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.
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.
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 does matter is adding salt to the boiling water, not oil! What does matter is adding salt to the boiling water, not oil! Adding oil creates a slip-n-slide effect and prevents any sauce from sticking to the pasta. Don’t forget that fresh pasta cooks faster than dry pasta so make sure to keep a close eye throughout the cooking process by tasting as you go. It would be a shame to let all that hard work go to waste!
Enjoy your homemade pasta with a dash of extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic and grated parmesan cheese and serve it with a Panzanella salad, a true Tuscan delight!
Ciao for now! Already counting the days to next month’s class…
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 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!
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 a thicker texture), aluminum pot and a cast iron pot (for a fuller and complex taste).
Pickled Padron peppers
Pickling is preserving foods in vinegar or other types of acids. We simply pan fried some Padron peppers and added them into a vinegar-based mixture, where Lorena added garlic cloves, black peppercorn and some sugar. These peppers are great with fish for a sour twist or simply as a snack as they’re just that tasty!
Tip for sealing: You don’t need to properly seal your jars if you have space in your fridge! Cold temperature, as mentioned previously, is another good way to preserve food.
Once again, thanks Lorena! Can’t wait to find out what the next theme will be.
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…
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. Immediately place a lid over the pot and let the eggs steam for 6 minutes, no longer! While eggs are steaming, prepare a bowl of ice water to transfer the eggs into once fully steamed. Let sit until the eggs have cooled down and peel the shell gently.
Tip 1: Older eggs are easier to peel as their shell is more expanded. You can spot older eggs by placing them in a bowl of water and comparing how well they float.
Tip 2: An easy way to peel an egg is tapping both ends of the egg and gently rolling it back and forth on its side.
A soft boiled egg is great for revisiting the Salade Nicoise, traditionally topped with hard boiled eggs.
Thanks Paige and Lorena! We will definitely be back next month.
Join celebrations with the French for their very own Independence Day this July 14th! Known as Bastille Day (or “La Fête Nationale” for Francophiles), it is a milestone in their history, representing the fall of oppressive monarchy and liberation of the people. Or, maybe it’s just another reason to eat delicious food and pop a Champagne bottle…
Although you can’t make the trip all the way there, Bi-Rite Catering can help you plan your French culinary journey! We picked out some of our items to enjoy a meal “à la française”. What could be more French than bread, cheese and charcuterie? Our Sweet Summertime Cheesin’ Platter and Artisanal Charcuterie Platter are perfect to enjoy with sliced baguette or crackers along with a bottle of Lapierre “Raisin Gaulois” Beaujolais, a fresh and juicy-flavored red wine. Our easy-to-eat and hearty Mini Acme Baguette Finger Sandwiches with Brie, Fig & Olive Tapenade or the simple Jambon-Beurre are also great choices for the theme.
Don’t forget to indulge in some of our desserts! The Chocolate Cream and Lemon Curd tartelettes, will add an elegant touch to your table. Enjoy sipping sip on a glass of J.
Lassalle “Cachet d’Or” 1er Cru Brut champagne along with your dessert. After all, that’s how they would do it in France!
Feel free to reach out to one of our sales associate to create the perfect Bastille Day menu or add that extra French touch to your event!
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!
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.
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 oils can turn rancid when heated but taste wonderful when topped on a plate of fresh and seasonal veggies.
This class accentuated taste and forced us to slow down, taste the food and work to appreciate each ingredient’s contribution to the overall dish. Understanding the purpose of each element definitely makes it easier to substitute ingredients and improvise recipes. But first, you need a well-stocked pantry!
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.
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!
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 informative with their procedures and techniques. It is very rare to find a meat producer who can trace each step of their farm to table process – and who also is so willing to share! Thanks to places like Mary’s Chicken we continue to provide our customers the best quality in flavor, sustainability, and integrity.
Summer is right around the corner, which means it’s time to celebrate the end of the 2016 school year! What better way to recognize our graduates than with Good Food. Whether it’s preschool, middle school, high school or college, there are plenty of things on our Early Summer Menu that will satisfy everyone’s needs. Let us do the work for you so you can relax and enjoy the celebration as well.
Graduation Celebration Menu:
Start the party off with our colorful and delicious Roasted Golden Beet and Peach Salad with Charred Peppers and Capricho de Cabra Chevre Cheese with Champagne Vinaigrette. The goat cheese paired with the peaches gives you a mouthful of summer bliss. Take summer flavors to the next level with our new Belfiore Bocconcini Mozzarella and Cherry Tomato Skewers with House Made Basil Pesto – a simple and easy-to-eat caprese salad on a skewer!
For the main dish, add some finger sandwiches to your menu: easy to eat, they’re delicious, for all ages. The Focaccia Finger Sandwich marinated with Harissa – Grilled Eggplants, Tomato, Cucumber and Hummus is a favorite among vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. The Acme Baguette Finger Sandwiches with La Quercia Prosciutto, Belfiore Mozzarella, Hikari Farms Greens, Basil and Balsamic Vinegar is perfect for your meat lovers.
Don’t hassle with a big cake, when you can get mini cupcakes! The perfect bite-size sweets, they allow you to offer more variety of flavors to please all palates. Try our Creamery’s new seasonal cupcake flavors like – Key Lime Yoghurt or Cookies N’ Cream Chocolate.
Reach out to one of our Sales Associates to talk through our entire menu and create the perfect party for this special occasion! Cheers to the graduates of 2016!
This Earth Day we want to share with our values with you and give you a glimpse into our daily processes for preparing your food. We understand the impact food companies leave on the environment, and we do our part to mitigate waste as much as possible. When people understand where their food comes from, they are joining our mission to spread awareness in environmentally conscious catering.
AS FRESH AS YOU CAN GET
Starting with organic, locally sourced food, our kitchen orders all ingredients fresh per order. This not only gives the finest flavors to our dishes, but also helps ensure that there will not be leftover ingredients for waste.
COMPOST + RECYCLE
Compostables are environmentally friendly, and not to mention eco-chic! We minimize our carbon footprint by offering compostable items for a small fee, which also leaves an easy clean-up for you after your event. Add in our new authentic Kraft butcher paper table covering and not only are you a trend-setter but also a smart composter.
When you support companies that do good, you are doing good, and you create a demand in your community to let those good food companies thrive and push other companies to raise their food standards. Don’t settle for tasty food, raise your standards and get good AND environmentally conscious food. Help us keep the Earth clean and next time you are having a party or picnic in the park, think of us and be proud to know where your food comes from. Thank you for using sustainable catering and being a steward of the Earth!
Don’t miss out on your Easter Sunday fun slaving away in the kitchen, let us do the heavy lifting for you! Host a unforgettable Easter Brunch with your closest family and friends, celebrating with Good Food, a beautiful presentation, and fresh spring flavors. Give yourself a break and enjoy the party too!
Easter Brunch Menu
Take your brunch to the next level with our gorgeous, house-made smoked salmon. Our Smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon Platter is as fresh as you can get, served with Shaved Red Onions, Capers, and Cucumbers. The Salmon Platter pairs perfectly with the Crostini Kit-Laura Chenel Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomato Tapenade – a creamy spread of Goat Cheese, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Herbs. Spread the tapenade on the crostini and top it with the salmon to get the perfect taste of crunch and creaminess. Throw in some fun-sized mini quiche bites to round out your entrée.
Make your brunch table extra stunning with the Citrus Sunrise platter, that comes with four types of mouthwatering bursts of citrus: navel orange, cara cara, ruby grapefruit and mandarin. We guarantee our House-Made Coffee Cake will satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.
Wouldn’t be a complete brunch without a bottle or two of bubbly! Whether you are sipping on rose or enjoying some bottomless mimosas, we can take care of all your champagne needs. We recommend the pretty and elegant, M. Bonnamy Cremant de Loire, France 2012, light, fresh and clean with a hint of fruit and great minerality.
Order by Friday March 25th before 3pm and get everything delivered right to your doorstep. Happy brunching.
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 hour.
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