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Here is a delicious and nutritious recipe that can be served as is, eaten in a sandwich or put over pasta. Broccoli rabe is a member of the brassica family also know as the cabbage family. It’s flavor is somewhere between broccoli and mustard greens. Though it may look like a kinder gentler form of broccoli with its smaller flowers, this leafy green is a formidable foe of numerous health problems. The big news with broccoli rabe is its cancer fighting properties. It is a rich source of glucosinolates which our bodies convert to cancer-fighting sulforophanes. It is noted to be effective in prevention and has a curative effect on stomach, lung and colon cancers. There have also been hints that this vegetable may offer protection from breast and prostate cancers. Just 3  1/2 ounces of broccoli rabe gives you half the daily requirement of Vitamins A and C replete with antioxidants to fight off free radicals that can damage the body’s cells. It is a good source of folate to fight birth defects and heart disease. It slows the build-up of artery clogging plaque. A small serving of this powerful, healthy green provides loads of calcium, potassium and fiber. Red peppers get their antioxidant effect from carotenoids. Beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A is crucial for night vision. One small red pepper gives you enough Vitamin C to supply three times the daily requirement. Red peppers properties can bolster the immune system, protect against heart disease, stomach and colon cancers and help to heal wounds. They also promote better eyesight, protect against rheumatoid arthritis and promote lung health. Garlic another ingredient in this recipe has been touted a great deal in this blog. It provides a potent antibiotic effect as well as being an anti-viral agent. Garlic has been used for healing over the centuries by many cultures. It has been noted to protect against stomach and colon cancers, lower blood pressure and reduce the chances of infection. When these three ingredients are combined, the health benefits are huge…so eat up!

Ingredients:

1-2 red bell peppers or 1  small jar of roasted red peppers

1 bunch of broccoli rabe also known as rappini

2 c water

1-2 T extra virgin olive oil or reserved broth from the broccoli rabe

3-4 cloves of  garlic

1/4 t crushed red pepper

garlic powder

freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Directions for roasting peppers:

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees

Wash the peppers and dry them

Put the peppers in a parchment lined baking tray

Roast the peppers for 15 minutes

Turn them over once with tongs

Cook another 15 minutes

When done, put the peppers into a brown paper bag or covered bowl for 15 mins. The steam formed will allow you to remove the skins more easily.

Remove the skins when cool, peel only the skin that comes off easily and leave the rest.

Cut the peppers in half, let liquid run off, remove the core and seeds, then slice.

Once you have roasted your own peppers and have seen how easy it is, the flavor is so fresh and rich, you will never again want them from a jar.

Directions for cooking broccoli rabe:

Wash the broccoli rabe and remove the very ends of the stem which are usually dry

Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl or pot

In a large dutch oven or  pot, bring 2 c of water to a slow boil

Meanwhile, chop broccoli rabe in 1 inch increments across the length

Put the broccoli rabe into the gently boiling water for 4-5 minutes

Remove the rabe with a slotted spoon

Drain in a colander and reserve the broth

Immediately transfer the broccoli rabe to the waiting ice bath until cool 1-2 mins.

Remove with slotted spoon to colander and set aside

Putting it all together:

In a large skillet, heat 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil or the reserved broccoli rabe broth (if you do not use the broth, save it for a soup base or freeze it for future use)

When the oil is hot add garlic and cook slightly (do not brown or it will be bitter)

Add the broccoli rabe to the skillet

Add the sliced roasted red peppers

Season with dashes of garlic powder and freshly ground black pepper and (optional) the 1/4 t of crushed red pepper

Cook until the flavors have blended about 3-5 minutes and let it rest a while

Remove to a serving bowl and top with grated pecorino romano cheese if desired

Serve as is, in a sandwich with aged provolone cheese on a hard Italian roll or on whole wheat ciabbatta as seen here or  over whole grain pasta or gluten free pasta.

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Here is an easy, tasty, colorful side dish perfect for the holiday table. It can also be used as a main dish if served over pasta. String beans contain lots of lutein as well as beta-carotene hence they are beneficial to your eyes. String beans have recently been found to have antioxidants as well, and in fact have more than peas and other bean families. They provide absorbable amounts of the mineral silicon known to be important to bone health and the formation of healthy connective tissue. In addition, string beans have anti-inflammatory properties advantageous to diabetics and they promote cardiovascular health due to the amino acid known as alpha linolenic acid. Grape Tomatoes, like all tomatoes , are low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals. They contain lots of fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium, magnesium and potassium. They have lycopene, an antioxidant that protects cells from oxygen damage, and is known to prevent certain cancers and heart disease. Garlic has wonderful aroma, taste and nutrition. it has been long known as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral and a fighter of infection. Let garlic sit after crushing or chopping to improve its flavor and to allow its enzymes to work on behalf of your health. Garlic improves iron metabolism due to its sulfides. It is also a good source of selenium. Research suggests that garlic may help to regulate the number of fat cells in our bodies due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Obesity has been linked to a state of low grade inflammation. Garlic’s greatest attribute however, is its cardioprotection. It can lower blood triglycerides and total cholesterol though moderately. It can reduce plaque formation. Garlic’s top benefit is blood cell and blood vessel protection from inflammatory and oxidative stress.

Ingredients:

1/4 to 1/2 lb. of string beans, ends snipped off

1 pt. grape tomatoes halved

3 garlic cloves chopped

1  T extra virgin olive oil, spray oil or 1/4 C vegetable broth

garlic powder

fresh ground black pepper

1/8 t of basil or Italian seasoning

Optional: 1/4 C  grated Parmagiana Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese

Preparation:

Ready an ice bath (water and some ice) in a large bowl or pot.

Fill a  medium to large size pot with water and bring to a boil.

Add the string beans for 1  1/2 minutes to blanch them. When done, drain them in a colander

Immediately put the string beans in the waiting ice bath. They will cool quickly.

Drain again in a colander. This process preserves the nutrients and the bright green color.

Set the beans aside.

In a large saute pan, add the 1 T of oil and heat on moderate heat.

When hot, add the string beans, tomatoes, garlic and seasonings.

Cook until string beans are tender and tomatoes are softened, about 15 mins. The tomatoes release their liquid and with the oil and seasonings make a thin sauce for this dish.

Serve immediately as a side dish. See below for a main dish idea.

Alternatives:

For a main dish, cut string beans into smaller pieces and serve the side dish over whole wheat pasta or gluten free pasta. If you need more liquid, add vegetable broth or some water but not too much. You may also choose to add some white wine instead. You may also add a small amount of oil or whipped butter to the cooked pasta.  Top with grated parmagiano reggiano or pecorino romano cheese.

Delicious!!

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