Monday, December 28, 2015

Edamame, Seaweed and Tofu Salad

   It is a light, low calorie salad, yet highly nutritious. The seaweed helps reduce inflammation and is an important source of trace minerals. The real star of this salad is the edamame, which is filled with protein and cholesterol lowering properties and it has also been found to help prevent breast and prostate cancer.

   4 servings
⅓ cup rice vinegar
1½ tablespoons walnut oil
1½ teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Small pinch cayenne pepper
1 pound extra-firm tofu, cubed
½ small daikon radish, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
¼ ounce wakame seaweed, soaked in water for 1 hour
1½ teaspoons sesame seeds
2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed, rinsed, and patted dry
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
   1. To make the dressing, in a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, walnut oil, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil and cayenne together until well combined. Gently fold in the tofu and radish until coated and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
   2. Meawhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil and add the seaweed; boil for 15 minutes, until soft and drain well. Put the sesame seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium low heat and toast, swirling the pan, for about 3 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Pour the seeds out onto a plate and cool.
   3. Remove the tofu from the marinade and set aside on a plate. Add the drained seaweed and edamame to the dressing and toss well to combine. Gently fold the tofu back into the salad until evenly combined and transfer it to a serving plate.
   4. Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over the top, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

    Often found floating in miso soup, wakame looks like slippery spinach, but as you see here, it can also easily become a salad. It is a diuretic, which means it helps reduce the amount of water in the body. Because it prevents bloating and is packed with osteoporosis preventing calcium and magnesium, wakame is sometimes referred to as the womens seaweed. But the wakame benefits dont end there this seaweed is also high in important trace minerals and is one of the few non animal sources of vitamin B12.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Stuffed Sardines with Pesto

   Sardines happen to be the cleanest and the healthiest seafood available; they contain the lowest amount of mercury and the highest content of omega-3 fatty acids. This dish is a powerful inflammation fighter and contains plenty of other benefits for your longevity.

   4 servings
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 cup coarse corn grits (cornmeal)
2 tablespoons dried cranberries, soaked in water and chopped

12 medium fresh whole sardines
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Heart Spice Blend, (cinnamon, fennel, clove, star anise, white pepper, parsley, ginger, cayenne, and turmeric)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Small handful (about 1 ounce) fresh basil leaves
Small handful (about 1 ounce) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
⅓ cup olive oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish

   1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
   2. To make the stuffing, heat the grapeseed oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the grits and cook, stirring, until golden brown. Stir in the cranberries, remove from the heat, and cool to room temperature.
   3. To prepare the sardines, slit each sardine along the belly with a sharp knife and carefully remove the spine; wash and pat the sardines dry. Fill the sardine cavities with the stuffing and transfer them to a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the sardines and sprinkle some herb seasoning over each one. Bake until the fish is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the Heart Spice Blend 1 minute before removing from the oven. Remove from the oven and let stand about 5 minutes before serving.
   4. Meanwhile, to make the pesto, put the basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
   5. Transfer the sardines to a serving dish and drizzle the pesto over them. Garnish with lemon wedges.

   With their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, sardines protect your heart and brain health. They are also high in phosphorus, calcium, and potassium, all of which help support your bone health and regulate blood pressure. Small fish like sardines tend to have lower levels of mercury, so they are a smart choice for your health.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Banana Buckwheat Pancakes

   Pancakes in a longevity cookbook? Absolutely, as long as the main ingredient is buckwheat! Buckwheat makes this Southern recipe quite healthy with its high content of fiber and cholesterol lowering properties. 

   4 servings
¾ cup buckwheat flour
½ cup gluten-free rolled oats
½ cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 banana
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups almond milk
½ cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
Maple syrup, for serving

   1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, oats, cornmeal, baking powder, and baking soda together until combined. In a small bowl, mash the banana with the vinegar until smooth; whisk in the almond milk until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until just combined; do not overmix. Gently fold in the blueberries.
   2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Ladle the batter, about ½ cup per pancake, onto the hot pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on the surface and the underside is golden brown. Flip the pancakes and continue cooking until set and golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the pancakes to a plate and cover to keep warm. Continue making pancakes until the batter is used up.
   3. Serve the pancakes warm with maple syrup.

Buckwheat is not really a grain, but actually a fruit seed. A great source of fiber, manganese and magnesium and packed with B vitamins, buckwheat is also a good quality protein, containing the eight essential amino acids, including lysine, which is usually lacking in grains. With their rich contents of magnesium and fiber, whole grains like buckwheat can significantly lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Millet Pilaf

   Millet is an under appreciated grain in America, but very popular with the centenarians of China. If you have never tried this little yellow grain, you are in for a treat! Millet is nutritionally richer than wheat and has the bonus of being gluten free. This recipe is a popular one among many centenarians, which is not surprising, as it is a nice balance of nutrients and healthy oils with beneficial herbs and spices.

    4 servings
1¼ cups vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup millet
¾ cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup frozen fava beans, thawed
½ cup pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
   1. Heat ¼ cup of the vegetable stock in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and cardamom and cook for a few more minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves and discard. Stir in the millet and remaining vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Check occasionally and add water if the pan is dry.
   2. Stir the peas and fava beans into the millet, cover, and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover the pan and fluff the millet with a fork. Stir in the pumpkin seeds, parsley and mint and transfer the millet to a serving bowl.
   3. Serve warm or at room temperature.
   Though technically a seed, millet is categorized as a grain from a culinary perspective. A good source of magnesium and fiber, millet can significantly lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Millet contains a phytonutrient called plant lignans, which may help protect against breast cancer and heart disease. All this and gluten free, too!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Halibut Crudo

   Crudo means raw in Italian and in the fishing villages of Italy, thin slices of raw fish are often served with whatever is on hand such as olive oil, lemon and basil. The raw fish is marinated and cooked by the citric acid of lemon juice. It is then seasoned with herbs and spices that make the fish easily digestible not to mention delicious. No wonder it has become wildly popular in hip restaurants throughout the US!

   4 servings
1½ pounds very fresh, sushi-grade skinless, boneless halibut fillet
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed ginger juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 red radishes, thinly sliced
6 black olives, pitted and chopped
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, sliced paper thin

   1. Cut the halibut fillet into very thin slices and transfer the slices to a shallow dish. Season the fish with salt and drizzle the lemon, ginger juice and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over the top. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
   2. Meanwhile, mix the radishes, olives, basil and remaining olive oil together in a small bowl. To serve, divide the radish mixture among 4 salad plates and arrange it on one half of each plate. Arrange one quarter of the halibut slices on the empty side of each plate, drizzle some of the marinade over the fish and garnish each plate with the jalapeno slices.

   While the omega rich halibut is the star of this recipe, basil plays an important supporting role in the flavor and healing benefits. Basil is filled with luteolin, a bioflavonoid that is considered one of the best protective substances of cell DNA from radiation. These potent antioxidants help combat the effects of aging and protect against cancer. Basil is a great herb to grow in a sunny kitchen window during the bright summer months, so you can have easy access to its tasty leaves while cooking.