Prisco’s Family Market

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

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Peanut & other nut butters- Monday, June 8, 2015

Info courtesy of everydayhealth.com & care2.com]

There aren’t many people for whom peanut butter is a foreign food. Most of us grew up consuming peanut butter on a regular basis. Even now, the old elementary school lunchtime standby of peanut butter and jelly (sandwiches) remains popular among parents when it comes to feeding their children, and PB&J is one of the most cited nostalgia foods for adults. Why? Well, the majority of folks simply like the taste: Peanut butter is thick, rich, and somewhat sweet. It’s practically a dessert, but healthier for you than loads of candy bars or potato chips, and, while we may not have known this as kids, it’s packed with protein and fiber, so it did a great job of filling our bellies… And kept us feeling full until we got home.

These days, there’s more to nut butters than just peanuts, however. Peanut butter, while great in its own way, is not ideal in every respect. Although most nuts and seeds share similar qualities, each boasts its own nutritional perks - from fat-burning potential to (purported) cancer protection - that become concentrated when the nuts are ground into butters. “They contain protein, unsaturated fats, and antioxidants, and are naturally low in carbs,” says Leonard Ram, MD, author of the Ram Nut Diet (Ram Nutrition, 2005).

Common nut butters

Peanut butter - Even though 3 million adults are allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, or both, peanut butter is still the most popular spread at the store, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology reports. That said, peanut butter lovers should think about trading in the traditional stuff for a natural mix that's free of hydrogenated oil, preservatives, and extra sugar. When it comes to peanut butter, the goal is to maximize nutrition and avoid unhealthy additives.

Almond butter - Of all the nut butters, almond butter is the best bet for your diet, overall. It has peanut butter's same creamy texture while packing about 3 grams more of heart healthy monounsaturated fat per serving. Plus, it's typically lower in sugar than peanut butter and free of hydrogenated oil. Once Again almond butter is one of the many healthy brands to choose from, but it takes top honors here because it has only one ingredient: roasted almonds.

Walnut butter - Walnuts are perhaps the best vegetarian source of the omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for total-body health. Although walnut butter is slightly lower in protein and slightly higher in fat than other nut butters, it's a great choice because of its omega-3s. This nut butter is not commonly found in grocery stores - you’ll have to shop for it at your local health food store or order online. Alternatively, you could whip up your own at home using a blender or food processor.

Cashew butter - Cashew nut butter isn't always the best choice for your diet - it is a bit lower in fat and protein and perhaps slightly higher in sugar than peanut or almond butter - but it can still be a healthy snack option, particularly if you are avoiding legumes. Cashews are another nut that you can turn into butter yourself using a food processor. If you love macadamia nuts, you can also buy or make macadamia-cashew nut butter - but be warned that it has more fat and calories and less protein in the same 2-tablespoon serving.

We are Getting Creative!- Monday, June 8, 2015

In my first shout-out, I described how I got started in the grocery retail industry, and how I was able to stumble along a path to this wonderful opportunity. One subject I didn’t touch on that really drives me on a day-to-day basis, is the unique creativity that food and drink bring to the table.

I’ve been experimenting with food and drink ever since I started working at Prisco’s, and even before as a young kid. I had to get creative when I was a kid because I didn’t like the crust on a grilled cheese, so I found that dipping it in ketchup was a tasty treat (a good trick to know if you want your kids to start eating the crust on bread).  One day at school I was tired of ham sandwiches, so I added potato chips for a delicious crunch. It’s not the healthiest, I know, but still a guilty pleasure of mine, and for an adult adaptation, I’ve graduated to using flavored Kettle chips like Maple Bacon, Honey Mustard, or Sriracha.

10 years ago when I was working as a dishwasher in the deli, Todd, a slicer at the time, and I created “The Greatest Sandwich in the World.” It has 5 meats, 3 cheeses, oil, vinegar, spices, tomato, pepperoncini, and mushrooms. I could tell you the meats and cheeses, but then I’d have to kill you. I’ve had some fun with fruits and veggies, including portabella mushrooms wrapped with chives, brushed with sun-dried tomato olive oil, and then grilled to perfection. One of the best salads I’ve made was with spinach, arugula, crumbled goat cheese, toasted pine nuts, mandarin oranges, and topped with a poppy seed dressing (and as I write this, I’m thinking a cranberry or raspberry vinaigrette would be equally as delicious). I hope that you can see by these three illustrations that experimenting with food can be as simple as a spice addition, or as complex as combining different types of foods for a more layered recipe.

After experiencing craft beer for a while, I found creativity in the creation and combination of beer and other food or beverages.  For instance, Bill, Scott, Jesse and myself like the taste of Moody Tongue’s Lemon Saison, but felt it wasn’t as intense when mixed with a Pinot Grigio. Experimenting with different types of food and beer led to experimentation with beer as a component in recipes. And that was when Margaret and I developed the Delirium Tremens Beer Brat. We have since decided to play with different beers and wines in sausages: Chris and I have now created the Atomic Beer Brat (brat made with Atomium Grand Cru) and our new Mediterranean Sausage. Our Mediterranean Sausage isn’t your run of the mill sausage, though. We started with our chicken bratwurst recipe, added spinach and feta, spiced it with a Moroccan blend, and splashed it with Villa Sonia Pinot Grigio.

I continually hear your stories of food experimentation and love to continue to hear of exciting recipes and trials. In our world, food is fun, and we want you to experience that when you visit us. Keep your eyes peeled for fun experiments throughout the store!

 


Andy Guzaskas

Vegetarians and Barbecue - How to make everyone feel welcome- Tuesday, June 2, 2015

There's nothing quite like planning for a summer barbecue event. Selecting the types of meats to serve and sauces to feature is one of the most enjoyable elements, especially when it comes time to dig in! From savory and saucy ribs and chops, to steaks, roasts and whole or partial chickens, there's an abundance of options available, and more than enough variety to satisfy your appetite and that of your guests.

However, chances are pretty good that at least a few of your guests will be on a strict, no-meat diet. So how to you plan for such a contingency? It's actually not that difficult, and you don't need to feel pressured to provide your vegetarian friends with exactly the same number of main course options as you have meat options. Most of the time it's OK to serve two or three vegetarian-friendly dishes, which can also serve as sides or supplementary courses for everyone else. The key here is ensure no one is left out when it comes time to sit down and enjoy the meal, and that everyone has a few dishes to choose from.

Tips for the non-vegetarian

  • Don't contaminate the grill or prep area - Respect the tastes ad needs of your non vegetarian guests. Don't think that the juices from that delicious beef burger will enhance the enjoyment of their mushroom burger. Either have two grills going or clean any remnants of meat off the food preparation and grill surface and wash your hands and tools before working on the non meat entrees. Do not serve your vegetarian food on the same plate as meat.

  • Have a wide assortment of vegetarian options but don't make it sound like a big deal. Vegetarian or not all your quests can enjoy a wide selection of meatless items to accompany their chicken, beef, pork or fish Some options include: vegetable kabobs, grilled corn, grilled asparagus, grilled portabella mushrooms, pasta salad, potato salad, fresh fruit, and veggies with dip.

  • Don't sneak in the meat - sometimes it's hard for us meat eaters to remember everything that might be offensive or unwanted by a vegetarian or vegan. You may think using chicken stock is fine since it makes things tasty and there are no chunks of meat in it. Vegetarians would not agree. If there is meat in something and it isn't obvious, let your vegetarian guest know. A better idea is to just use vegetable stock so the dish is vegetarian friendly.

  • Dealing with the unexpected - It happens to everyone, you have unexpected company and meal time approaches so you invite your guest to stay for lunch or dinner. They politely turn you down saying that they need to care of something and can't stay and you insist that chores can wait, we seldom get to visit and that you have plenty of ground beef to make an extra burger or two. Rather than be rude the guest explains that they don't eat meat....pregnant pause.... then you come to your senses and reply, No problem, we have plenty of meatless options. Grab a bagged salad, berries, and nuts. All of those items can be set out without any preparation, and will be enough to make sure your vegetarian guest does not starve.

Here are a few great veggie grilling recipes that will surely please all of your friends:

Grilled Veggie Pizza

Combining fire-roasted vegetables with lightly toasted focaccia bread turns a crowd-pleasing dish into a Mediterranean-style classic.

Chile Lime Sweet Potatoes

The marriage of Southern comfort food laced with smoky Latin condiments is the perfect complement to grilled vegetable sandwiches and cold beers.

Grilled Stuffed Red Peppers

Grilled red peppers filled with fire-roasted vegetables answers the age-old question of what to do with leftovers. Re-grilling adds depth and flavor to already delicious ingredients.

Portobello Bugers

Make extra of this tasty burger as even any of your non-vegetarian guests will be licking their chops for one.

It’s a great time to enjoy your grill... How about some delicious grilled asparagus or pineapple?- Tuesday, June 2, 2015

This week I would like to introduce our customers to a great summertime treat that many people miss out on because they simply haven’t been exposed to it. I don’t want to take anything away from Prisco’s great fresh meat department, and there is no question that outdoor grilling is a time when that department really shines, but there are more things worth grilling than just meat. You don’t need to be a vegetarian to enjoy the great taste of grilled fruits and vegetables, all part of a well balanced summer diet. Grilling gives fruits and veggies a smoky-sweet flavor, and it's amazingly easy. 

Here are a few tips that you will find helpful when considering what and how to grill fresh produce:

  • To avoid messy grilling, you will want to make use of skewers or a grill basket to prevent small chunks of vegetables from falling through the grate. Using two skewers will help prevent vegetables from spinning while turning on the grill. It’s ok to use bamboo skewers but be certain to soak them in water for 30 or more minutes before using to prevent them from burning.

  • Use a light brushing of oil on vegetables and fruits to prevent sticking. The vegetables must be dry before applying oil or the oil will not stick.

  • Don't peel vegetables before grilling — you'll get more nutrients and enjoy a smokier flavor. Leave the husk on corn to act as a natural insulator, keeping the steam in and preventing the corn from drying out.

  • Vegetables should be grilled over a medium heat or use the indirect heat method. Rotate or move them to a cooler part of the grill during cooking as necessary to ensure that the outside isn't cooking too quickly.

  • The length of cooking time will vary depending on the type of vegetable and how it has been prepared. When grilling harder vegetables, such as potatoes with other vegetables, they may need to be par-cooked before grilling to ensure that all the vegetables are done at the same time. Vegetables like eggplant, fennel, onions, mushrooms, peppers, sweet potatoes, summer squash, and tomatoes should be raw when placed on the grill.

  • Vegetables should have browned grill marks and be tender when pierced with a fork or the tip of a knife.

  • Cut vegetables into uniform size pieces so they will cook evenly. The larger and thicker the pieces the longer the grilling time.

  • Prevent vegetables from drying out on the grill by soaking them in cold water before cooking.

  • Seasoning the vegetables with a coarse salt, such as sea salt or kosher salt, before grilling will draw out extra moisture from the vegetables, which will intensify its sweetness and flavor.

  • Experiment by sprinkling different herbs and spices over vegetables while grilling.

  • Some veggies (including artichokes, beets, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and winter squash) can be pre-cooked to shorten grilling time and ensure that the inside and outside cook evenly. To pre-cook: Steam or blanch until just barely tender. Pat dry, brush lightly with oil, then grill until completely tender and lightly browned.

  • Ideal grilling fruits are firm and barely ripe. Watermelon, pineapple, plums and peaches can all take the heat. Soak them in liquor or drizzle with honey before grilling for an added burst of flavor.

  • To enhance the flavor of the fruit, try brushing cut fruits with melted butter and sprinkling with sugar, cinnamon, brown sugar, or lemon juice while grilling. Sugar tends to burn so it is best to apply it toward the end of cooking time.

  • Caution, most fruits contain a high level of water which will get extremely hot when grilling. Be certain to allow the fruit to cool slightly after removing it from the grill, or the fruit may cause serious burns to the mouth.

Okay, so much for the do & do not do's. How about some suggestions for great foods to grill.

Eggplant When grilled, eggplant becomes crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside—no breading or cheese necessary. Slice your eggplant in 1-inch thick slices and coat with extra-virgin olive oil. Place on your grill rack, cooking for 6 minutes per side or until eggplant is tender.

Peaches, nectarines or apricots Grilling these summer fruits deepens their natural sweetness, and it’s oh-so-easy to do: simply slice them in half, remove the pits, and put them facedown on a grill that’s been preheated to high. Remove when golden brown, about 5 minutes. Try brushing them with honey, sprinkling them with cinnamon, or topping them with Greek yogurt.

Pineapple Grilling pineapple cuts the fruit’s acidity and turns it into a treat that’s as sweet as candy. Cut your pineapple into wedges or rings and place it on the grill for about 3 minutes per side.

Asparagus Lightly charred asparagus tossed in a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper makes for an incredibly easy and nutritious summer side dish. Place directly on the grill over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Watermelon Sure we all know how delicious a cold slice of fresh watermelon can taste but grilled watermelon brings a whole new dimension to this fruit. To grill, cut your watermelon into big wedges or 1-inch-thick rounds. Place the fruit on a very hot grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Tomatoes Add a smoky flavor to pasta dishes and salads by grilling your tomatoes over high heat. Just slice the tomatoes in half, brush the cut sides with olive oil, and place on a grill heated to high for about 3 minutes.

Portobello mushrooms Vegans and vegetarians have discovered that a giant portabella makes a great meatless burger. So go ahead you carnivores. swap out your usual ground-beef patty for a Portobello cap and save on saturated fat and calories. Just brush them lightly with olive oil, place them gill-side down for 4 minutes, and then flip and cook for an additional 7 minutes.

Zucchini This easy to grill vegetable is abundant throughout the summer months. Thinly slice the squash lengthwise, coat lightly with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and place on the grill for about a minute, or until marked and tender.

Carrots If you enjoy oven roasted carrots in the cooler months grilling is a great option for carrots. Peel them and put them on the grill over moderately high heat in a perforated grill pan for about 5 minutes.

Romaine Grilling romaine gives your salad a unique smoky flavor. Preheat your grill to medium-high, lightly oil the grates, and grill the lettuce, turning often, until charred in spots (about 2 minutes).

Corn on the cob You can grill the cobs in their husks or brush them with olive oil and place them directly on the grill. Either way, grilling your corn takes this summer staple to a new level.

Sweet potatoes Make grilled sweet potato fries by first pre-cooking the potatoes in a microwave for about 6 minutes. Then, cut them lengthwise into wedges, drizzle them with olive oil, and transfer them to the grill for 3 minutes per side.

Kale This super food is also adaptable to the grill. Blanche the kale before you grill to tenderize the leaves and prevent it from burning. Grill 3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 3 minutes.

Bananas Give your banana split a summery twist: slice banana in half lengthwise, coat with cooking spray, then grill over medium heat for 2 minutes per side.

I do hope that this will get you thinking about grilling lots of fresh fruits and vegetables this summer. I’d love to hear you comments about the new world grilled produce has opened for you and your family.

 

Bill Vella – Produce Manager

 

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