Monday, November 22, 2010

The Kitchen Gadget I Can't Live Without

by Jesica DeHart, Co-op Product Promotions and Education Coordinator,

We call it the vegetable spiraler around my house and what it does is truly just simply magic! My children devoured vegetables of all kinds for years up until the notorious moment when they went to school and some child informed them that veggies were gross. Now being somewhat skeptical children they did not buy the "gross" statement completely but their passion for veggies did begin to dwindle and become quite selective. Some say that it is a naturally occurring shift that happens in children due to taste buds and the sort but I think their entrance into the world of outside influences played a large part in it. Around this same time, through a raw food demo, I discovered this incredible kitchen gadget that transforms any firm veggie or fruit into spiral noodles or paper thin slices. I watched, at the demo, as my child devoured a plate of spaghetti made with raw zucchini noodles and promptly went home and ordered one for our family.

I found that beets, daikon radish, carrots, zucchini, cucumber, squash, eggplant, sweet potatoes and more could easily be transformed into various size noodles to be eaten raw or lightly cooked depending on the vegetable and my kids loved them again because, well how can you not like eating something that boinnggs and is in such a fun shape. We add them to soups at the very end of cooking for an incredible rainbow affect that kids love. Beets in particular are very striking in a soup especially if you use a variety of colors of beets. I make spring rolls and fill them with either a mixture of rice noodles and raw veggie noodles or only the latter. I love arriving to a potluck or friends for dinner with a bowl of raw spiraled veggies of all colors, tossed with a simple tangy dressing and watch the oohs and ahhs and the bowl quickly empty.

Now where can you find one of these magical kitchen gadgets for yourself you ask? Well thanks to my trusting friends in the Health and Beauty department of the Co-op we are now carrying this incredible gizmo so that the children and adults of the Palouse can have as much fun with their veggies as we do at our house. Whether as a garnish or main ingredient, this is a kitchen must have. During my initial search for one years ago, I tried out a wide variety of them and found that for the price and quality that the World Cuisine model is my favorite which is what I have at home and what we now have on our shelves at the Co-op. I will be doing a plethora of demos in the coming months to showcase this fun spiral vegetable slicer. I am also more than happy to schedule a demo for you if you want to see how it works. Just send me an email

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November Case Salads

Here are the case salad selections for the following two weeks. For those of you wondering what happened to last month's menu: I experienced a bit of a hiccup in the process of figuring out what salads would be available, but everything is now in order and I will be making regular updates once again. Thank you for being patient with me while I sorted things out.

Several salads are new to the Co-op this month, and I invite everyone to stop in and sample some of them if you get a chance. I've marked all of the new salads in the list below.

Now through Nov. 20th:

  • Chicken Salad with Apples and Walnuts
  • Udon with Garlic Sauce
  • Sumi Salad
  • Roasted Squash and Red Onion Salad *New*
  • Three Sisters Salad

Nov. 14th through Nov. 27th:

  • Vicki's Roasted Brussel Sprouts
  • Tortellini with Bacon and Onion *New*
  • Creole Roasted Yams *New*
  • Honey Mustard Potato Salad
  • Wild Rice with Apricots

November News

During this time of year I often find myself waking up with a question in my mind which, before I have so much as set foot outside of my bedroom, must be answered if I am to properly begin my morning routine. I clumsily jump out of bed, with a mind still half-dreaming, wondering if that glow I see around the edges of my curtain seems brighter than usual, or if my eyes just haven't quite adjusted to the faint morning light. Hoping for the former, I dash to the window, cross my fingers, and pull the curtain aside. Every morning for weeks I have done this, and every morning I have found only the same aging landscape of fading fall hues waiting for me on the other side of the glass. Is it too early for snow? Did it come and go in the night, melting away before I had a chance to see it? “Maybe tomorrow,” I think to myself. “Tomorrow will be different.”

For a lot of us, myself included, cold weather isn't really justified until it is met with a healthy dose of white, powdery snow to play in. To another, perhaps more sound-minded group of individuals, a lack of snow this far into the season is a fortunate turn of events, as it means safer travels, (relatively) dry clothing and a few extra days to ride bicycles before things take a turn for the worse. No matter what your preference in winter weather may be, everyone always seems to agree that now is the time for delicious food, and more of it. At the Co-op kitchen, we've heard what you're collective appetites have been trying to tell us, and have come up with a number of new and exciting flavors in every one of our kitchen departments to help you feel happy and content no matter what the weather may bring.

Most of you are used to the wide variety of drinks and flavors available at our coffee bar, and some of you are even known to our baristas by both name and drink preference, in no specific order. Why not keep them on their toes? For the next few months we will be offering both eggnog and soynog lattes, and both 'nog varieties will be available to add to all of your other favorites, as well. If that isn't enough to put you in the holiday spirit, we have also added pumpkin spice and gingerbread syrups to our list of flavors, both of which should send you well on your way to carving Thanksgiving turkeys, and will see you through to your last Christmas carol and beyond. For those of you who prefer to have tea with your holiday cheer, we have recently replaced our Awake variety of black tea with Fair Trade organic tea. Give it a try—it's sure to warm your spirits on a cold day.

As usual, our pastry bakers have been working harder than ever to bring you some of the best desserts in the Moscow-Pullman area, just in time for the holidays. I wouldn't make such a bold claim if I hadn't tasted many of them myself, but I can assure you that each and every one of them is delicious, delectable and delightful—and that's just one letter of the alphabet. I could go on, but I'll let these desserts speak for themselves. For the vegans who often wish they could have something as tasty as cheesecake without the bit about cheese, we now offer vegan cheesecake in a variety of fruit flavors. Made with soy products instead of dairy, they taste every bit as good as the real thing and are convincing enough that even I had a hard time telling them apart. Also fresh out of the oven—your oven, to be precise—are our take & bake apple pies, bringing you all of the smells and flavors of a freshly baked pie with very little hassle. Should pumpkin be preferred, ready-to-eat pumpkin pies are available for only $9.99, with proceeds going towards Backyard Harvest. If you're in the mood for seconds but can't find the room for another slice of pie, why not try our baked peppermint merengue? Both light and delightful, it delivers a rich, minty flavor without adding much volume to your already crowded stomach. Seeing as how no holiday meal is complete without hot chocolate, we invite you to wash your dessert down with a glass of our Co-op hot cocoa, available as a mix in three different flavors: Mexican, mocha and classic. For those of you who just come for the cupcakes—and because it's hard to eat just one—we're now offering them in packages of six for $5.99. That's a savings of almost $2.00 per package, which ought to please both Scrooge and Cratchit alike.

Bread is an integral part of any holiday meal, and our bread bakers have not forgotten. Returning this month after a long hiatus is our stuffing bread, complemented by our brand new cranberry sourdough and Argentine chimichurri breads—three breads which, together, are practically a meal unto themselves. For those of you wondering just what chimichurri bread tastes like, imagine mixing cayenne, onion, garlic, oregano and parsley into a dough, kneading that dough until it feels smooth and consistent, and placing it in your oven, allowing the rich aroma of all of those herbs and spices to fill your house and make your mouth water. Now take a bite. Could you taste it? If not, I know a better way: come to the Co-op, bring a loaf home with you, and give your imagination a much-needed rest.

Now, with all of our other departments covered, we arrive at the kitchen. While it may not seem as though much has changed at first glance, we have reached the end of the local growing season. We will still be offering local beets, onions and potatoes well into the winter, but our supplies for many of our other, more short-lived produce items are disappearing fast. This month will be your last month to experience local leeks, pumpkins and cabbage before they will be replaced by organic offerings from warmer climates, so get them while you still can! Also, so as not to be left out of all of the holiday festivities, the kitchen will be preparing dishes made from squash, pumpkins and yams, with baked yams available in the hot bar several times this month. I'm certain that the cooks have more recipes than I'm aware of in their repertoire of hot seasonal specialties, so be prepared for the unexpected and unequaled throughout the coming months. Something you can expect, however, is our new Tuscan Cream Cheese Spread, available in the grab & go at this very moment.

More seasonal treats will surely be made available as we come closer to Christmas, but until then we invite you to try one of the many new things we have to offer this month. We at the Co-op wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving, and hope that, when you look out your window tomorrow morning, the weather brings you exactly what you're wishing for. Just what sort of weather that is will remain a secret, unless your excitement gives it away. Until next time...