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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Some Facts About Button Mushrooms- Monday, February 26, 2018

Something that we tend to take for granted are button mushrooms. They make a great garnish or addition to hundreds of centerplate items, and they are also a primary ingredient for foods like omelets, pasta sauces and pizza toppings. In addition, unlike other, less meaty vegetables, button mushrooms serve very well as the main ingredient of soups and even stews.

These hearty veggies offer a strong and individual flavor and keep well in the refrigerator. Best of all, they are available even in the worst weather, and all year long. Formally known as Agaricus bisporus (also sometimes called "commercial mushrooms"), the button mushroom was first cultivated on horse manure heaps in France in the 1700s. It is still grown this way. Until recently it was the main mushroom cultivated in the United States.

The button mushrrom was originally brown in color. In 1926, a Pennsylvania mushroom farmer found a clump of Agaricus with white caps in his mushroom bed. Cultures were grown from the mutant individuals, and most of the cream-colored store mushrooms we see today are products of this chance observation.

Whole unopened buttons taste best. Once the partial veil protecting the gills has broken and the cap expands, the flesh becomes softer, cooks darker, and has a stronger taste.

Cleaning

Little water is required for the cleaning of store-bought mushrooms or of field specimens if gathered carefully. Older ones may be fragile and difficult to clean without cracking. A soft brush is useful. Avoid soaking, for the gills retain water and they will cook poorly. For best results, let them drain in a colander 15 to 30 minutes before cooking.

Cooking

The button mushroom is one of the few mushrooms that can be eaten raw in a salad, or ussed for dips. Thickly sliced pieces, when sautéed, may be savored as delicate hor d' oeuvres. Added to vegetarian casseroles or stews, they may simulate hunks of meat.

Preserving

Store your button mushrooms in the refrigerator for a week in an open bowl covered with waxed paper, but avoid plastic. They may also be sautéed in butter and frozen. They are surprisingly good when cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch slices and dried at home for later rehydration. Buttons may be pickled, spiced, or canned. Use a pressure cooker, applying fully adequate time, heat, and pressure, when canning them.

Meal Ideas Are Where It’s At!- Monday, February 26, 2018

For the past few years we have been enjoying steady and consistent growth in our prepared food section. It is clear that among our most loyal customer base, our home cooked or prepared-in-store meals have been the focus of a larger share of our business. Folks appear to like the convenience and, thanks to my Mom’s efforts (along with her capable staff), they must love the taste.

Once folks have tried these items, we seem to have little difficulty getting them back to try others -- and consistently repeat purchases of their favorites. On any given day in the refrigerated case across from the deli you can find single and two serving packages pf homemade, pre-cooked, heat-and-eat entrees like our meat lasagna, chicken parmesan, beef stroganoff, Swedish meatballs, stuffed peppers, cabbage rolls, and many more.

So what’s our plan? Well, we figure it makes sense to continue expanding this part of our business and continually offer additional items. We also intend to be on the lookout for new ideas that are trending and strong in popularity at restaurants and in social media chats. I’ll leave that research up to my sisters Bridget and Jacquie because they have done a super job of coming up with new concepts, like the now popular grab-and-go party bowls we featured near the holidays.

In addition to the deli, where meal ideas are already cooked and packaged to take home to warm and eat, we are also trying to offer  shoppers meal ideas with some of the prep-work already taken care of by our staff. One good example of such an item can be found this week in our meat case, where we have all the makings of chicken fajitas with plenty of crispy, fresh, pre-sliced veggies available.   Another offering this week in our meat case is our homemade tomato basil chicken using our all-natural skinless and boneless Miller Amish Country chicken breasts.

If you have yet to try one of our entrees I’d encourage you to do so, and if for any reason you aren’t absolutely satisfied with the food, ask for me or my mom, Beth, next time you are in and we will happily give you your money back. If you have an idea for another prepared food dish that you would like to see us offer, by all means stop at the deli and share your thoughts.

 

Thank you

Andy

Most Googled Recipes of 2017- Tuesday, February 20, 2018

If we consider what it is that people are most often looking for in a search for recipes, we might safely conclude that this list will give us a good approximation of the current trends in food tastes in general. Going with that assumption, one would have to assume that there was a general desire to enjoy lots of our favorite comfort foods in 2017.

Search engine authority Google released its annual Year in Search Data report, and found that these were the top 10 most searched recipes. Just in case you get a hankering to recreate one of these comfort foods yourself, we’ve added links to a few that are ideal for this time of year.

Go ahead – indulge in a little comfort food. It will be good for your soul.

 

Prisco’s Points About to Evolve into Next Phase- Tuesday, February 20, 2018

We launched our Prisco’s Points Customer Appreciation Program in mid-November of last year, and so far several thousand customers have joined the program. Since launch, we have distributed over 1.5 million points and about 625,000 have been redeemed.

We’ve had lots of fun seeing shoppers taking home free groceries and cash rewards every day simply for shopping at Prisco’s. So far, several hundred people have redeemed a portion of their points; however, only about 30% of the folks who have earned enough points to redeem them for free goods have done so. Chances are good you are sitting on more than enough points to turn some in for free goods or cash, so be certain to ask the checker on your next visit just how many points you have in the bank.

If you are wondering what you can get for FREE (or in some cases, a small cash outlay), check our monthly rewards list for February. Our two most popular items so far this month are the $10 cash discount for 1,200 points, and the FREE $25 gift card for the sports bar next door called Spartan House.

As the headline above reads, we are about to ramp up the value of the program. We have been collecting your transaction data for the past couple of months and with that information we are beginning to see patterns among shoppers. We will soon be able to start offering individual shoppers personalized specials on the items that they care most about and tend to purchase most often. Be on the lookout in the near future for an email or a text with a special offer designed with you and the foods that you like best in mind.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions or suggestions as to how we might make the Prisco's Points program even better, please share them with me or a member of the staff.

Thanks, and keep having fun redeeming those Prisco's Points.

 

Andy                                    

Two Local Companies Collaborate on a New Coffee Beer, "Insomniatic Advantage"- Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Have you heard about two of the hidden gems we offer at Prisco’s, Modest Coffee and Buckle Down craft beer?

Marcus Contaldo and his wife, Jenni, local west Aurora neighbors and Prisco customers, created Modest Coffee as a hobby back in 2013 and today it’s become a thriving local coffee roaster headquartered in West Chicago. We have been carrying their coffee under the Modest and Enthusiast lines and customers love them. Modest is now our number one brand of coffee!

Buckle Down Brewing was founded by friends, Ike Orcutt (Head Brewer) and Sean Mahoney in Lyons, IL. They shared two qualities that are essential for launching any new business, creativity and determination. They also shared a taste for great craft beer. It turns out that both of these local companies launched at about the same time, and as luck would have it they eventually met over beer -- or was it coffee? We're not certain which. Either way, they shared their mutual passions for creating new beverages and Marcus saw an opportunity to work together with Ike and Sean, so he began to drop off coffee samples at the brewery hoping that they would eventually think about creating a beer with a rich coffee base.

His persistence paid off, and this month they launched a new craft beer, Insomniatic Advantage. It’s a malt-centric brown ale with a massive dose of amazing coffee goodness. Rich toffee and biscuit notes are amped up with an amazingly nutty and caramel-forward coffee. Marcus at Modest Coffee selected and roasted a single-origin coffee from the San Ramon region of Costa Rica specifically to pair with this beer. The result is a beer and coffee lover's dream...

This new taste treat is now available at Prisco’s in a 4 pack of cans. If you like rich coffee and smooth brown ale, this one is a sure hit. Stop in and give it a try!

Here is a link to a short video showing how Marcus, Ike & Sean created “Insomniatic Advantage”.

 

Meatless Meals and a "NEW" Wine for a Healthier Lifestyle - Tuesday, February 13, 2018

For those of you who observe meatless Fridays throughout the six weeks of Lent, we realize that you will be looking for some entrees that will work for you and your family, so we will be certain to have a good selection available throughout Lent. For example, we will be featuring a Potato Crusted Tilapia dinner which includes mashed potatoes and a serving of vegetables. We have priced it right at just $8.99, and added in 50 Prisco's Bonus Points for good measure.

Another popular Lenten item every year are our heat & eat crab cake patties. We offer them as an economical option to meat: the jumbo cakes are just $1.99 each. (We also have the very popular and more delicate Maryland-style crab cakes for $3.99 ea.)

If you like casseroles you will want to pick up our tuna casserole, and perhaps serve it with a side of potato pancakes and sour cream, or applesauce. Meat lovers, have no fear: Our homemade sliced-to-order roast beef is also on sale this week at $2.00 off per pound.

We are introducing a new line of wines this month, and we have a fantastic introductory offer available to wine lovers so you will have no excuse not to try this new varietal. FitVine Wine was born when friends made a pact to craft amazing wines that also fit their lifestyles. Each wine goes through a maloactic fermenting process which dramatically lowers the sugar level. The result – FitVine wines, five varietals of simply great tasting wine with 95 or less calories and only 0.2 grams of sugar per 5 oz. glass. As for the introductory offer… you can purchase one 750 mL. bottle of any varietal for just $2 when you also redeem 1,000 Prisco's Bonus points.

This great offer only runs through the month of February, so plan to take advantage soon!

A Bit About Curry- Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Too many of us Westerners have far too little exposure to Indian foods, and one in particular that we tend to avoid are curries because at some time we may have tasted something described as a curry that we found too fiery.

"Curry" is actually an umbrella term for many dishes throughout the world, particularly Asia, that are simmered in or covered with a sauce full of spices and herbs. There is no one specific curry. It's just a combination of flavors and textures, usually served with meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, or even fruit. As it turns out, the word describes any dish of meat, fish and/or vegetables that is served in or with a sauce. So, if you think you don’t like curry, you are really limiting yourself. There are literally thousands of different curry blends that range from sweet and mild to hot and spicy.

How Curry Is Prepared

Most traditional Indian cooks make their curry seasoning from toasted whole spices that they grind themselves. There are probably as many curry seasoning blends as there are cooks who make curry, and most of them contain anywhere from 5 or 6 to as many as 30 different herbs and spices. Some curry powders are hot and spicy, and some are much milder. The problem is we like to pigeon hole things so they are easier to understand, but you simply can’t do that with curry. In India alone, there are over 600 distinct types of curry blends and when you take other countries into account there are large variances by region. Here is a brief description of types of curry by region.

Indian

These curries are made with a number of toasted and ground spices called masala. Some spices that are traditionally included in Indian curry dishes include cumin, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, cardamom, mustard, fennel, and ginger. Indian curry dishes also vary by region.

Thai

More soup-like than their thicker Indian cousins, these curries are made from a paste of ground chilies, then added to aromatics (like galangal, lemon grass, lime leaves, and garlic) and coconut milk or water. The coconut milk-based curries are less spicy than the water-based ones since the milk calms the tongue. They are often described by color -- yellows, for example, are full of turmeric and cumin while reds and greens are dominated by red and green chilis. As with other regional curries, the sauce covers a combination of meats and vegetables.

British

They resemble the Indian style of curry (made from whole, ground spices instead of a chili paste). The British who colonized and ruled over India for centuries brought many Indian dishes to the UK and popularized them over time. It has been said that Chicken Tikka Masala, a popular curry dish, has even been dubbed the "British national dish."

Chinese

Often made with soy sauce, coconut milk, and a bunch of spices, this mildly spicy (and usually yellow) curry tops meats, veggies, steamed rice, or noodles.

Japanese

Curry is huge in Japanese cuisine. The standard contains onions, carrots, potatoes, sometimes celery, and a token meat (often pork) that's cooked in a large pot.

If you want to broaden your horizons within the world of food, may we suggest that you let your guard down a bit and try a variety of curry dishes the next time you frequent an Indian, Japanese, Thai or Chinese restaurant? You are very likely to discover some new tastes that you will enjoy along the way.

 

Hand-Dipped & Decorated Strawberries at Prisco’s This Week.- Tuesday, February 6, 2018

If you have never seen or tasted one of our JUMBO Driscoll’s strawberries on a stem, dipped in rich chocolate (with many then rolled in some other heavenly delight), you have got to stop in and pick up a pair or a dozen.

Thanks to my sister Bridget, these have become a signature item at Prisco’s every Valentine’s Day. Just biting into one is an experience: the juicy berry will ooze sweet strawberry nectar followed by a burst of sweet as the chocolate hits your taste buds. What’s your pleasure? Dark chocolate, white chocolate, or milk chocolate? Rolled in crushed walnuts or made to look like a dressy tuxedo? We have a huge selection available and will continue to make more daily until we run out of strawberries.

We brought back another customer favorite this year but made it even easier to shop for by cutting out some of the additives and dropping the price by $20: This year you can pick up the makings of a romantic Surf & Turf dinner for two for under $30. The package includes two 5 to 6 oz. USDA Choice Prisco’s Angus Beef Filet Mignon Steaks plus two cold water lobster tails, 4 to 5 oz. ea., for just $29.99.

You might also like to consider adding a pair of Maryland-Style Crab Cakes as an appetizer and top dinner off with some hand-packed Angelo Gelato or Sorbetto. For Valentine’s Day we are featuring Cherry Sorbetto, Cherry Vanilla Gelato, and Chocolate Chip Strawberry Cheesecake Gelato.

In our frozen pasta case in the first aisle, look for the red and white heart-shaped ravioli; and we also brought in some heart-shaped brie which you should find in our new cheese case in the center of aisle one. For those who enjoy a good craft beer with, after, or before dinner, we have a nice selection of chocolate flavored beers highlighted in our ad this week, including locally brewed Hubbard’s Cave Imperial Stout Chocolate, and Raspberry Pot de Crème…heavenly!

Finally, Gentlemen, you can make it a one stop shopping trip. No need to stop at a florist or greeting card shop as we have a wide selection of long stem roses and other bouquets and floral arrangements, plus plenty of romantic Valentine's cards available in the front of the store.

Have a great Valentine’s Day, and whatever you do don’t miss out on the gourmet hand-made chocolate covered strawberries.

 

Andy