Market Musings Blog

Local Foods for Your Grill

2014_Grilling Corn enews

In honor of the Eat Local America Challenge this month, I am bringing you an awesome local recipe to use at your late summer barbecues! I picked up all of my local ingredients from Mississippi Market of course; corn from Wheatfield Hill Organics in Wisconsin, chicken drummies from Kadejan Farms of Minnesota and Triple Crown BBQ Sauce from Minnesota. All of the Asian ingredients can also be bought at Mississippi Market (just not the exact brands of rice vinegar and mirin) so it’s a one stop shop for this grilling fun!

I love this recipe in the heat of summer because it just tastes so good sitting outside on a warm summer night and there’s virtually no clean up- perfect for when you have company over!

Grilled Corn

Preparation:

  • Shuck husks and all strings off, wash and dry completely.
  • Spread room temp butter (I experimented with bacon drippings on one, leftover from my breakfast that morning, it turned out pretty darn good as you can imagine!) I have also used olive oil before with good results.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.

Cook: Place on low-med heat grill, aiming for about 350 degrees (I used a gas grill here that runs super hot, so temp and times may vary for cooler charcoal grills.) Depending on it’s size, corn takes about 20 minutes to grill, so I usually put them on a few minutes after the chicken if I am using the larger drummies like I did here. I usually rotate them about every 5 minutes and sometimes turning them end-over-end because my grill has a lot of hot and cold spots. You’ll notice the kernels turning darker yellow and once they are fully deep yellow get some good grill char all around, your done!

Asian-Style BBQ Chicken Drummies

Preparation

Here is my recipe for Asian-Style Barbecue Sauce:

-2 parts Triple Crown BBQ sauce
-2 parts hoisin sauce
-½ part chili garlic sauce (can substitute with Sriracha as well)
-¼ part rice vinegar
-¼ part mirin
I used 2 packages of large chicken drummies, but I have used this recipe for small chicken wings as well.

2014_Grilling Corn and Drummies-1Definitely mess around with the amounts until you get the taste you are looking for. I rarely measure, so I can change recipes for the people I am cooking for. For instance, if you are cooking for kids, you can make it less spicy, or someone who dislikes vinegar, use less mirin and rice vinegar or omit them completely.

Mix all ingredients together and coat chicken completely, let marinate for as long as you can. Over night is best, but in a pinch it is fine to throw them on the grill right away too.

Cook: Place marinated chicken drummies on a low-medium heat grill, aim for 350-400 degrees. Depending on your grill, I turned mine every 3-5 minutes. Once they are turned, use your leftover sauce and either brush or spoon it over the chicken, continue to turn, re-saucing and charring each side multiple times. This will build layers of caramelized crispy goodness on the skin of your drummies, which is honestly my favorite part! I cooked mine for about 25 minutes around 400 degrees, but I think I could have left them on another 5 or 10 minutes to crisp them up a little more.

Add some local watermelon and you’ve got a delicious local barbecue menu!

P.S. I always make extra so I can put this tasty chicken and corn in salads/sandwiches/wraps for my lunches throughout the week.

A little info about the writer: Amanda has worked for Mississippi Market for 9 months as a Floor Manager. She has always enjoyed cooking and food. She is a local artist and photographer in her free time. She loves combining her love for cooking and photography by creating beautiful images of the food she makes. Her favorite part about working at the co-op is learning and sharing cooking knowledge and recipes with customers everyday.

Kraut and Brats: A Marriage Made in Minnesota

brats on the grillLabor Day is just around the corner which means we are heavily into our biggest brat-grilling season. Happily, there’s a vegetable out there that invariably forms a happy marriage with brats: cabbage. Brew up a batch of tasty red kraut in no time at all and enjoy a tasty tangle of it atop a grilled brat wedged into a heated St. Agnes brat bun slathered in whole-grain mustard.

Cabbage benefits from cooler weather (Minnesota and Wisconsin); it’s tastier when it doesn’t get too much water (California’s drought). You can’t lose with this season’s cabbages, whether they’re regional or from California.

Here’s a very simple kimkraut you can ferment on your countertop for about two weeks to produce a stellar topping for brats, steak or fish tacos, or to stir into a leaf-lettuce salad, soup, or omelet to wake it up. If your household includes children, they’ll enjoy watching the ferment work. Just be sure to leave plenty of headroom in the jar so the kimkraut can heave and bubble!

TASTY RED KRAUT
red and green cabbageThis turns a beautiful fuschia as it ferments. Quantities below make enough for two 1-quart canning jars or one 1½-liter jar (the tall glass ones with glass lids and metal bales). This is a mild kraut—if you want a fierier one, throw some dried Thai chiles into the mix and increase the quantities of garlic cloves and ginger. (This season’s Georgian Fire garlic is already on the shelf in the Produce section.)

Ingredients:
1–1½ pounds red cabbage, outer tough leaves removed
1 tablespoon of sea salt
2½-inch piece of ginger, skinned and coarsely grated on a box grater*
4 garlic cloves, minced
zest of half a Valencia orange; juice of 1 Valencia
2 scallions, sliced in half lengthwise, then thinly cross-cut
¼ cup of red pepper flakes, mild or hot
1 carrot, coarsely grated on box grater or a coarse Microplane

*Don’t use a Microplane for this; it will produce a lot of ginger juice but almost no ginger shreds.

Method:
1. Divide cabbage lengthwise into four sections, then core each section and cross-slice it very thinly (by hand, in a food processor, or with a mandoline). Put cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt.

2. Add other ingredients to the bowl, and use your hands to vigorously mix the kraut, squeezing and kneading so that the water flows out of the cabbage leaves. Your goal is to create enough brine from the cabbage’s juice and the salt that it will cover the kraut when you cram it into the jar(s).

3. Wash out two 1-quart jars (screwtops) or one 1½-liter lightning jar in hot, soapy water, rinse thoroughly, dry interiors with fresh paper towels, and divide the kraut between them. Use your hands or anything heavy—a well-washed rock, a kraut pounder, the handle end of your chef’s knife—to compress the kraut. Make sure it takes up no more than 2/3 of the space in the jar. Close up the jar, and next day, if the juice hasn’t risen above the top of the kraut, make a brine of 1½ tablespoons of sea salt and 1 pint of water. Pour enough over the kraut to keep the fermenting kraut beneath the liquid. If you’ve mashed the kraut down well enough, you probably won’t need to add a rock or a plate to keep it submerged, but if it floats up, add something to the ferment that keeps it beneath the brine. Close the jar back up immediately.

4. As soon as you can see bubbles rising vigorously through the kraut (usually 3–5 days), crack the lid once a day to let out any excess CO2. Close back up immediately. Continue to release excess CO2 until the ferment quiets down (usually around 5 days).

5. After 10 days, taste your kraut; the longer it sits out, the sourer it will become. Once you like the taste, transfer the jar to the refrigerator, where it will keep for many months.

Instant Cucumber Pickles for a Strange Season

I don’t know about your garden, but mine’s cranking out kale as if there’s no tomorrow, the herbs are doing well, too, and everything else is sulking. I’m getting one or two wee cukes each day, and if I were to pickle them in my usual way, I couldn’t even fill a ¼-pint jar at a time. So I’ve devised a fridge pickle that makes the most of my micro-harvests, and tastewise, it has one foot in the world of fresh cucumbers and the other in the world of pickles.

cukes in a barrel CL web

If your cucumber vines are as sulky as mine, give this method a try—it’s fast, the pickles have a very fresh flavor, and any kids in your household, young or otherwise, will enjoy checking to see when the pickles are ready (they swell and change color). Just remember that these pickles aren’t keepers: keep them refrigerated, and eat them as they become ready, one by one. If you aren’t growing your own cukes but can locate small ones elsewhere, you can create a bigger batch that will ripen in their jar all at once.

In either case, as soon as you have washed your cukes, use your fingernail or a paring knife to remove the tip of the blossom end of each cuke (this is always the smaller and paler end; enzymes reside there that start to soften the cuke soon after it’s been picked).

The quantities below are for a 1/2-pint canning jar. Scale up if you’ll be making more than 6 or 7 little pickles at a time.

Ingredients:
equal quantity of water and white wine or apple cider vinegar*
small pickling cucumbers
1 unsprayed grape, peach, sour cherry, or oak leaf**
1 peeled and mashed garlic clove
a few coriander and dill seeds
1–2 allspice berries
a few black peppercorns
1 dried Thai pepper, broken in half

*You could use distilled white vinegar, but it contributes no flavor, just a fiery sharpness. Apple cider vinegar will make it difficult to see when the cukes change color, but it’s very tasty.

**Why the leaves, you ask? Grape, oak, peach, and sour cherry leaves are high in tannin, which helps to keep the pickles crisp.

Method:
1. Bring the water and vinegar to a lively boil, then allow it to cool before use.

2. Remove the tip of the blossom end of the cukes; if the vine end is still there, looking like a wee handle, leave it in place.

3. Wash the leaves in cold water; put one in the bottom of each canning jar you’ll be using.

4. Add the cukes, garlic cloves, coriander and dill seeds, allspice, peppercorns, and Thai pepper.

5. Pour the cooled vinegar solution over the cukes, close the jar with a nonreactive lid,*** and put the jar on a shelf in the upper half of your fridge. (If you are doing a biggish batch of these fridge cukes, add another leaf or two atop the batch to keep the pickles below the surface. If you’re adding cukes one or two at a time, you don’t need the extra leaves.)

6. The pickles are ready to eat as soon as they’ve changed from bright to olive-y green and swollen significantly in size from absorbing the vinegar solution. This takes about 2 days for very small cukes and 3 or 4 days for 3–4-inch cukes—watch for these two signs that your pickles are ready!

7. These lightly pickled cukes must be kept refrigerated. Eat them within 2 weeks.

***Ball BPA-free plastic lids sold at Mississippi Market are terrific for storing pickles in the fridge.

From member-owner to board member

Alekseywritten by Aleksey Kulichenko, co-op member-owner & board member

Mississippi Market exists for and because of our member-owners. You are what makes us different from a conventional, run-of-the-mill grocery store. Everyone knows that we rely on our member-owners for sales, but what most people don’t know is that we also rely on their talent. The board of directors is made up of member-owners.

My journey to the board of directors started like most. I came to shop at a place that values food as much as I do. I wanted to belong to a community that believes in the idea that changing the world starts with food, so I joined Mississippi Market as a member-owner. I wanted to have an impact greater than my dollars spent, so I became a board member. Contributing to my community is a value that I hold fast to and joining the co-op’s board of directors satisfies this notion.

Every member-owner has the ability to become a board member. Why not you? It is a matter of sharing your ideas, those that you already support in the form of dollars spent.  Our board is made up of member-owners like you! All too often people say, “But I don’t have what it takes to be a board member.” Don’t worry – there exists a myriad of educational opportunities that compose the “technical” side of a board member. What we need from you, we can’t teach. What we need from you are your innate ideas and opinions to carry the co-op forward.

The board is an exciting opportunity that ties together business, community and co-op values. You contribute from the outside, now you can contribute from the inside.

We invite you to take a look at our Board Candidate Application Packet (PDF). If you are considering applying to be a candidate, we ask that you also attend a board meeting to talk to a current director for more insights into the role. Contact the board at board@msmarket.coop to let them know you’d like to attend a board meeting.

Summer Sun & Bug Protection

Our Wellness team gets asked for their recommendations on sunscreen and natural bug sprays all summer long. Here is a list of their favorites.

Suncreen

sunshineThere are 2 kinds of sunscreen available these days:

  • The kind with chemicals that absorb the sun’s rays
  • The kind with minerals that reflect the sun’s rays

Mississippi Market recommends the ones that reflect the rays, all of which contain zinc-oxide

#1 – Badger natural & organic sunscreens 

  • 90+% of ingredients are certified organic
  • Really quality line, including a couple water sports sunscreen, a baby sunscreen & a sun & bug sunscreen

#2 Purple Prairie SunStuff

  • A customer favorite that performs nicely
  • Made locally in Clearwater MN

#3 Devita – A favorite!

  • High performing
  • Face sunscreen & body sunscreen available
  • Rubs in really nicely – demo

Bug repellent

mosquitoes_300All essential oil based – great for kids & people with sensitive skin, no harsh chemicals

#1 Badger

  • Shake & spray makes for easy application
  • 100% organic

#2 Purple Prairie Bug Stuff

  • Our gardener loves this one
  • It’s a local product – made right here in MN
  • Purple Prairie also says that you can use this to sooth bug bites & poison ivy

#3  Veriditas – a concentrated mix of essential oils blended locally by local formulator – Melissa Faris

  • Put a couple drops into water or
  • Add it to a lotion that you already use
  • Since you’re mixing it yourself you can make lighter blend for evening walks & a stronger one for those Boundry Waters camping trips.

 

 

 

reFRESHing spritzers

We all know sodas aren’t good for us, but sometimes a fizzy, fun beverage really hits the spot.  To make a fruity spritzer with much less sugar than soda (and no caffeine), pair together fruit juices with sparkling waterRead more …

Why organics are worth it

The Pioneer Press posted an editorial on June 9 by James Greiff of the Bloomberg View entitled Organic food might not have the effects you expect. It’s yet another article about how organic food isn’t really “worth it.” Read more …

Cheesy Cauliflower

Sure, this would be even healthier if you left off the cheese sauce.  But sometimes it’s grey outside and you just need something cheesy. Read more …

Contemplating bananas on World Fair Trade Day

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Mexico’s Great Plains Food

It’s grilling season again, time to consider the beauties of skirt steak. It’s best cooked very quickly, then cut against the grain, and served norteño style: wrapped in wheat floor tortillas, accompanied by only grilled onions and perhaps a simple, fresh salsa.

Does this sound something like fajitas to you? Read more …