Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Tomorrow

Don't let the new year stop you from shopping, especially for fruit.  Here's the news from Whole Foods about grapefruit tomorrow:

Rio Star Grapefruits: 10 for $10.

Huge Sale At Cured Today

Cured, that wonderful, one of a kind emporium of fine meats, cheeses, wine, olive oils, and everything else for the refined palate will be blowing out the store with almost everything 25% off for today only in preparation for their annual week of closure.  Their hours for today are 10:30 to 5, and they are at 1825 Pearl Street.  Here's what they say:

25% off Sale!!! Yes, you read that correctly. Tuesday we are blowing out everything in the shop including hard goods, cheeses, meats and wines. Anything and everything your little heart desires is 25% off, so you can come in and properly stock up, easing your pain and distress for the following week when we’re closed. It’s the perfect time to restock your pantry, freshen up your olive oil selection, stock the wine cellar or send a belated Christmas present to your third uncle who just so happens to love cheese. The only exceptions are charcuterie platters, sandwiches and bread. Everything else is fair game. Even the caviar.

National Bloody Mary Day

Happy New Year's Eve, and may it be joyful and safe.  Not much happening tonight in this house, but here's a holiday I could get into: Town and Country magazine reports that tomorrow is National Bloody Mary Day. In the January issue, they reprint the original recipe by Fernand Petiot created in 1934 for the "Red Snapper" at the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel in NYC. Far better to make at home, as the magazine reports they are $30 each at the St. Regis (when I had one there, it seemed the $20 they were back then was already pretty outrageous, but now that's sounding like a bargain).

Monday, December 30, 2013

Lucky Foods For The New Year

I've been collecting articles regarding lucky foods for the new year for quite a while now, and here's a link to last year's post that brought several of them together.  Probably time to move on to something different!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year's Eve Menu Ideas

New Year's Eve isn't a big deal in this house (although I'm sure the lovely lobster tails on sale at Whole Foods for $6 will be involved), but if you are looking for inspiration for a celebration, here are a few guides to help you out:  New Year's Eve Party Ideas from Epicurious, New Year's Eve Recipes from Food and Wine magazine, and Sweets and Sparkling Cocktails for New Year's Eve from Saveur.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Recovering From The Holidays

We're not even done with them, with New Year's Eve and Day still to come (although not a big deal in this house), but I'm in the mood for normalcy, smaller meals, less fatty food, and more vegetables.  I don't have any particular plans, since the fridge is still stocked with food to finish off from the past few days.  When not dealing with leftovers, I might draw inspiration from the holiday detox suggestions from Food and Wine magazine.  Quinoa and veggies are sounding pretty good right now.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals (IMHO)

Thrown off a day by Christmas, we have a new sale starting today at our Boulder Sprouts, while the current one continues at Whole Foods through the 31st.  I'll also throw in the Longmont Lucky's Market, since I happen to already know what's happening in the new sale there, and sometime I'll get to Vitamin Cottage to learn about their new sale.  Here's what's looking good to me now.

At Sprouts through January 1st, previously frozen lobster tails are $4.99 each (same at Lucky's), but I'd want to see where they come from, since I think the ones on sale at Whole Foods for a dollar more are from Maine (forgot to look while buying mine earlier this week).  Stew beef is good at $3.99 a pound, but after standing rib roast last night and lots of leftover beef in the fridge, I doubt we'll be cooking more beef in the coming week.  Chicken sausage is $2.99 a pound, and ground chicken, pork, or chicken breast are also all good at $2.99 a pound.  Previously frozen wild coho salmon fillets can be had for $9.99 a pound, and 30 to 40 count sea scallops are $7.99 a pound.

Sprouts has only a two-page ad online and one didn't come with our paper (we're dumping hard copy of the Camera shortly anyway when the price will nearly double next month), so there isn't much news about sales in organic produce.  I can see however that organic cluster tomatoes are excellent at $1.98 a pound, and four pound bags of Valencia organic oranges are $2.50 each.  Elsewhere in the store, conventional Hass avocados are good at 48 cents each, but see below for even better at Lucky's.  With this being an abbreviated sale flyer, I'm not seeing anything else really calling to me.

The new sale at Lucky's Market in Longmont (sorry that I almost never can get to their store in north Boulder for comparison) also runs through January 1st, and in addition to the previously mentioned lobster tails for $4.99 each, they have wild snow crab clusters and 26 to 30 count ez-peel shrimp both at $7.99 a pound.  Pork loin chops are $2.99 a pound (bone not specified), and Atlantic salmon (that would be farmed) is $8.99 a pound.  More in beef sales, but again, we're already dealing with enough of that this week.

In produce at Lucky's in Longmont, conventional Hass avocados are the news at 25 cents each.  In organic produce, green cabbage is just 49 cents a pound, carrot bunches are $1.50 each, 10 ounce grape tomato containers are $2, Bartlett pears are 99 cents a pound, and green or red bell peppers are quite low at $1.50 a pound.  Elsewhere in the store, check out the frozen foods where everything except meat and seafood is 25% off.  A Colorado company, Ozuke organic fermented foods, are $6.99 for various sized jars.  I might see if I can start off the new year with some organic kim chi, if they make it.  Finally, I rarely buy pre-cooked foods, but Maryland crab cakes for $2.50 each in the deli are definitely tempting, maybe to be paired with roasted harvest root veggies at $4.99 a pound or grilled kale $5.99 a pound.

Whole Foods' Sales For Tomorrow And Beyond

In this laid back week, Whole Foods is offering us not only a one-day sale for tomorrow, but also several lasting all the way through Tuesday, New Year's Eve.  That baguette special has my eye, as we'll be eating leftover rib roast for a long time, and it would go well in a fresh baguette for lunch.  Here's what they say:

December 27th :: Fri Only
Kevita & GT's Kombucha - Buy 1 Get 1 Free

Dec 27th - Dec 31st :: Fri Through Tues
Avocados - 10 for $10
King Crab Legs - $16.99/lb
Annie's Pizza2 for $10
Bearitos - 2 for $3
Zevia Soda - 2 for $5
Organic French Baguettes - 2 for $3
Cookies by the Pound - $5.99/lb

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Going For All Seven Fishes

Merry Christmas Eve!  For tonight's dinner, I'd planned on holding at four fish like we had last year in a NYC restaurant for the Feast of the Seven Fishes, but once it crept up to five, I decided to try to stuff in all seven.  That would be easy enough to do if you start with a fish soup, where you could put all seven in at once, but that's not my plan.  Our main course adaptation of creamy lobster pappardelle from Cooking Light will be the fish motherlode, with shrimp, bay scallops, and minced clams added to the lobster, getting us to four fish.  As we start cooking, we'll nibble on Whole Foods' wonderful smoked salmon dip, making it five.  For a more substantial appetizer, I'll pop some stuffed clams from the freezer into the oven, making it six.  The seventh eluded me until I found some lovely (and exceptionally pricey) precooked Dungeness crab that I'll add to the salads that will go alongside the pasta.  So for this year, and probably this year only, our Feast of the Seven Fishes will actually have seven fishes (oh no, unless having clams twice makes it not count???).

And an early Merry Christmas, as I don't plan on sitting in front of a computer doing blog posts tomorrow!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Weekday Dinner Ideas

And oh what a week, including Christmas.  Prior to the excesses, we'll keep it light for tomorrow.  The organic eggplants for just 99 cents each at Sprouts through Wednesday have me thinking of a vegetarian dish from an old favorite cookbook, Mediterranean Light, which therefore doesn't have a link.  The book's eggplant gratin is a much lighter version than others you might find on the web (the whole idea of this cookbook is to take an already healthy cuisine and even lighten up on that).  As written, it calls for making a tomato sauce from scratch, but using a quality jarred pasta sauce like Muir Glen Organic reduces the steps to baking a couple of eggplants at 450 for 20 minutes, layering sauce and sliced eggplant with herbs (I might sneak in a bit of cheese) and baking for 30 to 40 minutes.  A nice prelude to the rest of the week.

For Christmas Eve on Tuesday, we've recently gotten into toying with the southern Italian tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve, following a spectacular dinner at I Trulli in New York City last year (you can see their 2013 menu here, and I had the squid ink pasta and the swordfish last year - so good!).  Being in Boulder this year, my attempt will be far more humble, involving four fish at most and only two courses for the family.  The basis will be creamy lobster pappardelle from Cooking Light.  Whole Foods has very fine lobster tails on sale for $6 each through the 31st.  To increase my fish count, I'm thinking about adding a few shrimp and also bay scallops.  If we start off with an appetizer of Whole Foods' lovely smoked salmon spread on rice chips or Nut Thins, we're up to four fish.  This past Wednesday's New York Times had an article on the seven fishes that said you could also count a salad  including anchovies in the dressing as one of your fishes, but I'm not that eager to reach seven.

Christmas Day tends to be a standing rib roast in this house, a fairly straightforward dish to make (especially since the outside meat griller man gets put in charge of this inside roast).  Sides are still a bit in flux.  I'm thinking about mashed potatoes with crispy shallots from Food and Wine magazine, plus some roasted asparagus ($1.88 a pound at Lucky's in Longmont through Christmas), and also a beet salad recipe received from a friend that I think would go well with this dinner, although I think that recipe was originally intended as one for Thanksgiving.

We'll attempt to compensate for the excesses on Thursday with something ascetic like a tofu stir-fry, incorporating some of that $1.88 a pound asparagus previously purchased from Lucky's.

Which gets us through the week in a hopefully sane and relatively healthy manner, and we haven't even incorporated a bouche de Noel!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Menu Help

Happy solstice and welcome to winter!  If you're still working on menu plans for Christmas week, here's a reminder of some guides that might help you out.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Weekend Dinner Ideas

The weekend before Christmas has to be easy on the cook, not to mention also healthy in the midst of the excesses all around us.  Tonight will simply be salmon on the grill pan (either from Sprouts or the Longmont Lucky's Market, where they're both previously frozen wild coho fillets at $9.99 a pound), with some microwaved "baked" organic russets and asparagus on the side (the Longmont Lucky's has asparagus for just $1.88 a pound, but I believe it's $2.50 at their north Boulder store).

For Saturday we'll again go both easy and light, doing sauteed cod Provencale from Gourmet magazine. Sprouts has previously frozen wild Alaskan cod for $4.99 a pound through Wednesday, and this recipe couldn't be easier.

We'll both celebrate and cheat on Sunday, grabbing some of the tamales that are four for $5 (half off) at Whole Foods through that day's weekend sale.  Our timing is a bit off, but this is a celebration because tamales are a Hispanic tradition associated with Christmas, especially in New Mexico.  The cheating part is that we'll buy them pre-made, as they are super labor-intensive to make from scratch (undoubtedly making them a food for celebrations).

Which gets us through a pre-holiday weekend without destroying the diets, the time available, or the bank.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Weekend Sales At Whole Foods

Whole Foods will offer us both a flash sale just from 3 to 7 pm tomorrow on Annie's pizza and also several sales lasting from tomorrow through Sunday.  Those tamales at 50% off are really catching my eye.  Here's what they say:

<<3-7 pm="" span=""> Only>>
Annie's Frozen Pizza50% OFF

FRI-SUN :: DEC 20-22
Mason Jar Floral Arrangement$3 OFF
Sale Price: $12.99 Each

Tamales: 50% OFF
Sale Price: 4 for $5

Festivus Chai50% OFF
Sale Price: 2 for $5

Melissa & Doug Toys30% OFF

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Today

Whole Foods offers us a duo of special sales for today only.  The cod doesn't specify fresh or frozen (my guess is previously frozen), so keep in mind that wild Alaskan previously frozen cod fillets are $4.99 a pound at Sprouts all week.  Here's what Whole Foods says:

Chocolove Bars2 FOR $3
Cod Fillet: $4 OFF/lb
Sale Price: $8.99/lb

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals (IMHO)

And what an important week it is, with Christmas in the middle of it.  We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Sprouts and Whole Foods.  Vitamin Cottage probably also just started a new sale that I need to check out, since their prior one ended last weekend.  Here's what's looking good to me now.

Sprouts' new sale runs through December 24th, which I'm taking as a good sign that they will be giving their employees Christmas Day off, unlike Thanksgiving when they were open (Whole Foods did the same in opening on Thanksgiving).  In the new sale I'm liking value packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.99 a pound (although I have lots of those from Lucky's with their "never ever" standards in my freezer) and previously frozen wild Alaskan cod fillets for just $4.99 a pound.  They also have impressive prices on the big Christmas dinner items like turkey or spiral-sliced ham (both $1.99 a pound), and their "presidential cut" rib roast ($7.99 a pound), which are all "all natural," undoubtedly a big jump from a really commercial, national supermarket chain, but I'm increasingly looking for a reassurance that they are also antibiotic-free, which I seldom see here.  Hypocritical, since I do buy the chicken breasts all the time, unless pulling from my Lucky's stock in the freezer.  Also, boneless pork shoulder roast or country style ribs are $2.49 a pound, stuffed chicken breast and all chicken sausage (pork too) are $2.99 a pound, and previously frozen wild Alaskan coho salmon fillets are $9.99 a pound.

In organic produce at Sprouts, $1.29 (a pound or each, as appropriate) seems to be the theme, with broccoli, green curly kale, garnet or jewel yams, celery, Pink Lady and Braeburn apples all at that price. Also, organic on-the-vine tomatoes are great for this time of year at $1.68 a pound and eggplant is stunning at 99 cents each.  Elsewhere in the store, I'm liking Near East rice or couscous sides at $1.50 a box, and some Simply Organic spices half off regular price.

The new sale at Whole Foods runs through December 31st, and for this holiday season, it contains some big ticket items still at big ticket prices despite the sale, like king salmon fillets at $19.99 a pound, golden king crab legs $18.99 a pound, and 10/15 count jumbo shrimp $17.99 a pound, but the $6 lobster tail sale has returned, good news.  In meat, their very fine American Homestead or Wellshire spiral sliced hams look good at $4.99 a pound.  Produce is on a more realistic plane, with satsumas $1.99 a pound, three pound bags of organic yellow onions $3 each, and organic Granny Smith or Braeburn apples three pounds for $5 (which works out to $1.66 a pound, so the organic Braeburns for $1.29 at Sprouts are a better deal).  I'm liking take and bake pepperoni pizzas at $7.99 each, although they recently downsized their pizzas dramatically, and yummy Cotswold cheese is basically half off at $9.99 a pound.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Culinary Ideas

If today is the 17th already (eek), it's certainly time to start thinking about all those Christmas foods, possibly including brunch and Eve as well as the traditional dinner.  Although with temperatures expected to hit 65 today in Boulder, I'd rather be thinking about it at Rockefeller Center, where the snow was falling so prettily on the tree at the start of the Today Show this morning.  In any case, here are a few guides to help you out with your planning:  Christmas Unwrapped from Epicurious, It's Beginning to Taste a Lot Like Christmas from Bon Appetit (that one includes a menu for a Colorado Christmas as well as an article on the all-time worst holiday foods, have to check that one out), and Celebrate the Holidays from Cooking Light.  Pull on the shorts and t-shirts and start planning.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holiday Tasting In Superior Today

I haven't had time to check Whole Foods' calendar for a bit, and just saw that the store in Superior will host a Holiday Tasting today.  Here's what they say:

Holiday Tasting

Sunday, December 15th
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Superior Whole Foods Market, Free

Holiday Tasting

Get ahead of the Holidays! Join us in each dept. at the Superior Whole Foods Market for an afternoon of Holiday samples!  Enjoy music and Bell Ringers from our adopted school- Ryan Elementary in Lafayette.  Let us help you with your menu planning or Holiday Ordering!

Weekday Dinner Ideas

This is all so simple and barely roughed out, I probably shouldn't post at all.  But it's also closer to the origins of this blog, when friends asked me to share my simple weekly dinner plans inspired by the best local natural foods sales, recipes often not needed.  (Somehow posting publicly has caused me to morph into more complicated planning.)  So here goes.

Tomorrow will be super simple, great for the busy holiday season.  I'll grab the fresh Market Made pizza that's 40% off at Whole Foods through today for tomorrow night's dinner.  Dressing up the cheese one with some Yves veggie pepperoni and some mushrooms makes for a super easy meal.

Tuesday will be a stir fry over brown rice or soba noodles, the driving force in the stir fry being lots of organic broccoli that's just 98 cents a pound at Sprouts through Wednesday.  The protein will be either diced boneless center-cut pork chops that are just $1.99 a pound through Wednesday at Sprouts, or more likely Lucky's fine antibiotic-free boneless skinless chicken breast, since I've accumulated quite a few of them in my freezer from their recent spectacular $1.99 a pound sales (not currently happening).

Wednesday we'll do our usual reheat of something big, which this week is the smoky split pea and root vegetable soup originally published in Bon Appetit's Christmas book.  Ironic that it's the highlight of the Carolers' Warm-Up dinner in the book, when midweek we're expected to be in the 60s.

Thursday will be simple too, probably the pork chops that are on sale for so cheap at Sprouts through Wednesday if I put chicken in Tuesday's stir fry, or sauteed chicken breasts from my freezer with the mushroom sauce I've mentioned frequently from Cooking Light if I put pork in Tuesday's stir fry.

As an aside, my family will probably never be allowed to set foot in Italy again.  Having stocked up amply on authentic Parmigiano Reggiano during Whole Foods' previously mentioned spectacular half price sale that happened Friday, last night we committed the heresy of grating it over our scallop pasta.  Italians may say that cheese should never be matched with seafood, but I say it was delicious.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Holiday Food Demo At Alfalfa's

Professionals from what was formerly the Cooking School of the Rockies will give you tips on holiday recipes at Alfalfa's tomorrow afternoon.  Here's what they say:

Holiday Food Demo with Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
Sunday, December 15th               3:00 to 5:00pm                     Alfalfa's Demo Kitchen
Alfalfa's is proud to welcome back the experts from Escoffier as they demonstrate a few of their favorite holiday recipes. Stop by to pick up a recipe and watch the chefs in action! 

Olive Oil And Wine Tasting At Cured

Cured, that fine shop on Pearl a little east of the mall, will host both an olive oil tasting and a wine tasting today from 1 to 4.  Maybe a place to do a little Christmas shopping as well.  Interesting that when I paste in what they say, "on Saturday" turns into ..... because it's a calendar feature.  In any case, here's what they say:

Two of our specialties at olive oilCured both come in glass bottles: good olive oil and good wine. Both can be a bit daunting to navigate and get a bit overwhelming, but both make for the perfect holiday gift (whether for someone else or for yourself!!).  On Saturday, our friends at Guiliana Imports will be with us tasting a handful of olive oils that they bring direct to Colorado. Not only will you have a chance to taste a variety of oils and find what style you like the best, but you'll also be able to ask the importers about the farmers and farms behind the oils you’re tasting. Once you've found your favorite there, head back to the wine shop and taste the wines of Settembre Cellars, Boulder's very own, and utterly delicious, winery making some of the best wines in the state. So pop on by this Saturday, taste a few oils and wines, pick up a bit of knowledge and maybe a gift or two.

Friday, December 13, 2013

No, Not Again

Not yet another shooting in Colorado, that I'm sure everyone's heard about.  What is wrong with this state, and with the whole country, for that matter?

Weekend Dinner Ideas

Super quick rundown with so little time.  Time will be a factor for the busy cook tonight, so it will be a real shortcut, house-made crab cakes that are just $2.99 each at the current sale at Lucky's in Longmont.  Better their house than mine for the making.  Lundberg black japonica rice always a good side with that.

For Saturday, I'll grab some of those dry sea scallops that are $6.99 a pound this week at Sprouts for pasta with scallops, a longtime favorite recipe that came from the old Herb's meat and seafood market.  Basic idea is simply to saute the scallops in a little olive oil, add some garlic and a bit of cayenne, then turn the whole thing into a pasta sauce by mixing in milk (cup and a half? - recipe not in front of me) shaken up in a jar with a well rounded tablespoon of flour.  Simplicity!

I was hoping to do a scallop chowder from Cooking Light for Sunday but got outvoted in favor of a seasonal favorite from Bon Appetit's Christmas book that I haven't made in several years, smoky split pea and root vegetable soup.  It's the Carolers' Warm-Up dinner in that book, which strikes me as unnecessary with temps expected around 60, but the family prevails. That book is so old, Bon Appetit doesn't have a link, but it looks like the recipe has been picked up here.

And that's all the time she has!  Happy Friday the 13th.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Spectacular Parmesan Deal At Whole Foods

Whole Foods seems to be in the mood for giving us early Christmas presents, with yesterday's sale on beautiful lobster tails, and now a fantastic deal for tomorrow only (a lucky Friday the 13th) on Parmigiano Reggiano, the true cheese from Italy, effectively half off at $9.99 a pound.  At its usual price of around $20 a pound, I'm more likely to buy the domestic versions for much less, but this is a stellar opportunity for the real thing.  Also, there are several good deals lasting all weekend, including 40% off two types of their take and bake pizzas.  Grate some of that parmesan on top of one.  Here's what they say:

Parmigiano Reggiano$11 OFF
Sale Price: $9.99/lb
Threads for Thought: 30% OFF
Apparel - Great for Gifts!
FRI-SUN :: DEC 13-15
Take & Bake Pizza: 40% OFF
4-Cheese & Pepperoni

Nourish Organic60% OFF
Lotion or Body Wash
Sale Price: $3.99 Each

Parrano Cheese: $6 OFF/lb
It's Magical When Melted
Sale Price: $9.99/lb

Theatre Cakes: $5 OFF
Salted Caramel Chocolate Crisp | Berry Mascarpone | Hazelnut Cream
Sale Price: $14.99 Each

Heads Up Re Vitamin Cottage Sale

Just a heads up that you only have through this Saturday the 14th to enjoy the specials in Vitamin Cottage's current sale.  Stocks do tend to get sparse at sale's end, but the ones looking best to me are Imagine organic broths at $2.29 each (although Sprouts has them for just $2 this week), R.W. Knudsen 32 ounce Very Veggie blends at $2.25 each (generally $3.69 or higher elsewhere), one pound bags of Lundberg rice blends $2.65 each (the Black Japonica is a rather exotic addition to a dinner plate), extraordinarily low prices on Muir Glen organic pasta sauces, salsas, and the small size can of tomatoes, and five pound bags of organic russet potatoes for just $2.39 each.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals (IMHO)

We have a new sale starting today at our Boulder Sprouts stores, while current sales continue at Whole Foods through December 17th and at Vitamin Cottage just through this Saturday the 14th.  Here's what's looking good to me now.

In addition to its regular sale, Sprouts will offer us a special 72 hour one for this Friday through Sunday, where the items of most interest to me are 25% off their bulk department (including the Fair Trade organic decaf coffee you can find at the Baseline store) and pineapples for $1.  In their regular sale through the 18th, previously frozen dry sea scallops (30 to 40 count from Peru) are $6.99 a pound, center cut boneless pork loin chops are just $1.99 a pound, and chicken breast tenders are also $1.99 a pound.  All chicken sausage (pork also) are $2.99 a pound, whole or cut up fresh chickens are $1.59 a pound, and farmed Atlantic salmon fillets are $8.99 a pound.

In organic produce at Sprouts, broccoli is the stunner at 98 cents a pound, plus there's green kale at 98 cents a bunch, one pound bags of baby carrots $1.49 each, Braeburn apples are just 98 cents a pound, and organic cluster tomatoes are not bad at $2.48 a pound.  Broccoli and cauliflower are veggies I always buy in organic, but I have to admit that at 68 cents a pound for conventional (and that's for just the crowns without the heavy stems on the broccoli), I'm tempted.  Elsewhere in the store, my favorite Imagine organic broths are back at $2 each!!!! (Compare the $3 sale price at Whole Foods.)  Also, Voskos Greek yogurts are the lowest I've seen them at 89 cents each, and the big 28 ounce size of Muir Glen organic tomatoes is $2 a can.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Tomorrow

I haven't gotten the email yet, but heard a Whole Foods ad on the radio this morning about their one-day sale for tomorrow, the 11th, and it's a good one.  Lobster tails will be $5 each ($1 less than their usual, infrequent sale price), and these are invariably beautiful ones from Maine or possibly Canada.  That will cause a switch in dinner plans for Thursday in this house, since who needs pork chops when lobster is so reasonable?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Indian Pudding Reverie

My favorite dessert on earth is an old New England classic, Indian pudding.  Way back in my racing form days, I used to make it frequently, but since these days consuming any dessert requires doubling my time at the gym, it's a rare occasion.  The pudding is composed primarily of cornmeal, molasses, and milk, so as desserts go, it practically qualifies as health food, and with the arctic temperatures we've been having, last night was time.

I had fun comparing my mother's timeworn recipe with the one in Fannie Farmer's 1896 Cook Book, received earlier this year as a gift from a thoughtful friend.  The two recipes are nearly identical, probably no surprise since my mother was born not far from Fannie's Boston just a couple of decades after Fannie published her book.  For comparison, I checked the recipe in Yankee magazine's Favorite New England Recipes and also the one from Durgin Park, a restaurant that has been in Boston's Quincy Market since the dawn of time, and horrors, both of those included eggs.  I'm glad Fannie and my mother were on the same wavelength, and their Indian pudding last night transported me back in time to a classic New England setting.

Tomorrow Is Colorado Gives Day

Every day is a good day to support your favorite Colorado nonprofit organization, but tomorrow the 10th is Colorado Gives Day, a special push for recognition of the fine work they do.  You can find all the details, select specific nonprofits for your generosity, and make your donation on their website.  Last year, Coloradans donated over $15 million dollars within 24 hours.  That's impressive and makes a real difference to nonprofits like our local Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (where we received such kind treatment when a baby raccoon with distemper turned up desperate for help at our front door), the Colorado Music Festival, and the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.  For foodies, among others there's Boulder's own Growing Gardens, a program promoting sustainable urban agriculture, including youth involvement in local food production. Check it out!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Good morning Boulder, on a day that's finally expected to reach all the way up to 15 degrees, although we're a long way from that now.  This is getting old.  In any case, I've already mentioned that the cold weather calls for comfort food, and that tomorrow will be both comforting and exceptionally easy.  I'll swing by Whole Foods sometime today to pick up some of the Applegate chicken pot pies that are $2 each through today, the last day of Whole Foods' weekend sale.  To go with them tomorrow, while the oven is on anyway, we'll reheat the rest of last night's fennel and leek casserole, which turned out beautifully.  The recipe is from Great Good Food and unfortunately doesn't have a link, since this delicious lighter version uses some tomatoes, broth, and a modest amount of parmesan instead of cream and gobs of gruyere, as found in most recipes for this dish.

Tuesday will be our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is tonight's quick coq au vin from Bon Appetit, yet another comfort food (not to mention the rest of the wine after some from a bottle goes into the recipe).  Two recipes reheated in one week sounds like cheating, but in this busy holiday time, 'tis the season to go easy on the cook.

After all that comfort food, and with temperatures probably finally climbing above the freezing mark, we'll lighten up Wednesday with the recipe for spicy Thai basil chicken wraps from Cooking Light, using some other ground meat since we've already been pretty heavy on the chicken this week.  This is one of the many variations of the Thai dish laab, larb or larp that have become a fave in the past couple of years.  Wrapping the spicy meat mixture in lettuce leaves is a refreshing change.

For Thursday, simplicity will reign again, pork chops from the $3.99 sale at the new Lucky's Market in Longmont through Wednesday.  I love Lucky's combination of their "never ever" standards and their reasonable prices for their meats.  While there, I'll probably stock up on some of the boneless skinless chicken breasts that are an extraordinary $1.99 a pound through Wednesday for the freezer, as the sale at the Boulder Lucky's is $5.99 a pound, which shows you how good the Longmont price is.

Stay warm!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Winter Market This Weekend

Just a reminder that the Boulder Farmers' Market is doing its Winter Market today and tomorrow at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont.  The very good news with these frigid temperatures is that it is indoors, in the exhibit hall.  Here are the details from them:

The Winter Market is this weekend!

The event will be on December 7 & 8, from 9:00am - 3:00pm, in the Exhibit Hall at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. Visit the Facebook Event Page or click here for the flyer to put on your refrigerator as a nice reminder of the place and time to shop for your holiday banquet and gifts.

Featuring over 100 vendors including farmer/ranchers, wineries, food vendors, photographers, woodworkers, craftsmen, jewelers and many more!  Festivities include cookie decorating, live music, food demos, and much more. S
upport local, small businesses! We'll see you there! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Weekend Dinner Ideas

This is a weekend that calls for comfort food, even though our temperatures are expected to climb out of single digits into the balmy teens.  This morning I was thinking of trying a pork shoulder roast recipe just discovered in the new issue of Bon Appetit (Whole Foods has fine American Homestead on sale at a good price right now, I think $2.99 a pound), until I realized the recipe calls for a six pound roast and would be hard to adapt.  Will have to save that one for a crowd.  Instead, I'll grab some bay scallops on sale at Lucky's in Longmont for linguine with bay scallops, fennel and tomatoes from Bon Appetit for tonight.

We'll continue the fennel theme tomorrow with a diabolical plan for real comfort food, fennel and leek gratin.  Mine comes from a favorite old cookbook, Great Good Food, which is a lighter take on cooking.  It unfortunately doesn't look to have transferred to the web, which is dominated by heavy fennel-leek recipes relying on cream and a ton of cheese.  I call this plan diabolical because it makes a large casserole, and I'm planning to use half of it as a cheat side dish for Monday as well.  For the protein, salmon will go on the grill pan.  It will most likely be that silky Norwegian salmon that Whole Foods has on sale for $13.99 a pound (it's evidently not reducing further in their weekend sale this week).  Sprouts and Lucky's in Longmont are also offering previously frozen wild salmon as options at lower prices (I think $8.99 and $9.99 - sorry, with no newspaper thanks to the storm yesterday, I have no flyers and no time to keep backtracking to my own sale report).

Sunday, we'll go with yet another comfort food (and something I can make in quantity for an easy midweek reheat as well), quick coq au vin from Bon Appetit.  I'm going to have some of those fine, antibiotic-free boneless skinless chicken breasts on hand from the Lucky's in Longmont, since they are only $1.99 a pound there through Wednesday, while the sale at the north Boulder Lucky's is $5.99.  Value packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts are also $1.99 a pound at all our local Sprouts stores through Wednesday.

For a Monday preview, the plan is to grab some of those Applegate chicken pot pies on sale for $2 each in Whole Foods' weekend sale through Sunday for a super easy comfort dinner, prepared chicken pot pies with a reheat of my fennel and leek gratin.  How easy and warming is that?

Stay warm this weekend.  I think I may have even found the right time to make a long-beloved favorite from New England, Indian pudding.  More on that later.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Weekend Sales At Whole Foods

Our local Whole Foods stores will offer us a variety of sales starting tomorrow, two for all day tomorrow, one a flash sale from 3 to 7 pm tomorrow, plus three that will run from tomorrow through Sunday.  In addition, I presume those are reading glasses that are half price, not the type of glass one would drink from.  Here's what they say:

:: FRI • DEC 6 ::
Cookies by the Pound: 50% OFF
Sale Price: $4.99/lb

Boneless Chuck Roast: $3.99/lb
Pasture Raised by
Country Natural

:: FRI • DEC 6 • 3-7PM ONLY ::

365 Everyday Value® Cracker-Cut
Cheese Packs: $3.99 Each

:: FRI-SUN • DEC 6-8 ::

Boiron Oscillococcinum 6-Dose: $2 OFFSale Price: $7.99 Each
King Salmon Fillets: $7 OFF/lbSale Price: $17.99/lb
Chicken Pot Pies by Applegate: $2 EACH

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

This Week's Hot Grocery Deals (IMHO)

Good cold and snowy morning Boulder!  After a week of turkey leftovers and a sale hiatus at Sprouts following Thanksgiving, we have new sales starting today at our local Sprouts and Whole Foods stores, while the current one continues through December 14th at Vitamin Cottage.  Since my newspaper is either buried in the snow or never got delivered today, I'll attempt to get this together entirely from the online versions.  Here's what's looking good to me now.

At Sprouts' new sale through December 11th, I can see avocado fans rejoicing about Hass avocados at three for $1.  They're conventional, but you'll peel them anyway.  (Ms. A., I do hope you're still enjoying your avocados, and we continue to miss you at FAC!)  Value packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.99 a pound, but if you have a chance to get to the new Lucky's Market in Longmont, they are also $1.99 a pound there, and Lucky's meats boast "never ever" standards, and are even tested to ensure no antibiotics.  To show you how good a sale that is in Longmont, the sale price on them at the Lucky's in north Boulder this week is $5.99 a pound.  Back to Sprouts, pork tenderloin is $2.99 a pound, stuffed chicken breasts and three types of chicken sausage are also $2.99 a pound, ground pork is $1.99 or ground chicken $2.99 a pound (both great for Thai lettuce wrap dishes), and for a salmon fix, previously frozen Alaskan wild coho is $9.99 a pound.

Sprouts has issued an abbreviated ad this week (guess we're all a little burned out on food right now), and the only word on organic produce is curly green kale at $1.49 a bunch and four pound bags of Valencia oranges just $2.50 each.  Elsewhere in the store, I'm impressed by 24-packs of Crystal Geyser spring water at three for $10.  With company dropping in for the holidays, these are convenient to have on hand.  Also, Chocolove or Endangered Species chocolate bars (2.9 to 3.5 ounces) are $2 each, but we typically see an even better price arriving on Chocolove during a brief stocking stuffer sale at Whole Foods at this time of year, so stay tuned for that possibility.

At Whole Foods' new sale through December 17th, Hass avocados are $1.25 each.  While the ones at Whole Foods generally run larger than the ones at Sprouts, they'd have to be humongous to be a better deal than three for $1 at Sprouts.  Even though we're just past turkey time, I'm intrigued by Market Made stuffed game hens at $3.99 a pound, $2 off.  They come in both traditional and cranberry herb.  Excellent Norwegian salmon (so silky) remains $2 off at $13.99 a pound, which often means we might get a one-day sale where it drops to $11.99 a pound if we're lucky.  I'm not into whole crab, but those who are might want to know that whole Dungeness crabs are $9.99 a pound. American Homestead boneless pork shoulder roasts are $2.99 a pound (you'll often see a lower sale price elsewhere but not on very fine American Homestead).  And I'm a bit dismayed to see beef bracciole continuing to be advertised for $6.99 a pound (the pistachio version this time), as in the past two weeks, it took me four attempts to get my hands on the Korean ones, which by the way were absolutely delicious, once I finally found a meat guy who knew what they were and offered to prepare some for me.  Yummy Ford Farm Seaside cheddar is $8.99 a pound, $4 off.  Finally, they are continuing to advertise "Imagine global animal partnership rated broth" at $3 for a 32 ounce box.  Being a longtime rabid fan of Imagine broth, I looked last week for this particularly esteemed version, but was only able to find my usual favorite varieties.  If this sale in fact refers to the regular broth, you'll do better to stock up at Vitamin Cottage, where it's $2.29 a box through the 14th, although supplies can sometimes run low there towards the end of a sale.  I already have a closet filled with it from Sprouts' recent sale at just $2 a box.

So enjoy the snow, stay safe and warm, and watch the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Plaza this evening to get into the holiday spirit!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

One-Day Sale At Whole Foods Tomorrow

With snow coming down already, and temperatures plunging from balmy to about zero, tomorrow isn't looking like the greatest day for any unnecessary driving, but if you're interested, here's the news from Whole Foods about the one-day sale tomorrow (those truffles are wickedly good):

:: WED • DEC 4 ::

Pistachios: $2 OFF/lb
Sale Price: $5.99/lb

Whole Foods Market™ Truffle Boxes
Organic Chocolate or Caramel: 2 for $7

Hunkering Down For A Couple Of Days

After wonderful holiday times filled with friends and food, I finally faced reality late yesterday and got the house stocked up in preparation for potentially nasty weather for the next couple of days.  The projected snow totals keep creeping up, and the temperatures barely out of single digits for daytime highs tomorrow and Thursday sound vile.  Stay warm.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Korean Beef Procured!

Well, more like Korean-Italian fusion, but on my fourth try, I finally found someone in Whole Foods' meat department who actually knew what the Korean beef bracciole in the current sale flyer meant.  Of course, they had none prepared, but this dear person actually went out into the rest of the store to grab all the ingredients needed to make a batch of them especially for me.  I still intend to explore true Korean food more fully and have a great idea about how to do that in Boulder, but for the moment, Korean bracciole will do.

Waiting Until Wednesday For New Sprouts Sale

I was in the Sprouts store on Arapahoe this afternoon, and as suspected, there was no sale flyer around for this week.  They continued last week's sale through Thanksgiving day, and I saw no news about a new sale after that.  Probably just as well, with everybody working on turkey leftovers anyway.  Meanwhile, you only have through tomorrow to catch the current sale at Whole Foods that includes those lovely lobster tails at $6 each.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Support Good Causes In Superior

Good heavens, how did it get to be December 1st already?  In any case, I'm so pleased to see that Superior Liquor (in Superior, obviously) is continuing its annual tradition of support for two of my favorite causes: the Humane Society of Boulder Valley and Community Food Share.  Members of their Frequent Customer club, of which there are many in Boulder, have the opportunity to donate their points to their cause of choice.  That alone would be cool enough, but even better is that Superior has lined up additional sponsors who will triple your gift!  Those points are really just like free money anyway, so why not use them for some excellent causes, and triple your gift in the process?