Tag Archives: LDL cholesterol

Roasted Potato Salad

This simple potato salad recipe is always a hit at family meals, picnics and barbecues.  If you find potatoes at a farmers market, those will work best in this recipe, as the potatoes are front and center here, not hiding behind strong mayonnaise or dressing. I love creamy potato salads as well, but this one brings out the full flavor of the potatoes through roasting, the light spices and fruity olive oil add a beautiful color and complimentary taste.  If so inclined, you can jazz it up a bit with some chopped olives, green peppers or even kim chee!

Potato Salad

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450.  Mix oil, turmeric, chili powder, paprika and mustard seed.  Cut potatoes into even, small bite size pieces and then toss in oil.  Roast potatoes for 10 minutes, transfer to a bowl and then cool in freezer until potatoes reach room temperature.

Mix other ingredients well.  Add potatoes and stir until all the potato pieces are coated.

Worried about your health? Use olive oil!

Extra-virgin olive oil has been receiving lots of press for awhile now. According to the Mayo Clinic and others, the monounsaturated fat it contains has the ability to reduce the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – the ‘bad’ cholesterol. This fact and the associated health benefits are the most talked about and have received the most press. As little as two tablespoons a day can do the trick as incredible as it seems. And that’s only the start!

In 2005, Dr. Gary Beauchamp and his team identified an extraordinary compound in extra-virgin olive oil  – oleocanthal. Oleocanthal is similar to the anti-inflammatory substance found in ibuprofen. It helps prevent cardiovascular disease in much the same way as low dose aspirin and ibuprofen. Take a sip of Lucini extra-virgin olive oil and you’ll recognize the strong, stinging sensation at the back of your throat – almost like an aspirin, but better tasting, right? It’s this unique tongue-tingling sensation that led researchers to the discovery of oleocanthal.  It’s also what olive oil experts and graders look for when evaluating oil; the stronger the stinging, the better the oil.

In these stress-filled times, the risk of serious health problems increases exponentially. Eating right goes a long way in preventing problems such as heart disease and LDL cholesterol elevation. Follow the example of the longevity prototypes – the Sardinians from the Italian island of Sardinia – eat Med!

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.