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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Healthy "Hearts" Salad for Valentine's Day

Happy Valentines Day! I hope today finds you thankful for your loved ones both near and far, as well as an opportunity to express your gratitude and love to those around you. I have a fun and busy day ahead of me doing what I love best, sharing beautiful and delicious food with others.

February is American Heart Health Month as well as Valentine's day.  Both of these events, inspired my recipe this week. What better way to celebrate Valentine's day and heart health, than by giving the ones you love a heart healthy salad that is full off "hearts"?  Artichoke hearts, romaine hearts and hearts of palm, make a great base for a salad.  Throw in some capers, tomatoes and toasted walnuts and top it off with a drizzle of my crimson roasted red pepper Caesar dressing.

Tonight I will be at the Cancer Wellness Center with Chef Nancy and ten amazing couples who have been affected by cancer.  We will be doing a hands on cooking class, where the couples will be divided into four different teams, making four different recipes.  The menu includes red pepper jelly chicken, grilled shrimp with lemon pasta, a chocolate ricotta cream for dessert and of course, my healthy hearts salad as a starter.

Have a great Valentine's Day and get in the kitchen with the ones you love and create something healthy and beautiful to eat, while creating memories as well. 

Salad Ingredients:
1 8 oz box organic romaine hearts
1 9oz box frozen artichoke hearts, roasted*
1 14oz can hearts of palm, 1/4 inch slice
3/4 cup halved grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons shredded parmesan
1 recipe Roasted Red Pepper Caesar Dressing**

To roast the artichokes, place on a foil lined sheet tray, in a single layer. Coated generously with cooking spray and season itch salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 425 degrees for 35 minutes, until brown and caramelized.

Arrange romaine hearts on a large platter and drizzle with desired amount of dressing. Top with the remaining ingredients, in order, and serve the remaining dressing on the side.


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 2oz tin of Anchovies, drained
1 12oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained
3 garlic cloves
Zest and Juice of a lemon
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Step 1:
Place olive oil and anchovies into a small sauté pan and warm over medium heat while mashing anchovies with the back of a fork. Continue heating the mixture until anchovies begin to dissolve and break up, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Step 2:
Add cooled oil and anchovy mixture, along with the remaining ingredients to a food processor. pulse to combine.

This recipe will make more dressing than you will need for this salad, which is good news, since it tastes even better the next day.  Use it as a dip, a sandwich spread or even heat it up and toss with some whole wheat pasta.

Enjoy sharing a delicious and healthy meal with all of the special people in your life and remember to make every plate something to be passionate about.

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