A Fish Love Story

Public Market

As cliché as it may sound, yes I would occasionally order salmon from the menu because it seemed like the classy thing to do. I didn't really like the way it tasted.... until SAM Taste.

Five years ago on Halloween, Kelly and I went to the Seattle Art Museum restaurant, SAM Taste. It was my first time. One of the menu items was "seared ahi tuna". I like tuna fish sandwiches, so tuna couldn't be that bad. Below is a picture of us that day, and you can just see the fish in the lower, right corner.

SAM Taste

The edges had a crunchy, seared texture while the center was clearly raw. I cant remember what my first impression was, but after a single bite I confessed that I never knew fish could taste that good!

Well, that was the beginning of a new love affair with fish. I bought a fish cook book, and began to try some recipes. Our favorite is Good Fish by Becky Selengut. She explains how to cook the fish, when the fish is in season, and provides a range of recipes from novice to chef.

In our video below we use one of her fish rub recipes with allspice, cinnamon, salt, cumin & red pepper flakes. Mallie's reaction at the end is our favorite part of this video.

The most common mistake I made in the past was to overcook the fish. When the fish is barely done it tastes so much better! The rule of thumb is to cook the fish 10 minutes per inch of thickness. I shaved off a minute in this video to make it a little more rare. We sear it in a cast iron skillet(heat it to medium high heat before adding the fish) for 2-3minutes and then let it bake at 400 degrees F for 6 min.

How to choose your fish:

Here are some tips:

1. Buy the freshest cut you can get. We would go to the fish market every week on the pier in Seattle. In KC we go to Whole Foods. Salmon is in season now, so you can get it fresh. They've got good trout as well. You can always tell a difference in the orange color when comparing farmed with wild-caught. I always get the wild-caught--its worth the flavor.

2. Good fish is expensive, so eat small portions. A quarter pound hamburger is a decent sized hamburger at McDonalds, so a quarter pound of fish per person is my general rule of thumb. When it was just Kelly and I we would order a half-Pound of Halibut. At first I was embarrassed to buy such a small piece from a well-known fish market. But then again, I kind of liked it when they yelled "HALF POUND of BUT for the DOCTA!"

Public Market

FYI: We hear a lot about fish oils. Cold-water fish have a lot of omega-3-fatty acids. A few examples of these are Salmon, Black Cod, Halibut, Albacore Tuna, and Trout to name a few. These fatty acids don't solidify at cold temperatures which is absolutely necessary for these fish. Fish oils modulate inflammation significantly.

Not all omega fatty acids are the same, however. ALAs are found in plants and can be beneficial for Diabetic Neuropathy. GLAs are found in seeds like evening primrose, black currant, borage seed--most studies show that GLA is the more effective than all other omegas for Rheumatoid Arthritis. DHA and EPA are most commonly found in sea life, and are best known for benefits associated, cardiovascular health, child brain development, and depression. Differences in fish oils and omega fatty acids are subtle, so I usually prescribe a specific combination at therapeutic doses to get desired results. However, if you don't have any ailments to complain about, just eat it in your food!


Family Baking with a Health Coach

Pumpkin Muffins

Holistic Health Coach

Rachel is a passionate health coach who shares her talents with families. One of the reasons I asked to make a post on her kitchen is because she involves each family member in meal preparation. Try out her yummy recipe for pumpkin muffins this season.


Rachel is improving the diet and nutrition of her family one day at a time. She has noticed that when she has tried making big changes in her family’s diet, it has back fired. But when she has made smaller changes, she has witnessed much better results. Such as the time she tried switching from white pasta to whole-wheat pasta, and her kids wouldn’t eat it. However now she uses a combination of the white, flour pasta with the whole-wheat pasta and they don’t object.

Rachel realizes that things don’t always go perfect in the kitchen and that it’s to be expected. She took a cooking class and the teacher taught her that cooking/baking in the kitchen is an experiment.

bee suit

I was able to make yummy pumpkin muffins with Rachel. It was a lot of fun to watch as her kids and a friend all participate together. I learned that food gives us a reason to connect. We all enjoyed the topics of conversation that began because of the ingredient pumpkin. One child said that they used to grow pumpkins. I mentioned how much I loved eating baked pumpkin seeds. Another child was even giving suggestions on how to make the muffins even healthier by adding carrots or zucchini. It was great to see their minds engaged and at work.


Some tips for making this recipe with children are to:

  • 1. Give them aprons! It is a festive way to get them involved and ready to create. Here is a link to a non- expensive and fun way to make aprons out of t-shirts
  • 2. When cracking eggs, first crack them in a smaller bowl. As to make sure none of the egg shell gets in the batter.
  • 3. Using a mini ice cream scooper was a fun, easy way to put an equal amount of batter into the muffin pans.
  • Thanks Rachel and Company for a very fun afternoon!!

    • Magic Muffins or Pumpkin Muffins
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 cup oil
    • 1 cup honey and 1 cup sucanat
    • 1 TB vanilla
    • 3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
    • 1 TB cinnamon
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
    • 2 cups of your favorite veggie or fruit*
    • *(My family’s favorite is 2 c. of pumpkin)
    • (I have used 2 cups grated zucchini but it is not a favorite)
    • Beat eggs until foamy. Add next three ingredients. Mix in zucchini. Add all dry ingredients. For muffins: Heat oven to 375, fill up prepared muffin tins. Bake small ones 10-11 minutes or big ones 15 minutes.


    The Health Buzz on Bees

    bee suit

    Kelly's been taking a class on beekeeping at the college where I work and loves it. If we had enough land, I think she would start a beehive. Her excitement has inspired this post. Occasionally I'll get a call from someone who wants to know if I do bee-sting therapy. No I don't do bee-sting therapy, but there are products from bees that can be taken in a less painful way:


    Seasonal Allergies

    I've heard that eating local honey can help with allergies. It makes sense: bees collect pollen from the foliage that causes the runny nose and sneezing, you consume it, and your body is desensitized... Well I did find a preliminary study on honey made from birch pollen for those with allergies to birch pollens in April and May.(Saarinen 2011) Individuals with birch pollen allergies had less severe symptoms and consumed less antihistamines than those who did not take the honey. It doesn't translate to every seasonal allergy, but it may be worth a try for those with allergies to other pollens.


    Inflammation & Respiratory Infections

    Propolis is a resin that bees collect from various trees that has antimicrobial and inflammation modulating effects. It is also a strong antioxidant. Because of its ability to break up mucus, it is one that I often include in formulas for upper respiratory tracts. Studies with Vitamin C, propolis, and echinacea showed a decrease in number of upper respiratory infections and reduced severity compared to placebo(Cohen, et al 2004).

    Here are a couple pics from the sunflower fields last Monday:

    Saarinen K, Jantunen J, Haahtela T.Birch pollen honey for birch pollen allergy--a randomized controlled pilot study.Int Arch Allergy Innumol. 2011;155(2):160-6.doi 10.1159/000319821. Epub 2010 Dec 23.
    Cohen HA Varsano I, Kahan E Sarrell EM, Uziel Y(2004) Effectiveness of an herbal preparation containing echinacea, propolis, and vitamin C in preventing respiratory tract infections in children: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 158(3):217:21

    The statement above has not been evaluated by the FDA and is intended for educational purposes only. The above statement is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition.