What's Tasty at Sigona's Farmers Market

July 25, 2012

Free Honey Royal Nectarine or Doughnut Peach Gelato

Click coupon for an easy-print version

July 11, 2012

Free Local, Farm Fresh Pastured Eggs from Wattle and Comb in Pescadero, Calif.

Click coupon for an easy-print version

July 3, 2012

Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil of the Month: July 2012

Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil of the Month: July 2012

July means sunny skies, celebrating our independence on the 4th and summer barbeques with friends and family. And what barbeque would be complete without a piece of mouth-watering, extra-virgin-olive-oil drizzled bread adorning your plate?

That’s why we’re excited to let you know that our fresh pressed extra virgin olive oils from the southern hemisphere have just arrived in the store. The first oil we’re going to feature is Empeltre from Chile. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to drink a salad, taste a sample the next time you’re in the store – just be careful of that peppery goodness on the back end.

Sigona’s July 2012 Olive Oil of the Month

Empeltre (from Chile)

This oil:

  • Is like eating a salad
  • Boast notes of celery, fresh lettuce and additional vegetables
  • Delivers a jolt of throat-closing pepper on the back end
  • Packs a robust polyphenol count of 398

Try this recipe from Veronica Foods

Super Robust Olio Nuovo Empeltre EVOO Focaccia with Rosemary & Caramelized Shallots


  • 5 cups all purpose, unbleached flour
  • 2 cups lukewarm water; filtered if possible
  • 1 cup cooled, unseasoned, mashed russet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup + 1/3 cup + more for drizzling of Sigona’s fresh pressed Empeltre EVOO
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 medium shallots thinly sliced
  • 1 package active dried yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves rough chopped
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste


If making the dough in your bread machine, follow its instructions for the order of adding ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and yeast. Allow the yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of olive oil, mashed potatoes and sea salt. Mix to combine.

breadWith the mixer running on the lowest speed, begin to add the flour, cup by cup, until the dough has come together and becomes elastic and just slightly tacky. Reserve any leftover flour for rolling the dough out.

Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for one hour.

On a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment, gently push the dough to the edges, using fingertips to stretch it and make dimpled indentations. Cover and allow the dough to rise for another hour in a warm place.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Distribute the thinly slices shallots and rosemary evenly over the focaccia. Drizzle with the remaining 1/3 cup of Sigona’s fresh pressed Empeltre EVOO. Add a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper and sea salt.

Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes until golden brown. While still hot out of the oven, drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil to taste. Serve warm and enjoy.

Click here for more great recipes!

June 13, 2012

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local White Seabass

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local White Seabass

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has noted that local wild, line-caught white seabass is a “Best Choice” sustainable seafood choice, meaning it’s abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly way. It’s a better choice than Chilean seabass, which is often a victim of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Eating-wise, local white seabass is a meaty fish (striped bass, on the other hand, is a soft fish). It has more oil than halibut so it’s more moist; plus it’s more forgiving…it’s likely to still be tender and juicy if overcooked. We hope you enjoy the variety of recipes!

Grilled Miso-Marinated White Seabass

Grilled Miso-Marinated Sea Bass. Photo and recipe courtesy of local food blogger Jean Pope of Lemons and Anchovies.

Grilling gives the fish a little crust that sears in the juices and makes for a nice, flavorful and delicious fish. Serve this with a flavor-infused rice or cous cous. Recipe courtesy of local food blogger Jean Pope of Lemons and Anchovies. Serves 2.


  • Two large white seabass fillets
  • 3 TBL miso paste
  •  Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 TBL rice vinegar
  • 2 TBL kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 6 TBL oil

Directions: To prepare the fish, combine all the ingredients above from the miso paste to the oil and marinate the fish for at least a couple of hours.  Grill on both sides according to your preferred doneness.

Seared Local White Seabass with a Parsnip-Carrot Puree

Local fish served with pureed veggies seems to be all the rage at local restaurants this time of year, and it’s a simple dish I’ve recreated at home many times. I love adding wine to my purees as it adds another nice dimension with a little citrus twist. Serves 2. – Carmelo Sigona


  • 2 parsnips, peeled and evenly chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and evenly chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine, such as a citrusy sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio (or use chicken/veggie stock)
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

White Seabass:

  • 2 white seabass fillets (about 5-6 oz. ea.)
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest (from about half a lemon)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil

Directions: bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the carrots and parsnips and cook until fork tender. Drain and puree in a food processor or blender along with the wine, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the puree back in the pan and keep warm.

Preheat non-stick sauté pan on medium high heat for at least 1 minute. Season the white seabass with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to the pan and then add the fish. Let it sear on one side, without moving, for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Repeat on the other side. Cover and allow the fish to finish cooking through, about 2 minutes more.

Serve fish atop the pureed veggies.

Carmelo’s Go-To Verblanc Sauce

This sauce is easy to make and goes deliciously with white seabass or other white-flesh fish. It’s my go to for any fish, whether it be local wild king salmon, local halibut or local white seabass. Oh, my mouth waters just thinking about it! Simple drizzle the sauce over grilled, baked or pan-seared fish. Makes enough for 2 servings. – Carmelo Sigona


  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2 TBL cup lemon juice
  • 2 TBL capers
  • 1 chopped parsley
  • 1 TBL cold butter, cubed

Directions: to a small sauté pan over medium high heat, add the wine and lemon juice. Reduce by half and add the capers and the cold butter. Turn the flame to medium low, stir constantly. The sauce will start to emulsify itself as the liquid from the butter steams out so the sauce will thicken naturally. Stir in the parsley as the sauce finishes then drizzle over prepared fish and enjoy.

Steamed White Seabass with Tomato Confit

Steamed White Seabass with Tomato Confit. Recipe and photo courtesy of Michael Gardiner of San Diego Food & Travel.

Recipe courtesy of Michael Gardiner of San Diego Food & Travel who notes he prefers “food prepared simply but with care using marvelous ingredients at the height of freshness.” Michael originally made this dish with halibut but says you can’t go wrong with either fish. Serves 4.

For the Tomato Confit:

  • 12 Roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

For the White Seabass:

  • 4 fillets of white seabass, about 1/4 lb
    each (Halibut would work too)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large spinach leaves

For the Garnish:

  • Sigona’s Traditional Balsamic
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • Steamed baby zucchini (optional)
  • Finishing salt (such as Himalayan or Hawaiian)

Tomato Confit: Bring a kettle of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, score the tomatoes on the end opposite the stem. Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over the tomatoes. Let them sit until the skin peels easily – about fifteen to twenty seconds. Drain tomatoes and cover with ice. Peel when cool and cut into quarters. Place in a small saucepan with thyme, oil, salt and pepper.  Bring to an ever-so-brief boil over high heat, then reduce a simmer. Simmer until they have completely lost their texture (for about one hour).

Fish: Bring about three inches of water to a boil in a pot to which you can fit a steamer basket. Briefly rinse the fillets under running water. Dry them, season them with kosher salt and pepper and place the fillets over a piece of spinach in the basket of a steamer. When the water in the pot reaches a rolling boil place the basket over the pot and steam the fish for ten minutes or until they just flake.

Plating: Place a white seabass fillet on each plate, topped with some of the tomato confit.  Sprinkle some finishing salt on top of the tomato confit.  Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic around the plate to be incorporated with each bite of the fish. Serve with steamed baby zucchini (optional).

White Seabass with Coconut, Lime, & Lemongrass Curry Sauce

The white seabass goes deliciously with the curry broth, which has flavors of lemongrass, coconut, and lime. Plus, it’s surprisingly light, refreshing, and not soupy in the slightest. Recipe courtesy of Heather Wetzel of the food blog Chik n’ Pastry. Serves 4.

White Seabass with Coconut, Lime, & Lemongrass Curry Sauce. Recipe and photo courtesy of Heather Wetzel of the food blog Chik n’ Pastry.


  • 1 TBL butter
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1-inch knob ginger, roughly peeled & thinly sliced
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (optional; see lime juice*)
  • 1 TBL curry powder, such as Madras
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can canned coconut milk (do NOT use light here)
  • 4 cilantro sprigs
  • sea salt, or kosher salt, to taste
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 TBL fresh lime juice (*or more if not using kaffir leaves – use 1 TBL for each leaf)

White Seabass:

  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, such as Arbequina
  • 4 (7 oz. ea.) white seabass fillets, 1 1/2 inches thick, skin on
  • salt and pepper

Veggie side :

  • 1/2 stick butter (can omit or add less)
  • fine sea salt
  • 4 heads of baby boy choy, divided in half
  • kosher salt


  • 7-8 oz. vermicelli style noodles

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 F. Start a large pot of salted water and butter to boiling. This will be for the baby bok choy.

To make the broth for the fish, melt butter in a separate medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves, and curry and sweat until tender and with no color, about 5-6 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the coconut milk and cilantro and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Strain through fine strainer and set aside, keeping warm. Stir in 1 TBL lime juice.

Put 2 TBL of oil in one large (oven-safe) skillet, or if using large fillets, divide it into 2 skillets. Place over high heat until hot. Season white seabass on both sides with salt & pepper. Place in skillet (skin side down) and sauté until golden brown and crusted on the bottom, about 2 1/2 minutes. Turn and sear on the other side for 30 seconds. Put pans in the oven and roast until a metal skewer can be easily inserted in the fish and the fish is cooked through, about 6-7 minutes.

To the pot of boiling water and butter, add bok choy and cook until crisp and tender, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a sheet pan in the fridge to “shock” and stop cooking, retaining the bright green color. SAVE THE WATER and bring it back up to boil.

While the fish are roasting and the boy choy is in the fridge, add the noodles to the boiling water and remove the pot from the heat. Let sit for a few minutes until noodles are soft. Drain.

To plate, add a small mound of noodles to the bottom of a large bowl. Place fish on top and 2 halves of bok choy around. Pour 1/4 of broth over the fish. Squeeze a little lime juice on top (~1 TBL for all 4 bowls). Voila!! Serve and enjoy.

June 12, 2012

Fresh Cherry Cobbler with Pasta Frolla and Mascarpone Ice Cream

Fresh Cherry Cobbler with Mascarpone Ice Cream

Fresh Cherry Cobbler with Mascarpone Ice Cream. Recipe and photo courtesy of Luisa Ormonde of Luisa’s Catering in San Carlos.

A dish perfect to celebrate the local cherry season! Recipe and photo courtesy of Luisa Ormonde of Luisa’s Catering in San Carlos. Luisa says, “I love traditional cherry cobbler but wanted to give it an Italian twist! Here is my version with a Pasta Frolla crust (Italian-style Shortbread), a brandy and cinnamon laced cherry filling and a homemade mascarpone ice cream.”

Mascarpone Ice Cream (makes about 1 quart):

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks (we recommend local Wattle & Comb pastured eggs, sold only at Sigona’s!)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pasta Frolla:

  • 1 whole egg (we recommend local Wattle & Comb pastured eggs — if using the PeeWee eggs, increase to one more)
  • 1 egg yolk (we recommend local Wattle & Comb pastured eggs)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 TBL (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated

Fresh Cherry Filling:

  • 1 lb. fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 TBL unsalted butter, melted
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 TBL cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • splash of brandy

For the mascarpone ice cream: In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until fluffy and lighter in color. Set aside. Combine the milk and cream in a medium saucepan and just bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

While beating the egg yolk mixture, pour in a small spoonful of the hot milk mixture and continue to beat. Repeat process with a larger spoonful, while beating, then repeat. Next, scoop all the egg yolk mixture into the hot milk mixture. Return heat to medium-low. Cook about 8-10 minutes longer, stirring frequently with a spatula to scrape all corners of the bottom of the pot. Do not let boil. The custard should be just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but have no lumps.

Chill the custard 4 hours or overnight. Blend in the mascarpone and vanilla until smooth in texture. Follow your ice cream maker’s instructions to churn into ice cream. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for 2 hours to firm up.

For the pasta frolla*: In a food processor or standing mixer, pulse ingredients until a ball forms. In a mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix ingredients until a ball forms. Wrap dough in parchment paper. Flatten and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Open up parchment paper to reveal dough, dust with flour and flip over. Lightly dust top of dough with flour, and roll dough about ¼-inch thick (this might make more than you need for the cobbler so it’s a great time to make cookies with the scraps!)

To complete: Preheat the oven to 350°.

Pour cherry mixture into a 1-quart casserole dish. Top it with pasta frolla dough. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and cherries are bubbly.

Serve with mascarpone ice cream and garnish with powdered sugar, cinnamon, fresh cherry (or lemon twist).

*Pasta frolla by hand: Work all ingredients in a bowl with your hands, smashing butter pieces with the tips of your fingers. When the dough starts coming together, transfer to a work surface, and knead for 30 seconds. Wrap dough in parchment paper. Flatten and refrigerate for 1 hour.

June 4, 2012

Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil of the Month: June 2012

Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil of the Month: June 2012

Since the last time we chatted, the sun has been shining brightly over the Bay Area, our San Francisco Giants have been gaining ground on those pesky Los Angeles Dodgers and the Facebook IPO was about as underwhelming as a stale cracker.

Fledgling stocks aside, June is the ideal time to dust off that BBQ, call up a few friends and enjoy delicious dishes created with Sigona’s fresh produce. That’s why we’ve provided you with a truly astounding pizza pie that will have your friends and family “oohing” and “ahhing” with pleasure. It’s even the perfect dish for dad on Father’s Day.

With that said, here is June’s extra virgin olive oil of the month from Sigona’s Farmers Market that will have your pizza tasting fantastic

Sigona’s June 2012 olive oil of the month

Nocellara From Argentina

This oil:

  • is buttery and light up front while possessing a fruity middle
  • has a slick kick of pepper on the finish
  • contains a polyphenol count of 223

Try this recipe from Veronica Foods

Grilled Thin Crust Pizza With Fresh Fava Bean Pesto & Arugula Salad with Gremolata Vinaigrette

Fresh Fava Bean & Goat Cheese Pesto

  • 3 pounds fresh fava bean pods
  • 2 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Nocellara Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Argentina
  • 1/3 cup fresh goat cheese (If you don’t like goat cheese, we have some awesome French Bries on sale this week that would work well)
  • 1/4 cup really good quality Pecorino Romano

Directions: Have a medium bowl of ice water prepared. Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to boil. Shell the fava beans and add to the salted water. Blanch the fava beans for 2 minutes and then add to the bowl of ice water. Allow to cool. Slip the peel off each bean and place in to a food processor with all the other ingredients. Pulse until pureed and creamy. Adjust seasoning to taste and reserve. This pesto sauce can also be used over pasta, on bruschetta, or as a dip for veggies.

Thin Crust Nocellara Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Argentina Pizza Dough

  •  4 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups warm 110 degree spring or filtered water
  • 1/3 cup Nocellara Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Argentina
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Note: A quickie alternative you’ll find in our stores is Vicolo organic corn meal pizza crust and Lomonica par-baked pizza crust. Both are excellent.

Directions: If using a bread machine follow the instructions for adding ingredients to the machine. If mixing in a mixer or by hand, combine the sugar and water and yeast in a large bowl or mixer bowl. Allow to sit for five minutes. Add the olive oil and salt. Begin mixing in the flour. It will be fairly wet but avoid the temptation to add more flour. Knead for approximately 3 minutes until the dough is relatively smooth and cohesive. Allow to rise for 1 hour covered in a warm place. Divide and shape or roll the dough in to two large thin crust pizzas or three medium thin crust pizzas. Makes enough dough for 2 large or three medium thin crust pizzas

Simple Arugula Salad with Gremolata Vinaigrette

  • 5 cups baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup Gremolata Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions: Just before the pizza is ready to be taken off the grill, combine the lemon juice with the sea salt. Whisk in the gremolata olive oil and season with pepper. Adjust seasoning and gently toss the arugula with the vinaigrette.

Grilled Thin Crust Pizza With Fava Bean Pesto & Arugula Salad With Gremolata Vinaigrette

  • Prepared pizza dough above
  • Fava Bean Pesto
  • 1 pound fresh buffalo mozzarella fresca, thinly sliced
  • Simple Arugula Salad with Gremolata Vinaigrette

Directions: Add approximately 1/3 cup of pesto to each medium pizza or 1/2 cup to each large pizza. Add a layer of mozzarella, season with a little sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Grill or bake at a minimum of 500 degrees, preferably on a preheated pizza stone, or on a large, inverted, preheated cast iron skillet. Depending on how hot you can get your oven or grill, the cooking time will be anywhere between 5-10 minutes. You are looking for golden brown crust and bubbling cheese. Remove from the oven and top with the prepared Simple Arugula Salad and serve immediately.

Serves 6-8

May 30, 2012

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s featuring Cherries

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s featuring Cherries

Cherries are delicious eaten on their own, but they add new level of flavor to savory dishes and grilled meats, such as pork. One of our customers even replaces tomatoes with cherries in their homemade salsa! Remember, cherries have pits in the middle so be careful when biting into them.

Smoked Turkey and Cherry Salad with a Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette

This salad recipe, inspired by this one on the California Cherry Advisory Board website, is a great way to use fresh cherries and our cherry balsamic. Serves 4.

For the salad:

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, medium-chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion, some green included
  • 2 small mandarins, oranges or tangerines, segmented (all skin and membranes removed)
  • 1 cup smoked turkey, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup California Bing cherries, washed, halved & pitted

For the balsamic vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Cherry balsamic
  • 1 TBL stone-ground mustard
  • 1 tsp honey or organic Agave nectar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions: Toss all salad ingredients together, except cherries, in a large bowl.

Add all the vinaigrette ingredients, except the EVOO, in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Slowly drizzle in the EVOO and whisk quickly to emulsify the mixture.

Reserving 1 TBL, drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Add the cherries to the reserved vinaigrette and toss to coat.

Arrange salad on individual plates, sprinkle with cherries and serve immediately.


Balsamic-Drizzled Summer Stone Fruit over Creamy Gelato

Stone fruits are just coming into season, and though I prefer to eat them out of hand, they’re delicious when roasted, drizzled with balsamic (especially an infused balsamic) and served over ice cream or gelato. Serves 4.


  • 12+ cherries, halved with the pit removed
  • 2 other stone fruits, such as peaches, apricots, plums or nectarines, quartered with the pit removed
  • 1/2 cup Sigona’s cherry balsamic
  • 1 pint of Vanilla Bean gelato (we recommend Gelato Massimo; it’s made in Watsonville!)
  • 4 mint leaves, for garnish (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare fruits as directed.

Place fruits in a baking dish and drizzle with Sigona’s cherry balsamic. Roast fruit for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, scoop gelato into four dessert bowls. Place equal amounts of roasted fruit in the bowls and drizzle with more balsamic (leftovers from the baking dish and/or a drizzle of more from the bottle). Place a mint leaf in each bowl (optional) and serve immediately.


Local, Wild King Salmon Alaskan Salmon with Roasted Cherries and Pistachios

Wild King Salmon with Roasted Cherries and Pistachios. Recipe and photo courtesy of Danielle Krupa, owner and founder of Wellness Made Natural, LLC.

Cherries and local, wild salmon seem to have made a pact to come into season around the same time. The two paired together make for an outstanding flavor combination! Recipe and photo courtesy of Danielle Krupa, owner and founder of Wellness Made Natural, LLC.  Danielle says, “I can’t stress enough the importance of using a cherry pitter for this recipe.  Unless of course you like having pink fingers and high frustration levels.” Serves 4.


  • 3/4 pound (about 3 cups) cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 2 teaspoons chopped oregano
  • 4 (4-6 oz.) wild king salmon fillets
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, chopped

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, toss together cherries, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, agave nectar, thyme and oregano. Arrange salmon skin-side down on a large parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Scatter cherry mixture over and around salmon and bake 12-15 minutes.  Switch oven to broil and cook an additional 3 minutes until salmon is just cooked through and cherries are juicy and caramelized, (you want the thickest part of the fish to reach an internal temperature of 131 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). Remove the salmon from the oven and allow to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Drizzle arugula with remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper; divide among 4 plates.  Top greens with salmon fillet and 1/4 of the cherries.  Make sure to spoon out some of the cooking juice and drizzle over salmon.  Sprinkle 1/4 of the pistachios over each dish and serve.

Raw Cherry Pie

Raw Cherry Pie recipe and photos courtesy of Monika Soria Caruso of Windy City Vegan.

Sometimes baking things is just too much work! Why not opt for a raw cherry pie – not only does it save you time and keep your kitchen cool, but keeping the ingredients raw maintains the integrity of  the ingredient’s nutrients, such as the beta carotene in cherries. Did you know cherries contain 19 times more beta carotene than blueberries and strawberries? Recipe and photos courtesy of food blogger Monika Soria Caruso Windy City Vegan and Chew on This.


  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup sweet sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup alt milk, preferably unsweetened
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt


  • 1 1/2 cups pitted cherries (do not drain!)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2 scant TBL kudzu starch
  • 1/4 cup cold filtered water
  • optional: agave, sweeten to taste

Go ahead and have a slice or two! Photo courtesy of Monika Soria Caruso of Windy City Vegan.

Directions: Lightly grease your pie or tart pan (standard size for a round pie, or 8″ square) and set aside. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a large bowl and stir vigorously until completely mixed. The dough will resemble wet sand. If you need to soften your coconut oil, do so using a warm water bath or double boiler method. Do not place the oil over direct heat. Turn the dough out into your pan and pat it into place. Transfer the pan to your refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Combine the cherries and strawberries in a small bowl and set aside. In a small cup, combine the kudzu and water and stir to make a slurry. In a small saucepan, slowly heat the slurry until it begins to thicken. If you are keeping this recipe 100% raw, use your sense of touch to ensure the slurry remains lukewarm (or use a candy thermometer to keep it just under 115 degrees F). It will take 10-15 minutes to start to thicken. If you aren’t opposed to heating the starch briefly, then raise the temperature until the slurry is not quite at a simmer – it will thicken almost instantly. Allow the slurry to cool to room temperature, then combine with the fruit. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours and it will thicken nicely.

After a 2+ hours have passed, pour the pie filling into the crust. Continue to refrigerate for at least another hour before serving. This is best if eaten within 48 hours – after that the filling will begin to seep into the crust.

May 16, 2012

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s featuring Artichokes

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s featuring Artichokes

If you’re encountering artichokes for the first time, these jumbo gems may seem a bit intimidating, but don’t let the thorns fool you. Artichokes are great and absolutely fun to eat! You can steam them, stuff them and make them into soups.

The Basics

For easy eating, cut off the top of the artichoke leaves to remove the thorns.

Working with Artichokes

  1. Wash under cold water
  2. Remove lower, small and discolored leaves
  3. Remove stems if attached
  4. Cut off the top 1/4 of the artichoke and trim any thorns
  5. Keep the trimmed artichokes in acidulated water (one tablespoon lemon juice per quart of water) until time to cook.
  6. Cook as desired but not in aluminum or cast iron pots.
  7. Eat the tender portion at the bottom of each leaf, the heart, and even the soft interior leaves. The fuzzy interior choke is inedible.

Simple Steamed Artichokes

Place trimmed and prepped artichokes on a rack an inch or two above boiling water seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon each of olive oil, lemon juice and peppercorns. Cover and steam 25-45 minutes, until tender and leaves pull apart easily.

Alternately, place artichokes in microwave safe bowl with 1/4 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon each of olive oil, lemon juice and peppercorns, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high 6-7 minutes. Let stand covered for 5 minutes more.

Grilled Artichokes

  1. Prep artichokes by removing the smaller or discolored leaves. Remove the stems, cut of 1/4 of the top of the artichoke and, using scissors, trim the thorns from each leaf.

    Artichokes on the grill at Pezzini Farms in Castroville.

  2. Steam or boil artichokes for 15-25 minutes or until tender and leaves pull off easily.
  3. Slice cooked artichokes in half lengthwise and use a spoon or melon baller to remove the fuzzy choke and first few inner layers in the center.
  4. Brush each half with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Place artichokes, with cut side down first, on a hot grill for 5-7 minutes. Turn and grill an additional 5-7 minutes more. Look for nice grill marks on both sides.
  6. Serve with lemon wedges and your dip of choice (butter, aioli or marinara)


When I dip, you dip, we dip!

Here are a couple artichoke dips we know you’ll love.

Low-Cal Dill Dip

From the California Artichoke Advisory Board


  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup reduced calorie mayo
  • 2 TBL green onion, minced
  • 3 TBL capers, drained and chopped
  • 3/4 tsp dried dill

Directions: Stir all ingredients together. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

The Best Dip: Good Ol’ Butter

Most ‘choke fans love to simply tip a steamed artichoke leaf in butter, and we agree with the California Artichoke Advisory Board on this one…adding a little something to the butter makes it even better!

To your butter, try mixing a little garlic powder, lemon juice, parsley or powdered Ranch dressing mix into melted butter!

Sigona’s Marinara

John Sigona says, “I love dipping artichokes in Sigona’s Old World Marinara – been doing it for years – delicious! Plus, our marinara as a dip with artichokes has less calories than mayo or aioli so it’s a healthier alternative.”

Garlic-Chive Aioli

  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 TBL diced fresh chives
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • A pinch of white pepper (or more, to taste)
  • A pinch of cayenne powder (or more, to taste)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions: Mix all the ingredients for the aioli in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Lemon-Thyme Aioli

Courtesy of Luisa Ormonde of Luisa’s Catering.

  • 1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch sugar

Directions: Mix all the ingredients for the aioli in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.


Pan Fried Baby Artichokes with Mint and Lemon

Recipe and photo courtesy of Turntable Kitchen. Follow the link below for cooking instructions.

  • Pan Fried Baby Artichokes with Mint and Lemon. Recipe and photo courtesy of Turntable Kitchen.

    1 dozen baby artichokes, trimmed and sliced in half, length-wise (see these tips for trimming baby artichokes in Saveur Magazine)

  • zest from 1/2 Meyer lemon
  • 3-4 anchovy fillets
  • salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped mint, plus more for garnish
  • olive oil
  • juice from 1/2 lemon

Directions: find the directions on the Turntable Kitchen website.

Grandma Pauline’s Traditional Sicilian Stuffed Artichokes

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 (we recommend our Spanish Arbequina)
  • 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.

Artichoke Frittata

Frittatas are simple dishes that take just minutes to prepare and are great for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. They’re different from a quiche in that they do not have a crust. Using egg whites makes for a healthier option, and you can add in as many veggies as you like. For this one, we’re just using artichokes, but if you’re looking to add something, we suggest mushrooms. Serves 4. – Carmelo Sigona


  • 3 large artichokes
  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 eggs, such as our pastured eggs from Wattle & Comb (you can do 4 whole eggs and 4 egg whites, if desired), lightly beaten with a splash of milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar

Directions: Par (or trim) down the artichokes to the cups – this means peel off all the leaves and cut out the fuzzy choke so all you’re left with is the heart.

Cook the heart of the artichokes in boiling water for about 10-15 minutes. Remove and cool. Then chop into smaller 1-2 inch pieces.

Season and sauté the shallots in olive oil for a couple minutes. Add the garlic and diced artichokes. Stir constantly for several minutes to let all the flavors come together.

Remove from heat and incorporate the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Working quickly, pour egg and artichoke mix into a lightly greased pie or frittata dish. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake at 325F for about 30 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temp.

Grilled Baby Artichokes with Lemon-Thyme Aioli

This recipe, submitted by our friend Luisa Ormonde of Luisa’s Catering in San Carlos, is simply mouthwatering. The presentation is pretty snazzy, too! Original post here. Serves 4.

For the artichokes:

  • Grilled Baby Artichokes with Lemon-Thyme Aioli. Recipe and photo courtesy of Luisa Ormonde of Luisa’s Catering.

    1 lemon, halved

  • 12 fresh baby artichokes
  • 1/2 cup (Sigona’s Fresh Press) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed and minced
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For the aioli:

  • 1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch sugar

Directions: Mix all the ingredients for the aioli in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Squeeze juice from lemon into bowl of cold water. Cut stem off 1 artichoke, leaving about 1 inch. Snap off bottom 3 rows of leaves. Cut off tip of artichoke. Halve artichoke lengthwise. Scrape out choke. Place in lemon water. Repeat with remaining artichokes.

Steam the artichokes until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Drain; pat dry.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Mix oil and garlic in small bowl. Skewer artichokes and brush artichokes with some of garlic oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Grill until tender and charred in spots, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer artichokes to platter.

Serve artichokes warm or at room temperature, offering lemon thyme aioli alongside.

Carmelo’s Creamy Fettuccine with Garlic & Artichokes

This is a recipe I throw together often during artichoke season. The earthy, nutty flavor of the artichokes adds a hearty characteristic to this creamy, lemony comfort dish. – Carmelo Sigona


  • 1 package fresh Saporito Fine Pasta (found at Sigona’s)
  • 2 large artichokes
  • 1/4 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 TBL heavy cream
  • 2 TBL butter
  • 2 tsp lemon zest (from about 1 small lemon)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Par (or trim) down the artichokes to the cups – this means peel off all the leaves and cut out the fuzzy choke so all you’re left with is the heart.

Cook the heart and stems of the artichokes in boiling water for about 10-15 minutes. Remove and cool. Then rough chop into pieces.

In the meantime, boil the pasta according to package directions. Time the pasta so that it’s cooked to al dente and is ready to go from being drained into the artichoke mix (see direction below).

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and chopped garlic cloves over medium heat, stirring as to not burn the garlic. Add the wine and reduce by half.  Add the chopped artichoke hearts and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the cream and butter. Cook for 1 minute or until butter is melted.

Stir in cooked and drained pasta and then turn off the heat. Gently mix in lemon zest and the parmigiano reggiano cheese. Serve warm.

Grilled Artichokes, Roasted Striped Beets with Rainbow Radishes

Try any variety of beet with this recipe, the striped Chioggia beet makes for a fancy presentation! Recipe and photo courtesy of food blogger Mary Platis of California Greek Girl. Serves 4.

Grilled Artichokes, Roasted Striped Beets with Rainbow Radishes. Recipe and photo courtesy of food blogger Mary of California Greek Girl.


  • 4 beets, roasted
  • 4 small artichokes, cooked and cleaned
  • 2-3 radishes, cut in half (look for colorful “Easter Egg” radishes. Regular red radishes work too)
  • 2 TBL (Sigona’s Fresh Press) olive oil
  • 1 tsp (Sigona’s traditional) balsamic
  • 2-3 leaves of  parsley, finely chopped
  • wooden kabob skewers (soak in water for at least 10 minutes before skewering food and placing on bbq)

Directions: Wrap the unpeeled beets in foil and roast in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until soft. Peel while still warm, and slice into quarters. Set aside.

Place artichokes in a pot of boiling water, and cook for 35-45 minutes until knife can be pierced easily in the stem.

Peel away all the leaves, remove the center, being careful not to break the artichoke. Trim all around any rough outer leaves. Cut in half and set aside.

Wash and cut radishes in half.

Skewer the cooked beets, radish, and cooked artichoke. Lightly oil the BBQ and cook the skewers for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Sprinkle with fresh parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve warm.


A Pair for the Palate: Savory Goat Cheese with Fig or Pear

A Pair for the Palate: Savory Goat Cheese with Fig or Pear

Spread a little stuffed goat cheese and top with a slice of fresh fig or pear for an additional pop of flavor.

Figs and goat cheese. Figs stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with honey, for good measure. How about a pear and goat cheese topped green salad? Goat cheese and any fruit for that matter. Can it get any better?

If you love that savory tang of goat cheese paired with the mellow sweetness of fresh or dried fruit, then you’re in for a treat!

Next week, May 23-29, we’re offering a free 4 oz. package of Coach Farm fresh goat cheese stuffed with either figs or pears with your coupon when you spend $30 or more!

Whether on its own, spread on a baguette or paired up with a glass of red or white wine, Coach Farm creamy, spreadable goat cheese with fig or pear is a simple yet luscious treat that’s even better when it’s free.

Make sure to get your free cheese next week then try these goat cheese recipes:

Strawberry Salad with Walnuts & Coach Farm Goat Cheese with Fig

Recipe adapted from Coach Farm. Serves 4.

Fig Balsamic vinaigrette:

  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press Spanish Hojiblanca olive oil
  • 1 TBL Sigona’s fig balsamic
  • 1 tsp finely minced shallot
  • salt to taste

Stuffed goat cheese is delicious when crumbled and sprinkled on a green salad with fresh fruit and nuts.

For salad:

  • 6 cups mesclun or wild arugula (also known as rocket arugula)
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 3 ounces Coach Farm goat cheese with fig, crumbled
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Arrange greens on plates. Top with berries, drizzle with dressing and top with walnuts and crumbled goat cheese. Season with freshly ground pepper.

Coach Farm Goat Cheese Pizza with Pear and Arugula

Recipe adapted from Coach Farm. Serves 2-4.


  • 1x 12″ Pizza Shell (store bought or make your own)
  • 4 oz. Coach Farm goat cheese with pear, thinly sliced
  • Ripe pears cut in 8 wedges, marinated and grilled
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press Spanish Hojiblanca olive oil
  • 1 cup Baby Arugula
  • 3 TBL Sigona’s traditional balsamic


Lay cheese out on a partially baked pizza shell. Top will pear wedges and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake in a hot oven until the crust is fully cooked and the cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan or pot, reduce the balsamic over medium-high heat until thicker and syrup-like. Remove from heat, cool at least 5 minutes then toss with the arugula.

Top baked pizza with the arugula and balsamic mixture. Slice and serve.

Dried Calimyrna Figs Packed with Antioxidants

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week: Dried Calimyrna Figs

Central California 

Jumbo Dried Calimyrna Figs 

Reg. $5.99 (10.5 oz. container)

On sale for $3.99

Simply the very best…luscious, rare, jumbo-sized Calimyrna figs…you’d be hard pressed to find these incredible California whole dried figs anywhere but at Sigona’s Farmers Market.

Many of you have asked that I put our jumbo-sized Calimyrna dried figs on sale again. Lucky for you I’ve secured another great buy — so, once again, here is your requested special price!

Dried California Calimyrna figs are of superb quality. They’re big and plump, versatile, healthy and absolutely delicious. They are a delicious, nutritious treat to be enjoyed in numerous ways:

  • Easy to stuff with your favorite cheese: try a few with Gorgonzola and walnuts or pair with any type of goat cheese and serve alongside walnuts/pecans
  • Wrap them with prosciutto and serve with blue cheese
  • Blend up a fig-banana smoothie
  • Chop them up for a fig-nut sandwich
  • Add diced figs to a goat cheese pizza
  • Bake up a cambozola and fig pizza on focaccia bread
  • Snack on them out of hand
  • Add chopped figs to cereals or other fresh fruit smoothies

    John outside with produce

    John Sigona is the dried fruit & nut buyer for Sigona’s Farmers Markets in Palo Alto and Redwood City, Calif.

Also, check out the following nutritional info is from the California Fig Advisory Board:

  • Fresh and dried figs contain disease-fighting antioxidants
  • Fresh and dried figs contain good amounts of calcium
  • Fresh and dried figs contain good amounts of potassium
  • Fresh and dried figs contain good amounts of iron
  • And—lots of dietary fiber
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