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Summer fit foods

When the summer heat starts to slow you down, eating a fresh and healthy diet is a surefire way to boost your energy. Chef Michael Psilakis, Bon Appetit's 2008 Chef of the Year, understands the importance of changing flavors and ingredients with the seasons. By using fresh, seasonal ingredients, dishes can be flavorful while remaining healthy.

To enhance your summer menu, Chef Psilakis has provided his top five fit facts to help stay healthy during these active months. In addition, he has shared two of his favorite summer dishes, Grilled Diver Scallops with Pistachio Crumble and Grilled Swordfish with Peaches, Pistachio Hummus and Fava Beans.

"Both dishes incorporate seafood that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, fruits packed with vitamin C and pistachios, which are proven to lower cholesterol and reduce stress," says Chef Psilakis. "Since summer is a time when produce is plentiful, it's easy to create dishes that both your body and your taste buds will enjoy."

Visit www.westernpistachio.org for more delicious summer recipes.


Grilled Swordfish with Peaches, Pistachio Hummus, and Fava Bean Salad

For swordfish and peaches:

4 swordfish steaks or filets (8 oz. each)
2 peaches--peeled, pit removed, quartered
1/4 cup pistachio oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry oregano
For pistachio hummus:
1/4 cup pistachio paste (not sweetened)
1/4 cup pistachios
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh dill (finely chopped)
salt and pepper to taste

For fava bean salad:

1/4 cup fava beans (cooked and peeled)
1 bulb fennel
10 basil leaves (whole)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced scallion
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste (sea salt if desired)

For swordfish and peaches: Preheat grill. Whisk together pistachio oil, lemon, salt, pepper and oregano. Reserve. Season both sides of peaches and swordfish. Sear on hot grill. When cooked (about 6-8 minutes), marinate in lemon-oil mixture and reserve.

For pistachio hummus: In a food processor, puree all ingredients until smooth consistency. If too thick, adjust with more lemon juice or warm water.

For fava bean salad: With a mandoline, shave one bulb of fennel as thin as possible lengthwise. Toss fennel with fava beans, basil, lemon juice, scallions, olive oil, salt and pepper.

To Serve: Put about 4 tablespoons of hummus on plates. Arrange swordfish on hummus and top with grilled peaches. Finish with fava bean salad, more olive oil, lemon and sea salt. Yield: 4 servings.


Grilled Diver Scallops with Pistachio Crumble, Cucumber and Feta Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

For grilled scallops:

8 large diver scallops
2 tablespoons pistachio oil
1 tablespoon lemon
salt and pepper to taste

For cucumber salad:

2 English cucumbers
1/2 cup crumbled feta
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 teaspoon chopped oregano
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

For pistachio crumble:

1 cup shelled pistachios
1 tablespoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted)

For roasted strawberries:

1/2 cup strawberries (quartered)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon mint leaves (finely chopped)

Instructions:

For scallops: Rub scallops with pistachio oil and season with salt and pepper. Put on grill fat side down and sear on one side on high heat (about 4 minutes). When charred, turn scallops and cook on low heat about 1 minute or until desired doneness.

For cucumber salad: Toss all ingredients together in mixing bowl.

For pistachio crumble: In a food processor, combine all ingredients until a powder is achieved.

For roasted strawberries: In a hot sauté pan, add olive oil. Add strawberries. Sauté 1 to 2 minutes or until somewhat soft. Add vinegar, turn off heat and add mint.

To Serve: Dip warm scallops in crumble until well coated on seared side. Bake in hot oven or on hot grill to brown for about 1 minute. Arrange cucumber salad on plate with some additional crumble and crumbled feta. Drizzle with strawberry vinaigrette. Place scallops on salad and redress with fresh lemon and olive oil. Serve with toasted pita or crusty bread and a drizzle of olive oil. Yield: 4 servings

5 Fit Facts for Summer Foods

Go Nuts with Your Salads

--Use nuts, like pistachios, as a protein source on salads instead of meats. Pistachios are full of potassium, vitamin B6 and fiber and don't pack as many calories as most meats.

Explore the Sea

--Try swapping out red meats for seafood. A good amount of seafood--like flounder, cod, haddock, sole, shrimp, scallops, crabs and clams--are exceptionally low in fat and some are loaded with B-vitamins, iron, zinc, selenium and copper.

Add Some Beans

--Incorporating beans, such as chickpeas or fava beans, into your meal is a great way to help reduce cholesterol. When combined with nuts, including pistachios, seeds or grains, they form a complete high-fiber vegetable protein.

Eat More of Nature's Candy

-Serve fresh fruit in place of baked goods for dessert. Many fruits, such as strawberries, are just as sweet as sugar, but one serving packs 140 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C as well as flavinoids, proven to lower bad cholesterol levels.

Make Your Own Trail Mix

-Try making your own trail mix for snacks by combining dried fruits and nuts, such as strawberries or peaches with pistachios. Nuts are high in fiber, which help you fully absorb the vitamins and minerals that are rich in fruits.



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