REAP the HARVEST ~ Dr. Neeta Shah, MD, FACP

Dr. Shah Wants Women & Men to Know

Reap the Harvest!



The air outside is crisp and chilly. The leaves are changing their hue to vibrant colors of orange, red and golden brown. So are the colors of the healthiest autumn fruits and vegetables. It’s time to harvest and enjoy!

In days ago, people ate based on what was available during the season, hence the traditional recipes and ingredients for the holidays. Nowadays almost anything is available round the year. Still the punch of nutrition exists only when our produce is fresh and grown locally.


Kiwi-Pomegranate Angel Pies


For meringues
4 large egg whites (reserve yolks for pastry cream), at room temperature for 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 teaspoon confectioners sugar

For pastry cream
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream

For fruit topping
8 to 10 kiwifruit (1 1/2 lb), peeled and each cut lengthwise into 8 wedges
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (from 1 pomegranate)

Special equipment: parchment paper
print a shopping list for this recipe

Preparation Make meringue:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 200°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment.

Beat egg whites in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until whites are foamy, then add cream of tartar and salt. Continue beating until whites hold soft peaks. Add 1/2 cup superfine sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating, then increase mixer speed to high and continue to beat until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks, about 5 minutes. Fold in remaining 1/2 cup superfine sugar gently but thoroughly.

With back of a spoon, spread meringue into 10 (4-inch) rounds, 5 on each lined baking sheet. Form a 3-inch-wide depression in center of each round (shape and smooth exterior side of each round with a butter knife if desired).

Using a fine-mesh sieve, lightly dust confectioners sugar evenly over meringues. Bake, with oven door propped open about 1/2 inch with handle of a wooden spoon, until meringue is crisp, about 2 1/2 hours. Turn oven off and let meringues stand in oven, with door propped open, until dry, at least 1 hour. Carefully peel off parchment.

Make pastry cream:
Whisk together flour, cornstarch, a pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a small bowl. Whisk together yolks in a medium bowl, then whisk in flour mixture until smooth.

Bring milk just to a boil with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk half of milk mixture into egg mixture. Pour custard back into pan, whisking, and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking constantly and vigorously, then boil, whisking, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, force cream through a medium-mesh sieve into a shallow bowl. Chill pastry cream, its surface covered with wax paper, 2 hours.

Whisk heavy cream vigorously in a medium bowl until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk pastry cream briefly to loosen, then, using spatula, gently fold in whipped cream. Chill, covered, 30 minutes.

Assemble pies just before serving:
Fill each meringue shell with about 3 tablespoons pastry cream and smooth top of filling with back of a spoon.

Divide kiwis evenly among shells, then sprinkle pomegranate seeds over tops.

Cooks’ notes:
•Meringues are best baked on a dry day; humidity may cause them to be sticky.
•Baked meringues can be left to dry in turned-off oven up to 12 hours.
•Meringues can be baked 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
•Pastry cream without whipped cream can be chilled up to 1 day. Whipped cream can be folded into pastry cream up to 4 hours ahead; keep chilled, covered.
• Kiwis can be cut 3 hours ahead and chilled, covered.
•Pomegranate seeds keep, covered and chilled, 3 days.

Read More


Apples– an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Recent research shows that apples and other white fleshy fruit like pears and bananas can decrease our risk of stroke. Apples have fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. They are loaded with antioxidants. Fiber helps regulate bowel movements and thus decrease risk of colon cancer. Fiber in apples also makes us full and helps with weight loss. It decreases our risk for heart disease by decreasing absorption of cholesterol. Try all different types of apples. Choose organic apples if possible and clean them thoroughly before eating. Apples can be eaten raw or cooked in sauces, pies, etc.

Kiwi – also called Chinese gooseberry. They have a fuzzy brown skin with a green or yellow pulp inside. Rich source of Vitamin C (more than oranges), Fiber, Potassium (almost equal to that found in bananas), Copper, Magnesium, Manganese and Vitamin E. The antioxidants and phytonutrients found in kiwi are protective of DNA. They help control blood sugar, fight asthma, decrease risk of blood clots and macular degeneration and also protect the heart and colon.

Pomegranate – a rich source of fiber. A ½ cup of arils (seeds as mistakenly called) contain 5 mg of fiber. Excellent source of potassium that helps to control blood pressure. Pomegranates are also rich in antioxidants that help remove free radicals from the body. Research has shown that drinking pomegranate juice decreases the risk of heart disease and lowers bad cholesterol, anticancer especially prostate, lung and breast and helps to prevent arthritis.

Include other healthy fall fruits like oranges, grapes, pears, berries, persimmons and grapefruits on your plate!



Kabocha and Spinach in Coconut Milk

adapted from “Malaysian Favourites by Wendy Hutton

6 shallots, rough chopped
2 large red chillies, quartered (I used some homegrown jalapenos)
1/2 tsp belachan (dried shrimp paste), can be found at 99 Ranch Markets *
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp dried shrimp (hae bee), soaked in hot water to soften, and drained
500 ml (2 cups) coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste
400g (14 oz) kabocha (about one medium kabocha), peeled and cut into chunks
150g (5oz) spinach, coarse stems discarded (I just used a bag of young spinach leaves)


While I was flipping through my Malaysian cookbooks, this recipe jumped out at me. The actual title of the recipe was “Sweet Potato and Spinach in Coconut Milk”. Right at the end of the recipe, there was a footnote that stated that pumpkin could be used instead of sweet potatoes. I jumped at the chance as I had a kabocha squash that I was wondering what to do with.


Squash – a nutritious vegetable that is available in many varieties. The most common fall and winter squashes are acorn, butternut, spaghetti, gold nugget and rhubarb squash. They are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium, Fiber, Folate and Thiamin. Carotenoids in squash are converted to Vitamin A in the body. This gives the squash its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Sweet Potatoes– another nutritious vegetable that has Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, fiber, complex carbohydrates, Copper and Potassium. The darker the orange color, the more amount of Vitamin A. Good for diabetics too! It helps stabilize blood sugar levels and decrease insulin resistance. Sweet potatoes are more nutritious than regular potatoes.

Spinach – a green leafy vegetable that has a high nutritional value and extremely rich in antioxidants. A nutritional powerhouse as demonstrated rightly by “Popeye – The Sailorman!” Spinach has Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Calcium, Copper, Fiber, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Omega-3 fatty acids, Phosphorous, Potassium, Protein, Selenium, Tryptophan, and Zinc. Spinach protects the bones, the heart, the eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts and the brain!



So what are you waiting for?

Go to your local farms …




A Celebration of Women says …. brava Dr. Shah!



Dr. Neeta Shah, MD, FACP

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