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Spring is here, so I wanted to continue this series for a little while longer, before we go onward. I’ll periodically post new diabetic recipes, especially as the seasons change. It is important to use seasonal foods, and they are less expensive, too.
The most famous spring foods are rhubarb and asparagus.
Rhubarb is pH acid-forming, and should be used sparingly, if at all. (Do not eat the leaves; they are poisonous!). Rhubarb is great paired with strawberries, later in the Spring (like May).
Asparagus is very alkaline and a great body-wide internal cleanser. For people on a budget, this IS the time to buy it for detoxification purposes and for help balancing your cellular pH levels. Spring cleaning your body is necessary after the winter.
Steaming and stir-frying are the best ways to prepare asparagus, with just a tiny bit of organic butter and lemon juice at serving, if alone. Asparagus is wonderful in any stir-fry dish, and depending on diameter, should be added earlier in the mix of veggies, in a multiple ingredient dish, but it’s good stir-fried by itself, too.
The only time to have “pencil-thin” asparagus is in the first weeks of Spring. After that, you should get the biggest stalks possible, as slender ones are NOT mature and do NOT have all the nutrition needed. Yes, there will be more “woody” stem ends on wider asparagus, but just chop them off at the “break-point”, and use them to make a veggie broth.
For steamed asparagus, watch it carefully; you do not want to lose its bright-green color, and you need to stage the meal so you can serve it immediately. But, it’s great in cold salads, too, so after steaming, plunge it immediately into a large bowl of cold water, with ice-cubes already added. Then drain and put into containers in the refrigerator. A recipe I shared with you earlier is found at: Em’s Lemony Celtic Asparagus Salad
Speaking of vegetables — Michelle Obama got everyone, even the White House chefs, out on the White House’s South Lawn last Friday to dig an 1,100 sq. foot organic veggie garden in.
Well, they went about it all wrong, and should have consulted the White House gardeners, at the very least. While the sentiments are laudable and worthy of emulation, it is necessary to learn before doing.
They should have included Alice Waters, famed Berkeley, CA chef, who has advocated for this for decades along with her successful Edible Schoolyard Project and they should have asked a couple of other advocates like Roger Doiron* and Michael Pollan. Probably any of these people could have told them they needed sod-cutters etc. etc. etc. Did anything ever actually get planted yet? The story has disappeared. It makes me wonder.
I hope they keep the project and that it is done properly. And, for budget reasons, as well as health, this is the time for you to start your garden this year (even if you have not before — you can do this!). Learn all you can and get started. Territorial Seeds has great organic selections and be sure to plant heritage varieties as much as possible. You can become part of a seed savers exchange, especially the first one, called Seed Savers Exchange, too.
Another thing the White House group failed to learn, so far, is when you look at the White House garden plan that the New York Times published, the whole idea of “companion planting” wasn’t considered at all. It is very necessary, and in fact, their plan includes large areas of plants which are antagonistic to each other.
And, one more item — I wish Ms. Obama had not mentioned that Mr. Obama does not like beets, so she wouldn’t even plant them! How stupid.
Number 1: I bet he hasn’t tried anything other than canned beets.
Number 2: That doesn’t mean that any one else shouldn’t have the chance to eat them (and this garden is supposed to be used for State dinners, too!). What a crock.
Bush Sr. did the same bad PR for broccoli. Keep their likes and dislikes out of it. We want to make up our own minds!
Beets are highly nutritious (especially the green tops), and if you don’t like “traditional” (often over-cooked “greens”), then get these as microgreens (sow some untreated, organic beet seeds and as they get 2 – 3 leaves, pull them up, wash them well and use them or just start them in a sprouting jar for regular, indoor sprouts). They pack a big nutritional punch. In fact, indoor sprouting should be part of everyone’s economical way to boost nutrition!
Well, either asparagus or beets will go very well with my own recipe for a Medieval Style Fish Pye. They are very healthy and used to be used a lot, especially in Britain, in decades and centuries gone by. It was such a part of everyday life that there is an island in the Thames, within London, called Eel Pie Island!
I used canned mackerel as the base of mine. This is very inexpensive fish and one that is a sustainable fishery (not “over-fished”) as well as being high in beneficial Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs). I suggest you use a firm fish, too, for texture like cod, in chunks, and canned shellfish would do that too (e.g. clams are very high in iron). It needs the second, firmer fish / shellfish if you use one canned fish.
Whole Foods also had fresh, whole mackerel, which the fishmonger said he would filet for me, when I was shopping there yesterday. (They also had whole smelt — tiny fish, low on food chain, inexpensive, too; they’s be perfect for this project, too.) Probably as fresh mackerel, I wouldn’t have the mouth-feel issue, as I would be cooking it just once and it would not be automatically mashed up.
DO NOT USE TUNA! tHIS FISH IS TOO HIGH IN MERCURY. It should be used by children a maximum of twice a month; by pregnant women — preferably not at all — otherwise twice a month); by others, no more than 1 – 3 times a month.
Salmon pieces (or canned), halibut (expensive), cod, haddock, hake, smoked haddock (Finnan Haddie) and occasional shellfish, if desired, are all possibilities. Only use Sea Bass if it is from a sustainable fishery (Whole Foods’ is) otherwise, in much of its range, it is endangered.
You could also make this into a Fish Loaf, without the pastry. I will leave you to modify your favorite meat-loaf recipe, and would suggest you try it first by baking it in a pyrex loaf pan, in a second pan with water half way up the sides (as fish is more delicate, and needs more moisture in cooking).
Anyway, it could also be modified into a Fish Quiche, too, by adding eggs and milk, but I just wanted a more traditional fish pie. The most popular form for a while is a fish version of Shepherd’s Pie, with mashed potatoes on top. I’ll include Jamie Oliver’s Fish Pie recipe link with others, below.
But here is my original Fish Pie. Have it with steamed or stir-fried asparagus and a salad. Maybe even have some roasted beets (put them in the oven before the pie, then with the pie, depending on size — wash and scrub, dry, brush with olive oil, wrap in foil).
The recipe looks like a lot of steps, but lots can be done ahead, or uses left-overs, and the prep goes fast.
Everyone in my family commented on how much they loved this; that was a first (I didn’t have to even ask!). Enjoy!
Em’s Original Fish Pie
___ 2 pie crusts, defrosted in refrigerator — later, removed 20 minutes before starting the pie (do it first, then assemble the rest of the ingrediets)
___ (already steamed) 1 C frozen peas plus (approx 1 ½ – 2 small, red potatoes, skin on, ( steam 3/4″ chunks ~9 minutes, then add)(put raw potatoes on bottom with frozen peas on top)
___ 1/4 c carrot puree (or 6 – 8 baby carrots, halved or quarterd and steamed with potatoes, above)
___ 6 oz. pre-cooked fresh or frozen cod fillet, cut in 3/4 ” chunks after cooking OR 1 can clams (drain)(keep juice)
___ 1 (15 oz.) can of mackerel, drained (keep broth); mash well (break up bones)
___ 1 can cream of celery soup (15 oz. size), undiluted
___ 1/16 C well washed quinoa or red lentils (toor dal) OR add a little cornstarch or tapioca sprinkled thru the pie mix (about 1T) as the fish and veggies still exude some moisture.
___ garlic powder (around 9″ pie plate several times)
___ 1/4C finely chopped organic cilantro
___ 1/3C finely minced organic parsley
___ ½ diced onion
___ sprinkles (about 1/4t – 1/2t each) organic thyme, oregano
___ lots of dill (pie should look almost green on top)
___ 7 shakes of sea salt
___ 1T Thai sweet chili sauce.
1) Preheat oven to 375 F. Take out refrigerated pie crust. Let sit 15 – 20 minutes, elevated across a pan so air gets to all sides.
2) add prepped beets for roasting if part of your meal (see above)
3) set-up steamer with asparagus or set-up ingredients for asparagus stir fry, but leave until close to serving time
4) put bottom round of pastry into 9″ pyrex pie plate and secure gently to top edge in a few places
5) Mix all the pie’s filling in a large bowl. Spoon in by dollops all over the pastry base, then double-layer and smooth top
6) carefully add the pie’s top. Poke in 6 central slits with a sharp knife.
7) brush top with about 1T organic half and half or milk
8) Cook 70 minutes – protect pie edges after 30 minutes (use a formal, stiff pie protector, or pieces of aluminum foil).
Raise temp to 400 – for up to 10 minutes to let pie “brown” (only if needed).
9) Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Will generously serve six, or cool left-overs immediately for a great cold lunch.
Serve with Em’s Quick Salad:
1 red pepper
1/3 red cabbage (shredded)
1/4 English cucumber
½ package organic alfalfa or clover sprouts
1/3 packet of beet green micro-greens sprouts
approx. 2T organic sesame oil
2T lemon juice
1T Bragg’s apple cider vinegar (do not use Heinz or regular commercial type) (Bragg’s has its original enzymes and is organic)
several shakes Asian fish sauce
about 1/4 C organic goat milk kefir or 1/4C plain yoghurt with a bit of water
Have an Almond milk, Agave and Hemp Shake, for dessert … and the cold-water fishes and hemp will give you LOTS of necessary Omega-3s to ease your tired, sore body and feed your brain!
I sincerely hope that you enjoy these recipes and that you’ll write to me with your recipes at the About Me tab.
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Best to all — Em
To start your own garden:
Organic and heritage seeds from: Territorial Seed Company
The best gardening method – in ground or in containers: Squarefoot Gardening where former PBS host Mel Bartholomew will teach you a lot, in an easy way. I think I have Mel’s first book from the 1970s! You can also learn from Eliot Coleman.
For a traditional prepared fish line of products, family owned since 1934:
You need to seriously look at this legislation! I wonder if this White House or any home garden qualifies as a “food production facility” under Section 3(14) of Rosa DeLauro’s Food Safety Modernization Act (HR 875) currently under consideration in House committee?
Other Fish Pie Recipes:
Marco Pierre White’s more traditional European Yew Tree Fish Pie:
Marco Pierre White’s Yew Tree’s Fish Pie
Well regarded British Chef Delia Smith’s version:
Luxury Fish Pie with Rosti-caper Toppingl
Vegetable Garden Projects:
* “Roger Doiron’s “Eat The View” idea to plant a vegetable garden on the WH lawn was the #1 winner at OnDayOne.org, beating 4,000 other ideas (like world peace) with 10,000 votes, a truly grassroots bottom-up change effort” – commenter at NYT.com
(c)2009 Em http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
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