Cardio Health = Egg Whites + Greens

Frittata Brand

With leftover eggs whites from making flourless chocolate cake earlier in the week, and CSA produce filling all the drawers and shelves in the fridge, the comforting solution to use these nutritious ingredients came to me: frittata! I had to purchase leeks, but they are usually available at any grocery store year-around. The egg whites last in the fridge for even more than a week, so when the night came for a fast, one-dish meal—or actually a great main plate with a seasonal side soup (Roasted Carrot and Tahini Soup with Spicy Chickpeas) in my case so I could indulge in even more homecooked masterpieces—this frittata was perfect for using my fresh produce and leftovers!

I always receive at least three bundles or bags of leafy greens in my CSA share, from bok choy to Russian kale. I also receive the whole beet and turnip plants, so I experiment cooking with these colorful and soft greens. I eat as much as possible, especially since leafy greens are an especially good source of magnesium. This mineral helps lower our risk of sudden heart failures and helps our heart maintain regular heart rhythm. At sufficient levels, blood vessel muscles relax, reducing risks of blood pressure build up. Magnesium also helps to prevent calcification in your arteries in case your intake of calcium is too high. Egg whites also help your cardio system by having zero cholesterol. So leafy greens, meet egg whites! The egg mixture for this frittata is a healthier alternative, lowering the fat content and cholesterol levels to zero.

Very Veggie Frittata

modified from: Carroll, John Phillip. “Summer savory spinach frittata.” The Mayo Clinic Williams-Sonoma CookbookMenlo Park: Oxmoor House, 2002.

  • 7 egg whites and 2 eggs from large organic eggs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, summer savory, or chives
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 ounces fresh greens, such as beet greens, turnip greens, collards, or spinach
  • 2 leeks, white parts thinly sliced (see picture below)
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 grated cheese, such as Swiss, Gruyère, or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper, any color
  1. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, fresh herbs, and water.
  2. In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the greens, leeks, peas, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Pat down vegetables into an even layer. Pour in the egg mixture. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally to keep the frittata from sticking. Running a rubber scrapper around the edges of the pan will help release the frittata from the pan as well. Cook for about one minutes, then cover. Turn down heat to low and cook for about another two minutes, or until the eggs are set around the edges but soft and runny in the center.
  4. Uncover and sprinkle with the cheese and bell pepper. Cover and cook until the eggs are completely set and the cheese is melted, about 4 minutes longer.
  5. To serve, cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Leeks Bowls Stirfry

Wine advice for a recipe is always a bonus, right? For this frittata, as it’s quite light and savory, I recommend Spanish Verdejo or White Bourdeaux for whites, or  Chilean Carmenere or Italian Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. So go to the wine shelf and uncork (or twist off) a bottle, to make a whole cardio package. Whole-wheat pita is another good heart healthy companion (and if you’re like me, bread is a non-negotiable with dinner). If you can’t finish the frittata during the first sitting, heat it up from breakfast the next day for a great start! Bon ap, to cardio health!

Advertisements

Anti-Inflammatory = Lemon + Rosemary

Lemon Tree

Summer humidity makes me feel puffy all over, and to a woman in her 20’s, this feeling is definitely not a good thing. I feel more sore after my workouts and feel like my shirts are sticking to my skin just a little too much. My hair feels like a cloud of bulging cotton candy, rather than silky streams of healthy shine. I can hear Snooki shouting, “puffy problems!” Whatever tumescent discomfort you encounter, try an elegant, herbal cooler to relieve the inflammation; even if it’s just in my head and just a made-up feeling, and the inflammation is only trickery perception, I made this drink so I could have more peace of mind.

My brother’s garden was overflowing with cucumbers, so his sweet girlfriend naturally brought three enormous, crunchy cukes over during a party for us to enjoy! We used up one while munching on my homemade hummus, so I decided that I’d relish the other two another time. I still had a lot of lemons from buying a big bag of organic lemons from Whole Foods, so I thought that maybe a tasty drink concoction would be the perfect fix. My mind immediately new the answer: internet! I came across this recipe: Rosemary-Infused Cucumber Lemonade. Magnifique! So lemon, meet rosemary. Pair up to rescue me from the blazing humidity and hazy heat!

Not only are lemons excellent sources Vitamin C and potassium, helping your skin and heart, but drinking lemon juice will help your body remove uric acid from your joints, thereby reducing inflammation.

Rosemary is available year-round at grocery stores, and can grow extremely well in containers at your home. My mom has a strong, fast-growing rosemary plant, which I like to clip from time-to-time, taking a few strands with me.  When I lived in France, enormous rosemary bushes grew along the side yards of homes (same with lemon trees, come to think of it) and in the forests, so we would put strands in our water bottles, as flavoring agents. Rosemary can help with digestion, and I recently found out, is one of the best herbs to help fight inflammation. Continual use of rosemary in your diet can really contribute a lot to reducing any joint pain.

Okay, enough research… time to drink!

Lemonade Cucumber Drinks

Rosemary-Infused Cucumber Lemonade with Mint Simple Syrup

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2/3 cup water, or water mixed with whey (for a vitamin boost)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon mint simple syrup, or any sweetener of your choice
  1. Peel and thickly slice cucumber into about 1-inch chunks. Take rosemary leaves off of the stem and chop up the leaves.
  2. Puree both cucumber and rosemary in a blender or food processor. Pour the puree through a fine-mesh strainer (if you don’t have one yet, then the first place to go is the internet, right?! Grab up this one) into a medium bowl. Using a rubber scraper, press on the pureed solids to extract as much juice as you can. Only about a half cup of solids should be left.
  3. Add water (or water-whey solution), lemon juice, and simple syrup/sweetener  to the juice. Stir and pour into two glass with ice.

This lemonade is also a great date or picnic companion. Nevertheless, it’s a refresher—a healthy one—deflating your worries. I’m looking forward to looser limbs and normal skin! Bon ap, to anti-inflammation!

Photo courtesy of Flickr member Simon Hammond; “lemon tree”