June starts tomorrow and the thermometer has risen so Summer is here! I love the ease of summer days and the delicious foods it brings. However, too quickly the excitement wears off of the first corn on the cob, sliced watermelon and berries, berries, berries. I immediately begin to think what else can we eat? What is available? What haven’t we tried yet? All it took was a trip to the produce section of my local Whole Foods and here is what I found to share with you:
1. Yard-long beans taste much like common green beans but are more tender when cooked and turn a much darker green. They are most beautiful when kept long but can be chopped as needed, for recipes and are great in soups, salads, and stir-fries. For information on how to grow your own yard-long beans visit www.sunset.com/best-crops.
2 Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables since it is packed with antioxidants as well as other important nutrients not found in many foods. My favorite variety is Lacinato or Tuscan kale. It features dark blue-green leaves that have an embossed texture. It has a slightly sweeter and more delicate taste than curly kale. To ensure you get the most kale has to offer prepare it properly. Visit http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?dbid=38&tname=foodspice for instructions on how to prepare it and the list of nutrients kale offers.
3 Watermelon radishes are a beautiful addition to any summer BBQ. They can be served fresh or cooked, hot or cold. They pair well with fennel, apple, cheeses such as feta and chèvre, butter, creamy based dressings, vinaigrette, bacon, white fish, cucumbers, mild salad greens, cooked eggs, noodles such as soba and udon, citrus, cilantro, mint and tarragon. They are a relative of the daikon radish so they are mild in flavor with a crisp texture.
4 Yellow beets are milder and sweeter than red beets which tend to taste a bit like dirt. Offering potassium, fiber, folic acid and iron, these beauties make a wonderful salad to accompany any summer meal out by the pool. Here is a recipe for one of my family’s favorites, Beet Salad: Peel beets and cut into cubes. Steam until tender. Place in bowl, add sliced garlic and feta cheese chunks to taste, toss with olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. May be refrigerated for several days.
5 Colored carrots offer a fun twist to your carrot slaw or your hummus dip platter. Here is how each tastes compared to the standard orange variety:
a. Red carrots don't differ in taste much from orange carrots. Their red color, though, comes from lycopene, the heralded antioxidant in tomatoes.
b. Purple carrots are only purple on the outside – their insides tend to be pretty orange colored. They have an intensely sweet flavor, though, that can sometimes even have a little peppery flavor.
c. White or golden carrots are yellow or cream colored. They are mild and a bit sweeter than orange, red, or purple carrots.
For more on carrots visit http://localfoods.about.com/od/carrots/tp/Taste-Of-Different-Color-Carrots.htm
Health Tip: Grapefruit Avocado Salad....another treat to try this summer!
One of my families favorite summer treats!
Grapefruit Avocado Salad
6 - 8 servings
3 large pink grapefruit
2 ripe avocados
Celtic Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Slice the top and bottom off the grapefruits. Slice the peels off by placing grapefruit on flat top or bottom and starting from the top edge of the peel, slice downwards towards the bottom I strips until no peel remains. Cut the grapefruit in half, then slice it lengthwise into four strips then cut them so the grapefruit is in chunks. Remove any seeds. Place in bowl. Peel avocado and cut in chunks, same as grapefruit. Place in bowl. Toss grapefruit and avocado. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle sea salt and grind fresh pepper over the top.