CV, the Wine Guy, knows a good bargin!

SVFC_CV Wine_Bargin RedsThis week, CV The Wine Guy is giving us the scoop on three bargain wines that the Co-op frequently carries. The first two wines can be found stacked around the column that is just in front of the Bakery case in the Deli area. The third is at the column near the Deli to-go case (on your way to or from the cheese island). All of them are a steal at $7.99 each!

Bargain Red
: 2012 Codice (pictured on the left)
Producer: Dominio de Eguren
Geographic Origin: Castilla (Vino de la Terra)
Varietal: Tempranillo (Spain’s most native grape type; good for full-bodied wines, with spicy red fruit flavors and aromas)
Price: $7.99
CV Says: Margarette is the wine representative that sells us this wine — she has wonderful wines at great prices. The bottle does not list the varietal, and really — that’s not necessarily important. Codice means tradition, or the codes, in Spanish. There are a lot of rules and regulations for wine making in all of the European countries. In Spain, in the last 10 years, the new generation of wine makers got permission to not follow those rules “to law”, or, at least, could ignore them without getting fined. It was decided that, as long as the new ideas were shared amongst the wine makers of a region, an individual wine maker could go off on their own. This has created a nice synergy in Spain; there’s a lot going on there. Some of the old funkiness that was carried on by tradition, maybe in a negative way, is gone. And that’s really been a positive thing. This bottle of wine has probably seen just a little bit of wood. It’s going to have lovely berry and cherry flavors to it. This is a bottle of wine that will go well with a simple meal — pastas, pizza, any  kind of hearty sauce. It will hold its own. It’s not going to be dry in any sense; it’s going to have a fair amount of fruit on it. It’s a bottle of wine that pleases many. 
Read more CV, the Wine Guy, knows a good bargin! …

Skagit Brew Corner: Guide to Autumn Ales & Ciders

SVFCOktoberfestPyrIt’s official: fall is here. From crispy amber leaves to cool evening breezes, the Pacific Northwest is in full on autumnal mode. Drink accordingly and catch some of these delicious microbrews while you can. Most seasonal beers and ciders are limited releases.

Browse this handy guide to delicious fall beers and ciders with the following information: ABV = alcohol by volume; IBU = international bittering units (the higher the number of IBUs, the more bitter the beer)

Oktoberfest from Pyramid Brewing of Seattle/Portland/Berkeley – 6.7% ABV / 35 IBU. This strong, malty Marzen-style beer is brewed with a bouquet of Northwest Nugget and Mt. Hood hops and handful of flavorful malts including Pilsner, Munich, Carapils, CaraRed, and Caramel. With 35 IBUs, it’s a zippy unfiltered Oktoberfest with a hazy, deep amber color and higher than average alcohol content for typical harvest ales. Try serving this craft beer with hearty Co-op Handmade Sausage, from our basic Mild Italian Sausage to spicier Andouille and Chicaoji varieties. Saute the sausage, sliced onions, and sauerkraut in 1 cup Pyramid Oktoberfest for a delicious and flavorful meal.

SVFCPumkingCiderPumking Imperial Ale from Southern Tier Brewing of Lakewood, NY. 8.6% ABV / 25 IBU. One of the most magical pumpkin flavored ales I’ve ever tried. This year’s release is no exception. Crack open one of these 22oz. bottles and you’ll catch a whiff of honest to goodness pumpkin pie. One sip reveals tastes of whipped cream, hearty pumpkin flesh, and modest spicing. Toasted pecans? Vanilla? Buttery crust? Yes, these layers of superb flavors keep on going until the bottle is gone. So stock up, Pumking is an extremely limited release, and will age well due to its high alcohol content. A slower drinking, savoring beer, try this Imperial ale with desserts such as gingered apple crisp or the original pumpkin pie. Many beer snobs will agree that Pumking is truly a dessert in itself.

Pumpkin Spice Hard Cider from Seattle Cider Company – 6.9% ABV. An outstanding locally crafted seasonal cider from the first cidery in the city of Seattle since Prohibition. Seattle Cider Company is also a sister company of Two Beers, makers of the popular Evolution IPA. This moderately spiced hard apple cider is made from handpicked Pacific Northwest apples and is fermented with a blend of nutmeg, clove, allspice, and cinnamon. A touch of pumpkin helps to round out the warming spices and tart sweetness of fresh pressed Granny Smith, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Gala apples. Copper in color and semi-sweet, pair this seasonal cider with sharp cheddar, carrot cake, and roasted pork loin. Read more Skagit Brew Corner: Guide to Autumn Ales & Ciders …

The Joy of Cooking with Rice Noodles

SVFCRiceNoodles

Different styles of rice noodles available in the Co-op’s Grocery Department.

Oh, rice noodles, the things you can do! Many gluten-free families are familiar with the versatility and neutral flavor of these noodles to make comfort food classics, as well as ethnic dishes with exciting flavor combinations.

Rice Noodles are more delicate than their wheat-based counterparts. Commonly used in stir-frys and spring rolls, rice noodles are easy to prepare.

How to Cook Rice Noodles:

Place your rice noodles in a large mixing bowl. Bring a large pot of water to boil, and then pour the boiling water over the noodles until the noodles are submerged. Every minute or two, give the noodles a stir to loosen and prevent them from sticking together. Test the texture frequently, as the noodles will get mushy if they overcook. Thicker, flat rice noodles can take up to 10 minutes to cook, whereas the Maifun thin noodles will tenderize in just a few minutes. If you are using noodles for stir-fry, under cook them a bit since they’ll be absorbing oil. When finished, drain noodles, and toss with sauce or a bit of sesame oil to prevent sticking.

This week, we asked several Co-op staffers to share the many joys of cooking with rice noodles:

Jen, Prep Cook and Caterer, eats gluten-free and uses rice noodles as a base for many meals for her family. “I keep an assortment of veggies in the freezer and rice noodles are my go-to for making Phad Thai or basic stir-frys with tamari sauce. I also cook the noodles and dress them with the Co-op’s own Peanut Curry Sauce (made in-house), plus some Deli fresh Chicken Yaki and stir-fried onions, carrots, broccoli and cabbage.” Read more The Joy of Cooking with Rice Noodles …

New Feature: CV, The Wine Guy, talks Red Blends

CV the Wine Guy_Skagit Valley Food CoopMeet CV, one of the newest additions to the Co-op family. CV is our resident wine guy and our newest cheese specialist. And he’s here to give you generous, succinct, friendly advice on wines (and cheese). CV is quick to say that he’s not a wine “expert” — he’s not the person to go to for fancy terminology — but he does know wine, and approaches it with robust energy and a desire to match wine with people, food, and experiences. Each week, CV will pow-wow with us about geographic regions, specific varietals, wines with a purpose, etc., and give you two wine recommendations at two price points, below $10, and below $16. (With a darn good bargain or occasional splurge thrown in from time-to-time.)

Have suggestions for where CV takes us next? Email us at community(at)skagitfoodcoop(dot)com.

For week one, we’ll keep things nice and friendly — kicking off autumn and this new feature with Red Blends. Read more New Feature: CV, The Wine Guy, talks Red Blends …

The Cheese Whisperer: Going Wilde

OscarWildeChsThe latest temptation at the Co-op’s Cheese Island takes a turn for the poetic: Oscar Wilde Aged Irish Cheddar. Oscar Wilde was a witty writer who dazzled the British Isles with his poems and prose in the later half of the 1800s. Celebrate his life and work with this semi-dry, tangy, aged Irish Cheddar from the Poets and Writers of Ireland Cheese Company.

Oscar Wilde Cheddar is aged for 2 years in Ireland’s dairy heartland, County Cork. With a distinct creamy flavor, this cheese is made from farm-fresh cow’s milk from multi-generation family farms. Cattle are pasture-fed for most (at least 300 days) of the year, including during the milking season.

Wilde’s most popular plays are still enjoyed today on stage and screen, including “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “An Ideal Husband.” During his lifetime, he was also believed to be an expert on food and wine. In addition to a host of memorable quotes, he famously said: “I can’t stand people who do not take food seriously.”

This natural white cheddar has a semi-firm texture and pairs well with eggs, fresh fruit, Dalmatia fig spread, and toasted Marcona almonds (available in the Co-op Deli To Go case). Spice and sweetness accent the creamy notes of Oscar Wilde Cheddar, so try it crumbled over apple cobbler for a simply divine experience. The cheese also makes an excellent companion to dark beer. Refresh your palate and pair this delightful tangy cheddar with the rich, roasted flavors of Lost Coast Brewing’s 8 Ball Oatmeal Stout, Ninkasi’s Vanilla Oatis Stout, or the classic Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout.