As part of its ongoing multi-cultural outreach effort to American Indians, AARP Oklahoma recently collaborated with the Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP), the American Heart Association, Chickasaw Nation and the American Diabetes Association to present a heart healthy, traditional cooking program.
See Also: AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Navigator
“AARP’s Recipe for Better Health,” which was part of the AAIP Men’s and Women’s Health Summit featured a cooking demonstration by nationally-known chef Loretta Barrett Oden, a member of the Potawatomi Nation.
“Any good recipe calls for the collaboration of great ingredients,” said AARP State President Marjorie Lyons. “It is wonderful to work with these outstanding organizations to provide health and wellness information to Native Americans throughout Oklahoma.”
Using native ingredients, Oden prepared “Three Sisters and Friends Salad,” a dish that incorporated fresh, healthy foods that were part of traditional cooking. The goal of the demonstration was to show how traditional foods can be used to prepare healthy, everyday meals today, she said.
“It is exciting to present indigenous foods and give my perspective on health issues facing Indian Country today, not just to elders, but to children as well,” Oden said. “We need to bridge the gap between generations to have elders inform young people about the history and nutrition of the food.”
Oden also spent time dispelling the myth of foods that have been adopted as “traditional” American Indian and Alaska Native dishes which she says are having a devastating effect on not only the culture but the overall health of Native Americans – fry bread and Indian Tacos.
AAIP Executive Director Margaret Knight, said the collaboration between AARP and AAIP sets the stage for future joint efforts between the two organizations.
“AARP and AAIP definitely have the synergy to come together on projects like this demonstration as we continue to focus on health issues for all our communities in general,” she said.
You can also watch a video about the demonstration that includes an interview with Chef Loretta Oden on the AARP OK Youtube channel.
Three Sisters & Friends Salad
Recipe By: Corn Dance Cafe/Loretta Oden
Serving Size: 6
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked, follow cooking instructions
- 1/2 cup wild rice, uncooked, follow cooking instructions
- 1 cup black beans, cooked, (if canned, rinse and drain well). Note: A variety of cooked heirloom beans makes the salad even more beautiful – Appaloosa, Blk Turtle, Calypso, Christmas Lima.
- 1/2 cup green zucchini.raw, unpeeled, 1" dice
- 1/2 cup yellow zucchini or yellow crookneck squash, raw, unpeeled, 1" dice
- 1/2 cup jicama, peeled, raw, very fresh and unblemished, 1" dice (may omit if good quality not available but it really adds a nice crunch to the salad)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 serrano chile pepper, seeded, deveined & minced (adjust according to heat of chile, or, to taste)
- 1 whole green onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin seeds , dry-roasted in a skillet
- 6 lg. whole Endive leaves or fresh radicchio, crisp and unblemished
- 1 whole ripe avocado, cubed
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Seasoned Rice Vinegar (use enough that the vinaigrette is slightly more sweet than savory)
- Fresh Lime Juice
Rinse Quinoa thoroughly in a very fine chinoise (or use cheesecloth). Cover with cold water, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until quinoa becomes translucent and the little white endosperm appears. Be careful not to overcook or it will turn to mush. Drain immediately in a fine chinoise and rinse with cold water. Drain and set aside.
Rinse and cook wild rice in boiling water until it just “blooms" (still al dente). Drain and set aside
Dry toast cumin seeds in a skillet until aromatic. Grind seeds in a mortar with pestle or in a spice mill (or use ground and toast lightly).
Combine olive oil, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, cumin, salt and blend. Toss with cooked black beans and let sit for 15 minutes or so.
Fluff quinoa and wild rice in a large mixing bowl toss with all remaining ingredients including the dressed black beans. Spoon onto endive leaves and garnish with diced avocado.