Next Food Network star

Not Emily! Maybe… Justin? Michelle? Ippy?

Yes, Emily—is gone, that is. The quirky, not-your-average home economics teacher has been cut from Next Food Network Star, and I have to question whether the show is even worth my time anymore. They’ve let some really big idiots stay on—from babbling Marty to bland Malcom to creepy what’s her name on the grill—while sacrificing this obviously talented, smart, and fun personality after a single rough week. Thanks for being such a killjoy, Food Network!

The only two left who were interesting at all—indeed, the only two I’d want to watch on Food Network to begin with—were the quirky Emily and Justin (though I also like seafood specialist Michelle), both with completely unique points of view that I would find entertaining to watch even if I didn’t want to make what they were cooking! And now Emily has gone home. This whole season has been a bit of a joke with each star choosing a team of his or her own—Giada seems pretty awful at choosing people in particular—and now that the producers have voted off a true contender, it just seems like a complete waste of time. (But wasn’t it always…?)

Really, Food Network? I just think this whole process is a joke. I think overall evolution of each personality throughout the entire program and not just that final challenge should be considered. Indeed, you—and any other reality program, really—are marginalizing people this way, making them seem like performing animals in a circus rather than fully fleshed out people with actual stories and personalities to share.

I do like Ippy as well, and I think the Food Network has been completely obnoxious when it comes to him. If Justin or Michelle doesn’t win, I hope Ippy does simply because he refuses to bow down to their fast-paced, go-Go-GO! mentality of constantly being upbeat and perky and everything that a lot of people frankly despise. He is Hawaiian; if you want to give us a show that embraces Hawaiian flavors and lifestyle, you’re going to have to give Ippy plenty of space to let his personality shine. And if that personality is a laid back cutie pie, I am certainly not complaining; in fact, I’m cheering.

America needs someone like Ippy who can help us chill out, get off that damn corporate mentality that’s killing both us and the planet, and start living a life that truly matters. Hmm, maybe I am rooting for Ippy after all.

Easy Broiled Halibut Recipes

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Broiler_pan.jpg

While halibut can make eating healthy a cinch, it’s just as easy to get into a halibut rut as you would any other source of protein (chicken being a prime example). The following recipes take full advantage of a quick broiling method of cooking while still delivering flavor.

Cheesy Halibut

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise (not dressing)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • 1 pound halibut fillets divided into 4 portions

Directions:

Preheat your broiler to high and lightly grease a broiler pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients together (except the fish) with a fork. Lay out the fillets on the greased pan and cook the fish under the preheated broiler for 7 to 8 minutes. Top each fillet with an equal portion of the cheese mixture and then broil the fish for 2 to 3 minutes more. Make sure that you keep a close eye on the fish and topping to make sure it doesn’t burn! Remove the fish from underneath the broiler and serve immediately.

 

Classic Lemon Pepper Halibut

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil
  • Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound halibut fillets divided into 4 portions

Directions:

Preheat your broiler and grease broiler pan with cooking spray. Place the halibut on the pan, seasoning both sides with salt and pepper. Mix together the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and heat on low until the butter melts and the garlic becomes translucent. Brush each fillet with the mixture and then broil the halibut for 7 to 10 minutes (depending on thickness). Once it flakes easily with a fork, remove the fish and serve with slices of lemon.

Fishing for Halibut

While you can purchase it from most major grocery stores, Halibut is best fresh, just like any other fish. If you live in an area where halibut is prominent, or plan to travel to one, fishing for halibut can be a great way to not only fill your freezer but also enjoy a relaxing day with family or friends.

Habitat

In California, Halibut can be found off of Magdalena Bay, Baja, California, the Quillayute River, and the northern Gulf of California. These fish also occupy waters in Japan, Russia, and Canada.

When to Fish

Halibut are most active when spawning, which generally occurs between the months of April and July. However, the further north you go, the later spawning occurs: in Northern California, halibut fishing is best between August and October.

Where to Fish

Halibut prefer shallow-ish water, especially areas over sandy bottoms. They are usually not caught deep at sea. You can take out your own boat with friends, rent a boat, or head out on a halibut fishing charter.

How to Fish

Halibut love live anchovies, queen fish, shiners, and white croakers. Mackerel can also be used as bait, although you may have less luck. If you prefer artificial lures, go for something lighted. In most cases, a drifting technique works best when fishing for halibut.

How Big are They?

When fishing for halibut, you’ll likely catch something ranging from 24 to 30 pounds. However, the largest recorded halibut was 72 pounds, so be prepared for a workout!

Further Reading

http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mspcont8.asp

http://www.kingfishercharters.com/

Good or Bad?

Over the past several years there’s been a great amount of debate over fish and whether or not it is “good for you.” As with everything else it seems (eggs, wine, coffee, etc.) that nutritionists, scientists and doctors can’t quite make up their mind. While fish has long been praised by nutrition experts, recently the levels of mercury in certain types of fish have caused it to come under fire. However, it seems that even with the presence of this toxic metal in certain types of fish, it is still certainly good for you.

Experts are beginning to say that the benefits of eating fish outweigh the risks caused by trace amounts of mercury. The abundance of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, are shown to lower risks of heart disease and high cholesterol. It is recommended that everyone consume at least 2 servings of fish a week, especially fish with a higher presence of fats; such as, salmon and mackerel.

The Food and Drug Administration suggests eating a wide variety of fish to reduce your exposure to mercury. They also suggest that young children, pregnant women and nursing mothers steer away from several kinds of fish to reduce their toxic metal exposure. These kinds include: swordfish, shark and king mackerel. In addition, light tuna is deemed safer than other varieties available on the market.

So until the FDA changes their mind again, you can improve certain aspects of your health by eating your 2 recommended servings of fish each week.

Top Three Secrets to Cooking Halibut

Fish, especially halibut, is honestly one of the healthiest sources of protein readily available. Yet, when asked why they don’t eat more fish at home, people often respond with the thought that its “difficult to cook”. Believe it or not, halibut is actually easier to prepare than just about any meat source. It’s fast, versatile, and can get dinner on your table in 20 minutes or less in most cases. Here are the top three tips for preparing halibut.

Less is More

The absolute worst thing you can do to a piece of halibut is over cook it. While it may not seem possible to cook a piece of fish in 10 minutes, it really is. On average, you should aim for 9 minutes per inch of thickness. This means that you can have the average size piece of halibut done in less than 10 minutes. 

Moisture is Key

There are two main ways to cook halibut: wet and dry. No matter what you do, you want to ensure that the natural moisture of the fish is sealed inside of it: otherwise, you’ll end up with a dry, leather-like piece of fish. While this is easy to do with moist heat, when cooking the fish with a dry heat method make sure that you use a hot enough temperature to sear the outside of the fish, locking in its natural moisture.

Drain Thawed Fish

Unless you live on the coast, you may not have access to fresh halibut. If frozen is your only choice, make sure to thaw the fish slowly in the fridge, allowing it to drain (putting the fish in a colander with something underneath to catch the liquid is often best). If you let the halibut sit in the liquid, it will get soggy, altering the flavor and making it difficult to keep the fish together when cooking.

Sauces for Halibut

One of the main attributes that makes halibut such a popular fish is its mild flavor. It can fit into any cuisine with the right sauce. Start by seasoning halibut steaks with salt and pepper, and bake them until cooked through in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 20 minutes (depending on thickness). Finish them off with one of these mouth-watering sauces!

Cilantro Garlic Butter

With a decidedly southwestern flare, this compound butter is decadent and flavorful, making it the perfect accompaniment to halibut.

Bring 2 tablespoons of butter to room temperature in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of lime juice to the butter, mixing everything together until light and airy. Grate2 to 3 cloves of fresh garlic into the bowl, and add 1/2 a cup of chopped cilantro, folding everything together until well-blended. As soon as you take the halibut out of the oven, spoon a dollop of this topping over the warm fish and enjoy!

Peach Salsa

Using peaches in place of tomatoes brings an incredible twist to this fresh halibut topping. The sweetness of the peaches goes well with the slightly-sweet flavor of the halibut, but the jalapenos and onion keep this topping from being too dessert-like.

Chop the following into bite-size pieces: 2 cups of peaches, 1/4 cup of red bell pepper, 1/4 cup of red onion, one jalapeno, and a handful of cilantro. Mix all of the ingredients together, and then stir in 2 tablespoons of orange juice, 2 teaspoons of lime juice and salt (to taste). Let all of the ingredients hang out together in the fridge for an hour or two, and then use it as a topping for your halibut!

Perfect Tartar Sauce

Although synonymous with fried fish, tartar sauce can go with just about any style of cooking, and is a great dip for halibut. The following basic recipe can be adapted to your specific tastes and diet. Stir together:

1 cup of mayonnaise

3 tablespoons of relish

1 clove grated garlic

1 lemon, juiced

Salt, to taste

Let everything chill in the fridge for two to three hours before using for the best results.

Nutrient-Rich Halibut: Everything You Ever Wanted (Or Needed) To Know

"Compared to other sources of protein, you simply cannot beat halibut. "

Outside of being firm, a little sweet and incredibly delicious, halibut is also a fantastic addition to just about any healthy diet. It is rich in omega-3s as well as other nutrients and minerals, and is relatively low in calories yet incredibly high in protein.

At this point in your life, you’ve probably heard about omega-3 essential fats. Although the inclusion of this nutrient is often used as a selling point on vitamins and prepackaged foods, many people do not understand what exactly they are. Considered an essential nutrient, meaning the human body requires omega-3s but cannot produce it on its own, this nutrient reduces heart rate, blood pressure and improves or maintains overall cardiovascular health. In addition to this, omega-3s are essential to the development of the brain, eyes and nerves. Despite all of the health benefits of this nutrient, the standard American diet is poorly lacking in it.

So what does this information have to do with halibut? This delicious fish is rich in omega-3s, as well as B vitamins, essential minerals (such as selenium, potassium and magnesium). Just two servings a week will give a person enough omega-3s to lower triglycerides, thus lowering a person’s level of bad cholesterol.

Compared to other sources of protein, you simply cannot beat halibut. A 3 ounce serving contains a whopping 23 grams of protein, yet is only a little less than 120 calories. This same serving only contains 2 grams of (incredibly heart healthy) fats. Due to its mild flavor, even those who do not like fish can often get on board with halibut, especially given the numerous ways in which this fish can be prepared. So what’s stopping you? This nutritional powerhouse is easy to cook and incredibly good for your entire body!

Here's Looking at You

I’m one of those people that will eat anything at least once and I attempt to adhere to the “try it at least twice” rule; because the first time could’ve just been a bad batch.  I 100% believe that there’s something you’ve deemed absolutely gross/creepy/stinky out there that you will love once you taste it (mine happens to be deep-fried sparrows on a stick). Granted, there are some pretty bad experiences encountered on this road but, at least you know that you really don’t ever want to eat that again (for me this category contains starfish and sea cucumbers).

I love food and I try and share that love with the people I’m close to, but sometimes, it’s just not going to happen. It seems to me, that more often than not, when people refuse to eat something based on a totally preconceived notion of horribleness-its seafood. I never understood that, but then again seafood is my favorite genre of food.

In my 31 years there has only ever been one thing that I refused to try, EVER. That food happened to be scallops. Why, when I’ll eat pretty much anything you set in front of me at least once, would I not touch a scallop, you ask? I made this judgment based solely on the fact that I once read an article stating that scallops have something like 37282911 eyes…OK, it’s actually around 100, but at this point that made no difference to me. One eye? Fine. Two eyes? Why not. Anything with more eyes than me? NO WAY IN HELL.

One fateful day, after condemning scallops for at least 15 or 20 years, my boyfriend somehow convinced me to try just a little tiny piece of his bacon wrapped scallop.  Maybe it was the fancy restaurant, maybe it was love, or maybe it was the bacon, but I relented and ate it. What was this delicious gift from the sea gods and why had I denied myself of it for so long?? Never again would I arbitrarily decide not to eat something. Lesson learned.

How to Debone Halibut

 

Growing up I absolutely hated fish for the sheer fact that pulling bones out of my mouth every four seconds was irritating. Although I eventually developed a deep love for all things seafood, prices for already deboned halibut limited my ability to eat it at home: finding boneless halibut, or any other fish, can be difficult. Especially on a budget. Would you believe that deboning halibut is actually pretty simple? Finding this out was somewhat of a revelation for me: no more irritating bones while eating and I can still stick to my grocery budget. Want to learn how?

  1. Rinse the halibut in cold water, pat it dry, and place it on a plastic cutting board (it will be easier to disinfect than wood and won’t dull your knife like glass).
  1. Slide the edge of a sharp paring or deboning knife between the visible bones at one end of the fillet and the meat. Run your knife parallel to the meat all the way down to the opposite end of the fillet, lifting the bones out as you go.
  1. Run your finger down the fillet to check for any stray bones; if you run into one, pull it out carefully with your fingers. If they are especially small or difficult to grab, use tweezers or needle-nose pliers for an exact grip.

After a few times deboning halibut, you can do a fillet in less than five minutes (provided you aren’t having an off day). Doing this on your own, rather than purchasing pre-cleaned halibut or asking your fish monger to do it for you, can easily save you a dollar or two a pound. Enjoy!

To Eat, or Not to Eat...That is the Cultural Question

This afternoon I was talking with a friend who just returned from a Caribbean cruise and it came up that she didn’t swim in the ocean at any of the beaches while they were at port. When I asked her why not, she replied, “Because the ocean has scary stuff in it.  Ever since I saw one of those beware of jellyfish/sharp rocks/tides signs, I just decided that swimming in pools is more my style. However, I do really like seafood.” Personally, I’ve always been addicted to the water and I’m pretty much the “Never getting out of the water until I absolutely have to” sort (and I also love seafood).

So imagine my surprise when I was reading the news this afternoon and I saw something that would actually make me think twice before scampering off into the ocean. I still would, I’d just look around a little bit first to make sure that there weren’t any sharks the size of tractor trailers in the vicinity.  A FORTY foot shark? Shudder.

Opportunists seem to have taken this moment to speak out against the evils of Shark Fin Soup and overfishing in general, rather than having my reaction of “Holy crap that thing is huge!” and moving on. I’m not sure whether or not whale sharks are even among the species used for the soup and I’ve never actually had the soup myself. I’m sure I’d try it given the opportunity, because that’s just how I am. I like to try new things. Many of the new food experiences I’ve had generated when I was living in China. That part of my life has made me a little biased toward Asian customs and traditional beliefs in general. That being said, condemning an entire culture based on one of their traditional foods/customs/beliefs sits very wrong with me.

I agree, shark fins are not necessarily procured in the most admirable ways, but I don’t think the solution to that is denying people a part of their heritage. Efforts need to be made to educate, not dictate what any one person (or group of people) should be “allowed” to eat. Realistically, it’s going to happen no matter what, as the ocean is a very big place and it could never be patrolled in a manner that would stop anything like this from happening.  Change will be a slow process, no matter what PETA or any other environmental organization demands.

Why does it seem that various kinds of seafood are always the ones to be instigating these kinds of things? Would you still be willing to try shark fin soup given the chance?

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