Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Fried Catfish

 

So trust me, fried catfish was a frequent meal at our house…(as well as all sorts of “critters” that you can’t find in your local grocery store)

If we weren’t eating fried fish, we were instead munching down on some good Southern fried chicken and drinking sweet tea.

Although there is much debate as to how catfish should be prepared–such as using a batter, breading with cornmeal, or simply dipping it in flour….I have found that the best way to prepare perfect catfish is to fry it in a cornmeal crush.

So let’s learn the basics of making the perfect fried catfish.

 

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Ingredients

 

1-2# catfish—about.4-6 filets

1C milk or buttermilk

1C cornmeal…Use fine, white cornmeal if you can find it….if you can’t find it fin the store, use regular cornmeal with a little flourk added to it so that the crust doesn’t taste gritty.

1/2C flour

Seasoning…you can use whatever makes you smile and keeps you wanting more and more fish—such as Lawry’s to Zatarain’s, Old Bay or lemon pepper— but a good mixture would be…

  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp pepper
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1/2tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1Tbsp salt
    1tsp pepper
  • Cooking oil, preferably peanut oil

 

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Getting Ready 

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Lay a wire rack sitting on a cookie sheet inside the oven.

Heat oil in a large pot or deep fryer to 350 degrees F.  Make sure that your oil is hot enough…if not you will end up with soggy, greasy catfish.

 

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Preparing the Catfish

Rinse the catfish fillets under cold water.

Dry thoroughly with paper towels.  

Soak catfish in milk or buttermilk for about an hour. This will wash away the muddy flavor.

 

 

 

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Breading the Cztfish

Combine cornmeal, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.

Dredge each filet in the breading until it is coat evenly.

Place on a large platter to dry for about five minutes.

 

 

 

 

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Cooking the Catfish

Now add the breaded catfish to the hot oil. Be careful not to crowd the fryer…otherwise the the oil temperature will drop too much. The oil is ready whenever you drop a little of the dry breading mix into the oi, and if it sizzles at once.

Make sure that there is enough peanut oil to completely cover catfish fillets while frying.

Cook 7min per side…until golden brown.

Watch the temperature of the oil as you continue frying the filets. If the temperature gets too hot, you may need to lower the heat on the burner.

Keep cooked fillets warm in oven while you finish cooking the rest of the fish. This will help keep it crispy.

Place the cooked filets on paper towels to drain.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Fish…The Why

 

Fish is a great source of the important vitamins—such as…

Vitamins

  • B-complex vitamins—niacin, B12, B6…which have been associated with healthy development of the nervous system
  • Vitamin A…which is needed for healthy vision as well as for healthy skin
  • Vitamin D…which is essential in the calcium absorption needed for bone health and growth

Minerals

  • Calcium…which is needed for bone development.
  • Iodine…which helps maintain thyroid gland function
  • Iron…which is important in red blood cell production
  • Zinc…which is needed for cell growth and immune system health

Omega-3s which…

  • alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
  • halt mental decline in older people
  • help ease movement by the body, reduce your risk of heart disease, and strengthen the mind
  • reduce depression, the risk of heart disease, and tissue inflammation
  • regulate blood flow
  • keep our heart and brain healthy

In fact, the healthiest fish are those that contain the most omega-3—such as salmon, trout, sardines, tuna steak, mackerel, and herring.

Fish has been shown to have all sorts of awesome benefits for you as far as health goes…

So let’s find out the facts about how fish can make a difference to your health…

 

 

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Brain

Eating fish regularly can keep you smarter, longer…keeping your brain from slowing down as fast as it would had you not been eating fish regularly.

Fish does this by helping you maintain the grey matter in the brain, the tissue in our brains that contain the neurons in charge of processing information, storing memories, and regulating emotion and memory,

This will lower your chance of getting such brain malfunctions as Alzheimer’s disease.

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Depression

The omega 3 fatty acids found in fish can help improve symptoms of depression and increase the effectiveness of antidepressant medications.

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Heart

 

Fish is also great for your heart and circulatory system. In fact, eating fish regularly can reduce your risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death from heart disease by 36% by…

    • decreasing your risk of abnormal heartbeats
    • helping to lower  “bad,” cholesterol levels
    • improving blood vessel function
    • lowering cholesterol-building lipids in the blood
    • lowering triglycerides
    • lowering your blood pressure
    • lowering your heart rate
    • slowing down the growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque

 

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Insomnia

Eating fatty fish—such as salmon and herring—can improve both sleep and daily functioning because of its vitamin D content. One serving of cooked salmon contains the recommended amount of intake of vitamin D per week.

 

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Vision

Finally, eating fish regularly can help you maintain your vision by strengthening the retina…which in turn prevents age-related macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of vision impairment and blindness among people age 50 and older, by as much as 53%.

 

….The American Heart Association also recommends increasing the intake of Omega-3 through diet with food rather than supplements

….The American Heart Association also recommends increasing the intake of Omega-3 through diet with food rather than supplements

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Fish…The What

  1. Fish is another food high in antioxidants and other nutritional value, but it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed at the fish counter.

    You want to buy the tastiest, healthiest, and most sustainable choice…but truth is, they all look the same to the normal grocery shopper, right?!

    First we’re going to take a look at the types of fish typically found in a large grocery store.

    Then we’re going to look at the nutritional value of fish.

    And finally some recipes to make with each option…

    So let’s get started…

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    Catfish
    Being from Mississippi, I grew up eating catfish at least twice a month…since most of the catfish sold in the United States are farmed in the Mississippi Delta.
    But this was typically “wild” catfish, which often has a more muddy and stronger flavor than farmed catfish.
    Best for…sautéing or frying

     

     

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    Cod

    Cod has a mild flavor, making it great for a variety of cooking methods—such as sautéing, poaching, steaming, and baking.

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    Haddock
    Haddock…firm, mild flesh that is especially popular in Scotland….and is best for frying and deep frying—(fish n chips, go figure)…

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Halibut

Halibut is typically cut into filets that are firm, meaty, and mild with a low fat content….best for baking.

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Salmon

There are two different types of salmon—Atlantic and Pacific. You will usually find Atlantic salmon at your local grocery store because it is farmed and is available year-round. Atlantic salmon has a meaty texture and mild flavor that is best for grilling, roasting, or broiling.

Pacific salmon—such as sockeye or king salmon—are caught in the wild….making fresh Pacific salmon only available between late spring and early fall (although frozen can be found year-round). Pacific salmon has a stronger flavor than Atlantic salmon and is best for grilling, broiling, or roasting.

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Snapper

Typically you will only find red snapper when you are shopping for snapper…even though there are many different types of snapper that have not been recognized by the FDA.

Snapper can be served either whole or as filets. Be careful when ordering snapper at a restaurant, it will probably be served tail and perhaps head in tow.

Snapper is best for roasting or grilling.

 

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Swordfish

Fresh swordfish is available fresh and typically sold in steaks. It has a slightly sweet flavor and meaty texture that is best for grilling.

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Tilapia

Tilapia has an oily texture and muddy flavor that is bland enough that even those who hate the taste of fish can endure.

Tilapia is best for baking, braising, or poaching.

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Tuna

Most of us have been eating canned tuna since we were born…so I really don’t feel a need to elaborate here.

But it was only recently that I cooked a tuna steak…and man, oh man…ditch the can…

Tuna steaks are typically cooked by either grilling or pan frying.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Ratatouille

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Baked Eggplant

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Eggplant…The Why

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Brain Power

The skin of the eggplant can make you smsrter and keep you that way by…

  • acting as an antioxidant
  • facilitating blood flow to the brain
  • helping to carry nutrients into your brain cells
  • helping to prevent memory loss and other age-related mental decline
  • moving waste out of your brain cells
  • protecting brain cell membranes from damage
  • serving as an anti-inflammatory

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Cancer

Eggplant contains polyphenols, anthocyanins, and chlorogenic acid….all of which help prevent and fight existing cancer by…

  • acting as a anti-inflammatory
  • blocking the enzymes that help cancer cells spread.
  • preventing new blood vessels from forming in an existing tumor
  • serving as an antioxidant

 

 

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Cholesterol

The fiber found in eggplant…(2.4 grams per 1C) may help control cholesterol levels.

Eggplant also contains chlorogenic acid, a key antioxidant that lowers the levels of “bad” cholesterol and reduces your risk of liver disease.

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Eye Health

Eggplant contains two specific antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin—which are hrlp prevent age-related macular degeneration and vision loss.

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Heart

As far as the heart, eggplants can lower your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease because of the fiber, antioxidants, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and many other nutrient that it contains

Eggplants…

  • act as an anti-inflammatory
  • help prevent heart-threatening plaque from buildup up around the walls of your arteries.
  • relax artery walls

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Weight Control

Eggplants can contribute to weight management because of their fiber content and low calorie count. The fiber found in eggplant supposedly helps you feel fuller for longer.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Dark Chocolate…The How

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Choosing Chocolate Chock-full of Nutrition

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Dark Chocolate…The Why

Dark chocolate, especially any 70% dark chocolate or higher, contains many nutrients—such as antioxidants, fiber, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium that may help lower your risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, and improve brain function, alleviate stress, and lower your risk of diabetes.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Dark Chocolate…The What

In our quest to add more antioxidants to our diet, we havec talked about alfalfa sprouts… blackberries…broccoli…and corn…

…all of which may not seem very appoealing…

But there is one source of antioxidants that we can probably all warm up to…

Chocolate…

Specifically dark chocolate…

People have been enjoying chocolate for about four thousand years…starting in Central America by the Mayan population who enjoyed the chocolate as a fermented beverage that was mixed with spices or wine and had a bitter taste. These people used the chocolate beverage for ceremonial and medicinal purposes.

Chocolate was brought back to Europe from these groups of people in the early 1500s by Spanish explorers…and the Europeans soon started adding honey and cane sugar to to make the bitter chocolate sweeter.

.But where does chocolate come from?

Actually chocolate is deived from the the seeds of a cacao pod….which are fermented, dried, and roasted. After this process the shells of the beans are separated from the inside of the cocoa bean and then ground into a liquid called chocolate liquor…which is then processed further to produce cocoa solids.

There are basically three different types of chocolate…

  • Milk Chocolate
  • White Chocolate
  • Dark Chocolate

All chocolate contains the chocolate liquor mentioned above…as well as perhaps additional cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin, and flavoring…what makes them different is the milk content.

Milk chocolate contains 10-50% cocoa solids,

White chocolate does not contain any cocoa solids at all and simply consists of cocoa butter, sugar, and milk.

Dark chocolate usually refers to chocolate that doesn’t contain milk.

For decades most people ate only milk chocolate…but as dark chocolate has been noted as having health benefits. this decadent and delicious treat has become more mainstream.

Speaking of the health benefits of dark chocolate, let’s take a closer look…