Wednesday, November 04, 2009
As you know, I share a CSA box from Capay Farm with my neighbor Jerrie each week. She has taken on the task of receiving and splitting it for which I'm very grateful. I'm continually surprised at how much fresh organic produce is in just half the box! And just how short a week is to use it. Lucky for me, the recently picked organic produce seems to have a much better shelf life than what can be purchased in most groceries. And you find yourself including some very healthy things in your diet that you may have passed by.
I like beets, but when you get a few every week, and you know that these keep well, before you know it you have about half a crisper drawer of beets! Lucky for me, my friend Cindy had a couple of unique suggestions. Simmering beets with carrots and onions in a savory broth of your choice is a surprisingly delicious option. Everything turns a bit ruby colored, but it lends a bit of intrigue to the dish.
I found myself with a big bunch of Italian flat leafed parsley, some broccoli and a leek which I hadn't managed to use last week. Some beautiful potatoes also came in yesterday's box. Dinner was born!
Since many people don't realize what a powerhouse of nutrition parsley is I thought that my simple dish was worth entering into this week's Weekend Herb Blogging which is celebrating its 4th year this week. Haalo from Cook (Almost) Anything (at Least) Once is hosting and who is now the master organizer after the originator, Kalyn, passed the torch on.
For a long time, I too observed parsley as a decoration. Sometimes the Norwegian relatives would butter up some potatoes and sprinkle some chopped parsley over them and toss. These would generally be served with white fish. The parsley was again really a pretty dress-up rather than an integral part of the dish, even though it was called "Parsleyed Potatoes".
My first realization that parsley could be something much more was when I was in college and a friend from the Middle East put as much chopped parsley as hamburger in a dish called kiftah. Wow, did it ever freshen up the meat!
Later I was introduced to Persian soup making where parsley is one of the main ingredients of several delicious soups. Persian Aash (soup) features copious amounts of green herbs.
For dinner last night, to solve my CSA abundance, I boiled some of its potatoes and used those as a bed for an herbed vegetable sauce. I sauteed a chopped clove of garlic with rounds of leek. Once the leek was sweating, I added broccoli flowerettes. The final touch before adding the saucier ingredients was adding about 2 cups of loosely packed Italian flat parsley leaves. Many would think that would be so much as to overpower the dish, but au contraire, it was the perfect thing to pick it up! To the vegetable - herb mix I added one can of Campbell's mushroom soup, and one can of Campbell's Cheddar Cheese soup. I stirred it to mix the soups thoroughly, added enough water to thin to my satisfaction and ladled the bubbling sauce over the freshly boiled potatoes.
Simply, where else with 2 tablespoons of an herb and 2.7 calories(!) can you get:
153.8% DV of Vitamin K
15.6% DV of Vitamin C
12.6% of Vitamin A
2.9% DV of folate
2.6% DV of iron
In 2 tablespoons!
I've also read that parsley contains volatile oils-particularly myristicin, which have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs.
The potato dish with parsley-leek-broccoli in mushroom-cheddar sauce was a taste hit with my father, and I liked it too!