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Caribbean Cooking: Preventative Maintenance on Your Body

It’s as important as preventive maintenance on your boat and a lot more fun than scraping the bottom and wielding a varnish brush. Here are a few tips and simple recipes for a healthy, on-the-go routine.

Start off each day with a bowl of oatmeal. The soluble fiber found in oats and oat bran has been shown to help reduce LDL cholesterol when eaten as part of a heart healthy diet. Walk, walk, and walk. Walk wherever you can. Do everything in moderation. Eat regularly throughout the day…“graze.”

The new bone builders are:

  1. Potassium – potatoes, bananas, sardines, and avocados;
  2. Omega 3 – fatty fish and walnuts. Also vitamin K – broccoli, spinach, kale, and cabbage;
  3. Folate – asparagus, broccoli, orange juice, leafy green vegetables, garbanzo beans, and grains;
  4. Magnesium – whole grains, almonds, peanuts, and leafy greens;

Make an almond butter and jelly sandwich instead of peanut butter and jelly.  Steam or sauté asparagus, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and top with a mixture of 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1 Tblsp orange zest and 1 tsp minced garlic.  Make guacamole with a twist; Combine cubed avocado with diced fresh figs, grapes or mango.

The new super trendy grain is quinoa—an ancient staple with great nourishment and flavor. It is one of the fastest cooking whole grains, ready in 15 minutes. About the size of millet, each round grain is bound with a narrow germ. When cooked the wispy germ separates from the seed and its delicate, almost crunchy curlicue makes a great contrast to the soft grain.

The Basic Quinoa Recipe:  This light and wholesome grain may be prepared quickly and easily with this basic method:

1 -1/2 cups water, 1 cup quinoa.

Place quinoa and water in a 1-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes). The quinoa is done when all the grains have turned from white to transparent, and the spiral-like germ has separated.
Makes 3 cups.  

Note: Stir cooked chilled quinoa into your salad. It also works well in other salads like bean and tuna.  Steam quinoa and mix with fresh basil or thyme and top with your favorite stew.

GRILLED CHICKEN AND QUINOA SALAD
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

12 oz. skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves, cooked
1/4 cup bottled Parmesan Italian salad dressing
1 cup loose-pack frozen French-cut green beans
2 cups cooked quinoa, chilled
1 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 green onion, sliced
4 lettuce leaves

Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Rinse green beans with cool water for 30 seconds, drain well. In a large skillet, toss together beans, quinoa, artichoke hearts, cabbage, carrot and green onion. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture; toss to gently coat. Arrange lettuce leaves on four dinner plates. Top with the quinoa mixture and chicken.

Hint: Wild rice can be substituted for quinoa. 

POMEGRANATE AND MANGO SPLASH
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

3 cups ice cubes
1 cup pomegranate juice, chilled
2/3 cup mango nectar, chilled
1/2 cup carbonated water, chilled
Fresh raspberries

Divide ice between four large martini glasses or other attractive stemmed glasses. Divide pomegranate juice between glasses. In a small pitcher, stir together mango nectar and carbonated water. Pour mango nectar mixture into glasses. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

QUICK PORK AND PEACH SALAD
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

1 lb. Pork tenderloin
Freshly ground pepper
Olive oil
8 cups mixed baby greens
4 medium peaches, pitted and sliced
1/3 cup bottled light balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing

Trim fat from pork. Cut pork crosswise into 16 pieces, about 3/4 inch thick. Lightly pound each pork piece with a mallet to about 1/4 inch thick and sprinkle with pepper. In an extra large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray, cook over medium-high heat for 2 – 3 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking. In a large salad bowl, toss mixed baby greens, sliced peaches and vinaigrette. Arrange four pork medallions on top of salad mixture on four plates. Serve immediately.

GRILLED BASS WITH STRAWBERRY SALSA
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 14 – 18 minutes
Serves: 4

4 (5oz) sea bass or halibut steaks 1 inch thick
1 lime
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1/4 cup finely chopped seeded fresh poblano chili pepper
2 Tblsp. snipped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. Cumin seeds toasted*
1/4 tsp. salt

Rinse fish; pat dry. Finely shred lime peel. Peel, section and chop lime; set aside. In a small bowl, combine lime peel, 1/4 tsp salt, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle evenly over both sides of each fish steak; rub in with your fingers.

Arrange medium hot-coals around a drop pan. Place fish on the greased grill rack over drop pan. Cover and grill for 7 to 9 minutes. Turn gently and continue cooking for another 7 to 9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine chopped lime, strawberries, chile pepper, cilantro, cumin seeds and 1/8 tsp of salt. Serve with grilled fish.

*Note: To toast cumin seeds, heat them in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, shake skillet occasionally.

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