Organic Picks of the Week 05/07/13

Best if Used By 05/14/13

Organic Picks of the week for May 7th, 2013 features
Mixed Cherry Tomato Medley, Leeks, Rhubarb, Scallions
and Cantaloupes


Organic Mixed Cherry Tomato Medley

BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON

Life. Liberty. And the pursuit of flavorful tomatoes. 

Here’s a product to keep an eye out for: Organic Mixed Cherry Tomato Medley, also called Organic Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes. They’re a blend of robust-earthy brown, candy-sweet gold and yellow, tangy pink and sweet-acidic red Cherry, Grape and Cocktail Tomato varieties, many of which are heirloom-style. These bite-sized Tomatoes are great for snacking out of hand, topping salads or roasting.

Organic Mixed Cherry Tomato Medley packs are in season from Lady Moon Farms in Florida.

Color and flavor abound with Organic Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes, a medley of Cherry Tomato varieties that are grown separately in Lady Moon’s organic fields in Punta Gorda, FL then blended when packed in 1 pint containers. This product is in high demand, so you may not find them just anywhere – but if you do, I highly recommend giving it a try!

Flavorful and refreshing Greenhouse Rainbow Salad.

RECIPE: Greenhouse Rainbow Salad

  • 1 pack of Mixed Cherry Tomato Medley, largest ones halved
  • 1 Hothouse Seedless Cucumber- quartered length-wise, cut into ½” wide pieces
  • 1 Hothouse Sweet Red Bell Pepper, sliced into bite sized 1” strips
  • 1/3 of a Onion, sliced thinly into 1” strips  (Sweet Onions work nicely)
  • Handful fresh Italian Parsley (Flat-Leaf Parsley), roughly chopped (fresh Basil would also work well)
  • Combine above vegetables in a mixing bowl
  • Add 4 tbsp Olive Oil, 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar, pinch of coarse salt
  • Toss to coat – serve immediately or refrigerate to chill

Cajun Grilled Organic Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes over Quinoa.

RECIPE: Cajun Cherry Tomatoes over Quinoa

  • Steam 2 cups of Quinoa according to package directions
  • While Quinoa is simmering add ½ teaspoon Cajun Seasoning or Rub
  • Toss 1 pint of Organic Mix Cherry Tomato Medley in bowl with 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • Season with 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning or Rub – re-toss to coat
  • Place Cherry Tomatoes on grilling skewers
  • Grill over high heat for 3-5 minutes, flipping once
  • Serve grilled tomatoes over Quinoa

Organic Leeks

BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED

Somewhat chive-like and somewhat mild-onion-like in flavor, Leeks are sweeter than shallots, garlic and scallions. Leeks are used as the back-bone flavor in many recipes and can be braised, steamed, boiled and used in soups or casseroles. Organic Leeks from California are now in peak season.

Mild-onion flavored, Organic Leeks for soup, stocks, frying, braising and casseroles.

Since Leeks tend to pick up lots of dirt and sand-grit between the leaves as they grow, here’s a helpful video on how to cut and clean Leeks in preparation for use in your recipes.

Organic Rhubarb

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Growing up, Rhubarb was one of the very first edible things to come out of the garden each Spring, a sign of fresh things to come. It was also a sign that Mom’s Rhubarb Crisp might be in my future…or at least Rhubarb Sauce over ice cream – yum! (I love food memories.) Rhubarb is a vegetable, but this tart veggie pairs with sweet and savory dishes but has a propensity for hooking up with berries and desserts.

Bright red fresh Rhubarb stalks – a sign of flavorful spring dishes or desserts to come!

Organic Rhubarb is now in peak season from Oregon and the stalks are looking great. Raw Rhubarb stalks are crisp like red-skinned Celery and have a bold, bitter flavor that mellows with cooking and is accentuated by sugar. Use Rhubarb in pies, cobblers, crisps, chutneys, sauces, drink and lemonade recipes and more. It’s peak season for fresh Rhubarb so keep an eye out for it in the veg section or near the berry display. I found some awesome rhubarb recipes here.

Sweet-tart Rhubarb Sauce over Angel-food Cake with Strawberries and Whipped Cream.

My Dad brought over some homemade Rhubarb Sauce cooked down from the first pickings of his garden Rhubarb. It was absolutely AMAZING served over Angel-food Cake with fresh California Strawberries and some whipped cream. Sweet-tart Rhubarb Sauce is perfect for topping pound cake, toast, bagels, oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt or ice cream. Fantastic! Here’s the general recipe:

RECIPE: Rhubarb Sauce

  • chop Rhubarb into 1/2 wide pieces, 4-5 cups
  • put chopped Rhubarb into a large heavy saucepan
  • top Rhubarb with 1/2 cup sugar (or 1 full cup if you like it sweeter)
  • add 1 heaping tablespoon of Minute Tapioca
  • stir the above raw ingredients then allow to sit for 15 min.
  • stir again
  • simmer for 15 min. over Medium heat, do not allow to bubble over
  • simmer for another 10 min. steadily reducing the heat from toward Low
  • cool at room temp. then refrigerate

Organic Scallions

BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED

Green Onion goodness. Your chili tastes brighter, your salad tastes fresher, your potatoes taste livelier and your stir-fries are brighter… when they’re topped with Scallions. The spring crop of Organic Scallions from California is in full swing – nice flavor, reasonably priced. These recipes might get your taste buds going.

Add a fresh spring flavor! Scallions’ taste is somewhere between Chives, Onions and Garlic.

Organic Scallions, sometimes referred to as Green Onions, have a mild onion flavor with hints of garlic. The base of the Scallion – the white part – has the most intense flavor and is often used in cooking, while the tops – the green part – are typically chopped and used as a topping. Avoid Scallions that are slimy and wilted. Select Organic Scallion bunches that are bright and firm.

Creamy-Cool Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Scallions – a taste of Spring!

RECIPE: Creamy-Cool Green Bean, Scallion and Tomato Salad

  • Wash and trim the ends of 1lb fresh Green Beans
  • Blanch Beans for 3-4 minutes in boiling salted water
  • Shock the Beans in a bowl of ice water or by running them under cold water
  • Add 1 tbsp Olive Oil and 2 heaping tbsp Sour Cream to a large mixing bowl
  • Season above to taste with salt, pepper and Italian herb mix – stir these into a dressing
  • Chop 1 bunch Scallions
  • Slice 2 Salad Tomatoes (like On-the-Vine) into small wedges
  • Gently stir in Green Beans, Tomato and Scallions with tongs until coated
  • Refrigerate salad for 1 hour to allow flavors to combine
  • Serve cold over torn Romaine leaves

Organic Cantaloupes

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Do Organic Cantaloupes just taste better? Well, that is a debate for another time. But I do know that the spring crop of Organic Cantaloupes from Mexico do have nice melon flavor and are quite sweet. Peak season is just starting, but the taste is already there. These melons are generally picked ripe so you should be able to cut them right away to enjoy their firm, deep orange flesh, even though there may be a green cast to the thickly webbed skin. Or allow them to set on your counter for a day or two for an even juicer, softer textured flesh.

Firm, sweet-fleshed Organic Cantaloupes are now in season from Mexico.

What is Organic Produce?

Certified Organic Produce meets a set of standards for growing, handling and labeling that is governed by the USDA’s National Organic Program. Organic fruits and vegetables are grown without the use synthetic chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers. The terms “Natural” and “Local” are not the same as “Organic.” Learn more about Organic.

Buy Smart. Shop Healthy. Live Organic.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy