ZOOMING in on Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman

My fall ZOOM cooking classes will be to choose one cookbook to review and cook one or two recipes from the book itself or my own recipe(s) inspired by the book. For my first class I chose Serving Up the Harvest: Celebrating the Goodness of Fresh Vegetables by Andrea Chesman, an avid gardener who loves to cook what she grows.

Here is the ZOOM link to the class, sponsored by New Horizons Senior Center (www.newhorizonsseniorcenter.org) in Narberth, PA
on Friday, Sept. 22nd @ 10:30-11:45 am EST. Please join us!


Meeting ID: 894 0728 0194

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This wonderful cookbook, while not vegetarian, is filled with many,many veggies as the cover picture and subtitle indicate, is divided into seasons rather than chapters. These are the categories:

1. Spring into Summer
2. Early to Mid-Summer
3. Mid- to Late Summer
4. Fall into Winter

Since summer is ending (the Fall Solstice is on Wednesday), I chose #3, Mid-to Late Summer. The author writes about and provides several recipes for each vegetable: artichokes, celery & celery root, chiles & peppers, corn, eggplant, fennel, okra, shell beans, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. The author notes that some summer veggies are still available in early fall, such as zucchini, so for a few weeks into the fall, you may also be reaping summer veggies.

Additionally, Chesman gives us interesting information about each vegetable as well as Kitchen Notes that help in the preparation of each vegetable. For example, artichokes are first on the list in  the mid-to late summer category and we learn how many minutes to cook them, depending on whether they are steamed, braised, grilled, or roasted. Very handy! There is also a page called: “Artichoke Facts & Fiction,” which gives a bit of history and interesting facts, such as the fact that Marilyn Monroe was named the first Artichoke Queen in 1948.

There are four recipes for artichokes and I made the first one last week and enjoyed the flavor. I plan to make it for class, so here is the recipe for braised artichokes that serves 4. (I will just make one large unless I can find small ones.)

3- 6 large, 8 medium, or 12 small artichokes
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs (tarragon, chervil, basil, thyme, summer savory, alone or in any combination)
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth (page 8 or 9)*
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper

* I make my own vegetable broth

1. If you are using large or medium-sized artichokes, trim away the tough outer leaves, peel the stems, cut into quarters, and remove the choke. IF you are using small artichokes, simply peel off the tough outer leaves and cut into halves.

2. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and until the garlic turns pale gold, about 3 minutes. Add the artichokes and sauté, turning the artichokes until they are well coated with the butter, for 5 minutes. Add the herbs, if using, broth, and wine. Being to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until tender, stirring occasionally, 15 to 30 minutes.

3. Transfer the artichokes to a serving dish with a slotted spoon. Raise the heat under the remaining braising liquid and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened and syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, pour over the artichokes, and serve.

My Note: I will start the class recipe before class so the artichokes will be almost cooked, since they take 15-30 minutes. I also hope to make roasted veggies using as many as the above mentioned veggies as I can find organically grown or on the Clean 15 from the Environmental Working Group’s list.


Serving Up the Harvest is published by Storey Publishing in Massachusetts. Their mission is to publish “practical information that encourages personal independence in harmony with the environment.”  (I applaud their mission! es)






Brain Foods

In summer I posted two book reviews about the brain (Keep Sharp by Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Amen’s Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. I promised you information from these two books about food for the brain. But I also came across some other good sources, so during September I will post these additional sources and their information and perhaps see what overlaps, so you can choose the best of the best foods for your brain, especially the parts that involve memory and mental health.


The first additional source is an ebook about Alzheimer’s from The Science of Prevention called the Top 10 Brain Health Foods (www.scienceofprevention.com).

  1. Wild Caught Salmon: Salmon is rich in healthy fats called omega-3 fatty acids. These include fats like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that help protect your brain by reducing inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been associated with decreased risk of depression and cognitive impairment….. Salmon also contains selenium, antioxidants, and potassium, making this fatty fish even better for brain health.” (Highlights are mine.)
  2. *Blueberries: These little berries contain antioxidants (flavonoids) that help to reduce age-related degenerative issues in the brain. (They also taste good!)
  3. Leafy Green Vegetables: These nutrient-dense veggies contain brain-healthy nutrients by reducing inflammation in the bowel lining. Inflammation does not allow the brain to work at its optimum level, so adding cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts are good veggies choices. These same foods are good to protect against cancer and heart disease and help with detoxification.)
  4. Avocado: The folate in avocados help make neurotransmitters that lead to cellular detoxification. Also, high levels of lutein (a dietary carotenoid: photoprotective agents preventing the harmful photodynamic reaction, and as accessory light-harvesting pigments, extending the spectral range over which light drives photosynthesis.) Also, good monounsaturated fat that facilitates healthy blood flow to the brain and the rest of the body.)
  5. Fermented Foods: Foods such as kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut contain enzymes and probiotics involved with digestion and gut health. With their high levels of probiotic bacteria they may help with mood and cognition while restoring good bacteria in the gut as well as benefit mental health and possibly improved immune function.
  6. Prebiotic Foods:Foods such as hickory root, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic and onions are fiber rich and act as food for good gut bacteria. This “brain fuel” also helps reduce inflammation.
  7. Nuts: The brain-boosting power of nuts comes from the brain-healthy fats and protein in nuts. Nuts also boost and protect the brain. Some nuts, like almonds lower blood sugar and reduce inflammation in type 2 diabetes (a key risk factor for Alzheimer’s).Note: This is only an excerpt, so go to the website for Bibliography and additional info.*P.S. When I reviewed the Paleo Harvest cookbook by Nicole Bond, I posted her blueberry muffin recipe. I hope to repost that soon.