Market Musings Blog

Springtime Barley Pilaf Recipe

By Mississippi Market Chef Partner Kristin Hamaker of Goosefoot Kitchen

Let’s think about barley beyond soup and give it another stage. This mild, toothsome grain is a perfect vehicle for the clean flavors of spring. This can be served as a main course, along with a green side salad and crusty bread, or can also be featured as a side dish to chicken or fish. Source your barley where I do, from my co-op’s bulk department; this way you’ll only need to buy the amount you need for now.

Chef’s Note: You can always use hulled barley versus pearled barley, the difference being that hulled barley is a whole grain where pearled barley has been stripped of some of its properties. Hulled is nutritionally superior and will take twice as long to cook as pearled. Soak hulled barley overnight if you choose to use it, which should reduce the cooking time a bit.

Springtime Barley Pilaf with Chickpeas

Market List

Serves 3-4

  • 4 cups vegetable stock (preferably homemade, or best quality)
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 1 small yellow onion or 1 bunch green onions, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 small bunch asparagus, chopped
  • ¾ cup spring peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1-2 cups chickpeas, cooked
  • Fresh herbs, chopped (your choice of thyme, parsley, oregano, sage, rosemary, and mint)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch Kosher or sea salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper, freshly ground

Preparation

1. Bring 3 cups of vegetable stock (or in combination with water) to a boil in a medium saucepan. Rinse 1 cup pearled barley under cool water, drain, and stir it into the stock. Turn down the heat, partially cover the pan, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, or until the grain has just cooked through (but still has a slight bite).

2. In the meantime, combine in a small bowl: diced yellow or green onions, minced garlic cloves, diced carrot, diced celery, and a few tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs. Put a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter or extra virgin olive oil. Stir in vegetables and toss in a good pinch of kosher or sea salt; slightly cover. Allow your vegetables to soften and lightly brown, roughly 5 minutes.

3. Snap woody ends off the bottom of asparagus, about an inch or so, and discard the ends. Cut your asparagus stalks into 1-inch pieces and set aside. Once your vegetables have browned, bring heat back to medium and add in chopped asparagus, ¾ cup of spring peas, and remaining cup of vegetable stock. Toss and cook until the vegetables are just tender and some of the stock has evaporated or been absorbed; add a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.

4. Once the barley has finished cooking, fluff it with a fork and drain any leftover liquid if necessary. Add it to the skillet with your vegetables, along with 1-2 cups cooked chickpeas and a little butter (or extra virgin olive, hazelnut, or walnut oil), and toss gently. Serve warm.

Pack any leftovers for lunch or reheat for another supper with an egg on top.

Notes & Variations

  • Substitute the barley with other grains if you like. Consider bulgur wheat, quinoa, or farro.
  • Other spring vegetables to consider adding, beyond asparagus and peas, are wilted greens — kale, spinach, or Swiss chard — and mushrooms.
  • Add color to this dish if you feel so inclined like diced red bell pepper to enhance the rainbow of colors.
  • Add some lemon or orange juice (per your taste), and/or the zest of either. I like to add some fresh chopped herbs, or a little some creamy tofu and herb sauce to finish.
  • Another complimentary condiment for this pilaf is a quick and easy homemade aioli (garlic mayo) or lemon or herb mayo. Substitute yogurt in for mayonnaise if you prefer.
  • Toasted nuts, such as pine nuts, walnuts or almonds, would also go well mixed in. A little shredded Parmesan would also make a fine finishing touch.

Pantry Gold

By Mississippi Market Chef Partner Kristin Hamaker of Goosefoot Kitchen

Even I am often guilty of asking the question, “What to eat?”. Monday morning, in the whirlpool of breakfast and lunch-making, is when the wheels begin to turn on what I should make for the week. I head to the cupboard first: dried navy beans, quinoa, a can of tomatoes, two bags of polenta (how did those get there?). Now, the fridge: the end of some Parmesan cheese, two carrots, half a dozen eggs, elderly (but edible) herbs. So forth and so on.

All of a sudden, the puzzle pieces start coming together rather quickly since I try and keep a well-stocked pantry. I typically buy things on sale (beans, tomatoes, polenta) and resolve to use the ends of this and that. Having staples on hand — pasta, tomatoes, stock — offers you a foundation each week, or rather, stepping stones for planning the meals ahead. Already have an onion, a carrot, and a handful of rice? Maybe soup is on your horizon, with the addition of chicken, tofu, or seasonal vegetables. Perhaps the kindling of a stir fry is in your future, or maybe a pilaf that you can top with an egg.

Read more …

Mini-Facials Pop-up with evanhealy

Saturday, May 6 | 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. | West 7th store

Join skin care experts from evanhealy at our West 7th store for a rejuvenating experience during a mini-facials pop-up event. A trained, licensed esthetician will be on hand giving soothing, private facial massages using evanhealy’s organic skin care cleansers, Hydrosols, serums and moisturizers. Personal mini-facials will also include a Shea mask, lip balm, and eye balm. You’re guaranteed to leave feeling relaxed and refreshed with fully hydrated, radiant skin.

This free pop-up event will take place in the wellness department at our West 7th store. Each mini-facial experience will be about 30 minutes long. A private, calming space will be created so that you’re able to focus on the experience without any distractions.

Registration is required to ensure a seat during this limited-time-only experience.

Please speak to any of our West 7th wellness department staff members to sign-up prior to May 6th. A sign-up sheet is available at the West 7th wellness counter.

Know Your Local Plant Sale Growers

This year’s Plant Sale offerings have once again been sourced from some of the best local growers. You’ll find an expanded assortment of unique pepper and herb varieties, a wildly beautiful tomato selection, a nearly three-fold increase in edible flowers and pollinator plants, and an array of Japanese vegetables for your garden. Everything at the Plant Sale has been grown to organic standards, with a healthy selection of certified-organic vegetables also available. Read on to learn about this year’s Plant Sale growers.

Read more …

2018 Plant Sale & Gardening Demos

 

Plant Sale | May 4–May 28 | 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. daily | West 7th Store

Visit our West 7th store throughout May for our annual spring Plant Sale. Known for its comprehensive assortment of Minnesota natives and extensive vegetable and herb selections, the Plant Sale enthusiastically ushers in the return of Minnesota’s peak growing season. As always, a variety of exciting new plants will be available in response to feedback received from co-op shoppers and staff.

This year’s plants will once again be sourced from some of the best local growers, including Carter Farms, Glacial Ridge Growers, Green Earth Growers, Prairie Road Organic Seed, and Rush Creek Growers. At this year’s Plant Sale, you’ll also find an expanded assortment of unique pepper and herb varieties, a wildly beautiful tomato selection, a nearly three-fold increase in edible flowers and pollinator plants, and an array of Japanese vegetables. Everything will be grown to organic standards, with a healthy selection of certified-organic vegetables also available.

Read more …

Member-Owner Appreciation Cheese Sale

Friday, April 20 | All Day | All Three Stores

Mississippi Market member-owners are an integral part of our co-op community and we want to say thank you! Co-op members save 10%* on items in our cheese department during the Member-Owner Appreciation Cheese Sale on Friday, April 20th at all three of our store locations.

Thank you for being a part of our cooperative community! Mississippi Market continues to thrive thanks to the support of you, our dedicated member-owners. Because of you, we’ve been able to offer local, organic, fairly-priced foods to our St. Paul neighbors for nearly 40 years. We wouldn’t be here without you!

Not yet a member-owner? Become one today!

*Discount does not apply to non-discountable items, such as Fresh Deals. Some exclusions apply. Discount will be taken at the register. 

Read more …

Zero-Waste Shopping Tips

Celebrate Earth Day all year-round by reducing waste when shopping at the co-op.

Buy in Bulk — Great Taste, Less Waste

Buy only the amount of food you need by buying in bulk. Buying in bulk is also one of the best ways to save money, as some items, like flour and rice, are up to 50 percent cheaper in bulk compared to their packaged equivalent. When shopping in the bulk department, weigh your reusable container, fill it with the amount of bulk product you need, then record the PLU number from the bin. That’s it! By using your own reusable containers, you’ll reduce both food and packaging waste.

Shop Products with Minimal or Recyclable Packaging

Mississippi Market strives to use as little packaging as possible on Market Made items and purchases products for sale with minimal packaging. When purchasing items outside of the co-op’s Bulk and Produce departments, search for those with minimal packaging or recyclable or compostable packaging such as Alter Eco’s bagged quinoa.

BYOB — Bring Your Own Bags

By bringing in reusable grocery bags, you not only reduce waste but also save money! Each one is credited 10 cents that can either be taken off your total receipt or donated to a local nonprofit-of-the-month. Because of generous shoppers like you, an average of over $10,000 is raised monthly for local community partners through our Positive Change program.

OptOut of Paper Receipts/Opt-Into Electronic Ones

Did you know you can go completely receipt-less by opting out of paper copies? Alternatively, you can opt-into receiving electronic receipts from the co-op whenever you shop. Simply talk to your cashier about it the next time you’re here. You can always ask for a paper receipt if you need one in the future.

Reuse Milk Jars & Egg Cartons

Buy milk in reusable glass jugs from local farmers Autumnwood and Castlerock. When purchasing bottled milk, you’ll pay a $2.00 deposit that is refunded once empty bottles are returned to the co-op. Farmers pick up used jugs to clean and refill, then return them to the co-op filled with fresh milk. When buying eggs, bring in and reuse your egg cartons. By only packaging the number of local, organic Larry Schultz bulk eggs needed, you’ll save 10 cents off your purchase while reducing packaging waste.

Learn additional zero-waste bulk shopping tips.

Have great zero-waste ideas or tips? Share your thoughts.

Regenerative Agriculture, a Step Beyond

Photo courtesy of Frogtown Farm.

“Sustainable agriculture”—you’ve heard the term, but what does it mean? From a production and distribution standpoint, “sustainable” often refers to a three-tiered model focused on systemic social, environmental, and economic impacts. From an agricultural perspective, this can mean ensuring fair labor wages and working conditions, implementing ecologically-friendly farming practices such as the certified organic standards, and guaranteeing fair pricing for final goods to strengthen local food economies. While sustainable agriculture has many advantages over industrial agribusiness—which relies heavily on patented GMOs, vast monoculture cropping and feedlots, and repeated use of synthetic chemicals and antibiotics—there is still plenty of work to be done.

Read more …

Local Profile: Tempeh Tantrum

Begun in 2014, Minneapolis-based Tempeh Tantrum makes two varieties of fresh organic tempeh. A traditional Indonesian staple dating back to the 12th century, it has a unique nutty flavor and firm texture. Unlike tofu, which is made using soy milk, tempeh is made using whole soy beans, which are naturally cultured through a fermentation process that binds them into a cake form. Because of this fermentation process, tempeh is less processed than tofu and generally healthier since it contains greater amounts of protein and fiber.

Read more …

Local Profile: Mama C’s Salsa

Small-Batch Salsa from the East Side

There’s no denying Juan Cervantes loves his mother. Founder of local East Side Maker Mama C’s Salsa, Juan is a proud second-generation Mexican-American who exemplifies the innovative spirit of an independent business owner pursuing the American Dream. Named after his mother Carmen Cervantes, Mama C’s Salsa is an homage to her entrepreneurial legacy and the dedicated work ethic she imbued in her beloved children.

Read more …