Thursday, October 27, 2011

How meat can divide a family of four when dining in or dining out

Image by WordRidden via Flickr
Fresh full-fat mozzarella is a good substitute for fatty meat.

Editor's note: I'm holding out on not eating meat, but I'm out of sync with my family. Today, I'll also discuss a new Web site for Jerry's Gourmet & More in Englewood, a chicken-wing mystery and free stuff at Costco Wholesale.


I can't remember how many times we've argued in restaurants about ordering something to share and whether that dish should contain meat.

If we order takeout, it's shrimp in black-bean sauce or fried fish for me and barbecued ribs or curried goat for everyone else.

And preparing dinner at home is now on two tracks -- a meatless meal for me and a separate meal for my wife, 14-year-old son and mother in law that usually includes poultry, beef or pork.

Last weekend, we had dinner at the Organic Tofu Stew House in Ridgewood, where the broth is vegetarian, but we also ordered Korean barbecue. 

I ate some of the onions that came with the sliced beef short ribs, and found my oyster soft-tofu stew, rice and side dishes filling and satisfying.

In other soft-tofu restaurants, we've ordered pork dumplings for the meat eaters in my family and just as often a rice-flour pancake with seafood and vegetables I can share with them.

No meat since 2010

At the suggestion of my son, we stopped eating meat in February 2010, partly to cut down on all the work it took to find naturally raised poultry, beef, lamb and pork that is free of antibiotics, growth hormones and animal byproducts.

But several months later, he resumed eating meat, followed a couple months later by my wife. 

I've continued to restrict myself to seafood, eggs and some full-fat cheeses, especially after I started a successful diet and cut down drastically on bread, pizza, white rice and regular pasta. 

For dinner last night, I picked up four restaurant-quality dinners at Jerry's Gourmet and More in Englewood ($6.99 each) -- the last ones in the refrigerated case.  

Tilapia and haddock

My meal included a lemony tilapia fillet with asparagus, carrot and brussel sprouts; a spinach-and-mozzarella-cheese lasagna; and a stuffed mushroom. 

There was another tilapia dinner and two roast chicken in a balsamic-vinegar glaze with pasta and vegetables -- a perfect family compromise.

Tonight, we're having baked wild-caught, fresh Icelandic haddock fillet I picked up at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack ($7.99 a pound) accompanied by mashed skin-on potatoes with extra-virgin olive oil and an organic spring mix salad.

But this past Tuesday, I had to rummage in the freezer for frozen cod to supplement steamed vegetables and butter beans with smoked mackerel in tomato sauce my mother in law had prepared.

For dinner last Sunday, they ate steaks from Whole Foods Market in Paramus and I ate that day's breakfast -- Jamaican ackee and saltfish -- along with a big salad in an anchovy dressing I prepared. Later, I had fruit and cheese.

Pasta and eggs

One dinner we can agree on is whole-wheat pasta with canned sardines in a red sauce. I usually make a pound at a time, with four cans of sardines, and leftover pasta topped with two eggs fried sunny side up is a great breakfast.

But my son won't stray from white rice, refusing to eat the brown rice I prepare at home, even when I added kimchi and sesame oil to it or turn it into bibimbap with store-bought marinated vegetables.

Goji berriesImage via Wikipedia
Goji Berries.

He also hasn't tried a great eye opener: Bob's Red Mill 10-Grain Hot Cereal -- a 100% whole grain, antioxidant-rich, heart-healthy breakfast that is free of preservatives and chemical additives. A 25-ounce bag costs under $3 at ShopRite.

I usually add dried apricots and blueberries, slivered almonds, raw Chia Seeds and Goji Berries to my hot cereal and sweeten it with organic blue agave syrup. Sometimes, I add a little cold milk to the bowl.

The Chia Seeds and Goji Berries are organic. The former is labeled "Aztec Superfood" and the latter is called "Himalayan Superfruit." Both came from

Another breakfast I've been making is an egg-white omelet stuffed with reduced-fat Swiss cheese, smoked wild salmon and homemade mint-and-basil pesto. On the side, I have kimchi, olives, even a pickled lemon.

New Web site

Jerry's Gourmet and More put up a new Web site about a month ago, allowing customers to order Jerry's pasta sauce, dried pasta, extra-virgin olive oil and other items through the mail.

Web site: Jerry's Homemade

The Web site doesn't mention all the free samples available (cheese, salami, olive oil and wine), and how they attract frugal seniors such as myself. 

That can prove a problem in the small parking lot with seniors who have difficulty backing out of spaces and others who try to enter through the exit.

One item I simply can't find at Jerry's is black, squid-ink pasta.

Winging it

This past Monday, my wife picked up antibiotic-free Readington Farms chicken at ShopRite -- thighs, drumsticks and wings.

Can someone tell my why wings -- which have a lot of skin and hardly any meat, when compared to thighs and drumsticks -- are priced highest by the pound?

I've found the same price discrepancy at Fairway Market in Paramus with Murray's free-roaming chicken, and I've refused to buy into it. 

Free stuff

Attention Costco customers: The warehouse store is giving away eight 14.5-ounce cans of Del Monte Organic Diced Tomatoes with the purchase of eight cans through Nov. 6 ($7.75). You need a Costco coupon.

I drain the can and add the diced tomatoes to pasta sauce for texture. 

You also can add the tomatoes and juice to a pan, add a little olive oil and red or white wine, top with a whole fresh fish, cover and cook. You can do the same with chicken pieces.

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