Ingredients

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Premium Ingredients ~ Organic Definition

We believe that using the best makes all the difference in your recipes.

After all, isn't getting the maximum amount of flavor into every bite paramount when you're trying to eat sensibly?

I mean, if you've budgeted 1 Tbs. of Parmesan cheese for your pasta recipe as an example, then why use a dull, tasteless, dried out brand when you could select a bold, rich, fresh and natural variety?

If one Tbs. of olive oil has the same amount of fat and calories regardless of what brand you choose, then why not use the most aromatic, herbaceous, great tasting oil available?

Obviously, buying premium quality can be more expensive (get 'em when they go on sale), but since you're using such small quantities, we believe it's well worth the extra pennies.

Parmesan Cheese Ingredients

Don't use canned, pre-grated Parmesan, because it's not much more than oil and fillers.

Instead, buy a small block of Parmigiano-Reggiano, a skim milk cheese from the Parma region of Italy.

You can tell it's the real thing by the name stamped on the rind.

Shave it with a vegetable peeler, or grate it with a micro-plane grater, available at cooking stores.

Try your own taste test and sample a bit of each cheese on its own and I think you'll be converted.

Fresh Produce Ingredients

Try to use fresh or organic fruits and vegetables, rather than frozen or canned conveniences.

Sure, it's easier to buy pre-chopped, bagged, frozen onions, but your casserole will taste better if you dice a fresh one.

Blueberries, cherries, carrots, broccoli, spinach, I think you'll agree ... they're all much better fresh.

And that goes double, triple for herb ingredients.

Purchase your herbs fresh whenever possible.

You'll want to double the amount of fresh to substitute for dried.

Seafood

Buy fish or shellfish at the fish counter.

When possible try to avoid pre-packaged, frozen, or canned fish (with the exception of tuna fish).

Ask your fishmonger if you can smell before you buy.

It should smell fresh, like the ocean on a spring morning and never like the tidal flats on an August afternoon.

If you're buying a whole fish, the eyes should be clear, not cloudy, and the fish should have tightly closed, shiny scales.

Cold Cuts

Shop for deli meats at the deli counter.

Ask the Deli lady for sliced, fresh, turkey breast or roast beef for your sandwiches, not pre-packaged versions which are stuffed with salt and preservatives.

Pasta Ingredients

Go for imported dried pastas, they have a wheaty, bread like taste and stay al dente better than most other brands we've tried.

Or buy high end brands.

Try a whole wheat fettuccine.

And while you're at it, don't put tasteless tomatoes on good pasta.

If the fresh ones you have aren't quite ripe (or they've been refrigerated, which diminishes flavor and texture), use canned Italian tomatoes instead.

(Make sure the label says "packed in Italy.")

Olive Oil

Olive oil should taste like, well, olives.

There are plenty of great extra virgin brands available in the grocery store.

Remember, the darker the better!!

Or go for one of the luscious, new, high end bottlings.

Vinegars

Use balsamic vinegar when you can because it's light and fruity.

Indulge in a boutique bottling of syrupy balsamic to drizzle over salads or steamed vegetables.

Rice Ingredients

Life's too short for tasteless rice.

Texmati (toothy and mild), Kasmati (slightly fragrant), and Jasmati (almost floral).

Try various types and find a few you like.

Honey Ingredients

Honey should taste like flowers.

Buy types from specific flowers or trees, like orange blossom, acacia, star thistle or even pine tree.

Read the labels because many "blueberry" honeys, for example, are made with artificial flavoring.

Chocolate Ingredients

Chocolate is never just chocolate.

Some brands are cut with shortening.

If you're going to splurge on chocolate, don't you want the very best?

For baking, use Scharffen Berger, available in the baking aisle; or Lindt bars, often in the candy aisle.

And, if you're wondering what to have for dinner tonight, why not try;

Grilled Tuna with Ginger Orange Marmalade

Here I go, talking about grilling again.

This is an awesome grilled-tuna recipe!

And, you can adapt this recipe to pretty much most fish as long as it's a firm, meaty type, such as Ahi tuna or Mahi-Mahi (one of my faves!)

Ingredients:

6 - 8 tuna steaks.

2/3 c. dry sherry.

2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil.

2/3 c. light soy sauce.

1/4 c. orange juice.

4 cloves garlic, minced.

3 Tbs. fresh ginger, grated.

2 Tbs. orange peel, grated.

Lemons and limes, sliced for garnish.

Preparation;

Combine sherry, olive oil, soy sauce, orange juice, garlic, ginger and orange peel to create the marinade.

Place tuna steaks in the marinade and refrigerate for several hours.

Grill over medium-high heat for 5 - 8 minutes per side.

You want to be careful not to overcook the fish.

Serve with lemon and/or lime wedges.

We try to cook our tuna so that the middle is still pink.

Some people might have a problem with this so you may want to ask your guests how they would like their tuna cooked.

This recipe is very healthy and you really don't need to change a thing...

...except maybe grab yourself a glass of a nice Chardonnay.

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