Saturday, April 2, 2011

Swiss chard omelette

The whole Swiss chard leaf is used in this omelette. Because fibre is essential for a healthy dietary, reserved stems from other chard leaves are added to bulk up the fibre content.

Swiss chard omelette

Fibre is a complex carbohydrate composed of a sugar molecule attached to other non-sugar molecules. Most dietary fibre is indigestible. Of that portion which is soluble, the carbohydrate released is not the type that provides energy. Rather, it is pectin, which is good for your heart.


            Yield: 1 omelette
Clockwise: Swiss chard leaf and
 sliced stalks, eggs, garlic,
and celeriac stalks

Ingredients:
1 Swiss chard stalk 
2 celeriac stalks, leaves intact
1 garlic clove, peeled, minced
small handful chopped Swiss chard stalks
2 eggs, whipped
2 tablespoons tomato salsa
2 tablespoons tomato paste
        ¼ teaspoon ghee
¼ teaspoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon Balkan yoghurt



Preparation:

1. Wash and spin dry vegetables. 

2. Remove central stalk from Swiss chard leaf. Clean 3 or 4 other Swiss chard stalks. Thinly slice Swiss chard stalks to produce a quantity of about 1 cup. Reserve.

3. Slice celeriac stalks and leaves in the same manner. Reserve.

4. In a non-stick saute pan over low heat, cook minced garlic in melted ghee and coconut oil until it releases fragrance ( about 1 minute). Add sliced Swiss chard stalks and celeriac stalk slices. Saute for about 5 minutes.

Swiss chard stalks, celeriac stalks, and garlic in saute pan


5.Raise heat to medium. Pour in whipped eggs. 

6. Slice Swiss chard leaves crosswise into 1 cm. (½-in.) strips. In a separate pot with steaming basket, lightly steam slice chard for about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Place steamed Swiss chard slices in a separate covered bowl.
Sliced Swiss chard leaf


7. Cook omelette until egg is almost set. Slide a spatula around the rim of the omelette to prevent adherence. Shake the pan to ensure that omelette is loose. Flip omelette over to cook the top side for a few minutes. 

Flip omelette over again. Spread steamed Swiss chard over half of the omelette. Fold the uncovered omelette half over the steamed Swiss chard. Lift onto a serving plate.

8. Add salsa to tomato paste. Stir. Add tomato paste and yoghurt to serving plate.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Beet greens and celeriac greens smoothie

Beet greens, celeriac greens, and Kiwi fruit are pureed with apple and lime in this nutrient-dense smoothie. You can either stop there, or make a small, fresh and complete meal of it by adding olive oil and tofu.

Beet greens, celeriac greens, Kiwi fruit, Granny Smith apple
and lime                             


                                                                           Yield: 1 large smoothie or 2 small smoothies

Ingredients:

1 bunch of fresh beet greens, excluding stalks, chopped
1 bunch of fresh celeriac greens including stalks, chopped
1 Kiwi fruit, peeled, chopped
½ Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, seeds and seed case removed
½ lime, peeled, chopped
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup smooth tofu


Preparation:

1. Wash the fruits and vegetables. 

2. Spin the greens prior to chopping them into chunks about 2.5 cm. (1 in.) wide.  Put them into a blender.

3. Peel and chop Kiwi into chunks. Add to blender.

4. Halve Granny Smith apple. Remove core and seeds. Chop one half into chunks and add to blender.

6. Halve lime. Score the pulp, then cut it away from the peel using a sharp paring knife. Add pulp to blender. If you wish to consume only the vegetables and fruits, add the water at this point, and puree. Otherwise, proceed to step 7.

Beet greens and
celeriac greens smoothie



7. Add remaining ingredients.  Pulse on 'High' until pureed.
Beet greens, celeriac
greens and tofu
smoothie

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Minty Swiss chard smoothie

Minty Swiss chard smoothie


Swiss chard is part of the beet family of vegetables. In this smoothie, I have used what is commonly known as rhubarb Swiss chard; 'rhubarb' because of the betain-saturated red stalk. It certainly tastes nothing like rhubarb.

Make a complete small meal of this smoothie by adding a teaspoon of olive oil and ¼ cup of tofu for the protein portion. You can punch up the flavours even more by adding a peeled, ripe, green Kiwi fruit.


                                               Yield: 2 cups, approximately

Ingredients:
1 Swiss chard leaf
fresh mung bean sprouts, 1 - 2 cups
½ Granny Smith apple, washed, chunked
½ avocado, peeled
½ fresh lime, peeled
a handful of fresh mint leaves
¼ cup cold water


Clockwise: Swiss chard, mint, bean sprouts, lime,
avocado, and Granny Smith apple

Preparation:
1. Clean the fruits and vegetables.

2.  Place the bean sprouts and ¼ cup water into the blender. Puree the sprouts.

3. Cut away the central rib of the Swiss chard leaf, keeping the dark green leaf portions. Slice these into pieces about 2.5 cm. (1 in.) wide.  Place the  slices into the blender. Puree.

4. Cut the unpeeled apple half into chunks. Remove core and seeds. Add the apple chunks to the blender.

5. Cut ½ of the lime. Using a sharp paring knife, sever the pulp away from the skin. Discard the skin. Cut the pulp into chunks and add them to the blender. 

6. Add the flesh of ½ avocado and a handful of fresh mint leaves. Blend on 'High' until the ingredients are pureed.

Decant into two glasses.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Beet, mango, tomato and red bell pepper juice

Enjoy the healthiest beet juice in town when it comes straight from your own garden or refrigerator via your juicer. This juice is simple and easy to prepare when you use the freshest possible fruits and vegetables.

Beet, mango, tomato and sweet red bell pepper juice


Ingredients:

1 medium-sized beet root, washed, peeled
½ ripe mango
1 plum (Roma) tomato
½ sweet red bell pepper

Beet, tomato, mango and sweet red bell pepper

Preparation:

1. Wash all the fruit and vegetables.

2. Cut the beet root into small chunks. Put these chunks into the juicer and juice them.

3. Slice half of the mango away from its large seed, length-wise. Score the flesh into chunks, then cut them away from the skin using a sharp paring knife. Put these into the juicer and juice them.

4. Chunk the tomato, then juice it.

5. Slice the sweet red bell pepper in half length-wise. Discard the core and seeds. Chop the prepared portion into chunks. Juice them.

6. Decant the juice into a glass. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The nutritional value of beets - Part 13: Carotene-B

Beets are a nutrient-rich source of antioxidants; Carotene-B is one of them. You can enhance your health and vitality by eating beets.

Carotene-B is commonly known as beta-carotene. As the name indicates, it is a carotenoid; it is one of the more than 600 Carotenoids that scientists have revealed are in our highly coloured foods. 

A beet, a good source of Carotene-B

Beta-carotene is an antioxidant. One of its functions in our bodies is to provide protection against the development of heart disease and cancers, especially lung cancer. Both raw and cooked beets -- the roots, the stalks and the leaves -- are good sources of Carotene-B.

Why is this important for you? 
It is important because your body, your liver, converts beta-carotene into retinol: Vitamin A. 

And why is this great news? 
It is great news because Vitamin A supports your vitality, inside and out (see Part 6, where one aspect of the nutritional value of raw beet greens is discussed). Vitamin A enables you to grow healthy, glowing skin.

Antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, provide you with defences against the ravages of the natural processes of oxidation which result in the production of free radicals. From freckles to 'age spots' and 'liver spots', the unsightly brown patches often seen on sun-exposed parts of white skin -- hands, faces, arms, necks, feet, ankles -- are the result of internal skin cell damage caused by free radicals. Of course, the sun's energy penetrates fabrics, so it isn't only exposed skin that exhibits free radical damage.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Although there are some external applications, such as sun screens, that provide some topical protection, many sunscreens do not provide both UV-A and UV-B protection. Both are essential. The primary -- and the best -- protection is gained by eating a diet rich in antioxidants. Carotene-B is one of those antioxidants.

Your immune system and normal cell replication is enhanced when your body transforms Carotene-B into Vitamin A. In addition, the integrity of your sight, internal membranes, and skin is maintained. Deficiency results in scaly skin, visual deficiencies such as night blindness, compromised immunity, and decreased resistance to infection.

In Part 1 of this series of discussions about the nutritional value of beets, we saw that 100g of raw beet root (approximately ½ cup) provides 20 micrograms (mcg) of Carotene-B.

In comparison, in Part 12, the table of nutrients shows that 100g of cooked beet root (approximately ¾ cup) provides 21 mcg of Carotene-B.

Concerning beet greens, the USDA National Nutrient database informs us that:

  • 100 g. (approximately 2½ cups) of raw, fresh beet greens provides 3794 mcg of Carotene-B. Thus, 1 cup (38g) provides1442 mcg of same.

  • 100 g (approximately cup) of cooked beet greens provides 4590 mcg of beta-carotene.

According to the Journal of Nutrition*, the current recommended beta-carotene intake is 2 - 4 milligrams (mg) daily. Some professors have concluded that the recommended daily intake should be raised to 7 mg. Since this opinion was expressed at a conference co-sponsored by DSM Nutritional Products Ltd., where the professors also stated that there is no difference between natural beta-carotene and the synthesized version, I am deeply sceptical of the veracity of the opinions expressed. 

It is well known that phytonutrients do not function in isolation, so I will not be adding beta-carotene supplements to my dietary intake. In addition, during the era when the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) was considered valid, the USDA National Nutrient database never specified an RDA for Carotene-B (as far as I am aware) although it did specify an RDA for Vitamin A.

* The Journal of Nutrition
Published ahead of print, doi: 10.3945/jn.109.119024
“b-Carotene Is an Important Vitamin A Source for Humans”
Authors: T. Grune, G. Lietz, A. Palou, A.C. Ross, W. Stahl, G. Tang, D. Thurnham, S. Yin, H.K. Biesalski