Thursday, May 9, 2013

Specialty Produce

I have a friend who works at Frieda's Inc., a specialty product company. Their foods are available to you at select grocers like Sprouts and Vons.

From time to time her company has an employee sale where she can buy samples of products. These "samples" come in restaurant-size boxes for a whopping $3 per case. The only downside is that you they come in bulk and can spoil pretty quickly. 

Thanks to her, I've had the opportunity to try these amazing fresh fruits and vegetables:
(Special shout out to Joyce & Hanna)

Colorful Baby Carrots

I ate them raw with a side of cucumber yogurt sauce.

Here's the tzatziki recipe.

Note: I didn't particularly like the poached salmon part of the above recipe due to lack of flavor. Also, the cooking time was a lot longer for the filets of Steelhead from Costco.


Mandarinquats look like kumquats. They are a cross between mandarin oranges & kumquats. The skin is very sweet (for a 'quat), but the inside is more tart.  It tastes mandarin-like, but very tart like a lemon.

Here are the multiple ways I used them:

  • Raw
  • Sliced and added to spa water (along with lemon wedges, cucumber, & mint)
  • Sautéed in sugar and butter for a crostata (photo, left)
Dough recipe from Giada 
  • Candied while making an infused simple syrup for a cocktail
Kumquat whiskey sour recipes: fresh version & candied version (I omitted ginger syrup and it tasted fine)

Dandelion greens

They make a great veggie side.  

If you've never had them before, they are very bitter. I think it has an interesting flavor and I feel healthy eating it. But, it's not for everyone. 

I've seen dandelion greens most commonly in Mediterranean food.  If you can't find it at your local grocery store, chances are it will be at the Korean market as "mindalae."

The simplest way to prepare is to boil them for a few minutes and strain all the liquid out. As an added step, which I prefer, sauté in fresh lemon juice and olive oil, add salt & pepper.

Word of caution: One huge bundle wilts down to a few servings. 

If you want to try it prepared, you can get it at the Olive Pit Grill (Brea, CA). Sadly, Kentro Greek Kitchen (Fullerton, CA) stopped serving it.


This light green variant of cauliflower has spiral florets. Its texture & taste is like cauliflowerI roasted in the oven along with brussel sprouts.


    Cauliflower & other firm veggies 
    1-3 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)
    Kosher Salt


    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, Toss the cauliflower with EVOO on baking sheet; sprinkle with the salt and pepper and toss again. Roast until golden and tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

    Purple Baby Brussel Sprouts

    I roasted them with the romanesco above.

    Here's another recipe (which I haven't tried).

    Colorful Baby Cauliflower

    I roasted with the romanesco above

    Here's a lemony recipe I have tried with regular cauliflower. You can omit the herbs, if you don't have them on hand. 

    Purple Spinach
    I saw this ingredient for the first time on Food Network's Chopped in early April

    It doesn't really taste link green spinach, but shares the same texture. It's slightly sweet. 

    I used it in a salad.

    Today, I'm going to pick up a box of heirloom tomatoes and white eggplant. I can't wait to share what I decide to make with these beauties.  :)

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