I'm a longtime fan of cooking and eating well, and love to pursue bargains along the way. Friends have asked that I share some tips from my weekly menu planning, and I hope these notes might help a few others in the Boulder area save some time trying to figure out what to have for dinner, largely based on what's on sale at Boulder's natural food stores. I'm on Twitter as @whatscookinbldr (not @bouldereileen!).
Blog copyr. E. Conway 2009.
One of the more fun grocery events of the year will be happening this Saturday at 1 pm our time, Whole Foods' big Parmigiano Reggiano wheel cracking event. I think they hold a Guinness record for most parms cracked simultaneously. Many stores participate - I'm sure Pearl Street will be among them, although they only seem to put Twitter chats on their calendar these days, and I saw a chalkboard at the Superior store announcing theirs. Yummy samples are included. Here's what Whole Foods says (note the time is East Coast):
LET'S GET CRACKIN'!
Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 3 pm EST, Whole Foods Market® stores in the US, Canada and the UK will be cracking and sampling wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano. Stop by your local store to get a taste of the wheel thing.
I've just discovered that today is National CSA Sign-Up Day, what a great idea to promote supporting your local farming community. I got set weeks ago with Red Wagon Organic Farm - I just loved our first try with them last year. Fabulous organic produce offered with several days and locations to choose from as you sign up, and a biweekly option to boot. I especially enjoyed being challenged by some offerings like fava beans that need two layers of shelling, kohlrabi, that alien veggie I'd never previously tackled, and edamame as they come from the farm, not from a bag in the freezer. I was almost disappointed that Red Wagon offers optional choices for those not wanting to take on the challenges - I didn't cave, and went full steam into personally uncharted territory. Looking forward to this year's CSA!
Just a reminder that Denver Restaurant Week, including several fine options in Boulder, concludes tomorrow, March 1st (spring is within sight!!!). Multi-course dinners are $30, and you can view the restaurants' special menus on the Denver Restaurant Week website. Stay warm today, more light snow this afternoon into tomorrow, as if we needed any more.
Our local Whole Foods stores will offer us a nice sale for tomorrow only, plus a trio of sales lasting through Sunday. For tomorrow only, tilapia will be $2 off at $7.99 a pound, and we all know how good Whole Foods' fish is. For tomorrow through Sunday, Amazing Grass Raw Reserve will be half off at $19.99 each (not familiar with it), very good Uniekaas Parrano cheese will be $5 off at $11.99 a pound, and Back to Nature crackers will be great at $2 a box, half off.
And good heavens, watch those roads out there. They are already talking about more snow to start again this afternoon, when it hasn't even stopped yet at my house.
We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Sprouts and Whole Foods stores. I suspect Vitamin Cottage may have switched from their lengthy sales lasting six weeks or so to small weekly ones, and if that's the case, I'm afraid I just don't have time to follow yet another store every week. In any case, here's what's looking good to me now.
In Sprouts' new sale through March 4th, value packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.99 a pound, baby back ribs are $2.99 a pound, fresh farmed Atlantic salmon fillets are $5.99 a pound, their stuffed chicken breasts are $3.99 a pound, grill packs of Rosie organic chicken are $3.49 a pound, and there's a fresh sausage bonanza, with all bulk $2.99 a pound and all links $3.99 a pound.
In organic produce at Sprouts, some Earthbound Farm salads are BOGO, Braeburn and red delicious apples are both 98 cents a pound, one pound clamshells of strawberries are just $2.98 each (think spring while the snow continues to fly!), celery bunches or red bell peppers are just 98 cents each, broccoli is $1.50 a pound, grape tomatoes are $2.50 a pint, and green curly kale or red chard are both $1.50 a bunch. Elsewhere in the store, the big news is a big BOGO sale, with lots of items buy one get one free. Items I'm seeing that appeal to me include Cascadian Farm cereal, 15 ounce Westbrae organic beans, Newman's Own fig Newmans, Odwalla juice, Voskos Greek yogurt, and Eat Well hummus (all saying "select varieties").
Meanwhile, Whole Foods' new sale through March 10th has me enthused about several items, most particularly select varieties of my favorite Imagine organic chicken broths for just $2 a box, yahoo! Pineapples with the Whole Trade pedigree are $2.98 each, and organic cluster tomatoes are $3.98 a pound. Their very good fresh Icelandic cod is worth $12.99 a pound, $3 off, while poblano pepper jack salmon burgers are $3.99 each. Bella Terra organic San Marzano tomatoes are $3.50 a can (not specified but that should be the big one), which offers opportunities for the Whole Creamery fresh ovoline mozzarella at $3.99 for 12 ounces. Their own Two Bite desserts are $4.49 a tub which is only 50 cents off, but any time they put those front and center, it's a temptation, plus they might be sampling them. Finally, my favorite liquid hand soaps for the kitchen, Mrs. Meyers, are $3.99 each, $1.50 off, and while I'm not familiar with it, Weleda Skin Food is a whopping half off at $9.99 each.
I've mentioned how much fun I'm having with Mimi Sheraton's new book, 1000 Foods to Eat before You Die. I could be quoting from practically every page, but there's one (actually two) that I just can't resist. One of her entries is for Epoisses de Bourgogne, a delicious cheese I had the opportunity of trying several years ago in Beaune during a tour of the Burgundy wine area. I'm glad I enjoyed it before reading her description, since although she says that tasting it is "to cross over to the other side," she also calls it "not for the faint of palate" with a "distinctive barnyard smell." Heck, I just thought it was delicious. On that same trip, I also had pigeon for dinner (it sounds far more appealing when said with a French accent), and since that also gets an entry from Mimi, that's two I can cross off my culinary bucket list.
Bummer. It seems Whole Foods has dropped Cacio di Roma from its cheese selections, at least at the Pearl Street store (and if Pearl doesn't have it, it's going to be hard to find it anywhere else on the planet, excluding Italy of course). Cacio di Roma is key to making Mario Batali's bavette cacio e pepe pasta dish at home, as I'd planned to do tonight. I bought some extra Parmigiano Reggiano as a sub, but I'm pretty sure it will be disappointing. Oh well, at least the snow is melting out there, before more comes in on Wednesday.
A reminder that the previously mentioned Denver Restaurant Week, that includes several marvelous Boulder locations, is now in progress through March 1st. Multi-course dinners for $30, with all the details here. Tonight certainly doesn't look like a great time to venture out in the snow, but it's a good time to peruse menus and make reservations.
The Alfalfa's in Louisville will be hosting an Eating for Health cooking class this Tuesday (with a $5 fee). Presumably we'll all be dug out by then, and maybe they'll let you call the store to reserve your spot this weekend instead of stopping by. Here's what they say:
Genevieve is a Natural Chef and Culinary Administrator for Bauman College working to share the Eating for Health model. Eating for Health is a comprehensive approach to educating individuals on how to eat a diverse, plant-based diet that provides a full range of nutrients. www.baumancollege.org
Genevieve will be demonstrating how to make; • Vegan Creamy Mushroom Soup with Crispy Shiitakes • Wilted Spinach and Basil Salad with Warm Balsamic Vinaigrette and Toasted Dulse Recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian
* Please sign-up at Guest Services.
- See more at: http://www.alfalfas.com/events/#sthash.5sxlYyJA.dpuf
Good morning, Boulder, as the snow starts to fly. If you haven't yet stocked up for the storm, it looks like you have a small window remaining to *very carefully* get your groceries in before the snow gets truly serious. Channel 9 is predicting 17.4 inches for Boulder by the time this thing wraps up. I'm set, with a beautiful organic chicken from Whole Foods' remarkable sale yesterday. It will be roasted along with some winter veggies like sweet potato, leeks, parsnips and the like tonight. For tomorrow, everything's in the house for corn and green chile chowder from the Food Network, drawing on my stock of roasted chiles in the freezer from last fall. Be careful out there.