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Ask the Expert Archive


One of the few things I like about winter is the fact that citrus fruit is in season, budget friendly, and at its peak of flavor.  I think it’s Mother Nature’s way of adding a little sunshine into our mostly gray, cold days.  A personal favorite of mine are tangerines.  They are refreshing and so sweet, plus they are easy to peel and section, making them the perfect on-the-go snack food.  Like all citrus fruit, tangerines are high in vitamin C.  In addition, they are fat free, sodium free, and cholesterol free.  And, one medium tangerine is only 50 calories, so indulge!


Tangerines make a terrific after school snack.  Creamy Honey Tangerine Bites are ready in minutes and sure to be a hit with your kids.  Top a shredded wheat cracker (like Triscuit) with a teaspoon of cream cheese and one tangerine segment.  Drizzle with a bit of honey and serve.


Courtesy of The Gunny Sack


Tangerine, Chocolate, and Vanilla Salad sounds decadent, but comes in at only 209 calories per serving.  Sliced tangerines are served in a syrup created from their own juice, sugar, and a vanilla pod.  Chopped almonds, fresh mint leaves, and chocolate shavings are served on top.


Tangerine chocolate
Courtesy of Jamie Oliver


Tangerines aren’t restricted to desserts and sweet offerings.  Beet and Tangerine Salad with Cranberry Dressing is a great example of the sweet and savory flavor blend.  For the salad you’ll use cooked, fresh beets, tangerines, sliced red onion, and watercress.  The dressing is made from olive oil, frozen cranberry juice concentrate, grated tangerine peel, and red wine vinegar.


Beet and Tangerine Salad
Courtesy of Jose Picayo for Bon Appetit


Grab some tangerines at your local grocer while they’re in season–now through February/mid-March.  I’ll be back next week with some storage tips for keeping your fruit and vegetables at their freshest.


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We’re all familiar with broccoli, in fact, it’s one of the most popular veggies in America.  However, are you familiar with broccolini?  This delicious veggie is a cross between broccoli and gai lan or Chinese broccoli.  It has a sweeter flavor than broccoli and the stalks are thinner, which means you can cook them without having to peel off any tough outer part.  Like broccoli, broccolini is an excellent source of vitamins A and C.  It is also fat free, cholesterol free, and very low in sodium.


Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters


You can use broccolini in much the same way you use broccoli, but I’ve chosen a few recipes that really highlight this vegetable.  Broccolini Pasta with Creamy Tahini Sauce is a vegan option that will have you amazed there is no dairy in this dish.  Along with the broccolini, you’ll use onion, garlic, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes, tahini paste, and spices.  Farfalle (bow tie) pasta provides the base for this dish.


Courtesy of Ceara’s Kitchen


A simple and easy main entrée is Pan-Seared Chicken and Broccolini in Creamy Mustard Sauce.  This dish uses chicken tenderloins, broccolini, and shallots.  A creamy sauce is made from chicken broth, fresh thyme, heavy whipping cream, and Dijon mustard.


chicken and broccolini
Courtesy of The Food Charlatan


Roasted Broccolini with Mushrooms in Balsamic Sauce is a wonderful side dish.  You’ll roast the broccolini in a 400°F oven for 12-15 minutes.  In the meantime, you’ll saute sliced shallots in olive oil and then add sliced mushrooms. Once the veggies are softened, you’ll add a dab of butter, balsamic vinegar, and chicken broth.  Serve the mushroom/shallot mixture over the roasted broccolini and for an extra kick, sprinkle a little red pepper flakes on top.


roasted broccolini with mushrooms and aleppo chili flakes recipe
Courtesy of Season with Spice


I’ll return next week with recipes that feature tangerines to brighten up the winter months.


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What’s in and what’s out for 2017 food-wise?  According to restaurant and hotel consultants Baum & Whiteman, there are some key food trends to look for this year.  A few worth noting are:


Greens of All Kinds
Remember when kale was all you heard about?  Well, now look for chefs to begin using chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, carrot tops, and seaweeds.  Greens are terrific sources of vitamins A, C, K, and fiber.  Mustard Greens with Apple Cider Dressing is a perfect recipe that highlights any kind of green.  In a large bowl you’ll need to whisk together apple cider vinegar with canola oil, stone ground mustard, and lemon juice.  Add shredded mustard greens, sliced Granny Smith apples, chopped dill, and season with salt and pepper.


Courtesy of Food and Wine


Vegetarian Comfort Food
There is an increase in the amount of veggies that are appearing on dinner plates.  What we should see is consumers looking to replace animal proteins with more vegetarian options.  Casseroles, vegetarian chilies and stews are just a few examples.


Over the past year, there’s been a trend to create bowls that blend complementary flavors together.  Expect to see that trend continue in 2017.  Bowls are easy to transport and consume on-the-go (think eating lunch at your desk).  They often combine many healthy ingredients, and it’s a great way to enjoy multiple flavors and textures together.  Chili Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quinoa Bowl is a great example of a bowl that has many different ingredients that blend well.  In addition, it’s vegetarian, yet very filling.  Sweet potatoes, black beans, quinoa, and lettuce greens are the basis for the bowl.  You’ll create a delicious cilantro avocado dressing that has just a little kick from some chili powder and cayenne pepper.


Courtesy of Simply Quinoa


Tune in next week if you want to learn more about broccolini.  I’ll have some great ways to use this delicious veggie.


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