A Pungent Punch Of Rosemary

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - May 14, 2008
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Frances Johnson, an Ewa resident, has been working as a registered nurse at Castle Medical Center for two years.

Originally from Alabama, she has been living here for 12 years. Frances has two children: Clinton, 23, is studying physical therapy at Hawaii Pacific University, and Brandy, 11, is very athletic and enjoys playing soccer.

Frances also is a student at the University of Phoenix, where she is going for a MBA in health care management.

When she has free time, Frances enjoys walking on the beach, as she finds the sound of the ocean relaxing and therapeutic, and is active in charity work.

I would like to dedicate this column to Frances, a nurturing, caring and dedicated professional.

Rosemary has been used since ancient times; in ancient Greece, it was believed rosemary could improve memory, and students wore wreaths of rosemary around their heads to stimulate their memories during exams. The Romans made offerings of rosemary to the household gods. It also was thought to ward off evil spirits, and in the Middle Ages, people slept with rosemary branches under their pillows to keep them safe from demons and nightmares.

A spiky evergreen bush, rosemary is a member of the mint family, and its pungent taste lends itself easily to meats, potatoes and breads, soups and stews. To use sprigs of fresh rosemary in cooking, strip the leaves from the main branch by holding the tip and pulling down on the leaves in the opposite direction they are growing. Chop the leaves before adding to a recipe. Dried rosemary is available in whole leaf or ground form at most supermarkets.

Rosemary tea is said to stimulate blood circulation to the head, improve memory, increase the power of concentration and relieve headaches, migraines and vertigo.

To make rosemary tea: Add 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves to a cup of water and boil for about 3 minutes. Let steep for 15 minutes.


* 8 large russet potatoes, cut into bite-size wedges

* 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices

* 3 tablespoons olive oil

* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

* 4 cloves crushed fresh garlic

* 2 teaspoons paprika

* 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

* salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13 baking pan with cooking spray.

Place the potatoes and carrots in a gallon-size plastic bag. Add oil and toss the potatoes and carrots in the bag until coated with the oil. Add rosemary, garlic, paprika, pepper and salt and toss until potatoes are coated. Place potatoes and carrots into the pan evenly. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, stirring them occasionally to ensure even cooking.

Uncover, coat lightly with cooking spray, and continue to bake until the potatoes are lightly browned.

Makes eight servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 320
Fat: 5.2 grams
Sodium: 153 milligrams (based on about 1/2 teaspoon of salt)
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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