Seniors won't trade flavor for health, Price vows
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 08:53
Last month, five local professional chefs battled it out for the title of "Wood County Throwdown Champion" in a culinary competition sponsored by the Wood County Committee on Aging and held at Penta Career Center.
|Chef James Price at Sterling House Bowling Green. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
James Price, dining services coordinator at Sterling House of Bowling Green, came out on top in the event designed to raise awareness of the culinary skills of those who prepare meals for older adults in Wood County.
Price's menu included salmon croquette with lemon aioli sauce for the appetizer; and a main course of orange glazed chicken with herb seasoned roasted red potatoes and sautéed peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
Dessert was a bread pudding with caramel rum sauce.
"I had a lot of fun and I look forward to defending my championship next year," Price said after judges unanimously awarded him the title and an engraved plate.
Two weeks later, Sterling House gave the public a chance to taste the winning dishes when they hosted a public lunch featuring Price's entire winning meal. The dining room was packed.
For those who missed both the Nov. 9 public lunch and the original sold-out event at Penta, a gala that featured music by the Gene Parker jazz trio and attendance by seniors from all around Wood County, Price has generously agreed to share his salmon croquette and chicken recipes with Cook's Corner readers.
The menu, he says, "was just something that I threw together.
"I like layering flavors. I noticed that a lot of elderly start to lose their sense of taste, so you can't use salt."
But by layering flavors, and making some spice modifications, both the salmon croquette and the orange-glazed chicken make the diner sit up and take notice.
For the croquette he experimented and settled on minced garlic, lemon juice, Old Bay Seasoning, red and green onions.
It was topped by a clever lemon aioli sauce that included both lemon zest and black pepper, but again, no salt.
When mixing the sauce, he suggests taking care with the amount of olive oil. His recipe lists the recommended measurement as 1/4 cup, "but put it in slowly to get the consistency you want. I usually do that by eye."
The same care needs to be taken with the mayonnaise. "You don't want to put too much mayo in it or it will change it" in both flavor and consistency.
Price is a native of Toledo who enrolled in the culinary program at Owens Community College. He also took a secondary leadership certification "and I went through their dietary manager's course."
He began his professional career in the kitchen at Heritage Corner in Bowling Green. Later he moved to Adrian, Mich., and then took a job in Toledo.
"Then an opportunity came at Sterling House and I came back to Bowling Green."
That was a little over three months ago and Price is very much enjoying his new position.
"I just pay attention to their needs, as far as their diets," he said of his senior clientele.
He keeps his intended audience always at the forefront of his mind.
"A lot of people would leave the skin on the chicken, which has its own fat, but" for Sterling House residents he makes appropriate oil substitutions - the kind that would benefit anyone, regardless of age.
"When you start to get older you can't have too much cholesterol, too much fat. So I substitute a lot of canola oil, olive oil."
To benefit those with diabetes "I puree a lot of fruit to give that depth of flavor" which otherwise might come from sugar.
The WCCOA Culinary Throwdown "was a good experience to see how the standards have been raised in dining for our older adults," said Price. "A lot of people are not aware of that."
They mistakenly "still think of hospital food" but dining at assisted living and similar facilities these days is at a much higher level.
"We should have more of these types of competitions to get the word out. People may think 'oh, when I get older I won't be able to eat well,' but you can still enjoy life," he said emphatically.
Salmon croquette with lemon aioli sauce
Ingredients for salmon croquette:
2 16-oz. cans of pink salmon
1 red onion
1 tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1 tbsp. minced garlic
¼ cup of white wine
2 cups of bread crumbs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup lemon juice
Clean salmon and put in a bowl. Sauté red onion and shallots in a sauce pan. Add white wine to the mix, then add to Salmon in bowl. Add Old Bay Seasoning, garlic, eggs, mayonnaise, lemon juice and bread crumbs. Mix well. Form patties with mixture and brown patties in a skillet or bake.
Ingredients for lemon aioli sauce:
4 egg yolks
¼ tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. mayonnaise
Heat egg yolk in sauce pan stirring slowing (do not scramble!), put in blender and then add pepper, mayo and lemon zest. Add oil slowly to get your desired consistency. Drizzle on top of salmon patty.
Yield: 5-6 salmon patties.
4-6 chicken breasts
¼ tsp. onion powder
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 jar (6 ounces) orange marmalade
1 tsp. thyme
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup orange liquor
Marinade chicken with mixture of onion powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Grill chicken until cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Heat orange marmalade in sauce pan, Add orange juice, thyme, and liquor until all has blended to a syrup consistency. Glaze chicken by pouring orange marmalade mixture onto chicken.