As we enter the Lenten season, millions of people will be looking for great seafood recipes as their alternative to meat. Not knowing where to look, many will opt for basic dishes that might not satisfy their craving for a bona fide good meal. With a little creativity and help from shelf-stable seafood, the Lenten season can be filled with a variety of palate-pleasing alternatives."People often do not know what to cook during Lent, so they turn to 'tried-and-true' favorites such as veggie sandwiches, pastas and salads," said Culinary Expert Lena Cutler."Shelf-stable seafood is very affordable and easy to substitute in your favorite meat-based dishes," said Cutler."Canned and pouched seafood are available in many varieties, including tuna, salmon, crab, shrimp, clams and oysters," said Cutler. "You can use tuna or salmon instead of beef for burgers, tacos, stir-fry and more."Shelf-stable seafood also has many health benefits."In addition to being conve-nient, shelf-stable seafood is low in fat and calories," said Registered Dietician Sharon McNerney. "Albacore tuna and salmon are major sources of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids."The American Heart Association's dietary guidelines recommend eating at least two servings of fish per week, because omega-3 has been proven to help reduce the chance of getting heart disease. Here's a delightful stir-fry to get your creative cooking juices flowing:Teriyaki Cashew TunaIngredients:1/3 cup teriyaki sauce or stir-fry sauce2 (6-oz.) cans drained Chicken of the Sea Solid White Albacore Tuna in Spring Water1 Tablespoon vegetable oil1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic1/2 cup green onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces1/2 cup each: sliced celery and sliced red bell peppers1 (10-oz.) package of frozen pea pods, thawed1 (6-oz.) can sliced water chestnuts, drained1/2 cup cashewsHot cooked riceDirections:In medium bowl, gently combine the sauce with Chicken of the Sea Albacore Tuna; set aside. In a large skillet, heat oil until hot; saut garlic. Add onion, celery, peppers, pea pods, cashews and water chestnuts; cook until celery is crisp and tender. Add tuna mixture and continue cooking until hot. Serve over hot cooked rice. Makes 4 servings.Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Rosemary is one of my favourite herbs its clean, spiky scent pervading my kitchen takes me to the South of France on a warm summers day. It is the hardiest plant in my herb garden, surviving our driest summers and putting out new growth as soon as the winter rains begin. You can pick from it all year round and it has useful medicinal properties too.I love Roast Lamb with generous amounts of rosemary and garlic tucked underneath as it cooks or else I take Nigella Lawsons advice and mince the garlic and rosemary to a paste with some olive oil and tuck it into small incisions in the meat before cooking. After that the meat just cooks itself (as long as you remember to switch on the oven for it!) and you have a marvellous Sunday lunch for very little effort. A dash of red wine added to the juices from the roasting dish and warmed through gives you a jus that any five star restaurant would be proud to own do spoon off the excess fat first though. For a totally low effort lunch serve the roast lamb with a generous green salad and boiled new potatoes, or expend the effort youve saved with the meat on producing loads of crispy roast potatoes, baked butternut squash and tender green peas.The following pasta sauce recipe came from experimenting with a recipe from Marcella Hazans Marcellas Kitchen. To her tomato and rosemary "pasta sauce" I added some tuna to create a nutritious and delicious meal for my kids the balsamic vinegar gives a mellow, rounded note to the sauce and is not in the least overpowering as I thought it might be.Penne with Tuna, Tomato, Rosemary and Balsamic VinegarFor 450g/1lb pasta8 tablespoons olive oil3 or 4 cloves garlic2 sprigs rosemary450g/1lb tinned tomatoes, drained and chopped2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar1 tin of tuna drainedPut the olive oil, thinly sliced garlic and rosemary sprigs in a frying pan over a medium heat. When the garlic starts sizzling add the tomatoes, with salt and pepper and cook for 10-12 minutes.When the pasta is just cooked really al dente drain and put back in the pan and toss with the sauce over the heat for 1 minute. Add the tuna, stir, then off the heat stir in the balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.There is a wonderful recipe for a Rosemary Cake in Nigella Lawsons book Feast. She allocates it to her Funeral Feast section. as rosemary has always been the herb of rememberance, but this cake is great for any occasion when a light, not too sweet, plain sponge is required. It has apple in it too and the combination of that and the rosemary, gives a moist but aromatic cake. A long sprig of rosemary adorns the top of the cake and as it cooks releases more aromatic oils into the cake. Try it.To make use of rosemarys health boosting properties try a cup of rosemary herbal tea. One sprig with a cup of boiling water poured over it and left to stand for five to ten minutes, makes a revitalising and stress-relieving tea. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and aids circulation, helps with stress, anxiety and depression and improves memory and concentration. It also is a useful source of easily absorbed calcium, far more effective than taking pills.So plant a rosemary bush in your garden or in a pot on a balcony for your own free, energy-boosting calcium supplement!Copyright 2006 Kit Heathcock
The summer sun swelters outside. Inside it is warm, the fruit bowl sits lusciously on the window sill, bursting with seasonal plenty peaches, mangoes, grapes as well as the year round banana. All of the fruit is at point of perfect ripeness, begging to be eaten right now before it descends into a pool of pulp. It could have stayed in the fridge and been brought out in economical relays to ripen for a day, but there is something about a full fruit bowl, a promise of health and succulence, that time and again makes me arrange it as a still life, as I unpack the shopping, only to be wrong-footed when it all ripens at the same time. Typically the children are only bothering to eat apples, which last forever in the fridge. Desperate measures are called for.It is time to make smoothies. Even children, who wouldnt give a second glance to raw fruit, can usually be beguiled by a smoothy. It is also a special treat for adults, an easy thing to do for visitors who drop by, when its too hot for tea. Any ripe fruit can be used, even if it is slightly overripe, as long as it still smells good and not fermenting. You get a mega-dose of vitamins, plus calcium from the yoghurt and milk, almost a meal in itself. Healthy eating in a glass!Giving a recipe for a smoothy is hardly necessary. It depends on what you have in the house already. Use this example as a template and adapt and change it as you like. As long as you use fruit that is truly ripe, itll be delicious. The one essential piece of equipment is a liquidiser or food processor, without that Id just have to force feed the children the fruit as is, it is far too laborious to puree fruit by hand on a hot summers day. The joy making smoothies is the effortlessness. No set quantities, but as a guide Id use one mango with one or two bananas. Just peel and stone the fruit, fling it into the liquidiser with a large dollop of plain yoghurt and a cup of milk and blitz. If it is too thick for your liking add more milk. Chuck in some ice cubes for instant chill factor.A tip for dealing with mangoes: without peeling, slice off both the long sides as close to the stone as you can., cut the flesh in a criss-cross fashion to make 1cm cubes, without going right through the skin, then push the skin up to invert the cubes into a mango hedgehog! The children eat them like this and a very messy business it is, needing a bath afterwards.Suggestions for fruit combinations:Mango and bananaPear, berry and bananaPeach and berryStrawberry and bananaPeach, apricot and bananaAny fruit in the whole wide world can be added to this list, experiment with whatever is in season and make up your own combinations.Bananas make a good background for most other fruits and give a good velvety texture, besides being the most likely fruit to have around overripe. If you want to move away from the healthy fruit scenario, you can use bananas with a few teaspoons of hot chocolate to make a scrummy, decadent milkshake. Or go the whole way and put a blob of vanilla ice-cream in too. I remember as a child, my mother adding a raw egg to ours to build us up. It made it wonderfully frothy, but then nobody worried about salmonella in those days I wouldnt recommend it unless you have a guaranteed source of salmonella-free eggs.If you have berries of any sort stashed in the freezer, you can throw in a handful still frozen and watch the colour transform as you blitz. Mulberries, blackberries, youngberries, blueberries all add deep colour and plenty of useful nutrients, loads of anti-oxidants instant immune boosters in winter, if you can keep them until then. I usually freeze strawberries as puree, when the strawberry harvest overwhelms us, so can bring it out for a change later on in the year. The other berries I freeze whole, stalks and leaves picked off, so they are ready to use. You can also buy frozen berries in mixed packs, which would work fine.Whatever fruit youre using, let the children press the buttons on the liquidiser and then dole out the smoothie, in glasses with straws, easy in the knowledge that the vitamin quota for the day is being filled.Copyright 2006 Kit Heathcock
Much like the chicken and the egg conundrum, those with a palate for fine wine and good food often debate whether it is the wine that makes food taste better or the other way around. Either way, one cooking expert is showing that the two actually bring out the best in each other. In a new venture with Viansa Winery & Italian Marketplace, celebrity chef Curtis Aikens hopes to enlighten both diners and would-be culinary artisans to the wonders of cooking and eating with wine. A pioneer in "California Italian Nouveau" cuisine, Aikens will be creating signature dishes and food products for the winery. His recipes will appear in Viansa's monthly publication, Tuscan Club Magazine.Viansa is a destination winery at the entrance to the Sonoma Valley Wine Country. In addition to offering an array of award-winning California varietals, Viansa is the premier producer of Italian varietals in the United States. The winery is marketed by the publicly traded 360 Global Wine Company (www.360wines.com). This year, Viansa Winery was rated by the Sonoma radio station KVON 1440 as "The Best Wine Country Experience" in Sonoma.Aikens' achievements include a number of published books, appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Entertainment Tonight" and a regular guest spot on "Good Morning America." He has been a food consultant to the U.S. Open tennis tournament, the New York City Plaza Hotel and the United Nations.The following recipe is an example of Aikens' culinary creativity. This dish pairs well with Viansa "Pierina" Vernaccia, Arneis or Chardonnay, he says.VIANSA CHICKENROLLATINE(Makes 4 servings)2 large chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise to make four strips1 1/2 tablespoons Cucina Viansa Roasted Red Pepper Pesto1 1/2 tablespoons CucinaViansa Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto1 1/2 tablespoons Cucina Viansa Artichoke PestoPreheat oven to 400 degrees.Flatten chicken pieces with a mallet or the bottom of an empty wine bottle.Spread 1 teaspoon of each pesto evenly over each piece of chicken. Roll up the chicken strips and close with toothpicks.Bake chicken rolls in oven for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake 20 minutes longer. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing into rings to serve.
When the weather's warm, it's almost too easy to rely on ice cream, soda, popsicles and other frosty sweets for refreshment. However, there are delicious ways to cool off without making the hope of a trim waistline melt away. For instance, you can eat something sweet, feel refreshed and still get your recommended five fruits and veggies a day with the recipes below. Easy to make and even easier to enjoy, smoothies and sorbets made with light and healthy canned Bartlett pears are a refreshing antidote to a hot afternoon. Added bonus: The pears contain no fat or cholesterol and are a good source of potassium and fiber.Pear Yogurt Ginger SmoothieMakes 4 Servings 1 can (15 ounces) Bartlett pear halves or slices, drained3 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt3/4 cup nonfat milk3/4 teaspoon ground ginger 5 ice cubesIn blender or food processor container, puree pears. Add yogurt, milk, ginger and ice cubes, process until well blended. Nutritional Information (Per Serving): Calories 183; Protein 9g; Carbohydrate 37g; Fiber 2g; Fat 1g; Cholesterol 4mg; Sodium 118mg.Blissful Pear SorbetMakes 6 Servings2 cups water1 cup sugar1 can (15 ounces) Bartlett pears, well drained2 tablespoons fresh lemon juiceIn saucepan, heat water and sugar until sugar is well dissolved. Cool syrup to room temperature. In blender container, combine up to one-half of the syrup and pears; blend until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and remaining syrup. Freeze in small (1-quart) ice cream freezer according to manufacturer's directions. Nutritional Information (Per Serving): Calories 166; Carbohydrate 0g; Fiber 0g; Protein 0g; Fat 0g; Sodium 7mg. Chill Out-These cool and refreshing treats, made with canned Bartlett pears, can be a nutritious and delicious way to beat the heat.