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Swordfish with Butter Compound

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Swordfish with compound butter, delicata squash and haricot verts almandine

I bought this swordfish frozen at Trader Joe’s. What I like about buying fish frozen is that you can pretty much count on it for being the freshest available—outside of catching it yourself or from the local fish monger. Frozen fish is caught, then immediately frozen, which is what makes it so fresh. Next time you are buying fish, note that if it says, “previously frozen”; if it does, you don’t know how long it’s been hanging around defrosted. Not to say it isn’t good, but that buying frozen or locally will give you the freshest fish.

No time to defrost that frozen fish? There are two recipes here, one for cooking frozen and one

Compound butter is super easy to make and transforms a plain piece of fish. The secret is to allow the butter to get nice and soft before mixing in the remaining ingredients.

Swordfish with Butter Compound

Swordfish

Avocado oil

Salt and pepper

Lemon

Frozen

Dry fish. Preheat oven to 500. Heat oven proof pan on stove on high and add a bit of avocado oil. Season with salt and pepper and brown on both sides. Put into oven for 5-8 minutes, depending on thickness. Fish should be opaque.

Defrosted

Dry fish. Preheat oven to 500. Put oil in oven proof pan and turn stove to high. Salt and pepper fish. Sear one side 3-5 minutes, flip and put into oven 10-12 minutes, depending on thickness. Fish should be opaque.

Butter compound

2 ounces butter, softened

Zest of one lemon

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper

Combine ingredients

Squeeze lemon juice on fish and add a dollop of butter compound on fish.

Fiber and Keto

Low carb salad loaded with healthy fiber

With Keto coming in as the number 2 diet for 2019, plenty of criticism comes along with that. (The Mediterranean Diet, is number 1.)

Jillian Michaels, the fitness motivator, has been outspoken against it, citing all kinds of falsehoods. Now, she has her own weight loss plan and may not be thrilled about any competition, so she blasted it.

I do think there is one legitimate concern and that is you may not be getting enough fiber on a Keto diet. Are you on the Keto/low fat diet and worried you aren’t getting enough fiber? Fiber is incredibly important. It helps you to maintain regularity. Fiber boosts the good bacteria in your micro-biome—your gut; the gut is where most of your immune system is, so a healthy one keeps the whole body in check. Fiber can also help promote weight loss and lower blood sugar levels.

The recommended daily intake is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men, but most people—on a low carb diet or not—don’t hit those requirements.

Here are some low carb/Keto friendly carbs:

  • Avocado 10 grams per cup
  • Broccoli 5 grams per cup
  • Artichoke 10.3 per artichoke
  • Brussels sprouts 4 grams per cup
  • Kale 2.6 grams in 1 cup
  • Spinach 2.4 grams in 3 ½ cups raw, ½ cup cooked
  • Cauliflower 2 grams in 1 cup
  • Almonds 3.4 grams per ounce

You probably know that beans are high in carbs and fiber, but did you know you can eat black soy beans? A ½ cup serving has 8 grams of carbs, but 7 grams of fiber—so replace it with any bean recipe and enjoy!

Eden organic balck soybeans
  • Black soy beans 7 grams in ½ cup

And then there are the fiber superstars: chia seeds, psyllium husk and flax and hemp heart, with chia probably the top fiber food on the planet!  (I included hemp hearts because they are loaded with essential fatty acids (EFA), omega -3 and omega-6.)  I make a drink with all three plus collagen peptides and matcha tea with water for my morning drink. Note that the psyllium, hemp hearts and chia are 0 net carbs!

  • Chia 8 grams of fiber, 8 grams of carbs in 2 tablespoons
  • Psyllium husk 4 grams fiber, 4 grams carbs in 1 teaspoon
  • Flax seed 3 grams fiber, 4 grams carbs in 2 tablespoons
  • Hemp Hearts 2 grams fiber, 2 gram carb in 3 tablespoons

There are many ways to use the super foods to boost your fiber intake. For lunch, for example, the greens are fiber. This salad has spinach, romaine and arugula with 6 grams. I added red and white fermented cabbage (naturally fermented makes it loaded with probiotics and good for gut health) and pickled carrot and purple radish for 3 grams. Then I made chia seed and almond flour croutons with another 6 grams. Finally, I added 1/2 of an avocado for 10. Total fiber: 25 grams!

I get more fiber than from lunch. My breakfast drink has 8. I eat lots of veggies for dinner and I snack on nuts.

So please…don’t tell me my Keto diet is unhealthy!

Fish Filet with Almond Meal

Basa filet with an almond meal crust and haricot vert almandine

I bought almond meal to see what it would be like instead of almond flour in Keto rolls and decided to try it on the Basa filet I bought. Almond meal is not as finely ground as flour and the coating was more like breadcrumbs and worked out great! You can use any filet—flounder, sole, catfish—if it is very thick, it can be finished in the oven.  


Fish Filet with Almond Meal

Serves 2

12 ounces filet fish

1 egg

½ cup almond meal

Parsley, chopped and divided

Salt and pepper

Scallion

Butter or ghee

Leon, zest and juice

Rinse and dry fish. Add salt, pepper and half of the parsleyto a beaten egg in a bowl. Heat a cast iron pan to medium high and add fat whenhot. Dredge fish in egg, then almond meal and place in pan. Cook fish untildone, 5-10 minutes, depending on thickness. Add scallions a couple minutes before fish is done. Allow coating to get nice andbrowned. Plate fish and add remaining parsley, lemon zest and some juice.

Pecan Crusted Fish with Tomato Salad and Delicato Squash

 

I’ve seen pecan crusted fish on many a menu, and finally got around to trying my own, low carb version. I used Basa filet, but you can use any white filet. If it is thick, you can finish in oven.

I like Delicato squash because you don’t need to peel it. Just cut in half, scoop seeds, rub with oil, butter or ghee, salt and pepper. Put oven on 400 degrees and put squash down cut side on a parchment lined tray and bake about 45 minutes or until soft.

The tomato salad is tomatoes, pickled onions, salt, pepper and a bit of avocado oil.

Pecan Crusted Fish

Serves 2

12 ounces Basa or other thin, white filet

1 egg, beaten

¼ cup almond flour

¼ cup raw pecans, crushed

Avocado oil

Salt and pepper

Lemon

Rinse and dry fish. Heat cast iron pan or other pan to medium high and coat bottom with oil. Combine flour and pecans and add salt and pepper. Coat fish with egg, removing excess. Dredge fish in pecan mixture and add to pan. Cook about 3 minutes per side, careful not to burn nuts. Add lemon juice when cooked. Serve immediately

Low Carb Rueben Salad

Low Carb Rueben Salad

If you like a Rueben sandwich with corned beef leftovers, but don’t want the carbs, make a salad instead! Take greens, corned beef, swiss cheese, Russian Dressing (I used homemade,) and sauerkraut and you are good to go!  It may not be quite as good as the sandwich is, but it is pretty darn tasty!

Russian has ketchup in it, but I never buy it because I rarely use it and don’t like the added sugar, so I make my own.  Just mix tomato paste (find a tube for convenience) with some cider or white vinegar and you have ketchup in about a minute, but with no added preservatives, sugar or salt.

Low Carb Rueben Salad

Mix of your favorite salad greens, like romaine, arugula and baby spinach

Sauerkraut, shake off excess liquid

Leftover corned beef, cut into bite sized pieces and trimmed of fat

Swiss cheese, cut into bite sized pieces

Russian Dressing

Substitute some extra virgin olive oil for mayonnaise if you like a thinner dressing.

1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons ketchup or 3 tablespoons tomato paste and 1 teaspoon cider or white vinegar

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (use less if you don’t want the kick)

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine ingredients.

Assemble salad and toss in Russian dressing.

Lentil Salad With Roasted Beets, Haricot Verts and Bacon

I often make dinner salads in warm weather and this one is very tasty.  Since I eat a low carb diet, I don’t add anything else, but a crusty bread (heated, of course) would be a good addition. If you don’t want to use haricot verts (French string beans) simply increase the amount of greens for the salad.

Unlike other beans, dried lentils cook in 30 minutes or less with no soaking necessary and come in a variety of colors.  Opt for the dried lentils for better flavor, price and variety.

Bacon gives nice flavor, but is optional. I buy my bacon from Hemlock Hill Farm in Cortlandt Manor, NY; the animals are pasture raised and humanly treated–you can see them them you visit. The bacon is the best I’ve ever had.

Lentil Salad With Roasted Beets, Haricot Verts and Bacon

Serves 4 as a main course

 

FOR THE LENTIL SALAD:

4 small beets, wrapped in foil and baked in the oven or toaster oven at 400 degrees until done, about an hour. Peel and cut into chunks and add a bit of dressing when they are still warm.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

4-8 slices (4 ounces) bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces and cooked (optional)

1 cup raw brown or green lentils

2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 bay leaf

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste

½ teaspoon black pepper

Chopped greens, including radicchio

1 lb haricot verts, roasted in a single layer at 400 degrees with olive oil, salt and pepper, about a half hour, until a bit wrinkled and dark.

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

SHERRY VINAIGRETTE:

¼ cup aged white or sherry vinegar

1 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt & pepper to taste

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard and salt. Then whisk in olive oil. Or put all ingredients into a small food processor.

In a medium pot, combine lentils, 4 cups water, garlic,  rosemary, salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Drain lentils and discard bay leaf; keep or discard garlic as you like. Toss lentils and beans with half of the sherry vinaigrette while still warm.

Toss greens with enough of remaining vinaigrette to lightly coat it and arrange it on a platter. Combine lentils, bacon and roasted vegetables, adding more of the vinaigrette to taste; spoon mixture on top of greens.

Lift Your Spirits with Flowers!

tulipsLift your spirits with a gift to yourself of fresh-cut flowers! The next few posts will address why flowers are important, how to arrange them yourself, caring for them and more.

20 years ago, I was getting paid a pittance to work as the event director at a holistic education center called Wainwright House in Rye, New York. I loved the job, however, and one of the perks was that employees could take classes for free. So, I studied Feng Shui and instantly fell in love with the practice. (Since then, I have refined Feng Shui to be more applicable to the 21st century and to include eco-friendly techniques, color theory and much more—I call it Harmonious Adjustments.)

Feng Shui taught me about the importance of real, fresh-cut flowers. So, even though I made little money, I purchased two vases and bought flowers once a week for my office. The flowers brightened my office and made me feel pampered and good about myself.

After I left that job, I took a position in a non-profit organization in New York City. The highlight of my week on the commute home on Fridays was that stopping at my favorite kiosk in Grand Central Station for flowers. So many gorgeous flowers—my challenge was to pick only one bunch! My husband got into it and looked forward to coming home to see the week’s pick.

At this point, my home just doesn’t feel right unless there are flowers in it. With the incredible amount of joy they provide, they are essential to my life.

Flowers enhance whatever space they occupy. They engage most of our senses; we see them, smell them, touch them and can even eat some of them. The actual vibration of flowers feeds us and feeds the Spirit! The energy that emanates from flowers literally has the power to elevate your mood! We enhance our most special occasions, like weddings, with flowers, not only because they are beautiful, but, because they are a physical manifestation of divine love.

Centuries ago, the Japanese created a special branch of Feng Shui called Feng Shui Seika. Feng Shui Seika is the practice of enhancing fortunes by using flowers in a particular fashion. The art was developed by a school of Ikebana called Enshinka International Ikebana.

Practitioners of Feng Shui Seika utilize grass, wood and flowers, as well as minerals, crystals and mirrors, to balance yin and yang. Followers believe that the energy within plants and flowers can best be channeled into one’s environment when they are arranged in a particular way. Based on Ikebana, the theory is that certain arrangements make it easier to receive the energy of the plants and flowers and that these auspicious arrangements will transform the recipients’ fortunes. Talk about flower power!

Tomorrow I’ll post about the research that proves flowers make us feel better.

Farmer’s Market Potato Salad

potato-salad
Farmer’s Market Potato Salad

This potato salad bears no resemblance to the bland, sweetish dish from a deli. Try to purchase the potatoes at your local farmer’s market or where there is a variety of organic fingerling, baby or other small potatoes. These potatoes are categorized as waxy (low starch content) and are creamy, firm and flavorful and even come in cool colors like purple and red! (Adirondack Blue and fingerlings were used in this photograph.) I get my pickles at the farmer’s market and they are fresh tasting with only real ingredients, unlike those found on grocery store shelves. The parsley and lemon add a summery freshness.

Ingredients

Serves 6

1 pound fingerling, baby or other small, creamy potatoes, boil until done—depending on size about 25-40 minutes—a fork should easily penetrate, chop into bite sized pieces; no need to peel.

5 eggs, boil 10 minutes, peel and chop into smallish pieces

1 tablespoon or so Frank’s RedHot sauce or your favorite

3 ribs celery, chopped medium

3 new or half sour pickles, chopped medium

Handful of parsley, chopped fine

Small red onion, finely chopped or sliced fine on a mandolin and chopped

½ bunch of scallion, chopped fine

¾-1 cup Mayonnaise, as desired

2 tablespoons olive oil

Juice from 1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon Capers, rinsed and chopped

Black or green olives, chopped (optional)

While potatoes and eggs are cooking, prepare vegetables. Cut potatoes as soon as you can handle and add lemon—this helps prevent the mayonnaise from soaking into potatoes and you’ll need less. Mix hot sauce with mayonnaise and olive oil. Mix eggs and potatoes with vegetables, add salt and pepper. Stir in mayo. Chill.

Farmer's Market Potato Salad
Farmer’s Market Potato Salad

 

 

The Best Salad Starts with Homemade Dressing!

Commercial dressings–even the natural ones with no artificial ingredients or preservatives–pale in comparison to homemade. They are super easy to make and last several weeks in the refrigerator.  All you need is vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and Dijon vinegar to make a classic vinaigrette. Add a variety of vinegars,  citrus, walnut oil, yogurt, fresh herbs and you are set to make an endless variety of dressings.

Store bought:

  • Uses inferior oil such as soy or “vegetable”
  • Most dressings have water as the first ingredient
  • Are expensive
  • Don’t taste good
  • Are over salty
  • Most are loaded with preservatives, artificial flavors and many unpronounceable ingredients

Some of my oil and vinegars, from left: Trader Joe’s Balsamic, Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, Bragg’s Cider Vinegar, Trader Joe’s Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sprectrum walnut oil, red vinegar and rice vinegar.

Variety of oils and vinegars
Variety of oil and vinegars

I use my hand held blender with mini food processor attachment to make my dressing because it’s faster than by hand and it emulsifies the dressing (mixes it and keeps it mixed when used with mustard).

The first dressing is a fancy classic vinaigrette: omit the garlic and parsley for the classic. Switch the type of oil or vinegar for different flavors.

Good basics you can keep on hand to make an endless variety of dressings:

  • Raw apple vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Sherry vinegar
  • Rice vinegar
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Orange
  • Walnut oil
  • Plain yogurt, Greek or regular
  • Shallots
  • Herbs
  • Scallion
  • Avocado
  • Egg

I use my hand held blender with mini food processor attachment to make my dressing because it’s faster than by hand and it emulsifies the dressing (mixes it and keeps it mixed when used with mustard). You can also use the hand blender itself. You can also use a whisk or shake it in a container.

The first dressing is a “fancy”vinaigrette: omit the garlic and parsley for the classic. Switch the type of oil or vinegar for different flavors.

I usually make about a cup of dressing. The oil and vinegar ratio is about 4 to 1, but depending on the strength of the oil or vinegar, you may want a higher or lower ratio. Make and taste; you’ll be preparing by eye in no time.

If you are new to homemade dressing, go easy on it–since there is no water, it will be much stronger than the commercial variety.

Hand blender with mini food processor
Hand blender with mini food processor

Balsamic Vinegar Vinaigrette

6 oz extra virgin olive oil

1-2 oz balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic

handful parsley

salt and pepper to taste

1 scant teaspoon Dijon mustard

Toss everything together and blend.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
Balsamic Vinaigrette

This dressing container is great. Made by Oxo, it comes in two sizes. Amazon

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Become a Flower Designer Now!

Peonies in ceramic vase
Peonies in ceramic vase

Not only do flowers feed our souls and make our homes look beautiful, they give us something new and different in our home and workplace to look at every week. Let’s face it, unless you buy new things all the time, your belongings can become invisible or even boring. A fresh arrangement or two every week (in the same or in different places) can bring a whole new perspective to an entire room! This happens because a new object is seen in relation to its surroundings. For example, if you put a large blue vase with pink and magenta roses on your coffee table, the colors, shapes and textures of the flowers and vase will interact with the objects near them.

Obviously, you can buy ready-made arrangements, but making your own is fun and easy. Arrangements can be as simple as a bunch of tulips placed in a glass vase to a huge, complicated mixed bouquet topiary. If you have no experience arranging flowers, start with a simple arrangement using one type of flower in one color. Tulips are great because they grow after they are cut, and you can watch them change as they mature; opening and bending their delicate stems towards a light source.

For inspiration, there are many beautifully illustrated books on flower arranging. Another option is to take a class in flower arranging. Practice designing with different flowers, baskets and vases and have some fun!

 

Flower Arranging

I collect flower vases so that I have a variety of options for my floral arrangements. Also, different containers look better in particular areas of my home. There are plenty of eco-friendly choices you can make when selecting a flower container:

  • Antique or second-hand containers
  • Earthenware containers
  • Glass containers, especially recycled
  • Containers made out of stone
  • Recycled metal containers

Any container that holds water can hold flowers—be creative and look around your home for possibilities. You can cover empty cans from your cupboard with fabric, for example. Or, put a bunch of flowers in a watering can. If they are watertight, clay pots can hold flowers.

tulips
Tulips in glass vase

When you entertain, it is nice to have flowers on the table—but not if they obstruct your guests’ views of one another. Low containers are perfect for the dining room table. To keep flowers upright, it might be necessary to use what florists use, floral foam. Oasis® brand is most common; just make sure the package indicates that the foam is for wet floral arrangements. Floral foam is available in craft stores.

The key to using floral foam is to allow it to absorb water at its own rate, in a sink or a container filled with water. If you forcefully submerge it, the inside of the foam will not get wet. The foam is ready to use when it has sunk to the bottom of the water-filled container. Floral foam is easily cut with a knife; cut whatever size you require, wet it, and place in a container.

You will want to cover the floral foam completely. In addition to flowers, you will need green filler—either from the florist or cut some from a bush or tree in your yard. You can cover the foam first and then place the flowers, or arrange flowers and then fill in spaces with greens.

The container in which you put your flowers is almost as important as the arrangement itself. Factors to keep in mind:

Proportion: Size and amount of flowers in relation to container

The flowers should fill the container selected so that they are neither crammed into the vessel nor too sparse. The size of the flowers should be proportional to the vase. Cut the stems to achieve the look you desire.

Gerbers in glass vase
Gerbers in glass vase

How the colors of the flowers work with the vessel

Colorful flowers with a very busy vase end up competing with each other. I prefer vases to be a single color, allowing the flowers to really stand out. My collection of vases includes an assortment of pleasing shapes and a variety of sizes to compliment all kinds of arrangements. But, the color of the vase still has an impact: a light green vessel with pastel flowers looks very different from a deep blue vase with hot colors, for example.

Cut stems to fit long-stemmed flowers into a small container

Do not be afraid to drastically cut the length of the stem. Take gerbers, for example; their stems are often several feet long, their heads are approximately three inches wide and they come in a wide variety of colors. The look of the arrangement will totally change depending on the length you decide to keep them. At full length, they are dramatic in a tall, slender vase. Cut the stem to a half foot and they look beautiful in a rounded vessel. Take one to three gerbers and place them into a still smaller container. Finally, cut all but a half inch of the stem and let them float singly or in groups in a dish. Fabulous!

How the arrangement looks in the intended space

If you are making an arrangement for a specific area, select the right size container and flowers, based on that space. A tiny arrangement will look out of proportion in the center of a huge foyer with vaulted ceilings. Conversely, placing tall gladiolas under a dining room chandelier would look crowded.

Finally, relax and enjoy the process of arranging flowers! Experiment with different flowers and vases, and allow yourself to create. Most importantly, honor yourself with fresh flowers on a regular basis!

Excerpt from Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify and Energize Your Life, Your Home & Your Planet

 

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