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A Member of Edible Communities

Winter Warm 2018 No. 27

Travel Issue

In Season

Tastes of Sicily

The Fit Foodie

Aged balsamics Gourmet condiments Kitchen linens&aprons Bird’s-eye maple cutting boards Slate cheese serving boards Original paintings Cookbooks

Visit us at and order ingredients for cooking exceptional meals, accessories for entertaining and original art for your home. Contact us at and start tasting West Coast Flavor today. 714-744-9844


Contents Winter Warm 2018

10 Features 10

A Tour of Old World Sicily


The Fit Foodie

By Michele Jacobson

By Marey Ibrahim

Cover Photo: Martin Molcan 2 Winter Warm 2018

In Each Issue



Editor’s Note


In Season

By Gina Mullins Cohen

By Gina Mullins Cohen

24 Our Advertisers

Recipe Box 15

Sicilian Capanota By Michelle Scicolone

30 17 17

Fig Torte Ericina (Carmelized Fig Torte By My Little Italian Kitchen

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Editor’s Note edible Communities 2011 James Beard Foundation Publication of the Year

An Orange is an Orange, or Is It? Spending my time between Orange County, California and Loudoun County, Virginia is not always easy. Sometimes it seems as soon as I settle in to one place, I am off to the other, but recently, while on a weekend road trip through Virginia, to see where my grandfather had lived as a boy, I discovered another Orange County, Orange County, Virginia. Orange County, Virginia is a magical place, but quite different than Orange County, California…or so I thought at first. Geographically, Orange County, Virginia, located in the Central Piedmont region of the state, is made up of rolling hills and farmland. It was also home to James Madison, the 4th president of the United States, his wife Dolley Madison, as well as Zachary Taylor, the 12th president of our country. There are countless things to do in Orange County, Virginia as well as some extraordinary food and drink artisans. One can visit historic Civil War battlefields, manor-house museums or even the birthplace and home of a president. Orange County, California keeps in step. Yorba Linda, the birthplace and childhood home to U. S. President, Richard M. Nixon, is a remarkable museum. Whether you are a fan of Nixon or not, this museum is not to be missed the next time you celebrate a staycation. Nixon also lived in a beach community in San Clemente. The common thread that I find most appealing, however, is the one that speaks to food. Both counties, although thousands of miles apart, offer an abundance of fresh, produce through local farmers’ markets and a variety of local eateries espousMontpelier, home to ing the joy and spirit behind President James Madison a good meal. and his wife Dolley. Wherever you are in Orange County, California, Orange County, Virginia or Orange County, Florida - and I could name several more – enjoy not only what is served to your table, but those sharing the abundance with you, at your table. You might be dinning with a president, lunching with a parent or having afternoon tea with your best friend, but remember wherever on Dolley Madis you are to eat good food, laugh a lot and James Madis choose to be happy. on, 4th Presi dent of the United States. –Gina Mullins Cohen 4 Winter Warm 2018


Orange County® Published by Eclipse Media Partners, LLC Editorial Staff Gina Mullins-Cohen Editor 310-721-3093 | 949-315-6445 Bill Cohen Editor: Arts and Culture 310-721-3093 | 949-315-6445 Robert D. Mullins Investigative Reporter Editor 310-721-3093 | 949-315-6445 Kim Mabon Creative By Design Creative Director 951-226-5617 Moe Goode Web Master Digital Magazine Producer Creative By Design Advertising Gina Mullins-Cohen Publisher 310-721-3093 | 949-315-6445 No part of this publication may be used without written permission from the publisher ©2017. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and notify us. Thank you.

In Season

Winter Warm By Gina Mullins-Cohen


Artichokes Basil Beans (Green) Beets Brussels Sprout Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Celery Chard Chili Pepper Citrus: •Lemons •Valencia Oranges Collards Corn Cucumber

Eggplant Grapes Guava (Pineapple) Kale Kiwi Kohlrabi Lettuce Mushroom Mustard Okra Onion (Dry) Onion (Green) Peppers Pomegranates Potatoes Spinach Summer Squash

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Asparagus Avocados Beets Broccoli Cabbage Cauliflower Celery Chard Cherimoyas Blood Orange Grapefruit Kumquats Lemons Naval Oranges Tangelos/Tangerines Dates, Medjool Kale Kohlrabi Mushroom Mustard Onion, Green Passion Fruit Peas, Green Strawberries

Asparagus Avocados Beets Broccoli Brussels Sprouts Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Celery Chard Blood Orange Grapefruit Kumquats Lemons Naval Oragnes Tangelos/Tangerines Dates, Medjool Kale Kohlrabi Lettuce Mushroom Mustard Onion, Green Spinach Strawberries Turnips

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10 Winter Warm 2018

A Tour of Old World


By Michele Jacobson

icily is a feast for the senses. The land itself is an intense ochre color, dotted with dark green foliage and baked by the Mediterranean sun. Ruins are scattered like building blocks left behind by a childgiant. Intact temples stand huge and hulking, as they have for thousands of years. Everything about the place just feels old. Not that Sicily isn’t worldly; but it is old-worldly in a complex and guarded way. After my time there, I grew to understand and adore the people and the place, not to mention the food.

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Sicily is starkly different from the rest of Italy. I learned it is a region entitled to home rule in order to preserve its distinct culture and language. Most residents speak Sicilian, not Italian. Ancient civilizations figure prominently in Sicily’s history, such as the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Saracens; and knowledge of Greek or Ro-

I bought little bags filled with spice blends of fennel, oregano, thyme, red pepper and basil, and others with the traditional Arabic mixture of pine nuts and golden raisins.

man mythology will put you ahead of the curve. The ancients come alive here. Humans inhabited the island as far back as 8,000 B.C. The Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Spanish all invaded and held power for a time. By 700 B.C. Syracuse, in the southeast corner of the island, was a hot spot of the ancient world. A mosaic of nationalities that passed through over thousands of years left their imprint on the island, with food, culture and architecture. I knew this trip would be an expedition. I painstakingly planned out an itinerary, detailing landmarks, cities and beaches to visit, and regional specialties to sample. And for the most part I stuck to the plan, navigating over 900 miles of beautiful coastline, starting with Palermo in the upper northwest and traveling counter-clockwise to trendy Taormina in the northeast. Sicily feels like it has an invisible division; the western provinces are decidedly Arabic in flavor, with couscous as prominent as pasta on the menu, and Arab quarters and monuments alongside churches and cathedrals. The people seemed more stoic and reserved. Yet, the further east we headed along the southern coast, the more Greek the mien became, in both the openness of the people as well as the flavors of the food. Catania, I discovered, is a far cry from Corleone. It’s said that Sicily is where the gods feast. The sheer amount of fresh produce available at the many outdoor markets could inspire even the most spiritless cook. While walking along the Mercato il Capo, Palermo’s open-air marketplace, I saw unusual cucuzza (zucchini) over two feet long, and mollusks, just out of the sea, that squirt me as I passed by. There were stands filled with ripe olives, local cheeses and artichokes, and tomatoes the deepest shade of red I ever saw. I bought little bags filled with spice blends of fennel, oregano, thyme, red pepper and basil, and others with the traditional Arabic mixture of pine nuts and golden raisins. I stowed them in my suitcase to cook with at home; months later they are giving me delectable flavor memories of my trip.

Colorful stalls of vegetables and fruits in the Palermo Street Market of Old Town Sicily 12 Winter Warm 2018

One week in Sicily: Fly into Palermo and spend two days taking in the multitude of churches, palaces and outdoor markets. (2 nights)

Greek and Roman ruins in Siracusa, just a short cab ride away. Take in the culture, go to the lido (beach decks) to swim, watch perfect Mediterranean sunsets from outdoor cafes. (2 nights)

Rent a car and head southeast to Agrigento. Spring for the 5-star Villa Athena,

Drive north up the Ionian coast to

relax at the pool with the Temple of Concordia sitting majestically in view. Skip the lines and walk through groves of almond trees to the ruins at Valle dei Templi, the largest archeological site in the world, circa 5 BC. Eat dinner at Kalos. (1 night)

Drive east along the coast, making a stop at the beautiful beach at Scala dei Turchi. Head to wonderful Ortigia, off the coast of Siracusa. Make an advance dinner reservation at the very special Lucia Regina in the Piazza del Duomo. Visit the

cosmopolitan Taormina. En route you can take in views of the highest active volcano in Europe, Mt. Etna (10,810 feet). Stay near Taormina’s old city and ride the funicular to the beaches. Make granite mandorla and gelato from Gelatomania on the Corso Umberto staples of your so-called diet. Eat Pasta alla Norma at lively La Scala and get tickets for the opera at the ancient Teatro Antico, the Ancient Greek Theater. (2 nights)

Depart from Catania airport.

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Fields of almond trees in the countryside.

Sicily’s volcanic-rich soil and mild Mediterranean climate provide ideal conditions for a wide variety of crops that are grown regionally and then used to make Sicilian goods with pride. Almond trees are abundant, in both sweet and bitter varieties; however Sicilian almonds rarely leave the island. In the Baroque hilltop village of Erice, legendary pastry chef Maria Grammatico uses only almonds from the southeast city of Avola to make almond-based confections and marzipan in her Pasticceria. Over 50 varieties of ancient wheat grow on Sicily. The most popular, Tumminia, is stone-ground to make the rustic black bread of Castelvetrano, which is served everywhere. The other wheats are used in pastas, pizza dough and other types of bread. Honey, especially from orange blossoms (Miele di arancia), is produced in Zafferana Etnea, a town on the southeastern side of Etna.

Marsala wine is made in the southwestern town of that name. There are two major wine regions in Sicily, one on the west coast, near Marsala, and one on the east coast, near Mt. Etna. Sicilian viniculture dates back to the Phoenicians, or even earlier. The town of Modica is world-famous for its chocolate, Cioccolato di Modica, which can be traced to the Spaniards, who brought their ancient Aztec processing methods and cocoa beans to Sicily. Sea salt from the marshes of Trapani, with its picturesque medieval drying windmills, are an integral ingredient in Sicilian cooking. Pistachios from the town of Bronte, on the western slope of Mt. Etna, are used in all types of food, especially pesto and gelato. Sicilian cuisine is a combination of many different cultural elements on the island. A mixture of Arabic, North African and Italian, it may be the first example of fusion cooking! Nuts and raisins (sultanas) add sweetness and crunch to many dishes, spices like saffron, cinnamon and

Over 50 varieties of ancient wheat grow on Sicily. The most popular, Tumminia, is stone-ground to make the rustic black bread of Castelvetrano, which is served everywhere.

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RECIPE Sicilian Caponata INGREDIENTS Olive or canola oil for frying 2 eggplants, about 1 lb. each, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes 2 red or yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch squares 2 large yellow onions, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 3 tender inner celery stalks, sliced 3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped 1 cup chopped pitted green olives 1/3 cup raisins 2 Tbs. capers, rinsed and drained 2 Tbs. sugar 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar Sea salt, to taste 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted DIRECTIONS: 1. Pour olive oil into a 1/2 inch deep, heavy fry-pan then place over medium heat until hot. 2. Oil is ready when an eggplant cube dropped into it sizzles upon touch. 3. Working in batches, carefully arrange the eggplant cubes in the pan in a single layer, being careful not to crowd them. Cook, stirring occasionally until the eggplant is tender and browned 7 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the prepared platter. Repeat with the remaining eggplant. 4. When the eggplant has been cooked, fry the bell peppers in the same way until tender and lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes, and then drain on

paper towels as well. Finally, fry the onions and celery together in the same way until tender and golden, 7 to 8 minutes, and drain. 5. While over low heat, in a large saucepan, mix the tomatoes, olives, raisins, capers, sugar, and vinegar. Stir well. Add the fried vegetables and just a pinch of salt. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens - about

20 minutes. Add a little water if the mixture begins to dry out. Remove from the heat, transfer to a serving dish and let the mixture cool-down. 6. Upon serving, sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top. 7. Serve with slices of crusty bread or focaccia. Serves 8 to 10. Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007).

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Pasta con le sarde. Sicilian dish of pasta with sardines

Palermo street food is notorious, though it is not always for the faint of palate. Arancini, deepfried rice balls, are usually filled with ragù, peas and mozzarella, or spinach and cheese, or sometimes even chicken livers.

hot pepper add color, heat and depth of flavor. Specialties vary with the region, and sometimes the name of the dish reflects where it originated. Busiate con Pesto Trapanese is a twirled wheat pasta dish, with a uniquely Sicilian pesto sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, basil and almonds. Couscous alla Trapanese is handmade couscous served with fish broth, made with saffron, paprika, garlic, parsley, tomato and Mediterranean seafood, topped with almonds. Pasta alla Norma is Casarecce (or other short pasta) combined with tomatoes, fried or sautéed aubergine, grated ricotta salata cheese, and basil. This is perhaps the most famous Sicilian pasta dish, emanating from Catania. Caponata di Melanzane is a Sicilian specialty consisting of cooked aubergines, onions, tomatoes and vinegar. Regional varieties may also contain celery, capers and olives, or pine nuts and raisins. It is always a perfect balance of sweet and acidic flavors. Pasta con le Sarde is Bacatini pasta, mixed with sardines, anchovies, wild fennel, saffron, pine nuts and sultanas, topped with bread crumbs. An iconic Sicilian dish, it is associated with Palermo, but found everywhere in Sicily. Palermo street food is notorious, though it is not always for the faint of palate. Arancini, deep-fried rice balls, are usually filled with ragù, peas and mozzarella, or spinach and cheese, or sometimes even chicken livers. Pane panelle e crocchè are chickpea fritters and potato croquettes served on a bun with a squeeze of lemon. Pani ca’ meusa? Just a spleen burger. Stigghiola are roasted sheep or goat intestines served with onion. Though Sicilians eat these with relish, I stuck with the arancini. People ask “Is Sicily safe?” Well. We were ripped off at the airport, pick-pocketed on a bus and threatened by the (alleged) mafia over a parking spot. (My husband, dubious, countered that he was from Brooklyn. I, however, was petrified, and made him give up the spot. Tough guy.) On the other hand, the roads were modern and safe, and we walked everywhere freely. When we were hungry, restaurants opened for us after hours and fed us like kings. When we were in need, strangers exhibited incredible acts of kindness and generosity. The saying goes that a Sicilian friend is a friend for life. We are now so honored. Sicily is not only a feast for the senses, but a gift for the heart.

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RECIPE FIG TORTE ERICINA (CARAMELIZED FIG TORTE) INGREDIENTS To be used for the upside down portion 6 tablespoons butter, melted 2/3 cup light/medium brown sugar 12 figs, cut in half lengthwise To be used for the torte 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature 2/3 cup granulated sugar 1/3 cup light/medium brown sugar 2 large eggs, room temperature 1/2 cup sour cream 1/4 cup whole milk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups AP flour

1 teaspoon orange zest 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Using butter, grease a spring-form pan. Cover the sides and bottom of the pan. 2. Pour the melted butter into the pan. Evenly sprinkle with brown sugar. Starting from the middle, place the figs cut side down in the pan, creating concentric circles of figs as you go outwards. Set aside.

3. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, sour cream, whole milk, and vanilla extract. 4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, orange zest, baking powder, and salt. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing until just combined. 5. Spread the batter evenly on top of the figs and bake for 1 hour. Allow cooling for at least 10 minutes before inverting over a cake tray. Enjoy! From My Little Italian Kitchen.

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The Fit Foodie


Hottest Healthy Food and Beverage Trends for 2018 BY MAREYA IBRAHIM, THE FIT FOODIE

Mareya Ibrahim is The Fit Foodie. She is the creator of EAT CLEANER® and the Cleaner Plate Club, teaching families how to enjoy cleaner, safer, longer lasting fresh food. She is also a featured chef on “Everyday Health’s Recipe Rehab” and hosts “Fit Foodie” Fridays on Channel 6 San Diego. This time of year, she can’t get enough of golden beets, butternut squash and Branzino.


hen I started in the food industry 26 years ago, I could never have imagined the number of options that would one day be available. These days, you get to choose from over 35,000 products and navigate a sea of new food terminology and complicated “labelese” vast enough to make your eyes glaze over like Cronuts (wait, that trend was, like, so 5 years ago). With all of these products that claim to be good for you, plus the growing amount of food documentaries jockeying for your attention, it’s hard to know what to eat anymore, for fork’s sake! For six years, I have accurately predicted the Top Eight Healthy Food and Beverage Trends, and once again I’m here to help you break through the “bull” like a master butcher. In 2018, we’re returning to food basics, going in deep with collagen and rediscovering the cherry – it’s not just for pie anymore. This year, start with your gut and you’ll soon be navigating the aisles like a pro. Let’s explore the top eight taking over this year’s plate, as well as some new, noteworthy trends popping up from

kiwi land. New Zealand is showing up on the food and bevvy map big time with everything from luxury sparkling water (Kopu), grass-fed and plant-based protein powder (Kura), Manuka honey (Biohoney) and more lamb than you can shake a stick at, as cuisine straight from my peeps in the Middle East is taking off. Pull up a chair, let’s get crackin’!

1) ROOT TO TABLE We all know the importance of filling up on fresh fruit and veggies. But by the time these yummy morsels arrive on our plates, they have already lost a ton of nutrients - up to 77 percent of Vitamin C within just a week of harvesting, according to the University of California, Davis.1 The solution? “Living” produce! All over the country, this ultra-fresh option is popping up at local markets. These are veggies still attached to their roots to help maintain nutrients and prolong shelf life. According to Pete’s Living Greens, their escarole, endive, cress and lettuce blends last up to 18 days, compared to an average 3-5 days for your typical bagged salad. Roots-on varieties are grown hydroponically and without the use of insecticides, making them a healthier, more eco-friendly choice. For an even fresher take on homegrown taste, companies like Agres1

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sively Organic allow you to cultivate up to nine veggies in one foot of space with a hydroponic growing kit. You can harvest your very own nutrient-rich salad anytime you’re ready to eat.

2) GOOD GUT HEALTH 2.0 How well does your gut garden grow? Probiotics are already BIG, with gut health-boosting, bacteria-rich foods like kimchee, kefir and craft kombucha growing in popularity. New products like Alive & Well Probiotic-Rich Organic Olives which are grown, harvested and cured in Greece also hit the mark with good gut health. These microscopic, healthy bacteria are critical for regulating hormones, absorbing minerals and contributing to overall

Roots-on varieties are grown hydroponically and without the use of insecticides, making them a healthier, more ecofriendly choice.

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The Fit Foodie

good health. In 2018, the focus will shift to PREbiotics. Think of them as the fertilizer that helps your good gut bacteria grow like gangbusters. Look for prebiotic fiber powders containing ingredients like Jerusalem artichoke, inulin, acacia and chicory root. Products like MCT oil boosted with prebiotic fiber make it easy to get your daily dose.

3) COLLAGEN COMPLEX Paleo diets put protein on a pedestal, and now, collagen is getting its turn in the spotlight. Think of it as the “glue” for your hair, skin, nails, bones, tendons and ligaments, with a full spectrum of amino acids to support hormone production, a healthy metabolism, cell regeneration and your “bow chicka wow wow” drive. Collagen production drops significantly after the age of 35, so as the Boomers age and everyone searches for the fountain of youth, its popularity will surely skyrocket. In 2018, look for collagen products in the form of flavored bone broth powders from Paleo Pro, and heat-andsip organic beverages from Bru with greens, turmeric, beets and other anti-inflammatories. You’ll also see beauty boosting collagen added as a flour substitute into products like waffles and pancakes and as a protein option at your local smoothie bar.

your staples aren’t as multi-functional as a Swiss army knife, they’re just… basic. In 2018, look for products that are pumped-up with multiple nutrient boosting add-ons, including antioxidants such as Camu Camu, Sacha Inchi Seed and Baobab. Plant-based Omega 3’s like flax meal, chia seeds and hemp seed are on the rise, along with antioxidant herbs like turmeric, clove and cinnamon. Plantbased protein and activated charcoal will be big hits in 2018 as well, so it’s time to get used to the idea of drinking BLK water and brushing your teeth with black toothpaste.

Collagen production drops significantly after the age of 35, so as the Boomers age and everyone searches for the fountain of youth, its popularity will surely skyrocket.

4) BOOSTED BASICS These days, even foods multi-task. You can’t hold anyone’s attention for very long without offering major benefits in return. You used to buy flour, peanut butter, sugar, water, milk, coffee and bread, but if

5) ALT COFFEE You’re talking to a girl who owns a coffee mug that says, “But first, coffee.” Admittedly, I’m a little skeptical about caffeine alternatives, but the experience of coffee without the coffee is ontrend, as people are trying to find more caffeine free zen in their cups. Look for coffee alternatives from companies like Four Sigmatic, which packages brain-boosting mushrooms in instant powder form, and Teecino, which harnesses the power of herbs like dandelion root in steeping bags. You’ll also see loose teas that are brewed like coffee with Mokapots, along with pour-over cones and ground roasted cocoa beans for your Aeropress from companies like Teaspressa. Get ready to rock your mornings a little more non-traditionally.

6) HOT SH*T! With our senses on high alert, it’s no surprise that our quest for bigger, bolder and hotter is following suit. Fueled by voracious YouTube eating contests, foods and beverages are gearing up to light your tastebuds on fire with an intensity that leaves you going holy SH*T – from super bold to off-the-Scoville chart. Look for spices like ginger, black pepper and clove that add sweet 20 Winter Warm 2018

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The Fit Foodie

heat to desserts and beverages. You’ll also find ginger making an appearance in the liquor aisle, where products like Barrow’s Ginger Liqueur will add some serious kick to your night. If you thought Tabasco was spicy, it’s time to pull up your big boy panties. Peppers like Carolina Reaper – weighing in at over 2 million Scoville Heat Units, 500 times hotter than your average jalapeno – will grace the obvious hot sauces and also make its way into snacks, drinks and chocolate. If you can’t stand the heat, this hell’s kitchen is not for you.

7) INTRODUCING THE NEXT ‘IT’ SUPERFOOD – TART CHERRY “That’s Cherry” will take on a new meaning in 2018. Different from your everyday sweet, dark cherries, tart cherries are sour, small and bright red. Little but mighty, these berries have one of the highest ORAC scores - topping blueberries, pomegranate juice and tea by almost triple - with a mega boost of anthocyanins to battle free radicals and repair cell damage. Tart cherry is also known to reduce pain and inflammation, and help with post-exercise muscle soreness. Also a natural source of melatonin, you can now replace your sleeping pill with a deliciously tart alternative. Available in many forms – fresh, frozen, dried, chocolate covered, concentrated powder and juice – look for it in baked goods, jams, sauces and beverages, with companies like Cheribundi offering a variety of ready-todrink juices featuring the tart little powerhouse. Tart cherry filled gourmet donuts, anyone?


Tart cherry is also known to reduce pain and inflammation, and help with post-exercise muscle soreness. Also a natural source of melatonin, you can now replace your sleeping pill with a deliciously tart alternative.

These little spark plug peppers are showing up on menus everywhere, taking over where fried calamari and edamame once reigned supreme as a fun, shareable appe-teaser. According to Robert Schueller, Marketing Director for Melissa’s Produce, sales of shishito peppers increased over 25 percent from October 2016 to September 2017. These cancer-fighting peppers are full of active capsaicin and antioxidants, and are super easy to prep and eat. Just toss with a little coconut oil and roast or grill on a flat top until soft and blistery, add a dash of smoked sea salt, then pop the whole thing into your mouth (removing the stem). So deliciously addictive, I double dog dare you to eat just one. Mareya Ibrahim, aka The Fit Foodie is an award-winning entrepreneur, chef, author, patented inventor and 25+ year food industry veteran. She is the founder and CEO of Grow Green Industries, Inc., the makers of the patented eatCleaner product line. (,

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Edible Orange County Winter Warm 2018  
Edible Orange County Winter Warm 2018