Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

Posts tagged “Nugget Markets

Valentine’s Day Our Way

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We had a wonderful Valentine’s Day this past weekend. Andy and I decided to stay in and cook for each other instead of battling the landmine of multi-course (no substitution) wheat, sugar and dairy heavy pre-fixe menus arranged by local restaurants.

And deciding to avoid the crowd and the high cost of dining out (both to the wallet and to our waistlines) it turned out to be a great decision, because I had one of the most fun Valentine’s in years. 🙂

We decided we would each make one dish (paired with a wine) for the other person, and then eat them together family style.

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I made this Chicken Korma for Andy, with a 4-ingredient gluten and dairy free naan to eat with it.

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Andy made me one of my favorite things that he makes a few other times a year: Eggplant Moussaka. He uses the Primal recipe that can be found here at Mark’s Daily Apple.

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I bought the ingredients for the Chicken Korma dish at Nugget Markets, and the rest of the ingredients needed to complete our dessert, a Black Bean Brownie mix I was sent by Breads from Anna.

BlackBeanBrownie

The gluten free mix contains powdered honey, cocoa powder, tapioca starch, arrowroot, millet flour, chia flour, chickpea flour, navy bean flour, pinto bean flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, sea salt, xanthan gum, so I was pretty happy to make it. All I did was add some coconut oil, a cup of coffee, and a can of organic black beans (following the package intructions).

I baked them in a cupcake pan (because portion control, baby!) and when they came out, I poked holes in the top and drenched each one with Kahlua. Kahlua makes everything taste better. 🙂

Then I frosted them with melted semisweet chocolate, and decorated them with coconut manna that I had melted a bit and sweetened with stevia (and colored with a few drops of food coloring to make it pink).

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I made this candle holder for the table to sit out on every anniversary or Valentine’s Day. It’s made from 36 corks from bottles of red wines we have enjoyed together over the past three and a half years.

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I made it with a glass plate, glue gun and ribbon for less than $10, including the candle. 🙂

This blog entry would be incomplete if I didn’t mention the wines we drank with dinner!

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To start things off right, we toasted with a glass of Ayala Champagne. Because you should drink Champagne and not sparkling wine on Valentine’s Day! 😉

The next wine to the right is a Riesling made by Gainey. You can find their current release of Riesling here. The 2004 on the bottle worried me slightly, as I thought it might have been over-the-hill, but it still tasted great and was a perfect match for the Chicken Korma.

Then, with the Eggplant Moussaka, we drank a 2011 Stag’s Leap Petite Sirah (one of Andy’s favorite wines I had bought for him for Christmas). I would say this Petite Sirah is for you if you think you don’t like that particular varietal—because Stag’s Leap makes theirs so…velvety, soft and sophisticated.

You can find Breads from Anna on Facebook here, and on Twitter here.

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Thanks again to Nugget Markets for sponsoring our stay-at-home Valentine’s celebration. You can find them on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

valentines spread

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Salmon with Hazelnut Shallot Butter and a Cauliflower Sweet Potato Mash

I love September and October in Sacramento. There are so many fun events to celebrate Farm-to-Fork and harvest time. There’s an intoxicating energy all around. The wineries are busy harvesting their grapes and there gets to be a little chill in the air in the mornings and when the sun goes down.

Though the Farm-to-Fork celebration has officially come to a close, it’s certainly not over. So many local restaurants and grocery stores have adopted this theme, and it’s exciting to see the concept take off locally just in the past two years. (Even though Alice Waters was practicing Farm-to-Table 40 years ago!! and Sacramento is not doing anything new.) 😉

I know that ever since I went Paleo (3 ½ years ago), I have made it a point to eat non-processed, local and organic foods when at all possible. I was extremely blessed to meet a partner who had adopted the same healthy eating habits as me and we have continued to be Paleo/Primal in the three years since.

We have made some incredible Paleo meals together with the best ingredients from two of my sponsors: Nugget Market and Whole Foods. We have also used other purveyors: Taylor’s Market and Sunh Fish for our meats and fish.

This Salmon dish is only an example of the kinds of things we prepare on a weekly basis. There is almost always something this special, so many times, it is more tempting to stay in than to eat in a restaurant. Don’t even get me started on all the eclectic wine that we have to pair up with whatever we make. 😉

The recipe was adapted from the Salmon Hazelnut Recipe from the book It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. The cauliflower and sweet potato mash was done on a whim and is all my own.

I hope you continue to practice Farm-to-Fork/Farm-to-Table at your house and when dining out beyond this month and celebrate this incredible agricultural paradise we are lucky enough to call home. 🙂

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The star of this recipe is the compound butter that tops the salmon after it has been baked. You can use all or some of it, but we had a lot left over (even after using 1/2 of it on 20 ounces of salmon).
Make the compound butter ahead of time (recipe below) and use the freezer to re-solidify it if you happen to be short on time.

For the salmon

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp melted butter
salt and pepper to season
20 ounces wild-salmon (it was easier for us to portion after cooking)

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 400.  Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with salt.  Place salmon in the middle, skin side down. Brush salmon with melted butter and season again.

Place salmon in oven and roast it about 10 min. Be careful not to overcook. To serve, portion your filets and top each with slices of hazelnut butter and additional toasted hazelnuts.

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Hazelnut compound butter

Ingredients:
1/2 stick of butter
4 Tbsp hazelnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 small shallot and 1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, finely minced

Procedure:
Toast hazelnuts over medium heat until golden, then set aside to cool.
Sauté shallot and garlic in 1 Tbs of melted butter until shallot is translucent. Remove from heat.
Then add shallot mixture to the toasted hazelnuts, along with the remaining butter, thyme, and some salt and pepper.
Place mixture into the freezer for about 10-20 minutes.

Then place a large piece of plastic wrap on flat surface and transfer the butter mixture (after it has set up a little in the freezer) to the center of plastic. Form a log shape like above. Wrap tightly in the plastic and chill until solid. This will take 2 hours in the refrigerator, or about 45 minutes in the freezer.

salad
Spinach salad with red and yellow bell peppers, avocado, mushrooms, and salami from Taylor’s Market.

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For the Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Mash

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower (cut into small pieces)
1 large white sweet potato (cubed)
1 shallot
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs chopped garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
Salt to taste

Procedure:
Cook cauliflower and sweet potato in boiling water until fork tender. Drain water and set aside.
Chop shallot into thin slices and sauté in melted butter in a small pan. Add the garlic. Cook until shallot is translucent.
Place cooked cauliflower and potato into a food processor with the shallot mixture.
Add the garlic powder and chicken stock and pulse until completely smooth. Season to taste.

 

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Last but certainly not least was the wine pairing. A 2010 reserve Pinot Noir from one of our favorite (and super local) wineries, BellaGrace Vineyards. The grapes are sourced from Sangiacomo Vineyards in Carneros. It is a fairly ripe Pinot Noir, but with the distinctive strawberry flavors unique to the region. The wine is fairly acidic, which perfectly compliments the fatty characteristics of Pacific salmon.

You can find BellaGrace Vineyards on Facebook here or visit them in person at the winery (complete with a cave cellar) at 22715 Upton Rd in Plymouth from 11:00am to 4:00pm,  Fri-Sun. They also have a tasting room in Sutter Creek (73 Main St, Sutter Creek) open from 11am-5pm daily.

Cheers! 🙂


Trick or Treat? Treat!! Four-Ingredient Hazelnut Butter Cups (sponsored by Nugget Markets)

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Hey you! Yes, I’m talking to you. You’re the one who bought the institution-sized bag of Halloween candy “for the neighborhood kids”… Like, back sometime near Labor Day. Yes, and I know you put it away in the pantry for safe keeping. Hmmm, but somehow it seems to have all disappeared.

I’m not going to judge you. I like treats myself. The only difference is that I would never buy name brand candy. When I reward myself with a treat, I prefer to know what’s actually in it, and I prefer it to be non-poisonous. I used to really dig Reese ‘s Peanut Butter Cups until I found out how much sugar and other crap are in them…and that they are GMO–Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, corn syrup solids, soy lecithin, PGPR) peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, TBHQ. Thus, making them COMPLETELY un-Paleo friendly.

So now I compromise with hazelnut butter cups. You’ve heard of Nutella, right? Well this is about the same thing with way less sugar and all the flavor.

Thanks to Nugget Market for supplying the ingredients.

Hazelnut Butter:
2 cups toasted organic hazelnuts (skins removed)
2 Tbs raw honey
2 Tbs organic coconut oil

    Place all ingredients in a food processor and grind until the mixture becomes a paste. Set aside.

    Chocolate:
    16 oz box E. Guittard Bittersweet Chocolate 72% Cacao Disc Wafers (Melted)

    You’ll also need mini cupcake liners, a mini cupcake pan, and some non-stick cooking spray. 

    1. Place the liners in the pan and spray them with some non-stick cooking spray.
    2. Then pour the melted chocolate in the liners until filled 1/3 full.
    3. Take a small spoonful of the hazelnut butter mixture and form in into a small ball.
    4. Drop it into the 1/3 full liner of chocolate. Repeat for each candy.
    5. Set the pan in the freezer for 5 minutes to set the chocolate and filling.
    6. When filling is set, cover the rest of each candy with more melted chocolate. Repeat for each candy.
    7. Return the pan to the freezer to set all the hazelnut butter cups.

    Here’s what they look like when you cut them open! 🙂 Happy Halloween, friends!! 🙂
    You can find all the ingredients in this recipe at Nugget Market.
    You can find Nugget Market on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here!

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    Valentine’s Day Gift Roundup!

    Hello, Sweethearts! I have compiled a few Valentine-themed events & gift ideas that l find lovely and delightful, and I would like to pass them on to you!

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    DRINK

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    Casque Wines
    and Cupid have teamed up to create the perfect gift for your special someone.  They teamed up with Chef Joe at the Flower Farm Cafe who is busy baking and decorating these delicious (and beautiful) Cake-Pops.  They paired them with some of our favorite wines and added a couple of stemmed glasses for the perfect gift!This Friday, Saturday and Sunday (February 8-10), they will be offering the following special: 2 Cake-Pops, 2 Stemmed Casque Glasses, and Bottle of your Choice ~  Sauvignon Blanc, Calotte Blanc or Vermentino for only $28. The Cake-Pops will also be available individually for $1.50 each. Stop by this weekend for some Cake-Pops and Casque!
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    smirnoff
    With the perfect mix of scrumptious, decadent flavor, SMIRNOFF Kissed Caramel Flavored Vodka possesses a seductive aroma to complement its smooth caramel flavor while its counterpart, SMIRNOFF Iced Cake Flavored Vodka, offers a light, sweet aroma met with a refreshing, smooth iced cake flavor.These luscious and tastefully satisfying new flavors from the world’s #1 premium vodka are sure to add a nice touch of sweet romance to anyone’s Valentine’s Day.
    Here’s a drink recipe featuring the Smirnoff Iced Cake vodka:
    CUPID’S KISS: ½ oz. Smirnoff Iced Cake, ½ oz. Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, ½ oz. Chambord. Directions: Add ingredient in a shaker with ice, shake and pour into martini
    glass. Add white chocolate to rim.
    Andy, will you have that ready for me when I get home from work on Thursday? 😛
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    He loves me, he loves me not…It’s complicated. If your relationship is dark, yet spicy and complex with many layers, then Sobon Zinfandel Fiddletown is the wine for you! If you thought your relationship was complicated, this full-bodied red will have your palette changing its relationship status.

    A stunning multi-faceted wine featuring intriguing aromas and flavors of spice, black currant, plum, smoky oak and a dusty-cherry component typical of the Fiddletown area. Massive and full-bodied, with an impressive, complex finish. Sustainably farmed. Thanks to Total Wine & More for the feature!

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    Stark Raving wines by Rosenblum Cellars. Stark Raving wines are playful and bold blends that prove a little dose of madness can lead— nay, will lead – to extraordinary things. Four inspired varietals including: ”Red,” “White” “Cab,” and “Malbec,” have hit shelves nationally, inciting wine lovers to get out of the comfort zone and explore some daring new wine choices. As Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”
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    EAT

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    Buy your Valentine tickets to the Piatti Ristorante Anniversary party on February 25th! Tickets are only $25 per person and can be purchased here. The party will feature creative bites from Piatti Executive Chef Lance Carlini, distinctive wines, craft beers, a special cocktail bar and live music from Natalie Klempau & The Knockouts. Proceeds from the event will benefit Assistance League of Sacramento. It’s a great way to try several things on the menu and check out the renovated space, while giving to a great cause!

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    TREATS

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    Nugget Market
    is pretty much a one-stop Valentine’s shop! You can pick up these truffles made my Truffle Gateau.  Handmade locally, these chocolates are made with fresh ingredients and are designed to be paired with a variety of wines and cheeses.
    Here are a few other products and recipes Nugget Market is featuring this week!
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    Natural Vines
    are made from all natural ingredients and contain no artificial flavors or preservatives and no high fructose corn syrup —  the licorice is naturally sweetened with cane sugar. Available in two flavors, Black and Strawberry. They were a big hit amongst my coworkers!
    Sahale Snacks (Pronounced sah-HA-lee SNAX) sent me this little goody box complete with a reusable fabric bag and an aluminum bottle. Go for the Pistachio Pomegranate, it’s pretty much like crack in a bag. It’s sweet and salty and spicy. Mmmm. You can buy Sahale Snacks online here, and never even have to change out of your jammies. 😉 BTW: Their production facility and products are certified gluten-free! 🙂
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    Brix Chocolates: the first chocolate designed to complement wine. This collection is just $25.99 and available through their website. It contains a full pound of premium Brix Chocolate in all four varieties, the Brix Collection features 4-4 ounce bars of Milk, Smooth Dark, Medium Dark and Extra Dark varieties, and include a full page chocolate-and-wine tasting guide.Suggested Wine Pairings: Milk Chocolate: Port, Sherry, Rose, Burgundy • Smooth Dark: Champagne, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Vintage Port • Med Dark: Merlot, Shiraz, Zinfandel, Chianti, Rhone• Extra Dark: Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Barolo, Malbec
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    FOR THE COOK

    Char Crust® Dry Rub Seasonings: First created in 1957 at their family’s fine Chicago steakhouse, Al Farber’s. Every steak we served was the best prime meat, dry-aged in coolers. Every steak was seared to juicy perfection with their signature Char Crust® dry-rub seasoning. And now it is available to the public! It’s the only rub that “Seals in the Juices!®”
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    My favorite flavor (and the newest in their product line is Java Buzz! Order your favorite flavors here: http://www.charcrust.com/order/. Get FREE SHIPPING on every order of $24.00 or more, placed between now and midnight, Central Time, on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013. Order any combination of items from their website: Char Crust® dry-rub seasonings (from hot to mild), aprons, golf shirts, cookbooks, and yes, even, “Rub Your Meat” T-shirts. Nice.

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    BAKE IT! 

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    I really dug this recipe for a Chocolate Almond Flour Beet Cake on my friend Julia’s site, The Roasted Root, so I am sharing the link with you. I encourage you to check it out here! If you need a taste tester, I’d be happy to help!

    Happy Valentine’s Day to all and thanks to all the product sponsors and advertisers in this post!


    Cauliflower “Breadsticks” Recipe & Wild Garden Hummus

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    At this year’s San Francisco Winter Fancy Food show, I saw that one of my favorite products (Wild Garden Hummus) was on display. This product is not considered “paleo” or “primal”, as it’s main ingredient is garbanzo beans (not accepted in the paleo diet), but I personally find it to be a nutritious and delicious snack food, and healthier than bacon (which is double the calories and fat per serving and completely accepted by paleos.) Wild Garden Hummus is completely portable, convenient and does not need to be refrigerated until opened.

    Wild Garden Hummus comes in jars, triangle-shaped tetra packs, and boxed with a bag of pita chips for the ultimate snacker. 😉 I took pictures of the products that the vendor sent home with me, and also a picture of the product on sale at one of my sponsors: Nugget Market (at West Sacramento, last week).

    Wild Garden Hummus comes in 6 flavors: Traditional,  Sun Dried Tomato, Roasted Garlic, Jalepeno, Fire Roasted Red Pepper, and Black Olive.

    Wild Garden Hummus is all-natural, preservative and trans-fat free. It is vegetarian and features the healthiest ingredients available. I used a 1/2 tomato sauce and 1/2 Wild Garden Hummus ratio to make a dipping sauce for my cheesy cauliflower breadsticks! I went with the Traditional flavor which only contains 6 ingredients (and that includes water). Also the hummus is only 35 calories per serving (2 tablespoons).

    And now, here’s the recipe for the breadsticks (modified recipe from Fast Paleo):

    Ingredients:
    2 heads of cauliflower
    2 tablespoons of Italian seasonings
    (mix anything you like: basil, oregano, rosemary, fennel, garlic, onion powder, red pepper flakes)
    4 eggs
    1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, not the powder kind, the GOOD kind. 😉
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

    2. Steam cauliflower until it is mushy and almost overly cooked. I do it in the microwave and it takes a while. You could even cook the cauliflower the night before and do the remaining steps the next day. Cool slightly (so you don’t prematurely cook the eggs) and pulse in a food processor with the eggs until you form a purée.

    3. Add your spice mixture and pulse until well combined.

    4. Add the parmesan sheet and pulse until the cheese is also incorporated.

    5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Invest in a roll of parchment paper. It’s well worth the sticks NOT sticking to your pan. Spread the cauliflower mixture on the parchment in an even, medium thick layer (3/4 in thick).

    6. Place in oven and bake until the sticks start to dry out and turn golden brown. Then, remove from oven.

    7. Flip bread over and cut it into “sticks”. Top with a little more cheese if desired. Place under oven broiler to complete the browning and get the sticks slightly crispy. Watch closely to prevent burning.

    Tip: Don’t roll out the mixture too thin on the baking sheet, and don’t skip step 7! It really gets the breadsticks more like “breadsticks”…crispy/chewy on the the outside and softer in the middle.

    Enjoy! Is it Friday yet? 😉

    You can find Wild Garden Hummus on Facebook here, or for more information, you can visit their website here. Wild Garden Hummus is available at Nugget Markets.

    Nugget Markets’ “Best of the Barrel” Fundraiser on September 28th, 5-8pm

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    Nugget Markets joins with the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science for signature fundraiser event

    Woodland-based local grocer Nugget Markets and UCD’s Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science partner up to celebrate the world of great food and wine. The Best of the Barrel fundraiser, benefiting RMI’s Food Science Graduate Student Association as well as RMI’s educational outreach efforts, takes place at RMI’s Good Life Garden, Friday, September 28, 5pm-8pm.

    Attendees will enjoy a wide range of signature dishes from Nugget Markets kitchens, as well as a wide variety of meats, seafood and vegetables, all freshly grilled on-site. Beer and cheese pairings, specialty cheeses, and fresh baked breads and desserts will also be offered. At least 100 wine tastings from more than 40 wineries include organic, local, and imported offerings; many of which are from UCD alumni winemakers.

    The Best of the Barrel is a fundraising event that began in Davis in the early 1990s, raising thousands of dollars for a large number of local non-profit organizations including the Davis Schools Foundation, Yolo CASA, Vacaville Public Education Foundation, The Keaton Raphael Memorial, Woodland Healthcare, local Rotary clubs and various non-profits throughout the Sacramento Valley. Nugget Markets traditionally hosted Best of the Barrel events at various store locations, but this year’s event will be hosted outdoors at the beautiful RMI Good Life Garden.

    “After a four year hiatus, we’re truly excited about this fundraising effort, and we’re delighted to bring Best of the Barrel back to Davis,” says Eric Stille, President and CEO of Nugget Markets. “Our kitchens have always been involved, and the event grew as our kitchens expanded. This year’s wine and food presentation is more tantalizing and delicious than ever.  We know our guests will enjoy every bite and taste, all for a great cause.”

    “It’s an absolute thrill to partner with Nugget Markets for such a worthy cause,” says Clare Hasler-Lewis, executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.  “We can’t think of a better way to share and celebrate fabulous wine and food with our community.”

    Best of the Barrel wine, beer and food celebration tickets are on sale online through Friday, September 21st and at all Nugget Market locations until the day of the event.  Tickets are $60 each now through September 21st and will increase to $75 each beginning Saturday, September 22nd. Guests must be at least 21 years of age to purchase tickets and attend the event.