Category Archives: Guide

Hello April!

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It’s Spring Time……

And cooking with the seasons means choosing fruits and vegetables that are at the peak of freshness and flavor and for the purposes of freshness, April is a fabulous month for choice! Buying locally grown produce is the best: local produce is less likely to be damaged, uses less energy to transport, ripens more naturally. In fact, when fruits and vegetables have been allowed to ripen on the vine for consumption — they taste sweeter and have significantly more intense flavor.

And, locally sourced produce helps the local economy as well.

April Fruits and Vegetables

Artichokes
Arugula (Rocket)
Asparagus
Beans
Beets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Chicory
Chives
Dandelion greens
Fava Beans
Fiddlehead Fern
Horseradish
Leeks (end of season)
Lettuce (leaf and head)
Limes
Morel Mushrooms
Oranges
Papayas
Peas
Radishes
Ramps
Rhubarb
Shallots
Strawberries
Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Onions
Turnips
Watercress

 

This Month’s Featured Vegetable: Cabbage

Cabbage is in season all year long and is more abundant during the beginning of Spring.Cabbage is a low-calorie, fiber-rich, leafy vegetable that boasts plenty of health benefits, which include: treatment for constipation, headaches, obesity, arthritis, and vitamin C deficiency. An unsung hero of the vegetable crisper, this versatile veggie can be used in everything from slaws and salads, to fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, to soups and stews and Indian curries.

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Photo Credit: Produce Made Simple, 2018

Cabbage Varieties

Cabbage comes in a variety of kinds – green, red, Savoy and Napa.

Green and red cabbages are identical with the exception of their colour. Both are quite heavy for their size due to their density and are smooth and spherical in shape.

Savoy cabbage has crinkly and flexible green leaves that are looser than a green or red cabbage. Savoy is also milder in flavour (with the exception of the stems, which are slightly bitter) and very tender.

Napa cabbage is long with oblong leaves and pale green in colour and tastes milder than green cabbage and is common in Asian cuisine.

 

How to Select and Store Cabbage

Select  cabbages  with compact  heads and that feel  heavy for their size with good colour and nice crisp leaves. Avoid cabbages that have brown and/or blemished spots, or loose or yellow leaves. Cabbage generally keeps for a pretty long time and can be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator for up to two weeks. That quality along for most cabbages makes it a good ingredient to keep on hand. However, Napa cabbage has a shorter shelf life and will only last approximately four days.

How to Prepare Cabbage

A cousin to broccoli, this potent anti-cancerous cruciferous vegetable can be a part of many healthy meals. It cab be great raw, in slaws, roasted in pieces, or chopped and sautéed with olive oil and garlic. It cab also be the best comfort foods of all times – cabbage rolls.

To prepare your cabbage, first remove the outer leaves and run it under cold water. To core the cabbage, use a small sharp knife and cut a cone shaped section from the bottom of the cabbage. Or, you can cut the cabbage into quarters starting at the stem end. Be sure to cut the core out of each piece.

You can also freeze cabbage for future use. Start by first chopping it into slices or chunks, depending on how you choose to use it in your recipes. Blanch cabbage for about a minute or two in boiling water, then drain and submerse into an ice bath to shock the cabbage and stop the cooking process. Spread the leaves or pieces out and pat dry. Transfer to a baking sheet to flash freeze, and then place in an airtight container and use within 9 months.

Important to note: One pound of cabbage will yield approximately four cups of shredded raw cabbage or two cups cooked cabbage.

Cabbage Tips

  • Red cabbage tends to turn pale blue when cooked so if you want it to retain its vibrant purple colour, add a little vinegar or lemon juice (or something slightly acidic like apples or wine).
  • Shredded cabbage is a great addition to any salad, soup or stir-fry and cooked shredded cabbage is a terrific filling in wraps and casseroles.
  • Try cooking cabbage until it’s just tender. This way it will retain its sweetness and crunch.
  • If you find it difficult to slice cabbage thinly, try peeling a few leaves off the head of the cabbage and stacking them on your cutting board. This makes it much easier to finely slice to your desired thickness.
  • Said to aid digestion, fermented foods including sauerkraut made from cabbage are on trend. It’s also very easy to do yourself at homeThis recipe is a good starting point for those who would like to give it a go.
  • Speaking of foods that are on trend, Kimchi, another fermented cabbage-based side dish, is having a much–deserved moment and can also be made at home.

 

Source:

Produce Made Simple: Cabbage. (2018) The Ontario Produce Marketing Association. Date Accessed March 18, 2018.  https://producemadesimple.ca/cabbage/ 

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New Year, New Food Trends

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With the New Year settling in,  we are still mindful in 2018 of eating healthy and exploring global foods. As consumers, we are  constantly selecting better ingredients to improve our health and wellness and to make positive changes, as a lifestyle and not a resolution.

So, we have highlighted some of the top trending foods and spices for 2018 that you can find in your local grocery stores and supermarkets that you can incorporate into your daily diet for the coming year.

 

 

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Matcha :

If you never heard of matcha, the know that it is a finely ground, velvety powder made from nutrient rich green tea leaves. It has a variety of antioxidants and may increase metabolism and physical endurance.
How to use it: Add it to baked goods, like cupcakes or cookies or just stir a teaspoonful into a fruit smoothie or a stir into a glass of water. You can also combine with a good quality sea salt and sprinkle over popcorn.

Sorghum:

Domesticated from the continent of Africa over 8,000 years ago, sorghum is ancient whole grain that resembles Israeli couscous. Sorghum has a nutty flavor and can supply  fiber, potassium, iron and protein to your diet. And another bonus is that sorghum is gluten free.
How to use it: Sorghum grains can be prepared like brown rice, quinoa or other whole grains as a side dish. You can also use it as the base for sweet or savory grain bowls or you can try popping it just like whole kernel corn to make popcorn.

Hemp Seeds:

Hemp seeds can supply a high quality plant-based protein to you diet,with a healthy dose of fiber, iron, magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids. For some people they have a taste that is similar to a cross between a sunflower seed and a pine nut.

How to use it: Sprinkle hemp seeds on salads or avocado toast for that extra crunch. You can also add them to smoothies, homemade granola bars, or even to veggie burgers. Hemp seeds is also an excellent substitute for pine nuts used in making a vegan pesto.

 

Beef Bone Broth:

For the record, bone broth is nothing new, but being rediscovered by chefs serving it in trendy restaurants. In Chinese medicine, whose origins date back over 2,500 years, bone broth is used to support digestive health, as a blood builder, and to strengthen the kidneys.  Cultures far and wide have nourished their families with bone broths and handmade stocks throughout history .Broth made from beef bones is rich in minerals that support the immune system and contains healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine and proline. The collagen in bone broth heals your gut lining and reduces intestinal inflammation.
How to use it: When herbs, spices and vegetables are added, a rich flavor develops and it can be simply warmed and sipped or used in other recipes as a base for soups or gravy and sauces.

Cauliflower:

 
An extremely versatile vegetable that has found it’s way in various healthy dishes, rather than being relegated to a boring accompaniment to the family meal. Like it’s relative, green broccoli, it supplies an impressive amounts of vitamins and minerals such as B6, C, K, folate and potassium as well as fiber and powerful antioxidants and phytochemicals as it comes in a variety of colors such are purple and yellow gold.
How to use it: Like magic, you can transform cauliflower into rice with a box grater or a food processor. You can even make cauliflower pizza crust or use it in a fried rice recipe. Cauliflower can also be used a substitute for potatoes, where the cauliflower is cooked and mashed. If you have large heads of cauliflower, always think about slicing them 3/4 inch thick and grill them like beef steaks for a meatless Monday meal.

Tumeric:

Turmeric is a plant that is native to Southeast Asia and in powdered form, it  has been used for 4,000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems. As a spice, it adds an earthy flavor and brightness to almost any dish.
 
How to use it: Tumeric is best pared with spices and herbs that have complementary flavor profiles, such as cinnamon, ground black pepper and ginger. You can also use it as a natural coloring agent to enhance orange vegetables like pumpkin, squash,  sweet potatoes and carrots, just to  name a few.

Avocado Oil:

 Avocado oil is popping up as an ingredient in many healthy foods. Given it’s versatility, most people love it for its mild flavor in cooking and lack of scent in organic beauty products.

Because it is light and rich in flavor, low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat, it has become a healthy alternative . Avocado oil is nutrient dense and is rich in vitamins A, K and D as well as potassium and antioxidants which are crucial in maintaining a healthy heart.

How to use it: In baking, you can substitute the butter for the avocado oil. You can also drizzle it over popcorn. Because it is so closely resembling olive oil, as a cooking oil, you can  use it to saute or fry vegetables.

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How to Choose the Right Apple for Your Dessert

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Photo Credit: Kristy Kay, 2013

Do you love fall baking but never know what apples to pick? Here are five apples you cannot go wrong with for your next dessert.

Granny Smith: This is a very versatile apple. Many bakers call this their go to apple for fall desserts like apple pies because of its sweet and tart flavor.

Honeycrisp: This apple is great for baking or caramelizing. The apple will stay firm when being cooked and keep its sweet flavor.

Mutsu or better known as Crispin: This apple is great for pies, crisp and other autumn recipes. Its sweet flavor is similar to a Golden Delicious.

Cortland: This apple is larger than the McIntosh and the crisp tart flavor is great for apple sauces, salads and many desserts.

Gala: This apple is perfect for snacking and baking. It is a milder apple with a sweet flavor. The Gala apple is perfect for sauces.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor