Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Carb-less Nifty Little Salmon dish ... and a start up to a thinner you.

It has been a little over a year now that I decided to cut down on my carb frenzy and all I can say is that it has worked wonders on my health. So, no more big bowls of spaghetti and pizza is definitely a treat for special weekends. I feel lighter and oddly enough, more energized, though I suspect there's a lot of psychology involved. (see unusually large smile when fitting in my favorite jeans)
I realized for some time already that the reason why it is so hard to keep eating right is because... well, once hunger hits, I'm not ready to give it a good fight. If I could only have a way to whisk out something really tasty and filling in less than 15 minutes, I would be out of excuses... and that's just what I set myself to do. 
I went out and bought lots of individually wrapped frozen fish fillet (salmon, tilapia, haddock... any as long as it's a 100% unprocessed fish without anything added to it).

 This is what I'm talking about

I also bought chicken steaks and breasts, wrapped each individually and froze them. Also, ground chicken and turkey meat, divided and shaped into individual portions of no more than 150 grams each (about 5 ounces). I guess I'm pretty much covered, protein-wise. 
As for vegetables, cooking time and shelf-life was a problem so I decided to look for frozen vegetables that could also be quickly prepared and had minimal cooking involved. The best choices where frozen spinach, specially those that already come shaped into nuggets for easy use, mixed cut vegetables are also very convenient. Basically, I look for anything that is small enough to be cooked in no more than 5 minutes and also give a big plus to anything that doesn't require boiling. One of my best finds was dried wakame seaweed. All it needs is to be re-hydrated in some hot water and voila! Plus, it's incredibly healthy and rich in omega 3, doesn't spoil and is relatively inexpensive. I try to always keep cucumbers and tomatoes in the fridge, for a quick add-on to my meals.

I also got myself a digital scale to make sure I keep my carbs in check and a good 8 inch non-stick pan that is just the right size to accommodate the meal I'm setting off to cook... and also pretty much eliminates the need for extra oil.
As for carbs, I'm not a zealot. I'm not sure that cutting them down completely is healthy, but it does make things very hard and I realized soon enough that avoiding them too much always made me feel more hungry, so I compensated by eating more protein and soon enough, my cholesterol levels started to go overboard and seriously... I need that little guilty pleasure, even though it's just at 300 g (10 ounces) a day.

So this brings me back to the last post and that nifty little carb-less dish. 
I just whisked out a piece of salmon out of the freezer and let it slowly defrost (about 15 minutes outside), cut into nice bite-size pieces and set aside. I then rehydrated a handful on wakame seaweed in hot water for 5 minutes, drained and lay them at the bottom of a bowl. Added the salmon, one chopped cucumber, green onion. That's pretty straight forward. What really made this dish a winner  were  the topping: japanese dry seasoning and a slightly spicy soy sauce my husband concocted.

The dry seasoning was sent to me from Japan and as I'm quickly running out of it, I decided to try and reproduce it at home. So here's a close up...

...and that's what's in it:
  • 1 Tbsp of black sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp of white roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp of dried bonito shavings
  • 1 Tbsp of granulated wasabi (optional) - use crushed wasabi peas for a similar taste!
  • 1 Tbsp of chopped roasted nori (seaweed sheets for sushi rolls)
  • 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt 

Mix everything well and keep in a airtight container, preferably in the fridge.

Ok, on with the sauce!

This is pretty easy too! Just mix about 1/4 of a cup of soy sauce with 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of mirin (japanese sweet wine) and 1/2 teaspoon of Shichimi Togarashi, also called japanese 7 spice. Let it sit for a few minutes before using, so you'll get the full taste of that amazing roasted orange peel!
If you don't like spicy, you can freely skip the spicy stuff.

Now, just sprinkle your dry seasoning over the dish and add a couple of tablespoons of prepared soy sauce. 
Here's a wonderfully light meal, perfect for the Summer and so easy to make, there's just no excuse to eat junk.

Have a great week all!

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