Sunday, July 15, 2012

Veggie of the Week: Radishes

The origin of radishes is difficult to pinpoint as no written history of the root vegetable was recorded. West Asia and Europe are two possible places of origin because wild forms of radishes now grow there. Radishes grow very quickly even sprouting from seed to small plant in as little as three days.
Radishes have no fat or cholesterol and rich in dietary fiber. For such a small vegetable, they provide one with plenty of carbohydrates and therefore energy. Due to the high water content in addition to the carbohydrates, radishes fill you up and greatly help in losing weight. Radishes are an anti-congestive relieving congestion in the respiratory system during those winter colds and spring allergies. Other health benefits include protection against heart disease, strokes, and alzheimer's, DNA repair and protection, slow aging, and alleviation of high blood pressure. Fever and insect bites are known to be alleviated by radishes. There are many benefits from adding a serving of radishes into your diet once a week!

Radish and Cucumber Slaw

Courtesy of Sandra Lee from
Prep time: 15 min.   Serves: 8


1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper
1/2 c. fresh chopped cilantro
4 scallions, sliced
1 small head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)


In a large bowl, whisk together the cider vinegar, canola oil and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cilantro, scallions, three-quarters of the cabbage (reserve the remaining cabbage for another use), cucumbers and radishes. Toss to combine. Cover and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 

Grilled Radishes

Recipe from
Prep time: 15 min.   Cook time: 20 min.   Serves: 6


  • 20 ounces radishes, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cube ice
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Directions:

  • Preheat grill for high heat. Place the radishes, garlic, butter, and ice cube on a double layer of aluminum foil large enough to wrap contents. Season with salt and pepper. Tightly seal foil around contents. Place foil packet on grill and cook for 20 minutes, or until radishes are tender.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Veggie of the Week: Mizuna

Mizuna is a native to China but is now primarily cultivated in Japan. It is considered a specialty green in the United States and has limited exposure outside of Asian and farmers markets. It has been described as having a pleasantly sharp taste and slightly spicy, similar to arugula.
The dark leaves of mizuna provide most of the nutrition including beta carotene, vitamins, and minerals. These include calcium, dietary fiber, iron, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin A, C, E, and B6, manganese and magnesium.

Mizuna Sauteed with Chicken

Recipe from


1 egg white, slightly beaten
1-1/2 tsp. soy sauce, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, finely chopped
2 tsp canola oil, divided
1/3 c. carrots, finely chopped
1/3 c. yellow onion, finely chopped
1/3 c. water chestnuts, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. chile paste
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 lb. mizuna, trimmed
1/4 c. green onions, finely chopped


In a bowl, mix the egg white with 1/2 tsp. of soy sauce, minced garlic and chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat 1 tsp. of the canola oil in a wok or heavy skillet over high heat. Add the chilled chicken mixture and cook, stirring frequently for 4-6 minutes. Transfer cooked chicken to a serving plate and set aside.
Heat the other teaspoon of canola oil in the wok on high and add the carrots, onions and water chestnuts; cook for 1 minute.
Add the remaining soy sauce, chile paste, lime juice and mizuna and cook, stirring often until mizuna is wilted. Return chicken to the wok and heat through. Garnish with green onions and serve. 

Asian Greens with Ginger Miso Dressing

Recipe from


1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. white miso
3 tbsp. tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 c. water
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

5 oz. baby Asian salad mixed greens with mizuna
1 small radish, sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 carrot, cut into 2-inch-long slender sticks
2 green onions (white part only), chopped


For the dressing, place ginger, miso, tahini, water and lemon juice in a blender and blend until completely smooth. The consistency should be similar to cream. Strain the dressing through a fine sieve to remove ginger fiber.
For the salad, divide greens among serving plates. Arrange radish and carrot on top, then sprinkle with scallions.
Drizzle one to two tablespoons of dressing over each salad and serve. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Veggie of the Week: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of the oldest vegetables known to man and originated in Central America. Sweet potato relics from 10,000 years ago have been found in Peruvian caves proving their consumption since prehistoric times. Christopher Columbus brought them to Europe and they eventually made it to many places around the world by the 16th century. Around that time, the southern United States began growing sweet potatoes where it still remains a staple today.

Sweet potatoes are a significant source of vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as manganese and potassium. They are rich in antioxidants which help to lower the potential health risks posed by heavy metals and free oxygen radicals. Anti-inflammartory nutrients like those found in its color related pigments reduce inflammation in brain tissue and nerve tissue. Surprisingly, sweet potatoes actually improve blood sugar regulation because they do not convert to simple sugars in our digestives tracts like most starchy root vegetables do. It is no wonder why man has been enjoying this nutritional vegetable for so long!


Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie

Recipe: Paula Deen from

Prep time: 20 min.   Cook time: 1 hr. 55 min. 
Serves: 6-8


  • 2 c. peeled, cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 c. milk
  • 9-inch unbaked pie crust
  • 3 egg whites


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the filling, using an electric hand mixer, combine the potatoes, 1 cup of the sugar,
the butter, eggs, vanilla, salt, and spices. Mix thoroughly. Add the milk and continue to mix. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the pie on a rack and cool to room temperature before covering with meringue.

For the meringue, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form; beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is glossy and stiff, but not dry. With a rubber spatula, spoon the meringue onto the pie, forming peaks. Make sure the meringue touches the crust all around. Sprinkle with a pinch of granulated sugar. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until delicately browned. Cool and serve.
Prep time: 55 min.   Cook time: 15 min.   Serves: 4-6

Sweet Potato Pancakes



  • Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix together and whisk until smooth. Cook batches in buttered skillet on medium high temperature until bubbles form on the surface, then turn over and cook until dark golden brown. Serve with pecan butter and maple syrup.

  • Pecan Butter:

    • 1/4 c. finely chopped pecans toasted and cooled
    • 1/2 pound butter, softened
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 tsp. brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp. honey
    Mix all ingredients together (use rubber gloves). Roll in parchment paper and freeze. Cut into slices and top sweet potato pancakes.
    Yield: 10 servings



Friday, June 22, 2012

Veggie of the Week: Strawberries

Strawberries have grown for millennia around the world but were not largely cultivated until the early 18th century. A French engineer was in Chile and Peru and discovered their native strawberry, being much bigger then the ones seen in Europe. He brought them back to France and were eventually naturally crossbred with a North American variety growing in a nearby field. This produced large, sweet, and juicy berries. Strawberries became more popular in the mid 19th century when railways were built providing for faster transportation of the perishable fruit.

Strawberries have a unique mix of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits providing health advantages in cardiovascular support, improved regulation of blood sugar, and cancer prevention. The vitamin C and manganese content (strawberries being one of the fruits with the best sources of both) protect our heart and blood vessels. Regular intake of strawberries, 2 to 3 servings per week, helps decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes working to reduce blood sugar spikes from table sugar. Lack of antioxidant nutrients is often a cause of cancer, so it is no wonder that strawberries can help lower cancer risk. Other areas of research for strawberry benefits includes anti-aging, decreased inflammation in the digestive tract, and help with inflammation-related arthritis and inflammation-related diseases of the eye.

Strawberry Bread


Prep time: 25 min.   Cook time: 45 min.   Serves: 24


    • 2 cups fresh strawberries
    • 3 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups white sugar
    • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
    • 4 eggs, beaten
    • 1 1/4 cups chopped pecans

    • Directions:

      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter and flour two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
      2. Slice strawberries, and place in medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle lightly with sugar, and set aside while preparing bread mixture.
      3. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in large bowl: mix well. Blend oil and eggs into strawberries. Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, blending until dry ingredients are just moistened. Stir in pecans. Divide batter into pans.
      4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until tester inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn loaves out, and cool completely.

      Strawberry Bruschetta


      Prep time: 10 min.   Cook time: 5 min.   Serves: 12


      • 24 slices French baguette
      • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
      • 2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
      • 1/4 cup white sugar, or as needed


      1. Preheat your oven's broiler. Spread a thin layer of butter on each slice of bread. Arrange bread slices in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
      2. Place bread under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes, just until lightly toasted. Spoon some chopped strawberries onto each piece of toast, then sprinkle sugar over the strawberries.
      3. Place under the broiler again until sugar is caramelized, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Veggie of the Week: Green Bell Peppers

Bell peppers have been grown for more than 9,000 years starting in South and Central America. The original name for this vegetable in Spanish was pimiento. European colonizers gave it the name pepper when they came across it in the 1500's and 1600's and took it back to Europe. Bell peppers can be grown in a variety of climates and are therefore found in many cuisines.

Bell peppers have a remarkable amount of vitamin C (almost double the necessary daily value), vitamin A, and folate. There has been a lot of research on the amazing phytonutrient antioxidants in bell peppers like flavonoids, carotenoids, and hydroxycinnamic acids, but not a lot on risk reduction for diseases. It is expected to see bell peppers aiding in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, eye health, and even cancer. Be sure to keep bell peppers in your diet and keep an eye out for potential health benefits!

Homestyle Stuffed Peppers

Prep time: 30 min.   Cook time: 1hr. 25 min.   Serves: 4


  • 4 green bell peppers, tops and seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 c. cooked white rice
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 c. Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c. white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

  • Directions:

  • 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • 2. Cook the peppers in boiling water until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • 3. Remove peppers from boiling water and rinse with cold water; set peppers aside to drain.
  • 4. Mix together ground beef, cooked white rice, lightly beaten egg, finely chopped onion, Italian-style bread crumbs, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese in a large bowl until evenly mixed.
  • 5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • 6. Divide beef and rice mixture among peppers; stuff each pepper with beef and rice mixture.
  • 7. Place peppers open side up in a 9x13-inch baking dish or shallow roasting pan.
  • 8. Combine tomato sauce and white vinegar in a bowl.
  • 9. Pour tomato mixture over stuffed peppers.
  • 10. Top with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.
  • 11. Bake in the preheated oven until heated through, basting the peppers two or three times while baking, about 80 minutes.

  • Marinated Peppers 

  • Recipe:
  • Prep time: 30 min.   Cook time: 45 min.   Serves: 3

  • Ingredients:

    • 1 red bell pepper
    • 1 green bell pepper
    • 1 yellow bell pepper
    • 1 1/2 cloves garlic, sliced
    • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
    • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
    • salt and pepper to taste


    1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place the whole red, green and yellow peppers in the oven directly on the rack. Roast for about 15 minutes, turning if needed, until the skin is well scorched. Immediately place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or in a paper bag, and allow to cool.
    2. Remove the skins from the peppers by rubbing with your hands, and rinse under cold water. Cut in half, remove stem and seeds, then cut into strips.
    3. Place peppers into a medium serving bowl, and stir in the garlic, vinegar, oil, basil, parsley, salt and pepper.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Veggie of the Week: Onions

Onions are native to Asia and the Middle East and have been grown for thousands of years. They were popular in Egypt, being used as currency and as gifts placed in tombs, including King Tutankhamen's. Poor people throughout the world often used the inexpensive vegetable to add flavor to a meal, thanks to its pungency. Christopher Columbus is credited for bringing onions to the West Indies and their cultivation spread throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Onions are high in vitamin C and fiber and are low in calories. Onions can do a lot to help your body including bone support, especially for post-menopausal women, connective tissue and anti-inflammatory benefits, and protection against cancer. Moderate onion intake (3 to 5 servings per week) has proven to reduce the risk of colorectal, ovarian, and laryngeal cancer. Onion is not as well researched in humans as it is in animals, but animal studies have also shown that onions decrease blood sugar levels and prevents blood platelet clotting and bacterial infections. Moderate to daily intake of onions is necessary for all healthy results along with a balanced diet.

Three Onion Potato Casserole

Recipe courtesy Rosalie Rubaum from
Prep time: 15 min.   Cook time: 1 hr.   


2 large packages Hashbrown Potato patties (8) defrosted and broken apart in large mixing bowl
1 can cream of chicken soup or cream of celery (for kosher)
1 large bunch green onions, chopped
1/4 c. chopped onions
1/2 c. Dijon mustard
2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. milk (nonfat)
1 to 2 c. cheddar or Jack cheese (for spicy, use jalapeno jack)
1 small can French Fried Onions, for topping


Mix all ingredients together, except the fried onions. Put into deep casserole. Top with onions. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour until golden on top. Can be made ahead a couple of days. Do not bake until ready to use. Can also be frozen.

  • ADDENDUM TO THREE ONION POTATO CASSEROLE: To make hash-brown potatoes from scratch:
    Rinse potatoes. Peel potatoes and shred. Soak in water for at least a 1/2 hour to remove starch. Saute drained potatoes in butter or oil until cooked to the 3/4 point Set aside.
    Resume with regular recipe preparation.

    Baked Sweet Onions

    Prep time: 5 min.   Cook time: 2 hr.   Serves: 4


    4 large sweet onions peeled
    Coarse salt and coarsely-ground pepper to taste
    4 tsp. butter
    Traditional Aceto Balsamico (aged Balsamic Vinegear), optional


    Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place onions into a baking dish with approximately 1 inch of water. Bake, uncovered, 2 hours or until onions are soft when you squeeze them.
    Remove from oven and place onto a cutting board; pull back brown skins and cut them off at the roots. Transfer onto a serving platter and season each with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon butter.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Veggie of the Week: Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is the most popular melon variety in the U.S. today and has been enjoyed by many civilizations throughout history. The exact origin of the fruit is unknown, though thought to be from either India, Africa, or ancient Persia. They were brought to America during colonial times but did not become widely grown and sold until the late 19th century. 

Cantaloupes have loads of vitamin A because of the concentrated amount of beta-carotene. Additional nutritional benefits include vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Research promotes cantaloupe as preventing loss of vision in adults and helps counteract the vitamin A deficiency associated with smoking.
To get the most antioxidants out of a cantaloupe, be sure to choose a fully ripened one. Because melons are picked before they are fully ripened, you can leave the melon out at room temperature for a few days allowing it to soften and become juicier. Be sure to store the ripe melon in the refrigerator and especially after it has been cut because salmonella contamination becomes more prevalent.

Skewered Cantaloupe

Prep time: 15 min.   Cook time: 6 min.   Serves: 4


1 cantaloupe-peeled, seeded, cubed
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. honey
1/3 c. chopped fresh mint leaves


1. Preheat grill for medium heat.
2. Thread cantaloupe chunks onto 4 skewers.
3. In small saucepan, heat butter and honey until melted. Stir in mint. Brush onto cantaloupe skewers.
4. Lightly oil grate. Grill skewers for 4 to 6 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Serve with remaining sauce.  

Prosciutto - Cantaloupe Bites


Yield: 8 skewers


16 cantaloupe cubes
a package slice prosciutto
1 lime, juice
2 teaspoons extra virgin love oil
pinch of crushed chili flake
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
Bamboo skewers


  • Combine lime juice, olive oil, and chili flake, whisk well. Set aside
  • Cut prosciutto in half lengthwise. You will get 2 slices out of 1 slice.
  • Wrap one cube with presliced prosciutto and secure it on a skewer one at a time. 2 wrapped cantaloupes per skewer.
  • Arrange them on a serving plate and drizzle with oil mixture. 
  • Sprinkle finely chopped mint when serving