Spring Vegetables Are Here
Late February through early June marks the season for spring vegetables like fresh asparagus. But late April kicks off primetime for this elegant perennial. Of course, asparagus can now be found year-round, but it is generally recognized as a symbol of the arrival of spring.
Asparagus is a good source of vitamins A, C, iron, and fiber. It is believed that the phytochemicals that give asparagus its green color support healthy vision and can reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Another spring vegetable favorite is spring peas are sprouting in home gardens and arriving in the stores.
Peas are a good source of protein, essential amino acids like tryptophan and lysine.
Carrots love cool weather and are a spring favorite long after the Easter Bunny has hopped away. Carrots are a good source of vitamin A, calcium, and potassium.
And studies have shown might protect against age-related macular degeneration.
We all know what we eat impacts our health. One cookbook author has taken a deep dive into how one’s diet may be a link even to Alzheimer’s.
Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but focus is being put on how one’s diet may be a link. Dr. Annie Fenn offers her take on this concept in her new book, The Brain Health Kitchen: Preventing Alzheimer’s Through Food.
“Lifestyle choices – especially what you choose to eat – have a powerful impact on reducing Alzheimer’s risk,” Dr. Fenn said. “A 2019 article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 60 percent of all Alzheimer’s cases could be prevented with dietary and lifestyle behaviors.”
Dr. Fenn offers 100 recipes featuring brain-healthy foods in her 400-page, hard-cover cookbook.
Here is one of Dr. Fenn’s recipes with her notes in time for spring featuring asparagus.
To see more recipes, go here: Healthy Aging® Magazine
Sheet-Pan Lamb Chops with Asparagus, Lemon, and Peas
This colorful one-pan supper is the essence of spring—yogurt-marinated lamb chops are nestled into asparagus, radishes, peas, and rounds of lemon for a quick roast. The radishes lose their peppery bite, and the lemon shifts from tart to caramelized. Roasting asparagus is best for brain health because the spears retain their powerful array of phytonutrients, which can seep out into the water when boiling or steaming.
The garlicky yogurt does double duty in this recipe. Half is for finishing the dish, while the rest acts as a marinade for the lamb chops. Note that regular (not Greek-style) yogurt is the key here so that the marinade easily comes off the chops before roasting.
Because the marinade takes time to work its magic on the chops, it’s best to plan to get the prep going at least an hour before you want to eat.
Spring Vegetables Recipe to Try
Sheet-Pan Lamb Chops with Asparagus, Lemon, and Peas
Makes 4 to 6 servings
• 2 cups plain, unsweetened yogurt (coconut, whole milk, or nut-based)
• ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
• 1 large garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
• 1 medium garlic clove, minced (about ½ teaspoon)
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• Six 3-ounce lamb loin chops, each about 1½ inches thick
• 1 lb. thin asparagus, trimmed
• 1 small bunch radishes, quartered
• 1 small, thin-skinned lemon, thinly sliced and seeds removed, if needed
• 2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
• 1 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped, plus a few leaves for serving
• Flaky salt (optional)
Stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, 1 tablespoon of the oil, ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper in a large bowl. Set aside half the sauce (in an airtight container in the fridge) to top the finished dish.
Pat the lamb dry with paper towels and place in the bowl with the yogurt sauce, flipping them over with tongs to coat. Cover the bowl and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
When you are ready to cook, set an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the asparagus, radishes, and lemon together on the prepared pan. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt. Toss to coat and spread evenly over the pan.
Using tongs, lift the lamb chops from their marinade and let any excess drip off. Blot dry with paper towels and season on both sides with the remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper. Evenly space the chops on the sheet pan, wedging them between the vegetables and lemons. Discard the marinade.
Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, then flip the chops and scatter the peas over the pan. Cook for 3 minutes longer for rare or 5 minutes for medium-rare. (If using an instant-read thermometer, the lamb chops are done when the internal temperature reaches 120°F. for rare and 125°F for medium-rare.)
Meanwhile, stir the chopped mint into the reserved yogurt sauce. Serve the lamb and vegetables topped with a dollop of sauce. Sprinkle with mint leaves and flaky salt (if using), and more pepper, if you like.
Excerpted from The Brain Health Kitchen by Annie Fenn (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2023
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