Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Organic v. grass-fed beef, elusive food discounts, home cooking

Nature's Reserve Grass Fed Beef, left, and Clayton's Organic Ground Beef, both from Australia, are available at ShopRite in Paramus.

Clayton's Organic Ground Beef is 85% lean, compared to Nature Reserve's 80% lean.


Which is a better deal nutritionally -- 100% grass-fed ground beef raised without growth hormones or organic beef that is grass fed and grain finished?

I'd go with organic, because the beef is free of both harmful antibiotics and hormones, and the grain would have to be organic and free of GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

Both kinds are available at ShopRite in Paramus, where Clayton's Organic Ground Beef is on sale this week for $4.99 a pound with a store card, if you buy three packages.

At the International Food Warehouse in Lodi, 6.7-ounce bottles of yellow-fin tuna fillets are $5.99 or the equivalent of $14.30 a pound, above and below.

Fishing for deals in Lodi

You'll find one of the best selections of canned and bottled seafood at the International Food Warehouse, but bargains are elusive.

On Monday, I saw beautifully packaged 3.2-ounce tins of clams and crab from Chile for $2.50 each.

Bottle of tuna fillets, weighing only 6.7 ounces, were $5.99 each.

The store stocks tins of sardines from all over, but none are 99 cents, which is what I pay for Moroccan Sardines at Fattal's in Paterson.

Missing signs in the store, at 370 Essex St. in Lodi, make shopping difficult, but an employee I spoke with blamed customers for removing them, though I didn't understand why they would do that.

I took a 3-liter tin of extra-virgin olive oil from the Greek island of Crete to the front counter to find out the price, and left it there when it scanned at well over $20.

I bought a liter bottle of organic Turkish extra-virgin olive oil for $6.99, and fresh sweet red peppers for 89 cents a pound.

Two Costco Wholesale organic eggs with a generous pinch of Aleppo pepper made a great breakfast served over Costco's organic quinoa with diced tomatoes, black beans and whole garlic cloves prepared in an electric rice cooker.

Easy meals without bread

Breakfast can be just as filling without bread, especially one of those enormous bagels slathered with cream cheese.

Organic quinoa and whole-wheat pasta go great with eggs, omelets and frittatas.

Baked sweet potatoes need nothing beyond their terrific flavor and color.

When I couldn't find sweet potatoes this week, I boiled Kabocha squash with its skin and whole garlic cloves, and mashed them with extra-virgin olive oil and seasonings.

The squash was on sale at H Mart in Englewood for 45 cents a pound.

A simple egg-white omelet with a slice of Costco's reduced-fat Swiss cheese was delicious accompanied by leftover organic whole-wheat capellini lightly dressed in Costco's Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto.

My wife removed the bones and skin from leftover king whiting that were $1.99 a pound at H Mart in Englewood, and I used the flaky fish in a frittata with Costco's grated and sliced cheeses, and  dried Italian herbs. Two small baked sweet potatoes stood in for bread at this hearty breakfast.

My brother-in-law prepared fried whole porgy covered with onions, sweet pepper and whole pimento berries (allspice) cooked in vinegar or what is called escovitch fish, below. I ate mine with broccoli rabe from ShopRite that I blanched in boiling water and then sauteed with sesame oil and seasonings, including salt and powdered garlic.

For dinner tonight, I adopted a vegetarian recipe I saw in the newspaper for broccoli and firm tofu with ginger, onion, garlic, curry powder, tumeric and miso. I served the Costco tofu with Kabocha squash and garlic cloves I boiled and mashed, using extra-virgin olive oil and seasonings (I didn't have any fresh broccoli).

Recipe for Wafuu

Click on the following link to see the recipe from The Miami Herald:

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