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Earth-Arbor Day asparagus and broccoli

Honoring the Canopy Project and the Tree Philly initiative with recipes that look a little green.

Green living, green eating: Celebrate Arbor Day with some edible trees — asparagus and broccoli.

By Donna Zitter Bordelon

I sing the praise of Hollandaise,

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A sauce supreme in many ways.

Not only is it a treat to us

When ladled on asparagus,

But I would shudder to depict

A world without Eggs Benedict.

— Ogden Nash

It’s a good thing for Mother Earth that there are people who regard Earth Day as a year-round event. Although Earth Day’s message and campaign this year is to “End Plastic Pollution,” the ongoing global reforestation effort known as the Canopy Project, through the Earth Day network, plants trees to help reverse soil erosion by using tree roots to secure soil and to restore tree and leaf cover worldwide. Each dollar donated plants one tree — $1 equals one tree.

What’s more, trees help to filter our air. According to Earth Day data, “In just one year, a mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen as 10 people inhale!” The goal of the project is to plant 7.8 billion trees by 2020 (roughly, one tree for each person on the planet) in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day that year.

Arbor Day, first celebrated in 1872, was really the original Earth Day. J. Sterling Morton, a Nebraska newspaper editor who served as President Grover Cleveland’s Secretary of Agriculture, moved from Detroit to what is now Nebraska in 1854, planting trees around his home and encouraging others to do the same because of the lack of trees there. On April 10, 1872, he and Robert Furnas, second governor of Nebraska, created Arbor Day, awarding prizes to counties and individuals who planted the most trees on that day. About 1 million trees were planted in a single day.

Tree Philly, working with the Parks and Recreation Department and partnering with others, is Philadelphia’s initiative “to make sure each Philadelphia neighborhood has at least 30% tree canopy coverage,” and they are giving away free trees.

I’m honoring the Canopy Project and the Tree Philly initiative with recipes for those little, look-alike, (a little imagination here) edible trees — asparagus and broccoli. This recipe makes a great, warm side dish. Or, chill the asparagus, and add to a salad.


1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed, broken into thirds

3 Tbsp. olive oil

¾ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1–2 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of ½ lemon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Spread olive oil onto foil, add the asparagus, and toss to coat with the oil.

Sprinkle with the salt, pepper and garlic, and mix.

Bake for about 10–15 minutes (stir after 5 minutes) until asparagus is fork tender, and done to your liking.

Remove asparagus to serving dish, add the lemon juice, stir and serve.


1½–2 lbs. broccoli

½ cup red onion, diced

¾ cup roasted sunflower seeds or roasted pepitas or chopped walnuts

½ cup raisins

½ cup Craisins

1 small apple, cored and diced

Trim ends of broccoli then put broccoli into a large pot of boiling water to blanch for 45 seconds. Drain and quickly rinse under cold water until broccoli cools.

Dry broccoli and chop stems and florets into bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl, put the broccoli and remaining ingredients.

Chill while making the following dressing.


1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

Put all ingredients into a small bowl, and whisk them together.

Pour over salad and toss to coat.

Chill before serving.

Hollandaise Sauce for Asparagus/Broccoli:

2 egg yolks, juice of ¼ lemon, pinch of salt and cayenne pepper and ¼ cup butter, melted.

Beat yolks, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a microwave-safe bowl until smooth.

Slowly drizzle in melted butter while whisking.

Microwave 15–20 seconds. Whisk.

Eat well, live long, enjoy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)

Don’t forget:

Send in your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $100 ShopRite gift card. Mail your recipe to Readers’ Recipes, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002. Or email your recipe to WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com. Please include name, address and telephone number.

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