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We’re willing to bet a lot of you don’t even know what an endive is, let alone a Belgian one. But did you know they’re surprisingly fun to eat (obviously really, really ridiculously good for you) and go by several other names as well?

  • Frisee
  • Chicory
  • Escarolebelgian endive-1
  • Radicchio

And wouldn’t you know it? They’re all endives. But the Belgian one is a bit of a hidden gem in the culinary halls of delight. It’s the endive making the traditional lettuce leaves look plain and simple, and for good reason. They’re crunchy. They keep their form well, which makes them surprisingly versatile when it comes to cooking and eating.

So Here’s Three Ways to Eat The Endive!

Read about them — and then try it out yourself. You’ll be surprised:

  1. Braising — Not a lot of veggies can be braised, but the endive can! Here’s how.
  2. Saute  — Sure, a lot of different veggies can be sauteed on a pan: mushrooms, asparagus, onions. But a leafy green vegetable? That would spell disaster. Not so for the endive.
  3. They’re Like SCOOPS — Yes, like those Frito chips. Check out why you can eat the ‘dive like this by clicking here.

The bonus is the versatile veggie has both sweet and hearty bitter properties to it, which change depending on the way you cook it (and, of course, the way you eat it). So experiment. You might find a more interesting way of working with the endive, possibly!

Which We Fully Support Here at Golden Gate Organics: It’s All About Invention and Discovery

And nothing else says discovery like the endive. Plenty of other organic foods and other foods out there offer great potential. We’re even wondering if it’s possible to pickle an endive. After all, it’s like braising! Might actually go well if you think about it. Who knows — maybe we’ll try it out ourselves and let you know (unless you beat us to it!).

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We wouldn’t be surprised at how many might’ve not known. After all, the road to the gate of Heaven is a narrow one. Not many can find it. Plus it’s a pretty long road. The thing is braising can get risky if done with the wrong kind of food. You’re basically cooking a food in a specific type of liquid for a really long time, and if the food doesn’t hold up too well to moisture, you might come up with something a bit wilted. And last we checked some vegetables don’t do too well when wilted. So what about braised endive?

Funny You Should Mention Braised Endive — a Rare Find, a Genius Find

And there are plenty of other ways you can eat or use endive as part of your culinary exploration. But braising? That opens up a braised-endivewhole new frontier of awesomeness. The thing about Belgian endives is the fact that they’re quite the hardy leafy green. It’s difficult to really break down the veggie, not like lettuce. You can rinse lettuce in hot water for just 30 seconds and risk destroying it all. But endives are so remarkably sturdy that braising only softens up the leaves and infuses them with whatever flavor you like.

So try this: heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and add a half-cup of bread crumbs. Throw in a couple tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley as well, toast it all until nicely browned and crispy. Set it all aside.

The next thing you want to do is get a deep saucepan, add another tablespoon each of oil and vegan butter. Cut 5 or 6 Belgian endive heads in half the length-wise, laying them down cut-side on the pan. You won’t even begin to imagine how much fun it would be to watch the endive sizzle with the butter, enriching the flavors. Saute for three minutes while adding some minced garlic cloves and dried thyme, a cup of vegetable broth, kosher salt and black pepper.

The braising then begins. You let the pot slowly boil for a half-hour with the goodies in there. Turn each endive head over every ten minutes while you’re at it. Let the liquid evaporate, remove, put on a platter, and sprinkle with those toasted bread crumbs. Voila.

Talk About Wholesome… Which Many Never Thought Possible With Veggies (ORGANIC Veggies, to Be Exact)

Just writing this (and you reading this, hopefully) gets that stomach growling. Veggies definitely can do it up well. Just remember, though, that this particular idea exists only as a side dish given the lack of protein. But, in all honesty, what can you not add into the braising liquid to make it a true-blue meal?

That’s right. Nothing. You’ve got the goods right here. You’re most definitely welcome.

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Willy Shakes knows a good spun yarn as typical, but we’re pretty positive that he ain’t no cook by any means (we’re just guessing, though, because — after all, cooking is a culinary art). The question, however, does come up often — should you saute or not saute endives? After all, to saute means to completely soften up that veggie, and not every veggie can handle the heat. Thankfully, the Belgian endive is quite versatile as shown here, and here’s your proof that even the fire of the skillet can’t burn out a truly good endive head.saute-endives

Thankfully, It’s Arguably the Easiest Project to Saute Endives

Really, all you need is that skillet, some oil, and whatever seasonings you want to throw in. That’s it. Get some olive oil in the skillet, heat it up, throw in some garlic and maybe red pepper flakes. Simmer it up for a bit while chopping up some endive heads and then throw those in there with the culinary smelly-goods.

You, of course, have to watch what you’re doing. While the Belgian endives can take the heat quite well, the trick is pulling them off the skillet at the right time. The general rule is three minutes, tops. You want the endive pieces to still have some of that crunchiness they’re known for. Add salt and pepper to taste as well.

You don’t want to leave it at that, though, because in truth the endive is a beautiful vehicle for a plethora of gifts, like lemon juice. Squeeze some of it on top of your creation. That infuses the work with a bit of tangy sweetness for that bit of a kick.

You Then Have a Side Dish That Takes You Literally Less Than Five Minutes to Make

Can’t beat that ease of use in the kitchen, right? And you thought sauteing vegetables might be a bad thing. Shame on you. Hamlet would be ashamed.

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When you eat endives, do you eat them with a salad? No? Well, you’re missing out. There are lots of ways to eat endives, honestly, but mixing it up with salads just about takes the cake (not an actual cake, of course). But it has to be done right, pure and simple. It takes more than just chopping up the endives and throwing them in some romaine. Let’s go for something a little more detailed and culinary, like art.

You First Start With Some Tofu “Chicken” Salad When You Eat Endives

We know, we know. It doesn’t have to be tofu. You could use literal chicken if you really want, but that would defeat the purpose of a salad, right? Right. Hence why tofu does just fine in this example, but don’t dwell on the whole tofu thing. Remember: this is just an example.

With the tofu, you need to cut a block of the extra-firm stuff, pressing and draining them into small cubes. Steam them for up to four minutes. Next you heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet for the purpose of cooking that tofu. You’ll see why this is crucial, because as much as we love salad, we’re thinking about complete meals here — we need the protein, period.

Cook the tofu until brown on all sides — then remove onto a plate for cooling. Let it sit. Now it’s time for the fun….

This is where you get the goods for the salad in play: two celery stalks, and two tablespoons of parsley, finely chopped. Get some vegan mayo (4 tablespoons), and a tablespoon of each of these ingredients: Dijon mustard, garlic powder, mustard powder, kosher salt. Throw in a half tablespoon of black pepper, and you’re set. You can also sprinkle in some chopped toasted almonds.

Now the salad sounds good and all, but where do the endives come in?? Makes no sense. Here’s the trick.

Add the tofu, mix, and then break off some endive leaves. You use the leaves to eat your salad!

Convenient, Savvy, Smart, Easy, and Actually Pretty Cool

Who knew you had a way to save on some dishes by using those endive leaves? And you can eat them, too. Just another reason why these Belgian endives are among the best veggies to eat (and use as utensils. Pretty fun.).

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We’re willing to bet that many people don’t even realize that the pickle is actually a CUCUMBER. That’s right. In fact, pickling is its own brand of processing for food with a specific flavor. You can pickle just about anything — beans, carrots, beets, lemons, peaches, peppers — and, of course, cucumbers, and we then call them PICKLES, and you can find them just about in any grocery store.

The Thing Is — You Don’t Need to Buy Those ‘Pickles’ at Any Grocery Storehow to make pickles-1

You can actually make them yourself. And it won’t take so long either. At best, it’ll take you 30 minutes, and one of the secrets here can make it so the “shelf life” of your jar of pickles will last a really long time (read more below). Buy cucumbers in bulk and get to work with these three top secrets on how to make pickles on your own. Without help. Without driving to a grocery store.

It’s so easy that you’ll be blown away. Then you can practically jar your pickles and have them with sandwiches literally every week and you didn’t even have to buy the Vlasics to do it. Simple.

The Sad Thing Is No One Ever Wants to Do the Legwork

But it’s so worth it in the long run. And once you’ve got this down pat, it’ll be a no-brainer for you. In many ways, it’s honestly much healthier to go the natural homemade route versus driving to the grocery store. And you know we like healthy at Golden Gate.

Check out the tips for yourself. You’ll see it’s a whole lot easier than you think!

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Who knew that you should be selective when pickling cucumbers? As if there were certain secrets to effective pickling, right? The truth is this: the process is easy, but the product needs to be the best for it to have a lasting effect on you. Taste, seasoning, longevity: sometimes when you make your own pickles, they come out a little weird — and it just might be because you don’t necessarily have the best cucumbers out there. Quality matters.

How to Make Pickles Should Be All About How to Pick the Best Cucumberhow to make pickles-2

And this is the best advice you can get from any organic food website out there: Kirby Cucumbers tend to be the best. They hold up better than even those English cucumbers given the firmness and crunchiness. Some of the misfires end up a bit soft, flaccid, and rather blah, which comes with the territory associated with pickling. Don’t fret. That’s often the case when you soak a cucumber in a brine that’s designed to completely soften up the flesh.

So you need a cucumber that can hold up.

Persian cucumbers also can handle the brine quite well. The best part of those types of cucumbers is the fact that they have thinner skins, making them perfect for jarring in the pint sizes. Better storage. Here’s the best advice, though, when picking your ideal cucumber from the organics produce market: look for ripe and firm. Not ‘limp’ and ‘wrinkly’. You’ll be regretting the efforts over the latter, wasting your brine and your time.

One More Thing: Definitely Wash Those Cucumbers Up Good

You’d think it wouldn’t matter since you’re soaking those cukes. But it does. Wash them. And cut away any blemishes found, as well as any bruises on the veggies before pickling. Then you’ll be good as gold. The cool thing about pickling is the fact that you can do the same to just about any vegetable out there. Once you have a flavor you like, go with it. Run with it. Heck, you can even market the stuff on your own!

 

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Ever noticed how those grocery store jarred pickles can come in a variety of flavors? That’s no accident. Pickling is a versatile way to inject flavor into your favorite cucumbers. However…. You have to be a bit careful with what you try to do for several reasons. There are some mainstays for the type of brine combination you want to use as well as the herbs you want to infuse with it.

Think Dill Seed for Pickling — But There Are Other Flavors, Toohow to make pickles-3

Dill seed is the most common. In fact, many can’t help but think of pickled cucumbers when they smell dill! However, you can do some pretty nifty pickling when throwing in other stuff to round out the flavor and make for something so robust that you blow all the other supposed competition out of the water —

  • Garlic
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Mustard Seed
  • Celery Seed
  • Black Peppercorn

Actually just about anything (except for sugary additives, of course) could work well with pickling cucumbers, so feel free to experiment. Chances are good you should always stick with your base dill seed flavoring, but you know what’s even more important?

The Brine: the Basis for Great Pickling All Depends on It

Among the many secrets on how to make a pickle, knowing how to make the brine itself is 101 right there. The traditional way to do it is to make it with equal parts cider vinegar with salted water. Simple as that. Rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, and other vinegars could also work. You then soak the cucumbers in the brine for a while. As in you wait before eating. Sure, that would be agony, because you love those brined pickles and the rich taste. But it’s well worth the wait.

Like we said…. It’s an art form. Give it a shot. Those cucumbers will be happy when you do.

 

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It’s a choice, though — or, better yet, an option out of the steps to take in pickling cucumbers. How to make pickles is easy when you get the hang of of it, but if you want to store your jarred pickles and have them last a long time, PROCESSING is the way to do it. The thing is you get a trade-off with processing. Processed pickles tend to lose their crunchiness a bit, but they’ll last a lot longer in the jar. Want to know how long?

Pickle Processing Will Increase the Freshness of Your Pickles by About a YEARhow to make pickles-4

That means you can jar all your pickles, store them (not fridge ’em), and they’ll be good by 2018. No joke. And it doesn’t even take that long to process them.

The trick to processing newly pickled cucumbers is to bathe them in hot water for five minutes. That alone will ensure they last for that long in the jars. However, the downside is the hot water processing you put them through will actually cook the cucumbers just a little, enough for them to get that softer texture you might be familiar with.

Ever wonder why some of those jarred grocery store pickles tend to be a bit ‘softer’ — more flaccid? That’s why. They’ve been processed, so they last longer. It might be something you want to do if you’re interested in stocking up. However, if you don’t mind just eating them within a month or so, skip the whole processing process!

All You Need to Do Is Keep Your Jarred in the Fridge

They’ll keep for about a few weeks before going bad. Should give you plenty of time to eat them (ideally with a sub or sandwich). Some people like the fact that they keep so well in a fridge, but let’s say you like having them in stock for a very long time — pickle processing might be the option for you.

Either way, you’re golden with pickles, for sure. And for more information about Golden Gate Organics, simply read our blog! That will have an unlimited shelf life; we guarantee it.

 

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The crazy thing is this seems to be contrary to the point of vegetarianism: as in, vegetarians only eat vegetables. After all, it’s in the label! However, as lifestyles evolve and the whole point behind vegetarianism advances, it becomes clear — vegetarians don’t just eat vegetables. They actually eat a lot more! And they should…. So then why do vegetarians eat fish? After all, a fish is an animal. You’ve seen plenty of vegetarians say that they’re happy with cod or trout, and a lot won’t feel guilty about peeling open a can of sardines.

The Question of Why Do Vegetarians Eat Fish Does Have Three Answers, do-vegetarians-eat-fish-1Though

And they’re great answers. Undisputed even. We can’t call them hypocrites for good reason. The fact is there’s real science behind the study of “pescetarianism” (a form of vegetarianism supplemented by the consumption of fish), and it makes you wonder — you can have your cake (or in this case, tuna steak on the grill) and eat it, too!

These three reasons alone will ensure you, the vegetarian, will never feel guilty cutting into a healthy trout glazed with honey lemon sauce. Overall, though, we at Golden Gate Organics want to make one thing clear:

Health Ultimately Matters the Most

Arguably, fish may be the most “organic” meat known to man. You can’t really genetically improve it. You can’t beef it up with hormones. You can’t do any of that. They’re caught, iced, chopped, packaged, and shipped out to all our stores and restaurants. The fresh picks are always the best.

And here’s the best part: you can pair that fish with some lovely organic vegetables and fruit.

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Yep. That’s the story. And they’re sticking to it. Of course, there’s a lot of science backing that up among other facts proving that vegetarians can, indeed, say that they eat fish without being blasphemers. Of course, many reading this want the proof. Can fish feel pain?

That Is the MO of a Vegetarian, Seeing That Killing Animals for Food Is Cruel

We get it. Believe us. We’re only into organics, after all. Fish are animals, though — so how can it be possible that fish can’t feelvegetarians-1 any pain? It’s simple, actually — It’s all about the biology.

Fish brains structurally differ. Looking like beans, really, the genetic makeup of fish brains lack the neocortex typically present in mammals. The neocortex is what’s responsible for pain receptors, and it turns out fish literally have NONE of them. That literally means they can’t feel any pain. At all. Not even a little bit. Even sharks don’t feel pain!

We know what you’re thinking: those fish don’t look so good when chased by a predator or cut open by a knife. It’s true: their brains are designed to react to injury for obvious reasons. Fight or flight. Survival. It’s a necessity. The problem is that the mechanics don’t match up with the emotion and drive to avoid pain and suffering. Think of it as programming. Like a computer. When fish are programmed to twitch after being cut open, it’s perceived as pain (and, in fact, we interpret it as pain), but fish don’t feel it the way we do. They can’t.

They don’t have the emotion. The fear. The self-consciousness. Mammals, to a certain extent (especially us humans), however, can.

An Interesting Hypothesis Having NOTHING to Do With Food

But it’s still compelling to realize the facts. Eating a fish is no different than eating oregano. Plants live and breathe. Yet we eat them. They exist as part of nature, but not of their own choice or volition. And that makes them the delights we all enjoy with our organic food.

Mmmmm, now I feel like grabbing some whitefish at the local market.