Posted December 14th, 2011
by Geanna Marek, Working Owner
If you celebrate the holidays and/or just like giving people gifts this time of year, Alberta Co-op definitely is the place to go for vegan and gluten-free stocking stuffers and small, under-$5 gifts. The following gifts are fun, convenient, and oh-so-tasty, and your friends and family will be thrilled.
Alter-Eco Dark Chocolate bars (on sale for $2.49!):
I have tried The Dark Chocolate with a [orange] Twist, which is so
much better than those cheesy (but fun!) orange-shaped foil-wrapped chocolates you received in your stockings as a child; Dark Chocolate Quinoa, which tastes like a healthier and crunchier version of a Kit Kat; and Dark Chocolate Almond, which is rich and almost smoky in flavor. Alter Eco is a great brand that focuses on fair trading with its growers and producers and also leaving no carbon footprint during its production process.
These tasty little citrus fruits are perfect for a snack. They pack a lot of flavor into their small, easy-to-peel packages, and are nice for a sweet treat on-the-go. Plus, who doesn’t like to pull out a shockingly bright orange item from their stocking?
Tru Sweets Organic Candy Canes ($3.99):
I was so excited to see a package of candy canes I could actually eat!
This box of 8 peppermint-flavored candy canes is made with only four ingredients: organic evaporated cane juice, organic brown rice syrup, natural peppermint flavor, and color (derived from fruit juice or red beet juice). I’m over the moon for these delicious candies. In fact, though I like to give to others, I might just keep the entire box for myself!
There are many other yummy stocking stuffers available at ACG, so this is the perfect time to get your shopping done before the crowds while supporting a great local business!
Posted November 9th, 2011
by Theresa, Mushroom Lover
It’s that time again, where living in the Pacific Northwest, and Portland in particular, seems like an especially great gift. Our state mushroom, the chanterelle, is back!
The chanterelle has a pretty short season, going through fall and sometimes into December, depending on rainfall. Chanterelles are prized around the world not only for their delicious taste and versatility in the culinary world, but also because they are so hard to come by outside of this region. They can’t be farmed, and there are several guesses as to why, but they grow abundantly in the woods of the Northwest. So, the only way we get these mushrooms in our bellies is via mushroom foragers, who harvest them from the wild.
Chanterelles are pretty distinct looking mushrooms. Unlike most other mushrooms available for human consumption, they take on a really vibrant color, a bright burnished yellow. They are a real treat not only for their taste, and their small availability, but because they’re so versatile to cook with. They are delicious all on their own, and yet they also stand up well with heavier, richer flavors like butter and more prominently flavored herbs like thyme and sage.
To celebrate chanterelle season, and fall itself, here is one of my favorite soup recipes using these delicious mushrooms:
Creamy Chanterelle Mushroom and Leek Soup
1 1/2 lbs. Wild Golden Chanterelle Mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp towel and stems trimmed
1 leek, washed and sliced into julienned strips
1 cup sweet white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
7 cups chicken broth
1 cup half and half
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat.
2. Add olive oil and butter to hot skillet.
3. Add; garlic, chanterelles, onions and leeks. Stir until well incorporated. Cook for 3 minutes, while stirring frequently.
4. Add white wine and stir. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. In a heavy soup pot heat to medium-low. Pour in chicken stock, chili flakes, salt and pepper, and stir. Pour chanterelle mixture into chicken stock. Cook for 15 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
6. Puree half of soup in a food processor. *Make sure soup is cooled slightly before pureeing.
7. Return pureed soup to pot.
8. In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of flour with half and half, stir till well blended. Pour into soup mixture, and bring to a boil on high heat. Cook for 3 minutes. Whisking frequently. Remove from heat and serve, topping with chopped cilantro.
Paired with warmed, rustic, crusty bread, this soup will be sure to keep you warm and cozy on those long, rainy nights ahead of us. Chantarelles are available now at the Co-op for $14.99/lb. Enjoy!