Healthy food for religious holidays

March 29, 2010 by  

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Certain holidays  are associated in certain types of food that we usually eat to celebrate these special occasions. However, there are also foods which are forbidden on certain holodays, at least for certain religions. I was brought up a catholic (though I have been an agnostic for years now), and during the Lenten season, my mom would strictly impose the no- meat policy on Fridays and the whole of the so-called Holy Week. Meat would only then be served on Easter Sunday, in celebration of the end of the fasting season.

The other day, one of my sons brought home the topic about the holy days and about why some of their friends wouldn’t eat meat on Fridays. During the discussion, his brother remained quiet, then eventually blurted out worriedly: “But I can’t imagine surviving a Friday without eating even just a slice of salami!”

This, of course, will become a family joke for years to come. However, I got to recall my mom’s no meat policy, which although unpopular, was nevertheless healthy. We were lucky to live close to the seacoast where fish and seafood are  easily avaialble. Fish as protein source is much healthier than meat – especially for our heart health.

A New York Times article recently featured star Chef Marshall Goldstein, of Toledo, Ohio who is the president of the Maumee Valley Chefs American Culinary Federation chapter, and executive chef/director of food services at The Heritage who talked about cooking during special occasions such as Easter and Passover – e.g “how to mix food and faith in a more health way.” The Chef a lot of questions from glazed hams to matzas, from leg of lamb to nut meringue. For me, the best part is the recipe for Pan Roasted Salmon which I will surely try this coming Good Friday. Here is Chef Goldstein’s recipe:

“How about something great and unusual…..Pan Roasted Salmon, with a citrus Balsamic vinegarette. Here is a great recipe:

Ingredients: 1/2 c balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp. finely minced onion, 2 tsp. coarsed chopped parsely, 2 tbsp. orange zest, 1/8 tsp salt, fresh ground black pepper(healthiest for you) 3/4 cup orange juice.

Put all the ingredients into a closable container, and shake, shake, shake!! Sear the Salmon in a skillet with a little olive oil, transfer the pan to a 350 degree oven and roast 10-15 minutes, you do not want over cooked salmon. Using the skillet, wipe clean and heat the sauce, spoon over the salmon. I like to serve redskin potatoes and a nice side salad with different types of dried fruits as a nice accompaniment.”

Hmmm… yummy! Any special holiday recipe you might want to share?

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