Tuesday's topic at the fourth Aortic Kitchen was all about making flavorful dressings and dips for your health and enjoyment. Starting with vinegar and oil and learning the basics of using emulsions to prepare Aorta healthy thickened dressings. Typical emulsions contain egg yolks (think mayonnaise and hollandaise), but can be prepared with cholesterol free and vegan ingredients such as, mustard, avocado and even tofu.
The class included two non-traditional high protein salads that can be served as an appetizer, side or main course and a bright citrusy salad made with healthy fats.
A discussion was held on types of fats and oils, their uses and health aspects. Fats and oils from vegetable sources are the Aorta healthiest to use.
When looking at a food nutrition label you want to see oils that are high in monosaturated fat and low in saturated fat. Polyunsaturated fat will be somewhere in the middle. Monosaturated fats have been shown to decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol) making it the Aorta healthy choice.
Olive oil which includes extra virgin, virgin, pure and pomace (light) is the primary choice of most physicians and dietitian/nutritionists with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) being recommended the most. EVOO contains polyphenols, a class of phytochemicals that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. The Mediterranean diet (which utilizes EVOO) has nine components; when followed the user (patient) has a diet score of 0-9, based on the number of components followed. A score improvement of 2 points, say from 5-7 components has been shown to reduce the risk of death from all causes, that includes heart diseases and cancer by 25%.*
That is 25%!
EVOO is not recommended for high heat cooking, as high heat (smoke point) will destroy the quality of the oil, as well as the polyphenols. Utilizing a refined olive oil such as pure, pomace or light will deliver the same fatty acids without burning and is much less expensive.
Save your EVOO for cold applications, such as in salad dressings or as a finishing condiment on cooked vegetables, fish, and pasta dishes. Avocado oil is also rich in monosaturated fats and has a high smoke point, but it too is very expensive to use. Below is a chart showing types of oils and their combined properties.
It is my hope that reading this information helps you to make the decision to choose the oil that is right for you and your Aorta. As promised, below are links to the recipes discussed in last Tuesday's Aortic Kitchen. As a bonus, I have included an deeper explanation of the refining process of of the different types of olive oils.
Remember that recipes are only a guide to making a dish. Feel free to adjust ingredients, adding or removing according to your taste. For my taste, I would increase the vinegar in the red low fat vinaigrette and add more lemon to the avocado dressing. Have fun, experiment with old and new flavors.