Meals that promote good health don't have to taste like twigs and cardboard, claims Dr. John La Puma, who combined his expertise as a physician and a gourmet cook in the new book, "Chef MD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine."
Try a few of these recipes at home, keeping in mind that the ingredients have been specifically chosen and combined for their health benefits.
SPICY GAZPACHO WITH CRAB
1 cup each, 1/4-inch diced
unpeeled cucumber, yellow or orange bell pepper and seeded ripe, organic tomato
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 cup organic tomato juice
1/2 cup bottled clam juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 cup canned, drained crabmeat
Salt and freshly ground
Optional garnishes: chopped fresh basil, finely diced
In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, onion, tomato and clam juices, vinegar, oil and hot pepper sauce. Mix well.
Transfer about half the mixture to a blender or food processor. Puree until fairly smooth, return to the bowl. Stir in the crabmeat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 2 or up to 8 hours before serving. Garnish with fresh basil or avocado, if desired. Makes 4 1/4 cups.
SAFFRON SCALLOP, SHRIMP AND CHICKPEA PAELLA
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
8 large sea scallops, patted dry (about 8 ounces)
12 large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, thawed if frozen (8 ounces)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-ounce can organic,
fire-roasted, diced or crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1/2 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce
1 8.8-ounce package, cooked brown rice
1 15-ounce can organic, no-salt-
added chickpeas, drained
Heat a large, deep, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Spread 1 teaspoon oil over sea scallops. Place oiled sides down in a single layer in hot pan; sear for 1 to 2 minutes per side or just until opaque in center.
Transfer to a bowl; set aside.
Reduce heat under skillet to medium. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, shrimp and garlic. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until shrimp are opaque. Add to bowl with scallops.
Add tomatoes, saffron and hot-pepper sauce to skillet; mix well. Add rice and chickpeas; simmer 5 minutes. Stir scallops and shrimp with any accumulated juices back into skillet. Heat through, about 1 minute. Serves 4.
STEEL-CUT OAT PUDDING WITH DARK CHOCOLATE AND LIME
1 1/4 cups low-fat soy milk
3/4 cup canned light coconut milk
1/3 cup quick-cooking, steel-cut oats
2 tablespoons muscovado sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 ounce dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 teaspoon finely grated lime peel
In a medium saucepan, combine soy milk, coconut milk and oats. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring constantly, for 7 minutes. (Mixture will be thin.)
Remove from heat; stir in sugar and lime juice. Let stand in saucepan, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until it thickens slightly. Transfer to bowls; top with chocolate and lime peel. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled. Serves 4.