Spring is the season of asparagus. Their strong green stalks are one of the first foods to start growing after our long cold winter. Asparagus, like many springtime foods, has the natural ability to cleanse the body. Containing the amino acid, asparagine, asparagus acts as a diuretic and helps remove fluids and excess salts from the body. This is very good for people who suffer from edema, high blood pressure, and other heart related diseases.
This delicate, slightly sweet vegetable is also high in fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E, and K. Used in this soup recipe, the asparagus imparts tremendous flavor. When shopping for asparagus, look for crisp stalks that are not wilted and the tips are not mushy. Most of the time the bottom inch has to be cut-off and discarded because it is too fibrous.
One of my favorite foods that most people have never heard of is, mochi. It’s a traditional food from the Orient. Made from sweet brown rice, it is sold in most health food stores. It comes in a square, wrapped in plastic. It is made when you pound the brown rice to get a sticky consistency, and is then formed into the square cakes. My favorite way to use mochi is to grate it. I always keep grated mochi in my freezer so that I have it ready to use.
It works great thickening a soup, like this recipe. Once the grated mochi is cooked, it becomes sticky. It will thicken soups, make casseroles creamy, and when melted you can make a (mock) cheese sauce.
Cream Of Asparagus Soup
4 cups water
2 cups rice beverage
1 onion (diced)
1 lb. asparagus (cut up)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup grated mochi
3 tsp. basil
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
Bring water and rice beverage to a boil. Add onion, asparagus, and rolled oats. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add mochi let simmer for 10 more minutes. Add sea salt and basil. Blend soup, either using a hand blender, food processor, or blender. Serve warm.
Valerie Wilson is a chef, author, counselor and host of ‘Healthy Cooking with MacroVal’ on BMS Radio. Visit: www.macroval.com (734)722-4553