Eat This Now for the Week of 02/11/13

Best if Used By 02/18/13

Eat This Now for the week of February 11th, 2013 features
Cauliflower, Cara Cara Oranges, Red Potatoes, Shiitake Mushrooms and Hothouse Tomatoes

Cauliflower

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

Let’s face it. When there’s a veggie tray sitting out at a party, the poor Cauliflower florets are usually the last to get picked up by nibblers with other options. Raw Cauliflower is flavorful and crunchy, yet can be a bit too zesty and intense-tasting for some palates. But don’t miss out on the realm of possibilities created by steaming or roasting! Roasting Cauliflower quickly in high heat mellows the bitterness and gives it some caramelization for great flavor – m-mmm!

Parmesan Popcorn Cauliflower

RECIPE: Parmesan Popcorn Cauliflower

  • Pre-heat Oven to 450F
  • Rinse head of Cauliflower with water, shake dry
  • Cut Cauliflower into bite-sized florets
  • Toss with 2-3 tbs Olive Oil in a mixing bowl
  • Season with coarse salt, cracked pepper, 3 tbs grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Re-toss to coat, then spread evenly on a baking sheet
  • Roast at 450F for 10-12 minutes
  • Flip, rearrange with spatula, Roast for 10-12 additional minutes

Now is a fantastic time to try out some new Cauliflower recipes. Following a period of limited production and high prices, Cauliflower from Arizona and California looks to be in peak harvest for the remainder of February. Select Cauliflower that looks fresh and has no soft or slimy spots, but don’t get worried if you see a little brown spot on a few florets – those discolored spots are easy to trim off with a knife when you are cutting up the head.

Did you know that Cauliflower’s nutrient profile supports detox, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant systems?

Cara Cara Oranges

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

If Navel Oranges taste like sunshine – pleasant and sweet, then Cara Cara Oranges taste like sunshine in a berry patch – sweet with something extra! Here’s the tricky part: from the outside Cara Cara Navels look exactly the same as regular Navels. Inside the beautiful and exciting differences are revealed. Pink-fleshed Cara Cara Oranges are seedless like regular Navels, but the straight-forward sweetness is balanced by a Strawberry to Cranberry-like finish.

Flavors of cranberry and strawberry make this extra sweet Navel variety a hit! Cara Cara Oranges.

Organic and Conventional Cara Cara Navel Oranges from California continue to be in their peak season.  And the fruit is tasting excellent! My mouth is watering as I write this, recalling my last tasty, juicy-sweet bite! If you’re an Orange fan, Cara Cara’s are worth a try for tasty snacking. They’re also fun for salads, desserts and prepared with fish.  Cara Cara Brownies – as Valentine’s Day treat? Why not! Select Oranges that feel heavy for their size and are free from soft spots.

Did you know that Cara Cara Oranges have more anti-oxidants and lycopene than regular Oranges?

Red Potatoes

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

Smashed Red Potatoes, Boiled Red Potatoes with Butter… what’s your Red Potato recipe of choice? Red Potatoes are ideal for roasting, boiling for salads and mashing because of their high moisture content. For frying? Not so much.

Shipments of Red Potatoes from earlier harvest in prime growing regions like Washington’s Skagit Valley and Idaho have been sharp this month – deep red, tender skin – and priced affordably. Their colorful skin adds vibrancy to dishes, and can be a fun side dish this Valentine’s Day.  I’ve also seen nice Klondike Rose and Butter Red variety potatoes that feature red skins and buttery gold flesh.

Crispy Roasted BBQ Shiitake Mushrooms & Red Potatoes

RECIPE: Crispy Roasted BBQ Shiitake Mushrooms & Red Potatoes

  • Pre-heat Oven to 425F
  • Wash 4-5 large Red Potatoes, allow to dry
  • Slice Red Potatoes into 1″ pieces, skin on
  • Remove stems of 2-3oz fresh Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Gently dry-wipe Shiitake caps with paper towel to clean
  • Toss Mushrooms and Potatoes with 2-3 tbs Olive Oil in a mixing bowl
  • Season with BBQ rub seasoning (I use Penzy’s BBQ 3000), re-toss to coat
  • Spread evenly on a bake tray, Shiitake Gills facing up
  • Roast at 425F for 15 minutes
  • Flip, rearrange with spatula, Roast for 15-20 additional minutes
  • When complete, Shiitake caps will be crispy, Potatoes will be easily pierced

Shiitake Mushrooms

BEST FLAVOR

Shiitake Mushrooms are an ancient variety that originated in East Asia. This brown capped Mushroom with white gills underneath has a flavor that is rich and smoky. The stems are a little tougher and take longer to cook, so usually the caps are the prized portion. Shiitakes are best enjoyed sautéed, braised, steamed or in soups. Shiitakes Mushrooms are grown indoors on logs or blocks of wood chips and are in season all year long from top mushroom growing states like Pennsylvania and California.

Smokey and rich, Shiitake Mushrooms are excellent for soups, sautés and roasting.

Recipe ideas:

Hothouse Tomatoes

VALUE PRICED | PEAK SEASON

Big, broad-shouldered Hothouse Tomatoes (sometimes called Greenhouse, Beefstake or Hydroponic Tomatoes) are in a peak season harvest surplus from modern greenhouses in Mexico. This flush of high quality large fruit is creating deals for many retailers to pass along in the form of ads or in-store specials on high quality Tomatoes during February and into March. Grown in the optimal conditions of these sophisticated greenhouses, Hothouse Tomatoes look beautiful! The taste? The taste doesn’t match that of a home-grown summer Tomato, but they do have some flavor and the texture is juicy yet firm for slicing – certainly enough to top that BLT, sandwich or salad!

Grown under glass. Big, beefy Hothouse Tomatoes for slicing.

TOMATO TIPS: Do NOT refrigerate your tomatoes (unless you’ve sliced them already) because temperatures under the mid-50s make the texture mushy and zaps flavor. You’ll know you’re buying a true Greenhouse-grown (Hothouse) Tomato when the stem end still has the calyx attached and the PLU sticker has the number 4799 on it.

Buy Smart. Shop Healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy