Kumamoto Oysters on the Half Shell with Cucumber, Melon Granita and Serrano Chili! 

Can what you eat affect your happiness? 

Forget what came first, the chicken or the egg. Looking for a great conversation starter at your next social gathering? Open with the latest hot food topic: Can what you eat affect your happiness?

According to research substantiated by Torrey Pines, Institute for Molecular Studies, certain flavors in fresh berries have a similar molecular structure matching those of Valproic Acid— a mood stabilizing drug developed in western medicine.  We all understand the flavonoid, anthrocyanidin—also found in berries, reduce inflammation. Inflammation is actually found to be linked to increased rates of depression.

I believe foods do have the ability to alter our mood, as well as heal. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that psychological stress was lower in individuals who drank five or more cups of green tea per day. Today, Matcha is readily available in drinks and delicious snacks.

Another example— low levels of Zinc in our body have been linked to anxiety. Eating delicious fresh oysters will not only heat things up— these o ocean delights will also cool you down. Zinc is said to lower anxiety quickly.

Noshing on good quality artisan dark chocolate, 70 % cocoa and above— reduces the stress hormone, Cortisol. Eating more cacao sounds like a great plan.

Mental health is an important component of overall well-being and also we need to continue to keep eyes on nutrition plan, its all about counting what goes into your basket. Everyone knows that bananas are high in potassium but what you might not know is they are also linked to  mood regulating tryptophan, a chemical released in our brains. Also a great source of vitamin B folate, which is also linked with depression. I think bananas and chocolate are a great paring.

Feeling down? Throw together a evening meal of wild salmon on a bed of quinoa. Saute some delicious baby spinach— for an extra splash of folic acid, which alleviates depression and reduces fatigue.

We all hear about  how important Omega 3’s  are in our diet. Sure we can pop a vitamin capsule— but why when you can nosh on the succulent wild. Salmon is loaded with beautiful fatty acids, which can improve mood—fight depression, and not to mention, makes your hair shiny and your nails strong.

Quinoa is having a serious moment right now— take advantage of its healing properties. A 2010 study in the Journal of Neuropharmacology. names a flavonoid found in quinoa, ( Quercetin,) to stimulate depression-related signaling pathways. The ones that involve neurotrophic factors resulting in improved moods.

Not only will your feel better— you will look healthier too. And if you’re happy— I’m happy. Eat. Try my recipe below!

Kumamoto Oysters on the Half Shell with a Cucumber and Melon Granita 

Fast, cheap and easy is the name of the game at the end of a long day.  For a delicious pick me up, try shucking a few fresh oysters. Top with up my fresh cucumber and melon garnish. Nothing like a fresh, sweet succulent oyster to change any mood. To make your life even easier, prepare the melon granite ahead of time— and store in the freezer up to one week. This recipe is a delicious variation on a classic mignonette.

Kumamoto Oysters are found in deep-cupped shells. Great to hold sauces. Classic for their petite meats accompanied by a very mild brine. Known for their sweet flavor and a lovely honeydew finish. They are a favorite for beginning oyster eaters.

You’ll Need

8 ounces a sweet watermelon, cantaloupe or honey dew. Any green, yellow, orange or pink fleshed melon — peeled and cut into very small 1/4 inch cubes. About 1 1/2 cups

2 fresh lemons, zested and juiced

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 dozen fresh Kumamoto oysters, scrubbed well

Crushed ice cubes

1 english cucumber, peeled de-seeded and cut into very fine dice- about the same size as the melon

1 spring fresh baby thyme

1 lemon, zested

1 finger lime, ( optional )

Fresh edible flowers ( optional )

1 Serrano chili, cut paper thin ( optional )

Heres How

In the bowl of your food processor or standing blender, puree the melon until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a 5-by-9-inch  non-reactive glass loaf pan. Discarding any solids.

Stir in lemon juice, sprinkle in about an 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Taste, and adjust seasoning with additional salt if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze until firm, a minimum of 3 hours.

When frozen, scrape the granita with a fork until fluffy. Freeze again while shucking oysters. Start shuck oysters, and arrange on a bed of crushed ice, or rock salt.

Top each oyster with 1 teaspoon of frozen melon granita toward the narrow end of the oyster shell. Add a very small topping of small diced cucumbers, a fresh thyme leaf, and a few beads from the finger lime. Top with a paper thin slice of serrano chili, lemon zest and a petal of edible flowers with a small sprig of fresh chervil or micro-green to complete.

Serve immediately.