Healthy Eating – New Cookbook Improves Health

Here’s a first! Occasionally I’m asked to review a cookbook for the newspaper. This one was so compelling and easy to use that I decided to post it due to it’s ability to make you feel MUCH better. You decide.

Review: The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods

By: Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Photography by: Leo Gong, Publisher: Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, 1 edition, February 26, 2013, Pages: 243, hardcover, Recipes: 126, Cost: $29.99 on the cover, ($19.98 Amazon)

I got excited about eating healthier by new cookbook out by San Francisco food guru, Rebecca Katz, filled with easy, truly tasty recipes. I read it like a book. I think you may too. The beginning of the book deals with health, healing and prevention foods with great photography and amusing personal anecdotes.

I love to cook, having reached an age where the health benefits of foods are more interesting than ever. Maybe you were wise enough to get there sooner. As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I find that when clients eat healthier, it positively affects the outcome of their therapy and mood, surprisingly soon.

This cookbook leads with a heavy hitter endorsing it with “I say, ‘Good health begins in the kitchen.’ Life is too short—and eating too regular—to not make every meal both healthy and delicious. You can learn to live and thrive this way, throughout all your years. All you have to do is peer inside this book.” – Andrew Weil, M.D.

Generally, the ingredients are easy to find, though the book is nearly gluten free. My friends and I greatly enjoyed these: Kale-Basil Pesto, Chive Oil, Golden Roasted Cauliflower, Roasted Olives with Citrus and Herbs, Roasted Asparagus Salad with Arugula and Hazelnuts, and Insanely Good Chocolate Brownies. I sliced the cauliflower into slabs instead of florets for more roasting area, plus more dramatic presentation, and I added a full cup of walnuts instead of the ½ called for to the brownies. Otherwise, the recipes were simple and were followed to the letter – all were unusually flavorful. There were no leftovers. The Roasted Olives were an unusual twist on an appetizer that had guests asking if there were more in the kitchen.

The author focuses on just 16 super foods: avocados, asparagus, blueberries, basil, garlic, green tea, kale, mint, olive oilpomegranates, thyme, salmon, sweet potatoes, walnuts, yogurt, coffee and chocolate. These are foods that fight disease, turn on cancer fighting genes and turn off cancer growers, even positively affecting DNA. Thoughtfully, the nutrition, calories, prep time and cooking time are all listed and most of the recipes are surprisingly low in calories.

 Roasted Olives with Citrus and Herbs

  • Makes 12 servings
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 cups assorted olives, rinsed
  • 1 Meyer lemon, cut in quarters
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 spring fresh rosemary
  • Cook’s Note
  • If you don’t have access to Meyer lemons, omit the quartered lemon and replace the Meyer lemon juice with the juice of 1 regular lemon and ½ orange.
  • Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Put the olives in an 8-inch square nonreactive baking pan. Squeeze the juice from the lemon quarters over the olives and add the lemon quarters to the pan, along with the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, fennel seeds, oregano, red pepper flakes, and rosemary. Stir until well combined.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Per serving: Calories: 80; Total Fat: 7.5 g (1 g saturated, 6 g monounsaturated; Carbohydrates: 3 g; Protein: 0.5 g; Fiber: 1 g; Sodium: 370 mg.

 Roasted Asparagus Salad with Arugula and Hazelnuts

  •  Makes 4 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 bunches asparagus (about 2 pounds), tough ends snapped off and discarded, then peeled (see note below))
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups loosely packed arugula

Cook’s Note

  • Peeling the asparagus gets rid of the stringy, sometimes tough outer layer and exposes the sweet flesh underneath. To peel it, use a regular vegetable peeler with a light touch to shave off just the skin. This technique is not necessary with thin asparagus spears.


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Put the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Put them in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes as it preheats, until aromatic and browned. Transfer to a plate or, if you’d like to remove the skins for a more refined texture and appearance, wrap them in a towel and give them a good rub. The majority of the skins will come right off. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts.
  • Put the asparagus on the same baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt. Toss gently to evenly coat the asparagus. Bake for 8 minutes, until just barely tender.
  • Put the lemon juice, the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl and mix well with a small whisk.
  • Put the arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing and toss until evenly coated. Mound the arugula on individual plates or a platter and arrange the asparagus on top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and sprinkle the hazelnuts on top.
  • Variation: Substitute toasted pistachios or walnuts for the hazelnuts.
  • Per serving: Calories: 190; Total Fat: 15.5 (2 g saturated, 12 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 12 g; Protein: 7 g; Fiber 6 g; Sodium 210 mg.

Insanely Good Chocolate Brownies

  • Makes 16 brownies
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 1/3 cup almond flour, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour (see note below for fudgier brownies)
  • 2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate (68 to 72% cacao content), chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup (use the cheaper, tastier Grade B)
  • 1/3 cup maple sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional), toasted

Cook’s Note

  • You can also use a 9 by 6-inch baking pan. If you do, the baking time will be only about 25 minutes.
  • Who Knew?
  • Cacao content is the amount of pure cacao products (chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder) used in the chocolate; the higher the percentage, the more antioxidants the chocolate contains. And if you’re into addition by subtraction, higher cacao percentages mean lower sugar content.


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line an 8-inch square baking pan (see note) with two pieces of foil long enough to overlap on all four sides. Lightly oil the foil.
  • Put the almond flour, brown rice flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.
  • Put half of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring often, just until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the olive oil.
  • Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk until frothy. Slowly add the maple syrup and maple sugar, whisking all the while, and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla extract, then gradually add the chocolate, whisking vigorously all the while, and continue whisking until smooth and glossy.
  • Add the flour mixture and beat for about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining chocolate and the walnuts. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature in the pan, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into 16 brownies.
  • Variation: For brownies that are fudgier, replace the rice flour with another 1/3 cup of almond flour.
  • Per serving: 1 brownie per serving – Calories: 130; Total Fat 9 g ( 2.5 g saturated, 5 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 10 g; Protein: 2 g; Fiber: 1 g; Sodium: 64 mg.

 Golden Roasted Cauliflower

  • Roasting cauliflower completely transforms it into a candy-like delight that yields to a gentle fork. The spices—cumin, coriander, and turmeric—really make this dish sing. Turmeric has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, and holds great promise for maintaining (and possibly improving) brain health.
  • Serves 4
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds) cut into 1 1/2 inch florets (about 8 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley or cilantro
  • Directions
  • Place the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450° F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, turmeric and garlic. Spread the cauliflower mixture in an even layer on the prepared pan. Bake until the cauliflower is golden and tender, about 25 to 35 minutes. Toss with spritz with fresh lemon juice and parsley or cilantro.
  • Variations: If you’re not in a spicy mood, omit the spices and toss the cauliflower with olive, salt and pepper. You’ll love how sweet this vegetable tastes after its oven “sauna.”
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes
Storage: Store refrigerated in airtight container for 2 days
  • Notes: Chopping cauliflower releases enzymes that increase the bioavailability of its nutrients. Delaying cooking for 5-10 minutes after cutting helps insure that heat won’t destroy these enzymes’ effectiveness. Also, the enzymes need Vitamin C to activate, which can be accomplished with a hit of lemon or lime juice.
  • Per serving: Calories: 120; Total Fat: 8 g (1 g saturated; 5.5 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 12 g; Protein: 4.5 g; Fiber 4.5 g; Sodium 265 mg.

Be kind to yourself. Therapy helps.                                                                                       
Sharon Valentino – Valentino Therapy, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746), MA, CHT, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Masters Counseling Psychology                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Web:                                                                                    Facebook:                                                       Blog:                                                                       Blog:


About Valentino Therapy

Psychotherapist (California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist), artist, animal lover, SF Giants fan...I write mostly about daily life and psychology matters, concerns and disorders and how to get help or help yourself. I write about life and often laugh at it but I also write about very serious matters that affect our lives. I'm a psychotherapist (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) with a speciality in addiction, anxiety, depression, achievement, relationships and several other areas, which is work I particularly enjoy but the nature of it requires that I also enjoy other creative and physical pursuits. Personal: I love animals beyond a reasonable measure (reptiles excluded).
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