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July 24, 2012 > Summer Farmers' Markets Make Eating Right Easier

Summer Farmers' Markets Make Eating Right Easier

Fruits and Vegetables are Great for Grilling

Summer is a great time to enjoy fresh, healthy eating. The Tri-City area has a number of farmers' markets that offer an array of fruits and vegetables, and the warm weather makes grilling easy.

"We don't always think about grilling fruits and vegetables, but it's a great way to prepare them," said Maggie Villagomez, a registered dietitian at Washington Hospital. "They are so easy to grill. You can toss vegetables with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Grilled fruits and vegetables are a great way to add some color and flavor to your summertime meals. Grilling brings out the flavor."

Farmers' markets are an excellent place to find fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Corn, eggplant, summer squash and bell peppers are all in season and perfect for grilling. Except for the corn, which can go right on the grill, the vegetables should be cut into pieces about a half-inch thick.

"You can put them directly on the grill or in a basket that goes on top of the grill," she said. "Baskets are also good for fragile proteins like fish. That way it won't fall through the slats on the grill."

Grilled vegetables make a delicious side dish for grilled meats. To keep it healthier, Villagomez recommends eating a larger portion of vegetables than protein and grilling fish and lean meats such as chicken.

"If you do grill red meat, try to choose leaner cuts or trim off the excess fat before cooking," she said. "That helps reduce your saturated fat intake, and it also helps to reduce the fat that drips on the coals."

According to Villagomez, cancer-causing mutagens can form on the meat as the result of cooking over high heat and flare-ups that happen when fat drips on the coals. Mutagens can also form on fish, chicken and pork.

"Marinade that has an acid base like vinegar or orange juice tends to protect the meat," she said. "Add some fresh herbs and you can create a delicious marinade."

When marinating meats, always keep them in the refrigerator to prevent harmful bacteria from growing, and never add uncooked marinade to cooked meat or poultry, she added.

For dessert, think about serving one of the many fruits that are in season this time of year like melons, berries and stone fruits such as peaches and nectarines.

"Summer fruits are delicious and readily available," Villagomez said. "The Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association has a website (www.pcfma.com) that lists the local farmers' markets, and includes a chart of what's in season and recipes. There are a number of delicious dessert recipes using seasonal fruits that could be a nice treat on a warm summer night."

July is National Blueberry Month

Blueberries are so tasty and nutritious, they deserve their own month! In July 1999, the U.S. Department of Agriculture decided that the blueberry was worthy of having its own month of celebration, and July seemed like the perfect choice because that is when they are at the height of their harvest.

"The nutritional value of blueberries cannot be beat by any other fruit or vegetable," says Villagomez. "Blueberries are full of antioxidants, which have been scientifically proven to help reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. They are also excellent sources of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, folic acid, and fiber."

All month long, Washington Hospital's Food and Nutrition Services is displaying the blueberry in its best light, offering many different breakfast, lunch/dinner, dessert and drink options (all healthy!) that will remind us why this blue fruit is so majestic.

Summer Recipe:
Roasted Turkey Sandwich with Blueberry Chutney

To make chutney:

* 4 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
* 1 can (16 ounces) whole berry cranberry sauce
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 1-1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* teaspoon ground black pepper

1. In a medium non-reactive saucepan combine blueberries, cranberry sauce, sugar, balsamic vinegar, orange peel, ginger, and red and black peppers
2. Bring to a boil
3. Boil uncovered, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes
4. Pour into clean jars
5. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 weeks, or place in canning jars and process according to manufacturer's directions, or place in covered plastic containers and freeze

To assemble sandwich:
* French baguette: 1 loaf
* Light Mayonnaise: 1/2 cup
* Dijon mustard: 1/4 cup
* Tarragon, chopped: 2 tablespoons
* Kosher salt: 1/2 teaspoon
* Black pepper, freshly ground: 1/4 teaspoon
* Bibb leaf lettuce, cleaned: 1 each
* Blueberry chutney: 1 cup
* Asiago cheese, grated: 1/4 cup
* Turkey breast, baked and sliced: 12 ounces
* Tomato, sliced: 1 each

1. Cut the bread in half lengthwise and place on a work surface, cut sides up
2. Mix the mayonnaise with the mustard, tarragon, salt, and pepper
3. Spread the mayonnaise on both sides of the bread to taste
4. Cover mayo with lettuce leaves then spread with blueberry chutney
5. Top with a little of the grated cheese and arrange the sliced turkey evenly over the cheese and top with the sliced tomato
6. Place the top piece of bread over the lettuce, pressing down to adhere
7. Slice crosswise on the bias into equal portions, arrange on plates, and serve
Number of servings (yield): 4
Nutritional Analysis:
356 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 39 mg cholesterol, 632 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 28 g protein.

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