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Great Gifts for Dad: Nordic Ware Grilling

Nordic Ware Grill AccessoriesIn the housewares department at FRESH, you will find a whole section of quality grill products. My favorites are the grilling accessories by Nordic Ware. I always have great success baking with Nordic Ware products in the kitchen, so when I saw they had pans and toppers for the grill, I was very excited.

Nordic Ware has been an American tradition since 1946. It’s most famous product, the Bundt pan, paved the way for a complete line of quality cookware and bakeware.

Most of the products in the Nordic Ware 365 Indoor/Outdoor Grill line are made from heavy cast-aluminum and have an eco-friendly, nonstick coating. A few of the pieces are also available in stainless steel. All products are designed to be used on the grill, but they can also be used indoors on the stove or in the oven.

The Nordic Ware products available* at FRESH include :

  • Grill Topper
  • Fish Griller
  • Texas Searing Griddle
  • Grill ‘n Shake Bake
  • Beer Can Roaster
  • Chicken Leg Griller

*while supplies last

Pair a Nordic Ware grilling product with a new set of tongs, Dad’s favorite grill sauce or seasoning, or a gift card for his favorite cut from the meat counter. You’ll have the perfect gift for Father’s Day – one-stop shopping for a great day for Dad!





A FRESH Point of View: Heavy Metal

My mother had a cast-iron skillet that she used religiously.  I think her appreciation for this skillet came from the fact that it was virtually non-destructible and could be used for most anything from searing to simmering to deep frying.

I now own this skillet and I can honestly say that it is the most practical item in my kitchen.  Lifting it is a chore, especially for my wife, but it is a small price to pay for the perfect food that comes out of it every time!

The really cool thing about cast-iron is the “seasoning.”  When oil seeps into the surface of the iron over time, it creates a non-stick surface.  Not so long ago, we decided to bring in a line of cast-iron to our FRESH housewares department.  It is made by Lodge, the largest maker of cast-iron cookware in the United States.

Joseph Lodge opened his first foundry in 1896 and his legacy lives on through his great grandsons who now run the company.  They continue to expand plant capacity to keep up with the strong demand for their products.

Lodge actually pre-seasons its cookware at the factory.  They bake vegetable oil into the iron at a high temperature versus using a chemical nonstick coating.  This process enables use of your cookware for 100 years or more because you are able to maintain and repair the seasoning as needed.

To maintain the seasoning, you simply need to wash out your cookware with hot water and a sponge.  Dishwashers, strong detergents and metal scouring pads are not recommended, as they remove seasoning.

Always be sure to dry the cookware completely so that it does not rust, then apply a light coating of oil to restore the sheen.  Do not put so much that it creates stickiness on the surface.

Some other basics to follow, per Lodge, are:
• Gas flames should not extend up the sides of cookware.
• Match pan size to burner size.
• Don’t use in the microwave.
• When deep frying, fill cookware only to 1/3 of capacity.

If you are looking for a unique yet perfect gift this year, take my advice and buy some Lodge cast-iron.





Family Central: My Favorite Kitchen Cookware

People ask me all the time if I have a favorite kitchen appliance or tool. That’s a tough one to answer because it all depends on what I’m cooking, baking or blending…you get the point.

I usually tell people that I’ve had my KitchenAid stand mixer and Cuisinart food processor for 20 years, and these are definitely two basic pieces of equipment I would suggest all kitchens have. I’m not promoting the brands necessarily; these just happen to be what I have and they’ve performed quite well for me for two decades now.

But there is one thing in the kitchen that I seem to use the most often. It’s not an appliance or a tool. It’s a piece of cookware — my All-Clad stainless steel wok. It’s the best investment (yes it wasn’t cheap) I’ve made in cookware, maybe ever.

I know your family’s schedule is as crazy as mine, and just like you, it’s so easy for me to skip cooking dinner and just grab something after the game, practice or work. But picking up fast-food all the time tends to bust my food budget, not to mention the excess calories and fat in my diet.

This is where the wok has saved me. I can make a huge pot of jasmine rice or pasta early in the week, and we have it ready to reheat when the hunger hits, and in just a few minutes I can stir-fry a lean protein and some vegetables, keeping the fat and sauces to a minimum. Stir-fries are also a wonderful way to use leftover vegetables – or even throw in an egg or two if you’re out of meat.

Coconut Beef Curry has incredible flavor and just the right amount of heat from the curry paste to spice it up. To make it even healthier, use low-fat coconut milk and whole-wheat pasta. My teenage boys love this dish, and to me, the leftovers are even better.

Enjoy!

Coconut Beef Curry

Ingredients:
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 lb beef sirloin, sliced into thin strips (works great with chicken too)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 red or orange bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
1/3 cup water
1 Tbs red curry paste
1 (14 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
8 oz angel hair pasta, cooked according to directions

Directions:
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Cook in skillet, one half at a time. Do not stir; allow beef to brown for 2 minutes per side. Remove beef and keep warm; repeat with remaining oil and beef. Add onion, peppers and water to skillet, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add curry paste, and cook 1 minute while stirring constantly. Return beef and juices to skillet. Add coconut milk, and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in basil and lime juice. Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve over pasta.





Freshie Faves: A New Favorite to Our Housewares Department!

We know that we eat with our eyes as well as our taste buds, and what better way to properly present your culinary masterpiece than in a one of a kind serving piece from Rootworks?

RootWorks bowls, platters, and decorative items are carved from a species of Chinese fir called Shan Mu, which grows abundantly in the mountains of central China. RootWorks raw materials come from stumps left by logging operations, the removal of which allows for faster reforestation. The stumps are removed by hardy teams along the mountain slopes and transported to the remote carving villages. After careful cleaning and grading each gnarled stump is then transformed by skilled carvers into the gorgeous and unique RootWorks products we proudly offer. Watching the carvers read each organic chunk of the fragrant fir is a thing of wonder. The rough stump is turned and studied, inner and outer surfaces rough-hewn and balanced, shaved and nibbled with sharp tools until the final form starts to emerge, each one different from the last. Each piece is then carefully sanded, smoothed, and lacquered, revealing the depth of grain, stunning color, and variety of sculptural shapes that makes RootWorks a winning collection. Come by to see this new Freshie favorite today!

Wonderful things that make RootWorks so special:
• Made from environmentally-friendly reclaimed fir stumps with an easy care food-safe lacquer finish
• Each piece is hand-carved by skilled artisans, so no two are exactly alike
• Gorgeous wood grain and colors make these great for a wide variety of serving and decorative uses
• Lacquer finish cleans up easily
• 90-day limited warranty

 





A FRESH Point of View: Choosing the Right Cutting Board

Cutting boards are one of the most important tools in the kitchen.  However, with the numerous options available today, shopping for one can be a challenge.  Knowing the basics of the materials, shapes, and care requirements can help make the purchase easier.  Below are some details that I hope will help you pick out the perfect cutting board for your kitchen.

There are three general materials categories – glass, plastic and wood.

Glass boards are attractive to leave on display as they are patterned to suit almost any decor. They are very durable, resistant to heat, and are the most sanitary and easy to clean. However, glass boards are the hardest on knife edges.

Plastic boards are generally considered the safest as they are the easiest to clean and sanitize.  Plastic is dishwasher safe, providing a huge convenience factor.  However, plastic shows knife marks more easily and there is a greater likelihood of the board harboring bacteria in deep cuts.

Wooden boards are easier on knives but are generally harder to clean and are not dishwasher friendly. They can suffer cuts and cracks which can also harbor bacteria.  Wooden boards were traditionally made of maple hardwoods. Today, however, other woods and patterns are used, and bamboo, which is actually a grass, has become very popular due to its hardness and resistance to bacteria.

At FRESH, we offer three main lines of cutting boards:

Epicurean®

Their cutting surfaces are made from organic fibers which are layered together and pressed with a food-safe resin to form a durable sheet.  They are durable, dishwater safe, and made in the USA. Epicurean® gourmet cutting boards have a slightly thicker profile and heavier weight. They feature a juice groove on one side to keep things tidy and a flat food prep surface on the other.  Their non-slip cutting boards are perfect for smooth, damp food preparation areas. Non-slip silicone corners elevate these boards off of the countertop and hold them in place to prevent them from sliding around.  Lightweight Epicurean® kitchen cutting boards are designed for everyday use and effortless handling. Their thin profile and built-in utility hole make them easy to store in a rack or display on the wall.

Bambu

This company designs and creates home and lifestyle products made from renewable resources. Renewable materials are defined as substances derived from trees, plants or ecosystems which have the ability to regenerate themselves.

Bamboo is a highly renewable material. It is one of the earth’s fastest growing plants. Bamboo needs no replanting, grows without fertilizers or pesticides and is harvested from controlled stands with an astounding growth cycle of three to five years.

Totally Bamboo

Tom Sullivan & Joanne Chen of Totally Bamboo developed the world’s first bamboo cutting board after noting that this material was significantly harder and more durable than maple.

Regardless of the type of material, cutting boards should be washed in hot soapy water immediately after use, and occasionally sanitized by adding chlorine to the water.  Avoid slicing foods with the same board and knife that was used earlier for raw food preparation. Change boards and knives to prevent contaminating other foods.  Finally, always cut raw meats, fish and poultry on a board that is very easy to sanitize.





Freshie Faves: PoachPods are here to Save the Day!

I often times daydream about topping my latest culinary creation with a perfectly poached egg, but it quickly turns to a nightmare when I think about the poaching process. Ugh. There is an overabundance of tips and tricks on how to achieve the Zen of perfect poached eggs. However throw away all those notions and go for these slightly alien-like designed PoachPods from Fusionbrands.

Nestled in our houseware section are these novel inventions towards the bottom of the shelf. They are green silicone pods just waiting for a good home to help make the most divine eggs benedict or better yet a delicious side.  (Recipe to come!)

To poach your eggs, spray the pod with vegetable oil. Bring 1 1/2 inches of water to a boil in a skillet. Drop your egg into the sprayed pod and place in the water. It’s like a little hot tub for your eggs! Cover pan with lid and simmer for 4 to 6 minutes depending on desired firmness. Remove pod from water and slide spoon around egg and slide out of pod onto plate.

Now on to the yummy part!

Perfectly Pod Poached Egg atop Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients:
1 bundle of asparagus
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
4 poached eggs
4 Tbs grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:
Wash and trim the ends of the asparagus. Toss the asparagus with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with some salt. Place the asparagus in the oven and roast for 15 minutes at 400° F. Remove the asparagus from the oven. Divide the roasted asparagus spears on plates and top each set of asparagus with a poached egg. Sprinkle with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and red pepper. Enjoy!





A FRESH Point of View: Bam! FREE Emeril Cutlery Now at FRESH

Just in time for the fall and holiday season, we are kicking off our third program to give FRESH guests the ability to earn FREE products just for shopping with us.  We started with Cuisinart cookware, then moved on to Cuisinart appliances, and now are delighted to be offering Emeril Cutlery.  If you forgot how it works, here is the rundown:

Through January 8th, 2013 you’ll receive one stamp for every $10 you spend at FRESH.  Spend $20 and you’ll receive two stamps, $30 three stamps, $40 four stamps, etc. Stamps will be issued from October 3rd, 2012 until January 8, 2013. Keep track of every stamp you earn inside your Stamp Saver (available for pickup at FRESH). When you have saved the required number of stamps for your desired free item, present the item and your Stamp Saver to a FRESH cashier. You can redeem your stamps until January 22nd, 2013 when this opportunity officially ends. There is no limit to the number of Emeril Cutlery products you can collect!

And even more good news, we are doing a DOUBLE STAMP WEEK to kick the promotion off right.  Earn double stamps from October 3-9 on all of your purchases.

Here is a list of the amazing (and very gift-able) products that can be earned:

1)      Manual knife sharpener – FREE with 50 stamps
2)      3-piece cutting board set – FREE with 60 stamps
3)      4-piece steak knife set (in box) – FREE with 80 stamps
4)      6-piece steak knife set (in box) – FREE with 100 stamps
5)      5-piece knife set (in box, includes a slicer, 2 santouku knives, utility and pairing knives) – FREE with 120 stamps
6)      12-piece wooden block set (includes 11 knives and wooden block) – FREE with 180 stamps

Now go shopping!

TERMS & CONDITIONS

Qualified purchases are calculated before taxes, bottle deposits, manufacturer coupons. Program excludes purchases of tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, gift cards, money orders, lottery tickets, postage stamps, third-party payments for pharmacy prescriptions (out-of-pocket payments are not excluded), gasoline and any other items prohibited by law. Stamp issue and accumulation expires January 8, 2013. Product redemption offer expires January 22, 2013. Stamps and Stamp Saver may not be redeemed for cash. THE INFORMATION, PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, RELATING TO PROGRAM ARE PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS,” “WHERE IS” AND “WHERE AVAILABLE” BASIS. BROOKSHIRE GROCERY COMPANY DOES NOT WARRANT THE INFORMATION, PRODUCTS OR SERVICES PROVIDED OR YOUR USE OF SAME OR PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM GENERALLY, EITHER EXPRESSLY OR IMPLIEDLY, FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTIES OF TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE THAT COULD RESULT FROM ANY USE OF THE INFORMATION, PRODUCTS OR SERVICES MADE AVAILABLE TO YOU AND RELATING TO THE PROGRAM. ALTHOUGH THE INFORMATION PROVIDED TO YOU AND RELATING TO THE PROGRAM IS OBTAINED OR COMPILED FROM SOURCES BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE, THE ACCURACY, VALIDITY, TIMELINESS OR COMPLETENESS OF ANY SUCH INFORMATION OR DATA MADE AVAILABLE TO YOU IS NOT GUARANTEED OR WARRANTED FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE.





Freshie Faves: Clean and green!

Usually I don’t spend much time on the cleaning products aisle as a rule of thumb. I would much rather be browsing the cheese wall or drooling at the bread counter. However, I did a double take today while strolling past our mop and broom section. It was the lovely shade of emerald of the eclipse™ green cleaning system that first caught my eye. This system is made from repurposed materials including soda bottles, which give the tools their distinctive green color.

One pole, unlimited cleaning possibilities. Ok, it feels strange to be getting excited about sweeping and mopping when I get home.  But the interchangeable heads and single pole will save me money and storage space! The heads are very easy to attached and removed with a simple push of a button. All products are composed of recycled materials and are made in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. (U.S.A…..U.S.A….U.S.A.)

eclipse™ combines a lightweight aluminum pole with three interchangeable task-specific heads for wet and dry cleaning, and a bucket with a built-in wringer one can’t go wrong.  Even the aluminum handle that each cleaning piece fits on is made of 30% recycled aluminum. The set includes an angled broom, a microfiber sponge mop and a curved microfiber dust mop. Their bucket has a great dip and press ledge that is a wringer to easily remove water and dirt from the sponge mop head. I was thinking about buying the broom first with the aluminum pole and then I can just get the extra clean attachments with the bucket separately. OH no, my shopping list is suddenly taken over with spring cleaning fever!





A FRESH Point of View: Take a stab at it!

There is something primal about foods that you eat on a stick. You can call them kabobs, kebabs, satays or skewers: it’s all on a stick of some sort. It’s just the act of stabbing and chewing that is cool. I know a family who has a great “stab your food night” tradition that really impressed me. This family is my dear Freshie friends the McElfishes. It was one night while dinning with them that the concept of stuff on sticks really impressed me. And I soon realized that you can stab or skewer many yummy things.

There are just as many options of how one might skewer as well as what you might skewer. Of course you have your traditional non-stick metal skewer, which is really designed for open grills and in ovens. These little swords are really durable and hold up to the weight of more hefty ingredients like succulent chunks-o-beef. Then you have the more disposable and inexpensive option of toothpicks, wooden or bamboo skewers. Which during a party situation can be quite delightful in lightening the cleanup duty for the hostess!  You can find all these options at FRESH in our House wares department.

To get your own stab–a-thon going, here are some easy ways to enjoy taking a stab at it!

Caprese on a Stick
With a toothpick stab a small cube of fresh mozzarella (1/2 inch square cube), then layer in a fresh basil leaf and add a grape tomato, and drizzle with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can get real wild by adding a sliver of prosciutto around the mozzarella for grand punch of flavor.

Watermelon Caprese on a Stick
For a fruity FRESH take on caprese, use a melon baller to create little spheres of watermelon.  With a toothpick skewer a watermelon ball then layer a fresh basil leaf between a cube of mozzarella. Drizzle with a mixture of honey and balsamic. I had a FRESH watermelon yesterday and they are in their peak season of flavor!

Now on to the main event!

Spicy Mango Beef on a Stick
DIPPING SAUCE
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup mango preserves

MARINADE
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup mango preserves
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound flank steak, sliced across the grain 3/8-inch thick

10 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes

Stir together the mustard, 1/4 cup honey, and 1/4 cup mango preserves in a small bowl to make a dipping sauce; set aside. Beat together the apple juice, teriyaki sauce, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 cup mango preserves, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper in a bowl until blended. Add sliced flank steak and toss to coat. Set aside to marinate 10 minutes.

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate.

Remove the steak from the marinade, and discard the remaining marinade. Thread the steak strips onto the soaked skewers. Cook on the preheated grill to desired degree of doneness, about 1 minute on each side for medium. Serve accompanied by the Dijon dipping sauce.

View this recipe to print or add items to your Shopping List.

I always end my meals with something a little sweet!

S’mores on a Stick
It might be radical to mess with perfection but what the heck!  There is a miraculous relationship that happens between the toastyness of marshmallows, melty gooey chocolate, and crunchy graham crackers. And now you can have it on a stick! Toast your marshmallow on the open flame with a long bamboo skewer that has been soaked in water. Dip in melted chocolate. Roll in crumbled graham. Enjoy this orb of grand delight!





A FRESH Point of View: Cuisinart is back!

Our Cuisinart rewards program is back! Only this time, instead of pots and pans, you can get free or half-price Cuisinart appliances – just by shopping at FRESH.

Coffeemakers, juicers, waffle irons – this reward program offers you a chance to pick up many items you’ll use in your kitchen every day, or that special-use appliance that you’ve been waiting to find just the right deal. With graduation and wedding season looming, this is a great opportunity to get ahead on your gift-buying, or just to stock up for yourself.

Once again, all you have to do is pick up your sticker-saver the next time you are at FRESH. You can get one at checkout, or at our concierge desk at the entrance near produce and Southside Bank.

Then, save those stickers. You’ll get one sticker for every $10 you spend, and they add up fast. For instance:

  • 30 Stickers: Can opener at half price.
  • 40 Stickers: Coffee grinder, hand blender, chopper, four-cup coffeemaker OR citrus juicer, at half price.
  • 50 Stickers: Waffle iron, half-price
  • 80 Stickers: Coffee grinder, hand blender, chopper, four-cup coffeemaker OR citrus juicer, FREE.
  • 150 Stickers: Griddle Junior, FREE.
  • 180 Stickers: Blender/food processor, FREE

Cuisinart may be best-known for its food processors – the company was one of the first to introduce them to the U.S. back in the 1970s – but all of their appliances offer high quality at a good value.

Collect stickers through June 27th, and redeem them any time between now and July 11th. Plus, today and tomorrow are the final 2 days of double stamps, in celebration of our birthday week.





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