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Archive for the ‘Eat Good Food’ Category


Potato, Parsnip and Celery Root Soup: SF Mom takes on Eat Good Food Recipe

San Francisco local Heather Knape moderates our 18 Reasons Food Lit Book Club and writes a blog called Eating Dirt about growing, cooking and eating food with her family. We invited her to try a recipe from Eat Good Food to see how cooking it would fit into her lifestyle as a busy mom and how it went over with the kids! She shared her experience with us:

Spring has sprung, sort of. The snap peas my kids and I planted last year are flowering on the deck, early asparagus is in the market and citrus is reaching its peak for the year. But the time for a dinner celebrating the commencement of bountiful growth hasn’t quite arrived – lamb is good, yet the price of asparagus is still high and there is no rhubarb in sight. About the only harbinger of Spring I can reliably find in good supply is green garlic- though that in itself is a much awaited treat.

Sam’s Potato, Parsnip and Celery Root Soup is an especially good recipe for this anticipatory time of year. It straddles the seasons deliciously, relying on winter holdovers of potato and parsnip as a base, with the brightness of celery root and green garlic to highlight the season. In addition to providing a great opportunity to talk to kids about how garlic matures from a stalk to a bulb, it gives those of us living where greens grow year round a gustatory glimpse into the warming of local soil, like crocus pushing up through the snow in colder climates.

Served with salad this soup makes a great dinner. To entice younger eaters in my house I float tiny meatballs on top; they eat it up. A thermosful also makes a great take-away lunch, both for parents and first graders. Good with homemade croutons, carrot sticks, an apple and a spoon packed alongside.

Potato, Parsnip and Celery Root Soup (adapted from Eat Good Food, p122):
1 T unsalted butter
1 T extra virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced
salt
2 large waxy potatoes, peeled and diced (yukon gold are good)
2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced (or rutabagas or turnips)
1 medium celery root, peeled and diced
2 stalks green garlic, chopped
1 t ground mustard
4 large sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup dry white wine (leave this out if you want to send it to school)
4 cups chicken or veggie broth (homemade or storemade)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cream
1 T lemon juice
1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat.

2. Add the leeks, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 6-8 minutes. The leeks will become translucent, be careful not to let them brown or burn. Add the potatoes, parsnip, celery root and garlic. Cover the pot and let it cook gently for 10 minutes or so, then add the mustard, thyme and bay leaf for a couple more minutes.

3. Add the wine now if you are using it, then cook until it has evaporated.

4. Add the broth, cover the pot partially and increase the heat to medium high. Bring just to a boil, then lower the heat to keep it simmering gently. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, until the vegetables are starting to break down.

5. To finish, remove and discard the thyme and bay leaf. Then puree the soup, either with an immersion blender, or by letting it cool and then blending it in small batches. Stir in the cream and lemon juice and season to taste with salt. Serve with chives and homemade croutons on top. To make the croutons, cut bread into cubes, then sauté in butter and sprinkle with salt.


Teaching the Eat Good Food Pantry at 18 Reasons

I was out to dinner with a few Bi-Rite friends the other night and the discussion turned to our pantries. We debated which products we stock at home, how we use them, and most importantly, why we choose to purchase particular brands and products over others. We all concluded that we have what some might consider “dream pantries,” filled with multiple oils and vinegars, several types of soy sauce, mustards and salts, and more grains than you’d find in the kitchen at Café Gratitude! I loved hearing which products my coworkers select, and at the end of our debate we concluded that while we might have over-the-top supplies, you don’t need much to have a complete, well-functioning pantry.

I’m thrilled to be leading a two-part pantry stocking class this April, as I’ve tasted through hundreds-maybe thousands-of pantry items while working at Bi-Rite. This lesson will guide you through the basics of building a functioning pantry, plus you’ll learn the back story of WHY I choose the particular products for Bi-Rite and my own pantry and HOW to apply them in flavorful, quick meals. While there are countless resources and lists on creating a well-stocked pantry, in this class you’ll have the unique opportunity to TASTE through the pantry items that I’m highlighting, allowing you to pick your own favorites and determine which items you’re missing from your own stock.

Come to this class if you want to enhance your current pantry with sustainable ingredients, learn about our favorite items on the shelves at Bi-Rite, or strengthen your week-night cooking skills. Regardless of whether you have an empty cabinet or a dream pantry, you’ll learn important skills to keep your stock exciting, delicious, and functional!

Class dates: Mondays April 2nd & 30th, 6:30-9PM
Registration–don’t wait, the class will sell out! www.brownpapertickets.com/event/230709

Eat Good Food teaches us how to select jackpot pantry items, like this page on good quality canned fish!

 


Earth Day 2012: Announcing Bi-Rite’s Food Waste Challenge

“One half of the food prepared in the US and Europe never gets eaten.”–Dive!, the movie

We as a society might waste this much food, but we’re also coming up with good ideas about how not to. Here are just a few ways we’ve already talked about combating the problem:

  • Getting involved with one of the organizations that have cropped up in the past couple of years to solve our country’s waste issues. Halfsies offers restaurant-goers a choice that provides a healthier portion size, reduces food waste, and supports the fight against hunger; Food Shift works with consumers, businesses and communities  to build awareness and close the gaps in food delivery and consumption; and Marin Organic hosts a gleaning program which gathers excess produce from farms and delivers it to public schools, to name a few.

It’s this last point that brings me to the matter at hand today….I’m pleased to announce Bi-Rite’s first Earth Day Food Waste Challenge! Yes, the name could be sexier. But the idea couldn’t, because the point of this challenge is for us all to practice how we as individuals can put a dent in the amount of food that goes to waste. For an issue as complicated and overwhelming as our waste-disposal system and the challenge of feeding everyone who’s hungry, I’m empowered by the ability each of us have to waste less in our own day-to-day.  So how will the challenge work, you ask?

1. We want to hear from you, our community, about what foods you find yourself throwing out most often. First that comes to mind for me is herbs; I’m always challenged to finish the whole bunch (although the “Any Greens Pesto” recipe from Eat Good Food makes it easy!). Tell us in a comment here which foods you can never seem to use up before they go bad.

2. We’ll take the answers we hear most from you, and make those our target foods for our Food Waste Challenge, which will take place at Bi-Rite Market the week leading up to Earth Day (Sunday, April 22nd).

3. During that week, we’ll give you recipe cards for each of the target foods. Each card will have a few different recipes that make use of its featured ingredient. We’ll invite you to email us a photo of any dish you cook from it–I’ll post each photo sent in on our blog.

4. We’ll donate 10% of proceeds from sales of the target foods that week (up to $1,000) to Three Squares,  an organization that works throughout the Bay Area to provide nutrition education and improved access to healthy food in low-income communities. They’re teaching people how to shop for ingredients and cook smartly, and this will help them towards the 600 classes they teach every year!

So without further ado, let’s kick this thing off! Please reply to this post with a comment on what foods you find yourself throwing out most often, so we can help you find creative ways to use them up next month!

I can never resist a good retro poster

 


Community Jam: Calling our Guests to Support INNA’s Growth

We like to geek out on a lot of things here at Bi-Rite, and one of them is enlisting the support of one group in our community for another. I want to share with you an opportunity for our guests (and entire Bi-Rite community) to pitch in on a campaign to ensure that one of our producers, INNA Jam, is able to make delicious jams for years to come.

One of my favorite producers to work with as a grocery buyer here is Dafna Kory, who founded INNA Jam. She and I met two years ago, right when I started at Bi-Rite, and I knew immediately that her jams would be a success in our store, as she works along many of the same principles that we do. She sources all of her organic fruit from within 100 miles of her home base in Berkeley, she creates only single varietal jams in order to celebrate the unique flavors of rare fruit, and she delivers them in person (often on bike). You’ll often see her in front of Bi-Rite sampling her jams to our guests, or volunteering at 18 Reasons, or teaching jamming classes around the Mission.

INNA Jam has grown tremendously in the past two years, and Dafna has finally made the huge leap to move into her own kitchen! As you can imagine, this is an exciting, daunting, and expensive venture, and Dafna is asking for support through a kickstarter campaign. Check out Dafna’s informative video about the campaign–I’m sure you’ll be convinced to contribute towards her kitchen!

I’d like to call on our guests to help fund her cause, which I feel so strongly benefits our community: if she raises her goal of $25,000, Dafna will be able to work with more local farmers, provide more jobs in the food industry, and produce more of her incredible jams (I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was bummed that her apricot jam lasted only a few weeks this year!).

The crazy thing is that this project will only be funded if at least $25,000 is pledged by Tuesday Mar 20, 6:00pm EDT. As of me writing this, she’s raised $11,257–almost halfway there. Please join us in pushing her over the hump!


Kiko’s Food News: 2.24.12

This NY Times article argues that the revival of craft manufacturing isn’t just a fad for hipsters–it’s a refinement of the excesses of our industrial era plus a return to specialization, which is inherent to capitalism: (full story)

I enjoyed reading 7×7’s profile on the CEO of Bon Appétit Management; they operate cafeterias that through 136.5 million meals a year bring the local-sustainable movement to more than 400 venues nationwide: (full story)

Organic food companies are cheering because their potential markets just doubled: the U.S. and the European Union are announcing that they will soon treat each other’s organic standards as equivalent: (full story)

California has introduced a cottage food bill, the California Homemade Food Act, AB 1616; similar to the “cottage food laws” in 31 other US states, it would allow for the sale of non-potentially hazardous foods prepared in a home kitchen: (full story)

Price increases across the North American food industry have turned off shoppers and led to weak sales for some packaged food makers; Kraft, among others, has introduced smaller package sizes with lower price tags to appeal to consumers with limited budgets: (full story)

Check out this Korean artist’s use of funky design to create containers that keep eggs, veggies and other food fresher (and possibly better tasting!) without refrigeration: (full story)


Simon

Diggin’ Deeper: Learning from the Legends and Bringing it Home

At the Eco-Farm Conference

Farmers don’t get much time to relax from their hard work and reflect on the fruits of their labor.  Once the New Year kicks in, seed catalogs start piling up and planning begins for another long growing season.  However, every year in the beginning of February, farmers and other folks in the organic farming world get together to share and celebrate at the Eco-farm Conference in Pacific Grove, CA.

As Bi-Rite’s produce buyers, Matt and I spent a few days at the conference, which takes place at Asilomar, a gorgeous conference center on the edge of Monterey Bay. The sessions offer young farmers a chance to learn new farming techniques from successful farmers who have been making it happen  for over 30 years.  This is also a great place to network with all of the dedicated farmers and distribution companies who keep this organic movement alive.  We’re lucky to be part of this movement that’s led by some of the legendary growers that put it on the map in the late 70’s and continue share their love, passion, and integrity.

Throughout the year, Matt and I are so busy keeping all of the fresh produce coming into Bi-Rite that we don’t get many opportunities to have longer conversations with the farmers we partner with.  There’s nothing I love more than running into Andrew from Full Belly, picking his brain about all the crops they’re growing, and hearing about the farming techniques that make their farm one of the most successful in the  Bay Area!

Down On the Farm

At Tomatero with Chris and Adriana (Matt & I learned so much walking around with them!)

Matt and I took the opportunity to break away from the conference, heading over to Watsonville for a farm tour with one of our favorite organic farms in the Bay Area.  Tomatero Organic Farm started on 4 acres in 2004, which has grown to over 100 acres from Watsonville to Hollister.  Throughout the year, Tomatero grows amazing tomatoes, basil, chard, kale, lettuce, strawberries and a lot more.  Farmers Chris and Adriana have done a wonderful job growing high quality produce and maintaining awesome quality as the farm expands. They currently sell their produce at farmers markets throughout the Bay Area, and will start delivering to Bi-Rite in early spring.  In March they’ll be delivering their first CSA boxes to San Francisco. Their dry-farm Early Girl tomatoes and Seascape strawberries are so tasty!

One of the keys to becoming a successful farmer is being able to extend the growing season.  Tomatero has seventeen acres of farm land covered by a large hoop house, which will allow them to get their summer crops into the soil a lot earlier.

The farm shed and hoop house Riley's built on our Sonoma Farm

Up in Sonoma

So now that we’ve learned from conversations at the conference and visits to other farms, how do we apply that to our own work? We’re very excited to start our 5th season of growing food in Sonoma.   The fields are really wet right now, so we can’t work the soil; this is the perfect time of to take care of projects that will help us take the farm to the next level.  Farmer Riley has just finished work on a nice farm shed and greenhouse–now it’s time to plant some flats of onions and get this growing season started!


Why Be Dull? Bernal Cutlery’s Japanese Whetstone Sharpening is Coming to Bi-Rite!

Bring us your knives this Sunday!

We’re so excited to bring a new service to our guests: knife sharpening right outside the door of the grocery store! We’re partnering with Kelly and Josh of Bernal Cutlery, a passionate duo with an artisan approach to the craft of sharpening knives. There’s no denying the golden rule of cooking well: having sharp knives will not only improve the texture of food in your recipes but also lessen the chances of cutting yourself (a dull blade is dangerous since it requires too much pressure to slice!).  As Josh says, “knives reflect the evolution of our creative relationship with food and cooking,and through that, our relationship with the world that sustains us.” With the highest quality Japanese whetstone sharpening available on your way to or from the Market, there’s no excuse not to take advantage!

Here’s how it’s going down:

  • Bernal Cutlery will set up shop on the third Sunday of every month from 2-6 pm in front of the Market. We’re kicking off this Sunday February 19th.
  • Bring as many knives as you’d like to be sharpened
  • Knives will be sharpened on a first come, first served basis from 2-6 pm. Any knives not sharpened during that time will be taken back to their shop at 331 Cortland St in Bernal Heights, and you’ll be notified when your knives are ready for pickup at the shop. If you’d rather not venture to Bernal, and can do without your knives for a couple of weeks, they’ll bring them back to Bi-Rite the following month to hand them off to you.
  • Pricing and contact info is here.

Josh, Taka and Tag, Bernal Cutlery’s three craftsmen sharpeners, use Japanese Whetstone grinding techniques which result in edges that are sharper and longer lasting, and remove far less metal for less wear on the knife. Japanese whetstones not only are the preferred sharpening medium for fine Japanese knives but are superior for all types of cutlery. The three of them have tens of thousands of hours of experience in sharpening Japanese, French, and Western knives. More info is available on their website.

Even if you don’t have dull knives, we highly recommend stopping by to see the sharpeners at work; the rhythmic sound of knife on whetstone is therapeutic, as you can see in this video!


Kiko’s Food News: 2.10.12

When a foodie and a non-foodie fall in love, cooking and eating aren’t always a shared experience; as we await next week’s annual celebration of couple-dom, this article  seems apropos: (full story)

The “mindful eating” movement is growing, rooted in the idea that eating slowly and genuinely relishing each bite could remedy our fast-paced American lifestyle, endless fad diets and the resulting path toward obesity: (full story)

A new CDC report found that 9 out of 10 Americans ages 2 and older consume more than the recommended amount of sodium each day; the leading culprits are not potato chips or popcorn but slices of bread and dinner rolls: (full story)

It was just a matter of time before lard made its comeback, overcoming stigmas associated with disgusting-ness and taking the spotlight on restaurant menus: (full story)

Monsanto aggressively touts its technology as vital to ensuring adequate food production worldwide, but this article digs into how they’ve held back the development of sustainable agriculture by expanding monoculture, increasing herbicide use, suppressing research and more: (full story)

And as one group of victims of Monsanto’s dominance, farmers who say they cannot keep genetically modified crops from their fields have brought a suit against them that’s sparking debate around the country with new petitions, ballot initiatives and lawsuits in the works: (full story)

Finally, a profile of a few of the family-owned, independent markets that have faced heightened competition from large supermarket chains but survive to fill an important need in their communities: (full story)


Playing our Part in Promoting the Right Kind of Packaged Food

When I think about small-scale, responsible food production these days, I picture a river flowing with greater and greater momentum by the day. More and more people are talking about artisanal, traditional food ways, food made by hand, meat raised outside of the industrial farm system, and jars/boxes/bags of food packaged in a kitchen instead of a factory. Here at Bi-Rite, we’re lucky enough to be riding the river’s current every day!

One thing’s for sure: succeeding with a small food business, especially, a new one, is not easy. So the big question I ask our team at Bi-Rite is how we can best support this growing deluge. Here are some ways we’ve played a part so far:

  1. Partnering with organizations in our own city that are making it possible to start small, sustainable food businesses. The amazing resources that La Cocina provides to entrepreneurial food makers who operate out of their incubator kitchen has inspired us for years and led us to join them in their fundraising and events. What’s exciting is that their work is getting mainstream exposure, and the kind of small-scale, traditional food production they foster is now poised to influence larger food corporations. At this year’s NASFT Fancy Foods Show at the Moscone Center, La Cocina had its own area to showcase their products; clearly, retailers across the country are increasingly interested in selling packaged food that feels homemade and supports a greater mission.
  2. Selling products with a purpose here at Bi-Rite. Whether it’s Tracy’s Granola whose profits support an urban gleaning organization, Project Open Hand Peanut Butter which donates proceeds to their meal and nutrition services, or the many coffees we sell from local roasters who source fair trade beans, many retailers these days are considering the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) when choosing what product to sell.
  3. Being transparent about how we as retailers choose what products we sell and what makes a product successful in our store. Our grocery buyer Alli Ball was recently interviewed for CHOW about her tips for small aspiring food businesses; we’re always up for sharing our systems and learnings with others.
  4. Recognizing the people working hard to do it right. The two year old Good Food Awards celebrate outstanding American food producers and the farmers who provide their ingredients; I’ve served as a judge and advisor in the startup years and think the influence of this organization could be huge.

And this brings me to my next bend in this gushing river of support for small food businesses: I was recently asked to judge the Next Big Small Brand contest! Self-described as “a friendly food fight between San Francisco and New York”, myself and a small group of judges will review submissions from both coasts (up until now it’s only been New York—let’s show ‘em who’s boss!), and anoint one grand prize winner as The Next Big Small Brand. This Sunday, February 5th is the last day to submit your favorite small food brand to the contest; don’t miss this chance for us all to celebrate a small food producer bringing an exciting product to market! And if you’ll be in New York on March 27th, join us for the live judging!


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)