Enjoy Local Cheese

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Every month an exciting “trade” periodical shows up on my desk. It is called Cheese Connoisseur. Yes, it is a magazine dedicated to cheese, mostly artisanal styles. It is a drool worthy read. There are great pictures, featured articles, and recipes. This month even has a nice list of NYC cheese shops to check out. The Finger Lakes region has it’s own artisanal cheeses to try.
On Saturday, July 26, the 2014 Finger Lakes Cheese Festival takes place at Sunset View Creamery in Odessa, NY. This is a family friendly event with kids activities, music, farm tours, cheese making workshops, chef events, and more then 10 regional cheese makers. There is a lot to do from 10-5 at this event.GreenStar is a sponsor of the Kids Midway! The Cheese Festival is a good way to support and learn about a unique, local, agricultural product. If you can’t make it to the festival, GreenStar has your back. We carry a great selection of regional goat, raw, cow, and sheep varieties on our shelf. I am loving feta cheese on salads and pizzas. Cheese Connoisseur magazine printed a recipe for a Watermelon, Blueberry & Feat salad. It is easy to make and quite good.

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Here it is:
Serves 4-6
1 five lb. seedless watermelon
2 cups blueberries
4 oz. feta cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbl. lemon juice
2 Tbl. fresh mint leaves + more for garnish
Cut the flesh from the melon and cut fruit into 2 inch pieces. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice and olive oil. Add in the chopped mint and salt to taste. In a large bowl, combine the melon, blueberries, mint , and feta. Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed. To serve, divide salad among individual cups and garnish with mint leaves.

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Community Member Feature: Emma Frisch!

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I have had the pleasure of knowing Emma personally for the past two years. Aside from being a lovely person, Emma is the epitome of a locavore. She is a lover of the Finger Lakes region and all of the wonderful foods it provides. Her website and blog: www.emmafrisch.com celebrates recipes of “food with roots.” Each ingredient tells a story and history of where it came from. Please check it out when looking for your next meal inspiration! In addition to being a chef, caterer and food educator, Emma is also in the midst of creating the culinary experience that will be offered at the new Glamping site at La Tourelle. Make sure to look up Firelight Camps opening this fall!

You may also know Emma as finalist on this season’s Food Network Star on the Food Network. It is such a fun show and if you haven’t watched yet, you must! It is already episode 7 and she is still on! It has been amazing to watch one of our own on TV. The best part is that she continues to promote and tout our area on the show. She even got Bobby Flay to say “Ithaca, NY” when describing a social media video she created on the show. Amazing. Please vote for Emma for fan favorite here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/food-network-star/food-network-star-fan-poll.html.

I had the opportunity to ask Emma a few questions about Greenstar and community and this is what she said:

 

1. What do you love about Greenstar?
Truthfully? It’s size and organization. When I go shopping I want it to be quick and easy, and I find myself getting overwhelmed in bigger grocery stores. They have their purpose, and I would never dream of shunning them, but having lived outside the country for many years I became used to picking between two choices of soap or cheese – not twenty. Greenstar’s scale is manageable and the selection is thoughtfully curated. I love how the “local” and “basics” labels are clear so that I can instantly find the best quality and most affordable products. I never find myself wandering aimlessly in the aisles looking for help – helpers are just as bountiful as the vegetable display. And then of course there’s the thumbprint cookies …
2. What are you favorite things that you buy at Greenstar?
Easy peasy: bulk items. Greenstar’s bulk section is hands down the best bulk section I have seen anywhere in this country. If you’ve seen a better one, I’ll happily visit to weigh in on the verdict.
I’m a big believer in keeping my pantry powered. If it’s always stocked with the basics, then I can build recipes off just one ingredient (as opposed to hunting down an ingredient list for a specific recipe). For example, if I want to make a honey polenta cake with a blueberry-rosemary syrup, all I need to pick up is the fresh fruit (and I can change the syrup with seasonal fruits).
I have a system for shopping at Greenstar, which is an easy habit to start if you’re not already a bulk buyer. Begin storing your flours, grains, nuts, seeds and other bulk items in jars. Write the jar’s weight – or “tare” – and the bulk item number on a piece of tape and keep it on the lid of the jar. Every time you run out, pop the jar in your shopping bag and refill it at the store. Sure, you’re lugging jars to and forth, but I promise you that it’s quicker than twisty ties, cuts down on waste and ensures your pantry is always powered. It’s hard to remember to do this every single time but it’s ultimately a matter of habit, just like beginning an exercise routine.
And thumbprint cookies…
Oh, and sheep’s milk feta…
3. What does community mean to you?
Community means swapping recipes and cooking tips with the customer next to you while waiting in line to check out. I always try to remind myself that it’s never a good idea to feel rushed when I shop in Ithaca (though I’m certainly guilt of my own mock version of Food Network’s Grocery Games). For me, the beauty of going to the store is running into friends, reconnecting with acquaintances and engaging with strangers. I live for those small, unexpected encounters that happen around food, which is universal to each and every one of us, and offers a gateway to learning something new. Community is a place where one can be open to the wisdom and experiences of those around them, and feel enriched.

 

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Picnic Ready Foods At Greenstar

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The weather has been so amazing. How blessed are we to live in such a beautiful area with so much nature to visit? It is a perfect time to pack a picnic and take a hike, walk, swim or just go sit in a park! There are a number of picnic ready foods that are offered at Greenstar, especially with a cooler, but the foods below are great to throw in your backpack when you are just ready to GO!

1. Shizen Sushi: I especially recommend the vegan options if you are going without a cooler. I love the tofu/avocado roll for on the run.

2. Mary’s Gone Crackers and Hummus: All of Mary’s Gone Crackers varieties are hearty and crunchy! Grab some hummus from the deli and you’ve basically got a meal right there. Want a little veg? Grab a bag of baby carrots.

3. Falafel and Tahini Cup: I just noticed this brand new offering! The Deli is now preparing Falafel cups. They come in a tall cup with a lid. Inside is a couple of pieces of falafel and a tahini sauce. It’s all contained and ready to go. Such a smart idea!

4. Takeout Deli Salads: There are now a couple of new salad varieties available in the deli as well. They are all prepared to go with a container of dressing inside. Want to make your own? Get to the salad bar and make sure to find the to-go containers for dressing!

5. Rice cakes, avocado and miso: This is a favorite at my house. Grab your choice of rice cakes and a (hopefully) ripe avocado. Then, depending on the size of your picnic, take a to-go container and put a small amount of bulk miso in it. I love the brown rice or sweet white variety. All you need is a knife to cute and smear the avocado on the rice cake then add the miso. I swear, it is amazing and requires very little prep or things to carry.

What types of things do you take on a picnic? Let me know in the comments, we could use some more ideas! Don’t forget a drink or dessert for your picnic. Alcoholic or not, there is such a great election of fun drinks to pick up and let’s not even get started on the gluten-free cookies ;-) !

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Ithaca Parade 2014 – Dancing Cupcakes!

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Non-Profit Feature: The Ithaca Children’s Garden

Two weeks ago, some members of my staff and I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Ithaca Children’s Garden for the afternoon. My friend Kara has been managing to garden for a little while now and I have walked around, but I had no idea about all of the amazing things they do there. There were some really fun volunteer activities such as hanging trellises, moving a chicken coop, pulling weeds, moving dirt, etc. The garden includes both an edible garden and a flower/plant garden. What I didn’t know is that the edible garden is open to anyone, anytime! You could literally be near Cass Park and need a little snack and go much on some salad greens! They also offer a wide variety of educational programs for kids. I love their slogan “Connecting Kids To Nature” because that is exactly what they do. There are programs for after-school, during school breaks and summer. Each program is a little different ranging from salad farming to outside play to exercise in the garden.

To anyone who hasn’t visited, it is a lovely place to take a walk. If you have kids, perhaps a summer program sounds interesting to you. Finally, if you have some extra time and a crew of hands, some volunteer work is always appreciated. Check out their website here to learn more.

 

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Hemp Seed Pesto

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It is almost summer! So man amazing foods are so close to being at our fingertips! One of my favorite recipes to make in the summer is Hemp Seed Pesto. My favorite one if from I Am Grateful: Recipes and Lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude. I will often sneak in some kale as well as the basil for an extra green boost! Slather the pesto on just about anything! Shown above on top of raw zucchini noodles, sauteed eggplant and boiled beets. Enjoy!

I Am Graceful: Almond or Hemp Seed Pesto
1 tbsp chopped garlic
3/4 tsp salt
3 bunches basil (leaves only)
3/4 c olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c raw almond butter
or
1 c hemp seeds
Place all ingredients except for the almond butter or hemp seeds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade (I have used a both a blender and a magic bullet as well). Pulse and scrape down sides of bowl until all the ingredients have reached a pretty smooth texture. While running, add the almond butter or hemp seeds. (Some people like their pesto chunky. Use your own judgment as to when to add the butter or seeds.)
Your pesto is now ready to use. This stores well in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes 1 1/2-2 cups.
ENJOY!
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A Few Good Olive Oil Recipes

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Have you seen the sale on Zoe Organic Olive Oil? It is $23.99 for 88 oz., worth every penny. Imagine all the summer recipes you use olive oil for- pesto, marinades, salad dressings, and olive oil cake.

A few years ago I found  an olive oil cake recipe in Whole Living Magazine. It was great. Now it is a staple for potlucks and entertaining. Click the link above for the recipe.
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This kale pesto recipe is favorite in our deli and another good use of olive oil.

½ bunch kale

½ cup walnuts

2-3 cloves garlic

½ cup nutritional yeast

¼ cup olive oil

lemon juice to taste

salt & pepper to taste

Lightly steam the kale and quickly shock in an ice bath. Drain off excess water. Combine the kale, walnuts, garlic, olive oil, and nutritional yeast in a food processor. Pulse until well blended  but still has some texture. Adjust taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Serves 2 with pasta or 4 as a dip.

Another olive oil recipe to try is Basil Vinaigrette

20 leaves fresh basil

½ small shallot, chopped

¼ cup white wine vinegar

Juice from ½ lemon

2 Tbl. honey or agave

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. With the food processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to three days.

Makes about 1 cup

 

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Salad CAN Be Fast Food!

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When I am left to my own devices, I could eat a salad twice a day, every day. I really LOVE salad. When I tell this to most people, they look at me, puzzled. “Doesn’t that take a long time to make?” “Don’t you get tired of that?” The answer to both, is NO. I have been a salad lover for so long that I have come up with ways to keep them quick and interesting. So here I will share some of my tips to help you get more salad into your life!

1. Used pre-washed mixed greens: This eliminates a huge chunk of time. Forget washing and chopping and buy a large container of Earthbound Farm mixed greens either plain or with herbs. There are all different types of greens in there and they are ready to go.

2. Add Leftovers: Usually on Sunday or Monday, I make a big batch of…something. It doesn’t really matter what, honestly. Maybe it’s a stir-fry, or some steamed vegetables. Or my favorite braised cabbage recipe. Whatever it is, I make a lot of it. That way, I can enjoy it as a meal and then as an addition to my salads during the week. This add a different element that will make your salad unique. I also make sure not to make the same thing two weeks in a row. Don’t have time to cook veggies? Pick up a box of prepared veggies from the Greenstar Deli. I am a fan of the vegan coleslaw, korean spinach and kale salad…very delicious on a salad.

3. Think about Texture: I find the enjoyment of salads lies in all of the different textures they provide. There is a soft and crisp feel of salad greens, perhaps a soft and dense feel from cooked vegetables and then there always needs to be something crunchy. I often buy a bag of seasoned nuts from the bulk section, some pre-made kimchi and often, a container of sprouts. These all add something special to your salad.

4. Change Your Dressing: This is the key to not getting bored. I often look up new dressing recipes online and try them out.  I make a jar of dressing for the week and bring it with me to work each day. If you are eating two salads a day, I recommend something different as a dressing on each. I am a real fan of simple olive oil, vinegar and a sprinkle of salt so, I alternate with that. I also buy bottled and pre-made salad dressing. Try the “Healthy Vinaigrette” from Braggs. Or, buy a bottle of Macro Mamas famous lemon poppyseed dressing at the Farmer’s Market. OR, you can also buy small containers of the Wings of Life dressings at Wegmans. A little goes a long way on those really flavorful ones.

5. Get a little “fancy:” This is a fun tip. There are little things that you can add to your salad that make a HUGE difference. I tend to associate these things as fancy because they are usually more expensive. For example, at Wegmans (sorry Greenstar!), you can buy a tiny bottle of black truffle flavored oil for $11. It seems like so much, but, the smallest dash of black truffle oil over your already-dressed salad, is LIFE changing. I swear. It adds a whole new dimension and that bottle with last you if you only use a little bit each time. I feel the same way about special salt/herb blends, balsamic drizzle, horseradish Veganaise, etc. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

6. Get Hearty: If a salad doesn’t sound “filling” to you, that’s ok. The more salad you eat, the more satisfying it becomes. But, there are plenty of things you can do to “bulk” your salad up. Try making a pot of quinoa in the beginning of the week to add to your salad. Or, roast a large tray of root veggies to add. Marinate and bake a sheet of tempeh and cut into cubes for salad topping. And then there is always my favorite, top your salad with a fried egg. This is a great option in the winter when you want your salad to be a little warm. Hard-boiled eggs are great for work and travel.

7. Assemble in Layers: Here’s how I do it. I put a big handful of my mixed greens into a bowl, this should be majority of your salad. Then I add a layer of my cooked vegetables. Then comes my crunchy layer (sprouts, kimchi or nuts…or all of those things!), then my protein or grain if Im feeling really hungry. I add my dressing and a dash or dollop of “fanciness,” toss and enjoy!

This is something I feel very passionately about so please let me know what holes are here for you and what questions you have!

Happy Salad Eating to You!

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Breakfast for Dinner- A Family Favorite

Feta, roasted red pepper, and spinach omelette.

Feta, roasted red pepper, and spinach omelette.

Spring began a super busy kid schedule. Monday through Thursday we have an activity every night at 6pm. Some days there are 2 activities. The first week of this new crazy schedule involved frozen food dinners. My kids love the Gardein crispy tenders and Alexia onion rings. Add some broccoli and it’s all good, right?  But I love to show my kids that food is made and cooked, not out a freezer or can or whatever! Slicing cheese and putting in a tortilla does not count as cooking. What can be   homemade, fast. and healthy – breakfast for dinner .

Usually the kids get pancakes with fruit and sausage while I get a fancy omelette. If you have the right pan a veggie omelette is easy to make. My mom bought me a nice Cuisinart nonstick pan for a gift a few years ago.

Basic Omelette for One

Preheat an 6- 10 inch omelet or non stick pan on medium to low. Meanwhile beat 2 eggs very well. Add some salt, pepper, and 2 Tbl. milk. Whisk egg/milk mixture, you should work up a sweat doing this. When pan is heated, add 1 Tbl. butter or olive oil. Pour egg mixture into hot pan. Tilt pan so eggs cover the bottom. Cook until the top is as set as you like. Add cheese and other yummy stuff. Flip in half. Let sit for a minute so the cheese melts and serve.

Dutch Baby pancake

Dutch Baby pancake

Instead of plain old pancakes, I have been making a Dutch baby. This is a big pancake cooked in the oven in a cast iron pan. The prep is about the same as pancakes but you get 30  free minutes while it bakes (hello homework). My son enjoys using a stick style blender to mix everything up.

Dutch Baby or German Pancake

3 Tbl. butter melted and divided

1/2 cup all purpose flour

3 Tbl. sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

2 eggs at room temperature

1/2 cup milk at room temperature

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place 2 Tbl. melted butter into a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Swirl the butter around to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the skillet in the oven. Allow the rest of the melted butter to cool for about 10 minutes.  Combine the flour, sugar, vanilla, salt, milk, eggs, and slightly cooled butter into a blender. process for about 30 seconds. Carefully pour the batter into the preheated skillet. bake on the middle rack for about 30 minutes or until the edges puff up brown. Serves 4.

organic cantaloupe, veggie sausage, and a big pancake wedge

organic cantaloupe, veggie sausage, and a big pancake wedge

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Currently Obsessed: Products To Buy At Greenstar Right Now

 

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1. Liz Lovely Crunchy Cookies: These are brand new from this Vermont Family-Run business. They are wonderful people. Their other cookies you can find in the deli, but this new line from them is shelf stable. They are completely gluten-free and vegan and CRUNCHY! Perfect for when you need that  junk food fix! Made sure to read their story on the back of the package!

 

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2. Treeline Soft French-Style Nut Cheese: I am so obsessed with this. Yes, that is a higher price tag but it is SO worth it. I couldn’t even call this a cheese-replacement because it is so high-quality, that it stands on it’s own. I spread this on crackers or dried fruit…or it could even serve as a cream cheese! The flavor and consistency makes you think you are eating chevre. They also make a hard nut cheese that is wonderful, I think its been hard to keep it in stock though! Gorgeous packaging too!

 

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3. Purely Elizabeth Baking and Pancake Mixes: If you haven’t tried these yet, you must! This is probably the cleanest baking mix on the market. They are all sweetened with coconut sugar and are based in almond flour, millet flour and quinoa flour. All you have to do is add oil, applesauce and vanilla and voila! You have delicious, healthy, cookies and pancakes.

 

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4. Emmy’s Super Cereal: I know, I know, shameless self-promotion. But seriously, I can’t stop eating this stuff! Our sprouted buckwheat is sweetened with coconut sugar. It is delicious and so hearty. Just pick up one of our boxes and the weight of it tells you just how nourishing it is. Each flavor is great, but I am currently really into the Apricot Vanilla. The fresh vanilla bean is a real treat and our apricots are custom coated with coconut flakes. I am eating this as my cold cereal in almond milk or topping my yogurt or oatmeal with it. Delicious and energizing.

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4. Quinn Popcorn Farm-to-Bag Popcorn: Love this company! Quinn Popcorn’s microwaveable popcorn is incredible and revolutionary. They recently came out with this bagged popcorn which they call “farm-to-bag” because there is a lot number on the bag that you can enter and see where each ingredient comes from. They use all non-GMO ingredients and the Kale & Sea Salt one is really tasty. Definitely give these a try when you have your next popcorn craving.

 

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5. Plume Shampoo & Conditioner: I love this line of haircare from LOCAL company, Plume. Plume is a line created by Emma Morris, the founder of Fresh in Trumansburg. Go there for a great haircut, too! Plume delivers unique haircare blends that feature EXTREMELY clean ingredients like aloe and quinoa protein. They smell amazing. I’ve been loving the Vanilla Bean Conditioner!

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