Archive for April, 2010

Fresh Ocean Perch with Sauteed Fiddleheads

I have a new favorite green:  Fiddleheads!   I have always wanted to try them, but they are in season for such a short time, that unless you make a point to look for them, the season is over too fast to get any.  They have a slightly bitter taste, like Rappini or Broccoli Rabe, and a flavor that’s a cross between Asparagus and Broccoli.  High in Vitamins C and A, these are very good for you too, as well as being delicious!

Fresh Ocean Perch Fillets
Fiddleheads
1 Summer Squash
1/2 Vidalia Onion
1 clove Garlic
Olive Oil
Sale
Pepper
Thyme

 

Fish:

Put a light coating of vegetable or canola oil on a non-stick skillet.  Score the skin of the perch lightly, but all the way through to prevent it from curling while cooking.  Lightly salt, pepper, and thyme the white flesh of the fish, put flesh side down into the skillet.  Cook about 3 minutes until lightly browned and the fish is cooked most of the way through.  Turn over and cook about 2 minutes more skin side down.  These fillets don’t take very long to cook because they are so thin.

Vegetables:

Wash and trim Fiddleheads.  Leave no more than 2″ of the stem.  The rest gets tough.  Cut the Summer Squash into thin strips.  Slice the onion thinly.  Chop the garlic.

Heat skillet, add olive oil.  Add the onions first.  Cook until they are translucent.  Add the garlic.  Add the Fiddleheads.  Add the Summer Squash.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the veggies are crisp-tender.

That’s it!  Very quick and easy, and a nice light meal for the coming warm weather. 

If you cook the veggies first and lightly cover to keep warm, you can reuse the pan for the fish.  It becomes a one-pan dinner that’s healthy, delicious, and ready in 10 minutes.  You don’t have to heat up the whole kitchen, and clean-up is a breeze!

Enjoy!

Big Beef and Bean Burritos

Big and beefy and loaded with goodies!  That’s how I like my burritos.  None of this wimpy “throw a spoonful of stuff in and cover it with a little cheese” crap…   These will definitely fill you up and keep your engine running!

1 pkg large Burrito/Flour Tortilla rounds
1 lb. Ground Beef
1 large can of Black Beans
1 can of Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 pkg Burrito Seasoning or Taco Seasoning
1 sm can Diced Green Chiles
1 can Enchilada Sauce
1 jar Salsa of your choice
1 pkg Shredded Mexican Cheese blend (or any other kind you like)
Green Leaf Lettuce
Tomatoes
Avocado
Black Olives
Sour Cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Cooking:

Brown the ground beef and drain.  Add the can of black beans, juice and all.  Mix together.  Add the diced tomatoes with its juices and mix together.  Add the diced green chiles and the seasonings and mix together.  Make sure the mixture is evenly mix and heated through.

Spoon a little of the Enchilada Sauce around the bottom of a rectangular baking dish to help keep the burritoes from sticking while they cook.

Take a Flour Tortilla, spoon in the mixture, roll it, fold in the ends, roll again, and place in the baking dish.  Continue with as many as you can to fill the pan.

Spoon the rest of the Enchilada Sauce over the burritoes (or enough to totally cover them and run down the sides).

Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees until everything is heated through again and the cheese is melted on top, about 25-30 minutes.

Assembly and Serving:

While they are baking, dice the tomatoes, slice the black olives, and chop the lettuce. 

When the burritoes are done, remove them from the baking dish and put them on a platter or individual plate.

Top with salsa, diced tomatoes, black olives, lettuce, and sour cream.  Slice the avocado and put it on last (to keep from oxidizing too soon).

Serve.

Wicked YUMMY!

Making More Magic:

Try ground chicken instead of the beef for yummy chicken and black bean burritos.  I don’t recommend ground turkey, though.  It’s too delicate for this and will get lost.

You can use any other fillings you like, too — leftover pulled pork, shredded beef or chicken — the combinations are endless.

You can also top this with anything you want — black bean and corn salsa, pepperjack cheese…  get creative!

Enjoy!

Obsidian

Author: admin

Obsidian is an extrusive rock, which is lava that cooled quickly without forming crystals, giving it a glassy texture. 

Pure obsidian is usually dark in appearance, though the color varies depending on the presence of other trace minerals.  Iron and magnesium typically give the obsidian a dark green to brown to black color.  A very few samples are nearly colorless.  In some stones, the inclusion of small, white, radially clustered crystals produce a blotchy or snowflake pattern called Snowflake Obsidian.  In addition to other minerals, it also can contain patterns of gas bubbles remaining from the lava flow.  These bubbles can produce interesting effects such as Golden Sheen Obsidian or a Rainbow Sheen Obsidian. Inclusions of other minerals produce other patterns and characteristics.

History and Uses

Because of the lack of crystalline structure, obsidian is hard.  Blade edges can reach almost molecular thinness, leading to its ancient use as projectile points, arrowhead, and blades, as well as its modern use in surgical scalpel blades.

Obsidian was valued in Stone Age cultures because, like flint, it could be fractured to produce sharp blades or arrowheads.  It was also polished to create early mirrors.

Native American people traded obsidian throughout the Americas. Each volcano, and in some cases, each volcanic eruption produces a distinguishable type of obsidian, making it possible for archaeologists to trace the origins of a particular artifact.  Similar tracing techniques have allowed obsidian to be identified in Greece also as coming from Melos, Nisyros, or Yiali (islands in the Aegean Sea).   Obsidian cores and blades were traded great distances inland from the coast.

Healing Properties

Obsidian is truth-enhancing.  A strongly protective stone, it forms a shield against negativity. Obsidian draws out mental stress and tension and dissolves emotional blockages.

Each variety of obsidian has additional attributes.

Snowflake Obsidian – This sophistication of black and white along with the natural beauty of the snowflake pattern is enchanting.   Like being snowed-in and shut out from the outside world’s distractions, that comfort and warmth and protection that you feel inside is the sense that Snowflake Obsidan provides.  It gives a deep, enduring sense of protection and safety.

Mahogany Obsidian – Think of a fine piece of mahogany furniture, polished so that it gleams like glass.  Mahogany Obsidian has a sense of solid protection, along with an increased sense of touch.  It connects you to the earth.

Golden Sheen Obsidian – In addition to protection and safety from negativity, Golden Sheen Obsidian is excellent for gazing and finding the root of a problem.

Obsidian can be found in locations that have experienced volcanic eruptions. It has been found in Armenia, Canada, Chile, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Scotland, Argentina, and United States.

Broiled Salmon with Thyme

Turn broiler on high.  Spray non-stick cooking oil on your broiler pan to keep the fish from sticking.

Rinse the salmon.

Sprinkle the pink flesh side liberally with Thyme.

Turn the fish over and cut into pieces through the skin.  It’s easier to cut through the skin from this side rather than the other.

Put the pieces on the broiler pan skin side up.  Broil for a few minutes until the skin starts to bubble and turn color.

Turn the fish over and cook until the flesh is done, about 3 -4 minutes depending on the thickness.  Do NOT overcook.  Well-done fish is dry and yucky!

When the fish is cooked so that it is no longer dark pink inside, turn it back skin side up.  Put back in the broiler for another minute or two for the final crisping.

If you start with the skin side down when it’s raw and without doing the first cooking, it will stick and peel off the fish and disintegrate and be nasty.  By cooking the skin first, you give it a chance to firm up and then not stick to the broiler pan.

Easy!  Yum!

Oatmeal Cranberry Almond Breakfast Bars

These are super healthy and insanely delicious!

They are similar to my Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Cookies, but they don’t have all that flour, sugar, baking powder, and eggs. All natural ingredients and fantastic taste! What more could you ask for?

These are the perfect breakfast cookie or afternoon snack. A healthy pick-me-up that isn’t sweet.

3 cups of Quaker oatmeal
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup chopped dried cranberries
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt (optional — I omitted it this time and it still came out great)
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients in a big bowl and set aside. Mix the wet ingredients together.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. When all combined, it will be really really wet. If you think it’s more like oatmeal soup, then you got it right. The milk will absorb into the oatmeal when it cooks.

Use a rectangular backing sheet with sides and line it with parchment paper. Put the mixture into the pan, squishing it all around evenly. This is not a prissy job — use your hands and get everything in there evenly. You don’t want thin spots or thick patches. You WILL get messy!

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until the oatmeal and nuts turn a nice rich brown.

Let cool and cut into squares.

The magic of this is that you can use any type of nuts or dried fruit that you want. Try chopped pecans and dried apricots or walnuts and figs — the possibilities are endless!

And for those of we who commute long distances to work, these are the perfect breakfast food to eat in the car. Yummy, healthy, and not messy.

Aventurine

Author: admin

Aventurine is a translucent to opaque variety of microcrystalline quartz. 
It contains small inclusions of shiny minerals that give the stones a sparkling effect known as aventurescence. Inclusions of mica will give a silverish sheen, while inclusions of hematite will give a reddish or grayish sparkle.

Aventurine ranges in color from green, peach, brown, blue, and a creamy green.   Besides its uses in jewelry, aventurine is also used for ornamental purposes like vases, bowls, and figurines.

Legends and Myths

It is interesting that the name for the stone is derived from an accident.  Sometime during the 18th century, Venetian glass workers were preparing molten glass when copper filings accidentally fell into the batch producing a glass with sparkles.  The name aventurine comes from the Italian “a ventura,” which means” by chance.”

Legends say that it is an all-purpose healer, used to reduce stress, develop confidence, imagination and improve prosperity.  One legend from ancient Tibet says that aventurine was used to improve nearsightedness and to increase the wearer’s creativity.

Healing Properties

Aventurine is used as a lucky talisman and is a popular stone for gamblers.

Although there isn’t a “d” in the word, when you see aventurine, think  “adventure.”  Think optimism.  Think bountiful.  Think practical enthusiasm.  All are ingredients for adventure.  If you long for change, then aventurine is the stone for you.  It keeps various channels open and unblocked, allowing good things to come your direction.

Aventurine is found in Brazil, India, Austria, Russia, and Tanzania.    It is a 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness.  This mineral is often mistaken for amazonite or jade.