Good Morning, Pumpkin!

Finn and Smoothie

Everybody loves Pumpkin season!

Crisp air. Yellow and orange fallen leaves. Soft knit scarves. Pumpkin! Between pumpkin lattes and pumpkin pie, the fall season has become synonymous with that gorgeous round squash.  Armed with a fat, orange pumpkin or a big can of Libby’s, you can add pumpkin flare to almost anything.

Pumpkins are so versatile, you could break down pumpkin-y delights by category when looking for inspiration: there’s everything from soup, pasta, breads and muffins, dessert (including pie, of course), beer—even pumpkin dog treats.

With so many options, I decided to narrow it down and experiment with easy pumpkin breakfast ideas, reusing the same basic ingredients for three different recipes. If there’s a good time to add nutritious and filling pumpkin to your meal, it’s probably first thing in the morning!

Each recipe is pretty flexible so feel free to experiment on your end—swap almond milk in for my skim milk or add an extra scoop of pumpkin here and a dash of cinnamon there…. 

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Glückliches Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest at home

Oktoberfest at home

Can’t make it to the festival in Munich this week? Let FreshDirect bring Oktoberfest to your door! We have an entire section on our website devoted to Oktoberfest essentials and favorites.

And although Oktoberfest is a celebration that technically lasts 16 days, from late September to the first weekend in October, in my kitchen, Oktoberfest is synonymous with autumn, and I celebrate it all October long!

To help you get into the Bavarian spirit, I’ve prepared some classic German dishes for you to try out on your own…. 

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Grilling in the City

Bison burgers

Bison burgers on the grill

Growing up in the suburbs, my family used the outdoor grill for practically every meal in the summertime. So this time of year, right around Labor Day, I get really psyched for the last days of summer grilling.

But having just recently moved into the city, I’ve run into a problem that I didn’t foresee: how is a city dweller like me expected to satisfy his appetite for outdoor grilling in a small apartment?! As a determined griller, I sought out a few solutions for how to make your summer grilling favorites when living in a small urban space…. 

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Summer Squash Blossoms

Squash blossoms are the quintessential summer dish in my house because my mom used to make them in August, when they first appeared in the markets. So I thought it would be a great idea to share our family’s favorite stuffed squash blossoms, and my own non traditional recipe, squash blossom pasta, while the season is just getting started.  … 

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Connor Makes Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

One of my favorite holidays, St. Patrick’s Day, is right around the corner, and I thought I’d let you in on a little family secret: Grandma Caley’s Famous Irish Soda Bread.  No St. Patrick’s Day is complete without several loaves of this Irish treasure as part of your spread.  The Caley recipe, of unknown provenance somewhere between the Celtic shores of Muir Èireann and the Isle of Man, has been in my family for generations; simple and customizable, it’s sure to delight your friends and family.

In addition to the traditional Irish Soda Bread, I’ll try out two interesting variations in hopes of finding a more “modernized” version of the recipe.  With these recipes, the ingredients (which can all be found at FreshDirect), and a little bit of luck, you’ll find the ISB that’s perfect for you, even if your baking skills are a little, shall we say, green…

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Go-Go Cocoa

When winter is dragging on and your go-to mug of hot chocolate starts looking a bit ho-hum, it’s time to start adding creativity to your cup (and we’re not just talking marshmallows or whipped cream).

Cocoa goes well with a variety of flavors, so it’s fun to experiment. Armed with a wide array of add-ins and toppings, you can make a new flavor combination for every day of the week.

Here are ten fun ideas to get you rolling:

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Exploring Our Specialty Citrus

Citrus

A basket of citrus!

Calamondin! Gesundheit! No, no! Calamondin, a cross between a kumquat and a sour mandarin, is just one of the many specialty citrus products that FreshDirect offers. Many of our customers know that we sell carrots and apples and cucumbers—but many may not know about our extensive specialty produce selection. And right now, it’s citrus season!

In addition to calamondin, which is often used for its high acid content in cooking, we sell kumquats, etrog, pink lemons and finger limes! Kumquats? Etrog? FINGER LIMES? Yes—these are all real items and proudly featured at the top of the citrus category!

With a sweet peel and tart flesh, the kumquat is the inverse of a mini-orange. What’s more, you can pop these little gems like candy for easy eating!

Etrog, a lemon-like fruit originating from Israel, is still an important component of the Jewish holiday Sukkot. It has a thick rind and very little flesh. Because of its hardy skin, those familiar with the fruit use the rind to make jams and candies.

Finger limes… What?! Originating in Australia and very new to the produce scene, finger limes are making a splash in cocktails, seafood dishes and salads. The tiny pearls are grown by the Shanley Family in Morro Bay, California. I recommend using finger limes to adorn your fish tacos, using them whenever you would use a lemon or lime as a garnish, and sprinkling them in your favorite citrus-friendly cocktail.

FreshDirect offers many perks to its customer—quality products, great prices and convenience—but we also offer off-the-beaten paths products that are just waiting for your trial. I encourage you to step out of your foodie box and give one of these delicious, specialty citrus varieties a try. Join me in my New Year’s resolution: make 2013 taste better!

Have you tried any of our specialty citrus? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

FD Holiday Traditions

Holiday Spread

Holiday Spread

When I was small, I got to have two Christmas dinners; one was classic American, with ham and all the traditional sides, and one was an Italian version.

On Christmas Eve, my nonna would spend all day cooking, and by the time she was done, we would be treated to multiple courses. We’d start with pasta topped with fish sauce and freshly grated parmesan, and lead into a course with calamari and fried shrimp, another with breaded steak and chicken cutlets with green bean salad, squid salad, and pan-fried peas, and then finish off with one of my all-time favorite foods: artichokes stuffed with sharp provolone cheese. We’d finish the meal with milky, extra-sweet coffee (even the kids), cracked nuts, and panettone with butter or homemade frittole. To me, there is no greater meal.

By the time I was in grade school, I realized that not every family celebrated the same way, and that our tradition was truly special. That’s why I’m always fascinated by other people’s food traditions; after all, the food makes the holiday. I asked around the office and the answers were as diverse as I imagined…. 

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A Casual History of Eggnog

Eggnog

Eggnog and Fruit Stollen

Eggnog. It’s a “love it or hate it” thing, but I’m squarely on the side of the “love it” crowd. This is probably bad for my goal of zero holiday weight gain, but I’m sure it’s 100% good for my holiday spirits.

If you’re a lover like me, I’ll let you in on a secret: eggnog isn’t for sissies. This drink’s silky-sweet combination of egg yolks, cream, sugar and nutmeg (preferably with a jaunty shot of dark spirits) hides a long run of fame and notoriety. Eggnog is the scandalous rock star of the holiday treats world…. 

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