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
Celebrating Valentine’s Day from the comfort of your own home allows for a certain level of intimacy that a busy restaurant will never be able to offer. You can even do dinner and a movie without fighting traffic. Instead, it’s just a few steps from the table to the living room couch.
Set the Mood
You know your partner best, so transform your home into the atmosphere where they feel most at-home. Celebrate by framing and displaying your favorite pictures of you and your partner. These stenciled Valentine Heart Frames would make the perfect home for your favorite photos. And if you’re crafty, try making some of your own decorations. If you still want the environment of a fancy restaurant, use a tablecloth, candles, a floral centerpiece and background music. You may even get some bonus points if you put your partner’s favorite songs on the playlist.
No romantic evening is complete without a good bottle of wine. Red wine and chocolate are known as some of the best — and most romantic — aphrodisiacs. With so much chocolate available during this season, why not grab a bottle of red to accompany it? You can even buy a couple of different bottles to taste-test with your meal. Between dinner, dessert and a movie, there will be plenty of time to finish off the leftovers. At Market Table, you’ll find all the reds, whites and rosés your heart desires — plus, we can play matchmaker and find the perfect wine for your meal.
The Perfect Dinner
You may want to impress your partner with a home-cooked meal. If you’re short on time, try Market Table’s meal kits. The ingredients are already prepared for you, down to the chopping and measuring. All you have to do is put it all together and throw it into the oven. While you are waiting on the food to cook, a Market Table cheese plate will pair nicely with the wine that you bought for the evening. Or, if you’re in a rush, let us do all of the work! Market Table offers three full Valentine’s Day dinners: Garlic Shrimp Alfredo, Steak, and Creamy Tuscan Chicken. For desert, our cheesecake or flourless chocolate cake will make even the busiest heart flutter.
Speaking of Dessert …
Honestly, Valentine’s Day is all about sweets. This year, trade in the tired heart-shaped box of chocolates for a decadent dessert. Anything chocolate is sure to be a winning choice, but you can also try one of Market Table’s prepared desserts to mix things up this year. And remember — if Market Table does the cooking, you won’t have to do many dishes!
Save the Dishes for the Morning
Don’t let a few dirty dishes get in the way of your romantic evening. Instead, use that time to watch a good, corny romantic comedy. Pick a few classics that you and your partner will both enjoy and spend the night relaxing with a movie marathon. Valentine’s Day should be about celebrating your relationship and having fun, so let the chores wait another day.
Text by Katherine Polcari
For many, mealtimes provide much more than time to fuel our bodies with healthy fuel. More than that, mealtime can create a sacred space where families can spend time together and learn about each other’s lives. However, technology can cause distractions and turn attention away from loved ones. Tech-free mealtimes encourage a positive and conversant family environment.
Here are a few tips for fun, device-free family dinners:
Start with a plan.
Explain to your family why a tech-free mealtime is important to you. Then, as a family unit, decide the best way to handle technology at the dinner table. Maybe everyone has to leave their phones in a bowl before sitting down. Maybe make it a game: anyone who uses their phones has to clean the dishes.
Lead by example.
If you want your family to be tech-free during mealtimes, then you must also follow the rules! Your kiddos are always watching. Using your phones at the table tells them that it is acceptable to use theirs. If your children see you practicing tech-free mealtimes, they will be much more likely to respect that rule.
Turn off the T.V.
We know how easy it is to leave on the kids’ favorite movie or the big game during mealtimes. However, this impedes that essential connection families gain while talking during meal times. Not to mention that watching T.V. while eating has been proven to encourage overeating.
Make dinner conversation fun.
Whether you draw topics out of a hat or just catch up naturally, mealtimes are a good opportunity to make sure your children know that they are being heard and cared about. This is also a good way for parents to connect with each other away from work emails and social media notifications.
Of course, it can be difficult to plan and prepare meals every night. Thankfully, Market Table can help. Our meal kits, prepared meals and proteins and sides make the perfect setting for a family meal.
Making mealtimes a positive experience will encourage connection amongst your family. This will not be an overnight change — some patterns are hard to break. Encourage one another to see the importance of making mealtimes about family and not about technology. Your family will not only be happier and more involved in each other’s lives, but they will also feel affirmed of their place in your home. Start working on this and, before long, your kids will be asking to help you cook! One can dream, right?
Text by Amy Haupt
Let’s be honest: the best thing about the Super Bowl has nothing to do with sports. Football’s just an excuse to eat and drink with our friends while the game plays in the background. Here are a few tips for throwing the perfect viewing party for football fans and food fans alike.
If your party is rooting for a particular team, feel free to decorate with your team’s colors and logos. You can also make impartial Super Bowl decorations. For instance, a green plastic table cloth and masking tape can transform your tabletop into a football field.
To stay in line with your Super Bowl decorations, you can paint mason jars to look like footballs so that your guest can gulp down a glass of team spirit. And speaking of spirits, why not stir up a themed cocktail? Or you can give your game day brew Super Bowl Sunday superpowers with a beer-margarita or lime and beer cocktail.
Don’t Say It is a Super-Bowl-party-perfect game that doesn’t require a wealth of knowledge about football. To play, give each of your guests a plastic whistle at the beginning of the party. Choose a word or phrase that is taboo, and, if you can catch someone saying the word, you get to take their whistle. Whoever has the most whistles at the end wins. There are also games centered around the Super Bowl itself. You can place bets on how many touchdowns are scored, guess which commercials will air or what songs are on the set for halftime. Also, these printable Super Bowl bingo cards will help get all of your guests in the game — even if they’re not into football games.
If you get tired of football, screen the Puppy Bowl in another room so that guests can walk away for a puppy break without interrupting the football fans in the other room. You can place bets on the Puppy Bowl, like how many times the referee has to call a time-out for a clean up on the field or which puppy gets MVP. Want to keep the kids entertained? Print these precious Puppy Bowl Trading Cards, or make a card for your own pup. The best part of this game day pick-me-up is that all of the puppies featured are rescues that are ready to be adopted.
Have the Best Food
Ultimately, the game of throwing the best party is really about serving the best food. If you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, Market Table has some Super Bowl specials that are sure to be crowd-pleasers. We offer buffalo chicken dip, wings and burgers, not to mention wine and beer. Looking for something a little more hearty? Our catering menu offers sliders, sandwich trays, hors d’oeuvres and desserts sure to make your guests cheer, no matter the score.
Text by Katherine Polcari
What Is Wine Pairing?
As old as civilization itself, wine has been a staple to the diets of many cultures. In some parts of the world, it was even considered safer to drink than the water. In modern times, we tend to focus on the actual experience of dining itself. This experience can be amplified by finding a delicious wine that pairs well with the flavor profile of the foods served.
At its core, wine functions best as a palate cleanser. This means that pairing wines with certain foods will make eating the food itself a more worthwhile experience. But how do you know what wine pairs well with what food? And how can someone pair wines with food when they can’t even tell the difference in wine varieties? These five tips will have you pairing food and wines like a sommelier in no time!
You may not be entirely familiar with the flavor profiles for different wines. Never to fear: the flavor profiles for food are already familiar to most food enthusiasts. Though there may be as many as twenty different kinds of tastes on the tongue, they can be boiled down to a list of six. These are the flavors fatty, salty, acidic, sweet, bitter, and spicy. When it comes to pairing, your first step is to decide which flavor is most prominent in the dish you’re serving. For example, bacon would chiefly have a salty taste, whereas bread pudding would be sweet.
Similarities Shine, Opposites Attract
Where wine pairings shine is in the balance of flavors between the wine and food. A congruence pairing brings together a wine and food with similar flavors, creating balance. On the contrary, a complementary pairing brings together a food and wine with flavors that contradict each other. Once you’ve determined the primary flavor of the food and what kind of pairing you’re looking for, it’s time to find wine with the right flavor profile.
The flavor profiles for different varieties of wine are simple to understand. This is because wine only has three types: bitter, acidic and sweet. Most red wines have a bitter flavor profile. Next, sparkling, white, and rosé wines all have a pronounced acidic flavor profile. Finally, sweet wines obviously have large notes of sweetness in their flavor profile.
For the pairing beginner, there are a couple of staple rules that can help your wine pairing. First, one should always make sure the wine is more acidic than the food. When you don’t know what goes well with a flavor of food, you can also base it on regional pairing. For example, Italian food can go well with an Italian wine like Bianco or Rosso. Also, red wines pair best with bold meats like steak. In contrast, white wines pair well with light meats like chicken or fish.
Now that you understand the basics of wine and food flavors, how does you choose the right wine with the right food? It all goes back to congruent or complementary pairings. For example, if trying a complementary pairing, chicken pairs well with many different kinds of wine. Although it pairs well with wines like rosé, the best one to choose is a light white wine. The high acidity of the wine creates a complementary pairing with the chicken by cleansing the palate. On the other hand, a congruent pairing would be like pairing a chardonnay with a salad with vinaigrette dressing. Both of these flavors have high acidity, which similarly complement each other.
Ready to create your own pairings? Market Table stocks a wide variety of wines perfect for any meal you put on your table. If you’re thirsty for wine on a Thursday, swing by Market Table for our weekly sale: buy one bottle, get the next 20% off. Ladies, if you’re free on Thursday, January 25th, Market Table would love to have you as our guest at Girl’s Night Out. Taste four of our fine new wines and enjoy two full glasses of the wine of your choosing, along with an array of delicious appetizers. Tickets are only $15 and can be purchased here — and if you’re busy in January, be sure to clear your calendar for our next Girl’s Night Out on Thursday, February 22nd. Any time you need a little help with wine pairing, we’re always here with palates that can help you find the perfect wine to pair with your guests’ heaping plates.
Text by Jonathon Page
We’ve all experienced times where a meal has taken longer than anticipated to prepare. In fact, many consider time management to be the most stressful part of cooking. Some may even admit to being too tired to enjoy the meal after putting all that effort into it. Finding efficient ways to prepare meals cuts down on stress and makes cooking — not to mention eating! — more enjoyable. Here are a few tricks of the trade to make meal preparation go as smoothly as possible.
Tools of the trade
Your cooking utensils are an important part of your process. Make sure all of your utensils and cookware are ready to use. Dull knives, for example, can seriously slow down prep time. Also, you don’t want to prep an entire meal for your slow cooker only to discover that it’s shorted out. Pull out your cast iron cookware and check its condition. If it needs to be seasoned, take time to do so before you cook. Also, make sure that you have all of the utensils and cookware necessary for your recipe. This all goes a long way towards making meal prep go faster.
Make a list, check it twice
Another important part of the process is to check your recipe. Then, make a list of ingredients. Even if you’ve used the same recipe countless times, there’s always a chance that you could forget something. Running back and forth to the grocery store definitely makes the cooking process long and frustrating. You can even use your smartphone to make food shopping easier. For example, the ListEase app makes easy lists that can be accessed through your Apple Watch, too. The Grocery Pal app goes a step further, helping you compare prices and find those all-important sales at local supermarkets.
Pre-cut veggies are your friend
You may not have the time (or patience!) to chop up your veggies. Don’t be afraid to try pre-chopped veggies. They may be slightly more expensive, but it’s worth the time you’ll save. Plus, pre-cut onions save on time and tears.
Cook like a TV star
If you’re a fan of television cooking competitions, you’ve probably noticed that no matter the show, the contestants share one trick: making one trip to the refrigerator or pantry. When you pull out those pots and pans, grab a baking sheet or tray. Then, load it up with all of the ingredients you need. That way, you won’t have to keep rushing to the refrigerator and back while trying to keep your pasta pot from boiling over.
Cooking without all the hassle
Sometimes you want a nice, hot, healthy meal, but just don’t have time to prep and cook. Meal kits solve this problem. Because the daunting prep work is done for you, meal kits are fast, easy and tasty. Market Table offers a variety of healthy, delicious and unique meal kits. Plus, they can even help you pair your meal kit with the proper wine. Boost your efficiency level to a thousand and try a meal kit today!
Text by Amber Pope