Singing The Praises Of Spinach

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - May 12, 2010
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Raiatea Helm: Not only can she sing, she can cook, too

The moniker “Hawaiian Blossom” should ring a bell with many Hawaiian music fans as well as those who love jazz. While these two music styles are dissimilar, there is a young artist who moves between them seam-lessly - Raiatea Helm.

Helm, who grew up on Molokai, has become one of Hawaii’s most popular singers.

Her schedule has been packed with a tour of Japan and California, and her new album with Keola Beamer will be released soon.

In December, Helm performed in the Aloha Medical Mission concert, Four Doctors, A Patient and A Sweetheart! The Aloha Medical Mission has provided more than $86 million in free medical care across the Pacific, including right here in the Islands.


She also performed for Punana Leo o Honolulu, the Hawaiian language immersion school, as well as an event celebrating Father Damien’s historic beatification.

As a young ambassador for Hawaiian music, Helm always shares her love of our Islands and her pride in our values with everyone she meets, but we know that wherever the music takes her, she’ll always be an island girl.

Here’s Helm’s recipe for a healthy, Omega 3-rich dinner.

Spinach is a rich source of vitamins A, C, E and K, magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, folic acid, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega -3 fatty acids.

To benefit from the folate in spinach, it is better to steam it than to boil it. Boiling spinach for four minutes can halve the level of folate.


* 4 (5-ounce) center-cut salmon fillets (about 1-inch-thick), skin on or off less)
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 tablespoons capers, drained
* baby spinach

Bring the salmon to room temperature 10 minutes before cooking.

Warm a large nonstick skillet with oil over medium-low heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high.

Place the salmon, skin side up in the pan. Cook until golden brown on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn the fish over with a spatula, and cook until it feels firm to the touch and the skin is crisp if desired, about 3 minutes more. The skin can be served or removed easily with a knife or spoon.

Transfer to a plate and serve over baby spinach.

Add wine to the hot empty skillet and using a spatula, scrape any browned bits from the bottom.

Let the wine reduce by half and then stir in the garlic, remaining butter and capers. Let sauce simmer for one to two minutes to blend the flavors.

Pour a portion of sauce over each piece of fish and serve immediately.


(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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