Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hi Wheatsville friends,

Scroll down for:
Expansion update
Eat local
Produce goodness
Deli is your holiday HQ
Words from the meat and cheese departments!

Tweet tweet
I'm pleased to announce that Wheatsville is sticking our toe into the world of Twitter. If you don't know, Twitter is a web phenomenon that allows people to keep track of their favorite friends businesses and organizations though short frequent updates. is ours. I'm still figuring out how we'll use it, but I'll try and keep it as lively as these weekly entries. If you have ideas on how we should use twitter, then e-mail or twitter them to me!

And the walls went tumbling up!
You may have noticed that the walls of the addition are almost completely complete! Hopefully, on Friday, we'll have the concrete poured in the last f feet and be done with the exterior walls for the majority of the main addition. Then, we'll start putting in the structural steel and the roof and stuff shooting to have he whole space "dried-in" meaning covered completely by a complete roof by the first of January.

On Monday, you'll probably start to see some construction begin on the overhangs on the patio side and Guadalupe side of the store. This shouldn't impact people too much, but you may find the bike rack moved to the patio and the sidewalk may temporarily be shrunk.

Overall, I am pleaed with the way the project is going. Hopefully, you are not finding it negatively impacting you.

What's Local Right Now?
Currently in the produce department, our local selection is a bit sparse, but we're looking forward to more local produce in the next month or so. We're currently stocking local curly kale, red kale, lacinato kale and collard greens, from out in Buda, as well as sprouts from New World, and button, crimini, and portobello mushrooms from Kitchen Pride.

I'm excited about a new addition to our local produce selection, Pure Luck organic herbs. You may be familiar with Pure Luck from their goat cheese, which is amazing, but this family farm from Dripping Springs, also offers a great selection of organic herbs. We are currently carrying organic chervil, sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, oregano, dill, garlic chives, and mint, all for the affordable price of $1.99 a bunch.

Season's Greetings (and eating)!

We'll be getting fresh citrus in the coming weeks as the season develops. Winter squashes are still here, and are delicious. If you haven't tried any of them yet, come out and pick some up. They are great cut in half and baked. Some butter or olive oil and the seasoning of your choice can make these a quick and easy side dish, or a main for your next savory seasonal meal. Concorde pears are still delicious, and go well in salads, especially when paired with arugula and English Stilton. Yum. Persimmons are back! Both varieties, Fuyu, and Hachiya are available for $1.79 a piece. Let them get really soft before consuming, like really, really soft. If you don't do this, your face will implode due to their astringency, you should avoid this.


We've got some really nice organic Apple Cider available for $5.99 a quart. This cider has a nice fresh taste, and can be mulled (like wine), and is delicious when mixed with some spiced rum. This makes a great Holiday libation, try it at your next Holiday party, serve next to the egg nog!

Your deli is rocking out the hearty foods!

Now is the time for warm sandwiches! While the Wheatsville Deli is always more than happy to toast any sandwich you like, we have some special hot sandwiches that will knock your woolen socks off! Our Catfish Jack Po'Boy is served on a hoagie roll with our spicy, homemade chipotle mayo. The ever-popular vegan Popcorn Tofu Po'Boy showcases our unique batter-fried tofu nuggets on a hoagie roll with our creamy cashew-tamari dressing. Both our Italian sandwich, made with two kinds of salami, ham and provolone, and our Italian Stallion, made with fresh mozzarella, organic basil pesto and red bell peppers, can be heated up until meltingly delicious and splashed with oil and vinegar on ciabatta. And, as always, all of our sandwiches come with your choice of eight fresh veggie toppings!
And to celebrate the season, our bakery has a new holiday item gracing the case as well – a bold, dark Spicy Gingerbread Cake made with Guinness Stout! Come in and try something new!

Get in your catering orders early for the holiday season! We have yummy crudite trays and meat and cheese trays for your holiday parties. We also have a creamy Very Berry Xmas smoothie, a blend of strawberries and raspberries with a splash of soymilk. Remember, we are always happy to make any of our case salads by the lb. for your New Years shindigs!

Christmas is just around the corner and the Deli will be overflowing with holiday dishes for you to take home: Roasted Fall Root Vegetables, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Vegan Cornbread Stuffing, Festive Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans with Mushrooms, Leek-Roasted Carrots and Tempeh, Cranberry-Orange Relish, and Vegan Mushroom Gravy. We will also have appetizer spreads like Walnut Pecan Pate and Garlic Chive Cheddar Cheese Balls on hand – just add crackers or crudit├ęs!

Plus, our bakery will be making homemade Vegan Rosemary Biscuits for your holiday table, as well as five kinds of pie: Vegan Pumpkin, Classic Pumpkin, Pecan, Vegan Coconut Cream and Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter. Be sure to come by before the holiday and pick up all of your favorites!

From the land of cheese
Brie is a soft cow's milk cheese that originated in the Brie region of France. It has a buttery texture and nutty flavor. Brie is traditionally made with raw milk and aged for a period of four to five weeks. Unfortunately government regulation requires that any cheese made with raw milk has to be aged at least 60 days. So, that means you have to go to France if you want to eat true Brie. The outside of the Brie is covered with a white mold (penicillium candidum) and is meant to be eaten. Brie tend to have a butterfat content around 45%. Then you have double cream bries like fromage d' affinios that have a butterfat content around 60% and triple cream bries such as Saint Andres with a butterfat content of 75%. Brie can be eaten with crackers, or a crusty bread. Fruits and nuts, like pistachios and pears. A subtle red like a Pinot Noir or a dry and lively white wine like a nice Champagne, would make a great accompaniment. Quince paste or fruit preserves could be served along with the Brie, bread and wine.

Word from the Meat department
Hey folks lots of good food in the meat case this week. We have new products from Countryside Meats, a favorite at the farmers market. Right now we have fresh pasture raised rabbit for $8.99lb average wt. 3-4 pounds each. We has have Countryside meats Whole duck for $9.99lb frozen. These products are raised on pasture without hormones or antibiotics. The result in a clean tasting meat that is never gamey.

Were also taking pre-orders on turkey for your Christmas gathering. Grateful harvest Natural turkeys 8-16lbs $2.99lb and Organic turkeys 8-16lb $4.49. We'll be taking orders till the 17th of this month. Grateful Harvest turkeys are raised on small farms, cage free without the use of hormones or antibiotics and are free of additives and gluten-free. When choosing a size of turkey the rule of thumb is 1 pound of turkey per person, 1/2–3/4 of a pound for kids, plus whatever you want for leftovers. Come in or give us a call to order your turkey. Just ask for the meat department, we are glad to help.

The Right way Roast Turkey

One 16 pound turkey
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For brine:

2 cups kosher salt
8 quarts water

If brining, dissolve salt in water in a large stock pot. Add turkey and refrigerate overnight. Remove from brine, rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Proceed as below.

For stock:
Neck, gizzard and heart from turkey, rinsed and dried
canola oil
1 medium onion cut in half
1 medium carrot
1 stalk celery
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon pepper corns
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water

Place a small volume of oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add neck, gizzard and heart and cook, turning until browned. Add the remaining stock ingredients and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, skimming foam from time to time. Strain and set aside. This can be done well ahead of the rest of the meal.

Roasting turkey:

Rinse inside and out, dry with paper towels and bring turkey to room temperature, keeping skin covered with a moist towel to prevent drying.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees (450 degrees works nearly as well; cooking times will be slightly longer). Sprinkle turkey with ground pepper and salt and place into a roasting pan; we place it directly into the pan, but a rack can be used. Cook, rotating pan 180 degrees after 1 hour; add 1 -2 cups water or chicken stock to pan if drippings appear to be turning too dark.

Check temperature in the thickest part of the thigh at 1 ¾ hours. Remove from oven when temperature is 170 degrees, about 2 hour's total cooking time for un-stuffed turkey. Add approximately 30 minutes if you have stuffed the turkey. Let turkey sit for 30 minutes, during which the temperature in the thigh should reach 180 degrees.


While turkey is resting, pour fat from roasting pan and place pan over medium – high heat. Pour stock into pan; boil, scraping up the browned fond from the pan. Boil until reduced nearly by half, check and add salt and pepper to taste. Keep hot and serve with turkey.

This high heat method reliably yields moist flavorful turkey and is remarkable for its simplicity. Brining is not essential, and plain chicken broth can be used for making the pan gravy instead of the giblet stock. Cooking times are short: 3 hours for a 20 pound un-stuffed turkey, and an amazing 1 hour and 20 minutes for one of 12 pounds, according to Kafka.

Become familiar with high temperature roasting, and you will enjoy predictable results, simplify holiday cooking and have more time to enjoy this special time of the year with your family.

I hope that you have a great week/!

Dan Gillotte Wheatsville GM and e-mail guy!

Monday, December 08, 2008

I was ill last week, but got this cool e-mail from Aldia about the pouring of the concrete in the ICF walls.
"Sorry you missed the big fun, Dan. The pour went really well. No bust outs on the styrofoam and hardly any seepage at the joins. They poured it a few feet deep at a time all around the perimeter and made several rounds of pouring. I lost track of how many trucks of concrete came, but I think it may have been about 5 or 6. Construction Guy Steve got up on top of the office and took a few pics for me. They got through pouring a little bit after dark. The whole set up was not really in our staff's way.
ICF (insulating concrete forms) is a relatively new building material that is gaining in popularity for it's ease of installation, strength and green features. In particular, ICF walls can reduce heating and cooling use by 30-70%. We're excited to be using this innovative choice on our new addition! It seems like a lot of you are, too! I had a guy walk up to me and give me a "high five" the other day about it and on the day before Thanksgiving I caught two groups of people admiring the ICF walls!

It's cool to have the new building begin to take form, insulated concrete form at that!