served on the side and opting for whole wheat bread instead of white, although I only had a small taste of the bread. Continue reading “Eastside Cafe, a little Austin gem deep in the heart of Texas”

St. Paul’s Fish Co., in Milwaukee, a great seafood choice

Mllwaukee’s Public Market is a smaller version of Seattle’s famous Pike’s Market, offering a variety of local food vendors with a lovely upstairs seating area. It’s in the Third Ward, the former Italian section of Milwakee which has become a go-to place for restaurants these days.

St. Paul Fish's giant crab watches over you as you eat.
St. Paul Fish’s giant crab watches over you as you eat.

 

We stopped for lunch at the St. Paul Fish Company which is in one corner of the market right inside the door. Even at lunchtime on a Sunday it was packed. We had a short wait for a table, but the food was worth the wait.

The place looks like it would be right at home in Pike’s Market too with its large selection of fresh ocean fish, crabs and lobsters. If I still lived in Milwaukee this would likely be a regular stop for me. Continue reading “St. Paul’s Fish Co., in Milwaukee, a great seafood choice”

Swordfish and zucchini on the grill, a great summer cookout option

Grilled fish are a great summer alternative to over-eating fatty beef. I often grill salmon, but last night decided to try grilling some swordfish we just bought instead.

Grilling our swordfish steaks.
Grilling our swordfish steaks.

I marinated one piece in Mrs. Dash’s salt-free teriyaki sauce while the other got a dry spice rub (my wife’s choice). I did the fish on a charcoal grill to impart the smokey flavor of the coals.

Zucchini on the gas grill, basted with olive oil and Italian spices.
Zucchini on the gas grill, basted with olive oil and Italian spices.

Grilled zucchini was the side dish for our meal. I cut the zucchini into small circles and covered them with olive oil and Italian spices. I sprayed the grilling pans with olive oil as well to prevent sticking. Those went on my gas grill where I find it easier to regulate the heat levels to get a nice even cook. Continue reading “Swordfish and zucchini on the grill, a great summer cookout option”

Grilling for the 4th of July — try these salmon skewers

This has been grilling week on the blog, with posts about a guide to grilling fish and another about a grilled salad. Here’s another fun idea for your 4th of July grilling weekend, rosemary salmon skewers with cherry tomatoes.

Jillian Michaels' grilled rosemary salmon skewers.
Jillian Michaels’ grilled rosemary salmon skewers.

This recipe comes from the website of former Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels. I sometimes quibble with what she calls healthy eating, but this recipe looks good, once you omit the salt, that is. It’s not needed and will only add to your salt overload, I’d leave it out.

That said, here’s the ingredient list:

  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound wild Alaskan salmon fillet, center-cut, skinned, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pint organic cherry tomatoes

Just click here to get the instructions for preparation.  Continue reading “Grilling for the 4th of July — try these salmon skewers”

Grilling season — time for fish, here’s a how-to guide

Grilling salmon has become a go-to summer dish for me. I’ve done other fish on my outdoor grill, and hope to try grilling clams this summer, but salmon is king of the grill for me. That said though, I’m always open to new grilling ideas.

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 .with aluminum foil. Then rub in marinades for each.

So I was excited to see The Ultimate Guide to Grilling Fish on Bon Appetit recently. The magazine has been on a grilling roll lately, also writing recently about grilling salad, of all things. Continue reading “Grilling season — time for fish, here’s a how-to guide”

Da Nonna Rosa — a Brooklyn gem in my childhood neighborhood

New York is home to every imaginable cuisine and price range of restaurant. I wrote recently about a magical meal we had at Morimoto’s in Chelsea Market while in Manhattan. But a recent dream week in New York for my birthday also brought my wife and I back to my childhood neighborhood of Park Slope and a little neighborhood gem of an Italian place, Da Nonna Rosa (Grandma Rosa for those of you who don’t speak basic Italian).

My wonderful seafood dish at Da Nonna Rosa's in Brooklyn.
My wonderful seafood dish at Da Nonna Rosa’s in Brooklyn.

This place doesn’t date back to my childhood, very little of that era remains in the now thoroughly gentrified Park Slope area. But it was there in 2011 when I was wandering the old neighborhood while in town for my daughter’s NYU graduation. I tried it then and enjoyed it, so we went back on our latest trip. It did not disappoint. Continue reading “Da Nonna Rosa — a Brooklyn gem in my childhood neighborhood”

Snack EOS, a tasty neighborhood spot in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen

My wife and I were looking for some relatively healthy food our first night out on my recent birthday week in New York. Food is everywhere in New York, literally on every street corner, so finding a place to eat is easy. Finding one with food that isn’t full of salt, far and sugar, is another matter.

Octopus at SNACK Eos was cooked perfectly. I loved it.
Octopus at SNACK Eos was cooked perfectly. I loved it.

But my wife had gotten to town a few days before me and looked around the area near our West Side hotel. She spotted Snack EOS, a cozy place that describes itself as “Greek inspired cuisine featuring seasonal ingredients, classic technique and flavors of the Mediterranean. With a stylish vibe and friendly, professional service, Snack EOS is a warm and welcoming space that features barrel-vaulted ceilings, exposed brick walls and floor to ceiling windows.”

The first chair I sat on was broken and almost sent me to the floor, so that wasn’t exactly welcoming. But once we got past that, the food was wonderful, simple yet flavorful. And while I tasted more salt than I normally eat at home, it wasn’t overwhelming as it is at many restaurants. Continue reading “Snack EOS, a tasty neighborhood spot in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen”

Grilled clams — gotta love ’em; here’s a recipe idea

Bon Appetit magazine often has very complex recipes that give me a headache. But this one it posted recently for grilled clams is as simple as it gets.

Grilling clams and mussels, I can't wait.
Grilling clams and mussels, I can’t wait.

Simply put the clams on a grill until they pop open, about 3-5 minutes, and they’re done! The only person to leave a comment for this post joked about it not really being a recipe at all, which of course it’s not, it’s just a prep suggestions. But I like the idea and plan to try it.

I’m thinking instead of putting them directly on the grill, I’ll put them in a shallow baking dish with some white wine for flavoring. Perhaps I’ll mix in some Italian spices as well. Clams are a favorite of mine and these days we supposedly don’t need to worry about the cholesterol in shell fish anymore.

Bon Appetit does have an accompanying recipe for Grilled Clams With Aleppo Pepper, Tumeric, And Lime Butter. Rather than butter, I would try some lime or lemon-infused olive oil to substitute a good fat for a bad one.

If you have other clam recipes, let me know.
John

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