All Posts for June 2008

MID-SUMMER MAGIC:2008

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

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Thanks to my college friend Simone for this photo of a transparent butterfly.

Midsummer has a magic all its own. As my friend and neighbor Marilyn and I walk around the neighborhoods where we live, we are in awe of the beautiful butterflies, gorgeous gardens and luscious lawns. At this time of year, the trees are bursting with chlorophyll and the gardens are bursting with color. We see every shade of green in the trees and grass and every color in the rainbow in the flowers. We like to walk early in the morning, before the sun becomes so hot that walking is not pleasant. The early morning rays are low in the sky, adding their dappled brilliance to the flowers on the lawns as the rays peak through the leaf-laden trees.

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My midsummer menus reflect the bounty of the summer, with so many foods perfectly delicious uncooked. Actually, I find there is also something magical about enjoying summer foods “in the raw.” After all, Mother Nature has provided us with a vast array of foods that need not be cooked to be enjoyed, in particular, fruits and vegetables. Long before fire was discovered, I am sure humans existed on berries, nuts, and greens.

Actually, when the weather gets really hot, my oven goes on strike and my stove wants to work only part time. So the recipes for July-August will use no heat. If you click on Kitchen Nutrition with Recipes, you will see the joy of NOT cooking.

Other postings: Last month I reviewed a book called Love Stories of Later Life by Amanda Smith Barusch. In it she writes about love in later years. Well, last month I actually lived that experience when I attended my brother Paul’s and sister-in-law Carol’s 50th wedding anniversary. It was a glorious celebration of love and I write about in This ‘n That, so check it out if you want proof that love endures. Neat photos as well, with one of me in Carol’s wedding party at 20. I can barely remember 20!

Also, check out Feedback for information on produce in pesticides from Food News and also I hope you enjoy my daughter Eileen’s and my interview with my 102 year-old mother-in-law, Lena. Just go to Profiles for Part I, with Part 2 coming in a couple of months. As a companion piece, I wrote an essay on aging, which you can find under Health Flashes. And be sure to investigate Preview:Peek to Pique for a September recipe.

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This is a window box in Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest, continuously lived in residential street in the USA, right in Center City, Philadelphia. When you have no room for a garden, a window box is the next best thing!

In September, my husband and I hope to visit our sons on the western part of the US, driving down the coast of California for a short way to enjoy the ocean view. One book that I know will help me is California Healthy: the adventurer’s guide to local delicacies, fine wine, great walks, and the good life by Patricia Hamilton. So if California is on your itinerary in the near future, click on Reviews.

Finally, my son-by-marriage’s new CD is ready for listening. You can hear some of his music on his website: www.jayjacobson.com. His new CD is called Ready and has some lovely songs written and sung by Jay, whose voice is soothing and strong at the same time. (Of course, I am biased!)

I hope you are enjoying the magic of mid-summer and find time to enjoy swimming or boating or whatever feeds your summer fancy.

The picture below is from a sign at the beginning of Elfreth’s Alley (same street as window box photo above) alley, when there was a reenactment of historical significance.

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P.I.C.-Radishes

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Today’s “products” are daikon radishes and the traditional red radishes. While we think of red radishes as an early vegetable, the information below taught me that radishes can also be grown later in the season and they are more pungent than the earlier radishes. (I also now buy a radish bunch that has red, purple and white radishes mixed together.)

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The (red) radish is a cool-season, fast-maturing, easy-to-grow vegetable. Garden radishes can be grown wherever there is sun and moist, fertile soil, even on the smallest city lot. Early varieties usually grow best in the cool days of early spring, but some later-maturing varieties can be planted for summer use. Additional sowings of spring types can begin in late summer, to mature in the cooler, more moist days of fall. Winter radishes are sown in midsummer to late summer, much as fall turnips. They are slower to develop than spring radishes; and they grow considerably larger, remain crisp longer, are usually more pungent and hold in the ground or store longer than spring varieties.

Ordinary radishes are a great source of vitamin C and are rich in minerals like sulphur, iron, and iodine. (Daikon, below, is even better, a source of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and folate as well as sulphur, iron, and iodine.) Radishes can be added to vegetable juice to spice up the flavor a little. In this form, they can help clear your sinus cavities and soothe your sore throat. The vitamin C in radishes is an antioxidant * and anti-inflammatory, and has been shown to have a positive effect on asthma symptoms because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Potassium can help lower your risk of kidney stones and strokes, and radishes along a diet high in other fruits and vegetables can significantly lower your risk of multiple sclerosis.

*See Glossary



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Daikon radish is an Asian radish. The word Daikon actually comes from two Japanese words: dai (meaning large) and kon (meaning root). Daikon is is root vegetable said to have originated in the Mediterranean and brought to China for cultivation around 500 B.C. Roots are large, often 2 to 4 inches in diameter and 6 to 20 inches long. Chinese radishes are white, but some are yellowish, green or black. Daikon has high water content and is very low in calories.

It is rich in vitamin C, potassium and folate and a good source of magnesium, noted above. The leaves contain beta-carotene, calcium and iron, besides vitamin C. From the ayurvedic (Indian healing system) perspective, daikon is a cleansing vegetable that also fortifies the liver and enhances digestion. It has a mildly pungent taste when raw (sweeter than the conventional red-skinned radish), which mellows with cooking.

If you google each of these foods, you will get a variety of sites for information. I combined information from several sources.

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