In Season Wellness – Rhubarb

fresh rhubarb

Last year at Trader Joes I discovered a rhubarb and strawberry pie.  It was delicious!  However, the next week when I went back to buy another, there were no more.  Not even returning the next day or week.   They were gone until the next season which meant the next year!  I was a rhubarb newbie but I took note and waited.

Now it’s back because rhubarb is in season and I’ve learned more about it.    It is often used for baking pies, cakes, muffins, breads, cookies, and it is often thought of as a fruit … however, rhubarb is a vegetable! It is usually paired alongside strawberries because they peak together in early spring.

Rhubarb is one of the least calorie vegetables with roughly 25 calories per cup, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.  It is 95% water and contains a fair source of potassium, contributes minor amounts of vitamins, and is low in sodium. Rhubarb’s crisp sour stalks are rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber and calcium, although the calcium is combined with oxalic acid and so is not easily absorbed by the body. Rhubarb is somewhat acidic (pH 3.1-3.2) but in most recipes this is normally offset by sugar.

I tried to find some innovative ideas  for cooking rhubarb and started with local restaurant menus.  At first all I saw were rhubarb strawberry pies, rhubarb and strawberry crumbles, rhubarb bread puddings, rhubarb crisps, even a strawberry-rhubarb beer!  I kept searching and found it featured in sauces accompanying beef, lamb, and pork.  I marched on and saw it coupled with seafood, then pasta (we’re getting warmer), and then BINGO on a pizza!  Chef Mike Isabella, Top Chef competitor, owner of Graffiato, author of ‘Crazy Good Italian’, featured a special at dinner with rhubarb on pizza.  Rhubarb and mozzarella – I like that!  Or goat cheese may be even better.

I’m not going to attempt a pizza, but with all in season fruits and vegetables right now, I enjoy thinking about how to bring Spring to my table.  Any ideas??

Feed the wellness in you!

In Season Wellness – Cauliflower

Roasted White Organic Cauliflower

This winter vegetable gets such a bad rap. But if you know various ways to prepare it, it can be an amazing addition to your meal.  Lately I’ve noticed it more and more as side dishes on restaurant menus and in main courses.  I had it prepared shredded finely and served like rice – incredible!  In December I read an article toting Cauliflower as the new Kale of 2015 with innovative recipes from renowned chefs.    The versatility of the vegetable and it’s ability to blend well with spices makes it a winner in winter dishes this season.

CauliflowerCauliflower2

Cauliflower is in the cruciferous family with cabbage, bok choy and broccoli, so it has high amounts of vitamin C, fiber, B6, folate, and cancer protecting antioxidants.  There are various types and colors of cauliflower; broccoflower (a lime-green hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower that is round), Romanesco  (also a lime-green hybrid with spiky curds vs. round), the purple-headed cauliflower, the orange-headed cauliflower,  and the white-headed cauliflower we were served as kids after being boiled too long!

I often roast cauliflower along with broccoli – very simply tossed in garlic, olive oil, sea salt and a splash of lemon juice.   I have also replaced potatoes with it in dishes because it marries well with spices used in stews or soups.  One of my favorite cauliflower dishes at a local Indian restaurant is Cauliflower Bezule.  If you really want to’ wow’ yourself, give this a try!  Recipe for Cauliflower Bezule 

Feed the wellness in you!