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Our Recipe to Make Mom Smile

Looking ahead to Mother’s Day on Sunday May 13th? Let us be your one-stop shopping spot: not only do our produce buyers Simon and Matt fill our sidewalk with beautiful flowers for the occasion (moms love flowers), but Kate on the grocery team has an amazing selection of chocolates to choose from (moms love chocolate), and Trac, our wine buyer, has wines to suit every taste (moms love wine). To keep up with the Joneses, we in the catering department have delicious spring specials for that perfect Mother’s Day brunch (moms love food)…

Rosé City!

Savory Tartlets with Fava Bean Puree, Olives, Lemon and Pecorino

Grilled Asparagus with Marcona Almonds and Shaved Manchego (moms love asparagus!) 

Bi-Rite Creamery’s Banana Cupcakes with Pecan Toffee Buttercream

Find these and more on our Peak of the Season Menu; give us a call (415-241-9760 x 1) or email us if you want to brainstorm an upcoming event together!

Sarah F.

Cooking with Curds: Epoisses Cheesesteak

Dear die-hard Philly Cheesesteaker,

In sharing the following recipe I’m not claiming it to be a legit Cheesesteak–I know it would never be possible for me to uphold the standards of what I hear about “REAL Cheesesteak.” I simply love the sandwich and I love this cheese we call Epoisses (from the land of French washed rind cheeses).  As a serious cheese nerd (cheesemonger) “it’s my kinda cheesewiz.”  I hope that everyone can appreciate the idea because it turned out absolutely delicious.

Dear French,

I am in no way trying to belittle the perfection of Epoisses…I understand that its origin is Burgundian, and it is best paired with Pinot, a baguette and solitude… However, I think this is an amazing addition to the Cheesesteak.

Look what happens when France meets Philly…I like this relationship.


Epoisses Cheesesteak

(Makes 2 cheesesteaks)

½ wheel Epoisses cheese

½ pound sliced roast beef

2 red peppers

1 yellow pepper

2 yellow onions

1 lemon

1 head garlic

1 pound Cremini mushrooms

2 crusty sub rolls

chili flakes



olive oil

1)   Preheat oven to 375°F.

2)   On a sheet tray rub down your whole yellow and red peppers with generous amounts of olive oil, salt & pepper.

3)   Roast peppers until done, approximately 20 minutes.

4)   Cut the stem side off your garlic to expose cloves.  Wrap with a large square piece of foil and generously rub with olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Twist foil to close and put in oven to roast with the peppers.

5)   Thinly slice onion into half-moons.  Heat pan, add olive oil, and caramelize onion slices.  Season with lemon, salt and pepper.

6)   Wash and slice mushrooms.

7)   In a separate pan add olive oil and heat until very hot, just before smoking. Add your sliced mushrooms and cook until they are brown and caramelized.  Add a pinch of chili flakes, salt and pepper to season.

8)   Once peppers are nice and roasted (dark color and soft) pull out and either with gloves or a towel remove the skin and seeds.  Julienne peppers.

9)   Combine caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms and julienned roasted peppers in one pan.

10)  Turn on your broiler, and get plates ready.

11)  Partially split rolls, leaving them slightly connected.

12) Coarsely chop sliced roast beef.  Taste and lightly season if necessary.

13) Heat pan HOT, add oil, and add roast beef to crisp the tips.

14) Reheat vegetable mix if needed and add a generous amount to one side of the roll.  Next, place meat in the middle, and then top with Epoisses cheese.

15) Place sandwich under the broiler and watch the Epoisses heat and become even gooier and seep into the crispy meat. Yum!

16) Pull out of oven and enjoy!  You might want to share this one…it’s quite decadent!





Kiko’s Food News, 4.20.12

I’ll be trolling the food-scape of Korea and Japan for the next few Fridays, so I hope this longer-than-usual digest will sustain you on food news until my return…

Is it a sign that the challenges of our food system have hit a breaking point when academics deem their study worthy of a degree? (full story, NY Times)

An economist applies his strategic approach to eking out the best of what restaurants have to offer; his tips include “beware the beautiful, laughing women “, “order what sounds least appetizing on the menu” and “prefer Pakistani to Indian and prefer Thai to Vietnamese”: (full story, The Atlantic)

Two new studies challenge our beliefs about food deserts, finding that such neighborhoods actually have more grocery stores and restaurants than others (did they look at the quality of fresh food available in these stores?); they also found no relationship between the type of food sold in a neighborhood and obesity among its children: (full story, NY Times)

At least New York City’s authorities believe certain areas are in desperate need of fresh produce; since 2008 they’ve authorized 1,000 new permits for street vendors who sell only raw fruits and veggies as part of their Green Cart initiative: (full story, NY Times)

A growing “domestic fair trade” movement formally recognizes and rewards farms working to address social justice, and is pushing forward a new “Food Justice Certified” label for farms (such as Swanton Berry Farm in Santa Cruz, whose Chandler Strawberries are so tasty right now!): (full story, Civil Eats)

On the heels of the decision last month by the FDA to allow continued use of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in food packaging, here’s a look at how exposure to BPA and other chemicals through food-contact plastics impacts our health: (full story, Washington Post)

Demand for chicken legs and thigh cuts is climbing as diners tire of white meat, TV cooking shows tout dark meat’s richer flavor, growing exports to foreign markets favor chicken on the bone, and rising US immigrant populations have a preference for dark meat: (full story, Wall Steet Journal)

I’m keeping my eyes on four new SF food businesses by the Flour + Water team–Central Kitchen (which will have a weatherproof back patio with hydroponic heating), Salumeria, Parlour bakery/café and Trick Dog bar–and found this diagram of how the block will be laid out helpful: (full story, Mission Local)

As a sucker for a dinner party, I have yet to try one of the online dinner party planning sites; the newest one acts as an organizer for a gathering–a place to list the menu, invite guests, and offset costs by adding a “chip-in” price: (full story, Tasting Table)


Register Recipe: Vieux Carré Cocktail

Some products we carry have simple beginnings, like a granola that’s conceptualized in a guest’s home kitchen. Others have a more flamboyant history. Three hundred years ago, alchemist Dom Bernardo Vincelli created the recipe for what is known today as Bénédictine. The recipe was lost for some time until Alexandre Le Grand, a collector of religious art, stumbled upon it. Today, workers distill and age Bénédictine in a French palace-cum-factory.  Architect Camille Albert designed the palace to be Gothic and magnificent—but then it burned down 4 years later. It was rebuilt by a new architect, and is just as grandiose as before, with Gothic and Renaissance influences. Should you find yourself in Normandy, it’s certainly a sight to see.

As with most liqueurs, the recipe for Bénédictine is highly guarded, only known by a handful of people at one time. The distillers combine brandy with plants and spices from across the globe. Their website describes Bénédictine as having a “distinctive aroma of spices and citrus fruit, offering notes of crisp freshness, softened by a touch of honey.” Its unique flavor mixes well with other spirits, such as bourbon, vermouth and bitters.  It’s also wonderful on its own, served neat or with ice.

Apparently today’s cocktail has quite a following, as many of our guests and staff members have been excited to see us sharing the Vieux Carré.

Vieux Carré

(from benedictinedom.com)

1/2 part of Rye whiskey
1/2 part of Cognac
1/2 part of sweet vermouth
1 bar spoon Bénédictine
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients in a rocks glass, add ice cubes, stir and serve.

Food Waste Challenge Day 4: Celery!

With Earth Day a mere three days away, I’m here to bring you our final food waste challenge highlighted food: CELERY! This one is the big kahuna, with more of you saying you end up throwing out limp stalks than any other food we heard about. Here are a couple of the comments from our guests about the challenge of using up the celery in your fridge:

I have never used more than a few stalks of celery out of a bunch before it goes bad. I guess I could just do the ants on a log thing.”–Tony

Definitely celery…I freeze veggie scraps for future broth/soup making, but too often, they appear freezer-burned by the time I am ready to make my soup. “–Emily

Celery tops are also a challenge. There are many Greek recipes that use lots of celery, including the leaves, but you certainly can’t use so much in stocks because it is a dominant flavor. A celery bunch can be stored in the fridge by putting the root end in a wide-mouthed jar with an inch of water and tent the top with a plastic bag. Celery strips are great
to serve with dips of all kinds. “–Carrie Rose

Before sharing our recipe ideas for celery, I want to let you in on the million dollar trick for buying celery at Bi-Rite: you can buy as many or as few stalks as you need! That’s right, we sell it by the pound, not the bunch, so you’re always welcome to take just as much as your recipe calls for if you’re worried a whole head is too much. And now, for the recipes…

Winter Celery salad

Alli, Grocery
Thinly slice equal parts celery and fennel (I use a mandolin to get them super fine).
Whisk fish sauce, sesame oil and light soy sauce to taste.
Toss together, adding cilantro, mint, or Italian parsley before serving. Delicious with fish!

Celery Leaf Salad with Blue Cheese, Belgian Endive & Citrus

Kirsten, Marketing

2 Belgian endive heads (or other chicory), chopped
1 C celery leaves, chopped
2 oz crumbled blue cheese
¼ C toasted and chopped walnuts
¼ C orange juice
¾ C olive oil
¼ tsp sugar or honey
Salt and pepper

Mix endive and celery leaves, reserving a few celery leaves for garnish.
Shake together orange juice and sugar. Whisk in olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour ½ of dressing over celery and endive, reserving the rest for another salad later that week.  Mix well with hands.
Place walnuts, cheese and reserved celery leaves on top. Serve with roasted chicken, farro salad, or a really awesome burger.

Everyday Tips for Celery

  • Don’t forget about ants on a log, the all-American snack! Smear peanut butter on a celery stick, top with a line of raisins, and eat those ants before they walk off! (Rosie, 18 Reasons)


Food Waste Challenge Day 3: Sour Cream!

For day three of our Food Waste Challenge, we’re turning our attention away from the produce section and towards the dairy case–of all the dairy items our guests told us they have trouble finishing, the one that we heard most often was the luscious, the tangy, the unbeatable classic…sour cream!

 Here are a couple of the comments we received about the challenge of using up the remaining sour cream in your fridge:

Sour cream — I only buy it when a recipe calls for it, but it isn’t offered in small containers, so I always end up throwing out the rest of the container.”–Daria

I’m with you, I’d never use the whole container of sour cream. “–Rachael

To the rescue, a few of our staff’s ideas for sour cream:

Saturday Sour Cream Griddle Cakes

Steffan, Manager

Yield: 10-12 4” pancakes

7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Maple syrup (grade B, baby!)

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat; you want it to slowly get nice and hot.
Stir the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in the bottom of a medium bowl. Dump the sour cream in on top and stir it together very gently; it’s okay to leave the texture a bit uneven.
Beat egg whites to stiff peaks.
Whisk the egg yolks and vanilla in a separate bowl and stir them into the sour cream mixture, once again being careful not to overmix. Gently fold in egg whites.
Melt about a tablespoon of butter in your skillet or griddle and pour the batter in, a scant 1/4 cup at a time. Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side, or until bubbles appear all over the surface, flipping them carefully and cooking for about a minute on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.
Serve in a stack, topped with a pat of butter and a cascade of maple syrup.

Everyday Tips for Sour Cream

  • Make an anytime, anywhere dip, also great for using up leftover herbs: Mix herbs, lemon juice, salt and sour cream to taste to make a fast, fresh dip, perfect for veggies, pita chips, or falafel. Try the fresh dill, mint & lemon juice combo! (Alli, grocery)
  • SUPER NACHOS: Use up your sour cream, herbs (cilantro, chives…), and citrus (squeeze of lime!) in one fell swoop.
  • Tangy chicken salad: Mix in sour cream instead of mayo when making your next chicken salad (with leftover roast chicken, herbs, and celery!)
  • Add a dollop to your next bowl of soup for a little creamy zing—sour cream’s not just for chili!



Food Waste Challenge Day 2: Citrus!

Continuing on with our spotlight on foods we need to work at not wasting, here are a couple of the comments we heard from our guests about the challenge of using up citrus before it goes bad:

Most attrition around our house is due to mold and slime. Mold most often in the form of citrus fruits that have sat too long in the damp climate and on cheeses that are a little past their prime.”-Sharyn

For those who throw out citrus, when I have too much, I press and freeze the juice and defrost when I have a friend coming over for cocktails.” -Laura


Photo courtesy of White on Rice

Preserved Lemons

Rosie, 18 Reasons

Pour ¼ inch layer of kosher salt into a sterilized glass jar.
Layer in quartered lemons, alternating quarters with tablespoons of salt. Really smash the lemons in there.
Add enough fresh squeezed lemon juice to come to top of jar, leaving ½ inch head space. Seal.
Leave out for one week, turning and shaking every 2 days.
Refrigerate and let preserve for two more weeks. They will keep for eons (well, at least 6 months) in the fridge. Awesome in salad dressings, over warm grains, in tagines, etc.

Tommys-Style margarita

Alli, Grocery

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
Add 2 oz reposado tequila, 1 oz lime juice (or experiment with any kind of citrus!), and ½ oz agave nectar or sweetener of your choice.
Shake well and strain into rocks glass.

Any Citrus Curd

Alli, Grocery

Yield: 3 cups

3 lemons or limes or 1 grapefruit (for zest)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup citrus juice (lemon/lime/grapefruit)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Carefully remove peel from citrus, avoiding bitter white pith. Put zest in food processor, add sugar + pulse to finely mince zest.
Cream butter + beat in sugar-citrus mixture. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Add citrus juice + salt. Mix until combined.
Pour into 2-quart saucepan + cook over low heat until thickened (~10 min), stirring constantly. Curd will thicken just below simmer, so don’t let boil. Remove from the heat + cool or refrigerate.
Serve on toast, dollop on yogurt, or pour into pre-baked shortbread crust for a pretty tart.

Everyday Tips for Citrus

  • Remember, citrus is an acid. Replace vinegar with a squeeze of lemon juice on cooked greens, stick an orange in your next chicken before roasting, brighten your curry with a squeeze of lime.
  • Next December, make your own candied citrus peel and give it as a gift!


Si’s April Produce Outlook

Throughout January and February the warm and dry weather had everyone thinking it was going to be an early harvest of spring crops. However, a few weeks of cold rain and the spring crops are ripening slowly.  Nonetheless the future looks bright–stone fruit trees have blossomed without being damaged and are starting to set fruit, so it should be an exciting summer for produce around here.


Citrus is still the go-to fruit in the produce department, and the late season flavors have been wonderful! Seedless Pixie tangerines from the mountains of Ojai are tasting like candy, and the blood oranges finally have that perfect balance of sweet/tart flavor with berry-like after tones.

Local strawberries have started up and the flavor has been great for early season fruit.  Swanton and Mariquita farm are growing two different varieties of strawberries. Swanton is known for their delicate but extra-flavorful “Chandler” strawberries and Mariquita grows the big and juicy “Albion” strawberries.  We’ll have both of these varieties throughout the summer into the fall.

Don’t forget local cherries will start up in the beginning of May, weather permitting! And due to harsh weather we haven’t had a solid local crop of apricots in the past few years, but as of now things look good, so keep your fingers crossed.


Organic asparagus from Full Belly has been so tender and yummy, and the best flavor is yet to come!  Full Belly will have a steady supply of grass for at least the months of April and May.   They also grow amazing red spring onions and green garlic, which are the perfect springtime pizza toppings.

Little gems have started up and have become one of the most popular spring crops over the last couple years.  With a crunch like Romaine and sweetness of butter lettuces, this is a very versatile lettuce. 

Catalan Farm in Hollister has been bringing us amazing snap and snow peas, and local fava beans should start up by the end of the month. English peas need a little more time than other pea varieties to form, but should be available very soon.

The wild ramps and fiddlehead ferns are on the shelves and drawing more and more attention from all of the creative cooks that shop at Bi-Rite!

And we have a rhubarb sighting! Most of the early season rhubarb comes from the Northwest and has been having a hard time turning from green to red in the cold weather.  The first organic crop will be arriving mid-April and the price will be high due to the demand.  The quality and price should improve just in time for strawberry-rhubarb pie for Mother’s Day.



Food Waste Challenge Day 1: Herbs!

Happy first day of Food Waste Challenge, everyone!! To give you a recap, we reached out to our online community and asked what you end up throwing out most often. You can check out all of the awesome feedback and waste-quenching ideas that were shared here. We then sifted through all of the responses and chose the food items that we heard most frequently–the ones so many of you are unhappy to say you throw away often. Then our staff got to work, coming up with recipes that use these foods as a key ingredient.

This week, when you walk around the floor of the Market, you’ll see the special “food waste challenge” items highlighted alongside recipe cards with tips from our staff. Please take one! And don’t hesitate to buy these foods, because we’re donating 10% of the proceeds from sales of the highlighted foods this week (up to $1,000) to Three Squares.

Each day this week I’ll choose one of the “food waste challenge” items and share our staff’s ideas for using them on our blog. So today for the big kickoff, we give you….


Here are the few of the comments we heard about the challenge of using up herbs before they go bad:

Whole bunches of herbs are a challenge. Except for basil, when making pesto or parsley, I end up drying the rest when I’d really rather have fresh herbs.”- Carrie

I certainly have troubles with herbs as well! They seem to go to waste as I can never finish using them all. “- Kelly

Herbs is a tough one & thx for the “any herb pesto” suggestion — great idea!…For carrot tops, herbs, veggie skins, and so forth, keep a plastic bag in the freezer for your “scraps” and make your own veggie stock. All great ways to get the most out of your veggies!“-P.K.

Slime usually affects cilantro that I do not use fast enough — the stems will slime over whether I keep it in water or in plastic.“-Sharyn


Quick chicks with herbs

Mira, Deli

“My recipe calls for rosemary, but I’d substitute just about any herb I’ve got around that needs usin’ [cilantro, sage, parsley etc]. I like it with lemon zest, or you can just give the chickpeas a squeeze of lemon juice when they’re done.”

1 can chickpeas

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 Tbsp chopped garlic

1/3 of lemon zested

3/4 tsp kosher salt


Drain + rinse chickpeas, then pat dry.

Heat olive oil over med-high + cook chickpeas for 5 – 7 minutes, until they get a little darker, shrink a little + form a crust.

Toss in rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, salt + pepper. Heat till garlic turns translucent.


Catch-all Cilantro Sauce

Alli, Grocery

Combine the following in a blender or food processor + puree until smooth: 1 cup cilantro, 2 cloves garlic, 1 jalapeno, ½ cup walnuts, 1/3 cup lemon juice, ¼ tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp black pepper.

Add up to ¼ cup water to thin to desired consistency.

Serve on chicken, fish, Indian food, as a veggie dip, etc.


Everyday tips for herbs

  • Throw whatever herbs you have laying around into a bunch of eggs with cream or cheese of some sort (chevre goes especially well with lots of herbs) and you have the makings of an herb frittata. (Ben, produce)
  • To save herbs for later use, freeze them in ice cubes, or dry them by hanging them up against a sunny window sill or putting them on a sheet in a low-temp oven. (Ben, produce)
  • Throw herbs on the brink of going bad into a container in the freezer along with chicken bones, cheese rinds, and other stock-ready ingredients.



Kiko’s Food News: April 13, 2012

The Tokyo-based company that makes methyl iodide used by strawberry farmers has withdrawn the controversial fumigant from the U.S. market, a victory for public health and the environment: (full story)

Although physicians are on the front lines of the nation’s diabetes and obesity crises, many graduate from medical school with little knowledge of nutrition, let alone cooking; cue a much-needed new group of physicians, public health researchers and distinguished chefs that seeks to tear down the wall between “healthy” and “crave-able” cuisine: (full story)

Fascinating to see the way Google uses its analytical toolbox to strategically encourage employees to eat healthier at work: (full story)

The Humane Society released the results of an undercover investigation into Kreider Farms, a major factory farm that produces 4.5 million eggs each day for supermarkets like ShopRite; findings included the fact that it’s hard for workers to breathe because of the ammonia from manure pits, 11 hens were jammed into a cage about 2 ft by 2 ft, and hens with their heads stuck in the wire are left to die (full story)

Saturday Night Live takes a jab at the packaged food industry in this skit where Kristen Wiig tries to pass fake pizza off as “food”: (full story)