LIFESTYLES Sports B3 Money B10 Fun B11 Almanac B12 The Salina Journal The Greens Revolution Lettuce rejoice at all the leafy alternatives By JOHN MARTEUARO Kansas City Star KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The bad news: The Lettuce Crisis of 1995 may not let up for another two months. The good news: Who cares? If you're not getting your usual daily dose of iceberg lettuce because it's too expensive or too hard to find, don't worry. Nutritionally speaking, you're not missing much. If you're substituting other leafy greens or vegetables for iceberg lettuce in your diet, "you're improving," said Barbara Marsh, a clinical dietitian at the University of Kansas Medical Center. "Lettuce is great and low in calories, but in terms of being packed with nutrition, it really isn't. Generally, it's the other veggies you're putting on your salad that you're getting your nutrition from." So if you're substituting, say, spinach for iceberg in your daily salad, what are you gaining? Almost triple the protein, five times the calcium, triple the iron, seven times the vitamin C and a whopping 20 times the beta carotene. Of course, if you're dousing that spinach salad with a big, luscious dollop of hot bacon dressing, you may be gaining more than you bargained for. The same salad-bar rules still apply: The veggies may be healthy, but watch out for the bacon bits, cheese and, especially, high-fat dressings. It doesn't take much to turn your virtuous veggies into a verdant version of a hot fudge sundae. If you need an alternative to that bacon dressing, try a fat-free ranch. If its chemical flavor turns you off, try a squirt of fresh lemon juice to cut it. In case you haven't been paying attention, widespread flooding in California earlier this year has turned iceberg lettuce from cheap salad-bowl filler to a luxury item. For awhile there, it was tough to find at any price. These days the situation has eased a bit, said Steve Giangrosso, a produce buyer for Pisciotta Fruit & Vegetable Co. "It's readily available and reasonable, compared to two months ago," Giangrosso said. "It's still expensive, compared to six months ago, but it's cheaper than two months ago." So there's still some incentive to find a substitute. The best alternative, however, isn't so clear. The flooding has thrown some extra volatility into a fresh-produce market that is usually very fluid at this time of year. Giangrosso said this is a "gap" period when certain seasonal growing areas are winding up their fresh-vegetable seasons, while other areas that provide the nation with vegetables in late spring and early summer are not yet in full production. Spinach is a particularly good buy right now, Giangrosso said. "Green leaf (lettuce) is reasonable right now, and so is Boston lettuce." But that may not hold for long. "It's a day-to-day thing," Giangrosso added. The best strategy is to take a hunter-gatherer's approach to creating meals. Don't plan a menu before you go to the store; instead, select the best-looking, best-priced produce in the store and plan around it. Choosing fresh greens Here's a tip on choosing fresh greens, whether they're in a plastic package or from the serve- yourself bin: One leaf with decay spreads to the leaves around it. Try to find out what day the greens are delivered. If you shop on Friday and the store gets delivery on Monday, then the stuff has been there for four days and won't last very long. This recipe is from the Universal Press Syndicate. Marinated tuna with field greens Va cup water 1 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 teaspoon minced ginger 1 tablespon minced celery 1 tablespoon minced carrot 1 tablespoon minced red bell pepper 1 tablespoon minced green bell pepper 1 pound raw tuna filet, cut into 1-inch cubes 2 cups frisee (pale color, small and lacy, with nutty, buttery bitterness) 2 cups lolla rossa (loose Italian green that's densely ruffled, crinkly with crimson leaves) 2 cups radicchio (small, tight purple-white head, slightly bitter) 2 cups arugula (small loose leaves, deep green, with peppery flavor, high in beta carotene) 2 cups romaine lettuce, inner leaves (the Caesar salad green) Lemon-mint dressing (recipe follows) Mix together water, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, celery, carrots and bell pepper. Marinate tuna, covered, in mixture for 2 hours. Tear greens into bite-size pices and mix together. Submerge in ice water, then drain. Toss in enough dressing just to moisten leaves. Top with drained tuna bites. Makes 8 servings. Lemon-mint dressing: In a blender, combine 1 cup nonfat mayonnaise, Vi cup plain nonfat yogurt, Vs cup mint leaves, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and Vz teaspoon pepper to Universal Press Getting hip with greens For lettuces and other leafy greens, nutrition' al information for 3.5-ounce servings are as I follows: i • Iceberg lettuce: 14 calories, 1 gram pro- i tein, 2.1 grams carbohydrate, .35 grams fat, I 0.2 mg. beta carotene, 4 mg. vitamin C, 19 | mg. calcium, 1 mg. iron ; • Romaine lettuce: 17 calories; 1.7 grams ; protein; 2.5 grams carbohydrate; .35 grams \ fat; 2 mg. beta carotene; 24 mg. vitamin C; 68 : mg. calcium; 1 mg. iron • Bibb or Boston lettuce: 4 calories, 1.4 i grams protein, 2.45 grams carbohydrate, .35 grams fat, 0.6 mg. beta carotene, 8 mg. vitamin C, 35 mg. calcium, 2 mg. iron • Spinach (fresh, raw): 21 calories, 2.8 ; grams protein, 3.5 grams carbohydrate, .35 : grams fat, 4 mg". beta carotene, 28 mg. vitamin | C, 99 mg. calcium, 3 mg. iron i • Cabbage (raw): 24 calories, 1 gram pro; tein, 5.25 grams carbohydrate, .35 grams fat, : 47 mg. vitamin C, iron: not available : Sources: "The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition," > by Sheldon Margen (Rebus) ' • "The Corinne T. Netzer Encyclopedia of Food Values" (Dell) creamy consistency. Nutritional analysis per serving: 204 calories; 5 g fat; 34 mg cholesterol; 1,569 mg sodium; 21 percent calories from fat. tovetop mokers Tiny wood chips impart intense flavor without the added fat By KIM PIERCE Universal Pr»n Some people have you over to dinner and won't let you leave without leftovers. My friends make me take appliances. One wouldn't let me out the door recently without her stovetop smoker. Plus a grocery bag of wood chips the size of baby Chi- clets in plastic containers. It was the start of a conversation. Basically, if you can cook something on the grill, you can cook it in a stovetop smoker — with a lot less hassle. You can even smoke things like cheese, nuts or sausage. Over several weeks, I have smoked salmon, Angus beef, tomatoes, sweet onions, pork loin, pork chops, chicken breasts, Gorgonzola cheese and Finnish, Idaho and purple potatoes. The resulting smoky flavors are intense, permeating the foods so deeply that they linger in your mouth like the afterglow of a fine wine. The potatoes go right to the table with plain nonfat yogurt and chives, or they become part of a southwestern potato salad. The Gorgonzola cheese emerges with baconlike overtones. Even fish, one of the hardest things to cook well at home, comes out restaurant-perfect. The Camerons stovetop smoker looks like a sturdy roasting pan with retractable handle and a flat, fitted lid. Inside, there's a drip tray and a rack. In less than 30 minutes over low or medium heat, it produces those deep, wonderful smoky flavors. Simple to use and easy to clean, it gets by on a tablespoon or so of wood chips and leaves only a light smoky fragrance in the kitchen. Although it's not a new product — it was introduced nine years ago — it's the best-kept secret in the country. It retails for about $65, with a sample of wood chips Universal Press A stovetop smoker imparts the flavor of smoke to foods such as salmon, cheese, nuts and potatoes indoors, without the mess and fuss of outdoor grilling. and recipe booklet included (call (719) 573-9932 for more information or to order). The original Camerons smoker was inspired by a Scandinavian camping product, says Bruce Merriman, a founding partner who recently repurchased CM international in Colorado Springs, Colo., which makes the Camerons. Fishermen were using a smaller version to cook fresh- caught fish, he says. Besides an all-weather advantage, the Camerons uses wood chips that are only a little larger than sawdust. This means you can keep a variety of woods on hand — from sweet, mild alder, apple and maple to sturdy oak, pecan and cherry plus the war horses, hickory and mesquite — all in the same space you'd need for a couple of logs. But what people tell Merriman they like most about the smoker is the way it flavors food without adding fat. "The fact that it's a low-fat way to impart flavor in food," he says, "that's probably the No. 1 feedback." The only real problem has been the temptation to cook foods too long. That, and the realization that at some point I have to give the one I'm using .back to its rightful owner. Section B Wednesday, May 17,1995 ADVICE Heloise's Hints KINO FEATURES Here's a bunch of banana tips Dear Heloise: I have discovered a method of storing bananas in the refrigerator for a week or longer, depending upon ripeness at the time of purchase. I have been doing this for more than 12 years. Buy bananas not too ripe (if you eat them every day and can't get out very often), put them in a doubled paper bag and fold over the top and wrap the bag around the bananas. Then, put in a plastic grocery bag that fruit comes in and wrap around the bananas and close with a rubber band. Make sure all the air is out. Put in the refrigerator. Take out bananas a day or so before you'll eat them to give them time to ripen. I would surely like to help others, especially the aged and weak who can't get out often or the homebound or disabled, learn how to keep bananas, a very good source of potassium. — Connie Price, Cartwright, Okla. Dear Connie: Thanks for your words of wisdom! For others who try this, you may get a surprise when you remove the banana and the skin has darkened. Don't panic. Looks can be deceiving because even though the banana skin is dark, the inner pulp will still be good. For quick ripening, place the bananas in a brown paper (not plastic) bag overnight with an apple or tomato. The next day, you'll be able to eat and enjoy. These tasty banana hints are brought to you courtesy of the International Banana Association. — Heloise Dear Heloise: I changed my coupon system at the beginning of the year and am seeing greater savings and better use of my coupons. Previously, I organized them by product groups — dairy, baking, cleaning, etc. It required a lot of searching. Now my coupons are filed by the month they expire, one month early. Those expiring May 28, for example, are filed in April. Those with no expiration are filed in a separate category. After making my grocery list of essentials, I look at the coupons that are soon to expire and pull out any for items already on my list and those extras I know from experience I'll be wanting on hand. Combined with store specials, I find I'm saving more than ever on my grocery bill. — Lynn B., Rochester, N.Y. Dear Heloise: One of our favorite desserts is carrot cake. Because I don't like to grate carrots, I use two jars of junior baby-food carrots. The cake takes less time to make, stays moist much longer and everyone loves it. I make mine in mini-loaf pans (can get about 20 cakes), wrap them in plastic wrap , then in foil and freeze. They're great for lunches, dessert, after supper or for gifts. — Marna Akers, Snowville, Va. Dear Heloise: I was treated to dinner and a hint one night by my older brother. After numerous times of peeling the soggy napkin off the bottom of my tea glass, I noticed my brother's napkin was not sticking to the bottom of his glass. I soon learned he had cleverly poured a little table salt on his napkin. Try it. It works with coasters as well. — Kristie Mercks, Little Rock, Ark. Tips provided by SHERRIE MAHONEY Extension Agent - Home Economics Kitchen fire safety ¥ follow these general rules to W avoid fire and safety hazards: JL Never leave cooking food unattended. Never let appliance cords dangle from the edge of counters and unplug them when not in use. Always use pot holders to handle hot pans, instead of a dangling hand towel that could drag on burner and ignite. Keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove so they cannot be pulled off by a child or knocked off. Store fire extinguishers in a close location, but away from the stove.
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