Give Your St. Patrick’s Day Menu a Boost with Watercress

 

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, there is an image of a smoothie with watercress in it, a hand holds a bunch of Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress and there is an image of dewey clover leafsGreen beer, leprechaun decorations and corned beef and cabbage are ubiquitous staples for many people on St. Patrick’s Day. But did you know many of these customs were adopted in the US as over a million of Irish people emigrated in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. Prior to then, the Irish customarily ate lamb or bacon on St. Patrick’s Day in their native country. Cattle was primarily for dairy products and beef was too expensive for the average Irish person. 

If you’re planning a St. Patrick’s Day dinner, deviate from typical corned beef and cabbage main course. Instead, try a few our favorite recipes with one of our favorite veggies, watercress, which will “beef” up your nutritional intake for the day.

Top o’ the morning to you! Start your day off right by tossing a handful of Pete’s Living Greens Organic Living Watercress or  Living Upland Cress into your AM smoothie. It’s also a great remedy for those who may have imbibed in a little too much green beer. This recipe inspired by Carrie on Vegan will keep you going during the long day of festivities. Plus, watercress and upland cress contain high levels of vitamin C, helping keep your immune system strong whether you’re braving the brisk air during a parade or partying into the wee hours.

If you are planning a tame evening with friends and family, take a cue from the Irish for your dinner menu. To start, serve these adorable shamrock tea sandwiches as a light appetizer. Guinness Risotto with Shrimp and Watercress is a sophisticated dish that balances the iconic Irish brew with the emerald, peppery superfood. If you want to experiment further, prepare Watercress Soup with Whiskey Cream from Food Network. Who said leafy greens and libations don’t go together?

After dinner, have the family reuse the plastic clamshells that hold our butter lettuce to make homemade St. Patty’s Day stencils. Go to about.com and Enchanted Learning for a few pointers and simple shamrock templates. May the luck of the Irish be with you as you prepare delicious and nutritious fare for your loved ones!

 

 

Power Up Your Salad This August

 

Salads are often described as the most holy of diet foods. Yet they sometimes leave us hungry shortly after chowing down, and in other instances, we tend to load them with empty-calorie toppings such as mayonnaise-based dressings, dried fruit and croutons. Both scenarios aren’t helping us get a handle on maintaining a healthy diet. But with a little research, it’s simple to find a number of equally nutritious and delicious ingredients to power up your salad.

Salad ingredients lay on a wooden cutting board, including anchovies tin, pink sea salt, a bunch of Living Upland Cress, eggs and few cloves of garlicIn fact, you probably have one in your fridge right now: eggs. According to a Purdue University study, individuals who consumed whole eggs with raw vegetables increased their absorption of carotenoids, important antioxidants that help protect the body from cellular damage. Another economical food with a surprising number of health benefits are anchovies. The notoriously pungent pizza topping is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower triglycerides, reduce blood clots and even prevent heart disease and stroke.

For a bit of crunch to your salad, add chopped walnuts. The cranium-looking food has been reported to improve cognitive health, leading scientists to use the nut in Alzheimer’s research.

Last but certainly not least, add our antioxidant rich Live Gourmet® Brand Living Upland Cress and Grower’s Pete Organic Living Watercress to complete the ultimate salad filled with plenty of protein, vitamins and minerals.

 

A bowl of Living Upland Cress with a soft boiled eggSimple Protein Salad (for 4)

Ingredients for salad mix:

1 bunch of Live Gourmet® Brand Living Upland Cress

4 eggs

¼ Cup of Chopped Walnuts

Ingredients for dressing:

4-6 anchovies chopped

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon of whole-grain dijon mustard

1 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup of olive oil

Rock salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions for dressing:

  1. Chop the garlic and anchovies
  2. Place the garlic, anchovies, mustard and worcestershire sauce in a food processor and process for approximately 30 seconds till all of the ingredients are fine and mixed together
  3. Begin slowly pouring the olive oil through the processor’s tube while you continue to puree the other ingredients until the oil is evenly mixed in

Directions for salad:

  1. Wash and trim the stems off of the Live Gourmet® Brand Living Upland Cress
  2. Boil the eggs for five minutes then run them immediately under cold water to prevent them from continuing to cook
  3. Toss the greens with the dressing creating an even coat on the leaves
  4. Sprinkle the walnuts on top
  5. Slice each egg in half and place two halves on top of each individual salad

 

Kid-Friendly Snacks for Summer Vacation

 

GARD091H-FruitVeggieMonthThere are many reasons to celebrate during this time of year—many schools break for summer, weather gets warmer and the days are longer. Summer’s joie de vivre nature makes it tempting to pick up fast and pre-packaged food so that you carry on doing what you love most, spending time with loved ones. We’re here to help. Whether the kids have day camp, you’re hanging out by the pool or traveling to the lake house, try these quick, nutritious snacks that will satisfy the whole family. Another reason to prepare healthy meals is its National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. For an adult with a 2,000 calorie diet, one should eat 2 cups of fruit and 2- 3 cups of vegetables per day.

Colorful whole fruits and vegetables arranged in a beautiful way will entice your finicky little ones to take a crack at tasting new food. Try Carlsbad Craving’s Poppy Seed Chicken Fruit Salad with Butter Lettuce. The dish contains bright whole nutrient-rich foods from strawberries to avocados. Plus, it has the perfect edible vessel, butter lettuce, and can be packed in the cooler and eaten on-the-go.

 

Champneys-Watercress-BluebSmoothies are also great morning, noon and night meals that have a multitude of vitamin and minerals. This Watercress, Blueberry and Pineapple smoothie doesn’t contain any additional sugar or dairy but the fruits in the beverage will satisfy your resident sweet tooth. From vitamin A to zinc, watercress’s superfood powers have you and your family covered.

Summer wouldn’t be the same without ice cream. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making Ideas in Food’s Homemade Watercress Ice Cream. If you prefer your greens to be subtle in your treats, take a cue from Paleo Mom’s brownies with the hidden se6a00d83451f83a69e20115705f5361970b-picret ingredient—butter lettuce.

 

By integrating more fruits and vegetables into your daily snacks and meals, you can help shape better eating habits for your whole family. Who knows, your youngster may even ask for a second helping!

 

Say Thanks to Mom by Hosting a Mother’s Day Brunch

 

This Sunday, give your mom or grandma a day off from the kitchen and create a festive seasonal brunch. There’s no need to plan multi-courses–just a tasty meal with simple, fresh ingredients that can be enjoyed indoors or al fresco.

A variety of ingredients are displayed in colorful bowls
Click on the image to see how these baked eggs come together!

Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress and certified organic Grower Pete’s Living Watercress are versatile ingredients for any springtime recipe. These greens add a peppery bite and a vibrant hue to the classic French Oeufs en Cocotte (a.k.a. baked eggs). Add tomatoes for even more color and flavor. In some states, heirloom varieties are beginning to pop up at local farmer’s markets, but grocery store cherry tomatoes work well too. As for nutrition, this dish packs a punch. Both watercress (a nutrient-dense superfood) and tomatoes are rich in antioxidants and provide ample amounts of vitamin K, a key component for maintaining strong bones.

A martini glass filled with Watercress Elderflower cocktail
Watercress & Elderflower Martini by Robert Merjavy, Chester, UK. Photo: Gazregan.com

Round out your meal and sop up those delectable eggs with slices of fresh French bread. And, remember to raise your glass (a Robert Merjavy’s Elderflower Watercress Martini perhaps?) and toast your special matriarch! After all, she did bring you into this world. Happy Mother’s Day!


 

Baked Eggs with Watercress, Tomatoes and Pancetta (for four)

Ingredients:

8 eggs

4 pats of butter

½ bunch of watercress

1 large heirloom tomato (or a handful of cherry tomatoes)

4 slices of pancetta

4 tsp cream

4 tsp Parmesan

Salt & pepper

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Smear the pats of butter on the inside of four large-size ramekins or small oven-proof shallow bowls.
  3. Sauté the pancetta to crisp over medium heat (approximately 5 minutes). Set aside.
  4. Shred the parmesan.
  5. Chop the watercress into bite-size pieces and slice the tomatoes.
  6. Lay a small handful of watercress at the bottom of the ramekin, creating a cradle for the eggs.
  7. Break two eggs each in each ramekin.
  8. Add 1 tsp of cream to each ramekin.
  9. Lay slices of tomatoes on top of the eggs
  10. Divide the pancetta and parmesan and sprinkle both ingredients on the top of each egg mixture.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes. The whites of the eggs should be set while the yolks should be runny.

 

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

Spring Renewal: Greens Meet Grains

Now that spring is here and our surrounding flora and fauna are emerging from their winter slumbers, we too can experience a renewal. One way we can achieve this is by consciously eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

According to a Harvard.edu article, fresh produce and grains, like brown rice and multigrain bread, are some of the best sources of fiber. The essential carbohydrate regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels and helps us feel full longer. While distinguishing itself from other starches and sugars, fiber doesn’t negatively contribute to your caloric intake.

Avocado, radish, upland cress, sea salt are arranged on a table
Click here to view a Flipagram video of assembling Avocado Toast with Upland Cress

Leafy greens like watercress and upland cress also provide servings of fiber. Together with an organic grain, watercress can complete the ultimate hearty meal. We’ve dreamt up two unconventional dishes that include high levels of fiber that you can eat morning, noon or night. Bonus: They also require little preparation and clean-up time.

Want to shake up your morning routine? Try Avocado toast with Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress. Toast a piece of organic whole grain bread to your desired doneness, layer with thinly sliced avocado and radish (which is also high in fiber), top with a cup of watercress, a pinch of sea salt and cayenne pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lime. Don’t forget to snap a photo of the colorful toast, which will be the envy of your Instagram foodie followers.

Savory Oatmeal with upland cress and root vegetables is a twist on breakfast for dinner. It’s even vegetarian! All you need is a whole grain like rolled oats, parmesan cheese, root vegetables (we used carrots and parsnip) and Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress.

Ingredients, including watercress, parsnip and rolled oat
Click here to view a Flipagram video of preparing Savory Oatmeal with Watercress

To prepare: Cook the oats according to packaging instructions while you roast the root vegetables in the oven at 400 degrees. Once vegetables are tender, add them to the oats and mix in a ¼ cup of cheese. Last but not least, add a mountain of upland cress or watercress for a subtle spicy bite.

Continue to experiment this spring by combining fruits, vegetable and whole grains to create your own unique, vitamin-rich meals. Once summer hits, you’ll have developed eating habits that make you feel energized and healthier. You may even not eye last year’s swimsuit with your usual wariness.

Get your Green on this St. Patrick’s Day!

Ring in this St. Patrick’s Day by getting your green on! There’s no need to sacrifice taste for nutrition during this sometimes raucous holiday.

! Start your day off right by tossing a handful of Grower Pete's certified Organic Living Watercress or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress into your AM smoothie. This Live Gourmet recipe inspired by Carrie on Vegan will keep you going during the long day of festivities.
Photo: carrieonliving.com

Top o’ the morning to you! Start your day off right by tossing a handful of Grower Pete’s certified Organic Living Watercress or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress into your AM smoothie. This Live Gourmet recipe inspired by Carrie on Vegan will keep you going during the long day of festivities. Plus, watercress and upland cress contain high levels of vitamin C, helping keep your immune system strong whether you brave the brisk air during a parade or party into the wee hours.

If your proclivity is a bit stronger, prepare Watercress Soup with Whiskey Cream from Food Network. Who said leafy greens and libations don’t go together?
Photo: foodnetwork.com

If you are planning a tame evening with friends, take a cue from the Irish for your dinner menu. Guinness Risotto with Shrimp and Watercress from Atlantic.com is a sophisticated dish that balances the iconic Irish brew with the emerald, peppery superfood. If your proclivity is a bit stronger, prepare Watercress Soup with Whiskey Cream from Food Network. Who said leafy greens and libations don’t go together?

Try this twist on corned beef and cabbage by using butter lettuce as the roll
Photo: foodnetwork.com

For a kid-friendly affair, try a twist on Food Network’s Corned-Beef-and-Cabbage-Rolls. As the Irish Proverb says, “It’s no use boiling your cabbage twice,” you might as well swap the pale veggie for Live Gourmet® brand butter lettuce or Grower Pete’s Certified Organic Living Butter Lettuce. You’ll be finished preparing this no-fuss meal before the grown-ups can say “sláinte” (pronounced “slaan-sha” and Gaelic for “good health”) as they clink glasses of Guinness. After dinner, have the family reuse the Live Gourmet® plastic clamshells that hold living butter lettuce to make homemade St. Patty’s Day stencils. Go to about.com and Enchanted Learning for a few pointers and simple shamrock templates. May the luck of the Irish be with you as you prepare delicious and nutritious fare for your loved ones!

A “Green” Bloody Mary and Smoked Salmon Wraps: A Healthy Twist on Two New Year’s Day Brunch Classics

It’s hard to believe another year has passed. But what better way to ring in 2015, than hosting a New Year’s brunch? To support and encourage your guests who’ve resolved to eat healthier in the New Year, here are some healthier twists to everyone’s classic brunch menu.

First, toast the New Year with this Spicy BLT “Green” Bloody Mary recipe courtesy of Heather Cristo. We suggest replacing the parsley with watercress to increase the nutritional value and to add a peppery flavor profile. Next, pair your “Green Mary” with this Smoked Salmon Mousse Wrap, which is lower in fat than most traditional brunch foods.

Spicy BLT Green Bloody Mary

Spicy-Green-BLT-Bloody-Marys
Photo courtesy of Heather Cristo

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 cups of tomatillos

2 tablespoons of parsley (or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Certified Organic Watercress)

2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar

½ cup of English Cucumber cut into chunks

Juice of 2 limes

2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 jalapeno cut into quarters

2 teaspoons of horseradish

8 ounces of vodka (or amount upon preference)

Ice

A pinch of Kosher Salt (or more upon preference)

 

Garnishes

4 romaine lettuce leaf hearts (or 4 leaves Living Butter Lettuce from Live Gourmet® or Grower Pete’s Organic)

4 strips of bacon cooked crispy

Cherry tomatoes

Lemon Wedges

Directions

Combine the tomatillos, parsley (or watercress), vinegar, cucumber chunks, lime juice, Worcestershire Sauce, and the jalapeno in a blender, and blend until juice like. Once the mixture is blended well, stir in the horseradish and vodka, and then season with salt. Next, pour into four, tall glasses filled with ice and garnish with preferred lettuce leaves, bacon, tomatoes and lemon wedges.

 

Smoked Salmon Mousse in Lettuce Cups

 Butter Lettuce Recipe

Ingredients

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

6 oz. sour cream

4 ounces smoked salmon (1 store bought package)

Juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon of Horseradish (optional)

Several sprigs of fresh dill, or dry dill

Salt and pepper, to taste

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

Drained capers, amount upon preference

Directions

Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, salmon, lemon juice, horseradish, dill and salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth. Next spoon the mousse into lettuce leaf cups. Sprinkle with Capers and dill sprigs. And as a bonus this spread will save and is also a delicious spread on crackers or bagels.

 

Spice Up Your Holiday with this Festive Watercress Casserole

The cool weather and holiday spirit calls for warm comfort foods, which is why we are providing you with this toasty watercress casserole. This festive dish is the perfect addition to any holiday meal. It’s even rich and decadent enough to present to your guests for Christmas dinner. We recommend pairing it with mashed potatoes, salad, and roasted chicken, turkey or even prime rib for the ideal holiday meal. We want to wish you the happiest of holidays and hope you and your family thoroughly enjoys this merry recipe.

 casserole plated

Watercress Casserole Ingredients:

 

1.5 pounds (24 oz. or 6 bags) of Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress ‘

1.5 pounds (24 oz.) of defrosted frozen spinach leaves

1 large, chopped yellow onion (4 cups)

4 large garlic cloves

5 tablespoons of butter

¼ cup of flour

1 cup of heavy cream

2 cups of milk

1/8 teaspoon of grated nutmeg

1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup of grated Gruyere cheese

1 tablespoon of kosher salt

1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions:

 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a Pyrex baking pan with 1 tablespoon of butter. Next, melt the remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add in chopped onions and sauté until softened. Add in garlic cloves and cook for 2 more minutes. Add in the flour and nutmeg and stir for an additional 2 minutes. mixing bowl

Next, fold in heavy cream and milk and cook until the mixture until thickened. Then aduncookedd in ½ cup of Parmesan and mix together. Pour entire mixture into the greased baking pan.

Next remove watercress (or Upland Cress) roots, rinse and pat dry. Strain the defrosted spinach removing as much water as possible. Then, add the greens, salt, and pepper into the baking dish and mix together with the onion mixture. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and the Gruyere on top and bake for 20 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling. Serve this rich comfort food hot, along side of your favorite holiday dishes to complete the meal!

 

Holiday Party Watercress Cocktail

Picture from Hemispheres Magazine of recipe creator: Austin Carson
Picture from Hemispheres Magazine of recipe creator: Austin Carson

Have you ever heard of a “croptail?” Neither had we, until we found this watercress cocktail recipe from Hemispheres Magazine. A “croptail” is a vegetable-based cocktail, such as a Bloody Mary. Austin Carson, from Denver’s Mizuna restaurant, wanted to venture beyond the usual concoctions, so he created the Prudence and Hammersmith.

Despite its alcohol content, the Prudence and Hammersmith is packed with essential vitamins and nutrients, including cancer-fighting antioxidants. After all, watercress is the world’s most nutrient-dense superfood.

Why not wow your guests with this unexpected, vibrant green cocktail? With our added festive garnish of pomegranate arils, this drink perfectly complements any holiday event.

Ingredients

1 Package of Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress

3/8 oz. of simple syrup

2 oz. of dry gin

1 splash of ginger beer (of choice)

¾ oz. of fresh squeezed lime juice

Ice

Optional: pomegranate arils (since the drink is thick thinly cut strawberries would also work) and or a lime peel wheel

Directions 

Remove the watercress or upland cress roots and stems, then wash and dry the leaves thoroughly. Next, muddle the watercress in a cocktail shaker. Add the fresh lime juice and simple syrup and shake well. Add the gin, ginger beer and ice and shake everything together well. Using a strainer, pour mixture into a cocktail or wine glass of choice. Top with a lime peel wheel or pomegranate seeds to add festive holiday color. Toast the holidays!