Prisco’s Family Market

1108 Prairie Street, Aurora, IL 60506 | 630-264-9400

Hours: Monday - Friday, 7 am to 8:30 pm | Saturday, 7 am to 8 pm | Sunday, 8 am to 7 pm

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Fresh Pineapple – a tasty treat worth a little extra effort.- Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I’ll be the first to admit it, I’ve often gone the route of using canned crushed, cubed, or ringed pineapple to make life a bit simpler when making certain recipes.  Well, here is a news flash for all of us:  This is not very good for our health, and taking a bit more time (and a little additional effort) can make a huge difference.  Not only are there significantly fewer calories in fresh pineapple than most canned varieties, but there's also the fact that processed pineapple loses some nutritive value.

Too much sugar

Let’s start with the most obvious fact -- fresh pineapple has far less sugar and fewer calories than canned.  A cup of cubed fresh pineapple has roughly 82 calories.  Crushed or cubed pineapple packed in water contains a similar number of calories, but water packed pineapple is not readily available.  Choose a can with light syrup and you'll consume 131 calories per cup.  Some pineapple is sold packed in its own juice and this contains 149 calories per cup.  Those of us raised on the blue can of Dole pineapple in heavy syrup are taking in a whopping 198 calories per cup.  No wonder I so loved to drink the juice whenever my mom opened a can!

As a nation with a large population of overweight and obese people, we all need to realize that refined sugar is the new bad boy and we need to actively find ways to eliminate it from our daily intake.  Pineapple packed in heavy syrup contains an astounding 43 g of sugar per cup – that's almost 7 teaspoons of added sugar.  The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to just 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 per day for men.

Nutrients lost when processing takes place

When you serve a fresh pineapple as opposed to canned you are providing 79 mg of Vitamin C per cup -- more than the daily value, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.  Because Vitamin C is sensitive to processing and heating, the canned versions of pineapple provide just only about 19 mg of vitamin C per cup.

One nutrient, potassium, is actually more plentiful in the canned pineapple versus the fresh.  One cup of fresh pineapple offers 180 mg of the mineral, while 1 cup of canned pineapple in any type of liquid provides about 265 mg.  You need potassium to regulate your fluid and mineral balance.  Fresh pineapple, however, contains almost three times as much folate as canned, which is important to red blood cell functioning.
Better for your budget

Better for your budget

When fresh pineapple is in good supply and readily available in our produce department (as it is now), there is one more significant reason to purchase the fresh rather than the canned version:  You will enjoy a much lower cost per serving.

We recommend taking advantage if this delicious tropical fruit while it remains plentiful and inexpensive; you can enjoy it on its own or in any number of recipes. 

In fact, here are a few ideas worth trying.

 

 

 

Tags :  pineapple
Enjoy our burgers, brats & dogs and support a great cause!- Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I hope all of you enjoyed this past Memorial Day holiday. We had fun kicking it off last Saturday when we held our first outdoor grilling event. This year we have teamed up with Jerry of Jerry’s Hot Dog cart, another West Aurora institution, and we put together a great grilling event in front of our store on Saturday. We got rave reviews from everyone who participated and we would like to ask that you spread the news so that each Saturday we get a good turnout.

In addition to enjoying seeing all of you having fun eating our grilled delights, there is a much more important reason we would like to see this event become even more popular over time, and I’d like to share that story with you in this Shout Out.

If you don’t know him just yet, the jolly grill master in the bright red shirt that you see cooking your brats, burgers and hot dogs this year is Jerry Davis, a retired truck driver who now operates Jerry’s Hot Dog Cart for the fun of it and as a means of raising funds for his favorite local charity, the Fabela Family Foundation for needy children in Aurora.

Jerry is a member of the Family Bible church at 243 South Commonwealth in Aurora, and about three years ago he approached his pastor Rev. Don Roberts saying he would like to help him raise funds to support the church's outreach program for local children in need. Since then, Jerry has been working a labor of joy and love with his hot dog cart parked weekdays at the corner of Prairie Street & Terry Ave. Here is something, however, that most people don’t know. Ever since starting his hot dog business, every bit of his profits and all of his tips have been donated directly to the Family Bible Church in their support of the Fabela Family Foundation, a children’s ministry.

Jerry and Reverend Roberts explained that most of the funds raised go towards supporting the children’s summer ministry, which operates Monday through Friday in the summer. Each day, low income families have a safe place where they can take their children for supervised fun activities and field trips.

We hope that you will stop in this Saturday and the remaining Saturdays this summer, enjoy some yummy Prisco’s sausage, burgers and hotdogs, and help Jerry in his mission of love.

 

Thank you,

Andy Guzauskas

Memorial Day – So Many to Remember and Pay Tribute to.- Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It is wonderful to greet all of you on this, the eve of our first “summer” holiday, Memorial Day. For me, Memorial Day ushers in a new season; a time of warmth and sunshine, new growth and new beginnings -- and, of course, great picnics, cookouts, and the pleasure of our favorite warm weather food and drink. As we are enjoying all of this great weather and plentiful bounty, I would also suggest that we pause a moment to remember the real reason for the holiday and reflect on the sacrifices made by those brave “few” so that the “many” of us have been able to pursue our dreams of peace and prosperity.

Peace does not come cheaply or easily. In my life time alone, our great country has been involved in numerous conflicts that have tested the notion, as President Lincoln once said, “… that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.” To further this cause, many brave men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice so that you and I could be free. From our own community, heroes like Greg Peffer, my friend from high school, and those of more recent vintage including Christopher Patterson, Edwardo Lopez, Scott Biesterfeld, Timothy Ryan, Hector Ramos, and Alexander Crackel, have demonstrated that peace indeed comes at a price. Only this past weekend we learned of the tragic death of Marine Cpl. Sara A. Medina who was one of six US service members killed when their helicopter crashed while on a relief mission helping earthquake victims in Nepal. We owe these heroes an incredible debt.

So on this Memorial Day 2015, I invite you to join me in enjoying some great weather (?), wonderful food and drink, and the company of family and friends. But also take some time to celebrate the true meaning of the day. Attend a church service, visit a cemetery, or just do some quiet reflecting on what it means to be an American and how blessed we all are reside here. This is one of the great concepts that unites us despite our other perceived differences. Enjoy the day!

 

Rob Prisco

Meat Marinades for Barbecue- Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Memorial Day is the official start of summer and that means it is barbecue and grilling time. An important art of barbecuing is the proper use of marinades, which we thought we would explore a bit with you in this food blog.

Most people enjoy a good barbecue, but not many of us are skilled at preparing BBQ foods ourselves. There's a degree of knowledge and certain level of familiarity required for the best results. One could even say it's a minor science: One needs to know which spices complement particular types of meat to maximize their flavor (different blends of seasonings and liquids are used for fish, steak, pork and chicken, for example), and a discerning cook also must have a working knowledge of when and how much to marinade a cut of meat -- or if that meat should be marinated at all.

Here are some tips for preparing a delicious barbecued meal using marinade:

For Beef & Pork

(info gathered from WikiHow)

First, select a cut of meat. Tougher and/or low-fat cuts like flank steak, sirloin, skirt, round, and hanger steaks are best for marinating. Don't ruin expensive steaks by marinating them: quality cuts like rib-eye, porterhouse, T-bone, filet mignon, and NY strip are great as they are and should not be marinated.

When it comes to pork, you can marinate anything from pork chops and cutlets to ribs or roasts. However, be sure to reduce the salt content of marinades used with pork to prevent a curing effect, which can leave some cuts with a ham-like texture. When marinating pork, remember that the thickness of the meat (not the bone) determines how long to marinate.

  • Cut the meat into thin slices, if possible. Marinade works because acids break down muscle tissue, which is a slow process; if the meat is thick, the outside can get sour by the time the marinade actually penetrates the core. Cutting the meat into thin slices will marinate them more evenly. However, slicing steak, for example, prior to cooking greatly increases the chance that it’ll become tough and dry. If you decide to slice it, greatly reduce cooking time and watch carefully. 

    Alternatively, you can cut nicks into the meat that penetrate about halfway through the thickness of the so the marinade can permeate more quickly. In general, the more surface area that's exposed to the marinade, the better the marinade will do its job.

  • Place the meat into a container and add a marinade. A basic marinade consists of an acidic liquid (which will break down muscle fibers), oil, and other flavorings, such as sweeteners, herbs, and/or spices. (For a good basic marinade for steak or pork, try this recipe.)

    Marinating a flat cut of meat in a large ziploc bag can be very useful since you will need less marinade to completely cover it here than you would inside a bowl. Work in the marinade by massaging the meat

  • Put the sealed container in the fridge for 2 to 24 hours, depending on the strength of the marinade.

For Chicken

(info courtesy of howtomainatechicken.com)

A good poultry marinade will not only help prevent meats from drying out, but also protects the more delicate pieces while adding extra flavor. When marinating poultry, make sure to the separate pieces, allowing the marinade to reach as much of the meat as possible. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts can be marinated in as little as 30 minutes. Here is a good, basic recipe for poultry marinade.

  • Place your newly made marinade in a gallon sized zip lock bag (the number and size of your zip lock will vary depending on how much chicken you are making). This step is pretty self explanatory, but the one thing to remember is to make sure that your chicken is fully immersed in the marinade. That way your chicken will be evenly marinated.

  • Allow your marinade and chicken mixture to sit for the time called for in the recipe. This will vary, but be careful not to marinate too long, this can lead to mushy chicken due to the acidic nature of marinades. If you are marinating your chicken for close to or more than an hour, make sure to refrigerate the mixture.

For Fish & Other Seafood

(info courtesy of about.com & ezinearticles.com)

Tender foods like fish and seafood can benefit from a good marinade. Marinades keep fish and seafood from drying out and the oil in the marinade helps keep them from sticking. There is one very important rule about marinating fish and seafood, however: A highly acidic marinade, one containing lots of vinegar or citrus juices, can adversely affect the texture of the fish by essentially pre-cooking it, so you need to use mild marinades for short periods of time.

When it comes to fish, there are two types: firm and flaky. A firm fish (think big fish) can take a stronger marinade for longer. Examples of firm fish are Halibut, Tuna, Marlin, or Sturgeon. Flaky fish, the kind that tries to fall apart on the grill, can't take a strong marinade and shouldn't be marinated for an extended period. Examples of flaky fish are salmon, trout, and cod.

To prepare your fish:

  • Chill the fish in the marinade in the refrigerator for half an hour. It will not need longer than that to absorb the flavor, and as previously mentioned, leaving fish or seafood in an acidic marinade means it will start to "cook" after half an hour, making it mushy.

  • Bake the fish for fifteen to twenty minutes, depending on the size and thickness, or grill or broil it. When it flakes easily with a fork, it is done. Spread the second half of the marinade over the cooked fish using a basting brush. It will soak right into the fish and add extra flavor. Do not use leftover marinade on the cooked fish because it could contain bacteria from the raw fish and cause food poisoning

Grilled Beef Tenderloin – When you want to separate the grill masters from the wannabes- Tuesday, May 12, 2015

This week we are featuring the granddaddy of all beef cuts, whole beef tenderloin. Men, (ladies too, of course) if you are up to the challenge, this is the one meat cut you can prepare for the neighborhood barbeque that will make you the envy of all of the other weekend grill warriors.

The beef tenderloin is the cut of meat that provides us with the filet mignon. Unlike a tougher cut of beef like the flank steak which we wrote about two weeks ago, this piece of beef has tenderness and flavor unto itself. You are going to want to keep the spices to a minimum. The beauty of beef tenderloin is that there is little that you need to do in order to bring this baby’s great taste to the surface. As they say in sports, this is yours to win if you don’t mess with it too much.

Even worse than over seasoning, the next biggest mistake that you could make is over cooking the roast.  This is not the time for guessing; be certain that you have use of your wife’s meat probe thermometer -- if she doesn’t have one, go to the hardware store or kitchen utensil store and buy one.  Even on sale this is an expensive piece of meat, and nothing would be more disappointing than discovering that you cooked all the tenderness out of it for lack of a thermometer!

You will want to take your roast out of refrigeration about 45 minutes prior to placing it on the grill, allowing it time to rest at room temperature.  This is an important step, so don’t skip it!  If the meat is too cold it won’t cook evenly.  While your tenderloin is warming up, you will want to get your grill started.  If you are cooking with charcoal, pile up the coals on the sides of the grill and leave the center open.  If you are using a gas grill, only light one side of the gas burners.

One reason that you are able to enjoy such a great price this week is because there has been minimal trim work done to the roast; therefore, you will need to do some prep work in the kitchen before heading for the grill.  Entire articles have been written and some videos published on how to trim and prepare beef tenderloin, so you can Google the process if you need more information.

Start by cutting loose the side muscle that runs almost the length of the entire cut.  From there you can start cutting away the remaining fat and trimming off the silver skin, which can be accomplished by gently gliding your knife right underneath it, separating the silver skin from the meat.  Most of it will come off by pulling with your hands, but carefully use your sharp knife and work to keep as much meat in place as possible.

When you finish trimming you will note that the roast is far thicker at one end.  It’s important that we have the entire roast cook at a uniform temperature for a set time so we need to make our cut of neat as uniform as possible.  This can be done by folding a few inches of the thinner end of the roast back over on itself.  Tie this with twine and tie the roast together at three inch intervals to make it easier to handle while grilling.

The last thing you will want to do before heading for your grill is to spread the roast with extra virgin olive oil.  Unlike a rib eye steak which has plenty of fat, the tenderloin is a very lean piece of beef -- and we just removed what little fat it contained.  Basting the roast with a thin coating of extra virgin olive oil (along with some black pepper) will promote even browning and prevent the roast from drying out. 

As for seasoning, try to avoid adding salt as this can dry out the meat as well.  Use fresh ground black pepper and some garlic powder.  Rub both over the entire surface of your roast.

OK, now it’s time to cook this beauty.  To do that, we are going to want to use two grilling styles, direct and indirect heat.  We start with direct heat and place the tenderloin directly over the hot flame on your grill in order to sear the meat.  You will want to sear each side to develop a crust, about 2 minutes on each of the 4 sides.  

Now, it’s time to switch to indirect heat for the remainder of the cook time.  Once all sides are seared, insert your probe thermometer into the thickest part of the tenderloin and then move it over to the cool side of the grill.  Close the lid and leave it alone!

Maintain a grill temperature (on the cool side) of around 325 – 350 Fahrenheit.  A six pound beef tenderloin should take a little over an hour to reach a probe temperature of 130 degrees.  Don’t go by time, though; always cook to temperature.  Once the tenderloin hits 130 degrees (regardless of the elapsed time), remove from the grill and place on a platter.

Another important step which requires your patience comes next.  Cover the roast in aluminum foil and allow it to rest 15 minutes before carving.  If you don’t, all of those delicious juices will run out of the meat.  Remove the twine and carve your delicious, mouth watering roast.

We are looking for your feedback, please.- Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A few weeks ago, Andy mentioned in the Shout Out article that we are getting ready to reset the center store grocery aisles, and in the process bring in lots of new and interesting items. Have you been in and seen the new gelato case? It’s wonderful, and this will give us additional space to feature even more interesting flavors in the future.

We want you to feel that Prisco’s Family Market is your store too, and since you have such a vested interest in it we would love to hear from you regarding products that you would like us to carry, or perhaps additional services that you have seen elsewhere that you would like us to consider adding.

Another reason we could use your feedback relates to our cooking classes. As many of you know, our store has offered cooking classes for as many years back as we can remember. We are one of the only grocery stores in this area to do so, and we know that attendees always walk away from the classes feeling like they learned something new (and had an enjoyable social experience and some delicious food in the process, as well). Here is the problem, though. I’m afraid we have all become a bit gun-shy recently because the last several times we have tried to schedule a class, sign-ups have been slow in coming and we have even had to cancel a class or two because we simply did not have enough participants. Over the past few years, we have developed two different class types, those that focus strictly on food, and others that mix beer and wine and the foods that pair well with both.

Here is where we need your input.

If you feel it’s good to have educational food and beverage classes offered at the store and feel that you would attend if the times were right, please let us know. Additionally, however, tell us know where your interests lie. What type class would be beneficial? Would you like to learn more about preparing meat dishes? Is proper nutrition more a concern? Or perhaps you would like to be introduced to some more exotic foods and beverages that you’ve only heard about in passing, but never felt you could prepare on your own.

While you are at it, let us know what you feel are the best times to run a class (with the assumption that each class will last about ninety minutes): Are weeknights best, or would you prefer Saturday or Sunday classes?

So really, please let us know either by sending an email to the website or by leaving a comment on our Facebook page, or speak to any of us the next time you are in the store. We believe that our cooking, wine and beer classes have been well received, and we really do want to offer more but that only makes sense if you our customers feel the same way and are willing to attend.

Please let us know what you think about the cooking classes.

Thank you

Bridget Gusauskas

The Secret to a Delicious Flank Steak- Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Flank steak, often referred to as a London Broil, is a very lean cut of beef. Known to deliver great beef flavor at a low price make flank steak a very popular beef cut. However, it can be a little tricky to grill, because it is easy to overcook. Due to its low fat content and prominent grain, it becomes tough and nearly inedible if cooked past medium rare. Here's a quick guide on how to do it right!

The key to keeping flank steak tender is to first marinate the steak, (be certain to allow plenty for time for this) and once marinated sear it quickly over high heat, so you must start with a hot grill or grill pan. 

Here is a simple marinade that you can mix using common kitchen ingredients:

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced onion

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all of the above in a shallow bowl and place your flank steak in the marinade for and place that in your refrigerator for between four to six hours. After marinating, the flank steak is grilled to perfection.

Take your flank steak out of refrigeration one hour before you plan to grill it.  You want the steak to get close to room temperature. Throwing cold meat on a hot grill will make it seize up, toughening it. Also, it will be more difficult to get the steak to cook evenly if the meat is cold or frozen in the center. Also, make sure the grill is hot - very hot.

Whether you're cutting flank steak when it's raw or after it's been cooked, the best way to do it is across the grain. Slice across the width of the flank rather than the length. "Across the grain" means to cut across the fibers of the meat, rather than with them. Cutting across the fibers makes them shorter so the meat is easier to chew. For most flank steaks, this means slicing across the width of the steak rather than its length.

The next step is seasoning.  All steaks need to be seasoned generously with salt and pepper.  Some chefs recommend rubbing flank steaks with a little olive oil, then salt and pepper both sides heavily. The salt will bring some of the meat's juices to the surface and help to form the brown crust that is the hallmark of good grilling.

Flank steak is a relatively thin cut, usually about 3/4" to 1" thick in the center and slightly thinner on the ends. The natural shape of the meat makes it possible to cook the ends to a medium doneness while the thickest part stays rare, so you can please various palates with one steak. Place the meat on the grill and do not touch it for 3 minutes. Use a kitchen timer if you must, to keep from moving the meat. If you move the meat at all, it will not form that delicious brown crust. After 3 minutes are up, turn the meat over and cook for an additional 3 minutes on the second side, again without moving the meat. Provided that your grill was hot enough, this should give you medium rare on the ends and rare in the middle. If you prefer it a little more done, increase the cooking time on each side to 4 minutes. Do not cook past medium rare, or the steak will be tough.
 
The last step is actually the most critical. When the meat is done, remove it from the grill and place it on a cutting board. Allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.  Cutting your steak when it’s hot off the grill will allow all the juices to flow out onto your board and you'll be left with a very dry piece of meat.  Allowing the meat to rest enables the juices to redistribute themselves through the meat, resulting in a juicy and succulent steak. When the meat has rested, determine the direction of the grain - in flank steak, the fibers run along the length of the steak, and you will want to cut across the grain, in thin slices. Cutting thinly across the grain gives you short fibers in each slice, resulting in more tender meat.

Moms, grandmas and wives, you are the best and we want you to know that we appreciate all that you do for us!- Tuesday, May 5, 2015

This Sunday we will all be celebrating Mother’s Day. While that is indeed a good and worthy thing to do, it’s so unfair to limit our appreciation to all of our moms, grandmothers and wives to just one day. They deserve so much more and we all know it.

This Mother’s Day will be somewhat bittersweet for me and other members of our family, as it will be the first time we have not had our mom and grandma, Ann Prisco, with us to celebrate.  As many of you know, mom passed away last fall after living a very full life. She was truly a rock and the foundation of our family, and we all miss her every day.

As I think back on Mother’s Days of the past, it occurs to me that gift giving is an important part of the day -- but as any mom will tell you, it’s not the cash value that is important.  It’s the thoughtfulness and love behind it that make their Mother’s day gifts so special.  So if you haven’t done your shopping yet for your mom, or grandma or wife, here are a few ideas that you might consider... And you won’t find any of them at the mall.

You be the chef

Of course, being a grocer, food comes to mind naturally. Breakfast in bed is always appreciated, but why not get more creative? Pack her a week’s worth of lunches, invite her friends for a cocktail hour, or make her a special three-course dinner. The most important thing is to do it with love, and be certain that the foods you select are among her favorites. If your mother actually loves doing the cooking herself, why not offer to be her assistant and her errand-runner? Of course, it's up to you to make certain that once the meal is prepared, served and enjoyed, mom leaves the kitchen behind for you to handle dish-washing and cleanup.

Be one with Mom and Mother Nature

The nice thing about the timing of Mother’s Day is that the weather is likely to cooperate for a lovely outdoors day. Make the most of it by planning to spend some time with both mom and Mother Nature. Two local suggestions of nice places to visit in the spring are the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, or Blackberry Farms just west of Orchard Road on Galena.

Help to lighten her load

Think about the mom in your life that you want to celebrate. What is something she doesn’t like doing, or even if she doesn’t mind, really doesn’t have time for? Maybe its grocery shopping (hard to believe, but some folks feel grocery shopping is a chore) or installing a new light-switch. Maybe it’s picking up kids from school. Whatever is is, do that thing for her. A really great gift would be doing that chore for her more than once, maybe for the whole month of May.

Give Mom some space

Not all moms will want alone time, but many will -- particularly those with younger children. Offer to watch her children or her elderly parents while she takes a few hours to do just what she wants. If you’re not sure if this gift will go over well, go ahead and ask first. A good gift doesn’t necessarily have to be a surprise.

Happy Mother’s Day to each of you wonderful moms.

 

Rob Prisco