Whole Foods Market event - March 7

Here's a recent announcement from our friends at Whole Foods Market

Whole Food Market’s annual “Crack Heard Around the World” is coming up on Saturday, March 7 at noon.  As you may recall, this is a national event where all Whole Foods Market stores across the country simultaneously "crack” and sample an 85-pound wheel of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano — event is free and includes tastings and pairings! 

Here are some fun facts about this special Parm: 
  • Each year Whole Foods Market‘s cheese experts visit the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and select wheels from just four producers 
  • Each wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano is 85 pounds and requires special knives to “crack” it open
  • Only cheese made in area specific area in Northern Italy -- Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and portions of Bologna and Mantua - can bear the Parmigiano Reggiano name.
  • Every wheel at Whole Foods Market is aged 24 months (this is the best age in terms of flavor and texture; it cannot be called Parmigiano Reggiano until it is aged at least 12 months)
  • Its flavor profile is toasted, salty and nutty with subtle crystal-like texture and a little goes a long way

In addition to the event, there will also be a SALE! That’s right, 50% off Parmigiano Reggiano on Saturday, March 7 only.


Valentine's Dinner at Home

great picture, right?
Twelve years ago - 12!! - Joshua and I celebrated our very first Valentine's dinner. I remember that was my second Valentine's ever when I actually had a date  - much less a boyfriend - on the day for lovers. I was soooo excited.
Jami, my roommate and now an accomplished Air Force pilot and flight instructor, helped me do my makeup, and she probably let me borrow one of her much sexier tops, since I was still discovering my... uh...  well anyway. Nothing that silicone can't help.
Joshua and I had talked about driving up to Santa Barbara to go to dinner somewhere on the beautiful boardwalk and take a romantic walk down said boardwalk. (If you haven't seen it, you really should. You can get glimpses of it - and Vancouver's waterfront - on the TV show Psych) He picked me up right on time, and we drove... to his apartment.
2009 Big Table Dinner, Spokane, WA
He had kicked out his roommates for the evening (okay, they probably had dates?) and cooked this incredible Shrimp Alfredo on Linguini, fresh asparagus, and garlic bread.
Legend goes that he had asked several neighbors - girls who lived in the apartment next door - how to prepare the menu, and a sorority sister of mine asked me a few days later how it had turned out, since she had attempted to give him some advice.
Who cares how it turned out? It was such a special dinner, and it turned out to be the start of some really great meals that we have shared together. I actually don't remember well how the dinner really tasted - it's a pretty classical combination of garlic and cream, so you can probably imagine it as well as I can. To his credit, Joshua did a great job, despite the fact that I suspect he used a Knorr packet and the asparagus had sat in the cooking water while he drove to pick me up.

2008 at Lindsay Warren's apt
Since then, we haven't spent a whole lot of Valentine's dinners together. Sometimes it was because I was on the other side of the pass, so to speak, and was trying to keep up with the prix fixe menu. Other times, it was because I was probably supposed to plan the dinner  - we like to trade off years of responsibility - and I'd probably procrastinated.
This year, though, since we couldn't get the reservation we actually wanted (Kestrel Winery in Woodinville), we are going to recreate the dinner, sort of. 
We'll make our own (real) Alfredo sauce, and I'll blanch the asparagus rather than steep it. We'll also have to adapt the pasta and garlic bread components to gluten-fee versions. We're looking forward to a romantic night IN (you're welcome, my industry friends), and if you haven't already made dinner reservations, you could too.
Check out what our friends from Whole Foods Market sent to get your ideas flowing:
Want to make your Valentine’s date night sizzle? This weekend, February 13 to 15, at your local Whole Foods Market save $5 on our classic surf-n-turf special; featuring two savory New York Strip Steaks and two 5-6 oz. Lobster Tails.

If you want some tips preparing your surf-n-turf, try this delicious recipe for Herb-Roasted Lobster and Steak. This decadent and filling combination features dry-aged beef alongside juicy lobster tails, all topped with homemade herb butter. We split the lobster tails in half for easy and elegant serving after they’re cooked.

Oh, you’re eating out you say? Fear not! Give the kids and babysitters a tasty meal by saving 50% on BOGO take n' bake pizzas Saturday, February 14 only. 

Looking for a fun activity to keep the kids and babysitters entertained while you’re out? Let them customize their own pizzas! Choose a cheese pizza and add your own toppings. We’ve put together a few suggestions below:

• Hawaiian: Canadian bacon and pineapple chunks
• Cheeseburger: Ground beef, cheddar cheese, onions, add sliced pickles after baking
• Potato bacon: Thinly sliced red potatoes, crumbled bacon, green onions, olive oil
• Or have the kids channel traditional Italy (and get those greens in) with a pizza insalata: build a salad on top of a cheese pizza! 
And if you do nothing else, make sure you hug someone you love and share a bite together.


Who wants FREE Beecher's Mac & Cheese?

Who wouldn't?

Okay, I am working to reduce blatant advertisements, but I couldn't help myself when this came through my newsletter inbox today:

I still love their product!
The Holidays are just around the corner, and it's my favorite time of the year for treats at my favorite stores. Whole Foods Market is running all sorts of great tastings for products they're selling, and my favorite popcorn source, Kukuruza Popcorn, is selling their holiday flavors.

This year, Kukuruza is bringing back the Eggnog Brandy caramel corn, which is absolutely addicting. When I first met the team in 2009, they had brought out several really great flavors, and one popular flavor was the Eggnog Brandy.

Rich chocolate, cinnamon and other spices... what else could you want?

I like bringing popcorn to gatherings where you are fairly sure there will already be lots of food (Thanksgiving!) and just want to share a sweet nibble that is both handmade (by professionals) and easy (it's popcorn).

The popcorn is sold in different sized bags - 2 smalls are great for a smaller gathering of 6 people - and in bins. You can taste all of the flavors they're currently selling, so just go crazy. Savory and sweet flavors abound, so you'll likely find something you really enjoy.

The location I frequent is the Pike Place Market location, but they're all over the world now! Go to your closest one and happy shopping!

Happy Early Holidays!