Sunday, June 27, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for June 25, 2010

Check out this week's luscious Harvest Box! It looks delicious . . .

Did you know that you can use your broccolette almost anywhere you would normally use broccoli? Yes, it's true! Broccolette is as versatile as its cruciferous sister, broccoli. Try it stir-fried in this easy Stir-fried Broccolette and Cashews, or sauteed in a Broccolette Saute. It's easy to add to any pasta dish, and I especially like this Bowties and Spicy Broccolette. And nothing says summer like a Warm Broccolette Salad on a mid-summer night's eve. For something a little bit out of the ordinary, check out this interesting Hunanese Smoky Bacon with Bean Curd and Broccolette.

Acorn squash in summer, you ask? Why of course! Fire up your barbecue and try your hand at Grilled Acorn Squash, you may never want to eat it any other way. This Grilled Acorn Squash with Balsamic Drizzle is similar, and also looks fantastic. And I have a feeling this BBQ Acorn Squash with a Brown Sugar Glaze will not disappoint. Like to stick to the more traditional method of baking acorn squash? Check out this very helpful video for Maple Glazed Baked Acorn Squash for step-by-step instructions and a fabulous recipe.

Fresh lettuce simply can't be beat this time of year. We love all types of lettuce, especially romaine. On hot summer nights I often serve a light grilled meat with just a salad, or even a large salad as a meal. I put together a nice list of some favourite romaine-based summer salads for you. If you have a special one you'd like to add, be sure to leave us a comment!

Chicken-Romaine Salad

BLT Salad with Basil Mayo Dressing

Gorgonzola Walnut Salad

Southwest Steak and Salsa Salad

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Romaine Salad with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Organice Harvest Box for June 18, 2010

We are missing our Harvest Box photo this week because we took our family camping this weekend and I had a neighbour bring my box inside for me on Friday night. She had all my goodies packed away in my fridge, so I wasn't able to snap a picture for you! It was hot and humid on Friday, so I made sure she came by to bring my food in as soon as it was delivered (my cooler was not available, since we had it with us on our camping trip). If you will not be home when your Harvest Box is delivered, please leave a cooler on your doorstep and your driver will be happy to place the contents of your box inside. Fresh, local produce can wilt and go bad in a short time in hot, Ottawa summer weather.

Before I started receiving the Life Organic delivery service over two years ago, I had no idea what a garlic scape was. And then one lovely day in June I received these curly delights in my Harvest Box.

Yes, these green, curly ribbon-like "things" are garlic scapes. The garlic scape is the "stem"' from which the seed head of a garlic bulb is formed. As the bulb grows and matures, the stem, or stalk, also begins to lengthen. Over time the scape begins to curve. Garlic scapes taste garlicky but have a fresh, green flavouring. They can be used in a variety of dishes, especially where you would want a garlic flavour. A garlic scape is less strong and has less "bite" than regular garlic cloves.

In the past I have most often used my garlic scapes in pesto - it is delicious, light, and a delightful addition to any pasta. I usually use this Garlic Scape Pesto recipe, but any variation will do, and it is usually best to fiddle with the recipe until you find something that you love. I am planning on trying Kalyn's Garlic Scape Pesto this year, as I've been so pleased and impressed with many of her recipes over the past few months.

For an easy, quick appetizer, try making this White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip - the flavour is fantastic and it is a hit at most parties and get-togethers. I am also intrigued by this recipe for Creamy Garlic Scape Soup and would love to try it out if I have enough garlic scapes to go around this week! Great for the barbecue, these Grilled Garlic Scapes are something easy to add to a weeknight meal. More of a pizza lover? Give this Garlic Scape And Ricotta Pizza a go and wow your friends and family. And if you fancy yourself an egg connoisseur, please let me know if you get an opportunity to try out these Zucchini Eggs. They look delicious!

And while we're on the topic of pesto, let's talk about your basil plant! Nothing tastes like fresh basil, and once you go fresh, you will never go back to the dried stuff in a jar (well, unless you absolutely have to). It is easy to keep your basil plant alive - so don't fret if you're not an expert gardener. Basil likes lots of sunlight, and lots of water - keep the soil moist and water it often. If the plant starts to flower, just pinch the bulbs off and your plant will keep growing and growing.

Fresh basil is most often associated with thoughts of home-made pesto. And if you want to try the good stuff, I urge you to give this Homemade Pesto Recipe a go. You'll love it! I tend to chop up basil and throw it in almost anything I'm cooking - pasta dishes, grilled chicken or fish, salads, etc. You can really enjoy the flavour of fresh basil in a simple Caprese Salad, although basil lends itself well to many salad types. This basic Tomato and Basil Crostini is a great appetizer or lunch addition, and the pairing of tomato and basil simply can't be beat. Which is why basil goes so well with so many tomato pasta dishes. For something a little unique, try this Mixed Fresh Herb Pasta.

Looking for something a little different . . . spectacular, maybe? Serve up this Boursin Burger and be ready to be the talk of all your friends - and be sure to have enough on hand for everyone to have seconds. And I just love the sound of these Lemon Basil Snaps - what a beautiful addition to such a light cookie. If I get a chance to make these this week I will most definitely take pictures and share.

Enjoy your produce and have a wonderful week!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for June 12, 2010

Take a peek at your Organic Harvest box this week! Looks delicious . . .

Don't you just love fresh cantaloupe? This type of melon is extremely nutrient-packed, yet has very few calories. It is highly concentrated with beta-carotene, folic acid, potassium, vitamin C, as well as dietary fibre. It is also one of the very few fruits that has a high level of vitamin B complex, B1 (thiamine), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and B6 (pyridoxine). Cantaloupe is rich in anti-oxidants that help prevent cancer and heart disease.

So, what better reason to grab a knife and start slicing your melon in half?

Melon can can be enjoyed simply, with very few additional ingredients needed to enjoy it's luscious flavour, as in this Melon with White Wine recipe. Cantaloupe is a superb addition to salads, and I suggest trying this Cucumber Cantaloupe Salad and or this Cantaloupe Salad (which uses the actual cantaloupe body for the bowl!).

If you fancy something sweet, then why not fire up your barbecue and try Grilled Cantaloupe with Honey Ginger Blueberry Sauce? It looks divine! A sure winner to serve after a light grilled dinner. Or try these Crepes with Proscuitto, Brie and Cantaloupe - a fantastic idea for a brunch or late weekend breakfast. And these Cantaloupe Ice Pops? A success with my kids - an icy cold and healthy treat for summer!

How do you like to eat your green beans? Some of my favourite choices are just using them as a simple side dish to one of our main meals - like Sesame Green Beans or Green Beans with Almonds - both are fast, easy, and tasty! Green beans lend themselves well to salads too, and I found a few this week that had me drooling. What about a Green Bean, Corn, and Tomato Salad, a Fresh Bean Salad, or this Fennel and Radish Salad ? But what had me drooling most of all this week was this recipe for Green Beans with Goat Cheese, Cranberries, and Bacon - hard to disagree that bacon would be a wonderful addition to green beans!

I have not personally ever been a fan of radishes. So, I am always on the hunt for recipes that incorporate radishes in fun and innovative ways - but that they TASTE good. Since I love snap peas, I am thinking of trying these Sugar Snap Peas with Radishes. And I am even open to giving this Roasted Radish with Soy Sauce and Roasted Sesame Seeds a whirl. I like the looks of this East-Meets-West Chicken Tostada Salad, as well as these Mixed Greens and Radish Salad with Feta Cheese. Hoping to try one of them this week!

Any suggestions, feedback, or recipes you would like to share are always welcome!! Enjoy your week.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Organic Harvest Box for June 4, 2010

This week's Organic Harvest Box is as inviting as ever! Nothing says spring (and almost summer!) like a beautiful box of fresh organic produce. Take a look:

Spinach is one of the most versatile and delicious greens out there. It is packed full of Vitamin K, as well as carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. A good supply of vitamins B6 and C may help put you in a good mood, as both play vital roles in the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Not convinced yet? Spinach is also an excellent source of folate, known to protect against birth defects, and it also helps prevent cancers of the cervix and lungs. It can also work with vitamin B6 to protect against heart disease.

So there you go! Grab yourself a big spinach salad and dig in.

Salads are still just about my favourite way to eat spinach. Many people are not aware of the vast array of possibilities for spinach salads - they do not have to be dull and boring! I've compiled a great list for you this week, and I urge you to try at least one of these super salads and report back with your results:

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Almonds and Dill

Spinach Salad with Poached Eggs

Wilted Spinach Salad with Chickpeas

Sassa's Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad with Mushroom and Parmesan

Spinach Salad with Bacon and Feta

Really not a salad fanatic like I am??? Toss your spinach into a batch of this Spinach and Basil Pesto or simply turn your greens into a delightful side dish and serve up this Sauteed Spinach.

I get the Kraft Canada magazine in the mail several times a year - they send one out for each season, and there are often a couple recipes I try out of each book. They are free and you can sign up for the service at their web site. This week I tried this Mexicana Chopped Salad and this Peaches and Greens Salad and both were welcome additions to my lunch time routine. I often substitute the prepackaged ingredients for those I make myself at home - especially the Kraft salad dressings as they are often high in sugar. I'm making a few tweaks to this Broccoli Salad this weekend and am taking it to a potluck barbecue.

Blueberries - what can I say? We love them at our house. I've slowly been experimenting with main meal recipes that incorporate blueberries - although often the blueberries get gobbled up as soon as I wash them by three pairs of little tiny hands in my house. However, I'm really hoping to try this Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Basil Salsa this week. For lighter fare, I like the looks of this Summer Salad with Blueberries or a Chilled Blueberry Soup. And who can say no to a piece of steaming hot Blueberry Coffee Cake or a slice of Blueberry Breakfast Bake?

Fresh spring asparagus is another of our regular favourites. I rarely get to experiment with dark, green stalks because I tend to grill them up on the barbecue, sprinkle them with olive oil, lemon, and salt and pepper, and eat an entire bunch at once. But, just for you, I've gathered together a nice list of asparagus choices for you this week:

Asparagus and Crab Salad

Asparagus and Cucumber Vinaigrette

Asparagus with Mustard-Herb Vinaigrette

Roasted Asparagus with Capers and Lemon

Quinoa with Tofu and Asparagus

Grilled Vegetable Wrap

Looking to try something new with your avocado this week? Guacamole not cuttin' it for you? Why not experiment with these Glazed Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes? For a healthy lunch choice, dig into these Mango Avocado Rolls or serve up this tangy Asian Spinach Salad with Marinated Mushrooms.

Happy organic eating to you all!