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What’s in Season – Florida Eggplant

June 9, 2011

I confess…I love eggplant! It’s one of those vegetables that I enjoy in a variety of ways. Perhaps my favorite way is eggplant Parmigiana, where it is breaded, fried and baked in marinara with cheese. However, I like it sauteed, pureed into dips and grilled also. Several years ago Chef Justin did a “how to” on Florida eggplant. It can be found here.

Florida eggplants are harvested from September through June, and are grown mostly in South and Central Florida. The USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory lists 1 cup of eggplant cubes as having only 20 calories, .16 gram of fat, and 2.8 grams of fiber.

How do Grilled Florida Eggplant and Fresh Mozzarella Stacks sound? They look amazing, and are easy to prepare. The next time you’re thinking about dinner, why not try this innovative eggplant recipe?

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Redland Summer Fruit Festival

June 8, 2011

In working and meeting with the Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the Fruit & Spice Park in Homestead. What an interesting place!

On June 11 & 12, the park will host the annual Redland Summer Fruit Festival. The event features tropical fruit plants and local agriculture, and vendors will be on hand to provide locally-grown tropical fruits, local wines and other goodies. It runs from 10:00am to 5:00pm both days. Admission is $8 for everyone 11 years and older.

The Fruit & Spice Park is located at 24801 S.W. 187th Avenue in Homestead. If you’re in the area or looking for a road trip to find out about Florida’s delicious and cool tropical fruits, then this festival is for you!

Food Pyramid is a Pyramid No More

June 6, 2011

The USDA’s daily nutrition recommendation standard that we’ve come to know – the Food Pyramid – is no more. Instead, on June 2 the USDA unveiled a new way to measure daily food intake. It is super smart!

Rather than a pyramid, the new guideline shows a plate. Consumers can take a look at the plate to see what the ideal composition of a meal should look like based on the average diet.  Makes complete and perfect sense to me. The website – www.choosemyplate.gov – demystifies much of the confusion about what the government recommends as a healthy balance of food groups.

MyPlate

Other really cool features of the MyPlate include being able to calculate your own daily food plan based on factors you can input (age, weight, height, gender), looking up calories for different foods (who doesn’t love the name MyFood-a-pedia?), and even a food tracker. For those looking to lose or gain weight, or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, there are other options that can assist in your efforts.

Once you’ve had a chance to review the new guidelines, let us know what you think!

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‘how to Do florida’ is back for season 2 and we’re so excited!

June 3, 2011

how to Do florida is back for a second season! This show is great for anyone who loves Florida and even those who don’t. If you aren’t familiar with how to Do florida, the concept is simple: each episode features a couple how-to segments (anything from scalloping to sandcastle building) and a cooking segment with our very own Chef Justin!

Season 2 kicks off this weekend in 11 major cities across Florida. You can view the show times here.

To get you excited, here’s a great clip from one of the episodes this season. It features host, Chad Crawford and Chef Justin putting together a Florida seafood boil on the beaches of Cedar Key, Florida.

Let us know what you think!

What’s in Season – Florida Cantaloupe

June 2, 2011

Florida cantaloupe is harvested primarily from March through July, and is grown down the middle of the state and in the Panhandle. The orange flesh of a cantaloupe has a perfumey fragrance and a sweet taste. It’s texture is firm enough to hold it’s own in salads and other dishes, but is also easy to blend into smoothies and sorbets. No matter how you eat it, though, it is refreshing!

According to the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory, 1 cup of cantaloupe cubes has only 54 calories, 1.4 grams of fiber, 5411 IUs of vitamin A, and 3232 micrograms of beta carotene.

While there are many ways to enjoy Florida cantaloupe, this Cantaloupe with Chicken Salad recipe sounds divine. (FYI – the chicken, celery, blueberries and pecans are also Florida items that you can find in stores!)

Read more…

Memorial Day Food with Fresh from Florida Kids

May 27, 2011

Hooray, it’s finally Friday! I for one am extra happy for this Friday, because it leads us into Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day is always a great time to be with friends and family to honor our service members and to officially kick off summer! Lots of people equate this weekend with picnicking and good food so I thought I’d share some recipes that Chef Tom developed for the Fresh from Florida Kids program. These fun and healthy recipes are obviously great to make for kids but adults will like them too!

Florida Eggplant Burgers

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/4 cups cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a covered saucepan, cook eggplant in boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well, place in a bowl, and mash or puree in food processor. Stir in cracker crumbs, shredded cheese, eggs, parsley, green onion, and salt. Shape mixture into 8 patties about 3 inches in diameter. Bake in a 375 F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until patties are lightly browned.

Florida Watermelon Feta Salad

  • 8 cups cubed Florida watermelon
  • 3 ounces crumbled low fat feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon Florida honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • black pepper to taste

Place melon in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Combine all ingredients except the pepper in a small mixing bowl and mix well. Pour dressing over melon and toss to coat well. Add pepper to taste and serve.

Cucumber Citrus-Ade

  • 1 cucumber peeled and cubed
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1 cup of lemon and lime juice
  • Natural sugar to taste (1 tbs recommonded)

Combine cucumber and water in a blender and process until purreed. Strain mixture and place in pitcher. Add juice and sugar to taste, mix well. Serve over ice with cuke/lemon slice garnish.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

What’s in Stores

May 27, 2011

Florida produce is still abundantly available in stores!

Click on the store name to locate the one nearest you:

Albertsons

  • Cantaloupe – 2/$4.00
  • Zucchini/Yellow Squash – 10lb/$10.00
  • Eggplant – 2/$3.00
  • Baby Carrots – 1lb bags, 2/$3.00
  • Cabbage – $0.49/lb

Bravo

  • Corn (yellow) – 6 ears/$1.99
  • Cabbage – $0.39/lb
  • Oranges – 4lb/$1.99
  • Eggplant – $0.89/lb

Harveys

  • Cantaloupe – 2/$4.00
  • Corn (yellow/white) – 6 ears/$1.99
  • Green Peanuts – $1.99/lb
  • Watermelon – $5.99/each
  • Red Potatoes – 5lb/$2.99

Publix

  • Watermelon (whole) – $4.99/each
  • Watermelon (1/2, 1/4, 1/8) – $0.49/lb
  • Red Potatoes – 5lb/$2.99
  • Cantaloupe – $1.97/each

Sweetbay

  • Cantaloupe – $1.99/each
  • Zucchini/Yellow Squash – $1.29/lb
  • Eggplant – $1.29/lb
  • Watermelon – $4.88/each

Winn-Dixie

  • Watermelon – $3.99/each
  • Cantaloupe – 2/$5.00


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