Monday, February 8, 2010

Troika: prepare for tri-celebration next Sunday
Mark your calendars for … everything … on Feb. 14.
We used to look forward to this day for little paper hearts in our mailboxes at school. This year, we can also take our Valentine to Mardi Gras, and celebrate Chinese New Year.
My mother says the Russian word Troika, for three of a kind, sums up the situation. In this column, I’ll begin with a guy’s version of Valentine treatment, and also share something purple, green and gold.

“Sweeping Her Off Her Feet With Food: The Ultimate Guide to Romance & Seduction in the Kitchen”
By Eric S. Lee
Lee used to own restaurants. Once you read his book, he could own your heart. He gives guys simple, valuable advice on what makes a woman feel special. It doesn’t cost much to dress nice, send some sweet messages about the date. Try a scavenger hunt, and lead her right back to your house for a home-cooked meal, like this:
Salmon with Fresh Mango Salsa 
2 Six – eight ounce Salmon filets (do not get steaks!)
1 Fresh mango peeled and cut into 1/2inch cubes (some grocers carry fresh
Mango already skinned in jars—produce dept)
1 Jalapeño seeded and diced (1/8 inch)
1/2 Red bell pepper diced (1/4 inch)(save the rest for roasting)
1/4 cup diced red onion (1/4 inch)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup oil (preferably olive oil)
salt & pepper
Mango Salsa 
Cut lime in half and squeeze the juice from both halves into a midsized mixing bowl whisk in half of the oil. Add the rest of the ingredients except salmon, remaining oil, salt and pepper in a midsized bowl and gently toss until well mixed. Be sure and stir using a large (wooden if possible) serving spoon, from bottom using your spoon in an upward, over and down folding motion to get all of the juice from the bottom mixed in with the rest of the ingredients. Add a dash of salt and pepper and gently mix again. Cover and refrigerate. Can be made one-day ahead.
Grilled Salmon
Turn outside grill on to medium high to heat up the grates. Place the salmon filets on a platter skin side down and rub remaining oil onto the meat until completely covered. Try and get some of the oil onto the skin. Feel free to use a bar-b-que sauce brush for this. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. 
When grill is hot place filets on the grill, flesh side down and let cook for 5-7 minutes. Turn over and let cook another 3-4 minutes until salmon is just cooked through. Some like their salmon medium rare. If this is you cook a little less. If you need to check for doneness, though I try to avoid this, take a knife and gently slice into the top of the fish to ensure it is cooked to your preference. If it “flakes” all the way through but is still moist it is done. Since you will be topping it with the beautiful salsa you’ve made it won’t matter if you have “butchered” it a little. 
Optionally, when salmon is done, take a metal spatula and insert it into the crease between the skin and the flesh and slide it all the way through until the skin is removed. Place each filet on top of a bed of sautéed spinach (page 39) on a beautiful plate. 
Top with Mango Salsa and serve.
Suggested Wine - Chardonnay / Pinot Noir

Purple mat is really green
I’d have never guessed a yoga mat could bring me such peace, since I don’t practice yoga. But, I’ve been rolling up this new purple Manduka mat and tucking it under the coffee table after I’m done with various floor exercise. I used to spread a towel out and wonder what all the mat fuss was about. Now I love the padding and the way this environmentally-friendly mat made with “closed-cell rubber and comfortable sea grass texture” keeps me and the stability ball in place, so I can watch TV and exercise. It doesn’t move around like the towel, so I believe I do stay centered. Imagine what a real yoga fan could do with it. So here’s the cool part. You can mail your tired, old eKO and eKO Lite natural Manduka mats back and they’ll become shoes, rubber flooring and even new yoga products for others, instead of muck in a landfill. Look for the company’s organic mat wash, recycled mat slings and bolsters.

Gold Bond
Years ago, when hand sanitizer was still novel, I was talking to a friend in health care about loving that clean feeling in emergencies. She scrunched up her face and said she had a love-hate relationship with the stuff, because repeated use mader her hands dry.
Times have changed. The product is now common, not something you hide for fear of looking like a germ freak, and now Gold Bond Ultimate Hand Santizer Moisturizer offers a tube that kills 99.9 percent of germs in a non-drying formula that actually feels good going on. More stats: it has seven hydrating moisturizers and five essential vitamins. Take yours to Mardi Gras. You never know where all those beads have been.

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