Aging Well: Quality cuisine starts from scratch | Aging Well

Splendido’s chefs source local, seasonal, and organic ingredients to use in their from-scratch recipes, like the dressing for this delectable salmon dish.

Intriguing international dishes. Flavorful fresh ingredients. Inspired, ever-changing menus. Residents at Splendido, a Life Plan Community for those 55+ in Oro Valley, get to enjoy a taste of the good life every day, thanks to a renowned culinary program.

Splendido follows the culinary standards and philosophy of Mather, one of its two parent companies—and Mather has been highlighted by the New York Times as a prime example of senior living residences offering residents top chefs and “foodie delights.”

Headed by Executive Chef Masood Shirmohammadi, Splendido’s classically trained chefs and pastry chefs create from-scratch recipes, sourcing high-quality local, seasonal, and organic ingredients to use in delectable dishes. “Cooking from scratch results in healthier dishes, because we control the ingredients,” Chef Masood explains. “For example, we can reduce or avoid salt and fat, come up with more nutritious options for them, and certainly improve on the quality and taste of food. We give residents the healthiest options possible. . . which also happen to be delicious!”

To residents, it may seem that the only thing that stays the same on the menu is quality and mouthwatering taste. In each of Splendido’s restaurants, the menus change regularly, offering inviting new selections that reflect the latest flavors and techniques from around the world, all while promoting a healthy, balanced diet. “We love making great food here, as well as making meals an experience,” says Chef Masood.

Every evening, Pastry Chef Mary Teresi has five different dessert options, including a sugar-free option and a gluten-free option. Mary, whose team recently earned Splendido first place in the 2021 Oro Valley Chamber’s Peanut Butter Cookie Contest, shares one of her recipes here, as does Chef Masood.

GLUTEN-FREE BLACK BEAN BROWNIES

Makes one 9 by 13” pan.

INGREDIENTS

3 eggs

6 cups pureed black beans

½ cup cocoa powder

2 ¼ cup oats (After measuring, grind in a food processor to make a flour.)

1 ½ Tbsp. salt

1 ½ cups honey

¾ cup brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 Tbsp. vanilla

2 ½ tsp. baking powder

3 cups mini chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

⦁ Preheat oven to 350° degrees F.

⦁ In a bowl, combine eggs, beans, and brown sugar and mix.

⦁ Add vanilla and honey and mix.

⦁ Add oil and mix.

⦁ Combine cocoa powder, salt, oat flour, baking powder, and choc chips and add to wet mixture.

⦁ Combine and mix together thoroughly.

⦁ Line the bottom of a pan with a piece of parchment paper and spray the sides with baking spray that has oil only.

⦁ Bake for approximately 40 minutes.

⦁ The brownie will rise slightly and have small cracks on the edges when done.

Chef Masood’s Quinoa Salad with Roasted Salmon

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

1 cup red pepper, roasted and diced small

2 cups kale, chopped fine

½ cup carrot, julienned

½ cup pistachios, chopped

½ cup scallions, sliced thin

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 lb. salmon filet, roasted and cooled

3 cups watercress, with large stems removed

4 Tbsp. dried cranberries

DRESSING

4 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice

½ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. turmeric powder

¾ tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

½ cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

⦁ For the quinoa: In a bowl, wash the quinoa in at least 2-3 changes of cold water until the water runs clear; drain in a fine sieve.

⦁ Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized pot and add the quinoa. Lower heat and cover; cook for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes, covered. Fluff with a fork to break up any clumps. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and cool. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine.

⦁ For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the olive oil. Add the oil in slowly, whisking constantly.

⦁ Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well, taste for seasoning and adjust. Salad can be made few hours ahead and chilled, covered.

⦁ Pan roast salmon the salmon and allow to cool slightly.

⦁ To serve: Mound a stack of watercress on a plate and top with 1 cup of the salad. Top with roasted salmon.