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!

 

 

Try Ribollita with Watercress This Winter

 

The Tuscan comfort food Ribollita is a thick vegetable soup that is traditionally served throughout one week; its flavors deepening and consistency thickening with each day. In some households, they even fry the remaining bit like a pancake. Regardless how you decide to serve your Ribollita, you are bound to satisfy everyone, from vegetarians to those who are dairy free. We used Chef Mario Batali’s, of the Chew and Moltissimo, rendition as a point of departure. Putting our own spin on the recipe, we added Pete’s Living Greens Organic Watercress (you can also use our Upland Cress), used store-bought tomato sauce instead of homemade and canned beans in lieu of dry. (Shh! We won’t tell if you don’t.) These minor alterations won’t sacrifice the taste, but will save you time on a busy weeknight.

The dish is already a low-fat and vitamin-rich meal, but our watercress gives it extra oomph. Watercress is high in phytonutrients as well as antioxidants, vitamins C and A. Based on its nutrient-to-calorie ratio, it’s the highest ranked vegetable on the nutrient scale. It even has as much vitamin C as oranges and other citrus. Vitamin C helps the body fight against immune system deficiencies and the common cold. All the more reason to add the Pete’s Living Greens Organic Watercress or Upland Cress to your potage this winter!

Ribollita with Watercress
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Ingredients
  1. A can of white cannellini beans
  2. Extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 medium red onion, chopped
  4. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  5. 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  6. 2 medium red potatoes, cubed
  7. 1 cup tomato sauce
  8. 1 bunch of Pete's Living Greens Organic Watercress or Upland Cress
  9. 1 bunch rainbow chard, chopped
  10. 1 bunch Tuscan kale, chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add onion and sauté until translucent.
  2. Add potatoes, carrots and garlic and sauté for five minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add four cups of water and tomato sauce. Stir and let it come to boil.
  4. Stir in greens and undrained beans.
  5. Turn burner down and let it simmer for 1-1.5 hours.
Notes
  1. To serve: Salt and pepper to taste and add red flakes if you like a bit of heat. You can toast thick pieces of fresh bread in the broiler. Once you remove the slices, add one to a bottom of a bowl and ladle the Ribollita on top of it. Mangia!
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

Live Gourmet’s Favorite Hearty Meals in Honor of National Grain Month

greens-meet-grainsWondering how to incorporate whole grains, like quinoa, millet and farro, in your daily diet? They’re actually quite versatile! To help you get started and since it’s National Grain Month, we’ve picked our favorite meals that combine healthy ancient grains with our favorite superfood watercress. Stop by your local supermarket to pick up our Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Living Watercress to get started.

A Few Facts and Resources

According to a Harvard.edu article, whole grains and fresh produce 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.

Leafy greens like watercress and upland cress also provide servings of fiber. Together with an organic grain, watercress can complete the ultimate hearty meal.

For a complete list of whole grains, click here.

Our Favorite Grain and Watercress Recipes 

1. By now, you’re familiar with the popular (especially on Instagram!) avocado toast. Want to shake the popular breakfast confection? Try it here with Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress and whole grain toast.  

2. Savory Oatmeal with our Living Upland Cress and root vegetables is a twist on breakfast for dinner. It’s even vegetarian! 

3. Bring Joy’s roasted sweet potato, quinoa, & watercress salad conjures feelings of fall.

4. Live Gourmet’s Cressto sauce with whole grain pasta will go over well with the entire family, including your little ones.

5. Love and Lemon’s Watercress Feta and Farro Salad balances brightness, crunch and chewiness all in one bowl.

Acai Bowls originated in Brazil…What?!

 

Though acai bowls have been popularized by US juice and smoothie establishments in recent years, the trendy dish actually originated in Brazil. The main component of the bowl is acai, which is a berry that comes from tall palm trees native to Central and South America (most notably in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil).

According to Wedmd, “Some studies show that the fruit pulp has a very high antioxidant capacity with even more antioxidant content than the pulp of the cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry or blueberry.”

Grace McGuire of Nourish with Whole Foods combines acai powder with a variety of vitamin rich fruits and vegetables, including our very own watercress. In fact, our Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Brand of Living Organic Watercress are certified antioxidant greens and are superfoods like the delicious berries. What’s a superfood you ask? It’s an extremely nutrient-dense food that is very beneficial for maintaining good health.

Acai bowls make a great breakfast and will keep you going throughout the day! Pick up your favorite fruits along with our Living Watercress and acai powder to make your own unique bowl. Take a cue from Grace’s recipe to get started. Don’t forget to share photos of your creations with us by tagging us @LiveGourmet on social media.

Nourish with Whole Food’s Acai Bowl with Living Watercress
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup of raw coconut water
  2. 2 handfuls of organic spinach
  3. 1 handful of Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress OR Grower Pete’s Brand of Living Organic Watercress
  4. 1 cup or 4 frozen organic strawberries
  5. 1/2 cup of frozen organic blueberries
  6. 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  7. 1-2 tsp of Acai powder
  8. 1 sliced (frozen) banana
  9. 1 scoop of Amazing Grass Green Superfood (optional)
Instructions
  1. Blend on high and serve. Top with your favorite nuts, seeds, granola, dried fruit, coconut flakes or nut butter (pictured here).
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

Live Gourmet’s Favorite Springtime Watercress Salads

 

Spring has graced us with its presence for a number of weeks now. You’ve probably noticed that trees are blooming, more people are frequenting parks and a larger variety of produce is trickling into your neighborhood market. As the weather continues to warm, you may find yourself inclined to cook lighter with more seasonal ingredients.

grower-pete's-organic-watercressWhy not choose from the plethora of spring-inspired salads out there? We’ve picked our favorite ones just for you. What we also found during our search is that watercress proves to be an exemplary salad green.

Its peppery bite gives even the simplest of salads a new dimension. Moreover, it will boost your dish’s vitamin and mineral content. This versatile leafy green is loaded with phytonutrients, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and essential vitamins. One serving contains as much vitamin C as an orange, more calcium than a glass of milk, and tons of fiber.

Though these recipes are inspired by this season, you can still make them at any time in the year with our Living Watercress. Unlike traditional field growing, our greens are grown hydroponically in state-of-the-art greenhouses where we control light, temperature, humidity, and nutrients. While our growing cycle is mildly affected by seasonal changes, our greenhouse growing method allows us to grow your favorite LIVE GOURMET® and GROWER PETE’S® products with consistent uniformity year-round.

Watercress
Delish’s Watercress Salad with Verjus Vinaigrette

Here our Favorite Springtime Salads with our Living Watercress:

Delish’s Watercress Salad with Verjus Vinaigrette – This salad has a secret ingredient, Verjus, a pressed, unfermented juice of unripe grapes, which gives the greens a sweet and slightly acidic taste.

BBC Good Food turns the traditional salad on its head and incorporates watercress in the dressing.

Root vegetables like Chioggia beets and black radishes add a heirloom touch to Love and Lemon’s Spring Root Watercress Salad.

The sumac yogurt dressing gives Saveur’s Kohlrabi, Apple and Watercress Salad a Middle Eastern flair.

In Eating Well’s Asian-inspired salad, a warm sesame shallot vinaigrette is added. Perfect for the early—and perhaps sometimes chilly—days of spring!

Up Your Fruits and Veggies Intake this February by Juicing

 

February is a rough month for many of us. The holidays are a distant memory and, in some parts of the country, there are many gray days ahead before spring emerges. It’s easy to fall into patterns of unhealthy eating and little exercise when the weather is dismal. However, instead of hiding under the covers until the sun and warm weather returns, stay the course by practicing healthy eating habits.

watercress-apple-juice
Photo: juicing-for-health.com

To stay on track, add meals made with whole fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins and minerals to your daily diet. One way to do this is by juicing. CNN says, “New research shows eating up to seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day can have a significant impact on your lifespan. For those of us who don’t have time to cut up or cook two servings with every meal, juicing is an easy way to consume them on the go.”

Our Living Watercress and Upland Cress are excellent additions to juices. Based on its nutrient-to-calorie ratio, watercress is ranked highest on the nutrient scale. This versatile leafy green is loaded with phytonutrients, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and essential vitamins. In fact, one serving of this peppery flavored veggie contains as much vitamin C as an orange, more calcium than a glass of milk, and tons of fiber. The Detox Specialist has several whole food beverage recipes like its Tropical Watercress Detox Smoothie. We’ve included it in this post for you to try!

Share your own fresh juice concoctions, smoothies and more made with our Living Watercress and Live Gourmet on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Tag us @livegourmet!

The Detox Specialist’s Tropical Watercress Detox Smoothie
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup fresh or frozen mango cubes
  2. 3/4 cup fresh pineapple
  3. 1 small handful of Grower Pete’s™ Organic Living Watercress
  4. 1 large handful of organic baby spinach
  5. 1 cup pure water approx. Use less or more according to how thick you like your smoothie
  6. 1/2 teaspoon stevia powder (optional)
Instructions
  1. For the directions, go to http://thedetoxspecialist.com/blog/cleansing/tasty-watercress-recipes-for-body-cleansing/
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

Live Gourmet’s Top 5 Picks for Avocado and Watercress Recipes

 

Recently, chefs shared several food trends on The Huffington Post that they would like to see less of in 2016. Thankfully, they didn’t renounce pairing watercress with avocado. Though the combination isn’t as ubiquitous as sautéed kale or cronuts, the foodie world is catching onto the two green foods’ complementary flavors. Avocado, with its creamy consistency and mildness (it’s not called nature’s butter for nothing!), balances out watercress’ peppery bite.

Watercress Avocado PhotoAn added bonus is that they’re both superfoods! Avocado contains good fats that contribute to healthy cholesterol levels and help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Watercress, on the other hand, is a significant source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which support eye health and vision. The green leafy vegetable’s nutritional value doesn’t stop there. According to the Center for Disease Control, watercress is the most nutrient-dense vegetable, superseding the almighty kale, based on its nutrient-to-calorie ratio.

We’ve compiled our top five avocado and watercress recipes for you to test out on your family and friends. Don’t forget to pick up our Grower Pete’s Brand Organic Living Watercress or Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress before you embark on your culinary adventure!


 

Live Gourmet’s Top 5 Avocado and Watercress Recipes

  1. Nigella Lawson’s Salmon, avocado, watercress & pumpkin seed salad – Pumpkin seeds supply a significant source of iron and salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids in this already powerhouse salad. 
  1. Avocado, Pea & Watercress Puree with Spicy Shrimp — This fusion of flavors will be an unexpected yet delightful surprise to you and dinner guests. 
  1. Courgetti with Avocado & Watercress Pesto is a low carb rendition of the classic Italian pasta dish. 
  1. Avocado Egg Salad – Avocado stands in for mayo in this tasty vegan recipe. 
  1. Watercress guacamole — While avocado is usually the main attraction in this Mexican staple, watercress steals the show, providing just the right amount of bite. 

Make Homemade Tea with our Living Watercress

 

IMG_1445Tea has been consumed for over 4,000 years for its association with good health, its calming effect and as a social custom amongst cultures around the world. Ask people how they like their tea and you’re bound to get a variety of responses: black tea with milk and sugar, the currently popular Japanese Matcha or loose leaf tea brewed with an infuser. Whatever your preference, the beverage offers numerous benefits, including helping keep inflammation at bay and increasing bone density.

Maximize your cup of tea by adding vitamin-rich plants to your daily cup. Country Living Magazine recommends using a combination of greens, herbs — we recommend  North Shore Living Herbs — and edible flowers to create a balanced pot of tea that is both healthy and soothing. Our Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress and Live Gourmet Upland Cress are robust additions, not only for their peppery flavor but also for their superfood properties. Our cress products contain as much vitamin C as an orange, more calcium than milk, high levels of magnesium, lutein, phosphorous, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, B1, B6, K, and E.

Though you can easily purchase an assortment of herbal and caffeinated varieties at your local grocer, be a botanist for a day and make your own tea on a quiet afternoon. We’ve included our own recipe for you to try!

Live Gourmet’s Trifecta Tea
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. Equal parts (about ½ cup of each) of: our organic watercress or upland cress,
  2. lavender & edible flowers
  3. 8 cups of water
Instructions
  1. Boil 8 cups of water
  2. Wash your greens, flowers and herbs thoroughly
  3. Add your ingredients to a French press or tea infuser
  4. Pour the water over your tea ingredients and let steep for 10 minutes
  5. If using a French press, lower the plunger down slowly. If using an infuser, remove it from the pot or mug. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. For an extensive list of ingredient recommendations go to Country Living Magazine: http://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/a478/herbal-teas-0906/
Adapted from Country Living Magazine
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

Hollandia Produce’s 2016 Company Outlook

 

As Hollandia Produce embarks on its 46th year in business, we have much to be excited about going into 2016. For starters, we are launching an official Food Service program that will include products from both of the company’s flagship brands: Live Gourmet and Grower Pete’s Organic. And, we’re even more thrilled to announce this offering will include two new products this quarter: Live Gourmet Living Baby Romaine and Grower Pete’s Organic Living Baby Butter Lettuce. Both products will be sold with the roots attached, allowing them to extend beyond typical shelf-life freshness.

Additionally, we’ll be presenting our entire produce portfolio in Food Service friendly packaging and in varying case counts for added convenience. Our Live Gourmet Living Baby Romaine also will be sold to retail as single units packaged in micro-perforated flow wrap bags, similar to our cress products beginning this quarter. We will be making an official announcement on all of these offerings in the very near future. 

hollcrew-4_23322822560_o (1)While we have much to look forward to in 2016, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the progress we’ve made in 2015. First, our Oxnard facility expansion project is continuing to gain traction and has enabled the company to hire additional staff and expand our production capacity. We have also garnered new customers and expanded into new sectors. As a result, we have enjoyed sales growth that has allowed us to pursue our strategic goals with fervor and reward our staff for their valued contributions to these efforts.

We are proud of the intense loyalty of our employees, especially those who’ve been with our company for decades. That’s why 2015 was also bittersweet. Three valued staffers, whose tenure ranged between 20 and 45 years, announced their retirement. We wish them much happiness for the future.

Although we are embarking on another year, we will continue to focus on our core values: growing the company from within; creating a positive, respectful and safe environment for our employees; and growing premium-quality and value-added products that are rooted in freshness and alive with flavor. In doing so, we know that 2016 will not only be a productive year for us and our customers, but it will surely be another Happy New Year!

To stay abreast of Hollandia Produce 2016 news, follow @LiveGourmet on social media and read our Lettuce Be Fresh™ blog every week!

 

Live Gourmet on the Many Variations of Watercress Soup

 

Watercress is the ultimate vegetable, boasting a copious amount of vitamins and minerals. Not to mention, it elevates stews, sautés and even smoothies with its peppery bite and vibrant color. Another popular dish made with the superfood is watercress soup. Whether you have a penchant for its traditional preparation or prefer a vegan version, we have a few renditions for you to try on a cool fall evening.

Did you know that watercress is featured in an array of soup and one-pot dishes around the world? For example, the French are known for their delicious, thick Potage Cressinniere soup made of cream, potatoes and watercress. This Saveur recipe is borrowed from The Paris Cookbook and includes the ultimate elegant culinary touch, caviar. In the UK, in contrast, foodies are constantly reinventing the classic dish like Great British Chefs who incorporates peas and mint. Lastly, it may not be a conventional ingredient in the Indian lentil meal called dal, but Edible Garden found that watercress added a bit of heat to the cultural staple.  

image2We’ve experimented by adding a bunch of our Live Gourmet ® Living Upland Cress to a hearty soup with lentils, the small-shaped pasta ditalini and root vegetables. Taking cues from a number of recipes and cultures, our hearty watercress vegetable soup is a healthy yet delicious alternative to the cream-based classic!

Hearty Watercress Vegetable Soup
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Ingredients
  1. Two tablespoons of olive oil
  2. One medium yellow onion diced
  3. One carrot chopped
  4. One leek (only the white parts) chopped
  5. One celery stalk chopped
  6. Two medium white potatoes diced
  7. Six Cups of Vegetable Stock
  8. ½ of red lentils
  9. ½ cup of ditalini
  10. One bunch of Live Gourmet ® Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Organic Watercress
  11. ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. 1. Drizzle the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and sauté the onion till it becomes translucent (about five minutes) over medium heat
  2. 2. Add the carrot, leeks, celery and white potatoes and let the vegetables soften with the onions for an additional 7-8 minutes
  3. 3. Add the stock and raise the heat to high until it comes to a boil
  4. 4. Add the lentils and ditalini and lower the heat to medium once again
  5. 5. Let ingredients simmer until ditalini are al dente and lentils are at your desired doneness
  6. Add watercress. Once watercress wilts, the soup is ready to be served. Sprinkle parsley and enjoy!
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/