Hearting Your Heart
Love is in the air (or at least it’s supposed to be) this week, with the love-iest day of the year coming up this Saturday. In the spirit of everything red and heart shaped, I’m taking a romantic time out for my own heart -- as in my blood-pumping ticker.
I don’t mean to be a party pooper, but the fact is, we need to keep better tabs on the state of our hearts. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer among women, and stroke is number three. The good news: You can do something about it.
In addition to regular physical activity and reducing saturated fats (which are found in meat and dairy), we can help our heart and overall health by eating according to the colors of the rainbow. Color-coded eating is not as corny as it sounds. Green foods contain an amazing antioxidant called lutein that keeps eyes and heart healthy, blue foods are rich in cancer-fighting (and anthocyanins), and red foods contain lycopene, a powerful duo that wards off both cancer and heart disease.
As you already may have surmised, the color of the day is Red! To help get you started, Checkup blogger and Health section columnist Jennifer Huget and I have compiled a list of readily accessible ingredients that do your heart -- and the rest of your body some good, complete with Jennifer’s nutritional nuggets, found here. Meanwhile, back at the Appetite Ranch, I’ve harvested a bunch of links from the recipe vault, all with a red tint.
So, as you scurry ‘round town this week gathering goodies for your sweetheart, remember: Love thy own heart true, too! Got a red-licious idea to share with the crew? Do so in the comments area or today at 1ET, for this week's What's Cooking.
In my opinion, pink is close enough, particularly when it comes to the all-powerful wild salmon. This version calls for a spice rub that you can play with based on your mood and what’s in the cupboard.
Red quinoa: Like its beige-y counterpart, red quinoa cooks like rice and is incredibly versatile, playing well with nearly any flavor combination under the sun.
Improv quinoa salad. P.S. Can be served hot or cold – you pick.
For those who’ve always wanted to know but were afraid to ask: roasted red pepper how-to, which will come in handy when you're whipping up a batch of muhammara, the luscious (and heart-healthy) Syrian treat that just may change your tune about dips from the refrigerated section.
Thai red curry paste and sweet potatoes. Yes, do try this at home. Plus, you’ll beta carotene from the sweets!
And lookee here, now you know how to make your very own ketchup, without the high fructose corn syrup. (P.S.: Mister MA has been lapping up this stuff.)
Speaking of tomatoes, I don’t believe I’ve ever shared my method for making a pot of good ole marinara sauce. Here’s how I do it.
Marinara Sauce, KOD style
Plan A: Whole Tomatoes
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot bulb, roughly chopped (alternatively, 1 medium onion, chopped)
At least 2 pounds of your favorite tomatoes, cored and quartered (For canned tomatoes, use at least 1 28-ounce can)
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed
Optional herbs while cooking: A few thyme sprigs
A fun optional add-on while cooking: 1 pimento pepper from a jar or can; an ounce of a red wine you enjoy drinking
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional herbs for flavoring off the heat: Chopped fresh basil and/or parsley
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil, then onion of choice. Cook, occasionally stirring, until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic and any of the optional add-ons at this time. Bring up to a lively simmer, then reduce heat and cook until tomatoes break down, about 30 minutes. Remove sprigs of herbs, if using, and garlic. Set food mill atop a bowl and pour sauce, in batches. Puree will pass through mill into bowl. Season puree with salt and pepper, and reheat if necessary. Add chopped fresh basil or parsley just before using.
Makes at least two cups of sauce. Can be frozen.
Plan B: Tomato Puree
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 28-ounce can tomato puree, preferably unsalted
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
A splash of red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, add oil, then garlic, and cook for about 15 seconds. Add puree, thyme and wine, and bring up to a lively simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low heat until slightly reduced and warmed through. When ready to use, remove thyme and garlic, and season with salt and pepper.
Makes at least two cups of sauce.
By Kim ODonnel |
February 10, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
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