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Cooking for a Cure (September 30, 2002)


All over the world, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We don't know anyone whose lives have not been touched by breast cancer; it's an epidemic affecting two in every nineteen women in North America.

What can be done? Is there any protection? Research is showing that keeping those pounds off and eating a healthy diet consisting of lower-fat foods, lots of fruits and vegetables and smaller amounts of some proteins is a good start and good protection for everyone. And, much as we don't want to hear about it, exercise is an important part of an overall picture of good health.

We hate the idea of diets, too, but we have to admit that watching what we eat is the first and perhaps best way to start getting healthy and to stay that way. OK, so it's not easy to change eating habits, but help is at hand. We've got some great lifestyle cookbooks that give you not only fabulous recipes, but excellent nutritional and health information as well, plus a terrific little guide to entertaining as well.

The Art of Living Well is the twelfth book by best-selling author Rose Reisman, and while the title may sound a bit too sybaritic for a health story, you don't have to worry. The recipes are indeed luscious and full of flavour, but they're also low in fat, calories and cholesterol. And, even better, most can be ready in 30 minutes or less! Rose knows; she's also a registered nutritional consultant, newspaper columnist, and owner of the popular Rose Reisman Cooking School. This busy wife and mother of four is also a major supporter of breast cancer research and treatment, and has raised more than $1 million for the cause through sales of her books.

Our wonderful friend Sharon Thomas does a great deal for breast cancer research as well. Her company, Please Care, has given thousands of dollars to combat breast cancer, and now Sharon has written a great cookbook to aid scientific research. It's appropriately called Here's to Life! and is full of the most wonderful, authentic Greek and Mediterranean recipes. Sharon's heritage is Greek, and in Here's to Life! she shares her best culinary traditions, thus proving to us that a healthy diet can also be wildly satisfying!

We hope this has inspired you to invite a gang over to try these great recipes, because KitchenAid has come up with "Cook for the Cure," a great and timely idea. It's so easy! Tell the friends you've invited for a meal that instead of bringing a hostess gift or bottle of wine, they should donate the money to breast cancer research. Everyone wins with this one, and we'll bet it will be the best dinner party you've ever given. KitchenAid will be delighted to send you their free Guide to Hosting a Party; it too has marvelous recipes and tips on entertaining.

So, get healthy, and stay healthy. Eat well, have fun and keep supporting breast cancer research – the cure may be right around the corner!

On today's menu:

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (109 KB)


Roasted Vegetarian Sandwich with Brie Cheese

Rose Reisman says in The Art of Living Well, "After tasting this sandwich you might decide to go vegetarian! The roasted vegetables, pesto and Brie cheese are a sensational combination." We were delighted to find that you can enjoy a little Brie when eating light, but just watch the amounts!

Makes 8 servings

  • Half a large red onion, sliced half
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in 8 wedges
  • 1 large portabello mushroom, sliced thickly
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in 3 lengthwise pieces
  • 2 Tbsp pesto sauce (25 mL)
  • 2 Tbsp light sour cream (25 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (15 mL)
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (10 mL)
  • ½ tsp minced garlic (2 mL)
  • 4 large rolls, each approximately 3½ oz/110 g, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 oz Brie cheese, sliced thinly (60 g)

Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Place onion, pepper, mushroom and zucchini on prepared baking sheet. Spray vegetables lightly with cooking spray. Roast vegetables, turning once, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine pesto and sour cream.

Once vegetables are roasted, cut into pieces that fit the shape of the bread. Toss with oil, vinegar and garlic.

Spread pesto mixture over bread; top with vegetable mixture and Brie. Cut in half.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
A dry medium-bodied white wine, unoaked – Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé from the Loire) or New Zealand Sauvignon. Or Soave from Veneto.


Fried Eggplant with Garlic and Lemon

Oh, we love eggplant in any form, and when it's fried in a little bit of good olive oil, and topped with garlic and lemon, we swoon. We think the Greek gods gave Sharon Thomas the recipe for Here's to Life!

Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side dish

  • 1 large eggplant, unpeeled, cut into ¼-inch (1 cm) slices
  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying eggplant.
  • 3–4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (30 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (15 mL)
  • 1 tsp salt (5 mL)
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley (125 mL)

Thoroughly wash the eggplant and cut off the stem portion. Do not peel. Slice the ¼-inch slices and brush on both sides with extra virgin olive oil. Brown the eggplant in a non-stick pan until golden brown on both sides.

Arrange cooked eggplant on a decorative serving dish. Combine the lemon juice, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, salt and crushed garlic. Drizzle over the eggplant and sprinkle with fresh copped parsley.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
A light to medium-bodied dry white wine – Chablis or Pinot Grigio, Muscadet or Sauvignon Blanc.


Rotini Salad with Marinated Chicken Breast

Everyone loves pasta salad, and this one is particularly tasty. It's from Here's to Life! and is bursting with fabulous Greek flavours. Add more feta cheese and olives if you wish; this is a dish that will take it happily.

Serves 4

  • 4 cups drained and cooled rotini (1 L)
  • 2 chicken breasts, barbecued
    (Marinated overnight in 2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice, 2 tsp (20 mL) oregano flakes, and ½ tsp (2 mL) dry mint)
  • ½ cup finely chopped sweet red bell pepper (125 mL)
  • ½ fine chopped sweet green bell pepper (125 mL)
  • ½ cup finely chopped green onion (125 mL)
  • 2 tsp dry basil (10 mL)
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper (5 mL)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • ½ cup pitted sliced calamata olives (125 mL)
  • 1/3 cup good mayonnaise (80 mL)
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (45 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (15 mL)

Marinate chicken breasts overnight in olive oil, garlic, lemon, oregano and mint in a covered container. Barbecue over medium heat until tender and juices run clear. Remove from heat and cool in refrigerator.

In a large bowl, combine cooked rotini, chopped peppers, chopped green onion, and chopped olives. Add garlic, oregano, basil and black pepper. Add salt. Add mayonnaise, olive oil and lemon juice. Toss gently.

Arrange rotini salad in a decorative shallow salad dish and decorate the top with cooked chicken breasts, which have been cut into strips.

The dish makes a wonderful meal on its own with fresh Greek bread or toasted pita bread.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
You can go with either a bold white (California Chardonnay, Pinot Gris from Oregon) or a chilled, fruity red (Beaujolais, Gamay, Valpolicella).


Coconut Layer Cake with Italian Meringue Icing

Oh, Rose... thank you! We can have our cake and, yes, eat it too! This recipe from The Art of Living Well cleverly calls for light coconut milk, which is 75% fat reduced and still full of flavour. It's one of our all-time favourites.

Makes 14 servings

  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar (300 mL)
  • ¾ cup light coconut milk (175 mL)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (75 mL)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ tsp vanilla (7 mL)
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour (300 mL)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder (7 mL)
  • ¼ tsp salt (1 mL)
  • 2 Tbsp toasted coconut (25 mL)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar (1 mL)
  • Icing
  • 3 large egg whites
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar (175 mL)
  • ¼ cup water (50 mL)
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar (1 mL)
  • 3 Tbsp toasted coconut (45 mL)

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Spray two 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pans with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, using a whisk or an electric mixer, beat 1 cup (250 mL) of the sugar, the coconut milk, oil, eggs and vanilla.

In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut. With a wooden spoon, stir dry ingredients into coconut milk mixture, just until combined.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup (50 mL) sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Stir one-quarter of egg whites into the cake batter. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Divide mixture between the prepared pans.

Bake in the center of the oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center come out dry. Let the pans cool on a wire rack.

To make icing:
In the top of a double boiler, or in a glass or metal bowl overtop of a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites, sugar, water and cream of tartar. Place over medium-low heat. With an electric mixer, beat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until thickened and soft peaks form. Remove from heat; beat for 1 minute or until stiff peaks form. Stir in 2 Tbsp (25 mL) of the toasted coconut.

Place one cake layer on a cake platter. Spread some icing over top. Place the second cake layer on top for the first and ice the top and sides. Sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) toasted coconut.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
A glass of milk! But if you must have wine, try an LBV Port or a 10 Year-Old Tawny Port or a Cream Sherry.


And finally...

Don't you just have to have one? Pink is so cheery, and KitchenAid Canada will give $100 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation for every purchase of one of these Pink Ultra Power© Stand Mixers. This could be the most fun donation you've every made, you get a great appliance, and you've helped to find a cure for breast cancer!



We wish to thank the following for permission to publish recipes and photographs:

Viking Canada, The Art of Living Well, ©2002, by Rose Reisman. Colour inserts: Per Kristiansen

C.T.S. Enterprises, Here's to Life!, ©2001, by Sharon Thomas. Photography by Stephanie Buchanan.
Here's To Life! may be purchased by sending a cheque or money order made out to "Here's To Life" in care of:
C.T.S. Enterprises, PO Box 126
Brampton, Ontario L6V 2K7.
The book is $24.99 in Canada. Shipping and handling included.

KitchenAid, Cook for the Cure. For more information on the free booklet and limited edition mixer, visit, or call 1-800-618-CURE.

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. For more information visit


Happily tested by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (109 KB)




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