All Posts In In Season

Herb of the Month: Sorrel

by in In Season, May 17, 2013

sorrel
This spinach-like, tart herb is now in season. Pick up a bunch and get cooking!

Sorrel Basics
Although commonly defined as an herb, sorrel is part of the buckwheat family. It was used by the Greeks and Romans to help digestion. It was also wrapped around meat to help tenderize it. During the Middle Ages, before citrus fruit was brought to Europe, folks used this green herb to add a sour punch to dishes. Once citrus fruit reached Europe, poor sorrel was cast aside. Only recently has this citrus-flavored herb been gaining popularity.

Its tart flavor and tenderizing capabilities come from a compound called oxalic acid, which can also be found in spinach and black tea.

Your best bet is checking your local farmer’s market for sorrel starting in mid-May. Its leaves can either be shaped like a shield or rounded. The color can range from pale to dark green and range from 2 to 12-inches in length. Keep your eyes peeled though, sometimes the young leaves are tossed together with the salad greens. As the herb ages, the acidic flavor becomes stronger.

Varieties also vary in sourness with Garden and Belleville being the strongest flavored, while Dock sorrel is one of the mildest varieties.

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Market Watch: Broccoli Rabe

by in Farmers' Market Finds, May 15, 2013

broccoli rabe
Also known as Italian broccoli, I grew up calling this veggie rapini. It has a pungent and bitter flavor similar to turnips and cabbage that gets mellowed out by cooking. It’s also a nutrient powerhouse, packed with calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamins A, C and K.

When at the market, look for a nestled bunch of bright leafy greens, with tiny broccoli-like buds peaking out. To prepare, steam or blanche in boiling water, then sauté in olive oil and garlic. Finish with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve as a side dish or incorporate into soup, quiche or pasta.

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In Season: Ramps

by in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, May 7, 2013

ramps

A true sign of spring, this specialty produce can only be found for a limited time.

What, Where & When
A member of the Allium family along with onion and garlic, this wild variety of onion is sometimes referred to as a “wild leek.” Looking much like a scallion, a tiny bulb elongates to a skinny stalk with green feathery leaves (all parts are edible).

 

Lovers of this spring goodie are fans of its fresh onion and garlic flavor. Cooking will mellow out the pungent flavor of a raw ramp.

A serious farmers’ market treasure, ramps are harvested through the spring and early summer– look for them at markets from April through May or early June.

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In Season: Cara Cara Oranges

by in Healthy Recipes, In Season, February 9, 2013

cara cara oranges
This unique variety of oranges has been gaining popularity. But if you want to catch them, get to the market now; they’re only in season for a short time.

What, Where, & When?
These oranges were first discovered in 1976 at Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela (hence the name) and are now grown in California. They’re a type of navel orange that’s a cross between the Washington and Brazilian Bahia navel oranges.

The seedless orange has reddish-pink flesh and a sweet yet tangy flavor similar to cranberries, strawberries and raspberries. They’re available December through April.

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8 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, In Season, November 7, 2012

pumpkin risotto
Packed with vitamin A, pumpkins are good for more than carving, and it’s time to expand your palate beyond pumpkin pie. They’re absolutely delicious in any of these 8 healthy recipes.

Nutrition Lowdown
Both fresh and canned pumpkins are packed with nutritional goodness. Oftentimes, recipes will use the canned pumpkin since it takes a little work to use fresh. If you choose canned pumpkin, make sure to purchase 100% pureed pumpkin, not pie filling (check the ingredient list).

One cup of canned pumpkin has 83 calories, 1 gram of fat and 7 grams of fiber. It also has close to 800% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A, 49% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K and 19% of your daily recommended amount of iron. It also has a good amount of vitamins E and C, pantothenic acid, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese.

Creamy Risotto
This recipe uses a combo of diced and pureed pumpkin. Combined with mascarpone and fresh Parmesan cheese, it’s heavenly.

Recipe: Creamy Baked Pumpkin Risotto (above)

Spiked Punch
Pureed pumpkin mixed with brown sugar, cinnamon and a splash of rum (for the adults) will help warm you up on a chilly night.

Recipe: Mexican Pumpkin Punch

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Market Watch: Fingerling Potatoes

by in Farmers' Market Finds, October 20, 2012

fingerling potatoes
Slice and roast them or steam and smash them. Sprinkle with salt and some freshly chopped herbs and the delightfully earthy flavor only gets better. Is your mouth watering yet for some fingering potatoes?

Resembling chubby fingers, this variety of spud can be found at farmers’ markets now. Look for skins with golden, rose or even purple and blue hues. The color of the creamy, yet sturdy flesh will also vary from pale yellow, white and purplish-blue.

Some of the most well-known varieties are Russian Banana, French Fingerling and Purple Peruvian but there are even more out there – ask your local farmer what they’re growing.

Recipes to Try:
Dill Fingerling Potatoes
Grilled Potato and Pepper Salad
Crudite with Olive Crème Fraiche
Healthy Roast Fingerlings with Lemon

Market Watch: Early Apples

by in Farmers' Market Finds, September 15, 2012

apples
It’s only mid-September but I’ve been enjoying apples for months –thanks to these early varieties.

  • Delightfully crisp Gala are super crunchy and sweet with rosy skin. They’re good for applesauce or snacking.
  • Streaked pale green and red Honeycrisp are slightly tart and fabulous for baking or applesauce.
  • Red and shiny with a touch of green, MacCoun have the best of everything – sweet, tart, crunch. Fabulous for vegetable, chicken or tuna salads
  • Petite, Early McIntosh have the aroma of an orchard and are perfect for little hands (my kids gobble them up). They make a sweet and delicious pie, too.

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Summer Fest: Marrying the Apple With New Flavors

by in In Season, September 12, 2012

When you think of apples, two classic combinations come to mind: apples and cinnamon and apples with peanut butter. Who doesn’t love a hot, gooey apple cinnamon cobbler? Or some crisp, fresh apples dipped in creamy peanut butter? These popular pairings are certainly delicious, but the repertoire of our tart and fruity friend certainly does not end there.

This week, we are highlighting some ingredients you might not have thought to pair with apples, but that nonetheless make for a perfect—not to mention tasty—marriage. I now pronounce you apple and wife. You may cook the bride.

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Herb of the Month: Sage

by in In Season, September 9, 2012

lead
If you thought all fresh herbs were past their prime by the fall, you’re be mistaken. Fresh sage is now in season!

Sage Basics
This green herb is native to the Mediterranean. Its name comes from the Latin word salvus, which means “safe” – a reference to the herb’s believed healing powers.

Common garden sage is grayish-green in color with narrow, oval leaves with a pebble-like surface. They have a pungent mint-like smell and taste. There are numerous varieties of the herb; some are for cooking with while others are ornamental. Varieties include Curly, Minima, Dwarf, Tricolor, Pineapple and White Edge. Pineapple sage has a strong pineapple smell while White Edge has a creamy color splashed on the green leaves.

Although fresh is only available during the late summer and fall, dried whole, crumbled or powdered sage is available all year round.

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Your Favorite Ways to Eat Zucchini

by in In Season, August 24, 2012

Out of all the different varieties of summer squash, zucchini seems to be the fan-favorite. This green summer veggie can fit seamlessly into any course, be it an appetizer, main or dessert, and even its flower — which usually gets cut off before the zucchini hits the grocery store — is edible. We asked you, our readers, on Facebook and Twitter to tell us your favorite way to eat zucchini, and we received a lot of really creative answers. Most of you, however, said that you preferred your zucchini simply grilled with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper –  a perfect recipe for savoring the end of the summer!

Here are a few of the great suggestions you made for eating zucchini:

From Facebook:

Peggy Hurlburt Roasted with herbs, onions, peppers and tomatoes.

Lisa Wise Chocolate zucchini cake!

Mary Palmer I grind it up with onions and peppers for a delightful relish.

Mary Swisher Moran Added to spaghetti sauce with other veggies. Or shredded like spaghetti and sautéed.

Sandra Tobias Patterson McDougall Faux pepperoni on a veg pizza – absolutely delish!

Laura Dogsmom As a pie! And with strawberries.

Stef Hernandez Grated up with a potato in a hashbrown.

Diane Geitz Judge Raw, with hummus or baba ghanoush.

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