Katherine’s Market Recipe: Strawberry & Rhubarb Soup

Soupe aux Fraises et Rhubarbe (photo by Alison Eaves)

FREE: Download and print my entire new spring recipe chapter from my upcoming cookbook: “Diet Simple Farm-to-Table Recipes,” try a recipe, post its picture and join the discussion on my Facebook page, then I’ll enter you in my contest to win free Personalized Nutrition services. This wonderful recipe, along with many others, is included!

Diet Simple - Spring Recipes

Today is the 3rd “Katherine’s Market Recipe” of 2013, all of which are designed to be delicious, easy, quick, famiy-friendly, nutritious (heart-healthy & diabetes-friendly), and to highlight produce found at our local farmers markets this week. At your farmers market, you’ll find produce picked at peak ripeness, which means maximum flavor, texture, and nutrition. You’re also helping save the environment when you buy at your farmers market. Here’s how…

For my “Soupe aux Fraises et Rhubarbe,” I recommend you buy the strawberries and rhubarb at Rose Park Farmers Market on Wednesday afternoons, the Glover Park-Burleith Farmers Market Saturday, or the  Dupont Circle’s Fresh Farm Market on Sunday.

Soupe aux Fraises et Rhubarbe
(Strawberry and Rhubarb Soup)
by Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Tablespoons Canola Oil
3 stalks Rhubarb, pealed and cut into 1.4 inch chunks
2 cups hulled and sliced fresh Strawberries
4 ounces fresh Orange Juice
1/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Nonfat or Low Fat Vanilla Yogurt
4 fresh Mint Leaves

Procedure:

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Use a pan large enough to hold all of the ingredients. Add the rhubarb and saute about a minute. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for about 7 minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender. Remove from the heat and let cool. Add the strawberries, orange juice, sugar and 1/2 cup of the yogurt and blend with an immersible hand blender (I like the Cuisinart Smart Stick). Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or until it is well chilled.

Presentation:

Pour the soup into four small chilled bowls. Place a 1 Tablespoon dollop of yogurt and a fresh mint leaf on each bowl.

Did you know that there are 200 seeds on each strawberry?

Strawberries are members of the Rose family and there are over 600 different varieties. Choose freshly picked, ripe berries, as they will be the tastiest and will have the most nutrients. “Look for berries fully formed, bright red, without bruising or soft spots and with fresh-looking green caps,” says Janie Hibler in “The Berry Bible.”

Strawberries are considered a “superfood.” They have one of the highest antioxidant and nutrient contents of all foods, yet they are low in calories, so you can eat them in unlimited quantities. In fact, for your health, the more the better! “A serving of eight strawberries contains more vitamin C than an orange. Strawberries are also rich in folate, potassium, and fiber. They’re especially high in cancer- and heart-disease-fighting phytonutrients (beneficial plant compounds) called flavonoids, anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, catechin, and kaempferol.

Soupe aux Fraises et Rhubarbeis adapted from “The French Culinary Institute’s Salute to Healthy Cooking” (Rodale Press, 1998), one of my favorite cookbooks, which I highly recommend!

For more of my fantastic spring recipes…

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Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries – Katherine Demonstrates at Farmer’s Market Sunday

Join me this Sunday 11 am to 2 pm at the new College Park Farmers Market! I’ll be demonstrating dark-chocolate-dipped strawberries using the season’s first strawberries. I just bought several quarts at my local Rose Park Farmers Market, and they are sweet and tender – just as they should be when they’re picked locally at peak ripeness.

Today is the 2nd “Katherine’s Market Recipe” of 2013, all of which are designed to be delicious, easy, quick, famiy-friendly, nutritious (heart-healthy & diabetes-friendly), and to highlight produce found at our local farmers markets this week. At your farmers market, you’ll find produce picked at peak ripeness, which means maximum flavor, texture, and nutrition. You’re also helping save the environment when you buy at your farmers market. Here’s how…

For my “Dark-Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries,” I recommend you buy the strawberries at Rose Park Farmers Market,  Dupont Circle’s Fresh Farm Market on Sunday or come visit me demonstrating this incredible recipe on Sunday at the new College Park Farmers Market.

Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
by Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D.

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients:

For the Fondue:
½ cup Skim Milk
8 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

To Serve:
2 quarts Whole Strawberries (or other seasonal fruit)
Long toothpicks or Kebab Sticks
Finely Chopped Nuts (optional)
Course Ground Coffee (optional)
Granola (optional)

Heat the milk in a double boiler. When the milk begins to bubble around the edges, turn off the heat, and whisk in the dark chocolate chips. When melted, mix in the vanilla. Be careful not to burn the chocolate! Keep it on very low heat or in a double boiler. Pour into a fondue pot, keep on low, stirring occasionally. Spear each strawberry or piece of fruit with a long toothpick or kebab stick, and dip into the chocolate. If desired, roll in a bowl of chopped nuts, granola – or for the adults: course ground coffee for “mocha” dipped strawberries. To harden the chocolate, place each chocolate-dipped strawberry separately on parchment paper and let cool.

About 160 calories per serving, which is 1/8 of the recipe. Tthe strawberries are only 2 to 6 calories each, depending on their size.

Did you know that there are 200 seeds on each strawberry?

Strawberries are members of the Rose family and there are over 600 different varieties. Choose freshly picked, ripe berries, as they will be the tastiest and will have the most nutrients. “Look for berries fully formed, bright red, without bruising or soft spots and with fresh-looking green caps,” says Janie Hibler in “The Berry Bible.”

Strawberries are considered a “superfood.” They have one of the highest antioxidant and nutrient contents of all foods, yet they are low in calories, so you can eat them in unlimited quantities. In fact, for your health, the more the better! “A serving of eight strawberries contains more vitamin C than an orange. Strawberries are also rich in folate, potassium, and fiber. They’re especially high in cancer- and heart-disease-fighting phytonutrients (beneficial plant compounds) called flavonoids, anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, catechin, and kaempferol.

Is it true that a chocolate a day will keep the doctor away?

The cacao bean, grown mainly in Latin America, Africa and Asia, is loaded with beneficial compounds. In fact, its early uses, dating back 3,000 years were mainly medicinal. It has been highly prized for centuries, which is reflected in its scientific name, Theobroma cacao, meaning “Food of the Gods.”

Cocoa, if high in flavanols, the beneficial plant compounds scientists believe impart most of cocoa’s benefits, may help maintain a healthy vascular system, relax blood vessels, reduce blood clotting – an aspirin-like affect –reduce oxidative damage, inflammation, and improve blood flow. All of which reduces heart disease risk.

If you’re eating chocolate for health benefits, you’ll need to be very discriminating in your selections. You’ll get more flavanols, and therefore health benefits, with less processing. The first choice is cocoa, which isn’t Dutch processed – as when cocoa is “Dutch processed with alkali” the flavanols are reduced. Look for chocolate which has the highest percentage of cocoa as possible and to save calories, look for chocolate with lower fat and sugar levels. In general, cocoa is your best first choice. Second choice is a semisweet or bittersweet chocolate with a high cocoa percentage. Some chocolates go as high as 85% cocoa, but legally can be as low as 35%. I recommend no more than an ounce a day, which may be about 110 – 150 calories, depending on the chocolate. Any more than that and you’re probably going to take in too many calories for weight control.

The numbers:

Type of Chocolate                                                                                     Mg Flavonols                        Calories
1.3 oz Dark Chocolate Bars, Average*:                     82 mg                                        187

1.3 oz Milk Chocolate Bars, Average*:                      42 mg                                        198

1 TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Average*:                 75 mg                                        12

  • *USDA’s Nutrient Data Laboratory

 

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Katherine’s Spicy Mexican Salsa with Strawberries

Photo by California Strawberry Commission

I usually use vine-ripe tomatoes for my fresh salsa, excerpted from my book, Diet Simple. But strawberries are a surprising and exotically delicious substitute. Serve this salsa with grilled salmon, chicken or beef… even tortilla chips… whatever you may traditionally use salsa with.

22 servings

Ingredients:

1 large onion, peeled and chopped (about ½ pound)
2 lbs fresh strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped (start with about 3-1/2 lbs)
3 – 4 jalapeno peppers (1 – 2 ounces), to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ tsp salt, or to taste
3 – 4 Tbsp fresh lime juice (1 – 2 limes)

Add the onion to the strawberries. Finely chop 2 of the jalapeno peppers to start with. Taste. If you desire more heat, add 1 – 2 more jalapenos. Mix in the cilantro. Add the salt depending on your taste. Mix in the lime juice.

Learn more about the nutritional benefits of strawberries and other berries…

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Kjerstin’s Curried Chicken Salad with Strawberries and Roasted Almonds

Photo by California Strawberry Commission

This recipe by my mother, excerpted from my book, Diet Simple, would make a very nice luncheon offering. Like any curry dish, its perfect companions are a spicy or sweet chutney and a cool nonfat or lowfat yogurt. You could also top on a bagette or stuff in a tomato or avocado half. Serve with pickles, carrot and celery sticks, or radishes. You can use any seasonal fruits such as peaches, grapes, oranges, or anything ripe and in season.

Serves 4

2 cups chicken breast meat, cooked, chopped (about 2 half breasts or 9 ounces)
1 pint Low sodium, nonfat chicken stock
1/3 cup small mild onion, chopped
1-1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 c grapes, halved and seeded (or other available fruit)
1 11-oz can mandarin oranges, drained OR ¾ pound Strawberries, hulled and quartered (or other available fruit)
3 Tbsp Fresh Dill, Chopped
3 Tbsp Chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp or more to taste curry powder
1 ounce almonds or walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup any low fat ranch-style or Cucumber dressing

Instructions:

Poach the chicken breasts in low sodium, nonfat chicken stock until breasts are cooked. Let cool and chop in bite-size pieces. Add the rest of the ingredients, toss, and chill. Serve chilled.

Per serving: 230 calories, 8 grams fat, 1 grams sat fat, 19 g carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 20 grams protein

Did you know that there are 200 seeds on each strawberry? Strawberries are members of the Rose family and there are over 600 different varieties. “Look for berries fully formed, bright red, without bruising or soft spots and with fresh-looking green caps. Beware of buying out-of-season strawberries, as sometimes they are picked when they are only 40% ripe. These berries may turn red, but they will never develop sweetness and can be hard as an apple,” according to Janie Hibler in “The Berry Bible.”

Learn about nutritional benefits of strawberries and other berries…

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Susan Belsinger’s Strawberry Soy Milk Smoothie

Photo by California Strawberry Commission

Susan Belsinger, a culinary herbalist and talented recipe developer, says you can use any berries in a smoothie, but her favorite is strawberry.  Susan’s kids like this smoothie with ripe banana added; blueberries are also tasty.  Mango and banana together gives a tropical twist.  Another great combo is raspberries with peaches.  Besides being quick and easy, the best thing about this recipe is that it tastes good and it is good for you!   Sometimes she adds a handful of dry oatmeal—it makes it thicker and more filling, adds protein, and keeps her going longer.

 Serves 2

About 1 to 1 1/2 cups fruit, cut into chunks
About 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
1 cup cold soymilk
3 to 5 ice cubes
2 drops pure vanilla extract

Put the fruit in the blender.  Drizzle the syrup or honey over it.  Add the ice cubes.  Pour the soymilk over all and add the vanilla.  Blend until pureed and frothy.  Serve immediately in a tall glass with a straw.

Learn about the health benefits of strawberries and other berries…

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Soupe aux Fraises et Rhubarbe (Strawberry Rhubarb Soup)

Soupe aux Fraises et Rhubarbe (Photo by Alison Eaves)

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Tablespoons Canola Oil
3 stalks Rhubarb, pealed and cut into 1.4 inch chunks
2 cups hulled and sliced fresh Strawberries
4 ounces fresh Orange Juice
1/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Nonfat or Low Fat Vanilla Yogurt
4 fresh Mint Leaves

Procedure:

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Use a pan large enough to hold all of the ingredients. Add the rhubarb and saute about a minute. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for about 7 minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender. Remove from the heat and let cool. Add the strawberries, orange juice, sugar and 1/2 cup of the yogurt and blend with an immersible hand blender (I like the Cuisinart Smart Stick). Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or until it is well chilled.

Presentation:

Pour the soup into four small chilled bowls. Place a 1 Tablespoon dollop of yogurt and a fresh mint leaf on each bowl.

Learn about the health benefits of strawberries and all berries…

Soupe aux Fraises et Rhubarbe is adapted from “The French Culinary Institute’s Salute to Healthy Cooking” (Rodale Press, 1998), one of my favorite cookbooks, which I highly recommend!

 

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Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Toasted Almonds and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Photo: California Strawberry Commisssion

Believe it or not, balsamic vinegar is a perfect accompaniment to strawberries (try them on vanilla frozen yogurt). Add the spinach and you have a “salad” you will LOVE (and will love you back with health benefits)!

 Serves 6

Vinaigrette:

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients:

6 Handfuls of fresh spinach, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
2 Cups Fresh Strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered, depending on size
2 Ounces toasted slivered Almonds
½ Sweet Onion, peeled and sliced

In a large bowl, add the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk together. Add the spinach, onion, almonds, and strawberries and toss together. Serve immediately.

Learn about health benefits of strawberries…

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Berry Bonanza

Strawberries (Photo: Swedish Embassy)

Spring is wonderful for many reasons, not the least of which is the return of fresh ripe berries. Every week, I hustle to my farmers markets to see what is waiting for me. Right now, it’s strawberries: picked at their peak, they are tender, sweet, juicy and red throughout – but they have a very short season, so get them while you can!

There are very few foods that match the beautiful color and intense flavor of berries. And, fortunately, these fruits are nutrition superstars.

For many years, most berries were regarded as nutritionally inferior because of their lack of traditional essential nutrients such as vitamins A and C. But that was before scientists recently discovered the presence of large amounts of beneficial phytochemicals (“phyto” is Greek for plant).

Apparently, each berry contains at least 100 nutrients and phytochemicals, the plant compounds with potent powers of healing. Some of the most important phytochemicals in berries are antioxidants, powerful substances believed to reduce inflammation, improve immune function and help prevent heart disease and cancers.

Antioxidants are compounds that absorb oxygen free radicals — molecules that cause oxidation in the body’s cells. Scientists believe that these molecules cause most of the diseases of aging, such as immune system decline, arthritis, heart disease, cancer and neurological impairments affecting cognition and balance. Think of oxidation as being similar to rusting. Or imagine an apple slice turning brown. By simply adding lemon juice, an antioxidant, the apple’s flesh stays fresh and prevents the browning or oxidation.

A similar thing happens in your body. Oxidation is constantly occurring in your cells because of environmental pollutants, smoking, exposure to the sun, heat generated through basic metabolic functioning, unhealthy diets and other factors. It takes a large supply of antioxidants to counter this. Berries have been found to have one of the highest antioxidant scores of all fruits and vegetables.

But there are other good reasons to eat berries. The berry family contains 300 to 400 beneficial, disease-fighting chemicals. The phytochemicals in berries, depending on the type, also stimulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, enhance cancer-fighting enzymes, positively influence hormone metabolism, have antibacterial and antiviral effects and may even reverse some aspects of brain aging.

The most potent berries are the more deeply colored varieties, especially blackberries, blueberries and cranberries, followed by raspberries, strawberries and cherries (not technically a berry, but similar nutritionally) but all more potent than most other fruits. Their color is provided by one of the most powerful phytochemicals, called anthocyanins, which berries synthesize to protect themselves from the elements.

Anthocyanins play a role in . . . protecting against cancers of the gastrointestinal tract,” says Ronald Prior, nutritionist at the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center in Little Rock. “Blackberries have been shown in animals to protect against colon and esophageal cancer.” A preliminary human study found blueberries inhibited blood clotting, a risk factor in cardiovascular disease.

The anthocyanins in berries also may be responsible for improving some aspects of aging, such as memory, motor coordination, balance, vision and even symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, according to many years of animal studies.

Blueberries have interesting, surprising qualities,” said Prior. “We’re hoping foods such as blueberries can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease in humans as they do in rats.”

The scientists found similar effects in cranberries, which have additional phytochemicals called tannins. They may be responsible for helping to prevent urinary tract infections, stomach ulcers, gum disease and even ear infections in children. Cranberries are also effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria — and 20 percent of urinary tract infections are resistant to antibiotics. The tannins work by blocking the disease-causing bacteria and preventing it from adhering to human cell walls.

Resveratrol

New research has found that raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and huckleberries contain a phytochemical called resveratrol, also present in wine, which is thought to help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, and is implicated as an important compound in the health benefits of the “French Paradox.”

Strawberries contain large amounts of phytochemicals called ellagitannins, which are also in raspberries and blackberries. Studies at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition found those berries are capable of inhibiting a number of key steps in the development of cardiovascular disease and may have immense potential for the prevention and treatment of heart disease and stroke. Strawberries are also high in antioxidant Vitamin C and folic acid, important in preventing birth defects.

Most of what scientists know about berries has been determined in animal studies and in labs using cell cultures. But the few human clinical studies are showing promising results. Human studies on berries are limited because they’re very expensive, and as one scientist explained, “You can’t patent a berry!” This means that big pharmaceutical companies are unwilling to foot the research bill. Groups such as blueberry or strawberry growers fund some, but it’s up to Uncle Sam to find out if we can save millions on medications and hospitalizations by simply eating more berries.

Berries are an ideal food. Besides being absolutely delicious and colorful on a plate, they’re loaded with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and they’re low in calories. They have maximum flavor and nutrient content when picked at ripeness. Freezing them when ripe or buying ripe frozen berries is a great alternative. But, simply ripening a berry on your kitchen counter will increase its phytochemical content, too.

Berries can be eaten morning, noon or night – whatever your preference. I eat berries every morning on my oatmeal. In the summer, I’ll use any fresh local berry but in the winter, I stick with frozen blueberries.

“Berries are extremely versatile; they fit perfectly with any meal or snack,” says Janie Hibler, author of “The Berry Bible” (William Morrow, 2004). In “The Berry Bible,” Hibler provides a berry encyclopedia and berry recipes ranging from smoothies, drinks, and breads to soups, salads, salsas, main courses, and desserts.

So, what are some ways we can eat berries every day?

“A no-brainer,” she says, “is a berry smoothie for breakfast.” For lunch, she says, throw a handful into your salad. For snacks, carry dried berries and nuts. At dinner, berries go beautifully with meats, grains and main courses.

You will eat more berries if you simply keep them on hand and ready to grab. Get them now when they’re fresh and freeze them yourself. Frozen blueberries are fun snacks for kids to pop in their mouths, like hard candy. You can also make berry popcicles, syrups for pancakes and spritzers.

Berry Coulis

Hibler recommends always having berry purees, or “coulis” on hand. “A sauce rivaled by none,” she says. But they also are great added to drinks, smoothies, yogurts, cereal, you name it. To make a coulis, rinse and drain the berries, process in a food processor. Add a little sugar or even liqueur, if desired. It will keep in your refrigerator for three to four days or be frozen for a month.

Some of my favorite berry recipes:

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Toasted Almonds and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Katherine’s Spicy Mexican Salsa with Strawberries

Soupe aux Fraises et Rhubarbe (Strawberry Rhubarb Soup)

Kjerstin’s Curried Chicken Salad with Strawberries and Toasted Almonds

Strawberry Soy Milk Smoothie

Strawberry – or any Berry – Granita

Dark Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Originally Published in The Washington Post

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