Posts Tagged cooking

Apr 22 2014

Glucosamine, made from shellfish shells, may have exciting new health benefits

Seafood News

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [Daily Mail] By John Nash – April 22, 2014

Could the elixir of youth in fact be a potion made from the shells of crab, lobster and shrimp?
Last week, in the highly respected journal Nature Communications, scientists reported how the food supplement glucosamine, often made from shellfish, can make mice live nearly 10 per cent longer. That would add an average eight years to human lifespans, taking the average UK life expectancy to 89.

The researcher, Dr Michael Ristow, a biochemist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, gave the supplement to ageing mice in addition to their usual diet and compared them with similar mice not given the supplement.

He believes the benefits are down to glucosamine making the body think it’s on a low-carb, highprotein diet. It does this by creating amino acids that the body mistakes for proteins.

In response, our bodies start burning more protein. This can keep weight down and, as a result, may also fend off problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Glucosamine supplements, available in health food shops, are already a popular remedy for arthritis, with annual sales estimated at £41.6 million, according to recent figures.

This is because glucosamine is thought to help the body produce synovial fluid, which lubricates joints and helps cartilage to repair itself. If cartilage isn’t repaired, bones in joints are more likely to rub against each other, causing arthritis — inflammation and pain in the joint.

The body itself produces glucosamine but the amount starts to dwindle after the age of 45.

However, the jury is out on whether glucosamine supplements really help ease arthritis.

While supplement manufacturers are keen to claim it is proven by lab tests, a 2010 review of ten trials published in the British Medical Journal found that glucosamine was not useful in reducing osteoarthritis joint pain.

The evidence for glucosamine promoting longevity may in fact be more promising.

It appears to protect against several common causes of death, according to a 2012 study by The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in the U.S.

The large-scale study, involving more than 77,000 people over an eight-year period, found those taking glucosamine for their joints had nearly a fifth lower risk of premature death. Furthermore, they had a 13 per cent reduced risk of dying from cancer and a 41 per cent reduced risk of dying from respiratory disease, reported the European Journal of Epidemiology.

Scientists have suggested that glucosamine may have an anti-inflammatory effect similar to that of aspirin but without the long-term adverse side-effects such as stomach bleeding.

There may, however, be another explanation. Glucosamine has been found to boost a process in the human body called autophagy, according to a 2013 report in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.

Autophagy is a system in which cells get rid of their toxic waste. If this process fails, the cell dies, explains Katja Simon, a researcher in immunology at the University of Oxford Nuffield Department of Medicine, who is exploring this process in human studies. ‘In the ageing process it has been shown that autophagy levels fall. It may be that things such as wrinkles, hearing loss and cancer are actually due to these falling autophagy levels and accumulation of toxic wastes in the cells.’

This may help to explain why glucosamine used in a cream appears to have an anti-ageing effect on the skin.

A series of studies presented to the American Academy of Dermatology in 2006 suggested it may reverse the ageing effect of sunburn on skin cells.

Tests from Harvard Medical School found that a cream made with the chemical reduced liver spots and freckles in those with sunburn-related damage.

Other studies presented at the conference showed that glucosamine in skin cream may stimulate production of hyaluronic acid, believed to help keep skin hydrated, and collagen, which can make skin appear youthfully plump.

But these are early days. As Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology and a consultant rheumatologist at King’s College London, says: ‘Glucosamine is an interesting molecule that could affect us subtly in many ways. If even a modest effect on ageing were proven, it would be a major advance. However, humans are not the same as worms or rodents and studies will need careful replication before we get overexcited.’

It should also be acknowledged the substance has potential side-effects. People taking the bloodthinning drug warfarin should be cautious, as glucosamine may make the drug too potent.

And those who are allergic to shellfish should also be wary, although the allergenic part of shellfish is usually the flesh and not the shell, and some glucosamine supplements are based on alternative sources, such as plant fungus.

Nevertheless, we may now be nearer the day when a lobster can help us to look less crabby.

Ken Coons
Copyright © 2014
Source: News

Apr 3 2014

Exotic Opah in San Diego Harbor

‘Craziest day ever’ as exotic opah beaches itself in San Diego Harbor

It’s unclear how the colorful, deep-water denizen got so far off-track

by Pete Thomas |


Brandon Buono poses with 91-pound opah that was found swimming in front of Fisherman’s Landing; photo by Doug Kern

The opah is a solitary denizen of deep water and caught very rarely by anglers fishing far offshore for other species.

So folks at Fisherman’s Landing Tackle in San Diego were understandably surprised this week to discover that a 91-pound opah had swum right up to the dock area, where it was promptly gaffed by a landing employee.

That would mean the exotic opah either swam into and through much of San Diego Harbor to reach the landing, or the colorful fish was somehow delivered alive—say, in the ballast of a ship or the hold of a commercial fishing boat.


Exotic opah after its capture at Fisherman’s Landing; photo by Doug Kern

Either way, it was a bizarre event, one that led landing co-owner Doug Kern to write on Facebook: “CRAZIEST DAY EVER AT FISHERMAN’S LANDING!”

Kern, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, also posted this statement: “I never would have believed it if I wasn’t there to see it. The fish was swimming around in circles and then just beached itself. Brandon [Buono, a landing employee] got a gaff and pulled it up on the sand.”

Opah are large and colorful fish that roam tropical and temperate seas and are delicious as table fare. They’re caught mostly by long-lining commercial fishermen targeting tuna and other pelagic fish. However, they’re caught very sporadically by anglers on San Diego’s long-range sportfishing fleet, which targets tuna and wahoo in Mexican waters.

One of the Facebook comments reads, “That was the El Nino messenger,” in reference to a warm-water event that appears to be developing in the eastern Pacific and could result in sending exotic species of fish far north of their typical range.

Those fish might include opah, yellowfin tuna, or mahi-mahi. But don’t count on any of those fish swimming ashore.

Nov 12 2013

The fish we don’t eat

blackfish - SalonIt’s hard to imagine just how many edible fish there are until you see them arrayed in their multicolored, multi-finned glory. Lobster Place, a bustling seafood shop in the center of New York’s Chelsea Market, is a good place to start. The store’s open display cases hold live sea urchins that respond to the touch; fat, juicy chunks of Hawaiian Wahoo; gigantic, whole tilefish that stare, glassy-eyed at the curious consumer; and other offerings that, were they not labeled, you’d need a degree in marine biology to recognize.

Some, like baby squid and octopi, razor clams, and fillets of specialty catch that retail for upward of $25 per pound, might intimidate the standard home chef in search of something to serve for dinner. This is intentional. Chelsea market draws tourists, upper-class gourmands and Food Network fans in search of weird fish that’s hard to find anywhere else.

Other offerings, though, are just … different. There’s no reason to believe most of the fillets priced by the pound are less tasty or harder to cook than typical supermarket fare. Yet Davis Herron, Lobster Place’s director, says standard fillets of salmon, tuna, cod and halibut are still the specialty market’s biggest sellers.

It’s no coincidence that the most endangered fish are also staples of the American diet. When we talk about overfishing, we’re referring to individual species that consumers — and the market – latch on to, often to the exclusion of other options. As much as we extoll the virtue of seafood, our enthusiasm for those select few suggests, we’re really not all that comfortable with it.

“There’s a fear of seafood,” said Rick Moonen, a renowned seafood chef who was one of the first to advocate sustainable fishing. “For some reason, people get nervous.” Fish are complicated, expensive and easy to overcook. They’re laced with small, sharp bones ready to choke the incautious diner. They smell. The limited number of species we stick to aren’t exceptions, but at least they’re familiar. Yet by refusing to broaden our options, we’re threatening to eat them out of existence.

Read the full article here.

Oct 2 2013

British study debunks mercury in fish risk for pregnant women

Seafood News

New research from the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol suggests that fish accounts for only seven per cent of mercury levels in the human body.

In an analysis of 103 food and drink items consumed by 4,484 women during pregnancy, researchers found that the 103 items together accounted for less than 17 per cent of total mercury levels in the body.

Concerns about the negative effects of mercury on fetal development have led to official advice warning against eating too much fish during pregnancy. This new finding, published today in Environmental Health Perspectives, suggests that those guidelines may need to be reviewed.

Previous research by Children of the 90s has shown that eating fish during pregnancy has a positive effect on the IQ and eyesight of the developing child, when tested later in life. Exactly what causes this is not proven, but fish contains many beneficial components including iodine and omega-3 fatty acids.

After fish (white fish and oily fish) the foodstuffs associated with the highest mercury blood levels were herbal teas and alcohol, with wine having higher levels than beer. The herbal teas were an unexpected finding and possibly due to the fact that herbal teas can be contaminated with toxins. Another surprise finding was that the women with the highest mercury levels tended to be older, have attended university, to be in professional or managerial jobs, to own their own home, and to be expecting their first child.

Overall, however, fewer than one per cent of women had mercury levels higher than the maximum level recommended by the US National Research Council. There is no official safe level in the UK.

Read the full article here.

Aug 17 2013

Anchovies are moving out of the can and into the mainstream as chefs and grocers embrace them

Seafood News
SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [Canadian Press] – August 16, 2013 – Maligned and misunderstood, anchovies have long been those stinky little fish that sneak into Caesar salad or top some adventurous person’s pizza.

“My father would eat them out of a can,” says New Orleans restaurateur and TV chef John Besh. “If Dad was going hunting, he’d grab a can of smoked oysters or anchovies and crackers and that would be his lunch.”

But today, chefs like Besh have moved anchovies to the top of the food chain, showcasing them as elegant bar snacks, sophisticated bruschetta or the foundation for pasta dishes and stews.

“They make friends and enemies quickly,” says Seamus Mullen, chef-owner of Tertulia in New York City. “A bad anchovy is not a good thing. It’s a question of making sure you get the right ones.”

Getting the “right” anchovies has become much easier in recent years. The mushy, salty tinned anchovies eaten by Besh’s father are still out there. But more and more, the shelves of gourmet stores and upscale supermarkets offer high-quality anchovies preserved in olive oil, pickled in vinegar or sometimes even fresh.

More menus feature items such as “boquerones,” white anchovies, often dressed with vinegar. Fresh anchovies might be cooked over a wood fire or dressed with breadcrumbs and garlic. Sometimes, anchovies go undercover.

Besh uses them as what he calls “nature’s MSG,” melting them into beef daube and lamb stew to intensify the savory flavours.

Nick Stefanelli, executive chef at Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca in Washington, D.C., uses them to make an ancient Roman fish sauce called garum.

“One of the most classic pasta dishes is spaghetti with fish sauce, garlic and chilies,” says Stefanelli, who includes the dish on his tasting menus. “The product itself really takes it where it needs to be… It’s so simple and beautiful.”

Anchovies have been a staple of Italian, Spanish and Provencal French cooking for centuries. French and Italian country stews use them to provide umami, a sense of meatiness and depth. They are made into marinades and tapenades, tossed into pasta and mixed with garlic, breadcrumbs and parsley to stuff vegetables, such as peppers and eggplant. In Spain, they are among the finest tapas.

Read the full article here.

Jul 11 2013

‘Dancing Squid’ Phenomenon: How Soy Sauce Brings A Dead Creature Back To ‘Life’

Soy sauce may be able to revive a dull dish, but it hardly has the ability bring dead things back to life. Yet, that’s exactly what the condiment appears to do in a GIF recently posted on Reddit.

Borrowed from a 2010 Youtube video, the GIF shows a cuttlefish seemingly coming back to life when soy sauce is poured atop it. The cephalopod’s body lifts up and writhes in the bowl, prompting viewers to ask: Is it really dead?

Indeed, the cuttlefish in the video — part of a seafood dish named odori-don — is no longer living. The cuisine, sometimes prepared with squid and known as the “dancing squid rice bowl,” rose to prominence after Japanese sushi restaurant Ikkatei Tabiji began preparing the plate in this particular fashion, according to CBS News.

So how does the squid “come back to life?”

Read full story here.

Jun 24 2013

How to prepare squid: How to clean, prepare and cook squid.


These are a few tips from our friends in the UK on how to clean, prepare and cook squid, note that the squid is a little larger than California squid, but the process is similar.
BBC Good Food
Points to remember:

  • Pull out the tentacles from the main body. Cut just below the eye and discard the innards. Discard the beak and then trim the long tentacles level with the rest.
  • Pinch the two fins together, thread thumb underneath and pull them away from the body, along with the membrane and discard.
  • Pull out the shell or ‘quill’ and then remove the innards using the back of a knife.
  • Cut the squid open, and scrape any more innards out and discard. Cut into slices, or score the squid and cut into pieces.
  • You can now cook the squid. Frying is a popular method – squid pieces just need to be cooked for 30-40 seconds on a very high heat. Serve immediately.

Read more tips and watch video here.

Oct 19 2012

RECIPE: Kalamarakia Yemista-Stuffed Squid

If you read my post about the Top Fish competition, then you know that I recently made a stuffed squid dish that landed me in third place. I am pretty proud of that recipe, and I’d like to share it with you.

I have served this dish to many friends, and they all enjoyed it. What is difficult about cooking squid is that you either need to cook it quickly or over a very long period of time, making sure that it doesn’t get rubbery. The way I prepare it is to bake it quickly, and it doesn’t take ages to chew—win win.

The prep for this dish takes about 10 to 15 minutes depending on your knife skills; I usually like a chunky chop, but with the squids being so little, you are going to want to chop everything pretty small.

Full recipe and story here

Sep 7 2012

Sardines stuffed with cream cheese & herbs

Stock up on your Omega-3 with sardines. Sardines are cheap and they are worth their weight in gold. If there are people that don’t really like sardines, you can stuff them with cream cheese and herbs. They taste differently and I am sure they will be a hit.



500 gr sardines
150 gr cream cheese (Philadelphialight)
Finely chopped chives
Finely chopped dill
Finely chopped parsley
Salt, pepper
Olive oil
Lemon juice


First you have to clean the sardines, which many of you absolutely hate. Perhaps you can get your fishmonger to do it for you.

In case you want to do it yourself, here is how: Put the fish in a bowl with water, and lightly scrape off the scales. You can use a knife or a special scraper. Take care not to scratch the skin. The sardines have very soft scales that come off very easily. Then you have to cut off the head with the gills and everything. Cut open the belly and remove the intestines. Rinse the fish.

Use a very sharp knife for the next step. Insert the knife in the fish from the cut side. You must feel that it touches the backbone. Run your knife along the bone to the tail. Be careful not to separate the two fillets completely. They must be joined at the back.  Open the fillet and insert your knife below the bone and slide it towards the tail, so that you can remove the bone. Gently scrape off the soft bones and your sardine is ready to be stuffed. It sounds complicated but it is very easy and it doesn’t take long once you get the hang of it.

Rinse each fish as you finish filleting it and place it in a colander to drain. Sprinkle some salt over the fish and let them drain while you prepare the stuffing.

In a bowl place the cheese and the chives, dill and parsley. Mix well with a fork. Lay the sardines in a baking pan, the one next to the other. With a teaspoon, put some stuffing between the two fillets of fish. Press the two fillets lightly together. When you have stuffed all the fish, sprinkle a little salt over them and some oregano if you wish, and drizzle some olive oil and  lemon juice.

Bake them in a preheated oven at 180oC for about 20 minutes. You can serve them with a nice green or Greek salad and some fries.

If you wish, you could leave some sardines whole after having removed the head and the intestines. Place them in the pan, drizzle some oil and lemon juice over them and sprinkle some salt and oregano. They are very tasty this way as well.

Another way to cook the sardines is to barbecue them. These little fish packed with vitamins and minerals are a real powerhouse, and should be added to your menu.

This delicious recipe is the courtesy of  Cooking In Plain Greek

Mar 26 2012

Estimated 1,000 Fishermen Rally for Reform in Protest Staged in Nation’s Capital

Recreational and commercial fishermen gather on Capitol Hill  on Wednesday to call for reform of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. AP Photo 

Written By By Don Cuddy

Around 1,000 commercial and recreational fishermen from around the country gathered near the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to call attention to the regulatory difficulties facing the fishing industry on the East and West coasts.

The rally, billed as Keep Fishermen Fishing, was organized to seek reforms to the Magnuson Stevens Act, the law that governs fishing in federal waters.

Fishermen and industry groups have long complained that inflexible and onerous regulations are hampering their ability to fish and forcing some independent fishermen to abandon their traditional way of life.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell was among those who spoke at the rally. “There was a great show of support from the fishing community and a big turnout from Congress,” he said. Several senators and around a dozen House members spoke at the gathering, according to the mayor, including a large New England delegation that included Massachusetts Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown and Reps. Barney Frank, John Tierney and Bill Keating.

Bristol County District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter, running against Keating for Congress in the 9th District, also spoke.

Mitchell, who estimated the crowd at 1,000, focused his remarks on the need to keep fishermen in New England on the water by adopting greater flexibility in the rigid timelines established for rebuilding fish stocks.

“We need regulations geared to the reality at sea and we need more money for research and better stock assessments,” he said.

Read the rest of the article on SouthCoastToday.