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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Celebrating the New Year Around the World- Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Depending on your country of origin, your religious beliefs, or the customs of your forefathers, we have many ways of welcoming in a new year and saying goodbye or perhaps good riddance to the old year. The truth is throughout the world depending on the calendar that you follow the New Year occurs on any of several different dates.

We thought it would be fun to review some of the various traditions associated with the start of a New Year as celebrated in different countries and cultures.

Food for Luck at the New Year

Here are several New Year food traditions:

  • In the southern US, eating black-eyed peas and pork bring about good fortune.

  • Eating any ring-shaped treat (such as a donut) symbolize “coming full circle” and leads to good fortune. In Dutch homes, fritters called olie bollen are served.

  • The Irish enjoy pastries called bannocks.

  • The tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight comes from Spain.

  • On New Year's Eve, Mexicans pop a grape for each stroke of midnight, with each representing a page of the calendar ahead. If one is bitter, watch out for that month! Other popular fruits to eat include the pomegranate, with its many seeds standing in for prosperity, and figs, which are a symbol of fertility.

  • In India and Pakistan, rice promises prosperity.

  • Apples dipped in honey are a Rosh Hashanah tradition.

  • In Swiss homes, dollops of whipped cream, symbolizing the richness of the year to come, are dropped on the floors (and allowed to remain there!)

  • In the South, greens are eaten on New Year's Eve because they resemble money.

  • Beans, like greens, resemble money; more specifically, they symbolize coins. Whether you choose black beans, lentils, or black-eyes peas, healthy fiber-filled beans will help soak up that champagne.

  • Noodles are symbols of long life, and grains like rice, quinoa, and barley stand for abundance. Slurp the noodles whole for even more luck.

  • Pigs are a lucky symbol because they root forward, and are rotund. Traditionally, in the American South, pork, beans, and greens are combined in a dish called Hoppin' John for New Year's Eve.

  • Fish are believed to be lucky because their scales resemble coins, and they swim in schools which invoke the idea of abundance.

And then there are New Year’s Drinking Traditions

Although the pop of a champagne cork signals the arrival of the New Year around the world, some countries have their own traditions.

  • Wassail, the Gaelic term for “good health”, is served in some parts of England.

  • Spiced “hot pint” is the Scottish version of Wassail. Traditionally, the Scots drank to each others’ prosperity and also offered this warm drink to neighbors along with a small gift.

  • In Holland, toasts are made with hot, spiced wine.

Regardless of just how you and your family celebrate, we want to wish you Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2017!

Take all the stress out of this year's New Year's Party preparations.- Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I don’t know about you but the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day has my calendar packed with something nearly every day or evening, and sometimes both. Fortunately, I know of a great food store near home that I can count on to help with my entertaining needs because I just don’t have time to shop, prepare and cook this week.

Well perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch, but I must tell you it’s great to have the help of my mom, two sisters and a staff of great workers in our Deli / Kitchen, all of whom I can count on when entertaining guests. Hopefully you, too, will consider having our store fulfill your catering needs this week. If you are looking for ideas, click on this link and it will take you to our Catering Guide.

Many customers enjoy serving easy-to-handle finger foods like our antipasto or shrimp trays. Of course, our homemade lasagna and Italian beef are traditional holiday favorites -- and don’t forget our homemade pizzas and frozen pasta selection! Looking for something unique? Give us a call. Chances are we can whip it up for you, or perhaps come up with something special that fits your taste and budget. By the way, if you do order something from our catering menu, be certain to take advantage of the $10 savings available on our homepage in the Shopper’s Choice Awards section located here.

If you are planning a quieet dinner for two or four at home this New Year’s Eve, why not stop at our meat department and pick up one or two of Chris Tope’s Surf & Turf Combos? You get two lobster tails and two filets in each package.

Regardless of just how you wind up ringing in the new year, all of us at Prisco’s would like to wish you a Happy New Year!

 

Andy

'Tis the season for something soothing…- Tuesday, December 20, 2016

With Christmas rapidly approaching, it can be difficult to relax and simply enjoy the season. The weather has been bitterly cold and we've already had a couple of large piles of snow dumped into our laps; in spite of the inconvenience, though, you have to admit that -- with pristine white snow yet on the ground -- it's a beautiful landscape we are presented with. One well worth taking a load off and appreciating for a while from the comfort of our homes.

Now, most peoples' go-to for staying warm in the winter time is a hot meal, with soups and stews being especially popular, but where's the fun in that? Okay, yes, cooking and eating a good meal is a wonderful way to de-stress and get back some of that lost heat, but for a truly pervasive comfort, your best bet is something belly-warming and boozy.

Seasonal and Winter Wines

[info courtesy of food52.com & biltmore.com]

Unless you live someplace balmy, January is probably not the time you feel like drinking wines that are light, or crisp, or especially refreshing. Instead, think about wines that have layers, like the way you dress when it's cold. Wines that have texture and layers have a lot of dimension to them, in terms of aroma and taste.

Full-bodied reds are king in winter since they pair well with heartier dishes, but sparkling wines have a starring role at the holidays, too. Here is a list of good winter wines:

  • Malbec

  • Syrah

  • Zinfandel

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Bordeaux Blend

  • Oaked Chardonnay

  • Sparkling Wine

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Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is a classic. But it’s easy to find versions (especially from bars and restaurants) that are too sweet or overly spiced. This drink has the perfect balance of flavors, and making it yourself means you can spice up your life as much as you please.

Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle red wine (750ml) merlot

  • 1/4 cup brandy

  • 3 cups unsweetened apple cider

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 4 cinnamon sticks

  • 1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise

  • 1 tsp cloves

  • 3 star anise

  • 1 cup chopped orange

Instructions

In a large pot on low-medium heat, bring the wine, brandy, apple cider, and honey to a low boil.

Add the cinnamon, vanilla bean, cloves, and star anise. Turn down the temperature to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Just before serving add the chopped citrus. Mulled wine can be left on the stove to heat for many hours. It can also be stored in the fridge and reheated the next day.

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Mulled Ciders

[info courtesy of thekitchn.com]

Hot mulled cider is a must-have for winter gatherings, or just spending a quiet day at the house. It's probably a holdover from when we all lived in New England and the frigid winters necessitated lots of hot beverages. The great thing about making mulled cider is that it's relatively uncomplicated, and a good cider can be made in your slow cooker; the recipe can be started in the morning before you head to work or go about your household chores. When you get home or finish your tasks for the day, your house will smell amazing -- and you'll be able to kick off your shoes and wash away the day's troubles with some liquid comfort.

Recipe:

Slow-Cooker Spiked Mulled Cider

Makes about 16 (8-ounce) drinks

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon fresh apple cider or unfiltered apple juice

  • 1 medium orange

  • 1 (1 1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger

  • 5 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves

  • 5 star anise pods

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups bourbon, brandy, or dark rum (or more to taste)

  • Orange slices, for serving (optional)

Instructions

Pour the cider or juice into a 5-quart or larger slow cooker.

Cut the orange into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Cut the ginger into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Add both to the slow cooker.

Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise. To make it easier to serve, place the cloves and star anise pods in a tea ball first, or place in a double layer of cheesecloth or coffee filter, gather it up into a sachet, and tie closed with kitchen twine.

Cover the slow cooker and cook until the flavors meld, 4 hours on LOW. Add the bourbon, brandy, or rum and stir to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes for the flavors to meld. Keep warm and serve in mugs garnished with orange slices.

Recipe Notes:

  • Apple cider: Buy fresh apple cider or unfiltered apple juice for the best flavor. Do not use sparkling cider, spiced cider, hard cider, or clear apple juice.

  • Storage: Leftover cider can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Boozy Cocktails

[info courtesy of greatist.com]

Sometimes you want a bit more of a punch -- no pun intended -- when it comes to relaxing at the end of a long day. The great thing about cocktails is not only are they more potent than mulled ciders, but they can be made individually rather than in batches. You can also add some festive elements to them to help you relax and get into the season even if you are tired and stressed.

Recipe ideas:

Spiced Apple Cider Champagne Cocktail

Got five minutes? Then you have plenty of time to make this delicious cocktail. Simply mix fresh apple cider with champagne and apple brandy, and the drink is ready. To make them look slightly fancier, add a cinnamon stick to each glass.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces apple brandy

  • 2 ounce fresh apple cider

  • 3-4 ounces chilled champagne

Instructions

Pour the apple brandy into the bottom of each glass. Add the champagne and top with a splash of the fresh apple cider. Enjoy!

 

Hot Buttered Hazelnut Whisky

Even those who don’t care for the taste of whiskey can get behind this winter beverage. With only four ingredients (six if you include whipped cream and cinnamon), it’s easy to have this hot and ready in minutes. Snow days just got WAY better.

Ingredients

  • 4 parts milk

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 2 parts whisky

  • 1 part Frangelico or hazelnut liquor

  • 1 tablespoon whipped cream per individual serving pinch of cinnamon (for garnish)

Instructions

Bring the milk and cinnamon stick to a simmer in a thick-bottomed pot over low heat. Allow to gently simmer for 15 minutes, stirring constantly (if you don’t stir constantly, the milk on the bottom of the pan will start to cook onto it, and the next time you stir the pot little cooked milk bits will mix into the liquid. Not so fun.) Remove from heat, remove the cinnamon stick, and pour the milk into the serving glass. Add the whiskey and the hazelnut liquor and stir to combine. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve immediately.

 

Christmas Coffee Cocktail

Four different kinds of booze and strong coffee may sound like a dangerous combination, but it’s worth the experiment.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz strong coffee

  • 1 1/2 oz amaretto liqueur

  • 1 1/2 oz coffee liqueur

  • 1 oz butterscotch schnapps

  • 1 oz creme de cocoa

  • fresh whipped cream

  • grated chocolate, for garnish

Instructions

Combine strong coffee and liqueurs in a glass. Stir to combine and top with fresh whipped cream. Garnish with grated chocolate.

Serve warm or over ice.

 

Our Very Best Wishes to You and Your Family!- Tuesday, December 20, 2016

This past year has been quite eventful for the Prisco and Guzauskas families. We lost our Dad / Grandpa Tony Prisco, and had some big retirements when Rob and Georgette Prisco decided to launch a new chapter in their lives, leaving daily doings at the store.

With Rob’s retirement, ownership passed to Beth and Andy and the 4th generation of our family took over responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the store. And, oh yes, we celebrated our 90th anniversary of doing business as an independently owned family grocer, serving the west side of Aurora and surrounding communities.

So yes, like most families we experienced our share of very low moments and very high moments in 2016, but for the most part it was a very good year.

Throughout all of that we shared those highs and lows with many of you, our friends, neighbors and loyal customers, who make running this store a special mission that we have been privileged to pursue for almost a full century now.

We know we would not be here doing what we love for 90-plus years had it not been for the loyalty and support of our customers.

Thank you all, and from our family to each of you: Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season!

 

- Beth, Andy, Jacquie & Bridget

Why not make your own Christmas Stollen this year?- Tuesday, December 13, 2016

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the holidays is the food. In addition to their more formal religious and/or social significance, both Christmas and Thanksgiving are, quite simply, excuses to indulge ourselves, and most people will agree that desserts feature quite high on the list of must-haves for both occasions.

Thanksgiving has now come and gone, but Christmas is right around the corner. You still have about ten days before it officially arrives, so don’t procrastinate! Now is actually a great time to start planning which treats you are going to serve, and experiment a bit if you want to try something more exotic. For those of you who have not done a lot of baking in the past, it’s a great opportunity to hone your skills.

So, what are your options? To help get you thinking, here is a list of both common and traditional desserts.

 

 

Why not make your own Christmas Stollen this year?

Here is what you will need:

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 1/2 cup mixed candied fruit

  • 2 Tbsp. brandy

  • 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 3/4 cup almonds, ground

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp cardamom, ground

  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

You can find this recipe here.

 

Which one of our 12 Roasts of Christmas will you be serving?- Tuesday, December 13, 2016

There are two times per year when the meat department really stands out at Prisco’s, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Having served the community for 90 years with the same ownership now in its 4th generation, we at Prisco’s are fortunate to have a great reputation when it comes to offering the very best meats for your family’s holiday celebrations. It is something we never take for granted and a reputation we are extremely proud to have. If you peruse our ad this week you will find that we have a very extensive line-up of Christmas roasts available for you to choose from.

Some families serve two or three large meals over the Christmas holiday, and in that case you will often want to select more than one cut of meat; perhaps a Christmas Eve dinner of shrimp, scallops, salmon, crab or lobster, followed on Christmas Day by a beef tenderloin or standing rib roast?

In some cases you are hosting a large family gathering and need a more economical meal, and here you might consider a fresh Ho-Ka Turkey or Hillshire Spiral Ham. There are also several more economical cuts of meat that will still be very pleasing to your guests, like a crown pork roast or a rolled rump or sirloin tip roast.

If you have any questions regarding how much you will need or how best to cook your holiday roasts, please don’t hesitate to ask. That is what we are here for and we are always eager to answer any questions or offer suggestions. If you want to be certain that you will be getting just what you want for your special Christmas meat needs, I’d always suggest that you call ahead and place an order with me or a member of the meat department staff so we can have it all cut, trimmed and wrapped for you when you arrive.

Got to run for now as I’ve got an awful lot to accomplish over the next ten days. Looking forward to seeing you soon in the meat aisle.

 

Chris Tope – Meat Department Manager.

Holiday Appetizer Ideas- Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It’s the season for holiday parties. You may be hosting one and the chances are good that you will be invited to one or more. Since these invitations often come with a request that you bring an appetizer to pass around, we thought we’d offer up a few suggestions.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Cashew Ranch Dressing

Preparation: 15 min. Cooking: 35 min. Total: 50 min.

What you will need

  • 1 Cup chickpea flour

  • 4 fl. oz. non-dairy milk (more if needed)

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 3 tsp onion powder

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  • 1 heads

  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil (or coconut oil)

  • 4 fl. oz. hot pepper sauce

  • 1 Cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, drained and rinsed

  • 4 fl. oz. non-dairy milk (more if needed)

  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice

  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

  • 3 tsp fresh chives or dill

  • 3 tsp fresh parsley

  • 3 tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

 

Dates - Stuffed & Wrapped 

Preparation: 15 min. Cooking: 20 min. Total: 35 min.

What you will need

  • 24 pecan halves

  • 24 large pitted dates

  • 2 Oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 1/4 lb. sliced prosciutto

  • freshly ground black pepper

 

Asiago-Rosemary Crisps

Preparation: 5 min. Cooking: 20 min. Total: 25 min.

What you will need

  • 1 Cup Asiago cheese, grated

  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary or 2 tsp fresh minced rosemary

 

Oysters Rockefeller 
Preparation: 15 min. Cooking: 10 min. Total: 25 min.

What you will need

  • 1 packages, cooked according to directions

  • 1/2 Cup butter, melted and divided

  • 3 tsp fresh lemon juice

  • 3 tsp anise-flavored liquor

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, hot

  • 24 shucked, fresh oysters

  • 1/4 Cup plain dry breadcrumbs

  • 6 bacon slices, precooked, crumbled

 

Hot Crab Dip

Preparation: 10 min. Cooking: 30 min. Total: 40 min.

What you will need

  • 1 Lb. cream cheese, softened

  • 3/4 Lb. crab meat, drained and flaked

  • 1/2 Cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  • 4 Tbsp. chopped green onions, chopped

  • 2 Tbsp. dry white wine (optional)

  • 2 tsp prepared horseradish

  • 1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce

  • 1/4 Cup sliced almonds

  • assorted crackers

 

Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops 

Preparation: 15 min. Cooking: 5 min. Total: 20 min.

What you will need

  • 1 Lb. sea scallops, trimmed, rinsed, patted dry

  • 1 tsp lemon pepper

  • 1/2 Lb. bacon slices cut in half

  • toothpicks

 

 

The Spirit of Caring and Sharing runs very deep on Aurora’s West Side- Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Anyone who has been a Prisco’s customer for any length of time is well aware of the many ways we work closely with our customers and the churches and civic organizations that coexist within our community.

Just a few weeks back we wrapped up another food drive supporting the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry. Prisco’s was one of the founding members of this annual event and 2016 was our 9th year conducting the drive. We sold pre-packed bags of food to our customers and then sent the bags to the Pantry for distribution to the needy within our community. Prisco’s subsidizes the cost of each bag, making it a terrific joint Prisco’s/community project. We always enjoy helping support the event, but it is you, our customers, who have enabled it to be a success year after year by generously purchasing and donating non-perishable food stuffs. Thank you for helping to support thousands of local families in need of a helping hand.

I’d also like to say thank you to everyone who helped make the Thanksgiving food drive a success and share with you some other ways you might join us in supporting the less fortunate members of our community:

It is the holiday season and for most of our customers it’s a time for great joy and fun times with family and friends. Unfortunately, however, as in any holiday season there are always too many families hit by unexpected illness, divorce, unemployment or the loss of a loved one, and that makes the holidays quite the opposite. It can become a burden rather than a time of joy and it breaks a parent’s heart not to be able to provide comfort, security and a bit of joy for their young children when times get tough.

Some 23 years ago, my Uncle Rob Prisco met with a wonderfully warm-hearted customer named Jerry Pigatti. At that point in his life, Jerry felt that he and his family had been quite blessed and it was his desire to give back to others less fortunate. Jerry and Uncle Rob kicked around some ideas and came up with a plan to contact many of the churches, schools and social organizations in the area and put together a list of people who were down on their luck and in need of a helping hand. Each year for the past couple decades, this tradition has continued and Jerry Pigatti and many of his friends, along with my Uncle Rob, continue to collect food for boxes to be donated to needy families along with all the makings for a turkey dinner. Last year over 350 Aurora area families were recipients through our network of local churches and schools, all at no charge to the families in need.

We are in the midst of organizing this year’s Christmas Family Dinner food drive and if you would like to help please stop off at our service desk and ask for details on how you can make a cash or food donation.

Have a wonderful holiday season. Thank you for supporting our local business and thank you for supporting all of our efforts to help neighbors in need.

 

Andy