Artichokes – Artichokes are wonderful for the digestive system. They are best steamed whole. Wash the artichokes with cold running water and then steam them. Most large artichokes take 40 to 60 minutes. They do not refrigerate well.
Asparagus* – Fresh spears have tight tips and unblemished stalks. Wash well, snapping off white lower part and removing larger scales. If any stalks are especially fat, slit lengthwise so that they will cook as quickly as slender stalks. Sauté in olive oil for a few minutes in a single layer. Add about ½ inch of water to the pan and cover tightly, cooking until stalks are crisp yet tender. Alternatively, you can steam asparagus, about 7 minutes for 1 pound. Drain and season with pepper and/or nutmeg.
Beets – Select small to medium beets. Scrub and cut off the stems. Simmer in enough water to prevent scorching. When beets can be pierced with a fork (after 20 to 40 minutes, depending on size), drain and cool. Slip off skins. Slice, quarter, or serve whole.
Beet Greens – See Greens. Good served with cooked beets.
Carrots – Peel and cut full-size carrots into rounds, in strips, or diagonally, or use whole baby carrots. Simmer until tender and drain. Season with oregano.
Celery – Wash and remove strings. Cut into pieces ½ to 1-inch long. Sauté or steam for approximately 10 minutes. Season with dill or combine with carrots.
Eggplant* – Select a small, smooth-skinned eggplant that is heavy in relation to its size. Remove skin and cut into small cubes. Allow about 1 cup of cubes and 1 tablespoon water per serving. Steam for 4 to 8 minutes, drain, and add 1 teaspoon olive oil per serving. Season with basil, oregano, or fresh lemon juice.
Fennel – Remove tops from fennel, and cut the bulbs into quarters or slice crosswise. Steam until tender. Fennel has a nice licorice flavor and needs no seasoning other than salt.
Greens (Chard, Kale, Spinach, and so on) – Fresh greens are young, bright, unblemished, and crisp—not limp. Unless you buy greens in a package that says they’re prewashed, you must wash them very well to remove all sand and grit. Discard any leaves that do not seem fresh enough. Cut away tough parts of stems. Stack leaves and cut cross-wise into smallish pieces. Sauté for a few minutes until limp and tender. If you like, add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger, or sprinkle with juice from one lemon. One pound makes 3 to 4 servings.
Leeks* – Washing is the most difficult part of leek preparation. Begin by cutting away tops, leaving just a bit of bright green. Smooth off the root end but leave enough to hold leaves together. Then split lengthwise. Hold leeks cut side up under faucet and run cold water in the leaves until all grit has disappeared. Select a shallow baking dish just large enough to hold leek halves in a single layer. Rub dish with olive oil. Arrange leeks cut side up in dish, and drizzle leeks with olive oil. Add about 1 tablespoon water or broth to dish, and cover tightly with a lid. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes.
Onion*– Remove brown outer layer. If you leave onions whole, be sure to cut crossed slits in root ends, using the point of a sharp paring knife. More likely, you will slice or chop onions. Simmer chopped onions in broth or water for 15 minutes and medium-size whole onions for 1 hour. Drain and season. Combine with almost any other vegetable.
If you are baking meat, you may want to bake onions at the same time. Place whole or sliced onions in a shallow nonstick baking dish. Rub tops with olive oil, and bake for 30 minutes to 1 hour or more, depending on oven temperature and onion size.
Parsnips* – Peel, leaving small ones whole and cutting larger ones into halves or quarters lengthwise. Simmer for 15 to 30 minutes. When easily pierced with a fork, drain and flavor with nutmeg.
Potatoes* – Even if you are not sensitive to white potatoes, limit your intake during these two weeks to no more than one medium-size potato a day. If you are beginning to long for something crunchy, try making potato chips. To make potato chips, slice one potato as thinly as possible. Soak slices in very cold water for 10 minutes or more. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°. Select a shallow baking pan. Rub lightly with olive oil. Drain slices and dry them with paper towels. Spread in pan and place in oven. Turn after 10 minutes, and continue to bake for a total of about 20 minutes, until the slices are browned.
To bake potatoes, preheat oven to 400°. Wash potatoes and prick with a fork. Bake for 40 minutes or until done. During the clearing phase of your diet, you can add a small amount of olive oil or flax oil, avocado, or sardines or tuna packed in water. Later you can add butter or homemade yogurt if you are not intolerant. Hint: Refrigerate baked potatoes overnight and reheat; they are actually more flavorful when reheated and don’t need topping.
Sweet Potatoes and Yams – Sweet potatoes and yams are excellent for the digestive system. Peel, cut into quarters, and simmer. When they can be easily pierced with a fork, drain, saving a little cooking liquid. Mash, adding liquid until they are “creamy.” Season with nutmeg or ginger. Alternatively, you can bake them (discard the skin).You can also make chips following the recipe for white potato chips.
Summer Squash – Use zucchini or yellow squash. If squash is large, cut in quarters lengthwise and remove seeds. If squash is small, leave seeds in. Cut into chunks or rounds, and steam or sauté for 5 to 10 minutes. You can add flavor by cooking with a chopped onion. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, or dill.
Winter Squash – Use acorn or butternut squash. One way to cope with the hard, thick skin on winter squash is to put it in a baking dish and microwave at full power for 5 minutes or longer. This softens the skin so that you can cut through it when the squash is cool enough to handle. You can then cut it in half and remove the seeds and membrane.
To bake squash halves, put them cut side down in a pan with about ½ inch of water. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. Turn squash so cut side is up, and continue to bake until it is easily pierced with a fork. You can fill the hollow with cooked onions or spinach. Alternatively, when you have removed seeds and membrane, you can peel the squash, cut it into chunks, and steam it for 15 to 25 minutes. Or you can pierce the skin with a fork and cook the whole squash in a microwave until you can easily thrust a fork deeply into it. This will take 10 to 15 minutes, depending on squash size and microwave power. Let squash stand until cool enough to handle, then cut in half and remove seeds and membrane. Squash halves may be served in the skin, or squash can be removed and cut into chunks or mashed. Season with salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of ginger or cinnamon.
Turnips and Rutabagas*– Peel, dice, and steam or boil turnips or rutabagas until they are soft and easily pierced with a fork. They have a flavor of their own and need no addition beyond salt and pepper.
Stir-Fried Vegetables – Cut any of the following vegetables to approximately uniform size: carrots, celery, onions, and green or yellow squash. Sauté in olive oil, keeping vegetables moving in pan until they are tender, approximately 10 minutes. Add a small amount of water if the pan gets too dry. Season with your choice of herbs.
Summer Vegetables Medley – Peel and cut a medium-size eggplant into chunks. Cut a zucchini into thick slices and an onion into thin slices. Sauté all vegetables until tender, adding basil, oregano, and cumin to taste, for 10 minutes.
Vegetable Roast – Rub a large cookie sheet with olive oil, and cover sheet with a single layer of any or all of these vegetables, thinly sliced: carrots, beets, potatoes, zucchini, and onions. Rub vegetable tops with olive oil. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until all vegetables are easily pierced with a fork. You can add oregano, basil, or thyme.
Winter Vegetable Medley – Peel and cut any or all of the following vegetables into large pieces of nearly equal size: onions, potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, and parsnips. Steam with ½ teaspoon caraway seeds.
Sweet Potato and Carrot Purée
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 large carrots, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil or flax
¼ to ½ teaspoon minced ginger (optional)
In a medium saucepan, cover sweet potatoes and carrots with cold water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Put vegetables in blender, add oil and ginger, and purée until smooth.
1 small onion
Olive oil (1 tablespoon per 4 cups of vegetables
Oregano, salt, pepper, marjoram to taste
Slice vegetables and layer in casserole. Pour olive oil over vegetables.
Sprinkle with oregano, salt, pepper, and marjoram. Add 1/2-inch of water. Place in oven and bake, uncovered, until vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally, so that top vegetables do not get too brown.