Think of mussels as the MVP of the fishmonger: they’re inexpensive, a cinch to prepare, and farmed in a manner that is actually beneficial to surrounding waterways.
Mussels have a laudable protein-to-fat-ratio and a wealth of iron, the antioxidant selenium, phosphorus, vitamin C, and vitamin B12—needed for proper nerve function and DNA synthesis.
You can find tamarind pulp at most Asian and Indian markets. Clams would work in this dish as well. Recipe can be halved.
4 Tbsp (60 mL) tamarind pulp
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 in (5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
5 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp (10 mL) mustard seeds
2 tsp (10 mL) cumin powder
2 tsp (10 mL) coriander powder
3 lbs (1.5 kg) farmed mussels
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp (2 mL) turmeric
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
Sea salt to taste
Place tamarind pulp in bowl and cover with 6 cups (1.5 L) boiling water. Let soak for 10 minutes.
In blender or food processor, mix together jalapeno, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes until smooth; set aside.
In small skillet, dry-toast mustard seeds until they pop. Add cumin and coriander; heat for about 1 minute, set aside.
Rinse mussels and toss any that are broken or do not shut when lightly tapped. In large pot, bring 8 cups (2 L) water to a boil; add mussels, cover and cook until they open up, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain mussels, toss any that stayed shut, and set others aside.
Return pot to heat and strain tamarind liquid through a sieve into pot. Mix in tomato mixture, toasted spices, cilantro, turmeric, and black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Return mussels in shells to the soup.
Ladle soup into bowls and lightly season with sea salt.
Each serving contains: 359 calories; 42 g protein; 8 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 29 g carbohydrates; 3 g fibre; 1,120 mg sodium
source: "Great Catch!", alive #332, June 2010
A tribute to the bounty and beauty of nature, this chocolate bark is studded with nuts, seeds, and berries and flavoured with the warming spices of ginger and cinnamon. Adding sweet paprika and chili also gives an interesting kick to a winter favourite. Cut back on the red pepper flakes if you prefer a less spicy version. Chocolate contains tryptophan—an essential amino acid—that helps our brain produce serotonin. Eating chocolate is a delicious way to get a mood boost, which can help lift our spirits when sunlight levels are low. Food of the Gods In the taxonomy of plants, the cacao plant, from which chocolate is derived, is called Theobroma cacao. Theobroma comes from Greek for “food of the gods.” Cacao comes from the Mayan word for the plant.
Up your omega-3 intake with these easy-to-make salmon parchment pockets. The sockeye fillets are first rubbed with a marinade of juniper berries, citrus zest, and garlic before being enclosed in parchment. Juniper has a strong and piney flavour and lends a unique tang to this dish. It also contains antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. Be sure to capture the juices that arise during steaming. No mortar and pestle? Crush juniper berries by laying them between two sheets of parchment and bashing them gently with a rolling pin.
Escarole is a bitter green that stands up to heat and is suitable for grilling, braising, or using in soups. In this salad, it’s broiled with radishes before being dressed in a sweet, garlicky dressing that cuts the bitterness. Escarole is high in folate (vitamin B9), important in red blood cell formation, and vitamin A, important in immune function and eye health. Like kale and other cruciferous vegetables, it’s also very high in vitamin K, which assists in blood clotting. Bitter green substitutes If you can’t find escarole, use frisée (also called curly endive), mustard greens, or radicchio. Romaine also stands up to heat well and makes a good substitute, but it lacks the characteristic bitterness of the others.
In Japan, it’s a custom to eat kabocha squash on the day of the winter solstice as a symbol of good health. In fact, kabocha squash contains cancer-fighting antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein. It’s also full of fibre and vitamins A and C. We’ve made a roasted version dressed in a sweet and tangy marinade that’s sprinkled with sesame seeds before roasting in the oven. The remaining marinade, full of ginger, tamari, and red pepper flakes, is used as a dressing to further flavour the squash. Know your squash You’ll recognize kabocha squash by its dark green rind and round shape. Its yellowish-orange flesh is sweeter than other types and has been likened to a cross between sweet potato and pumpkin. The rind is quite hard but is edible when cooked. Wash squash well and take care while cutting. You can microwave the whole squash for 4 to 5 minutes prior to cutting to help soften the rind and make things a bit easier.