Friday, August 28, 2009

Tour of the Rear End-cap

Q:So what IS all this fancy stuff anyway?

A: The rear end-cap is where we put strange and mysterious items that don't have a regular spot or we're trying out or that are seasonal or temporary.

Q: No, you didn't hear me. What IS it?

A: Oh, I'm sorry I misunderstood. On the top shelf there are vinegars and oils, the next shelf is honeys and condiments and . . .

Q: Could you just go through each item please?

A: I thought you'd never ask.

On the top left of the case are some lovely vinegars ranging in price from cheap to very expensive.

From right to left are Delouis Bordeaux wine vinegar - a great mid-priced salad vinegar, Mutti tomato vinegar - unique and inexpensive, two wine vinegars from Unio in Spain: Cabernet and Moscatel, and the Benimosu Purple Potato vinegar from Japan - very expensive and hard to find.

At the end, on the right is Verjus Du Perigord - a great item to use in place of cooking wine or a pan de-glazer.

The Casa Forcello mostardas, compotes and confitures are cheese condiments that will expand your cheese plates and make a splash at you next dinner party.

The mostardas (whole fruit and pectin, flavored with mustard essence) are available in Plum, White Watermelon, Crab Apple and Green Tomato. These are great paired with roast meats and hard cheeses.

The Compotes (Pumpkin Ginger and Strawberry Balsamic) are excellent paired with fresh goat cheeses and chicken dishes.

The Blood Orange Confiture - captures the essence of the fruit, with just the right amount of zest - it is the perfect accompaniment to many, many foods.

On the next shelf down are an assortment of syrups and glazes.
On the left is a line of vinegars and savory toppings from Vincotto. We carry the Original, Orange and the Fig Vinegar.
The next in line is Terra de Espana Sherry Glazes - amazing on roasts, chicken or poured straight on ice cream!
Saba. What can I say? Its cooked grape must, similar to the vincotto, sweet and mellow - great drizzled on beets!
Crema Balsamico - a white balsamic reduction. If you know what it is, you know how expensive it is.
Pomegranate Molasses - a middle eastern syrup that makes a great tangy dressing when mixed with olive oil.

This shelf has a few items that you should know about.

The first is the various quince pastes (Membrillo) that we carry - original and Plum. Serve with hard Spanish cheeses - a classic with Manchego.

Date Almond Cakes. Another lovely addition to any cheese plate.

Dill and Fennel Pollen - Italian cooks swear by these products - they add them to everything. Tell me what you add them to.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Take the Cure!

Our determination to find the finest cured and smoked goodies for the Coop Protein Case has led us to La Quercia Artisan Cured Meats. La Quercia products have been praised by the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Bon Appetit, and slews of those terribly famous celebrity chefs you see on the teevee. Vogue food critic Jeffey Steingarten wrote that La Quercia makes "the best American -- or imported -- prosciutto I've ever tasted." The meats are produced through traditional dry-curing, using only sea salt -- no lactic acid, nitrates, or nitrites. Made from humanely raised, anitbiotic-free Berkshire pork.

We're carrying the following items, all presliced and in 3-oz. packaging.

Prosciutto Americano: dry-cured ham sliced thin, and usually served uncooked as an antipasto, or on sandwiches.

Pancetta Americano
: pork belly that has been salt-cured and spiced (bay, pepper, juniper). Often used to flavor other dishes, especially pastas such as carbonara and all’amatriciana.

Speck Americano
: juniper-flavored dry-cured and smoked ham originally from Tyrol, a region partially in Austria and partially in Italy. The light smoking (over applewood) differentiates it from the sweeter prosciutto. Use like prosciutto, or as a substitute for bacon.

Due to lack of space in the Red Meat Case, look for La Quercia in the 12-foot Poultry Case, down near the terrines, pates, and other charcuterie.

New Local Cheese line for September

Let's all give a warm Park Slope Food Coop welcome to Cooperstown Cheese Co. I've brought in four great cheeses from them:

Toma Celena - A recent American Cheese Society winner in the Best European Style Cheese category, this natural-rind, semi-hard cheese is very nutty and complex. It goes well with hearty red wines and flavorful beers like Ommegang's Rare Vos.

Here we are cutting open a wheel in the basement.

Toma Con Brio
- A nod to the bloomy rind cheeses of France, Cooperstown adds a unique twist by making the wheels double thick. Single cream (less that 60% milk fat by weight), but with a wonderful consistency and earthy flavor. Pairs well with dry Chardonnay or thick, heavy porters.

Jersey Girl - We all have a certain New Jersey girl that we have a secret crush on, don't we . . .?

This one is made with the Colby procedure (similar to cheddar, but does not undergo the cheddaring process), but is much more flavorful because the milk is raw and from a single herd of grass-fed Jersey cows.

"Scape" From New York - No, this one does not star Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken, it stars plenty of New York State garlic scapes all mixed into a raw milk cheese aged just 60 days. The Park Slope Food Coop is the only place you'll find this cheese in NYC.

I've never tasted anything like it. Addictive and flavorful, I don't think you'll be able to get enough.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sprouted Sunflower Seeds

Our friends at Kaia Foods have come up with a new way to feed your raw snack cravings: flavored organic sprouted sunflower seeds. Yummy flavors include Cocoa Molé, Sweet Curry, Garlic & Sea Salt. Kaia says "All we do to our sunflower seeds is sprout, season and dehydrate them at low temperatures instead of roasting them. The nutrients (and great taste) stay intact and aren't processed away." Pick up a cute reseal-able pouch in Aisle 7A.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Barrel-churned, old-fashioned creamery butter

The butter case in the Coop just got a lot more interesting. It now contains butter from Mendon Creamery in Mendon, Mass, just 200 miles from Park Slope. Gabrielle Proia, owner of Mendon Creamery, has been churning butter for about three years in a "farmstead" operation. She rents space on a 150-herd dairy farm to produce and hand-pack six varieties of butter. She is frequently the one milking the cows as well. Proia churns about 1,000 lbs of butter a week. Using the barrel churn creates a butter with a distinctively fresh, sweet taste. "Butter is the perfume of dairy," says Proia. We say "Move over, Land O'Lakes."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Raw, Probiotic, Fermented... Salad Dressings?!?

Yes it's true, Zukay Live Foods has introduced a line of salad dressings made from raw, fermented vegetables. In addition to all that raw probiotic goodness, they are:
  • Versatile: Not just for salad, they also work as marinades, over veggies, etc.
  • Not just for Raw Foodists: Use them on cooked vegetables or meat.
  • Low Calorie: Only 5 calories per serving -- not bad, considering the typical salad dressing has somewhere around 100 - 150 calories per serving.
  • Low Carb: No added sugar

So try them already! They are in our Egg/Tofu case because they are refrigerated.