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.

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!

Sautéed Watercress with Cranberries, Pine Nuts and Raisins for Thanksgiving

live-gourmet-thanksgiving-watercress-recipe

Thanksgiving week is finally here! To show our thanks, we wanted to share a recipe that
not only complements the seasonal flavors of this classic holiday meal, but also is packed with flavor and nutrition. Best of all, this scrumptious superfood recipe is quick and easy to prepare.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

3 bags of Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress

¼ cup of golden raisins

¼ cup of dried, sweetened cranberries  live-gourmet-thanksgiving-watercress-recipe

2 large cloves of garlic

1 and ½ tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup of pine nuts

Salt and pepper

Directions

Soak the cranberries and raisins in a small bowl filled with hot water, and set aside while you prepare the rest of the meal. Tear off the roots of the watercress or upland cress, rinse the greens thoroughly, dry and set aside.  live-gourmet-living-upland-cress

Next, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Finely chop up the garlic cloves and sauté in the hot olive oil until golden brown. Then add in the pine nuts for a minute or two stirring constantly. Strain your raisins and cranberries and then add them to the skillet. Fold in cress and cook until the greens are wilted. Season this dish to taste with salt and pepper spice, and serve! That’s all it takes to make the perfect, nutritional holiday side!

 

Spicy Tofu Butter Lettuce Wraps for Vegan Month

Nowadays, people become vegan for many reasons. It may be as a stance against animal cruelty, to reduce their carbon footprint, or simply as a healthy lifestyle choice. While we don’t purport to be anti-meat or dairy, as you may have gathered from our previous recipe posts, we do agree that a diet filled with fruits and vegetables is extremely beneficial.

In fact, a plant-based diet is rich in vitamins and minerals, and tends to be high-fiber and low-fat. According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarians and vegans are generally at a lower risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and several forms of cancer. Yet, to prevent any kind of chronic disease, vegetarians and vegans, as well as meat-eaters, need to consume a well-balanced diet to stay healthy.

That’s why we’re honoring National Vegan Month with this vegan recipe from Tablespoon.com that, we believe, will please any palate.

Spicy Tofu Butter Lettuce Wrap Ingredients 

Photo by Girl Versus Dough from tablespoon.com
Photo by Girl Versus Dough from tablespoon.com

4 Tsp vegetable oil

3 Tbsp. Soy sauce

1 block (12 oz.) of extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1-inch squares

2 Tsp minced garlic

2 c. Cole slaw mix

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 or 2 inch stripes

1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger

½ Tsp red pepper flakes (can be modified to reduce or increase heat)

2 Tbsp. plum sauce

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

½ Tsp. Sriracha hot sauce (can be modified to reduce or increase heat)

2 thinly sliced green onions

2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Directions

Heat two teaspoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add in tofu and cook for 10 minutes or until evenly browned on both sides. Next, add in one tablespoon of soy sauce and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently. Remove tofu and set aside.

Next, heat remaining vegetable oil over medium heat. Add in bell peppers, Cole slaw, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and Sriracha sauce, upon preference. Cook for 5 – 10 minutes or until the bell peppers are slightly soft, stirring occasionally. After, add in the remaining soy sauce and heat for 3 more minutes. Fold in plum sauce and tofu and gently mix together.

Finally, remove butter lettuce leaves, rinse and pat dry. Spoon the tofu mixture into the individual leaves, and sprinkle with green onions and cilantro. Next, enjoy the healthy goodness!

Veggie Lovers Rejoice – Watercress Pasta Recipe

Starting Monday, September 8th, vegetable lovers around the nation will begin to celebrate National Vegetarian Awareness Week, and we want to get you prepped. While you probably already know, vegetarianism is the practice of avoiding the consumption of meat, poultry and seafood; many people are unaware of the numerous health benefits associated with practicing vegetarianism. According to the American Dietetic Association vegetarians have a lower risk of developing many chronic diseases including; heart disease, several forms of cancers, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. This is because healthy vegetarian diets are usually full of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with essential nutrients and often added nutrients like antioxidants and phytonutrients. In addition, diets full of fruits and veggies tend to be high in fiber and low in fat, which further help maintain good health.

Now, just to clarify we know many of you love meat, poultry and seafood and trust me we get it, they’re delicious. However, vegetarian or not it is important to maintain a well-rounded and diverse diet filled with nature’s gifts of fruits and veggies, and limited in other areas of food. To help get you started, we found this wholesome and scrumptious pasta recipe from The Telegraph, which incorporates the most nutrient dense vegetable available, cress!  Of course, we recommend using our Grower Pete’s Living Watercress, or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress!

Watercress Pasta Recipe 

watercress-pasta
Photo via The Telegraph

What you will need (serving size of 4):

  • 1 pound of whole-wheat linguine
  • 2 ¾ oz of Grower Pete’s Living Watercress, or Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress
  • 7 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ oz of flat leaf parsley, leaves only
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic
  • 1 ½ oz toasted pine nuts
  • 1 ¼ oz of freshly grated pecorino or parmesan

To Prepare:

Boil the linguine in a large pot with slightly salted water. While the pasta boils, make the pesto.  Put the watercress and parsley into a food processor with the olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts. Pulse the mixture until finely crushed. Add in half of the cheese and continue to pulse until the mixture is a rough paste. Then pour into a bowl and mix in the other half of the cheese. Then pour over pasta, stir and serve!

A Healthy Twist on National Lasagna Day

It’s National Lasagna Day! Why not celebrate with a new twist on an old favorite? We added cress, the world’s most nutrient dense superfood, to create a lasagna recipe that’s not only indulgent and delicious but packed with essential antioxidants, vitamins and phytonutrients. Plus, cress’ peppery flavor adds a complimentary kick to lasagna’s traditional taste.

Ingredients

  • Lasagna noodles                                                              spinach lasagna recipe with watercress
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 8 oz. of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 bags of Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress
  • 2, 15-oz. containers of ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ cups of grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup of chopped, fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup of chopped, fresh basil
  • 2, 12-oz. jars of marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • (Makes 8 servings)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Lightly oil a 9’ x 13’ baking dish
  3. Parboil lasagna noodles in salted water for 6 minutes (The noodles will continue to cook in the oven.)
  4. Sauté garlic and mushrooms in olive oil until the mushrooms are tender. Then, add in the watercress and sauté quickly (or until the greens are wilted)
  5. Mix together the ricotta and parmesan cheese, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and fresh herbs in a mixing bowl
  6. Pour a shallow layer of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the baking dish.
  7. Add one layer of pasta noodles
  8. Spread cheese and herb mixture over noodles
  9. Pour another layer of marinara sauce over the cheese
  10. Continue layering until all ingredients are used
  11. Finish with a top layer of mozzarella cheese
  12. Cook in oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the lasagna is bubbly and the cheese is melted

Refreshing Summer Watercress and Spinach Salad

Did you know July 16th is Fresh Spinach Day? Spinach is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that contains folic acid, and other essential vitamins and minerals, as well as cancer- fighting antioxidants. To increase your nutrient intake even further pair your next spinach meal with our watercress, a certified superfood with extremely high levels of essential nutrients and phytonutrients that adds a zesty bite to any dish. Here is a yummy salad that combines the vibrant taste of watercress with baby spinach, for a refreshing meal that will keep you from cooking in a hot kitchen on these warm summer days.

Mix Together:

1 bag of fresh baby spinach

1 bag of antioxidant rich Live Gourmet® Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress    Grower-Pete's-Organic-Living-Watercress

1 avocado pitted and sliced

¼ cup of toasted slivered almonds 

1 orange cut into segments

Crumbled Goat cheese

Dressing:

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 tablespoons of orange juice

1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons of honey

¼ cup of olive oil

Salt and pepper (Upon Preference)

Whisk together and pour over salad!

 

If you have a favorite summer salad recipe, share it with us on our Live Gourmet® Facebook or Twitter Page!