Embrace Your Love of Bacon

Try new bacon recipesLike Ibérico Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms, an easy and impressive appetizer that features Spring Valley Ibérico Bacon. But be forewarned: This stuff is so amazing you may just find yourself wondering if Mrs. Spanish Pork Belly will fit on your address labels.

Of course you can create your own dishes, too. For example, how many different mealtime ideas can you come up for our Bacon and Cheddar Loaf? Savory French toast or a breakfast strata, perhaps? Grilled cheese with bacon, tomato, and caramelized onions?  Garlic bread? Croutons? How about taking your avocado toast up a notch?

      Or         join a    cooking  class                   and learn how to build a better BLT, including a Grilled Cheesy-BLT with Irish Cheddar & Cherrywood Smoked Bacon; Italian-style BLT with Basil Pesto Mayo & Pancetta; and
a Southern-style BLT with Homemade Pimento Cheese & Bacon Steaks.

Have fun with bacon and celebrate your love of pork on a fork! But, if you get carried away and end up naming your baby Brown Sugar Pork Jowl, I take no responsibility.

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Chocolate Beer? Yes!

Atwater Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale
(5% ABV)

Atwater brewery (whose internal slogan is “We drink all we can and sell the rest”) is located in Detroit and specializes in brewing traditional German style lagers, along with unique boutique ales, like the Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale.
 
This Bronze World Beer Cup Winner is made with a chocolate extract blended from three different chocolates for flavor variety and depth. It smells like vanilla milk chocolate and tastes like a nutty milk chocolate.
 
When you take a sip, you'll experience the extra-velvety smooth mouth feel thanks to a low amount of carbonation. And if you're like me, you'll then exclaim, "It’s like a chocolate truffle in a glass!" 
 
We have tastings set up for all stores, so check your store calendar and come try this decadent ale first hand.
 

 
Kasteel Barista Chocolate Quad
(11% ABV)
Belgian brewer Amandus Van Honsebrouck founded the Van Honsebrouck brewery in the mid-1800s in the village of Werken where he owned a dairy, brewery, and a distillery. His mashing stick has been handed down through the generations and his family still proudly makes the beer today!
 
Barista Chocolate Quad is a delicate and elegant beer made with Kent, Belgian, Kent Golden and Sower hops; pale-ale malt, pils malt and roast malt. Coffee and Belgian (of course) chocolate are added to the brew, resulting a rich aroma of coffee, toffee, and dried fruits.
 
The predominant flavor of this mahogany brown beer is chocolate with notes of coffee, plum, fig, and raisins at the end.  
 
It will get your attention at 11% ABV and pairs well with hearty dishes like steak or stew. It also goes well with a rich dessert. You know, like chocolate. 

Come see us through Feb. 14 for Chocolate Indulgence, and take a spin over to Wine & Beer for one of these chocolate beer treats. They would make terrific Valentine's gifts if your special someone is all about unique beers and new flavor experiences!

Fresh Herbs: Cooking & Storage Tips

Cooking Tips

  • When using fresh herbs instead of dried, use three times the amount the recipe calls for.
  • Always rinse herbs, pat dry with paper towel and strip leaves from the stem before using. Use the stems in stocks and soups for additional flavoring.
  • Always add fresh herbs in the last few minutes of cooking to retain their best flavor (except for fresh bay leaves and thyme, which don’t lose their flavor during long cooking).
  • Chopping, mincing, or crushing fresh herbs releases their full flavor.
  • Store fresh cut herbs in a container in your crisper section of the refrigerator. Never store fresh basil below 50 degrees. When you store basil in your refrigerator, put the original container in which the basil came inside one or two larger plastic containers to insulate it from the cold. Basil can also be stored at room temperature if you place the stems in a glass of water and mist the leaves.

Storage Ideas

  • If you don’t plan to use your fresh cut herbs all at once, you can blanch the leaves in boiling water for three to five seconds and refrigerate or freeze. The herbs will retain their nice color.
  • Puree herbs in a blender or food processor with your favorite oil and refrigerate or freeze.
  • Puree herbs with a small amount of water and freeze in ice cube trays. Store ice cubes in a plastic bag and use to season soups, sauces and beverages.
  • Crush herbs and add to 12 ounces of white wine vinegar with a whole peeled clove of garlic. Let steep for a few days to two weeks. Strain and use vinegar in salads, as a marinade, or add to cooking water when steaming vegetables.

Recipes
Fresh herbs brighten a variety of dishes. Here are a few recipes to get you thinking about which plants to bring home.

Basil: Cheesy Pepperoni Butter Toast

Mint: Spring Lamb Chops with Minted Fruit Salsa

Chives: Chickpea and Spinach Tapas

Basil: Tofu Pesto Spread

Dill: Asparagus Smoked Salmon Strata

Stop in this Friday (March 28) through Monday (April 4) and pick up potted and fresh herbs for some fun in the kitchen.