Harvest of the Month: Featured produce for April in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District | SierraSun.com

Harvest of the Month: Featured produce for April in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District

Maria MartinSpecial to the Sun
Getty ImagesThe medicinal properties of garlic, onion and herbs are a benefit beyond being a flavorful addition to most meals.
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Onions, garlic and fresh herbs are the perfect starting point for creating light and healthy meals for spring. The Harvest of the Month program brought these key flavors into the classroom this month where our local elementary school students learned about their history, nutritional value, and fun facts, as well as how the senses of taste, touch and smell influence the flavor of foods. Onions and garlic are members of the lily or Allium family and both are rich in a variety of sulfur-containing compounds. These compounds may bring a tear to your eye and pungency to your breath, but they are also responsible for many health benefits. Although garlic is often known for its ability to ward off vampires, eating this bulb is also good for your heart. Regular consumption of garlic is associated with decreasing blood pressure, inhibiting coronary artery calcification and reducing inflammation. Garlic also contains powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents. In ancient times, garlic was given to the slaves who built the pyramids to enhance their endurance and strength. Greek and Roman athletes and soldiers consumed garlic for these enhancing properties too. Eating onions is associated with protecting against heart disease by lowering blood lipids and blood pressure, and reducing the risk of blood clots. Onions may also play a role in lowering blood glucose levels and supporting gastrointestinal health. Onions contain anti-inflammatory agents which may help reduce symptoms from arthritis, asthma and respiratory congestion from the common cold. Onions are native to Asia and the Middle East. They were used as currency by the Egyptians and were placed in the tombs of kings to be taken to the afterlife. Mark Estee reminiscesMark Estee, the chef owner of Moodyandamp;#8217;s and Baxterandamp;#8217;s Bistro andamp; Lounge, has shared his memories and tips for cooking with onions, garlic and herbs. Onions, garlic and fresh herbs are some of the cornerstones of cooking here in Northern California. All you need to do is add a little extra virgin olive oil and you have the base for a great tomato sauce or the beginnings of a basic risotto andamp;#8230; the possibilities are endless. I can remember when I was a young boy waking up on Sunday morning to smell the onions and garlic simmering with herbs in the kitchen. My dad, yes my dad was the cook, standing over the pot with a big smile on and the dish towel over his shoulder. I have been known to go into a house for a catering event, and fire up a pot with some garlic and onions to get the smells of food wafting through the house andamp;#8212; a little trick that makes peoplesandamp;#8217; mouths water and gets them in the mood to eat! Herbs are so great because we can grow them year round on the window sill and also have them in the garden in the summer. Using fresh herbs goes a long way to make a meal special. A few classic combinations include: tomatoes and basil; pork and cilantro; lemon and dill; and one of my favorites, chicken and tarragon. Here is a recipe for a simple dish you can try with your family.andamp;#8212; Submitted via e-mail to aedgett@sierrasun.com. Maria Martin, MPH, RD is a member of the Nutrition Coalition and a Wellness Dietitian. The Nutrition Coalition is funded and supported by the Tahoe Forest Health System through the Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance. Contact us at 587-3769, ext. 7126 or mmartin@tfhd.com.

2 each, boneless skinless chicken breastSalt and pepper2 T all purpose flour2 eggs, beaten3 T grapeseed oil1 small can artichokes1 bunch tarragon1 each juice of lemon2 T extra virgin olive oilUsing a meat mallet or pan, pound the chicken breasts flat. Season with salt and pepper.Dust each side with flour. Dip in beaten eggs.Add grape seed oil to pan on medium heat. Cook chicken breasts until browned on each side and the chicken is cooked through. About 5 minutes each side.Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, chop artichokes and tarragon. Add salt and pepper. Add lemon juice and olive oil. Serve on top of the chicken.