THE ELECTRIC KITCHEN
COURTESY WATERMARK PUBLISHING
A tabouleh made with wild rice is flavored with fresh mint, parsley and lemon juice.
Sensible eating ideas come with a DASH of good taste
We often associate eating healthy with bland food, sacrifice and uninspiring dishes, but this need not be so. Lucky we live Hawaii, where we're never far from flavorful, farm-fresh products that allow us to create tasty, yet simple daily meals that are good for us.
Such an abundance of produce may be found at our island farms, farmers' markets, Chinatown markets and increasingly at supermarkets. The richness of the Hawaiian soil, climate and rainfall all contribute to the color, flavor and texture of our farm products that include many varieties of vegetables and herbs.
Today we begin a partnership with Kapiolani Community College's Culinary Arts Department to present easy and approachable cooking and lifestyle ideas for healthful eating, based on a plan called DASH -- Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension.
More recipes and suggestions will follow in this column in the weeks to come.
A book published by the KCC culinary school, "A DASH of Aloha: Healthy Hawaii Cuisine and Lifestyle" (Watermark, $15.95) explains how to use local products to create tasty, home-cooked meals that are also healthful. It aims to introduce the major concepts emphasized in the DASH plan. The book's recipes and lessons on ingredients will help you follow the eating plan without having to count every calorie or milligram of sodium at every meal.
The DASH plan, developed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, is based on studies that show blood pressure is reduced with an eating plan low in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat. The DASH diet emphasizes eating fruits, vegetables and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts.
It de-emphasizes, but does not eliminate, lean red meats, sweets, added sugars and sugar-containing beverages found in the typical American diet.
The DASH diet can be used as a preventive measure, as well as for people with specific dietary restrictions. It is not a vegetarian plan, and it does not require specialty foods.
"A DASH of Aloha," available at major bookstores and at KCC, has been among the Top 3 nonfiction best-sellers in Hawaii since it was released in February.
Cooking demonstrations and hands-on cooking classes with tips on wise eating are being offered starting May 3 with "Good Food for a Healthy Heart" with chef Alyssa Moreau, 9 a.m. to noon at KCC. Call 734-9473.
At right is a recipe from the book -- a perfect example of how to create a tasty salad with greens such as baby Romaine or Manoa lettuce, and aromatic herbs such as parsley and mint.
All recipes should be used as guidelines and ideas for you to experiment on. So let your sense of adventure take over and feel free to adjust ingredients to add texture, color and taste to the recipe once you have mastered it.
Tabouleh, also spelled tabouli, is an Arabic salad dish traditionally made with bulgur, a wheat product. This recipe offers a variation using wild rice, which is very easy to cook -- just boil it in water for a minimum of 40 minutes. You can boil it longer if you want it softer. This recipe can be a first course, or a salad lunch. Serve it with grilled chicken or fish if you want to add protein to make it a main course. More variations can also be found in the cookbook. Enjoy!
Wild Rice Tabouleh
4 ounces (about 3/4 cup) wild rice
2 tomatoes, diced
1 Japanese cucumber, diced
2 bunches Italian parsley, minced
1 bunch (about 1-1/2 ounces) fresh mint, minced
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 stalks green onion, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
Bring rice and about 4 cups water to boil, reduce to medium and cook 45 to 50 minutes. Drain rice well; cool.
Combine all other ingredients, add rice and mix well. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving. Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 180 calories, 8 g total fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 6 g protein.
Hawaiian Electric Co. presents this weekly collection of recipes as a public service. Many are drawn from HECO's database of recipes, accessible online at www.heco.com