I'm thrilled to be the bearer of good news: The Rose Park Farmer's Market is finally open Wednesday, May 6 from 3:00 to 7:00 pm. And even more delighted to tell you that asparagus** is on the menu. And what's better: it's locally grown and freshly picked by Jim and Alice, the owners of Anchor Nursery.
There will also be kale, spinach, lettuce, spring onions, bok choy, lots of bedding plants and cut flowers including tulips and lillies.
I'm taking advantage of the fresh asparagus myself and my Puree of Asparagus Soup with Tarragon is a favorite recipe of everyone who tries it. You can buy the fresh tarragon and thyme at the market too. I have many more favorite asparagus recipes, and more farmer's market recipes in my Diet Simple Farm to Table cookbook.
Puree of Asparagus Soup with Tarragon
By Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., RDN., L.D.
Author: “Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations”
This sublime, pale green soup may be served warm or cold.
Serves 8 to 10
2 pounds Asparagus, cleaned, tough ends removed, cut into 1.5 inch pieces
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1 Leak, cleaned and sliced, white and light green parts only
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 clove of Garlic, mashed
Pinch of Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
Vegetable Broth (see recipe) or Chicken Broth
2 Medium Potatoes, diced
1 Bay Leaf
A few sprigs of Fresh Thyme and Parsley
1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Garnish: 1 Small Bunch Fresh Tarragon, chopped
Use the cleaned tough ends and scraps of the asparagus and leek. Add 1 onion, 1 garlic clove (or more), and 2 quarts of water. Other vegetables you happen to have could also be thrown in, such as a carrot and/or a celery stalk. Let simmer about 30 minutes and strain.
Clean the asparagus, break off tough ends. If you wish, peel the stalks for a more tender vegetable. Slice the asparagus stalks into approximately 1.5 inch pieces.
Heat oil in heavy-bottomed pan. Add the leak, onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, the potatoes, and herbs and simmer about 30 minutes. Add half of the asparagus and simmer another ten minutes. Remove the herbs.
Using an immersible hand blender (ie, Cuisinart’s Smart Stick), puree the soup, add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, steam or broil the remaining asparagus for 5 minutes, until barely tender. Strain and cover in ice water to stop the cooking process and prevent limp, over-done asparagus.
Serve the soup, garnishing each bowl with the sliced asparagus and a pinch of chopped fresh tarragon.
**Asparagus is packed with nutrients. Low in calories, it’s an excellent source of folic acid, Vitamin C, Thiamin, and Vitamin B6. Asparagus, like other fruits and vegetables, is sodium-free, and contains no fat or cholesterol. It is an important source of potassium and many nutrients for boosting your immune system, preventing heart disease, lowering blood pressure and even preventing cancer. Asparagus has the highest levels of Glutathione, a potent cancer fighter , according to the National Cancer Institute. Asparagus is also high in Rutin, valuable in strengthening the blood vessels.
Puree of Asparagus Soup with Tarragon is adapted from “The Vegetarian Feast” by Martha Rose Shulman, a cookbook I highly recommend.
Join The Georgetown Dish's Living Lite columnist, Katherine Tallmadge, on Tuesday, March 24, as she reveals her ...
"Top Ten (Surprising) Foods for 2015"
The Women's National Democratic Club
1526 New Hampshire Ave, N.W. 20036
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
11:30 am - Bar opens; 12:15 - Lunch; 1-2 pm - Presentation and Q&A
copies of "Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations" will be on sale
You've heard about coffee's benefits. But have you heard them all? What about its fat-burning potential? Earl Williams, owner of Georgetown's Definitions Personal Trainers' Gym, interviews Georgetown Dish Living Lite Columnist, Katherine Tallmadge (me), about coffee, the scientific facts about its health and fitness benefits, and 9 tips for how you can make coffee work for you.
Earl: I developed Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT) to help clients optimize fat burn and I'm always looking for other ways to complement this. What are the benefits of drinking coffee for those who exercise with the goal of fat loss?
Katherine: The caffeine in coffee enhances physical performance. "Caffeine may act directly on muscle to enhance its capacity to exercise," according to "Essentials of Exercise Physiology," by William D. McArdle and Frank L. Katch. It facilitates the use of fat as fuel for exercise, thus sparing the body's limited glycogen reserves, according to McArdle and Katch. "Coffee can be a positive part of a sports diet if a person chooses to drink a cup of coffee before they work out," said Nancy Clark, author of Sports Nutrition Guidebook. Coffee / caffeine also increases metabolism causing the body to burn more calories, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1).
Earl: Coffee drinkers commonly add sugar, artificial sweeteners, milk, syrups, etc. How do these additives affect the benefits of drinking coffee?
Katherine: Most of them add calories. So, keep in mind that one syrupy, high calorie drink (some as high as 500 calories — 1⁄4 of one day’s calorie needs) can make the difference between losing and not losing weight. That said, a Latte or Cappuccino are especially good to drink, not only because of the caffeine, but also because of the protein, carbohydrate, potassium and other nutrients contained in the milk.
Earl: Is there a window of time before, during, or after the workout that coffee should be consumed?
Katherine: “People have different sensitivities and reactions to caffeine,” said Clark. But, “peak concentration is within 30 and 120 minutes after ingestion to exert an influence on the nervous, cardiovascular and muscular systems,” according to McArdle and Katch.
Earl: Any guidance on the daily amount consumed?
Katherine: That would be personalized and depend on a person’s tolerance level of coffee/caffeine. But “drinking the amount of caffeine (330 mg*) in 2.5 cups of coffee one hour before exercising significantly extends endurance in intense aerobic exercise,” according to McArdle and Katch. Which means you can exercise longer before feeling its effects, thus increasing endurance.
Earl: Caffeine in coffee helps mobilize fat in tissues and the bloodstream making the fatty acids available as fuel for exercise—thus sparing and making accessible—muscle and liver glycogen for performance. What are fatty acids?
Katherine: Fat, called triglycerides, partly comes from food and ends up in the bloodstream. When you exercise regularly (every 24 hours), fat/triglycerides are sent into the muscles where it is burned as fuel. If you do not exercise often enough, the triglycerides stay in the bloodstream causing obesity, high bad (LDL) cholesterol and high blood triglycerides – all associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
Earl: The fitness community once thought coffee was a diuretic and could not provide the hydration water could. Is this still the case?
Katherine: Coffee and tea are now considered good hydrators, according to the most recent scientific analysis and report by the National Academy of Science’s Food and Nutrition Board (2).
Earl: Under what circumstances should coffee be avoided?
Katherine: You should ask your doctor if you should avoid or limit coffee, especially if you have high blood pressure or are pregnant.
Earl: What are some of the other health benefits of drinking coffee?
Katherine: The research is promising. Some recent studies suggest that coffee may be associated with a reduced incidence of all causes of death and cardiovascular disease (3), of Type 2 Diabetes (4), Parkinson’s Disease (5), Alzheimer’s (6), Multiple Sclerosis (7) and perhaps other health conditions.
Earl: Any other thoughts about coffee?
Katherine: It is important that the exerciser test the effect of different levels of coffee/caffeine on their performance several times to determine the ideal amount and achieve the best level of performance before any major competition or long term bout of exercise.
(1) Normal caffeine consumption: influence on the thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postboxes human volunteers. AG Dulloo, CA Geissler, T Horton, A Collins and DS Miller. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1989:49:44-50;
(2) Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Institute of Medicine. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2004. Accessed on March 28, 2009.
(3) The Relationship of Coffee Consumption with Mortality. Lopez-Garcia E, van Dam RM, Li TY, Rodriguez-Artalejo F, Hu FB. Ann Intern Med. 2008;148:904-914. Summary for patients.
(4) “Changes in coffee intake and subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes: three large cohorts of US men and women,” Shilpa N. Bhupathiraju, An Pan, JoAnn E. Manson, Walter C. Willett, Rob M. van Dam, Frank B. Hu, Diabetologia, online April 24, 2014, DOI 10.1007/s00125-014-3235-7
(5) Association of Coffee and Caffeine Intake With the Risk of Parkinson Disease. G. Webster Ross, MD; Robert D. Abbott, PhD; Helen Petrovitch, MD; David M. Morens, MD; Andrew Grandinetti, PhD; Ko-Hui Tung, MS; Caroline M. Tanner, MD, PhD; Kamal H. Masaki, MD; Patricia L. Blanchette, MD, MPH; J. David Curb, MD, MPH; Jordan S. Popper, MD; Lon R. White, MD, MPH JAMA. 2000;283(20):2674-2679. doi:10.1001/jama.283.20.2674.
(6) Caffeine as a protective factor in dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Eskelinen MH, Kivipelto M., J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S167-74. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-1404.
(7) Coffee intake linked to reduced risk of MS (Study presented at the American Academy of Neurology's Annual Meeting)