Wednesday, October 31, 2007


There’s some pretty COOL legislation coming up soon in the U.S. Senate, and it involves catfish.

Ever wonder where the fish you eat in restaurants comes from?

Not necessarily from the safe environments of the USA!

But, if the COOL (Country of Origin Labeling) amendment to the Farm Bill passes, you’ll know! Just like fish and seafood at the grocery store, restaurants would be required to identify where their catfish is raised. That could be as simple as adding the name of the country to the menu.

Makes sense to me! We know where our cars are made, where our clothes are stitched and where our kids’ toys are put together, so why not something as important as the food we eat?

There was a recent scare in the catfish industry when products banned for use in U.S. agriculture were found in some imported fish. Then came the trouble with imported pet food, toys and other products.

Now it seems that while 70 percent of catfish is sold in restaurants, one-third of the catfish eaten in America is imported from overseas, particularly China.

So, COOL would give consumers extra protection in the marketplace, and a bunch of newspapers are supporting it with editorials.

In Alabama, The Gadsden Times states: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has noted problems of contamination in Asian imports before, but still inspections are far too limited to eliminate the possibility of contaminated fish making its way to U.S. restaurants.”

The Decatur Daily says that imports were hurting the catfish industry in Alabama “…while threatening the health of the people who never knew they were eating questionable imports.”

Other editorial pages — Dallas Morning News and The Orlando Sentinel.

Now, that's way cool!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blog Event! Sustainable Seafood

October is National Seafood Month, and JacquelineC over at Leather District Gourmet is sponsoring a sustainable seafood blog event.

All right...SOUNDS GREAT, but “What is sustainable seafood?” she asks.

It’s raising fish in healthy environments and harvesting them with the least amount of harm to the fish and their habitats. It’s processing them with the least amount of waste and educating consumers to make a difference through their buying practices.

Until I checked Jacqueline’s links, I didn’t realize how many groups there are keeping tabs on fish! Several sites list the best and worst seafood choices, and I am pleased that U.S. farmed catfish (while not from the oceans) is listed in the best- choice category.

At Seafood Choices Alliance, catfish is cited as getting “high marks from conservation groups for its reputation as a sustainably farmed fish.” That’s because it is produced in freshwater ponds and according to USDA, EPA and FDA standards.

So, I have submitted a tasty Sweet & Spicy Glazed Catfish recipe to her blog event.


4 U.S. farm-raised catfish fillets (about 6 ounces each)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper, divided
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Lemon and orange wedges

Preheat broiler or grill. Rinse catfish and pat dry. Season both sides of each fillet with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a small bowl combine marmalade, lemon juice, paprika, rind, garlic, ground red pepper and remaining salt and pepper. Brush about 1 tablespoon of mixture onto top of each fillet. To broil, on a rack sprayed with cooking spray, arrange fish fillets. Or place on grill over medium heat. Cook 6 inches from heat source until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Makes: 4 servings.

Photo & recipe compliments of TCI

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Back-to-Back Catfish

How 'bout that Todd's Taste of the Town!

For the second week in a row, catfish was featured in the restaurant segment on ESPN's College Game Day.

Tonight, sports analyst Todd Blackledge ate Catfish Acadiana at Walk-On's Restaurant near Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. Last week, he had fried catfish at The Catfish Hole in Fayetteville, Ark. So I guess you could say that catfish is a favorite dish of the Southeastern Conference! The TV commentators remarked about the back-to-back catfish segments, adding that fish is good for you!

This Cajun recipe used catfish fillets topped with crawfish etouffee and served over a bed of rice. Yum! Yum!

I guess y'all can tell I'm a college football fan! Yes, I'm still up watching the exciting fourth quarter of the Auburn vs. LSU football game.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Catfish Wins in Southern Living Cook-Off

October is a busy month for festivals, fairs and food cook-offs down South, and no bake-off is more prestigious than the Southern Living Cook-Off where catfish once again has proved itself popular.

Tuscan Catfish with Sun-dried Tomato Aioli recently won the Quick Weeknight Favorites category, and its creator took home a $10,000 prize. You can check out the recipe here on the Southern Living Magazine website. The dish will be featured in the January 2008 issue of the magazine and appear in the 2007 Southern Living Annual Recipes Cookbook.

Not only was a catfish recipe a category winner, the cook is not from traditional Catfish Country. Michael Cohen came all the way to Birmingham from Los Angeles, Calif., to prepare his dish in the contest finals. Catfish isn’t just a southern food anymore!

Catfish also found its way to ESPN this past weekend. Did you watch the Auburn vs. Arkansas football game on TV? Former Penn State/Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback-turned-sports analyst Todd Blackledge visited The Catfish Hole restaurant in Fayetteville, Ark., for his weekly Taste of the Town segment. He had their all-you-can-eat catfish fillets and hushpuppies, and he was impressed. I found a newspaper review of the featured restaurant here.

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Holiday Cooking - Blogger Style!

Sweet Potato-Raisin Coffee Can Cake
is a Thanksgiving tradition for our family, and it’s so tasty that it won second place at the Central Alabama Fair a few years ago.

While I claimed the prize, I can't claim the recipe. It came from my mother-in-law, who was one of the great, old-fashioned cooks of the South! I'm not sure where she got her recipe, but I noticed a similar cake (or bread) in the Oct/Nov Taste of Home magazine.

I first tried this cinnamon-seasoned delight on an autumn trip to the North Georgia mountains more than two decades ago. Mama G baked two cakes in coffee cans, wrapped the slices tightly in foil, and we snacked all the way to Dahlonega. Naturally, I HAD to have this recipe as well as a bunch of others she spoiled us with!

Now, you are probably wondering where the catfish went! Well, since this is part of Overwhelmed with Joy's Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style swap, I figured I would share a dessert that nobody has yet to turn down, and oh my goodness, it goes fine with fish!

Sweet Potato-Raisin Coffee Can Cake

1½ cups sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
cup water
1 ¾ cups plain flour
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon (I double this amount.)
1 teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
½ cup chopped nuts (I prefer walnuts.)
½ cup raisins

Combine sugar, oil, eggs, water. Beat at medium speed. Combine next five ingredients. Add to egg mixture, mixing just until moistened. Stir in potatoes, nuts and raisins. Pour into two greased and floured coffee cans. Cans should be about half full. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

NOTE: Small loaf pans work if you don’t have coffee cans. I often double this recipe and purchase four small foil pans and give these cakes as Christmas gifts. The cake is also good without the raisins and nuts. My children liked it better plain, so I filled one can with plain batter and the other with nuts ‘n raisins batter.

I mentioned Taste of Home’s sweet potato bread recipe. It is almost exactly like this one, except it adds more spices: nutmeg, allspice and cloves as well as 6 tablespoons of orange juice. The recipe is baked as one big cake in a larger loaf pan, also at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Enjoy!