New product reviews are becoming one of my favorite things to do for our Eating Well with Kim and Tim segments. I love to see the innovations coming out AND the new foods being made available to our markets.
I have often felt like Augusta and the surrounding area is one of the last to get the cool new foods, but I do believe now that we are catching up in the cool food department. This week, I highlight some grains and fish.
Quinoa: Not really a “new” ancient grain anymore, but quinoa makes its way into the boxed rice or convenience grain aisle with the new Roland brand flavored quinoa. It comes in four flavors, Mediterranean, black bean, roasted garlic and garden vegetable. In addition, the Near East brand has a roasted red pepper flavor. Sodium per serving ranges from 240 mg to 400 mg, much less than similarly flavored rice mixes.
Black Rice: I had seen this before but only at specialty or fancy stores. Now it is at the neighborhood Kroger. Black rice was once thought to be the food of emperors, but this super food is available to all of us now. It differs from brown rice in that the husk has the phytochemical anthocyannin (the same phytochemical found in blueberries and grapes). It is also higher in fiber. Black rice has a nutty and slightly floral taste and takes about 35 to 45 minutes to cook.
Now on to the fish counter!
Swai Fillets: What are these? Well they are similar in character to catfish and are considered river farmed. They come from Vietnam and have a sweet, mild flavor with a flaky texture. You can blacken them, coat them and fry them or bake them. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, U.S. catfish is, by a small degree, considered more sustainable and so would technically be a better environmental choice.
Beacon Light Steam Series: I think this is my favorite find, but the black rice comes in a close second. I loved this because it exceeded my expectations. As a dietitian, I am frequently disappointed with new products, which I guess is why I get excited when I see something I like. When I first saw this I thought, "OK, great, another pre-seasoned meat with too much sodium." BUT NO … this has just 150 mg sodium for 6 ounces of fish (wowser …) I’m impressed.
Not to mention that, when I called the company to inquire further about the fish, I did not get some person who did not know the answer, but the actual president of the company who took his time to explain how the fish he buys is caught, why it is caught like that and how differing environmental conditions changes the availability. Then he spoke eloquently about the product, the use of low sodium seasonings and how there is actually 6 ounces of fish in the pouch versus 4 ounces of fish and 2 ounces of sauce as you might find in other products. Dietitians delight someone is listening to the call for more healthful convenience foods! Thank you, Sea Star Seafood!