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Fresh this week 9.07.2010


The Starkrimson pear has a beautiful full red color and a very juicy, sweet and floral flavor. Make a display of these in a fruit bowl; they are as beautiful as fresh cut flowers. But when you eat them you might want to lean over the kitchen sink because they are so juicy and sweet!! Their sweet floral flavor also compliments strong cheeses. Together with goat cheese or blue cheese they really dress up a salad.

These herald the first of the pear harvest and will likely need to ripen a few days before use.

To hurry the ripening process, keep pears at room temperature, each piece individually wrapped in paper, or enclosed in a paper bag ventilated with a few holes. Check them with some frequency. Pears ripen from the inside out. Looks can be deceiving so test the stem end for that slight “give” to tell you when the pear is ready. Ripe pears  should also be slightly fragrant. Ripe pears should be stored in the refrigerator. See the recipe on the back of the newsletter for Ashley Rodriguez’s delicious Sautéed Pears with Toffee Sauce, an excellent way to enjoy this crisp pear.

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Store: Wrapped loosely in plastic, cilantro will keep in the refrigerator for one week as long as the leaves are not wet. If the leave become wet (don’t wash them until you are ready to use them) they will quickly spoil. Rinse cilantro well before using as it may have soil or grit clinging to its leaves and stems.

Prep: When you are ready to use cilantro, take the whole bunch holding onto the stems and dunk it into a bowl or sink of cool water. Gently swish back and forth to rid the leaves of any sand or grime.

Shake cilantro well to remove excess water, then pat dry with a towel.

Begin slicing through stems with your chef’s knife. Slice off only as much as you need; the unused portion will last longer uncut

Holding your knife’s tip steady on the board while you rock the blade back and forth, finely chop cilantro. Take care not to over-chop, or cilantro will turn black.

Wrap unused cilantro in damp towels used to dry off the washed cilantro and place inside a resealable plastic bag. Your herbs will last three to five days in the refrigerator, as long as you keep the towel slightly damp.

Use cilantro in fresh salsas, southwest dishes, add it to beef or meat filling in a taco or burrito. Use as a marinade to spice up meat dishes. Cilantro is also used in many delicious Asian dishes, salads, dressings, and soups.

For a simple and delicious guacamole recipe featuring cilantro, go to

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Store: avocadoes should be sotred at room temperature to allow them to ripen to their desired stage. Place in a brown paper bowl or in your fruit basket to ripen them.  When ripe they need to be used with in a day or two.

Prep: To peel, grip the avocado gently on one side with one hand. With a large, sharp knife in the other hand, cut the avocado lengthwise around the seed. Open the two halves to expose the pit. At this point there are a few ways you can proceed to remove the pit from the avocado half that has the pit. One way is to make another cut, lengthwise on the avocado half that has the pit, cutting around the pit, exposing it so that it is easier to remove. You can also use a spoon to scoop out the pit.

At this point, you can either scoop out the avocado flesh with a spoon (for making guacamole), or slice the avocado into segments. To make it more easy to scoop out the avocado flesh, take a small dinner knife and gently make cuts in the avocado flesh in a cross-hatch pattern, careful not to break through the avocado peel. Then use a spoon to easily scoop out the avocado pieces. If you are making guacamole, don’t worry about slightly discolored or brownish sections. Scoop them up with the rest of the avocado to mash.

For step-bt step photos of this go to