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Cook Good Food Class – Pasta Fresca

Pasta was this month’s guest of honor at our Cook Good Food class! It’s a timeless staple food and seriously, who doesn’t love pasta? It comes in all shapes and sizes and can be prepared in countless ways. Paige and Lorena showed us how to make the perfect Tagliatelle and Ravioli from scratch. Find below some of their helpful tips! Dough preparation: mixing and kneading Without a perfect dough, pasta is nearly impossible to make. Kneading is essential to create strength through a gluten structure, holding the pasta together. Don’t be afraid to use your hands! The best way to know when your dough is ready is by touch. The dough is ready when it’s completely smooth and, when stretched, will gently pull back into place. If your dough is too sticky, dust it with additional flour. Finally, let it rest in plastic wrap at room temperature for about an hour.   Making pasta: flattening and shaping Your dough is finally ready to be transformed into pasta! To flatten the dough, a pasta machine is a great tool to have. You can also do it by hand by rolling the dough flat, folding it into thirds and repeating the process until it reaches a nice elasticity and all the air is rolled out. Have fun and get creative when shaping your pasta! There’s no such thing as ugly pasta! Once made, you can let them dry for a few minutes. Cooking pasta The perfect cooking time for pasta is referred to as al dente, meaning “to the tooth”. To achieve this, the size of the pot doesn’t matter. What...

Cook Good Food Class – Preserving food

Another successful, resourceful and, of course, flavorful Bi-Rite Good Food Class this month! The discussion focused on food preservation. Food preservation has been a common practice throughout cultures and generations, marking a milestone in human history. We no longer needed to consume food immediately after harvesting or killing but could start setting roots in one place and create a community.  Many preservation techniques exist such as drying, freezing, fermenting, pickling, curing, jam and canning. We got the chance to assist Lorena in making three different preparations: BBQ sauce, tomato chutney and pickled Padron peppers! BBQ sauce BBQ sauce is basically a mix of vinegar, tomato paste, sweetener (sugar and/or molasses) and mix of spices. Don’t be afraid to improvise! After preparing a quality base of BBQ sauce, you can customize each jar to your liking. The spices we added into our individual containers included everything from Umami, cocoa powder, chili flakes and cinnamon. You can try our very own Bi-Rite BBQ sauce when ordering our new Triple Rack O’ Ribs Kit, including coleslaw, corn on the cob and three racks of juicy smoked ribs. It’s a perfect option for a hassle-free BBQ experience with some friends and family! Chutney  Ketchup was originally oriental fish brine, which travelled across the spice route and eventually arrived in America, where someone decided to add some sugar. Chutney derived from ketchup and is an Indian condiment, which can be made with fruits and/or vegetables with vinegar, spices and sugar.  The pot used to cook makes a surprising difference in taste! We followed the same recipe but used three different pots: a slow cooker (for...

Cook Good Food Class – The chicken or the egg?

This week, we attended the monthly Bi-Rite Cook Good Food class, which is open to all Bi-Rite Family members. What a great culinary experience! The theme this month was eggs. Paige and Lorena, two very knowledgeable employees, hosted a three-course meal (with eggs, of course, being the star ingredient!) and entertained us with some storytelling. Here’s some food for thought… History of chickens The ancestry of modern day domestic chickens is still partly a mystery as it goes way back in time. Some say that they were first domesticated from a wild form, called the red junglefowl (Gallus gallus), in Southeast Asia around 2000 B.C. Chickens were cross-bred, leading to more than 350 combinations of physical features known today. Chickens and their eggs A chicken usually lays an egg every 25 hours, following natural daylight. Once laid, the egg hatches after 21 days. It takes around one quarter of a chicken’s energy to make one single egg! Anatomy of an egg The anatomy of an egg is also fascinating. The shell’s color varies according to species and breed of chickens (not based on nutrition). It’s covered with thousands of tiny pores, allowing air and moisture to pass through. As for its yolk, it’s held still in the egg by the chalaza, which prevents it to move around (always wondered what the white strands were when cracking open a raw egg?). The secret to a perfect soft boiled egg Prepare a medium pot with 1-inch of water. Place the pot on the stove and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium heat and place the eggs in the pot....

Cook Good Food Class – Pantry Essentials

Bi-Rite cares for its Family and constantly finds ways to educate its employees. Monthly cooking classes have finally restarted, expanding (even more) our staff’s food knowledge and appreciation. Tips and tricks are given on how to enhance flavors and appreciate new ones. Our very own Sam Mogannam encourages, throughout his book Eat Good Food, to have fun in the kitchen by experimenting and improvising. You don’t always need to follow a recipe word for word, educate and trust your taste buds! We were lucky to participate to the cooking class series kick-off and learn all about “pantry essentials”. Setting yourself for success in the kitchen starts with a well and efficiently-stocked pantry. In fact, basic pantry products can make drastic differences on your plate. Properties such as the texture of salt or the smoking point of oil can be secrets behind making good meals, great! Salt The best cooking salt is Kosher salt. It is known to have a coarse texture, making it easier to pinch and giving you a better control over your seasoning. Kosher salt also rests on top of the food, giving a more accurate idea of the quantity you are using. This is especially useful when seasoning meat. Normal salt gets soaked up into the meat quickly and can easily lead to over-salting. Oil Different types of oil are used for different purposes. You will not need the same oil when pan frying a steak than when preparing a salad dressing. One way of differentiating oil types for cooking on a stove is their smoking point. Another way is by their flavor. Some super flavorful...

Farm Highlight: Mary’s Chickens

Last week we had the opportunity to visit one of our vendors, Pitman Family Farms known for Mary’s Chickens, and learn their story.  Along with 30 other Bi-Rite employees, we traveled to Sanger, CA where we were lucky enough to experience a private guided tour lead by members of the Pitman family. The tour consisted of visiting the hatchery, turkey and chicken farms, and processing plant. Not only was I inspired by their ethical and environmental standards, but also their passion for Good Food and community. By sharing my experience I hope to connect you, our guests, to our producers. Animal Welfare Walking onto the farm we saw chickens playing in a clean and open environment. They have plenty of space to roam indoors and outdoors. They even have hay bales and eucalyptus branches to enrich their environment. One of the most surprising aspects of the farm was that it did not smell! Processing Plant The cleanliness of the factories was amazing. We got a tour of the hatchery, where they incubate the eggs and a tour of the processing plant. They take the health and safety of their animals seriously at every step of the process. Integrity & Sustainability It is clear that the Pitman family advocates the importance of community, which is evident by the boost in the local economy and the abundance of good jobs. They also care about their environmental impact – they use eco-friendly packaging on all their products. The openness of the employees at Mary’s Chickens in sharing their story was incredible – they answered any questions we had and were very transparent and...

Spring Green’s For St. Paddy’s Day

Our favorite greens including asparagus, green garlic, and baby artichokes are taking over our Early Spring 2016 Peak of Season Menu, and we couldn’t be more excited. If you love spring greens as much as we do, then you will definitely be salivating over the local asparagus grilled to perfection and the crunch of fresh snap peas. Our top picks from the early spring menu, not only make an ideal side dish but will also add the perfect touch of green for your St. Paddy’s Day celebration. The Curried Cous Cous Salad with Charred Local Asparagus, Broccolini, Orland Farmstead Feta  Cheese, and Hikari Farm Greens is bursting with fresh herbs, including green garlic, parsley, and basil. The Baia Pasta Salad with Local Asparagus, Grilled Spring Onions, Pickled Peppers, Kale Pesto and Ricotta Salata combines all of spring green essentials in one amazing dish. These flavor rich dishes are healthy and hearty, and not to mention green, which will look gorgeous next to your corned beef and cabbage. Wash it all down with some of our favorite local brews! Give us a call to talk through the entire early spring menu and see what will work best for your next event. Even if you’re not hosting, you can still celebrate the flavors of spring. Stop by one of Bi-Rite Market’s locations, Divisadero or 18th Street, and check out the house-made prepared foods. Or, shop our online markets to have your favorite dishes and groceries delivered right to your doorstep within an...