share. The Brookshire's Blog

Product Talk: The Season for Spring’s Sweet Onions


It only takes a bite to realize that not all onions taste the same. There are differences – sometimes subtle but sometimes huge – among yellow, white and red onions. Here are a few of the basic things to remember about which onion you want to choose in your cooking:

White Onions: Milder than the yellow onion, used frequently in Mexican cuisine, not powerful in flavor

Red Onions: Best eaten raw, perfect in salads and sandwiches, cooking will diminish most of the flavor

Yellow Onions: Most popular for cooked dishes, higher sulfur content makes your eyes water, pungent and difficult to enjoy raw

This time of year, sweet yellow onions are coming into play, and I find myself looking for any reason at all to add their delicate flavor to all kinds of recipes! I have been making pots and pots of French Onion Soup right now for this reason alone. Thankfully, my family loves it!

One of my favorite recipes to make right now is a sweet onion dip using Greek yogurt as the base instead of sour cream. Caramelizing the yellow onion mellows and sweetens their flavor even more. Greek yogurt is a bit tangier than sour cream, so if you don’t want this added zing, use half sour cream alongside the yogurt. 

Sweet Onion Dip

Ingredients:
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 Tbs salted butter
2 medium sweet yellow onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 (16 oz) container of plain 2% Greek yogurt
2 tsps light brown sugar
salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
In a large pot, add olive oil and butter over low heat. When melted, add chopped onions, garlic and salt, stirring until all onions are well coated in the oil/butter mixture. Cover the pot and cook for approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then stir in 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and cook 5 minutes, until onions are caramelized. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1 teaspoon of brown sugar.

In a large bowl, combine yogurt and caramelized onions, stirring in additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with potato chips, sweet potato chips, fresh vegetable sticks or pita chips. Also wonderful as a substitute for mayonnaise on hamburgers! Makes 2 cups. Store in refrigerator.



Product Talk: The joy of anticipation


I cannot hear Carly Simon’s song, “Anticipation,” without thinking of ketchup. Heinz ketchup. 

One of the smartest things that the marketing people at Heinz did was to take what could have been a weakness—slow-pouring ketchup—and make it the product’s strength. 

Condiment lovers everywhere began to believe that having to wait for their ketchup must mean it was better than the ones that poured quickly. 

Anticipation seems to make an experience more meaningful, even something as simple as a wonderful meal at your favorite restaurant. In my life, I have found that my good feelings intensify when I have had time to think about and enjoy something before it becomes a reality. 

Think about how you felt on Christmas Eve as a child. The butterflies you felt waiting for your first real kiss with someone you love. Or even just planning dinner and a movie with friends after a long week. 

Who would have guessed that the marketing for Heinz Ketchup would remind me of a truth I hold onto as often as possible: There is great joy to be found in anticipation. 

Busy Day Pork Chops 

Ingredients:
1 cup Heinz ketchup
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
4 thick center-cut pork chops
 

Directions:
Combine ketchup, water, brown sugar, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Place chops in a two-quart glass baking dish and pour sauce over pork chops. Do not cover. Bake at 250°F for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Serve with hot, cooked rice.



Product Talk: A Chili Sauce Worth Crowing About


A few years ago as I was shopping on the Asian aisle at Brookshire’s, a clear squeeze bottle decorated with a bright green top and a rooster on the label caught my eye. I was looking for the usual ingredients to stir-fry for my family that night when I noticed the cool bottle and its unusual name: Sriracha Sauce. You pronounce it “sir-ra-cha,” which comes from the coastal city Si Racha in Thailand.

I’ll try most anything at least once, so I brought the bottle home and thought we would give it a taste. I would be lying if I said it didn’t take some trial and error before I discovered how deliciously addictive this sauce is for me. I now find reasons to add it to everything from burritos and pizza to burgers and Chinese food!

Sriracha Sauce, or “Rooster Sauce” as it is known by its cult-like followers, is basically a puree of sun-ripened chiles, along with a fairly strong garlicky flavor and a little hint of sweetness. It definitely packs some heat, which is why you need to play with it a while to find your sweet spot.

Start with just a little, maybe adding it to your mayonnaise or ketchup to kick them up a notch. It is fantastic mixed with soy sauce for Asian dishes, and I love mixing it with grilling spices to make a wonderful paste for smoking brisket and pork butt. I even add it to my spaghetti sauce, deviled eggs, and Bloody Marys!

The more I have researched Sriracha Sauce, the more I realize that the sauce is the secret ingredient in not only my kitchen, but many popular chefs across the world. There’s even a cookbook out now completely devoted to the sauce.

To help you get started, try this delicious Honey Sriracha Glaze for your favorite grilled meats:

Honey Sriracha Glaze

Ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 to 2 teaspoons Sriracha Sauce



Product Talk: New fresh-made pizza


Another Monday. Back to work, back to school, back to trying to figure out what the heck to feed the family tonight.

Can’t help you with the first two, but I’ve got dinner tonight covered: Introducing our new, take-and-bake Colossal Pizzas.

In family-friendly cheese and pepperoni flavors, these new ready-to-bake pizzas are truly family-sized.

Each oversized pizza can serve up to 8 hungry people – for just $6.99!

These super-sized pizzas are hand-crafted in our store delis, with plenty of toppings on a traditional pan-style crust. (I describe it as a hybrid; it’s not quite as thick as a Chicago-style pan pizza, but thicker than a New York pie.) They bake up hot and fresh in your own oven in about 18-25 minutes. Or, plan ahead, and buy one today for a no-fuss dinner later in the week. (They also freeze well)

Today is the first day these new pizzas will be available in our delis; look for them in the refrigerated deli case in your neighborhood store. And starting Wednesday, you can get an extra-sweet dinner deal: Buy one Colossal Pizza, get a Digiorno Parmesan or Asiago cup for only 99 cents. (That’s a savings of $3.)

So, OK, it’s still Monday. But with dinner plans made, you have one less thing to worry about today.



Product talk: Tomatillos


Tomatillos may look like they’re just little green tomatoes, but that’s not exactly correct. They come from the same family as tomatoes, and their name means “little tomato” in Spanish, but tomatillos have a quite different texture and flavor from a standard-issue tomato. They’re tarter, more acidic, with almost a citrusy taste that you will recognize from some of your favorite Mexican dishes, like enchiladas verdes.

Once available mostly in specialty markets and in Texas, tomatillos are now pretty widely available throughout the U.S., as our taste for authentic Mexican cuisine has grown. (The CDC has even named them veggie of the month for April, through an education program that encourages people to add new and interesting vegetables to their diet.)

Even if you’ve never bought fresh tomatillos, you’ve almost certainly eaten them. They are a main ingredient in green salsas, and their tart, bright flavor goes especially well with sour cream, cheese, tortillas and other creamy or blander foods that cut their acidity. And like tomatoes, they are low in calories and high in nutrition – a whole cup of fresh tomatillos is just 40 calories, but provides 30 percent of your day’s Vitamin C.

To select fresh tomatillos, look for those that are firm to the touch and still have a light brown, fresh, papery husk attached. If the husk is shriveled or looks dry or crumbly, the tomatillo may be past its prime. You will need to remove the husk before using, but if you are storing them for a few days, leave the husk on, and keep them on the counter or in the fridge’s vegetable drawer.

This is a classic tomatillo salsa. Serve it alone with chips or as a taco or burrito sauce. Or you can cut it with sour cream and use it in place of your favorite enchilada sauce for green chicken enchiladas.

Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients:
6 cups tomatillos, whole (about two pounds)
3 cups onions, roughly chopped (about 1.5 pounds)
3 jalapeno peppers, whole
6 cloves garlic
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
Place tomatillos, onions, jalapenos and garlic in a large pot with enough water to cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer 5 minutes. Drain and place on a sheet pan and put in refrigerator to cool.

When mixture has cooled, place in blender along with cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper, and pulse to combine. Slowly add lime juice, a little bit at a time, until the desired acidity level is reached.  Taste and add additional salt if desired.

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Product Talk: Picnic Fried Chicken Gets a Makeover


It’s amazing how much weather affects our feelings. I don’t know how people in places like Buffalo or Chicago survive their winters, rarely glimpsing the sunshine or enjoying outdoor fun several months of the year. 

I love the fact that in our part of the country it’s not unusual to be in shorts in the middle of January, and by March, my kids are ready to swim. 

One of the first things we like to do when the sun hits the sky is to eat outdoors as much as possible. We might pack a picnic for the lake or simply sit on the patio with friends and enjoy the first blue skies and gentle breezes of spring. 

I grew up in a time when warm-weather picnics meant fried chicken – no questions asked…but these days, fried food is not something I want to feed my family very often. We still have my cast-iron, buttermilk-brined fried chicken every now and then in the summertime during fried okra season, but otherwise, I have tried to find healthier ways to enjoy the crunch and juiciness of good ol’ picnic fried chicken. 

This fried chicken recipe is actually baked, but you won’t miss a thing. It’s the perfect recipe when you have half a bag of corn chips left in the pantry and need to use them before they get stale. Don’t leave out the cumin and chili powder…you’ll love the flavor and aroma. 

And just like the real deal, these drumsticks are also delicious the next morning when you open the fridge looking for that one piece of leftover cold fried chicken, although from experience, I can tell you that you might want to double the recipe if you’re planning on enjoying any leftovers. 

Tortilla Chip Crusted Chicken Drumsticks 

Ingredients: 
8 ounces corn tortilla chips
4 teaspoons chili powder, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 pounds chicken drumsticks (about 6) 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place corn chips, 2 teaspoons chili powder, cumin and salt in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground, then transfer to a shallow dish. Whisk egg and remaining 2 teaspoons of chili powder together in a bowl big enough to hold one drumstick. Dip drumsticks in egg and allow excess to drip back into the bowl. Coat with crumbs, turning and pressing crumbs to help them stick. Place on baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about 40 minutes. Easily doubled.



Product Talk: Expanding K cup choices


When those single-serve coffeemakers first came out, everybody loved their convenience and the fact that you could brew a single, gourmet, coffeehouse-quality cup in just seconds. The only drawback?  A somewhat limited selection of flavors available in the K-Cup capsules made for these systems.

But that has changed. We now carry nearly 20 different kinds of K-Cups that work in your single-serve system. And we don’t just have coffee – now you can also get tea and cocoa, in those same convenient little pods.

This has changed because Keurig, the company behind the popular single-serve brewing systems, has begun licensing that technology to other manufacturers. That has opened the door to other companies,  including Folger’s and Starbucks, both of which now create their own K-Cups.

The selection is likely to grow even more in the near future, because the patent on the K-Cups is due to expire later this year.

In the meantime, I totally understand why these systems have gotten so popular. No beans to grind or scoop; no mess to clean up. You don’t end up with more coffee than you’ll drink, or have to settle for warmed-over coffee that was left in the pot. You get one, perfect, fresh cup every time. One more thing: Because you’re brewing it yourself at home or in the office, it’s just a fraction of what you’d pay for a similar quality cup in a restaurant or a coffee shop.

If you’ve been on the fence about investing in a single-serve brewer, the new, wider selection of beverages may just win you over. For instance, we stock both black tea and green tea pods,  Green Mountain Coffee chai latte, Newman’s Own special blend coffee, and Folger’s Gourmet Caramel Drizzle.  Recently, we started carrying three new K-Cups from Starbucks – Sumatra, House Blend, and French roast.

All of these work exactly the same as the K-Cups you’ve been using: Put in a pod, push a button, and seconds later, enjoy your personal hot beverage. It’s a sure way to start – or end – a day on a good note.

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Product Talk: A cook’s best friend – Buttermilk


I grew up in the Deep South in a time and place where all tea was sweet and all sodas were called “co-colas.” I can also remember my grandmother’s answer every time I asked her for a glass of milk: “Butter or sweet?” 

And as stereotypical as it sounds, it really wasn’t unusual for us to sit on her screened porch and enjoy a glass of cold buttermilk – maybe even with some leftover cornbread or biscuits crumbled in it as well.  

I don’t know when I grew out of the habit of enjoying buttermilk as a beverage, but I’m guessing it was probably around the time chocolate milk hit the market. Suddenly buttermilk was nothing but sour! 

Thankfully, I never gave up my appreciation for buttermilk as one of the most versatile ingredients in my cooking. From brining to baking and all points between, buttermilk adds a dimension of flavor you just can’t get from “sweet” milk. 

I hope you’re already familiar with how delicious buttermilk is in biscuits and pancakes, and I really hope you’ve discovered the heaven on earth known as buttermilk pie. But next time you’re cooking, think about choosing buttermilk instead of milk in your mashed potatoes, homemade salad dressings, blueberry muffins, and even your chocolate sheet cake icing. 

And just like my grandmother taught me, I always use buttermilk to soak my chicken breasts and chicken fried steak before dipping them in flour and frying them in the cast-iron pan she left to me when she passed away. 

Brookshire’s Southwest Dairy makes the Food Club buttermilk you can find in our stores. Our churns may be a bit bigger than the old days, but the taste and quality is as good as it gets. From savory to sweet, our buttermilk’s slightly tangy flavor has been the secret best friend for generations of cooks  ̶  and doting grandmothers  ̶  across the south. 

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes 

Ingredients:
3 large or 5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, halved, and cut into chunks
2 teaspoons salt, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
2/3 cup Food Club buttermilk, warmed
2 green onions, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper 

Directions:
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are pierced easily with a fork, about 20 minutes. Do not overcook.

Drain, reserving about a 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Using a potato ricer, gently press the potatoes over a large bowl. (If you don’t have a potato ricer, use a sieve and wooden spoon. For best results, don’t use an electric mixer.) Mix in butter, 1 teaspoon salt, buttermilk and green onions and gently stir to blend. Add a tablespoon or 2 of cooking liquid if necessary to obtain desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.



Product Talk: Atlantic salmon


Scared of cooking salmon at home? Don’t be. With our precise instructions, anybody who can set a timer can sear salmon like a pro.

Salmon is a popular fish for a reason – it’s meaty, tasty AND heart-healthy. (It’s full of those Omega-3 fats we’re all supposed to be eating.) And yet it’s one of the easiest, most forgiving fish to grill, sauté or sear.

With this precisely timed recipe, all the salmon needs is a few minutes in a hot pan, plus a squirt of lemon juice or a sprinkle of fresh herbs to “finish” it if you desire.  Serve with a side of rice and a green vegetable for a heart-healthy meal worthy of a restaurant chef, but at affordable, cook-at-home prices.

PAN-SEARED SALMON

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 salmon fillets (skin-on), each about 6 ounces and 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick
Salt and ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Heat a 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet for 3 minutes over high heat. Sprinkle salmon with salt and ground black pepper.

2. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. When oil shimmers (but does not smoke) add fillets skin side down and cook, without moving fillets, until pan regains lost heat, about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-high; continue to cook until skin side is well browned and bottom half of fillets turns opaque, 4 1/2 minutes. Turn fillets and cook, without moving them, until they are no longer translucent on the exterior and are firm, but not hard, when gently squeezed: 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium. Remove fillets from pan; let stand 1 minute. Pat with paper towel to absorb excess fat on surface, if desired. Serve immediately.



Product Talk: Don’t tap out with Kona Deep


Brookshire’s has a new bottled water on our shelves, Kona Deep.  And this water has a cool story behind it. In fact, it’s an ice cold one.

Kona Deep is natural glacial water found 3000 feet below the earth’s surface off the Kona coast in Hawaii. You might be thinking that Hawaii doesn’t have any glaciers, and you’re right. Kona Deep’s water is part of a glacier that sank off the coast of Greenland more than 1000 years ago. A natural undersea current brings it to Hawaii, fresh and flowing all the time.

What makes Kona Deep different from the other bottled waters crowding the market is that no other water offers such a rich source of natural electrolytes, minerals and nutrients. The water picks up significant levels of these electrolytes and minerals as it travels deep under the sea.

My first question when I heard about Kona Deep was, “Isn’t sea water going to taste salty?” But Kona Deep does not. For all of your science buffs, Kona Deep runs through a desalination process and uses reverse osmosis to remove the salt without losing any of the benefits. For all of you like me, you just need to know Kona Deep’s taste is pristine, almost sweet in its purity. It’s perfect to drink alone, and it also makes my morning coffee taste even better.

And for all of you CrossFit athletes out there, you might be interested to know Kona Deep was the presenting sponsor for this year’s Fittest Games in Austin, Texas.

Kona Deep is available now in all Brookshire’s Stores. Look for the cool blue bottle.

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The products mentioned in “Share, the Brookshire’s Blog” are sold by Brookshire Grocery Company, DBA Brookshire’s . Some products may be mentioned as part of a relationship between its manufacturer and Brookshire’s.

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