Tag Archives: healthy living

Olive Oil Poached Trout

This is one of the simplest recipes I know and it really shows off the flavor of a great Extra Virgin Olive Oil and fresh Trout.  Because the olive oil is only heated to 115º for a short period of time, the tocopherols and other healthful agents in the oil are not damaged, so I strain the remain oil, mix it with Lucini Savory Fig Balsamico, and have a great dipping sauce for bread.

Be careful in choosing your pan for this dish – it should be large enough so the fillets to fit and you will be able to get your spatula in and remove the fillets comfortably.  However, you do not want too much room, as the fillets must be fully submerged in the oil.  This accounts for the range (1 to 2 cups) in the amount of oil used.  For poaching to work correctly, the oil must completely cover the other ingredients in the pan.  Arctic Char works as a replacement for the trout.

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB    fresh Trout (filleted, cut into 4 pieces)
  • 1-2 C  LUC Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2     small Carrot (use 6  1/8 inch thick slices)
  • 1          small Shallot, diced
  • 4         Thyme sprigs (single ‘branches’ of Thyme, not multiple branched ‘trees’)
  • 4         small Bay Leaves
  • Salt, ground or crushed fine
  • Pepper, ground fine
  • 1/4    Lemon

troutPreparation:

Place the remaining olive oil in to a small pot and add the carrot, shallot, thyme and bay leaves.   Place a thermometer in the oil and heat to 115º.  Trim the trout fillets and submerge them in the oil carefully, so the trout does not rest on the other ingredients.  Poach for 7-8 minutes until the fish is just firm to touch.  Remove the fish and pat dry.  Season your fillets with salt and pepper, drizzle each with 1/2 tsp of the poaching oil and fresh lemon juice.  That’s it; you’re ready to serve!

I like to serve this dish with something green – a nice salad, braised celery and escarole are all great options.  Supremes of blood orange with a drizzle of Basil-Infused or Lemon-Infused Extra Virgin also look wonderful on the plate.

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Sardine and Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

I have been reading a lot lately about the health benefits of sardines and trying to work them (and similar fish such as mackerel) into my cooking repertoire.  This recipe utilizes sun-dried tomatoes; their sweetness stands up well to the oils (omega-3!) and saltiness of the fish.  If you do not have any vegetable or poultry stock available try orange juice for a fresh citrus twist.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz        dried Pasta (i use fusili or penne, but choose your favorite)
  • 2 TB        Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1               small red Onion, chopped
  • 2 TB        Garlic, minced fine
  • 3 TB        Pine Nuts (or Flax Seeds)
  • 1 can       Sardines in olive oil (3.75 oz), chopped large
  • 1/2 C      Vegetable Stock (Chicken Stock will also work)
  • 1              dried Chili pepper, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp  Black Pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp  dried Oregano
  • 1/4 C      Sun-Dried Tomatoes (dried or olive oil-packed)
  • 1/3 C      Lucini Organic 3 Year • Parmigiano Reggiano

Preparation:

Boil a large pot of well salted water.

As the pasta is reaching boil, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent, then add the garlic and pine nuts; cook for two more minutes.

Add pasta to the boiling water and cook until almost tender (‘al dente’).

Stir in the stock, chili pepper and oregano.  Bring to a boil and reduce stock by a half.  Add the sardines and sun-dried tomatoes and when they heat through, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the pasta is  ready.

When the pasta is ready, drain well and add it to the sardines.  Turn the heat off and mix well in the pan.  Let stand for 2 minutes to absorb the flavors of the sauce.  Add the parmesan and mix again.  Divide onto serving plates, and top with more grated Parmesan cheese, if so desired.

Black Bean, Mango and Lentil Salad

This recipe is very simple, healthy and flavorful, a spin on ubiquitous Three Bean Salad.  There is room to have a lot of fun with substitutions here:  any cooked lentils can be used – for example green, black beluga or red.  Papaya or melon will work instead of mango, scallions substitute for red onion, and garbanzo, adzuki or kidney beans can replace the black beans.  I have also thrown in cucumber, corn, parsley and bulgur.  It is a fun salad to bring to picnics or social meals – just refrigerate for 20 minutes and the salad will get back to room temperature on your travels.  Double the recipe and you will have a nice side dish for your lunch the following day!

BlackBeanSalad_Web3

Ingredients:

  • 1/2  C     Mango, chopped
  • 1  C         canned Black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2  C     Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 C      cooked lentils
  • 1               Jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1/4 C      Red Onion, chopped fine
  • 2 TB        fresh Cilantro, chopped fine
  • 2 TB        Lime Juice, fresh squeezed
  • 2 TB        Orange Juice, fresh squeezed or purchased
  • 1/2  tsp  Salt
  • 2 TB        Lucini Garlic – Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparation:  Mix ingredients well in serving bowl.  Chill for 20 minutes and then bring to room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Simple Sardine & Bean Salad

Sardines, beans, turmeric and flax seeds are four tasty sources of nutrients.  I like to use fresh beans, but sometimes they can be hard to find.  This recipe packs a protein punch, and anchors a quick lunch or dinner when paired with a green salad or some dark, leafy greens.  Lucini Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette adds a perfect, bright splash to counter the potential heaviness of the beans and fat of the fish.  And while sardines, beans and flax seeds may sound like the building blocks of a bland, “health over flavor” meal, this dish cedes no points in the taste department.

Ingredients:

  • 1      can   Olive Oil packed Sardines (drained)
  • 1      can   Organic Beans (Red or White Kidney, Black, Fava, Cannelini or Adzuki – use 1.5 C fresh, if possible)
  • 1/4 cup   Sun-dried Tomatoes (sliced crosswise)
  • 1                Scallion (green and white parts chopped)
  • 1/3 cup   Lucini Cherry Balsamic & Rosemary Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 tsp    Salt
  • 1/4 tsp    ground Paprika (preferably smoked)
  • 1/8 tsp    ground Black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp    ground Turmeric
  • 1      Tb     Flax seeds, ground (optional)
  • 1      Tb     Lucini Basil-infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparation:

Combine the first eight ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Add more salt, pepper or paprika to taste.  Cover bowl and rest in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Remove and mix in flax seeds and olive oil before serving.

This dish was inspired, in part, by Dr. Andrew Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid.

Spring Break – Yes, it’s that time again!

Weather Channel predictions aside, Spring Break is only five weeks away. Are you ready? Whether you’re headed for Ft. Lauderdale, San Diego, or points beyond, shorts, sleeveless dresses, flip-flops and sandals will definitely be the attire of the week.

So, I ask again – are you ready? I know I’m not! This winter has been just a bit much and the weight seemed to just appear out of nowhere. Cold winter nights just go too well with Lucini’s Umbrian Lentil or Rustic Minestrone soups, carbonara con coniglio, risotto con bresaola e valtellina casera,

carbonara con coniglio

carbonara con coniglio


risotto con bresaola e valtellina casera

risotto con bresaola e valtellina casera

and all the other heavy taste treats of winter.

All good things must come to an end, though, and my winter eating has ended! Luckily, oranges, grapefruit, clementines, and all the other delicious citrus are in season and better than ever. Paired with a traditional basil-tomato sauce over pasta and presto! you have the perfect ‘get in shape’ meal.

Insalata di arancia alla siciliana

Insalata di arancia alla siciliana

One of my personal favorites is insalata di arancia alla siciliana (recipe follows) served with Lucini tomato-basil sauce over spinach and ricotto ravioli with grated Lucini stravecchio Parmigiano Reggiano

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Spinach and ricotta ravioli with Lucini Tomato-Basil sauce

Spinach and ricotta ravioli with Lucini Tomato-Basil sauce

Another preference of mine is insalata di pomodoro con mozzarella (recipe follows) and a pan-fried chicken breast (I use just a teaspoon of Lucini’s extra virgin olive oil to ‘fry’ the breast). Or try pasta al dente – any type – drizzled with Lucini’s extra virgin oil olive and dusted with Lucini’s stravecchio Parmigiano Reggiano and mixed baby greens with a drab of Lucini Tuscan Balsamic vinaigrette. The ‘light’ possibilities are endless…..and delicious, too! And don’t forget to exercise….

Insalata di arancia alla siciliana

3-4 large navel oranges peeled and sliced in thirds

1-2 large pink grapefruit peeled and sliced in thirds

2 green onions chopped

1/4 cup Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 teasp salt

1/4 teasp red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients together and toss. Leave standing at room temperature until served. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Insalata di pomodoro con mozzarella

1-2lbs cherry or sweet grape tomatoes

fresh mozzarella in water (boccincini)

2-3 fresh basil leaves torn into small pieces

1 1/2 teasp dried oregano

1/4 cup Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and toss. Leave standing at room temperature until served. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Slow Food is anything but – and easy on the pocket book, too!

Started in 1986 by 62 incredibly forward-thinking Italian food enthusiasts, Slow Food has become the international food organization. With over 85,000 members in over 130 countries worldwide, Slow Food promotes “… good, clean and fair food. We believe that the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.”

Small family-owned farms play a critical role in the production of  ‘good, clean and fair food’ as they exemplify sustainable agriculture by preserving centuries-old traditions, methods and plant varieties. Extra virgin olive oil is a prime example of this: harvested by hand from centuries-old trees and cold-pressed to ensure pure, untainted flavor, the olives used today are the very same that caused Aristotle to wax poetic and Alexander the Great to conquer the known world.  The fundamental ingredient in almost all Mediterranean cooking, extra virgin olive oil is ‘Slow Food’ at its finest.

Here’s the best part: for literally pennies, it’s possible to create world-class cuisine that promotes sustainable agricultural practices and keeps you healthy. Lucini’s Limited Reserve Premium Select™ Extra Virgin Olive Oil 100% Organic helps fight cancer, heart disease, and other serious health aliments while adding immeasurable taste-value to everything you cook. The Slow Food movement didn’t start in Italy by accident, let me assure you!

Patate al forno

Patate al forno (with brussel sprouts and cubed bacon)

Patate al forno (Italian oven-roasted potatoes)

You’ll find these marvels throughout Italy. For a nice, hearty winter dish add sliced fresh brussels sprouts and cubed thick-sliced sweet cured bacon. Leaving the skin on adds nutritional value and decreases prep time.

3-4lb russet potatoes

2-3 tblsp fresh rosemary finely chopped

1-2 clove(s) fresh garlic finely chopped

Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven 350°F. Line a jelly-roll or roasting pan with parchment paper. Scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush to thoroughly clean skin. Quarter each potato then slice in 1/4″ thick pieces. Evenly distribute sliced potatoes on prepared pan. Sprinkle chopped rosemary and garlic over potatoes; salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle oil over seasoned potatoes and toss to coat. Bake until tender, about 40 minutes. Serve hot.