Click inside for the weekly food for thought with items on new ways to eat seafood, "400 Calorie Fix," new beers to be released in 2011 and more. Or check out these links:
Some diners are too intimidated to try seafood or may think it's too expensive to enjoy regularly. But with the wide assortment dishes available today, there is an option for every taste and any budget.
Seafood expert and Red Lobster Executive Chef Michael LaDuke offers tips for navigating your way to a perfect seafood meal:
*Start simple. When eating seafood for the first time or introducing it to kids, start with something simple. Try shrimp as a topping on a salad or a pizza. Shrimp is great seafood for beginners because it is widely available and reasonably priced.
* Try it grilled. Seafood is often prepared oven broiled or sautéed, but why not try grilled over an open flame? "Wood-fire grilling sears in the natural juices of fresh fish while adding subtle flavor," says LaDuke. "Not to mention, grilling is a healthful way to prepare protein-rich seafood."
* Find comfort in familiar flavors. Broadening your seafood horizons is easy when you start with a sauce or topping you already know and love. A well-known seasoning like Parmesan cheese or a common crusted topping like pecans can be paired with your favorite fresh fish and they can add a new dimension to your meal. A good fish for seafood beginners is tilapia because of its mild taste and light texture.
* Create your own combination. At a seafood restaurant, try ordering a combination plate, which allows you to savor multiple flavors and try different preparations at the same time. Discover the type of seafood you enjoy the most.
* Discover daily specials. A special or standalone menu is a great place to find new or unique dishes. "Ask a seafood expert about daily specials and promotions," says LaDuke. "This is often where the chef can get a little more creative with tastes." Take the advice of a trusted source to find new seafood varieties like rainbow trout, mahi-mahi or halibut.
* Get great seafood at a great value. Quality seafood doesn't have to cost a pretty penny. Instead, try premium seafood like lobster in a more approachable dish like soup or a sandwich. Think Lobster Bisque or New England Lobster Rolls.
For more information about selecting fresh, affordable seafood dishes and to learn more from Chef LaDuke, visit www.RedLobster.com.
Easy recipe: Fig Lollipops
12 large dried figs
2 oranges or grapefruits
3/4 cup (about 4 ounces) semisweet chocolate, milk chocolate or white morsels
12 (4-inch) bamboo skewers
Sea salt, kosher salt, finely chopped toasted nuts and/or colored sugar sprinkles
With scissors or a sharp knife, cut off fig stems and discard. Flatten each fig with palm of hand. Place one fig on each skewer to look like a lollipop.
Place oranges or grapefruits in small bowls to hold lollipops while chocolate cools. Microwave chocolate in microwave-safe bowl on medium, or at 50 percent power, for one to two minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.
Dip skewered figs, partially or completely, into melted chocolate. Sprinkle each with a pinch of salt, finely chopped nuts or sugar sprinkles, as desired. Poke skewers in oranges or grapefruits. Chill until set.
Makes 12 servings.
-- State Journal-Register/ Adapted from Valley Fig Growers
Did You Know?
The FDA issued a warning about criminals posing as FDA special agents and collecting ‘fines’ from people who ordered medication on the Internet or by phone.
Would You Buy It? Nestle Cherry Raisinets
Details: A 4-ounce, resealable bag of whole dried cherries covered in dark chocolate.
Claims: The company says the snack has a half-serving of fruit in every one-fourth cup.
More information: 800-258-6728 or www.raisinets.com
Availability: In the candy aisle of supermarkets.
Comments: First off, we needed scissors to get into the tear-top bag. Once in, we thought the chocolate coating was slightly waxy and the cherries were somewhat tart. “It’s nice to have dark chocolate.” “Kids might like them.” “One or two are OK. I don’t want more.”
Would you buy it? No.
-- State Journal-Register
We all know that Philly has cheesesteaks and Maryland has crab cakes, but what state has lobster rolls?
Answer is at bottom of column
Wise to the Word: Yorkshire pudding
[YORK-sheer, YORK-shuhr] British roast beef needs Yorkshire pudding, which is like a cross between a popover and a soufflé. It is not at all like a pudding. It's made with a batter of eggs, milk and flour, baked in beef drippings until puffy, crisp and golden brown. Like a hot soufflé, Yorkshire pudding will deflate shortly after it's removed from the oven. This specialty takes its name from England's northern county of Yorkshire.
Number to Know
600: A Buttermilk Trio at IHOP, which is three buttermilk pancakes with margarine and sugar-free syrup, is 600 calories.
The Dish On …
“400 Calorie Fix: The Easy new Rule for Permanent Weight Loss” by Liz Vaccariello and Mindy Hermann
From “Flat Belly Diet!” author Liz Vaccariello comes a book that makes it easy to spot and control calories. It has no banned ingredients, no magic foods and no complicated rules. You'll learn how to eat with the 400 calorie “lens”— the essential tool needed to assess portion sizes for all types of food at a glance. The book makes calorie control easy and delicious with 400 tasty 400-calorie recipes, quick-fix meals, and options that make it easy to dine out.
-- Rodale Press Inc.
From the Beer Nut’s Blog: What's new in 2011
This week, it's time to learn about ales and lagers scheduled to be released from breweries around the country in 2011:
Rogue Ales of Oregon will add to its double series, brewing up the Double Chocolate Stout. They also have a new beer in the Chatoe series of beers, the Floor Matt Ale.
Dogfish Head of Delaware has not announced any new beers, except for its Brand X, which has not been identified. However, they do plan on bringing back the 120 Minute IPA, which, because of an error in brewing, was not released last year.
Goose Island of Illinois has a few new beers planned. In April the brand-new imperial stout Big John is scheduled to hit shelves. In December, King Henry, a barrel-aged barleywine, will be out just in time for Christmas.
Norman Miller is a Daily News staff writer. For question, comments, suggestions or recommendations, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-626-3823. Check out The Beer Nut blog at http://blogs.wickedlocal.com/beernut/.
To read more from the Beer Nut, visit http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut/.
Food Quiz Answer
GateHouse News Service