Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cooking With Fresh Herbs and a Catch (Recipe, Pics & Review)

When I started this blog I told myself I was going to try new things and really go outside our normal fare and expand our palates.  Today was a big day for me.  I went waaaaaay outside the box today.  I made something that I have never liked since I was a kid.  When my mom cooked it I hated it so much that she gave me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead.  Well, before I get further into that I will tell you that I, for the first time tonight, used fresh herbs.  I have always used dried.  I used rosemary, thyme and parsley.  When I cut the sprigs I didn't even know if I needed to take all the leaves off the stems, or if the stems are ok to eat.  I'm clueless.  lol  With the rosemary I took the leaves off the stem because it looked pretty thick.  But with the thyme, I tried taking off the leaves but the stems were so soft they just broke off with the leaves.  So I took out some of the bigger stems and figured the smaller ones were pretty soft so they must be all right to eat.

What did I make tonight?  Fish.  I have always hated the smell of it, hated the taste of it, hated the texture of it...have never liked anything about it.  But, I thought, that was when I was a kid.  Maybe my tastes have developed and become a little more sophisticated with age.  I asked around and a lot of people recommended tilapia.  They said it is a mild flavored fish that doesn't stink a lot.  I searched on dLife for a recipe and found one for "Tilapia with Fresh Herbs and Lime".  That sounded good enough, so when tilapia went on sale at my grocery store this week, I took advantage and bought some.  One good thing is that it wasn't terribly expensive.  Just $6.99 per pound.  And one package had a little less than a pound and it looked like quite a lot, so I figured it would be enough to feed my family.

And fish is ok for Sami too.  She is technically a "pescatarian", which is a vegetarian who eats fish.  That meant I only had to make one dinner tonight...yea!  Here's how to make Tilapia with Fresh Herbs and Lime:

1-1 1/2 lbs tilapia fillets
1/4 C fresh lime juice
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 C chopped parsley
1/2 C chopped scallions
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 C canned unsalted diced tomatoes (but I used the whole 14.5 oz can, and they probably should have been drained at least a little bit.)

1.  Preheat oven to 375F
2.  Rinse fillets, pat dry and set aside.
3.  In medium bowl, mix lime juice, garlic, parsley, scallions (green onions), rosemary, thyme, paprika and tomatoes.
4.  Spray baking dish lightly with pan spray.  Place fillets in baking dish.  Spread topping evenly over fish.

5.  Cover tightly with foil and bake 25 minutes, until fish flakes easily with fork.

This fish is so amazing in the nutritional aspect.  I am going to give you the information for just the fish and then for the whole dinner I made which was 5 oz fish, 3/4 c cooked rainbow quinoa and 2 oz steamed asparagus.  Here's what it looked like all served up:
Looks good, doesn't it?  And my house didn't smell after it cooked!  Bonus!  Anyways, the fish's stats are:  181 calories, 3.8g fat, 1.3 saturated fat, .85g polyunsaturated fat, 1.4g monounsaturated fat, 80mg cholesterol, 79mg sodium, 538mg potassium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 37 whopping grams of protein. (4 Points Plus for the fish)

For the whole meal the numbers are:  376.6 calories, 7.6g fat, 1.79g saturated fat, 2.24g polyunsaturated fat, 2.1g monounsaturated fat, 80mg cholesterol, 224.7mg sodium, 1036mg potassium, 32.8g carbs, 3.9g fiber, 44.2g protein.  Talk about healthy and nutritious!!!  Holy cow! (9 Points Plus for whole dinner)

Now, for the taste test of my family.  Sami liked it and ate it.  Matthew sort of liked, but didn't like the after taste and only picked at it.  Sara and I spit it out.  Sara said it "tastes like plants".  Guess that would be the rosemary and thyme. lol  I did not like the taste or texture.  But I have never been a fish lover.  Now, I can tell that if I was someone who liked fish, this would be a very good fish to have.  Yes, the taste is very mild and the texture is soft and flaky.  So you may very well love it.  Jeff, who has always liked many types of fish, had 3 helpings of it and thought it was really good.

I would recommend this recipe for those of you who either like fish already or for those who want to try a mild-flavored fish.  It very well may be that my childhood memories of my aversion to fish got in the way of me really being open-minded about this dish.  I will try fish again.  I'll keep at it, staying on my course to try new things.  I think next time I will try salmon.  I seem to remember liking salmon patties when I was a reminded me of tuna, and I do like tuna (from a can).

The meal was overall easy to make.  I forgot to mention how to cook quinoa, in case you don't know.  First of all, I recommend buying it from the bulk section of your local healthy food store or farmer's market.  It is much more economical than buying the little boxes.  Those are waaaay over priced in my opinion.  Anyways, the rule of thumb is 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa.  It will bulk up about 3 to 4 times the dry measurement when cooked.  I used 1 1/2 C dry quinoa and 3 C water (I should have used stock for more flavor) and it made more than enough to feed my family of 5.  Next time I'll try to remember to use just 1 cup.  So put the liquid and quinoa in a pot over high heat and heat to a rolling boil.  Cover it, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  I thought the rainbow quinoa made the plate look visually inviting, as opposed to just the drab color of plain quinoa.  But they taste the same as far as I can tell.  I will make more quinoa dishes in the future, because it is really good...very bland unless you mix other flavors into it, though.  That's why I should have used a vegetable or chicken stock instead of just water.  But I added a little salt and that perked it up a bit.

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