Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Blog Post He Didn't Want to Make

We have fifty-some unsold Thanksgiving turkeys, now FROZEN HARD and DISCOUNTED (price is as marked). Take this opportunity to buy an American Bronze heritage turkey -- $2.95 lb. CHEAP -- for the winter holidays. Defrost in the refrigerator for at least four days before roasting.

We will not be bringing in any fresh turkeys until these sell out...in any case, we won't be getting any more fancy heritage birds, which were raised just for the Coop by McDonald Farm, in NY's Finger Lakes region. Consider these facts well, my friends.

There are also a few Countryboy Farm turkeys (also raised just for us, in Lancaster, Pa., by Amish guys) and Eberly Organics left. Also frozen and discounted. But they're mostly heritage. You've always wanted a heritage, haven't you?

A busy cook’s arsenal

The next time you reach into the meat/fish freezer in aisle 3 for that bin of Alaska gold salmon, take a look around for other piscivorous treats lurking within. Freezer Gal is always on the hunt for fish and seafood that are sustainable and safe to eat. Here are some of her recent amazing discoveries:

Cooked Salad Shrimp, wild-caught from Oregon, low contaminant levels. You'll be pleased to know that bycatch of sea turtles and other endangered species is rare in the cold waters of Oregon, and the shrimp population assessment and management involve limiting the number of fishing vessels to avoid overfishing. Just in time for holiday entertaining, these peeled, steamed tiny shrimp are perfectly cooked and just the right size for canap├ęs and shrimp salad. They are succulent and briny-sweet. (They're great stand-ins for lobster in lobster roll "sliders!") If using in soups, fried rice, gumbo, etc., add the shrimp at the last minute so as not to overcook.

Clams on the Half-Shell from Ben Tre, Vietnam. Hand-harvested using rakes to minimize environmental damage and bycatch. The Ben Tre province clam fishery is operated and managed by a cooperative formed by local fisherpeople. It is the first small-scale, community-based fishery in Southeast Asia to get MSC certification. The frozen clams on the half-shell have been scrubbed, de-sanded and pre-cooked. Great for clams casino or paella. Or shuck for pasta, soups and chowders.

Alaska sole, trawled from the Pacific where sole population is healthy and has considerably less exposure to mercury and PCBs. It has a silky texture and buttery flavor, making it an excellent candidate for the simplest of preparations, like pan frying or broiling. Much like tilapia or trout, the fillets are thin and much leaner than salmon or tuna, so it's best to use them frozen to preserve moisture, or thawed just so you can cut them into portions. You don’t have to remember to defrost; just fire up the stove. And yes, Joe, they bake beautifully. Salt, pepper and brush with olive oil while still frozen, place fillets on well-seasoned pan (or a cookie sheet lined with Silpat), in a very hot oven, 15-20 minutes, add capers and lemon segments.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

1,200 turkeys. Don't mention it.

Yes. Well. People seem to want to eat turkeys at Thanksgiving, so I suppose we'd better lay in a few.

Today we have on hand 37 Wise Kosher Organic, ranging from 12-18 pounds, priced at $4.92 a pound. We also have 200 Plainvilles, same size range, at $2.79.

Tomorrow we get the Bell & Evans and Murray's turkeys. 8-24 lbs. $2.44.

Friday the excitement rises as we see the arrival of the Eberly Organic (perennial Coop fave, 8-24 lbs @ $4.31), and something new for us: 250 birds specially raised for us by the Amish poultrypersons at Countryboy Farm of Lancaster, Pa...part of the Lancaster Farm Fresh Coop ($2.72). No idea about the size range, since we bought their entire rafter.

We round things off on Monday, Nov. 22, with the extremely popular birds of Vermont's Stonewood Farm (12-20 lbs, $3.32), and -- for the third year -- the American Bronze heritage turkeys ($4.32) that Peter McDonald and his family grow for us up in the Finger Lakes, at McDonald Farm. Peter's solved the fox-in-the-henhouse problem this year, so we expect to receive the full 180 he started with last spring. Enough for all the heritage-fancying foodies in the Coop, we hope.

All these birds have been delivered FRESH, except for the kosher ones. And, needless to say, all are free-ranging, locally raised, hormone and antibiotic free.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Coombs maple syrup sale

This morning 240 quarts of Coombs maple syrup were delivered at a great price: right now we are selling Grade B quarts for $16.00!

Price limited to stock on hand--stock up now! Look for the maple syrup house in the produce aisle.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Long overdue cheese update.

Hi. Long time no talk. I know, I know . . . you don't have to tell me. Let's just cut straight to the chase and let me tell you about some of the exciting new local cheeses we're carrying.

Plymouth Artisan Cheese Co - we're carrying the Original Plymouth, which is sharp with notes of butter, fruit and nuts. And also the East Meadow with a mellower flavor and subtler texture. Look for these in the new cheese case.

5 Spoke Creamery - we're carrying all three of the kosher certified pre-wrapped cheeses that they have to offer: Herbal Jack, Redmond Cheddar and Welsh Cheddar. Also in the new cheese case.

Dancing Cow - check out Bouree, a washed-rind wonder and Lindy Hop, a light creamy blue.

Lazy Lady Farm - new in from Laini is Mixed Emotions. You can't miss this. Get it while you can. A natural rind mixed milk cheese reminiscent of Tomme de Savoie, only lovingly crafted by leftist-leaning Vermont homesteading goat farmers. Unbelievable.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vermont Mystic apple pie

It is hard to miss the snappy Vermont Mystic apple pie box in the ice cream freezer. As the staff No. 1 Picky Eater (and a pretty good baker), I recommend this pie. The ingredients include Cabot butter, King Arthur flour and a flavorful mixture of Empire, Northern Spy and Cortland apples. Unlike most frozen pies, this pie is frozen immediately after it is assembled but it is not baked. When you pull this pie freshly baked out of your oven, you will not be disappointed and your kitchen will smell wonderful. The price makes this pie a steal for your holiday table. You could pass the pie off as your very own homemade, but then don't forget to hide the box.

Advent calendars , Gingerbread houses and Hannukah gelt

The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming

Divine Advent calendars are here. Each window yields a small piece of milk chocolate. The cover of the calendar illustrates the story of the harvest of chocolate in Ghana, leading to the Nativity scene. Window opening starts December 1st!

Dancing Deer gingerbread house kits have also arrived. A good deal of assembly is required--including baking the dough. But that gives you an edible house that is actually tasty. The kit has the template, the dough mix, ginger people cutters and royal icing mix. You provide the gumdrops and other decoration. A percentage of the price is donated to organizations that aid the homeless.

The coop is awash in gold coins--the milk chocolate kind. Hannukah begins December 2. Our gold coins are made of Fair Trade Chocolate by Divine.

Amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs are here

Now is the fleeting moment at the Coop when amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs are available. After next week, we will not receive anymore closer to Christmas because Van Engelen will not ship in colder weather.

Purchase now and plant or take the bulb out of the box and store the bulb in a cool place. Everything you need is in the gift box. Don't wait too long to plant the bulb--it is programmed to sprout soon and will start growing out of the box, even if left in the dark

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Food waste in your home

Food waste--how much food do you throw out of your refrigerator each week? NYT covers an interesting book by Jonathan Bloom American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food." In addition to crops left in the field, spoilage during shipping and supermarket waste, one study found that up to 40% of food waste happens in the home. It appears we are less ambitious when it comes to cooking the food that we enthusiastically purchase. Increasingly people are concerned about food safety and are unwilling to eat less than pristine food. Food in the landfill creates methane, and that green stuff you are throwing away is actually money. Not to be a total scrouge, but we all might want to reevaluate just how festive the groaning holiday spread is.

Because of our picky food coop shoppers, our produce is frequently culled. We have at least one or two large soup kitchen pickups six days a week. And we compost tons and tons of spoiled produce each year in the local community gardens. No dumpster diving here!