Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall is Here

"Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower." -Albert Camus

Fall has finally arrived, and with it come promises of pumpkin pie, hot chocolate, and many other seasonal delights. A great many of us like to ring in the holiday season with delicious desserts and celebration; others, such as myself, fight off the ever-shortening days and approaching winter blues with the very same. No matter which group you fall into, you can be sure that our pastry bakers have kept themselves busy concocting various treats to help put a smile on your face, along with crumbs and bits of chocolate.

One ingredient you can be sure to see a lot of in the coming months is pumpkin, which can be found in various pastries including pumpkin cheesecake, muffins, Pumpkin Swirl Brownies, pumpkin pies, and many other delights even the luckiest of pumpkins have only dreamt of being a part of until now. Many of these treats are available at this very moment, while others will find their way onto the sales floor in the coming weeks. Our pastry bakers have also been experimenting with various pumpkin-free foods, such as Lemon Cranberry Bread to compliment your breakfast, as well as our new spelt-based Cinnamon Chocolate Cookies for dessert. U-bake apple pies are also available in the Grab & Go to the right of the deli case, and mini-muffins will be available every Tuesday on the counter next to the deli register.

Expect to continue seeing local produce in our salads and hot bar items this month, such as potatoes, leeks, green and yellow onions, cabbage, tomatoes, kale, chard, arugula, and anything else we can find to sate your appetite. Harvest season is in full swing, but with the onset of colder weather it won't last much longer. Be sure to enjoy it while you can, or you may find yourself waiting another year before enjoying another farm-fresh tomato. Also be on the lookout for Chris' delicious Pumpkin Pot Pie, which will be making an appearance in the hot bar one last time this month. I've had the great pleasure of tasting it, and I can assure you that it's something you won't want to miss.

Every Saturday between 10 AM and 1 PM during the month of October, Jesica will be preparing various foods for you to try made from ingredients found in our bulk department. It is our hope that some of these dishes will inspire you to create your own meals, or simply give you a chance to try something you've never tasted before. In the future we hope to have volunteers to assist her in creating even more exciting dishes for your tasting pleasure, but in the meantime we recommend you stop by to say hello, enjoy some free samples, and let her know what you think.

That's all for this update, but I'll leave you with a fun fact: The common English name for arugula, rocket, is a corruption of the French name for the leafy green, known there as roquette.

The Truth About EARL

As a deli server, I hear one question asked far more than most: “will you be serving my favorite salad again sometime soon?” My answer to that question is generally an uncertain “maybe,” followed by a quick trip to the kitchen to talk with a cook. More often than not, if a salad is not currently available it may be quite some time before it returns; as a lover of food, nothing disappoints me more than having to inform someone that they will have to settle for second best. How can you be certain that the salad you're looking for will be available before you make your next trip to the Co-op? There are actually a few ways you can go about doing this, one of which will be through this very blog.

The easiest method is to call the store before you make your trip, and request to speak with someone at the deli counter. Our servers are happy to take a look inside the case for you, and, if the salad you're looking for is nowhere to be found, they can give you a brief description of what is available, hopefully giving your taste buds time to decide on something else you might like. If simply nothing else will do, you are welcome to place a special order with a cook. Special orders guarantee that your favorite salad will be ready and waiting for you when you arrive, but must be placed 48 hours in advance in order to give our cooks time to fit them into their busy schedules. Special orders are generally made for larger amounts of salad, but can often be made for smaller amounts as part of a larger batch, the remainder of which will be sold along with our other salads in the case. This is a win-win situation, as not only will you be able to enjoy your favorite salad, but so will anyone else who happens to walk by the case that day. This may not always be possible due to ingredient availability, so be sure to check with a cook before placing your order.

The newest method—something which I'm hoping to update on a regular basis—is to check our case salad rotation schedule (which we lovingly call EARL) right here on our kitchen blog. As it is not common knowledge, I'd like to explain how salad rotation works. Selected case salads are placed into two groups of five salads, each of which rotates on a bi-weekly basis. So as not to have all of our salads changing on the same day, the two groups are staggered so that one group is phased out every week, making room for five new salads. Those five salads will be featured for the next two weeks alongside our mainstays such as kale slaw, organic fruit salad and others. Salads on our rotation schedule are set a few weeks in advance, giving our kitchen buyer time to order any ingredients which may be required, and allowing you to be sure that these salads will be available for the time in which they are advertised. If one of our scheduled salads is unavailable, it has likely sold out and will be available again shortly.

Without further ado, I now present to you the case salad rotation schedule for the following two weeks:

October 10
th through October 23rd:
  • Egyptian Cucumber Salad

  • Puget Sound Artichoke Salad

  • Mega Omega

  • Spicy Thai Noodle

  • Red Curry Tofu

If the salad you're looking for isn't available, a new set of five salads will be featured beginning on the 17
th of October. Be sure to check back here for details!