Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pandan Leaves, the Fragrant Screwpine


Pandan leaves are the leaves of the plant Pandanus amaryllifolius. It is an aromatic member of the pandanus family, also sometimes referred to as screwpine. These fragrant, long, thin, green leaves are popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand as an important flavoring agent for savory and sweet dishes. The flavor of pandan is hauntingly aromatic and delicate, and it is as important to Asians as vanilla is to Westerners. In Indonesia, it is called 'daun pandan'. Screwpine leaf was the name given by English traders who traveled to Asia.


The leaves are used either fresh or wilted, and are commercially available in frozen form in Asian grocery stores in nations where the plant does not grow. They have a nutty, botanical fragrance which enhances the flavor of Indonesian, Singaporean, Filipino, Malaysian, Thai, Bangladeshi, Vietnamese and Burmese foods, especially rice dishes and cakes.



Sensory Quality

The scent of pandanus leaves de­vel­ops only on wilting; the fresh, intact plants hardly have any odour. On the other hand, dried pandanus leaves loses their fragrance quite quickly.

It is also interesting to note that P. amaryllifolius is the only Pandanus species with fragrant leaves. Taken together, these signs, together with the lack of a wild population and the large distribution, imply a long tradition of cultivation.

Nutritional and Medicinal Properties

Pandanus leaves are thought by Asians to have a ‘cooling’ effect on the body and believed to be good for treating bleeding gums, internal inflammation, colds and coughs. The leaves have another interesting application - they are commonly used as insect repellents in Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia. Pandanus leaves seem to release some chemicals that keep cockroaches at bay.

Culinary uses

Pandan leaves are traditionally used to flavor rice, curries, milk puddings, and ice-cream. In Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, pandan is highly prized for festival occasions. It is also used to flavor prawn and pea and bean recipes, meat and vegetable curries, poultry dishes and pickles, jellies and confectionery.

To use for flavoring, several leaves (fresh or dried) are rolled and tied together and placed in the saucepan when boiling rice, milk, etc. The leaves are removed at the end of cooking. A very strong decoction is made by simmering chopped leaves in a small amount of water, which is strained and used to flavor dishes. Try wrapping pandan leaves around fish before roasting. A popular sweets dish is made with coconut milk, rice and pandan leaves for flavor. It is a plant that people of many Asian cultures yearn after. Grow a pandan and experience the aroma and culinary delight.

In Indonesia, pandan leaves are used for dishes, cakes and desserts and here are some examples:

Dishes:

Nasi Uduk (Coconut Rice)




Nasi Tumpeng (Festive Yellow Rice)





Cakes:

Pandan Coconut Mouse Cake


Pandan Chiffon Cake


Kue Putu Ayu




Sweet Desserts:

Dadar Gulung (Indonesian Crepes with Coconut Filling)



Kelepon (Sticky Rice Balls with Palm Sugar Filling)



Serabi (Indonesian Pancake)



Es Cendol (Ice-blended flour noodles in coconut milk) 



Cendol Ice Cream 




Other Names of Pandan

Pandan leaf is also known as:
kathey (Arabic)
ketaky (Bengali
chan heung lahn, chan xiang lan (Cantonese, Mandarin)
skrupalm (Danish)
pandan (Dutch)
pandanus (French)
schraubenpalme (German)
pandanus (Hebrew)
rampe (Hindi)
|pandanuz (Hungarian)
daun pandan (Indonesian, Malaysian)
pandano (Italian)
takonoki (Japanese)
taey (Khmer)
tay ban (Laotian)
skrupalme (Norwegian)
pandano (Portuguese)
rampe (Singhalese)
pandano (Spanish)
skruvpalm (Swedish)
thazhai (Tamil)
bai toey hom (Thai)
cay com nep (Vietnamese)


References:
  • Wikipedia/ Wikimedia
  • Epicentre
  • herbsarespecial.com
  • buzzle.com
  • All pictures are 'borrowed' from Google Images



Monday, December 27, 2010

Sambal, a Chili Based Sauce


 

The word Sambal is of Indonesian origin. It is a condiment, an ingredient or a dish which always contains a large amount of chilies. Sambal is popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the southern Philippines and Sri Lanka, as well as in the Netherlands and in Suriname through Indonesian influence.

It is typically made from a variety of chilies. Sambal is served as a condiment and as an ingredient for a variety of dishes. It is sometimes a substitute for fresh chilies. It can be extremely spicy for the uninitiated. It is common to find bowls of different sambals on the dining table in Indonesian homes.

Some ready-made sambals are available at food markets or supermarkets in many Asian countries.




Some popular Indonesian sambals include sambal terasi (shrimp paste sambal), sambal bajak, sambal mangga (green mango sambal), sambal ijo (green sambal), sambal balado, sambal kecap (sweet soy sauce sambal) sambal ulek, sambal setan, sambal Taliwang, sambal matah  and many more. 


Sambal Terasi
A common Indonesian style of sambal. Terasi (shrimp paste) is similar to the Malaysian Belacan, but with a stronger flavor since terasi is a more condensed shrimp paste than belacan.




Sambal Bajak
Chili (or another kind of red pepper) fried with oil, garlic, terasi, candlenuts and other condiments




Sambal mangga
Freshly ground Sambal Terasi with shredded young mango; this is a good accompaniment to seafood.





Sambal ijo
A specialty of the Padang area from Indonesia, the sambal is green, made of green tomatoes, green chilli, and spices. The sambal is stir fried.




Sambal Balado
This is the Padang style of Sambal. Red chili pepper is blended together with garlic, shallot, tomato, salt and lemon or lime juice, then sauteed with oil.





Sambal Kecap Manis
Indonesian sweet soy sauce, chili, shallots and lime it has a chiefly sweet taste, as said by the Indonesian word 'manis' which means 'sweet'.





Sambal Ulek (Oelek)
Chili (bright red, thin and sharp tasting). Some types of this variant call for the addition of salt or lime into the red mixture. Oelek is a Dutch spelling which in modern Indonesian spelling has become simply Ulek; both have the same pronunciation. Ulek is Indonesian special stoneware derived from prehistoric household kitchenware that is still being used actively in most Indonesian kitchens, particularly in Java. It is a stone pestle (called ulekan) with a mortar (ulek-ulek) made from an old and matured bamboo root, that is used for crushing chilies, peppers, shallots, and other kinds of ingredients.




Sambal Setan
A very hot sambal with Madame Jeanette peppers (red brownish, very sharp). The name literally means "Devil's Sauce".




Sambal Taliwang
This variant is native to Taliwang, a village near Mataram, Lombok Island, and is made from naga jolokia pepper grown specially in Lombok mixed with garlic and Lombok shrimp paste.  It is served as condiments to ayam bakar Taliwang (Taliwang grilled chikcen)





Sambal matah
Raw Shallot & Lemongrass Sambal of Bali origin. It contains a lot of finely chopped shallots, chopped bird's eye chilli, shrimp paste (trassi), with a dash of lemon.




Basically, there is no fix standard recipe for sambal. People make it according to their own preference. Some like more fiery sambal, some like the less spicy one. Some like it more sour and some more sweet.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Red Hot Chili Pepper


This post has nothing to do whatsoever with the music band named Red Hot Chili Pepper. This is really and literally about Red Hot Chili Pepper.




The chili pepper (also called chili) is the fruit of the plant capsicum of the nightshade (Solanaceae) family. Cultivated since prehistoric times in Peru and Mexico, it was discovered in the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus.




This is the plant that puts fire on your tongue and maybe even a tear in your eye when you eat spicy Mexican, simmering Szechuan, smoldering Indian, Thai food or Padang food. The heats is caused by the substance capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide). This chemical compound causes pain and inflammation if consumed too much, and can even burn the skin on contact in high concentrations.


HEALTH BENEFITS

Fight Inflammation
Chili peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which gives chilies their characteristic pungence, producing mild to intense spice when eaten. Capsaicin is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes.

Natural Pain Relief
Topical capsaicin is now a recognized treatment option for osteoarthritis pain. Several review studies of pain management for diabetic neuropathy have listed the benefits of topical capsaicin to alleviate disabling pain associated with this condition.
Clear Congestion

Capsaicin not only reduces pain, but its peppery heat also stimulates secretions that help clear mucus from your stuffed up nose or congested lungs.
Boost Immunity

Chili peppers’ bright red color signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Just two teaspoons of red chili peppers provide about 6% of the daily value for vitamin C coupled with more than 10% of the daily value for vitamin A.
Prevent Stomach Ulcer

Chili peppers have a bad–and mistaken–reputation for contributing to stomach ulcers. Not only do they not cause ulcers, they can help prevent them by killing bacteria you may have ingested, while stimulating the cells lining the stomach to secrete protective buffering juices.
Lose Weight

All that heat you feel after eating hot chili peppers takes energy–and calories to produce. Even sweet red peppers have been found to contain substances that significantly increase thermogenesis (heat production) and oxygen consumption for more than 20 minutes after they are eaten.



Wow, red hot chili pepper is so amazing isn’t it?   Maybe we should change that old saying to “A bowl of chilies a day keeps the Doctor away”.


HOW TO ENJOY

Chili recipes come in all types of colors and flavors depending on what part of the country that you come from. In Indonesia, chili is a common ingredient in many different dishes from different areas of the archipelago.

We have sambal which is served as a condiment for variety of dishes. It is sometimes a substitute for fresh chilies. It can be extremely spicy for the uninitiated. It is common to find bowls of different sambals on the dining table in Indonesian homes.



One of the famous Indonesian cuisinse, Padang Food, aslo use lots of chillies in the recipes and my favorite is the Balado.

Balado is versatile hot spicy sauce of Padang Food. We can cook it with eggplants or beef or prawns or eggs (boiled or fried).

Dendeng Balado (Spicy Beef Jerky)

Ingredients
500 grams lean beef meat (silver or topside)
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Pinch of salt


For the seasoning sauce10 red finger-length chilies, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic chopped
5 shallots, finely sliced
1 medium tomato, deseeded and chopped
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Pinch of salt
2 kaffir-lime leaves

To make the seasoning sauce, grind all ingredients (except the kaffir-lime leaves) to a smooth paste in a mortar or blender, adding a little oil if necessary to keep the moisture turning.

Cut the meat more or less around 3 mm thick, 3 cm wide and 3 cm length. Rub the salt onto the meat.

Deep fry the meat on a medium heat oil until brown and crispy. Set aside for a few minutes then pat dry with towel paper.

Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat, Stir fry the seasoning and kaffir-lime leaves until fragrant and cooked around 10 minutes.

Add the fried meat into the wok and mix well with the seasoning sauce for 1 minute. Remove from heat, discard the kaffir-lime leaves.




Using the same seasoning sauce, we can also make Balado Terong (Hot Spicy Fried Egg plant)



Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tempeh, a Meat Analogue





Tempeh or tempe in Indonesian is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybean into a cake form. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy-foods in that it is the only one that did not originate in China or Japan..


It originated in today’s Indonesia, and is especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but tempeh is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities.

Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber and vitamins. It has a firm texture and strong flavor. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine, some consider it to be a meat analogue.



Tempeh is Healthy!

Tempeh is very nutritive and contains many health promoting phytochemicals such as isoflavones and soy saponins. Tempeh fermentation produces natural antibiotic agents but leaves the desirable soy isoflavones and most of the saponins intact. Tempeh is a complete protein food that contains all the essential amino acids. The soy protein and isoflavones have many health benefits. Isoflavones strengthen bones, help to ease menopause symptoms, reduce risk of coronary hearth disease and some cancers. Tempeh maintains all the fiber of the beans and gains some digestive benefits from the enzymes created during the fermentation process


How to Cook Tempeh




In the kitchen, tempeh is often prepared by cutting it into pieces, soaking in brine or salty sauce, and then frying. Cooked tempeh can be eaten alone, or used in chili, stir frys, soups, salads, sandwiches, and stews.

Tempeh has a complex flavor that has been described as nutty, meaty, and mushroom-like. Tempeh freezes well, and is now commonly available in many western supermarkets as well as in ethnic markets and health food stores.


For a twist on the traditional sandwich, place broiled tempeh on a slice of whole grain bread, layer with sauerkraut, top with cheese or meltable soy cheese, then broil in oven for a few minutes until the sandwich is hot and toasty.




Add extra flavor, texture and nutrition to chili by adding some tempeh. Because it is a low-fat and high-protein food, many vegetarians choose to include tempeh in their diet on a regular basis.

Try adding some to a stir fry instead of tofu, or crumble into soups or chili. Because of it's firm texture, you need to slice tempeh into small dices or cubes, not more than 3/4 inch thick. Tempeh can be found in the refrigerated section of most health food stores and in the natural foods aisle of well-stocked grocery stores.




When thin sliced and deep fried in oil, tempeh obtains a crispy golden crust while maintaining a soft interior—its sponge-like consistency make it suitable for marinades. Dried tempeh (whether cooked or raw) provides an excellent stew base for backpackers.

In Indonesia, particularly in Java island Tempeh is very popular. There are so many tempeh dishes can be found and here are some interesting ones:


Tempe Mendoan

It’s a thinly sliced tempeh, battered and deep fried quickly resulting in limp texture.  The origin of the word mendoan is from Banyumas regional dialect, which means “to cook instantly in very hot oil”, that results in semi-raw cooking] and soft texture. The tempeh is dipped into spiced flour dressing before frying it in hot oil for a short time. Tempe Mendoan may seem like half-cooked soft fried tempeh, unlike common crispy fully deep fried tempeh.


Tempe Bacem or Sweet Marinated Tempeh

Tempeh boiled with spices and palm sugar and then fried for a few minutes to enhance the taste. The result is damp, spicy, sweet and dark-colored tempeh. 



Sate Tempe or Tempeh Satay

The tempeh is marinated with a traditional Indonesian spice paste named Bumbu rujak or mixed spicy sauce prior to grilling.





Tempe Penyet (Pressed Tempeh)

Indonesians almost eat everything with sambal. Sambal is a condiment made from a variety of peppers, although chilli peppers (red chilies, green chilies, bird's eye chilies) are the most common. Sambal is used as a condiment or as a side dish, and is sometimes substituted for fresh chillis; it can be very hot for the uninitiated.

Tempe Penyet is a unique dish of Indonesia. After the tempeh is fried, covered with sambal and pressed using pestle a shallow mortar so that the sambal can penetrate the tempeh.

It is usually served with warm rice and raw vegetables.




Sambal Tumpang (Vegetable salad with tempeh dressing)

Tempeh is also used as salad dressing



References:
  • Foodinfo.net
  • Wikipedia
  • WHFood
  • IndonesiaEats
 

Tofu, the Cheese of Asia




Discovered over 2000 years ago by the Chinese, tofu is sometimes called "the cheese of Asia," because of its physical resemblance to a block of farmer's cheese. Tofu is a highly nutritious, protein-rich food that is made from the curds of soybean milk. Off-white in color, it is usually sold in rectangular blocks. Tofu is a staple in the cuisines of many Asian countries. Tofu is its Japanese name, in China it is known as doufu while in Indonesia it is called TAHU.  


It is one of  the most common soy products and is soft in texture. Tofu is made by adding a coagulant to soy milk, the nutritious liquid extracted from boiled and crushed soy beans. This liquid is left to separate into curds and whey, then the curds are drained and allowed to set. When compressed to reduce the water content, they become hard or ‘pressed’ bean curd.

Appearance and flavor

Tofu has a creamy white color, and is generally made into blocks 5 – 7 cm thick. The flavor is fairly neutral.  Pasteurized tofu in plastic packs does not have quite the same flavor as fresh tofu, but it is still highly acceptable.

Choosing and storing




In Indonesia and most Asian countries  fresh tofu cut into squares are common. To buy fresh tofu, make sure it has pleasant smell. Tofu should be refrigerated after purchase. If it does not hav printed  expiry date, use within 1 week of purchase. Fresh tofu can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Cover with water and change daily.

Preparing

Fresh tofu can be cut but should be handled carefully as it is more fragile than pressed tofu. It is beast drained on several sheets of paper towels for 10 minutes before slicing then diced or cut into large squares.

Nutritional Value

The protein content is around 11% and the fat content is 5%. Like all forms of bean curds, tofu is an excellent substitute for meat in vegetarian diet.

Culinary Uses




Tofu is cubed and added to soups; sliced and layered with a filling of minced meat or fish, then steamed with fish, ginger, spring onions and preserved sour plums. Tofu is also braised, fried or scramble with chili and minced meat.


Tahu Sumedang: A very special Tofu 




In Indonesia, the most wellknown TOFU is Tahu Sumedang.  Many Indonesian treasure this simple yet irresistible tofu dish originally from the city of Sumedang, in West Java . The tofu is fried and ideally you take a bite of the tofu and then a bite of the green pepper. It all blends so well.  So yummy…..
  
You can find tahu sumedang being sold just about anywhere in Sumedang and other cities in West Java.  It is commonly sold and served with lontong (Javanese rice cake wrapped in banana leaves).





References:
  • A Cook’s Guide to Asian Vegetables by Wendy Hutton
  • Wikipedia

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mung Bean, the Nutrition Power House




Mung bean  is also famously known as green bean. Its husk is green in colour, with yellow flesh when dehusked. It is low in fat, and high in its nutritional value. Whole green bean is solid, when it is raw. It takes hours in boiling to turn soft and fluffy.

Mung bean is claimed to be a perfect slimming food. Some eat it as dieting food or food replacement in their sliming program. Not only it is low in fat, green bean is also a rich source of protein, and fiber which enables one to lower the high cholesterol level in body system. The high fiber in mung bean yields complex carbohydrate which improves digestion. Complex carb helps to stabilize blood sugar in our body by preventing rapid rise after meal. It keeps our energy at an even level. Frequent consumption of mung bean is beneficial to diabetes and one who suffers from high cholesterol level




Mung beans are part of the legume family and are a good source of protein.  If they are combined with other cereals, a complete protein can be made.  When sprouted, mung beans contain vitamin C that is not found in the bean itself.  In Asia, bean sprouts are used in cooking too.  

Health Benefits of Mung Beans

Mung beans are rich in the following nutrients: protein, vitamin C, folic acid or folate, iron, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, thiamine, zinc and magnesium. Mung beans are also high in fibre, low in saturated fat, low in sodium, and contain no cholesterol.  Because of the wide range of nutrients contained in mung beans, they offer a whole host of health benefits for the immune system, the metabolism, the heart and other organs, cell growth, protection against free radicals, and diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

Like all legumes, mung beans are very high in fibre – more so than fruits and vegetables and even better than wholegrains.  The soluble fibre in mung beans captures cholesterol in the intestines, keeps it out of the blood stream, and carries it out of the body.

How to Enjoy Mung Beans

Mung beans can be used in a variety of ways.  They can be sprouted, cooked, or ground to make flour. Mung beans are known for their sweet flavor and mung bean paste is used in some Asian countries to make sweet desserts.




In Indonesia, the mung bean’s sweet flavor is enhanced by adding palm sugar, ginger and coconut milk and enjoyed as snack or breakfast meal known as ‘bubur kacang hijau’ or ‘mung bean sweet soup’  




Seeing so much of its value, I feel like boiling a pot of  mung-bean sweet soup now! A bowl of nice hot sweet mung bean soup may reward my taste bud as well as my stomach.


References:
§    Wikipedia
§    wiseGEEK

Monday, November 29, 2010

Asparagus, the Highly Prized Vegetable


The fleshy green spears of asparagus are both succulent and tender and have been considered a delicacy since ancient times. This highly prized vegetable arrives with the coming of spring. In California the first crops are picked as early as February, however, their season generally is considered to run from April through May. The growing season in the Midwest and East extends through July.

Asparagus is a perennial, an almost leafless member of the lily family. The spears we buy in the store are actually the shoots from an underground crown. It takes up to 3 years for crowns to develop enough to begin producing shoots, but once they do, they can produce for up to 20 years.


How to select and store Asparagus

Asparagus stalks should be rounded, and neither fat nor twisted. Look for firm, thin stems with deep green or purplish closed tips. The cut ends should not be too woody, although a little woodiness at the base prevents the stalk from drying out. Once trimmed and cooked, asparagus loses about half its total weight.

Use asparagus within a day or two after purchasing for best flavor. Store in the refrigerator with the ends wrapped in a damp paper towel, and be sure to place the asparagus in the back of the refrigerator away from any light, since folate is destroyed by exposure to air, heat or light.


Tips for Preparing Asparagus 



 



Asparagus can be served hot or cold. While it is not necessary to peel asparagus, you should cut off the fibrous base before cooking. Wash it under cold water to remove any sand or soil residues.

You can tie asparagus stalks in a bundle to steam them, as this will make it easier to remove the stalks once cooked. If you find you enjoy this unusual vegetable so much that you become a true aficiando, you might consider purchasing one of the special tall, narrow steamers available that allow asparagus to be cooked to perfection-the tips are steamed while the thick stalks are cooked thoroughly in the boiling water.

Avoid cooking asparagus in iron pots as the tannins in the asparagus can react with the iron and cause the stalks to become discolored. If your recipe calls for cold asparagus, plunge the stalks into cold water immediately after cooking, then remove them quickly; letting them soak too long can cause them to become soggy.


Why Eat Asparagus?




High in vitamins B6 and C, plus fiber, folate and glutathione, an anti-carcinogen and antioxidant, asparagus is an excellent nutritional choice. It comes in three colors: white, green or purple, although the green variety is the most common. Long considered a luxury vegetable, often with a luxury price tag, fresh asparagus appears in stores in late February. But asparagus is at its best—and is usually cheapest—in April and May. And sure, while there’s frozen and canned asparagus, which can be enjoyed year round, nothing beats the delicate flavor of fresh asparagus.


What to Do With Asparagus

To prepare asparagus, you will need to rinse the spears and break off the tough ends. After that, how you cook asparagus is up to you.




Purists enjoy their asparagus with nothing more than a drizzle of good-quality olive oil, but you can enjoy asparagus in many different dishes: in soups, salads, stir-fries, risottos, scrambled eggs, pasta, and many more dishes besides.


So How Do You Cook Asparagus?


In short, quickly!


Steaming: First, you need to tie a bundle of asparagus spears together with kitchen string, just under the tips and also near the bottom, making sure the bottom ends are level. Place the bundle in a tall pot of 2 inches of boiling water, unless you have your very own asparagus steamer. Cover and steam for 5-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears. While the ends of the asparagus are being boiled, the tips are actually being steamed. The end result should be bright green, crisp yet tender spears.


Boiling: Lay the asparagus spears in a large skillet with about an inch of water. Boil for up to 5 minutes, depending on thickness of the spears.


Blanching: If you are using the asparagus in salads or for other cold dishes, plunging the boiled or steamed asparagus in cold or iced water as soon as they are done immediately stops the cooking process and helps preserve the color and crispness of the asparagus.


Microwaving: Lay asparagus in a microwave-safe baking dish, with tips towards the center. Add about a 1/4 cup of water; cover and microwave for 4-5 minutes. Roasting: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for 8-10 minutes.


Stir Frying: Cut spears diagonally into 1 1/2 inch to 2-inch pieces, and stir fry with a teaspoon of sesame or olive oil for 3 minutes.


Roasting: Place asparagus on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray and roast in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness of the spears. Or, instead of using cooking spray, drizzle a little olive oil over the asparagus before roasting.


Grilling: Place asparagus spears on a preheated (medium-high heat) grill sprayed with olive oil spray and cook for about 5-8 minutes until tender, turning occasionally.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas: 


For a delectable hors d’oeuvre, roast asparagus along with other vegetables such as pattypan squash, Portobello mushrooms, and beets.




Steamed asparagus served with light lemon vinaigrette makes a delightfully refreshing salad.





Toss freshly cooked pasta with asparagus, olive oil and your favorite pasta spices. We especially enjoy thyme, tarragon and rosemary.





Asparagus make a flavorful and colorful addition to omelets.





Healthy sauté asparagus with garlic, shiitake mushrooms or tofu or chicken.


References:
  • About.com
  • WHFood.com