If you are ready for some fresh spring asparagus that is crisp, lemony and divine—and can be on the table in a snap—our Food As Medicine Executive Chef Rebecca Katz’s recipe is just the thing. Ummmm good.
The produce manager at my local Whole Foods caught me appreciatively smelling the organic Bartlett pears on sale last night (1.69 a pound) and asked if I had ever tried Abate Fetel? He led me to a mound of slender, elongated greenish pears and explained that they are Italian, and only available briefly at this very time of year.
A seasonal delight you won’t want to miss: cranberry beans, with their burgundy and white shells. I spotted them at my farmer’s market on Saturday, and rhapsodized over their appearance all day before cooking them that evening. Flat out gorgeous!
I was inspired to create a combination of fresh green beans and cranberry beans by David Tanis in this delightful episode of Alice Water’s In the Green Kitchen video series, each of which features a simple standout dish. David spends half the year in Berkeley as head chef at Chez Panisse and the other half in Paris. Oooh, nice! I love watching him in this video, serenely topping and tailing green beans, the very essence of relaxed mindfulness.
Alas, the cranberry beans turn grayish in cooking, but I still found the final dish a pretty picture. And my friends, the taste! One of those deeply satisfying kinds.
Method: cook the cranberry beans in the shell in boiling, lightly salted water for 20 minutes. During the last 4 minutes, throw in the green beens, which have been topped and tailed and cut into reasonably bite-sized lengths. Drain everything. Shell the cranberry beans and toss them all on a platter (the better to admire), sprinkle with a little high quality olive oil and some sea salt– I used some fleur de sel. Just a little. Sheer delight with corn and sweet potatoes fresh from the farm market!
Learn more about cranberry beans on this nice site called The Heart of New England, which has lots of nice food ideas.
This was one of the most popular dishes at Food As Medicine 2010– perhaps because it’s such a glorious eye-full?
In her book The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, from whence this recipe cometh, Rebecca Katz says, “…I set out to create the most colorful salad I could, using purple beets, orange carrots, and fresh mint. If I’d had a vegetable crisper instead of a box of crayons as a kid, this salad would have been the result.”
And not only beautiful, but brimming with antioxidants. We all know we’re supposed to be tracking those down and including them in our diets like crazy, right? Turns out, as Rebecca says, “Generally speaking, the right way to go is to cast a wide net instead of focusing on a single antioxidant.”
This is one stunning combo. As you see, the Capital Hilton kitchen did the colors side-by-side, and they are equally gorgeous tossed, with the green flecks of mint dancing amidst the shredded orange and burgundy. A great choice if you are looking for that wow factor for a healthy lunch or dinner dish. And beets and carrots are in season, in local farm markets (at least in the mid-Atlantic region), right now.
Photographs of Food As Medicine 2010 by Erin Goldstein
Shredded Carrot and Beet Salad
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup peeled and shredded carrot
1 cup peeled and shredded red beet
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Whisk the orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, ginger, and salt together
until thoroughly combined. Put the carrots in a mixing bowl, drizzle
with half of the dressing, and toss until evenly coated. Place the carrots
on one side of a shallow serving bowl. Put the beets in the mixing
bowl, drizzle with the remaining dressing, and toss until evenly
coated. Place the beets in the serving bowl next to the carrots for a
beautiful contrast of red and orange. Top with the chopped mint before
From Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, Celestial Arts, 2009.
Rebecca is a core faculty member and our Executive Chef for Food As Medicine, and designs all our food for the program. OMG. Eating like this for 4 days is SUCH a treat!
Thank you for sharing, Rebecca!
With temperatures over 100 degrees and code orange air alerts (“unhealthy for sensitive groups”) here in Washington, DC, who feels like cooking? Or for that matter, eating?
My solution last evening: a rainbow salad. Everything organic, nearly everything purchased at our local farm market the evening before. Nothing much to it: two kinds of lettuce, blueberries, strawberries, pine nuts roasted with just a little ground coriander (my son Arran who is a chef teaches me these haute cuisine tricks), sliced carrots, and a little finely sliced peppermint, tossed with a tad of high quality olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Ta-da! As quick as it sounds and as delicious as it looks.
Summer’s harvest is rolling in! See the riches we plundered at the Farm Market on Saturday, including the first corn of the season (white), and little orange ‘Sundrop’ tomatoes, organic strawberries, black raspberries, and small plums (well, everything we purchased is organic), and mountains of greens (kale, chard, dandelion, arugula, baby spinach, Boston lettuce), herbs (peppermint, parsley)… This rainbow cornucopia inspired our first summer feast: steamed corn (several of us thought it so rich and succulent it didn’t require butter or any other spread), green beans with a spritz of lemon and a pinch of fleur de sel, quinoa salad (details below), soft boiled fresh farm eggs and sliced plums with black raspberries.
A simple recipe for the quinoa salad: Start with 2 cups of quinoa, well and repeatedly washed to remove the bitter saponins and cook on stove top or in rice cooker with 4 cups water. Meanwhile, prepare the following: toast 1/2 cup pine nuts in a heavy pan over a flame– shaking to keep from browning too much, and adding a pinch of coriander. Chop a handful each of washed mint leaves and washed parsley. Saute a few cloves of garlic, minced, in olive oil. When the quinoa has finished cooking, squeeze in juice from half a lemon and drizzle in some olive oil. Stir in all the other ingredients, along with 1/2 cup of dried cranberries. I made this up as I went along, and it’s really nice– very subtle. It was particularly delicious slightly warm, but Alex enjoyed a taste cold at the office on Monday.
It’s such fun to experiment this time of year, with a glorious palette of possibilities!
ps– I’ll have a wonderful slide show and some other goodies from Food As Medicine shortly.
There is a difference between good food and sublime food. Restaurant Nora serves the latter. Hint: President Obama brought Mrs. Obama here for her birthday a few months ago. Chef / Owner Nora Pouillon, a hero to the slow food movement, started her restaurant 30 years ago and has supported the best local organic agriculture in the Mid-Atlantic region ever since. Restaurant Nora was the first certified organic restaurant in the US in 1999, and 95% of what the restaurant serves is organic. The elegant menu reflects a moving feast of our local harvest.
A recent dinner provided 3 hours of uninterrupted bliss. The atmosphere of the restaurant, with it’s perfect acoustics (you can actually hear your dinner companion speak), charming mixture of Amish and Mennonite crib quilts and architectural garden sculptures on the walls, and a large skylight in the ceiling of the dining room, is both cheerful and soothing. The wait staff is outstanding– informative, friendly, never intrusive. And, the food– cooked that evening by Ben Lambert, Chef de Cuisine–was utterly, divinely delicious. There’s nothing I like better than expertly prepared vegetables, and Ben provided an unforgettable feast for a gluten-free vegan, starting with the roasted asparagus salad in the picture below. My husband enjoyed the chilled asparagus soup, a salad of mesclun greens with roasted pear and pecans, wild Alaskan salmon, rhubarb pie and fresh strawberry ice cream… I’d never seen the man eat so much in his life!
Light softly falling from the skylight slowly faded and the warm lighting in the restaurant increased gently as one course gracefully followed another. It was a dinner and an evening to remember.
Thank you to Nora, who for many years has served on the Advisory Board
for Food As Medicine. Thank you to Ben, the kitchen and the wait staff for a lovely experience.
And very special thanks to my dear colleagues, who made this beautiful
anniversary celebration possible for us.
As a special treat for Mother’s Day, my husband took me to the farm market at Dupont Circle. One of 8 area markets run by the marvelous Fresh Farm Markets folks (and if you want to know how to do it, ask them), this market is comprised of many vendors, selling veggies, flowers, flats for your garden, a myriad of mushrooms, cheeses and free-range eggs, wool and yarns from a local sheep farm… everything colorful, local and fresh. The morning was oooooh, chilly for spring, but with enough sun and people to make it festive.
We filled our basket with irresistible greens– collards, lettuce, chard– ramps, which I’ve never tried (always good to experiment), and parsnips which are my favorite root vegetable. Besides beets. And celeriac. Oh, and carrots…
Many happy returns of the day to my fellow moms! And cheers to you who are feeding your kids vibrant, healthy foods, and getting them in the kitchen with you to wash and chop. We’re doing our part to make a healthier, happier world.
Nothing could be easier, more elegant, or more delicious than roasted asparagus in the springtime. So when I hosted a pot-luck dinner party celebrating a dear friend’s birthday recently, I chose that for my contribution.
Don’t you agree that it’s preferable to have fun at a party rather than suffer from kitchen exhaustion?
This beautiful dish was the perfect solution. To serve 8, I assembled 2 bunches of asparagus, 1 orange bell pepper, 1/2 head of fennel, 4 portobello mushrooms and some red onion. After snapping off the tough ends of the asparagus, I cut the stalks diagonally into inch-and-a-half long pieces, cut the pepper into 1″ squares, and sliced the fennel, asparagus and onion as you see, then tossed everything in a large bowl with some good quality olive oil, coarse sea salt and fresh-ground pepper. I threw them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and topped with some fresh sprigs of thyme (remove when done– they blacken a bit). I popped the tray into the oven set on ‘low’ broil, and stirred around after 10 minutes, cooking probably a total of 15 minutes altogether. The roasted veggies turned out perfectly, looked gorgeous on a colorful platter, and were just right slightly warmer than room temp. Oh! Yum! Such a hit.
On the table I placed a gold cotton napkin in the center of each plate, with a fresh flower from my garden laid diagonally across the napkins at the last minute– an even mix of dandelions and Korean spice viburnum sprigs (fragrant!). Everyone smiled as they sat down.
ps– I can’t believe there was just enough left over for lunch the next day! (see photo)