Friday, April 6, 2012

Baked Eggs in a Veggie Nest + 7 Medicinal Uses of Asparagus

The incredible, edible, egg . . . traditionally at Easter they are hardboiled, colorful and hidden.  But this dish brings them out of hiding and right to the center of the meal!

Baked Eggs In A Veggie Nest

The 2 main stars of this delicious one skillet sensation are both symbolic of spring – asparagus and eggs with just a little tang of lemon.  So if you love Eggs Benedict but are looking for a much easier, lighter, gluten free and healthier version, well look no further.

While Baked Eggs in a Veggie Nest is one of those elegantly simple dishes with ingredients that are so representative of spring, it's a perfect addition to your holiday brunch table or any casual late night supper.

I made mine in an enameled cast iron pan that is just the right size for 1 or 2 servings.  But you can make yours in individual ramekins, in a pretty pie plate or in any oven-proof skillet.

Baked Eggs in a Veggie Nest

This is a super simple take off on Eggs Benedict – it has all of the wonderful flavors and none of the work – or gluten, or dairy, or tricky sauces!  This 1 skillet dish can be divided on to plates, but I also think it’s perfect served on the island counter with a friend seated on stools digging straight in with our forks!

Serves 2

1 ½ teaspoons Lemon Infused Olive Oil
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon pH 9.5 ionized water (or filtered water)
¼ teaspoon each sea salt and black pepper
¼ cup diced onion
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 ½ cups asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
2-4 eggs

Turn broiler on and while it’s heating mix oil, thyme, mustard, water, salt and pepper together, toss with onions.  Add to the bottom of the skillet and place directly under the broiler.  This gives the onions the opportunity to soften a bit.  Once the skillet is hot and the onions are beginning to get just a bit of color add the asparagus, stir and return to the broiler.  When the asparagus begins to soften a bit remove from broiler, push asparagus to the outside of the skillet to form a nest.  Add eggs to the center, return to broiler until whites are set and yolks are still soft.

Remove from broiler and serve!

7 Medicinal Uses of Asparagus

Fresh asparagus spears are not just shaped like a weapon – they are indeed weapons in your fight against aging and disease.  Asparagus is one of the most power packed veggies of spring.  Here are 7 things you may not know about the medicinal uses of asparagus . . .

1.    Asparagus contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine, making it a very effective natural diuretic.  But, unlike pharmaceutical diuretics, it is mineral sparing.  In other words pharmaceuticals do remove excess fluids from the body, but they also remove minerals that are essential for cellular health. 

Asparagus not only removes excess fluids while maintaining valuable minerals, it’s a great source of iron, copper and potassium which helps to create an overall balance in body fluids.  In fact, it’s such a powerful diuretic that concentrated asparagus powder is used in the treatment of congestive heart failure.

2.    Asparagus is loaded with antioxidants including Vitamins A and C, the trace mineral selenium.  But most importantly, along with kale, avocado and Brussels sprouts, asparagus is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a naturally detoxifying antioxidant compound that combats free radicals – those elements that create the oxidation responsible for aging and disease. 

3.    Like my favorite leafy greens – kale, spinach and arugula – asparagus delivers folate, which protects the portion of our brain that houses our memory center.  Folate also regulates the amino acid homocysteine which contributes to cardiovascular health.  Folate is also essential for proper cellular division especially during pregnancy and guards against birth defects like spina bifida.

4.    Asparagus is a very good source of fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.  Blood sugar regulation is essential in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. 

In addition to it’s role as an antioxidant, Vitamin C is also linked to blood pressure regulation, a healthy immune system, and resistance to age-related diseases of the eyes, like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Asparagus contains over 100% of the RDA of Vitamin K which is necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin, a protein that strengthens the bones. Additionally, vitamin K prevents calcium build-up in our tissues which contributes to arthritis, kidney stones, atherosclerosis and strokes.

5.    Inulin, a carbohydrate in asparagus, encourages the growth of friendly bacterial strains - bifidobacteria and lactobacilli – which  boost nutrient absorption in the intestinal tract, lower the risk of colon cancer, and helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

6.    Asparagus contains many anti-inflammatory nutrients flavonoids – such as quercetin, rutin, laempferol and isorhamnetin – which  combat COPD, asthma, arthritis and a variety of autoimmune diseases.

7.    It is well-known that chronic cellular oxidation and inflammation are linked to a variety of different cancers. With its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, asparagus is a powerful protector against bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate, ovarian and other cancers.

I hope you found this information useful and that you are now inspired to eat some asparagus!

Dr. P

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