Blueberries are one of our nutrition superheroes of July. These refreshingly juicy, sweet-tart purplish blue berries are full of vitamin C, folic acid, fiber, potassium and manganese.
Choose firm, smooth-skinned blueberries that are blue-purple in color and not green, without moisture, mold or bruises. Rinse the berries in cold water before eating. Stored berries in the refrigerator should be eaten within 3-7 days. You can enjoy blueberries throughout the year by freezing fresh blueberries. Did you know that blueberries are available fresh, frozen, infused-dried, freeze dried, powdered, and in liquid and puree forms?
Blueberries are yummy on their own, but may be enjoyed in a smoothie, with breakfast cereal, on top of some yogurt, in muffins, pancakes, scones, salads and preserves. Try adding some pureed blueberries to vinaigrette for a flavorful salad dressing. Also, you can try an easy and no added sugar recipe for making blueberry jam- just simply bake fresh berries at 400°F for 10 minutes (1).
What is your berry favorite way of enjoying blueberries?
As the Pavilion’s Executive Chef, I am constantly searching for great simple ingredients that a little kitchen alchemy can turn into a beautiful composed dish. The hunger bags present an amazing opportunity to a chef as they are the items that the Food Bank needs most, and also during a time when kids are out of school and no longer receiving the meal assistance that is offered during the school year. Our children are our future, and I strongly advocate involving your children or grandchildren in the kitchen. Simple, safe, and fun tasks such as shucking corn or starting an herb garden allow kids to get their hands dirty and learn about the importance of healthy, nutritious food in their lives. I invite you to try the recipe below, which focuses on the importance addressing of our communities’ direct needs and our ability to change the face of hunger.
Chef’s Tip: Tortilla soup is traditionally served with a number of garnishes allowing the diner to customize their eating experience! Choose produce that you can slice fresh to add a variety of textures and flavors. Crunchy radishes, crisp shredded cabbage, and vibrant herbs such as cilantro all make great additions to this soup. This is also a great way for kids to learn about and try different veggies!
Fun Fact: This tortilla soup recipe utilizes the whole kernel sweet corn from the Hunger Bags which is pureed into the soup base. This method allows the natural sweetness of the corn to enhance the soup, also lending beautiful supporting flavors to the corn tortillas which are the namesake of the dish.
RECIPE: QUICK AND EASY TORTILLA SOUP
Preparation time: 20 mins | Number of servings: 4
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1 cup Tortilla Chips, crushed
- 2 “15 oz. cans” Signature Kitchens Tomato Sauce
- 2 “15 oz. cans” Signature Kitchens Diced Tomatoes
- 1 “15 oz. can” Signature Kitchens Whole Kernel Corn, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup or more as needed Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
- 2 teaspoons Cumin, ground
- 2 teaspoons Mexican Oregano, dried (if not available use standard oregano)
- As needed: Kosher Salt and ground Black Pepper
- 1 bunch Radishes, sliced
- 1 cup Signature Kitchens canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 bunch Cilantro, washed, leaves only
- 1 cup Tortilla Chips, crushed
- 1 avocado Fresh Avocado, sliced
Customize to your preference! Seasonal vegetables of your choice: tomatoes, bell peppers, roasted summer squash, roasted corn, or shredded cabbage.
1. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add butter and toast tortilla chips for until crispy and golden brown. Add all other soup ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes,
then remove from heat.
2. Prepare a blender by removing the middle insert of the cap (this will allow the steam to escape as the soup purees). Fill the blender to no more than half capacity with soup, place the
lid on the blender, and cover the hole in the lid with a folded kitchen towel. This process is vital to follow as the soup releases lots of steam when pureed and needs to be vented.
3. Puree all of the soup until a smooth consistency is reached, adding additional chicken or vegetable stock if you prefer a thinner soup. Serve with optional garnishes above and enjoy!
Summer is here! And with it comes the tradition of grilling and barbecuing. Grilling food involves cooking it at high temperatures for a short period of time. Grilled foods are tasty and flavorful without too much added fat as compared to frying.
Some tips for safe and healthy grilling, as recommended by www.eatright.org:
- Choose lean cuts of meat as fat from meat may burn the outside while leaving the inside under-cooked.
- Marinate the food adequately before grilling to add flavor.
- Make your own marinade by combining salty, sour and sweet tastes – like soy sauce, lemon juice and honey and add your favorite spices and herbs like crushed black pepper, garlic, ginger
- Tools like tongs, spatulas and platters are necessary to help grill food.
- Gas and charcoal grills are popular, though temperature control is easier in gas grills.
- Seafood, tofu, tempeh and veggies like corn, portabella mushrooms, peppers, sweet potatoes and carrots are also cool foods to grill.
- Meats should be cooked thoroughly to prevent food-borne illnesses. Click here for more info on cooking
- Likewise, it is a safe practice to keep raw, cooked, hot and cold foods and the associated utensils all separate from each other.
- Avoid charring food, as charring produces substances in the food which may cause cancer.
Here’s wishing you a happy summer and safe grilling!