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Storing Fresh Vegetables

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We are big fans of in-season, farm fresh vegetables. But how to clean and store the produce to keep it at its best?

There are different opinions as to whether you should wash your produce first or not. Washing can bruise the produce making it susceptible to spoiling sooner. Unless you are going to use the produce immediately, my recommendation would be to gently brush off any dirt and store in the fridge in separate bags or containers until ready to use, then wash well.

If you choose to wash produce before storage, be sure to thoroughly dry it with a clean paper or dish towel. Wrap salad greens in paper towels before putting them in bags. Never wash berries until you are ready to eat them.

As far as herbs go, herbs love to be treated like flowers, so put them in a vase, and beautify the interior of your fridge with them, unless it is basil, they don’t like the cold, so keep them in a vase on your counter.

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A Winter Bruschetta

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Here’s a quick and easy recipe for Winter Bruschetta (serves 4). Bruschetta is usually served as an appetizer, but it can make a great snack on its own!

First, slowly caramelize 2 sliced onions in a cast iron pan (this will take time — lean against the counter, look at the snow falling outside your window). Put half the onions aside, if you need to add a little olive oil do so, then add 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 chopped roasted pepper, 2 handfuls shredded kale, a cup of cooked white beans, and a cup or 2 of stock to the pan.

Slowly simmer until the kale is silky, add a goodly squeeze of lemon, season with salt and red pepper flakes, maybe a few crushed fennel seeds if you have them.

Toast four thick slices of country bread, top with the kale and beans, perhaps a bit of buratta if it is a holiday, fresh mozzarella if it is a Tuesday. Garnish with the remaining onions and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar… have lunch by the fireside.

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Tea for Thought

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Here is the recipe for a soothing herbal tea, perfect for sipping after dinner, encouraging your family and friends to linger around the table for just a moment longer. This makes a big batch so you can give a jar to friends and family.

You can find the herbs in a well stocked health food market, or if you are lucky to have a garden you can grow and dry them yourself!…

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Citrus and Baby Beet Salad

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This bright salad combines two of winter’s tastiest seasonal offerings: root vegetables and citrus fruit. Top it with a bit of crumbled cheese for a heartier meal or serve alongside your favorite entree. This recipe comes to us from our friends at Melissa’s Produce.

Cooking Tip of the Week: Beets are a sweet root vegetable that many kids love, but their dark red juice can make them a hassle to prepare. For a nutritious kitchen shortcut, look for packaged steamed beets in the produce section.

Food for Thought: Most fruits, like apples and peaches, taste best in late summer or early fall. This is when they are “in season,” meaning that farmers harvest them. But citrus fruits like tangerines are in season from late fall through winter, making them a refreshing way to perk up your winter dishes! In the US, citrus fruits are mainly grown in states with a mild winter, including California, Arizona and Florida.

Visit The Kids Cook Monday for the directions for making this delicious Citrus and Baby Beet Salad. A great dish for your Meatless Mondays!

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