Prisco’s Family Market

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

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Pizza – The One Meal We Can All Agree to Disagree On.- Tuesday, March 28, 2017

If there is anything for certain, it’s that it is nearly impossible to get four people to agree to have their pizza prepared the exact same way, with the exact same ingredients.

  1. First, we need to decide the basic type of pizza; thin crust, regular crust, double crust, stuffed crust, or deep dish.

  2. Then there are the endless combinations of toppings:

    1. Meats such as sausage, pepperoni, ground beef, ham, chicken and Canadian bacon are the most common... and don’t forgot the anchovies for the salty fish lovers!

    2. For veggies (which we love or loath): olives, onions, mushrooms, peppers, roma tomatoes, spinach, zucchini, roasted garlic and broccoli are typical.

    3. The only fruit I can recall seeing added to a pizza is pineapple, but as I write this I’m certain someone has tried another.

  3. As the ingredients are assembled, the next decision is how to build or layer the ingredients. Should some items be placed above or below the tomato sauce, above or below the mozzarella?

  4. Finally, as the pie is completed and when it comes out of the oven some will want it sliced in pie wedges, New York-style, but for most Midwesterners it must be cut into squares with little triangles round the edge. Then there are those who only want pieces from around the edge where the crust gets crisper and others who avoid the outside pieces entirely and concentrate on the middle, squared-off slices.

Yes, it is true that pizza is a very personal meal where couples who have been together for a long time often have their own signature pizza which they share in name only, because each half is not remotely like its counterpart. Although we all seem to have very strong feelings about what we like or can’t stand to have be part of our pizza, one thing is true for just about any red-blooded American. WE ALL LOVE OUR PIZZA!

For the next two weeks, we are featuring a Prisco customer favorite. It’s our Make your own Pizza Sale. You will find pizza crusts, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, our homemade sausage and, of course, any topping you desire available for your choosing -- and many of them at special sale prices.

 

Enjoy!

Beth

So, Onions – with or without… Love them, or not so much?- Tuesday, March 28, 2017

An extraordinarily common vegetable in virtually every cuisine, the onion and its relatives stand out prominently worldwide as one of the most, if not the most, popular ingredients in cooking. From common white and yellow onions to the more "exotic" ramps and leeks, onions are everywhere and used in every imaginable type of dish. Indeed, it can be argued (and often is!) by chefs and home cooks alike that onions are indispensable: They add a baseline of sweet and earthy flavor to many cooked dishes and contribute an essential, spicy accent when served raw.

But even if you use them almost every time you cook, onions can still be pretty bewildering. With about a dozen varieties readily available in most markets, as well as several less common types, it can be hard to know which kind of onion to choose for a particular dish. Here is a list of the most commonly used onions, as well as a couple less well-known varieties that are well worth checking out.

A Guide to Onion Varieties

[info courtesy of seriouseats.com]

Scallions

One of the most versatile onions around, scallions are long and thin, typically no fatter than a finger. Sweet and mild with hardly any bite to them, they can be used raw or cooked and fit right into any number of dishes.

What They Look Like: Bright white at the bottom with hollow, dark green tops, scallions are usually sold in bunches.
How They Taste: Scallions provide a gentle onion flavor, but are just as much about their texture: they're crunchy and juicy at the same time. Their dark green tops tend to have a bit more bite to them and are best used as an accent, as you would fresh chives or parsley.

How to Shop and Store: Look for scallions from late spring to late summer, when they're harvested fresh and are at their peak. The onions' white sections should be firm and bright, without any moisture or sliminess, and the tops should be sturdy—avoid any bunches that have wilted tops. Never store fresh scallions in a plastic bags: their high moisture content will quickly lead to rot. Reusable mesh produce bags tucked into a crisper drawer are a great option: they allow air circulation, but keep the scallions from drying out. If your scallions still have roots, trim them slightly, stick 'em in a glass jar you've filled with a couple inches of water, and stash 'em in the fridge for up to a week.

How to Use Them: Along with garlic and ginger, scallions are indispensable to stir-fries. They also make an excellent contribution to soups, either as part of the stock or a garnish.

 

Vidalia Onions

Vidalia is the legally registered name of the squat, ovoid, sweet yellow onion that's grown in and around the town of Vidalia, Georgia. Extremely low in pyruvic acid—which, when exposed to air, makes your eyes tear—Vidalias are among the mildest in the onion kingdom.

What They Look Like: Narrow at the stem and root, and wide around the middle, like a spinning top, with a thin, papery, light yellow skin.

How They Taste: Super-sweet and crisp, ideal for eating raw.

How to Shop and Store: Look for Vidalias in the markets between late April and early September. Firm, medium-sized onions without any bruises will taste the best. To store, wrap each onion in a paper towel and store in the fridge; they'll keep for weeks.
How to Use Them: In late summer, when both Vidalias and tomatoes are at their peak, it's tough to beat a basic sliced tomato salad with slivered onions and a simple oil-and-vinegar dressing. In winter time, how about grilled tomato and cheese sandwiches with seasoned soup?

 

Ramps

Whether you can't get enough of them or think they're a wee bit overrated, there's no denying what ramps signify: spring, and the return of fresh, delicate produce after a long, cold, potato-filled winter. Count us in the ramps-loving camp: these wild spring leeks have a pungent garlic-onion flavor in their base, which softens and becomes mild in the leaves.

What They Look Like: Kind of like scallions, but with large, broad, flat bright-green leaves up top. The slender white bottom sections often have a dash of bright purple or magenta joining them to the leaves. While they're pretty expensive in many major cities, ramps grow like weeds in places like Appalachia and Quebec.

How They Taste: Like a cross between garlic and onions, with a pronounced funk that's almost cheese-like. The edible tops are notably milder and sweeter than the bulbs at the bottom.

How to Shop and Store: Often heralded as one of the first signs of warmer weather, ramps have a short season, showing up in farmers markets in late winter and only staying there until early spring. Their bottom sections should be firm, never slimy, and the tops should be bright without any wilting. Ramps don't store super well but will keep in the refrigerator for a few days in reusable mesh produce bags tucked into a crisper drawer.

How to Use Them: Throw 'em on the grill. Or pickle them. Put ramps in your dumpling filling or in your chorizo quesadilla. Add ramps to biscuits and frittatas. Make ramps into soup with fresh asparagus.

 

Yellow Onions

Yellow onions are undoubtedly Americans' favorite: nearly 90 percent of onions grown in the US are yellow. Their deep but not-too-strong flavor makes them endlessly versatile in cooking. Larger, slightly sweeter yellow onions labeled Spanish onions are often found right next to plain old yellow onions; they're a milder choice that works well for raw applications.

What They Look Like: Ranging in size from golf ball to softball, with light yellow flesh and golden, papery skin.

How They Taste: Assertive when raw, deeply sweet when cooked.

How to Shop and Store: Yellow onions are available year-round: in summer and early fall, when they haven't been in storage long, they taste sweeter, with their sharpness intensifying through the winter months. Look for firm, unbruised onions that are heavy for their size. If you plan on using your bulb onions within a few weeks, they can be stored at cool room temperatures in a dark place: an open basket or a bamboo steamer in a cooler part of the kitchen works. If you plan on storing them longer, wrap them individually in paper towels or place them in a breathable vegetable storage bag and keep them in the refrigerator. Cut or peeled onions can be stored, wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator for only a few days before they go mushy.

How to Use Them: Yellow onions are ideal for long-cooking in soups, stews and braises, and of course are sticky and delicious when caramelized.

 

White Onions

Many cooks don't know the difference between white and yellow onions. The white versions are somewhat sweeter and cleaner in flavor but don't store quite as well as yellow onions do.

What They Look Like: Ranging in size from baseball to softball, with white flesh and bright white, papery skin.

How They Taste: Milder in flavor than yellow onions, white onions can be eaten raw.

How to Shop and Store: White onions are available year-round and taste the same throughout the seasons. Look for firm, unbruised onions that are heavy for their size. Bulb onions should be stored in a dark, cool, dry location.

How to Use Them: Because of their crisp texture and mild flavor, white onions are great raw slivered in salads, thinly sliced on your favorite sandwich, or scattered over a pizza. Popular in Latin American cuisines, white onions are a great addition to huevos rancheros, refried beans, and Cuban picadillo.

 

Red Onions

Though they can be pungent and spicy, red onions are great for eating raw, bringing crunchiness and brightness to a variety of dishes. You might see them all the time, next to the yellow onions on the supermarket shelf, but red onions only make up about eight percent of the onion market in the US.

What They Look Like: Ranging in size from golf ball to softball, with bright maroon flesh and dark red, papery skin.

How They Taste: Assertive and spicy when raw; still strong, but sweeter, when cooked.

How to Shop and Store: Red onions are available year-round: in summer and early fall, when they haven't been in storage long, they taste sweeter, with their sharpness intensifying through the winter months. Look for firm, unbruised onions that are heavy for their size. Bulb onions should be stored in a dark, cool, dry location; see advice for yellow onions.

How to Use Them: Red onions take extraordinarily well to pickling, whether they're destined for the top of tacos or folded into a bright ceviche. Put red onions on your pizza and try them in a chopped salad with cherry tomatoes and bell peppers. We also love red onion jam as a burger topping or spread on crackers.

 

Shallots

Where would be without shallots? They're often seen in French cuisine, where they're featured in classic sauces such as mignonette. They're also indispensable to Asian dishes—often crisp-fried or ground into curry pastes.

What They Look Like: Shallots are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Western shallots, the kind you're most likely to encounter in a U.S. supermarket, are small, slender and lighter in color than red onions, with pinkish-orange papery skin and light purple flesh. In an Asian market, you might find Asian shallots, which are very small and deep dark purple.

How They Taste: Milder in flavor than red onions, but more assertive than yellow, with a hint of garlic flavor.

How to Shop and Store: Available year-round, shallots' flavor intensifies throughout their winter storage. Look for firm, compact shallots with shiny, unblemished skin. Kept dry and stored in a cool, dark area of the kitchen, like a cabinet, shallots will keep for several weeks to a month.

How to Use Them: Thinly sliced and fried for topping Thai curried noodles, congee, or deviled eggs; minced into basic vinaigrettes for added crunch and flavor.

 

Pearl Onions

Tiny and sweet, pearl onions come in yellow, red, and white varieties, with the latter being the most common.

What They Look Like: These cuties look just like regular onions but are about the size of a jawbreaker.

How They Taste: Much milder and sweeter than large bulb onions.

How to Shop and Store: Pearl onions are sold year-round, usually in small mesh bags—they're not easy to find loose and can be difficult to find altogether, so frozen, pre-peeled bags of pearl onions are an appealing option. If buying fresh, store as you would large bulb onions.

How to Use Them: The biggest annoyance about using fresh pearl onions is peeling them: to do so quickly and easily, blanch them in hot water, then slip off the skins with your fingers. After that, simply glaze them, cream them in a bubbly gratin, or pickle them for use in a Gibson cocktail.

 

Cippolini Onions

These little disc-shaped yellow onions, which might remind some people of visitors from outer space, were once reserved for the world of gourmet stores and fancy restaurants, but nowadays are pretty widely available in large supermarkets.

What They Look Like: Slightly larger than pearl onions, with a squat disc shape and pale yellow skin.

How They Taste: Extra sweet.

How to Shop and Store: Cippolini are sold year-round, sometimes in mesh bags. Store in a cool, dark place.

How to Use Them: I'll be honest: cippolini are kind of annoying to peel. You'll need to lop off their root and stem ends with a sharp knife, then use a paring knife to strip away remaining peel. Because of their high sugar content, cippolini take wonderfully to caramelizing.

 

Leeks

Leeks look a lot like scallions, but in fact, they're a totally different plant. Larger in size than their spring counterparts, leeks' white portions are tender and sweet, but their dark green tops are woody and best reserved for flavoring stocks.

What They Look Like: You might mistake them for big, overgrown scallions.

How They Taste: Extremely mild, with a pronounced sweetness. Because they're so fibrous, leeks generally aren't eaten raw.

How to Shop and Store: Leeks have been bred to survive the winter months, and are in season from late fall to early spring. Leeks can be pretty gritty and sandy: be sure to wash carefully before cooking. If you need to store them, trim off a portion of the dark green tops, place in a reusable mesh produce bag or roll them in a just-slightly-damp kitchen towel, secure with a rubber band, and store in the crisper drawer for up to one and a half weeks.

How to Use Them: Though too tough to eat when raw, leeks melt into wonderful softness when cooked. One of the most appealing ways to cook them is braised in stock and olive oil, then dressed with a lemony vinaigrette. Leek soup with lemon and dill is an economical winter warmer, and a beef and leek stir-fry is lightning-fast and delicious.

 

Tags :  onions facts
Slimming down for Spring- Tuesday, March 21, 2017

We can all breathe a sigh of relief at the passing of winter; the days are now consistently warmer, and the odds of a sudden cold snap are that much lower. And while the time for jeans and long-sleeved shirts is definitely not over, it's not unrealistic to assume that warm weather wearables are going to see far more use over the next couple weeks.

If you are like many other Americans, however, you've likely put on a few pounds (or more) over the winter – a few pounds you probably wouldn't mind losing before slipping back into your shorts or capris. If you want to look and feel your best when summer comes around, now is the time to start exerting a bit more control over your diet and exercise habits.

Here are a few suggestions to start yourself on the right track, health-wise, without killing your motivation right out of the gate.

[info courtesy of webmd.com]

Forget "dieting" – In fact, you should try adding foods to your diet instead of subtracting them. Add in healthy goodies you really love, like deep-red cherries, juicy grapes, or crunchy snow peas. Slip your favorite fruits into your bag lunch and breakfast cereal; add the veggies into soups, stews, and sauces.

Scale back on the foods you already enjoy – One of the easiest ways to cut back without feeling denied is to switch to lower-calorie versions of the foods you crave. A pizza tastes just as good with reduced-fat cheese, and when you garnish low-fat ice cream with your favorite toppers, who notices those missing calories?

  • Boost your fiber intake, too. Fiber helps you feel satisfied longer, so while you lighten your favorite foods, you can easily amp up the fiber by adding a cup of whole wheat flour to your pizza dough, or toss a handful of red bell peppers on the pizza.

  • Don't forget to lighten the drinks going with that meal, too. Try switching from high-calorie favorites to diet soda or light beer, or maybe add a spritz of seltzer to your wine.

Avoid more structured workouts, initially – Rather than jumping into an intense workout program right off the bat, burn calories and invigorate muscles by pursuing activities you consider fun or enjoyable. Beachcombing, riding bikes, hiking, washing the car, playing Frisbee, or even chasing the dog around the yard are all valid options.

Walk as much as possible – Walking around your neighborhood when the weather's nice is an easy way to keep fit. Other options to get yourself moving are to:

  • Trade your power mower for a push version.

  • Park your car at the back of the lot.

  • Sweep the drive or rake the leaves instead of using a leaf-blower.

  • Get off the bus a few stops earlier.

  • Hike the mall, being sure to hit all the levels.

  • Take the stairs every chance you get.

  • Crank the music and get your heart rate up the next time you mop or vacuum.

Drink more water – Down some water before a meal and you're likely to eat less.

Get in some resistance exercise while engaged in other activites – Do you tend to spend a lot of time in front of the television? Why not combine some of that down time with a little bit of exercise? During commercial breaks, pedal your stationery bike, walk the treadmill, or slip in a little strength training with objects around the house. It doesn't matter exactly what you do, so long as you're up and active.

 

It’s officially Spring – let the grilling begin!- Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Are you a weekend grill warrior? Do you look forward to standing over a hot grill, cold brew in one hand and spatula in the other, watching in awe as those steaks, chops, burgers and brats sizzle and simmer to their charred points of perfection? Oh, what a feeling to be one with your grill.

Now that winter is becoming a fading memory, it’s time to head out to the garage and dig the gas grill out from under the boxes of Christmas lights torn down that one day in early January. Peel back the plastic cover and there it is, your partner in fine cuisine, the gas grill. But wait, not so fast partner, there are thing to attend to first before pressing your dear and trusted friend into service for another season...

That’s right…we need to give your grill a pre-season once over prep job.

1. Rule number one – be safe, not sorry.

At the start of every grill season you will want to check the grill out for leaks before you press the igniter switch. Specifically, if you have a gas grill, check the hose from your propane to your burners and make sure it's intact and clean. If there's any build-up on the hose, be sure to clean it off before starting your grill. A leak test should be performed any time your grill has been in storage for a prolonged length of time or when you are changing any components on your grill. This is easy to do:

Fill a small bowl with a 50/50 mixture of dish soap and water. Using a paint brush, paint the mixture on all connections and the hoses. Turn off all burner knobs and turn on the gas and look for bubbles. If bubbles show up that indicates a leak, so tighten the connection and retest. If there is any leakage in the hose, simply replace it. During this process, it’s a good idea to visually inspect all hoses and feed tubes on your grill. Look for any crimps, scratching and/or punctures; if you detect any of these, it is time to replace the hoses.

2. Time for a quick cleaning

If you have a gas grill, take the grates out and give everything a good scrub down. You can use a wire brush and a damp cloth to get the job done. Avoid using soap. It can linger and it's tough to wash off.

It’s the inside of the grill that needs the most attention in the Spring cleaning routine. Start with the burners. It is easier to detach the burners and take them out of the grill for a very thorough cleaning. Pass a venturi brush (a long flexible handled brush with stiff bristles on the end) through the burners to snag out any blockages then brush the tops of the burners using a brass wire brush. The venturi tubes are the tubes that extend from the burner to the control valves. These have openings at the ends to allow air to mix with the gas as it leaves the control valve. Once the burners are cleaned, check all of the burner ports to ensure that they are opened. If some are closed with food particles you can use a 1/16” drill bit to open them. Lastly, use a spatula to scrape grease from the inside of the base all the way down towards the drip pan. Remove the drip pan and give it a good washing and be sure to replace the tin foil grease catcher.

3. Check all ignition parts prior to launch

Now that your grill is clean and safe it is time to check out how it lights. Check all electrode leads and ensure the tips of the electrodes are clean and have no grease or rust build up on them; if they do, you can use sandpaper to clean them. Before you get to cooking, turn on your grill, light it up, and let it burn for a few minutes.

 

That’s it, enjoy your grill throughout the coming season.

 

Andy

Where does corned beef come from? - Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The answer is the brisket. The brisket is located in the front of the steer, toward the bottom, near the cow’s front legs. Since the steer uses this muscle group a lot this is a tough cut of beef, so a slow cooking method must be used. Yet it is worth your time because it is a flavorful cut.

When selecting a brisket, unless you buy the entire brisket you will have to choose between a flat cut and a point cut. It is very easy to tell the difference just by looking at the cuts.

A point cut comes to a point at one end. The point cut has a lot of fat running through it, so when you cook it, it comes out nice and juicy. This is a good choice if you plan on shredding the meat when finished cooking.

The flat cut is a much leaner cut than the point. It still has a layer of fat on the bottom that will keep the meat moist. If you are looking for brisket that will slice up nicely, you will want a flat cut. If you’re serving a dinner with potatoes, carrots and cabbage then the flat cut is probably a better choice.

 

Step away from your standard fare and try something Irish this week.- Tuesday, March 14, 2017

We often assume that in nearly every home in Ireland this week families will be serving up heaping servings of corned beef, cabbage and red potatoes. Truth is, this time-honored tradition we’ve come to enjoy each March is really an American tradition and the folks over on the Emerald Isle are much more likely to be serving mutton or salmon for their St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Isn’t it interesting that there are two holidays we celebrate each year, Thanksgiving and St. Patrick’s Day, where almost everyone serves exactly the same main entrée and for the most part all of the complementary sides?

This year, rather than settle in for the usual corned beef, boiled red potatoes, boiled cabbage and boiled carrots, I’d invite you to try something different. Have you ever tasted colcannon? We’ve been making it for years in our kitchen for St. Patrick’s Day and have established a very strong following of customers who look for it each year.

Colcannon is a traditional Irish side dish consisting of potatoes, cabbage, milk, butter, scallions, salt and butter. Originally it was prepared in a Bastable oven, which looked a little like a cauldron with a lid that was put over a fire and used as an oven to bake bread, colcannon and other dishes. Back in Ireland charms were put in the colcannon that symbolized different things. A button meant you would remain a bachelor and a thimble meant you would remain a spinster for the coming year. A ring meant you would get married and a coin meant you would come into wealth. Some families would leave out a plate of colcannon with a lump of butter in the center for the fairies and the ghosts.

Another traditional Irish favorite that we offer each year for St. Patrick’s Day is our homebaked Irish Soda bread. It’s delicious, and just like the colcannon is only available this time of year. Irish Soda Bread is a traditional product of a poor country, it was made with only the most basic of ingredients: flour, baking soda (used as a leavening agent instead of yeast), soured milk to moisten and activate the soda, and salt. Before baking, a cross was cut on the top with a knife, to ward off the devil and protect the household. From the earliest times, bread-making was an integral part of daily life in almost every home. Families lived in isolated farmhouses where most kitchens had only open hearths, not ovens, so the breads that developed were baked on griddles or in large three-legged black iron pots over fragrant turf fires. This method resulted in a loaf that was tender and dense, with a slight sour tang and a hard crust. Being quite perishable, it was made every 2-3 days and eaten with the main meal, not as dessert.

If you are intrigued and think that you would enjoy celebrating this St. Patrick’s day with an authentically Irish meal but don’t have the time or inclination to do all the work, we offer a very economical and practical solution: Try our corned beef and cabbage dinner for two for just $9.99. The dinner includes corned beef, carrots, cabbage and colcannon for two. It’s a delicious, traditionally Irish-American, and the price rivals any fast-food burger meal for two.

Call us to reserve a dinner for two for your home or stop in and pick one up before they disappear. Don’t forget to also grab a loaf of Irish Soda Bread and check out Justin's and Andy's extensive collection of Irish beers.

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Beth

Meal Prep Made Easy- Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Everyone knows that the best way to control your weight and keep a healthy lifestyle comes down to what you eat and incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine. In a perfect world, you'd cook all your own meals. You'd never pick up jelly doughnuts on the way to work, eat fast food for lunch, or order pizza because you're too stressed to even think about dinner.

Sadly, it’s just not that easy to eat the way we know we should. However, with some preplanning and a little work you can make the challenge of eating healthier a whole lot easier. The secret? Meal prep. Essentially, it's the practice of spending a few hours each week making huge batches of whole grains, proteins, veggies, and snacks, ensuring that you're prepared to fight fast-food temptation with tasty, clean, home-cooked meals all week long.

For starters, why not use one of the most versatile and easy to prepare meal bases -- pasta. That’s right, toss your favorite noodles, a bunch of raw ingredients and some water into a pot, and in just a matter of minutes you can have a tasty dinner for you and your family.

Here are some recipe suggestions for pasta meals to get you started.

Pasta Primavera

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Easy Carbonara

Tagliatelle and Italian Sausage

Spaghetti with Pesto Sauce

 

 

Something familiar is about to change, but it’s for the better.- Tuesday, March 7, 2017

As we often do, this week we will be featuring two of our most popular local products, Oberweis Milk and Oberweis Ice Cream. Located in North Aurora, just a five-minute drive from our store, the Oberweis dairy has a well-earned reputation as one of the finest dairies and creameries in the country. As a testament to the role that quality and integrity play in their business, allow me to share the Oberweis Dairy Farmer’s Pledge.

We, the families who care for cows that produce milk for Oberweis Dairy, are proud to pledge that we will:

  • Never use artificial growth hormones.

  • Only provide milk that is free of antibiotics.

  • If a cow gets sick, we will treat her back to health using the best available medicines but not use her milk again until it is free of antibiotics.

  • Treat our cows humanely.

  • Do nothing different than if our children and families were drinking all of the milk we produce.

We pledge all of this so that your family can drink Oberweis milk with confidence. We understand that if we fail to meet these obligations, we will no longer have the privilege of providing milk to Oberweis Dairy.

It all started 90 years ago, when Peter J. Oberweis, an Aurora dairy farmer, began selling milk to his neighbors from the back of his horse-drawn wagon. That’s correct, Prisco’s Family Market and Oberweis Dairy both started in business within one year of each other!

Although our records don’t go back far enough to know for certain when Prisco’s first started selling Oberweis milk and ice cream, it has been for as far back as anyone in the family can remember. In addition to its deliciously fresh taste, the most noticeable thing about their milk has been the fact that it has always been sold in clear reusable glass bottles. Folks think of these glass bottles with great nostalgia for the days when most milk was delivered several times per week to their door by the milkman. The reason that Oberweis has stuck with the glass bottles for decades after most other dairies switched to cheaper plastic and cardboard containers is their desire to keep the integrity and taste of the milk as fresh as possible, something that the glass containers provide.

But later this month there is a change coming. The change, which is only taking place in the bottles that are sold in grocery stores, is a concession to science. The all familiar clear glass bottles are being phased out and replaced by amber colored bottles.

Why this change will make the milk taste even better

"When milk is exposed to light, (especially white milk) it degrades the taste. It can be a very significant change," said company president Joe Oberweis. It was Joe’s father, Jim, who first noticed the taste difference. "He would buy bottles of milk at the grocery store, and a couple of times (he said) 'Gosh, this doesn't taste quite right. What's going on?' Research uncovered long-forgotten studies showing that amber-colored glass did the best job of eliminating the effects of light on the milk.

Joe Oberweis explained that "By changing to amber in our grocery store milks, we completely eliminate the problem. It turns out that amber is a very effective color in stopping the degradation in taste." The culprit is the light in grocery store refrigerator cases. The fluorescent light that is common in such cases has a particularly strong impact on the flavor, according to a recent study at Virginia Tech. But even though the LED lights that are replacing them do help, they still affect the flavor, the dairy said.

So in the near future when you see the new amber colored bottles on our shelves don’t think for a minute that the quality of our Oberweis milk has been compromised…quite the opposite. "The reorganizability, or lack thereof, is something we think about" explained Joe Oberweis, "but it's not the priority. The priority is that when you pour a glass of milk for yourself, it tastes perfect."

 

Enjoy the savings this week and next on our Oberweis milk and premium ice cream.

Andy

Great Steaks at a Family-Friendly Price – Top Sirloin- Tuesday, February 28, 2017

This crazy spring-like weather we have been experiencing throughout February has us all thinking about getting back outdoors, and that leads to thoughts of warm weather grilling.

When we think of steaks, often times we jump to the conclusion that we are talking about an expensive cut of meat -- which can be the case, but doesn’t necessarily need to be. If you have a food budget that you need to balance in order to feed the entire family, consider picking up some delicious sirloin steak, featured at a great price this week.

Our USDA Choice Prisco's Angus Beef Top Sirloin is a family-sized steak that offers lean, well-flavored, and moderately tender beef at an affordable, every day price. Convenient and a great value with no bones and little fat. Versatile, juicy and delicious. Carved from the center of the sirloin, these steaks are naturally lean and bursting with bold, beefy flavor. Boasted as one of the most flavorful steaks for the money, top sirloin steaks are great for grilling, but you may also prefer to broil them in your oven or sauté them on your stove. Here are a few simple-to-follow instructions for each method...

Broiling

Preheat broiler according to oven manufacturer’s directions. Oven rack should be 3 to 5 inches from heating element. Season your steaks with salt and pepper (or, perhaps, your favorite seasoning rub) and place them on a perforated broiler rack, without overcrowding. Place the broiler rack in oven.

When juices begin to rise to the top surface of the steaks, flip them one time with a pair of tongs. After steaks have cooked a few minutes on both sides, check doneness with an instant-read thermometer. It should be inserted through the side, with the tip in the center of the cut, not touching any bone or fat.

Remove your steaks from the heat when the thermometer registers 5°F lower than the desired doneness, as the temperature will continue to rise while resting. The USDA recommends steaks be cooked to 145°F (medium) and then rested for at least 3 minutes. Be sure to check with a thermometer, as color alone is not a foolproof indicator. Remove steaks and place on a clean plate; allow them to rest approximately 5 minutes before serving.

Grilling

Preheat grill until very hot (about 500 - 550°F). While the grill is heating, season your steaks with salt and pepper (or your favorite seasoning rub). Place steaks on preheated grill – they should sizzle as the cool, raw steak comes in contact with the blazing hot grill.

After a couple minutes, once juices begin to rise to the surface, use tongs to flip your steaks over just one time. Continue grilling steaks to desired doneness (see above). Use an instant-read thermometer for accuracy. Want to impress your guests with your advanced grilling skills? Make professional diamond grill marks by placing your steaks on the grill with the ends at 10 and 4 o’clock. Once the meat has seared, turn them clockwise (but don’t flip them yet), with the ends at 2 and 8 o’clock. After a minute or two, flip the steaks over and cook until they reach the desired doneness.

Sautéing

Sautéing is a cooking process using high heat that quickly browns and sears beef in a small quantity of oil in a skillet. Sautéing is best suited to thin, tender cuts of beef that cook quickly, such as thinly sliced tenderloin steaks or cuts that have been pounded and tenderized. Sautéing requires high heat, so it is best to use an oil that will not burn or smoke at high temperatures such as olive oil, corn oil, or canola oil. Butter can be used, but it burns easily with high heat, so it is best to use it in combination with a bit of oil.

Preheat large sauté pan or frying pan over medium-high heat. Season your steaks with salt and pepper or desired seasonings. Add a small amount of the oil that you have chosen to the pan and heat. When the oil shimmers, use tongs to very gently place the steaks in the pan, without overcrowding. When juices begin to rise to the surface of the meat, about 2-3 minutes, flip the steaks with tongs. Cook steaks another couple minutes and check doneness (see above) with an instant-read thermometer. When the steaks reach 5°F less than the desired doneness remove them from the pan onto a clean serving plate and allow them to rest approximately 5 minutes before serving.

 

Recipe ideas for meatless meals- Tuesday, February 28, 2017

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40-day, six-week period leading up to Easter Sunday. Primarily practiced by Catholics, it’s a time modeled after the 40-day period that Christ spent alone in the desert as he prepared to begin his public life -- the last three years of his short life. It’s a time of reflection and penance where Catholics attempt to look inward and try to consider how they can make changes to live a simpler life of tolerance and loving others.

Part and parcel of participating in Lent is a minor modification to ones eating habits. Ash Wednesday -- and Good Friday three days before, the Day Jesus Christ was crucified -- Catholics fast and eat no meat or foods prepared with meat by-products. Additionally, on the other five Fridays in Lent meat is avoided and a frequent substitute for meat is fish or seafood. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, fish is still an off-limits food but since half of Christ’s apostles were fishermen by trade, it would appear that the fishing lobby had lots of clout in the early church and the Lenten season thus became quite a boom period for the fishing industry.

Since there are still a good number of Catholics in our neighborhood, and also a growing number of people looking for tasty meatless meal solutions, I thought that this would be a good time to consider a few.

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

This is one of the classic preparations of southern Italy. It is associated with the cooking of Naples, but it is popular in the Campanian countryside and Calabria and Sicily, too. Eggplant Parmesan is a casserole dish made by slicing eggplant thinly and frying it in olive oil. Some cooks dip the eggplant slices in batter or egg before frying, some just fry it, and many flour it first and fry it, while others more concerned with making the dish light, will bake or grill the eggplant slices. The eggplant is layered successively in a baking casserole with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, parmigiano cheese, basil, and hard-boiled egg slices. The recipe shown here is an easy to prepare version with minimal cook time and ingredients.

Salmon Patties

If you hail from south of the Mason Dixon line there is a good chance you remember with fondness salmon patties, salmon cakes, or as they are often referred to down south, salmon croquettes. This recipe is extremely easy to make and you can have a delicious meatless meal in about 30 minutes.

Ratatouille

Ratatouille hails from (present day) Nice, France, created by Provencal peasants; it was initially a dish made by poor farmers. The word ratatouille is derived from a French verb meaning “to stir up”.

Stuffed Peppers

No one is certain who first came up with the idea of stuffing sweet peppers. Many folks, however, credit Hungary because that region is famous for raising peppers. Stuffed peppers aren’t actually Hungarian. They came with the Turks and were adopted by Hungarians during the Turkish occupation in the 16 and 17th centuries.

So there are four recipes, all meat-free, and each delicious and healthy as well. Hopefully you can give a few of them a try this Lent. If you enjoy them, let us know.

 

Good eating.

 

Beth