April 10, 2010

Spring Vegetables

Posted in Cancer, Food, Health, Recipes tagged , , , at 6:43 am by Liliana

Enjoy the bounty of early spring!

Early spring is the perfect time to enjoy these delicious and nutritious vegetables. This is what’s in season now:

  • Asparagus – Fresh, crispy local asparagus is one of my favorite spring vegetables. The stalks should be firm and tender at the same time; the color bright green, and the tips tightly closed. Steam or boil for around 5-8 minutes until just tender, or brush with olive oil and roast in the oven. Serve just as it is or with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. Use in salads, quiches, soups or pasta sauces.
  • Chicory – Look for firm heads, tightly furled leaves and no brown streaks. Chicory is great steamed or gently sautéed in olive oil. It compliments fish and is also good raw in salads, mixed with other leaves and slices of orange.
  • New Potatoes – Cook them in their tender skins for a wonderfully delicate flavor. Boil, roast or steam them, and serve simply with olive oil and salt. They are also excellent in salads.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli –  Look for firm, slender stems and leaves with intense purple color. Cut the stems into pieces and steam until tender. Delicious tossed in a olive oil, sesame seeds and a dash of chili. Also good in soups, sautés, and pasta sauces.
  • Radishes – I love their bright red or pink skins and peppery flavor. Wash, discard the root and leaves, and slice. Good in salads, sandwiches, soups or just on their own.
  • Spinach – A super-food filled with vitamins. Wash well, and cook with no additional water. Spinach shrinks as it cooks, so buy plenty of it. Steam or boil it, covered in a pot, for just a few minutes. I add it to soups, sautés or eat it raw in salads.
  • Spring Onions  or Scallions – This is another of my favorites among spring vegetables. Wash well, cut off the roots and peel outer leaves. Use in salads and stir fries. Spring onions cook quickly, and can replace ordinary onions in any recipe.
  • Watercress – Belongs to family of cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, which contain anti-cancer chemicals and are full of vitamins. Look for crisp dark-green leaves, crisp and fresh with no sign of wilting. Wash well before use. Chop into salads or sandwiches, or use in soups or stir fries.

And don’t forget carrots, all kinds of greens and salads, beets, etc. etc. If you have a farmer’s market in your area, it is the best place to find fresh, local produce. Enjoy the bounty of early spring!

April 7, 2010

April Flowers

Posted in Garden, Weather tagged , , , at 6:55 am by Liliana

Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers

The weather in our part of Michigan has been unusually warm. It rains at night, but days are sunny, breezy and humid. Perfect weather for flowers, plants and trees. Everything is in bloom. The fragrances in the air are those of a tropical garden.

Every chance I get, I walk, but it never seems enough. I am like Kaya, my sister’s dog, who wants to be outside all the time. The colors, the smells, the sounds that surround me are dizzying. I am so happy  I want to open my arms and fly.

Various seasonal flowers are converging in their glory. Crocuses and snowdrops are in full bloom, while daffodils, intense yellow, pale cream, orange-striped, cover large patches of the gardens in my neighborhood. I find a small batch of primroses in the corner of my yard – dainty petals of intense purple. Columbines, azaleas, irises, shamrocks. Pink, indigo and purple hyacinths hang like melting sherbet drops on fragile stems. Violets and cornflowers cover entire front lawns. Delicate peach-colored magnolias open in quiet splendor. Forsythia bushes are making the whole world sunny. And the tulips – well, they are just starting their journey.

All this beauty, and it’s only the beginning of April. Thank you, dear world.