Grocery stores tend to keep the customers’ favorite produce in-store year-round, but that doesn’t mean that produce is fresh. In fact, most fruits and vegetables only grow during a particular season. When you eat produce in season, it’ll taste fresh and flavorful. As an added bonus, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint in the process. Here’s a list of the fruits and veggies in season this spring.
The best time to buy apricots is May to July. Look for apricots that have a golden color and are firm to the touch. To ripen an apricot, you can leave it in a paper bag at room temperature. If it’s already ripe, it’ll last for a couple of days if stored in a fridge. Apricot is a sweet fruit with a hint of sour, so it’s a great option for desserts like pies and cobblers. It also pairs well with more savory combinations like crème fraîche or as a salsa.
Even though strawberries are known as a summer fruit, they’re in season during late spring. Strawberries are best from May to July. The best berries will be a bright red and have fresh green caps. Once you buy strawberries, it’s best to eat them within two or three days. To make them stay fresh a little bit longer, spread out the berries in a airtight container and keep it in the fridge. You probably know how delicious strawberries are in jams or smoothies. However, strawberries are more versatile than you think. Try adding them to pizza or a cucumber salad.
Asparagus is in season from March to June. When picking asparagus in the grocery store, look for firm stalks with closed tips. Unfortunately, once asparagus is picked, it quickly loses its flavor. If you were planning on making a recipe with asparagus later on in the week, store it in the fridge and wrap a damp paper towel around the bottom of the stalks. Still, the flavor is best if you eat it the same day that you buy it. While it’s fresh, grill the asparagus and cover it with olive oil, parmesan cheese and garlic. You can also get a little bit more adventurous and make an asparagus tart.
The best time to eat rhubarb is from April to August. When choosing rhubarb, look for crisp and firm stalks that have a lot of color. Luckily, rhubarb can be stored for around a week or two in the fridge. It also freezes well if you don’t eat your rhubarb within those two weeks. There’s always the classic rhubarb pie, but with such a strong tart flavor, rhubarb goes great in a variety of desserts.
While artichokes can be grown year-round, they taste best if they are harvested from March to May. Fresh artichokes have a good color and tightly-closed leaves. If you need to store an artichoke, add a little bit of water to the leaves and place it in a plastic bag to keep in the fridge. There are several different ways to prepare artichoke, but first you have to figure out how to deconstruct and cook it. Once you get past that, you can use artichokes for dip, grilled cheeses, pesto and more.
If you want to eat seasonally but don’t feel like cooking, let Market Table do the cooking for you! From our fresh cafe salads and sandwiches to our meal kits and prepared foods, we strive to bring only the freshest ingredients to your and your family’s plates.
Text by Katherine Polcari
With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, it’s a great time to try some Irish cuisine. Most Irish foods rely heavily on potatoes and hearty meats, so there are sure to be some comfort foods that everyone in your family will love.
A traditional shepherd’s pie is made with minced lamb or mutton, vegetables and mashed potato. However, when the dish originated, the meat was often whatever leftovers were available to scrounge together. Shepherd’s Pie was created to be economical and was known as a poor man’s dish. It has now become a staple in Irish cuisine and its popularity has spread across the globe. Try Gordon Ramsay’s recipe for a traditional shepherd’s pie.
Barmbrack or Brack
This traditional bread is also known as speckled bread because it’s filled with raisins. Barmbrack is sweet and is commonly served with coffee. There’s a fun tradition that goes along with Barmbrack if it’s served on Halloween. The bread has a hidden pea, stick, cloth, coin and ring. Each item has a meaning assigned to it. For instance, if you get the slice of Barmbrack with a ring in it, then it means that you’ll be married within the year.
Colcannon is a mashed potato dish with kale or cabbage mixed into it, and it’s often then served with boiled ham. There’s even a traditional Irish song dedicated to Colcannon because it’s a common comfort food in Ireland. Colcannon is also a part of Irish Halloween traditions, where it’s common to hide a ring, thimble or coin in the dish. Whoever finds the prizes gets to keep them.
The Great Famine hit Ireland in 1845, which caused for a lot of Irish recipes to use all parts of the animals in their meals. There are several recipes that call for pig’s blood, pig’s feet or kidneys. While it was common during the famine to use all parts of the pig, most Coddle recipes today just include sausage, bacon and potato. Coddle can include barley and Guinness, but this also isn’t as common anymore.
In 1990, an Irish man, John Lucey, set out to create a new cheese. When Lucey originally created the cheese, he named it “Aralgen.” It’s described as having the sharpness of a mature cheddar with the sweetness of parmigiano. In 1994, Dubliner earned its new name as commercial production began. It’s common to include Dubliner on a cheese board or use it to make grilled cheese sandwiches.
While not everyone is brave enough to try a traditional Irish dish like Skirts and Kidneys, there are several tamer options for those of us looking to eat conventional meat options. No one can deny that a meal of mashed potatoes, sausage and beer sounds delicious, so try making your own version of an Irish classic to celebrate St. Patrick’s day with a good hearty meal.
Text by Katherine Polcari
For a beginning chef, cooking a steak is a difficult challenge to get over. Questions like Should I season my steak or How long is too long to grill a steak often pop up before preparation. From prep to table, cooking a steak can be as simple and delicious as you want it to be!
Before tossing a steak on the grill or stove, there are a couple of important steps. First, take note of the thickness of the piece of meat. That will determine how long it will take to cook — and how to cook it well. Also, be sure to season the meat lightly. If you want the flavor of the steak itself to stand out, a little salt and pepper would be your best bet. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, an herb rub will spice up your life. If you’re cooking on stovetop, oil isn’t needed. Oiling a steak inhibits the browning necessary for that scrumptious outer layer.
Time to Toss Your Steak on the Grill Or Stove
Above all, steak needs to be cooked hot and fast. If on a stove top, the steak should be turned about once every minute. This creates that brown, caramelized crust. And the crust is what makes that flavorful, prime steak you’re looking for. During this turning process, add herbs like thyme and rosemary. These herbs enhance the flavor of the steak as well. Check out this list of culinary herbs that taste great with red meat — and are easy to grow in your garden or even your kitchen.
When Is Done Done Right?
Now that the steak is sizzling, how do you know when to take it off the heat? Well, that depends on how you want your steak to be cooked. Since it’s easy to overcook a steak, determining its doneness is important. Doneness relates to temperature. A probe thermometer is your best bet for determining the internal temperature of the steak.
Now, you’ve all heard terms related to doneness: rare, medium rare, and so forth. But what exactly do these terms mean? And how do you know when a steak has reached the desired doneness? Here’s a quick and easy thumbnail guide:
Rare – Cooked from 120-125 Fahrenheit. This is a steak that is brown on the edges and bright red inside. If you’re nervous about food safety, you might want to move up to the next level.
Medium Rare – Cooked from 130-140 Fahrenheit. This steak has a thick brown coat on the outside. Also, it should redden towards the center and house a band of pink. This is the chef’s recommended level of doneness. That’s because it is cooked thoroughly but not overcooked. In other words, it’s cooked just enough to preserve the steak’s flavor.
Medium – Cooked from 140-150 Fahrenheit. This steak is firmly brown on the outer layer with a small band of pink on the inside. It is firm to the touch as well. This steak is cooked through enough to please most eaters.
Well Done – Cooked from 160 Fahrenheit and up. This is a popular steak request. However, many chefs think that cooking a steak to this temperature leads to a loss of flavor. Still, many people prefer their steaks well done.
To Rest Or Not to Rest?
This is a big debate among steak fans. Some prefer to let the steak rest before slicing into it. Some prefer to cut it into strips straight out of the pan. Either way, cutting the steak across the grain is paramount. This makes the steak easier to chew.
Is your mouth watering now? If you’re ready to try your hand at making the perfect steak, head to Market Table for our premium cuts of meat. Our Seared Flank Steak meal kits do the prep work for you. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, our Steak and Blue Cheese Salad will do the trick.
Text by Jonathon Page
We all love to see the stars shining in their red carpet gowns. Instead of texting your friends and family about each fashion flub or who really should’ve won, why not watch the Oscars together? Follow these five easy tips to throw an A-list Oscars bash at home.
Red Carpet Worthy Decorations
Welcome guests into your house by having them walk the red carpet. If you don’t have a spare red carpet runner laying around, you can easily find cheap red fabric or red butcher paper that will have the same effect. When in doubt, decorate with glittery gold stars and fake film reels to get guests in the mood. If you have any kids in attendance, let them make a star with their name on it and add it to the red carpet so that it’s like the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Before the Show
Obviously, your party has to start with watching stars walks the red carpet so that you can see every outfit, interview and faux-pas. You can also take this time to have your guests fill out their predictions for the night’s winners. Predictions can also include things like who speaks so long that the music starts playing, how long the show lasts, or if you think anyone is going to fall during the show. Make the predictions feel official by having all of your guests submit them into a ballot box.
An Oscar viewing party wouldn’t feel complete with a glass of bubbly. A Prosecco like Belstar and Coste Petrai — both available at Market Table — will perfectly complement your party. You can also add a little glam by dressing up your champagne flutes with fake tuxedos or twisted lemon peels as garnish. And you don’t have to leave the kids out of the fizzy fun: fill plastic champagne flutes with Sprite or sparkling grape juice so that kids can have a bubbly drink too.
Even if your viewing party is just your own family, you can still bring some Hollywood glamor to the table — without overspending your budget or working overtime. Try making a dinner classic a bit fancier. Market Table‘s Bacon-Goat Cheese Flatbread meal kit takes pizza to the next level. Your kids will never know that they’re eating a healthy, gluten-free alternative, especially when they see all of that yummy bacon on top. For a bigger group, consider a Market Table catering sandwich tray and cheese board. The cheeses will go great with your Prosecco and the sandwiches will please anybody on your guest list.
And the Award Goes to …
Make your own awards to give out to your guests during commercial breaks, which will help keep everyone entertained. You can spray paint dolls to make them look gold or buy your own fake Oscars trophies. Create awards that’ll be relevant to your viewing party, like best dressed, best entertainer, or best couple. Your final award can be for the guest who made the best predictions.
Text by Katherine Polcari
If you watch This Is Us, you’ve most likely bawled your eyes out as the beloved Pearson family house burned down in a fire caused by a Crock-Pot, which ultimately killed everybody’s favorite dad, Jack Pearson. After wiping away their last tears, viewers who remembered that they had a slow cooker in their house froze. Some of you even immediately threw it out in fear of a similar tragedy happening in your house. But, was that really necessary?
Almost immediately after the episode aired, the Crock-Pot brand opened a Twitter account for their slow-cookers. The first tweet mourned the events in the episode before clarifying that there was no need to worry about having a slow cooker in the house. They even added that they hadn’t received consumer complaints similar to the events in the episode in nearly fifty years.
Does this mean Crock-Pots aren’t dangerous at all? Not exactly, but it’s not likely that the danger will present itself from a random fuse. In a report on slow-cooker accidents between 1997-2010, most of the incidents occurred from a mishandling of the equipment — i.e., people kept dropping hot food on themselves. So, what happened in the Pearson home is a highly unlikely situation, even if it brought us to buy even more boxes of tissues to wipe away tears during our weekly sobfest.
And, honestly, do you really want to give up that Crock-Pot? You can make some seriously yummy things in a slow cooker. Chicken and vegetables, garlic shrimp, mac and cheese and pinto beans for the vegetarians–there are a variety of meals you can cook up for lunch or dinner (or even breakfast, honestly). But what about dessert, you ask? Well, there’s even a recipe for making the Latin American dessert dulce de leche. If you haven’t tried it, you’re seriously missing out and should pretty much drop whatever you’re doing and make some in your Crock-Pot — provided that you haven’t chucked it out the window yet.
Still, delicious food aside, it’s easy to be scared after experiencing the Pearsons’ tragedy (through the screen, I mean). Luckily, the USDA has safety precautions to make you feel better about the Crock-Pot in your house. Since I know what part you’re all worried about, I’ll only mention one: the USDA actually deems it safe to leave a Crock-Pot on a low setting when you leave the house. So, the chances of your Crock-Pot that’s turned off to suddenly blow up…well, I think it’s safe to say that This Is Not Likely.
Text by Anna Khan