Archives for February 3, 2016

Get Ready for the Big Game Day with Whole Foods Market!

Looking for some great snack food items for the Big Game Day? Whole Foods market has your covered!

I recently went shopping there and found great appetizers, chips and a really delicious guacamole with Kale! But, here are also a few recipes from our friends at Whole Foods Market that I am excited to make this weekend!

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Recipe credit:  Megan Myers.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites Recipe

I can’t wait to try this one since I am a big fan of spicy and of Cauliflower!

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Learn to Cook: Fresh Salsa Recipe

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Creamy Spinach Dip Recipe

Enjoy the weekend and the Big Game Day!

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Self Disclosure: I received a gift card previously to facilitate this post. Recipe and photo credit: Whole Foods Market.

Whole Foods Market’s Top Picks for Seasonal Produce

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While “Winter” doesn’t always sound right on this coast with our warm holidays and mild temps, it’s the perfect time to enjoy a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables. Winter delivers a surprising range of flavorful produce – from bright citrus to soothing squash. And, buying in-season presents the best possible combination – peak flavor at the best prices of the year.

Whole Foods Market currently has Broccoli on sale for .99 a lb. Don’t miss out!

A buyer’s guide to winter produce: (Courtesy of our friends at Whole Foods Market)

Citrus

Citrus is the darling of winter produce and for good reason – its bright, vitamin C-packed flavors and colors perk up our senses and help us muster through flu season. When buying citrus, look for fruit that emits a strong citrus fragrance, and feels heavy for its size. That shows the fruit is at peak ripeness (citrus does not continue to ripen once picked. Avoid fruit with damage or soft spots, and fruit that’s much larger than average, as the flesh will often lack in taste. Store at room temperature away from direct sunlight or refrigerate. Here are a few tidbits on some of our favorite citrus fruits:

  • Sumo Mandarins:  This gem is a rare find in most grocery stores, but it’s one of our absolute favorites. Easily recognized by its “top knot” and loose, bumpy skin, this is one of the juiciest, sweetest and easiest-to-peel citrus available, and it’s one of the cleanest to eat, too.
  • Grapefruit: Flavors range from tart to sweet depending on the variety, but a ripe grapefruit will be slightly reddish in color. The deeper the color, the more intense the flavor will be. Look for plump fruit that looks like it’s about to burst out of its skin.
  • Clementines: These small, easy-to-peel mandarins are ready to pick when the fruit has a slightly flattened globe shape and its skin is glossy and bright. Unlike oranges and grapefruit, you should go for skin that is soft and puffy.
  • Satsumas: Similar to clementines in size, but are just a touch sweeter with a delicate texture. Don’t let color fool you, as many satsumas that are perfectly ripe still have a green hue to their skin. Go for soft and puffy skin here, too.

Potatoes

There are options aplenty, but picking out a great tuber is a simple as following these few basic principles – pick potatoes that feel heavy in your hand and buy them shortly before you use them for the best texture and taste. If baking them whole, pick potatoes of equal size to ensure even cooking. Store them in a cool, dark place away from onions, as gasses from the onions can hasten sprouting in potatoes. Toss sprouted tubers. Here are just a few of many options at Whole Foods Market:

  • Sweet Potatoes: You say sweet potato, we say garnet, Hannah, Japanese, Jewel and Purple Stokes. Each variety offers a unique flavor profile and texture from firm and mildly sweet to moist and super sweet. Just ask a Whole Foods Market team member to help you find the best match for your dish.
  • Fingerlings: These two-bite multicolored potatoes are a great way to add color to your plate. Pan-frying and roasting enhances their robust flavor and buttery, nutty taste. Tip: To ensure even cooking, slice large fingerlings in half and leave smaller ones whole.
  • Russets: Dry, medium-sweet flesh makes russets ideal for whipping up into light and fluffy mashed potatoes. They’re also an excellent choice for classic baked potatoes, too, as the skin becomes firm when cooked.

Other Root Vegetables: 

Root vegetables are great option for eating locally throughout the winter and are incredibly versatile. They’re rich, nutty and delicious when roasted, mashed, pureed, baked or added to soups and stews. In general, look for firm, blemish-free veggies that feel heavy for their size. Store them in a cool, dark, dry environment. Wrapping them in a loose plastic bag and storing them in your fridge’s crisper drawer is ideal. Here are a few of our top picks:

  • Parsnips: In their prime between fall and spring, parsnips don’t get nearly the credit or attention they deserve. They’re shaped a bit like a carrot, but have pale, creamy skin and a tough, woody texture that softens with cooking. They add a sweet, nutty flavor to all sorts of dishes. Opt for parsnips with light beige skin.
  • Turnips: Look for brightly colored turnips with creamy looking bulbs and purple-hued rings around the tops.
  • Carrots: Although this hearty root veggie is available all year round, you’ll find the widest range of varieties and flavors in the winter months. Valuable nutrients lie in or just below the skin so if you’re eating baby carrots, simply wash them before use.  If they’re larger and more mature, just wash and give them a quick peel.

Broccoli

There’s a reason mom told you to eat your broccoli. This cruciferous veggie delivers a great source of vitamins K and C and good source of folate, not to mention a robust flavor. To get the best of the bunch, look for nice, bright green color and heads with compact clusters of florets and firm, strong stems and stalks. For optimum freshness, avoid any stalks that look woody or heads with florets that are close to flowering. Seal in a loose plastic bag with a paper towel (to absorb excess moisture) and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower offers many of the same nutritional benefits of broccoli with a mellower taste and creamier texture. Its mild flavor makes it a great pick for lightening up winter comfort foods like mashed potatoes and mac and cheese. Look for cauliflower that has a light creamy color and densely packed florets and are free of brown or wet spots. Give it a good whiff before taking it home; a strong odor indicates that it may be past its prime. Store it just like broccoli in the refrigerator.

Pomegranates

Known for their vibrant red color, pomegranates are a great pick to add a festive pop to your holiday salad or cocktail. Go for fruit that feels heavy for it size, as these will have more juicy seeds. The darker and deeper red the skin is, the sweeter (and less tart) the fruit will be.  Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for extended freshness. Tip: To avoid stains from the dark red juice, be sure to slice the fruit on a non-porous surface.

Apples

This crisp fall favorite continues to be a go-to pick throughout the winter months. With multiple varieties that offer a range of textures and tastes, they’re incredible versatile, too. Choose apples that are firm and free of blemishes or bruises. Apples emit ethylene, which speeds up the process of ripening so it’s important to store them in a cool place away from other ethylene-sensitive produce, like bananas or citrus fruit. If you’re storing peeled apples, a squeeze of lemon will help prevent browning.

Kiwi

Many people connect kiwi with its New Zealand roots, but this exotic fruit also has a strong domestic season. California’s kiwifruit season runs from October through May, with the majority of the harvest happening in October and November. Kiwi packs almost as much vitamin C per fruit as a small orange, so they’re a great choice for the winter months as well.  Select fruit that feels plump and gives slightly to pressure. Skin should be smooth, taut and light green-brown in color. Avoid shriveled or wrinkled skin, as that’s an indication of water loss and loss of nutrients. Tip: Like avocados or bananas, it’s best to buy kiwi with an idea of when you plan to eat it, as the fruit will continue to ripen after it’s picked.

Winter squash

Pumpkin steals the spotlight in this category, but there are so many varieties worth celebrating. While they’re naturally low in fat and calories, they deliver a rich, soothing taste that’s perfect for cold nights in. Their bright yellow and orange hues add warmth to your menu. We’ve outlined a few of our favorites below, but regardless of the type, go for squash that are bruise-and blemish-free with an intact stem, and that feel heavy for their size.

  • Sugar Pumpkins: These stars of pumpkin pie are delightfully sweet and easy to roast, which makes them a perfect addition to quiche, frittata, or other brunch favorites.
  • Acorn: Named for its acorn-like shape and nutty taste, acorn squash are one of the easiest squashes to make. Just slice in half, scoop out the seeds, score and dot each side with butter and brown sugar or maple syrup and bake.
  • Butternut: This bell-shaped squash is known for its relatively sweet, nutty taste and creamy color. Cut the neck from the body and working with the squash in two sections makes it make it easier to handle. Peel and de-seed before roasting and enjoying. Tip:Don’t have time to prep and peel? Let Whole Foods Market do the work for you. We offer peeled and cubed butternut squash in our grab-and-go cases.
  • Delicata: Cream colored with green stripes, these smaller, lesser-known squashes are quickly growing in popularity due to their ease of cooking. Unlike butternut squash, there’s no need to peel these guys. Just cut in half, deseed, slice into half-inch pieces and roast.
  • Spaghetti: This squash earns its name for its noodle-like “strings” of flesh when cooked. It is an excellent low-carb substitute for pasta in classic spaghetti dishes, and delivers more fiber and nutrients.

Credit: Whole Foods Market.

 

Super Bowl Guac With a Twist

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Mango Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripened avocados
  • 1 ripened mango
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • ½ cup white onion
  • 3 teaspoons salt

Preparation:

  1. In your IMUSA Molcajete, add half of the diced mangos and mash with the pestle into a pulp.
  2. Then add one avocado and mash into a pulp with the mango.
  3. In a separate bowl mix remaining ingredients, including mango, and add more lime juice if needed.
  4. Fold mixture with pulp inside Molcajete and serve with tortilla chips.

Credit: Courtesy of leader in Hispanic and ethnic cookware, IMUSA.

10 Ways to Dress up a Dish with Pico de Gallo

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Sometimes the simplest of ingredients are often over looked when trying to prepare a memorable meal for friends and family. Pico de Gallo, often made with 5 of the modest ingredients (fresh tomatoes, onions, lime juice, jalapenos and cilantro), can elevate a multitude of dishes. From scrambled eggs in the morning to flavorful fish tacos for lunch, a spoonful of this simple mix can sure go a long way.

Terra’s Kitchen, meal-delivery service is sharing 10 different ways!

1) SPOONED OVER SCRAMBLED EGGS
For a healthier, tastier breakfast, spoon a dollop of fresh Pico de Gallo over scrambled eggs as opposed to ketchup! With fewer calories, less sugar and more fresh ingredients, your taste buds and waist line will thank you.

2) SPICE UP YOUR PARTY DIP
Add a 1/4 cup of fresh Pico de Gallo to 1 cup of Greek yogurt for a fun and healthy tortilla chip party dip! We promise, your guests will thank you.

3) FISH TACO TOPPING
Are you a fish taco fanatic? Top your taco with a dollop of fresh Pico de Gallo to take the taste up another notch!

4) TAKE PASTA NIGHT TO ANOTHER LEVEL
Tired of the same boring pasta with tomato sauce? Looking for a way to jazz it up? Next time you have pasta night, toss whole wheat pasta, olive oil, white beans and Pico de Gallo for a quick 15 minute meal that your family will think you slaved over!

5) SPOONED OVER GRILLED EGGPLANT
Do you enjoy eggplant and its health benefits, but struggle to up its taste profile? Spoon Pico de Gallo over your grilled eggplant for a healthy, tasty topping.

6) SIDE DISH OR BURRITO FILLING
Stir Pico de Gallo with fresh corn kernels and black beans for a quick side dish, or even a tasty filling to your burritos.

7) ELEVATE YOUR GRILL GAME
Instead of steak sauce or processed marinades, spoon Pico de Gallo over your perfectly grilled shrimp or sliced flank steak. Your mouth will thank you for the added freshness and flavor!

8) ADD A FLAVOR EXPLOSION TO YOUR GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD
Do you love salads, but tire of the same grilled chicken salad over and over again? Toss fresh Pico de Gallo into a bed of greens along with grilled chicken to spice it up. Your co-workers will wonder what smells so good and why you’re passing up the daily trek out for lunch!

9) WORLD’S FASTEST GUACAMOLE
Add fresh Pico de Gallo to take your guac game to another level! Just mash up avocado’s and add fresh Pico de Gallo and your party guests will be hounding you for this quick and easy recipe!

10) POTATOES NEVER TASTED SO GOOD
Toss fresh Pico de Gallo with slightly cooled roasted potatoes, and your family will smile from ear-to-ear!

Credit: Terra’s Kitchen.