Thursday, August 12, 2010

Vegetable Night! Garbanzo Bean Tomato Salad, Pattypan Saute, Roasted Corn with Chive Butter

It's summer and garden vegetables are all around us!

We haven't really had a vegetable night in quite awhile and I would like to get back into the habit of having a veggie night at least once a week, and possibly work ourselves up to twice a week. This is really, really easy to make. And with summer here, corn is in abundance! It's a classic summer staple. High in fiber, and in B vitamins, as well as folic acid and a number of other things our bodies need, it is used to help with kidney function and protect the heart. It also supports lung health, memory and energy. Vegetables are good for you!!

D is such a willing participant in my experimental cooking. I have to admit that many of the recipes I have found have turned out to be quite good. If we didn't think so, the recipes would not be on here!!

However, it is important to reiterate that we have cut out a lot of sodium in our diet and we do not use table salt at all. This renders our tastes to be a tad different than some who have not done so; we have become acclimated to the natural taste of the foods we eat without salting them. It has amazed me to realize how much of our food we never really tasted before cutting salt out. It was all salt! It's hard to tell when you still use it.

An example is my 17 yr old son. A few weeks ago, I made the tomato soup recipe from this blog because I love it. It was the first time my 17 yr old had tried it. He says, "This is bland, Mom." and he proceeds to add a bit of salt to his, taste it then say, "Much better."

Well, funny thing is, he didn't finish his bowl so I started to eat what was left in his bowl. BLEGH!!! All I tasted was the overwhelming salt flavoring!! And he really did not add that much. However, it made me realize just how much salt really does mask what the food we eat really tastes like.

Please don't dismiss a recipe if you try it as is and it seems bland to you. If sodium levels are not an issue with you, feel free to add salt to taste to your dishes. When I use canned goods, I use "no salt added", but you do not need to do this if you are not watching your sodium intake.

As for our meal.....I don't really eat a lot of garbanzo beans, or beans in general. Did you know that garbanzo beans are a high source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibers? The soluble fibers form a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, whose main function is to capture the cholesterol containing bile and remove it from the body. The insoluble fiber, on the other hand, prevents constipation, by increasing the stool bulk (yes I know, not exactly appealing, but your body needs to do it!!!). They also help prevent certain digestive disorders, like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis. Most people do not have enough fiber in their diet, and beans are a great source of this! They help lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels. This is a good-news food for diabetics!

It is estimated that a single cup of garbanzo beans supplies around 84.5% of the body’s daily manganese requirement. Manganese is involved in the production of energy and antioxidant defenses! This means that garbanzo beans aid your immune system as well. Good things, these beans.

And we've all heard the benefits of tomatoes! Personally, I do not like the taste of tomatoes but I can (and do) eat them in certain dishes. (I love fried green ones!) An interesting trivia fact about tomatoes is that they were not eaten in the US until the 1800's because they were believed to be toxic and cause certain cancers and illnesses such as appendicitis.

Of course, we now know that tomatoes actually have the exact opposite effect on our bodies. One tomato can provide 45% of the RDA for Vitamin C (which is required for growth and repair of tissues as well as immunity support), 15% of Vitamin A (promotes eyesight, offers immunity support), 8% of potassium RDA (aids in heart health and function and muscle repair), and is also high in iron (required for red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body and supplying us with energy).

New research is beginning to indicate that tomatoes may be used to help prevent lung cancer too. Two powerful compounds found in tomatoes-coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid-are thought to block the effects of nitrosamines. These are compounds that not only are formed naturally in the body, but also are the strongest carcinogen in tobacco smoke. By blocking the effects of these nitrosamines, the chances of lung cancer are reduced significantly.

For more information on the benefits of tomatoes, go here 10 Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Now, on to the recipes. Bet you thought I'd never get to it, eh? ;)

Garbanzo Tomato Salad
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

In a bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add beans; toss to coat. Place tomatoes in a serving bowl. Top with onion. Sprinkle with basil and remaining salt and pepper. Top with bean mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Toss just before serving.

Pattypan Saute

  • 2 cups halved pattypan squash
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small sweet red pepper cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan Cheese

Coat large skillet with cooking spray. Saute squash and onion in oil for 2 minutes; add garlic, and cook one minute. Add red pepper and mushrooms; saute for 6-7 minutes.

Stir in tomato, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Heat thoroughly. Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.

Roasted Fresh Corn with Chive Butter

(4 servings)

  • 4 ears of fresh corn, unhusked
  • 1/4 cup buttery spread or butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh chives

Preheat oven to 350. Place unhusked corn on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake 30-45 minutes depending on size of corn. Remove from oven and let cool. Remove corn husks and silks and discard. Melt butter in microwave and stir in chives. Serve with corn.