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Christmas Tree Salad

Yield: 4 servings | Prep Time: 17 minutes | Source: kblog.lunchboxbunch.com

Ingredients                                                                                               

  • 1 bunch swiss chard (red or green), chopped
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)
  • 3/4 cup red grapes, sliced
  • 2 mandarin oranges, halved, segments separated
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries or raisins (optional)
  • 1 small apple, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped pecans, raw

Dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp coriander
  • a few pinches of orange zest
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/3 tsp salt – or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Star topper: 1 slice of toast, sliced into a star

Instructions

  1. Simply prep all your ingredients and toss them with the dressing/spices in a large bowl. Toss and mix very well since this will help to distribute the flavors and infuse the chard with flavor.
  2. You can serve right away or chill in the fridge for up to 12 hours in advance before serving. Any longer and your chard will begin to get a bit soft. Serve raw and chilled. Top it! For the “star” tree topper, simply toast any slice of bread and using either your knife (free-hand) or a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out a toast star to top the tree salad.
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Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Dressing

Yield: 8 servings | Prep Time: 1 Hour | Source: eatingwell.com

Ingredients

 

  • 2½ cups water
  • ½ cup regular pearled barley
  • ½ cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2 LB sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾” pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh rosemary
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate arils

 

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan combine the water and barley. Bring to a boil. Stir in wild rice; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 40 minutes or until tender. Drain off any excess water.
  2. Meanwhile, place a 15×10-inch baking pan in oven. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  3. In a large bowl combine sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, ½ tablespoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Carefully spread potatoes in heated pan. Roast 25 minutes or until tender and brown, stirring once after 10 minutes.
  4. In a serving dish combine wild rice mixture, sweet potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add parsley, green onions and rosemary; toss to combine. Sprinkle with pomegranate arils.
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How to Eat Your Box! (Week of 8/26/18)

Pluots

STORE: ripe pluots in the refrigerator for up to three days.

PREP: If stored in the refrigerator, remove your pluots before eating and let them return to room temperature. They taste much better this way. Rinse and leave whole, slice into wedges or cut into chunks.

USE: These sweet Dapple Dandy Pluots can be eaten out of hand, as a fresh topping for yogurt, dehydrated into dried pluots or made into jam. You can also experiment by substituting them for plums in recipes (after all, they are the delicious hybrid of the plum x apricot).

Cauliflower

Containing unique antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and protect against several diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, cauliflower is also very easy to add your diet. It’s tasty, easy to prepare and can replace high-carb foods in recipes. Cauliflower can be chopped up and added to salad or soup, roasted in the oven, tossed in a stir fry, boiled and pureed as a stand-in for mashed potatoes or to make a creamy soup, baked into a pizza crust as a flourless alternative, or simply eaten raw. You don’t even have to cut it up. Try baking it whole by simply cutting off the leaves and stem so it can sit upright, baste in olive oil, salt and spices of your choice, and bake on a cookie sheet or cast iron skillet at 450° for about 45-60 minutes or until a knife can be inserted easily. Because of its mild flavor, cauliflower goes well in spicy dishes or curries as it soaks up all the other flavors

 

Eggplant

Larger globe eggplants should be peeled and salted before cooking. To peel, use a small knife or peeler and cut off the skin in stripes, leaving some of the peel still intact to help hold its shape when cooking. Then cut into slices or cubes. The most important step is to “sweat” the eggplant. This helps in getting the best flavor and consistency (helps it not be bitter). Do this by tossing in a generous amount of salt and leaving in a colander for about an hour, then squeeze dry. Rinse well under cold water and completely dry by squeezing them between a towel. To cook you can grill, bake or sauté.

 

Featured Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Roasted Eggplant, Caramelized Onion, and Pine Nuts

The eggplant soaks up lots of flavor from the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and the caramelized onions add a touch of sweetness. Toss it all together with chewy quinoa and you’ve got a satisfying whole-grain salad to enjoy!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

For the quinoa:

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa, or about 3 cups cooked

1 bay leaf

1 dried red chile pepper, optional

1 teaspoon minced hot green chile such as serrano, optional

3/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or more as needed

3/4 teaspoon dried mint, preferably spearmint, optional

For the salad:

1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (less than 1/4 inch)

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup loosely packed torn fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts

Instructions

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F.

To prepare the quinoa, add the water, quinoa, bay leaf, and dried chile to a 2-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the grain is tender with a slight chew, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and chile, drain if needed, and transfer to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with the minced chile, Aleppo pepper, and dried mint and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, to make the salad, place the eggplant and the onion on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt, and combine well, using your hands. If you don’t mind the extra dish, it’s a bit easier to toss everything in a large bowl.

Roast the mixture until the eggplant pieces have softened and are browned in spots, and the onion slices have caramelized, turning them once with a spatula in between, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and immediately sprinkle the vegetables with 1/4 cup of the fresh mint and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the vinegar. Toss well with a spatula — this will soften the mint leaves and take the sting out of the vinegar.

To finish, add the warm eggplant mixture to the quinoa. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar and toss to combine. Season with salt and vinegar to taste. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup mint and the pine nuts and serve.

 

Recipe adapted from thekitchn.com

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Spaghetti with Frisée, Oil and Garlic

Spaghetti with Frisée, Oil and Garlic

A fresh take on spaghetti dinner. We add the frisée at the end so that it just wilts as there’s no need to overcook it. Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Kosher salt, to taste, plus 1 teaspoon

1 pound spaghetti pasta

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 lemon, zested, optional

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, optional

¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 bunch Frisée loosely chopped

Directions

Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil over high heat, then salt it generously. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally until al dente, tender but not mushy, about 8 minutes.

While the pasta cooks, combine the garlic, olive oil, the 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes in a large skillet and warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic softens and turns golden, about 8 minutes.

Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink, reserving about a 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta and the reserved water to the garlic mixture. Mix well. Add in the cherry tomatoes and frisée. Add the parsley and lemon zest (if using). Adjust seasoning, to taste. Transfer to a large serving bowl or divide amongst 4 to 6 dishes. Serve topped with grated cheese, if desired.

 

Recipe adapted from Spaghetti with Oil and Garlic (Aglio Et Olio) by Food Network Kitchen

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 7/29/18)


plumsPlums

Your plums will continue to ripen once off the tree. Simply leave them on the counter away from the sun. When ripe, store unwrapped in the refrigerator for up to three days. If stored in the refrigerator, remove your plums (same goes for pluots) before eating and let them return to room temperature. They taste much better this way. Rinse and leave whole, slice into wedges or cut into chunks. Use them as a fresh topping for yogurt, dehydrated for fruit snacks or make into jam.

Roma Tomatoes

Store tomatoes in a single layer at room temperature and away from direct light. Refrigerate only after slicing, as refrigeration makes tomatoes lose their flavor. Romas are great for cooking (especially soups and sauces) as they don’t have the seeds and excess water that many other tomatoes tend to come with. You can also eat them raw, roasted, fried, or broiled; they are great paired with a little olive oil and salt, herbs such as basil and cilantro, and fresh cheeses such as mozzarella and ricotta. And yes, you can totally freeze those extra tomatoes for fresh flavor all year (slice first).

Featured Recipe : Niçoise Salad with Frisée

“This salad from the South of France is a meal on its own and you vary endlessly with the ingredients. This one is made with Frisée which adds a slightly bitter touch. A perfect companion to the other ingredients of the Niçoise like green beans, tomatoes and anchovies.” — lovemysalad.com

Check out more great info on Frisee from the front page of this week’s newsletter, HERE.

Ingredients:

1 Frisée lettuce

2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced

3-4 whole green onions, roots removed, sliced into thin rings

0.75 lb. green beans or haricot verts

handful of black olives such as Kalamata

4 hardboiled eggs

2 cans of tuna in oil, drained (feel free change this up: top with smoked or baked salmon instead)

8 anchovy fillets in oil, drained

1 can of artichoke hearts, drained

Instructions:

Put a large pan of salted water on medium high heat. Rinse the green beans and cut of the stem of each bean.

When the water boils add the green beans and cook them just until al dente. Rinse with cold water and let them cool.

Wash and dry the frisée and divide over 4 plates. Cut the tomatoes and eggs in wedges.

Divide onion, cooled green beans, artichoke hearts, olives and eggs over the frisée.

Prepare the dressing by mixing the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and crushed garlic. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and divide the dressing over the salad.

Divide the tuna (or salmon) chunks and anchovy fillets over the plates and serve with a lemon wedge.

 

Recipe adapted from lovemysalad.com

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 7/15/18)

Kohlrabi

Mike (our customer caretaker) is Kohlrabi’s biggest fan so if you need some convincing to try this alien-like vegetable, give him a call;) Kohlrabi is typically eaten raw—peeled, sliced and added to a salad or used for serving with a dip. You can also steam, boil, bake, grill, or roast them. Just peel away the outside thick skin first. Add them to soups or stews. Try grating them and toss with grated carrots or apples to make a slaw!

You can also boil and mash them with potatoes or other root vegetables. Stir-fry them with other vegetables, or julienne them and fry them like potatoes. Look for Indian recipes using kohlrabi as they are often used in Indian cuisine.

Peaches

Test for ripeness by fragrance and by gently pressing around the stem – it should give to light pressure when ripe. Place in sealed container in the fridge when ripe – if you leave them exposed to the open air in the fridge, they will wrinkle from dehydration. Peaches, like other stonefruit, ripen from the inside to the outside, so if fruit is soft all over it is more likely overripe. Try peaches for breakfast paired with yogurt or hot/cold cereal, as a topping to a green salad, and as an ingredient in fruit salads. Peaches are also great on the grill, but be sure to use slightly less ripe fruit, it will hold up better without breaking apart/juicing. And of course, peaches bake up fabulously into crisps, pies, and sauces!

 

Featured Recipe: Kohlrabi, Carrot and Lettuce Slaw

A fresh slaw made with kohlrabi, lettuce and carrot, perfect as a side dish or a light lunch.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 large kohlrabi bulbs peeled

2 large carrots peeled

2 cups finely chopped lettuce or combination of lettuce and kale

handful chopped green onion (or diced sweet onion)

1 cup almonds chopped

1 lemon juice retained

salt and black pepper to season

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

your choice of dressing

Instructions:

Grate both the kohlrabi and carrot roughly in a large mixing bowl.

Add the lettuce and toss to mix.

Add the green onion, almonds, lemon juice, seasoning and sesame seeds. Mix well.

Serve your salad with your choice of dressing.

RECIPE NOTES

Great as a light lunch, and quick to prepare as a side dish with your main dish.

Recipe adapted from aninas-recipes.com

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 7/8/18)

plums

Plums

Great in fruit salads, atop green salads (think Balsamic vinegar, goat cheese, walnuts, red onions) because they’re firm enough to hold up with a little tossing. Try them atop plain Greek or coconut yogurt with a drizzle of honey for breakfast. Plums are particularly delicious in fruit galettes as baking them brings out their sweet-tart flavor. If too firm to use, place in a closed paper bag at room temperature for one to two days. Once ripe, plums can be kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator up to three days.

Sugar Snap Peas

The sweetness of these crunchy veggie lies in their shell. Unlike shelling peas, sugar snap peas are best enjoyed fresh, shell and all. Simply “snap” off the stem bit, and you’re good to go. Great just on their own, they also go well on top of salad, in with pasta, sautéed (lightly) with any Asian-inspired dish or casseroles. Use within 5 days for best flavor and freshness.

 

Featured Recipe: Summer Veggie Quinoa Bowls

This Healthy Veggie Quinoa Bowl has freshly-sautéed corn, peas and broccoli mixed with cooked quinoa over a bed of lettuce and a side of avocado! It is vegan and gluten free and perfect for a light healthy lunch. Two choices of dressings. Can be made ahead and eaten cold.

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked quinoa

2 ears fresh sweet corn (kernels removed—stand cleaned ears on end on a cutting board and slice from the top down, beginning at the base of the ears towards cutting board with paring knife. Continue to cut off the all corn kernels)

0.5 lb. fresh sugar snap peas (rinsed)

2 cups of broccoli (rinsed, roughly chopped)

1-2 green onions, entire part, diced

DRESSING(s):

Version one:

3 tbsp olive oil

½ a squeezed lemon

½ a squeezed lime

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp pepper

2 tsp onion powder

Version Two, Asian-inspired:

2 tsp olive oil

Low sodium tamari sauce to taste (or soy sauce)

½ a squeezed lemon over the top

Instructions:

Cook quinoa according to directions on your package. Once done cooking, use a strainer and rinse the rice.

Chop your broccoli, remove corn kernels from cob (or use frozen), halve peas, and dice onion then place in a sauté pan on medium heat (wait until the quinoa only has 15 minutes left before starting this step as you don’t want to overcook your veggies).

Once quinoa is done add it to the sauté pan with the veggies, stir together and add your sauce/seasoning of choice. Remove from heat.

Serve with a side of lettuce and avocado or radish slices for extra fiber and to make your meal more filling, healthfully. Serves 4-6 depending on if you serve as a side or main meal.

Recipe adapted from tworaspberries.com

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 6/24/18)

Garlic Scapes

You can use scapes just like you would garlic; their flavor is milder, so you get the nice garlic taste without some of the bite. Use on top of pizza, in pasta, in salsas, and as a replacement for garlic in most other recipes. There are many things you can do with scapes, but my personal preference is to turn them into garlic scape pesto. It’s a sharper, greener take on traditional basil pesto that can be used to add a fresh garlicky zing to just about anything – Spoon it into soups, spread it on sandwiches, toss with cooked pasta, beat it into scrambled eggs, and (best of all) slather it onto pizza dough before adding on the toppings. It freezes beautifully, too, so it’s easy to make an extra-large batch to tide you over until next spring.

Cherries

Although you’ll quite likely find yourself eating them straight from the bag that they traveled to your home from, you should also try serving cherries with dinner over ice. The ice slowly melt into the bottom of the bowl, dragging some of the buoyed little fruits with them. Those ones are the best – completely cold and crisp throughout, melting away the summer heat from the inside.

NUTRITION: Cherries

Cherries are a sweet summertime treat, but also a great fruit to enjoy for health and nutrition. Cherries are one of the top antioxidant-rich foods, contain melatonin for a good night’s sleep, and fight inflammation and pain linked to arthritis. A cup of cherries has 3 grams of fiber, which aids in digestion, lowers cholesterol, controls blood sugar and can help with weight loss. —Stemilt.com

Amounts per 1 cup, with pits (138g): Cherries are fat-, cholesterol- and sodium-free. A good source of Dietary Fiber (2.9 g / 12% DV) and Vitamin C (9.7 mg. / 16% DV). Also a source of Potassium (306 mg / 9%), Omega 3 amino acids (35.9 mg) Omega 6 amino acids (37.3 mg).

—Source: nutritiondata.self.com.

 

Featured Recipe: Garlic Scape and White Bean Dip

Wondering what to do with garlic scapes? Puree them into a quick and creamy, garlicky bean and garlic scape dip! Great as a healthy snack or for a party!

Ingredients:

1 cup garlic scapes

2 15-oz cans white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

kosher salt and pepper, to taste

 

Instructions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and set out a bowl of ice water. Add the garlic scapes to the pot and boil for 30 seconds. Drain and plunge the scapes into the ice water. This makes the scapes tender without overcooking them, bringing out their tender flavor. Roughly chop most of the scapes and finely chop a few for topping the dip (set aside for topping along with a sprig or two of parsley).

Add the roughly chopped garlic scapes, white beans, olive oil, water, and parsley to a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth. Add more water if it’s too thick. Taste the dip and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve topped with a few finely chopped garlic scapes, chopped parsley, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Recipe adapted from justalittlebitofbacon.com

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 6/17/18)

Baby Artichokes

Artichokes can be steamed, boiled, baked or grilled. To bake, cut about an inch off the top and stem of the artichoke. Then cut it in half and remove the fuzzy part in the center with a spoon. Rub the cut side with a half a lemon, squeezing some juice into the fold and the middle. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and freshly minced garlic. Bake on a cookie sheet for about 25 minutes at 425°. Melted butter or mayonnaise mixed with a little balsamic vinegar is commonly used for a dip but you can be creative and use whatever your taste buds desire!

Nutrition: Artichokes

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a medium-sized artichoke provides about 60 calories and just over 10 grams of fiber, or 41 percent of the recommended daily value. Artichokes are highest in insoluble fiber, the type that stimulates digestion and contributes to bowel regularity. They also contain a significant amount of soluble fiber, which promotes healthy cholesterol levels and helps control blood sugar levels.

Amounts per 1 artichoke, medium (120g): low in Saturated Fat (0% DV) and Cholesterol (0% DV). Also a good source of Niacin (1.3 mg/7% DV), Magnesium (50.4 mg/13% DV), Phosphorus (97.6 mg/9% DV), Potassium (343 mg/10% DV) and Copper (0.2 mg/8% DV), and a very good source of Dietary Fiber (10.3 g/41% DV), Vitamin C (8.9 mg/15% DV), Vitamin K (17.8 mcg/22% DV), Folate (107 mcg/27% DV) and Manganese (0.3 mg./13% DV). —Source: nutritiondata.self.com.

radishes

Radishes:

Radishes are a just a great vegetable to have around. Packed with nutrients these little red globes make a great addition to your daily eats. Add them as a topping to your salad, tacos, or as a side to Asian or Mexican cuisine! I recently started wondering about those fancy shaped radish slices that came with my meal at Thai restaurants. They had a definite vinegar flavor to them and that’s when I discovered pickled radishes! They are great and so simple to make! Just let your radishes (thinly sliced) soak in about 2 cups of red or white vinegar with a teaspoon of sugar and salt.  You can also add onions or garlic cloves, peppercorns and chilies for even more flavor. You can let this sit in the fridge overnight or for a whole month if you want.

If you’re not a fan of raw radishes (or even if you are), try one of the alternative recipes below.

Pickled: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pickled-radishes-366455

Or Baked: http://www.hobbyfarms.com/balsamic-roasted-radishes-with-fresh-thyme/

 

Featured Recipe: Steamed Baby Artichokes with Lemony Brown-Butter Sauce & Chives

A bright, simple sauce that dresses up baby artichokes while letting their delicate texture shine through. Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:

1 lb. baby artichokes, trimmed

4 Tbs. unsalted butter

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbs. thinly sliced chives or green onion/scallion tops

Instructions:

Trim the artichokes to remove any prickly outside leaves with a pair of scissors. Bring an inch of water to boil over high heat in a pot fit with a steamer insert. Put the artichokes in the steamer basket, sprinkle with kosher salt, cover tightly, and steam until just tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. The artichokes should be neither crisp nor soft, but exactly in between.

While the artichokes steam, melt the butter in a small (1-quart) saucepan over medium heat. Cook the butter, whisking constantly, just until the milk solids turn a nutty brown color, 3 to 5 minutes. As soon as the butter is brown, take the pan off the heat and carefully pour in the lemon juice. Swirl to combine. Season with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper, or to taste. Drizzle the sauce over the steamed artichokes and sprinkle with the chives.

 

Recipe adapted from finecooking.com

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 6/10/18)


Featured Recipe: Green Beans, Roasted Fennel and Shallots

Serves 4

Instructions

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

2 large fresh fennel bulbs, green stalks removed, ends trimmed (reserve a few feathery fronds for garnish)

3/4 pound shallots or yellow onion, peeled, halved through root end

5 tablespoons olive or coconut oil, divided

1 pound green beans, trimmed

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Cut fennel bulbs lengthwise in half and then in half lengthwise again (you want them to be approx. ½ inch wide wedges, and leave some core attached to hold them together). Combine fennel and shallots or onions in large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Arrange veggies in single layer on prepared sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and golden, stirring every 10 minutes, about 35 minutes.

Cook green beans in large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again (this stops the cooking, so they stay crisp-tender). Pat dry. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add roasted vegetables and beans; toss until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, top with a dash of the fennel fronds, minced first. Transfer to bowl and serve.

Stonefruit Tips:
“Stonefruit” refers to members of the genus Prunus, which includes peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots, cherries, and apricots. The season for summer stonefruit is short-lived, and delicious! With the fruit coming and going so quickly, we don’t want you to miss out by having to toss spoiled or improperly ripened fruit. Here’s some tips for proper storage so you can make the most of these short-season gems.

Care: Store unwashed fruit at room temperature until ripe (usually only 1-2 days), then place in sealed container in the fridge.

Ripeness: Gently press around stem and when flesh gives slightly to pressure fruit is ripe. Stonefruit ripens from the inside to the outside, so if fruit is soft all over it is more likely overripe.

Tips for Preventing Spoilage: Stonefruit’s biggest enemy while ripening is moisture coupled with lack of airflow. Set ripening stonefruit on a cloth or paper-covered countertop or in a place where it gets plenty of airflow. Try setting them stem side down to ripen. This lessens the chance of then rolling and bruising. Once your stonefruit is ripe, it deteriorates very quickly. Within a day of being fully ripe, if left out of refrigeration, you can have overripe/spoiled fruit and some very attracted fruit flies. Check daily and place in refrigerator as soon as you notice the stem area has begun to soften. Take special care when handling your stonefruit—never squeeze to check for ripeness! Even a small bruise will be cause enough to turn into a rot/bruised spot on your fruit as it is still ripening. Check for ripeness by gently pressing around the stem area. It should yield to light pressure.

Use: Once fruit is ripe, and you’ve placed in the refrigerator, plan to use within a day or two (this gives you a total keeping time of about 4-5 days). Stonefruit is refreshing as a healthy breakfast paired with yogurt or hot/cold cereal, as a topping to a green salad, and as an ingredient in fruit salads. For grilling, or for topping green salads: use slightly less ripe fruit, it will hold up better without breaking apart/juicing. Stonefruit also bakes up fabulously into crisps, pies, and sauces!

Fennel:

Normally fennel tastes like a cross between celery, cabbage, and licorice. Roasting, however, brings out an entirely new flavor – as if pine nuts decided to join the party. And if you enjoy raw fennel, I recommend roasting some just for the fun of it. To do so, see recipe below. Known for its crunchy texture and mild anise flavor, fennel is best used within 5 days. Keep fennel bulbs wrapped in the fridge to keep out air that will lessen its flavor. Fennel is wonderful braised, roasted, or grilled where its it brings flavor reminiscent of pine nuts to the table, or, sautéed, or used raw in salads, where it is crunchy and sweet.