Is food one of your enjoyments?

Is food one of your biggest enjoyments? For me personally, it is “YES!” Being honest with you, I really enjoy food in general and not only eating it, but as you know, I also love cooking and baking the foods. Growing up, I was a very picky eater, not liking veggies and very few fruits, but have always loved desserts — and I mean rich- fattening desserts. I wish I were one of those people that didn’t like sweets, but sadly to say that is not the case for me.

Not only am I hooked on desserts, but my entire family including my own children and grandchildren, will choose desserts over foods. I think that the more sugar you consume the more your system seems to crave it, so this year start the year without sweets and see how long you can last.

Every beginning of a new year, the main goals seems to be to lose weight and exercise more for a healthier life, and the television commercials advertise different types of diets and make the so-called healthy diet foods look so delicious, but just try them, “They are horrible to me.” I have tasted several different dishes that a couple friends have ordered and if I were to eat that food, I guarantee you I would personally lose weight fast. YUCK!

I believe that the secret is portion control if it is possible. I read that 44 percent of people start a diet in January, but they never tell us the percent that do not keep the diet for any length of time.

The Mediterranean diet is by far the leading diet that one should follow — lots of fish, veggies, grains, olive oil and fruits and limited intake of red meats. That leaves me out because steak is my very favorite food.

There is a Greek Island (Ikaria) that follow the healthy diet mentioned above, by eating fresh fish, veggies, olive oil and fruits daily, that many live to be 90 years old and up and getting around well.(Maybe we should all move to the island of Ikaria?)

We have a very good friend Dr. Nicholas Mezitis who is a endocrinologist, diabetes and metabolism specialist, who moved his practice to the area from New York City to practice medicine in Athens and at the Belpre Medical center. When he comes to visit us at our house, I always ask him, “How do I lose weight,” and he tells me to eat well during the day but limit your intake after 4 p.m. daily and of course eating the healthy foods, but not to starve yourself. Of course if you would see Dr. Mezitis, you can tell that he practices what he preaches for he is tall and a very trim man. I tell him that means no social life or big dinners with friends and family, which is very difficult for us to do. Keep dieting. Until next week.

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Garlic Roasted Broccoli

2 bunches broccoli, cut into spears

1/4 cup olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Place broccoli in a greased 15×10 baking pan. Combine the oil, garlic, salt and pepper; drizzle over broccoli and toss to coat. Bake, uncovered, at 425 for 15-20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Drizzle with vinegar.

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Baked Sweet Onions

8 large sweet onions, peeled

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup Burgundy wine or beef broth

8 teaspoons beef bouillon granules

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

Cut each onion into six wedges to within 1/2 inch of the bottom. Place each onion on a piece of heavy-duty foil. In a small bowl, combine the butter, wine bouillon the salt and pepper. Spoon over onions, sprinkle with cheese. Fold the foil around the onion and seal tightly. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 40-45 minutes or until onions are tender. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape.

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Grilled Cheese Supreme

12 slices hearty rye bread

12 teaspoons mayonnaise

18 slices cheddar cheese

3 small tomatoes, thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

6 thin slices sweet onion

1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and cut into 12 wedges

12 teaspoons butter, softened

Spread each of six slices of bread with 1 teaspoon mayonnaise; layer with a cheese slice, tomato slices, mushrooms, another cheese slice, onion, 2 avocado wedges and remaining cheese slice. Spread remaining bread with remaining mayonnaise. Place on top. Butter outsides of sandwiches. Toast on a heated griddle for 2-3 minutes on each side or until bread is lightly browned and cheese is melted.

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Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

3 medium sweet red peppers

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

3 cups chicken broth, divided

2 cups half-and-half cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

6 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Broil peppers 4 inches from the heat until skins blister, about 5 minutes. With tongs, rotate peppers a quarter of a turn. Broil and rotate until all sides are blistered and blackened. Immediately place peppers in a large bowl; cover and let stand for 15-20 minutes. Peel off and discard charred skin. Remove stems and seeds; set peppers aside. In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender; cool slightly. In a blender, combine the onion mixture, 2 cups broth and roasted peppers, cover and process until smooth. Return to the pan. Stir in cream and remaining broth; heat through (do not boil.) Stir in salt and pepper. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese.

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Spinach Festival Salad

1 medium sweet yellow pepper

1 medium sweet red pepper

1/2 pound sliced deli turkey, cut into strips

1 6-ounce package fresh baby spinach

2 plum tomatoes, sliced

2 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup crumbled tomato and basil feta cheese

3 pepperocini, sliced

2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette

Broil peppers 4 inches from the heat until skins blister; about 5 minutes. With tongs, rotate peppers a quarter turn. Broil and rotate until all sides are blistered and blackened. Immediately place peppers in a bowl; cover and let stand for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a salad bowl, combine the turkey, spinach, tomatoes, onions, feta cheese, pepperocini, Romano cheese, garlic and seasonings. Peel off and discard charred skin from peppers. Remove stems and seeds. Slice peppers; add to salad and toss to combine. Serve with vinaigrette.

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Kiki Angelos is a longtime columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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