Saturday, April 20, 2013

Where to find straight talk about mercury in seafood

A monk fish at Whole Foods Market in Paramus. Monk fish are known for their succulent tails, which cook up with the consistency of lobster, but unfortunately, they are one of the ugliest creatures in the sea.

Editor's note: Today's stew includes mercury in fish, antibiotics in farmed salmon, another side dish that is a good bread substitute and more on dress shirts from Costco Wholesale.

In researching who rates fish, I came across Blue Ocean Institute, and signed up for its e-mails, including one I received recently on mercury in seafood.

Click on the following link to read more about mercury:

Fish size and your health

Here is an introduction:
"It’s this simple: seafood is good for you; mercury is bad for you. Some seafood contains a lot of mercury and some has very little. We’ve analyzed the research and explained the findings in a way that is relevant and makes sense. Our simple rules of thumb help you choose seafood that’s low in mercury."

The bigger the fish, the bigger the mercury dose. Bigger fish eat smaller fish, and absorb their mercury.

One- or 2-pound fish are safer than such big fish as grouper, Chilean sea bass and giant bluefin tuna.

That's one reason we eat a lot of sardines, anchovies, sea bass, porgies and whiting.

A pan-fried porgy with vinegared sweet pepper, onion and carrot, served with boiled sweet potatoes and carrots mashed with extra-virgin olive oil and a touch of cinnamon.

Stewed Alaskan pollock with translucent noodles, both from H Mart, the Korean supermarket in Englewood, Little Ferry, Fort Lee and Ridgefield.
A frittata with Costco Wholesale's smoked wild salmon, reduced-fat sliced cheese, fresh tomato slices and sun-dried tomato fluffs up under the broiler thanks to a little low-fat milk in the mixture of egg whites and whole eggs.

I ate the frittata with leftover sauteed cabbage, sweet pepper and tomato.

Fish antibiotics

The use of antibiotics to raise farmed fish is another concern, and Whole Foods Market is one of the few retailers that address it.

Fresh farmed salmon from Canada is on sale for $10.99 a pound at the Paramus store until April 23, and the flier notes:

"Raised according to our strict standards for aquaculture with no antibiotics or added hormones."

Another way to avoid bread

My wife came home with a package of bulgur or cracked wheat, and it couldn't be simpler to prepare. 

Most "recipes" call for you to add hot water to the bulgur, allow it to absorb the liquid and pour off any excess. 

My wife boiled 2 cups of nutty bulgur in 3 cups of water until all of it was absorbed.

Bulgur wheat, right, is another side dish with protein and dietary fiber that helps you avoid bread and lose weight. Here it is served with ackee and salted cod fish.

Before heating up leftover bulgur, I sprinkled on Hemp Hearts from Costco Wholesale, then ate them for breakfast with two organic brown eggs, also from Costco.

Dressing up, dressing down

Last week, I found two more Kirkland Signature all-cotton, spread-collar dress shirts at Costco in Hackensack at $17.99, a price that can't be beat.

But I'll bet Costco could slice a dollar off, if some of the packing material -- paper, cardboard, plastic, string, fabric and pins -- was eliminated.

Because of all the time it takes to "unpack" the shirt, I do it the day before I plan to wear it. 

The card on the right unfolds to reveal two spare collar stays, but the string is wound so tight around a button that it has to be cut with a scissor.

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