Produce Expert, Josh Alsberg, says the right produce will help make your holiday entertaining easier and more delicious!
It's the holidays! That means celebrations and lights, decorations and entertaining - and absolutely no time to prepare for any of it.
Produce can be a big help when you are making your celebration plans. Whether you want to add sparkle to simple dishes, add depth and luxury to quick meals, or want a centerpiece that is as delicious as it is beautiful, these fruits and vegetables can make your holiday shine:
Perk up a party platter: Carrots are great for hummus, but when you want to raise the bar, serve something with zing.
- Endive is pretty delicate and the perfect vehicle for spectacular holiday dips. Place just a touch of créme fraiche and a spoonful of smoked trout roe on each leaf, or line them up alongside your favorite cracker to give your gluten free friends a way to scoop up olive tapenade.
- Fennel is crunchy, light, and more flavorful than celery. Make a better onion dip with shallot and fresh herbs and use the fennel fronds dress it up.
- Finger Limes are the caviar of fruit! Add a dash of tartness and pop to your crudités, some sparkle to your festive drink, or dress up fish and oysters. Just cut in half and squeeze out the drupelets for citrus fun!
Dress up "fast food" for easy, but spectacular meals:
- Truffles truffles truffles: These dark little nuggets are packed with an aroma and flavor that is almost indescribable. Earthy, mushroomy, rich, mysterious, intense. They are rare - found wild here in Oregon - and expensive. But a little goes a long way. Simply shave slices of truffle over fresh pasta tossed with cream, pepper and Parmesen and you have a meal fit for a king - in less time that it takes to boil water!
- Wild mushrooms: Black trumpet, hedgehog, chanterelle. Oregon has a wealth of beautiful wild mushrooms. Sauté them with shallot, thyme and lots of butter and they make delicious canapés on crostini, a perfect dressing for roast beef, a luxurious addition to potatoes.
Bring the sparkle and shine. Make a centerpiece that's delicious:
- Pomegranates look a little like the ball ornaments we put on the tree, as is, but when you open them up they really sparkle. Use the glistening seeds to make everything festive- especially at the beginning and end of the meal. Green salads get a little "confetti." Cheesecake or chocolate torte both look and taste beautiful sprinkled the sparkling bright, red fruit. The big question is how to get the seeds out! Follow our advice and don't slice! Just not all the way. Cut off the flower end and then score just through the skin with a sharp knife. Then simply pull your pomegranate apart and seed it!
- Citrus season is starting, and there are some beauties in the market right now that will add color to your table and taste great. Start the evening with them all together as a beautiful centerpiece and then simply pluck them away and serve them at the end!
o Kishu are my new favorite. Kids love them, and so do I, because they are so cute! Small and sweet and easy to peel, they are perfect for the little ones at your next family gathering.
o Cara Cara Navel Oranges: Who doesn't love pink? Slice this beautiful, sunset colored orange alongside olives or cut into chunks and serve over good vanilla bean ice cream.
o Satsuma Mandarins: These fun and finger-friendly tangerines are juicy, sweet and easy to peel. Easy to add to salads or your fruit plate. For a festive look, make sure to find fruit with the stem and leaves still attached.