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Food & Dining // Heart-y Chef
Diana Helfand

Having A Ball With Pineapple

Dr. Robert W. Schulz has been a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Straub Clinic and Hospital for the past 30 years and is currently chief of the department.

In his younger days, he lived in West Palm Beach, Fla., where he was a disc jockey and radio and television announcer.

He decided that he wanted to make a difference in people’s lives with plastic and reconstructive surgery, and derives a great deal of satisfaction helping burn victims and those who need reconstructive surgeries. He finds it especially fulfilling helping children. Currently, the Straub Burn Treatment Center is the Pacific region’s only multidisciplinary burn treatment center.

Schulz attended the George Washington University Medical School and completed his residency in plastic surgery at Cronin Brauer Clinic in Houston, and in general surgery in Hawaii. While in medical school, he met a classmate from Hawaii who persuaded him to come here, and he loved it so much he stayed.

He is a single father who lives with his 16year-old daughter and has raised three sons; his oldest is a political cartoonist in New York, the middle son attends UCLA and his youngest attends the University of Hawaii. When he has free time, diving is a passion, and he likes to exercise and keep fit.

This column is dedicated to Dr. Schulz for his amazing skill and compassion for those in need.

If you are invited to a potluck or family gathering this spring holiday season, try this crowd-pleaser. It is great served with assorted freshly cut vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and cauliflower, or your favorite whole grain crackers.

The pineapple is native to South America. It was given its name because it resembles a pine cone.

The pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that digests food by breaking down protein. Bromelain also has anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting and anti-cancer properties. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A. In addition, it is rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals including copper, manganese and potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, and helps control heart rate and blood pressure.

PINEAPPLE PARTY CHEESE BALL

* 2 (8-ounce) packages light cream cheese, softened
* 1/2 cup each finely chopped red and green bell peppers
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* dash salt
* 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained well
* 1/2 cup chopped pecans
* 1/2 cup chopped pine nuts (toasted)

Note: To toast nuts, spread on baking sheet and place in preheated 350 degree oven and stir until lightly toasted.

In mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, red and green pepper, cayenne and salt until blended. Add crushed pineapple and mix until evenly distributed.

Divide the mixture in half and form two balls. Mix together pine nuts and pecans and roll each ball in the nut mixture. Chill for about an hour.

Makes about 12 servings.

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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