Special of the day: Everything your Heart Desires, Heart-healthy Recipes for February

13 Feb Special of the day: Everything your Heart Desires, Heart-healthy Recipes for February

Pesto-crusted Salmon on Wilted Spinach

           It turns out the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and not just a man’s heart either. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States, killing about 600,000 people last year alone. It’s little wonder then, that February is recognized as American Heart Month, a time to draw awareness to improved heart health.

            Smart steps toward improving your cardiovascular health include decreasing sodium in your diet, getting more exercise, stopping smoking and maintaining a normal blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Eating foods that protect your cardiovascular system is a great way to both prevent and control heart disease. In general, limiting portion sizes, eating more fruits and vegetables, relying on lean protein and incorporating whole grains in your diet are all ways to ensure better heart health.

It’s everything your heart desires on this week’s Special of the day menu highlighting heart-healthy superfoods like edamame, walnuts, salmon, olive oil, spinach, dark chocolate and raspberries.

Celebrate American Heart Month with this week’s Special of the day: Everything Your Heart Desires: Heart-healthy Recipes for February of recipes for Sesame-roasted Edamame, Pesto-crusted Salmon on Wilted Greens and Dark Chocolate-dipped Raspberries. Happy healthy cooking!

Recipes and food photography by Sydne George.

Sesame Roasted Edamame in the Pod

Sesame-roasted Edamame in the Pod

(serves two)

2 cups frozen edamame (soybeans in the pod), thoroughly thawed and dried

2 tsp. sesame oil (I used hot chili sesame oil which gave them a kick.)

1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

1 tsp. Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Arrange edamame in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle edamame with sesame oil, tossing to coat.

Roast in preheated oven five minutes, then turn with wooden spoon to roast other side. Continue to roast an additional five minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and salt and toss to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Note: Just the beans inside the roasted edamame pods are meant to be eaten. Squeeze the end of the edamame pod and scrape the beans out into your mouth.

Pesto-crusted Salmon on Wilted Spinach

Pesto-crusted Salmon on Wilted Spinach

(serves two)

Make the pesto:
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed

½ cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated

½ cup walnuts

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

½ tsp. Kosher salt

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all pesto ingredients except olive oil in blender and blend until finely chopped. Drizzle olive oil in a little at a time until pesto comes together. Set aside.

Bake the salmon:

2 5-ounce portions fresh salmon (Albertson’s seafood department)

¼  cup seasoned bread crumbs

2 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay salmon portions atop foil, leaving space between them. Spoon pesto on top of salmon portions, patting it down with your hands to make a crust. Sprinkle pesto crust with bread crumbs to cover. Drizzle with olive oil, Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, just until crust begins to brown and salmon is oqaque. Do not over cook. Remove from oven and let rest briefly.

While salmon is baking, wilt the spinach:

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 small bunch fresh spinach, stems removed

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium high heat. Add spinach and stri fry briefly just until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.

To plate:

Mound a bed of wilted spinach in the center of each dinner plate. Top with Pesto-Crusted Salmon. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!


Dark chocolate-dipped raspberries


Dark Chocolate-dipped Raspberries

(makes about 30)

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1 pint fresh raspberries, washed and thoroughly dried

Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir until completely smooth. Using a skewer to hold the raspberry, dip raspberries in chocolate and set on a sheet of waxed paper to dry. Allow chocolate to set before serving.  Enjoy!

Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.

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