1 Jan 2007

Lettuce Have a Wonderful 2007

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2007.

Lettuce has been cultivated for thousands of years, valued as a food and medicinally. It was introduced to the Americas by Columbus. It is part of the sunflower family.

Containing more than 95% of water, lettuce is very low in calories and high in dietary fiber. A cup of shredded, raw, lettuce is less than 10 calories. This makes lettuce excellent in any slimming program.

Lettuce is a good source of vitamin A, B6, C and K with riboflavin, thiamin, iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese and phosphorus. The darker leaf lettuce contains excellent amounts of folate and beta carotene.

There are many varieties of lettuces. Butterhead (Boston) which has a soft texture with a slightly sweet flavor, Iceberg which is a firm headed lettuce and the least nutritious, Romaine (Cos) which is a nutritious lettuce with long dark leaves and a slightly bitter taste and loose leaf lettuce which has curly green or red leaves with a delicate taste and a mildly crispy texture.

Lettuce aids digestion, is excellent for the liver and helps in the prevention of cataracts. The phytochemicals in a lettuce act as a mild sedative and also relieve nervous insomnia. Extract of lettuce is used in cough preparations. The ancient Egyptians used to rub shredded lettuce juice into their scalp when they began to go bald to stimulate the regrowth. To soothe sunburned skin, boil lettuce in water and after it has cooled, add the liquid to your bath water.

Due to pesticide residues often found in lettuces it is better to purchase organic lettuces or grow them in your garden. The loose leaf varieties are easy to grow. If you need to purchase ordinary lettuce’s wash well when preparing them for eating. If not eating the same day lettuce must be stored in the refrigerator. The Iceberg will keep for over for over a week but the soft leafed lettuces will only keep for a few days. Before storing, wash and dry lettuce well. Keep them in a container or covered with plastic. Always prepare lettuce last before serving to prevent them wilting and loss of nutrients.

We usually eat lettuce raw in the West, whereas in the East is often eaten cooked. Again, as mentioned before, to obtain the best nutritional and health properties of lettuce, purchase the organic, darker leafed varieties. Try them cooked or blended in with your vegetable juices and not just added to salads.

Who can forget the wonderful Lettuce Ladies who supported and still support PETA in their campaigns. To take a look once more at these glamorous women in their lettuce leaf clothing why not pop in at their site Lettuce Ladies .

Lettuce Recipes

Lettuce Soup
from Epicurious
This soup is a great way to use lettuce's outer leaves and ribs, which usually go to waste. Any kind of potato and any salad greens, including lettuce, arugula, spinach, and watercress, will work fine.

1 cup chopped onions, scallions, and/or shallots
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tbsps Vegan margerine
3/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tspn black pepper
3/4 cup diced (1/3 inch) peeled potato
8 cups coarsely chopped lettuce leaves including ribs (3/4 lb)
3 cups water

Cook onion mixture and garlic in 2 tablespoons marg in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add coriander, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in potato, lettuce, and water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potato is very tender, about 10 minutes. Purée soup in batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids) and transfer to a 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Bring soup to a simmer, then whisk in remaining tablespoon marg and salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Sweet and Sour Lettuce Salad (Parve)
From Giora Shimoni, at kosherfood.about
My Hungarian father makes this special salad and my pickle-loving daughter gobbles it up. It is gentler than sauerkraut.

1 large round head lettuce
5 tbsps vinegar
5 heaping tbsps sugar
2 tsps salt

Separate and wash lettuce leaves. Dry well. Place in large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, salt and vinegar. Pour over lettuce. Mix well. Refrigerate.
Note: The salad tastes better after a day of sitting in the refrigerator.

Curry and Chickpea Lettuce
From Vegetarian Times

2 tbsps curry paste (available Asian stores and supermarkets)
4 oz. soy crumbles
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chickpeas (from 15.5-oz. can),drained and rinsed
6 large lettuce leaves

Whisk curry paste into 1/3 cup water in large microwave-safe bowl. Add all remaining ingredients except lettuce leaves. Cover, and microwave on high 3 minutes. Stir mixture to combine; cover and cook on high 2 minutes more, or until vegetables are tender. Spoon about 1/3 cup curry mixture onto each lettuce leaf. Wrap, and eat with your fingers. Serves 2.

Griddled Lettuce with Mango and Coriander Dressing
Nick Nairn of Ready Steady Cook (BBC Food)

1 baby Gem/Romaine lettuce, halved vertically
drizzle of olive oil
¼ mango, peeled, stoned and sliced
½ orange, zest and juice only
handful of fresh coriander leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a non-stick griddle pan until hot. Drizzle oil over the lettuce leaves and then griddle for 1-2 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, place the mango, orange zest and juice, fresh herbs and seasoning into a liquidiser or mini food processor and blend until smooth. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a serving plate and spoon the dressing over to serve.

I love Veggie Vision! The internet TV station showing play on demand mini programmes 24/7 - channels available include cookery, celebs, information - with much more on its way.


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Dori said...

Yes, lettuce. :)
That is a cute little slow cooker cookbook.... I think I might have that one.

Anonymous said...

Love the title! I don't eat enough lettuce. I usually substitute spinach and sprouts for lettuce in my salads. But I do like a nice green romaine! I think I'll pick up one on my next trip to the store.

Happy New Year!

Jul said...

Happy New Year!

You've inspired me to explore some different kinds of lettuce this week (I usually only buy lamb's breath and arugula).

bazu said...

Happy New Year to you!

Lettuce, indeed. No, seriously. I love lettuce. I've never had it cooked, and this year, I resolve to try lettuce soup.

Candi said...

Lettuce! :) Some day I want to be a lettuce lady. Lol!! (maybe in another life though...)

I love the little cookbook! I have that one and used it lots so far! :)

Happy New Year to you, Jackie!

urban vegan said...

Love the pun--and the lettuce wisdom [I have GOT to try cooking lettuce].

Happy New Year!

laura k said...

You reminded me of an excellent recipe for lettuce and sweet peas that I have... I'll have to dig it out sometime this week.

Rosemary said...

I've never heard of cooking with lettuce! I can't eat lettuce, anyway, but I love raw spinach in salads and on sandwiches, instead.

Happy New Year, Jackie!!!

Marion said...

Happy New Year, Jackie!

Lately, I have a huge craving for iceberg lettuce, even when I know it is the least nutritious. For years, I only ate romaine, if I was going to eat lettuce, but Iceberg is winning out these days.

I love your title!

Anonymous said...

Love the title! I'm intrigued by the lettuce soup -- it sounds a little wierd but I may have to try it because we have an over-abundance of lettuce in the fridge right now.

Have a great new year!

aTxVegn said...

What interesting recipes, Jackie! They all sound like something I would love to prepare.

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

what a cute tittle! i wiah you a great new year, filled with good things!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, Jackie ! <3

I love lettuce, can't eat enough of it. When I don't eat it, it's because I'm too lazy to wash the leaves (all that earth and sand in those tiny veins and cracks LOL)

Thank you for the recipes ! I will be trying the Sweet and Sour one soon !

I have been thinking about my garden and I want to grow many different kinds this year. My fave right now is Curly Red Lettuce, or something like that ;-)

Jhenn said...

Happy new year!
Just found your blog and I LOVE it! I am planning meals for the rest of the week already!! =)

Chandira said...

Your posts are always inspiring!! Wow, lettuce is good for digestion? I couldn't eat lettuce for the longest time, until somebody suggested it might not be the lettuce that was giving me tourble, but the pesticides. I am fine with organic lettuce, of course.

My own favourite salad recipe, butter lettuce, diced avocado, dried cranberries or raisins, diced cucumber, and some Bragg's Liquid Aminos, (failing that, soy sauce). Mm.. Nice low calorie treat.

Happy New Year!

Chandira said...

Jackie! You're doing a great service with your blogs, and never forget that.. I really value them, and have learned a lot. Thank you! :-)

yeah, Bragg's is an aquired taste I suppose.. lol

Jackie said...

Thanks for all the great comments. Time I got down to work and post again. I am sure time is going faster :)