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Posted on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : noon

Maple-BBQ glazed salmon with barley pilaf - good for your heart, and your sweetheart

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, an occasion in which we are inundated by hearts that can be found in a variety of formats: cards, balloons, cakes, boxes of chocolates, etc.

But how much of this is good for your actual heart, the one that flutters when your sweetheart is near?

February is American Heart Month. Therefore, it only seems reasonable to celebrate Valentine's Day with a heart-healthy dinner.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

"Heart disease is a major problem. Every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year - that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women."

And so, today I'm offering a meal that features foods that are good for your heart:

- Salmon: one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and a prime source of protein that contains vitamin A and B vitamins

- Barley: a good source of niacin — a B vitamin that provides numerous protective actions against cardiovascular risk factors

- White Wine: reduces systolic blood pressure and free radicals

- Blueberries: rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper (a very effective immune builder and anti-bacterial), selenium, zinc, and iron

- Cherries: contain antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients, melatonin, vitamin A, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, and fiber

- Almonds: contain healthy fats and vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium

This is a ridiculously easy meal to make, sophisticated and delicious. So do your heart some good this Valentine's Day, and show your sweetie how much you really care!

Maple-BBQ Glazed Salmon with Barley Pilaf

Salmon: 1 1.25-pound salmon filet, divided into 4 portions
generous sprinkling of kosher salt
generous sprinkling of freshly ground
black pepper
1/8 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon honey barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place salmon portions onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes.

Combine maple syrup and barbecue sauce; brush onto salmon and bake 5 more minutes.

Makes 4 portions.

Barley Pilaf: 1-3/4 cups water
1/4 cup dry white wine
pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup dried cherries
1 cup quick-cook barley
1/4 cup almonds, chopped and toasted

While salmon is baking, bring water, wine, salt, blueberries, and cherries to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low, add barley, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir, then cover and cook 5 more minutes. If there is any liquid in the saucepan, remove cover and continue to cook until liquid is absorbed. Stir in almonds.

Makes 4 servings.

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Mary Bilyeu writes for on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, telling about her adventures in the kitchen - making dinner, celebrating holidays, entering cooking contests, meeting new friends ... whatever strikes her fancy. She is also on a mission to find great deals for her Frugal Floozie Friday posts, seeking fabulous food at restaurants on the limited budget of only $5 per person. Feel free to email her with questions, comments, or suggestions:

Go visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — where she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related; and look for her monthly articles in the Washtenaw Jewish News. "Like" her on Facebook, or send a tweet on Twitter, too.

The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.


An Arborigine

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 11:02 p.m.

At the risk of a sound thumbs-down drubbing, who was the genius that combined maple flavor with pork products and fish? To me it is inedible and totally unappealing. Opinions may vary.


Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

Oops...I meant to say, I made it last night...


Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

Ironically enough, I made salmon with a (pure) maple syrup glaze. I wrapped it in bacon, however. And it was good..!