Life after Navy brings a sense of community, a bit of flavor

Publish Date:

Thursday, October 17, 2013


News Organization:

Belvoir Eagle

Source URL:

Fort Belvoir just got a little more flavorful. On Sept. 10, The Fairfax, a senior living community managed by Sunrise Senior Living in Belvoir Woods, hosted the inaugural SeniorEats™ Nutritional Challenge. The competition encouraged chefs from Sunrise communities across North America to create the most creative, tasty and healthy recipes. The finalists — hailing from Arizona, Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio and Ontario, Canada — showcased their skills for the judges and nearly 100 attendees.

Tasked with the challenge of creating dishes that incorporate Sunrise’s high standards of proper nutrition for seniors while maintaining great taste, Chef Bob Brown of Sunrise of Norwood, Mass., wowed us all with his dish: Cod in Tarragon Tomato Sauce. It was delicious. Chef Brown developed this recipe to feature local flavors from Boston and deliver a low-calorie source of protein that is high in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant.

As a member of the Dining Committee of the Resident Council at The Fairfax, I had the opportunity to be one of the judges of the challenge. Throughout my life, I have had a keen interest in food, entertaining, cooking and presentation. As a Navy wife, I was privileged to live in many foreign countries with my husband, Navy Capt. Lucian Martinez, who was a career Navy intelligence officer with more than 31 years of active duty. During his active duty years, he served on ships as well as staffs in Vietnam, Europe, Japan and Washington, D.C. He is a distinguished graduate of the Naval War College and during his time in Peru, was the Defense and Naval Attaché. I planned and hosted cocktail parties, dinners, and wedding receptions in a variety of diverse settings. Traveling with the Navy exposed me to an array of cultures, traditions and cuisine across the world in places such as France, Germany, Japan, Peru and South Vietnam.

After many years raising three wonderful children, volunteering for various causes, and a solid career with the Navy, my husband and I decided to settle down and live permanently at The Fairfax. Our lives, however, are far from inactive. One of the things that we love about The Fairfax is the genuine sense of community among the retired military, which make up nearly all the residents. We regularly meet and talk about our experiences and often plan times to eat together in the dining room. Memorial Day and Veterans Day are honored annually with flag ceremonies and the bell tower even plays the hymns for each branch of the military on those days.

Looking back, I wouldn’t trade in my nomadic Navy lifestyle — it has made me into who I am today. But I am grateful to now put down roots in a community that allows me to create bonds with those who have similar backgrounds. I am also happy to be able to participate in my favorite hobbies and celebrate my passion for culinary creativity.

I hope to share my love of great food with you through Chef Bob Brown’s winning recipe.

Cod in Tarragon Tomato Broth

Serves 6


12 roma tomatoes

½ cup olive oil 

3 tbsp minced shallots 

3 garlic cloves, peeled / minced 

3 tbsp fresh chopped tarragon 

¾ cup white wine 

1 ½ cup low sodium chicken stock 

6 (2 ¼ lb total) cod filets 

Score the tomatoes and plunge into boiling water for 2 minutes.  Remove and shock immediately in ice water.  Remove the skins and seeds, then chop the tomatoes. 

Heat 2/3 of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallots and garlic.  Sauté until the shallot has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tarragon and continue to cook until the tomatoes begin to give off some of their juice, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add the stock and reduce the heat to low. 

Heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat in a separate non-stick pan.  Place the fish, skin side up, in the pan.  Cook until golden brown. 

Turn the fish over, then pour the tomato broth over the fish.  Bring to a simmer until the fish is cooked through.  Serve immediately.

For more information on Sunrise’s Signature Dining Program and for other resources, visit: For more information on The Fairfax in Fort Belvoir, visit

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