Thursday, May 29, 2014

Back to Basics 23 - How to Pick the Perfect Canned Tuna

Canned tuna can be very easy and quick to use. You can mix it into salads, pasta dishes or sandwiches. But there can be a danger in buying canned tuna: BPA lining in the cans, mercury and it can also not be so great for the environment. So here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for canned tuna.
  1. Look for cans that say "Pole and Line Caught" or "Troll Caught". This means that the fishermen will catch each fish individually. If you can't find that, try looking for the blue MSC label, it means the product you're buying is certified sustainable and it's given by the Marine Stewardship Council.
  2. BPA (Bisphenol-A) is a chemical used in the lining of most cans. The reason we don't want BPA in the cans is because it has been linked to the development of precancerous lesions and abnormal development of reproductive systems in animals. It's especially important when the product inside the cans is acidic, like tomatoes. But it's also important when shopping for tuna. You can find tuna in pouches that don't have BPA but it's difficult to find pouched tuna that is environmentally safe.
  3. I also look for tuna that will have less mercury in it. The tuna that has less mercury is one labeled "light" and comes from skipjack.
  4. The last thing I look for is the word unsalted or no salt added. I always look for unsalted everything when it comes to canned food. Beans, tomato products, seafood, vegetables, etc. You can control the amount of salt that goes into your food so it won't raise your blood pressure and it's also better for the overall flavor of the dish. Nobody likes oversalted food.
I do have to say that tuna with these labels will not be the cheapest. In my supermarket they are usually about $1 more than the well-known brands. But it's ONLY $1 more. To me, it's worth it.

I found this tuna at Whole Foods this past weekend and it's the most perfectly labeled can. It says pole and line caught, has the MSC label, is BPA-free, it's light skipjack tuna, and it is also unsalted.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Back to Basics 22 - Stuffed Shells

So here's a cool thing I did recently... I MADE CHEESE!

Guys, I'm a cheesemaker now. Sort of. I made cream cheese and ricotta which are 2 of the easiest to make but still, I made it happen.
It's a really cool feeling to know that you are able to make something with your hands in your own kitchen. It's so rewarding to watch something as ordinary as milk transform into this thick, creamy and rich deliciousness. I highly recommend it. Especially if you are slathering the thick creamy cream cheese deliciousness on your own hot homemade onion bagels.

It's definitely something to write about in your diary: "Dear diary, I'm a badass. That is all."

Anyway, I made ricotta so I could stuff it into some pasta shells with spinach and homemade tomato sauce. This recipe does not disappoint. Trust me.