What's Tasty at Sigona's Farmers Market

June 26, 2012

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local Corn

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local Corn

Fresh-picked corn lends itself to a corn-a-copia of delights…sorry, couldn’t resist! Whether on the cob or shaved off and stirred into a dish, don’t miss out on one of summer’s sweetest foods.

Grilled Corn Salad with Lime, Red Chili and Cotija

Grilled Corn Salad

Grilled Corn Salad with Lime, Red Chili and Cotija. Recipe and photo courtesy of The Food Network.

I absolutely love grilled corn in a number of dishes. What I love about this one most is that it’s all done on the grill! No mess to clean up in the kitchen. Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay of The Food Network.

Ingredients

  • 8 ears fresh corn, silks removed, husk on, soaked in cold water 30 minutes
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, such as Arbequina
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 TBL ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated cotija cheese
  • 1/4 cup Queso Fresco, for garnish

Directions: Heat grill to high. Grill corn until charred on all sides, 10 or so minutes. Take off the grill and remove the kernels with a sharp knife. While you are cutting the corn, put a cast iron skillet on the grill to heat.

Add the corn and the remaining ingredients to the hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until creamy and heated through.

Sprinkle with crumbled Queso Fresco once the dish is plated.

Green Beans with Roasted Corn and Green Onions

green beans corn and tomato

Green Beans with Roasted Corn and Green Onions. Photo and recipe courtesy of The Food Network.

The simplicity of this dish makes for an easy weeknight side or potluck dish for your next summer get-together. Recipe adapted from Guy Fieri of The Food Network.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh green beans, such as Blue Lake beans, ends cut
  • 2 corn on the cob
  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, such as Arbequina
  • 1 red onion, large, cut in 1/8-inch rounds
  • 1/4 cup white wine, such as chardonnay
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 TBL butter
  • 1/4 cup diced, seeded Roma tomatoes
  • 3 TBL grated Sigona’s Bio Parmesan cheese

Directions: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and blanch for 3 minutes. Remove from water and put into an ice water bath. Drain.

Heat grill or gas burners. Place cleaned corn on the cob on the grill or burner. Turn corn and lightly brown all the way around. Let cool and slice the kernels off the cob.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add oil, after 45 seconds add onions and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, add green beans, corn, and garlic. Sauté for 4 minutes, deglaze with wine, season with salt and pepper, and butter.

Garnish with Roma tomatoes and Parmesan.

Fresh Corn Salad with Black Beans, Tomato and Cilantro

corn cilantro salad

Corn Cilantro Salad

Delicious with tortilla chips or as a salsa to top grilled Tilapia, local halibut or white seabass this salad is always a hit. Courtesy of Laura H., a Sigona’s fan. Serves about 4.

Ingredients:

  • Juice from 2 limes, about 4 TBLs
  • 4 TBLs olive oil
  • 2 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • A 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Kernels cut from 1-2 ears of white corn (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoes (use an assortment of halved cherry tomatoes or use 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped)
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • Half a bell pepper, seeded and diced (look for an orange one to add color to the dish)
  • 3 TBLs minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (add more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (or to taste)
  • Optional: top with diced or sliced avocado when ready to serve.

Directions: In a bowl whisk together lime juice, oil, garlic and salt to taste. Stir in remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Let salad stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let flavors develop. Laura recommends making it the night before.

Corn Ice Cream

This recipe comes from Frontera Grill in Chicago, one of the nation’s best known Mexican restaurants, owned and operated by Rick Bayless who’s widely respected as one of our countries premier chef’s and an expert of Mexican cuisine. Makes about a quart.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 (1.5) cups corn kernels
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 (.5) cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 (.5) tsp vanilla
  • 1 pinch of ground cinnamon

Puree the corn with the half-and-half until as smooth as possible. Push the puree through a sieve or strainer to remove big chunks. Put corn puree, sugar and yolk in top of a double boiler and whisk together, cooking and stirring until thickened and starting to steam, about 180ºF. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and cool. Stir in cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Chill until cold and then churn in an ice cream maker according to directions.

Sautéed Corn with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

A summer staple in my house that is incredibly easy to throw together and a great side dish to grilled meat or fish. Serves 4. Adapted from “Joy of Cooking.”

Ingredients:

  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (use a variety of tomatoes for added color)
  • A few leaves of basil, sliced thin (use scissors to snip)
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 TBL butter
  • 1 TBL cream, optional

Cut the corn from the cob. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the corn kernels and cook for 1 min. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for another minutes until juices start to run. Stir in salt, pepper, basil, and cream. Serve.

Keep it on the cob.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

For an impressive presentation, peel back the husk – don’t remove it – to remove the silk. Pull the peeled husk down to the bottom, creating a handle. Take one of the outer husk leaves off and trim it to a thin strip. Use the strip to tie the peeled back husks together with a bow.

Heat grill to medium heat, oil the grates and place the ears directly on the grates. Turn several times as the corn cooks. Keep it on the grill for about 10 minutes or until the husks are charred and are beginning to peel. Serve corn immediately along with butter, salt and pepper. You can also use spiced or herbed butters. Recipes follow.

Boiled Corn on the Cob

  • Use about 1 quart of water per ear of corn
  • Salt

Directions: Bring salted water to a boil. Add the corn and cook for 2-4 minutes. Remove corn using tongs and shake off the extra water. Serve with butter, salt and pepper.

Not-So-Plain Corn on the Cob

Following are a few fancy butter spreads that add fantastic flavor to corn on the cob. Each ingredient combination is enough for about 4 ears of corn.

Herb’s Favorite

  • 3 TBL butter, softened
  • 1 ½ TBL of fresh herbs, such as a combination of parsley, basil, tarragon, chives, sage and chervil

Directions: Combine all ingredients, blending well. Store in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator.

Honey Butter

  • 3 TBL butter, softened
  • 1 TBL Honey Hole Honey Co. honey or organic Agave nectar

Directions: Combine all ingredients, blending well. Store in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator.

Chili Butter – Or – Chili-Lime Butter

  • 2 TBL butter, softened
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • For chili-lime butter, add grated peel of ½ of one lime. Add more if desired.

Directions: Combine all ingredients, blending well. Store in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator.

Lemon & Dill Butter

  • 3 TBL butter, softened
  • 1 tsp fresh dill weed or ½ tsp dried
  • Grated peel of 1/2 lemon
  • Pinch of white pepper

Directions: Combine all ingredients, blending well. Store in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator.

June 13, 2012

Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: cherries, peaches & nectarines

Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: What’s New

This week:

  • We have in our famous, local Bing cherries from Andy Mariani’s orchard in Santa Clara Valley…just south of us in Morgan Hill. They’re huge, deep burgundy and extremely sweet. They arrive at Sigona’s within hours of being picked – Uncle Paul picks them up at 10 a.m. and brings them to Sigona’s!
  • On another note, Paul Buxman, our local, certified California Clean grower, will soon be in with white and yellow peaches and white and yellow nectarines. It’s all going to be real good, but I expect the Diamond Bright yellow nectarine to be excellent! It’s one of the best varieties of the year.

Robbie Sigona is our produce buyer. He works with local farmers and scours the market for the very best in fresh fruits and vegetables — some you won’t find anywhere else.

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local Halibut

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local Halibut

Halibut has a snow-white flesh, firm texture (sometimes called the steak of seafood) and a mild flavor so easily takes on the flavors of other ingredients with which it’s cooked. It’s also naturally lean, packed with fatty Omega-3s to help break down cholesterol and is nutrient-dense. This is a delicious fish and we know  you’ll enjoy the recipes!

Fish Tacos with Cabbage-Jalapeño Slaw

This is absolutely my favorite way to eat local halibut. It’s simple, healthy and delicious. For this recipe I’ve done a quick job on the marinade and not taken the time to let marinate. All the flavors come together just about the same, especially when you’re in a hurry. Recipe adapted from Food Network’s Anne Burrell. Serves 4.

My favorite dish of summer: Fish Tacos with Cabbage-Jalapeno Slaw. Recipe adapted from Food Network’s Anne Burrell. Photo from Food Network.

Fish:

  • 1 pound local halibut or white seabass
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 tsp Spanish paprika (also known as pimenton)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press Arbequina extra virgin olive oil (it has a fruity-buttery flavor)
  • Kosher salt

Slaw:

  • 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 3 green onions, sliced thinly on the bias
  • 1 jalapeño, minced, optional
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 TBL Honey Hole Honey Co. honey, either the wild apricot or blackberry honey
  • 1/8 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press Arbequina extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

For serving:

  • 8 flour or corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted and flesh sliced

Fish: Cut the fish into strips. Combine the fish with the lime zest and juice, paprika, garlic, oil and salt, to taste, in a medium bowl. Let sit at least 20 minutes. This can be done a day ahead, covered and refrigerated.

Cabbage: Combine the cabbage, carrots, green onions, and jalapeño, if using, in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, honey and oil. Add to the cabbage mixture and toss until well dressed. Season with salt, to taste. If using within a couple of hours let it sit at room temperature, if making this ahead, refrigerate until ready to use.

To cook and assemble: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap the tortillas in foil.

Put the fish strips on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Put the fish and tortillas in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

While the fish is in the oven, taste the cabbage for seasoning and adjust, if needed.

Remove the fish and tortillas from the oven. Put some fish in the center of a tortilla, top with a couple of avocado slices and finish with some of the cabbage slaw. Repeat with remaining ingredients and serve.

Carmelo’s Halibut in a Parchment Pocket with and Ginger, Green Onions and Jalapeno

This dish practically prepares and cleans up itself! Throwing ingredients in a parchment pocket is one of my favorite ways to prepare summer dishes, plus baking in parchment melds all the ingredients together making for a flavor-packed dish. Serves 6. – Carmelo Sigona

  • 6 portions (about 5-6 oz. each) local Halibut
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger (2 inches), peeled and julienned
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (do not cut – should be removed before eating)
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 small-medium jalapeño, julienned (remove the seeds to lower heat intensity or leave out the jalapeno completely)
  • 1/4 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • Gluten-free soy sauce, for drizzling, such as organic Tamari by San-J
  • 6 17-inch long sheets of parchment paper
  • 6 lime wedges (for serving)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400F. Place a piece of halibut in the center of each sheet of parchment. Season lightly with sea salt.

Top each piece of halibut with an even amount of ginger, cilantro, garlic, green onion and jalapeño (if using). Drizzle each with a little of the olive oil and a little soy sauce.

To make the packets, bring the long ends of the parchment together and fold down at least three times to touch the top of the ingredients, making a seam. Fold or twist the ends up to meet the ingredients. Secure with a bit of string if the packet needs help staying folded shut.

Place the packets on a baking sheet (you may need more than one baking sheet) and bake at 400 for 13-15 minutes or until the packets are puffed up and fish is cooked through.

Serve each packet with lime wedges. Be sure to inform your guests to remove the garlic clove before eating and also advise them to use caution when opening the packets – the steam that escapes can be very hot!

Pan-fried Halibut with Mango Salsa

Pan-fried Halibut with Mango Salsa. Recipe and photo courtesy of the food blog Teczcape – An Escape to Food.

Another nice summer dish, do you think so? It’s simply divine when you use local, fresh-caught halibut and fresh fruits for the salsa. Recipe and photo courtesy of the food blog Teczcape – An Escape to Food. Serves 2-3.

Homemade Mango Salsa:

  • 2 Mango, cut into small cubes
  • 2-3 kiwis, cut into small pieces
  • 10+ some water chestnuts, cut into small cubes
  • handful of cilantro leaves, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Fresh-squeezed lime juice from 1 lime

Directions: Just mix all the ingredients and set aside in fridge.

Pan-fried Halibut with Mango Salsa:

  • 2 fresh local halibut fillets
  • salt and pepper
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, for sautéing
  • mango salsa prepared earlier

Directions:

1. Dab dry the fillets and season with some salt and pepper

2. Heat some olive oil in sauté pan at low-medium heat. Pan-fry one side of the halibut for about 5-6mins (Note: DO NOT turn the fillet while sautéing one side.)

3. After 5-6mins, turn the fillet over and pan-fry for another 4-5mins

4. While pan-frying the other side, spoon the mango salsa on the already cooked top-side. Use a aluminum foil to cover top-side of fillet that is topped over with salsa, while pan-frying the other side.

Note: The salsa need not be cooked. Covering with the foil circulates the heat of frying within the fillets while frying and warms the mango salsa simultaneously, so that the entire dish – fish and salsa – is served warm. The flavors also meld a bit more.

5. Serve immediately

Lazy Cioppino, a San Francisco Seafood Stew                       

Recipe and photo courtesy of Zest Bakery (a gluten-free hotspot) in San Carlos. The Zest crew notes, “Cioppino is a classic San Francisco stew featuring fresh shellfish and fish. I’ve always loved lightness of this tomato-based soup, and it’s probably the easiest soup I’ve ever made and the easiest soup to eat.” Total time: 40 mins. Serves: 6-8.

Lazy Cioppino, a San Francisco Seafood Stew. Recipe and photo courtesy of Zest Bakery in San Carlos.

Ingredients

  • 3 TBL olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small (or 1/2 large) fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand, juices reserved
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
  • 1 pound skinless local halibut (or local white seabass) cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • 1 pound large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined (or frozen king crab legs, thawed)
  • For serving: a gluten-free baguette – find them at Zest Bakery in San Carlos!

Directions: Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion and fennel are soft, about 12 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes with juices, wine, clam juice, and 1 cup water. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring often, until flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Stir in fish, mussels, and shrimp and bring to a simmer.

Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Cook until mussels open and seafood is cooked through, about 5 minutes (discard mussels that do not open). Serve with toasted bread.

Note: try one of Zest Bakery’s baguettes (they’re gluten-free!) toasted it with a little garlic, olive oil, and parsley salt. YUM.

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local White Seabass

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local White Seabass

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has noted that local wild, line-caught white seabass is a “Best Choice” sustainable seafood choice, meaning it’s abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly way. It’s a better choice than Chilean seabass, which is often a victim of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Eating-wise, local white seabass is a meaty fish (striped bass, on the other hand, is a soft fish). It has more oil than halibut so it’s more moist; plus it’s more forgiving…it’s likely to still be tender and juicy if overcooked. We hope you enjoy the variety of recipes!

Grilled Miso-Marinated White Seabass

Grilled Miso-Marinated Sea Bass. Photo and recipe courtesy of local food blogger Jean Pope of Lemons and Anchovies.

Grilling gives the fish a little crust that sears in the juices and makes for a nice, flavorful and delicious fish. Serve this with a flavor-infused rice or cous cous. Recipe courtesy of local food blogger Jean Pope of Lemons and Anchovies. Serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • Two large white seabass fillets
  • 3 TBL miso paste
  •  Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 TBL rice vinegar
  • 2 TBL kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 6 TBL oil

Directions: To prepare the fish, combine all the ingredients above from the miso paste to the oil and marinate the fish for at least a couple of hours.  Grill on both sides according to your preferred doneness.

Seared Local White Seabass with a Parsnip-Carrot Puree

Local fish served with pureed veggies seems to be all the rage at local restaurants this time of year, and it’s a simple dish I’ve recreated at home many times. I love adding wine to my purees as it adds another nice dimension with a little citrus twist. Serves 2. – Carmelo Sigona

Puree:

  • 2 parsnips, peeled and evenly chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and evenly chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine, such as a citrusy sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio (or use chicken/veggie stock)
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

White Seabass:

  • 2 white seabass fillets (about 5-6 oz. ea.)
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest (from about half a lemon)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil

Directions: bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the carrots and parsnips and cook until fork tender. Drain and puree in a food processor or blender along with the wine, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the puree back in the pan and keep warm.

Preheat non-stick sauté pan on medium high heat for at least 1 minute. Season the white seabass with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to the pan and then add the fish. Let it sear on one side, without moving, for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Repeat on the other side. Cover and allow the fish to finish cooking through, about 2 minutes more.

Serve fish atop the pureed veggies.

Carmelo’s Go-To Verblanc Sauce

This sauce is easy to make and goes deliciously with white seabass or other white-flesh fish. It’s my go to for any fish, whether it be local wild king salmon, local halibut or local white seabass. Oh, my mouth waters just thinking about it! Simple drizzle the sauce over grilled, baked or pan-seared fish. Makes enough for 2 servings. – Carmelo Sigona

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2 TBL cup lemon juice
  • 2 TBL capers
  • 1 chopped parsley
  • 1 TBL cold butter, cubed

Directions: to a small sauté pan over medium high heat, add the wine and lemon juice. Reduce by half and add the capers and the cold butter. Turn the flame to medium low, stir constantly. The sauce will start to emulsify itself as the liquid from the butter steams out so the sauce will thicken naturally. Stir in the parsley as the sauce finishes then drizzle over prepared fish and enjoy.

Steamed White Seabass with Tomato Confit

Steamed White Seabass with Tomato Confit. Recipe and photo courtesy of Michael Gardiner of San Diego Food & Travel.

Recipe courtesy of Michael Gardiner of San Diego Food & Travel who notes he prefers “food prepared simply but with care using marvelous ingredients at the height of freshness.” Michael originally made this dish with halibut but says you can’t go wrong with either fish. Serves 4.

For the Tomato Confit:

  • 12 Roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

For the White Seabass:

  • 4 fillets of white seabass, about 1/4 lb
    each (Halibut would work too)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large spinach leaves

For the Garnish:

  • Sigona’s Traditional Balsamic
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • Steamed baby zucchini (optional)
  • Finishing salt (such as Himalayan or Hawaiian)

Tomato Confit: Bring a kettle of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, score the tomatoes on the end opposite the stem. Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over the tomatoes. Let them sit until the skin peels easily – about fifteen to twenty seconds. Drain tomatoes and cover with ice. Peel when cool and cut into quarters. Place in a small saucepan with thyme, oil, salt and pepper.  Bring to an ever-so-brief boil over high heat, then reduce a simmer. Simmer until they have completely lost their texture (for about one hour).

Fish: Bring about three inches of water to a boil in a pot to which you can fit a steamer basket. Briefly rinse the fillets under running water. Dry them, season them with kosher salt and pepper and place the fillets over a piece of spinach in the basket of a steamer. When the water in the pot reaches a rolling boil place the basket over the pot and steam the fish for ten minutes or until they just flake.

Plating: Place a white seabass fillet on each plate, topped with some of the tomato confit.  Sprinkle some finishing salt on top of the tomato confit.  Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic around the plate to be incorporated with each bite of the fish. Serve with steamed baby zucchini (optional).

White Seabass with Coconut, Lime, & Lemongrass Curry Sauce

The white seabass goes deliciously with the curry broth, which has flavors of lemongrass, coconut, and lime. Plus, it’s surprisingly light, refreshing, and not soupy in the slightest. Recipe courtesy of Heather Wetzel of the food blog Chik n’ Pastry. Serves 4.

White Seabass with Coconut, Lime, & Lemongrass Curry Sauce. Recipe and photo courtesy of Heather Wetzel of the food blog Chik n’ Pastry.

Sauce:

  • 1 TBL butter
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1-inch knob ginger, roughly peeled & thinly sliced
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (optional; see lime juice*)
  • 1 TBL curry powder, such as Madras
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can canned coconut milk (do NOT use light here)
  • 4 cilantro sprigs
  • sea salt, or kosher salt, to taste
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 TBL fresh lime juice (*or more if not using kaffir leaves – use 1 TBL for each leaf)

White Seabass:

  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, such as Arbequina
  • 4 (7 oz. ea.) white seabass fillets, 1 1/2 inches thick, skin on
  • salt and pepper

Veggie side :

  • 1/2 stick butter (can omit or add less)
  • fine sea salt
  • 4 heads of baby boy choy, divided in half
  • kosher salt

Starch:

  • 7-8 oz. vermicelli style noodles

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 F. Start a large pot of salted water and butter to boiling. This will be for the baby bok choy.

To make the broth for the fish, melt butter in a separate medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves, and curry and sweat until tender and with no color, about 5-6 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the coconut milk and cilantro and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Strain through fine strainer and set aside, keeping warm. Stir in 1 TBL lime juice.

Put 2 TBL of oil in one large (oven-safe) skillet, or if using large fillets, divide it into 2 skillets. Place over high heat until hot. Season white seabass on both sides with salt & pepper. Place in skillet (skin side down) and sauté until golden brown and crusted on the bottom, about 2 1/2 minutes. Turn and sear on the other side for 30 seconds. Put pans in the oven and roast until a metal skewer can be easily inserted in the fish and the fish is cooked through, about 6-7 minutes.

To the pot of boiling water and butter, add bok choy and cook until crisp and tender, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a sheet pan in the fridge to “shock” and stop cooking, retaining the bright green color. SAVE THE WATER and bring it back up to boil.

While the fish are roasting and the boy choy is in the fridge, add the noodles to the boiling water and remove the pot from the heat. Let sit for a few minutes until noodles are soft. Drain.

To plate, add a small mound of noodles to the bottom of a large bowl. Place fish on top and 2 halves of bok choy around. Pour 1/4 of broth over the fish. Squeeze a little lime juice on top (~1 TBL for all 4 bowls). Voila!! Serve and enjoy.

Seven Sensational Scientifically Supported Suggestions to Seek Summer’s Super Fruit (Part 2)

Tips for Healthy Living

We’ve partnered with Dr. Doug Husbands of Holistic Health Bay Area to bring you a new set of Tips for Healthy Living. Dr. Husbands is a functional medicine doctor, clinical nutritionist, anti-aging health practitioner and doctor of chiropractic. I appreciate that he encourages visiting the doctor to focus on staying healthy instead of only visiting when you’re sick.– Carmelo Sigona

Cherries Should be Enjoyed with Great Gusto

Scientifically-Supported Suggestions to Seek Summer’s Super Fruit (Part 2)

By Dr. Douglas Husbands

In the previous edition of Healthy Living Tips, we reviewed three of the seven health-promoting reasons to enjoy cherries. Those three reasons we discussed are below. In this edition, we’ll look at four more sensational scientifically supported suggestions to seek summer’s super fruit. — cherries!

  1. Anti-Inflammatory/Pain Relief Effects
  2. Very Powerful Antioxidant Effects
  3. Promotes Deep Restful Sleep and Brain Cell Repair
  4. Anti-Cancer Compounds: Cherries also contain ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is a naturally occurring plant phenolic known to have anti-carcinogenic/anti-mutagenic effects. Research studies presented in John Boik’s 2001 book titled “Natural Compounds in Cancer Therapy” indicate that ellagic acid may be the most effective way to prevent cancer. Cherries are also high in perillyl alcohol (POH). POH is an extremely powerful substance decreasing the occurrence of all types of cancer (1). POH inhibits cancer cell growth by depriving them of the proteins they need to grow.
  5. Protection of Arterial Walls: A “side benefit” of the powerful antioxidant effects of cherries is you get decreased oxidation of the “bad” cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL). Oxidation of LDL (oxoLDL) cholesterol leads to the damaging effects on the inner walls of the arteries which induces plaque formation, with narrowing and hardening of the arteries (2). The importance of decreasing oxidation of LDL cannot be overemphasized, as it is one of the fundamental processes involved in heart disease development and progression (see article “The Case Against Lowering Cholesterol For Decreased Risk of Heart Disease”). With an Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of 3622 for either 8 ounces of cherry juice or 1 ounce of cherry juice concentrate, the high ORAC accounts for the decreased levels of oxoLDL.
  6. Improved Athletic Recovery and Performance: Researchers at the University of Vermont gave 12 ounces of unsweetened, tart, cherry juice or a placebo twice a day for eight days to 14 college men. After 4 days the men were instructed to perform a strenuous weight lifting exercise of 2 sets for 20 repetitions each. Loss of strength after exercise was 22% in the placebo group, and only 4% in those drinking the cherry juice. Post-exercise pain was also significantly decreased in those who drank the cherry juice. The researcher’s conclusions: “…consumption of tart cherry juice before and after eccentric exercise significantly reduced symptoms of muscle damage.” (3).
  7. Healthy-Aging: When you have a food that provides powerful anti-inflammatory effects, anti-oxidant properties, promotes deep restful sleep, anti-cancer compounds, protects the arterial walls, and improves athletic recovery and performance, consuming that food as much and as often as possible will give you healthy-aging effects.

So while cherries are in season during these summer months, eat-up abundantly of this summer super fruit!

References

1. Greenwald P. Clinical trials in cancer prevention: Current results and perspectives for the future. J Nutr 2004;134:35075-35125.
2. Atherosclerosis 2010;208:396-405
3. Connolly D, McHugh M, Padilla-Zkour O, et.al. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage. Br J Sports Med 2006;40:679-83.

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May 30, 2012

Local Cherries Hitting the Shelves

Local Cherries Hitting the Shelves

California cherries have been on the scene for a few weeks, but now is the time we show off our locally grow gems from Gilroy and Morgan Hill!

By Robbie Sigona

Local cherries – one of the fruits we know you look forward to all year – are finally hitting our shelves. Any day now we expect the first fruits from the legendary Andy’s Orchard, farmed by Andy Mariani in Morgan Hill, as well as gems from an outstanding crop grown by Richard Borello in Gilroy.

We’ve had a selection of California-grown cherries in for a few weeks. The first delivery came from the Bakersfield area, followed by Fresno and then Stockton. The locally grown cherries, however, arrive at Sigona’s within 24 hours of being picked – some are even picked in the morning and delivered that afternoon. I know I can’t wait to sample one from the box that’s still warm from the sun hitting the tree.

While cherries from outside our immediate local reach are quality fruits, we always look forward to working with our local farmers from Morgan Hill and Gilroy. Big, sweet, beautifully colored cherries…there’s almost no match for their quality and flavor.

“The crop is really sizing up nice this year; we should start harvest the first week of June and have some of our crop at Sigona’s by this weekend,” said Richard Borello, a local, third-generation grower in Gilroy.

Andy Mariani echoed Borello saying, “The crop is huge and the cherry size is good, considering the how much fruit there is. Also, harvest is late this year, by about five to seven days; we’ll start picking for local markets the first week of June.”

Mom, where do cherries come from?

In order to get the best cherry for your buck, it’s important to understand the season, growing regions and how weather affects the fruit.

The Bakersfield area is always the first to market around early to mid-May. That region’s fruit is sometimes rushed to stores because it’s the only game in town. Two to three weeks later we see some fruits from Fresno and Stockton, usually the Brooks variety, then Bings. Cherries from that area are usually pretty darn good, but sometimes the heat of the East Bay makes for soft fruit.

Bings have a beautiful, deep red color and a crisp crunch.

Shortly after the East Bay fruit arrives we welcome local fruit from the Santa Clara Valley. As the local harvest nears an end, cherries from Washington state start to make their rounds. Washington is a major player in the cherry market and produces some beautiful fruit, but when Washington fruit hits market, Californians start getting cherried out. However, it’s when the Washington and California markets collide that the price goes down about by half. This is typical of any produce item; when we have enough abundance to supply demand, the price always drops.

Earth, Wind & Fire Sunshine

Generally speaking, Eastern Washington has to deal with more extreme weather, at least cold-wise, than much of California. That region has cold winters followed by a temperamental springtime in which Mother Nature can bring freezing temperatures that kill new cherry buds, thus decreasing the size of the crop.

Just as with California, Washington state can also experience extreme heat and the occasional thunder storm during June and early July, a deadly combination for cherry growers.

Splits-Doubles & Spurs at Half Price

Rain, followed by high temperatures, can cause splits in cherries – those little (sometimes large) slits you find at the top near the stem or on the bottom of some cherries. Basically, the split is caused by the cherry bursting after it soaked up extra rain water and was then warmed by the sun. These cherries are still edible, but are only stable for about three days before they start to turn. You’ll see a lot of them at flea markets or small farmers’ markets sold at half price because most packing warehouses don’t accept splits.

Hot temperatures can also cause abnormalities in cherries, such as spurs and doubles, most of which stem from hotter zones such as Stockton, Lodi or Patterson.

“Doubles and spurs are caused by a lot of heat during the previous summer,” said Mariani. “As fruit is picked, buds for the next year begin to form. If there is a lot of heat, the buds split and make two stigmas. If both stigmas are pollinated you get a double-fused fruit, equal in size. If only one is pollinated then you have a spur, a small unformed cherry bud on one side of the developed cherry.”

Rainiers, the delicate, yellow & blush colored cherries, are perfectly sweet and juicy.

There is nothing wrong with fruits that have spurs or doubles, they just look different (though you don’t want to eat the spur). Cherries can also be damaged by wind and the sun. Wind causes bruising and scuffing, or limb rub, on the fruit and the sun can actually cause sunburn.

“Growers kind of go through a gauntlet of natural phenomena to get good fruit in the end,” said Mariani. “So far this year we have minimal wind damage.”

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

Bing, Garnet, Rainier, Brooks, Tulare, Van…do you have a favorite variety? Bings are a popular choice for their crisp crunch, deep red color and sweet flavor that’s paired with just the right amount of tart. The Brooks cherry, usually the first to market, is firm with a red color that’s lighter than a Bing, and then, of course, there is the delicate, yellow- and blush-colored Rainier. It has a sweetness that’s not overly sweet, but a handful definitely has enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Look for the other varieties in our store and let us know which is your favorite! We have a couple cherry recipes on our blog too for those of you who want to do something other with cherries than pile them in a bowl. Be sure to check out the recipe for Local, Wild King Salmon Alaskan Salmon with Roasted Cherries and Pistachios, courtesy of Danielle Krupa, owner and founder of Wellness Made Natural, LLC. It’s simply delicious!

See you in the store!

Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: Cherries

Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: Cherries

  • When selecting Bings, choose dark, firm cherries that have a green stem.
  • Fresh cherries will have a nice shine to them.
  • Stay away from cherries with a dry stem or cherries that are soft.
  • To store cherries, place a dry paper towel in the bag with the cherries to absorb excess moisture. They’ll hold in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Remember though: the fresher they are the better.
  • Buy local cherries for the freshest crop and best quality.
  • Rainiers bruise easily so make sure you’re gentle with them and store them loosely, not rubbing up against other products in the fridge.
  • The local cherry season will be short this year, especially the Rainiers, which were really affected by the weather this season. Get ‘em while you can!

Robbie Sigona is our produce buyer. He works with local farmers and scours the market for the very best in fresh fruits and vegetables — some you won’t find anywhere else.

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s featuring Cherries

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s featuring Cherries

Cherries are delicious eaten on their own, but they add new level of flavor to savory dishes and grilled meats, such as pork. One of our customers even replaces tomatoes with cherries in their homemade salsa! Remember, cherries have pits in the middle so be careful when biting into them.

Smoked Turkey and Cherry Salad with a Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette

This salad recipe, inspired by this one on the California Cherry Advisory Board website, is a great way to use fresh cherries and our cherry balsamic. Serves 4.

For the salad:

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, medium-chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion, some green included
  • 2 small mandarins, oranges or tangerines, segmented (all skin and membranes removed)
  • 1 cup smoked turkey, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup California Bing cherries, washed, halved & pitted

For the balsamic vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Cherry balsamic
  • 1 TBL stone-ground mustard
  • 1 tsp honey or organic Agave nectar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions: Toss all salad ingredients together, except cherries, in a large bowl.

Add all the vinaigrette ingredients, except the EVOO, in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Slowly drizzle in the EVOO and whisk quickly to emulsify the mixture.

Reserving 1 TBL, drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Add the cherries to the reserved vinaigrette and toss to coat.

Arrange salad on individual plates, sprinkle with cherries and serve immediately.

 

Balsamic-Drizzled Summer Stone Fruit over Creamy Gelato

Stone fruits are just coming into season, and though I prefer to eat them out of hand, they’re delicious when roasted, drizzled with balsamic (especially an infused balsamic) and served over ice cream or gelato. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 12+ cherries, halved with the pit removed
  • 2 other stone fruits, such as peaches, apricots, plums or nectarines, quartered with the pit removed
  • 1/2 cup Sigona’s cherry balsamic
  • 1 pint of Vanilla Bean gelato (we recommend Gelato Massimo; it’s made in Watsonville!)
  • 4 mint leaves, for garnish (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare fruits as directed.

Place fruits in a baking dish and drizzle with Sigona’s cherry balsamic. Roast fruit for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, scoop gelato into four dessert bowls. Place equal amounts of roasted fruit in the bowls and drizzle with more balsamic (leftovers from the baking dish and/or a drizzle of more from the bottle). Place a mint leaf in each bowl (optional) and serve immediately.

 

Local, Wild King Salmon Alaskan Salmon with Roasted Cherries and Pistachios

Wild King Salmon with Roasted Cherries and Pistachios. Recipe and photo courtesy of Danielle Krupa, owner and founder of Wellness Made Natural, LLC.

Cherries and local, wild salmon seem to have made a pact to come into season around the same time. The two paired together make for an outstanding flavor combination! Recipe and photo courtesy of Danielle Krupa, owner and founder of Wellness Made Natural, LLC.  Danielle says, “I can’t stress enough the importance of using a cherry pitter for this recipe.  Unless of course you like having pink fingers and high frustration levels.” Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound (about 3 cups) cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 2 teaspoons chopped oregano
  • 4 (4-6 oz.) wild king salmon fillets
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, chopped

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, toss together cherries, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, agave nectar, thyme and oregano. Arrange salmon skin-side down on a large parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Scatter cherry mixture over and around salmon and bake 12-15 minutes.  Switch oven to broil and cook an additional 3 minutes until salmon is just cooked through and cherries are juicy and caramelized, (you want the thickest part of the fish to reach an internal temperature of 131 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). Remove the salmon from the oven and allow to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Drizzle arugula with remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper; divide among 4 plates.  Top greens with salmon fillet and 1/4 of the cherries.  Make sure to spoon out some of the cooking juice and drizzle over salmon.  Sprinkle 1/4 of the pistachios over each dish and serve.

Raw Cherry Pie

Raw Cherry Pie recipe and photos courtesy of Monika Soria Caruso of Windy City Vegan.

Sometimes baking things is just too much work! Why not opt for a raw cherry pie – not only does it save you time and keep your kitchen cool, but keeping the ingredients raw maintains the integrity of  the ingredient’s nutrients, such as the beta carotene in cherries. Did you know cherries contain 19 times more beta carotene than blueberries and strawberries? Recipe and photos courtesy of food blogger Monika Soria Caruso Windy City Vegan and Chew on This.

Crust:

  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup sweet sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup alt milk, preferably unsweetened
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups pitted cherries (do not drain!)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2 scant TBL kudzu starch
  • 1/4 cup cold filtered water
  • optional: agave, sweeten to taste

Go ahead and have a slice or two! Photo courtesy of Monika Soria Caruso of Windy City Vegan.

Directions: Lightly grease your pie or tart pan (standard size for a round pie, or 8″ square) and set aside. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a large bowl and stir vigorously until completely mixed. The dough will resemble wet sand. If you need to soften your coconut oil, do so using a warm water bath or double boiler method. Do not place the oil over direct heat. Turn the dough out into your pan and pat it into place. Transfer the pan to your refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Combine the cherries and strawberries in a small bowl and set aside. In a small cup, combine the kudzu and water and stir to make a slurry. In a small saucepan, slowly heat the slurry until it begins to thicken. If you are keeping this recipe 100% raw, use your sense of touch to ensure the slurry remains lukewarm (or use a candy thermometer to keep it just under 115 degrees F). It will take 10-15 minutes to start to thicken. If you aren’t opposed to heating the starch briefly, then raise the temperature until the slurry is not quite at a simmer – it will thicken almost instantly. Allow the slurry to cool to room temperature, then combine with the fruit. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours and it will thicken nicely.

After a 2+ hours have passed, pour the pie filling into the crust. Continue to refrigerate for at least another hour before serving. This is best if eaten within 48 hours – after that the filling will begin to seep into the crust.

Scientifically-Supported Suggestions to Seek Summer’s Super Fruit (Part 1)

Tips for Healthy Living

We’ve partnered with Dr. Doug Husbands of Holistic Health Bay Area to bring you a new set of Tips for Healthy Living. Dr. Husbands is a functional medicine doctor, clinical nutritionist, anti-aging health practitioner and doctor of chiropractic. I appreciate that he encourages visiting the doctor to focus on staying healthy instead of only visiting when you’re sick.– Carmelo Sigona

Cherries Should be Enjoyed with Great Gusto

Scientifically-Supported Suggestions to Seek Summer’s Super Fruit (Part 1)

By Dr. Douglas Husbands

Cherries are a summer treat that should be enjoyed with great gusto. Not only for their sweet and tart juiciness, their deep dark and bright reddish colors, and their versatility for use in salads, pies, other desserts, but also for their myriad of health benefits.

In fact, cherries have so many health benefits, listing them will require a 2-part article. In part 1 of this 2-part Sigona’s Tips for Healthy Living article, I’ll give you three of the seven health-promoting reasons to enjoy this super fruit.

  1. Anti-Inflammatory/Pain Relief Effects: If you suffer from any joint or muscle pain, including arthritis, muscle pain or gout, then tart cherries are the fruit for you. The Montmorency or Balaton species of cherries are the more tart ones. The sweet Bing cherries also appear to have anti-inflammatory effects. A study (1) performed at UC Davis found that when healthy women ate about 9 ½ ounces of Bing cherries after an overnight fast for 6 days, they showed a 15 percent reduction in uric acid levels and C-reactive protein levels for 5 hours after eating the cherries. C-reactive protein and uric acid are objective markers of inflammation seen on laboratory tests. Other studies seem to confirm the findings of the anti-inflammatory effects of cherries.
  2. Very Powerful Antioxidant Effects: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial studies using the tart Montmorency or Balaton cherries have indicated they provide very powerful antioxidant effects. In a study featuring older adults between 61 and 75 years old, they drank 8 ounces of a commercially available cherry juice twice daily for 14 days. This resulted in a significant decrease in oxidative stress (2). One of the objective indicators for decreased oxidative stress in the study, 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine, is an indicator for DNA oxidative damage. The study showed decreased 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine levels in the cherry juice drinkers. The significance of this finding is that in only 14 days of drinking an 8-ounce glass of  tart cherry juice twice a day, older adults showed a statistically significant decrease in the damage to their DNA! As I’ve written about in other articles, what you eat affects your genes!
  3. Promotes Deep Restful Sleep and Brain Cell Repair: Cherries, in particular the Montmorency and Balaton species, are high in the antioxidant hormone melatonin. Both these species contain significant amounts of melatonin, but according to an article published in the October 2001 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Montmorency cherries contain 6 times the amount of melatonin than Balanton cherries. Research studies confirm that melatonin is readily absorbed by our body when taken by mouth. Melatonin is not only an important powerful antioxidant for our brain, but also it also regulates our ability to attain restorative and deep sleep. It helps repair our brain during sleep as well.

As you can see from just these three reasons, cherries are a super fruit you should take advantage of, especially while the fresh fruit is in season. I recommend you buy only organic cherries, because they hold onto pesticides very tightly compared to some other fruits. I also recommend you consume fresh whole cherries more so than the juice alone because of the fiber and other components in the whole fruit that can be missing in the fruit juice.

Stay tuned for the next Sigona’s Tips for Healthy Living issue to find out what the other four “sensational scientifically-supported suggestions to seek summers super fruit” are! Or if you can’t wait, and want to find out more tips to improve your specific health issues using a Functional Medicine approach, contact my office at 650-802-8700 extension 0 to schedule.

References:

  1. Jacob R, Spinozzi G, Simon V, et. al. Consumption of cherries lowers plasma urate in healthy women. J Nutr 2003;133:1826-29.
  2. Traustadottir T, Davies S, Stock, A, et. al. Tart cherry juice decreases oxidative stress in healthy older men and women J Nutr 2009;139:1896-1900

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Edible Centerpieces from Sigona’s

Edible Centerpieces

Our floral crew can put together a bouquet for any occasion. Just ask! 650.368.6993

Hosting an event? We have the perfect centerpieces that will enchant all your guests.

These edible centerpieces are made from fresh, in-season fruits, vegetables and flowers. They’re perfect for birthday parties, meetings, weddings and even baby showers.

Call the Redwood City store (650) 368-6993 for details and to place your order.

Choose any fruits, flowers and vegetables available and place your order five days in advance.

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