When my daughter Larissa flew home to ‘babysit’ me after my heart attack, I could tell that she meant business. No mother of hers was going to put her through this kind of stressful drama ever again, and the kitchen was where she decided to start in reorganizing my entire life. The first thing the darling child did was to go through the big pile of printed material about heart-healthy lifestyles that they send you home with from the cardiac ward. She underlined, she took notes – and then she went to work.
She powered through my kitchen cupboards, my pantry, my refrigerator – tossing out everything she could find that contained added salt, sugar or unhealthy fat. (By the way, that is almost all canned or processed foods!)
I could hear Larissa muttering about “sodium content” and “partially hydrogenated fats” from my perch on the red leather LaZBoy chair in our living room.
Then, armed with her new heart-healthy grocery list, she hit the store and loaded up a carload of healthy new foods. Then a full day followed of cooking and baking to fill the freezer. Where does she get this from?
Since then, inspired by Larissa’s bossy ways, as well as my own desire to avoid another heart attack, I must say I’ve become a wee bit obsessed about heart-healthy recipes.
My bookshelves now hold my Anne Lindsay and Bonnie Stern healthy cookbooks instead of those trashy novels. I scour heart-related websites daily for interesting new recipes. I also invite the women who attend my ‘Pinot & Prevention‘ presentations to bring along their own heart-healthy appies to share with the group. And almost every day, I try out yet another yummy and healthy recipe.
Here’s one of my favourite new appetizer recipes. It makes enough for a big crowd, so it’s a perfect – and easy – potluck dish. It’s not the fatty deep-fried version available in some restaurants. Instead, it’s basically like making an old-fashioned upside-down cake, except for sushi lovers.
Bonnie Stern’s Heart Smart™ Smoked Salmon Sushi Pizza
- 2 c (500 mL) short grain sushi rice (yes, it MUST be sushi rice)
- 2 1/4 c (550 mL) cold water
- 1/4 c (50 mL) seasoned rice vinegar
- 36 very thin slices English cucumber
- 1/4 lb (125 g) lox or smoked salmon, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) honey mustard or 1 tbsp (15 mL) prepared wasabi
- 1/4 c (50 mL) light mayo or plain yogurt
- 1 sheet toasted nori (about 8×7 inches/20×18 cm)
- 1/4 c (50 mL) chopped fresh chives or green onions
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) toasted sesame seeds
1. Rinse rice in several changes of water until water runs clearn Drain well. In a medium heavy pot, combine rice and cold water. Allow to rest for 15-30 minutes.
2. Bring rice to a boil, covered, on medium-high heat. Boil x 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes. Do not lift lid at any time during cooking and resting.
3. Transfer rice to large bowl and gently toss with vinegar. If rice tastes perfect, add a bit more vinegar (vinegar taste will dissipate as rice cools). Cover rice with damp towel if not using right away.
4. Line an 8 inch (1.5 mL) square baking dish with plastic wrap. Arrange cucumber slices, overlapping slightly, on bottom. Arrange smoked salmon slices on top of cucumber. Combine mustard and mayonnaise/yogurt and spread over salmon.
5. Gently and carefully spread half the sushi rice on top of the salmon. Dip your fingers into a bowl of water and gently pat down the rice. Place square of nori on top of rice. Pat on remaining rice. Cover with plastic wrap and weigh down with several heavy cans of food. Refrigerate for a few hours.
6. To serve, unwrap and invert onto a square serving platter. Sprinkle with chives and sesame seeds. Cut into small squares. Enjoy, and then smile!
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Want more heart-smart hits? Check out my favourite heart-healthy recipes for:
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