Quick Recipes and Easy

Asparagus: Springtime Bounty

Fresh asparagus is available year-round, but it’s most plentiful and cheapest in springtime. Snap of the tough lower part of each stalk then steam them until just tender (a few minutes in a countertop steamer or on the stovetop in about 1/2 inch of water.) Squeeze on a small lemon juice and delight in! Add them to any salad, or try one of these simple, healthful recipes.

By the way, don’t be surprised if your urine smells of asparagus after you eat it. Many foods affect the odor of urine, and asparagus is notorious for this.

Asparagus – Shrimp Salad
For the dressing:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced in a garlic press
1 tablespoon grated fresh gingerroot
1/2 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce, or to taste

For the salad:
1 pound thin asparagus
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup canned baby corns, drained
1 pound steamed, peeled shrimp

Combine the dressing ingredients.

Break the tough ends off the asparagus and cut the stalks into 1″ pieces. (Diagonal cuts look attractive.) Steam the asparagus for 8 minutes, or until just crisp-tender. (Alternatively, cook in boiling water for 3-4 minutes.) Rinse the cooked asparagus in cold water and drain.

Combine the asparagus with the remaining salad ingredients and stir in the dressing.

4-6 servings

Seafood “Stir Fry”
Use any combination of vegetables and any seafood that appeals to you. This basic recipe can be varied to use whatever you have on hand.

1 red bell pepper, cut in 1/4″ x 1″ strips
1/2 pound thin asparagus, cut on the diagonal into 1″ pieces
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup baby corn
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled
1/2 pound scallops
1 pound flounder or other firm white fish, cut in 2″ pieces
1 cup bouillon
1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons oyster sauce or soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves or flat parsley
Cooked brown rice, barley or other whole grains

Prepare all the vegetables and seafood and have everything ready by the stovetop.

Pour 1/2 cup of the bouillon into a large pot or deep frying pan. Add the gingerroot, garlic and black pepper and bring to a boil. Quickly add the shrimp, scallops and fish; cover, reduce the heat and cook until the fish is opaque, 3-5 minutes. Remove the seafood with a spatula or slotted spoon and set aside. Return the liquid to a boil and add the drained mushrooms, red pepper and asparagus. Add a small more of the bouillon if needed. Cook, stirring constantly, until the asparagus is just tender but still bright green. Stir in the oyster sauce and the cornstarch mixed with water; cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes. Return the seafood to the pot and stir in the leaves. Serve over cooked whole grains.

4-6 servings.

Creamy Asparagus Soup
2 pounds asparagus
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 broccoli stems, sliced (save the florets for another use)
6 cups bouillon
2 teaspoons oregano
pinch cayenne, or to taste
1 cup quick-cooking or rolled oats
Juice of one lemon
Lemon wedges
Freshly ground black pepper

Break the tough ends off the asparagus and discard. Cut the stalks in 2″ pieces and set the tips aside. Place the asparagus stalks and the remaining ingredients except the lemon in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 45-60 minutes, until the vegetables are very soft. Puree with a hand blender until smooth. Return the soup to a gentle boil, stir in the asparagus tips and cook 3-5 minutes or until they are just tender. Stir in the lemon juice and pass the wedges along with the pepper mill.

4-6 servings

Read my drmirkin.com/goodfood/index.html Excellent Food Book FREE, with 100 healthful recipes.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at drmirkin.com DrMirkin.com

drmirkin.com/email/newssign.asp Free weekly newsletter on fitness, health, and nutrition.

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