Skagit Brew Corner: Cooking with Kölsch

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Hale’s Ales in Seattle is an institution that produces consistently good quality beer. And as the Springtime inspires the brew masters to lighten their malts, Hale’s releases a fresh batch of their award-winning Kölsch ale. Gold Medal Winner at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival, this ale has wonderfully crisp, clean, and refreshing flavors of Pilsner and Torrefied Wheat malts. Slightly sweet and herbal Saaz and Sterling hops impart an old world elegance and medium body to this pleasant and refreshing brew: Kölsch Ale from Hale’s Ales of Seattle, WA. 5.1% ABV / 10 IBU

What makes a Kölsch ale? Traditionally Kölsch is a light, thirst-quenching German ale with low bitterness and a golden color. Originally from Cologne, this pale beer is fermented with an ale yeast, and then later conditioned at cold temperatures that are typically used to make lagers. The result is a gently bittered, versatile beer with a slightly fruity flavor, relatively low alcohol content, and superbly drinkable light texture. Serve it ice cold, along with a snack tray of smoked, spiced, and sweet foods. Or use to to cook up a batch of delicious roasted snacks, see the following recipe.

Kölsch Glazed Almonds, Seeds & Fruit Read more Skagit Brew Corner: Cooking with Kölsch …

The Indian in the Cupboard: Palak Paneer

SkagitValleyFoodCoop_IndianintheCupboard_Paneer_3.31.14SkagitValleyFoodCoop_IndianintheCupboard_PaneerFinal_3.31.14

If South Indian cuisine is the Washington fare of India (fresh, light, lots of fish and seafood), then North Indian food is down-home Texas (rich, creamy and heavy). Most Indian restaurants you’ll find will be North Indian and boast menus of buttery, starchy goodness. Butter chicken, tikka masala, jalfrezi, biryani, roti, naan – it’s all enough to drive a girl mad with food-lust. But, of course, there is one North Indian dish that shines on a pedestal of deliciousness in my heart, far above the rest: Palak Paneer. Creamy, sweetly spiced spinach surrounds chunks of soft paneer (a mildly flavored Indian cheese). Its dangerously delicious flavor is capable of sending anyone into a proper comfort-food coma. But I like to live dangerously, so let’s cook.

Ingredients
2-7 oz. Packages of Paneer (cubed)
2 Bunches of Spinach (blanched and finely chopped)
5 Tbsps. Olive Oil (vegetable oil or ghee would also work)
½ Large Jalapeno (finely chopped)
1 ¼ tsp. Turmeric Powder
½ tsp. Cayenne
Salt
1 Clove of Garlic (minced)
½” – 1 ½” Piece of Fresh Ginger (peeled and minced)
1 Medium Onion (finely chopped)
2 Medium Tomatoes (large dice)
¾ tsp. Garam Masala
Pinch of Asafoetida
Pinch of Red Chili Powder
1 Bay Leaf
1 Curry Leaf
1 Heaping tsp. Coriander (ground)
1 Scant tsp. Cumin (ground)
2-3 Tbsps. Heavy Cream or Yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Mix 1 tsp. turmeric, cayenne, salt and 3 Tbsps. oil in a large bowl. Drop in cubes of paneer and gently toss. Set aside.

    SkagitValleyFoodCoop_IndianintheCupboard_FriedPaneer_3.31.14

    Fried Paneer!

  2. Rinse spinach well. Boil about 6 cups of water in a large saucepan with ½ tsp. of salt. When water is boiling, turn off heat, and drop in spinach leaves. Cover pot with lid and leave for 2-3 minutes. Extract spinach from boiling water, using a colander, and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water. Leave in ice water for a minute or two, then drain the leaves.
  3. At this point, it may be easiest to toss your spinach into a food processor and blend into a coarse puree. I, however, live sans food processor and thusly get to do it the old fashioned way! Huzzah! – Finely chop the aforementioned spinach by hand, using only your sharpest kitchen knife and the will to laugh in the face of modern technologies.
  4. We’re ready to cook! Heat a large frying pan on medium high. Carefully add marinated paneer to hot pan. Toss cubes until all sides are a light, golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Add about 2 Tbsps. of olive oil (or ghee) to your pan. Add onion, ginger, garlic, and jalapeno. Sauté ingredients until they are a deep, golden brown. With a cup of water at the ready, add the remaining spices. Splash mixture with water, as needed, to keep spices from burning. A thick paste will form. Keep it moving for a few minutes, until spices permeate the air with a distinct, strong aroma.
  6. Add spinach to pan with ½ cup water. Add tomatoes. Simmer for 4-8 minutes, adding water as needed to keep mixture moist.
  7. Slowly add cream, stirring constantly, and salt to taste. Cover and let simmer for about another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Serve over basmati rice, with naan, paratha or roti. Enjoy!

*For all my vegan buddies out there, replace paneer with 1 package of extra firm tofu and cream with canned coconut milk. The substitutions will totally still work with the recipe. Yay!

Hail Merry Tarts: On Sale!

CocotartHealthy food can (and should) be scrumptious. When that sweet tooth starts calling, head for a Hail Merry (raw, organic, vegan, and gluten-free) treat. These exquisite and top-quality tarts and macaroons are on sale until March 31. In addition to Chocolate Raw Almond Butter, Meyer Lemon and Persian Lime, the Co-op is now carrying a new flavor of Hail Merry tart: Coconut Vanilla Creme!

Made with wholesome raw ingredients, Hail Merry gluten free sweets are crafted to preserve the living enzymes, so that vitamins and minerals remain intact. Raw plant oils provide an excellent texture and taste and may also assist in healing the body.

Find these royally delicious treats in the Co-op’s cold to-go drink case above the fresh salsa and tortillas. For more information on the woman-owned Hail Merry company, read our initial enthusiastic blog post here.

 

 

 

New in the Deli: Our Own Baba Ganoush

SVFC_Baba Ganoush_2.3.14MashaʼAllah! Baba Ganoush has returned in the Deli! This Middle Eastern classic is a splendidly flavorful blend of roasted eggplant, tahini (sesame seed paste) and herbs and spices. A cousin to hummus, baba ganoush, and its many variations, is enjoyed throughout Eastern Europe and Asia, from Romania to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and India. It is often served as an appetizer alongside pita or naan and vegetables.

The talented folks at the Co-op have adapted their own recipe using whole food ingredients including organic garlic, organic lemon juice, and pure extra virgin olive oil. Our Baba Ganoush has a rich, smoky flavor with a zesty kick of garlic and citrus. Use it as an all-purpose dip, salad dressing, or stir into soups and pasta. (You will likely be tempted to eat it by the spoonful as well.) It’s affordable and delicious, as well as vegan and gluten free! Now available in the Deli to-go case.

Minor adaptions & serving recommendations:
- Top baba ganoush with sumac powder & fresh mint
- Serve with hummus and/or tabbouleh
- Serve with fattoush — a simple, spicy salad made with tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and greens (arugula works well). It’s dressed with lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, sumac powder, and sometimes a pinch of zaatar, which is a Lebanese mixture of thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds. Top salad with fried pita chips. (Use pita chips as shovel for baba ganoush!)

In the Kitchen with Jill

20120613-DSC02484The task at hand for me this New Year is to stretch the ole mighty dollar. Oh I could tell you that this is because I want to save money and pay off credit cards, but the truth is I want to take a vacation. A real vacation where I have to buy a bathing suit and new flip flops.  I want to sip on a tropical drink and read a book, while my feet nestle in the warm sand.  Looking at my biggest expenses, I realized that there were two that I could reduce without feeling a great deal of sadness or loss.  One is my food budget and the other is my unbudgeted earring spending. No, I am not giving up delicious food, or beautiful mercantile adornments to wear, I am just re-evaluating what I spend, and how I use it. Read more In the Kitchen with Jill …