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In addition to practicing medicine for over twenty years, as well as exercising most of my life, I also really enjoy cooking. Coming from an Italian family, I think cooking is in the gene pool. I grew up eating very Mediterranean dishes made with fresh ingedients, often home grown when possible. My parents didn’t buy anything that they could make themselves. There is much to be said for this as in this day of “fast food” and pre-prepared foods, all of the benefits of eating fresh healthy food are lost, and the Ill effects of eating products that are actually harmful has become widely accepted. So here I offer my recipes which I have created and cook at home for my family.
Farro & Quinoa
Farro is the oldest grain and the original grain from which all others are derived. Quinoa is noted for being a grain and yet high in protein.
1 can black beans or northern white beans drained
About 20 peels of hard sharp cheese, such as Grana Padano, parmesian, etc. Peel with a potato peeler
Two cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Brown the farro or the quinoa in a pan. Once brown, add one clove of garlic diced. Lower the heat and let the pan cool and add the chicken broth. Simmer covered for about 45 minutes or until tender. While this is cooking, in a large mixing bowl combine the walnuts, cheese, spinach, beans and the other clove of garlic, diced. When the grains are cooked, add them to the mixing bowl with other ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste, and olive oil. Mix and serve.
Salads are a great way to eat more veges. You can essentially put anything you like into a salad. Greens are the best choices as items such as corn and yellow squash are higher in carbs. Panzanella, is an Italian salad that is made with croutons, which, are made from left over stale bread. The Italian heritage wastes nothing. I make my own bread,and when it starts to get stale, I make a fresh loaf and save the stale pieces in a bag in the refrigerator. when the bag has enough stale pieces in it, it s time to make Panzanella!
I like to add greens such as mesclin, avocado, (rich in EFA), tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and feta cheese.
To make the croutons, dunk pieces of stale bread in a bowl of water until submerged, hold there for about ten seconds. Take the bread out and now that it has softened, cut it into cubes, about 1-2″. Put these into an oven safe pan and sprinkle with olive oil and garlic powder. Bake at around 350 until the croutons get crisp. Place them in the bowl with salad and dress.
For the dressing, I like to use extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. You can also season with some more garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.
*Note– You should always use plain olive oil for cooking and extra virgin olive oil for dressing. Extra virgin oil oxidizes quickly at high temperatures, it is also a lot more expensive.
My favorite breakfast
Lox & Avocado with Brie and Toast
Few things are as good for you as lox. It is a great source of protein as well as EFA. I prefer using only alaskan salmon lox as Atlantic salmon is high in mercury and PCB’s. Also, I prefer the Kirkland brand (from Costco) as theirs is made without nitrites or nitrates added.
RecipeLox, (preferably nitrite/nitrate free and Alaskan) 1/3 avocado, sliced 1/2oz of Brie, (Can substitute with any cheese)
10 capersOne slice of toast, preferably Italian whole grain
Lay out the lox, avocado slices, brie and toast on a plate. Sprinkle the capers over the plate.
As a yellow vegetable, spaghetti squash is higher in carbohydrate than the green variety. Nonetheless, there are far worse choices you could make for dinner.
RecipeOne whole spaghetti squash 4 small tomatoes 1/2 onion, diced 2 cloves garlic A few sprigs of fresh parsley About 2 0z mozzarella 2 tablespoons olive oil
Halve the spaghetti squash and remove the seeds. Place the seeds in a dish which you can dry out by salting an air drying, which make a great healthy snack. Sprinkle each squash half with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat at about 350 till tender, about 30-45 minutes. As this is finishing, heat about one tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan. once hot, add onions. When onions start to caramelize, add garlic. When garlic starts to caramelize add tomatoes. At this point you have two options.
Option 1: Spoon the tomato mixture over each squash halve and cover with mozzarella and continue baking at 350 until the cheese starts to caramelize. Serve.
Option 2: Scrape the “spaghetti” out of each squash into the pan with the tomatoes. Continue to saute and then dump the medley back into each empty squash shell. Place back into oven and continue baking at 350 until the cheese starts to caramelize. Serve.