Tag Archives: roasted

3 Ways to Enjoy Asparagus… (and why it makes your pee stink)

12 May
Chicken Zucchini "pasta" with sauteed asaragus, cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives.

Chicken Zucchini “pasta” with sautéed asparagus, cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives.

This delicate spring green is one of my favorite vegetables, but it is in season for such a short time that I binge eat it–enjoying every last bite and not-so-much enjoying every last drop of stinky pee (more on that later). My parents have always grown asparagus in their garden, but you can find it at any Farmer’s Market stand or in the grocery store.

 

Since it is delicate, you have to be careful you don’t cook it into a fine mushy consistency and kill all of its flavor and health benefits… a few of which include fiber, folate (helps brain function), vitamins A, C, E and K, chromium (helps regulate blood sugar levels), cancer-fighting and age-defying antioxidants, and it is a diuretic which is awesome for anyone who suffers from edema or any heart-related disease.

 

Here are three quick and simple ways to enjoy asparagus.

 

1. Steamed. Place half an inch of water in a large stock pot and then place a metal steam basket in the pot. Cover and bring to a boil. While water is boiling, clean and cut asparagus stalks into 3-inch pieces, making sure you snap off the rough ends. Place in stock pot and steam for 7-9 minutes depending on how thick the stalks are. When finished steaming, use a hot pad to take the basket out and place the asparagus in a cold water bath to cool and retain color. Pat dry and serve.

 

2. Roasted. Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Snap off rough ends, wash and pat dry asparagus, then toss with coconut oil, sea salt and pepper to taste (garlic is nice too). Lay asparagus on a cookie sheet, ensuring they do not overlap. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until asparagus is crisp and tender.

 

3. In Stuff. Now that’s descriptive, isn’t it? Once you clean it and snap off the ends, you can toss it in egg bakes, frittatas or saute with mandolin-sliced zucchini for a light olive oil based veggie pasta (see photo). Yum!

 

…. And why does it make your pee so stinky? Well, when our body digests asparagus, it breaks down a chemical, asparagusic acid, into a sulfur-containing compound. When that baby is airborne, watch out ’cause your pee is gonna stank. That sulfur compound becomes a gas at room temp, rising out of your urine and into your nose. However, only 25% of the population reports stinky asparagus pee which scientists believe is linked to a single gene mutation, meaning you have an extra special sniffer if you can detect that pungent odor. Yay you!

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Hazelnuts & Pumpkin Seeds

15 Oct

IMG_1772Nothing says cozy comfort like curling up on a chilly Fall night with a warm bowl of soup. The soothing cinnamon mixed with the slightly salty, crispy butternut squash seeds and hazelnuts make this dish pop with flavor.

Ingredients for the soup:

1 butternut squash

1 small onion

2-3 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp coconut oil

4 cups low sodium vegetable broth

5 turns black pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cloves

cinnamon sticks or sage leaves for garnish

Ingredients for the toasted nuts & seeds

butternut squash seeds

1/4 cup raw hazelnuts

extra virgin olive oil to coat

sea salt to taste

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350°. Chop the onion into chunks and remove skin from the garlic cloves. Cut top stem and bottom nub off of the butternut squash. Then, cut in half lengthwise and widthwise, remove seeds (set them aside in a dish of water) and use a vegetable peeler to peel skin off of the butternut squash. Coat all vegetables with coconut oil, set on a baking dish and roast for 40-50 minutes.

2. While vegetables are roasting, clean seeds, dry and set aside for roasting.

3. While the squash is cooling, turn oven heat down to 325°. Place butternut squash seeds and hazelnuts on a baking sheet, toss with olive oil and season with sea salt. Roast for 25 minutes. Nuts and seeds should lightly brown but not burn.

4. Cut the butternut squash into chunks. In a large stock pot, add onion, garlic cloves and butternut squash. Add the vegetable broth, black pepper, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Bring soup to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth.

5. To serve the soup, place the toasted seeds at the bottom of the bowl, pour the soup in and top with hazelnuts (I love hiding the seeds for a tasty surprise!). Sprinkle with cinnamon and garnish with a cinnamon stick or sage leaf.

Serves 4-6

Recipe courtesy of Stephanie Bell