Vegetarian 'superfoods' cater to body and mind

February 24, 1993|By Copley News Service

Dolores Riccio has fashioned meals for the health-consciou who want good-tasting food, but whose time is limited. The veteran author's creations can be seen in her latest book, "Superfoods: 300 Recipes for Foods That Heal Body and Mind" (Warner Books).

Arranged in alphabetical order from apples to yogurt, Ms. Riccio incorporates a description of the food's healthful properties, such as vitamins and disease-fighting qualities, along with her .. recipes.

"Pasta is an all-time favorite complex food that, when used correctly, can relieve what may be our No. 1 health problem: stress," writes Ms. Riccio, a resident of Warwick, R.I. The mother of two grown children is the author of eight books, including four cookbooks.

She calls nuts a superfood that provide a quick, healthful pick-me-up. "A great meat substitute, nuts are rich in energizing protein." She labels garlic the "ketchup of the intellectuals" and calls the raw apple "nature's toothbrush."

"It [the apple] is considered the perfect after-lunch dessert, particularly for those who aren't going to have the opportunity to brush their teeth," she writes. "Biting into its firm flesh helps to clean the teeth of sticky foods, like soft breads, that cause plaque buildup."

The cookbook also offers tips on how to shop and how to prepare the foods properly. Ms. Riccio says her philosophy is to make it fresh, simple and fast.

Additionally, she points out what foods are believed to help ward off stroke, lower cholesterol and fight cancer.

Apricots, peaches and nectarines, she writes, rank high as cancer-fighting foods, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Following are some of Ms. Riccio's recipes for you to try:

"Homemade desserts taste best and can offer some real nutritional value," says Ms. Riccio. "Two superfoods in one cookie make the following a guiltless treat.

Lucy's apricot oatmeal bars

Yields 24 bars.

2 cups uncooked oatmeal

1 cup sifted, unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted margarine, melted

1/2 jar of apricot preserves

Heat oven to 370. Butter oblong baking pan -- 11-by-7 or 12-by-8 inches.

Mix together oatmeal, flour, sugar and soda until well blended. Pour melted margarine over dry ingredients and mix until moistened throughout. (Mixing with hands works best.)

Layer half oat mixture over bottom of pan. Top with thin layer of apricot preserves. Pat into place remaining oat mixture to form top layer.

Bake on middle shelf for 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack before cutting; don't remove bars from pan until cool enough to hold together. Store bars in covered tin with wax paper between layers.

"Risi e Bisi is 'rice and peas soup' in the Venetian dialect," writeRiccio. "It should be almost thick enough to eat with a fork but thin enough to be served in bowls."

Risi e bisi

Yields 4 servings.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 pounds fresh peas, shelled, or 2 cups frozen peas, thawed to separate

1 (13-ounce) can vegetable broth

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley

6 very thin pieces of lemon zest, no pith

3/4 quarter cup arborio rice

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to pass

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat oil in deep, heavy pot and saute onion until it's pale yellow. Add peas and stir-fry for about 1 minute.

Add broth, water, salt, parsley, lemon zest and rice, and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer to soup, stirring occasionally, for 12 to 15 minutes, until rice is al dente.

Stir in cheese and pepper. Serve immediately and pass more cheese at table.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.