Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Home Sweet Home...for Lunch

I have every other Friday off and take advantage fully. Starting with breakfast and lunch at home! I love cooking and baking all day, letting the aromas fill up the house. Of course, Fridays off do mean a lot of errands and laundry but there is some relaxing in there.

Fridays are also my last day of veggie supplies. I restock Saturday mornings at the farmers market so lunches are usually scattered with whatever I have left in the crisper. For last week’s meal that was daikon, a large head of broccoli, a small zucchini, half a yellow onion, and Portobello mushrooms. Brown rice in the cupboard. This would be easy and very doable. A little sautéing and soy sauce and a vegan “stir fry” would be in my bowl in no time!

I want to step back briefly though and talk about daikon. Daikon may be a new vegetable for some of you to see and I feel like I need to brag a little on this Japanese radish. I first heard of daikon through Alicia Silverstone’s “The Kind Diet” cookbook. She has some wonderful recipes and insight and I enjoy following her blog. Click here to read more about Alicia’s Kind Diet and Kind Life: http://www.thekindlife.com/
There are plenty of pieces of literature on daikon but I thought Mitoku sited some wonderful benefits about this wonder radish:

“Raw daikon is used throughout Japan to complement the taste of oily or raw foods and, more importantly, to aid in their digestion. Laboratory analysis has shown that the juice of raw daikon is abundant in digestive enzymes similar to those found in the human digestive tract. These enzymes - diastase, amylase, and esterase - help transform complex carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into their readily assimilable components. Traditional Japanese restaurants serve grated daikon (daikon oroshi) in tempura dip to help digest oils, or shredded daikon with raw fish to help digest the protein. Grated daikon is a wonderful aid to people with a weak digestive system. It is important, however, to use grated daikon immediately. In just thirty minutes nearly 50 percent of its enzymes are lost.

The enzymatic action of daikon juice has gained the attention of scientists in Japan. At Tokyo's College of Pharmacy, researchers have discovered that daikon juice actually inhibits the formation of dangerous chemicals in the body. Nitrosamines, a type of carcinogen, can form in the stomach from chemicals present in both natural and processed foods. Daikon juice contains substances identified as "phenolic compounds" that can block this potentially dangerous reaction. Thus, a diet including raw daikon may reduce the risk of cancer.

Daikon has also been shown to be effective as a diuretic and decongestant. As a diuretic, raw daikon promotes the discharge of excess water by the kidneys. The result is increased urination and gradual reduction of the swelling condition known as edema. As a decongestant, the enzymes in daikon juice seem to help dissolve mucus and phlegm in the respiratory system and facilitate their discharge from the body.

Daikon is high in vitamin C and folacin. Like its relatives broccoli, cabbage and kale, daikon is a cruciferous vegetable that offers cancer-protecting potential.

A few drops of soy sauce and a tablespoon of grated daikon is a macrobiotic treatment for helping the body discharge old animal protein and fats. Cooking daikon with a kombu broth is said to help the body eliminate excess dairy products. A tea brewed from daikon, shiitake and kombu has been used as a folk remedy to reduce fever.”

Not only am I interested in any little help to aid with digestion, I am also interested in taste! Daikon can be prepared in so many ways and I find it absolutely delicious. They are very large so don’t be shocked when you put them in your basket at the grocery store!

Back to the big bowl of yummy veggies. I think you will find this recipe so simple to throw together, and feel free to switch out your vegetables!

Sautéed Veggies & Rice
(serves 2 hungry lunchers!)

• 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets and steamed
• 1 half yellow onion, cut into moons
• ¾ daikon, sliced
• 1 Portobello mushroom, sliced lengthwise
• 1 small zucchini, half mooned
• 2 tbs tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
• ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
• 2 tbs canola oil or Earth Balance
• 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
• Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
• 1 cup cooked brown rice

In a large sauce pan heat oil and add garlic. Once you can smell the garlic, add onion and coat in oil. Sauté until translucent and starting to caramelize, about 7-10 minutes. Add daikon, mushroom, zucchini and broccoli and combine. Add spices and soy sauce and sauté for another 7-10 minutes, depending on how soft you like your veggies.

Place half cup of brown rice in 2 bowls. Top with vegetables and serve! You can add tofu or other protein if desired.

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