Food for Health

How to beet the summer

Beets do not look like much from the outside, but once you cut into them you find a spectacular magenta root with lighter color rings. I cannot say that there are many other vegetables such as this in New England.

Although beet greens are also edible, I have never been fond of them. It’s not the way they taste; it’s the texture. They’re too slimey when they’re sauteed. I feel the same way about sauteed spinach. 

Ginger — for the cure or candied

Ginger is one of those “roots” that your grandparents always tell you have the power to cure a stomach ache or motion sickness. Apparently there is something to that. Although raw ginger is not much to talk about taste-wise (I find it a little bitter and spicy), the health benefits are incredible.

For the love of coconut, but mostly the oil

When there are eight different kinds of coconut oil on the shelves at Target in Torrington, you know something is up. Forgive me for not remembering all the different variations but they were basically refined or unrefined, organic or not. This is just in the cooking department, by the way; I believe there are even more coconut oil products in the beauty department.

Cherries fight cancer, help you sleep

I had never picked cherries until last Monday (although it has always been a summer pastime to see how far my sisters and I could spit cherry pits across the yard). 

It never occurred to me and my sisters to think about where our cherries came from, as we played summer games with them. On our cherry picking expedition on Monday, we pulled small, tart, very red cherries off two trees on a farm in Millerton. 

It’s the beans, not just the rice

After spending two weeks in the Dominican Republic last summer, the very thought of rice and beans made me sick to my stomach. Every night, after a long day lifting cinder blocks and hand-mixing cement on our construction project, my co-volunteers and I would make our way back to base, dragging our feet. 

The passion of the pear — refreshing, crisp, sweet

When my dad brought home a few Asian pears and told me that I had to try one, I was skeptical. Despite his enthusiasm, I was unconvinced. 

Asian pears are brown, and have a rough skin that doesn’t exactly call out an invitation, as compared to the comfort of a soft, bright raspberry (usually my go-to fruit). 

Mangoes: celebrating the sweetness of summer

With mangoes, there is an art to choosing them at their ripest and there is an art to slicing them. 
My dad taught me a quick trick for cutting mangoes. Using a sharp knife, slice off a piece of the fruit, peel and all. Then make an incision that resembles a tic-tac-toe pattern into the tender, yellow-orange flesh.

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Meringues a sheer bit of luxury

Here’s another food that is easier to cook if you’ve watched someone else doing it on a YouTube video: meringues. 

In my last column I wrote about how I finally learned how to make perfect beef stew, by watching a video online. 

Early signs of edible spring

I generally prefer recipes that are written out, but every now and again I find a how-to cooking video on the Internet that I love. 

One of my favorites is a recipe for Guinness beef stew, which you can find at www.guinness-storehouse.com. I’ve watched it half a dozen times, not just because it’s a great stew but also because the video is very informative and the Irish chef who demonstrates it has the most wonderfully gnarly accent. 

Brighten your diet with an occasional tapioca treat

This week, the snow continues to fall and temperatures struggle to keep their heads above the 40-degree mark (like a drowning man, they keep dropping to 20 before bobbing back up). Thus, I will continue to write about winter-season comfort foods. Together, with a bowl of custard, we will get through this hard time.