Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ahhhh....summer salad!

So today I made a summer sprout salad that I just have to share with you. I've been reading all these articles about broccoli sprouts and so I try to use them in everything. I use broccosprouts...they are almost always available in the grocery store and seem to really have the benefits I'm looking for in them. Go to http://www.broccosprouts.com/ to find out all the details and the benefits of eating broccoli sprouts. Here's a quick overview that is posted on the company's website:

Sulforaphane is a naturally occurring phytochemical that enhances the cancer-protective capacity of animal cells. According to studies by Dr. Paul Talalay and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, sulforaphane induces Phase 2 (detoxification) enzymes. These are the enzymes which deactivate carcinogens and free radicals, thus enhancing the body's own defense system against cancer-causing chemicals.

In animal studies, administration of sulforaphane blocked tumor development, reducing incidence, multiplicity, and size of carcinogen-induced mammary tumors. (see Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens)
In general, Brassica family plants such as broccoli are rich in sulforaphane in its glucosinolate precursor form. However, the evidence suggests that broccoli must be eaten in large quantities to substantially reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, supermarket broccoli varies considerably in sulforaphane content, whereas certain varieties of young broccoli sprouts, grown under standardized conditions, contain large and highly uniform quantities of the compound.

Talalay and his colleagues identified the specific varieties of three-day-old broccoli sprouts containing 20 times the concentration of sulforaphane glucosinolate found in mature broccoli.
More importantly, small quantities of broccoli sprout extracts reduced the incidence and size of mammary tumors in animals. (see
the paper) Clinical studies are underway to further explore the effects of broccoli sprouts on protective biomarkers against human cancer.

So basically....you can eat very little of these sprouts and get the cancer-fighting benefits of eating tons of broccoli.....wow! I think that's great! I love putting them on salads and sandwiches...they make everything taste so fresh and light...so get on the broccosprouts!!!!

SUMMER SPROUT SALAD w/pomegranate mint vinaigrette

6 cups mixed greens (you can buy the pre-washed kind or chop up several of your favorite salad greens...I love to mix butter lettuce and baby spinach)

1/2 English cucumber sliced thinly (I love...love the sweet taste of English cucumbers...you could also buy fresh cucumbers from the farmers market)

1/2 cup chopped cauliflower

1/2 cup avocado chunks

2 cups broccosprouts

1/2 cup toasted almonds (or any other nut of your choice)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 lemon

Pomegranate Mint Vinaigrette:

the juice of 1 lemon

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cups pomegranate juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

salt & pepper to taste

combine all ingredients (except olive oil) in a food processor or blender and slowly add the olive oil to emulsify (that means to mix two liquids that normally do not mix easily by adding one (like the olive oil) slowly to the other liquid (which will be the lemon juice and pomegranate mixture while beating or mixing very rapidly). If you don't mind if your dressing seperates, then you can just mix all the ingredients (including the olive oil) in a container or bottle with a lid and just shake it up by hand.

In a large bowl (a clear glass bowl that's wider than it is tall works great for this salad or you can make individual salads on plates in the same manner) start layering the salad by starting off with the mixed greens then adding the sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, avocado chunks, toasted almonds and finally topping it all off with the red of the cranberries. Squeeze fresh lemon juice all over the top of the salad and serve with the pomegranate vinaigrette (which adds even more antioxidents to this already fully-packed salad)

What is an antioxidant? (according to http://www.healthcastle.com/)

Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as "free radical scavengers" and hence prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals.

Some common antioxidants:

red wine
purple grapes or
Concord grapes
Tomato and tomato products
pink grapefruit
dark green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, kiwi, brussels sprout and spinach
flax seed

Enjoy and look for more recipes every Tuesday and my favorite cocktail recipes every Thursday. Sundays will concentrate on the latest food and cocktail trends. If you have any questions or ideas....please feel free to contact me!

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