A Different Kind of Celebration & Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Herb Quinoa Salad

Alzheimers Assoc BraceletsLast week I wrote about some of the fun and funny holidays that keep us busy celebrating in June. This week, I’d like to share something a bit more serious. Along with days to commemorate ice cream, yo-yo’s and donuts, June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.

This tribute is particularly important in the Nye family; my mother has Alzheimer’s disease, as did her father. We are not alone. My mother is just one of the more than 5 million Americans with this disease. Even more worrisome, that number is expected to grow forty percent in the next ten years.

From our first wails in the delivery room, we baby boomers have fueled everything from hula-hoop sales to suburban sprawl and technology breakthroughs. The first of the boomers hit sixty-five in 2011 and the explosion of potential AARP members won’t begin to slow down for another fifteen years. Fueled by aging baby boomers, the number could jump to 7 million by 2025. Barring medical breakthrough, almost 14 million could suffer from Alzheimer’s by 2050.

In spite of the already big numbers and astounding projected growth, Alzheimer’s research is seriously underfunded. Alzheimer’s may rank sixth for cause of death in the United States but it falls way down to number fifty-one in federal research funding. Alzheimer’s is the only disease among the top ten causes of death in the United Sates that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.

At just under $600 million, research funding may be relatively low but costs of care are skyrocketing. Direct costs of care for Alzheimer’s patients in the United States are an estimated $226 billion, yes billion, for 2015. Half of those costs are borne by an increasingly burdened Medicare system. The patients and their families bear the remainder. This figure does not include the almost 18 billion, yes again, that’s billion with a b, hours of unpaid care which family and friends provide loved ones.

The Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging people across the country to join forces on June 21st and raise money to fight Alzheimer’s disease. It’s the longest day of the year so we’ll have plenty of time to complete our efforts. I’ll be cooking up a feast and inviting friends and family to make a donation and then join me for some good food and a glass of wine. Together, we will celebrate friendship and my mother’s unflagging optimism in the face of this awful disease. The 21st is also Father’s Day so I’ve corralled my dad into helping out. You can learn more about my longest day event on my website.

Alzheimer’s disease is different for everyone and every family. Progression can move at a snail’s pace or frightfully fast. Although we are not exactly sure when it began, Mom has been on her Alzheimer’s journey for probably twenty years. Along the way, this progressive brain disorder has stolen much of her memory. She can no longer complete simple tasks or sentences. That said, even as she struggles in severe, late stage Alzheimer’s disease, Mom continues to amaze me with her enthusiasm for life, her fortitude and courage.

If someone you know has Alzheimer’s, I hope that you will support them and their caregivers on the longest day. If you are a patient or caregiver, please accept my hug.

Thank you and bon appétit!

Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Herb Quinoa Salad
Fish, along with leafy greens, whole grains, nuts and olive oil, is brain food. Be good to your brain and try this delicious summer dish. Enjoy!
Serves 4-6

Lemon-Herb Quinoa Salad
Zest of 1 lemon and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons or to taste extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cup quinoa, well rinsed
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or hazelnuts, toasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Put the lemon zest and juice in a large bowl, add the garlic and mustard, season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Continue to whisk and slowly add the olive oil until well combined. Let the mixture sit at room temperature while you prepare the quinoa.

Put 1 1/4 cups water in a saucepan, add the quinoa and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Add the quinoa to the lemon and olive oil and toss until well combined. Tossing several times, cool to room temperature. Add the nuts, herbs and scallions and toss again.

Can be made ahead, covered and stored in the refrigerator for several hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Grilled Salmon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds salmon fillet, skin-on
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the grill to high heat. Drizzle the salmon with lemon juice and olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the salmon, skin side up, on the grill. Depending on the thickness of the fish, grill for 5-6 minutes. Carefully turn the salmon with a wide spatula and grill for 3-5 minutes more or until cooked through but not dry. Transfer the fish to a cutting board, skin side down, and let the fish rest for 5 minutes before cutting into thick slices. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Can be made ahead, cooled to room temperature, covered and stored in the refrigerator for several hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.

To serve: mound the quinoa on a large platter or individual plates and top with slices of salmon.

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One Year Ago – Chocolate-Peanut Butter Tart
Two Years Ago – Salsa Verde
Three Years Ago – Blueberry Crumb Cake
Four Years Ago – Peanut-Sesame Dipping Sauce
Five Years Ago – Strawberry Gelato
Six Years Ago – Asparagus Soup
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

Do you have a favorite healthy meal? Feel free to share. Let’s start a conversation.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2015

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