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Archive for the ‘Eat Good Food’ Category


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Cook Your Heart Out with Phyllis Grant

 #BiRiteCommunityEats with Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella

FullSizeRender[15]Last weekend, we let Phyllis Grant of @dashandbella loose in the Market and asked her to please, cook her heart out. This weekend, she’ll be taking over our Instagram to give us a peek into the deliciousness that came out of it.

Phyllis’ cooking is the avocado and citrus laden dreams that we always hoped for Northern Californian cuisine to be, with a serious dollop of crème fraiche and real talk on the side. Just looking up #hellasalads on Instagram ignites a desire for crisp romaine hearts and green goddess dressing we never knew we had, and an ache for anchovies we never ever signed up for. Such is the power of Phyllis.

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Phyllis’ #BiRiteCommunityEats Weekend Menu:

Baby Gem and Radicchio Treviso Salad

Citrus Layer Salad

Anchovy, Gouda and Crème Fraiche Toasts

Beer Braised Beef Tacos with Quick Pickled Jalapeños and Onions

Chocolate Brown Butter Cupcake Brownies

Saturday: Make your crème fraiche and pickles, make your dessert-  just pop those suckers out of the cupcake pan right after they cool so they don’t stick and put them in a ziploc bag until tomorrow.

Sunday: Make your stew, while stew cooks, make your toasts and vinaigrette for salad, when the stew is out of the oven and the meat is cooling, prep you salads by washing greens and cutting citrus, shred the meat and put back into braising liquid, assemble salads but don’t dress, assemble toasts and EAT. Dress salads, put out condiments for tacos, heat tortillas and reheat meat, assemble, FEAST. 

CRÈME FRAICHE

 2 parts heavy cream

1 part buttermilk

Find a large glass jar. Fill it halfway up with heavy cream. Add half as much buttermilk. Stir. Let it fester at room temperature. All weekend. Without a lid. Leave it in your windowsill or next to your stove or on your kitchen table. If there are any kids around, give them the job of stirring it a few times a day. And tasting it. It will thicken. It will start to make your mouth pucker. Take it further than you think you should (in hot and humid weather, the souring process can happen very quickly so be vigilant). When you’re pleased with the flavor, cover and store it in the fridge.

FullSizeRender[3]QUICK PICKLES

 I use red wine vinegar for red onions. I avoid white onions because they can get slimy. A combination of white, champagne, and apple cider vinegar works well for jalapeños. Use the brine for everything from salad dressing to meat marinade. Don’t try to pickle the red onions and jalapeños together, it will not be pleasant or pretty.

 1 cup vinegar

1 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp white sugar

½ red onion OR 6 jalapenos

Combine 1 cup vinegar, 1 tsp kosher salt, and 2 tsp white sugar. Bring it to the boil. Turn down to a simmer. Add your pickling ingredient. Cook for one minute. Turn of the heat. Cool. They keep for a few weeks in the fridge.

FullSizeRender[11]CHOCOLATE BROWN BUTTER CUPCAKE BROWNIES

Dude. These are so decadent. And so easy. Just trust that you don’t want to overcook them so follow the recipe pretty carefully. And they are hella hard to get out of the cupcake pan so use lots of butter/flour or non-stick spray. And definitely use a non-stick cupcake pan or else you will be cursing me. My mom likes them with crème fraîche. My husband likes them with vanilla ice cream. My brother likes them with crème fraîche AND ice cream. I like them for breakfast with coffee. They freeze beautifully!

Recipe via Food52

BEER BRAISED BEEF TACOS

If you don’t have a powerful blender like a Vitamix, don’t add the parsley and cilantro stems, just add the leaves. 

6-pound chuck roast

salt and pepper for seasoning

1-2 beers (i usually drink half of the 2nd one while cooking)

1 glass white or red wine

1 cup crushed San Marzano tomatoes

1/2 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves

1/3 bunch parsley, stems and leaves

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1/4 cup pickled red onions

1/4 cup pickled jalapeños plus brine

1 teaspoon kosher salt

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Preheat your oven to 300°F. 
Open your windows. Turn on your oven vent if you have one. Season your chuck roast on all sides with salt and pepper. Crank heat in a Dutch oven or any other ovenproof pot with a lid that will accommodate your chuck roast and braising liquid. Add a splash of canola oil. When the oil starts to smoke, carefully add your roast. Cook a few minutes on each side. Be brave. You want some deep dark brown color to add flavor. Remove roast and rest on a plate. Turn off the heat under the Dutch oven. You will come back to this post so don’t clean it yet.

In your blender, blend the heck out of the beer, wine, tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, garlic, pickled onions/jalapenos, and salt. Blitz until almost smooth. Pour into your hot Dutch oven. Careful. It might splatter a bit if it’s still hot. Use a wooden spoon to remove the goodies on the bottom of the pan and incorporate into the braising liquid. Gently lower your roast into liquid (it should come up about halfway). But no stress if it doesn’t, you can always add a bit more beer, wine, or any kind of meat or vegetable stock. Put on the lid. Cook for 3-4 hours. Check after two hours. It’s ready when it shreds easily by pulling the meat apart with two forks. Take meat out of the liquid. Cool until you can handle it with your fingers.

I hate it when I bite into a taco and I get a gelatinous blob of fat. This extra step will prevent this disaster. If there is string wrapped around the chuck roast, take it off. Then, with your fingers, slowly tear the whole thing apart. It’s nice to have some strips of meat so don’t over-shred it. But anytime you find anything slimy or fatty, set it aside. Feed it to your dog.

Serve the braised meat on warm tortillas with crème fraîche, jalapeño pickles, red onion pickles, and cilantro leaves.

FullSizeRender[13]ANCHOVY, GOUDA, CREME FRAICHE TOASTS

Preheat oven to 350°F. Thinly slice a baguette. Spread out in one layer on a cookie sheet. Paint one side with garlic oil. Sprinkle with Aleppo pepper and coarse salt. Flip over and do the other side. Bake until crisp all the way through and lightly browned. Around 15 minutes. Cool. With a vegetable peeler, make wispy pieces of Gouda (or Parmesan). On each toast, layer one slice of gouda, a Boquerón, and then a big dot of crème fraîche. If you like a little kick, add a small piece of jalapeño pickle.

CITRUS LAYER SALAD

FullSizeRender[16]I used a combination of blood oranges, Cara Cara navel oranges, pink grapefruits, and Kishu mandarins. This can be garnished with mint for dessert. Or if you’re a savory person like me, you can turn it into a refreshing salad to go with tacos (particularly essential if you’ve eaten too many jalapeño pickles). This can sit for an hour or so but be warned that it can get a bit juicy beyond that as the salted citrus loses its water.

Chop a few scallions and place them in a bowl. Add a splash of jalapeño pickle brine (or champagne vinegar) and a few tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Microplane in 1/2-clove garlic and a few swipes of lemon zest. Stir.

Using an incredibly sharp serrated knife, peel your citrus. Slice thinly (east to west) making delicate discs. Layer on a plate, overlapping a bit but not stacked like pancakes. Sprinkle with a few pinches salt. Spoon the olive oil and scallion mixture all over the sliced citrus. Garnish with whole cilantro leaves.

BABY GEM AND RADDICHIO TREVISO SALAD

I have been torturing my kids with radicchio salads for the past few months. I am in love. They are getting there. Here is the key: honey. Your vinaigrette must be sweet in order to balance out the bitterness of the greens. You can also bring in some sweetness and fat with nuts, fruit, and cheese. But because I was making beef tacos, I decided to keep the salad simple.

1 tablespoon diced shallot

1/2 clove microplaned garlic

juice of one lemon

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon champagne, white wine, or sherry wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Big bowl of greens (any combination of radicchio, Treviso radicchio, baby gems, escarole, endive)

FullSizeRender[1]Put shallots, garlic, lemon juice/zest, vinegar, and oil into a jar with a tight lid. Shake the heck out of it. Dip a leaf into the vinaigrette and taste. You want it to be a little sweet and quite acidic. These greens need big flavor. Sprinkle greens with coarse salt and pepper. Add parsley. Add dressing a few splashes at a time. Toss. Taste. Add more if you like.

Fix heaping plates, eat well, look forward to leftovers. Congratulations, you’ve just cooked your heart out.

*All photographs were shot by Phyllis on her mighty iPhone!


Simon

Enjoying the Peak of Tomato Season

IMG_5651One of the most exciting times of year in the Bay Area is when the local farms start harvesting tomatoes in early June. By the time September rolls around, the local tomato season has hit its peak. All the local farmers from the Pescadero Coast to the Sierra foothills have vine-ripened tomatoes that offer different flavors depending on the growing practices and climate. Throughout September in at both Bi-Rite Markets, we are celebrating the Tomato Triple Play, which highlights three different tomato crops— Heirloom, Cherry, and Dry-Farmed Early Girls. All of the tomatoes we sell during the season come straight off the field to our shelves, allowing our growers to let them stay on the plant a little longer and develop that perfect flavor before picking. Be sure to check out our recommended pairings to make the most of your tomatoes–just visit our store on Instacart.com for a shopping list, and  even order everything you need online for delivery in San Francisco in under an hour!

Heirloom Tomatoes are an open-pollinated variety that have been circulating among farmers and backyard gardeners for more than 50 years—and many of the varieties were introduced before 1940! Heirlooms are not only important because they offer us so many different shapes and sizes to cook with, but they allow us to maintain genetic diversity in the agricultural world. The Cherokee Purple Tomato is one of the most popular. With its thin skin and meaty texture, the juicy, acidic flesh offers a rich, old-fashioned sweet flavor. They take BLTs and Caprese salads to the next level of enjoyment.

Cherokee Purple Heirlooms

Cherokee Purple Heirlooms

We are currently getting Cherokee Purples from Bluehouse Farm in Pescadero and Mariquita Farm in Watsonville. Another popular heirloom is the Brandywine Tomato.  Farmers love them because they get huge on the plants and the meaty flesh doesn’t break down easily when ripe.  Don’t let the large size fool you! These are one of the sweetest tomatoes out there. The Green Zebra Tomato is a small variety that starts out green but turns yellow with green stripes when it’s ripe. The sweet/tart flavor works really well with salsas and salads.

Our guests really get excited about tomatoes when the Dry-farm Early Girls hit our shelves! About 10 years ago we started selling these tomatoes from Two Dog Farm in Davenport. They’re the first farm in Northern California to grow these Early Girls, and over the past 5 years more farms have made the effort. Dry-farming is a farming technique used in a lot of climates where there’s not much rain. The roots of the plants can tap into moisture in the soil and go through the entire growing season with no irrigation. Two Dog Farm grows on the coast, getting moisture from the fog and the high water table in the soil allowing them to never water. The resulting tomatoes are usually smaller and lower in yield, but they pack pleasantly intense flavor and a dense, firm texture. 

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Dry-farm Early Girls

Unfortunately, Two Dog Farm lost a majority of its crop this season due to the heat wave that hit the Bay Area. Crops grown on the cool coast can’t handle the heat! But we’ll have plenty of the tasty Dry-farm Early Girls from Live Earth Farm, Bluehouse Farm, and Tomatero Farm for the rest of the season.

When Heirlooms and Dry-farm Tomatoes are in full swing the Cherry Tomato varieties just don’t get the same amount of love. Cherry Tomatoes might be one of the easiest plants to grow, but keeping up with the daily harvesting and their delicate nature can make them a challenging crop for farmers. Similar to Heirlooms, there are a ton of different varieties but only a handful of them make sense for the retail marketplace. The Sweet 100 Tomato is one of the most popular for farmers to grow because they are a classic red tomato, extra sweet, and keep producing large clusters of fruit for most of the season. The Sun Gold Cherry Tomato is the most popular non-red tomato out there, with their sweet-but-tart flavor that explodes in your mouth.

Mixed Cherry Tomatoes

Mixed Cherry Tomatoes

The Yellow Pear Cherry Tomato is a teardrop-shaped tomato with tangy flavor and low acidity. You can get them along with our Sweet 100 and Sun Golds combined in a mixed baskets. Cherry Tomatoes are not only a perfect snack for kids, but they can add a flare to pasta dishes and almost any salad. They’re especially wonderful in cucumber salads!

One of the best parts of having all these local tomatoes at the Bi-Rite is that we get use them throughout the Family of Businesses—from the world-famous Gazpacho in the Deli to the Mozzarella and Cherry Tomato Skewers on the Bi-Rite Catering Summer menu. We also have an endless number of grocery items that enhance the tomato experience like the Public Label Tuscan Style Olive oil, Pt. Reyes Mozzarella, and Josey Baker’s Breads.  Do you know which tomato variety is your favorite? If not, this is the perfect time to swing by one of the Markets and ask for some tomato samples so you’re better prepared for tomato season next year. Enjoy!


Simon

Getting Figgy With It

Fig trees are one of the most common fruit trees in backyards throughout the Bay Area. You would think IMG_5393this would lead to them being a super popular fruit in the area, but this isn’t the case!  Figs are one those pieces of fruit that usually taste better the uglier they get – but a lot of consumers buy figs that are under-ripe, are still extra-firm, and are not that sweet.  At Bi-Rite we realize that the best tasting figs are the ones that sit on the tree longer to develop their sugars, and are harvested just when the jelly-like flesh of the figs is about to explode out of the skin with sugary goodness.  The fresh fig selection at the Markets changes every day depending on which varieties our favorite farms are harvesting and delivering to the Markets.

Black Mission Figs are the most common fig you see at grocery stores.  They have a thicker skin than most other varieties, which makes them a good crop for shipping long distances.  If grown to the perfect level of ripeness, their dark purple flesh makes them one of the sweetest varieties. The Brown Turkey Fig is similar to the Black Mission in appearance, but a little lighter in color with green skin next to the stem. Brown Turkeys are known to be the largest growing fig and have beautiful rose-colored flesh.

IMG_3004The green fig varieties bring a lot of excitement to Bi-Rite each season with their lime green skin and beautiful reddish pink flesh. These are usually the some sweetest varieties of the season and a perfect dessert fig.  Adriatic, Kadota, and Calimyrna Figs will all hit the Bi-Rite shelves between now and the end of September. I can’t forget to mention the Candystripe Fig with its yellow skin and green stripes – it’s always a main attraction in the produce department in August! The flesh is crimson-colored and they taste like raspberry or strawberry jam.

Throughout the month of August we will be celebrating all of these amazing figs and the local farms that grow them! From Bi-Rite Farm in the foothills of the Sierra, to the legendary fig farmers at Knoll Farm in Brentwood, each fig variety will bring a different flavor to the table.  We are also highlighting the awesome Point Reyes Bay Blue Cheese and have adapted a killer recipe from our book, Eat Good Food, combining figs, blue cheese, and prosciutto that is going to blow your mind! Shop for the ingredients in our Markets or directly from our online store at Instacart.com and have them delivered to your door. And if you don’t remember what a big, juicy, ripe fig taste like please come by either Market and ask for a sample.

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