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Blanched Vegetables

Recipe reprinted with permission from Feeding the Whole Family (third edition) by Cynthia Lair (Sasquatch Books, 2008)

Blanching brings out the flavor in vegetables while preserving nutrients and improving tenderness.  Use seasonal vegetables such as asparagus in spring, green beans in late summer or cauliflower in early fall.  You can store blanched vegetables in the refrigerator and quickly add them to soups, curries or salads or serve them as a snack with your favorite dip.

1 cup broccoli flowerettes
1 cup cauliflower flowerettes
1 cup carrot slices

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cut vegetables in pieces that would be easy to dip.  Prepare a large bowl or sink full of ice cold water.

Drop vegetables into boiling water.  Let boil until color brightens and vegetables become tender (a minute or two).  Drain water off and immediately plunge vegetables into cold water until they are cool.
Remove from cold water.  Toss with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar if desired.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Serves 3-4

Try Blanched Vegetables with Lemon Tahini Sauce or Coconut Peanut Sauce or add them to Asian Noodle Salad.


Lisa Wuflestad
Whta is the best way to poach salmon and keep it moist?
September 23, 2008, 7:57 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Lisa, Poaching is a great cooking method for salmon as it naturally keeps it moist. Bring 1/2-1 cup liquid (stock, wine or combination) to a low simmer in a skillet. Throw a bay leaf in. Place the salmon skin side up into the liquid. Cover and let cook about 5-8 minutes depending on the size of your salmon filet. Cynthia
September 24, 2008, 8:02 am

Robin Guterson
Hi Cynthia, Does blanching vegetables leach vitamins out of them? Is it better to eat them raw?
September 25, 2008, 11:58 am

Elizabeth Davis
Hi- I want to invest in a pressure cooker so that cooking beans is not such an undertaking...any recommendations for what I should look for or be careful of? brands? Thanks!!
September 25, 2008, 1:13 pm

Cynthia Lair
Robin, Heat (cooking)of any sorts lessens some nutrients but heightens the bioavailability of others. It's a toss up. I recommend relying on flavor. When the vegetable is at its peak of flavor, regardless of heat or no heat, that is likely to be when/how you will get the most nutrients from it. I think blanching vegetables really brings out the natural sweetness. Cruciferous vegetables can also be difficult to digest and the quick blanch aids that.
September 25, 2008, 5:01 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hey Elizabeth, Click on VIDEOS in the top bar and choose the video PRESSURE COOKER. The accompanying recipe has links to two different types of pressure cookers that I like to use.
September 25, 2008, 5:04 pm

sharon barshay
Hi Cynthia, I cook with cast iron skillets. I recently noticed that in a few areas of the pan, the top layer seems to have worn off. Are the pans still safe to use?
September 27, 2008, 12:58 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Sharon, Yes it is still safe to cook with but might need to be re-seasoned. Rub oil into the pan and put on medium high heat. I like to use lard. Let the fat burn into the pores of the skillet. Thereafter remember to not use detergents of any kind on cast iron. Clean with a scouring brush and hot water, put over heat to dry and season lightly with oil (if needed). Allow it to cool before storing.
September 27, 2008, 1:15 pm

Cynthia M
Hi Cynthia, My sister is at the end of her 2nd trimester. As a lacto-ovo vegetarian, she's worried about getting enough complete proteins. Do you have any recommendations of how to combine different foods to set her up for a very healthy pregnancy?
September 28, 2008, 8:21 am

Cynthia Lair
Hi Cynthia M. Eating dishes that are a combination of whole grains and beans, including lots of nuts and seeds and making sure that she has pastured eggs and organic dairy products will help. I think it is also important to be flexible meaning if you sister has a desire to include fish, poultry or beef, she might consider trusting the signals from her body. lists resources for pastured meat, eggs and dairy from local farmers and ranchers. Worth the extra $.
September 28, 2008, 9:27 am

Jennifer B
I stumbled upon your cookbook and am excited to not only make my own baby food (I have a 5 month old) but also to change the definition of a 'meal' for myself and my husband. I've bought lentils, beans, and barley but I don't know how to begin. I don't know how to use a large batch of whole grains/beans once cooked without eating the same everyday. I would love some help getting started and menu planning for the week.
September 29, 2008, 12:37 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Jennifer, Start by picking one whole grain and becoming familiar with how to cook it. For example, learn how to cook a pot of brown rice well - pg. 59 in the book. Then after you feel comfortable with that, try using leftover brown rice to make other dishes like Fried Rice (video). There is a list of ways to use leftover grains and beans in the book on page 70. Also check out the menus we have posted on the MENUS page at the top. Most meals I plan have a whole grain, a protein source - bean, tofu, fish, chicken, egg, beef - and lots of vegetables. That's all you need!
September 29, 2008, 12:59 pm

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