Tag Archives: antioxidant

Locavoracious 2

Aunty Oxidant makes Firecracker Salad at the Moving Planet MN350 event at the State Capitol, St Paul, 09-24-11

Saturday was an incredibly beautiful day to be outside, talking to people about sustainable agriculture and buying local, and handing out samples of fresh raw salad made from vegetables I had just bought at the farmers’ market that morning. 

I was exhibiting at the Moving Planet MN350 event in St Paul, one of thousands held simultaneously around the globe to advocate for progressive climate- change policies and actions.

[Guess What? I made it into the Twin Cities Daily Planet article about this event! Mainly a decent photo of me and the salad.]

 I chopped and chatted all afternoon. People snarfed up Firecracker Slaw (see recipe), made with all raw veggies, harvested the day before. This gorgeous salad is sweet & spicy, earthy and crunchy, and features carrots, beets, apples and red onions doused in a smoky chipotle vinaigrette. I also added kohlrabi and cabbage, which stretched it out and added even more crunch.

Kohlrabi puppets

Kohlrabi is very very mild and reminds one of tender broccoli stalks, or of jicama without the sweetness. It’s a good low-cal crunchy filler to add to any salad or stir-fry, or just to eat raw like carrots. I like to make “refrigerator pickles”, Asian-style, with chopped fresh mint, garlic and rice vinegar.


Groovin’ on a Sunday afternoon

Yesterday, Kingfield Farmers Market in South Mpls was a buzz with locavores buying and selling and chatting with one another.  It was a perfect summer day to demo Firecracker Slaw, made with veggies bought at the market for only $10.  I‘ve posted the recipe on my Recipes page. It can also be found on the Kingfield Market’s Recipe page.

I started the show with my theme song, “Everybody’s Doin’ the Locavore” (to the tune of the Motown hit “Locomotion”). Sing along with the lyrics below!

Everybody’s doin’ the Locavo-ore, C’mon baby do the locavore!

tracy yue

"Aunty Oxidant" demos fresh raw salads at Kingfield Farmers' Market. C'mon baby do the Locavore!

Fresh veggies make me feel so good, gimme some more. C’mon baby do the locavore!

Everybody’s doin’ a brand new dance now. C’mon baby do the locavore!

Locavore means giving local farmers a chance now. C’mon baby do the locavore!


Meet the farmer who grows the food  you put on your table.

Eating fresh and local means no peeling off labels.

So c’mon c’mon, do the locavo-ore with me!

[with spunky attitude]

You gotta swing your canvas ba-ag,

Come on baby! [clap clap]

That’s right! [clap clap]

Hold tight! [clap clap]

You’re gonna love those veggies when you eat ’em to-na-ite!


So c’mon c’mon, do the locavo-ore with me!

Yeah, c’mon c’mon, do the locavo-ore with me!

Demos & Classes

Aunty Oxidant and kids making salads at Farmers' Market (photo by Sharon Ramirez)

THIS SUNDAY Aunty Oxidant (that’s me) and the Little Locavore show ride again! I will be demo-ing healthful salads at the Kingfield Farmers Market, one of the best markets in town! Come see me at 10.30am down at 4310 Nicollet Ave, Mpls. It’s open every Sun 8:30 am -1 pm.

I am planning to make — with kids’ assistance — Firecracker Slaw, a gorgeous tasty salad of shredded raw beets, carrots, kohlrabi and apples tossed in a chipotle vinaigrette. It’s sweet & spicy, crunchy & filling and very ‘clean’. FULL of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber fiber fiber. 

Firecracker Slaw: the prettiest slaw you've EVER seen! (my photo)

As my clients and readers know, I am all about Fiber. Fiber is the key to a healthful food lifestyle and a healthy body. It improves heart-health by removing cholesterol & fat from your system, cleans out your colon and makes you feel better. Fiber comes from — surprise — natural whole grains, beans, veggies and fruits, which also contain vitamins and antioxidants. So there you go.

This week I taught a cooking class at the new Rice Street Teen Center run by St Paul Parks & Recreation Dept. My audience was St Paul teens and the topic, unbeknownst to them, was Healthful Snacks. It was a little challenging to come up with dishes that I thought teenagers — vs adults — could easily and inexpensively make at home, ie with readily available, cheap ingredients and short prep times.

This was the resulting lesson plan:
  • fresh salsa w/ market veggies
  • “Texas caviar” aka black bean, corn & veg salad w/ pineapple & lime juice dressing
  • pineapple cream cheese & banana quesadillas
  • banana, peanut butter & craisin balls rolled in sunflower seeds.
The nine teens divided into four teams to make the above, which we served with tortilla chips. We diced fresh green peppers, tomatoes & onions, minced jalapenos, garlic & cilantro and then divided these in half to use in both vegetable dishes. Corn (from frozen), fresh diced cukes and 2 cans of black beans made up the rest of the bean salad. Canned chunked pineapples were strained and mashed with cream cheese, while the pineapple juice went into the bean salad. 

It was lots of fun and the teens took many containers of food home. My next class at Rice Street is in mid-Sept. With the same goal of making easy & inexpensive healthful foods, I’m thinking about Seasoned Oven-fried Potato, Sweet Potato, Rutabaga and Zucchini Spears. Roasting is a wonderful & easy cooking method as well as a healthier (low-fat) way to enjoy root veg. Plus root vegetables are cheap and feed a crowd — you can buy 5# of potatoes for the price of a lg bag of Tater Tots.  So wish me luck! 
I’ll be posting soon about a series of cooking classes that I’m offering at Inver Grove Hts Community Center. They are scheduled on Thursdays from mid-September thru October, to coincide with the mini- Farmers’ Market held in the center’s parking lot! 

If you have any suggestions for foods/dishes that appeal to teens and kids, please include in a comment on this blog, or, email me at tracyksyue@yahoo.com. Thank you!

Get Your Beet Down to The Farmers’ Market, Already!

The Farmers’ Markets have all sorts of lovely veg now, even beets, which usually are abundant Sep – Nov. Some people like me are huge fans, while some have an aversion. I suspect this aversion is due to an unpleasant childhood incident involving Canned Beets, which are NOTHING like roasted, steamed or raw beets. Pickled beets are also very different — how similar is eating a dill pickle to eating a cucumber?

The prettiest slaw you've EVER seen! Firecracker Slaw = raw shredded beets, carrots, purple cabbage and apples in a chipotle vinaigrette.

Raw beets are surprisingly palatable. They taste similar to raw carrots: sweet but more earthy and a little less crunchy. Like carrots, you can slice them for veggie platters, or grate and toss with a green or chopped salad or slaw. The Firecracker Slaw here, which was the Delivered Dish this past week, is getting RAVES. Most people won’t even notice there are raw beets, partly b/c the smoky spicy chipotle vinaigrette is earthy too.

My point is, sometimes you will really like a vegetable prepared in a certain way but not in others.  Don’t act with prejudice and abhor the entirety of a vegetable based on one experience. Try it cooked, raw, pureed, with sauce or dressing, etc. Most kids LOVE beets, especially young ones who haven’t yet been influenced by judgemental adults making nasty faces.  Ahem!

Plus, beets are a Super Food, full of antioxidants such as Vitamin A — nearly as high in quantity as that of the almighty carrot, and with 6x as much iron.  Women, please take note. This plus plenty of fiber means it’s an immune-boosting, cancer & cholesterol-fightin’ food (pls refer to previous post about “S-shaped poop”). Yes, garden beets are higher in sugar and calories than some root vegetables, so people with diabetes should eat small amounts. But, it’s sugar in its natural form, not processed, so enjoy it guilt-free.

We are lucky that beets are available from now til winter. Get to know them. Get to love them. Get your butt to the market, people.



New topic: My Favorite Things.

I love diamond-edged sharpeners and found this one @ IKEA for around $15.

Oprah has hers and I have mine. Mine are much, much, much cheaper.  Here’s one:

Diamond Edged Knife Sharpener. This is a flattened oval tube of fine-grit metal for everyday sharpening. Vastly superior to those round tube coarse-grit sharpeners. Use those clunkers in the garden for stakes but NOT in the kitchen. Why? The flattened shape offers more sharpening surface. The fine-edged grit is better, the way that fine sandpaper is better than coarse sandpaper.

I found this one (pictured at right) at IKEA for around $15.00. The ones at restaurant supply stores are longer, to sharpen a variety of long knives and cost $20-25. I don’t like to go anywhere without mine. Seriously, I actually packed it on a trip to a friend’s whom I knew never sharpened her knives.

These IKEA chef’s knives looked pretty good too, very solid.


You say ‘potahto’, I say ‘pohtayto’

Wasabi Kohlrabi Herb Potato Salad is Vegan and Low-fat!  Its creamy herb dressing based on silken tofu, not dairy.

Wasabi Kohlrabi Herb Potato Salad is Vegan and Low-fat! Its creamy herb dressing based on silken tofu, not dairy.

Here’s the “After” picture promised in previous post of my vegan Wasabi Kohlrabi Herb Potato Salad (see recipe).

Redolent of fresh dill, flat-leaf parsley and cilantro, the salad was a CROWD PLEASER on Sunday, as well as at a Labor Day picnic I catered the following day. People are always surprised there is NO MAYO in this creamy flavorful salad dressing.

This particular batch made at the Market included purple potatoes and chopped fresh beet greens and celery leaves, and was garnished with whole beet leaves and dill.  Chopped dark leafy veggies — in addition to the chopped kohlrabi & celery — improves the dish by adding contrasting flavors and lovely dark green flecks to a typically bland, yellow dish. Adding dark leafy veg adds  significantly more antioxidants (vitamin C & A), minerals, iron and much needed fiber.

You could use any fresh green leaves, such as spinach, young turnip greens,  kale, collards, sweet potato leaves, arugula, etc, as long as they’re chopped small. Beet greens taste like spinach — see last week’s post “Beets Beat Carrots”.)

I love Wasabi and it rhymes with Kohlrabi, so I added 1 TB Wasabi paste per 2 cps of dressing (mixed in blender). Result is a mild horseradish kick that you taste only at the end. (Nevertheless, I may try regular white horseradish, not the mayo-based kind, to compare.)

Ruby Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake

Ruby Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake

I also served up slices of Ruby Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake for that last show. This photo does not show, unfortunately, the raspberry beet syrup and darling pink icing I drizzled on top.

I will be making another pink-iced beet cake for a 7 yr-old girl’s birthday party and will try to remember to photograph it before it’s devoured!

LAST appearance at Farmers Market this Sun Sep 6th!

Miles the Cabbage Farmer demos why local produce is fresher

Miles the Cabbage Farmer demos why local produce is fresher

SADLY, Aunty Oxidant’s demonstrations at Mpls Farmers Market will come to an end this coming Sunday.  Apparently, once school & church activities begin, you families don’t come on Sundays. BOO HOO.

So, this Sun, I’ll be pulling out all the stops, with puppets, skits, song, the best dishes of this summer, and, CHOCOLATE CAKE for ALL.

The Giant Corncob and Cucumber will make a special appearance too!

This cabbage comes from far away and must go through many hands to reach our stores. How fresh is it?

This cabbage comes from far away and must go through many hands to reach our stores. How fresh is it?

You can even try on the Corncob and Cuke costumes and take your picture!  Can’t get THAT at the State Fair, ya know!

Please COME catch the last shows, 9.30am, 10.30am, 11.30am (see 4th previous post for little red map of location at market).


Beets Beat Carrots

You may have heard that Beets are a “super-food” and it’s true. Beets are terrific sources of the antioxidant vitamins A & C, vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus.

What might surprise you is that Beet Greens (leaves) are even MORE nutritious than the root: 5x more calcium, 4x more Vit C, nearly 2x more iron and 100x more Vit A.

½ cp cooked beet greens = 27 cal, 4 gm carb, 2-3 gm fiber
½ cp cooked beet root = 44 cal, 10 gm carb (8 gm sugar), 2-3 fiber

Even more surprisingly,  Beets beat Carrots in most nutrient categories, except for Vit A:

  • 6x more Folic Acid
  • beetroot 2x more Iron, beet green 6x more
  • Much more magnesium, potassium & zinc
  • 1 gm more protein
  • Same amt Fiber
  • Same amt Vit C
  • 2/3 less Calcium

Carrots have TONS more Vit A /betacarotene (what makes it orange). However, dark leafy greens like Kale, Chard, Spinach, Turnip Greens, and yes, Beet Greens, also deliver excellent amounts of Vit A.

Red Beet with (clockwise) turnip greens, radishes, kale and napa cabbage (photo Brad Dahlgaard)

Red Beet with (clockwise) turnip greens, radishes, kale and napa cabbage (photo Brad Dahlgaard)

Beets’ high antioxidants and fiber help cleanse/detox your liver & kidney, improve bowel function, ‘flush out’ cholesterol and boost the immune system. Together these benefits may reduce the risk of heart disease and stomach & colon cancer.


Trim stalks from beetroots, leaving 2 inches of stem so doesn’t “bleed”. Keep bagged roots in frig 2-4 wks. Store greens unwashed in a perforated bag for <5 days.

Tip: Roast a large quantity of beets at one time. Since the oven is on, fill up the shelves. Then freeze cooked beets in ‘meal-sized’ bags.