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Braising Rabbit & Making Gnocchi in the Learning Center

By Jackie Cooper  •  Friday, April 11th, 2014

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Every month, our Learning Center Coordinators, Laura and Clarina work very hard to put together a variety of Kids, Adults, and even Teenage appropriate, hands-on cooking classes. They range from a variety of topics and there’s something for everyone, no matter what skill level you have in the kitchen; from learning Knife Skills to braising rabbit, they do it all! Check out the rest of April’s calendar by clicking here, there’s still some awesome classes left to sign up for.

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I decided to step outside my comfort zone and join in on last week’s Cooking Class; Le Lapin of Luxury. Clarina taught this class and set up the menu which included Herb and White Wine Braised Rabbit with Parsnips and Shallots and Parisian Sheep’s Milk Gnocchi! We were even served beer paired with delicious cheeses from our Cheese Department to snack on while we learned and prepared our recipes.

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Clarina started the class by introducing herself and letting us know some of the many benefits that rabbits have. We are lucky to carry local Vermont rabbits in our store; rabbits have very little fat on them, are easy to prepare and (although overlooked) delicious. Clarina demonstrated the best way for us to prep our vegetables for the dish and then it was back to our stations to baton the parsnips, peel and cut the carrots and prepare the shallots.

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Now came the part I wasn’t very familiar with, preparing the rabbit for braising. Clarina took extra time to make sure we all understood the different parts of the rabbit that we wanted to remove before seasoning. She then gave us some tips and tricks on oiling the pan and we were off to braise away!

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I’ll let you check out the recipe for yourself but one thing I found particularly interesting and a good fact to know in the kitchen is the idea of making a “slurry”. We made the slurry by shaking 2 Tbsp of cornstarch and 4 Tbsp of water in a mason jar. We then poured this into the gravy to thicken. Using cornstartch makes the finished texture almost shiny rather than un-clear and murky as flour does. Some recipes would be better with one or the other, up to you!

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Next was the Parisian Sheep’s Milk Gnocchi making. Boy was this fun to do! We mixed a variety of ingredients and used a Kitchen Aid to do so… being very careful when adding the eggs to make sure they were fully mixed, but not over mixed.

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We then went back to our stations and added the mixture into a piping bag. We squeezed the dough out over slightly boiling water until just floating and then removed them with a slotted spoon. We let them cool and then heated them up in a pan with some butter and vegetable oil. So easy, so delicious!

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All the participants in the class left with a heaping helping of Braised Rabbit with seasonal vegetables and plenty of gnocchi. Clarina and Erin, the Learning Center Assistant, did a great job making sure that everyone felt comfortable with what they were doing and walked around giving individual attention and recipe advice. I would highly suggest anyone interested to grab a friend and sign up for one of our up-coming cooking classes, you’ll learn a ton, gain some great recipes, find yourself with good converslearningcenterfullviewation and a full belly!

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Spring Wine Tote

By Saratoga Beer and Wine Manager  •  Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

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Back by popular demand is our hand-picked wine tote! We are making this a seasonal item so that you can be sure that you’re enjoying all of the most popular wines of the current season! First up, is our Spring Wine Tote! We have picked a selection of six wines that are as light and bright as the weather that we have ahead of us! Read on for more information on the wines provided in the tote:

1) Dr. Loosen, ‘Dr. L’, Riesling QbA; Mosel, Germany 2012

Luscious notes of juicy white peach, apricot and honeysuckle, bright and zesty acidity with a long, creamy finish and spicy undertones

Recommended Pairings: Asian Noodle Dishes, Spicy Thai Curry Chicken Kebabs, Eggs Benedict, Grilled Ham and Gruyere Cheese Sandwiches

2) Argiolas, ‘Costamolino’, Vermentino; Sardegna, Italy 2012

Fresh, dry and tasty with delicate notes of melon, pear and sage

Recommended Pairings: Seafood Appetizers, Light Soups, White Fish, Sea Bass, Stuffed Artichokes, Goat Cheese, Gruyere Cheese

3) Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc; Marlborough, New Zealand 2013

Aromas of citrus and tropical fruits backed by characteristic herbaceous notes traditional of Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs; a good balance between juicy acidity and fruit sweetness with a lingering finish

Recommended Pairings: Fresh Oysters, Asparagus, Lobster, Summer Salads, Goat Milk Cheeses

4) Bieler Rose, Syrah/Grenache/Cabernet Sauvignon; Provence, France 2013

Bright citrus, fresh raspberry, and light mineral notes with a subtle richness that lingers on the palate; the perfect rose wine for Spring!

Recommended Pairings: Nicoise Salad, Creamy/Mild Cheeses, Swiss/Alpine Cheeses, Hamburgers, Cold Cut Sandwiches, Picnic Fare, Turkey

5) Mark West, Pinot Noir; California 2011

A medium-bodied red wine, delicate and juicy, with notes of sweet cherry and nutmeg spice

Recommended Pairings: Roasted Chicken, Pan-Seared Salmon, Fried Chicken, Potato Salad, Sweet Potato Fries, Mediterranean Pizza, Natural Rind Cows Milk Cheeses, Creamy Sheeps Milk Cheeses

6) Bogle, ‘Essential Red’, Zinfandel/Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon; California, 2011

Delightful aromas of cherry, black currant, violets and allspice; well-structured tannins with a rich mouthfeel and concentrated notes of cherry and black plum

Recommended Pairings: Hot Dogs/Hamburgers, Grilled BBQ Ribs, Roasted Tomatoes, Sheeps Milk Cheeses, Young/Washed Ring Alpine-Style Cows Milk Cheeses

As always, it comes with a free wine tote valued at $5.00, and a great little wine pairing chart that pairs each wine with seasonal fare that’s simply divine! Thanks to our amazing sales, you save over $20 on each bag that you buy! Grab one now to get six fabulous wines valued at $90+ for only $70!

Happy Spring, Saratoga!

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Guild Commissary Visit

By Jackie Cooper  •  Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Last week, our Meat Department Manager Colin, arranged for staff members to embark on a trip to the Guild Commissary. We are very fortunate to carry a variety of Guild Fine Meats in our Meat Department; from premium deli meats to fresh sausages and specialty items. At the Guild Commissary Master Butchers Frank Pace and Chef Tom Deckman break down whole animals (beef and pork) with the help of their talented team. It really doesn’t get any fresher or more local. This state-of-the art, Vermont inspected meat processing facility is located right down the street from our store in Winooski, VT. The team uses time honored techniques of meat preservation and butchery to ensure consistency and quality so that they can present the farmers’ products in the best possible light. We were fortune to have Tom himself give us the tour around and here is some of what we saw:

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Some of our Healthy Living Staff Members with Tom on the far right.

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Showing us some of the the different attachments used on the meat grinder.

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Another shot of the meat grinder.

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The group with Tom, in the smoking room, the smell was amazing!

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The smokers themselves…. in action!

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Tom showed us what smelt so wonderful, Breakfast Sausage was being smoked while we were in the room.

 

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Packaged boxes of delicious meat, ready to be delivered to local businesses.

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April Beer & Cheese Pairing

By Specialty Foods Manager  •  Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

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Stop by our Cheese Department to check out our featured April Beer & Cheese Pairing display! With Spring (finally) in the air and green buds starting to blossom (it’s about time!), we’re changing our tastes to lighter, more refreshing fare as well! In light of the beautiful weather ahead, we have paired Plymouth’s East Meadow with Finest Kind IPA!

East Meadow is a raw cow’s milk cheese made by Plymouth Artisan Cheese, based out of Plymouth Notch, Vermont! It has a rich and buttery, creamy texture with delightfully seasonal flavors of clover and wildflowers (all derived from the cow’s natural diet!) with a long and pleasant finish; and best of all, it’s on sale for the month of April!

Finest Kind IPA is a dry-hopped, unfiltered India Pale Ale, brewed by Smuttynose Brewing Co. based out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Created from the use of Magnum, Simcoe, Centennial, Santiam and Amarillo hops, Finest Kind boasts a robust grapefruity-hop character that makes it insanely drinkable!

Finest Kind pairs perfectly with East Meadow because it complements the cheese’s floral undertones and cuts through the creaminess nicely, thanks to the beer’s earthy, bitter hop character. A truly harmonious pair, if we do say so ourselves! Stop by and grab one of each and let us know what you think of this delightful duo!

 

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April Front End Fundraiser: Rebuilding Together of Saratoga County

By Richie Snyder  •  Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

This month’s Front End Fundraiser will benefit Rebuilding Together of Saratoga County. Their mission is to bring volunteers and communities together. They also strive to improve the homes and lives of low income Saratoga County homeowners in need.

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From their website: Rebuilding Together Saratoga County is a volunteer driven, registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that brings communities and volunteers together to make free repairs to the homes of low income property owners, particularly the elderly, disabled and veteran, allowing them to live in warmth, safety and independence while respecting their dignity. There are currently 12 all volunteer members on the Board of Directors and 2 part time staff – an executive director and administrative assistant.

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When check out at our store please donate what you feel you can afford at the register. Every dollar we raise will go to help a family in need in Saratoga County.

 

 

 

 

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Saratoga Baby and Toddler Expo

By Richie Snyder  •  Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Healthy Living Market and Cafe was proud to be a sponsor of the Saratoga Baby and Toddler Expo at the Saratoga Independent School on Saturday April 5th.

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We greeted hundreds of attendees with organic fair trade bananas and organic golden delicious apples courtesy of our friends at Albert’s Organics! We also had Natures Path gluten free and organic rice bars to hand out! Thank you to both of these amazing partners for their donations. People also enjoyed our giveaways of produce bags, baby lotion, and re-usable bags from our store.

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The Baby and Toddler Expo included businesses from throughout the capital region with exhibitor and vendor booths for everything you need to know about having and caring for a baby or a toddler.

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We really enjoyed connecting with so many parents, families, and mommies-to-be!

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The Saratoga Baby and Toddler Expo gave away over 200 re-usable bags to it’s first attendees!

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Thank you to all of the vendors, families, and organizers of of this great event!

 

 

 

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NEW Game of Thrones Beer

By Saratoga Beer and Wine Manager  •  Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

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Game of Thrones Dragon Label #1

Just in time for HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 4 debut, Brewery Ommegang has released the third edition of their Game of Thrones collaboration beer line: Fire and Blood!

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Game of Thrones Dragon Label #2

Named after the motto of House Targaryen, Fire and Blood is inspired  by Daeneryz Targaryen and her three dragons: Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion. In order to celebrate the rebirth of these dragons in the series, Ommegang had three different labels created by the Game of Thrones visual effects specialists!

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Game of Thrones Dragon Label #3

Available in 750ml bottles, Fire and Blood is a Red Ale that is true to its name as it’s been brewed with real Ancho Chile Peppers! Ancho Chiles add a touch of heat but are the sweetest of the spicy pepper family so it is a balanced and enjoyable tasting experience.

These will go quickly so stop by Healthy Living Market and Cafe Saratoga to grab one of each bottle for your collection, and to enjoy during your Game of Thrones debut party this Sunday April 6th!

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April Community Partner: Humane Society of Chittneden County

By Outreach Coordinator  •  Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

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This month, all of the funds raised during April’s Front End Fundraiser will be donated to the Humane Society of Chittneden County. HSCC is a private and independent not-for-profit organization whose mission is to foster compassionate treatment of animals and to prevent animal suffering. We fully support and believe in their cause and we hope you will help! The Humane Society is able to thrive funded solely by the contributions of local businesses, foundations, and individuals just like you.

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From the HSCC website: “We receive no local, state, or federal funding for the services we provide. We are registered, inspected, and authorized annually to operate as an animal shelter by the State of Vermont. Each year we take in roughly 750 – 1,000 animals (dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs and more) and work to care for and responsibly place them in loving forever homes. As a “controlled-admission” shelter we accept, by appointment, animals brought to us regardless of health, age, or behavioral issues. Our staff includes a management team of well-qualified supervisors and an extraordinary animal care and adoption staff–as well as the most dedicated bunch of volunteers one could ask for–who work daily to care for our population and to treat and rehabilitate those animals with conditions and problems that may pose challenges to finding new homes. We’re proud of our successes and aim each day to make the right match for every animal–and every potential adopter –in our care.”

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We hope the next time you’re in the store, you’ll donate to the Humane Society of Chittneden County. Every penny counts, you’ll be amazed at what even a dollar can do to help out an animal in need. $1 donation allows a cat to be fed for a day, $2 allows a dog to be fed for a day, $5 allows an animal in need to get vaccinated and $10 allows to microchip an animal!

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Adoption Center Hours:

Sunday and Monday CLOSED
Tuesday through Friday 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Saturday 10:00am – 4:00pm

Thanks for your support!

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Fragrances From Another World

By Mary Albee  •  Monday, March 31st, 2014

This past Saturday, Courtney Worthington, the Body Care Buyer in the Wellness Department, visited Pierson Library in Shelburne, VT to talk about a very special line of fragrances from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

This event, Fragrances From Another World, focused specifically on the line of perfumes that were inspired by the novel Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

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Most of these very special scents were inspired by characters from the book, and Courtney brought them all with her for the kids to sample.

Many children who had read Coraline gathered around Courtney as she explained how the creator of the fragrances worked closely with the author to come up with scents that would represent each character.

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“This one smells like popcorn and cotton candy!” One child exclaimed after smelling a scent called Mouse Circus. “This one smells like pickles…and now I want to eat pickles!” was one child’s response to the scent based on the character named Mr. Bobo.

One of the most popular fragrances by far was the scent based on the novel’s main character, Coraline, which smells like: Dry grass, clean skin, and a little bit of mossy berry. Courtney said that the perfumer picked these particular scent notes to represent the character’s mischievous nature…and many of the children could relate to that!

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To learn more about this fascinating line of literary fragrances check out the Black Phoenix Alchemy website, stop by the Wellness Department at Healthy Living, or keep an eye on the Pierson Library events calendar, as Courtney may return during the after school program to talk about the Corlaine fragrances, and other Black Phoenix Alchemy scents that have been inspired by literature.

Many thanks to the Pierson Library for hosting such a great event!

 

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Vermatzah

By Specialty Foods Manager  •  Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

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Beautifully wrapped Vermatzah from Naga Bakehouse

Vermatzah has arrived at both our Saratoga and Burlington stores!

What exactly is Vermatzah, you ask? Well, traditional Matzah is an ancient round, unleavened bread hand-crafted for Passover. It symbolizes freedom, simplicity and the return of Spring. Vermatzah (Matzah baked in Vermont) is eco-kosher and connects modern ecology with ancient dietary laws and ethical standards about food production, preparation and eating. It is crafted for foodies and localvores who are looking for healthy alternatives that support sustainable and local agriculture!

Vermatzah is like a sophisticated cracker that’s crispy, flavorful and delicious! It is also beautifully hand-wrapped for all of your Passover festivities. 

According to ancient traditions, the matzah you eat on the first night of Passover strengthens the faith of the soul, and matzah eaten the second night heals it.  Naga Bakehouse’s Vermatzah is shaped by hand and baked on site in their wood fired over specifically for the mitzvah of eating matzah each year. They only bake with the finest quality organic grains grown by neighboring farmers in Vermont.

It’s only available once a year, so stop by and grab a box before they’re all gone!

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