What's Tasty at Sigona's Farmers Market

June 27, 2012

Get Grillin’ with Local, Fresh-Picked Corn

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.

John Spina

John Spina of Spina Farms

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.

Raw California Whole, Jumbo Pistachio Meats on Sale at Sigona’s

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week

California Whole Raw (Jumbo Size)

Pistachio Meats

Regularly $6.99 

On special right now for $3.99 (6 oz. container)

Raw pistachio meatsOur raw pistachios are coming from a family owned and operated farm in Terra Bella, California. These pistachios are of the finest quality in the world. They’re jumbo sized and picked at full maturity to assure excellent flavor.

Raw pistachios are full of extraordinary nutritional benefits. Here are some of the reasons why they are so good for you:

A (1) oz. serving of raw pistachios provides 10% of the daily value for:

  • Dietary fiber
  • Vitamin B6
  • Thiamin
  • Phosphorus
  • Copper

Raw pistachios are rich in:

John outside with produce

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

  • Phytosterols, which directly aid in lowering cholesterol levels
  • Monounsaturated (healthy) fats
  • High quality plant source of protein, providing essential and non-essential amino acids

Try raw pistachios in:

June 25, 2012

Beef Potstickers made with Open Source grass-fed beef

Beef Potstickers

Grass-fed Beef Potstickers by Luisa Ormonde of Luisa’s Catering in San Carlos, Calif.

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

For filling

  • 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)

For panfrying

  • 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 13, 2012

Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: cherries, peaches & nectarines

Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: What’s New

This week:

  • 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.

Healthy, Quick, Delicious: Local Halibut and White Seabass

Healthy, Quick, Delicious: Local Halibut and White Seabass

Carmelo Sigona with a fresh-caught, wild, local seabass.

These local, line-caught beauties are now at Sigona’s in Redwood City! Come in today for fantastic fillets and more, delivered daily. 

By Carmelo Sigona

This time of year is always my favorite. Not only are we on the verge of being inundated with local, farm-fresh produce delivered within 24 hours of being picked, but it’s also time for the best, most flavorful bounty of the sea to come into season.

It’s local halibut and local white seabass season and we’ve got fresh, wild and line-caught fish fillets at our Redwood City store now! These beauties are locally line-caught and delivered to our store the next day. Wild king salmon is still here too; it’s coming from the Oregon coast for a few weeks – it’s still caught in the morning and flown down to us so we have fresh wild salmon the next day. Our local commercial salmon season reopens June 27th.

Both of these white fish, the halibut and the white seabass, are outstanding, but the white seabass is my favorite. For starters, there is nothing more simple, healthy and delicious than white seabass fish tacos with cabbage-jalapeño slaw. You just marinate the fish in a combination of lime zest and juice, paprika, garlic, oil and salt for a few minutes…the fish soaks up the flavors and presents a huge wow factor in every bite.

Oh, man! I know what I’m having for dinner tonight!

Halibut has a snow-white flesh, firm texture (sometimes called the steak of seafood) and a mild flavor so easily takes on the flavors of other ingredients with which it’s cooked. It’s also naturally lean, packed with fatty Omega-3s to help break down cholesterol and is nutrient-dense. It’s an excellent source of high quality protein, and is rich in selenium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium, all of which are essential in maintaining a healthy, functioning body. Halibut is a popular choice for Cioppino, a seafood stew which has roots in San Francisco. We have a recipe for it,  courtesy of Zest Bakery in San Carlos, as well as other local halibut recipes on our blog too.

Now, the local white seabass. The most important point to note here is that local white seabass is NOT striped bass or Chilean seabass. Not only is it from a different area, it’s from a different family all together. The Monterey Bay Aquarium notes, “The white seabass isn’t a seabass at all – it’s a member of the croaker family and the largest croaker in the Pacific Ocean.”

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has also noted that the 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. The population of the white seabass has recovered after previous overfishing and is a best-choice alternative to white seabass caught with gillnets. Furthermore, the aquarium encourages people to avoid Chilean seabass as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has depleted some populations of Chilean seabass.

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.

You can make a fish lover out of nearly anyone by searing white seabass so it has a nice crust. Pair that with a nice sauce and you have a fancy-pants meal on your hands…er…plate. I have go-to verblanc sauce that’s absolutely fantastic over seared or grilled white seabass. It’s easy to make with only five ingredients, one of which being wine…you can’t go wrong with a wine sauce for fish!

White seabass, just as the halibut, is an excellent source of selenium, which acts as an antioxidant, especially when combined with vitamin E. The fish is also a wonderful, light and lean source of protein. Be sure to check out our other white seabass recipes, including one for Grilled Miso-Marinated White Seabass from local food blogger Jean Pope of Lemons and Anchovies.

Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter posts to know when the freshest deliveries of local white seabass and halibut arrive at our Redwood City store. You’ll love these local, wild fish!

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.

Medjool Dates on Sale at Sigona’s

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week


Best Price Ever!

California grown, jumbo

Medjool Dates

A 15 lb. box for just $3.27 per pound – that’s only $49.00 – an unheard of, excellent sale price for these dates.

Sale ends June 25th so load up now!

Medjools store excellently in the refrigerator (up to 3 months) or in the freezer for up to 8 months.

Try eating them directly out of the freezer – excellent!

Some Nutritional Facts

  • High fiber: six grams per three oz. serving
  • Good source of potassium, iron and copper
  • Excellent source of magnesium (10% per three oz. serving)
  • Medjool dates consist of 2% protein


  • Room temperature—good for at least (2) weeks
  • Refrigeration—good for 2-3 months
  • Freeze—good for 6-8 months
John outside with produce

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

Eat ‘em up! Medjools are an excellent, healthy alternative to sugar or honey when diced and mixed with:

  • Oatmeal
  • Cereals
  • Muffins
  • Cookies
  • Trail mixes
  • Fresh fruit Smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese

Stuff Medjools with cheese and enjoy! It’s easy: simply slice lengthwise, remove the pit and add in a slice of:

  • Soft goat cheese (my # 1 favorite!!)
  • Cream Cheese
  • Monterey Jack
  • Sharp cheddar
  • Blue cheese
  • Or dice any of the following and mix with cheese before stuffing:
    • Spicy jalapeno peppers or any hot pepper of you choice
    • Granny Smith apples
    • Any favorite raw nut—like almonds, walnuts or pecans

Seven Sensational Scientifically Supported Suggestions to Seek Summer’s Super Fruit (Part 2)

Tips for Healthy Living

We’ve partnered with Dr. Doug Husbands of Holistic Health Bay Area to bring you a new set of Tips for Healthy Living. Dr. Husbands is a functional medicine doctor, clinical nutritionist, anti-aging health practitioner and doctor of chiropractic. I appreciate that he encourages visiting the doctor to focus on staying healthy instead of only visiting when you’re sick.– Carmelo Sigona

Cherries Should be Enjoyed with Great Gusto

Scientifically-Supported Suggestions to Seek Summer’s Super Fruit (Part 2)

By Dr. Douglas Husbands

In the previous edition of Healthy Living Tips, we reviewed three of the seven health-promoting reasons to enjoy cherries. Those three reasons we discussed are below. In this edition, we’ll look at four more sensational scientifically supported suggestions to seek summer’s super fruit. — cherries!

  1. Anti-Inflammatory/Pain Relief Effects
  2. Very Powerful Antioxidant Effects
  3. Promotes Deep Restful Sleep and Brain Cell Repair
  4. Anti-Cancer Compounds: Cherries also contain ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is a naturally occurring plant phenolic known to have anti-carcinogenic/anti-mutagenic effects. Research studies presented in John Boik’s 2001 book titled “Natural Compounds in Cancer Therapy” indicate that ellagic acid may be the most effective way to prevent cancer. Cherries are also high in perillyl alcohol (POH). POH is an extremely powerful substance decreasing the occurrence of all types of cancer (1). POH inhibits cancer cell growth by depriving them of the proteins they need to grow.
  5. Protection of Arterial Walls: A “side benefit” of the powerful antioxidant effects of cherries is you get decreased oxidation of the “bad” cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL). Oxidation of LDL (oxoLDL) cholesterol leads to the damaging effects on the inner walls of the arteries which induces plaque formation, with narrowing and hardening of the arteries (2). The importance of decreasing oxidation of LDL cannot be overemphasized, as it is one of the fundamental processes involved in heart disease development and progression (see article “The Case Against Lowering Cholesterol For Decreased Risk of Heart Disease”). With an Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of 3622 for either 8 ounces of cherry juice or 1 ounce of cherry juice concentrate, the high ORAC accounts for the decreased levels of oxoLDL.
  6. Improved Athletic Recovery and Performance: Researchers at the University of Vermont gave 12 ounces of unsweetened, tart, cherry juice or a placebo twice a day for eight days to 14 college men. After 4 days the men were instructed to perform a strenuous weight lifting exercise of 2 sets for 20 repetitions each. Loss of strength after exercise was 22% in the placebo group, and only 4% in those drinking the cherry juice. Post-exercise pain was also significantly decreased in those who drank the cherry juice. The researcher’s conclusions: “…consumption of tart cherry juice before and after eccentric exercise significantly reduced symptoms of muscle damage.” (3).
  7. Healthy-Aging: When you have a food that provides powerful anti-inflammatory effects, anti-oxidant properties, promotes deep restful sleep, anti-cancer compounds, protects the arterial walls, and improves athletic recovery and performance, consuming that food as much and as often as possible will give you healthy-aging effects.

So while cherries are in season during these summer months, eat-up abundantly of this summer super fruit!


1. Greenwald P. Clinical trials in cancer prevention: Current results and perspectives for the future. J Nutr 2004;134:35075-35125.
2. Atherosclerosis 2010;208:396-405
3. Connolly D, McHugh M, Padilla-Zkour O, et.al. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage. Br J Sports Med 2006;40:679-83.

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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

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