polenta

Enter blue zone

ENTER BLUE ZONE

Yesterday I stumbled upon couple of lectures by Dr Tim Riesenberger, a physician who happens to be a Seventh-Day Adventist. He reminded of an article I remember reading few years back in National Geographic magazine in a dentist surgery. The article was about the so called Blue Zones. These are demographic/geographic areas where people live measurably longer lives. These places are the islands of Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.

People living in blue zones not only have a higher chance of reaching 90 (and many 100) but they do so in better health than rest of the world. Their long, healthy and happy life is not only about what they eat, but diet is an important part of the blue zone success. The diet is mainly (apart from the Sardinians) low fat plant based with meat and processed foods largely off the menu. They also tend not to smoke, they drink alcohol in moderation, keep active, stay positive, are an active part of community and put family above all. These are easy to reach goals in everybody’s live. Go and create your own blue zone too.

polentakale

MUSHROOM POLENTA WITH KALE AND BEANS
The polenta can be made ahead and kept in the fridge.

ingredients
Mushroom polenta
1/2oz (15g) dried porcini
200 g mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
10 sage leaves, thinly shredded
250g (1 and 1/2cup) quick cook polenta
1l (4 cups) vegetable stock (make it form the soaking mushroom liquid and vegetable stock)

Beans and kale
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
250 (1 cup) ml veg stock
1 tin of canellini beans, drained
150g (1/3lb) kale de-stalked and torn into pieces

method
  1. First soak the porcini mushrooms in boiling water for about 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms, reserve the liquid, and chop the mushrooms up.
  2. In a medium frying pan heat about 60ml (1/4cup) of the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Add the mushrooms and garlic, cook till the mushrooms soften about 5min. Add the porcini mushrooms cook for further 2 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, bring the vegetable/mushroom stock to a boil. Slowly add the polenta and sage, keep stirring. When the polenta thickens, turn down the heat and let bubble for couple of minutes. Stir in the mushrooms.
  4. Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper, spread the polenta on top, about 1/2inch thick. Smooth the top. Let cool.
  5. In a large sauce pan heat 60 ml (1/4cup) water (or stock) and cook the onions and garlic, gently simmer till softened. Add the vegetable stock and beans, bring to a gentle boil.
  6. Add the kale, cover and simmer for 10-15min or until the kale is tender.
  7. Season with plenty of pepper.
  8. While the kale is cooking, preheat the grill (broiler).
  9. Cut the polenta into triangles, place on top of grease proof paper lined baking sheet. Place under the grill and grill for about 2 min on each side.
  10. Serve the kale and beans with the polenta triangles.

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