A Springtime Salad In A Snap

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - March 19, 2008
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Menopause the Musical is coming to the Hawaii Theatre April 8-20. The brainchild of Orlando’s Jeanie Linders has had extended runs off-Broadway in New York, and played in Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

What’s all the fuss about? It’s the hilarity of the songs and lyrics that has attracted more than 9 million people (OK, most of them women) worldwide.


The show is told in 90 minutes of song and dance with relyricized tunes from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and is set in a department store where four women with seemingly nothing in common but a black lace bra meet by chance. The show pokes fun at everything from hot flashes to memory loss, mood swings to wrinkles, night sweats and eating.

Opening night is a benefit for the Women’s Cancer Center at Kapiolani Medical Center. The cast of Menopause will join the volunteer committee and their guests after the show for a party at Compadres Bar & Grill in Ward Centre. Dr. Michael Carney will be among the speakers, and the silent symptoms of ovarian cancer will be brought into the open in keeping with the show’s nationwide commitment to fighting the disease.

I would like to dedicate this recipe to the people who will be supporting the benefit, including those organizing groups to attend. Many are friends of publicist Lisa Josephsohn, whose recent fight with primary peritoneal cancer has been treated as ovarian, and whose life has added meaning as she speaks out to alert other women to the signs that can lead to this disease. And a special tribute to volunteers on the committee - Sally Parker and her fellow PEO sorority members, Janie Davis, Michele Basiliere and Lynne Wooddell from Kapiolani, Annie Kemp, Linda Tam, Dana Washofsky and others who are lending their support to the fight by attending opening of Menopause the Musical.

This healthy salad will complement any Easter main dish, and is a snap to put together; double the recipe for larger groups.

When spring arrives, asparagus is plentiful, so take advantage of locally grown and Mainland asparagus in the markets.

Asparagus is high in folic acid (a 6-ounce serving provides 60 percent of the recommended daily allowance for folacin, which is necessary for blood cell formation, growth, and prevention of liver disease), is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin. Asparagus has no fat, contains no cholesterol, and is low in sodium.


NUTTY ASPARAGUS AND TOMATO SALAD

* 2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed of tough ends and cut into thirds
* 1/3 cup light (reduced sodium) soy sauce
* 1/3 cup rice vinegar
* 1 tablespoon sesame oil
* 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* salt, to taste
* 3 vine-ripened firm tomatoes
* 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
* 1/4 cup chopped pecans
* 8 large lettuce leaves

Steam asparagus until crisp-tender, then cool. In large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, oil, sugar, pepper and salt until well-combined. Marinate the asparagus in soy mixture for about 2 hours in refrigerator.

Cut tomatoes into small chunks. Add tomatoes to marinated asparagus and mix just to combine.

To serve, place asparagus tomato mixture on lettuce leaves on individual plates and sprinkle with walnuts and pecans. For larger crowds, serve in a bowl and sprinkle with nuts just prior to serving.

Makes eight side-dish servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 160
Fat: 4.5 grams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium: 400 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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