All Posts In In Season

Herb of The Month: Marjoram

by in In Season, July 6, 2013

marjoram
This lesser-known herb is a must-have in my garden. Learn more about the flavor of marjoram, plus find out why the ancient Greeks would stock up on it for funerals.

Marjoram Basics
According to the Food Lovers’ Companion, marjoram was used in funeral wreaths to symbolize happiness in life and the afterlife. Sprigs of this herb tout small and delicate oval-shaped leaves that are bright green.

The most common variety is called sweet marjoram. It’s a member of the mint family but it has a flavor similar to oregano, only sweeter. It can be found both fresh and dried in large markets and specialty grocery stores – look for it fresh at the farmers’ market during the spring and summer months.

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Market Watch: Green Peas

by in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, June 22, 2013

green peas
Green peas are sitting in natural, pretty little packages just waiting to be plucked. Visit your local farmers’ market and dive into a basket of this spring treasure.

Also known as English Peas, inside the inedible pods are tender and succulent peas. Shelling them does take bit of elbow grease and patience, but the sweet, fresh flavor is totally worth it. Use them in any recipe that calls for fresh or frozen peas. You can also munch on them raw or blanch and freeze them for later.

One cup of shelled green peas has 117 calories and one gram of fat. It also has 7 grams of hunger-fighting fiber and 8 grams of muscle-building protein. Don’t forget about vitamins and minerals – calcium, iron, magnesium, folate, thiamin and vitamins A, C and K can all be found in peas.

Recipes To Try:
Fresh Pea Ravioli With Crispy Prosciutto
Pasta With Tomato and Peas
Tuna Pasta Salad
Spicy Cheesy Rice
Asparagus and Fresh Pea Frittata With Tomato-Basil Concasse

In Season: Red Globe Radishes

by in In Season, May 31, 2013

radish

What They Are and When to Enjoy:
Radishes belong to the cruciferous vegetable family which takes its name from the Latin root crux, meaning cross. But rest assured, eating them is no cross to bear! They are deliciously crisp and fresh tasting with a subtle spiciness.

Enjoy radishes at their finest in April, May and June. Red Globe are the most common variety in the U.S and are frequently sold with their greens attached. To choose the best ones give them a squeeze. The bulbs should feel firm, not soft. Crisp, green leaves and medium-sized roots are also good indicators of a winning bunch.

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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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