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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rainbow Summer School - Orange and Red

What Color Is Your Food?
I missed the first week of summer school - funeral and stuff. So I am combining Red and Orange - it is summer school after all.

Several of my Two for Tuesdays Co-hostesses are serious Mark Bittman fans. I think it may be an obsession, but don't tell them I said so. So when I was deciding my color posts I wanted to "try out Bittman"

There are so many amazing red fruits and vegetables but really for me Tomatoes are King! So I have been pouring through my How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman and his Kitchen Express for tomato recipes that I wanted to make.

The first recipe that caught my eye was Mussels in Tomato White Bean Sauce - unfortunately I have no mussels. But I do have a can of oysters - whadya think? Should I give it a try? Or wait for the mussels - which I have never cooked with. (I am looking forward to learning how to cook it through Cheeseslaves Online Surf & Turf Course - click here for more info -oh yeah that was a shameless plug)(She is giving one free course to one of my readers a $120 value)

Here is the recipe - you decide and tell me in the comments.

Mussels in Tomato - White Bean Sauce
Cook a clove or two of minced garlic in a couple TBS of olive oil over low heat for about two minutes or until fragrant. Add a large chopped tomato (a couple of canned ones are OK), two cups of drained precooked or canned white beans, and tow to four pounds of mussels. Cook, covered, for about five minutes, or until all the mussels open (discard those that don't) Sprinkle the mussels with chopped parsley and serve with  lemon wedges and good crusty bread.
He suggests that a handful of Spanish chorizo gives it an extra boost.

In the mean time I will just keep eating my tomatoes on toast with mayo and salt and pepper!

Now for Orange - there are some amazing fruits and veggies that are orange - apricots, melons, tomatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, peaches, oranges just to name a few. Oh and mangos and pumpkins. Oh the list goes on and on of amazing sunshiny food.

Apricot - Braised Lamb Chops
In a food processor, make a paste from a handful of dried apricots, some lemon juice, a bit of onion, a tsp of ground coriander, and a clove of garlic. Salt and pepper not too thin lamb chops and sear them in olive oil for about two minutes on each side until browned; remove and set asidc. Add the apricot mixture to the pan along with a splash of white wine and bring to a simmer. Put the chops back in the pan, cover; and braise for about five minutes - they should remain pink inside. Serve, drizzled with the braising liquid.

Ok, I don't have a food processor - I used my blender. I think this is delicious but I will probably not make it again because of cost. I do think the apricot sauce would taste amazing on pork chops or chicken that my family loves!

Don't you just love the way he gives a recipe - all familiar like? 

Just in case you were wondering WHY you should be eating more colorful foods (and I copied a list of a lot more red and orange (and yellow - cause it is in the list and shares nutrients).

Red fruits and vegetables are colored by natural plant pigments called "lycopene" or "anthocyanins." Lycopene in tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit, for example, may help reduce risk of several types of cancer, especially prostate cancer. Lycopene in foods containing cooked tomatoes, such as spaghetti sauce, and a small amount of fat are absorbed better than lycopene from raw tomatoes.
Anthocyanins in strawberries, raspberries, red grapes and other fruits and vegetables act as powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage. Antioxidants are linked with keeping our hearts healthy, too.
These are some examples of the red group:
  • Red apples
  • Beets
  • Red cabbage
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Red grapes
  • Red peppers
  • Pomegranates
  • Red potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

Orange/yellow fruits and vegetables are usually colored by natural plant pigments called "carotenoids." Beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. Scientists have also reported that carotenoid-rich foods can help reduce risk of cancer, heart disease and can improve immune system function.
One study found that people who ate a diet high in carotenoid-rich vegetables were 43 percent less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, an eye disorder common among the elderly, which can lead to blindness.
Carotenoids also may be good for your heart. One study found that men with high cholesterol who ate plenty of vegetables high in carotenoids had a 36 percent lower chance of heart attack and death than their counterparts who shunned vegetables.
Citrus fruits like oranges are not a good source of vitamin A. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and folate, a B vitamin that helps reduce risk of birth defects.
Some examples of the orange/yellow group include:
  • Yellow apples
  • Apricots
  • Butternut squash
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Yellow peppers
  • Persimmons
  • Pineapple
  • Pumpkin
  • Rutabagas
  • Yellow summer or winter squash
  • Sweet corn
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tangerines
  • Yellow tomatoes
  • Yellow watermelon
Be sure to check out all the other great posts at Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursdays!


  1. Believe it or not after reading my post, I really do love fresh fruits and veggies. Tomatoes are my favorite thing to eat in the summer - just slice 'em up with some kosher salt and cracked pepper, I can eat a plateful. And my favorite orange fruit is cantelope - love it! Those lamb chops sound wonderful, will have to try them. Kat

  2. I eat tomatoes on toast w/mayo, salt and pepper too!

  3. There are a lot of great orange foods, I love sweet potatoes and apricots....nice post..bkm

  4. i eat tomatoes out of apples. i have even converted my husband...if i chop them up in a checca he will eat them too. that lamb looks amazing. i was going to dig out my tagine in the next few weeks...

  5. Mussels are super easy to cook & tasty too~ the best part is having plenty of bread to dunk in the wine/garlic/butter/tomato broth!

  6. I loved reading the list of orange fruits and veggies and realizing I love them all.

  7. Love both those recipes - in fact I love all orange fruits and vegetables! So healthy (anti oxidant).

    Have a lovely weekend,

    PS Mine this week is HERE. Hope you can stop by.

  8. Hmmm...I'm not really sure who you're talking about...

    LOL!!! I love eating all the gorgeous colors of the earth! Great post Christy...I could totally go for some mussels, too.

  9. tomatoes are red,
    oranges are golden,
    both are delicious...

  10. Jingle - you are so right! a little red delicious and golden orange is well delicious!

    Heather - possibly you ?? LOL!

    Nora - love those delicious anti-oxidents!

  11. If it's one think I like about summer it's all the fresh fruit and vegetables. I'm on a nectarine kick this summer. I've eaten one every day lol. We haven't gotten any big tomatoes yet but we have been eating some cherry tomatoes. Great red and orange post.

  12. I had some tomatoes last night that were the best I've ever bought in the store. They actually tasted like tomatoes!



  13. I love this time of year because of all the fresh stuff that I love. But I love the fall vegetables too...pumpkin, acorn squash, etc.

  14. I love mussels with tomato sauce - and I love most orange fruits and vegetables - I think I'd better go outside right now and pick a tomato because this post made me hungry.

  15. Mmm...colorful, nutricious and delishious post!

  16. I just love fresh veggies of just about any color.

  17. Nothing quite smells like a fresh summer tomato. I eat 'em like Kat does or slather them with mayo. Can't do the bread though ~ too mushy.

    I wish I could say yay or nay on that recipe but I can't eat seafood at all so neither would work for me!

  18. Nice post! Your recipes are great to!

    I'm a vegetable lover so I try to mix veggie up the colors all the time to go along with the dark green leafy vegetables that are a staple

  19. I love the fruits and veggies summer has to offer. And your post has made me hungry.

  20. Wow, those recipes sound so good! I think I'll have to try making them sometime. Maybe then my daughter will eat fruits and vegetables willingly :)

  21. Tomatoes. Yum.

    Sadly your entire post made me hungry.

    So I guess you could say this was a delicious link to Alphabe-Thursday's Rainbow Summer School.

    It is sure hard to stay motivated to stick to a diet on this weeks meme!

    Wayyy too many yummy recipes!

    Thanks for linking!


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