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Archive for January, 2012


Kiko’s Food News 1.27.12

Yes we all have different tastes–that’s what makes the world go round–but what is it that makes certain foods so polarizing? (full story)

Paula Deen’s unfortunate diagnosis with diabetes exposes the disconnect between what we see chefs cooking on TV and what viewers should actually be learning to cook: (full story)

One response to this disconnect between restaurant dining and health is Halfsies, a social initiative preparing to launch in Austin and NYC. It offers restaurant-goers a choice that provides a healthier portion size, reduces food waste, and supports the fight against hunger: (full story)

In order to devote more time to changing national food policies to help consumers, Gary Hirshberg is stepping down as the CEO of Stonyfield Farm and handing over responsibilities of the organic yogurt company to the former CEO of Ben & Jerry’s; his focus will be on U.S. agriculture policy, and fundraising to get Obama re-elected:(full story)

Almost a year after the earthquake and tsunami caused a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Japan is still struggling to protect its food supply from radioactive contamination. The discovery of tainted rice and contaminated beef have left officials scrambling to plug gaps in the government’s food-screening measures: (full story)

Korean as the new Thai, QR’s on packaging, and the full list of food trends witnessed at the Winter Fancy Foods show in SF two weekends ago:  (full story)


Radicle Papyrus: Julia Goodman Returns to 18 Reasons

photo from inthemake.net

18 Reasons has eagerly awaited the return of Julia Goodman, artist and papermaker, to our space. About a year ago, Julia joined us along with sound artist Scott Cazan to host “Transparent Substrate”, a beet papyrus workshop and hands-on exploration of pre-paper technology using the amazing, edible, seasonal beet. During the workshop, Julia discussed the range of materials used prior to the invention of paper,  then led the group in pounding out their own piece of beet papyrus.

Julia’s returning next week with a new exhibition, which will be here at 18 Reasons from February 4-March 31. We want to share her below artist’s statement with you so you can read up before you come and see the exhibition in person. You can get an idea of Julia’s process from these brilliant photos of Julia taken for website In the Make when they visited her at home last year  (thanks to Klea McKenna for letting us re-purpose them here).

harvesting beets for the papyrus, photo from inthemake.net

If I were you, I’d join us for her opening February 4th from 6-9PM or at 18th Hour any Thursday in February or March–that way you can enjoy a bevvie and bite while you take in Julia’s work. Both take place at 18 Reasons at 3674 18th St.

“RADICLE PAPYRUS”

Part 1:

For RADICLE PAPYRUS, Julia Goodman makes papyrus out of beets using bold colors and diverse symmetries that exist underground. Her continued interests in mortality and scarcity influence her use of delicate materials. The work establishes the existence of overlapping territory between the history of papermaking and the root vegetable. The exhibit includes related sound collaborations with Scott Cazan.

photo from inthemake.net

Part 2:

“With the abundance of paper used today throughout the world in books, magazines, and newspaper and for writing, it is difficult to conceive that there was a period of thousands of years when true paper did not exist.  At the present time it would be impossible for civilization to endure, even for a day, the total lack of paper – a material that is as little understood by the average consumer as it is indispensable.”

Dard Hunter, Papermaking: The History & Technique of An Ancient Craft (1943)

My work originates from my investigation into the materials used before the widespread availability of paper, known as pre-paper technologies. Using this root vegetable and its incredible staining powers, I explore the different steps in the papyrus making process. The result is a thin, transparent, skin-like, intensely colored material. There’s something simple and satisfying about repositioning a material and letting light come through something that grows underground.

Julia in her Bernal backyard, photo from inthemake.net


Linh

Recipe: Our Chicken & Prosciutto Chowder

Last week, we received an email from a guest saying she’d had the Chicken & Prosciutto Chowder from our deli and it was “just fantastic!!”.  She asked if we could share the recipe, so we asked Wyatt, our chef who made it. Wyatt comes from a strong cooking background, most recently having worked at Jardinière in Hayes Valley, and has quite an arsenal of recipes up his sleeve.  Here’s how he made this soup–let us know how it goes for you at home!

Bi-Rite Market’s Chicken & Prosciutto Chowder

1 clove garlic, minced

2 cups yellow onions, medium diced

1/4 cup butter (if you have pork fat, use 1/2 pork fat, 1/2 butter)

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 cups milk

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups bell peppers (medium diced)

Chef Wyatt, always happy to share tricks of the trade

(NOTE: the above ingredients may be used as a base for any chowder, just add the other flavors as you choose. Below are the additional ingredients for this particular one)

2 cups fennel (medium diced)

2 cups celery (medium diced)

2 cups cooked chicken (medium diced)

1 cup prosciutto (sliced into small thin strips)

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup lemon juice

Dash of nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Cut all veggies, proteins and herbs

2. Sear your peppers, celery, fennel with a little oil until they are just soft. Pull them off heat and set aside.

3. Gently melt butter, then add your onion, garlic, bay leaf, and cook slowly for 10 minutes. Keep a close eye not to caramelize the onions and garlic.

4. Add your flour and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring constantly so you don’t burn the flour. It should start to smell nutty and a little like popcorn.

5. Add your wine, let reduce for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir again so it doesn’t burn.

6. With a whisk slowly start adding all your liquid in two batches. Make sure to whisk so that the flour is incorporated each time, and to prevent the roux from separating. Bring to a boil.

7. Once it’s started to boil, turn heat down to a simmer (don’t continue to boil or it will burn. Flour and dairy products are very sensitive to heat.) Add your proteins and veggies, and let simmer for about 20 minutes or so. Pull off heat and add lemon, parsley, and a dash of nutmeg.

Wyatt’s tricks of the trade (for any recipe!):

1. Season throughout the cooking process: when sautéing veggies, when adding liquid, and when checking at the end.

2. Have fun and trust your instincts!


Anne and Kris

Taking Our Ice Cream on the Road at Golden Glass

On Saturday February 4th, we’re taking our ice cream on the road and serving mini sundaes at the 8th Annual Golden Glass to support Slow Food San Francisco. Join us at Fort Mason Center’s Herbst Pavilion from 1-5; we’ll be serving mini versions of our popular Sam’s Sundae, this time with vanilla ice cream, olive oil, maldon sea salt and whipped cream.

This annual fundraiser brings together wine and food artisans from around the world in celebration of Slow Food’s work to advocate for sustainability, biodiversity and preservation of food traditions. You’ll be able to taste hundreds of wonderful wines and enjoy dozens of dishes from great local restaurants while benefiting Slow Food San Francisco’s work with their School Garden Initiative and Slow Food’s Arc of Taste program.

Tickets are $80 for food and wine, $30 for food only. Slow Food Member discount available here.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Meet us at Ft. Mason for some of this!


A is for Alpine

Frau Samantha dreaming alpine

Alpine cheeses, also commonly called mountain cheeses, are one of my favorite styles of cheese, especially those from the French and Swiss Alps.  I love them for many reasons, not only for the taste and diversity of flavors, but also for the rich history that gave rise to a beautiful and nourishing tradition.  Mountainous regions are home to extreme conditions: brutally cold snow-filled winters, quick summers and a limited growing season.  The short growing season in these regions, often combined with jagged land ill-suited to cultivation, has over the years challenged mountainous populations to develop a way to feed themselves throughout the year. Cheese, essentially preserved milk, was a natural solution to this quandary.  Pristine lush pasture and bountiful water sources became available as the snow receded each year and provided seasonal nourishment for the animals and a way to capture the bounty of summer and preserve it for the long winter.

Out of these circumstances, a few common traits have evolved to define alpine cheeses:

Historically, they are larger wheels (no tiny crottin here!), like Comté and Gruyère

Why? Size matters.   Alpine cheeses in the Swiss and French Alps are traditionally made from cow’s milk, and cows produce far more milk than sheep or goats.  Also, a larger wheels allows the cheese to age longer than a small wheel, giving it a longer shelf life and ensuring that those captured summer nutrients remain good throughout the winter, when they were needed most.

The curds are cut into very small rice-sized pieces

Why? Alpine cheeses were historically made with very fresh milk that didn’t rest long before the cheesemaking process began.  This meant that the natural development of lactic acid bacteria, crucial to development of lactic acid and the expulsion of whey during the cheesemaking process, is limited.  This problem was exacerbated by the limited amount of salt (historically a heavy and limited resource in the mountains).  Cutting the curds into tiny particles helped dramatically increase the surface area, aiding the expulsion of whey from the curd.

Extra aged Bergkase: It's not often we get to cut into a wheel this big!

The curd is cooked in copper kettles and pressed

Why? The heat and pressure further expulse whey, concentrate the curd and give the curd a tightly-knit structure with a closed rind.  This results in a yielding paste and a cheese that’s sturdy enough to travel and age, but not crack.

Come by for a taste of some of the new arrivals, including:

Scharfe Maxx—firm and powerful, this cheese is made by three cheesemakers in Hatswil, Switzerland who wash it in brine and herbs and then age it for 6 months.  It’s sharp (as the name suggests) and occasionally barnyard, but always creamy as it’s made with whole cow’s milk and some added cream in the cheesemaking process.

Jura Erguel—hailing from the Canton Jura, this cheese is grassy and fruity yet can have a bit of a bite to it.  This recipe hails from the second century and the cheese is still washed in brine and aged for 5 months.

Extra Aged Bergkäse—Don’t think the French and Swiss have all of the fun, Austria is a land full of mountains too!  Mild yet interesting, this is a great introduction to the meaty and winey notes characteristic of alpine cheeses.  Made by a co-op in the tiny town of Sibratsgfäll, it’s washed in wine and herbs and aged for 12 months.

Appalachian—a beautiful American take on alpine cheese from Meadow Creek Dairy in Galax, Virginia.  The unique square shape differentiates this cheese just as much as the buttercup yellow paste from the rich Jersey cow milk.  Notes of fresh cream and mushroomy forest floors complement the silky texture.


Kiko’s Food News: 1.20.12

Backyard gardens grow the kookiest things: a Swedish woman lost her wedding ring in the 1990’s–guess where she found it last month?? (full story)

Hostess (of Ding Dong, Sno Ball and Ho Ho fame) has filed for bankruptcy and I’m torn as to how I feel about it. The nostalgist in me mourns the disappearance of my dad’s favorite childhood treats, but a much bigger side of me is celebrating changing consumer preference towards real food! (full story)

Still, some packaged foods giants apparently have money to burn: Kraft is rolling out a new cheese product called “Kraft Fresh Take” (sounds more like a news segment than a food!) and advertising it with a $50 million campaign: (full story)

And Burger King is testing out delivery at about 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, targeting busy families by offering meals that can feed a small army; options include 10 cheeseburgers and 20-piece chicken tenders (all for $14.49), or 40 piece chicken tenders and two drinks (for $10.99): (full story)

The battle against food waste rages on, this time in the form of a new strip that can be adhered inside packaging to make strawberries shipped from overseas last two days longer: (full story)

“Mahele” is Hawaiian for “to share in the work is to share in the bounty”; at the 170-acre farm of that name on remote Maui, the harvest doesn’t belong to any one person, community members are invited to work the land, and when they’re ready to leave, they fill a bag with as much fresh produce as they need to feed their families: (full story)

If you save enough toothpicks from your deli sandwiches, maybe some day you can make one of these: (full story)


Linh

Late Winter Menu 2012

Seasonal Sandwich

Korean Beef with Kimchi, Basil Aioli, Lettuce & Pickled Onions on an Acme Roll $8.99

From our Deli Case

Roasted Brussels Sprout and Green Lentil Salad with Pomegranate Seeds $7.99 /lb

Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean and House-Cured White Fish Salad with Frisee and Pickled Onions $8.99 /lb

Spicy Soba Noodles with Grilled Hodo Soy Tofu, Oyster Mushrooms, and Peanut-Sesame Dressing $8.99 /lb

Farro and Root Vegetable Salad with Hot Peppers, Sautéed Winter Greens and Grilled Balsamic Onion Vinaigrette $8.99 /lb

Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli with Indian Spices $7.99 /lb

Red Beets with Toasted Hazelnuts, Blood Orange Vinaigrette and Chevre $7.99 /lb

From our Self Service Case

Spinach Salad with Shaved Red Onions, Pecans, Israeli Sheep’s Milk Feta and Red Wine Vinaigrette $5.99 /each

Braised Achiote Pork with Seasonal Vegetables and Heirloom Beans $10.99 /each

Grilled Wild Salmon with Mushroom Sauce, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Seasonal Greens $11.99 /each


Maria

Maria’s Crafty Delicacies: Winter’s Best

Here are a couple of my favorite quick dishes using the hearty veggies we have on hand through the winter–a good addition to any crafty chef’s repertoire!

Raw Kale Salad

Raw kale makes for a surprisingly supple yet hearty salad that is fun to make. This is a great dish to brighten and lighten up a potluck in these post-holiday weeks when we may not be feeling so light. I usually like to make my kale salad with carrots and scallions, but it can become a beautiful and fresh side dish to any meal with pears, citrus, or other seasonal fruit.

Take fresh, washed kale. De-stem and cut or rip into small bite-size pieces. Use a big bowl and add kale, thinly sliced red onion, grated ginger, salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar and a LOT of olive oil. Here’s why you’ll want to use a big bowl: dive your hands in and massage the kale with a lot of love for about a minute or two. This will help the greens break down to become softer and more palatable. Top it off with sliced fruit or loose pomegranate seeds, and some freshly shaved parmesan for salty balance.

Fennel Butter

Herb butters are a super easy, fun way to add some extra flavor to anything you make, even if it’s just on a great piece of bread. Fennel butter is an especially great one with its sweet, delicate taste. You can make fennel butter a few different ways. You’ll always want to use room-temperature butter, to make sure you get well-incorporated flavor distribution when mixing together. You can use fennel pollen directly, or finely chop the feathery, bright green fronds of a fennel plant, or use fennel seeds. If you use fennel seeds, toast them first, as toasting dry herbs and spices helps get the flavors going and deepens the taste. Put the fennel seeds in a cold pan on the stove-top, bringing the pan and seeds up to heat together. It should only take about 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until you start to smell the herbs. Grind the seeds in a coffee grinder and mix them right into your butter.

You can experiment with other herbs — fresh rosemary, sage, lemon balm, lemongrass, mint….the list is endless. Make a few different ones for the table with a fresh loaf of bread and let your guests decide which one they like!

In this column, Maria from our grocery department shares her favorite recipes that are “so easy they almost makes me feel like I’m cheating! Only you have to know how silly-easy they are. “


Linh

Valentine’s Day Menu 2012

Available Saturday, February 11th through Tuesday, February 14th

From the Deli

House Poached Wild Gulf Shrimp $24.99 / lb
Fresh Steamed Lobsters market price
Fresh Dungeness Crab Meat $34.99 / lb
Crab Cakes $7.99/ each
Seared Tombo Tuna Steaks with Olive Saffron Tapenade $9.99/ each
Slow-Roasted Wild Salmon with Citrus Fennel Salad $9.99 / each
Chicken Cordon Bleu $8.99/ each
Herb Roasted Root Vegetables with Garlic Oil $5.99 / lb
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Herbs and Fontina $8.99 / each

From the Butcher and Seafood Case

Fresh Oysters (market price)
Paddlefish Caviar $30.00 / oz
California Osetra Caviar $75 / oz
Petrale Pinwheels with Fresh Herbs – ready to poach! $19.99 / lb
Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallop Skewers $24.99 / lb
Fresh Liberty Farms Duck Breasts $18.99 / lb
Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Tenderloins $14.99 / lb
Five Dot Ranch Filet Mignon $29.99 / lb
Estancia Rib Eye Steak $14.99 / lb

Valentine’s Wine Suggestions

n/v Monthuys Pere & Fils Champagne $29.99
Finding good Champagne under $30 is difficult, but finding a GREAT Champagne in that price range is nearly impossible. Monthuys is a small, independent grower-producer, dedicated to sustainable farming and honest winemaking. Produced from mostly Pinot Meunier, the Champagne shows pleasing hints of fruits and honey with a round and dry finish. A triple crème cheese like Brillat Savarin is a great match for this wine and a true indulgence!

n/v Pierre Moncuit Rosé Brut $49.99
Pink is the official color of Valentine’s Day so try this Rosé from Pierre Moncuit. This is made with Pinot Noir purchased in Ambonnay and added to a base of Grand Cru Le Mesnil Chardonnay. It’s relatively pale in color, as Moncuit prefers light rosés, and it shows a pungent burst of redcurrant and red cherry fruitiness while retaining the elegance of Le Mesnil. The finish is fresh and fragrant, supported by firm acidity and a brisk chalkiness, and its lively balance invites you to drink more of it.

2008 Luciano Landi “Gavigliano” Lacrima di Morro d’Alba $19.99
If a dozen long stem roses is too much of a cliché for you and your Valentine, try this amazing wine from Lucian Landi – the vinous equivalent of a bouquet of flowers. Lacrima, an indigenous Italian grape from Piedmont, makes light bodied red wine that smells uncannily like roses!

And check out our ideas for chocolates and other gifts that would make Cupid proud!


Kiko’s Food News: 1.13.12

Three points for government involvement in our food supply and consumption this week. First, in an effort to sustain fishing for the future, the US will this year become the first country to impose catch limits for every fish species it manages; this policy, forged by the Bush admnisitration and finalized with Obama’s backing, marks an unusual collaboration across party lines: (full story)

Second, the USDA’s trying to play an active role in Americans’ day to day health: their new “SuperTracker” website offers three ways to track our diets: (full story)

And third, New York City’s Department of Health has decided that oversize restaurant portions are making New Yorkers fat, so they’re taking aim at the food industry in a new subway ad campaign launched Monday: (full story)

A growing number of grocers are signing up to have the packaged foods they sell evaluated and ranked for nutritional content.  But I’m with Marion Nestle on this one:  “it doesn’t matter whether one potato chip is slightly better for you than another….if you want to encourage people to eat healthy, you want to encourage them not to eat food products. You want them to eat real food.”: (full story)

Everyone has their favorite parts of favorite foods, whether it’s muffin tops or the white middle of an Oreo; increasingly, food fanatics are finding each other online, creating Facebook pages that focus on favorite parts of food (like “I love sticking my finger in the cake and eating the frosting”), and innovating around their favorite parts to create tools like the “bagel scooper” and “edge brownie pan”: (full story)

In what seems to me like a reaction to consumer aversion towards their over-roasted coffee beans, Starbucks is launching a “blonde” coffee line; interesting to see the big dogs changing their offerings due to preference for beans that taste truer to their pre-roast flavor (a trend we’ve witnessed here at the Market): (full story)

Todmorden, a town in England’s West Yorkshire, has a “cheeky” plan: they want to be first town in the country to be self-sufficient in food by 2018: (full story)


Faun

How to know our daily menu specials without leaving your internet browser

Picture yourself at work.  It’s about 1 pm. You’re cranking on a killer project, time’s flying and you realize you haven’t eaten lunch. It’s cold outside, so soup might hit the spot. You know good ol’ Bi-Rite serves hot soups from scratch every day, but your desk mate is hogging the phone so you can’t call and ask what the daily soups are. You don’t want to risk walking all the way over and finding out that the two hot soups of the day are a creamy potato leek and a seafood chowder, while your New Year’s resolution was to swear off leeks and chowders (work with us here). You wish you had some way to check on our daily hot soups without picking up the phone….

Know your options before you're standing in front of the deli case

Bi-Rite deli crew to the rescue! Our own resolution for 2012 is to allow you to check on our daily hot soups (every day we offer one vegetarian and one not) and dinner specials (those platters on top of the deli case heaped with dishes like Meyer lemon & garlic roasted chicken, mushroom risotto,  pork empanadas, seasonal vegetable salads and more that our kitchen puts out every evening) without having to pick up the phone. So we’re posting daily specials online to our twitter and facebook pages! Here’s how it will work:

  • Every morning around 9, we’ll post our two soups of the day
  • Every evening around 4 or 5, we’ll post our dinner specials
  • In order to get all the latest, you’ll need to either like us on twitter or follow us on facebook!!

We’re bringing you into the inner circle of Bi-Rite lingo when we post these– twitter’s need for brevity demands it! So when you see “chix”, it means “chicken”, and when you see “rizo”, it means “risotto” and….we’ll let you decipher the rest of our Bi-Rite deli code.

Thank you to all of our guests who have suggested over the past months to make this info available in an easily accessible spot–we agree, it’s a no brainer!


Raph

Olio Nuovo’s Zingy Arrival

Now that holiday hubbub is behind us, we can concentrate on the excitement that comes with the arrival of locally produced Olio Nuovo.  Producing Olio Nuovo is a tradition that celebrates the first crush of the season.  The freshest possible olive oil you can purchase, Olio Nuovo is bottled immediately and isn’t filtered or put into tanks.  As a result, the sediment doesn’t have a chance to settle, leaving us with an olive oil whose flavor profile is much more intense than olive oil that has had a chance to settle. This brightest and most pungent incarnation of olive oil occurs the moment the olives are pressed.

Right now, we’re offering two Nuovos from a couple of our favorite producers: Bozzano Olive Ranch and Hillstone Olive Oil.  Bozzano’s Olio Nuovo is made from 100% Organic Leccino Olives which are grown in the San Joaquin Valley.  The Leccino olive is native to Southeastern Europe and other areas of the Eastern Mediterranean Basin.  The oil has a beautiful golden color and is very vibrant in character.  Upon tasting, the oil starts off slowly with notes of cinnamon and bitter herbs; it then becomes quite pungent on the palate, with hints of mint and a long lingering peppery finish–a surprisingly unique and exciting oil!

Hillstone’s Olio Nuovo is produced by friends Laurie Flynn and Amy Delbondio in Yolo County.  Made with 100% Arbequina olives, it has a strong aroma and a lot of character.  Flavors of green almonds and granny smith apples are followed by notes of bitter greens.  The oil has a floral quality which complements the bitterness, and a nice peppery finish completes this gem.

Olio Nuovos are volatile! They haven’t rested for months like standard extra-virgin oil, so we encourage you to consume them before the olive particles sour. We’re showcasing these two special oils for the next few weeks accross from our fish case; as always, you’re welcome to taste any oil we sell–just ask us!