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“Can you do a class on healthy foods?”

With pleasure! Since mental health is just as important as physical health, healthy foods are foods that taste delicious and make you happy. Unhealthy foods have no flavor or taste. Healthy foods are so tasty that you are satisfied with a small amount. Unhealthy foods are foods that do not satisfy your tastebuds, so you keep eating in the hope of finding some gratification.

To cook flavorful foods, use fat, salt, and sugar. Fat will carry the flavor of aromatics and herbs that season the food. Salt brings out the inherent flavor in food. And sweetness will balance the food. I always put a little sugar in my savory dishes and a little salt in my desserts and then the flavor is full-bodied. Foods made without fat, salt, or sugar taste terrible and will not satisfy your hunger.

Want to go on a diet? Eat the most delicious food you can, but only eat a half-portion. To abstain from the foods you love will make you mentally unstable and very grumpy. Never turn down a yummy dessert, because dessert will make you smile.

Still hungry for a salad? Then make a delicious salad, seasoned with fat, salt, and sugar. This salad was the hit in a recent vegetarian cooking class. The oil carries the flavor of the fig vinaigrette and produces delectable crunchies for the top of the salad. The sugar balances the vinegar in the pickled fruit. And all foods need a touch of salt bring out the full flavor.

To learn more healthy recipes, sign up for a delicious cooking class!

Salad with Crispy Root Vegetables and Pickled Fruit

For vinaigrette:

  • 3 dried figs or prunes
  • 1 cup port
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar (or port balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the port and cook the figs in the port until softened and the port is reduced to 1/2 cup. Puree the figs, port, and vinegar in a blender. Remove to a bowl, add the shallots and slowly whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

For the pickled fruit:

  • 2 cups fresh fruit, such as fig, cherries, grapes, pear, plum, apricot, etc.
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup sherry vinegar
  • Spices if desired (whole cloves, allspice, cinnamon, mustard, ginger, cardamom, etc)

In a saucepan, combine the sugar and vinegar and and bring to a boil. Pour in the fruit. Simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool. Use the drained fruit on top of the salad.

For the crispy root vegetable:

  • Beet or carrot or other root vegetable (parsnips, rutabaga, turnip, potato)
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • salt for seasoning

Using a spiral slicer, cut the vegetable into long skinny strips. Drop in the deep-fryer heated to 350 degrees and cook until browned. Drain and sprinkle with salt.

For the salad:

Salad greens or Arugula

Toss the greens with a little of the dressing. Top the greens with vegetable and fruit.