You know how it goes.
It’s after lunch, but the hours until the end of the day (and dinner) seem to stretch endlessly in front of you, your stomach grumbling in displeasure. Lunch was not enough, it complains. Feed me!
It was this precise set of circumstances that led the team here to try labneh.
Labneh is a strained yogurt that originated in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean. It’s richer than its un-strained counterparts, and it has a tangy flavor that lends itself perfectly to both sweet and savory dishes. Unlike the yogurt that graces the shelves of many traditional supermarkets, labneh has a relatively long shelf life, lasting weeks before spoiling or molding. This makes it ideal for stashing away in the back of the office refrigerator, waiting for those afternoons that you’re dying for a snack (or the days when you forgot lunch, and simply cannot face a vending machine).
Put a little labneh on a plate or in a bowl, drizzle it with olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste. Then feel free to dip chips, crackers, or even just toasted bread into the mixture. It’s delicious and, most importantly, filling!
Let us know what you think of labneh down below. We’re converts!
Hondroelia - a large, blush colored, midseason olive from Greece. This is considered a mid-season olive because it’s picked after it is no longer green and unripe, but before it is black and fully ripened. Because of that, the texture of this olive is a little on the firmer side but does have a little softness to it. This olive goes by two names: Hondroelia is the most common, but it may be called the Royal olive. Meaty and tart, it rests in a red wine vinegar brine. Fun fact: in Greece, it’s also called the “Olive for Heroes.”
Lou Pistou - a mix from the south of France that includes purple, black and green olives, cornichons, cocktail onions, and is loaded with lots of basil and garlic. Whether you enjoy them as an appetizer or a quick tapas, you'll have a new favorite!
Country Mix - a delicious variety of pitted olives, both green and black, crisp vegetables, carrots, peppers and cauliflower, and mildly spicy pepperoncini. This assortment is marinated in oil and spices which gives it a rich, delicious flavor, perfect for a side dish with some crusty bread and a bottle of wine.
And a little something extra...
Pico de Gallo - when you think of salsa, you think Pico. Pico de Gallo is a delicious blend of fresh chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos and spices, all blended together to create a delightful and memorable taste explosion. Our Pico, made fresh, is fantastic with crispy, salty tortilla chips.
We’re gearing up to bottle our first attempt at homebrewing, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that.
In the meantime, let us know down below if you’ve had any experiences–good or bad–with brewing your own beer. Have our endeavors inspired any of you to try brewing yourself?
Normal tap water has a pH of 7, which is below the optimal body pH of 7.36. Adding alkaline water to your daily routine helps to minimize the effects of acidic foods such as:
There are many different waters to choose from in Natural Foods. You can also add pH drops to tap water and get many of the same benefits. There's even a water pitcher that filters tap water and makes it alkaline through a 5 stage filter mimicking the earth's crust.
We are happy to supply many options in the Herb n Jungle and Natural Foods at both locations.
Herb ‘N Jungle
Yes, the Jungle has cheese from the beautiful French Island of Corsica and you must try it! It’s name comes from a common flower that grows on the island. This cheese is a semi soft sheep’s milk that is covered in what are called "scrubland" herbs; a delightful and unique blend of rosemary, bird's eye chilis, juniper and fennel. The cheese is creamy, and even with all those herbs and spices its flavor is mild. 2 - 3 months is the perfect amount of time to let the seasonings soak into the cheese to develop its characteristic flavor. When it’s perfectly aged and at it’s peak earthy flavor, look for small spots of mold on the outside of the herb crust. Don’t worry about the mold, you’ll want to cut away the outside of the cheese anyway and enjoy what’s inside. On it’s own, it’s great, but this cheese surely pairs well with other wines from the island as well as Tempranillo, Albarino and Riesling. We hope you give it a try.
Discover Fleur Du Marquis in the sheep milk case in Fairfield and in the French Cheese case at Eastgate.
The Cheese Shop
Green Kalamata - Green Kalamata? Yes! While you’re probably familiar with the black variety of this olive, the green is quite special and rare to find outside of its home country, but we have them now for you to try. It is a whole olive, which means it has a pit still intact, and it is slit, or cracked, to allow the salty, lemony brine infuse with the olive. Green Kalamata olives should not be missed due to the limited amount that we were able to import. It’s a truly delightful olive and a treat to try outside of Greece.
Picante - a firm, meaty Greek olive that has some jazzy heat because they are marinated in oil and crushed red pepper. Delicious as a spicy snack, chopped up and added to your favorite salsa, or a fantastic addition to your next salad. Picante Olives are always a big hit when you need a touch of spice!
Sicilian and Herb - smooth, buttery and meaty, these green olives are marinated in a zesty blend of authentic Sicilian spices and herbs; mustard seeds, oregano, basil, garlic, pepper, and parsley. It’s a marriage of classic southern italian flavors to treasure.
Artichoke and Garlic Salsa - sounds interesting doesn’t it? This salsa is made with tender artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes, garlic, and fresh herbs. The salsa is chunky and thick, great on chips with a delicious margarita. Try as a side dish along with our fresh mozzarella and some nice crusty bread. All of our salsas are fresh prepared in our kitchen like you made them in yours. Stop by and see our selection of fresh salsa available daily at our Salsa Bar.
We are very excited to carry LEGO because their products inspire children to learn through play! They provide fun, engaging and creative play experiences that help children develop social, emotional and intellectual skills, laying a foundation that lasts a lifetime. The possibilities for learning with LEGO are endless!
Fun LEGO Facts:
Stop by Eastgate's Toy Balloon to see our great selection of LEGO sets for all ages including: LEGO City, Duplo, Friends, Creator, Ninjago, Nexo Knights, Star Wars and many more! Stay tuned Fairfield customers! LEGO will also be sold at our Fairfield store in the next few months.
The Toy Balloon
We’ve officially completed our first homebrew, and we’re going to be sharing our experiences at the end of this week. But first, we wanted to talk about spent grains.
(Contrary to the jokes that were made by some people in our department, they aren’t brewed in an old gym sock, nor do they smell…)
Have any of you ever baked with your spent grains before? Do you have any suggestions of something we could try out?
Let us know down below and stay tuned for the rest of our homebrewing adventures!
Value is the key. There are infinite possibilities as far as country of origin, grape variety and style, yet value is amorphous and subjective, existing only in the world of your own palate. Assembled here for your enjoyment are some terrific white wines, varieties often overlooked, yet valued and delicious nonetheless.
It’s that time, friends! Here’s how our homebrew went.
A few weeks ago we outlined everything we’d acquired for the undertaking, so on a sunny Monday afternoon, we loaded it all into our cars and drove off-site to set up our one-pot brewery. We had to leave Jungle Jim’s International Market, where we work from, because of some law that would’ve made us bootleggers if we’d brewed in the store. Personally, I think that’d be pretty cool, but apparently it was a “legal issue”, so off we went!
We brewed at a coworker’s home, and since he has a baby girl (who is adorable) and a wife who isn’t keen on the scent of beer while it’s brewing, we set up outside. We used a gas burner that was originally designed for deep frying turkey, and so our first step of the afternoon was setting it up.
This was a pain, and it took a while to figure it out (I very helpfully snapped lots of photos while Matt [left] and Jason [right] did all the work).
Once the burner was up and running, we used our cleaning solution (remember, we mentioned it in our first homebrewing post) to sterilize the pot, and then we added 2.5 gallons of water and started bringing it to a boil.
Then we backtracked to what Matt referred to as “Homebrewing Step #1”, and cracked open a beer. Because apparently that is what you do. Hey, who was I to argue?
As we sipped, the water came to a boil, and when it did, we added in our grains (we’re still going to be baking something with them, too, just wait!). First, the grains had to be transferred from their plastic bag home into a long sock-shaped cloth sleeve, which was tied off at the top and then placed in the pot to simmer.
That brewed for the prescribed amount of time (and it smelled great, I’m not sure why some people don’t like it), before it was removed and we added our liquid malt extract and powdered malt extract, in that order. To make sure the liquid malt would pour, we let it sit in a sinkful of hot water in order to soften the crystals that can sometimes form. We poured it in, followed by the powdered malt. The powdered malt is best poured into the kettle from a bowl and not the plastic bag it comes in, otherwise the steam with start to crystallize it on the edges of the bag.
Note: We took the picture of the powdered malt being poured into the kettle from above, and due to our desire to take a good photo, the wind stuck all of the malt to the side of the kettle. So if you’re brewing outdoors as we did, lower the bowl as far as possible before dumping.
Next, in went the hops.
And then we waited around some more.
Featured: My cracked phone.
We sanitized the bucket that our beer is now fermenting in, before we added the rest of our hops. Our beer had to brew for five more minutes (we were getting very cold at this point, something to note if you’re brewing outdoors), and then we dunked the kettle into a tub of ice and water to bring it down to 70 degrees.
When it hit the desired temperature, we poured the beer into our fermenting barrel and took the whole lot indoors. Finally, we added the last 2.5 gallons of water, poured in the yeast and snapped on the barrel’s lid before cleaning up and stashing the barrel away in Jason’s basement.
All in all, it was an interesting, complicated, persnickety experience. As a group, I think we’d recommend brewing indoors if you can, in order to better control temperature fluctuations.
But in a few weeks, we’ll be bottling our beer, and then we’ll give it a try and let you know how it goes!