Favorite Foods That Prevent Heart Disease

And Help Clear Blocked Arteries

Without Pharmaceuticals Or Surgery

by Dina Eliash Robinson

text2 Eat Your Way To Cardiovascular Fitness



INTRODUCTION—The GOOD News: More than two decades of research, personal observation and experience in our own family, have provided strong evidence that cardiovascular disease can be prevented, as well as reversed with heart-healthy eating habits, moderate exercise, stress-reduction and food-based supplements, Heart16 291x300 Eat Your Way To Cardiovascular Fitnesswithout pharmaceuticals or invasive procedures. Note: Vitamins amd other food- based supplements should only be taken on the advice of professional health practitioners—such as nutritionists, holistic therapists, and the growing number of cardiologists and other physicians who are finding them useful.

In fact, prevention and reversal of cardiovascular disease through foods and lifestyle changes are proving successful even for people with inherited ‘bad’ genes that have caused heart attacks, strokes and/or premature deaths to a parent, sibling or other closely related family member. Reports about the effectiveness of foods as therapeutic agents in the reversal of illnesses—even in cases when genetic predisposition is combined with previous years of self-destructive eating habits—are appearing with increasing frequency in both scientific medical journals and mainstream media.

Docs Getting On The Nutrition Bandwagon:  More and more physicians are poaching on nutritionists’ territory by accompanying prescriptions with advice on healthy eating and lifestyle changes. Celebrity doctors are writing cookbooks, pontificate about trendy diets on their own TV and radio shows, write syndicated columns, appear on magazine covers and have bylined articles published in newspapers.

Dr. J. Kellogg Parsons, urologic oncologist at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center revealed in a September 2011 interview with the SD Union-Tribune that extensive epidemiological studies conducted by the Center have shown evidence that a heart-healthy diet, “when applied to the prostate cancer patient… has the same great results” (as in cardiac patients). Dr. Parsons recommends a “diet high in vegetables, low in fat (and) meat. Vegetables are particularly important.” (FRC Caveat: Starchy veggies, such as potatoes, should be consumed less frequently and in smaller portions to avoid weight gain.)

International Focus: In addition to the domestic trend, there is considerable pushback by various countries around the world against the U.S.-promoted over-reliance on medicines, agricultural chemicals, fast food chains and factory farm products—as well as a shift toward linking organic foods with health. This is reflected in various comments and articles being receiving at FreeRangeClub from abroad.

Here is an excerpt focused on cardiovascular disease contributed by Dr. Millie M. Bruce, a native of Banffshire, Scotland and graduate of the University of Glasgow with a degree in traditional medicine and nutrition. She writes: “Cardiovascular disease is rapidly approaching gender-equal status now that women are shouldering careers in addition to their parenting and homemaking responsibilities.” Citing her research and special interest in this field, Dr. Bruce warns that “Increasingly, the danger zone is not age but physical condition, eating habits, lifestyle and even emotional or mental state, which affects how individuals deal with stress.”

Economic Advantages And Gastronomic Pleasures: Commonsense and household budgets show that wholesome foods are not only healthy, but more enjoyable, satisfying and economical–saving money that otherwise would have to be spent on medical treatments, pharmaceuticals, missed work and at extreme, on hired caregivers. With a plethora of accessible information available in books, classes and on the Internet, even the most kitchen-averse consumer can easily learn a few life-improving grocery shopping and quick and easy cooking skills.

Choosing The Most Powerful Nutrients For Effective Cardiac Damage Control: To fully reap the health benefits of good eating habits—while also pleasing taste buds, of cou2067911 s1 300x200 Eat Your Way To Cardiovascular Fitnessrse—we recommend that you:
(1) Choose all organic and, whenever possible, locally grown foods, because the shorter the distance between farm and table, the less energy is consumed and smaller carbon footprint is left by transportation (a clean air bonus for heart-health) and, above all, the fresher and higher in nutritional value are the foods you eat. Being a ‘locavore’ also has the added benefit of eating fruits and vegetables in season, at the top of their healing power.
(2) When locally grown organic produce is not available, look for equivalents grown in other parts of the U.S.—or when those, too, are missing from your grocer’s shelves, settle only for Canadian or Mexican choices sporting the USDA organic stamp. Although organic imports from Chile are of good quality, their nutrient levels are lowered by pre-ripened harvesting and long haul transportation. And since Chile’s winter is our summer and vice versa, the health bonus of in-season consumption of plant foods is also lost.
(3) Pay special attention to points of origin information on packages when shopping for frozen fruits and veggies and limit your picks to U.S. and Canadian goods. Avoid even organic imports from China because of that country’s continuing struggles with polluted soil, air and water—against which its own citizens frequently protest.
(4) Whenever you are tempted to save a few pennies by reaching for less expensive produce, remind yourself that organic foods pay remarkable health dividends by allowing the body to use their entire energy and self-healing resources for prevention, damage control and health maintenance. By contrast, when consuming conventionally grown or processed foods, the body must first engage its immune system in the battle to protect itself from the toxic chemicals (pesticides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones, etc.) and genetically engineered products embedded in these foods. Not only does this battle deplete the body’s self-healing resources, but toxic chemicals and genetic tampering also tend to diminish the nutritional value of conventionally produced foods.DSCF0007 300x225 Eat Your Way To Cardiovascular Fitness

The Optimum Food Plan For Cardiovascular Health:
(a)   Eat a hearty breakfast every morning, starting with a tall glass of water (room temperature) with a splash of some organic fruit juice if you prefer flavoring. Follow with a slice of melon or other fruit. The ‘main course’ might consist of a slice of whole grain (wheat, spelt, kamut, etc.) waffle with fruit; slice of toasted bread with avocado, almond or walnut butter or other low-cholesterol topping; an egg-white and veggies or mushroom omelet with olive oil; a small ‘variety’ plate with humus, sliced tomatoes and olives with whole grain crackers; etc.  Green tea for a concluding pick-me-up is better than coffee, although one or two cups of low- or moderately caffeinated Java have lately been given the green light for heart-healthy diets. For a richer flavor, try a cup of weaker coffee with a ½ teaspoon of unsweetened organic cocoa and splash of almond milk.
(b)  While it’s best to eat the larger meal at midday, it is advisable to keep portions served at both lunch and dinner as small as possible, so as not to overtax the digestive and cardiac systems. The ideal (balanced) meal consists of…
• a big salad of dark leafy greens, tomato, radish, pepper, onion (optional when in company), followed by a protein and grain; or8508367 s 300x201 Eat Your Way To Cardiovascular Fitness
•  steamed or sautéed vegetables (non-starchy) occupying about half the plate, with the rest of space split between
• a fist-size portion of lean, low-cholesterol protein—such as salmon or other Omega-3-rich oily, medium or small size fish; white/breast meat of organic chicken or turkey; tofu or tempeh; the vegetarian whole protein combo of rice and beans, etc. (it is strongly suggested that red meat be avoided altogether); and
• a cup of whole grain pasta, rice (except in the presence of the above rice and beans) or other starch.
(c)   If (b) is lunch, dinner could include a hot or cold soup and a Mediterranean platter of hummus, salad, olives and sardines; or whole grain pizza crust with vegetable and goat cheese topping. Or, as indicated above, these lunch and dinner suggestions are interchangeable.
(d) The important thing is to keep portions small and food items light and easy to digest to avoid bloating or feeling ‘stuffed.
(e)  When main meals are reasonably light, with moderate portions, it is better to have snacks between meals, than to let hunger build to over-indulgence during the next meal. Snacks could include a fruit with organic, low-fat yogurt; about 10-12 almonds or other nuts with a handful of raisins; a slice of whole grain bread with almond butter or some other low-calorie and low-cholesterol choices.
(f)   Four-hour intervals between main meals help prevent overeating, while finishing dinner at least two hours between bedtime benefits digestion, avoids putting pressure on the heart and allows for a good night’s sleep.
(g)   Regular exercise, stress management, home cooking and/or judicious selection of dishes and ingredients when eating out, also helps to maximize the

DSCF00041 300x225 Eat Your Way To Cardiovascular Fitness

Baba Ganoush

effectiveness of healing foods.

Commitment: To quote Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.” In short, staying the course helps to fast-track the cardiovascular healing process and lifestyle changes, as well as to prevent relapses. While temptations abound—often in the form of lovingly prepared but artery-clogging foods offered by well-meaning friends and family—they can be resisted by remembering to differentiate between myths and facts:
• Myth: Indulging only rarely in artery-clogging or inherently toxic foods won’t harm.
Fact: Every morsel of adulterated and/or artery-clogging food is sure to set back the healing process or negatively affect prevention efforts.
Myth: It’s OK to skip regular exercise or relaxation practices—two days a week is plenty.
Fact: Inactivity lets arteries collect plaque and neglecting to keep stress hormones in check has the potential to impede or reverse recovery. The goal should be to exercise and de-stress at least five days a week. (Don’t groan. Throw your arms up, grin broadly to the ceiling and shout a gleeful ‘Yeah!’ to get you psyched about the healing process. Attitude is everything.)
Myth: Backsliding can easily be made up for later.
Fact: Lifestyles are habits that can be as addictive as alcohol and drugs. Falling off the wagon has serious consequences—especially for those with a genetic tendency (family history) of cardiovascular problems. The sooner bad habits (i.e. addictions) are broken and healthy ones put in their place, the faster the struggle ends and re-habituation is etched into the subconscious.
• Myth: Once cardio-health is restored, it’s safe to go back to less than optimum lifestyle.
• Fact: This is the most dangerous fantasy. Resuming old habits that caused the heart disease originally tends to precipitate a relapse that occurs faster and tends to be more severe than the first onset.
• Good News: It takes about two to four months for taste buds to develop a preference for heart-healthy flavors and for a new lifestyle to become routine. TheDSCF0006 300x225 Eat Your Way To Cardiovascular Fitness successful transition can be hastened and helped by making sure that meals are not only nutritionally well balanced, lovingly prepared with organically grown, low-cholesterol ingredients, but delicious as well—a goal achieved through skillful seasoning with healthy and antioxidant-rich herbs and spices. (Click on our ‘Recipes’ section and try them as written, or improvise to include your favorite flavors—while still making sure, of course, that all changes and substitutions are heart-healthy.)

Caveat: If and when eating out—in restaurants or private homes–I recommend making your wait staff or host(ess) an ally who’ll be glad to answer your (polite) questions about ingredients and cooking modes (anything but fried or barbequed!) of the meals being served. Good manners require that you at least taste what is offered, or quietly point to, or serve yourself the dishes that best suit your Food Plan.

Go For Good And Plenty: Far from being ‘restricted,’ The Optimum Food Plan For Cardiovascular Health includes a veritable cornucopia of delicacies in mouthwatering flavors, textures and a variety of preparation choices. The ones that are really ‘restricted’ are, in fact, the fast- and junk foods, since their main (health-busting) ingredients are fat, salt, sugar, pesticides-laden plants, refined and genetically engineered (GMO) grains and processed animal products spiked with growth hormones and antibiotics.

Food, Glorious Food! While a completely plant-based diet is not everyone’s preference, increasing veggies and fruits and cutting down on animal products is known to improve cardiovascular health. The healthiest vegetables and fruits are those with the strongest, darkest colors. Often called ‘super-foods,’ they are rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, as well as in antioxidants that protect the body from cancer-causing free radicals. Their high fiber content also aids digestion and lowers blood pressure— essential attributes for cardio safety. Here is an incomplete list of goodies known for their powerful cardiovascular healing properties. Write to us for more information—or to add your own—at

Dark leafy vegetables (collard greens, kale, chard, spinach).
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts).
Root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, yams, sweet-potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, beets—the latter is also an excellent liver-cleanser).
Nightshades (eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes—to be consumed in moderation, since they tend to worsen arthritis symptoms when eaten too often or in large quantities).
Squashes (acorn, spaghetti, crookneck, zucchini, pumpkin, etc.).
Antibacterial/anti-viral vegetables (onions, leeks, scallions, garlic—the latter is a particularly powerful antidote for inflammations, infections and flu and cold viruses, as well as being an effective blood-thinner that—when taken as prescribed in concentrated doses found in supplements such as ‘Kyolic’ garlic capsules—helps prevent clots that could cause phlebitis or strokes).
Legumes (beans of all kinds, lentils, peas, chickpeas—the latter is excellent when prepared as hummus with tahini, lemon and garlic).
7812945 s 300x200 Eat Your Way To Cardiovascular FitnessBerries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries—often called ‘super-foods’).
Açai, a fairly recently introduced and much hyped food growing on trees along the Amazon river, has been mistakenly called a berry—it is actually a drupe, a pitted fruit just like the olive. Açai has no sugar, but is twice as rich in anthocyamins as dark blue and red berries and red wine; and has high contents of antioxidants, Omega-6 and -9, fiber and polyphenols. (Not recommended for diverticulitis sufferers, because of its abrasive nature.)
Melons (honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, Galia, Crenshaw, etc.).
Stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries).
Avocados are rich in minerals, vitamins and heart-healthy fat—making it somewhat high-caloric, but still one of the most nourishing super-foods. Among its various species, the Haas—also known as ‘alligator pear’ because of its rough skin—is dense and fatty, with a nutty flavor, while the Reed and Bacon are larger, smooth-skinned, have a lighter, less fatty flesh and a fresh, ‘green’ flavor. The latter are often less expensive than the Haas.
Citrus (oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes—grapefruit is best avoided because it may interact with medications and/or supplements or have adverse effects on certain conditions).
Apples and pears come in many variations of colors, textures and flavors and are as delicious in their fresh and raw state as baked, poached, puréed (i.e. apple sauce) and stewed in compote.
Tropicals (persimmons, pomegranates, bananas, mangoes, papayas, etc. Pomegranates are rich in iron, bananas in potassium and papayas are excellent digestive aids).

Herbs and Spices are largely responsible for the pleasures of eating, since they add to, as well as bring out the flavors of individual foods. (Think, for example, sliced yam coated with olive oil, basil, turmeric, paprika and garlic powder and baked until almost crisp.) In addition to making salt unnecessary—a good thing for salt-restricted cardio diets—herbs and spices also pack many powerful medicinal qualities. Here are some of the most popular:
Basil and Dill, like most herbs, contain multiple medicinal compounds, each an effective healing agent for one or more ailments. Among them is eugenol, an antioxidant that also protects against heart disease and thrombotic stroke by inhibiting the clumping of platelets intoDSCF0009 300x225 Eat Your Way To Cardiovascular Fitness dangerous clots.
Fennel—a plant relative of dill, coriander, parsley and carrots—is completely edible: its crunchy white bulb, fibrous stalks, seeds and thin dill-like leaves (ideal in fish dishes). It is also a health-supportive powerhouse, rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and cholesterol-reducing fiber that protects the cardiovascular system and the colon (from which it removes potentially carcinogenic toxins). The fragrant fennel is also a good source of folate (a B vitamin that protects blood vessel walls from damage) and potassium. Among other health benefits, folate and the blood-pressure-lowering potassium help prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Ginger also possesses similar anti-platelet-clotting qualities, with added elements that prevent cardiovascular disease by balancing lipids, inhibiting fat absorption from the intestines and thus lowering the ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while raising the ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol.
Parsley inhibits the formation of plaques in arteries and also acts as a blood-thinner—both important factors in the prevention of heart disease and stroke.
Oregano and Rosemary have cardio-protective, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory carvacrol and rosmarinic acid, which prevent plaque formation in arteries.
•As reported in 2010 by Nutrition Journal, in an analysis of more than 3100 foods around the world, Tarragon has been found to pack one of the highest antioxidant contents among them. Due to its abundance of the anti-inflammatory salicylic acid and several key phytochemicals, fresh tarragon especially, is a powerful shield against cardiovascular disease.
•The same analysis reports identical findings for Thyme due to several cardio-protective phytonutrients.
•Perhaps the most often prescribed medicinal plant for the prevention (and healing) of heart disease is Turmeric, a root sold in powder form, which lends its strong yellow color to Indian curry and the phytonutrient curcumin to its healing power. Turmeric’s antioxidant qualities make it highly effective as a protector and therapeutic weapon against HIV, cancer and arthritis.
Cayenne and other hot chili peppers rich in capsaicin reduce blood cholesterol, lower triglyceride levels and increase the body’s ability to dissolve fibrin, a substance that promotes clot-formation. Where cayenne is a popular spice, there are much lower rates of heart attacks, stroke and cases of pulmonary embolism.

Almonds, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, sunflower and sesame seeds, among others, are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, proteins and other heart-healthy nutrients. (I advise staying away from peanuts if possible, for reasons explained at

DSCF00061 300x225 Eat Your Way To Cardiovascular FitnessWHOLE GRAINS—ORGANIC (to avoid toxic chemicals, GMO & GE products)
Hot oatmeal (whole oats) cereal is highly effective in lowering blood pressure and clearing arteries.
Whole grain (wheat, spelt, kamut, the complete-protein-containing quinoa, etc.) cereals, pasta, pilaf, breads and rice (wild, brown, basmati, jasmine, etc.) are important energy fuels, rich in nutrients. Still, it’s good to keep in mind that they are carbohydrates with high (complex) sugar and starch content that have the potential to become addictive ‘comfort’ foods and pack on unwanted weight—always a detriment to cardiovascular health. It’s best, therefore, to keep portions small to medium and to eat grain-based foods not too frequently.

Heart-healthy fats are limited to polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils.
Polyunsaturated fats include plant-based oils (of which safflower and sunflower oils are preferable.
Corn and soy oils are also ‘poly,’ but should be avoided or used with caution—the former to avoid allergic reactions in people sensitive to corn and the latter because its high concentration of the plant estrogen present in soybeans can be harmful to breast cancer sufferers and survivors. Absent allergies or estrogen-uptake cancer hazard, corn and soy oils contain heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids—also found in ground flaxseed and walnut oils.
Monounsaturated fats include the super-heart-healthy olive oil (choose organic, extra-virgin, cold- and first-pressed products from reputable California, Italian or other trusted sources), as well as avocados (fruit and oil), nuts and seeds (including butters and oils derived from them).
DSCF00051 225x300 Eat Your Way To Cardiovascular FitnessNote: Olive oil is at its best when drizzled on salads at room temperature. It is also a tasty, heart-healthy fat in low-heat cooking—which is, in fact, advisable for protecting the cardiovascular system. Foods cooked at high heat (i.e. fried, barbecued and blackened in any form) are hazardous to most people’s health due to their artery-clogging and carcinogenic effects. Boiling, simmering, poaching, sautéing, baking and roasting at below 400 degrees are the optimum cooking methods all around and especially important for keeping the old pump and its vascular plumbing in the pink.

For prevention of cardiovascular problems, a good rule of thumb is to limit dairy intake to small portions of goat yogurt, kefir, Feta cheese or organic chevrie-style low-fat creamy white cheese, once or twice a week. Goat dairy is, in general, lower in fat, has healthy enzymes that make it easier to digest than cow products and is a good source of calcium. By all means, however, all hard, yellow and fatty cheeses (such as Brie) in both goat and cow dairy should be completely avoided.
•For those on limited dairy food plans, on the rare occasions when cow dairy is the only option, it should at least be organic in order to avoid dairy laced with the antibiotics, growth hormones and pesticide-laden and/or otherwise toxic feed that cows are injected with or eat. But even organic cow dairy should be limited to low- or non-fat yogurt, kefir or cottage cheese, while avoiding aged, hard, Brie and other cheeses with higher fat and cholesterol content.
To reverse cardiovascular disease, on the other hand, it is best to avoid all dairy. There is, however, the option to substitute non-dairy soy or rice cheeses and other plant-based imitations, which are surprisingly tasty and satisfying.DSCF00171 300x225 Eat Your Way To Cardiovascular Fitness
Health status and lifestyle should be reviewed periodically with a nutritionist, holistic health practitioner or in acute cases, with a cardiologist. Examination results and the person’s overall condition at the time will determine what, if anything, needs to be tweaked in his/her food choices aimed at preventing, maintaining or reversing the cardiovascular condition.

Whether the purpose is prevention or reversal of cardiovascular problems, it is best to completely avoid red meat—especially for people with a family history of the disease.
Young, healthy people with no genetic connection to it, might indulge in small portions of grass-fed or organic New Zealand lamb (fat trimmed), on rare occasions. (Click here for reasons to avoid domestic factory-farm-grown beef:
•As with dairy, healthy people who wish to prevent cardiovascular problems have a bit more leeway than those who need to reverse the condition. While both can have organic, skinless, fat-trimmed chicken and turkey in small portions, two-three times a week, ‘preventers’ could have some dark meat now and then, while it’s best for the ‘reversers’ to stick to white breast meat. (See our “Healthy Recipes” for cooking ideas.)

Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and known to be heart-healthy.
Choose small to medium size fish to limit your mercury intake. Wild-caught sardines (fresh or canned in pure olive oil) and wild-caught herring (fresh and preserved in wine or other liquid, but not cream) are perhaps the overall healthiest (and affordable) sources of protein on the market. The bigger the fish, the more mercury is accumulated in its flesh.
DSCF00042 300x225 Eat Your Way To Cardiovascular Fitness Wild-caught, deep-sea scallops and calamari are the only recommended non-fish seafood—especially for cardiovascular health—since coastal waters tend to be polluted around the world, shrimp is too high in cholesterol and other shellfish are too frequently found to be contaminated with various toxic organisms to be given a blanket approval.
While consuming wild-caught fish and seafood is becoming less and less sustainable due to global overfishing, the marine farming industry—with perhaps some exceptions—doesn’t seem to have quite figured out yet how to be entirely eco-friendly, nor how to raise seafood that is both as nutritious as its wild-caught counterparts and free of antibiotics, anti-fungals and other toxic substances.

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Breaded Baked Cauliflower

A reasonable and relatively safe compromise might be to eat wild-caught fish and other seafood (as listed above) freely, whenever affordable and available, while eating less of the farmed products—which are usually served in restaurants and other public or hosted places.
Note: Don’t be fooled by fish and seafood identified as “Wild,” which only means that the marine farm is stocked with previously free-swimming fish or their progeny. The two-word “Wild Caught” is the only label that identifies the real thing. We recommend it for optimum healing and health maintenance.

To help a family member through the first 4-6 months of struggle to transition from an old and less than ideal eating habit to a heart-healthy food plan, it would be most helpful—at least when cooking and eating at home—to prepare and serve the same cardio-wise, nutritious dishes for everyone. This not only prevents the re-habituating person’s frustration or backsliding by cheating with ‘forbidden’ foods, but it also provides an extra health bonus for family and friends who share the same meals. This, of course, also makes grocery shopping simpler and more economical—not to mention saving time and effort in cooking and washing up.

Most people are surprised by how quickly their taste buds become accustomed to the new flavors and how put off they become even by the smells and appearance of their once-favorite (unhealthy) foods. It is also helpful that these days most restaurants are more than willing to substitute healthier ingredients—such as olive oil for butter—or adjust recipes to accommodate diners’ needs. Even friends and relatives are learning to ask people they invite for home-cooked meals for their preferences.

CHALLENGE US to adapt your recipes to your and your family’s (and/or friends’) health needs. If you wish, we’ll post the “Before & After” versions of your contribution(s) on this site. E-mail your recipe(s) to


29 Nov, 2013

Peerless Chestnut Purée

Posted by: lrobinson In: Desserts and Snacks|Recipés

By Dina Eliash Robinson

Chestnut puree Peerless Chestnut PuréeThe epitome of romantic, sensual, Old World are as descriptive of Budapest as of the famous Gerbeaud Café which has been the focus of glamour for 155 years in the heart of that picturesque Hungarian capital. During that time, famous names that have been inscribed in this elegant establishment’s gilded guestbook, included the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s Empress Elizabeth, Princess Diana, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Elizabeth II, former Czech president Vacláv Hável, Madonna, Ralph Fiennes, Melanie Griffith, Antonio Banderas  Brad Pitt and many more.

While its 17th century ornate but never ostentatious style and social cachet did draw the carriage trade, Gerbeaud Café’s main attraction has always been gustatory—namely, its superb confectionery creations. These ranged from the classic Dobos Torte and Esterházy cake to the Royal Orange Caramel and Chocolate delight.

Chestnut Puree 2 Peerless Chestnut PuréeBut sorry, as far as I’m concerned, you could have them all—including Gerbeaud’s own invention, the super-charged hot chocolate with an Everest of whipped cream—in exchange for my favorite and Gerbeaud  masterpiece, the Austro-Hungarian Chestnut Purée. Thankfully, with towering whipped cream included. Here is the recipe (translated from Hungarian & kg & liter measurements), directly from Gerbeaud Café’s own master confectioners:


- 2 and a half (and a bit more) of peeled fresh or frozen chestnuts

- 4 and 1/3rd cups of milk

- Two-thirds of a cup of powdered sugar

- 1/8th of a teaspoon of salt (or less)

- One vanilla stick

- Fine brown rum to taste and to help consistency

- Whipped cream for topping


- If chestnuts are raw, peel and cook with vanilla stick until chestnuts are soft

- Heat milk, but don’t let it boil

- Purée cooked chestnuts (preferably with industrial strength machine to assure smoothness and avoid pieces or lumps)

- Let cool completely

- Mix powdered sugar with salt and warm milk and add slowly to puréed chestnut

- Knead together and while kneading, add rum to taste and to achieve a consistency that is firm but pliable enough to squeeze through a forming bag when serving.

- Whip only enough cream for portions being served

- Remaining chestnut mass can be  divided into portions, each individually wrapped in parchment paper and frozen for as long as 6 months

- Frozen portions should be defrosted in the refrigerator as many and when needed.

- Whip cream for portions being served.

Should you want to visit or know more about this European gem, look up Gerbeaud Gasztronomia, 1051 Budapest, Vörösmarty tér 7-8, P.O.Box 1364 Bp. Pf. 211

Tel: (+36-1) 429-9016; Fax: (+36 1) 429-9009, <>














21 Nov, 2013

Rooting for the Radish

Posted by: Catharine Kaufman In: Healthy Eating|Kitchen Shrink Columns|Salads

by Catharine L. Kaufman — a.k.a. The Kitchen Shrink

Dear Kitchen Shrink:
I seem to like culinary challenges—such as buying unfamiliar produce even before I have a clue about their flavors or modes of preparation and discovering new ways to cook or serve old favorites. My quest now is for the latter, or more specifically, for a way to rescue the Radish from the obscurity of party platters where, carved into decorative rosettes, it is relegated to the humiliating role of disposable garnish. So, could you give this zippy-tasting root its due by revealing its history, varieties, nutritional benefits and some creative uses that place it in the spotlight?
Linda B.
La Jolla

How right you are. The radish does, indeed, deserve more respect, not to mention more versatile use than it has been given in recent years—even though in the past,it used to be an important component of meals throughout North America. It still commands, uninterruptedly, pride of place on the dinner tables of many other countries, where the considerable healing power and ability of this kick-in-the-pants root to dial up the flavors of foods with which it is served have always been well known and appreciated.Radish3 Rooting for the Radish

Radishes as Health Boosters
A member of the mighty anti-cancer warriors of the Brassicaceae family, the radish is related to such cruciferous powerhouses as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, horseradish and every health-conscious foodie’s latest darling, the versatile kale.
Besides having a zip-a-dee-doo-dah taste and satisfying crunch, radishes are rife with immune-boosting Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, stress-busting B6, magnesium and bone-enhancing calcium. This low calorie carbohydrate (20 calories per cup) has also been prized for cooling internal heat, soothing sore throats, decongesting clogged sinuses and acting as a digestive aid that helps process foods and flush out toxins that cause bloating and other gastric distress. Packed with water, phosphorous and zinc, radishes will keep you well hydrated—which make them an excellent snack to take along on picnics and hikes—as well as plump up thirsty cells to give your complexion a healthy, youthful glow.

Root Surprise
Radishes come in a wide variety of colors, textures, shapes and sizes and contain different amounts of a plant chemical called ‘isothiocyanate,’ which determine their levels of pungency (or ‘heat’), as well as their subtle, mildly sweet or ‘spicy’ flavors.
Fall and winRadish4 Rooting for the Radishter radish species include the mild-tasting, carrot-shaped, long, thick and pure white-fleshed Daikon (or Japanese) radish; round or elongated Black Spanish radish with rough black skin and hot peppery white flesh; Watermelon Radish, with an ordinary spherical shape and smooth white skin, which, when sliced, surprises with its inner flesh of vivid watermelon colors and design and makes a fine addition to smoothies and salads with its mild sweetness; the Green Radish, with its emerald pulp and sweet mellow flavor; and the California Mammoth White—a Daikon on steroids, growing 8 inches in length yet a gentle giant in its mild and refreshing flavor.

The spring and summer varieties include the well-known reddish-skinned Cherry Belles and Scarlet Globes with peppery white flesh; the mild and crispy French Breakfast, which fades from carmine to white at the elongated tips; the White Icicle, which resembles an albino carrot; and the hearty Plum Purple. Don’t miss out on the Easter Egg (which appears briefly in spring), a mixture of varieties sold in bunches combining white, red, pink and purple.
Cook’s tip: Pick firm, unblemished radishes with crisp, green leaves.

Radish Trivia

* Americans chow down on 400 million pounds of radishes a year—mostly served in salads—which are grown in California and Florida.
* From seed to salad in about 25 days, the fast-growing radish is a good choice for children’s gardens.

Radish2 Rooting for the Radish

* Munching a radish has been known to cure hiccups.

Little Known Radish Facts and Tips

• While most people hasten to cut and toss the bushy greens attached to bunched radishes, those in the know, base their selections on the quality of both the roots and leaves. Thoroughly washed and carefully trimmed, the tender radish greens can be sautéed with olive oil and garlic for a peppery side dish, or juiced with your favorite fruits.
• Crush Daikons into a paste with mayo and Meyer lemon juice for a riff on cocktail sauce.
• Braise the tough-fleshed black root varieties with chicken broth, olive oil and red onions as a side dish for baked chicken or wild-caught salmon.
• Toss chunks in chicken or tortilla soup or stew.

• Give a splash of eye candy to Caesar, Cobb and Greek salads with strips of multi-colored radishes.
• Garnish libations or vegetable cocktails with radish fans or coins.
• Munch them raw dipped in herbed ricotta cheese.
• Chop a chutney blending radish, red onion, mango and lime juice and top off your favorite burger.
• Stuff a baked potato with a

puree of radish and sour cream.
• Shred any radish in a slaw or toss in a potato salad.

• Do Italian with radish and Romano risotto, radish and pesto bruschetta or top a pizza with the braised beauties.
• Whip up a refreshing radish sorbet

as an intermezzo or a breezy dessert with the sweeter watermelon radish.
• Or try this simple sweet and sour side that’ll add a healthful oomph to any mealL

Radish1 Rooting for the Radish

Sweet and Sassy Radish Salad

3 bunches assorted radishes, coarsely chopped or smashed
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Sea salt to taste

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well and chill. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and garnish with tender radish greens. Serve as a side for chicken, fish, quinoa or brown rice.

10 Nov, 2013

More Food Tips (Part II)

Posted by: Catharine Kaufman In: Food Safety|Food Tips|Kitchen Shrink Columns

By Catharine L. Kaufman—a.k.a. The Kitchen Shrink

 Hello again, fellow foodies!

Here is the second batch of 10 tried and true food handling, storing and cooking tips for your collection. Some of these I stumbled upon by accident or trial and error while searching for help to prevent or repair culinary glitches. The rest were gathered from other food-impassioned solution seekers and, of course, thoroughly tested in my kitchen before being added to this list. .

1)    Soup Rescues:

DSCF0009 150x150 More Food Tips (Part II)(a)   Remove Excess Fat by floating a crisp lettuce leaf on top of your cooling soup for a few seconds and scooping it out carefully. The lettuce acts like a fat-magnet. Use more than one leaf if necessary.

(b)   Thicken Soup by boiling it up for a minute with a handful of fast-cooking pasta (small alphabet or skinny angel hair noodles), or sprinkle some potato flakes on it and simmer for a few seconds. Adding cooked rice or croutons to the bowl when serving, also gives body to the soup.

(c)   Enrich the Flavor by adding the herbs and spices to your soup during the last five minutes of the cooking process.

2)    Lemon Squeeze:  To get the most juice out of a lemon, keep it at room temperature for a day (or immerse it into a bowl of hot water for a few minutes), then, with your palm, roll it on a hard surface back and forth until the rind feels supple and the lemon softer. Important Tip: After you have squeezed the last drop, plastic-wrap tightly the remaining pulp and rind and store it in your freezer to use later for cake batters, DSCF00212 150x150 More Food Tips (Part II)risottos, stews or other dishes.

3)    Flour Protection:  To prevent bugs from taking up residence in your flour, store it in a wide-mouth glass jar and add a bay leaf to keep pests away. Or store it in a freezer-safe Pyrex container in your freezer to make sure that if any stray (pinhead-size) moth eggs managed to sneak through the grain milling process, they can never hatch.

4)    Slick Your Noodles:  To keep pasta from sticking together, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the boiling water before immersing the noodles. Strain when done and gently fold another tablespoon or two of olive oil (per package) into the finished pasta. Useful Tip: Undercook by a few minutes (based on package directions) any pasta you intend to bake or cook further—such as lasagna, ziti prepared as a casserole, stuffed shells, etc.

5)    Keep Berries Free Of Mold:  Rinse only the amount you plan to eat or serve right away. If, however, you intend to keep berries in the refrigerator for Picture 9 300x104 More Food Tips (Part II)a few days, give them a quick rinse first in a weak dilution of water and apple-cider vinegar, drain in a sieve and air-dry in a cool place for an hour or so, then refrigerate in an open bowl.

6)    Apples Won’t Turn Brown when squirted with lemon juice before storing.

7)    Mushrooms Are Best Stored in a paper (not plastic) bag—but should be cooked (or eaten raw) within a day,DSCF00122 150x150 More Food Tips (Part II) since they go bad very quickly. Useful Tip: Brush off dirt with a soft brush, cut off stem bottoms, give mushrooms a quick cold water rinse in a colander and drain well before either cooking the fungi or serving raw edibles in salads.

8)    Potato-Wise: Keep potatoes in a cool, dark place until ready to be cooked. Potatoes tend to rot faster when onions are stored nearby. Use potatoes before they get a chance to germinate. Scrub them with a brush and rinse with cold water. Examine the spuds carefully and gouge and discard each sprouted ‘eye’ before cooking. (Sprouting tendrils contain a mild toxin the plant creates to protect its offspring.) Cook potatoes with their nutritious and edible skin. This versatile root can be prepared in many ways—from mashed with yogurt, cooked spinach or broccoli; to baked or roasted after being sliced in the shape of coins or French fries and tossed to be well-coated in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs and spices.

9)    Yummy Ruby Yams:  As with potatoes, store yams in cool, dark place, scrub and rinse, discard sprouting ‘eyes,’ slice, coat with olive oil mixture as above and bake or roast for a savory side dish. Surprise Tip: Yams also make glorious desserts. A quick and easy one includes cutting the tuber into big chunks; boiling in water until soft; peeling and mashing; adding vanilla and cinnamon to taste (and proportional to quantity); sprinkling a handful of plumped up raisins or dried cranberries; and carefully folding in whipped cream (optional). For a grownup party version, add a dash of dark rum, Grand Marnier or other liqueur.

DSCF00191 150x150 More Food Tips (Part II)10)   In A Nutshell:  Since nuts and seeds have a high fat content and tend to go rancid rather quickly, store them in tightly closed glass containers in the fridge or freezer to keep light and moisture out. They generally last four months in the refrigerator and eight months in the freezer with their texture intact. Nuts and seeds tend to pick up the taste and odor of nearby foods, so it’s best to keep them in solitary confinement. Taste before use because a few rancid pieces can ruin a whole dish. Delicious Tips: Toss and bag nuts, seeds and dried fruit into a healthy, energy-boosting Trail Mix and add to kids’ lunch boxes or a picnic basket. Also, various combinations of the Mix make great additions to stir-fries, ice cream toppings, cereals and more. Here is my favorite recipe for a Sweet and Savory Toasted Nuts combo:

1 cup assorted shelled nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc.)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

a shake or two cayenne pepper (to taste)

¼ teaspoon powdered cumin

a dash nutmeg

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter (for low-cholesterol version use walnut, almond, sesame or sunflower oil)

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a mixing bowl, combine salt and spices and set aside. In a skillet melt butter or heat oil on medium, add nuts and toast. Add remaining ingredients and a teaspoon of water. Cook on low heat until sugar is melted. Spread the combination on parchment-lined cookie sheet and cool. Store in airtight containers.


04 Nov, 2013

Save Water, Health & Time

Posted by: Dina Eliash Robinson In: Food Safety|Public Safety

By Dina Eliash Robinson

Water—clean, uncontaminated and fit to drink—is the world’s most precious, and increasingly scarce commodity. As the planet heats up and its population grows, we’re in danger of running out of this resource, upon which depends the survival of our entire ecosystem. To prevent us from sliding into a bleak “Mad Max” world, we must become super-smart in water use and conservation.

With the following Smart Water Management Tips, the Free Range Club is kicking off a friendly competition of ideas and practices that could help improve the ways we treat, recycle and purify H2O in our households, industries and public utilities. Top three winners of this competition will be rewarded with copies of our own Kitchen Shrink’s (a.k.a. Catharine Kaufman) latest (and delightfully illustrated), children’s book, featured on this site: “Joleen – The Adventures of a Junkfood Queen.”dscf00242 150x150 Save Water, Health & Time

• Buy Only Produce You Plan to Use Soon:
(1) Fruits and vegetables depend on, and consist mostly of water. The faster they get from farm to stove, oven or fridge, the more of their nutritional value, flavors and textures will be available for our consumption.

(2) Plan your meals around the fresh produce you buy that day.

(3) Buy only what, and as much as you have time to clean, cook, prepare or store within the next 24-36 hours.

(4) Shop for fresh produce just before your frozen foods and perishable fresh meats, fish and other seafood. And don’t leave these in the car while you run other errands.

(5) Do NOT store fresh-from-the-store eggs before you wash them.

• Water-Miser Produce Cleaning:
(1) At home, put the bags of leafy vegetables in the fridge temporarily, so they won’t wilt while you wash the rest of the produce.

(2) Put any berries you bought on the top shelf of your fridge. Berries are the only produce that should not be pre-washed. When you want some, take out only the amounts you plan to eat right away; dunk them into a small bowl of water with a squirt of liquid Eucalyptus Pure Castile soap; gently swish them around with your fingers; pour it all into a small colander or sieve and rinse well under the faucet with a moderate spray (if you have the sprinkle setting on your faucet) of cold water. Berries are now ready to eat—on their own, or in cereals, yogurt, etc.

(3) For grapes and cherry tomatoes, fill the appropriate size bowl with cold water; add a generous squirt of liquid Eucalyptus Pure Castile soap; add grapes and cherry tomatoes; wash gently with your hands; transfer to another bowl with clean cold water and rinse well; repeat this, then put grapes and cherry tomatoes into a colander and rinse well again under cold water, using the sprinkle setting. Next, stand the colander on a rack or plate where the water can drain and let the produce drip and dry till morning. Dry remaining water by dabbing gently with dish- or paper towel; transfer grapes into one bowl, tomatoes into another and refrigerate, so you can just reach for a handful when you want it. They keep well for a week or more.

(4) Put all your fruits and non-leafy veggies that have skin (but NOT the berries, grapes or cherry tomatoes) into a clean sink. Fill it with enough cold water to cover them; turn off the faucet; add ¼ cup of liquid Eucalyptus Pure Castile soap; and using a clean sponge—preferably a Dobie pad—scrub separately each fruit and veggie, applying more pressure to those with tough skins (bananas, apples, oranges, avocadoes, potatoes, etc.) and less to delicate ones (tomatoes, zucchini, etc.).
Note: Be careful not to break their skins—but if you do, rinse those off right after scrubbing, dry with dish- or paper-towel, put them on a plate and store in the fridge, to be used before the rest.

dscf0005 150x150 Save Water, Health & Time

dscf0003 150x150 Save Water, Health & Time(5) Next, let the water out of the sink and rinse well both sink and produce with a cold spray from the faucet. (Castile soap rinses off very easily, leaving the produce squeaky clean, with no soapy residue.) dscf0007 300x225 Save Water, Health & Time

Place the produce into an empty dish-rack or big colander to dry overnight. If it’s not completely dry by the morning, wipe with dish- or paper towel, store bananas in a paper-towel-lined basket or on a banana rack; leave unripe produce (avocadoes, oranges, etc.) in a colander or bowl, away from heat until ripe enough to be refrigerated; and store ready-to-eat fruit, tomatoes and salad veggies in your refrigerator’s produce drawer. This way they’ll keep for two or more weeks and are always ready to eat when you reach for them.

(6) Repeat the above process with the leafy veggies (lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, etc.), rinsing the leaves in small batches under the faucet if necessary. If you have a salad spinner, use it for your salad greens, then store them in clean plastic bags on the top (least cold) shelf of your refrigerator. Put leafy cooking veggies into a colander to let most of the water drip down—but make sure you cook them within an hour after they’re washed.

Advantages of above system are that it protects health and saves both water and time. It’s easy to check the following B & C. Health effects (A) take longer to show.
(A) Putting only clean produce into your refrigerator protects your and your family’s health from bacteria and, if any of the produce is not organic, from pesticide residues which can also transfer to other foods.
(B) It saves water. You may not realize it, but if you take an unwashed fruit out of the fridge, you’ll run more water to wash it than you would use on a batch of produce. Plus, people in a hurry do a poor job of washing whatever they grab out of the refrigerator on the fly.
(C) It takes much more time to wash individual produce items than taking care of this chore all at once.

A Point Worth Dwelling On: Far more valuable than diamonds and gold, H2O is the main component of living organisms—our bodies included—and thus the source of all nourishment and breathable air. More wars, economic stresses, political shenanigans and health crises have been triggered throughout history by the need to have, protect and control water than any other resource. Even wild animals that often go hungry to avoid danger, will brave it when thirsty by joining predators for a drink. The need for water is so well understood in the wild that predators and prey usually observe a truce while slacking their thirst at the same water hole.

Being smart about water also means to protect it from pollution and finding new technologies to remove agricultural, industrial and pharmaceutical toxins that continue to leach into our rivers, streams, oceans and groundwater. Any ideas?

Join the Smart Water Management Tips contest by e-mailing us your ideas at

Catharine’s Book

Jolene loves junk food. She loves it so much she wears red licorice in her hair—and pink taffy underwear! The Munch Bunch calls her "The Junk Food Queen." Then, one night in her dreams, she meets a bunch of cool characters who take her on an incredible, edible journey into a world of juicy fruits, super salads and yummy smoothies.
Book acclaimed by The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation - which uses it in its fundraising drives.

Organics Controversy

FreeRangeClub Editor Corrects “Is It Organic?” Author’s Perception of Flaws in Organic Food Industry

Our Catharine “The Kitchen Shrink” Kaufman recently received the following comment from Mischa Popoff in Osoyoos BC Canada , under the heading of “The inside story of the organic industry.”

Mr. Popoff’s e-mail was forwarded to me for reply—mostly because researching all things pertaining to organic foods, from production to consumption, has been my task since FRC first hit the Web. Far from claiming expertise—the topic is too vast and changeable—I merely admit to passionate interest in factual information that leads to safe foods and healthy nutrition.

We decided to share this exchange to answer some questions and perhaps come up with new ones. Hope you won’t hesitate to chime—opinions, conclusions, different information are all welcome. Post your comments, corrections, critiques, messages and contributions to this discussion directly on this site or e-mail them to me at FreeRangeClub.

E-mail from Mr. Mischa Popoff to The Kitchen Shrink:

Dear Catharine,

To listen to some media outlets you’d think the multi-billion-dollar organic industry was infallible. I’m trusting you’ll be a bit more objective.

As you may already know, I worked for five years in the United States and Canada as an organic inspector. I believe fervently in the principles of organic farming but maintain that we have to prove those principles instead of operating on the politicized, bureaucratic honor system that’s been the organic industry’s mainstay for the last decade.

See remainder of Mr. Popoff's Email & Dina's Reply

Our International Friends

Bridging Two Continents
The Movable Festa Of Aroma Cucina

by Dina Eliash Robinson

Ciao Dina, Thanks so much for your interest in Aroma Cucina!. My wife, Jude, and I are honored to be part of the Jeff

My discovery of the bi-continental Aroma Cucina while surfing the Internet for food sites and recipe ideas, turned out to be a case of mistaken identity—specifically, my mistake in thinking it was a restaurant. Not.



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Video Section

Mother’s Day Cooking Class By the Kitchen Shrink

Seeds at San Diego City College Wins Awards For It’s Urban Agriculture

Healthy Cookin with the Kitchen Shrink – Veggie Fried Rice


Catharine Kaufman, the Kitchen Shrink, appears in a series of five videos. In the first video she is seen interviewing Dr. Lisa Loegering, MD, a pediatrician, concerning children's eating habits. The other four videos take place in Catharine's kitchen, as she instructs her two daughters, and two of their friends, in the preparation of various dishes.

Children’s Eating Habits-Interview w/Pediatrician

Catharine and her Pizza Chefs

Making Baked Stuffed Apple

Fruit Sparklers and Feast

Make Your Own Salad

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

English chef Jamie Oliver has come to the U.S. to start a revolution, to help save America's children from obesity and other food-related Illnesses. His successful efforts in the U.K. has resulted in improved school lunches in many communities there, as well as a total overhaul of the school dinner (lunch in the US) programs in that country. Following is a video of Jamie Oliver speaking before an audience at a TED conference.

A Video of Zoie (11) teaching us to make healthy sushi!

        Zoie (11 years old) is teaching us to make healthy sushi, with organic brown rice and organic avocado. Please click on healthy sushi to view the video.

Tender Greens Restaurant