Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Green Bean Salad From Frasca

Local chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine is getting national press again (certainly nothing new for him), this time appearing in an article in the August issue of Cooking Light magazine on cooking with the bounty from our local farmers markets. The market in question is of course our Boulder Farmers Market, and Lachlan's recipe is green bean salad with mustard crema. Hey, so that's what I'll do with all the green beans I bought at the Whole Foods one-day sale! Nice pics in the article, and my favorite Cure Organic Farm gets a shout-out as well.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Quick, Cheap, Boozy Pizza

If you're looking for a fast but fresh meal, maybe before heading out to one of Boulder's fine summer evening events like the Colorado Music Festival or Shakespeare Festival, you might consider the coupon Modmarket is offering through MoneyMailer. Through 8/10 (but it tends to continue), you can get either a pree pizza with purchase of a full size item costing the same or more, or you can get a full size salad or M'rita pizza and a bottle of Barefoot wine for just $10, with the coupon. The printable coupon can be found here (click on the dining category to hone in), along with some other good deals, like $5 off at $10 ticket at the Southside Walnut Cafe.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Getting Started on This Week's Dinners

Sunday's looking like our best grilling day of the weekend, with a better chance of storms tomorrow and Saturday, so this week we'll postpone the grilling a couple of days. That's fine, since there are other things I want to do, starting with another celebration of the arrival of our local corn crop.

Just a week or so ago, I said that I missed our winter habit of doing a big soup or casserole on the weekend that made a quick midweek reprise dinner as well. Thinking about more ways to enjoy our local corn crop, duh, it hit me: corn chowder. There are tons of recipes out there, and one we particularly like is corn and fingerling potato chowder with applewood-smoked bacon from Cooking Light. Corn and a touch of bacon, yum. Seems to me I also have a recipe around that uses smoked salmon for that smoky flavor instead, with better fats. I'll have to find that one for a second chowder round before our corn season is done.

Then, carbing up the family members for an expected long run on the weekend, we'll turn to linguine with bay scallops, fennel, and tomatoes, substituting the big shrimp that are on sale at Sprouts for the scallops. Sunflower has organic hothouse tomatoes for $1.77/lb this week, and if you frequent north Boulder, Lucky's Market has an even more appealing deal, organic on the vine tomatoes for $1.49/lb.

Then we'll finally get to our grilling, opting for the fresh wild salmon that's a fabulous $7.99/lb at both Sprouts and Lucky's this week. With fruit so gorgeous at this time of year, a little fruit salsa will go on the side (a concoction of whatever suits your fancy - mine usually contains fruit of choice, diced avocado, some diced tomato and onion, some parsley or other fresh herb, and splashes of olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar). Potato packages will go on the grill, plus maybe ... corn? I also have a ton of green beans to use from Wednesday's one-day sale at Whole Foods, when they were just 99 cents a pound for organic one.

More thinking to do for the rest of the week.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Sale Prices Are Up

This week's new notable sale prices are up on the left, including the new two-week sale from Whole Foods, all crowding in with the specials ending today. If you're a steak eater, note that while both Sprouts and Sunflower are advertising specials on non-organic boneless ribeyes for $7.99 or $8.99/lb through this coming week, today is the last day you can catch organic, grass fed boneless ribeyes for $8.99/lb at Sprouts (that goes for the rest of their organic beef sale as well). Both Sprouts and Whole Foods are advertising specials on fresh salmon and frozen mahi mahi, but at least purely by price, Sprouts is way the winner (mahi $2.99/lb at Sprouts, $6.99 for 12 oz at Whole Foods for instance). If north Boulder is your territory, Lucky's Market is matching the great Sprouts price on fresh wild sockeye at $7.99/lb, plus great specials on organic blueberries and on the vine tomatoes. Also, don't forget today's one-day sale at Whole Foods, especially organic green beans at 99 cents a pound, just for today. Shop till you drop, then head to this afternoon's Boulder Farmers Market, too.

Wine and Cheese Tasting Tomorrow

The Superior Whole Foods store will be hosting a free wine and cheese tasting event tomorrow evening, but you have to sign up in advance for this private event. Here's what they say.

"Thursday, July 29th
Wine and Cheese Tasting
6:30 pm-8:00pm Free
Whole Foods Market and Superior Liquor invite you to a Cheese and Wine event featuring Summer Fresh Cheeses with a twist paired with light summer wines! In order to receive an invitation to this private party, please stop by our Customer Service desk or Specialty Department and sign up today!
This event is for ages 21 and older."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores will be doing another trifecta of a one-day sale tomorrow, this time offering salmon, salad, and green beans. The best part of it to me sounds like the fresh organic green beans, which will be only 99 cents a pound for the day (regularly $2.99/lb, and I just saw them for $5/lb at my favorite organic farmstand, but they had the advantage of being just picked at the farm). Also on sale for the day will be fresh sockeye 6 oz salmon portions for $3.99 each, and 7 oz mini Caesar salads at $1.99 each.

An Organic Corn Sighting?

I was surprised to see ears of sweet corn at my favorite Cure Organic Farm stand today, as I don't recall ever seeing it there last year. Since the stand is self-serve (except when they replace it with their new store on Wednesdays and Saturdays), there was no one to ask about it, so I'd have to assume it's their own, and therefore organic. Much as I love the corn from Munson's just north of the Cure stand, Munson's is pesticide free, while something from Cure would be even better if it's really organic (and at the same price, 50 cents each, as Munson's). Hmm, something I need to confirm. Meanwhile, the Cure stand also had my first bean sighting of the season, both green and yellow (aka wax to some of us) beans, yum.

P.S. We had welcome proof last night that Munson's corn remains truly pesticide-free, since a couple of friends had to be removed from the ears before the corn went into our shrimp and corn pilaf. If your corn has been treated with so much stuff that no other creature is interested in it, you have to wonder why you would be, too.

End of Snap Pea Season Already

I never realized how short the season for local sugar snap peas is. Seems it arrives in a burst of glory, then quickly departs. It was only a week or two ago that every vendor at the Boulder Farmers Market was pushing them hard, with somebody in front of every stand giving out samples. I was just out at my favorite farmstands at 75th and Valmont, and neither Cure Organic Farm or Munson's had any. The lady at Munson's told me she thought they were done for the season, and it's now too hot for them (I'd agree with that today!). Looks like I'll need to make an adjustment for tonight's linguine with summer succotash, substituting zucchini (plenty of that around) or maybe just some defrosted peas for the sugar snaps. Darn.

Countdown Reminder

Just a reminder of the deals at our natural grocery stores that will be ending today and tomorrow, if you find any of them particularly appealing. Today is the last day of our local Whole Foods' current specials, including shrimp skewers for $1, organic lettuce a dollar a head (red or green leaf or romaine), and organic zucchini a buck a pound. You'll have through tomorrow for the current sales at Lucky's, Sprouts and Sunflower, with their double deal Wednesdays. So two days left for organic beef at 40% off at Sprouts and organic strawberries for 99 cents a pound at Lucky's.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

More Dinners For This Week

So what's with this heat today? Where's the cooling thunderstorm we were supposed to get? We nearly ditched our plans for pizza tonight, morphing the sausage into a cooler Italian saute of sausage, fennel, peppers, and tomatoes, but the pizza idea eventually won out. Besides, I want leftover pizza for later in the week, and leftover sausage saute just doesn't have the same cachet.
So moving on to tomorrow, and keeping with our theme of celebrating the arrival of local corn, we'll opt for shrimp and corn pilaf from Bon Appetit, using the shrimp on sale at Sunflower for $3.97/lb. Our corn will be fresh from Munson's farmstand. Don't know what you might find, but yesterday the display of California corn for 10 cents each at Sunflower had been decimated.

Continuing with the summer corn theme and looking for a pasta dish, we'll follow with linguine with summer succotash, also from Bon Appetit. That will give us at least one vegetarian dish for the week as well. The side salad will come from the most huge head of organic green leaf lettuce I've ever seen, which I just picked up at Whole Foods for only $1. Even the cashier commented on how big it was.

Then for an easy midweek reprise, we'll have all that sausage pizza waiting for the quickest of reheats. And another set of salads still won't make a dent in that head of lettuce.

Finally, I'll grab some organic steaks from Sprouts while their sale on organic beef goes on through Wednesday. Midweek isn't our usual grilling time, but they would do find cooked in a grill pan also, accompanied by baking potatoes zapped in the microwave, and, dare I suggest it, maybe more sweet corn. Can't get enough of the stuff.

And that does it for the week.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Speaking of Markets

On the theme of markets from the post below about Saveur's market issue, if you don't want to brave the crowds at today's Boulder Farmers Market, keep in mind the alternative of 75th and Valmont, where the Cure Organic Farm store should be open, as well as Munson's farmstand. Good stuff.

Goodbye to the Market Issue

With the arrival of my new issue of one of my favorite reads, Saveur magazine, focusing on Greece this time, guess it's time to say goodbye to the last one, The Market Issue, which I think was one of the finest they've ever produced. In addition to elegant and thought-provoking prose, that issue featured some of the most sumptuous photography I've ever seen. While many of the photos were of markets, food, and people from around the world, the most intriguing photo of all to me appeared in the article on the American supermarket. It's a photo taken in a Super Giant supermarket in 1964. You can see it a bit in the article here, but it's nothing like having the issue in your hands, where the photo, in razor-sharp focus, spreads across two pages. It's details are endless, including a view from the back of a customer's well-coifed beehive, a display of Wise potato chips, and Maypo cereal one of the many products to be seen on the shelves (anybody else remember Maypo?). The photo magnificently captures a moment in time in 1964. Another great photo, which doesn't appear to be in Saveur's web content at all, is one of opening day at a Piggly Wiggly supermarket in 1962. The cashiers, all women, pose in an attentive line in their checkout lanes, all wearing uniforms meant to evoke French maids. As I say goodbye to this issue, it will head to the free magazines bin at my local library, where I hope someone else will enjoy it as much as I did, and will pass it on again when they're done.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Another Grilled Fresh Fig Idea

We've been consuming grilled pancetta-wrapped figs as often as our local stores have managed to have the figs in stock. Now the current issue of Bon Appetit has another intriguing idea: a dessert cheese platter consisting of grilled fresh fig halves accompanied by grilled bread slices, assorted cheeses, and maybe some honey, nuts, and dried fruit. Sounds like a dessert fit for a feast. BTW, the Pearl Street Whole Foods store had fresh brown figs in stock today, and selling for $5.99/lb, a better price than Sunflower's advertised sale price of $3.99 for an 8 oz container. Although, come to think of it, the ones at Sunflower are organic, and I don't believe the ones at Whole Foods were.

Getting Started on This Week's Dinners

Looks like fresh corn will be a dominant theme this week, whether it's the 10 ears for $1 deal at Sunflower, or a celebration of the arrival of our own local sweet corn at places like Munson Farm. This weekend has some wacky aspects for me to take into consideration as well, ranging from what needs to be used up in my fridge to some crazy weather: steamy today, cooler and maybe stormier over the weekend.

Starting with today, I hate to be repetitive, but with tortillas in my fridge from the fajitas earlier in the week, and some leftover basil pesto as well from the zucchini, corn and basil fusilli with bacon (oh was that ever good), I'm once again thinking wraps for this hot night, using Mark Bittman's suggestion (number two in the list) to wrap chicken, arugula, and sundried tomatoes in a tortilla brushed with pesto. Alternatively, Whole Foods still has prepared smoked turkey pesto wraps on sale for $4.99 each, and they're pretty big. My wonderful beets from Cure Organic Farm will go on the side, trying a simple recipe from an actual cookbook: cook, peel, and slice the beets then combine gently with 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, 1 tablespoon low fat sour cream, and three teaspoons of Dijon mustard that have been mixed together.

We have to fit in at least one grilling session over the weekend, even if temperatures will drop and storms will be threatening. All sorts of good choices for the grill, maybe fresh wild salmon from Sprouts or Safeway, top sirloin (ginger-soy grilled steak from Bon Appetit is really good) from Sunflower (only $2.97/lb), or the organic steaks that are 40% off at Sprouts. Corn will find itself on the side, either as whole ears or possible corn and summer vegetable saute from Cooking Light.

Then, again with temperatures dropping well down towards 80, we'll jump on the chance to make another pizza, a rarity in the middle of summer. With chicken parmesan sausage $2.99/lb at Sprouts, we'll turn to a favorite, pizza alla salsiccia (sausage pizza) from Cooking Light. Since we'll use a whole big ball of fresh dough for the base, the toppings need to be adjusted upward to cover a pizza the size of an entire cookie sheet. Since this makes such a huge pizza, it can also do for a quick reheat later in the week, if things get really busy. That's a trick we play all winter with soups, chowders, and casseroles, but those just don't sound as appealing in July.

More thinking to come, undoubtedly incorporating more fresh corn.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ode to a Bunch of Beets

Given all my recent excitement about Cure Organic Farm (see the post immediately below this for news of their new farm store opening), I should preface this by saying that I have absolutely no connection to the place, other than being a loyal customer. But the bunch of beets I just bought for $3 at their store is so stunning that it deserves its own worshipful description. Granted, organic beet bunches can be had at our local natural grocery stores frequently for half that price, but I've rarely found any, even in our best grocery stores, that had tops fresh enough to eat. On the contrary, this bunch from Cure sports not only some gorgeous, hefty beets at the bottom, but also the most glorious beet greens I've ever seen. This one bunch of beets completely filled my standard sized grocery shopping bag, with the tops spilling out in all directions, to boot. Some of the greens will go into tonight's sausage risotto with spring greens, but there will be plenty left to saute as a side for tomorrow night's chicken cordon bleu from Sprouts. Then there are the beets themselves to enjoy, wow!

Big News From Cure Organic Farm

Big things happening on the retail front at my favorite Cure Organic Farm at 75th and Valmont. They've long had their sweet little cupboard of a self-serve outdoor stand, hidden under a towering tree. Now, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, they instead have a bona fide store a little to the east. The same beautiful veggies were there today, but there were also eggs, soaps that looked handmade, and some beautiful yarn (Cure evidently has quite a spinning class program). Talking with the lady staffing the store, more expansion is in the works, including meats, cheeses, and more classes. To reach the new store, you can either take the driveway directly across the street from Munson's stand to park at the store, or you can park in the old lot and walk up a pleasant drive to it. The store will only be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays for now, but thankfully, the little self-serve table will still be doing its duty on all the other days. What a time for veggies at 75th and Valmont!

New Sale Prices Are Up

This week's new sale prices are crowding in on the left, along with the sales ending today. As always, they're my subjective selections on what's most appealing to me. Particularly noteworthy this week are the organic strawberries for 99 cents a pound at Lucky's Market, the avocados for 49 cents and 40% off organic beef sales at Sprouts, and California sweet corn 10 ears for $1 (although Munson's has the first of our own local corn now in, 50 cents each), and boneless top sirloin steak for $2.97/lb at Sunflower. Whole Foods continues with its sales from last week, including Market Made shrimp skewers at $1 each, organic red or green leaf or romaine lettuce at $1 a head, and organic zucchini for $1/lb.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Zucchini Blossoms at Munson Farm Stand

I'm so happy to see the Munson Farm stand now open at 75th and Valmont. In addition to their wonderful corn, today they have fresh zucchini blossoms. Also basil, lettuce mix, zucchini, yellow squash, Japanese eggplant, and more. Their produce isn't organic but it is pesticide-free. (For organic, just cross the street to the stand at Cure Organic Farm.) Munson's also carries some items it brings in, like fruit from the Western Slope. They have apricots today, and peaches are expected shortly. Hothouse tomatoes and green beans are also available. Didn't ride my bike out in this afternoon's passing thunderstorm, but neither did anybody else - the parking lot was already quite full. Lots of veggies at 75th and Valmont!

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Another one-day sale happening tomorrow at our local Whole Foods stores, this time a trifecta. A pint of blueberries (presumably conventional) will be $2, Montchevre 8 oz goat logs will be $3.99 ($3 off), and select Santa Cruz 32 oz lemonade and limeade bottles will be just $1.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Munson's Stand Is Now Open

Having just driven by there, I can confirm that the Munson Farm stand at 75th and Valmont is now open, yeah! Think I'll wait until tomorrow to get the corn for tomorrow night's pasta with veggies dish. Nice to get it freshly picked the same day it will become dinner.

Another Mini Cake Sighting

I previously mentioned finding the adorable mini cakes by Just Desserts at half price, just $2.50 each at the Pearl Street Whole Foods store. You can never tell about these unadvertised sales, but I've now seen they are also on sale at the Superior store, so I'll bet all the local Whole Foods have them at this great price for the moment.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Rest of This Week's Dinner Ideas

Melting a bit in the heat, I'm finally getting back to planning for the rest of the week, when it's unfortunately not so easy to take the time to grill outside. At least everything will be quick and mostly seasonal, as befits midweek summer cooking. So to start, tomorrow we'll have a simple fajita dinner using the great chicken fajitas I picked up during my sweep through Lucky's Market yesterday (where I also loaded up on organic peaches and grapes at astoundingly low prices, plus some wonderful fresh wild salmon, as detailed here). The side will be a big plate of lettuce (organic at $1 a head at Whole Foods) garnished with tomatoes, avocado, bell pepper, and jicama, everything topped to taste with some salsa and nonfat plain yogurt.

It might be hot out, but we can't get away with a week without pasta in this house, so with organic zucchini just $1 a pound at Whole Foods, I'm thinking zucchini, corn and basil fusilli with bacon, originally from Gourmet magazine. This would be ideal with local corn, and lo, Munsons Farm's website says their farmstand at 75th and Valmont is now open! (It wasn't yet open when I stopped by there earlier this week.) They do say that their corn is limited at the moment, so I won't totally count on it yet.

Then, looking for a rice dish, we'll fall back on a favorite for this time of year, sausage risotto with spring greens, from Bon Appetit. The chicken sausage will come from the sale at Sprouts, and there are so many options now for the greens. Sunflower has organic spinach at 99 cents a bunch or organic kale or chard for $1.50 a bunch, and I bet Cure Organic Farm has their beautiful braising mix in the fridge at their farmstand at 75th and Valmont, where I'll already be across the street to check on the corn at the Munsons stand. Such a great time of year to play with this dish.

Finally, we need one more quickie midweek dinner, which will be either sauteed pork loin chops or an experiment with prepared chicken cordon bleu, both on sale at Sprouts ($2.99/lb for the chops, $3.99/lb for the chicken). Baking potatoes hastened by zapping in the microwave, plus more of our wonderful seasonal greens will complete the sides.

And that will do it for this exceedingly warm week. Stay cool out there.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Mini Dessert Treat Find

If you sometimes like just a little bit of a dessert treat, Whole Foods has a deal for you. The Pearl Street store has adorable Just Desserts 5 ounce mini cakes at half price, just $2.50 each. I bought their decadent chocolate one, and while 5 ounces doesn't sound like a lot, this treat is so rich, it's going to turn out to be four servings for us. The sale doesn't appear in the Whole Foods flyer, which means you unfortunately can't be sure which other stores might be participating.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Gluten Free at Whole Foods Tomorrow

The Pearl Street Whole Foods store will hold a gluten free tour at 10 tomorrow, and here's what they say:

Saturday, July 17th
Gluten Free Tour
10am FREE
If you're curious about a gluten free lifestyle, but not really sure where to begin, this event will get you off on the right track. Join Healthy Eating Specialist Dani Little for a tour of all of the wonderful gluten free items we have to offer!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Some Nice Deals at Lucky's This Week

I might once again have to make a pilgrimage to North Boulder, as Lucky's Market has some especially enticing sales this week. The two that particularly grab me are organic yellow peaches for 49 cents a pound, and organic seedless green or red grapes for 99 cents a pound (the next best deal being the organic grapes at Whole Foods for $1.99/lb, still a very good price). To justify the drive, I could also pick up some other good deals, like the organic avocados at 88 cents each, and particularly the fresh wild sockeye for $8.99/lb, matching the price at Sprouts. You can view the entire sales flyer here.

A Start on This Week's Dinner

Haven't looked past the weekend yet, when staying cool with our temps in the high 90s will be our dominant theme. That means lots of food either grilled or not cooked at all. To start things off tomorrow, I'm intrigued by the latter category, as Whole Foods this week has a wrap on sale that sounds very similar to one I make myself from a Mark Bittman picnic idea. In prepared foods at Whole Foods, they're offering a smoked turkey pesto wrap for $4.99 each, $2 off. I wonder how it compares with the pesto chicken rolls that are number 2 in Bittman's wonderful 101 picnic ideas list, both in taste and in cost to prepare/buy. The Whole Foods version would certainly win in the convenience category. Alternatively, if it's too much cheating to not cook something (and heaven forbid, maybe even buy it already made), lots of the $1 shrimp skewers from Whole Foods could hit the grill.

However tomorrow turns out, Saturday will definitely involved grilling, going for the fresh wild salmon that's $8.99/lb at Sprouts and also at Lucky's this week. The whole dinner can be done on the grill, with sweet potato (read yam) spears, since organic yams are 99 cents a pound at Sunflower, and some other grilled veggies, either from my favorite farm stands, or the organic zucchini that Whole Foods has for $1 a pound. With organic peaches only 49 cents a pound this week at Lucky's, grilled peaches with a little vanilla frozen yogurt on top would be a sweet end to the dinner. The peaches would make a nice fruit salsa to go with the salmon as well. No need to haul out a recipe for the entire evening.

Then with shrimp on sale at Sunflower, there's a lovely-sounding recipe I've been wanting to try, summer quinoa pilaf with shrimp, that Vitamin Cottage published in last month's flyer. Not sure where to find a decent price on asparagus for it this week. Too bad I didn't think of it last week, when we were feasting on the 88 cent asparagus from Lucky's.

Much more thinking to do for the rest of the week.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Hot But Pleasant Wednesday Farmers Market

It's pretty toasty at today's Boulder Farmers Market, but as usual, the selection of goods available is excellent and the crowds are far more manageable than at the Saturday market. As I've said before, there's so much produce available, there's just way too much to list. The big news seems to be that Mortons Orchards, organic fruit from Palisade, today had peaches in addition to cherries and apricots. That was enough to garner a long line waiting to get to their stand. With zucchini and yellow squash now in abundance (and even kohlrabi, which I hadn't noticed before), seems like the only summer biggies we're still waiting for are corn, tomatoes, and eggplant. The beer garden is featuring Upslope Brewing Company and Augustina's Winery, and there's still plenty of time to get down there before 8 this evening.

New Sale Prices Are Up

Highlights from the natural grocery sales starting today are up on the left, crowding in with the Wednesday overlap deals that will end today. I think lots of fresh wild salmon or shrimp skewers will be hitting the grill this week, along with a beautiful selection of organic produce to work with. Since I prefer my produce to be organic, it's nice to see that we're getting such good prices in that department, but the conventional alternatives are out there for just pennies a pound right now if that tempts you. Dinner ideas to follow soon.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Fun One-Day Sale

Instead of offering just one item for their one-day sale tomorrow, our local Whole Foods stores are giving us four possibilities, which together they say add up to dinner for six for under $10. Tomorrow only, they'll have Nature's Rancher Black Angus burgers at $3.99 for six 1/4 pound patties, Ozery multigrain One Buns, 99 cents for an 8 pack (regularly $3 more), traditional potato salad for $3.99/lb, and six ears of corn for a dollar. Sounds like bbq party time.

Last Call for Some Good Deals at Whole Foods

With their new sales coming out tomorrow, today is the last day to catch a few notable good deals our local Whole Foods stores have been offering since the end of June. My favorites have included their peach glazed shrimp skewers at $1 each, one pound Crave Brothers fresh mozzarella balls for $3.99 (they're back in stock, at least at the Pearl Street store today), and Nature's Grilling briquets at $3 a bag. Too bad I never saw the 9 pound bag of Nature's Grilling regular charcoal at either the Pearl Street or Superior stores, but it's still an excellent deal on the smaller mesquite bag, which both have been carrying.

Vitamin Cottage Deals for July/August

In addition to their great everyday low prices (and they really mean it), Vitamin Cottage, aka Natural Grocers, has a new set of specials running through August 14th for their stores in Boulder, Lafayette, and Longmont. Deals looking particularly appealing to me include organic nectarines for $1.19/lb, a one pound bag of tamari roasted almonds for $3.99, Metromint waters for 99 cents each (refreshing on a hot day), Annie's Naturals salad dressings (but not the organics) $2.29 for an 8 oz bottle, select Alexia frozen potatoes at $1.99 each, and 6 oz bags of Lundberg rice chips (dangerously good) for $1.79. They also have ShiKai Color Reflect shampoos and conditioners at $5.49 each, plus lots and lots of vitamins on sale. You can see the entire sales flyer here, with some local additions here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lots Out at Cure Organic Farm

Cruising past 75th and Valmont today, I was able to confirm that Munson Farm hasn't yet opened their stand (although that is expected any day), but the stand at Cure Organic Farm had an abundance of offerings. A couple of hours ago, I saw chard, kale, head lettuce, two types of beets, cherries, strawberries, fava beans, snow peas, carrots, and maybe even more (don't know how much might have subsequently been snatched up, though). What a wonderful place.

Local Vendors at Whole Foods Tomorrow

The local vendor tasting party moves to the Pearl Street Whole Foods store tomorrow, after happening out in Superior on Saturday. Pearl Street will hold a local vendor tasting from 4 to 7, and here's what they say:

"Tuesday, July 13th
Local Vendor Day
4-7pm FREE
Join us for a tour of local flavors featuring some of Colorado's premiere products. Sample tasty food and hear the amazing stories behind these local creations."

The Rest of This Week's Dinner Ideas

Finally back to menu planning, I see an interesting comparison of recipes for tonight. I've been wanting to try the recipe Mark Bittman published last month in the New York Times, pasta with peas, prosciutto and lettuce. Learning the news of asparagus for 88 cents a pound at Lucky's, I was reminded of pasta with peas, asparagus, butter lettuce, and prosciutto, with was published in Bon Appetit in April 2009. So I'll follow Bittman's much simpler cooking technique, while adding in the asparagus and maybe the parsley from the Bon Appetit approach. A winner all around.

Then with the temperatures heading way up, nearing 100 on Tuesday, we'll simplify and perhaps totally cheat by reheating some of the huge veggie pizza I recently made, with a big salad on the side. The balls of fresh dough from Whole Foods fill an entire cookie sheet, which makes for one heck of a large pizza.

Having had pasta, pizza, and potatoes already this week, we'll be looking for something with rice, and will again turn to a risotto with fresh mozzarella and herbs from my herb pots. Fresh mozzarella is on sale at Sunflower for $2.99 for a half pound ball, or $3.99 for a full pound ball at Whole Foods (all though there was none on the shelf yesterday at the Pearl Street store). More of the incredibly priced asparagus from Lucky's will also come into play - not sure if it will be incorporated into the risotto or served as the side veggie.

Finally, looking for another cool and easy dinner option, I made a dangerous discovery this weekend: Whole Foods has fried chicken in their deli for $5.99 a pound this week, in both white and dark meat pieces. I usually cook everything from scratch and pretty much never eat fried foods, but this stuff looks really, really good. Perhaps an indulgence once a year can be excused.

So stay cool, and that does it for the week.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Today's Fresh Fig Report

Who knew it would be so difficult to indulge in my penchant for grilled pancetta-wrapped figs? Sunflower had out-of-stocked on figs yesterday, although the produce guy said they expected to have more this morning (I'd call first if that's the primary thing you're looking for). I managed to find some yesterday afternoon at the Superior Whole Foods, but there were very few on display, and I suspect that's all they had. The Pearl Street Whole Foods store remains out of stock today, so that's been awhile. Have we all discovered fresh figs simultaneously, causing a rush similar to that for Copper River salmon?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fresh Asparagus for a Steal!

Thank you, thank you Ms. A. for clueing me in that Lucky's Market has asparagus for 88 cents a pound this week. Lucky's isn't really on my radar because its north Boulder location is pretty far for me. Also, they've never had their new ad posted on the Wednesday mornings I've checked - wish they'd post it earlier. It's up now, and you can see all their sales for this week here. Asparagus for 88 cents a pound!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Superior Whole Foods "Road Show" Event

Tomorrow from noon to 4, the Whole Foods store in Superior will host a "Local Road Show," featuring local vendors and samples. Sounds fun - here's what they say about it:

"Local Road Show
Saturday, July 10th
Join us here at the Superior Whole Foods Market for the first Local Road show of the season! Come and meet some of our Local vendors, enjoy samples and some great deals!
We will also be offering grilled Mahi fish tacos out in front of our store. Lunch includes 2 fish tacos with cabbage and our famous sauce plus a drink for $6.00. Best Deal in Town!!!"

Dinner Ideas for the Weekend

We've enjoyed some cool weather dinners this past week, like pizza hot from the oven, but with the temperatures rising again, it's time to think more seasonally. Tonight I think we'll take advantage of Whole Foods' sale on peach glazed shrimp skewers, which are currently $1 per skewer, and put a whole bunch of them on the grill. With Sunflower advertising fresh organic figs at $3.99 for 8 oz, we'll definitely do an accompaniment of grilled pancetta-wrapped figs (can't get enough of them), plus something like buttermilk mashed potatoes.

Then for the weekend proper, when we'll be back around 90, it might be good to turn back to Mark Bittman's wonderful 101 20-minute dishes for inspired picnics, this time turning to number 8, cold peanut noodles. The name doesn't sound very enticing, but you'll probably be enthused when you read the simple Asian-style ingredients that make the dish, including cooked shrimp, which is $5.99/lb this week at Sunflower for the 31-40 count size.

Then we'll be back to the grill with fresh Alaskan sockeye from Sprouts or King Soopers (see sidebar to the left for prices). Since conventional nectarines are being advertised for a few pennies a pound this week, maybe I can find a good price on organics too to make grilled salmon with nectarine salsa from Bon Appetit. With zucchini having now made its appearance at the Farmers Market, a side might be sauteed zucchini with cherry tomatoes, olives and basil, using basil from my herb pots. It was published in Bon Appetit but oddly isn't on their site, but has been replicated here. Plus, we'll undoubtedly grill some more pancetta-wrapped figs.

Then more planning to do, but at least this is a start.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Last Call for Current Vitamin Cottage Specials

Only a couple more days until the current specials end on the 10th at our local Vitamin Cottages (Boulder, Lafayette, Longmont). I highlighted my favorites of their long-lasting specials here. Since they run their specials for a month or longer, it will be interesting to see if new sales are immediately available, or if they go on hiatus again like they did at the end of May. In any case, as a good friend opened my eyes to, their everyday low prices are some of the lowest you'll find at any of our local natural grocery stores.

Munson's Stand to Open Soon

Chatting with the folks at the Munson's Farm booth at the Farmers Market, I learned that they will be opening their stand at 75th and Valmont sometime between the 13th and the 20th, and their website now says they are aiming for the 14th. Must mean the local corn is almost ready for us to start devouring. And my favorite Cure Organic Farm, which has had their stand open for weeks, is almost across the street on the south side of Valmont, making that corner a veggie shopping mecca.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Deals Are Up

Another crowded Wednesday over on the left, with double ad Wednesdays at Sprouts and Sunflower. Last day to catch organic grapes at Sunflower for $1.99 a pound! Dinner ideas to follow soon.

Getting a Start on the New Sale Prices

I don't expect to get the highlights and comparisons of today's new sales prices up on the left until later today, but here are a few quick comments. The most exciting new thing I see at Sunflower is that they are advertising organic figs at $3.99 for 8 oz. Now if they only have them in stock, unlike Whole Foods the other day. In meat, bone-in New York strip steaks are $4.97 a pound. Over at Sprouts, they're doing 25% off their bulk department, where I particularly appreciate their bulk fair trade coffee. Fish is also looking good, with cod $5.99/lb and fresh Alaskan sockeye for $12.99/lb. Full report to follow at the left as soon as I get a chance.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

If you're in the market for a new water bottle, tomorrow's one-day sale at our local Whole Foods is a good one: half off all Sigg water bottles and accessories. They'll also have Kiss My Face 9 oz moisture soaps at 3 for $10, regularly $4.99 each.

The Rest of This Week's Dinner Ideas

Goodness, after a long weekend with plenty of grilling, it's time to get the rest of the week pulled together. We've indulged in plenty of meat, and leftovers are stacking up in the fridge, so the rest of the week had better be characterized by a light touch. A good way to start would be with some yummy salmon burgers from Whole Foods, which won't make leftovers. Seems like they always have some on sale, and this week it's their havarti and dill version.

Then I have one last ball of fresh mozzarella to finish off from the big one day sale. Since tomorrow's temperature is supposed to plunge about 20 degrees, barely reaching 70, I'm inclined to take advantage of the cooler temp and improvise a vegetarian pizza on fresh dough, hot from the oven. My favorite Chez Panisse pasta and pizza cookbook suggests fresh mozzarella combined with sliced tomato and sauteed red onion, sounds good. Or maybe a pseudo-pepperoni pizza using Yves excellent veggie pepperoni.

Finally, a rice dish hasn't yet appeared this week, so a quick stir fry is in order. Chicken is always on sale somewhere and there's plenty in my freezer. With organic kale $1.50 a bunch at Sunflower (and I hope still the same sale price at the Pearl Street Whole Foods), I'm thinking spicy stir-fried chicken and greens with peanuts over rice, using kale as the greens (or any of the beautiful greens that will be available at the Wednesday Farmers Market). Some nice seasonal sugar snap peas might make it in there as well.

That should suffice to lighten things up for the rest of the week.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Flavors Sampling

At noon tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday, the Pearl Street Whole Foods will host a "flavors of summer demo." Here's what they say:

"Health Starts Here Flavors of Summer Demo
In July we welcome the colors and flavors of of many, many favorites: Cherries, peaches, zucchini, kale and spinach to name just a few. Stop by the Pearl St. store for a sampling of the flavors of summer with our Healthy Eating Specialist, Dani Little."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hoping for More Nature's Grilling Products

This doesn't seem to be my lucky day at the Pearl Street Whole Foods store. While Whole Foods is advertising Nature's Grilling charcoal and briquets at the most excellent price of $3 a bag, the only product available at the Pearl Street store is the mesquite variety. While it's an excellent product, the bag weighs 6.6 pounds, compared to the regular Nature's Grilling briquets that weigh 9 pounds and would also be $3 for a bag, if it were in stock. If you do ever spot the regular Nature's Grilling briquets (Sprouts carries them, along with the mesquite), note that although their packaging is nice and compact, at 9 pounds it actually weighs more than Whole Foods' own 365 brand, the 8.8 pounds of which they package in a truly humongous bag, so you think you're getting more.

I'm in Fig Withdrawal

Here I am, eagerly anticipating a long weekend of hedonistically chowing down on a plenitude of grilled pancetta-wrapped figs, and Whole Foods, at least at the Pearl Street store, is sold out of figs! Probably more widespread than the one store, as the guy in produce told me that their supplier is out of them. I might need to move on to bacon-wrapped dates, but it just wouldn't be the same.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Sunflower Non-Event

Despite their advertisement that there would be a "summer grilling sampling" at all Colorado Sunflower locations today, the Boulder store was blissfully unaware. The cashier was surprised by the ad when I asked about it while checking out with my groceries around noon today, and said somebody really goofed. The guy behind me in line pronounced that, since we're in the People's Republic of Boulder, we undoubtedly don't count as a "Colorado location." Probably right.

Today's Boulder Farmers Market Report

I swear this will be my last report about the Saturday Boulder Farmers Market, at least until the snow starts flying. So crowded: people, dogs, strollers, you name it. It started with the parking, cars stacked up everywhere trying to get into the city lots on 14th Street. I gave up and went to the garage at Broadway and Walnut, probably the worst-designed garage in the world. Despite the crowds, the market's produce was its own reward. I've previously commented on how varied our options now are, and they grew even bigger today with the introduction of zucchini, yellow squash, and fennel at several of my favorite organic farm booths. The Monroe organic farm also had the first cucumber sighting. Seems like we have everything organic and locally now with the notable exceptions of tomatoes and corn. The beets I bought at the Full Circle booth for Monday's upcoming beet salad have such gorgeous tops, they will become an extra side dish for tonight's bbq rib dinner. Yum.

Free Pancake Breakfast

The Superior Whole Foods will be participating in a pancake breakfast at Community Park in Superior tomorrow morning. They say the breakfast is free, but I'd assume the local fire department that's making the pancakes would appreciate an appropriate donation. It's part of the Superior 4th of July festival, which also includes a parade and an awesome-sounding downhill one mile race. Here's what the town has to say about it:

"4th of July Festival (Parade and Pancake Breakfast) and Downhill Mile Race Sunday, July 4, 2010 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Community Park (Community Park Drive and Coalton Road) Keep your eye on the grand old flag , as we celebrate our country's birthday with the annual 4th of July Parade and Pancake Breakfast. The parade winds through neighborhoods and highlights our community with fun floats, a bicycle brigade and lots of toys and candy for the kids. The parade culminates with a delicious pancake breakfast for all residents and guests at Community Park. Entertainment will be provided by the Kelly Aspen Band (country music). What better way to start this important day!! For more information on the parade or to enter a float please contact contact Kristi Audette at 303-544-0359.

Get there early on July 4th to participate in or watch the Superior Downhill Mile--the Fastest Street Mile in the United States. The race starts at 7:00 a.m. at Rock Creek Parkway and McCaslin Boulevard. Register online and help reduce paper waste by visiting the listing for the race here. Click here to view the entry form. If you're interested in family registration, please visit Solepepper Sports (459 S. McCaslin) for details"

Grilling at Whole Foods

The Whole Foods store in Superior is promising outdoor grilling this summer every Saturday from 12 to 4 pm in front of the store. Not sure whether than means they'll have burgers and the like for sale, sampling, or what.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Grilling Sampling

Sunflower is promising a "summer grilling sampling" at all its Colorado locations tomorrow, the 3rd, from 11 to 2, if you want to check out some samples.

Holiday Weekend Dinner Plans

Two things are likely to dominate this weekend: heat and grilling. Since there will be plenty of grilling ahead and today's supposed to be the hottest day of the weekend, think I'll go radical and skip cooking altogether, doing my favorite wraps instead (especially since tortillas left over from last week's sirloin in tomato cilantro sauce are begging to be used). Mark Bittman is well known for his series of 101 ideas for quick cooking (his new one on grilling has been making the news this week), and one of his earlier ones, 101 20-minute dishes for inspired picnics, is still one of my favorites. For tonight, we'll do number two on that list, the pesto chicken rolls. It works well with sliced chicken from the deli instead of grilled cutlets, and its combination with prepared pesto, sundried tomatoes, and arugula is truly inspired.

Then we'll break out the grill or smoker. I'm feeling a little guilty about my current plan, which is kind of high on the saturated fat front twice this weekend. Salmon might get substituted one night if the guilt persists, but until then, I'm looking at doing ribs and steaks. So for Saturday, with boneless country style ribs $2.49/lb at Sunflower, some of those will hit the smoker (or maybe just the covered grill, which is a lot simpler). To lighten up the meal while staying with the mood, we'll have vegetable slaw from Bon Appetit on the side.

To take a break between meaty grillings, we'll then be looking for something vegetarian, or nearly so. Since tonight's chicken wraps will use only a small amount of pesto, the rest of the container would be well used in a pasta dish, such as zucchini, corn, and basil fusilli with bacon from Gourmet, going very, very light on the bacon.

For the Monday holiday, technically the 5th (is it heresy to have pasta on the 4th?), we'll be back to the grill, planning on steaks from either of the sales at Sprouts or Sunflower. We'll turn to Bittman's 101 picnic list again to find a side to lighten things up. His very first idea on the list, beet salad, is a super fresh and easy one, and organic beets are $1.50 a bunch at Sunflower. Who knew that raw beets are actually so delicious?

That will get us through the long holiday weekend. Unless I substitute salmon for either the ribs or the steaks, I'll be looking for some healthier options for the rest of the week to compensate for the weekend's indulgences.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

4th of July Coupons from Sunflower

If you sign up on the Sunflower website, they will email or text you special deals. The coupons they've just sent for 4th of July specials include six packs of Hansen's natural soda, 2 for $3.00, and $1.99 for a 24 pack of Crystal Geyser alpine spring water.

Baby Back Ribs Ready to Go

Tomorrow and Saturday, the Boulder Sprouts will be doing a "backyard bbq," selling full racks of baby back ribs, cooked at the store over mesquite with a Polynesian bbq sauce, for $9.99 each (from 11 to 6, while they have them). If you're looking for something festive and easy to heat and eat for your 4th of July weekend, this might be it.

Bittman on the Today Show

Mark Bittman will be a guest on this morning's Today Show on NBC, demoing from yesterday's New York Times column, 101 Fast Recipes for Grilling that I mentioned yesterday. Might be on around 8:45 our time, or they'll probably have the video available to stream anytime after that. Just in time for some 4th of July grilling ideas!