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Healthier Grilling

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Healthier Grilling

Summer is officially here, which means it’s barbeque season! Grilling can be healthy, assuming what is being grilled is a healthy choice, or a choice made healthier by the way it is grilled. I grill all year long — shovel the patio, brush the snow off the grill, and make sure the tank is always full. I grill meat, chicken, vegetables and any fish that won’t fall apart.

For instance, grilling tilapia is tricky. You have to be so careful that you should think twice before choosing that fish to grill. I tried a recipe with tilapia, though I was frustrated by the process, the meal was so good that I decided to look for a different type of fish that would hold up better on the grill. Mahi-mahi fit the bill!

To give the fish an additional shot of flavor, it can be marinated in coconut milk prior to cooking. Coconut milk isn’t the white milky fluid that pours out of a punctured coconut. It is processed using the flesh of the coconut. The coconut flesh must be finely grated and steeped in hot water. The soaked pieces are then squeezed through cheesecloth, and the liquid collected is coconut milk. This process is repeated once or twice to produce lighter coconut milk. When the first pressing is allowed to sit for a while, coconut cream rises to the top. This heavier version of coconut milk is commonly used in desserts or rich sauces.

Many studies point to coconuts as a very beneficial type of food, helping protect and cure the body of internal and external ailments. Coconut milk has many uses, most of which build up the immune system and the body’s defenses. It is anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral. The main saturated fat that it contains, lauric acid, is also found in mother’s milk and has been shown to promote brain development and bone health. Some hope that coconut milk, with its powerful anti-viral properties, can one day be used in the fight against HIV.

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Here’s a tasty fish recipe perfect for the the summer barbeque season. It’s light and different from the typical barbeque fare:

Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Pineapple Salsa

Pineapple Salsa
2 cups fresh pineapple chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion — very small pieces
1/2 cup minced cilantro and mint
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon
1/4 cup orange juice

Add all ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mix together. You can add more juice, cilantro, mint or onion depending upon your taste test. This can either be put on your fish prior to serving or you can put the bowl on the table and let people serve themselves. I prefer to put it on the fish prior to serving and sprinkle on some toasted coconut and almond slices. In a fry pan, toast about ½ cup of coconut flakes and 1/2 cup of sliced almonds. After you spoon the salsa on the fish, sprinkle on the coconut/almond mixture. It adds contrasting texture and taste to the salsa and fish.

Grilled Mahi-Mahi
1 lb. Mahi-Mahi
1 cup of Coconut Milk
Salt & Pepper

Marinate the Mahi-Mahi in the coconut milk, for about an hour or so. Season the fillets with salt & pepper. Pre-heat your grill — and use a non-stick fish grate. Spray the grate with some Pam, or brush with extra virgin olive oil. Cook the fish until it is firm to the touch.

This type of meal goes very well with Jasmine Rice. Jasmine rice is white rice grown primarily in Thailand. It is very aromatic rice and smells/tastes like its name. It is frequently served with Thai and Chinese dishes. The subtle, nutty flavor and rich aroma are very pleasing to the palate. Jasmine rice is readily available in most stores, and like many other kinds of rice, should be used within six months of purchase for optimal flavor and freshness.

Jasmine Rice
1 cup jasmine rice
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water
Pinch salt

Put the rice, coconut milk, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover and gently simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Serve immediately.

On the side of the fish and rice, broccolini or baby bok choy both sautéed with some garlic, olive oil and a dab of butter goes very well. One small bunch of the broccolini (par boiled first) or baby bok choy, 2 cloves of minced garlic, about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a tablespoon of butter are all you need. Just start cooking the garlic in the extra virgin olive oil, and then add the butter and greens. Sautée until the vegetables are tender.

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