July 4, 2012
June 27, 2012
Get Grillin’ with Local, Fresh-Picked Corn
Shuck it, grill it, put it in a salsa — one of the summer favorites is arriving daily at our stores and it doesn’t get any sweeter than fresh-picked. Plus, get a free tote of corn just in time for the 4th of July!
By Robbie Sigona
Ah, summer. Barbeques send swirls of mouth-watering scents through the air, kids run through sprinklers, you favorite fruits are now coming from local growers and iced tea is brewed in the summer sun. Speaking of barbeques, did you know you can cook almost anything on the grill? This includes corn on the cob. There is no reason to heat up the kitchen more than it already is by boiling a large pot of water. Just throw those cobs on the barbie!
Corn is fantastic when grilled, whether it’s left on the cob or sliced off to be used in salsas, salads or other dishes. We have some delicious corn recipes on the blog, including Green Beans with Roasted Corn and Green Onions inspired by Food Network’s Guy Fieri.
Let’s Get Corny
Did you know that a stalk of corn only produces one good ear? It’s true! Our local farmer John Spina only harvests the biggest and best ear from the stalk. Or how about this: did you know you really only need to let corn swim in boiling water for about 2 minutes if that’s the cooking method you choose? Well, corn doesn’t really need to be cooked at all before you eat it – in fact, if you’re in the employee room during corn season, you might just see a Sigona peel back the husks and start eating an ear of corn as is…no cooking required.
There’s nothing like fresh-picked corn on the cob, either dressed up with a smear of butter and a dusting of salt & pepper, or grilled and incorporated into a summer salad. Judging by the popularity of our corn display the majority of you agree. We get daily deliveries of white corn from our friend John Spina of Spina Farms in Morgan Hill. The corn is picked in the morning and delivered to our stores in the afternoon so we have fresh corn every day.
Such a quick turnaround is significant because fresh corn is sweeter. This is because once picked, the sugars in corn begin converting to starch. Same with asparagus. Moral of the story: corn is best eaten as fresh-picked as possible.
One of the biggest myths about corn is that it needs to be cooked for a long while before it’s edible. Even the freshest ear, when cooked too long, can taste starchy and stale. Grilling corn allows its natural sugars to caramelize, which adds another layer of flavor and makes for a more chewy texture. Again, just don’t keep it on the heat for too long. Slice the grilled corn off the cob and incorporate it into a citrus-based salsa and you’ll be the talk of the town!
Meet the Farmer
We’ve worked with the Spina family – John, his father and his son (all named John) – for nearly 40 years. They have a small produce stand of their own in Morgan Hill, too, and used to buy some items from us at our old roadside fruit stands along Old Monterey Highway…back when we were called Coyote Berry Acres. A lot has changed for us since then, but our relationships with farmers have stayed the same. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for our local farmers.
Corn got a late start this summer, just like most California produce, but John says the stalks are doing well now and should be in steady production until November.
“We have 150 acres on which we’re growing a few different varieties of white corn this season,” said John. “We grow different varieties each year to find which respond the best to the conditions and farming techniques. Quality is very important to us and we pick only when the corn is at its peak so Sigona’s and its customers get the best.”
In general, white corn is more tender and sweeter than yellow corn, which has a more chewy texture and hardy corn flavor. My Uncle Carmelo remembers when white corn was a rare find in markets; it wasn’t until the 1970s that the demand for white corn grew and farmers began planting more white than yellow. Until that time, yellow corn was the norm – Golden Bantam was popular in the 1950s and Golden Jubilee was the rage in the late 1960s.
In addition to white corn, Spina Farms grows peppers, tomatoes, beans, squash, Indian corn and 67 (yes 67!) different varieties of pumpkins and gourds, many of which you’ll see decorating our stores come fall.
The Spina family also operate the Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch on their farm in the fall, featuring train rides on the Spina Pumpkin Express, hay ride tours of the pumpkin patch and Indian corn field, pumpkin decorating and more. It’s a great destination for the family in the fall and it’s open beginning the last weekend in September through the month of October.
Remember to take advantage of the coupon we’re offering this week…just in time for your 4th of July celebrations! Bring in your coupon and when you spend $30 or more you can walk away with a free tote bag full of corn. Also make sure to check out our recipes for corn, such as Sautéed Corn with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil and Fresh Corn Salad with Black Beans, Tomato and Cilantro.
Sigona’s Dried Fruit and Nut Specials: June 27-July 3, 2012
June 25, 2012
Recipe courtesy of Luisa Ormonde, a local private chef and caterer. Luisa says, “I made these this morning for a client and will make them again for myself! I found the dough very easy to work with, *but if you are intimidated just use premade pot sticker wraps/round wonton wraps instead. Enjoy!” Makes approx. 25-30 potstickers.
For dough (*see note above)
- 1 3/4 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup boiling-hot water
- 1 lb grass-fed ground beef (such as local Open Source beef, found at Sigona’s)
- 3 TBL soy sauce
- 3 TBL Asian sesame oil
- 1 TBL peanut oil
- 2 TBL minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tsp black bean garlic sauce
- 1 TBL organic sugar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green garlic chives (6 oz) (Cook’s note: find flowering garlic chives (jiu cai in Mandarin) at a local Asian market or use regular chives minced with a little garlic)
- 1 TBL peanut oil
- 1/3 cup warm water
Make dough: Put 1 3/4 cups flour in a large bowl, then add boiling-hot water, stirring with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. When just cool enough to handle, turn out dough (including any loose flour) onto a work surface and knead, incorporating some of remaining 1/4 cup flour if dough is sticky, until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Form into a ball and cover with clean towel. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes.
Make filling while dough stands: Stir together beef, soy sauce, oils, ginger and bean paste in a medium bowl, then stir in chives.
Form and fry dumplings: Divide dough in half. On lightly floured parchment paper, roll out one half until thin with rolling pin. With a 3 inch round biscuit cutter, cut as many circles as you can out of the dough (you can reroll the scraps but form into a ball and let rest again before rolling). Place a level tablespoon of filling in center of each round, then brush or dab halfway around edge with a little water and fold in half, pressing edges together to seal then crimp. Place each dumpling, sealed edge up, on a wax/parchment paper-lined tray. Make more dumplings in same manner with remaining dough.
For panfrying: Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot, then remove from heat and arrange dumplings in a tight circular pattern standing up in oil (they should touch one another). Cook, uncovered, over moderate heat until oil sizzles, then drizzle warm water (1/3 cup) over pot stickers and cook, covered, until bottoms are browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons more water if skillet looks dry before bottoms are browned.
Remove lid and cook, shaking skillet to loosen pot stickers, until steam dissipates, 1 to 2 minutes. Invert a large plate with a rim over skillet. Using pot holders, hold plate and skillet together and invert skillet. Remove skillet and serve pot stickers warm.
Cooks’ note: Dumplings can be formed 4 hours ahead. Chill in 1 layer, not touching, on wax-paper-lined tray, loosely but completely covered with plastic wrap.
June 20, 2012
Sigona’s Dried Fruit and Nut Specials: June 20-26, 2012
June 13, 2012
Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: What’s New
- We have in our famous, local Bing cherries from Andy Mariani’s orchard in Santa Clara Valley…just south of us in Morgan Hill. They’re huge, deep burgundy and extremely sweet. They arrive at Sigona’s within hours of being picked – Uncle Paul picks them up at 10 a.m. and brings them to Sigona’s!
- On another note, Paul Buxman, our local, certified California Clean grower, will soon be in with white and yellow peaches and white and yellow nectarines. It’s all going to be real good, but I expect the Diamond Bright yellow nectarine to be excellent! It’s one of the best varieties of the year.
Robbie Sigona is our produce buyer. 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.
Sigona’s Dried Fruit and Nut Specials: June 13-19, 2012
June 6, 2012
Sigona’s Dried Fruit and Nut Specials: June 6-12, 2012