Spring clean your plate
Stir fry with wood ear mushrooms, pork and green onions. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Asparagus and crabmeat soup
4 cups of chicken broth
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
8 ounces fresh or canned lump crabmeat, picked over and drained
Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water
½ pound fresh green or white asparagus (Trim asparagus, breaking off and discarding the base of each stalk about where the bright green color fades. Cut each stalk crosswise diagonally into 1-inch pieces, but leave the beautiful tips intact. You may also use a 15-ounce can of white/green asparagus spears.)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Combine broth, sugar and salt in 3-quart soup pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer very low while preparing remaining ingredients.
Heat oil in skillet. Add garlic and stir fry about 1 minute, or until aromatic. Do not burn. Add crab, asparagus, salt and pepper. Stir fry over high heat for a few minutes. Set aside.
Bring soup to boil. Stir in cornstarch mixture, and stir gently until soup thickens and it’s clear. While soup is actively boiling, drizzle in egg, letting it swirl to form lacy egg drops in the hot broth. Add the stir-fried crab and asparagus. Stir well.
Sprinkle in green onion and pepper and remove from heat.
— Anh Tran, Points of Wellness
Updated: March 14, 2013 11:40AM
Spring cleaning can be just as important for your diet as it is for your wardrobe.
Spring officially begins with the arrival of the vernal equinox on March 20. Whether it feels like it or not, it’s time to get ready for warmer weather. More than looking good, that means feeling good. Detoxify from all of those wintery carbs with seasonal foods that double as cleansing agents.
“Your body is much happier eating according to season,” says Anh Tran, a nutrition consultant and licensed acupuncturist. “In spring, everyone wants to start feeling lighter for summer. Seasonal tune-ups are important.”
Through her Points of Wellness offices in Arlington Heights and Long Grove, Tran counsels on ways to rid toxins and begin fresh for spring. The Vernon Hills resident had a jump-start on many health-conscious individuals: She was raised among a Chinese-Vietnamese influence.
When following a spring cleanse diet, Tran often works with ingredients like scallions and ginger and frequently turns edible flowers like dandelions, violets, lavender and chrysanthemums into flavorful, detoxifying teas, or “tisanes.” She pours boiling water over the flowers and adds a little honey or rock sugar as a sweetener.
In a springtime stir-fry, she includes a curious cleansing ingredient: wood ear mushroom. The mushroom, which is available through most Asian grocers and markets, is used in Chinese medicine to prevent heart disease as it helps control cholesterol.
“Cooked wood ear mushrooms have a dark color and a crisp texture that just soaks up flavor,” Tran says. “Even after they are soaked in water, they still have a crunchy texture.”
And some of her recipes feature more familiar ingredients. Tran’s delicious asparagus and crabmeat soup celebrates the season of those sturdy, green spears.
“Asparagus, according to Chinese medicine, is cooling in nature,” she says. “Its action is to clear heat, detoxify and promote blood circulation.”
The popular vegetable has a recognizable smell when it is cooked.
“That funny smell when you cook asparagus is sulfur,” explains Karen Raden, a registered dietician with an office in Northbrook. “Asparagus is a good source of sulfur and glutathione, which both help to support detoxification. Asparagus is also an excellent source of folic acid, which is so important for heart health, and potassium, which is a natural diuretic.”
Raden is offering an online detoxification program on April 1 at www.KarenRaden.com.
For more information on detoxification, see Tran’s blog, wellnesspathway.blogspot.com.