What’s In Season? Butternut Squash!

If you’re not hearing pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin, you’re hearing BUTTERNUT SQUASH! And why not? ‘Tis the season for this nutty-flavor hard squash that can be used in many different ways!

  1. the most famous – butternut squash soup! Check out this recipe for Butternut Squash Soup on allrecipes.com – seems to the majority favorite!
  2. Roasting/boiled or steamed – like sweet potatoes and carrots  orange cousins! Butternut squash can be delicious all by itself as a sidedish – sprinkle with some butter and brown sugar and you’ll thank us later!
  3. Bake and add to salads with Kale and apples (that are also in season and for sale in all of our stores!)

– Try this Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Vinegarette Recipe from Foodnetwork.com or

– get creative with this Butternut Squash Lasagna

Don’t forget – It’s healthy too! Butternuts are rich in vitamins, nutrients and anti-oxidants!

 butternut squash

How the heck do you prepare Butternut Squash?

You have to start by cutting it into sections – which can be tricky, so be careful

Peel the blub and then halve it. Scrape out the seeds. Chop the flesh into bite sized pieces, and now it’s ready to boil or steam or roast!

** You’ll know when the squash is done when it is easily pierced with a fork, and the flesh is soft enough to chew.

What’s in Season? Eggplant!

It’s finally cooling off and everyone is thinking pumpkin, pumpkin pumpkin but we’re thinking – EGGPLANT!

Fresh, local eggplant continues to be an excellent choice from farm here on the eastern side of the continent, like right here in our backyard – New Jersey! If you pick some up now, prices are affordable because produce is abundant!

How do you eat/cook eggplant?

Eggplant is great for roasting, grilling, frying and even steaming!

Try some of these easy and delicious recipes from RealSimple.com

what's in season - eggplant

How to Select a Good Eggplant:

You want an eggplant that is more firm than soft, and doesn’t have any brown or sunken areas. It’s also good if the eggplant still has green left in the stem.

You also want to make sure to store the eggplant at room temperature until you use it – not the fridge, and not direct sunlight. The fridge can make the eggplant lose it’s flavor – believe it or not!!

What’s in Season – Cantaloupes!

Mmmmmm nothing quenches your thrist on a hot summer day like cold melon. And today we’re talking about Cantaloupes! They are in season

cantaloupe

and plentiful throughout the store – so order one today for some snack by the pool or sprinklers later tonight!

Remember, cantaloupes are already picked ripe, so make sure to cut it up once you get it, and store any left overs in the fridge.

Not the biggest fan of cantaloupe? Try it with other flavors!

I never used to be a big cantaloupe eater, but my favorite during summer is to pair it with proscuitto and and hard cheese. The melon compliments the meat and cheese and is a little party in your mouth. Give it a try!

Or try sprinkling a few pieces into your next grilled chicken salad. Cantaloupe and meats pair well!

Photo: Courtesy of bigredkitchen.com

To order some cantaloupe and other fresh produce, visit www.myshopwise.com!

Basil Basil Everywhere!

Have you noticed the lovely aroma of basil swirling around you everywhere you go? We have tons of fresh, local basil in store – and tons of ideas to add some flavor to your dinner tonight!

Last week we said to pair it with feta and watermelon. So why not sprinkle some fresh chopped leaves over your pizza tonight? Or on top of your beef or chicken dish before you bake or sautee it?

Our favorite way to enjoy basil? Over a hot plate of pasta! (In the air conditioning of course!!) Even though it sounds fancy and hard to make, Pesto is a really easy sauce to create yourself! We make it all the time at home, and even freeze the leftovers for a quick dinner down the road! The cool part about pesto? You can’t really mess it up – and you can get creative with the ingredients as well! Have a blender? Then you’re all ready to go!

Making Your Own HomeMade Basil Pesto

 

  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts or pine nuts (or our substitute – almonds!)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups basil leaves (about 4 ounces)  – or another great herb to try here is Parsley. Yes, parsley!!
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Blend it all together little by little, adding more to your taste as you go. Viola! Throw over a fresh plate of hot pasta and you have a delicious, fresh gourmet meal in minutes! WARNING! You’re family is going to start calling you Martha.

Watermelon, Basil and Feta, oh my!

Ahhhh summer – so many fresh fruits and veggies – only so many meals in a day! There are so many delicious items in season right now, we just can’t possibly eat them all! Well, we could, but then, it might not help for later on at the beach in that swimsuit!

So we thought, how about we combine some of the fruits and veggies together so we can create ultimate, refreshing treats? Of course! In honor of the all-American foods served for the 4th of July, we thought we’d start today with watermelon.

You just don’t get any more American than BBQ, hot dogs and watermelon! Besides just knawing on it right out of the rind, we thought it would be a tasty treat to mix it with feta and basil, just like a lot of recipes you can find. Except, we made them little popable treats. Great for a juicy treat after a heavy swimming session in the pool.

So try this:

Watermelon, Basil and Feta Bites:

 

– cut watermelon into bite size pieces.

– cut feta into same-size square bites

– place a leaf of basil on top

– stick a toothpick through them

EASY PEASY! YUM!

To order all ingredients online right to your home, visit http://www.myshopwise.com

What’s in Season? Asparagus!

Cali and Mexico are having a good Asparagus season, generating a thicker crop this year – but don’t be fooled that is is too tough to eat, this asparagus crop is delicious and is cooking up great! Packed with lots of vitamins and nutrients, Asparagus just brings Spring into full effect this month.

Some facts on Asparagus:

– It is a rich source of folic acid (containing about 30% of the Daily Value in about 6 spears!) And those 6 spears only host about 20 calories so you can much as much as you like for dinner tonight!
– It is also a good source of Vitamin A for healthy vision and Vitamin K, which assists in blood clotting

– DYK it is a native of the eastern Mediterranean region, and has been eaten by humans for at least 3,000 years!

– newly planted Asparagus takes 3 years to be harvested (it takes that long for the root system to develop)

– Ancient Greeks used Asparagus as a pain reliever for toothaches.

Broiled Asparagus with Cotija Cheese

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and peeled (if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces Cotija cheese, grated or shredded

Procedures

1. Preheat broiler to high. Arrange asparagus in a single layer in a foil-lined broiler pan or rimmed baking-sheet. Drizzle with oil and shake to coat evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil 2-inches from element until tender and well charred, about 8 minutes total, shaking occasionally, and sprinkling with cheese 1 minute before finished. Serve immediately.


What’s in Season? Ataulfo Mangos

Ataulfo Mangos – aka the Yellow Mango from Mexico is now in season! Although smaller than the red and green skin varieties, it usually has a thinner seed that allow more of the fruit to enjoy! The flavors are also a little more tangy and tropical, almost caramel-like when they’re fully ripe. If you haven’t tried one yet, pick one up today!

Mangos are delicious to just bite into themselves, but if you want to jazz up a meal for the family, try this jam as a side, a marinade or a sauce! It’s great over fish, chicken, rice and even dipping for veggies and empanadas! YUM!

Ataulfo Mango Jam (or Marinade or Sauce!)

Ingredients:
2 ataulfo mangoes, peeled
1/2 cup white wine or 1/2 cup water
1/4 vanilla pod
1/4 cup granulated sugarDirections:
1. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan.
2. Simmer over low heat until liquid is almost evaporated (about 45 minutes).
3. Remove vanilla and puree in food processor.

Read more at: http://www.food.com/recipe/ataulfo-mango-jam-305329?oc=linkback

What’s in Season? Cantaloupes!

Cantaloupes are a great value for their price right now – and you’ll find them on sale throughout the month of April in our online store!

These are being imported from Central America, so while they’re still tasty for your fruit salads you been craving all winter – you’ll want to hold out for local lopes in summer that will give you that ripe, sweet and sticky full-flavored taste!

Remember strawberries and pineapples are also great in-season buys in April so pick up some of them as well to add to your fruit salad!

Cantaloupe Fruit Salad

 

Ingredients:
1 cantaloupe, halved
1/2 honeydew melon, seeded
1/4 cup superfine sugar or 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries or 1 cup raspberries or 1 cup blueberries
1 cup seedless black grapes or 1 cup red seedless grapes
1/2 pineapple, halved and cut into piecesDirections:
1. Using a non-toxic marker, draw a zigzag pattern on the cantaloupe.
2. Cut deeply into the melon along the pattern.
3. Separate the halves and seed.
4. Use a melon baller to scoop the flesh from the cantaloupe and honeydew into balls.
5. Set aside.
6. In a large glass or ceramic bowl, combine the sugar, lime juice, orange liqueur and lime peel.
7. Stir well until sugar is dissolved.
8. Add the melon balls, berries and grapes.
9. Toss gently to combine.
10. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to blend flavours, stirring a couple of times.
11. Spoon the fruit mixture into the hollowed out melon halves or into serving bowls.
12. Serve immediately.See more recipes at http://www.food.com/recipe/fruit-salad-in-a-cantaloupe-basket-254298?oc=linkback

What’s In Season? Seedless Mini Cucumbers!

Are you as excited as us to know that summer is just right around the corner? It also doesn’t hurt with this beautiful weather with the windows open! So in honor of the up coming season – we are getting ready to start cooling down with some refreshing seasonal veggies – and what is better to kick off with that cucumbers??

The Mini Cucumber is becoming more popular with fresh veggie lovers and healthy or dieting eaters alike.  Why? Mini cucumbers have thinner skin, which is less bitter tasting  than your average field Cucumber. Plus, they’re seedless, juicy, extra crunchy, healthy and fun snack for everyone! Canadian greenhouse mini cucumbers are in peak season, so you’ll find them in our stores as of today!

Here is one of our favorite oldie-but-goodie recipes for cucumbers – you can never go wrong with the tomato, onion cucumber salad!

Tomato, Cucumber And Sweet Onion Salad With Cumin Salt 

via Huffington Post Taste

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon(s) cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) coarse sea salt
  • 2 1/4 pound(s) tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 pound(s) cucumbers, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice

Directions

  • 1. In a skillet, toast the cumin seeds over moderately high heat until fragrant, 30 seconds; transfer to a mortar and let cool. Add the salt and grind to a coarse powder.
  • 2. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the cumin salt over the salad and toss. Serve the salad on a platter.

What’s in Season? Carrots!

What is better in the spring that bright colors to cook with? Enter the carrot – a simple, sweet and colorful addition to any dish!

balsamiccarrots0002Carrots are reasonably priced right now, and you can even buy them already peeled and bagged – just throw right into your salad – yum!

Carrots are typically chopped up or shredded and thrown into salads, but when was the last time you just satueed some carrots by themselves as a colorful, delicious side dish for dinner? Just adding a little sea salt and pepper for taste, the sweetness of the carrots will come out during the sautee and they flavor themselves. Or, if you’re looking to get a little more creative, try adding a cinnamon-balsamic glaze:

Cinnamon-Balsamic Glazed Carrots

– pre-heat oven to 450F
– 1 lb whole carrots, ends and tips trimmed
– peel the carrots and slice in half length-wise
– stir 2 tbsp Olive Oil, 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– pour over carrots in a mixing bowl, toss to coat
– arrange carrots on a baking tray without touching each other
– roast at 450 F for 20 minutes, flat side down
– flip carrots, roast for 7-10 more minutes
– carrots are done when showing caramelization and can easily be pierced with a fork

To learn more about what’s in season, and have carrots delivered right to your door – visit www.myshopwise.com