Tag: asparagus

Market Watch: Asparagus

by in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, April 11, 2017

The arrival of asparagus at farmer’s markets makes it official: spring has finally sprung. Thick or thin, green, white, or even purple, asparagus reins supreme for a few short months — beginning in March or April, and ending sometime in early June. It’s said that this member of the lily family was the favorite vegetable of Thomas Jefferson. King Louis XIV of France was another fan, referring to it as the “king of vegetables.” Today, it retains its hoity-toity reputation, with chefs devising entire tasting menus to showcase its bright, springy flavor. For home chefs, asparagus can lend a sophisticated feel to an ordinary weeknight dinner, not to mention an Easter feast.

 

Asparagus facts

Closely related to garlic, onions, and leeks, asparagus is high in fiber, and a good source of iron, vitamin C and folate.

While thickness is a matter of taste, there’s no arguing about freshness. Choose stalks that are bright in color and firm, with tightly closed tips. Avoid any spears that are bent, or have open flowers. Wrap the ends of a bunch of asparagus in a wet paper towel, place in the crisper drawer and store up to three days. For best results, though, cook asparagus the same day you purchase it. In addition to tasting better, fresher asparagus will also retain more Vitamin C. Read more

5 Spring Vegetables You May Not Know

by in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, March 31, 2017

Seeing the first glimpse of spring vegetables make their appearance at the farmer’s market this month is a welcome change from winter’s hearty abundance. While the usual suspects — bright pink radishes, tender asparagus spears, and bright green snap peas — are there, you’ll also find more unexpected options like fiddleheads, ramps, morels and more. While these vegetables aren’t as common, don’t be intimidated! Familiarize yourself with each of these unique spring market finds and ways you can use each in a fresh and flavorful spring recipe.

 

Fiddlehead ferns

Fiddlehead ferns are the coiled tips of a young fern; deriving their name from the resemblance to the decorative end of a fiddle. This unique vegetable has a grassy, slight nutty flavor that’s similar to asparagus. Try them lightly steamed or boiled, then finished with olive oil and lemon for a quick side dish. They can also be swapped into almost any cooked recipe that features asparagus or haricot verts.

Let fiddleheads take center stage by replacing them for the asparagus in this Healthy Roast Asparagus with Creamy Almond Vinaigrette. Read more

Get to Know Potassium

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, June 18, 2016

Sure, you’ve heard of potassium, but how well do you really know this mineral? Potassium plays a very important role in maintaining good health, but it turns out that it’s a nutrient that many Americans regularly fall short on. In fact, according to a study published in 2012, less than 2 percent of adults get the amount of potassium recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board. Those recommendations call for adults to consume 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily.

“The best food sources of potassium are fruits and vegetables, and most Americans simply do not eat enough of them to get the potassium they need,” says Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Potassium is an important electrolyte, and it works in partnership with sodium (also an electrolyte) to help regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals. “Most people get too much sodium and not enough potassium, which can throw off this balance,” says Rumsey. Read more

5 Fresher Ways to Prepare Asparagus — Sensational Sides

by in Healthy Recipes, April 14, 2016

We associate asparagus with hollandaise sauce the way we associate peanut butter with jelly. But it’s high time we divorced these tender green spears, rich in antioxidants, fiber, thiamin and iron, from an exceedingly caloric topping that only serves to mask their fresh, vegetal taste. Fresh herbs, lemon juice, and salt and pepper alone can do wonders to cut through the intense earthiness of asparagus without drowning it out completely. For your next spring soiree, consider one of these light and wholesome methods for preparing this quintessential spring vegetable:

Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Bundles
Rosemary-laced asparagus finds its ideal flavor and textural counterpoint in the form of tender smoked salmon. Bundle each individual spear in a slice of the smoked fish — or bundle several spears together.

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Salad of the Month: Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan

by in Uncategorized, June 10, 2014

asparagus salad
In this salad, raw asparagus spears are shaved into long ribbons and then tossed in a rich, flavorful dressing made from pine nuts, lemon, olive oil and Parmesan. It’s the kind of dressing that could double as a simple pasta sauce — and in fact, when it’s tossed with the long, wide asparagus ribbons, the dish is reminiscent of fettuccine.

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Breakfast of the Month: Poached Eggs with Asparagus and Leeks

by in Uncategorized, May 27, 2014

poached egg
Handsome fresh spears of asparagus are now in markets everywhere, promising effortless meals that sum up spring perfectly. This simple braise of leeks and asparagus is exactly that: an easy-to-assemble bowl of spring flavors. The addition of a poached egg completes the meal, enveloping the vegetables in a creamy yolk.

You’ll want to get out your best grassy olive oil here, as it doesn’t get cooked but instead cloaks the vegetables and brings all of the flavors together. If ramps grow in your area, you might try swapping them in place of the leeks. (You will want to cut their stems thin, as ramps need longer to cook than leeks.) This braise is also the perfect vehicle for other spring vegetables, like peas, pea shoots, watercress and spinach.

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The Top 5 Healthy Flavors of Spring

by in In Season, April 20, 2014

snow pea radish slaw

These seasonal beauties want you to know there’s more to them than total deliciousness.

Radishes
In addition to offering their trademark crunch and peppery snap, radishes list potassium, calcium, folate and fiber on their resumes.

Recipe: Snow Pea Radish Slaw (above, from Food Network Magazine)

Read more

Why We Love Asparagus

by in Healthy Recipes, In Season, April 5, 2012
lemon-parsley asparagus
Food Network Magazine's Lemon-Parsley Asparagus

It’s officially asparagus season; get yourself a bunch or two and we’ll tell you how to enjoy them!

Asparagus Facts
Part of the Lily family, asparagus is available from late March through June. There are about 300 varieties of asparagus, 20 of which are edible.

The asparagus plant lives between 8 to 10 years. You can tell the age of the plant by the thickness—the older the plant, the thicker the spear. Asparagus plants grow in sandy areas so it’s important to wash them thoroughly before eating them.

The most common varieties of asparagus are green, white or purple in color. The earliest stalks have a gorgeous apple-green color with slightly purple tips. White asparagus is grown underground and isn’t exposed to sunlight. They have thicker and smoother spears.

Read more

Labor Day Sides

by in Healthy Recipes, September 3, 2011
grilled summer squash
Grilled summer squash, from Food Network Magazine.

Celebrate the end of summer with these healthy sides — each has fewer than 250 calories per serving. Side dishes should add color, flavor, and a variety of nutrients to your meal. Take your pick from these scrumptious options.

Recipes To Try:

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Eating By Color: Green

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, March 15, 2011
Brussels Sprouts
Ina Garten's Brussels Sprouts

When you eat the rainbow, you get a rainbow of nutrients, so each month, we’re offering up 10 ways to eat foods of a different color. With both St. Patty’s Day and spring just around the corner, what better color to focus on than green? March is also National Nutrition Month and this year the focus is eating a variety of colors, so be sure to check out some yummy orange and red-colored foods, too.

10 ways to eat more green »