What’s in Season: Asparagus


It’s that tall skinny vegetable that’s known for making your pee smell a little funny. It’s one of my favorite vegetables, but I have to admit, before writing this I really didn’t know much about it.

So I hopped over to World’s Healthiest Foods to find out more. The most interesting thing I learned, was that in addition to having several beneficial vitamins and minerals, asparagus contains a substance called inulin.

Inulin is a carbohydrate that is able to survive your digestive track and make it all the way to your intestines. Once there, it helps to support the good bacteria in your gut. When there’s a healthy ratio between the good and the bad bacteria, you have a happy gut, but when the bad guys take over, that’s when you can start to experience all types of health issues. The bad guys live off all the junk we eat. And the good bacteria, well one thing that promotes their well being is inulin.

After suffering from UC for so long, anything the promotes a healthy gut is a winner in my book. Especially, something I love as much as asparagus.

Since I made the commitment to eating healthier, one of the things I’ve been trying to do is incorporate more veggies into my diet. I’ve found that a great way to do that is by starting my day with them, so asparagus for breakfast it is.

Asparagus Leek Frittata type

I found this recipe for an Asparagus and Leek Frittata at Epicurious. This is a perfect spring dish since both Asparagus and leeks are in season in the spring. This recipe is also vegetarian but my meat lovers can always add sausage to the frittata or serve with a side of bacon. Either way, you’ll feel good that you started your day with veggies and something that’s good for your gut. Frittatas are also an easy egg dish for those of us who aren’t skilled in the omelet flip.

First, wash and cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces, removing the tough bottom parts.  

Next, wash your leeks then cut all the beautiful green parts off, so all you’re left with is the light green and white section. If you’ve never cooked with leeks before, make sure you pull off at least one of the outer layers. Leeks are grown partially under dirt, so it’s very common to find dirt trapped between the outer layers and no one wants dirt in their frittata.


I adjusted the recipe slightly. I added garlic because I love garlic but decided to skip the mushrooms since I’ve never been a fan of them. I also threw in some sundried tomatoes because of the mild sweetness they add.

Let the butter heat up, then add the asparagus, leeks, garlic and tomatoes, and season to taste with a little salt and pepper.

As a side note: I sampled the sautéed mixture before I added the eggs and cheese and I liked it so much I ended up cooking it (minus the tomatoes) for dinner as a side dish later that week. It went perfectly with Chicken Parmesan.

Once the veggies have cooked for a few minutes, add the egg and cheese mixture to them. Before your eggs completely set, sprinkle some more Parmesean and Fontina cheese on top and stick the pan in your pre-heated oven.

Your fritatta only needs a few minutes in the oven. You’ll know it’s done when the cheese on top has melted and starts to turn golden and when the eggs puff slightly.

When it’s done, it’ll be time to enjoy a dish featuring what’s in season, asparagus.

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What’s in Season

Whats in season

In this crazy world, we’ve become accustomed to having everything, all the time, especially living in this desert oasis that is Las Vegas. But fruits and vegetables have seasons, and when you eat what’s in season there are plenty of benefits.

Reboot with Joe highlights 6 reasons it’s better to eat what’s in season. My two favorite: 1.things taste better and 2. they’re cheaper.

So when I buy what’s in season, I get fruits and veggies that taste better and they’re less expensive, that sounds like a win, win in my book.

 

What’s In Season*:

March -artichokes, asparagus, citrus, leeks, mangoes, pineapple

April – artichokes, asparagus, cherries, leeks, mangoes, pineapples, plums

May – apricots, asparagus, black berry, blueberry, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, strawberries, raspberries

*Check back for more posts and recipes featuring, What’s in Season.

Moroccan Inspired Lamb Stew

I decided I’d post this recipe before it’s a 115 degrees out and too hot for stew. Plus, my Mom keeps bugging me for it.

I didn’t grow up eating slow cooker meals, but when I went back to school, my life became that perfect storm that only a slow cooker could navigate. After a long day of class and work, standing over a stove was the last thing on my to do list. On top of that, my budget could no longer afford many of the culinary luxuries I had grown accustomed.

Having never cooked using a slow cooker, I searched the internet and what I found were very bland and boring recipes, loaded with meat and not too much else. My inner chef came out, and I came up with this Moroccan inspired Lamb Stew. It’s rich in flavor, easy to make, the ingredients aren’t too expensive, and its contains kale, a superfood.

Moroccan Inspired Lamb Stew

Makes about 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. Lamb shoulder blade
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 – 14.5oz cans of tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp. coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • cayenne pepper to taste

First: Pour the liquid ingredients into your slow cooker. While you can use any canned tomatoes, I prefer the flavor of Trader Joe’s Organic Diced and Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Organic Green Chiles. The roasting of the tomatoes and the addition of the chiles, adds a smoky layer of flavor to the stew that I really enjoy more than regular canned tomatoes.

Next: Chop up the garlic, the carrots and the onion and add to your liquid mixture in the slow cooker.

Optional: Brown the lamb and spices. It’s not necessary, but I think it adds flavor. I use lamb shoulder chops, a less expensive cut of lamb. It contains a lot more connective tissue than finer cuts, like leg of lamb or loin chops, but the slow cooking process melts the tissue, leaving juicy and tender chunks of lamb meat in your stew. Mix all the spices together and

sprinkle them on both sides of the lamb before you throw it into a hot pan, with olive oil to brown. Brown the lamb for about 3-4 minutes on each side on medium high heat. Don’t worry about whether the meat is cooked thru,

since the chops will have time to cook in the slow cooker.

Then: Once browned, you can throw the whole lamb shoulder chops, bones and all, into your slow cooker. Use a little bit of chicken stock or water to de-glaze your pan. Make sure to scrape the little pieces of lamb and spices from the bottom of the pan. You want to make sure these bits of flavor get added to your stew. I have a small, 2-quart, slow cooker with only 3 settings, low, high and warm. I cook my stew for about 4 hours on high.

Lastly: Add the kale. I use 1 bunch of kale, washed. You can take the time to chop it or just pull the stalks apart with your hands. I usually add it about 20 minutes before the stew is done, just allowing enough time for the kale to become tender. Before I add the kale, I remove the bones from the stew. By now, most of the meat should have pulled away from the bones. Any meat that is still stuck to them, can be easily removed using a fork. Let the kale cook down for about 15-20 minutes.

Serve: Over couscous or rice.