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       Volume I - August 8, 2008

The Power of Eggplant and Cherries
by Alice Osborne

Eggplant: Great for Your Blood Sugar & Cherries: Fantastic for Brain Power!

Purple-skinned eggplant is full of phenols that help your body better use blood sugar. But that’s not all eggplant’s got . . .

More Phenol Superpowers
In addition to favorable effects on blood sugar, eggplant’s supercharged phenols may also inhibit an enzyme tied to high blood pressure. Plus, the phenols have antioxidant actions.

Ways to Do Eggplant Right
Yup, eggplant is one heck of a disease fighter -- and it’s quite versatile to boot. Grilled eggplant is one of life's simpler pleasures: creamy and rich. Look for medium-size, purple eggplants with firm skins and no mushy spots. This end-of-summer treat will be even tastier if you can find the vegetables at a local farmstand—or in your own backyard! You can feature it in a crowd-pleasing main course with this recipe:

Grilled Eggplant Panini
Serves 4

2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 1/2-inch slices eggplant (about 1 small)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
8 slices whole-grain country bread
8 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers
4 thin slices red onion

Preheat grill to medium-high. Combine mayonnaise and basil in a small bowl. Using 1 tablespoon oil, lightly brush both sides of eggplant and sprinkle each slice with garlic salt. With the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, brush one side of each slice of bread.

Grill the eggplant for 6 minutes, turn with a spatula, top with cheese, and continue grilling until the cheese is melted and the eggplant is tender, about 4 minutes more. Toast the bread on the grill, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

To assemble sandwiches: Spread basil mayonnaise on four slices of bread. Top with the cheesy eggplant, red peppers, onion and the remaining slices of bread. Cut in half and serve warm.

(Courtesy of Eating Well)

  Download this recipe.

Chomping on Cherries: A Real Mind-Bender

This yummy summer fruit is chock-full of phenolics, particularly anthocyanins, potent compounds that may guard against brain-cell death, so you’ll stay tack sharp. They are called “neuron armor” and appear to protect brain cells from neuron damaging oxidative stress—the kind seen in Alzheimer’s. Sour cherries may be particularly protective; they seem to have more anthocyanins than sweet cherries.

To get us on the road to improved brain health, we found a “mind blowing” recipe:

Cherry-Almond Crumble
(without the fuss of making crust)

1 1/2 pounds sweet cherries, (5 cups), pitted
1 cup raspberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice

2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, (not instant)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
1 tablespoon chopped slivered almonds, or walnuts
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat vanilla ice cream, or nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish (or similar 1 1/2- to 2-quart dish) with cooking spray.

2. To make the filling: Combine cherries, raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Place filling in prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make the topping: Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl with a fork. Add butter and blend with a pastry blender or your fingertips. Add oil and stir to coat. Add orange juice concentrate and blend until dry ingredients are moistened.

4. When filling has baked for 20 minutes, stir it and sprinkle topping evenly over the surface. Sprinkle with almonds (or walnuts). Bake, uncovered, until fruit is bubbly and tender and topping is lightly browned, 20 - 25 minutes more. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream (or frozen yogurt), if desired.

(Courtesy of the Real Age Website)


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