If you think about heart-healthy cooking, images of fresh fruits and vegetables most likely come to mind.
Although these foods are essential, there’s an extra dimension to healthy cooking: entering the process.
On busy nights, I quickly toss together ingredients just to get dinner on the table at a reasonable time. But some evenings I turn on classical music, take a deep breath, and think about what I’m about to cook and how I can make it most enjoyable. These are usually our best meals.
The other day, while chatting with my son and his girlfriend, I made Parmesan Risotto from the Best Light Recipe Cookbook as chicken roasted in the oven. If you’ve ever made risotto, an Italian rice dish, you know it’s a bit time-consuming, as you gradually stir stock or wine into short- or medium grain rice until all of the liquid is absorbed and the dish has a creamy consistency.
So, as we talked, I alternately stirred and poured, and by the time the rice had soaked up the last bit of liquid, the stress of my day had melted away and the chicken and vegetables were ready. As I focused totally on the process of stirring, my worries had evaporated like steam from the risotto. The repetitive process was like a meditation.
When my husband and daughter joined us, we sat together as a family and enjoyed a meal together. What could be more heart healthy than that?