What makes a meal extra special? Of course there are the people you dine with, the stories you hear and tell, the revelations of the day’s events you share. No doubt the wine, beer, spring water or whatever libation that complements the food is important. But the centerpiece? It’s the FOOD!
And the more I appreciate just how good food that’s good for me can taste, the more I enjoy meals that have it all….. great taste, great textures, great visual appeal, and great nutrition. That’s a grand slam!
Heliene has developed a real knack for making the nutritious items we all know, but based on early experience have chosen to reject, into adventures of the palate. They’re often a bit of eye candy too. If you want to feel better, enjoy the many sensory appeals a well prepared meal can provide, feel fuller without gorging, and know all the while that you’re massaging your innate processes the very best through sound nutrition, then keep an open mind and take a look at what I was treated to last night….. and again this morning! Yes, it was so good the first time, I rejected the customary Sunday fruit, cheese and coffee routine for a second helping of the entrée we had. What was it? Take a look at the picture below and guess…..
Before you go to your browser and search for “comfort foods for a wintery night”, STOP!
Following Heliene’s lead, we’ve come to find “comfort” foods that taste hearty, don’t result in a coma 2 hours later, and are power-packed nutrition for the long term.
I wouldn’t blame many folks throwing up their arms and saying, “WTH? Salmon? Brussels sprouts? And what’s the tannish stuff that looks like little tapioca balls”? Stay with me here. This was an amazing off-the-cuff creation that Heliene came up with as she’s preparing for an upcoming presentation in Iowa on “Super Foods to the Rescue”. If the raw ingredients are off-putting, “gross”, “repulsive”, or any other negative term you can think of, try the description on for size:
Seared Crispy Salmon with a White Wine and Shallot Sauce on a Medley of Savory Brussel Sprouts, Slow-fried Shallots and Freekeh.
NOT “freakout”, but freekeh, a young, green wheat grain treated with a 4300 year old process, that subs for rice or potatoes, is easily as tasty, and has a nice chewiness to boot. Better yet, it has a fabulous protein : starch ratio, so it’s what you might call a “Super Carb”. For example, in 1/4 cup of basmati rice there’s 35 g of carbs , 1 g fiber and 3 g protein. Freekeh? 26 g carb, 4 g fiber, and 8 g protein! Now are you paying more attention? I did. But healthy substitutions for potatoes, noodles and rice are easy. What about those Brussel sprouts. I’ve known children…. and some adults…. that acted like they need exorcism when confronted with these little packets of green goodness.
Brussels sprouts are in a family of veggies that have potent anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties. But like broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower, they have an equally powerful taste. Admittedly, I came to know these mini-cabbages like you probably did…. boiled and served plain, mushy, and (thankfully) loaded with salt and butter to cover up the pungent and sometimes bitter (that’s saying it kindly!) flavor. But wait, when Dear Wife sliced them thinly, sauteed ’em in olive oil, and added a touch of lemon….WOW! They had a savory/sweet/zesty taste that convinced me it’s all in the prep. Don’t blame the little green guys. They just need a little dressing up! To really put a special touch on the Brussels-over-Freekeh, Heliene slow fried some shallot rings in olive oil and put the crispy garnish on top of the medley. Heaven…..
So how was this Super Food Super Entrée topped off? Salmon! Ohhhhh Yeahhhhh! The neat prep last night started with searing to get a crisp skin, followed by a few minutes in the oven, then topped with a pan sauce of shallots, white wine (Dry Vermouth works too), chicken broth and a little (grass-fed) butter. Salmon, that anti-inflammatory, healthy omega-3 fat and low- calorie protein choice is indeed a Super Food.
“But Randy, I hate fish”!
2 thoughts: Give this a try, please, and use fresh, wild caught product if possible. If you simply can’t hack it, try another type of fish you like (though you’ll be missing out on those amazing omega-3’s), or substitute chicken, grass-fed beef, or super lean pork. In fact, I told Heliene this dish resembles a Chinese -style one which can showcase many meats. Hey, next time we’ll try shrimp!
So take it from a guy who won’t turn down a meat and potatoes meal anytime, but knows what food really means to our systems, down to the biochemical level. The magic we need is the marriage of nutrition and taste to nurture the miracle that is our body. Check out this post from Heliene on healthy ways to prepare veggies, keep an open mind, and watch the transformation begin. Just ask yourself as you contemplate diving into any food: “Is it good for my structure, my genes (if so it will be good for you jeans too!), the way I feel?”. Then know that healthy can taste good, and come back to drtobler.com for a roadmap to guide you.
What are your healthy and tasty tips? Share them with us!