Home Archive by category 'Recipes' (Page 2)

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Waverley Aufmuth

What Are You Cooking for 4th of July?

The weather (and the grills!) are heating up, which means the 4th of July is nearly here!  We’ve got everything you need to plan your epic independence feast, from meats and marinades to snacks and condiments – and don’t forget the BBQ friendly wines!  Whether you’re celebrating at home, picnicking with fireworks, or road tripping with friends, we’ve got your 4th
festivities covered.  Shop for everything you need in both Markets or order online for delivery from our special 4th of July Instacart.com!

Master the Grill, SF-Style

4th-of-July-Ribs-(2)Starting this Saturday, June 27th until Sunday, July 5th, get your Niman Ranch St. Louis Pork Ribs for only $4.99/lb. (normally $7.99/lb.)  Whether you prefer to dunk your ribs in sauce or braise them on the grill, San Francisco’s “signature barbecue sauce,” SFQ BBQ Sauce ($7.99) – with its spicy, smoky tang – is the perfect pair for ribs, grilled peaches or tofu too!  Try our all-weather St. Louis Ribs SF-Style recipe to get the party started:

4th of July Ribs_recipe card

Chips, Dips and Condiments, Oh My!

primary_99e7a439-b1f3-4ec2-80e4-91ba6d017146 Because no barbecue is complete without the full roster of condiments, snacks, and seasonings, we’ve got some of our local favorites that are sure to liven up any party.  Spice things up with 4505 Chicharrones or go the classic route with Nopalito Tortilla Chips and three varieties of Papalote salsas – Roasted Tomato, Habanero or Serrano-Tomatillo.

primary_0ea2f938-d855-44f0-94e4-36ed550cd7ccFor your burgers, brats and buns, we’ve got some great twists on the classics.  Mix it up with sweet and spicy Sosu Srirachup and Mother In Law’s tangy umami-filled Garlic Chili Gochujang; or dress your burgers in the French tradition with KL Keller Dijon Mustard and Sir Kensington’s Mayonnaise.  For seasoning your ribs, burgers, and corn look no further than Omnivore Salt.  Top it all off with Cabot Vintage Cheddar and you’re sure to be the envy of every party!

primary_eb613a9d-7ba2-4e20-b110-03f92e39e55aWhether you like your pickles speared, sliced, or whole, on the bun or as a side, we’ve got what you need with our own Bi-Rite Market Public Label Dill Pickles, Boozely’s Pickles (spears), and Pacific Pickle Works’ Bread & Buddas.


Sweet Tastes of Summer

primary_3eafcc43-3f5c-4e39-abe7-af2bbdfc1bccOur Organic Sweet Corn is great for grilling!  It wouldn’t be a summer barbecue without the Watermelon and the best of summer’s berries with our Mixed Berry 3-Pack.

BBQ Friendly Wines

Dry-Farmed-WinesPerfectly paired with barbecue fare, these wines are dry-farmed and drought friendly, showcasing some wonderful California vineyards who are doing their part to conserve water while making delicious wines.

Bucklin “Bambino” Old Hill Ranch $21.99
This young vine field-blend contains several grape varieties, principally Zinfandel, but also Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouchet and Grenache.

Bucklin Rosé of Old Hill Ranch $19.99
Whole-cluster pressed and finished dry, this wine has beautiful floral aromas with a crisp finish.

Calder Wine Co. Charbono $24.99
This wine has vibrant aromas of cherry cola and ripe plums, backed by intense secondary flavors of forest floor, mustard flowers, dark chocolate, sour cherries and bee pollen.

Birichino Besson Vineyard Grenache $19.99
Modest and bright, with a bit more tannin than up-front fruit and a pleasant dried-herb aspect – perfect for a weeknight.


New York Strip Steaks Only $19.99/lb for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is right around the corner and with the weather gods saying that sunshine is on the horizon it will be a great weekend to spark up the grill.  Take advantage with our special pricing on New York Strip Steaks.

Starting this Friday, June 19, and running through Sunday, June 21st (Father’s Day!) both our 100% grass fed BN Ranch and our grain-finished Five Dot Ranch New York Strip Steaks will be on sale for $19.99, $5 off their regular price at both Markets and on Instacart.

I think of New Yorks as being the rib eye’s leaner, meaner little brother.  Just as flavorful and tender, but with more balanced marbling than the rib eye, the New York has serious versatility.  Serve it as a thick-cut steak for a big poppa Father’s Day dinner, slice it into thin strips for a pimped out stir fry or fajita meal, or order your steaks thin-cut to create the dopest sandwich known to man, a.k.a. “Chili’s New York Cheesesteak” (no disrespect to my people in Philly), with savory Omnivore SauceMimi’s Confitures smoky-sweet onion jam, and tangy Cabot Vintage Cheddar on Acme‘s herbaceous Herb Slab.  Pair it with the peppery Green & Red “Chiles Canyon” Zinfandel ($22.99) and you’ve got the perfect gift for dad!  Shop the full recipe at 18th Street and Divis, or online at Instacart.com.

NY Steak-Sandwich-web



Fresh-Caught, Wild King Salmon Is Now Just $19.99! Through 6/9/15

You’ve waited for it all spring, now wait no more! At its peak of flavor, our fillets of fresh-caught, wild King Salmon are now just $19.99/lb until June 9, 2015. Bake it, broil it, grill it, or poach it, this is the best deal of the season!  Whether you’re cooking for two, four or just yourself, our chefs have you covered with some of our favorite salmon recipes.  Try the sumptuous Slow Baked, Herb-Crusted Salmon, or our Seared Salmon with Late Spring Succotash – the time is now to enjoy Wild King Salmon fillets, just $19.99 at both Divis and 18th Street.

Seared Salmon with Late Spring Succotash Slow Baked, Herb Crusted Salmon


California King Salmon Season Is Here!


Long live the king!  Wild California King Salmon season is back, beginning in spring before the action really gets going during the summer months.   King Salmon season has always been a special time for me – as summers meant no school and ample free time, my grandfather had the task of keeping my sister and me occupied.  Luckily, he was never at a loss for things to do – some of my favorite memories were our adventures down the coast to find fishermen selling their salmon catch right off the boats.

During king salmon season, we work closely with our fishmongers (All Seas, TwoXSea and Monterey Fish Company) to secure incredible quality California King Salmon at a very competitive price.  As we enter the height of salmon season in the summer, we usually see the price dropping several dollars.  This year the season will run through September 31, with monitored quotas for California’s fishery to ensure sustainability.

The Smithsonian has called King Salmon the “soul food of the North Pacific,” and we’re thrilled to celebrate it in all its delicious forms.  Kick off king salmon season for yourself with our Slow Baked, Herb-Crusted King Salmon with Full Belly Farm’s New Potatoes recipe.  Baking the salmon slowly allows the butter, herbs and mustard to gently flavor the fish, while the breadcrumbs brown to give it a nice crunch.  Pair it with Idlewild’s 2014 The Flower, Flora, & Fauna Rosé ($22.99), whose blend of Piedmontese varietals (Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto) are bursting with citrus and minerals, with aromas of pine needles and wildflowers – a perfect complement for your salmon dinner for two!

Herb-Crusted Salmon Recipe


Citrus For All!

California grows more varieties of citrus than any other state— from the large Valencia Orange orchards near the border of Mexico, to the small Satsuma Mandarin orchards in the foothills of the Sierra. There’s a flavor for everyone! At Bi-Rite we strive to have a wide selection of great tasting and sustainably grown citrus that can be eaten in a number of different ways.

Mandarin Mania
Mandarin season usually starts in California in the beginning of November with the easy-peeling, refreshing Satsuma Mandarin and ends with the seedless, candy-like Pixie Tangerine in April. There are a handful of other varieties that hit the Bi-Rite shelves in the interim. The little seedless Kishu Mandarin from the mountains of Ojai, California has everyone excited from neighborhood kindergarteners to world-class San Francisco Chefs. Toss it in a green salad or a fried rice dish to add a sweet and juicy flare. Some of the other mandarin varieties that are just making their way to the market: Gold Nuggets, Murcotts, Pages and Clementine. All of these exciting mandarin varieties also make for a fun time with the juicing machine.
Orange Crush
There are three varieties of oranges right now that are so delicious it’s hard not to eat all three on a regular basis and spread the love. Cara Cara Oranges, aka the Pink Navels — from Tenalu Farm in Porterville, California — have been out of this world and their middle acid and sweet juicy flavor make them a perfect addition to a chicory salad. Tenalu also grows wonderful Heirloom Navel Oranges that have a little more acid than the Cara Cara but are also a bit sweeter. The Moro Blood Oranges are just getting started and with their nicely balanced sweet/tart flavor and berry-like tones they may be the most versatile piece of citrus in the kitchen. The Fennel, Blood Orange, Avocado Salad from our cook book Eat Good Food is great recipe if you’re looking for a quick and easy seasonal salad.

Grapefruit Goodness
The days of cutting a Florida grapefruit in half and sprinkling sugar on it to cut the bitterness before gobbling it up with a spoon are over. The grapefruit scene has come a long way since the mid-80’s and the Bi-Rite produce crew is super excited about a few varieties that have become a big part of our citrus selection. For folks who just want an everyday grapefruit we always have a Star Ruby Grapefruit from Bernard Ranch in Riverside, California with its beautiful dark pink flesh and sweet/tart flavor. Bi-Rite staff have been rallying around the Pomelo from Tenalu Farm this year. This large piece of citrus is perfect for folks who want a mild sweetness and not an overwhelming amount of juice. The Cocktail Grapefruit from Cunningham Orchard in Fallbrook, California is a very unique piece of fruit. This cross between a Siamese Sweet Pomelo and Frua Mandarin produces the most amazing sub-acid sweet juice perfect for cocktails, syrups, sauces, and more.

It’s OK to be Sour
Sour oranges are the most unique California citrus crop and call for some creativity in the kitchen. The Seville Orange with its thick bumpy skin smells like a regular orange but the flavor is tart and sour. Sevilles have very oily skin that is used for essential oils. The most common use for Seville Oranges is marmalade, but it also works well in syrups, vinaigrettes and cocktails. The Bergamot Orange is a cross between a sour orange and lemon, most commonly known for the oil from the skin that is used in Earl Grey tea. The zest is used to flavor cakes and cookies and the juice is used for syrups, cocktails, and jams.

California citrus season is a 5 to 6 month long tasting journey that offers so many marvelous flavors. At Bi-Rite we love to celebrate this time of year with the “Citrus Explosion” by offering over 20 varieties in our produce department at one time. If you would like to learn more about this incredible crop please make your way to one of our produce departments and ask for a sample of all the varieties we have in-house!

Christine Mathias

Resolve to Eat Good Food This Year!

eat-good-food-coverAs the new year begins and we all decide how we want to improve ourselves or our lives, let’s consider the ritual of cooking. Food forms deep bonds, and making food for our family and friends with our own hands is a special kind of sharing; it’s a sharing of love, nourishment, and inspiration. Let’s all re-dedicate ourselves to the creation of simple, tasty, homemade food made with ingredients that are specialdelicious, local, and responsibly grown or made. Bi-Rite is here to help you make it happen! Following are six outstanding seasonal dishes from Eat Good Food, our go-to book written by Bi-Rite Family of Businesses Founder Sam Mogannam, that will motivate you to cook from the heart. Our Buyers each selected their favorite seasonal recipes, and to round out your meal, our Wine Buyer hand-picked a perfect wine to pair with each dish. Pick up copies of the recipes along with everything you need to create them at home. Happy New Year, happy cooking, and happy eating!

Our Meat Buyer, Chili, recommends:

  • Beef Stew with Peppers & Ale
    Wine pairing: Chateau Les Roches de Ferrand Fronsac Bordeaux, France 2007
  • Sumac-Roasted Chicken Du Monde
    Wine Pairing: Martincic Cvicek, Slovenia 2013    *give this wine a chill

Our Produce Buyer, Simon, recommends:

  • Fennel, Blood Orange & Avocado Salad
    Wine Pairing: Tatomer Gruner Veltliner Paragon, Santa Barbara 2013
  • Pan-Seared Broccolini 
    Wine Pairing: Farella Sauvignon Blanc Coombsville, Napa 2013

Our Grocery Buyer, Raph, recommends:

  • Bi-Rite Vinaigrette
  • Spaghetti with Tuna, Capers & Chile Flakes
    (Cheese Buyer Jon suggests topping it off with Fulvi Pecorino Romano!)
    Wine pairing: La Staffa Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico, Italy 2013

Our Cheese Buyer, Jon, recommends:

  • Grilled Manchego & Serrano Ham Sandwich with Membrillo
    Wine pairing: Luberri Orlegi Rioja, Spain 2013








Amaro Amore!


It’s Amaro amore! We’re celebrating the regional diversity and flavor variations of this bitter-sweet Italian liqueur by featuring several different Amari varieties, all of which tell the story of the region where they’re created. For some fun ways to enjoy these aromatics, Rachel from our Wine & Spirits Team has pulled together a few of her favorite recipes for refreshing Amaro cocktails. You can also enjoy Amaro straight! There’s a profile to suit every palate.

Lucano Fizz

  • 2 oz Lucano Amaro
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ½  oz simple syrup
  • ½ oz egg
  • 1 ½ oz seltzer
  • Orange peel

Combine ingredients (minus seltzer) in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously without ice for 5 seconds. Add a handful of ice and shake again. Add seltzer to serving glass and strain cocktail over seltzer. Cut orange peel, minimizing pith, and twist over drink.

Girovago means ‘adventurer’ in Italian, a variation on the French Boulevardier, which is a negroni made with bourbon.

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth (we use Cocchi di Torino)
  • ½ oz Varnelli Sibilla Amaro
  • Lemon peel

Add spirits to a mixing glass, stir over ice. Strain over a large ice cube. Cut lemon peel, minimizing pith, twist over drink and serve.

Hoffman House
Ascoli-Piceno style

  • 1 ½ oz gin
  • ½ oz dry vermouth (we use Dolin Dry)
  • 1/3 oz Meletti Amaro
  • Dash orange bitters

Stir over ice, strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.



Eggplant: A Versatile Fruit

The nightshade family includes tomatoes, potatoes, peppers – and thousands of eggplant varietals that have been cultivated all over the world for centuries. Originally hailing from India, eggplant is widely used all over Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. Botanically it’s considered a berry, and like berries eggplants come in many shapes and sizes. In the United States the most commonly grown variety is the Globe Eggplant, which is large, deep purple-black, and glossy, so this image is a natural eggplant association for most Americans. But many early 18th-century eggplant cultivars are creamy white or pale yellow and are smaller and rounder compared to the commonly-known modern globe, giving rise to the name of “eggplant.”

eggplant1But the world of eggplant is populated by a variety of shapes, colors and tastes. Thai eggplant are tiny, no bigger than a crabapple, and their bright streaks of green make them look almost like a Green Zebra tomato! Japanese eggplant are long, skinny and dark purple; Chinese eggplant are a similar long shape but possess a bright lavender color. Both varieties cook quickly and are great on the grill or in a stir-fry.

Calliope eggplant are small, teardrop-shaped and striped white and bright purple. They’re very sweet and great for grilling, roasting or stuffing.

Listada is an Italian varietal that is striped like the Calliope, but larger and more oblong.

Rosa Bianca is an heirloom Sicilian varietal, large and bulbous, fading from deep purple to lavender to white, and super meaty, sweet, creamy – my personal favorite for Eggplant Parmesan!

Ratatouille, moussaka, caponata, eggplant parmesan, baba ghanoush…eggplant takes well to a myriad of cooking techniques and is at home in an almost endless variety of dishes. It isn’t great raw – it can be somewhat bitter and spongy-textured (the eggplant is a relative of tobacco as well; its bitterness comes from nicotinoid alkaloids) – but cooking coaxes out those meaty and creamy attributes. Like a sponge, eggplant will absorb any flavors (or oils) to which it is exposed, making it a great candidate for stews. Eggplant is often used in Southeast Asian curries or spicy Indian chutneys and pickles. It can be roasted whole in its skin and then scooped out and mixed with other vegetables (think onion, tomato, chiles), or mixed with tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice to make baba ghanoush. Pickled, stuffed, fried, roasted…the possibilities are constrained only by the limits of imagination.

As I mentioned above, Rosa Bianca eggplant is great for Eggplant Parmesan. Here’s a great recipe you can try using ingredients you can get at Bi-Rite Market.

Eggplant Parmesaneggplant2

Eggplant Parm is a staple of Italian-American cuisine, served at almost every red sauce joint in the USA. I first became enamored of this dish while living in New York City during college, where I had it between sesame rolls as a hero or over spaghetti with marinara. It’s a hearty, filling dish, and a beautiful way to showcase the meatiness of eggplant. Though it’s served year-round at many restaurants, I like to wait for local heirloom eggplant; Full Belly Farm’s Rosa Bianca eggplant, a Sicilian heirloom varietal, is my absolute favorite in this dish. It’s a large, bulbous type, with skin blushing from deep to lavender purple to white. It looks like a watercolor, and has no bitterness and a thin skin. Any larger eggplant varietal will work, such as Globe or Barbarella, another Italian heirloom variety that we are growing at Bi-Rite Farm in Sonoma!

Traditionally, Eggplant Parmesan is made with thick slices of eggplant that are fried (sometimes battered, floured or breaded and sometimes not), and then layered with tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, basil, and (sometimes) hard-boiled egg slices. The eggplant can also be grilled, broiled or baked for a lighter version.

Here are two variations that I like to make. The first is a Spiced Eggplant Parmesan, made with a little garam masala in the breading and ginger and chiles in the tomato sauce. The second is a lighter version I came up with during last week’s heat wave, a bit more fit for a hot summer day than the traditional version.

Spiced Eggplant Parmesan

Serves 4


  • Basic Fried Eggplant
  • 2-3 large eggplant, such as Rosa Bianca, Barbarella or Globe
  • Kosher salt, pepper, dried herbs such as oregano, thyme; garam masala for the spiced version
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk, water, or buttermilk
  • 1 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • Canola, peanut or other neutral oil for frying


Wash the eggplant, peel if desired (I don’t, usually, unless the skin is very thick), and cut into thick 1-inch rounds. Place in a strainer over a bowl or sink. Salt liberally on both sides, rubbing the salt on a little to make sure it’s coated. Set aside to drain for 1 hour while you prep the rest. The salt helps draw out excess water, to prevent your parm from getting soggy when fried. It also seasons and tenderizes the eggplant, and draws out any bitterness that might be present.

Set up three shallow bowls or pie plates, with a clean plate or tray at the end. Put the flour in one, add a big pinch of salt, some pepper, and a big pinch of garam masala or any other spices you want. Whisk it. Crack the eggs into the second bowl, whisk with enough milk or water to loosen slightly, and a pinch of salt. Put the breadcrumbs into the third, add salt and any other seasonings you’re using (about 1 tsp garam masala and 1 tsp dried herbs for the spiced version).

Press on the eggplant lightly and brush off any excess salt (most of it drains away with the water). Dip into flour, flip and roll around to coat it on all sides. Shake off and pat lightly to remove excess. Next, dip it in the egg mixture, flip and shake off excess (tip: use one hand only to dip into the wet ingredients and keep one dry; monster-fingers form very quickly!). Last, dip the eggplant into the breadcrumbs, patting them lightly on both sides to make sure it gets an even coat. Roll it around on its side, then shake lightly and place on a tray or platter. This can be done ahead of time – bread it all and store covered in the fridge until ready to fry.

To fry: heat up a cast-iron skillet or another pan with an inch or so of canola oil. You want it to be fairly hot but not smoking; the eggplant will cool down the oil a lot when it goes in, and if it gets too cold your eggplant will absorb tons of oil and become greasy and heavy. If it’s too hot, the breading will burn before the eggplant cooks fully. To test it, drop a little piece of the breading in. It should bubble and float right to the top. Drop the eggplant slices in gently, 4-5 at a time, so that they still have room to float around. Fry for 3-5 minutes on the first side, until golden brown, then flip and fry the other side for a few minutes. Keep moving them around and checking them to get an even brown; you might have to flip back and forth a few times. Remove to a tray lined with paper towels. Season with a little salt and pepper while still hot and cut one open to see how it’s cooked – it should be creamy, not spongy. If it’s not fully cooked, turn your oil down a bit and let them go a few more minutes, or finish in the oven.

For Spiced Eggplant Parm:

Layer fried eggplant with spiced tomato sauce (your favorite recipe, just add a teaspoon of garam masala, a knob of minced ginger and a little fresh chile with the onions and garlic), fresh mozzarella (I’m obsessed with Point Reyes Mozz right now; it’s cultured so it has a little twang and a little salt from the brine), grated parmesan cheese, and torn basil. Bake or broil until the cheese is melty. Finish with more grated parm and fresh basil.

For Summertime Eggplant Parm:

Arrange the fried eggplant on a platter, alternating with sliced fresh mozzarella and grated parm, or put a ball of burrata in the middle for an extra-special treat. Chop up a mix of heirloom and cherry tomatoes, toss with olive oil, basil, salt & balsamic and spoon over the fried eggplant and cheese. Finish with lots of fresh basil and olive oil. Totally untraditional but a really refreshing take on it, which makes sense since eggplant comes around mid-summer.



Cool as a Cucurbit: Cucumbers & Melons

The cucurbits (or cucurbiticae) are a plant family that includes cucumbers, melons and gourds of many kinds. They peak in sweetness and flavor during the summertime. At Bi-Rite we’re lucky to work with a number of local farms that grow unusual heirloom varietals in this family.

A few of my favorites:

Armenian cucumbers, which are botanically considered a melon. We have been getting the ‘Painted Serpent’ varietal, which is long and snakelike, with dark and light green stripes, from Full Belly Farm, Oak Hill Farm and County Line Harvest. You can use these like the more common English cucumber. The skin is very thin and not at all bitter, and the seeds are not yet formed, so no need to peel or seed–just slice them right up. They don’t need to be rock hard; the ones that are a bit bendy will still be crisp. Armenian cucumbers will make the prettiest garnish for your summer gin and tonic.

Lemon cucumbers are small, round and yellow with large but tender seeds. They’re great for slicing into salads, and make beautiful sandwich-sized pickles. They’re lovely sliced up and dressed with a little soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar or lime juice and a pinch of sugar or honey, perhaps over some arugula or baby lettuces.

Watermelons, in mini and huge, seeded, seedless, yellow and red varietals. Orchid and Yellow Doll are two of the yellow-flesh varietals we get from Full Belly Farm. These should be picked when they are ripe and do not really keep ripening like muskmelons do. They should be firm and feel heavy for their size, although there is no surefire way to tell if they are ripe.

Muskmelons have netted skins and get very fragrant when ripe. These include cantaloupes, galia and goddess melons. These will smell very sweet and floral as they ripen, and can get a bit soft (though they shouldn’t be squishy). The more fragrant the stem end is, the sweeter the melon will be.


SaladGoodCucumber Melon Salad with Feta & Olives

This isn’t so much a recipe as a useful guide. Try using what you have and taste as you go. It’s a bit of a riff on a Greek salad and a wonderfully refreshing addition to a barbecue or summertime supper.

  • A mix of your favorite melons, cut into large dice. I like watermelon, galia, cantaloupe & piel de sapo or snow leopard.
  • A mix of your favorite cucumbers, diced or sliced as you like. I like Painted Serpent Armenian cukes and lemon cukes.
  • Red onion or scallions, thinly sliced. I soak the red onion after slicing in cold water for a few minutes to take the edge off, which also sets the color and prevents it from bleeding into the salad.
  • A nice feta, not too salty. Our French feta is the perfect balance of tangy and salty.
  • Kalamata or another fruity olive, pitted. I usually cut them in half, but they can be whole or cut into rings.
  • Fresh herbs. Cilantro and mint are great, but parsley, basil and chives all work. I would recommend to staying away from herbs that are too woody or heavy like thyme and rosemary. Fresh, bright herbs work better to highlight the delicate flavors in the melons. I like to chiffonade them (stack up the leaves, roll into a tight “cigar”, and slice into thin ribbons), but you could chop them or pick the leaves and toss them in whole.
  • Fresh or dried coriander seeds, toasted until fragrant and lightly crushed.
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar or lime juice
  • Salt to taste

Toss everything together in a large bowl or arrange on a platter. Dress to taste with olive oil, red wine vinegar or lime juice and salt. A sprinkle of toasted, crushed coriander seeds wakes up all of the flavors. This salad is best dressed right before serving, though you could certainly do it ahead of time.

Cucumber Raita

Really popular all over India, this is somewhere between a salad and a condiment, and I often use it as both. Awesome in the summer next to grilled meats such as lamb or chicken, or dolloped on top of a sandwich or rice bowl. Also delicious with pita or Dosa chips as a dip!

  • 1-2 cucumbers, unpeeled, shredded on a coarse grater.
  • 1 cup greek yogurt (you could use regular plain yogurt, but it will be less thick).
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  • Salt, sugar, lime juice to taste.

Place the shredded cucumbers in a bowl, salt them and set aside for a few minutes. The salt will draw out the water. Squeeze as much of the water out as you can – a lot will release! Mix it up with some gin and tonic water and have yourself a cocktail, or discard. Place the drained cucumber in a bowl.

Add yogurt to drained cukes and stir. Heat up a small pan over medium to high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of neutral-flavored oil such as canola. When the oil is hot, drop in the cumin seeds. The seeds will darken in color and get really fragrant. Dump the spice oil into the yogurt mixture (this is a technique used commonly in India to quickly add lots of flavor to any dish by making a spice oil, called a tarka). Stir it around, season to taste with salt, lime juice and a pinch of sugar for balance.

Melon Agua Fresca

Again this is less of a recipe and more of guide. The proportions will vary depending on the fruit being used.

Cube up your melon and place it in a blender. Add a handful of sugar (or a squeeze of honey or agave) and cover with water. Blend until smooth. Add more sweetener to taste if necessary, or a squeeze of lime to perk it up. Super refreshing with basil or mint added!


Apricots Are My Jam

ApricotsPrettyApricot season is here! The season is short, but these beautiful and versatile stone fruits are at their peak right now. At Bi-Rite we’re lucky to have access to lots of different varieties, including Blenheim Apricots, which are one of the best for making jam. We’ve got Blenheims in the Markets right now, so it seems like a good time to share my recipe for Apricot Jam, along with our Cheese Buyer Anthea’s recommendation for some perfect cheeses to pair with it.

The beauty of jam is that the fruit doesn’t have to be perfect. Bruised, soft, unsightly or a day overripe–jam welcomes all fruits and makes them beautiful again. A mix of less-ripe and more-ripe fruits is good; less-ripe contains more natural pectin, and more-ripe contains more sugar, so the two balance each other out nicely. You can make a big batch of jam at the height of summer ripeness and put it away until the winter, then crack it open and take yourself right back to summertime. And jams are beautiful with lots of other foods, including yogurt, toast, pork, chicken, and cheese!

I asked our Cheese Buyer, Anthea, to try my Apricot Jam and recommend cheeses to go with it. She suggested fresh chèvre such as Andante’s, but also feels that any number of fresh, creamy cheeses would do well. She also recommends sweeter jams like this one with bleu cheeses (“Mold loves sugar,” she told me), such as Bay Bleu from Point Reyes. For a harder cheese pairing, try goat cheddar. Personally, I love sneaking a schmear of jam inside of a goat cheddar grilled cheese sandwich!

Simple Apricot Jam

This recipe is easy to scale up or down and adjust according to your tastes. This recipe uses the “noyau,” or almond-like inner kernel of the apricot, to flavor the jam. Amaretto and almond extracts are traditionally made using apricot kernels rather than actual almonds because the fragrance is much stronger. Other stone fruits share this quality, such as cherries and peaches, though apricots tend to be the most potent aroma. Just crack the pits open, and remove the little “almond.”

ApricotsRosesI recently made an apricot rose jam using this recipe, just added a few handfuls of organic rose petals at the beginning of the cooking process- they candy themselves and lend a gorgeous rosy color to the jam. Rosemary, saffron or lavender are also some of my favorite variations. You can adjust the sugar and lemon juice to make it either sweeter or brighter, depending on the sweetness of the apricots. You can process this in a traditional water bath to preserve it for the coming months, or it will keep for several weeks refrigerated.


  • 1 lb apricots
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar, divided in half
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon


ApricotJamCloseupWash the apricots, and chop into roughly even pieces. Save the pits. Toss the chopped apricots in a bowl with half of the sugar. Set aside to macerate for at least 10 minutes, although up to 1 hour is ideal. This will start drawing out the juices and dissolving the sugar.

Place the pits in a clean kitchen towel, and fold it over. Use a hammer, mallet or other heavy object to crack the pits open. Remove the inner almond-like kernel and place one in each of your clean jars.

Place the apricots and their juices in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and add the rest of the sugar, salt and lemon juice. Using a wider pot will make the cooking process faster, since a wider surface area will allow for the fastest evaporation of excess liquid. Place a few saucers in the freezer- you will use these to test the viscosity as the jam cooks.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a hearty simmer (you want it going pretty strong, but not so much so it is splashing hot sugar/apricot juice). Stir occasionally using a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon, scraping down the sides periodically. It should take about 15 minutes after it comes to a boil to reduce down enough. Once the foam subsides, stir the bottom more often and keep a close eye on it. Be careful, it will start spattering once it thickens up, just turn the heat down a touch. Then, start testing it. Dribble a little bit of jam onto the frozen saucer and wait for it to cool down (you can put it back in the freezer for a minute or two)- this will give you an idea of how thick it will be once cool. Once it has thickened to your liking, turn it off, and ladle into clean jars over the noyaux. Seal and process or let it cool down and then refrigerate. Enjoy!