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NBC's ' Produce Pete' sits down to talk about food access issues, the New York Green Cart Initiative and his own beginnings as a street vendor. He appears in the film THE APPLE PUSHERS (www.applepushers.com).
Pat and Produce Pete out for a fun day at Eden Garden Marketplace. Pat's getting better at picking fresh fruits and vegetables then i am.
Produce Pete and Hank inside the refrigerator at Katzman Produce at the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx talking vegetables.
Meet and Greet
12 noon to 3pm
Meet and Greet
12 noon to 3pm
6:30 pm to 9 pm
An evening of good taste
Purchase tickets online
Although they’re grown in other parts of the world, only in the United States do we use pumpkins to celebrate and symbolize Halloween. Many people never buy pumpkin except to make jack-o-lanterns, which is too bad because pumpkins supply more beta carotene per serving than any other fruit or vegetable. Some people use jack-o-lantern pumpkins for cooking, but they were developed specifically to be oversized and thin-walled with a huge seed pocket and a relatively small proportion of flesh. The smaller sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins, will give you more meat for cooking purposes and often a better flavor and texture. Sugar pumpkins make an especially delicious pumpkin soup. Buy an extra one, clean out the cavity, and use it as a striking tureen. If you can find it, I suggest using a variety called the cheese pumpkin for pies. It is a medium-sized to large pumpkin with a very flattened shape, a light tan shell, and orange flesh. Found most readily at farm stands and in New England, cheese pumpkins make delicious pies. Regular pumpkins—sugar and especially jack-o-lantern—sometimes make stringy filling. October through December Whatever kind of pumpkin you’re buying, select one with no bruises or soft spots. It may be greenish in color, but left whole in a cool place—not refrigerated—it will ripen and turn orange. Never handle a pumpkin by the stem because it breaks off easily. There’s a way to decorate pumpkins that’s different and colorful. Instead of cutting and hollowing out a pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern, try leaving it intact and creating a face with fresh vegetables. Depending on what you use, you can give the pumpkins a wide range of personalities. My mother decorated pumpkins this way because it preserved the pumpkin, which she could use in cooking after Halloween was over. She would use a carrot or parsnip to make a long, witchy nose. She would make lips out of red peppers, use radishes for the eyes and add string beans eyelashes. She would slice potatoes to make ears and make “hair” out of fennel tops. The result was unusual and very striking. My wife, who is quite artistic, picked up a lot of kitchen techniques from my mother and she has decorated pumpkins for my show that were really something to see.
I love apple season. There are few things better than a good apple eaten out of hand. Whether the flesh is mild and sweet or tart and winey, when you bite into it, a fresh-picked apple will make a crisp cracking sound and you’ll get a spurt of juice. There’s a season for everything and the main season for American apples starts the last half of October. I’ve probably said this a thousand times, but our problem in the United States is that we try to buy produce out of season. Many varieties will keep well late into winter, but by summer most apples have been stored for seven or eight months. No wonder they are soft, mealy, and without juice. When peaches and melons come in, stay away from apples. Come back when there’s a snap in the air, and you’ll remember what makes apples so good. Apples are one of the most esteemed fruits in the northern Hemisphere in part because they’re so versatile. They’re delicious raw, baked, dried, or made into apple sauce. They make great pies, apple butter, apple jelly, chutney, cider, and cider vinegar, and they’re a welcome addition to dozens of other dishes. A member of the rose family, apples have been known since ancient times and were cultivated by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Many places grow wonderful apples now, but overall, the United States produces the finest apple crops in the world. The Northwest, the East Coast, and parts of the Midwest, regions where the seasons change, grow the best apples. They’re not a fruit for hot climates. Only a few of the thousands of varieties of apples grown today are mass marketed, but there are many more out there than Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Macs. There are very old and very new varieties you may never have heard of. If you’re north of the Mason-Dixon Line, you’re going to find the best apples at local farm markets and stands, where they’re fresh-picked, and you’re likely to find great varieties you’d never see at the supermarket.
Season The vast majority of apples are picked from September through November and either sold immediately or put into cold storage, where some keep well – some don’t. The peak of the season for domestic varieties – when most stored apples still retain their snap – is generally over by December. A few will last through the early spring, but by March it’s hard even to find a good Winesap.
Selecting In most cases look for very firm, bright-colored fruit with no bruises and with the stem still on – a good indication that you’ve got an apple that’s not overripe. The apple should feel heavy in the hand for its size and have a good shine on it. A dull look usually means the fruit has been in storage too long, although some excellent varieties like Winesaps and eastern Golden Delicious have relatively rough skin with little or no sheen. As always, use your nose. An apple that smells great is going to taste great.
Honeycrisp: Sometimes the name of an apple says it all. Honeycrisp apples are honey sweet (with a touch of tart) and amazingly crisp, some say “explosively crisp.” It’s easy to see why this new variety continues to grow in popularity since its 1991 introduction in Minnesota. Supplies are limited for now but more Honeycrisp trees are being planted every year.
Empire: With the popular Red Delicious and McIntosh for parents, Empire apples were destined to be a hit. It’s a sweet-tart combination that’s great for everything. The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva Introduce3d this new variety in 1966.
McIntosh: Nothing evokes Fall better than the aromatic fragrance of McIntosh apples. People have enjoyed this apple since 1811 when John McIntosh discovered the first seedling. McIntosh apples grow particularly well in New York’s cool climate!
Macoun: Want a perfect no-fat dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth? Macoun may just be your apple, but, hurry, these special apples are only available in the Fall. Macoun was developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva in 1932. It’s named for a famous Canadian fruit breeder.
Probably originating in Persia or Afghanistan, but cultivated from southern Europe to China and Japan for thousands of y ears, this unique fruit is in a family all its' own. Pomegranates are usually about the size and shape of a large orange and have a thick, smooth, tough skin that's generally a coral red but may range from yellow to purplish red. Inside, scores of small seeds are encased in juicy, bright, cranberry-red "beads", of the fleshy seeds is sweet-tart and refreshing. The name pomegranate derives from the Latin, meaning "apple of numerous seeds" - and are they numerous! Pomegranates take a fair amount of patience to eat, but they're worth the effort. When I first started working on "People Are Talking", I asked Bette to seed a stack of pomegranates for me. The folks around the station loved it, but it took her six hours to get enough seeds for two bowls full! That's a loving wife for you. The pomegranate was a symbol of fertility to the Greeks. It is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament, and the pomegranate form was used by the Hebrews as an architectural motif. The remains of pomegranates have even been discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs. In ancient times pomegranate juice was used as a medicine and as a dye. In fact, it's still used to produce the beautiful scarlet color found in many Persian rugs. After the pomegranate was brought to Spain by the Moors, it spread throughout Europe. It was introduced to the Caribbean and California by Spanish missionaries about two hundred years ago. There are a few different varieties, but they show only slight variations in size, skin color, and sweetness.
Pomegranates are available from September to December, with the peak in October.
For a juicy sweet pomegranate, choose unblemished fruit that's heavy for its size. The larger the fruit, the better developed and sweeter the flesh inside - but it should always feel heavy in the hand. That means it has a lot of juice.
Keep at room temperature for six to seven days or refrigerate. Under refrigeration pomegranates will last three months or longer if it's in good condition. The thick skin protects the juicy flesh inside. Years ago, in fact, nomads took pomegranates with them into the desert as a source of water because they kept for a long time without drying out. Both the seeds and juice can be frozen.
To remove the edible seeds, either score the skin and peel it back or cut the fruit into quarters. Gently separate the seeds from the white membrane with your fingers. Remove the membrane completely, it's bitter and will make your mouth pucker. And be careful not to get the juice on your clothes because it stains. However you eat it, a pomegranate requires some time and patience. I often take a shortcut. I roll the fruit back and forth on the counter, much as I do lemons or limes, or thoroughly massage the whole fruit in my hands to gently crush the pulp and release the juice - always taking care not to break the skin. Then I take a small bite out of the skin and suck the juice out. Pomegranate fruit can be eaten plain or with a sprinkle of sugar or salt. Some people eat the seeds inside the pink flesh, some spit them out. The fleshy seeds make a beautiful ruby garnish when sprinkled over fruit salad, ice cream, or crepes, as well as over various cooked dishes from omelet's to grilled fish. Pomegranate juice is delicious on its own, mixed with other juices, or made into sorbet. To prepare the juice, put the fleshy seeds into an extractor or blender, process, then strain and refrigerate or freeze. Try freezing pomegranate juice in an ice cube tray to use later or to put into cold beverages - it makes an exotic drink.
Pomegranate syrup - grenadine - is excellent as a sauce for baked apples or poached pears and is an ingredient in some cocktails. To prepare, simply mash the fruit lightly with a fork, adding one part sugar and two parts of fruit. Let the mixture stand for a day, then boil, strain out the pits, bottle, and refrigerate.
Sauté garlic and oil until lightly browned and add broccoli rabe; sauté until tender. Strain the broccoli rabe and garlic mixture to remove the excess liquid. Chop the mixture finely, and set aside for later use. Cook the sausage meat and the diced onions until the mixture is fully cooked. Drain the sausage mixture of any excess liquid. Make sure the sausage and onion mixture is chopped, without any large pieces of meat. Add sausage mixture to the broccoli rabe mixture. Blend well. Next, add the ricotta, mozzarella, grated cheese and egg. Stir until mixed well. Add broccoli rabe and sausage mixture to the pie crust, and distribute evenly. Add pie crust over the top. Cut a vent hole in the center of the pie. Pinch the edges of the two crusts together. Brush the top of the pie and the edges with a beaten egg yolk. Place pie on a cookie sheet, and bake at 375° for 45 minutes to an hour, or until golden brown. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.
In a large bowl, mix together all the salad ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over broccoli and stir until well coated. Chill and serve.
Cut bottom core off escarole and rinse leaves well. In a large pot, put in escarole leaves and add 4 cups of water; steam until leaves are tender. Drain in colander and set aside. Place olive oil and garlic in the same pot and sauté garlic until golden brown. Add escarole and the remaining ingredients into the pot and stir. Heat thoroughly.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Peel, core, and slice the apples and place in a large bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and tapioca and stir together until the apples are well coated. Spoon the apple mixture into the pie shell. Dot with butter and set aside. Topping Place the flour, cinnamon, and sugar in a large bowl and cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture has the texture of coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top of the apples. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
Mama Louise’s Brussel Sprouts
1 pound brussel sprouts
Salt & Pepper
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup chicken stock
In a large skillet, heat oil medium to high. Add brussel sprouts and stir slowly until lightly browned. Add butter and chicken stock, cover and reduce to medium-low. Let simmer until fork tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Do not overcook.
4 medium-sized artichokes
2 cups breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
¼ cup water
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
Rinse the artichokes well, remove the small outer leaves from the bottom row around artichoke, cut off the stem and slice about 1 inch off of the top. In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and pepper. Add the melted butter, water and oil and mix well. If needed, add more water or oil to make stuffing very moist.Turn the artichokes upside down and press firmly to spread the leaves. Turn right side up and stand the artichokes in a large pot with about 1 ½ inches of water in the bottom. Cover and steam over medium-high heat about 20-25 minutes or until the artichokes are tender, checking the water level occasionally and adding more water as needed. Stuff the breadcrumb mixture into the center and inside surrounding layers of leaves. Put onto microwavable plate and microwave for approximately 3-4 minutes or before serving put into pan covered tightly with foil and place in 350° oven for approximately 20 minutes.
Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
½ cup orange juice
½ cup water
1 -cup sugar
1- 12 ounce package of fresh cranberries
Rinse cranberries. In a medium saucepan pour in orange juice, water and sugar stir until sugar dissolves and bring to a boil. Add cranberries and again bring to a boil. Reduce head and simmer for 15 minutes or until cranberries burst.
Optional: If you desire, you can add chopped nuts, diced apples, raisins or whatever you prefer to add.
Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.
Lemon Ricotta Cookies
Directions Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.Glaze:Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and
lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. Pack the cookies into a decorative container.
Cranberry Nut Bread
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated orange peel (optional)
1 egg, well beaten
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and lightly flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in orange juice, oil, orange peel and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool on rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.
Apple Cranberry Muffins
Yields approx. 36 mini muffins
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated apples
1 ½ cups dried cranberries
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350° degrees.
Combine the water, sugar, apples, cranberries, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool completely.
In a large bowl, add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and the nuts (if desired). Then add the cooled mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until well blended.
Fill greased miniature muffin tins to the top with batter or use mini cup cake paper liners. Bake for 15 minutes.
Managed and operated a family owned farm/produce business for retail, wholesale, and fruit baskets. Pete has been in the produce business his whole life, and started out selling produce off the back of a truck at auctions and at his parents' roadside stand. Pete's family has been in business since 1953 at the same location in Bergenfield, New Jersey. From 1971 - 1997 Pete owned and operated this family "seasonal" business that includes at Christmas - Christmas trees, wreaths, and fruit baskets. During Easter we sell various plants, gourmet baskets and fruit baskets - Mother's Day - plants, fresh cut flowers, fruit baskets. At Halloween - pumpkins, corn stalks, etc. The produce store is open between April and December with retail, wholesale, and fruit baskets.
In January 1998 he turned over the business to his son Peter Charles making him the 3rd generation to own Napolitano's Produce. In April of 2006, Napolitano's Produce closed it's doors after 53 years, a sad day but everything comes to an end. I would like to thank all the faithful customers who shopped my family store over the past 53 years. It was a privilege serving you. In June 2000 - he started as a Fruit & Vegetable Buyer for S. Katzman Produce at Hunts Point Market, Bronx, New York.Pete comes from a large family with his father being the 20th child - "That's why we are in the food business".