share. The Brookshire's Blog

Shop the Sale: Pita Pal Hummus


Our buy-one, get-one offer this week on Pita Pal hummus is really outstanding: You’ll be supporting a Texas company that makes its products from scratch. You’re getting a super deal. (Just $3.99 for the first container, and the second one I And, oh, yeah, this is terrific hummus, too.

Pita Pal hummus is so good because of the way they make the Mediterranean-style chickpea dip. They use all natural ingredients, and avoid genetically modified ingredients, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial colors and artificial flavors.

Plus, the natural creaminess of this hummus comes primarily from tahini, a sauce/dressing made from ground sesame seeds. The only oil used is a small dollop of extra-virgin olive oil, placed on top of each carton as a natural garnish.

That means on average, Pita Pal hummus has less fat and calories than many other commercially prepared hummus spreads, and most other types of dip.

A two-tablespoon serving of the original flavor has 60 calories, two grams of fiber and three grams of fat. Let’s see your regular dip compare to that. (Actually, we’ll do it for you: A similar amount of sour-cream based onion dip has 100 calories, 7 grams of fat, just 1 gram of fiber, and more sodium, to boot.)

For this BOGO offer, you have five flavors to choose from: Original; Jalapeno Cilantro; Roasted Garlic: Sesame Pine Nut; and Spicy Red Pepper.

Serve your favorite flavor with pita bread, bagel chips, pita chips, or your favorite kind of chips or crackers. It’s also a good addition to wrap sandwiches, in place of mayonnaise or dressing.

One last note: As a Texan-owned company, creating its products in Houston, this company is part of the Go Texan program, run by the Texas Department of Agriculture. So you’ll be supporting a regional business that honors the agricultural traditions of the South. 

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Shop the Sale: Apples galore


It may be almost Christmas, but apple season is still in full swing, and we’re still bringing in the best of the fall’s crop.

Just in time for last-minute baking or stocking stuffers, we’re offering special prices this week on some of our most popular varieties.

There’s an apple to suit every taste among this selection:

Jonagold: A cross between the Jonathan and the Golden Delicious, this apple carries the best traits of both its “parents:” It’s big like the Golden Delicious, but has a nicely tart flavor and crisp texture like the Jonathan. Particularly good in applesauce, but they also make a fine pie.

Gala: Originally developed in New Zealand, these are firm, crisp apples with a lot of juice and a flavor that’s on the sweet side of sweet-tart. To me, these are best eaten fresh, or made into a Waldorf salad with grapes, walnuts and a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing.

Ambrosia: These are very sweet, firm apples which are not as acidic as many other varieties, so children often particularly enjoy these. A good all-around apple for snacking, baking or cooking.

Pink Lady: Thought to be a cross between the old favorite Golden Delicious and a Lady William, an apple popular in Australia but not in the United States, this is the brand name for a variety also known as Cripps Pink. The Pink Lady is more sweet than tart, but juicy and very firm. They’re best eaten out of hand or tossed into a salad, but they make a perfectly respectable pie.



Shop the Sale: Perfect Poinsettias


Except for the Christmas tree, no plant says “Christmas” like the poinsettia. Bred to bloom best throughout December, the brilliant red plant is a perfect centerpiece, looks great next to the Christmas tree or on a holiday buffet, and makes an easy seasonal  hostess gift for neighbors and friends.  (And, hey, they’re on sale starting today, two for just $12 – so you can make a splash with a whole display of them, or buy one for yourself, one for a gift.)

There’s a wonderful Mexican legend about how the poinsettia first became associated with Christmas. According to the story, a poor girl was on her way to church on Christmas Eve, but had no money for a gift or offering. She gathered some tropical weeds and fashioned them into a bouquet. When she laid them at the feet of the baby Jesus inside the church, the branches supposedly burst into the brilliant red we now associate with the poinsettia. To this day, the poinsettia is known as the flor de noche buena in Mexico – Spanish for  “Christmas Eve flower.”

What else do you need to know about the poinsettia?

  1. They’re not poisonous after all. For years, you’ve probably heard that poinsettias can be deadly to children and pets. Not true. Ohio State University researchers actually disproved this as far back as the early ‘70s, but the myth kept getting repeated, possibly because some plants related to poinsettias ARE poisonous. Yes, a small dog who eats an entire poinsettia could end up sick to its stomach, and may vomit, and a child who nibbles on a leaf may get an upset stomach, but that’s true of many plants. However, it’s unlikely even an animal would eat more than a leaf or two; they’re bitter and inedible to humans and animals alike.
  2. They don’t like the cold. The poinsettia is native to Mexico and Central America, so it thrives in warmer, slightly humid temperatures. Some of the traditional spots to showcase poinsettias, including the hearth and on windowsills, actually may cause them to drop leaves or wither, as poinsettias do not like drafty, cool places. They’ll do best if you don’t let temperatures drop below 65 degrees.
  3. Don’t overwater. A poinsettia needs water only when the soil is actually dry to the touch. If the air in your home is warm and dry, that may mean every few days. Don’t let it rest in standing water, either. In between waterings, you may want to mist poinsettias briefly with plain water, to keep the air moist and humid.
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Shop the Sale: Hass Avocados


Hass avocados are the Mercedes of avocados – beautiful  and consistently high-quality. But they’re also an affordable luxury, especially this week, as we’ve just started a special 5-for-$5 deal on large Hass avocados in our produce sections.

These avocados are highly recognizable because of their dark green, pebbly skin, sometimes with a deep purple or blackish tinge. But the color of the rind isn’t the best way to choose them, according to the experts at the Hass Avocado Board.

Instead, you should gently squeeze the avocado in the palm of your hand, without using your fingertips (to avoid bruising the fruit), to determine if it will be ready when you are. (You don’t want the disappointment of bringing home a bunch of beautiful avocados and realizing they haven’t ripened enough for the guacamole you planned for supper!) Here’s their guide to choosing:

Firm avocados: If the avocado will not yield at all to gentle pressure, they’re not ready to eat. They will ripen at room temperature in up to four-five days, so buy these if you’re not planning to eat right away.

“Breaking” avocados: Avocado isn’t rock hard, but doesn’t quite yield to gentle pressure. These will be ready to eat in two or three days.

Ripe avocados: These yield to gentle pressure, but don’t feel too mushy or soft. You can eat these right away. Store them in the fridge to keep them from softening too much.

Hass avocados make great fresh guacamole, of course, but there’s so much else you can do with fresh avocados. Make a BLA sandwich – bacon, lettuce, and slices of creamy avocado.  Puree them into soup or salad dressing. Make a chunky pico de gallo for fish or shrimp, or just to serve with chips.

Or try this recipe for an out-of-the ordinary vegetable dish, an interesting side dish idea for the holidays, from the Hass Avocado Board. (They have lots of other recipes, which you can find here. (hyperlink to http://www.avocadocentral.com/avocado-recipes)

Holiday Vegetable and Hass Avocado Saute

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 1/2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1/2 large shallot, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
3 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 ripe fresh Hass avocado, seeded, peeled and cut into chunks (about 8 ounces)

Directions:
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, shallot and thyme, sauté for 3 minutes.

Mix in zucchini, bell pepper and lemon peel, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Lower heat and cover, cooking for 3 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice with avocado. Add to skillet and gently mix. Cook for 2 minutes to allow flavors to blend.



Shop the sale: Brookshire’s Best Angus chuck roast


If you’ve never tried our Brookshire’s Best Angus beef, this is the week to treat yourself. We’ve got our Brookshire’s Best Angus chuck roast on special starting today.

Angus cattle are often called the Cadillac of the beef world, and the nickname actually makes a lot of sense:  Raised with careful quality control, American-ranched Angus cattle produce superior cuts of tender, juicy beef. It’s considered some of the best in the business.

And our Brookshire’s Best Angus beef is the best of the best. We select only the highest-quality Angus beef for this program, so you are guaranteed a consistently tender, delicious cut.

What makes Angus such good beef?

It starts with genetics. American ranchers have been raising Angus cattle for more than 100 years, after the first Angus were brought here from their native Scotland in the 1870s. These Angus cattle have been bred to produce beef that is finely marbled, meaning the fat is well-distributed throughout the muscle, so that the meat cooks up juicy and tender.

And it continues through production and selection. The Angus beef we choose for our Brookshire’s Best line comes from ranches following high standards of feeding and care, so that their beef is consistently of the highest quality.

Finally, this beef is hand-cut, the old-fashioned way.

It all adds up to a cut of beef that’s not just good; it’s seriously good.



Shop the sale: Community Coffee


If you’re a fan of good coffee, you probably already know Community® Coffee, now on sale at Brookshire’s, just in time to let you stock up for holiday guests. The Louisiana-based brand, sold in the familiar red packages, roasts only the highest-quality Arabica beans, so the bright, smooth flavor of the coffee really shines through.

But you may not know the rich tradition behind this business – still family-owned after more than 90 years. 

Community Coffee traces its beginnings to 1919, when founder Henry Norman “Cap”  Saurage began brewing coffee in his country store on the edge of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He bought beans from local roasters but mixed them according to his tastes, creating an exceptionally smooth, flavorful blend.

Soon, the coffee became more popular than the groceries, and in 1924, Cap went into the coffee business full-time, turning a backyard barn into a coffee mill. He called his coffee  “Community” because of the support he received from his beloved neighborhood.

From there, business boomed. In the early 1940s, Community Coffee began roasting its own beans, and by 1955, it began importing green coffee beans from coffee plantations in South America – ensuring that its high standards of quality would be upheld from point of origin to the consumer’s coffee cup. And the company has continued to innovate. They were the first U.S. coffee company to introduce the now-ubiquitous vacuum-sealed coffee package, way back in 1980. And, going back to their roots, they launched their first coffeehouse, CC’s Community Coffee House®, in 1995. 

With all of its flavors and roasts, Community Coffee continues to follow the vision it embraced for itself nearly a century ago: Make the best coffee possible, and share it with consumers. That’s why they use only the highest-quality Arabica beans. Grown at higher altitudes, Arabica beans are more flavorful and contain less caffeine than the lower-quality Robusta beans, which are used in many other commercial grades of coffee.

The fourth generation of the Saurage family now owns and operates Community Coffee, so popular that it’s unofficially called the state coffee of Louisiana. Since they know a little something about food and drink in Louisiana, I think that’s a pretty big honor.

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Shop the sale: Bake-at-home breads


Warm, fresh-from-the-oven bread is a sure way to turn an everyday meal into something special.

But who has time to bake their own bread, especially on a weeknight and with the holiday season right around the corner?

Our Tasty Bakery tear & share breads – on sale starting today – are the easy answer.  These breads are as good as you’d get in an upscale bakery or a specialty restaurant, but they’re designed for you to finish off in just minutes in your own oven.

Available in cheese and garlic & herb varieties, our tear & share breads come in their own disposable, bakeable tray, so you don’t even have a baking dish to wash. Just remove the wrapper and pop them in a hot oven for 8-10 minutes; then serve in a bread basket and let guests simply pull apart their portion at the table. They’re perfect alongside pasta, meat, fish or chicken.

You can also try our Tasty Bakery flat breads, available in garlic and herb, sweet tomato and cheese, and basil pesto. These are sold fully baked, but they’re best reheated for 8-10 minutes in a hot oven. Serve with soup or salad, make them into an Italian Panini with salami, ham and cheese, or even use them as personal pizza crusts. (The sweet tomato and cheese is especially good as a pizza.)

All these breads are all-natural, vegetarian-friendly, and contain no trans-fat. Just like you’d bake them yourself – if you only had a few extra hours in your day.



Shop the Sale: Texas grapefruit


Everything is bigger and better in Texas – even the grapefruit.

I’m talking of course, about Texas Rio Star grapefruit, which are just now coming into their peak season, and which you’ll find on sale starting today at Brookshire’s.

To me, Rio Star grapefruit are just better than other kinds out there. The deep-red flesh is sweeter and juicier than the typical pink or white grapefruit from other parts of the country. Much of that is because these grapefruit have been bred to have a high sugar-to-acid ratio, but it also is due to the way they are handled. They are allowed to ripen on the trees down in south Texas, and then picked at peak freshness and rushed to the store.

You probably eat grapefruit by themselves, or maybe squeezed into juice, but this Vietnamese-inspired salad is a really interesting fusion of sweet, spicy, savory and tart, all in one refreshing salad. 

Fish sauce and chili sambal are available in the Asian section in many larger stores. You can substitute the more common Sriracha sauce (commonly known as rooster sauce) for the chili sambal, but it will not be quite as hot. You can skip the fish sauce entirely, if you want, but the salad won’t be as complex or interesting without it.  If you skip the fish sauce, you may need to add a bit of salt to taste, as fish sauce is quite salty.

Vietnamese Style Grapefruit Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients:
2 large grapefruit
1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 medium size carrot, cut into matchsticks
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped, roasted peanuts 

Dressing
Ingredients:
2 Tbs Fish sauce
1 1/2 Tbs lime juice, fresh-squeezed
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp chili sambal 

Directions:
Section and clean grapefruits.

In a large bowl, toss cucumber strips with salt. Set aside for 20 minutes to allow the salt to draw out excess water.

Mix together the ingredients for the dressing.

Place a small sauté pan on medium high heat and cook the shallots and garlic until shallots are caramelized, about 3 minutes, don’t burn.

Drain any excess water from cucumber and mix with carrots, caramelized shallots and garlic.

Add the mint, chopped peanuts, and dressing and toss well. Transfer to a plate or large bowl and serve.



Shop the sale: Chili fixins’


No food says “fall” quite like chili. So this week, we’re making it easy for you to whip up a warm, comforting chili supper. We’ve got all the fixins’ on sale this week at your neighborhood Brookshires – including chili meat, Food Club canned tomatoes, Jiffy corn bread mix, and two famous chili kits that make it easy to make a great pot of chili.

Both of these kits  – Wick Fowler’s Two-Alarm Chili Kit and Carroll Shelby’s Original Texas Chili Kit – contain all the pre-measured spices you need, and let you make it as hot or mild as you dare. They both make a darned good pot of chili. And both kits have a pretty good story attached.

Wick Fowler’s Two-Alarm Chili Kit: The late Wick Fowler was a distinguished Texas newspaperman – he was a foreign correspondent during World War II  – but he became most famous for his chili and the chili-cooking competition he helped found in West Texas.

Back in the 1960s, Texas newspaper columnist Frank Tolbert began writing frequently about Texas chili and founded something called the Chili Appreciation Society. Fowler, quite the chili cook, joined the cause, and in 1967 he competed in the first World Championship Chili Cookoff in Terlingua  in far west Texas.  His recipe is now reproduced in the seasoning kit sold under Fowler’s name.

The Terlingua chili cookoff was mostly a goof by Fowler, Tolbert and friends, but it had staying power. Now called the Original Terlingua International Frank X. Tolbert – Wick Fowler Championship Chili Cookoff, it celebrates its 45th year in November, and has even spawned a second “world championship” chili cookoff in the ghost town of Terlingua. More than 10,000 chiliheads usually attend.

Carroll Shelby’s Original Texas Chili Kit: To most people, Shelby is known for his career as a car designer and driver – he created the classic ‘60s muscle car that’s now known to collectors as the Shelby Mustang. But the native Texan had a lesser-known hobby  of cooking chili.

He helped Fowler, Tolbert and other friends launch the first Terlingua championship, and later turned his own recipe into the kit that bears his name today. The company has since been sold, however, and Shelby is no longer associated with it personally. Still, the easy-to-use kit makes a nice, spicy bowl of red.



Shop the sale: Ribs, ribs, ribs


The secret to great ribs is time. You have to let the ribs marinate in the sauce, so they absorb deep flavor, and you have to be patient cooking them, a long time at a lower temperature, so they get fall-off-the-bone tender.

Especially this time of year, the easiest way to cook them is in the oven. Even if you’re a rib purist, and think you can’t make ribs without putting them in the smoker, I think you’ll like this recipe, and the ease of this technique. It requires very little work once you put them in the oven, produces a nice tender rib, and gets a wonderful spicy/smoky flavor from the chipotles.

Any of the three types of ribs on sale this week at Brookshire’s – St. Louis-style pork ribs, medium pork spareribs, or pork baby back ribs- would work in this recipe, but I’d probably pick the St. Louis-style ribs. “St. Louis-style” ribs just means that the tips, which can be gristly anyway, have been cut away, leaving a nice, flat, rectangular slab that will fit nicely in a roasting pan.

Oven BBQ’d Ribs

Serves 8

Ingredient:
2 tablespoons  vegetable oil
1/2  yellow onion, chopped fine
2 cloves  garlic, minced
1 3/4 cups  ketchup
3/4 cup chipotles, canned
1 cup   molasses
1/3 cup  sugar
8-10 pounds ribs (about two St. Louis style rib racks, each cut in half, or about four baby-back rib racks)
Kosher salt, to taste

Directions:

Heat the oil in medium saucepan on medium-high, and add the onion and garlic. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the ribs; turn heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Put the ribs and the sauce in a large plastic sealable bag, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove ribs from bag and reserve liquid and set aside. Season ribs with salt. Arrange the ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, bring the barbecue sauce to a boil in a pot on the stove. Boil for 3 minutes, and set aside.

Uncover the ribs, turn them over, and bake an additional 30 minutes. Brush with barbecue sauce on both sides, and serve hot.



Copyright © 2010-2014, Brookshire’s. All rights reserved.
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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