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/

Warm up this Winter with our Favorite Spicy Recipes

 

SpicySpice up your winter with foods that have a touch of heat. Adding herbs and spices can triple the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power to a meal says ClevelandClinicWellness.com.

Hot peppers, for example, contain capsaicin, which can help relieve minor aches and pains. A new study found that when ingested in pill form, it could help fight breast cancer. Together with a vitamin-powered green like Pete’s Living Greens Upland Cress, Organic Watercress or Butter Lettuce, your spiced-up meal will keep you toasty and healthy all winter. Check out a few of our favorites!

  1. Spicy Avocado Dressing – Drizzle this zingy dressing on a bed of fresh greens and a lean protein such as salmon or chicken.
  2. Spicy Tofu Taco Lettuce Wraps – This vegetarian recipe is great for #TacoTuesday. It also contains cumin, which is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that may help stop tumor growth.
  3. Spicy Soba Noodles with Wilted Watercress – For a quick weeknight dinner, this dairy and gluten-free dish is perfect with a touch of garlic. #DYK? Garlic helps reduce the hardening of arteries.
  4. Spicy Shrimp with Pan-Seared Romaine and Chickpea Puree – Impress your dinner guests with this restaurant-quality meal, which has the right amount of zest and zip.
  5. Lemony Yogurt Smoothie – Combined with cruciferous veggies cauliflower and (our personal fav) watercress, this smoothie is all sorts of nutritious. It even includes turmeric that may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems.

Throwing a Stress-Free Holiday Party with Nancy Waldeck

 

Nancy Waldeck is a Healthy Chef Partyologist who helps people make food that tastes so good it doesn’t even taste healthy! (And she often pairs fun wine with it too.) A cancer survivor and thriver, she shares the message of better-for-you food with learners at cancer centers, cooking schools, businesses and on Atlanta and Company (NBC 11) twice a month.

We’ve asked Nancy to share a few tips and secrets on how to throw a successful, stress-free holiday party. Cheers!


Live Gourmet: As a chef and entertainment expert who has organized large events and parties, what is some advice you can give to someone who is hosting a holiday party this season? How do you stay organized?

Nancy Waldeck: Plan, Plan, Plan. By planning ahead you can enjoy your own party! Planning ahead allows you to carefully choose what you are going to make. My goal is always to make food that tastes great, looks beautiful and makes people happy by being a little better-for-you too! 

Begin the party planning by choosing 3 to 4 appetizers that can be made ahead of time, and served at room temperature. For instance, a tapenade/hummus and fresh bite-sized veggie board, dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped with prosciutto, lettuce wraps filled with not-your-average chicken salad, roasted nuts, jerk skewers, jumbo shrimp with Asian Remoulade. If you’re having lots of folks you can always add in a cheese board, (almost everyone loves cheese!) and fill it with not only cheese, but fresh and dried fruit, too. 

LG: You’re also a wine expert. What are your go-to wines when hosting your own holiday gathering?

NW: I specialize in serving wines under $20, so they are perfect for sharing!

Always a sparkling – refreshing and festive. I choose Cava, delicious, crisp and made in the same method as champagne – only from Spain. I hand people a glass as they walk in the door. A fizzy way to get the party started!

White – Unoaked Chardonnay from California is my go-to. If I have a little more adventurous crowd, I’ll stock up on Albarino or Torrontes, from Spain and Argentina, respectively. Both are crisp, aromatic, and super food friendly. 

Rose – Fruity and pretty pink wine is not just for summer, or sissies! Rose is a great pairing with appetizers that are salty, cheesy or savory. If you choose one from Provence, you’re almost always guaranteed to pick a winner. You’ll be surprised how many people will select it from a lineup.

Red – Cotes du Rhone is a easy to drink, easy to love red wine from France. Made from a variety of grapes, but mostly Grenache and Syrah, you’ll be hard pressed to come up with a bigger crowd favorite. Spans the gap from lighter to heavier reds.

LG: Which recipe are you most excited to make this holiday season?

NW: I’m going to make a trio of beautiful hummus (recipe below). Bold Orange Pumpkin, Bright Red Beet and Vivid Green Watercress hummus, all using the same basic white bean recipe. I’m going to serve it up with lots of fresh veggies, lettuce wraps and homemade nut crackers.

LG: For a host who is trying to serve healthy yet tasty options at their upcoming gathering, what would you suggest?

NW: Think color! Make it pretty. Incorporate fruits and veggies along with your cheese and meat heavy appetizers. Instead of serving lots of breads, crackers or chips include romaine lettuce as a scooper. Use nutrition super stars like arugula in pesto and tapenade. It will add lots of flavor and bright color to your food.

White Bean Hummus (with Beets, Pumpkin or Living Watercress )
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Garlic Cloves
  2. 2 Cans Cannellini (white kidney beans) drained and well rinsed
  3. ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  4. Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste
  5. 1 Tsp Cumin
  6. 1 Tsp Turmeric
  7. 1 TB Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  8. ¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper, optional
  9. Chopped Herbs or Pumpkin Seeds or Goat Cheese for Garnish
Instructions
  1. Step One
  2. Place the garlic cloves in the processor and finely chop. Add the beans, ¼ Cup Oil, ½ Cup Beets, Pumpkin or Watercress, salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, lemon juice and cayenne to the food processor and process until smooth. (You may need a little more oil to make it the consistency that you like.)
  3. Step Two
  4. Taste for seasoning and adjust with additional salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with your selected garnish and a drizzle of olive oil if you desire. Serve the hummus with lettuce wraps, fresh veggies, pita chips or breads.
Notes
  1. *Add ½ Cup Chopped Beets, Canned Pumpkin or Watercress when processing the hummus to make it colorful – and taste great!
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

Up your Veggie Ante During Breast Cancer & Vegetarian Awareness Month

 

up-your-veggie-intakeWhen one thinks of October pastimes, picking bushels of apples, drinking piping hot cider and donning a spooky Halloween costume come to mind. But did you that this month is also dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer and vegetarianism? The two issues may not seemingly go hand-in-hand, but a diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains is certainly intrinsic to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables (fondly nicknamed as “crucifers”) like broccoli, cauliflower and our Living Watercress contain large amounts of the sulfur-containing chemical glucosinolate. This chemical is thought to inhibit breast, lung, colon and prostate cancer development. According to cancer.govglucosinolate compounds help protect cells from DNA damage, have antiviral and antibacterial effects, and they inhibit tumor blood vessel formation and tumor cell migration.

Researchers have also begun to investigate whether vegetarians have a lower risk of developing cancer than their meat-eating counterparts. Findings to date are limited, but one study reports that “suboptimal dieting choices” may be linked to as many of 50% of breast cancer cases.

Endeavor to make more nutritious meals this month by preparing colorful vegetarian dishes. Taste and Savor’s Cauliflower Tabbouleh in Living Butter Lettuce Cups combines cauliflower and our Living Butter Lettuce to create a crisp meatless snack or lunch. Along with glucosinolate – rich cauliflower, our Living Butter Lettuce is also full of vitamins and has high doses of beta-carotene which is often linked to cancer prevention. If you’d like to pump up your veggie intake at breakfast, try Nourish With Whole Food’s acai bowl. The Live Gourmet enthusiast combines acai powder with a variety of vitamin rich fruits and vegetables, including our very own Living Watercress.

You can still get in the fall spirit by eating healthy. Pick up your favorite apples from your local orchard and add them to Taste and Savor’s Romaine Wrap with Crunchy Apple Salad. Whether you’re an avid vegetarian or enthusiastic meat eater, including more fresh veggies and fruits in every meal will improve you and your family’s overall health. Take a cue from Live Gourmet by creatively serving a fall veggie dish in a carved out pumpkin or squash!

 

You Put Greens in THAT? Unique Recipes That Rock.

 

Different varieties of lettuce and watercress are displayed on a purple backgroundThough crisp lettuce leaves elevate the simplest of salads, greens also make unexpected yet delicious additions to a number of dishes. There are a plethora of reasons to include our varieties of Living Greens from breakfast to even dessert. 

Here are a few:

Not only are they tasty and add satisfying texture, our Living Greens include a number of health benefits. Romaine lettuce has more vitamin A than a carrot, and is a rich source of vitamin K (a key role in helping blood clot). Butter lettuce also contains significant amounts of Vitamin K and folate. While adding watercress to your diet can help improve your skin. In a study reported by the Daily Mail, “10 out of 11 female volunteers experienced visible improvements to their skin after just four weeks of adding one bag of watercress a day to their diet.”

To receive green’s maximum health benefits while testing your culinary creativity, try a few of our favorite non-traditional recipes. 

Our favorites:

  1. Food 52’s Squid with Watercress Salsa Verde. Fresh sauted squid is a healthier alternative than its breaded and fried calamari counterpart. Not to mention, superfood watercress boosts the dish’s nutritional value.
  2. Andrew Zimmer’s Artichoke, Peas, Fava & Lettuce Stew. Simple yet  flavorful, the veggie one  pot dish is the perfect August supper.
  3. Filmore and Union’s Watercress Banana Homemade Ice Cream. Before your bananas turn to mush in the heat, combine them with peppery watercress to create a uniquely flavored summer treat.

For more ideas, go to our Pinterest board You Put Greens in That.

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/

8 Reasons to Eat Our Living Greens

 

Eight reasons to eat our Living Greens. Hollandia Produce varieties are brightly displayed.You’ve probably heard eating your greens, like our Living greens, is good for your waistband, but did you know they provide a number of health benefits? According to the USDA, “Because of their high content of antioxidants, green leafy vegetables may be one of the best cancer-preventing foods… [And] these same antioxidants have also been proven to decrease the risk of heart disease.” 

Here at Hollandia Produce, our Living greens not only provide essential vitamins and antioxidants but they’re rooted in freshness and alive with flavor. Need more convincing?

Here are eight reasons to eat our Living greens.

  1. They have ample amounts of vitamins and minerals. Watercress and Upland Cress have as much vitamin C as an orange and more calcium than milk. Romaine Lettuce has more vitamin A than a carrot, and Butter Lettuce contains significant amounts of Vitamin K.
  1. Watercress helps the body recover from exercise-related oxidative stress. A study found that subjects who consumed watercress daily before working out, experienced less DNA damage than their non-consuming watercress counterparts.
  1. They keep your stress levels down. Researcher Joe Hibbeln says in a NPR article about stress and diet , “omega-3s [can help] make your stress system more flexible.” By consuming a head of Romaine lettuce, like our Living Baby Romaine, you’ll receive an ample amount of your recommended daily amount of Omega-3 essential fats
  1. They’re a great low-carb option. Use Living Butter Lettuce in place of sandwich bread, taco shells and wraps.
  1. Cress protects your eyes and skin. In addition to its vitamin A and C power, Watercress and Upland Cress contain lutein — an antioxidant found most notably in dark green leafy vegetables that supports eye health and vision. 
  1. Our Hydroponic growing system uses less water than conventional farming. It recycles water while limiting water loss due to evaporation. Moreover, our method produces nearly four times the yield per acre while using up to 84% less water than if our lettuce were field-grown (exact figures depend upon the region, soil structure, time of year and irrigation method used).
  1. They’re versatile! Add them to a diverse array of dishes, including trendy Acai bowls, grain bowls, juices and more.
  1. They’re the freshest greens you can buy. Living Baby Romaine, Butter Lettuce, Watercress and Upland Cress are sold with their roots attached to preserve maximum freshness.

Throwback Thursday: Living Watercress Plays a Key Role in UV Safety Month

Watercress SunglassesLast year we wrote about the importance of UV Safety Month and this July is no different. As our patrons and their families spend increasing time outdoors this season, we feel it’s vital to revisit this informative post.

While we gather with friends and family for barbecues, travel to vacation houses and head to the beach, it’s important to protect our skin. Long-term sun exposure not only causes sunburn but it can also lead to a number of vision complications, including Photokeratitis (corneal sunburn that can result in temporary vision loss), corneas, and even skin cancer around the eyelids.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology says wearing hats, avoiding staring at the sun, checking medication side effects and driving with sunglasses are excellent ways to protect your eyes.

In addition to these precautions, including certain fruits and vegetables, like our Living Watercress, in your diet also promotes eye health. Medical News Today says that two cups of watercress contains 48% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C and 44% of vitamin A. According to the American Optometric Association, “scientific evidence suggests vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts, and when taken in combination with other essential nutrients, can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and visual acuity loss.”

“Your eye also needs vitamin A to nourish other parts of your eye, including the cornea… Without enough vitamin A, your eyes cannot produce enough moisture to keep them properly lubricated,” reports the American Academy of Opthalmology.

In addition to its vitamin A and C power, watercress and upland cress contain lutein — an antioxidant found most notably in dark green leafy vegetables. Lutein has been found to support eye health and vision.  And it’s crucial to eye health because it protects against UV damage before it can damage the sensitive part of the retina that is vital to detailed sight. [Bausch + Lomb]

Incorporating our Living Watercress or Upland Cress into your summer bites is simple. Add it in your sandwich or mix a handful of it into your lunchtime salad. Begin taking care of your eyes and skin this summer by picking up Live Gourmet brand Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Organic brand Living Watercress!

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!