People attempt to improve their moods and/or cope with emotions through alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, food, retail therapy…the list of vices goes on and on. It’s been said that similar to consuming high amounts of sugar or going on a run, these habits for many people result in an adrenaline rush, an endorphin high that temporarily puts their mind at ease, numbs the fear or pain, and creates a sense of tranquility.
Having personally struggled with destructive vices of my own, I was cognizant of my building emotions and went the safer route of the few, engaging in a little retail therapy. I was not browsing clothing or perfumes, but rather scouring the housewares aisles for unique kitchen and bedroom finds. I came across what has become one of my most favorite culinary gadgets. The following recipe and respective post features this product and its technique, as it is an essential for all who are experts in the kitchen or just putting on their chef’s hat for the first time.
The product I want to boast about is the Orka Steamer by Mastrad. Steaming is such a wonderful and healthy way of cooking because it seals in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals of the food that are often lost or destroyed during cooking processes like boiling, frying, sautéing, and broiling. Another advantage is that without the addition of any fats, steaming has the ability to keep the food moist and flavorful. Not to mention, it is extremely quick and easy to do!
I devised a delicious meal that anyone can successfully prepare, which features this incredible cooking method and my prized possession, the Orka steamer. The steamer is made of silicon, which makes it naturally non-stick and very easy to clean without much muscle grease. But if you are feeling especially lazy, no problem, throw it right on the top rack of the dishwasher. This is not to say you are getting out of your workout today, but you will certainly be properly fueled to kick butt when you do arrive at the gym. It can be used in the oven or microwave, which is optimal for college students with limited space, elderly people who do not want to fuss, and of course busy families, because the microwave is a quick, accessible, go-to method.
For this dinner, I chose to steam a filet of tilapia. Tilapia is a great source of protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which help maintain an appropriate blood pressure and keep heart disease at bay. This fish also contains niacin, selenium, which decreases the risk of certain cancers and heart disease, and vitamin B12, which helps keep you mentally alert. Another positive is that unlike other fish such as tuna, tilapia has very low levels of mercury. So, I simply took the filet out of the freezer, placed it into the steamer, and put it in the microwave for three minutes. The result? A moist, flaky, beautiful piece of protein without any excess fats or additives!
Continuing the theme, I paired this protein with steamed asparagus and steamed brown rice. While I could have definitely used my steamer to prepare these components, and have in the past with great success, I happened to have purchased them frozen in steam-able bags that go right into the microwave for just a few minutes. Steaming and not boiling the rice and vegetable assured me that their amazing nutrient content was retained. It is important to note that I opted for brown rice because brown rice is only void of its outermost layer, the hull, of the rice kernel. The process rice undergoes to become white destroys the majority of the vitamins B3, B1, B6, manganese, phosphorus, iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids it contains. These are essential nutrients that prevent cancers and heart disease so why opt out of consuming them? Asparagus is also a super food in that it contains many antioxidants and vitamins including C, E, zinc, and manganese, which are huge risk reducers for chronic health issues such as type two diabetes and again, heart disease.
Once the cooking was completed, I seasoned the asparagus with some freshly ground pepper and garlic powder, cut the spears, and arranged them around the plate. Then, I mixed a tablespoon of organic salsa into the brown rice to give it a bit of pizzazz. I love the Enrico brand of salsa found in the Nature’s Marketplace section of Wegmans because it is all-natural and does not contain any added salt. While most varieties have 250 milligrams of sodium, this salsa has only 60 milligrams per two tablespoon serving, for which your heart will be grateful. I think salsa is a great alternative to butter and other condiments because it is composed of vegetables and herbs, which make it low in calories and high in vitamins A, B, and C, as well as magnesium and potassium. Out of respect for this great accoutrement, I spooned a second tablespoon on top of the fish. Voila! A delicious, nutritious, quick, and easy meal that came together through the power of steam! P.S. and by the way, it is also gluten-free! Below is the impressive nutritional information and a picture of this meal. Give it a try, I promise you will catch yourself beaming once you start steaming!
Calories: 290, Fat: 3 grams, Carbohydrates: 39 grams, Fiber: 3 grams, Protein: 29 grams