What’s Dipping: Essentially Orange

SVFC_IceCream_Essentially OrangeTry our newest seasonal flavor of handmade ice cream: Essentially Orange. A blend of hand squeezed organic Valencia oranges, freshly grated zest, and pure vanilla ice cream, this flavor will send your taste buds on a trip down memory lane.

Creamy with bright and refreshing flavors, our own Essentially Orange is perfect for warm early summer days It also makes a delicious milk shake! Stop by our Deli and try some today! Now available in hand-packed pints.


The Cheese Whisperer: Bellavitano-a-Go-Go

The cheese arena stretches far and wide. Curds with varied characteristics, different aging times, and flavors abound and continue to challenge our understanding and comfort. Many popular cheeses are extra aged — typically meaning the milk curd has been cooked, pressed, and aged for over 1 year in order to develop intense, complex flavors, and firmer textures.


Delicious Two Bean Salad with Balsamic Bellavitano aged cheese! Did I hear someone say “picnic”?

Speaking of such elegant and aged cheeses: the line of Sartori Bellavitano cheeses are versatile and currently on sale for $3.99 per wedge at the Co-op’s Cheese Island.

What a deal! These extra sharp specialty wedges are available as Asiago, Parmesan or flavored with Balsamic vinegar, Raspberry tart ale, and Merlot wine. These excellent aged cheeses are crafted in a style similar to a fine Parmesan: sweet and sharp with tiny crystals of crunch, also known as crystallized milk proteins (casein) that contain the amino acid tyrosine. Made from pasteurized cow’s milk, and free of hormones and antibiotics.

Each of these high quality Bellavitano cheeses are a perfect addition to cheese plates. Or try crumbling them atop salads, pasta, and soups. Or add them to scrambled eggs or frittatas for breakfast.

Raspberry Bellavitano is a nutty, creamy aged cheese soaked with handcrafted Raspberry Tart ale. It features bright notes of red raspberries as well as caramelized sugar and hazelnuts. Most recently, it won a Bronze medal in the World Cheese Awards.

Balsamic Bellavitano is a sweet, tart, and fruit-flavored aged cheese that just won a Silver Medal at the World Cheese Awards. A classic aged Parmesan-style cheese accented with a few prized drops of genuine Modena balsamic vinegar. Cheesemaker Mike Matucheski blesses this cheese with a sweet coating that makes it ideal for cheese plates and pairings with toasted nuts, fresh green Castelveltrano olives and dried fruit.

Merlot Bellavitano is created by infusing the classic golden aged Bellavitano cheese with the rich, earthy plum-like flavors of Merlot wine. The marriage of creamy cheese flavor and tangy berry notes of Merlot paves the way for fabulous entertaining, alongside some toasted walnuts, thin slices of prosciutto, and semisweet chocolates for dessert.

Balsamic Bellavitano Two Bean Recipe (from Sartori website)

The following recipe makes for a delightful warm weather salad for outside entertaining or a simple family meal. It’s loaded with tangy, sweet, and fresh flavors sure that are sure to please. Read more The Cheese Whisperer: Bellavitano-a-Go-Go …

Skagit Brew Corner: New Planet Gluten Free!

PB-PaleAle-4pak+Glass+Bottle-175x160Most beers are brewed with malted barley or wheat and contain gluten. This can present a challenge for beer lovers who want to reduce or eliminate gluten from their diet. Fortunately for gluten-free brew hounds, the Co-op is carrying a new gluten free beer, New Planet’s Pale Ale (formerly Off the Grid Pale Ale)!

This Colorado-based company is among a select few companies worldwide dedicated to brewing gluten-free craft beer for the growing community of people diagnosed with Celiac Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and/or gluten intolerance.

Brewing with a combination of sorghum, brown rice, and molasses, New Planet’ s pale ale features Centennial, Cascade, and Sterling hops for a full and floral bouquet. Brewed in the spirit of a classic American Pale Ale, New Planet’s offering has a bold hop character with rich caramel and grapefruit flavors, and a clean finish.

New Planet Pale Ale from New Planet Brew Company of Boulder,  Colorado. 6.7% ABV / 45 IBU. Bright flavors and delicate carbonation merge to form this gluten free pale ale, which resembles a light American-style pale ale. Notes of pineapple and citrus peel are matched with a medium weight body to make this tangy ale a great companion at the dinner table. Serve this hoppy beer alongside food with smokey, spicy, and strong flavors. It will also compliment sharp or blue cheeses, so keep it in mind for salads and pasta dishes. Or pair with seafood stews, hot spiced Asian food, or slow-roasted barbeque.

All of New Planet’s beers are made with 100% gluten-free ingredients, processed with care and tested regularly to assure compliance with new gluten free labeling standards. In May 2012, in an effort to protect the gluten free community, the US Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) issued TTB Ruling 2012-2 to establish clear guidelines for the labeling and advertising of gluten-free beers. Some of their key statements include: “the statement must stipulate that ‘there is currently no valid test to verify the gluten content of the fermented product’ and ‘that the finished product may contain gluten.’” Source: TTB Ruling Number 2012-2 May 24, 2012.


Skagit Brew Corner: Cooking with Kölsch


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


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.

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
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


  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.


    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!