April 4, 2012
In the Kitchen with Sigona’s for Passover and Easter
When it comes to food, this time of year is one of the most meaningful and festive as the next week marks one of the most widely observed times of the religious year for Christian and Jewish families. Our Sigona family knows more about the Easter foods and traditions, but two things are common to both feasts: food and family.
Easter recipes from Sigona’s Family & Friends
Grandma Pauline’s Traditional Sicilian Stuffed Artichokes
Family recipe from John Sigona, Jr., co-owner
This artichoke recipe evokes vivid memories of my childhood when our extended family would visit my grandmother Pauline, my mom’s mom, and gather around the table set with a huge platter of these stuffed artichokes. Everyone would sit together and reach in to pluck off a leaf – it really brought the family together. Artichokes take a while longer to cook when prepared this way, but each petal bursts with layers of flavor so it’s worth it! Stuffs four large artichokes. – John Sigona, Jr.
- 4 large artichokes (slice off the top 1 inch of the entire artichoke, use scissors to cut the tips off of each leaf and then slice off the stem/bottom so it sits up straight)
- 1-1/2 cups breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup Sigona’s fresh press extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 of one onion, diced
- 1.5 oz. anchovies, cut into pieces
- 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 lemon
Directions: In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, onions and work for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Stir in the anchovies and melt into the oil. Cook for about 2 minutes.
Add in the breadcrumbs and reduce heat to low. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to bring the mix together. Turn off the burner and then stir in Parmesan. Set mixture aside.
Fit a large pot with a steamer basket and fill with about an inch of water and the juice of 1 lemon. Cover and bring the water to a low boil so it creates steam.
To stuff the artichokes, start at the crown and peel back a petal to make a little pocket. Fill the pocket with a small spoonful of the breadcrumb mix – remember you have 4 artichokes to stuff so measure spoonfuls accordingly. Move to the next petal; repeat until the entire artichoke is stuffed.
Set stuffed artichokes upright on steamer basket and steam until a leaf pulls out easily. Begin checking at about 35 minutes. When done, place on serving dish alongside an empty bowl to dump used leaves.
Gloria’s Mama’s Capirotada – A Mexican Bread Pudding
Family recipe from Gloria Gandolfo (part of the Sigona’s family for more than 25 years).
My mother has made this bread pudding at Easter for as long as I can remember, and it’s something our family looks forward to each year. To make it unique and festive, she dots the top with Easter-colored food coloring. This traditional Mexican dessert is flavorful, rich, sweet and comforting, and is best served warm. – Gloria Gandolfo
- 6 cups day-old French bread (be sure it’s not sourdough), sliced and cubed
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 3 cones of piloncillo (or 2 cups brown sugar)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp anise seeds
- 2/3 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup raisins, soaked in warm water to soften
- 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (or Queso Fresco, crumbled) Note: my mother usually sprinkles a bit more cheese on top when the pudding is done baking, so add an extra 1/4 cup of cheese if you plan do to the same.
- 1 TBL orange zest
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 cups milk
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/4 cup sherry
Note: Some recipes call for apples. If using, peel, core and chop 2 large sweet apples, such as Fujis.
Directions: In a large bowl, combine almonds, raisins, zests and 1/2 cup cheese (and apples, if using). Stir in cloves and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add in the bread and work until just golden. Then add in the fruit mixture and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine water, anise seeds, piloncillo (or brown sugar) and cinnamon stick. Boil gently until the liquid becomes syrupy, about 6 minutes.
Prepare a large baking dish by rubbing bottom and sides liberally with butter. Pour half of the bread mixture into the baking dish and top with half of the syrup mix. Repeat with the remaining bread and syrup.
Bake for 35 minutes 350 degrees.
While the pudding is baking, beat egg yolks in a medium bowl until foamy and smooth. Whisk in the milk, salt and sherry until smooth. Pour over partially cooked bread and bake for another 25-35 minutes or until top is golden. Sprinkle on more cheese if desired. Serve warm.
Grandpa John Sigona Sr.’s Easter Gnocchi
Family recipe from Carmelo Sigona, co-owner
I’ve got to say my father started me cooking at a very early age. I remember some of the first meals I cooked for the family were enjoyed and I got the kudos. Thus began my enthusiasm for experimenting with cooking.
I’ve been cooking potato gnocchi for some time, but only this Easter have I asked my father for his recipe.
Now, with my father at 87 years old, my conversation starts with him saying, “Carmelo you’ve got to feel the dough. Do you know what I mean?”
I smile and say, “Yes, dad, continue.”
We’ll I’ve decided to morph my dad’s scant directions with a few tips I’ve learned along the way to present to you a very simple, easy gnocchi recipe. – Carmelo Sigona
First, a few tips:
- Potato selection: I love Yukon gold potatoes for their consistency and sweetness but almost any kind of potatoes will do.
- Boiling potatoes: Boil them with skin on; this will keep the potatoes from absorbing too much water. Also don’t overcook: just until fork tender. You don’t want waterlogged and soggy potatoes.
- Peeling potatoes: Peel the potatoes warm and keep them warm when working them.
- Preparing potatoes: Use a potato ricer or strainer to keep the potatoes light and airy.
- Making the dough: When working the dough, add just enough flour to bind the mixture. Don’t overwork the dough. You want your gnocchi light.
- Cooking gnocchi: When cooking, have your water boiling gently. A high-rolling boil will destroy these tender morsels.
OK, now the recipe
- 3 potatoes, boiled, drained, peeled and riced/strained as suggested above.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 eggs slightly beaten
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Directions: Combine ingredients in a bowl and gently mix with your hands (dust your hands with flour to help with mixing). Next, flour your counter top and hands and dump the combined ingredients onto the floured counter. Divide dough into small portions.
Roll out each portion with your hands until you have achieved the “snakes,” about ½ inch thick.
Once these are rolled out, cut into about 1/2 inch pieces.
You’ll notice some gnocchi have a ridged design – this is done by rolling the gnocchi over the backside of a fork prongs. You don’t have to roll the gnocchi over the backside of the fork to achieve the ridges; it’s not necessary, but it’s a nice touch if you wish. To do so, lightly roll over the backside of a fork on each gnocchi to imprint those little ridges.
In a large pot of gently boiling water, put small batches of gnocchi into the water for 30-45 seconds until it comes to the top (similar to how you know ravioli is cooked).
Drain and set aside.
Now there’s a couple of ways to go from this point.
I like to have my sauce warm and ready to add the cooked gnocchi right in. I like to use a creamy Gorgonzola, using one of our may Gorgonzolas from Italy, or a butter and sage sauce, my two favorites. You can also use a basic marinara sauce. Just ready and place the gnocchi right into the sauce.
You can also place gnocchi into an ice bath to stop the cooking, drain and set aside for when you are ready to put into a sauce and serve.
Either way once you plate the gnocchi top with a little extra Parmigiano Reggiano and serve.
Paul Sigona’s Baby Artichoke Sauté
As luck would have it, Easter and the peak of local artichoke season is about the same time of year. I made this baby artichoke sauté for Easter once years ago and now it’s the dish everyone expects me to bring to the feast. It’s simple, but the garlic and olive oil add depth of flavor. – Paul Sigona, co-owner
What you do: Choose the smallest baby artichokes you can find. Trim them down until you reach the smooth, tender leaves. Cut in half and sauté in olive oil and minced garlic until browned and warmed through. They will have a firm and somewhat crispy texture.
The real secret here is not parboiling the small artichokes. The texture you’ll experience is similar to the grilled artichokes you’ll find in Sicily. It’s that easy. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Passover Recipes from Sigona’s Family & Friends
Special thanks go out to Sigona’s shoppers Helen Steinberg and Mrs. Ella Potash, from the Redwood City Jewish Center (www.jewishredwoodcity.com), for sharing these recipes.
Beet, Fennel & Jicama Slaw
Now that it’s getting warmer the beets and fennel are great. Doesn’t this salad sound fantastically fresh and delicious!
For the salad, gather even amounts of:
- Raw red beets
For the dressing, you’ll need:
- Fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Sigona’s Fresh Press EVOO
- Salt & pepper
Directions: Julienne even amounts of raw red beet, jicama and fennel. Place the beets in a bowl of cold water before mixing with the other vegetables so that they don’t color the other vegetables.
Make a dressing with 4 to 1 ratio of olive oil to lemon juice. Season with salt. Mix salad and serve chilled.
A little history: Before the main course at a family Passover, the family — along with friends and others who join them — retell the story of liberation from slavery in Egypt and they use special foods help tell the story. One of these is Charoset, a mixture of fruit and nuts. It symbolizes the mortar the Hebrew slaves were forced to make to build in ancient Egypt.
When most American Jewish families sit down to their family Seder, the Charoset is a mixture of apples, nuts and wine, while other Jewish ethnicities favor different ingredients. For example, Sephardic Jews, those who come from Spanish, Arabic or Mediterranean lands, often use what’s popular in their own countries, such as dates or figs, pomegranates, pine nuts or even coconut.
- 5 large Red Delicious apples, cored, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup sweet wine
Directions: Combine the apples with the walnuts. Slowly add the wine. Mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- One (1) 3 pound Rocky Jr. whole bird chicken, quartered
- 2 potatoes
- 2 onions
- 5 carrots
- 1 sweet potato
- Water to cover
- 2 tablespoons salt
Directions: Peel all vegetables. Slice carrots and chunk potatoes. Place chicken and vegetables in 6-quart pot. Add salt and water to cover. Bring to boil. Lower flame and simmer an additional 1 1/4 hours.
Passover Sponge Cake
- 7 eggs, separated
- 1 whole egg
- 1 cup potato starch, sifted twice
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
Directions: Begin by separating the seven eggs and placing the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another. Add the 1 whole egg to the yolks and set aside.
Beat the egg whites until stiff, gradually adding sugar. Set aside.
Beat yolks in their bowl. Add lemon juice. Gently fold yolks into whites. Gradually fold potato starch into batter.
Pour into ungreased tube pan and bake at 350F for about 70 minutes. Remove from oven and invert cake to cool.
Modern Potato Pancakes (Latkes)
Who says you always have to peel potatoes! These potato pancakes are different because you don’t have to peel the potatoes; you just prepare them in the blender, so it’s easy too! Recipe courtesy of Helen Steinberg.
- 2 cups raw baking potatoes, unpeeled (2 large potatoes)
- 2 eggs
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/4 – 1 cup matzo meal
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cooking oil for browning
Directions: Cut potatoes into the shape of French fries, placing the cuts in a bowl of water as you go. Drain and dry very well.
Put ingredients in the blender in the following order: diced onion, eggs, drained and dried potatoes, seasonings and then meal. Cover and turn on blender, stopping after all potatoes are ground up (about 1/2 minute). If mixture is too loose, add another cut of potato and add to the mixture. Drain off excess liquid.
Drop by tablespoonfuls into hot oil and brown on both sides. The latkes may be placed under the broiler for a few minutes to drain off excess oil. Serve with applesauce or sour cream.
Cook’s note: If preparing these any other time besides Passover, adjust recipe as follows: 1 TBL flour or matzo meal, plus a pinch of baking powder if desired.
Helen’s Green Apple Applesauce
There’s little to no sugar in this recipe, which makes it more figure friendly. Variation on Theme (similar to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony): you may also add cooked plums, peaches, pears, cherries or apricots to apple mixture. Either cook separately or together. Recipe courtesy of Helen Steinberg.
- 12 green apples, unpeeled*
- A pinch of sugar (or Stevia or organic agave syrup)
- A pinch of cinnamon, optional, to taste
- Water to cover apples
*Cook’s Note: If you do not have a Foley Mill, you’ll have to peel the apples and puree them in a blender.
Directions: Core and dice apples. Place in a big soup pot with sugar and cinnamon. Cover with water and bring to a boil. When soft, drain and process in a Foley Mill to an applesauce consistency.
April 2, 2012
Sigona’s Olive Oil of the Month: April 2012
With March arrived the first day of spring, although it was difficult to tell due to the rains that came crashing down from the clouds above. While the entire Bay Area is still desperate for more precipitation – the National Weather Service has stated that we’re still hovering at around 50% of normal rainfall – don’t let these overcast and soggy days keep you from thinking about delicious and vegetable-packed dishes that pair perfectly with tasty barbequed meats. We’ve got a killer roasted veggie recipe below that’s comforting, healthy and great for indoor and outdoor picnics.
Last month we talked a little bit about the chemistry behind Sigona’s Fresh Press olive oils, e.g. the higher the polyphenol count and oleic acid the better. Check out our new in-store signage about the oleic acid portion of the chemical chart. We’ve blown this sign up extra-large to make it easier to read. And of course, if you have any questions while in the store, just ask one of our crew members – they’ll be happy to assist you.
The April 2012 Sigona’s Olive oil of the Month is Fresh Press Manzanillo From Spain
- is fresh, big and fruity up front with a peppery sensation on the back-end
- features a robust polyphenol count for a Manzanillo; typical Manzanillos struggle to reach a count in the low 300s, but this season’s press comes in at a stunning 383
- is perfect for salads because although it’s packed full of fruitiness, it still comes out bold
Try this recipe!
Roasted Local Cauliflower with Savory Shallots
This is a very easy, simple and go-to veggie dish that will even satisfy folks that don’t typically enjoy cauliflower. The roasting really brings out the natural sugars of the veggies because it caramelizes the ingredients, which intensifies the savory and sweet flavors. This healthy dish supplies about 6 servings at only around 100 calories per serving.
- Roasted Local Cauliflower with Savory Shallots
- 1/8 cup of Sigona’s Fresh Press Manzanillo olive oil from Spain
- 4 large shallots, quartered
- 1 head of cauliflower cut into even florets about 1-1/2 inch each
- 1 lemon zest and juice (Meyer lemon if available)
- 1/2 tablespoon agave nectar
- Salt and pepper
- Dash of cayenne pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 400F. In a large mixing bowl, combine olive oil, agave, cayenne, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. Add cauliflower florets and shallots and mix thoroughly using your hands to ensure even coating of the olive oil mix.
Spread mixture in a single layer in a large baking pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes, stirring occasionally to get an even roast.
Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm.
March 21, 2012
In the Kitchen with Sigona’s featuring Spectacular Cheeses
We have some incredible cheeses on sale this week at Sigona’s…savings this extreme don’t come around too often, so hurry in to try these cheeses today! The following are recipes for a few of our super-sale cheeses – including one you can get for free next week, March 28-April 3, 2012 – to get you started. These prices are available for a limited time.
le Petit d’Affinois Serving Suggestions (on sale for $3.99 9.5 oz., reg. $12.99 9.5 oz.)
Bake, wrap, slice, cook? Are you thinking, “I don’t have time for all that!” Well, you’re in luck. Simply arrange a round of this creamy, rich and buttery le Petit d’Affinois on a platter and top/decorate with some of these suggestions:
- Top with sun-dried tomato puree and serve with wedges of red bell peppers, kalamata olives and sliced baguettes
- Prepare slices of Brie and drizzle them with preserves or honey
- Feel free to experiment with chutneys, jellies or marmalades and serve with crackers. Use holiday colors (jalapeno jelly, red pepper relish, blueberry chutney, etc.) to wow the crowd on the big day
- Mixed dried fruits and nuts
- Brie always pairs nicely with seasonal fruits, such as berries.
Village (Greek) Salad with Epiros Greek Feta (get it free with your coupon)
Oh yes! There is nothing more delicious than a large Greek salad topped with Feta and oregano! If the picture isn’t enough to make your mouth water, read through the list of ingredients and you will be in no time. Absolutely delicious! Get a 7 oz. container of Epiros Greek Feta FREE next week (March 28-April 3, 2012) with your coupon. Recipe courtesy of Peter Minaki of the food blog Kalofagas, Greek Food and Beyond. Serves 4.
- 2 large, ripe tomatoes, rinsed & cut into 6 wedges
- 1 cucumber, washed and sliced
- 2 sweet banana peppers, sliced, OR 1/2 sliced & seeded bell pepper (color of your choice)
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 12 Kalamata olives (find them at the Sigona’s olive bar!)
- Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- Epiros Greek Feta, served in cubes, batons or slabs (get a free 7 oz. container with your coupon March 28 – April 3, 2012!)
- Sea salt, to taste
- 2 tsp. dried Greek oregano
- Garnish of capers or purslane (optional)
Directions: Add your tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, onions and olives together in a large bowl and sprinkle with some sea salt and mix well to combine. Drizzle in some olive oil and sprinkle in about 3/4 of the dried oregano, stir to combine.
Either leave in the large bowl or scoop out onto 4 salad plates. Top with Feta, drizzle on a bit more olive oil on the Feta and sprinkle with a little more oregano. Garnish with capers or purslane, if desired. Serve with good crusty bread.
Stilton and Walnut Quesadillas with Apple Fig Salsa (on sale for $9.99 lb., reg. $19.99 lb.)
Why not try this instead of a plain ol’ toasted cheese next time you’re seeking a quick comfort dish? Cheese and apple is a classic combo, and with the addition of walnuts and figs, this dish sparkles while balancing the bold flavor of Stilton. Adapted from Stilton Cheese. Serves 2.
- 3 oz. crumbled Stilton Blue
- 2 oz. California walnuts, toasted and chopped
- Half a large Golden Delicious apple, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
- 2 oz. dried Calimyrna figs
- 1 TBL fresh lemon juice
- Four 6 – 7 inch tortillas (flour or other)
- 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 390F
2. In a bowl stir together apple, figs, and lemon juice to form the salsa.
3. Put 2 tortillas on a baking sheet and brush with some oil. Turn tortillas over. Sprinkle tortillas with walnuts and Stilton and cover with remaining 2 tortillas, pressing gently.
4. Brush tops with remaining oil and bake in middle of oven until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Cut into wedges and top each wedge with a spoonful of the salsa.
Eggplant Rolls with Prosciutto & Pecorino Gran Cru (on sale for $9.99 lb., reg. $19.99 lb.)
Pecorino Gran Cru has a strong flavor that pairs well with the prosciutto and infuses the eggplant, adding depth of flavor. These rolls are well suited for a light lunch or as Hors’devours. Recipe adapted from Academia Barilla. Serves 4 (about 3-4 rolls each).
- 1 large, long eggplant, about 21 oz
- 12 slices prosciutto
- 3 oz. Pecorino Gran Cru, grated (on sale this week at Sigona’s!)
- 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
- 12-14 fresh chives (as long as possible, for tying around eggplant rolls)
- Salt, to taste
Cook’s tip: Watch this how-to video from Academia Barilla for step-by-step instructions.
Directions: Thinly slice the eggplants lengthwise into 12 long pieces. Brush both sides with olive oil, and then grill for no longer than 2 minutes, turning once, on a pre-heated grill.
While the eggplant slices are still hot off the grill, sprinkle one side of each with grated Pecorino. Top with a slice of prosciutto and then carefully roll them together, using chives to wrap around, tie and secure each roll. This adds a final touch of flavor and a“wow” factor.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Baber’s White Cheddar Serving Suggestions (on sale for $9.99 lb., reg. $16.99 lb.)
- Put it out as a great table cheese
- Slice some and pack it along with a refreshing apple for a mid-afternoon snack
- Make flavorful mac ‘n cheese
- Croque Monsieurs, anyone?
- Kick back for the evening and pair Baber’s with a nice glass of chilled, white wine
Kohlrabi Gratin with BioParmesan & Cheddar Cheese (on sale for $9.99 lb., reg. $16.99 lb.)
Looking for a warm, comforting side dish other than regular potatoes au gratin? This dish combines a few other root vegetables as well as a combination of nutty parmesan and creamy white cheddar that’s sure to satisfy. Serve with maple balsamic glazed ham. Recipe courtesy of Jessica Metzler, author of the vegetarian food blog Meal-A-Day.
- 1-2 small Kohlrabies (smaller ones are more tender)
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 small potatoes (such as Yukon Gold)
- Breadcrumbs (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 1/2 -2 cups combo of shredded white cheddar and parmesan (such as Baber’s White Cheddar – on sale this week – and our outstanding BioParm — also on sale this week!)
- 1 cup milk or soy milk, warmed
- 2 TBL butter, plus more to grease baking dish (or use other method to do so)
- 2 TBL flour
- salt & pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×9 baking dish and sprinkle some bread crumbs over the bottom of the dish.
Prepare vegetables by washing and peeling. Cut the woody base and leafy tops off the kohlrabi (you can save the leafy bits and eat them like spinach, if they’re fresh). Peel with a paring knife until no veins are visible. Peel carrots and potatoes. Slice all vegetables thinly with either a food processor or mandolin. Parboil vegetables for about 7 min., or until just tender. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt 2 TBL of butter in a pan then whisk in 2 TBL of flour to start a roux. Cook for a few minutes and allow to brown slightly. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of warm milk or soy milk. Whisk continuously over low-med heat until the sauce thickens. Stir in the cheese until it melts.
Place parboiled vegetables in a large bowl and pour cheese sauce over top. Add salt & pepper and gently stir to combine. Pour mixture into baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake for 30-45 min. When the bread crumbs are browned and the cheese is bubbly, it’s done.
Caprese Salad with Mozzarella di Bufala Pomella (on sale for $2.99 8oz., reg. $ 12.99 8 oz.)
A caprese salad is one of the best ways to enjoy the three star ingredients: tomato, mozzarella and basil. The Mozzarella di Bufala is made with buffalo milk, creating a creamy, sweet and delicate cheese that’s not to miss.
What you’ll need:
- Basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry
- An assortment of large tomatoes, sliced
- Sigona’s Fresh Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Mozzarella di Bufala Pomella (on sale this week at Sigona’s!)
- Salt & Pepper
- Sigona’s traditional balsamic, optional
Directions: Slice the tomatoes first, lightly salt and let them rest for a few minutes to bring out the intense tomato flavor. Slice the mozzarella into slices similar in size to the tomato slices.
On a long, thin serving platter, lay a tomato slice at one end, followed by a basil leaf and then a slice of the mozzarella. Continue the pattern until the ingredients are gone. Drizzle the display with olive oil and a little sprinkle of pepper to taste. For garnish, roll a few basil leaves up and slice little shavings using scissors and a drizzle of balsamic, optional. Serve at room temperature.
Bonus Recipes featuring Sigona’s Dark Maple Balsamic
From ham to Brussels sprouts to pot stickers, our Dark Maple Balsamic is guaranteed to tickle your taste buds. This balsamic is a first-of-its-kind and is made using real, 100% pure maple produced by a small family farm in Vermont. Try out some of these recipes below and make sure you take advantage of our super sale! Get a 200 ml. bottle for just $4.99 (Reg. $7.99) March 28 – April 3. A sale just in time for Easter menu planning.
Maple-Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops
This dish is simple for any night of the week, yet impressive enough to be served for Sunday dinner. Delicious! Recipe courtesy of Rachel Bradley-Gomez of Au Jardin Potager. Serves 4
- 8 boneless pork chops, 1/2-inch thick, trimmed
- 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press olive oil (we suggest a robust oil)
- 3 TBL finely sliced shallots
- 1/3 cup Sigona’s Dark Maple Balsamic
Directions: Pat pork chops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with sea & and pepper. In a nonstick, 12 inch skillet, heat the olive oil over med-high heat. Cook chops for 4 minutes on one side, turn over and cook 3 minutes the other. Transfer to platter and keep warm with a tent of aluminum foil.
Increase heat to high and stir the shallot into the pan juices. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the balsamic, scrap up any brown bits from the pan, and cook down for an additional 2-4 minutes or until reduced so it’s at a syrup-like consistency. Adjust seasoning with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
To serve, ladle the pan sauce over the pork chops.
Carmelo’s Buckwheat Pancakes with a Dark Maple-Olive Oil Syrup
Buckwheat is a fantastic alternative for those who are gluten intolerant or are seeking a healthier alternative to from-the-box pancake mixes. I simply love mixing our Dark Maple Balsamic with our Arbequina olive oil because the olive oil is mild and buttery in flavor so there is no need to add on extra butter. It’s a two-for-one! Serves 4-6.
- 2 cups buckwheat flour
- 2 1/2 TBL brown sugar (or raw sugar or honey)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 eggs (try our pastured Wattle & Comb eggs!)
- 2 cups low-fat buttermilk or milk (buttermilk makes for a richer flavor)
- 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press olive oil OR melted butter
Whisk well together equal parts:
- Sigona’s Fresh Press Arbequina Olive Oil
- Sigona’s Dark Maple Balsamic
Adjust flavor by adding more of one or the other to achieve best flavor.
- Fresh, in-season berries
- Very thinly sliced apple
Directions: Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl then create a crater in the middle of the mix.
In a smaller bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the crater made in the dry ingredients and stir together to mix.
Preheat your skillet to optimum pancake-cooking temperature. If desired, add some cooking spray or oil. Pour about a 1/3 cup of the mix onto the skillet or griddle at a time. Cook on one side until tiny bubbles appear, then flip the pancake and cook until evenly browned on both sides and cooked through.
Serve with the Dark Maple Balsamic-Olive Oil syrup. Add on fresh berries for a sweet treat.
Maple & Pineapple Glazed Ham
Perfect for Easter, don’t you think? Find both the Dark Maple Balsamic and the Right Brain Kitchens’ Pineapple Upside Down Jam ONLY at Sigona’s. Recipe courtesy of our own Joseph Loewinsohn. Enjoy!
- 1 jar Pineapple Upside Down Jam (from Right Brain Kitchens, sold ONLY at Sigona’s)
- Sigona’s Dark Maple Balsamic
- 1 ham, size, style and cut are your choice
Directions: Mix together, a little at a time, a combination of the Dark Maple Balsamic and the Pineapple Upside Down Jam until you get the flavor you desire for the amount you need.
Score the fatty side of ham in a crisscross fashion and place in a baking dish, fatty side up. Use a pastry brush or simply, and gently, top the ham with the jam mix, using a pastry brush to ensure the mix makes it well in between the scoring lines.
Bake ham according to size or any included instructions. During the final 30 minutes of cooking, glaze every 5-7 minutes using a bulb baster to draw up the excess liquid/glaze in the pan. If you think the glaze will get too brown before the ham is done, simply tent the ham in foil for the remainder of the cooking time (but continue to baste).
If using a pre-cooked ham, simply glaze ham every 7-10 minutes until it’s hot throughout and the glaze gets sticky.
Cook’s Note: If you want to serve extra maple-pineapple mix alongside the ham, mix together more maple balsamic and pineapple jam, reduce the combination in a sauté pan for a few minutes, and serve warm.
Brussels Sprouts with Dark Maple Balsamic TWO WAYS
Brussels Sprouts roasted with Dark Maple Balsamic
This recipe, courtesy of Caroline, author of the food blog After Dinner Dance, is simple, healthy and delicious. Roasting the Brussels sprouts with the balsamic makes for a richer, more caramelized flavor. Serves 2-4 as a side.
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
- 1 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 TBL Sigona’s Dark Maple Balsamic
- Salt and pepper to taste
1) Preheat oven to 400F.
2) Cut the ends off of your Brussels sprouts and remove a few of the outer leaves.
3) Chop your Brussels sprouts in half and place them on a baking sheet or pan.
4) Combine the olive oil and balsamic, then drizzle evenly over your Brussels sprouts. Season with salt and pepper.
5) Toss your Brussels sprouts to coat them with the glaze.
6) Roast Brussels sprouts in oven for 35 minutes, flipping halfway through.
7) Adjust seasoning as needed and serve warm.
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts Drizzled with Dark Maple Balsamic
This recipe, courtesy of our very own Joseph Loewinsohn, calls for the Sigona’s Dark Maple Balsamic to be drizzled on at the end, bringing out a more prominent maple and balsamic flavor. Pairs famously with maple balsamic glazed ham. Serves 4 as a side.
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
- 1 – 1 1/2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil (a mild cultivar, such as Mission or Sweet Barnea)
- At least 1/2 cup low- or no-salt stock OR water (may need more, see below)
- 1 – 1 1/2 TBL Sigona’s Dark Maple Balsamic (more or less depending on preference)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Directions: Trim the bottom of each sprout and remove a few outer leaves. Slice them in half and place them in a skillet, cut side down, with a splash of either very mild olive oil (such as Mission or Sweet Barnea, rather than a bold oil that would overpower the flavor of the Brussels sprouts) and cook over medium high heat, cut side down, until the sprouts get some color (4-5 mins).
Flip them all over and immediately de-glaze the pan with a generous splash of no-salt stock or water, cover and simmer for 10 min or until the sprouts are fork tender (most of the stock/water should be absorbed). If not for tender when moisture is absorbed, add in a little more stock or water and continue simmering.
Pour into a serving dish, drizzle with a little more olive oil or toss in a pad of butter (optional), drizzle with Sigona’s Dark Maple Balsamic and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
Maple-Sesame Pot Sticker Dipping Sauce
Whether you’ve made your own or picked some up at the store, pot stickers are always best served with a sauce for dipping. Sweet and tangy, this simple recipe is a Sigona’s favorite.
What you need:
- Sigona’s roasted sesame oil
- Sigona’s Dark Maple Balsamic
- Optional: red chili flakes
What to do: In a small bowl, mix together 1 TBL roasted sesame oil and 1 TBL Dark Maple Balsamic. Give it a taste, add more of one ingredient if necessary to adjust flavor. Add in a shake or two of red chili flakes to give it a little heat. Serve with warm pot stickers.
March 7, 2012
Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: Cherimoya
- When selecting a Cherimoya, keep in mind that a ripe fruit will be heavy for its size and have a slight give (yet shouldn’t feel too soft or squishy).
- Surface scars are ok – they’re likely from the branches, twigs and leaves surrounding the cherimoya while it grew on the tree. Avoid fruits that have large dark areas that have a more bruise-like appearance.
- A cherimoya that has a slight give near the stem end will be perfectly ripe in a day or two.
- Store cherimoya at room temperature until soft…similar to how you’d store a not-quite-ripe avocado.
- When ripe, you can store cherimoya in the fridge for up to 5 days – be gentle with them, though.
- The Bay variety is a great eating variety, known for its sweeter/less-acidic flavor and juicy, creamy texture.
- There are several ways to eat cherimoya (here are a few recipes), but if you want to keep it simple, serve chilled cherimoya in the half-shell and use a spoon to scoop out its creamy flesh (scooping around the seeds, of course!).
Robbie Sigona is produce buyer for both the Redwood City and Palo Alto Sigona’s Farmers Market locations. He works with local farmers and scours the market for the very best in fresh fruits and vegetables — some you won’t find anywhere else.
In the Kitchen with Sigona’s featuring Cherimoya
Most cherimoya enthusiasts have a favorite way of eating cherimoya, whether it be out of hand, in a fruit salsa, or frozen and added into a smoothie…it’s such a unique and versatile fruit! My personal favorite is to simply split a cherimoya and share the other half with your sweetheart at the kitchen table or a picnic. Give some of these cherimoya recipes a try!
Cherimoya & Banana Smoothie
- 2 cups frozen cherimoya pulp, seeds removed (from about 1 – 1 1/2 cherimoyas)
- 2 cups frozen banana chunks (about 2 large bananas – see cook’s note)
- 1 cup skim milk
- 6 oz – 1 cup nonfat yogurt (any flavor you desire…we suggest strawberry or raspberry)
*Cook’s note: to easily freeze bananas for using in the smoothie, peel yellow bananas and lay them out in a single layer on wax or parchment paper atop a baking sheet. Place it in the freezer until nearly frozen. Frozen bananas make for a creamy texture when blended.
Directions: Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Drink immediately.
Cherimoya are best served chilled. The easiest way to eat this seed-filled fruit is to spoon it from the shell after slicing it in half. If you get a seed in what you’ve scooped into your mouth, simply spit it out. This, of course, makes for a great opportunity to have a seed spitting contest!
Cherimoya Salsa with Papaya and Avocado
- About 1/2 a papaya (total about 1 cup), peeled and diced
- 1-2 cherimoya, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1-2 mango, peeled and diced
- 1 cup pineapple chunks
- 1 large diced avocado (squirt some like juice on the diced avocado to help it from turning brown)
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 shallot, diced
- 3 limes, juice only
- 1/2 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press olive oil
- 2 red Thai chilies, seeds removed, diced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 TBL organic Agave nectar
- Salt & Pepper
Directions: Cut, dice and juice ingredients as noted above. Mix everything together in a bowl and chill for 10-20 minutes to let flavors meld. Serve chilled.
Cook’s Note: remember, salsa is one of those dishes with which you have all creative liberties. Add more or less of any ingredient you wish to make it your very own!
Cherimoya Cream Dessert
Blending the already custard-like cherimoya into a puree with a little fresh orange juice and either cream or plain Fage yogurt makes for more of a pudding that’s light and delicate. Adapted from Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables by Elizabeth Schneider
- Fully ripe cherimoya, about 3/4 lb.
- 2 TBL fresh-squeezed orange juice (look for it in our produce section)
- 1/2 cup plain Fage yogurt or 1/2 cup chilled heavy (or whipping) cream *see cook’s note
Directions: Halve the cherimoya and pick out all the seeds with a fork or spoon. Scoop out every bit of the pulp and combine with the juice in a processor or blender. Work to a fine puree. In a medium mixing bowl, whip the cream with a hand mixer to form peaks; fold in the puree with a rubber spatula. Cover and chill for a few hours. Serve in small bowls with an orange peel twist, if desired.
*Cook’s note – you can leave out the cream or yogurt if desired. I’ve had it with just OJ and it’s refreshing.
Citrus Chile Shrimp and Cherimoya Salad
This recipe, adapted from our friends at Sunset magazine, is a light and easy way to pair cherimoya with seafood – a great combination. Serves 4.
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 TBL packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp red chile flakes
- 1 1/2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press olive oil, the California Arbequina is outstanding in this recipe
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 lb. peeled, cooked medium shrimp
- 1/2 firm-ripe Hawaiian papaya, seeded, peeled and cut into 1/4-in. dices
- 1 ripe cherimoya, peeled, and cut into 1-in. chunks (it’s easier to remove the seeds after it’s cut)
- 1 TBL chopped cilantro leaves
1. Combine lime juice, orange juice, brown sugar, chile flakes, oil and salt in a small saucepan and boil over high heat, stirring often, until golden brown and reduced to 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes.
2. Divide shrimp and fruit between 4 plates. Drizzle with the juice reduction and sprinkle with cilantro.