Tag Archives: heart disease

Collard Greens recipe

Collard greens are one of my favorite dark leafy green foods to cook.  There are many different ways to prepare them, from traditional to creative.  Most people seem to think of them as an overcooked or over sweetened mess, but if prepared correctly, they are actually full of nutritious goodness and are an excellent source of, among other things, calcium, lutein and vitamin K.  This recipe reflects my preference for smoked turkey wings, but I have included ham substitutions.  For a vegan/vegetarian version, I  have replaced the turkey with a chipotle pepper during cooking and a splash of garlic or basil infused olive oil before serving.

The finished product!

The finished product!

Ingredients:

  • 2 C         Water (Or mushroom stock if not using meat)collard Nutrients
  • 1/2 LB  Smoked Turkey Wings or Neck (you can also use a ham hock or 1/2 LB of pork ham scraps)
  • 1 LB       Collard Greens
  • 2 TB       Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp  Salt
  • 1/2 tsp  Black Pepper (fresh ground)
  • 1/2 tsp  Hot Pepper (dried, crushed)
  • 1 tsp      Honey
  • 1 tsp      Lucini Pinot Grigio Vinegar (use only an exceptionally smooth, mellow vinegar like Lucini or skip)

Preparation:

In a large pot, bring the water to boil over high heat.  Add smoked turkey, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

While the turkey is cooking, clean the collard greens well until all the dirt and grit has been removed.  Chop into large pieces.

Add the collards, olive oil, salt, black pepper, hot pepper, honey and vinegar to the pot. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat immediately and simmer covered for 30 minutes longer.  Chop the turkey meat and add it to the collards. All four of Lucini Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oils, particularly the Chili, are excellent finishes for this dish.

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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.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I have been interested in Quinoa for a long time, but have never attempted a recipe before.  This recipe is incredibly simple, but very tasty.  The fresh figs, fig balsamic vinegar and basil olive oil add a pleasant reminder of summer freshness even in winter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 C          Quinoa
  • 2 C          Water
  • 2 TB       Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 tsp      Mint, chopped fine
  • 2 TB       Parsley, chopped fine
  • 1 C          Cherry Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 c          Cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 C     Olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 C     Figs, chopped
  • 2/3 C    Feta Cheese (optional)
  • 1 TB       Lucini Fig Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
  • 1 TB       Lucini Tuscan Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)

Preparation:

Bring water to boil. Add the quinoa and lower heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 8-10 minutes. Place quinoa in a bowl to cool.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl emulsify the Fig Vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt and pepper. Add the mint and parsley and mix well.

Chop the cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, olives and figs into small chunks. Add to the quinoa and stir to distribute the ingredients evenly. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad. If desired, chopped the feta into small chunks and stir into salad.

To Serve:
Spoon 1/2 cup of the salad onto a plate. Drizzle with 1/2 tsp of Fig Vinegar and 1 tsp of Tuscan Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Antioxidants in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

First off, my gift-giving recommendation for December 2008 – Herve This’ wonderful collection of 101 short essays, Molecular moleculargGastronomy.  Mr. This considers the chemistry behind common culinary questions (e.g., how to save a broken sauce?), providing real answers to some age-old issues.  The book is simultaneously more to the point, and in-depth, than similarly themed television shows I have seen in the past.  And more importantly, it is an enjoyable read.

How does this relate to olive oil?  Well, today I was reading the chapter “Antioxidant Agents” and discovered (late to the game, I guess) that extra virgin olive oil is a great source of antioxidants.  In particular, extra virgin olive oil that has not been refined to lower the acidity rate to “extra virgin” levels, as the refining process often removes the vast majority of the antioxidants.   Extra virgin olive oil is so rich in antioxidants, that studies have shown it to dramatically reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, helping inhibit heart disease.[1]

I was also fascinated to find out that the antioxidants we are looking for in our diet are the very same compounds that keep olive oil from turning rancid!  After some further poking around the interweb, I learned that olive oil losses 100% of its tocopherols (a key antioxidant) in less than 12 months.[2]  The oxidation of olive oil eventually removes all of its health benefits, as well as its beautiful green hue and bold flavors.

[1] – “Olive Oil Fights Heart Disease, Breast Cancer, Studies Say”, Stefan Lovgren, National Georgaphic News, March 21, 2005.

[2] – “Changes in commercial virgin olive oil during storage, with special emphasis on the phenolic fraction”, José-Ramón Morelló, María-José Motilva, María-Jesús Tovar and María-Paz Romero, Food Chemistry, Volume 85, Issue 3, May 2004, Pages 357-364.