Market Musings Blog

Flavors for Cinco de Mayo

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!Cinco de Mayo is about more than just Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla- It’s a celebration of Mexican heritage and traditions! This year, we’re highlighting some of our favorite Mexican flavors.

Visit our deli between May 1-6 to pick up some of these delicious salads and entreés:

  • Mango black bean salad
  • Chipotle potato salad
  • Southwestern enchilada pie
  • Green chicken enchilada pie
  • Roasted red pepper quesadillas
  • Pesto chicken quesadillas
  • Tres Leches cake

Saturday and Sunday, May 4 & 5, our deli will be serving a Taste of Mexico in the hot bar – try a variety of Mexican entrées and sides for lunch or dinner.

Our cheese department has sales on Queso Fresco and Cotija - authentic Mexican cheeses to add to your meals.

Plus, our produce departments are stocked with avocados and tomatoes for all your guacamole needs. Tired of your everyday salsa? Try mango salsa! Our mangoes are perfectly ripe and ready for salsa!  Just add diced mango to some minced onion, jalapeño and cilantro and squeeze fresh lime over everything for a fresh way to get your fruits and veggies.

Meet Whole Grain MillingConfused about how to properly cut an avocado or a mango?  Our produce managers show you how in these videos: avocado | mango  

Grab a bag of Whole Grain Milling or La Perla chips – they are both made locally and both work well for scooping guacamole and salsa.

Want to spice up any dish?  We recommend our Mississippi Market Made Chorizo.  Perfectly spiced, this sausage can be added to scrambled eggs, nachos, spicy tortilla soup or anything that needs a kick!


Autumn means pot roasting!

As soon as the geese start strafing the skies in formation and the sumac begins turning scarlet, I start to think about pot roasting. Food professionals often refer to this technique as braising, but English speakers more commonly call it pot roast, and because this term is less intimidating, let’s use it here. Concocting pot roasts is one of the easiest and most tasty forms of cooking imaginable in our brisk climate, and after you’ve made one pot roast, you’ll see all the possibilities for combining different meats and vegetables, dried fruits and tasty liquids, until you’ve created a pot roast that’s distinctively your own.

Pot roasting rewards you for using inexpensive cuts of meat. The gristle and connective tissue in these cuts (most commonly found on the shoulder, neck, tail, and other hardworking parts of an animal) make them undesirable for quick forms of cooking like grilling and pan-frying but perfect for pot roasting. When you roast these meats low and slow in a heavy, closed pot, the moist, steamy air eventually melts the connective tissue and gristle, which bathe the muscle meat in velvety gelatin, producing fork-tender food. You don’t get much sauce, but what sauce!—you just want to bury your face in the pot and lick out every last bit of the concentrated, memorable juices.

The West 7th store’s meat & seafood manager, Gabe Burns and his team are happy to answer questions and make special cuts for you. Just ask!

Thanks to Mississippi Market’s questing chief, Gabe Burns, we offer cuts for braising that you won’t find in supermarkets. Two especially lovely beef cuts are flank steak ($9.99/lb.) and the rarely seen flatiron steak ($7.99/lb.), available on special request. The latter is uncommonly tender, despite the part of the steer they come from (the chuck). If you remove—or ask our butchers to remove—the thick center line of gristle, flatiron steaks grill up beautifully. When the thick line of gristle is left in, the flatiron becomes the perfect beef steak for pot roasting. Skirt steaks and chuck roasts also work just as well in the recipe below.

Another terrific, inexpensive choice is the pork roast known variously as pork shoulder, Boston butt, or picnic shoulder. Like the beef steaks I’ve just described, the pork shoulder has plenty of connection tissue, and long, slow cooking turns it into something so silky and delicious that you’re unlikely to have many leftovers. We stock this invaluable and inexpensive cut of meat, too.

            So what do you need to do to create a pot roast that will have neighbors clawing at your window screens, begging for an invitation to dinner? It’s very simple:

  1. Preheat the oven. Anything between 250° and 350° will be fine. At the lower end of that scale, you roast will take longer to cook, but you’ll be able to leave the house for a few hours.
  2. Heat up a heavy pot on the stovetop, add butter or oil, and brown the aromatics (for example, leeks, onions, celery, onions) first; remove them from the pot.
  3. Brown the meat thoroughly on all sides; remove it from the pot. (Thorough browning will take at least 5 minutes, if not 10.)
  4. Deglaze the brown bits left in the pot with wine, beer, or stock, and reduce the liquid by half.
  5. Return the meat and aromatics to the pot.
  6. Add any long-cooking vegetables and fruits (for example, boiling potatoes, fennel, carrots, and, in the case of pork roasts, prunes).
  7. Add enough tasty liquid to come up about 1/3 of the way on the meat (for example, wine, stock, beer, tomato juices—preferably a combination).
  8. If you’re using a tall-ish pot, crumple up some baking parchment and place it lightly atop the roast—that way the meat will be bathed continuously in steam rather than having condensed water drip on it from the lid.
  9. Make sure the lid of your pot is absolutely leakproof—you’ll be cooking your roast for a long time (anywhere between 2 and 4 hours), so you don’t want any steam escaping. If your pot’s lid seems wobbly or ill-fitting, place a big piece of baking parchment across the top of your pot, put on the lid, and crimp the paper down around the pot’s sides. That always works.
  10. Depending on what temperature you cook the meat at, start checking the meat’s tenderness when wonderful smells come from the oven. After the meat becomes fork tender, remove the roast and the vegetables from the pot, cover them with a bowl or aluminum foil, and return the pot to the stovetop.
  11. Turn the burner to MEDIUM-HIGH, and reduce the liquid in the pot by about 1/3. Taste the sauce, and if you want to add a bit of thickening, toss in little pellets of 1-to-1 butter and flour that you’ve kneaded together; they will thicken up your sauce and add flavor, too. You can add a bit of schnapps, port, sherry, or other flavoring if you want. Taste again, add salt and pepper, and return the meat and vegetables to the pot; spoon the sauce over them, and serve it forth. Your wonderful pot roast is ready for eating.

Local flavor – Minnesota meets Thailand


Mississippi Market uses Pastures A Plenty pork in the sausages that we make in-house.

 Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.

This makes a lovely summer dish that you can serve hot or, if you hold back the fresh herbs until you are ready to serve it, as a room-temperature or cool meal. The version below is a dry stir-fry, meaning that it isn’t particularly sauce-y. If you prefer a more heavily sauced version, simply mix up 2 tsp. cornstarch, ¼ c. of soy sauce, 2 Tbs. of fish sauce, 2 tsp. vinegar or lime juice, and 1 tsp. of sugar; add this to the stir-fry at the very end, and stir until the sauce becomes glossy and transparent.




4 qt. cold water          
8 oz. dry rice noodles
2 Mississippi Market Thai basil sausages, cut in ½” rings or squeezed out of their casings
up to 3 Tbs. cooking oil
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of soft-necked or 2 cloves of local garlic (Georgian Fire is extra-good!)
2 c. greens (lacinato kale, bok choy, or chard)
2–3 Tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. fish sauce
¾ tsp. white or brown sugar
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1–2 fresh Thai, habanero, or cayenne peppers, whole, slit down one side (optional)
½ coarsely chopped peanuts (optional)    

To add before serving:
¼  c. cilantro leaves
¼ c. mint leaves
¼ c. Thai or Italian basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 fresh pickling cucumber, seed pocket removed, coarsely chopped

  1. Bring water to vigorous boil; add rice noodles; boil, uncovered, for 4–5 minutes, until texture pleases you; run cold water over noodles to stop their cooking; drain and set aside.
  2. Heat wok or heavy pot on MEDIUM; when hot, add sausage. Allow it to sit for about 60 seconds to sear, then stir occasionally until nicely browned. Scrape out and set aside.
  3. Reheat wok or pot on MEDIUM-HIGH, then add onion, stirring occasionally until it softens slightly. Add garlic, give it a few stirs, then add greens.
  4. Stir-fry greens only until they turn a brilliant, deep green. Swiftly add soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, salt and pepper, hot peppers, and peanuts, if you’re using them.
  5. Add cooled noodles; stir around until they’re thoroughly coated with the scant sauce. (You may want to add a bit more soy and fish sauce.)
  6. Add fresh herbs and cucumber, stir through once, and serve immediately, lest the greens become overcooked.


Double up on local with the St. Paul Porter Brat

by Nathan Walker, West 7th Meat & Seafood Department

Working at the West 7th meat counter this summer, I’ve found plenty of time to stay cool. The job requires frequent trips to the cooler and freezer to replenish our meat selection. But of all the delicious assortments of meat and fish available, no item has required more trips to the back-of-the-house then our Saint Paul Porter Brat. Since being introduced in early June, they have been flying off the shelves

Made fresh on site, by Perry, our West 7th sausage guru, the Porter brats are a delicious combination of Pastures A Plenty Ground Pork from Kerkhoven, Minnesota and the very tasty Summit Porter Ale, brewed right here in Saint Paul.

Every time I cook up a batch of these for in-store samples, I do some quality control testing and eat a few pieces. Well, okay, maybe more than a few. After every bite, I’m always struck by just how tender the meat is. Thanks to the generous amount of beer added to each batch, every chunk melts in my mouth. It’s oddly comparable to eating a Krispy Kreme Doughnut, and has a similar addictive effect.

Complementing this deliciously soft pork is the warm, nutty taste of Summit Porter, which Perry offsets by throwing in a dash of cane sugar into each pork mix. This sweet addition blends wonderfully with the rich flavors of the beer and leaves a slight caramel aftertaste that causes me to briefly fantasize about throwing off my apron, grabbing a few brats, and going to the park to grill them.

But, alas, when I awake from this brief moment of dreaming, I’m face to face with chicken livers that still need to be packaged for the freezer. I haven’t tried the livers yet, but I bet they would be pretty good if I soaked them in beer.