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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category


Raph

PUBLIC Label Recipes: Marinara & Puttanesca Sauce

Public Label LogoEach time we introduce a new product to our PUBLIC Label line, we like to share recipes that incorporate it into your home cooking. Our new tomato sauces are so versatile on pizzas, in pasta, or however you like to use them–here are just a couple ideas to get you started. Visit our PUBLIC Label page to find out what it means to turn the “private” in “private label” upside down.

Roasted Cauliflower with PUBLIC Label Marinara Sauce

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 cup Bi-Rite PUBLIC Label Marinara Sauce
1 cup grated ricotta salata
1 tsp chili pepper flakes
2 tbls Bi-Rite PUBLIC Label Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbls chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 425 F
-Toss florets with olive oil, chili flakes, salt and pepper.
-Put in baking dish in oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
-Lower temperature to 325 F, stir in Marinara Sauce
-Top with ricotta salata and bake for 10 minutes

birite public label

The PUBLIC Label line keeps growing!

Sicilian Meat Balls with PUBLIC Label Puttanesca Sauce
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 ½ lbs freshly ground beef
½ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup whole milk
1 large egg
¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ cup ketchup
2 tbls fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped finely
1 jar PUBLIC Label Puttanesca Sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
-Put a rack lined with parchment paper in the center of the oven and heat to 375 F
-Mix the breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl, then set aside for 5 minutes.
-Mash and squeeze the breadcrumbs so that they make a smooth paste.
-Whisk in the eggs.
-Add the Parmigiano, ketchup, herbs, onion, garlic, 2 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper; stir to blend.
-Break the beef into small chunks and add to the bowl.
-Mix gently but thoroughly; over-mixing will make the meatballs tough and dry.
-When all of the ingredients are evenly combined, use a small ice cream scoop to form 24 balls, placing each on the baking sheet
-Bake for 15 minutes (or internal temp of 120 degrees)
-Warm PUBLIC Label Puttanesca Sauce in heavy saucepan.
-Once the sauce is simmering, drop in the balls and simmer together for 12-15 minutes.
-Sprinkle with a little grated Parmigiano and chopped fresh parsley and serve on their own as an appetizer, or with spaghetti

 

 


Cocktail of the Month: NOPA’s Sunshine Fix

nopa_portrait_for_web

In honor of our opening on Divisadero we asked Yanni Kehagiaras, who runs the bar program at NOPA next door (did you know that Jeff Hanak, co-owner of NOPA, was a high school buddy of Sam’s?) to share one of their cocktail recipes with us. Yanni chose the Sunshine Fix, one of the most popular cocktails on their menu.

Yanni says it’s “straightforward, easy, and delicious. The recipe is equal parts City of London Gin, Aperol, and fresh lemon juice, with a dash of Angostura Bitters…garnished with a grapefruit twist.  So in addition to being a solid cocktail, it’s super easy to make.”

Bonus: It was featured recently on 7×7’s “50 Drinks to Try Before You Die” list!

 

SUNSHINE FIX

1oz City of London gin

1oz Aperol

1oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 dash Angostura bitters

Build all ingredients in a mixing glass, shake well with ice, and fine strain into your favorite glass. Express a grapefruit twist over the drink, and drop in. Serve immediately.

 

 

 


18 Reasons Chef Recipe: Samin Nosrat’s Kuku

samin 1Samin is the author of Ciao Samin and teaches Home Ec at 18 Reasons. She is not actually crazy, that’s just the name of the dish!

This herb- and green-laden egg dish is a delicious celebration of spring.  Serve it for Saint Patrick’s Day or on March 21 to celebrate Persian New Year.  All that green goodness is a harbinger of health for the year to come. And if you’re looking for spring cooking guidance, check out our upcoming classes on spring fermentation, Easter & Passover menus, and more!

6 eggs
olive oil
1 large spring onion or two small ones, sliced
1 lb greens (nettles or spinach or a mixture of the two work well), blanched and chopped
1 bunch mint, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

samin 2Pre-heat oven to 350 if you do not want to flip your Kuku part way through cooking.

Heat a good amount (2 Tbsp) olive oil gently in a cast-iron pan.  Add onions over medium heat, salt well, and cook 5 minutes until tender and translucent.  Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, beat eggs in large bowl.  Add blanched and chopped greens and the herbs. It will seem like a ridiculous amount of greens, but that is the point.  Add the cooled onions and more salt and mix well.

Re-heat pan over medium-high heat. Add egg mixtures and let cook 7-10 minutes until almost completely set. The middle will still be damp.  Don’t let the bottom burn and adjust heat accordingly.  When kuku is almost completely set you can either slide it onto a plate and then flip it back into the pan to cook the top for 2-3 minutes or you can slide the whole pan unto the pre-heated oven and cook it for 2-3 minutes until set but not too firm.

Serves 8. Kuku is amazing the next day for lunch.


Register Recipe: Aziza’s Meyer Lemon Cocktail

farnoush portraitI feel lucky to live in the Outer Richmond. I know that with the constant fog and cool weather that may sound strange for some, but I love it here. I’m five minutes away from the beach, around the corner from a great Margarita at Tommy’s, nearby stinky tofu at Formosa café…but the best benefit has got to be living two blocks away from Aziza!

We all know about the wonderful Michelin-starred Moroccan food they offer, but what I love most is their wine and cocktail program headed by the talented Farnoush Deylamian. Farnoush’s cocktails revolve around seasonal muddled fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. Some ingredients may seem strange at first, like sugar snap pea or wild arugula, but they’re in balance and consistently delicious. I always start my evening there with her Meyer lemon cocktail, consisting of muddled Meyer lemon, brandy, and Cointreau, finished with Prosecco. It’s a great starter to a meal as an aperitif, or delicious with their couscous.  If you can’t make it over to 22nd and Geary to visit Aziza, here’s the recipe straight from Farnoush so you can replicate it at home!

single recipe card

 

 


Ian

Register Recipe: Ramos Gin Fizz

The Botanivore Gin, made with 19 different botanicals including cilantro, coriander, Seville orange, bergamot, and star anise, is part of St. George Spirit's oh-so-giftable three-pack

This one is for my uncle Dale. For the past several years, I have worked on Christmas Eve, then celebrated with good friends and good Champagne. The following morning, I have dragged myself from the comfort of bed into the early cold and driven to my Aunt Sue’s house in Sacramento on Christmas morning. There, I’m greeted not only with hugs and smiles, but also a tall, frothy Ramos Gin Fizz made by Dale. The delightful combination of tart citrus and rich cream get my taste buds primed for breakfast, and the gin eases me into the happy chaos of Christmas with the family. It’s probably not the most traditional of traditions, but neither is our family gathering, and that’s partly what I love about it. Now, when the light gets low and the days are short, I find myself craving not a Hot Toddy but a Gin Fizz…

The Ramos Gin Fizz is one of the most famous cocktails to come out of New Orleans. The use of egg white in the cocktail creates a luscious, creamy texture when shaken, while the orange blossom water adds a beautiful bouquet. It’s traditionally considered a brunch cocktail, although served at a dinner party in a coupe and with a garnish it makes quite an impression. I typically garnish the cocktail with grated nutmeg, which makes it even more seasonally celebratory, although it’s not traditional. Some recipes will also call for vanilla extract, which I don’t use, but adds another tasty layer.

Regardless of recipes and ratios, there are a few things that you must consider when making a Ramos Gin Fizz. First, whenever you make a cocktail with egg white, it is important to dry shake all of the ingredients without ice first, before shaking with the ice. Dry shaking helps to emulsify the egg white with the gin and citrus, and will result in a more creamy and frothy beverage. And second, orange blossom water is very potent; try making the first one with 3 drops and, if you like the flavor, add another drop or two to the next round. As always, play around with the recipe and make it yours.

So here’s to the season, our families and our traditions, whatever they may be. Cheers.

Ramos Gin Fizz

2 oz. St. George Botanivore Gin
.75 oz Heavy Cream
.75 oz Simple Syrup
.5 oz. Lime Juice
.5 oz. Lemon Juice
3-5 drops Orange Blossom Water
1 Egg White

Dry-Shake, then shake with ice, and strain into a chilled Collins glass. Top with 1 oz. club soda. Garnish with grated nutmeg.


Faun

Holiday Turkey Preparation Guide

What follows is our authoritative guide to making your bird and side dishes shine! Included are the following recipes and tips (scroll to the bottom for a printable version):

  • Our Tips for Roasting Heritage Turkeys
  • Recipe for Deconstructed Heritage Turkey with Roast Breast & Braised Legs
  • Recipe for Whole Roast Heritage Turkey
  • Recipe for Traditional Roast Broad-Breasted Turkey
  • Reheating Instructions for Items on our Holiday Menus

Our Tips for Roasting Heritage Turkeys

•    Heritage birds typically have a humped breast bone, and the bird will be somewhat leaner.
•    We recommend that Heritage turkeys not be brined; this ensures the best possible texture, and maintains the natural intense  flavor of these special birds.
•    Let the turkey come to room temperature before roasting.
•    Let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes prior to slicing. This ensures evenly juicy meat.
•    Because of Heritage turkeys’ unique breast-to-leg ratio, the breast will reach doneness long before the legs and thighs. There are two ways to address this: Either roast the bird whole until the breasts are done, and then finish cooking the legs separately, or remove and braise just the legs and roast the rest of the turkey whole

Recipe for Deconstructed Heritage Turkey with Roast Breast & Braised Legs
As featured in our November 2010 Food & Wine article, “A Farm Fresh Thanksgiving”
We highly recommend this recipe! It’s also great for a traditional broad-breasted turkey.

Ingredients
One 12-20 pound turkey
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, halved
2 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
6 cups Turkey Stock or low-sodium broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
10 sage leaves
12 thyme sprigs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Freshly ground pepper

Cut the legs and wings off of the turkey; separate the drumsticks and thighs. Using poultry shears, cut off the backbone. (Reserve the wings, neck and backbone for making stock.) Set the breast, thighs and drumsticks on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle all over with the 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.

Rinse the turkey parts and pat dry. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil. Add the thighs and drumsticks and cook over moderate heat until well browned all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer the turkey to a platter.

Add the garlic, celery, carrot and onion to the casserole. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Return the thighs and drumsticks to the casserole and add 4 cups of the Turkey Stock. Cover and braise over low heat until the turkey is tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Transfer the turkey to the platter; strain the braising liquid and return it to the casserole.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Spread half of the butter under the turkey breast skin; tuck in the sage and thyme. Spread the remaining butter over the skin.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet. Add the turkey breast, skin side down, and cook over moderately high heat until browned, 12 minutes. Turn the breast skin side up and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast the turkey breast for about 1 hour, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 150°. Transfer the breast to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups of turkey stock to the skillet and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom.

Boil the braising liquid in the casserole until reduced to 3 cups, about 10 minutes. Add the stock from the skillet. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with 1/4 cup of water; whisk this mixture into the liquid in the casserole and boil, whisking frequently, until the gravy is lightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the gravy to a gravy boat.

Remove the bones from the thighs and slice the meat 1/2 inch thick. Transfer the thigh meat to a roasting pan along with the drumsticks. Cover with foil and reheat. Carve the turkey breast and arrange on a platter. Arrange the dark meat alongside; serve with the gravy.

NOTE: If you aren’t comfortable cutting up a turkey, you can prepare this recipe using a 7-pound turkey breast on the bone, plus 5 pounds of turkey drumsticks and/or thighs.

Recipe for Whole Roast Heritage Turkey
Courtesy of Chef Dan Barber of Stone Barns and Blue Hill, NY

 

Ingredients
BN Ranch Heritage Turkey
butter
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Let turkey come to room temperature. Carefully separate skin from the breast meat and rub softened butter on to breast. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Set the turkey, breast side up, on the rack of a large roasting pan. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Roast for 20 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cover turkey loosely with tin foil. Roast until the thermometer inserted into the inner thigh registers 150 degrees (2 to 3 hours, depending on turkey size).

Transfer turkey to cutting board. Let stand for at least 45 minutes to cool down. Remove legs and thighs, careful to not take too much skin with you.

Place thighs, skin side, on a roasting pan and continue cooking 40-45 minutes or until juices run clear. Separately slice breast and thigh and plate while still warm.

Recipe for Traditional Broad-Breasted Turkey

After removing neck and giblets from the body cavity, rinse the bird with cold water. Pat cavities and body dry with a paper towel. Rub body and neck cavities with salt if desired, and stuff loosely. Truss neck cavity with metal skewer and truss legs. To remove the truss just lift the ring and pull it up and over the end of the drumstick. To secure the truss, hold the drumsticks together, lift the ring and pull it over the drumsticks.

Spread exterior of turkey with a blend of your favorite herbs and spices or with a paste made of the following ingredients:

4 Tbsp oil (melted butter or olive oil)
4 tsp. salt, or to taste
2 tsp. paprika

Heat oven to 325º F. Place bird in open pan, breast side up. Pour two 8 ounce cups of water in bottom of pan. Place in oven. If roasting turkey unstuffed then decrease roasting time by approximately 30 minutes. There is no need to turn the bird while roasting as it will brown to a rich, golden color. However, a piece of foil should be placed loosely over the breast for the last hour of roasting.

Take the temperature by inserting a meat thermometer in the thigh joint, where the leg connects to the breast; the turkey is done when it reads 155-160°. When done, the thickest part of the drumstick will feel soft. Remove from oven. Let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Weight    Approximate        Time to Start
(lbs)      Roasting Time     Checking Temperature

6-10 lbs.      approx. 2 hrs.          1 ½ hrs.
10-12 lbs      3 – 3 ¼ hrs.            2 ½ hrs.
12-14 lbs.     3 ¼  – 3 ½  hrs.      2 ½ hrs.
14-16 lbs.     3 ½  – 3 ¾  hrs.      2 ¾ hrs.
16-18 lbs.     3 ¾  – 4 hrs.            3 hrs.
18-20 lbs.     4 – 4 ½  hrs.           3 ¼ hrs.
20-22 lbs.     4 ½  – 5 hrs.          3 ¾ hrs.
22-24 lbs.     5 – 5 ½  hrs.          4 hrs.
24-26 lbs.     5 ½  – 5 ¾  hrs.    4 ¾ hrs.

Reheating Instructions for Items on our Holiday Menus

House Roasted Diestel Ranch Turkey Breast
Place turkey in a shallow baking dish and pour ¼ to ½ cup broth over the turkey. Cover with foil and reheat in a 325 degree oven for 40 minutes or until hot

Whole Roasted Diestel Ranch Turkey
Place turkey in a baking pan and cover with foil. Roast at 325 degrees for 1-1/2 to 2 hours until heated thru or to taste.

Soups
Microwave: 3 to 5 minutes, or until hot
Stovetop: Pour soup into a saucepan and simmer on low heat, stirring to avoid burning, until hot.

Mashed Potatoes / Sweet Potato Mash
Microwave: medium for 4 to 6 minutes or until hot
Oven: Place in a shallow, oven proof dish and heat in a 325 degree oven until hot, about 40 minutes

Stuffing
Oven: Place in a shallow, oven proof dish. Dot with sliced of butter (optional) to add extra richness and crispness. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until hot and slightly crispy on top

Brussels Sprouts and Other Veggies
Microwave: 3 to 5 minutes, or until hot
Stovetop: Sauté with butter or olive oil in a large sauté pan until heated thru

Gravy
Microwave: 3 to 5 minutes, or until hot
Stovetop: Place in a sauce pan and simmer on low heat, stirring to avoid burning, until hot

Printable Guide- page 1 (pdf)

Printable Guide- page 2 (pdf)


Matt R.

Cooking with Curds: Broiled Polenta with Poached Eggs and Piquillo Pepper Sauce

Me 'modeling' the Caciocavallo

To me, polenta is just fancy grits. And who doesn’t love fancy grits with some eggs? This classic breakfast combination is always hearty and fulfilling. Breakfast is also one of my favorite meals, so I’m always looking for ways to mix up its traditional ingredients to serve at all hours of the day.

This dish takes regular polenta and incorporates Caciocavallo cheese, a stretched curd cheese from Italy with flavors somewhere between provolone and mozzarella. I then let the polenta set up, and cut it into chunks to broil. I top those with peppery arugula, poached eggs, briney Castelvetrano olives, and a savory piquillo pepper sauce that is a snap to make. Breakfast for dinner has never tasted so good.

Broiled Polenta with Poached Eggs and Piquillo Pepper Sauce

Serves 4

For the red pepper sauce:
– 1 cup roasted piquillo peppers (1 10-ounce jar in liquid)
– 1 clove garlic
– 1 small shallot
– 2.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 3.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the polenta:
– 8 ounces Caciocavallo cheese, grated
– 1 cup polenta
– 2 cups whole milk
– 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
– 1 teaspoon salt
– two handfuls baby arugula, washed and dried
– 8 eggs
– 6 ounces Castelvetrano olives, pitted and sliced
– extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

To make the piquillo pepper sauce
Drain piquillo peppers of their jar liquid and rinse off. In a food processor, combine the peppers, garlic, shallot, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt. Puree until smooth and set aside. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

To make the polenta
Lightly brush or spray a 9×13 pan with extra virgin olive oil. In a medium pot, combine the milk, broth, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Once the pot reaches a boil, pour in the polenta in a steady stream, whisking constantly as you pour. Let the pot return to a boil, stirring, and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Stir constantly to avoid having a lumpy polenta. The polenta will thicken gradually and eventually start to pull itself away from the edge of the pot. This could take 30 – 40 minutes, but once this starts to happen, the polenta is done.

Transfer the polenta to your prepared 9×13 pan, gently pat it down into an even layer, and set aside. The polenta can be prepared up to a day in advance and kept covered and refrigerated. If you need to use it immediately, place the pan in the fridge uncovered for about an hour until it is set up to a solid consistency.

Preheat the broiler. Once the polenta is set up, remove it from the fridge and cut it into triangles. Place these on a well oiled baking sheet. Broil for a few minutes (2-3) on one side until brown and crisp and remove from the oven. Flip each over and broil the other side until brown and crisp. You may have to broil these in batches depending on the size and type of your broiler. Set finished polenta triangles aside, covered in foil, until all are ready to serve. Poach the eggs, and lightly toss the arugula in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil. To plate, place two or three polenta triangles on the plate, spoon over some of the piquillo pepper sauce, add a handful of arugula, top with two poached eggs, and sprinkle with olives. Enjoy!

P.S. Sharing recipes and photos of cooking victories is something I do often on my own blog–check it out: www.missionkitchensf.com


Ian

Register Recipe: Benton’s Old Fashioned

Despite the recent string of San Francisco Indian Summer days, fall is definitely here. The nights are cool and clear and the light is changing. In the Market stone fruit has been replaced by an array of apples and pears in every color, texture and flavor. Brussels sprouts, chicories and winter squash are coming in as well, and in every department we’re helping our guests with fall recipes. With all this in mind I thought I’d offer a seasonally appropriate cocktail, something a little stronger and with all the right flavors of harvest to compliment an early fall night…

This recipe is borrowed and modified from Jim Meehan’s PDT Cocktail Book, one of the year’s best reference books from Meehan’s New York bar. Mixologist Don Lee created the beverage to bring together one of his favorite pork products with one of his favorite spirits.

Allan Benton is a famous producer of traditional hickory-smoked hams from Monroe County, Tennessee. His bacon is prized for its rich, smoky character and has earned such accolades as “World’s Best Bacon” from Esquire Magazine. In the cocktail, the hickory smoke complements the spice of the bourbon and the rich sweetness of maple syrup; it’s a terrific play on the original elements of an Old-Fashioned.

Lee uses Four Roses Bourbon, but I’ve substituted the more economical Bulleit Bourbon which I’ve found to be a fine stand-in. Preparing the bourbon is simple and well worth the modest effort, and once prepared it’s shelf-stable!

The next time you wake up to a chill in the air and the desire to cook I hope you’ll enjoy this world-class bacon for breakfast and this perfect fall cocktail by the time the sun goes down (which is earlier, after all…)

 

Benton’s Old Fashioned

2 oz. Benton’s Bacon Fat-Infused Bulleit Bourbon (recipe below)

.25 oz. Mead & Meads Grade B Maple Syrup

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled rocks glass with one large cube. Garnish with an orange twist

 

Benton’s Bacon Fat-Infused Bulleit Bourbon

1.5 oz. Benton’s Bacon Fat

1 750-ml bottle Bulleit Bourbon

On low heat, warm the bacon fat in a small saucepan until it melts, about 5 min. Combine liquid fat and bourbon in a large, non-reactive container and stir. Infuse for 4 hours, then place container in freezer for 2 hours. Remove solid fat, fine-strain bourbon through a cheesecloth, and bottle.

 

 

 


Register Recipe: Sautéed Figs with Prosciutto and Parmigiano

These figs can be served as an hors d’oeuvre, as the anchor for a green salad, or even as a garnish for roast pork. Because you’re wrapping the prosciutto around the figs, it’s best if you use slices that come from the widest part of the ham. If the prosciutto is smaller, buy two slices per fig and use toothpicks to secure the prosciutto onto the figs. This recipe is found on page 160 of Eat Good Food; it makes 16 wrapped figs to serve 4-6.

 Ingredients

A small chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

8 large fresh figs

8 thin slices prosciutto

Extra virgin olive oil for brushing

1 1/2 Tbs. aged sherry or balsamic vinegar

 

Use a vegetable peeler to shave the Parmigiano into shards. Set aside.

Cut the figs in half lengthwise, and cut the prosciutto slices in half lengthwise as well. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around each fig, and then brush lightly with the olive oil.

Heat a large skillet (ideally cast iron) or a grill pan over medium-high heat.  When hot, arrange half the figs in a roomy single layer, cut side down, in the pan. Cook until the prosciutto is browned and crispy, 1 1/2-2 minutes. Then flip the figs and repeat on the other side. Transfer to a serving platter and cook the remaining figs in the same way.

Drizzle the vinegar over the figs and top with shards of Parmigiano. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Register Recipe: The Mexican Shandy

Last October, I made a pact with two of my friends that we would take a trip to Mexico to explore the world of mezcal. (Of course this was made after a few flights of the very traditional, very Mexican spirit.) I’m proud to say we realized our drunken plans last month: I spent two very exciting weeks in Mexico City and Oaxaca. Needless to say, we drank a lot of mezcal.

This is me petting one of the horses that push the big stone

To many, mezcal is some weird, smoky, worm-containing cousin of tequila. But in fact, tequila is a specific type of mezcal. There are many different types of maguey (or agave) that grow all over Mexico. A specific one is grown in Jalisco and turned into tequila. The other 25 or so varieties of maguey are also fermented and distilled, but called ‘mezcal’. Because Mexico contains many different climates, regions, and varieties of maguey, mezcals greatly vary in nose, body, and taste. From dive bars to high-end restaurants, mezcal is always sipped at room temperature and accompanied by slices of orange, dusted with a powder of chile and roasted larva (it’s delicious).

However, the best part of our trip was visiting mescal distilleries (palenques) an hour outside Oaxaca City. It felt like Sonoma or Napa—off-the-road palenques freckle the major roads. You drive up, explore the fabrica, and sample at the tasting room. We saw horses pulling huge stones to crush the magueys, the earthen ovens where the hearts (piñas) are roasted, the huge barrels where the maguey ferments (naturally—they don’t add any yeast), and the copper pots where the wine of maguey (pulque) is distilled into mezcal.

The best part was going to a remote pueblo where the citizens don’t speak Spanish, but instead still speak the indigenous language. We met a woman who is called “the mother of mezcal”. Common in Oaxaca City, restaurants buy mezcal from distilleries and bottle it as their own brand. Quite a few high-end restaurants source mezcal from this particular woman. She and her four lovely daughters toured us around her facility and fed us tortillas made with agave syrup. After tasting a few of “the mother’s” mezcals, we quickly realized why she earned such a title. Each was incredible—some rich and smokey, some smooth and light. I admit we bought quite a lot from her to bring back, but most was gone by the time we returned to the US.

Mezcal is quickly gaining popularity here in the United States. Quite a few new palenques are appearing in Mexico, and these fabricas are much like those of tequila. They’re ignoring their domestic audience and have plans to solely sell to the US. (It’s amazing how many very familiar brands of tequila we didn’t see in Mexic; mezcal may have the same fate.) However, mezcal is still a Mexican spirit. We enjoyed mezcal is all forms—sipping it on its own, enjoying delicious and well-balanced mezcal cocktails, and even pounding some mezcal frappes on a very hot afternoon (alright, maybe a few hot afternoons).

Here at Bi-Rite, we carry two types of mezcal. Del Maguey is a company that imports mostly single-origin mezcals from pueblos in Mexico. We stock their Chichicapa ($72.99/750ml), from a pueblo two hours south of Oaxaca City. It’s light and has a nice minty smokiness on the nose with a long finish. We also carry the “Vida” ($39.99/750ml). This blend is a little heavier, with notes of sandalwood, citrus, and smoke.  Matthew Fleeger, husband of our very own Marika from the deli, is an incredible bartender. He has concocted a perfect summer cocktail with mezcal. The drink also serves as a great introduction for those who have yet to try Mexico’s finest spirit.

The Mexican Shandy

1 ½ oz. Del Maguey Vida
1oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ oz. agave nectar
Blue Star beer
Pinch of salt
Rosemary (for garnish)

Combine ingredients over ice, shake, and strain into a 12 oz. Collins glass. Top the glass with Blue Star and stir. Garnish with rosemary.

 


Sarah F.

Cooking with Curds: Wilde Weide Summer Pasta

San Francisco’s summer is so unpredictable–in the shift from warm sunny park-going days to foggy and windy hoodie days, I can never decide what I want to eat this time of year! I came up with a pasta recipe for either kind of day; it combines rich, “stick to your bones” flavors in a light and healthy way. The recipe features our Wilde Weide (which means “wild meadow” in Dutch), an organic farmstead Gouda made by Jan and Roon van Schie on an island in the south of Holland.

 Ingredients

1 box Baia Pasta (I love the whole durum pac-macs!)
2 yellow onions, sliced
1 basket cherry tomatoes
3-4 slices bacon
2 garlic cloves
½ cup white wine for cooking
½ lb Wilde Weide Gouda
1 bunch fresh basil
1 bag spinach
2 lemons, zest & juice
olive oil

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Toss cherry tomatoes in olive oil, salt & pepper and spread out on sheet tray.  Put in preheated oven to slow roast, approximately 20 minutes (once tomatoes get a little color, turn oven down to 250°F).

Heat skillet over low heat, add olive oil.  Add onions and caramelize to bring out sweetness.

Heat a large pot of salted water.  Bring water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until al dente.  Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, dice bacon and sauté in separate pan, then add to caramelized onions.

Add garlic and sauté until aromatic (about one minute); deglaze pan with white wine.

Add grated Wilde Weide Gouda to pan and let melt into the mixture, then add that to vegetable mixture.

Chiffonade ½ cup (or 10 large leaves) fresh basil and add to the vegetable mixture along with the zest of both lemons.

Add fresh spinach and let lightly wilt, then season heavily with salt and pepper.

Add cooked pasta to mixture, and season with lemon juice, plus more salt and pepper if necessary.

For the garnish, slice small raw squash, dice larger squash, and chiffonade additional basil. Garnish pasta with the sliced squash and additional basil.


Gleaning Project Recipe: Frittata From the Garden

The starring role in this recipe is played by Mariquita Farm Pickled Green Garlic, one of the items we’re currently offering as part of our Gleaning Project. This frittata serves 4.

 

Ingredients:

12 eggs from someone you know

½ cup Bellwether Farm Jersey Milk Ricotta

3 tbls Bellwether Farms plain yogurt

1 cup fresh peas

3 tbls chopped spring onion

¼ cup Mariquita Farm Pickled Green Garlic, chopped

2 tbls fresh thyme

1 tbls fresh shredded fresh mint

4 tbls butter

S&P

 

Directions:

Simmer peas and spring onion in 2 tbls butter until tender.

Beat eggs with yogurt, ricotta, green garlic, herbs and S&P.

When peas, onions and garlic have cooled, stir into egg mix.

Butter a round baking dish, pour in egg mix.

Place in a 300 degree oven, and cook until firm, but not hard (about 40 minutes). Remove from oven, and slice once cool.