Greens Abound in Easter and Passover Meals

 

This week all over the world, families and friends will gather to celebrate Passover (April 3-11) and Easter (April 5). Cooking a special meal for your loved ones can be stressful, but with a bit of planning, you can calmly create delectable dishes that your guests will remember for years to come.

One of the Passover traditions is the Seder dinner. The word Seder means order in Hebrew, which refers to 15 rituals that are Greens dipped in salted water as part of the Seder Dinner ritualperformed during the Passover Seder meal. One of those rituals is the dipping of a green such as watercress in a dish of salt water before eating. These greens symbolize the coming of spring and suggest the perpetual renewal of life.

Food Network’s Butternut Squash and Watercress Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
Photo: foodnetwork.com

Watercress serves as an excellent side dish to the traditional Seder brisket. Try Food Network’s Butternut Squash and Watercress Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette; it will add color and crunch to the dinner. Or, if you’re a garlic lover, try Six Burner Sue’s Wilted Watercress with Garlic Chips.

Rack of Lamb with Watercress
Cooking channel TV.com Recipes: Michael-Symon

The Christian holiday also has an abundance of symbols and rituals, one of the most popular being the lamb. In past centuries, it was considered a lucky omen to meet a lamb, especially at Easter time. Ironically, not so fortunate for the lamb, as it’s become a traditional staple of the holiday meal. We recommend this Rack of Lamb with Watercress, featured last month on our Lettuce Be Fresh Blog.

If you have little ones, you’re sure to have a visit from the Easter Bunny who may be able to sway your youngsters into eating more vegetables–at least for the holiday. Hop into the kitchen and whip up this nutritious salad that will have your children cheering for more.

Easter Bunny Salad (Originally on the Lettuce be Fresh Blog in March 2011)

(6 Servings)
• 3 cups cottage cheese
• 2 to 3 tbsp. lemon juice
• 1/4 cup raisins
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
• 1 tbsp. poppy seeds
• 2 granny smith apples, diced
• 1 to 2 tbsp. honey
Combine everything and chill. Serve over a bed of Living Butter Lettuce

Happy Easter and Passover from Hollandia Produce L.P.

 

 

 

Wishing you a wonderful spring holiday season from our family to yours! Share your holiday meal photos with us via Instagram and Twitter @livegourmet

Butter, Boston, and Bibb lettuce: What’s the Difference?

 

What’s the difference between Butter, Boston and Bibb lettuce? Why do these varieties all look the same? Why do recipes and food guides use their names interchangeably? If you have asked any of these questions, you’re not alone. Many consumers today find the naming scheme of this variety very confusing.  Live-Gourmet-Butter-Lettuce

The fact is, with its appearance, texture and taste nearly indistinguishable, Butter, Boston and Bibb lettuce is ostensibly the same variety known under the category moniker: Butterhead. Bibb, however, is a slightly smaller version of the variety and is the first of this cultivar to be grown in the U.S.

To understand the nomenclature and how these varieties became co-mingled, let’s briefly examine the history of lettuce through the ages. Lettuce originated in Egypt, with some of the earliest recordings of this vegetable dating back to 2680 B.C. The vegetable then spread to Greece, Rome and later throughout Europe.

There are three main types of lettuce that we know of today.

  1. Head lettuce – This comprises Crisphead, more commonly known as Iceberg, named for the way it was transported on ice in the early 1920s, and Butterhead. This variety most resembles cabbage for its lighter green leaves and tightly formed heads.
  2. Romaine or Cos — This is named for its darker green leaves and elongated heads. Romaine lettuce was first grown in the Papal gardens in Rome, giving this variety its present day name of Romaine. The Greeks called this variety Cos from the Greek Island of Kos where it was grown.
  3. Leaf lettuce — This is known for its very loosely formed heads, often grown in rich shades of green, reddish purple and/or a combination of the two.

These three main categories have been formally acknowledged in horticulture since the late 1500s, when Joachim Camerarius published one of the earliest herbals. Between 1586 and the early 18th century many of the basic types of heirloom lettuces that we know of today began to advance in France, Italy, and Holland.

Lettuce seeds were later brought to the U.S., where they continued to evolve and progress. However, seedsmen did not record lettuce seeds as well as other vegetables, so it has been difficult to distinguish the histories of some of the most popular varieties today. This fact has added to the confusion of the Butterhead variety.

Bibb lettuce is believed to have originated in Frankfort, Kentucky between 1865 and 1870 by Major John “Jack” Bibb, an amateur horticulturist who grew this variety in a greenhouse in his yard. Around 1870, he began sharing his variety with the town’s people who coined it Bibb’s lettuce. Thirty-five years later, the lettuce was cultivated conventionally and began to gain widespread popularity, especially during the 1950s. Later, around 1980, this lettuce began to gain favor as a preferred variety for hydroponic greenhouse growers.

Modern day Butter lettuce, like ours, seems to have originated from the old lettuce known as Silesia. This variety dates as far back as 1744, when an 18th century work called Adam’s Luxury and Eve’s Cookery published a list of lettuce varieties, including this one. It didn’t receive its modern Butter lettuce name until much later, when a company called Slazers began selling it by the deceptive name German Butter lettuce, denoting it was a new variety to increase its sales.

Butter-Lettuce-Warps While it’s difficult to corroborate the accuracy of these historical accounts as they apply to modern day Butterhead lettuce, we can say for certain that Butter, Boston and Bibb lettuce can be used interchangeably, given their similar textures and flavor profiles. We also know that given its smooth, tender, yet strong leaves, and mildly sweet flavor, Butterhead lettuce is an ideal ingredient for almost any meal, including salads, sandwiches, soups, smoothies and wraps. And, unlike Iceberg, it’s packed with essential nutrients and vitamins, particularly A, C and K.

At Hollandia Produce, all of our living butter lettuce products, including our certified organic brand known as Grower Pete’s, are hydroponically greenhouse-grown. This method allows us to maintain a clean growing environment and minimize external factors that could otherwise affect our crops. Additionally, our products are Non-GMO Project Verified and free of pesticide residue and field debris, and packaged in clear, plastic, protective shells that function as mini greenhouses. We also package our lettuce with their roots still attached. This ensures our butter lettuce products stay fresher, longer than other varieties. Grower-Pete's-Organic-Butter-Lettuce

Whether you call it, Butter, Boston or Bibb lettuce, we encourage you to pick up some today, and tell us how you enjoy this versatile variety!

Butternut Squash Salad Recipe for Halloween

 

With changing colors, cooler temps and pumpkins abound, there’s no doubt autumn has arrived. What better way to celebrate Halloween than with our festive, original recipe for Butternut Squash Salad served in a pumpkin bowl? Whether served as a Halloween party buffet centerpiece in a large pumpkin or plated individually in mini pumpkins, this recipe will delight your guests and deliver a burst of flavor and nutrition in every bite.

hollandia-produce-pumpkin-butternut-squash-salad

Salad Ingredients:

(You may not need the full amount of recommended ingredients depending on the size of the salad.)

1 medium-to-large pumpkin (for a party-size serving)    hollandia-produce-butter-lettuce

Or, X mini pumpkins (for individual servings)

1 (1.17 pound) package of boneless, skinless, chicken breast tenders  

3/4 cup of Olive Oil (to cook chicken and squash)

Salt and pepper

½ lemon

1 (3.5 oz.) package of dried cranberries

1 (3.5 oz.) package of candied walnuts or pecans (or, to candy the nuts yourself, follow this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/dawns-candied-walnuts)

1 (4 oz.) log of goat cheese

2-3 packages of pre-cut butternut squash (or 1 whole butternut squash)

1-2 heads of Live Gourmet® Living Butter Lettuce, or Grower Pete’s Certified Organic Living Butter Lettuce

Dressing Ingredients:          hollandia-produce-pumpkin

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

¾ cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Carve the pumpkin as you would for a jack-o-lantern. Carve out a lid wider than hollandia-produce-butternut-squashusual to create the serving bowl. Next, scrape out and remove stringy, pumpkin innards until the interior is completely smooth. (To save time, prepare pumpkin(s) up to 2 days ahead.)
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place butternut squash pieces on a cookie sheet (if cooking a full squash cut in half and place skin side down) drizzle with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 -30 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Let squash cool (for full squash, peel away outer skin and cut into 1” squares).
  4. While squash is cooking, place chicken tenders in a skillet over medium heat. Hollandia-produce-cooked-chicken
    Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken. Next, drizzle chicken with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is tender or no longer pink.
  5. In a small mixing bowl or carafe, stir all dressing ingredients together.
  6. Remove butter lettuce leaves from head. Wash thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel or a salad spinner.
  7. In a separate mixing bowl, mix gently torn lettuce leaves, chicken and squash in a
    bowl. Crumple goat cheese over lettuce; add nuts and cranberries and gently toss.
  8. Transfer salad to mini pumpkins or large serving pumpkin.
  9. Pour a light coating of dressing over pumpkin filled salad and serve.                               hollandia-produce-pumpkin-butternut-squash-salad                               

Cashew Chicken Butter Lettuce Wraps

Time to get a little nutty. In honor of National Nut Day, here’s a new wholesome and scrumptious gluten-free, Cashew Chicken Butter Lettuce Wrap recipe from shescookin.com. This quick and warm meal is perfect for the autumn weather, and the best part about it is, it’s also ideal for leftovers.

Photo by Priscilla Willis from shescookin.com
Photo by Priscilla Willis from shescookin.com

Ingredients

(Servings: 3)

2 Large chicken breasts

2 green onions

4 beet greens or  Swiss chard leaves and stems

½ cup of low-sodium chicken broth

½ cup of peanut butter

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

2 tablespoons of sunflower oil or peanut oil

¼ cup of cashews

2 tablespoons of coconut aminos

1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

10 Live Gourmet or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce leaves

Directions

  1. Chop vegetables and chicken breasts into half inch pieces.
  2. Heat sesame and sunflower oils over medium heat. Add chopped veggies and cook for 2 -3 minutes, until wilted. Remove greens from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Stir fry chicken pieces in hot oils for about 8 minutes or until they’re no longer pink. Remove and add the chicken pieces to the cooked greens.
  4. Add peanut butter and coconut aminos to the hot oils and stir together until thickened. Next, add in chicken broth and continue stirring until well mixed. Fold in the cashews, sesame seeds, and chicken and greens mixture. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  5. Remove the butter lettuce leaves from the head. Rinse and pat dry.
  6. Go “nutty’ and create your own wrap!

 

Dos and Don’ts for Extending Leafy Greens

best-practices-for-produce

How frustrating is it when you have to discard unused leafy greens, because they wilted before you had the opportunity to eat them? This is bound to happen with fresh produce. Fortunately, you can extend the shelf life of your leafy greens and to help you, we’ve compiled this list of dos and don’ts.

Dos:

  1. Do choose living leafy greens with their roots still attached such as our Live Gourmet® or our certified organic Grower Pete’s brands; they preserve freshness longer (usually 5-7 days) than conventionally grown greens.
  2. Do store living lettuce products in their plastic clamshell containers and keep their roots attached. live-gourmet-living-butter-lettuceThese clamshells function as mini-greenhouses or micro-climates, and provide a protective barrier that helps maintain and extend the product’s natural freshness, color, and flavor.
  3. Do store our cress products in an air tight container (such as a Ziploc® or Tupperware®) with their roots still attached.
  4. Do refrigerate your leafy greens as soon as possible. Produce needs to be stored below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Our lettuce can be stored anywhere in the fridge as long as it’s in its clamshell. Cress products should be stored in the crisper section.
  5. Do store leafy greens away from other fruits and vegetables, because the hormone that plants produce, called ethylene, can hasten ripening.
  6. Do pre-clean surfaces being used to prepare leafy greens, then wash and pat dry your leafy greens before using or storing. This is best practice for all produce.
  7. Do check your leafy greens often and remove wilted or damaged leaves and throw-out the product if the whole plant looks wilted or old.
  8. Do adhere to your product’s Use By date and discard unused product that exceeds it.

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t store your leafy greens anywhere other than your fridge or leave them outside of it for too long.
  2. Don’t store the root ball or plant in water. Our products have absorbed all of their necessary waterlive-gourmet-living-butter-lettuce before they reach you.
  3. Don’t refrigerate leafy greens while still wet, or even damp. Dry them well after rinsing and return them to their recommended containers.
  4. Don’t store leafy greens and other produce near any potential contaminants, such as raw meat
  5. Don’t feel obligated to eat the whole plant in one meal. Our leafy greens are harvested at your will. You remove as many leaves as needed and return the remaining product to the fridge for future use.
  6. Don’t eat your leafy greens past the expired Use By date; discard them immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
  7. Don’t waste your leafy greens or other produce. Stock up on their nutritional value and eat 7-9 servings per day!

fruits-and-veggies-more-matters

Back to School Healthy Lunchbox Ideas

 

The summer has come to an end, and that means the kids are heading back to school! We know it’s difficult to provide your children with healthy meals all of the time, especially during the busy work week. That’s why we’ve put together these fresh ideas for nutrient-rich lunches that are quick and easy to prepare and tasty for your kids!                                                                                                                                          healthy- lunchbox

Sandwich Spruce-up:  The USDA recommends that we fill half of our plates with fruits and vegetables at every meal. Here’s a simple way to accomplish this at lunch. Buy a lunchbox with separate compartments and fill with your child’s favorite fruits and veggies. We recommend cutting them in fun shapes and sizes. If raw veggies aren’t appealing, try steaming them the night before. Fill the other compartment with a fun shaped sandwich, using a cookie cutter, that’s filled with lean cold cuts, freshly sliced tomato, a slice of cheese, a large leaf of Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce, and a bit of mayo and mustard served on whole wheat bread.
thermos- lunch

Warm- up with Watercress: Prepare for the cooler autumn weather by purchasing your child a good thermos to take to school. During a cold week make a nutritious soup like this Garden Cress Soup for dinner from recipetips.com. You can even substitute the garden cress with Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress to increase nutrition, since watercress is the most nutrient dense vegetable available. The soup will be great for leftovers, which you can put in a thermos for your child’s lunch the next day. Your child will be so happy to have something warm they won’t event notice they’re eating vegetables! Compliment this meal with a little lettuce or fruit salad and a slice of cookie cutter, fun-shaped bread to dip in the soup.

Live Gourmet Butter LettuceCheer up chicken: Send your child with a “make your own lunch.” Make this quick and tasty chicken salad recipe the night before. When you wake up put the chicken salad in one compartment of the lunchbox. Then tear off and rinse a few leaves from a head of Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce and add those into another compartment. Put in a spoon, and tell your child to scoop the chicken salad into the lettuce cups so they can make their own little lettuce wraps at lunch!  Add some sliced fruit to another compartment and there you have it a fun, well-rounded lunchbox meal, which makes a delicious to-go lunch for you too!

Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups Recipe

Want to add a little spice to your day? Try out these fiery Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups, and celebrate Hot and Spicy Food Day on August 19th! Although they bring heat, the mild, refreshing butter lettuce balances them out, creating an ideal, light and tasty dinner alternative.

Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups Recipe

What you will need;                                                                                            live-gourmet-asian-turkey-wraps

2-3 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger

3 cloves of minced garlic

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (add less or more upon preference)

3 green onions, chopped

1 pound of ground turkey (or Chicken)

¼ cup of soy sauce

¼ cup of rice wine vinegar

Roasted peanuts (optional)

1 head of Live Gourmet Living Butter Lettuce or 1 head of Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce

Hoisin Sauce (upon preference)

 

How to Cook

First, cook the ginger and garlic on low heat in the sesame and olive oils for one to two minutes. Next, add in the red pepper flakes (if using), and the chopped green onions, and cook for another minute. Next, add the ground turkey or chicken and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Finally, pour in the soy sauce and vinegar and mix everything together.

 

Prepare the Wraps

Remove the amount of lettuce leaves you want to serve. Wash and dry the leaves. Put the cooked turkey or chicken into each lettuce cup.  Sprinkle the meat with the roasted peanuts (if desired), and drizzle the cups with warmed Hoisin Sauce. Voila! A refreshing yet piquant summer dish!

How to Make Chicken Salad Butter Lettuce Wraps for the 4th of July

 

As we all know Friday is America’s Independence Day! Why not bring a nice picnic dinner to enjoy during the fireworks show?  For a healthy, delicious meal that puts a more contemporary feel on a classic summer favorite, follow this quick and easy recipe, to mouthwatering Lemon, Tarragon Chicken Salad Wraps, that will feed a family of four.

 Live Gourmet Butter Lettuce

 What you will need:

3 chicken breasts

1 head of Live Gourmet Living Butter Lettuce, or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce

1 bay leaf

1 cup of diced celery

½ cup of diced green onions

1 and ½ to 2 teaspoons of fresh tarragon (upon preference)

Kosher salt and fresh Pepper

For the Dressing:

¾ to 1 cup of mayonnaise (upon preference)

2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice

1 minced, small garlic clove

Kosher salt and fresh pepper

Directions:

  1. Place the chicken breasts in a large pot
  2. Cover the chicken with water
  3. Add in one bay leaf
  4. Grind in salt and pepper
  5. Boil mixture for 30-45 minutes, until chicken is tender enough to shred with a fork

After chicken is done cooking:

  1. Place the cooked chicken breasts into a large bowl and shred the chicken well with a fork.
  2. Add in diced celery, diced green onions and fresh tarragon, and stir together with chicken.

Dressing:

  1. In a separate bowl mix together the dressing ingredients
  2. Pour dressing over chicken and vegetable mixture
  3. Stir everything together well

To Serve:

Place a couple of tablespoons of the chicken salad into single butter lettuce leaves, and enjoy!

 

Happy 4th of July from Hollandia Produce, L.P.!

Organic Butter Lettuce at Natural Products Expo

The Hollandia Produce team had an opportunity to revisit our trip to the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, Ca. when we saw a Specialty-Retailing.com article called To Your Health: From Babies to Babes! by Dennis Weaver.

organic butter lettuce
Pete Overgaag at Natural Products Expo

Weaver’s article shared these great photos of Pete Overgaag, President of Hollandia Produce.

Here he is at the National Products Expo with our own Grower Pete’s living butter lettuce – harvested with roots attached!

Weaver highlights many of the great finds of the Natural Products Expo. He also shares featured products including our own Grower Pete’s organic butter lettuce and organic watercress. His article was a great way to revisit the Natural Products Expo!

organic living butter lettuce