Main Dishes

Roasted Ginger Salmon

Roasted Ginger Salmon

All I can say is get out your camera, cause when you make this dish, you’re going to want to take a picture of it before you serve it. It’s just that pretty, with the peach of the salmon, the ruby red jewels of the pomegranate seeds, the vibrant green of the parsley. The taste is no less sensational, the citrus and herbs playing wonderfully off the salmon’s healthy blend of omega-3 rich fats. This one will energize all your senses.

Grilled Chicken with Za’atar

Grilled Chicken with Za’atar

Can you say “za’atar?” Sure you can. In fact, if you lived in the Middle East, you’d be invoking the name of this herb-and-spice mix nearly every day. Za’atar has long had a reputation as a brain enhancer, and science may be providing a clue; researchers wrote that, in low concentrations, the carvacrol found in oregano and thyme may increase feelings of well-being. Chicken is particularly rich in brain-enhancing nutrients. This recipe makes about half a cup of za’atar, which is a lot more than you need for the chicken; store the extra in a jar and use to sprinkle on top of vegetables, dips, salad dressings, fish, eggs, or anything you would like to add a touch of the exotic.

Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers

Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers

These chickpea burgers are similar to a Middle Eastern falafel. This isn’t like the Americanized version of falafel that resembles carnival food deep-fried in some unhealthy oil. That’s a culinary crime, because falafel done right is so delicious and nutritious. It’s all in the blend. Here the secret ingredient is basmati rice, which holds the chickpea mixture together and creates a complete protein. I love the mini-burger concept; the whole wheat bun is like putting falafel in a top hat and tails, perfect for folks who like the taste of beans when they’re broken down and combined with heady herbs and spices. Gently pan-seared or baked, these burgers are bountiful bites of health. 

Good Mood Sardines

Good Mood Sardines

At heart, many cooks secretly fancy themselves to be magicians. Maybe it’s because people so often ask, “How did you do that?” But unlike, say Houdini, I always tell the tale behind the magic. Take sardines. I love them because they’re extremely high in omega-3s and vitamin D, both of which tend to be in short supply in people’s diets. Thanks to those mood-boosting nutrients, sardines are like little antidepressants in a can. That said, some culinary wizardry will be required to turn sardine skeptics into wild-eyed fans. Take my kitchen assistants, Jen and Katie. They swore they couldn’t stand sardines. I simply said, “You haven’t them the way I make them” and sent them out of the kitchen so I could perform my feat of prestidigitation. (No rabbit and top hat; just red onion, basil, parsley, mint, olive oil, and lemon juice). Voilà! They eagerly devoured the sardines and asked for more. Now that’s the kind of magic I like to practice.