LET’S TOAST: Winter Citrus Punch

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Contrary to what an ice cold glass of lemonade in the summer would have you think, winter is actually prime time for citrus. And because it’s also prime time for illness, it also provides your immune system a much needed boost of Vitamin C. This refreshing punch (which can easily be made with alcohol) is bright and refreshing, a perfect antidote to the mid-winter doldrums.

To learn more about in-season citrus, be sure to check out our citrus guide.

To make this punch you will need:
8 cups lemonade
1 cup lime juice
4 cups tonic water
3 cups sparkling water
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
slices of lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges
4 cups ice

In a large bowl of drink dispenser, combine all ingredients and stir.
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HOW-TO: Make Paneer

Making cheese may sound time consuming and like it’s out of your league, but we’re here to tell you otherwise. Paneer, a fresh cheese used in a lot of South Asian cooking, is one of the easiest cheeses to make at home. It doesn’t require any crazy equipment or a lot of time, but is still delicious and impressive.

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To make paneer you will need:

1 gallon whole milk, not ultra-pasteurized
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt

 In a 5-quart pot, heat the milk over medium heat until it reaches 200 degrees or just before a boil. It should be foamy and steaming. Remove the pot from the heat and pour in the lemon juice. It will immediately begin to curdle. Stir for a minute, then cover the pot for 10 minutes.  Line a large strainer or colander with cheesecloth and place it over a mixing bowl. Using a slotted spoon, remove the curds from the pot and place on the cheesecloth. Once all curds have been removed, gather the cloth around the curds and gently squeeze out the liquid. The cheese will be hot, so be careful. Open the cloth and stir in the salt. Gather the cloth again and squeeze out as much liquid as you can, for about 10 minutes. Flatten out the cheese and cut into cubes.

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Paneer is a great addition to Indian dishes, but we also like it’s flavor with lemon, rosemary salt and pepper.

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Get to Know: Farro

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What is farro?
Emmer Farro is an ancient or “heirloom” grain related to modern durum wheat that is believed to have sustained the Roman Legions as they marched across Europe. It was first cultivated as early as 10,000 BC in Ethiopia. Farro was especially valued in ancient Egypt, where it was the staple crop and has been found in the tombs of kings. References to the plant also appear in ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Latin sources. Despite its rich history, farro became less favorable due to the development of modern wheat which did not have husks at all and required less processing while producing higher yields. Now, with the renewed attraction to whole grains in the U.S., we are seeing Farro make a comeback.

I’ve heard the term farro used to refer to various Italian grains. Why is this?
In Italian farro refers to all hulled grains that have a tough husk that need to be pre-soaked or partially removed to be edible, primarily farro piccolo (Einkorn), farro medio (Emmer), and farro grande (Spelt). The Emmer grain is usually what farro refers to in the U.S. though. Also, emmer farro is sold both as “whole grain” which retains its outer husk and must be pre-soaked as well as “Farro Perlato” which refers to the removal of some of the tough, outside husk and results in a softer grain that does not need to be presoaked.

How does it compare to modern wheat and other grains?
Farro grains test higher than wheat in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Depending on the producer, farro provides up to 20% of the recommended daily amount of niacin, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Also, its complex carbs break down slowly, keeping energy levels stable with a lower glycemic index (GI) score of 40. The grain also has cyanogenic glucosides, a type of carbohydrate that may boost the immune system. When combined with legumes, farro makes a complete protein alternative. Many claim that for the same amount of rice, couscous and other similar grains, you get more nutrition and longer lasting energy from farro.

What does farro taste like? How do I cook with it?
Emmer farro has a slightly nutty flavor with hints of oat and barley. It has a nice slightly chewy texture that works well in a variety of dishes. It can be cooked risotto style, rolled into flakes for cookies, cooked into breakfast cereal, or even ground into flour that is great for pizza dough, pancakes, pasta, and more!

For pearled and semipearled farro, bring the grains to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 15 to 25 minutes. For the whole grain variety, soak overnight and simmer covered for 40-50 minutes.  The gluten of Farro grains differs from wheat gluten and has been tolerated by some with simply wheat allergies, nevertheless it is NOT recommended that those with Celiac disease consume farro.

Beware: Some American cookbooks calling for farro recommend spelt or wheat berries as an alternative, however these grains can take much longer to cook and may not provide the same flavor and texture.

 FarroRisotto

Pumpkin Farro Risotto
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
1 tablespoon dried thyme, or 2 tablespoons fresh
2 cups emmer farro
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree, or 1 3/4 cup homemade pumpkin puree
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt & black pepper to taste
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
chives, sliced for garnish

 Place the farro in a medium pot and cover with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until the farro is just tender, about 30 minutes. You may need to add a little water to the pot from time to time. Drain and reserve the liquid.

In the same, now empty, pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté, stirring frequently, until they start to brown. Add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper and sauté  for 1-2 minutes. Add the farro and pumpkin, stir to incorporate. Let this cook for a few minutes, it will start to stick a little to the bottom of the pan. This is good. Add the wine and scrape up anything on the bottom of the pan. Take your reserved liquid and add enough water to it until it measures 4 cups. Add it to the pot. Let this simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring frequently, until the farro breaks down and very, very soft. Again, you might need to add some more water from time to time. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley, reserving a couple tablespoons for garnish. Taste for salt and pepper levels and adjust as necessary. Place in bowls and garnish with remaining parsley and chives. Try serving your risotto in a scraped out squash or gourd.

Serves 6-8

Rooted Magazine

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We are so excited to introduce Rooted magazine to you! This quarterly publication from the Moscow Food Co-op is dedicated to food, wellness and community… and it’s FREE! You can pick up a copy in the store or read it online here.

Meet the Makers: Brush Creek Creamery

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Just 26 miles from the front doors of the Moscow Food Co-op, down a beautiful, tree-lined dirt road, sits Brush Creek Farms, the umbrella business which houses Brush Creek Creamery. It is on this rural piece of land in Deary, ID that the Salmeri and French families live. But they do not inhabit this land alone. Five Jersey heifers- Butterscotch, Carroty, Brie, Bluebell and Edna, roam on 100 acres of pasture and provide the dairy with enough raw milk to make cheese for our community’s Co-op, restaurants and farmers markets. The average gallon of milk travels 320 miles from cow to cart, so this minimal distance is a welcome alternative.

We know that most people can’t name the cows that provide the milk for their cheese, but Brush Creek Creamery does things differently. They fall into the Small-herd Exemption, overseen by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, which means three currently-lactating cows are all they’re allowed to milk. This keeps things simpler. Their cows are milked twice daily by Benny French, age 20, and cheese is produced from raw milk in a 50 gallon vat several times per week.

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During our visit we met with Rebeccah Salmeri, the woman at the forefront of Brush Creek’s cheese making and sales. She and Hannah, one of the creamery’s employees, are making a batch of CamemBear, their take on camembert, a brie-style cheese made without the addition of cream. This cheese, along with their cheddar, has won several awards from the American Cheese Society, including one that recognized their cheese as the best in North America in 2011.

Rebeccah began making cheese on her own in 1999, and in 2005 developed Brazos Valley Cheese with her cousin, back in Texas, where she used to live. She furthered her skills with lessons from a Frenchman, who helped her perfect her craft. Even though she began by making cheese in a four-gallon vat, the fundamentals remain the same. “Every cheese begins with the same four ingredients,” Rebeccah says. “Milk, culture, rennet and salt. Over time these four ingredients change to develop different cheeses and that’s what’s really interesting.”

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When asked about their way of making cheese, Rebeccah’s passion becomes clear. She describes the benefits of using raw, unpasteurized milk, including how the beneficial bacteria is left intact, unlike commercially produced cheese. Their size ensures Brush Creek is able to maintain a cleaner facility than one with hundreds or even thousands of cows, but she still dreams of a day when they can increase production. “Becoming a graded dairy means that we can keep more cows, but it’s expensive and there is no one in the area to grant those licenses,” she explains. So for now, they’ll stick to milking three cows at a time and carefully making the products our community craves.

The Moscow Food Co-op was the first retailer to carry their products since their move to Idaho in 2010. And for that, they’re grateful. But the Co-op is grateful as well. Our Head Cheese Monger, Dalynne Veeder says, “Selling cheese from Brush Creek Creamery allows us to fulfill our mission of supporting local-food producers. And being able to see their operation firsthand is something I can’t do with larger cheese makers.” Along with the Co-op, you can find Brush Creek at the Moscow Farmers Market selling cheese, milk, eggs, pasta and more, and their cheese can also be found at Mystic Café and Blue Lantern in Lewiston and Pilgrim’s Market in Couer d’Alene.

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Anti-inflammatory Vegan Smoothie

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There is no better time than the new year to reevaluate the foods we consume. If you’re anything like us, you had your fair share of heavy meals during the last couple months and you’re feeling a bit sluggish. This brilliant smoothie was created by Johnelle, one of our head Baristas. It’s chock full of anti-inflammatory ingredients that will leaving you feeling satisfied and ready to take on 2015. We have fresh turmeric in the produce department right now, but you can always use powdered if that’s what’s available to you. Turmeric, which is in the ginger family, is widely used across the world in curries and soups and it’s what gives American mustard it’s color. It’s flavor is mild and earthy and it has a mild heat. It’s been touted for its anti-inflammatory properties, making a wonderful choice for folks with arthritis, cancer and autoimmune diseases.

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This smoothie, filled with citrus and carrots is a great immune system booster too. Citrus, which is full of Vitamin C is also great for reducing inflammation in the body and the amount of carrots in this smoothie provide over double your daily requirement of Vitamin A. Vitamin A not only aids in immune health, but it helps create healthy skin cells and helps maintain healthy bones.

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On top of all the wonderful ingredients this smoothie uses, it’s also vegan, using orange juice for its liquid. And for digestive health and a metabolic boost, the addition of cayenne and nutmeg add fantastic flavor. You can look forward to this and more smoothie recipes from our Baristas throughout the year.

Goodbye 2014, Bring on 2015

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Thank you to all of our community members, Co-op owners, farmers, artisans and Co-op kiddos! You have made 2014 an amazing year for our store and our town. We couldn’t do what we do without all of you and for that, we are forever grateful. Here’s to a great 2015 ahead, full of support for our local economy and the cooperative model.

Cheers,
Moscow Food Co-op

APPY HOUR: Sweet + Savory Nut Crunch

 

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New Year’s Eve is a time to spend with friends and family, reflecting on the year you just had and the exciting one ahead. You want to spend it socializing, not stuck in the kitchen, right? Well, this nut crunch is a perfect snack for your holiday entertaining. It’s sweet and savory with a hint of brightness from orange zest. Pair it with our Spiced Cranberry Prosecco Punch and a cheese board you’ll be ready to party into the new year.

To make this recipe you will need:
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup almonds
1 cup hazelnuts
1 cup peanuts (or pecans)
1/2 cup pepitas
1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds

In a large skillet over medium-high heat melt the butter. Add the brown sugar to the pan and let it melt into the butter, stirring with a spatula, until it begins to bubble. Add spices and stir until well incorporated. Add nuts and seeds to pan, stirring until they are all coated. Turn the heat down to medium-low and allow nuts to toast, about 5-6 minutes, stirring continuously.

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Lentil Brownies with Local PNW Lentils

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Right about now you’re either really excited about this recipe or wrinkling your nose in disgust. If you’re on the “you put what in those brownies?” train, give us a chance to change your mind. Lentils are full of protein and fiber and add an amazing amount of moisture to brownies. The lentils we use in the store and that we highly recommend are from Pacific Northwest Farmer Cooperative (PNW). On their website they say, “We’re dedicated to preserving family farms and protecting the land through a way of life that some call old-fashioned.” And we’re completely OK with that. If it means that farmers are paid living wages, land is used sustainably and we can support the cooperative model, then we’re actually more than OK!

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Now, these are not your average chocolate brownies, besides the fact that they’re loaded with legumes. They are vegan, gluten-free and so fudgy that they’ll satisfy any chocolate craving. We recommend using the Spanish Pardina brown lentils available in our bulk section (and on sale for 20% off through the end of the month). To prepare your lentils for this recipe, sort through them to remove damaged or discolored ones and rinse. Place in a saucepan and add 4 cups cold water for every cup lentils. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer until soft, approximately 20-25 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt when lentils are about 70% cooked.

To make these brownies you will need:

3/4 cup prepared lentils
2 tablespoons vanilla coconut yogurt
2 tablespoons almond milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 sugar
1/2 cup vegan butter substitute, melted (like Earth Balance)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup strong coffee
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. In a food processor or blender, blend the lentils, yogurt and almond milk, scraping down the sides periodically. Blend until completely smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl and mix in melted vegan butter. Add the cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, vanilla, coffee and salt. Stir until well combined. Spoon batter into pan and spread with a spatula until smooth. Bake for 30 minutes. They may appear not quite done, but they’ll firm up as they cool. They’re especially delicious served cold (and it helps when cutting them too). Serve with a cold glass of almond milk!

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Cooking School: Knife Skills 101

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with Sean Knox, Co-op Kitchen Manager

If you’re new to cooking or wanting to deepen your culinary understanding, we’re here to help. In this edition of Cooking School, Sean will take you through four basic knife skill techniques so you can dice, mince, julienne and chop like the pros. As always, be sure to use a sharp knife and protect your fingers as you go.

“Most people think diced means to cut something into smallish bits. But something that is truly diced is cubed in shape and uniform in size. Generally, this term pertains to things cut 1/2-inch or smaller, and can also be referred to as a ‘brunoise’.”

“The only trick to mincing is to use the largest chef knife you have because it gives you the best range of motion. Rest the tip of your knife on the board, and rock the knife up and down in a fan shape. Re-pile what you are mincing and bring the knife over it in that fan pattern until you are happy with the mince.”

“The secret for getting the best julienne is to cut your vegetable into a square or rectangular shape, taking care to get rid of any rounded edges. This is how you get that authentic julienne shape, and you can put the cut-off scraps to good use in a stock or other recipe.”

“Chop is a pretty generic term, and honestly it kind of means free-for-all, or whatever size the recipe calls for. In general, I think of chopping as the next step up from dicing size-wise, with pieces usually being larger than 1/2-inch.”