March 7, 2012
New from Right Brain Kitchens: Emerald Isle Citrus Jam
Dollop on some green for St. Patty’s! Note: No leprechauns were harmed during the production of this jam.
You remember Joe Loewinsohn, maker of Right Brain Kitchens jams & marmalades. He’s also a Sigona’s employee and one of the most knowledgeable foodies around! To tempt your taste buds this St. Patrick’s Day, we enlisted Joe’s creativity to produce a green jam. What he came up with is stellar and absolutely perfect for a day of green. He calls it Emerald Isle Citrus Jam.
What’s more is you’ll get a jar of Emerald Isle Citrus Jam for free next week (March 14-20, 2012) with your coupon when you spend $30 or more!
How the Jam Came to be
Sometimes, says Joe, results of mistakes are better than what you were aiming for in the first place; this jam is one of those. He was trying to
make a lemon curd with no eggs or butter, but instead ended up with a lemon jam. However, after one taste Joe knew he had created something special in its own right.
One of the discoveries in all his experiments was all-natural food colorings. Not only is Joe dedicated to making the most delicious-tasting
treats, he is dedicated to making them with all-natural or organic ingredients, when possible, to keep them as good for you as possible. Joe found a supplier that makes all-natural and organic colors for food and confections from the extracts of fruits, vegetables and flowers. The best part? Most of those colorings don’t have a bitter or chemical taste, like those made with the Food, Drug & Cosmetic (FD&C) colors.
All-Natural and Organic
“Discovering this, I can now color jams and candies and they are even more delicious and beautiful,” said Joe. “I can also jazz up the natural
colors you lose when you cook the jams. I’m also able to list the all-natural and organic colors on our labels with pride.”
For example, the beta carotene used for the color orange tastes like the sweetest carrot juice you have ever tasted. Same goes for
the black carrot juice used for purple coloring. Joe also found that the floral-chlorophyll for green coloring was very sweet and carried an almost lime-like background flavor.
“When Sigona’s asked me to come up with a green jam for St. Patrick’s Day, I instantly thought of that wonderful forest green coloring with that great lime flavor, and Emerald Isle Citrus Jam was the end result,” said Joe. “In the jar it looks dark and mysterious, but once you spread it on something you see the amazing emerald green color with its soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture
and light, fresh lime-lemon flavor that complements a wide variety of foods.”
Dab on a Dollop
Joe recommends adding a dollop to wilted bitter greens and says it is simply amazing on corned beef or ham. It is, of course, delightful on toast, crumpets & muffins, as well as in an afternoon tea cucumber sandwich. Its uses are seemingly endless!
This is a very limited production; only 40 cases were made, so when it’s gone, it’s gone…until next St. Patty’s Day, anyway!
November 2, 2011
New from Right Brain Kitchens: Pineapple Upside-Down Jam
Try the latest addition to our Right Brains Kitchen line-up free Nov. 9-15, 2011 with your coupon. This jam will knock your socks off!
And it tastes just like it sounds! Local vendor Joe Loewinsohn, creator and cookery genius of Right Brain Kitchens in Redwood City, did it again with his third jam now available at Sigona’s. Made with only the best all-natural ingredients, including gold pineapples, natural cane sugar, Madagascar vanilla bean, dried Montmorency cherries and more, Joe’s Pineapple Upside-Down Jam, is a culinary creation like no other.
Try it free Nov. 9 – 15, 2011, with your coupon and a purchase of $30 or more! This latest flavor joins the likes of Joe’s Summertime Watermelon Marmalade and Strawberry Fields Forever Jam, now on sale in our stores.
How it came to be
Joe, one of our own Sigona’s crew members, created his all-natural Pineapple Upside-Down Jam as a tribute to his mom and as a tribute to one of his all-time favorite desserts.
“My mom was a very special woman; most guys can say they know how to shoot a gun, fix a car, ride a motorcycle, catch fish, throw a baseball accurately, and even build a tree house, but most guys WON’T say ‘my mom taught me all that,’ but I can,” said Joe.
“My mom drove a ‘65 gun metal blue GTO — usually like she just stole it — always dressed to the nines, and was a wizard in the kitchen,” continued Joe. “One of my favorite things she’d make was pineapple upside-down cake in a cast iron skillet. The cast iron would caramelize the super dark brown sugar she used, so you’d have this really dark, super delicious, mildly sweet, tangy moist cake, and it was unlike anyone else’s mom’s pineapple upside-down cake, pretty much like my mom wasn’t like anyone else’s mom.”
How to use it
Joe recommends using this as a glaze for ham (he prefers the dry-cured ham, with no water added). He says it’s also REALLY good if you add some heat, like chopped jalapeno or habanero, and use it as a finishing glaze for chicken. It’s wonderful as a waffle topping, or simply stirred into plain yogurt for a nice morning change of pace.
Pineapple Upside-Down Jam joins two other flavors we carry: Summertime Watermelon Marmalade and Strawberry Fields Forever Jam. There are more flavors to come, so keep an eye out!
Also, remember 20% of all sales of Right Brain Kitchens jams and marmalades (effective Oct. 12 – Jan 12) will be donated to the Russell Bede School in San Mateo, Calif., in support of their dedication to teaching students with learning disabilities.
October 19, 2011
Soak up a bit more of summer with (free!) Summertime Watermelon Marmalade
Did you get a free jar of the Right Brain Kitchens Strawberry Fields Forever jam last week? If not, have no fear! Every other week, for the next few weeks, we’ll offer a coupon for another free jar of locally made Right Brain Kitchens jam or marmalade!
Next up? Summertime Watermelon Marmalade. Get a jar for free Oct. 26 – Nov. 1 with your coupon.
“Summer is just over too fast, so we took summertime and captured it in a marmalade,” said Joe Loewinsohn, mastermind and co-owner of Right Brain Kitchens, based in Redwood City.
The flavors are also available for purchase and we’re also donating 20% of all sales (effective Oct. 12 – Jan 12) of Right Brain Kitchens jams & marmalade to Russell Bede School in San Mateo.
All the flavors are fantastic, but we guarantee you’ll be blown away by the watermelon marmalade. Local vendor Joe Loewinsohn even includes a little of the rind for a bit of crunch.
This flavor, Joe says, was created like most of my flavors. “I’ll be doing something completely unrelated to jam, and it’ll hit me, ‘why is there no watermelon jam?’, so then I go and make an experimental batch.
The result of the first batch provided the answer: Watermelon it turns taupe when cooked, so Joe experimented with other food extracts for color to come up with the solution. He uses an all-natural vegan-kosher red color made from tomato and hibiscus.
One of our crew members, Christine, says she doesn’t even care much for fresh watermelon, but Joe’s Summertime Watermelon Marmalade “is awesome. I mixed it with a bit of mascarpone and spread it on a Berta Maria cracker for an after-dinner treat.”
Joe also suggests stirring some into your morning yogurt, using it for a PB&J, serving it as a dip for fried chicken or adding fresh watermelon, mixing it with whipped cream and dolloping on angel food cake or shortbread.
October 12, 2011
Recipe: Balsamic & Strawberry Pizza with Chicken, Sweet Onion and Applewood Smoked Bacon
Sweet and savory with a balsamic tang, this pizza is perfect for your next book club or even brunch! Try it with our new, locally made Strawberry Fields Forever jam made by Right Brain Kitchens (free with your coupon Oct. 12-18, 2011). Recipe and pictures courtesy of Pennies on a Platter. Yield: 4 servings (Serving Size: 2 slices).
- 1/2 cup strawberry jam (e.g. Strawberry Fields Forever jam by Right Brain Kitchens)
- 1/4 cup Sigona’s traditional balsamic (or try Sigona’s Strawberry Balsamic!)
- 1 tsp Sriracha chili sauce (or other chili sauce)
- 1 ball prepared pizza dough
- 1/4 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 grilled chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 4 slices applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1 inch pieces, cooked and drained
- 1 cup blend of shredded Italian cheeses (i.e. Mozzarella, Parmesan, Fontina, Provolone, Romano or Asiago)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, diced small (more berries if desired)
Directions: Place the pizza stone in the lower middle of the oven and preheat to 500F or follow baking instructions on the dough package.
Bring the balsamic to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to half and mixture thickens, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the strawberry preserves and chili sauce. Mix well; set aside to cool.
Roll out the pizza dough to a 12 or 14-inch circle. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with cornmeal. (For me, it’s easier to pat the dough into a circle while already on the parchment paper.)
In a small bowl, combine the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the balsamic-strawberry mixture and stir to coat all chicken. Spread the rest of the sauce over top of the pizza dough, leaving about a 1-inch border around the edge.
Sprinkle 3/4 cup of cheese evenly over the sauce. Scatter the chicken, bacon and sweet onion over the cheese to distribute evenly. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Transfer the pizza with the parchment paper onto the hot pizza stone (if using) and bake for 8 to 10 minutes (or follow dough package directions), or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly for 1 to 2 minutes. Top with the fresh strawberries and cilantro. Serve hot.
October 5, 2011
New to Sigona’s: Jams, Marmalades and More from Right Brain Kitchens
Made by one of our own, these jams are absolutely fantastic…and free…and we’re donating a portion of the sales to a local school!
By John Nava
As a small, family-owned market, we’re big supporters of small, local vendors. One of our newest vendors is about as local as you can get – he’s a Sigona’s crew member!
Meet Joe Loewinsohn of Right Brain Kitchens. He’s worked for Sigona’s for about a year, but has a decorated history in the food and restaurant industry. Life has led Joe down many paths, some straight & narrow and some lined with potholes, but one thing is certain: Joe knows food.
If you’ve spent any time with Joe in our Palo Alto store, you know he has a passion for ingredients and a nearly endless knowledge of cooking, which he gained as a line cook, cheese buyer & seller and lead chef. He even worked for some of the best-of-the-best, including Alice Waters, Jeremiah Tower, Narsai David and Bradley Ogden.
Though that doesn’t even begin to cover Joe’s history, it led him to his latest adventure starting Right Brain Kitchens to make jams, jellies, marmalades and more. We’re proud to introduce and offer his creations for the first time.
Next week, Oct. 12-18, 2011, as well as every other week for the next six weeks, you can get a one half-pound jar of Joe’s jam for free with your coupon when you make a purchase of $30 or more. Joe has many flavors in the works, and the first four he’s introducing are: Strawberry Fields Forever (strawberry hibiscus), Pineapple Upside Down Jam, Watermelon Marmalade and Mandarin Mimosa (it tastes like Sunday brunch). First up: Strawberry Fields Forever.
The jams are also for sale at Sigona’s and we’re going to donate 20% of each jar sold within three months, for reasons you’ll learn in just a bit, to the Russell Bede School in San Mateo which teaches and re-mediates young students who are having difficulty succeeding in a regular education classroom.
Whatcha Know, Joe?
“My first job was at the Elmwood Drug Store where I worked with Ozzie, the soda jerk,” said Joe. “It was my first real exposure to real creativity. No one could pull soda like Ozzie and he had the best flavor combinations. He had one where he would mix almost every flavor together with chocolate soda and only Ozzie could do it just right.
“From a young age I wanted to be a chef, and I worked in various restaurants, but people always said, ‘How? You don’t know how to make a pie or pasta,’” said Joe. “So, I sought instruction on all the basics, like how to make ketchup and jam because when you master fundamentals you can pretty much do anything. Once I realized that I was able to let the creative juices flow, I took Ozzie’s soda mixing approach to everything I did, like serving roast beef with a chocolate sauce.”
Harnessing Creative Energy
Yes, Joe has an extensive background in food and restauranteuring, but would you guess he’s a trained voice actor, motorcycle painter, an amateur artist, computer repairman and novice archer? He’s done more, I’m sure, but interviews only last so long. I had to dig deep before we even uncovered the motorcycle painting bit…he’d even done that for a living for almost five years!
Joe isn’t shy about telling you he has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) – it’s the extra dose of energy that made Joe who he is today: a man who seeks adventure, challenge and new venues for expression. There’s never a dull moment with Joe. Give him some fruit and he’ll return with a pectin-fruit gel candy the likes of which you’ve never tasted. I mean, he made one he called Key Lime Pie and it tasted exactly like…Key Lime Pie…complete with an essence of a graham cracker crust. (Yes, we’ll sell these fruit gels sometime soon.)
Joe’s passion for the arts comes through in his creative cooking, too. From the names of his products, to the flavor combinations and design of the labels, the arts have played an important role in Joe’s many careers.
“When you’re a hyperactive little kid, your parents give you paper and pen a lot because if you’re like me, it’s the one thing that will keep you entertained for long periods of time,” said Joe. “I was told ‘no’ a lot as a child, but if it had to do with art, I was encouraged and supported.
“Back then you were hyper, misbehaving or flat out annoying; now it’s labeled as ADD, but it’s still difficult,” said Joe. “I give a lot of credit to my parents and a particular teacher of mine, named Cathy, who worked with our strengths and taught my class we were still valuable, that it is okay to be different and to put ourselves in a position where unique things are needed and positive.”
Later on in life it was more words of wisdom that helped Joe find his footing and play to his strengths.
“I went from job to job for a while and was going through a little bout of depression when someone said to me, ‘The only way you’re ever going to get through this is you have to give up all hope for a better past.’ That hit me like a ton of bricks; I had to move forward and work to my strengths.”
It wasn’t long until Joe enrolled in voice training classes in San Francisco, landed a few voiceover gigs and also applied for a job at Sigona’s.
“I’ve imitated voices and expressions my whole life; I’m just glad I discovered I could get paid for it,” said Joe. “That curiosity and drive to imitate is also how I think I work to develop the flavors for Right Brain Kitchens.”
Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery
Working at Sigona’s you taste a lot of products. Joe found that while some were outstanding, others from the same companies fell flat. He says that in an effort to impress me, his new boss, Joe made some homemade jams and marmalades for me try to compare flavor.
As a specialty foods buyer for Sigona’s I’ve tasted my fair share of jams, but the first thing I said after one taste of Joe’s jam was, “You better make more of this because I’m going to buy it from you.” His answer? “Me? I don’t have a company, I’m just me!”
After more nudging from me and our crew, Joe decided to take on the challenge. While he and his fiance, Ludi Garcia (who Joe says keeps him on track and helps keep things organized), secured a business license, Sigona’s helped Joe secure jars, lids, a label printer and even helped tweak final recipes. We also hooked him up with the ladies from Angel Heart Cakes who recently opened a storefront in at Marsh Manor in Redwood City. Joe now leases their facility to concoct his brews and even helps them with some new product and recipe development.
This Isn’t Just Any Jam
“I keep the ingredient lists short, all natural and low in sugar to showcase the natural beauty of the fruits – some makers take out a lot of the good stuff, but I want to put it back in and add a little more,” said Joe. “For example, strawberries turn brown if you don’t add enough sugar, but for my Strawberry Hibiscus jam, I use hibiscus for a natural coloring agent so I don’t have to add extra sugar or artificial color.”
All Right Brain Kitchen jams are made in micro-batches with “born on” dates noted on the jar. Also adorning the jar is the Right Brain Kitchen mission statement: “We’re all out of ordinary.” If anything is true, it’s that statement. You won’t find any plain peach jam coming from Joe. Other flavors will be introduced seasonally.
Every other week for the next six weeks you can get one of Joe’s jams for free with your coupon and a purchase of $30 or more and, remember, we are going to donate 20% of all jam sales over the next three months to the Russell Bede School in San Mateo, too, in support of their dedication to offer students with learning disabilities the best chance for success.