A Crash Course In Healthy Cuisine

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Not often do I find a cookbook that makes perfect healthy sense to me. But Jennifer Trainer Thompson and Johanna M. Seddon have done it in “Eat Right for Your Sight,” and with simple recipes that help reduce the risk of vision loss from macular degeneration, a common concern for almost everyone over age 40.

When you eat certain foods to promote eye health, the rest of your body also reaps the rewards. Although Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are,” Adelle Davis added, “We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are!”

Fill your market basket with foods that are rich in carotenoids, including spinach and kale; omega-3 fatty acids, or anti-inflammatory nutrients found in salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel; antioxidants; and vitamins A, C, E and B6. Simply put, eat yellow, orange, red and green fruits and vegetables every day, and throw in a few almonds for good measure, to help you maintain good cholesterol levels and normal blood pressure.

Get yourself started with these three recipes. Broccoli paired with sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts is delicious enough to serve on its own with a piece of aged Parmesan cheese and toasted whole grain bread for lunch, or as an attractive addition on a chicken, beef, pork or fish menu.

Salmon is a good source of omega-3s, as well as niacin and magnesium. Lemon and strawberries help with absorption of the iron in the spinach. Add toasted quinoa pilaf to complete the main course. Bon healthy appétit!

Broccoli With Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Pine Nuts(Serves 3 to 4 for lunch, or 6 as a side dish)1 large head broccoli, stems peeled and sliced thin, florets cut to bite size

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 large cloves garlic, minced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and slivered

3 tablespoons pine nuts, toastedTo prepare:Preheat oven to 400°F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss broccoli with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl, until coated.

Arrange broccoli evenly in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Bake, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl.

Whisk vinegar, garlic and remaining olive oil together in a small bowl, until blended.

Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in sun-dried tomatoes.

Drizzle the dressing over the hot broccoli.

Toss well.

Add pine nuts.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.Toasted Quinoa Pilaf(Serves 4)1 cup dry quinoa

3 cups good-quality chicken stock

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch chives, chopped

1/4 cup freshly parsley, chopped

Fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black paper, to tasteTo prepare:Preheat oven to 350°F.

Rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer.

Lightly coat a jellyroll pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Spread quinoa evenly on the sheet.

Toast it, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, for about 10 minutes.

Bring stock to a boil in a saucepan over high heat.

Add toasted quinoa.

Cook, until white protein rings appear, and it is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Drain off excess liquid.

Stir olive oil, chives, parsley, cilantro and lemon zest into the quinoa.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve at once.Salmon with Peppered Balsamic Strawberries(Serves 4)4 salmon fillets, 4 ounces each

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 quart fresh strawberries, washed, stemmed and sliced (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into chiffonade

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

8 ounces fresh baby spinach, washed and spun dryTo prepare:Preheat the grill to high.

Season fillets with lemon zest, pepper and salt.

Grill fillets about three minutes per side, or until fish is cooked according to personal preference.

Set aside.

Or, sear in a dry skillet set over high heat.

Scatter salt on the bottom of the skillet.

Season the salmon fillets with lemon zest and pepper.

Place fish skin-side down on the skillet, pressing until the skin is set and browned, about 3 minutes.

Turn and sear other side, about 2 minutes, or until done according to personal preference.

Transfer to a warm plate.

Toss strawberries with basil, vinegar, sugar and coarsely ground black pepper in a medium bowl, until well blended.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Set aside, until ready to serve.

Add a few drops of olive oil to a separate skillet over moderate heat. Add spinach.

Sprinkle with a few drops of water.

Stir fry, until wilted, about 3 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Divide spinach among dinner plates.

Arrange salmon on the spinach. Spoon about 1/2 cup of prepared strawberries over the fish. Serve at once.

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