Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale and Soba Ale Cheddar

A perfect pairing . . .

Enjoy the perfect match of Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale and the cheddar washed in glory of the beer itself. Enjoy! Brought to you by Yuri and Anngel. . .

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thanksgiving shopping-A Cautionary Tale

Shop Early

No, the Park Slope Food Coop is not a rapacious retailer, forcing Santa down your throat by Columbus Day weekend. We just want our members to be able to get all the basics they need for a holiday meal. And that means that you need to start stocking up on supplies now. Our basement cannot hold the amount of food required if everyone were to wait to shop until the last week or even the week before Thanksgiving.

Prime example: frozen pie crusts. Our supplier always runs out Thanksgiving week. So we try to stock up ahead. Have you ever been inside our basement freezer? By the end of the week all the shelves are full and there are 4 to 5 full U boats clogging the space, making it hard to send up all those pizzas and frozen berries. There is no room for six more carts full of pie crusts waiting for you to buy them at the last minute. So please buy your pie crust now. You're not sure if you are the one bringing the pie, buy the pie shell anyway. It keeps very well in the freezer and doesn't take up too much space. Buy the frozen peas and broccoli and vanilla ice cream now too.

Dry goods to purchase in advance: chicken stock, canned pumpkin, dried mushrooms, olive oil, pasta, packaged bread crumbs or dressing, evaporated or condensed milk, maple syrup, corn syrup, brown and white sugars (please consider purchasing the wonderful Wholesome Foods Fair Trade sugars we sell in Aisle 2A), chocolate chips, flour, parchment paper (Aisle 2A), cheesecloth, vanilla, spices including cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, rosemary, thyme, etc. Dried cranberries, apricots, and other dried fruits keep well in a glass container in the cupboard. Pecans, walnuts and other nuts can be refrigerated or frozen. Dried fruits and spices take time to bag and there may not be enough workers to meet the demand during the holiday week. And there is only so much space for workers in the food processing area and everyone wants cheese and olives too. Don't forget the crackers.

Cheeses, olives and smoked fish keep for weeks refrigerated. I refrigerate my corn meal and flour. Butter freezes very well, eggs have a shelf life of weeks. Heavy cream is also hard to get from our distributors holiday weeks--hedge your bets and buy ultra pasteurized Organic Valley heavy cream--it has a shelf life of weeks. A lot of produce stores well too--buy your potatoes, squash, shallots, garlic, pearl onions and fresh cranberries..

Get a leg up--buy your chestnuts early, roast and peel them and store in the refrigerator. Or sit back and buy the peeled chestnuts in the jar on the front end display across from the eggs. Don't forget the beer, Martinelli's sparkling cider, San Pellegrino limonata, chocolate truffles. Your cousins are going to remember the terrific hard cider you brought to the dinner last year--don't disappoint them. Only problem is: remember, this is the Thanksgiving stash.

Get rid of all the leftovers in your refrigerator. You need to make room so that you can buy your turkey as early as possible. Turkeys will start being delivered the Friday before Thanksgiving. Turkeys delivered the week of Thanksgiving are not going to be fresher; they are all butchered at least a week in advance. We max out our coolers for the turkeys. This means every time we need to send up butter, someone has to drag out 3 or more heavy carts of turkeys to get at the butter in the basement.

For the vegans, Tofurky "turkeys" will be in the freezer. The flatten Road Kill Fresh Tofu "turkeys" will be sold next to the tofu in the egg case. Buy them as soon as you see them.

It is not fun shopping at the Coop during the holiday season. Even if we have everything you want, we probably won't have the workers to stock the shelves. And who can get near the shelves to stock when the lines wrap around the store. Consider going in late to work one morning during the week and do your big shop then. Late week day evenings are generally not too busy either. The Coop does open at 6 am on Saturdays and Sunday mornings.

You can do quick grab and go shops if you don't have anything to weigh, three items or less. Pick up your turkey, pumpkin pie and fresh cream and head to the cashier, bypassing all the checkout lanes. If you plan ahead, you won't have to go to one of those Really Expensive Stores to get the special ingredients that make your holiday. Besides, they would also have long lines and no heavy cream. If all else fails, you can lie low and shop Thanksgiving Day, 8 am to 2:30 pm.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Zero calorie soda

We have been carrying the Stevia sweetened soda called Zevia for several months now at the Coop, and it is popular. Only Zevia is not alllowed to be called a soda because the US FDA regards stevia as a supplement. It is not clear to me how Zevia has managed to exist under this ruling.

Despite the FDA's position, many people consider Stevia to be a natural sweetener. It is a plant grown widely in Paraguay and Brazil. In recent travels to South America, I have seen stevia commonly used in both of those countries. It is a popular sweetener and sold in large containers in grocery stores. Stevia is also widely used in other countries, such as Japan.

We sell stevia itself in the Aisle 4B, with the supplements. With Stevia, a little goes a long way.

The LA Times published several articles on stevia in August, detailing some of the politics of artificial sweeteners. Apparently Cargill, Pepsi and Coke are lobbying to use stevia while NutraSweet and others want to keep their hold on the diet soda market.

-Click here for more info in LA Times-

Friday, October 24, 2008

Yes that Yogurt is made from Coconut Milk

-Click here for more info-

In case you haven't seen it, what you've been waiting for...it's finally here! On the shelf near all the non-dairy yogurts, we've added So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt in 4 different flavors - Blueberry, Strawberry Banana, Vanilla, and Plain. This yogurt is totally dairy free (vegan friendly) and doesn't even have soybeans in it. Right-O!

Frozen Pumpkin Stuff

Pappagallo's delightful pumpkin ravioli is back. I think I heard Anngel say something about sage butter...

Also, we just started getting Adirondack Creamery pumpkin ice cream and the people agree it's pretty great!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Truffle Cheese Mania

New in this week - Pecorino Tartufo - typical of the Umbrian region of Italy, combining sheep's milk with aromatic truffle shavings to make a unique and delicious cheese. Pair Pecorino Tartufo with a Chianti Classico

"Sottocenere" translates to "under ash" because covering cheese in ashes is a traditional Venetian way of preserving cheese. This particular cheese has herbs and spices added to the ash, like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, fennel, licorice, and coriander, all which add to the cheese's flavor. Studded with slices of white and black truffles and rubbed with truffle oil, the semi-soft cheese is supple and aromatic.

Cypress Grove, the Humboldt County goat-cheese producer that makes the wildly successful Humboldt Fog, celebrates its 25th anniversary in business this year. And with that milestone comes a new product from this creative enterprise, a truffled goat cheese christened Truffle Tremor.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New Frozen Stuff

For our gluten free friends: individual pizzas from Foods by George and apple cinnamon waffles from Van's.
For the kids (and grownups who like their food in the shapes of stars and dinosaurs and such): Broccoli Littles from Dr. Praeger. They are similar to the Dr. Praeger pancakes but smaller and way more awesome.
For our
burrito buddies: Spicy Tofu and Potato burrito from Phill's Fresh Foods. They're bigger than Amy's burritos and Kevin says they're pretty darn good.
For the raw ice cream lovers: raw, vegan ice creams from the Raw Ice Cream Company. This guy Mark makes it here in NY and it's pretty great stuff. Right now we have chocolate, mint chip, and vanilla.
New fruits and veggies: Blueberries and cauliflower from Stahlbush Island Farms. Sustainable stuff from an island in Oregon. They seem like good folks.

Cheeses to look for October 1st - November

Gouda - Farmers - Aged 3 years - Holland. As is typical with more aged cheeses, aged Gouda tends to be harder in texture than a young Gouda; in fact, it has a texture more similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano. The interior, or paste, is more deeply colored than that of a young Gouda; in a Gouda aged for roughly two years or longer, the paste becomes more of an amber, or yellowish-brown. The flavor is complex: intense, butterscotch-caramel, salty yet on the sweet side (it is often described as caramelized or toffee-like)

Leyden - Cumin Cheese - Holland This cheese, like its cousin Edam, has a rich heritage, and extraordinary quality goes into each step of Leyden cheesemaking. Just like Edam, it is made from rich, skimmed milk, but this is where the similarities end. Leyden cheese has the additional ingredient of creamy buttermilk and is a deliciously firm, subtly spicy tasting dairy treat - unique in its flavor because of the cumin and caraway seeds used to season it. As Leyden cheese ages, the cumin seeds draw out whey from the curds, so it has a drier, firmer texture than Edam. In Holland it is known as Cumin Cheese, but because of its popularity around the city of Leiden it is exported, under the name of Leyden.

Ubriaco Prosecco - Italy
A raw cow's milk cheese from the Veneto region in Northeast Italy, home to the Prosecco growing region and several superb sparkling and still wines. During the maturing process, it is covered by Prosecco grape must (skins), giving the cheese a sweet, delicate aroma of the wine and complex finish.