Growing up in Denver we often went to a local restaurant, The Saucy Noodle, for dinner. Walking in, one of the first things you were meant to notice was printed on the back wall, - If you don’t like garlic, go home!
It was one of my favorite places to go. Mostly because of the garlic.
At home, however, we never ate much garlic and it didn’t help that I went on to marry a man that hated garlic. Luckily, while I was pregnant with my son I took my first cooking class. A wonderful experience that sent me on the way to cooking for my family and incorporating garlic into our daily diet.
It turns out adding just this little, but highly nuturious, vegetable to our diet can have many health benefits. Documentation of the use of garlic goes back centuries.
Egyptians, four thousand years ago, used garlic in addition to onions and radishes to feed thousands of pyramid builders to keep their up their strength. In Ayuveda medicine, which dates back 2,000 years, garlic is believed to help maintain a healthy heart.
Many cultures over the years have claimed various health benefits when it comes to garlic. However, the first documented experiment was not done until 1858 when French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur found that garlic inhibits the growth of bacteria.
Almost a century later in 1944 Chester Cavallito, an American Chemist and also known as the Father of Garlic Chemistry, isolated and started to study allicin in garlic.
Allicin really is the magically component to garlic. It is a sulfur compound that is not present until the clove of a garlic is crushed. This sulfur compound is the plants natural defense mechanism against insects and fungi. Which makes sense since it is the reason for garlic’s pungent taste.
Allicin is highly unstable and breaks down into more than a 100 biologically active sulfur containing compounds. One of these compounds is Ajoene. It is believed that ajoene is responsible for garlic’s anticoagulant proprieties and maybe why studies have shown garlic helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Several studies have been done on garlic intake and hypertension. Individuals with high blood pressure had reduced blood pressure while taking a garlic supplement. The intake to achieve this reduction is high. Close to 4 cloves of garlic a day! (1, 2)
Cholesterol can also be reduced. One study showed up to a 10-15% reduction in LDL. (3, 4)
With all these health benefits there are so many reasons to start adding garlic into your daily diet. One of my favorite ways is roasted. It is super simple and adds so many flavors to an otherwise blah dish. I love to add the raw cloves to a pan of roasted vegetables or to just roast an entire clove. Then I can add to salads or smear onto a nice piece of gluten free bread!
The roasted garlic is much milder than raw and for individuals that have a hard time digesting garlic this maybe the way to go.
Roasting Garlic 101
First remove as much of the outer papery skin as possible without having the cloves come apart.
Next, cut the top 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic.
Then place the garlic in a small sheet of aluminum wrap. Drizzle with olive oil.
Wrap up the garlic. Place on a baking sheet.
Roast at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes.
The cloves should be soft and the juices brown.
Use a small fork to remove the cloves.
Enjoy in salads, on a piece of toast or with any meal really!
On our next garlic post: Garlic Soup & Cold Cure
This is the time of year that we are overloaded with zucchini. Whether you planted it yourself or a neighbor wants to pawn off some their home grown fruit.
That’s right I called it a fruit. I was shocked to find out that technically zucchini is a fruit. So really I should be calling this month fruit of the month. However, we culinary enthusiasts use it as vegetable.
Zucchini are part of the curbita pepo family which originated in Meso America. However, zucchini is hugely popular in French and Italian cooking. In fact if there are no blossoms attached to the summer squash most French and Italian cooks believe it is no good. (Joy of Cooking)
Squashes are low in calories, due to the water content. However, high in fiber, vitamin B6, C and K, riboflavin, folate, and minerals potassium and manganese.
In addition to your basic zucchini there are several different types of summer squash. Below are just a couple I found at our local farmer’s market.
One of the most popular uses of zucchini in recent years is zucchini noodles.
I resisted this for a long time even though I don’t eat gluten but I have to admit that I now have a big spiralizer and zucchini noodles have become one of my favorite. I often eat them raw but other will sauté briefly in a pan with a little bit of olive oil. I don’t want to dirty another pan!
Summer squash pairs well with basil, chicken, cilantro, dairy, onions, pine nuts, quinoa and many other. For a full list check out our summer squash info sheet below.
Grilling summer squash is super simple and an easy way to add some veggies to your summer dinner quick! Just slice the full length of the squash. Brush with a little olive oil and grill. You can add some seasoning or just splash with a little balsamic when done grilling.
The nice thing about grilling is the extra water in the summer squash evaporates. This is why I prefer to grill rather than to sauté the squash.
When sautéing you must draw out the water. There are two methods to achieve this. This is either done by salting first and letting it sit for about 20 minutes. Then blotting dry with a paper towel or boiling the fruit first whole.
I talked about this in our last blog. Place the whole squash in salted boiling water for 10 minutes.
Then cut into cubes.
Heat a pan over high heat. Place in some sort of fat - olive oil, butter, ghee, coconut oil etc. and heat until bubbling.
Place the cubes of summer squash in the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes. Make sure to keep a watch on the squash since it will cook quickly and over cooking the squash can cause it to become watery.
Now that you know a couple of simple ways to cook squash lets get the recipe.
Zucchini Quinoa Pesto Salad
This recipe came out of the need to use up to things that have grown in abundance in my garden this year. Basil and zucchini.
I only recently have started to like quinoa. There is no way I can just eat it as a side to my dinner as I would rice but I do find when combined with a yummy dressing and some veggies it is very tasty.
First cook the quinoa: Rinse 1/2 cup of quinoa with water. Place in a sauce pan with 1 cups of either water or stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat cover and cook until all the water is absorbed. This takes about 10-15 minutes. You can tell the quinoa is done when the germ ring is visible around the outer edge of the grain.
As the quinoa cooks either grill or sauté your zucchini. Either method will work for this recipe. If grilling slice the zucchini into cube size pieces before adding to the salad.
Next make the pesto. This pesto has a lot of lemon to it. I find the lemon goes well with quinoa.
2 cups Basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 Parmesan Cheese - grated
1/8 cup of lemon juice plus a little lemon zest
1/4 t salt
1/4 t red pepper flakes
3 cloves of garlic
Combine all the ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the machine is running.
* If you want a dairy free pesto just omit the parmesan cheese.*
Next, look for any other great veggies you have growing in your garden or found at the market. I through in some tomatoes but you could also add corn, kohlrabi, sweet bell peppers, or sautéed Swiss chard.
Toss quinoa and the pesto together. How much pesto you use is up to you. I tend to use half of what I make and save the rest for another recipe.
Next, add the veggies and mix lightly.
This salad will store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
You can prepare all ingredients ahead of time but just store separately until ready to serve.
FYI This salad goes really well with grilled chicken or shrimp.
We are now offering a super cool info sheets to go along with each veggie of the month.
Check it out below.
Click on the button below to download your own copy.
Next month's veggie: Garlic!
It is only recently that I have to really started to appreciate and incorporate zucchini into my diet. When I still ate wheat zucchini bread was alway my favorite. However I never really enjoyed it in it’s raw form.
The start of my love of summer squashes and zucchini started two summers ago when I was at the Spokane Farmer’s market. They had this strange small green looking pumpkin type squash for sale in July. I asked the guy what it was and he said it’s a zapallito squash from South America.
He then added it’s really good - you should try it. Which is basically what I’m going to tell all of you to do. The last two summers all I did was cut it up and grill it or sautéed it. Both were ridicioulsy delicious.
This little squash (and you do want to buy it in it’s immature stage) has the taste and texture of zucchini but it’s just a little more dense and little sweeter. Native to South America, it is often found in savory tarts, omelettes, roasted, or stuffed in Argentina. However the favorite dish in South America using this squash is called Mianesas de Zapallito. Translated to lightly breaded and pan fried.
When buying this squash or any squash at the farmer’s market make sure the outside has an unblemished, glossy, smooth skin. They should feel heavier then they look. If there is deep gashes or soft spots look for another.
All of these squashes store well in the fridge loosely wrapped in plastic for up to a week.
This year I wanted to try something besides just roasting the zapallitos. A favorite dish in Argentina is Zapallitos Rellenos. A stuffed squash. They often stuff it with beef and top with cheese. Which sounds awesome to me. However, I know that I have quite a few vegetarians that read this blog so I figured I would make Zapallitos Rellenos two ways. Black bean or Beef.
The main concern when cooking any summer squash is the water content. It is high in squash. So in order to not make your dishes mushy there is a little prep ahead of time. Next time, I’ll talk more about prepping zucchini for sautéing.
Stuffed Zapalitto Squash: Two Ways
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
For the stuffed zapallitos squash you must first boil them whole. For about 12 minutes. I first read about doing this in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 2 and I thought that sounded ridiculous. (Side note: If you want some zucchini recipes that look amazing, full of fat and totally not good for you. Check out her book.)
Boiling whole is must before cutting the squash in half, digging out the inner stuff and stuffing with some good yummy stuff!
In a large pot with heavily salted water boil the zapallitos for about 12 to 14 minutes. Don't worry they will not melt or disengrate. Unless you leave them in to long. I didn't try it but is seems like that might happen.
After the 12 to 14 minutes remove the zapallitos and place on a plate to cool before slicing in half.
Next, take a knife and slice around the inside edge. I found that there is a nice ring around the inside to cut. There should be about 1/4 of an inch of squash still intact.
With a spoon dig out the pulp. Drain as much water as you can out of the pulp. Pick out as many seeds as you can and then dice. Set aside.
Place the halves down on a plate so more moisture can drain.
To save on time I tend to make the rice and the stuffing while the zapallitos are cooking.
First the rice:
Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add the 1 cup of rice along with a pinch of salt.
Reduce the heat, cover and cook until the rice is done.
While the rice is cooking I make the cilantro and garlic sauce in my small blender. Add the 1/2 cup of cilantro with 1 garlic clove and 4 tablespoons of water. Blend until smooth.
Once the rice is finished fluff and combine with the cilantro and garlic sauce. Set aside.
To prepare the beef mixture you'll need to brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium/high heat.
Once the beef is browned remove and set aside.
Place the red onion and jalapeño in the skillet and cook for 5 minutes.
Next add the green pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
Then the cumin. Cook 30 seconds.
Add the beef back to the pan along with the rice and pulp. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To prepare the black bean mixture start by adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet.
Place the jalapeño and red onion and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the green pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Then add the kale until it is slightly wilted.
Add the cumin. Cook 30 seconds.
Remove from the heat and toss with the black beans, the rice and pulp in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Next comes the stuffing! Blot the zapallito halves with a paper towel. Trying to remove as much moisture as possible.
Lightly spray a cookie sheet with olive oil.
Place the zapallitos on the cookie sheet and stuff with your stuffing of choice. Top with the shredded cheese.
Bake for about 20 minutes. The tops should be a golden brown. Let cool slightly and enjoy!
A couple of notes:
In two weeks we will explore the different types of common summer squash. Plus a fantastic zucchini recipe and guidelines on how to cook zucchini.
Over the past couple of weeks you’ll notice that Veggie of the month was not being posted. In fact there was not even a vegetable for June or July!
This was due to a illness in our family. In fact my son was hospitalized for a total of 9 days in June. It was a rough go but thankfully he is completely healed.
Which means it is now time for the Vegetable of the Month to return! I actually had this blog written for July and time got away from me. Instead of waiting to post it next year I thought I would just post it now.
Look for a new post next week for the true August veggie: Summer Squash!
With the time taken off I realized that a weekly recipe is just not realistic with my work and family schedule.
Instead I am going to highlight a veggie twice a month.
This also frees up some of my time to write about other things…. like exercise and health!
Kohlrabi was suppose to be the highlighted veggie for July. It is so delicious that I want to make sure you all still go to the farmers market and try one. (Seriously I love this one! I started cutting and kept eating bites as I cut it up!)
Kohlrabi is known as a German Turnip. Although not technically from the turnip family but rather it is part of the Brassica family. Same as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts. Which means it's good for you!
This one is another very interesting looking vegetable. In fact its similar to celeriac in that I wonder what made someone want to eat it. They must have been seriously hungry!
First off, the outside layer is just not edible. I mean it won’t poison you but its does not taste great. So this means some peeling needs to be done in order to get to the good stuff. I’m not going to lie. It’s not easy to peel. You need a very sharp peeler or a good paring knife.
Once peeled, you’ll discover a wonderful white flesh inside that is very similar to a very crisp apple. Kohlrabi comes in several different colors. A deep purple, pale green or white. However, once peeled they all look the same, and can be eaten raw if you like. For those of you needing a little crunch at night instead of chips this would be a great substitute. In fact this was our preferred way of eating it.
It also would be a great addition to any veggies you serve with hummus or dip. Or thrown into a salad for a some added texture.
Make sure to not throw away the leaves since they edible and yummy! They are perfect for going in a salad. The leaves can be substituted into any recipe that calls for spinach or collard greens.
When storing kohlrabi, cut the leaves off and eat them soon, within a day or two. Then place the kohlrabi in a plastic or paper bag and place in the crisper section of your refrigerator. It will stay fresh for 2 to 3 months. If you really love it and want to preserve it for winter you can freeze it.
One of the ways we tried cooked kohlrabi is by sautéing them with apples. Super simple recipe!
Sautéed Kohlrabi & Apples
Eat and Enjoy!
Look next week for our return of regular veggie of the month blogs!!
Finishing up April's blog on Celeriac was a little tough. Not due to the subject but rather my work schedule. I'll follow up with another celeriac recipe in the fall when the root is fresh and everyone feels more like a root vegetable recipe.
For now we are moving on and embracing spring! Kale is our vegetable of the month for May.
I have already heard plenty of feedback amongst my clients and friends on their feelings on kale. Jason for example hates it. However I have to say has been quite the sport when testing recipes! In fact I think I have found one recipe in particular that will become a regular addition to our diets.
There are so many ways to prepare kale and narrowing down what I was going to feature on this blog was difficult. I decided to skip kale chips since recipes can be found in several books, websites, etc. My only advise on kale chip is to make sure they are dry otherwise you'll steam rather than roast.
I also decided to not feature sautéed kale. For one, it is super simple and really does not need a a whole recipe dedicated to it. Just add a couple of tablespoons to a saucepan on medium high heat. Throw in some minced garlic for 1-2 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup of water and about a pound of kale, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add your favorite herbs and spices and that's it!
Instead, this first kale recipe is my all time favorite kale salad. In fact, I call it my Crack Kale salad because I literally can not stop eating it. In reality it really is a Greek Kale Salad.
Full disclosure I got the original recipe off of another blog years ago and cannot remember which one. However, I have changed it and added ingredients so I don't believe it resembles that original recipe, which I can't find!
So let's get started....
Start with a bunch of Lacinato kale. Cut stems away and slice int small strips. Place into a large bowl.
Next, add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 tsp of salt and pepper to the kale.
Massage the kale for a couple minutes. This helps to soften the kale and aids with flavor.
Next add in the following:
Time to make the dressing!
In a small bowl combine:
Now if I'm in a hurry and need to get to work I don't measure but I guesstimate amounts of these ingredients. Throw them into a small dressing container and shake it all together once I'm ready to add it to the salad at work.
The great thing about kale is it holds up really well. This salad will last for 2-3 days.
Toss the dressing with the salad and enjoy!
If you need a little more protein you can always add some grilled chicken.
Next week we will explore the many benefits of kale plus our new favorite kale recipe!
One of my favorite foods my mother would make growing up was a potato pancake. I loved that greasy potato crisp! My mother rarely cooked so this was always a treat when she made one.
It's funny how these childhood memories translate into adulthood without really realizing it. This memory of my mom making that amazing potato crisp really came back to me when I started to think of recipes for this month.
I know that celeriac pairs well with potatoes and has the consistency needed to make a good pancake crisp.
Today’s recipe is a different take on my mother’s recipe. I’ve added celeriac root to add a little flavor and as stated in the last blog it helps to add a little fiber and less carbohydrates than potatoes by themselves.
Hope you Enjoy!
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Step 2: Shred the potatoes, celeriac and onion. To do this either use the large holes on a box shredder or with a food processor. The grater on my food processor is just ok so I used my box shredder.
Step 3: Mix the potato, celeriac, onion and 1.5 tsp of salt in a bowl. Cover for 10 minutes.
Step 4: In batches start to remove as much water as possible from the mixture. Use cheese cloth or a kitchen towel and really squeeze. This is very important! I think I worked on increasing my grip strength in this step.
Step 5: Heat the 2 tablespoons of your oil of choice in a skillet over medium heat. Next, place the pancake mixture in the skillet.
Step 6: Press the pancake mixture into the skillet. Then take a spatula and run it around the edge of the skillet. Cook for 10 minutes.
Step 7: Run the spatula around the edge again to loosen. Flip the pancake over onto a plate.
Step 8: Heat another 2 Tablespoons of your oil and slide the pancake back into skillet, cooking the other side. Cook for 15 minutes.
Step 9: Move the skillet to the oven and finishing baking for 15 minutes.
Step 10: Remove from the oven. Cut into slices and serve plain or with sour cream and some fresh chives!
This recipe goes well with any type of protein you want to pair with it. Eggs, steak or a nice breakfast sausage.
This weekend we will post our wrap up for celeriac and introduce our next veggie!
There have been many comments over the past week about the appearance of celeriac. Questions of why would you buy and especially eat something so ugly!
My favorite so far was that it looked like monkey brains. Now I’ve never seen monkey brains so I can’t comment on the accuracy but it did make me feel like I was cooking with something very exotic.
It does beg the question of why should I add this in? Does it add a different nutrient that I can’t get from another vegetable? What is the true benefit?
To this I would say it has a lot of redeeming qualities. For one it has a very low carbohydrate content but has a ton of good nutrients like fiber, vitamin B6, C and K and potassium, phosphorus and manganese.
This comes in handy for those you out there watching your carbohydrate intake. It also comes in handy with recipes like the one listed below. Mashed Celearic and Potato.
Say that you love mash potatoes but not all the carbs. By adding celeriac you can reduce your carb intake but still enjoy mashed potatoes.
For example, in one cup of diced celeriac there are 9.1 grams of carbs compared to 1 cup of yukon gold which has 36.4 grams. Huge difference!
After being asked about the appearance the next questions is usually how do you prepare it?
Basically you peel it. I prefer to use a knife instead of a peeler but either can be used.
Here is more detailed description:
1. Scrub the root with a potato scrubber under cold water removing any dirt.
2. Cut the top of the root off. Trying to just get the outer skin removed without sacrificing any of the inner root.
3. Then proceed cutting off the skin around the root. Side note: Its a good idea to have either a half of a lemon or a bowl of water mixed with lemon juice around as you do this. If you are not going to use the celeriac immediately its a good idea to rub the root with the lemon as you peel it to keep it from turning brown.
4. Next cut up the celeriac however you like. Matchsticks like we did in last week's recipe, grated (coming up in next week's recipe), or cubed like we do in this week's recipe!
Speaking of this week's recipe let's get to it!
This week is a super yummy Celeriac and Yukon Gold Mash.
There are two options here because I love options when it comes to cooking. One version is dairy free and the other is full on dairy!
Choose which one works best for you!
Celeriac and Yukon Gold Mash
Ingredients- Dairy Free
Ingredients - Full on Dairy
Instructions for both types of recipes:
1. Peel the potatoes and celeriac and cut into 1 inch cubes. Place the potatoes, celeriac and garlic cloves in a pot and cover with water. Water should be about an inch over the vegetables. Add salt.
2. Boil the vegetables until the celeriac is fork tender.
3. Before draining you will need about 6 Tbsp of the water the vegetables were boiled in. I take my glass measuring cup and scoop out enough water before draining.
4. Drain the vegetables.
5. Place back into the pot. Add your non-dairy or dairy options at this time along with the reserved water. Use either a hand mixer (for chunky mash) or a potato ricer for a smoother mash.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Jason and Jack could not tell the difference between the two types of mashes. Both were very good!
We paired the mash with some yummy beef stew.
However, this can really go with anything that goes with mashed potatoes.
Next week we will explore another great recipe and more info on why to add variety into your diet with celeriac!
Please comment below if you have tried a celeriac recipe you liked!
For a pdf of the recipe above click below.
Celery Root or Celeriac, which is it more commonly called, is an odd shaped root vegetable that you most likely looked over while at the grocery store. Surprisingly it is a very popular vegetable in Europe. In France, in particular, it is commonly used to make Celeraic romeleade. A basic cole slaw recipe with mayo, mustard, lemon juice and raw shredded celeriac.
This versatile root vegetable can be prepared raw, roasted, boiled, or mashed. It can often be found in salads and soups.
Celeriac is cultivated for it’s root which means the celery we often buy and eat is not from this root. It grows a leafy, whimper looking, stronger tasting celery stems on top. If you find the root with leafy greens on top it means it is fresh. (Side note: these leafy greens are good for making stock.)
When I first tasted celeriac it reminded me a little bit of jicama but with much more flavor. It has a mild celery taste with a hint of parsley and has the crunch of jicama.
I decided a salad would be the best place to start for trying out celearic. It is super easy to prepare. A lot of celeriac salad recipes call for shredding the root or making match stick slices. For the salad below either can be done. Note: If you shred the celeriac then shred the apple as well.
As with most vegetables there are a couple of ingredients that pair well with each particular vegetable. For celeriac, lemon and apple are a common theme. Lemon in particular helps the root from oxidizing and giving off an unpleasant color.
In fact, if you are prepping to use celeriac but not planning on using it immediately then I recommend putting it in a bowl of water and lemon juice or rubbing the entire outside of the root with lemon as you peel it.
For this recipe I recommend making the salad dressing first so that the celeriac can be tossed with it immediately and does not discolor.
Here is what you need to get started:
Celeriac and Apple Salad
1 small celeriac root
1 green apple
1/4 cup toasted pecans
1/8 cup blue cheese
3 TBSP Olive oil or Avocado Oil
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1.5 TBSP Lemon juice
1 TSP honey
1/8 TSP salt
A couple dashes of pepper
1. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl, whisk and set aside.
2. Peel and core the apple. Slice into matchstick slices.
3. Next, prepare the celeriac. Start by washing the root with cold water. Use a potato brush to scrub the outside. Next slice the top of the root off. You can either use a knife to peel the root or a vegetable peeler. I prefer a knife. Cut into matchstick slices.
4. Toss the apple and celeriac with the dressing. Add the toasted pecans and blue cheese.
Note: Check to see how salty your blue cheese is. The one I like in particular is a little salty so I omitted the salt in the dressing.
Next week, we'll talk about how to prepare celeriac. Plus a new recipe.
Our final beet blog! Some of you are very happy to moving on to a new veggie. I base this on how many times I’ve been asked in the last week - So what’s next month’s vegetable?
To wrap up there are just a few more important things to consider when choosing and preparing beets.
First, picking out the best beets. For all those gardeners out there, freshly picked beets will keep for months not washed in the refrigerator.
However if you are going to the store the best beets to pick are usually those with the leafy greens still attached. This is a sure sign of freshness. Make sure not to throw away those fresh leaf greens! They are great to add raw to a salad or saute or even make chips out of. (See the recipe below.)
If using the greens cut just 1 inch above the stem, wash and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. The greens are pretty hearty and will store for a couple of weeks. (Leaving an inch of the stem on helps to keep the beets from bleeding.)
The beet root itself can be stored loosely in plastic in the refrigerator. The longer beets are stored they become less sweet and the skin is tougher to deal with.
The size of beets may make a difference. Smaller ones tend to be a little sweeter but harder to peel. Very large ones can be less tender so look for medium sized beets when shopping.
When ready to use, I scrub the beets with a potato brush. Do not remove the skins until after cooking. This helps to keep some nutrients. To remove the skin I used a paper towel to gently pull the skins off once the beets have cooled enough to handle. This saves my hands from turning red. You can also peel them but you may want to use gloves.
Another good trick is to cover your cutting board with parchment paper when slicing beets. This will save your cutting board from turning red.
For our final beet blog we have two recipes! First up pickled beets. Followed by Beet Green Chips.
One of the favorite ways many of my clients enjoy beets is pickled. I had several comments that their favorite recipe for beets came from their grandmother. So, I asked one of my clients for their grandma's recipe.
Take note, no matter what pickling recipe I looked at for beets they all contained a fair amount of sugar.
So don’t write to me about the amount of sugar. I’ve been saying for years if your grandmother didn’t eat it neither should you. Therefore, if grandma ate and made pickled beets made with sugar maybe we should give it a try. Plus, I can’t imagine many people sit down and eat an entire jar of pickled beets! If you do.....Wow!
Paula’s Grandma’s recipe
Cook beets in jackets, with stem & root attached, in saucepan with water. To test doneness, rub the beet with the side of a fork. Skin should peel away. (If you poke them, they will bleed). Cool until you can handle them and slip the skins off. Cut in quarters or slices. Set aside.
1 C sugar
1 C water
1 C vinegar
1 T lemon juice or 2 or 3 lemon slices
Heat until sugar is dissolved. Drop in cut beets and bring to a boil for a few minutes. Put beets in jar and pour hot liquid over them.
This is enough liquid for about 2-3 pints. Store for 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator.
Beet Green chips
Beet greens have a lot of health benefits. So make sure to not throw them away! They are high in protein, fiber, vitamin K, B6, and A, magnesium and potassium to name just a few.
Since the leaves remind me of the toughness of kale I thought they might make a good chip.
I love kale chips, they are very yummy! If you feel that way then you will definitely like these beet green chips.
The prep and cooking is just like making kale chips.
First start with washing the leaves and then leaving them out to dry on paper towels for several hours.
This allows the leaves to completely dry. This is an important step! If you were to bake them while still a little wet then the leaves would steam instead of bake. Causing them to be soggy rather than crispy.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Next place parchment on a two cookie sheets. Lay out the leave on the cookie sheet. Next I spray the leaves with olive oil from a spray bottle. Flip the leaves over and repeat. (You can also toss the leaves with 1- 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl.)
Next add seasoning to both sides of the leaf. I used salt and pepper on one sheet. On the other I used Trader Joe's Umami seasoning blend. This is one of my favorite seasonings to use for roasting vegetables.
Place the cookie sheets in the oven for 10 minutes. Gently flip the leaves over and cook for another 10-15 minutes until they are crispy.
Make sure to keep an eye on these as they can burn quickly!
Let cool and enjoy! Store in a glass container. These will keep for 5 days.
To recap beets are helpful with..
To Wrap up my thoughts on Beets…
Next month: Celeriac aka Celery Root!
Jason's thought after trying out Beet juice to help with athletic performance....
Juicing itself is a pretty well documented and solid idea when it comes to getting a strong nutrient balance into our bodies. As a juice-able food source, beets aren't too bad of a choice. It's a sweet vegetable and generally tastes similar to doing carrots although a little more so in terms of sweet-ness. To offset a little with some tangy citrus flavor, Hillary added an orange.
It was proposed by the experts that one should consume the beet juice 2 hours before a workout.
Workout number 1 - I drank the juice mid morning as I was going running later. At that point in the day I had not eaten since breakfast about 2.5 hours earlier. On a basically empty stomach with no protein the juice gave me a pretty good glucose shock. About an hour or so later I started getting pretty jittery and did not feel like working out at that time. I chomped on some chicken as soon as I could and waited a little while. The run was fine after I balanced out a little, I did not feel supercharged though.
The sugars in this drink should be paired with either a protein powder or a lean protein source in my opinion.
Workout Number 2 - Followed my own advice, in addition to breakfast, when I later drank the beet juice I also ate a little bit of protein with it and about a teaspoon of protein powder, not much. Two hours later, I did not feel the jitters and started into my weight training session. All was fine and I did feel pretty good for about the first 45 minutes of my workout. The last 10 minutes I definitely started to feel the same jittery feeling from before but not quite as bad. I also knew that after I was done I would be able to eat my lunch right away.
Bottom line, I happened to read an article that came up for me from a guy who also was drinking beet juice before a half marathon. The difference there is he drank every day for a week leading up to the event and also did moderate to little training. I think that if I were to do the same and drink every day for a week with proper pairing I probably would have been able to see some benefit.
This guy claimed that he matched previous times despite having not done a proper training lead up. That might be so, I think that beet juice is good, and it's good for you. I think whatever benefit it might provide would really only be noticeable to someone invested in higher levels of performance. Weekend warriors or folks whose only 'event' is Bloomsday each year probably won't notice.
Beet juice is tasty, but there are a couple of things to be aware of in my opinion.
1. the glucose dump that you'll get might mess you up and if you're sensitive it might be a problem.
2. a day or so later you have to remember that you drank the beet juice, otherwise you'll think you are dying from ebola. FUN!
I’m not going to lie this month has been a little rough to blog about and to eat so many beets. However, researching beets and learning about their health benefits has motivated me to add them into our diet.
To continue this learning process today we look at the pigment in beets called betalain. Which is named after the red beet (beta vulgaris)
Here is what betalain can potential help with:
Inflammation: All studies stated that this needs to be further researched, however, what has been found so far has been promising. For example, one study looked at using betalain-rich beet concentrate to reduce pain for individuals with knee pain. It showed that the individuals had reduced pain while taking the supplement. (2) Other studies have found betalains to have a high antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. (1.)
Detoxification: Betalains also help the body to detoxify by increasing enzymes supporting the liver. They aide in improving enzymatic activity and to stimulating bile flow. When the liver is supported then other functions in the body can improve, such as; helping energy levels, hormone balance, and cholesterol regulation.
Anti-cancer properties: Most of the studies to date have been done on rats or human cells but based on these studies beets can help to reduce tumor cell growth. One study in particular looked at prostate and breast cancer and beet extract was found to reduce the growth of cells. (3.)
This week's recipe is Red Flannel Hash. A veggie recipe that can definitely be used for breakfast! In fact I have eaten a lot of it for breakfast as I test out different ways to prepare it.
To start preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Next dice a sweet potato, 2 yellow potatoes and 2 beets.
Place the potatoes and beets into a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 tsp of sage, smoked paprika, or thyme and salt and pepper. I usually pick a type of spice depending on what type of left over meat I have available. This week we had pork chops left over that already had sage in the chops so I added sage to the potato/beet mixture. Other weeks when I had just chicken cooked up I added smoked paprika. Pick which ever spice you prefer.
Next, place the potatoes and beets onto a cookie sheet.
Roast for 20 to 25 minutes.
During the last 10 minutes of roasting the vegetables, start on carmalizing the onions.
Place 1-2 Tablespoons of butter, ghee or bacon fat in to a large skillet with low to medium heat. Add the onions. Cook for 8-10 minutes.
Add the minced garlic. Followed by the potato/hash mixture. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.
At this point you can add in your protein of choice. If you have a left over meat such as corned beef, chicken, sausage, steak dice and add it now.
You can also prepare an egg anyway you like and add the hash.
I tried this once with bacon, placing the bacon on a baking sheet and cooking it at the same time as the vegetables were roasting. Then sliced it and added it to the hash.
Don't feel limited by the recipe. Add in things you like such as hot sauce or extra veggies.
This recipe makes for great leftovers and if you are in a rush every morning like I am this recipe is very handy to have a healthy veggie breakfast.
Next week is our conclusion on beets and a discussion on pickled beets!