Tag Archives: Vegetable

Asparagus Poem

2014 April 002I was thinking of honoring asparagus in verse when I discovered that Judith Natelli McLaughlin already had! This lovely poem is hers and she has more garden-bounty-honoring poetry on her blog. Click on her name for the link.

This is asparagus season in the northeast USA! I’m spoiling myself by eating asparagus raw straight out of my garden. It’s almost sweet, believe it or not.

Asparagus

Asparagus spears

Make asparagus pie,

Or asparagus quiche,

Or asparagus soup, or

Asparagus_officinalis_006Risotto. I don’t know

A thing you can’t do

With asparagus spears

Even put them in stew

Pan roasted asparagus perfect to please

Frittata?  De nada ­­– just add eggs and cheese.

Asparagus spears

Make asparagus salad,

Asparagus flan,

Or asparagus fry.

Packaged like pencils

In red, green or white

Put asparagus spears

On your menu tonight.

 

 

Images from my garden and commons.wikimedia.org (bunches)

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Recipe: Spiced Coconut Kale with Avocado

kale-avocado-salad4When I saw this recipe yesterday, I was hungry and craving greens. “Looks good,” I thought. “Probably has a few ingredients I’ve never heard of.” But, as I read the list of ingredients, the clouds parted, a beam of sunlight shone down upon my computer, and an angel chorus sang a melody from my pantry. I had everything I needed.

It was easy to make, delicious, and, 24 hours later, it’s almost gone. Also, I thought it was cool that the lemon juice “cooks” the kale.

Here’s the recipe with my notes in italics. If you’d like to see Julie Montagu’s original post, including the health benefits of this salad, click on her blog here: The Flexi Foodie. (The photo is from her blog.)

For the salad:

 A bunch of kale, torn into pieces and chunky stems removed (I used about a half pound of bagged kale)
40g of coconut flakes (1/4 cup)
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
A large handful of almonds, toasted (Threw my nuts in the toaster oven; 4 minutes should do it – mine burned a bit at 6)
For the dressing:
1 shallot, finely chopped (I only had red onion: I chopped about 3 Tb, then rinsed it in cold water)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. of dried chilli flakes (I only had red pepper flakes; they’re the same, right?)
1 tsp. of maple syrup
This is a really quick and easy one to make! First you have to do whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Once it is combined, put the kale in a large serving bowl and pour half the dressing over the top.  You can then use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale for a few minutes in order to soften it. (I massaged my leaves for one minute and they softened, but remained fluffy. If you want your kale to match Julie’s picture, massage longer. And no, I never thought I’d type the words “massaged my leaves”.) Next, add the coconut flakes, avocado and toasted almonds and mix together well. Finally, pour in the rest of the dressing and serve.  YUM!

Eating For Cancer Prevention (Part 3 of 5): Cruciferous Vegetables

broccoli gunHow do cruciferous vegetables fight cancer? That’s just it: they fight. They’re warriors. Cruciferous vegetables are the military of Food-dom. They kill cancer cells and defend against terrorist-toxins.

The key is getting the ammo into the guns. The ammo is sulfur containing chemicals called glucosinolates. Think about the taste of broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts; there’s something in the taste of cruciferous vegetables that packs a punch. Some websites called it sulfur, others called it mustard oil; it’s the same thing that makes horseradish potent, skunks stink, and rotten eggs smell. Mmm, the thought makes one hungry, does it not?

So in one part of the plant cell is the ammo: glucosinolates. In another part of the plant cell is an enzyme called myrosinase. Sounds like a sandwich spread made of rosin and it’s mine, but we’re going to call it Gun. When you chew, juice, or chop the plant cells, the ammo and Gun are free to join. Loaded guns, as we know, are more effective weapons than empty ones. These glucosinolate and myrosinase loaded guns are cancer fighting sulfur compounds.

120403153531-largeDo sulfur compounds sound familiar? That’s the secret to garlic’s cancer effectiveness too. If you want to know more about how sulfur compounds fight cancer and kill tumor cells, read my post on Garlic for cancer prevention. I don’t want to repeat myself, but all of that applies here.

I know what you’re thinking: Tumors are like enemy countries; the body knows where they are and can focus an attack. But what about toxin terrorists that roam the body; the ones that can start a new battlefront anywhere, any time? I’m glad you asked.

The Cruciferous Military doesn’t just ride in with guns blazing; it also organizes the Let’s Incapacitate Venom Enzyme Rangers (or L.I.V.E.R.), an Anti-Toxin-Terrorism Task Force that removes carcinogens from the body. Detoxification has two phases: Phase One is a transport visa and Phase Two is handcuffs.

In Phase One, the toxin is burned with oxygen and enzymes to make it water (rather than fat) soluble. This makes it easier for the body to remove the toxin (pee is water, not fat); it’s essentially giving the toxin a travel visa.

unclesam-worldwarii-poster-6201139-oPhase Two’s handcuffs are made of enzymes and sulfur. Once a toxin is handcuffed, it can’t do any damage and can safely be shipped to the small intestine (which leads to the colon and eventually to the light of day). However, L.I.V.E.R. doesn’t have detention cells. If there aren’t enough handcuffs, the toxins remain free to circulate the body on their travel visa and are now called “free-radicals”. Free-radicals can do more damage that the original toxins. Cruciferous vegetables provide the sulfur that L.I.V.E.R. needs to make enough handcuffs to safely transport toxins out of the body.

Cruciferous vegetables also help promote healthy estrogen metabolism in the body, so there’s a link to hormonal cancers. I didn’t get that far in my research, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Keep your Military strong by recruiting cruciferous soldiers several times per week. Brussels sprout bullets for everyone!

 

“Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.” Exodus 1:10

 

Images courtesy of me (broccoli), www.everystockphoto.com (Uncle Sam), drliesa.com (veggies).

New Recipe: Monterey Beans and Cheese

We’ll talk about why beans are a cancer-fighter next week. This week I wanted you all to have a chance to taste how delicious beans can be. If you want a healthier version, you can omit the bacon and cheese; I keep them in because a little of each adds a lot of flavor. And I love cheese. This is easy and fast. If you want to play with the types of veggies you throw in, go for it! I’ve added zucchini, spinach..it’s all good.

This recipe came from the More-With-Less Cookbook by Doris Longacre.

2014 Nov 037Ingredients:

2 slices of bacon

1 medium onion, chopped

1 pepper, any color, chopped

2 cups cooked beans – kidney, black, etc., rinsed and drained (Canned beans are cooked and work great.)

2 ripe tomatoes, diced OR 1 can chopped tomatoes OR 3/4 cup tomato sauce

1/4 cup beef bouillon (I don’t often have this on hand; I usually just sprinkle a packet of chicken bouillon. The tomatoes add enough water for my taste.)

1 tsp chili powder (I usually use 1/2 tsp)

1/2 tsp salt

dash pepper

1/2  cup shredded cheddar cheese

 

1. Fry the bacon, remove from pan, break into pieces.

2. Saute onion and pepper in the bacon fat until tender.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients, lower the heat a bit, then simmer and stir occasionally until it looks blended (about 5 minutes). Serve over rice.

 

Happy Junesgiving!

Turkey KitchenHappy Junesgiving, everyone!

The sun is shining, the kids are sweating…must be time to bake a turkey! Last week I baked the turkey I bought on sale last fall and experimented with Zucchini Mushroom Stuffing.  The result? Delicious! Celery and onion sauteed in butter makes ANYTHING you add to it taste good.

2014 June 051I used a classic Betty Crocker cookbook recipe for stuffing; I simply replaced the cubed white bread with quartered mushrooms and zucchini. I also used fresh thyme and sage instead of dried. You get a good amount of liquid from this stuffing, but the turkey seemed more moist than usual, so maybe there’s a connection there.

I encourage you to keep experimenting with your vegetables! Eggplant slices instead of noodles in lasagna, wraps wrapped in big green chard or lettuce leaves instead of a tortilla. Even little changes can make a big difference in the long run.

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden” Genesis 2:16b

 

Can I Eat That? Random Leaf Stirfy

2014 April 004This week we ate the first fruits of our garden!  The turnip plants were about four inches tall and I thinned them and tossed the rejected plants into some stirfry with delicious results.  For you non-gardeners out there, “thinning” plants means pulling (or cutting) the extra baby plants from a row to give the plants that remain room to grow.  The “baby” plants are what you see sold in stores in plastic bags and labeled…wait for it…baby kale, baby spinach, baby arrugula, etc.  Baby plants are popular because they’re tender and sweeter than the grown up plants.  Ever eat overly mature greens (spinach, kale, turnip, etc)?  If it weren’t for the wilting, you could make shoes out of them.

2014 April 002I used to pitch the pulled plants along with the weeds, but then I discovered that you can eat them!  You can eat the leaves of turnips, radishes, beets, and broccoli, as well as the obvious “leaf” plants such as lettuce, spinach, chard, and kale.  When I found out that we can eat the whole plant, I was thrilled.  My kids were not.  I’m under no delusions: my present goal is not to make my kids like vegetables; that will come in time.  My goal is to convince them that they can eat a green leaf from the garden and not die.  I suppose I’m trying to convince a few of you readers as well.

Let’s do a quick science class review.  The parts of a plant?  Root, stem, leaf, flower, fruit, seed.  Depending on the plant, you can eat some or all of these parts.  Quick quiz!  Ready?

Which part can you eat from a carrot plant?
Root.  Nice work, too easy.

2014 April 003Green bean plant?
Fruit and seeds.  Excellent.  The bean is actually the seed pod (fruit) and as the pod matures, it gets thin and tough and the seeds inside become hard; these seeds are what we see in the stores as dried beans in bags or canned beans (think Baked Beans, black beans, kidney beans, etc).  Cool, huh?  This summer I’m going to plant some dried black beans from the store and see what happens.

Turnip, beet, or radish?
When it’s young, you can eat the whole plant!  Root, leaves, stem.  Once it flowers, the plant is so tough; you’d be hard pressed to choke down any part of it.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you run outside and begin eating anything green in sight.  No, that would be crazy.  When you find a plant you think is edible, you should first Google it and base your consumption on unverified comments from an unqualified person on a random website.  (I’m kidding! Although that’s exactly what I did….) What I am suggesting is that you try a new vegetable this week!

“See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
Isaiah 43:19a