PCC blog

A brand new PCC in the works!

Those of you at Tuesday night's Annual Meeting heard it first: PCC is opening its 10th location! 

This new store, slated to open in 2013 just east of Green Lake in Seattle, will fill the (literal) giant gaping hole where the Vitamilk Dairy once stood, across from the Little Red Hen and a stone's throw from Rosita's and many a sporting goods store.

PCC will be part of a mixed-use project (PCC, apartments, public space, other retail) dubbed Green Lake Village located between N.E. 72nd St. and N.E. 71st St. along Woodlawn Ave. N.E. and 5th Ave. N.E.

Says our CEO, Tracy Wolpert: "PCC is thrilled to be part of this exciting project in such a vibrant neighborhood." Read the entire press release here.

Fans of the current Greenlake store on the west side: Don't worry. That store is staying put.

(And for those of you who note the discrepancy between Green Lake (the neighborhood and body of water) and Greenlake (the PCC store), it's a quirky PCC thing, not my misspelling :)

The same team that built our latest stores in Edmonds (2008), Redmond (2006) and Fremont (2003) will bring this one to life, with environmentally friendly features galore. Redmond and Edmonds are LEED gold and platinum winners, respectively.

Just think: you could live upstairs from a PCC! Emerald City Salad whenever your heart desires. 

See you at the grand opening in 2013!

More about: community, Greenlake

NEW: Organic, raw, *locally grown* almonds!

No, your eyes do not deceive you. Barbee Orchards in Washington's sunny Yakima Valley has released its first commercial crop of locally grown, certified organic, raw almonds. Find them in 1-pound bags bearing the PCC label (while supplies last!) at your local PCC.

Almonds still in their husks in the Yakima grove.

These Butte variety almonds are a new foray for the Barbee family, which  established its orchards in the 1920s for cherries, pears and apples. This limited harvest is the first from almond trees planted several years ago.

As most commercial almonds are grown in California (and, required to be pasteurized there), PCC is thrilled to offer a locally grown, raw option. Better snag a bag while you can: when they're gone, they're gone!

More about: almonds, local food, organic food

How PCC Deli recipes are born (FOOD PHOTOS!)

Earlier this month, I walked into a PCC Deli fan's wonderland: an event the Deli staff dubbed The Hot Bar Throwdown.

Wall to wall food in the Issaquah PCC classroom. There's even more out of view in the back of the room.

Turns out, PCC Deli leaders convene throughout the year to tweak old recipes and brainstorm new ones that could be well-recieved at all stores. Last year, a meeting just like this one resulted in the delicious and creative new sandwiches we hear you've been enjoying.

This time around, they sought to add new items to the rotating selection at each hot bar, taste-testing more than 40 dishes, including: Quinoa Vegetable Stew (View Ridge Deli), Dijon Potato and Sausage Stew (Edmonds Deli), Chipotle Salmon Cakes (Fremont Deli), Roasted Mango Date Chicken (Kirkland Deli), Red Pepper Sweet Potato Pudding (Seward Park Deli), Thai Curry Pepper Pot (West Seattle Deli), Beef in Tomatillo Sauce (Issaquah Deli) and Chicken Hominy Stew (Greenlake Deli).

Let me tell you: the results were smashing.

 

21st Century Stir-fry, packed with flavorful sprouted mung beans, germinated brown rice, veggies and seaweed. Wonderful. Made by Leon, the Deli Merchandiser. "I find the texture irresistable," he said. "I've been eating mung beans for two days straight!"

View Ridge PCC brought a new pizza combo that's been a hit with their shoppers: spinach, mushroom and Gorgonzola. Yum!

Steve from the Redmond PCC Deli sautees onions to which he added arugula, spinach and Bragg's liquid aminos for a tasty greens dish.

The result: fresh, healthy and good.

Golden quinoa topped with spicy stewed vegetables (right) made a delightful vegan dish (from Diana, then of View Ridge PCC Deli, now of Issaquah).

From the Edmonds PCC Deli: Vegetable Pipian Enchiladas, vegetarian with yams and beans. Sooo good.

From the Greenlake PCC Deli: Sweet & Sour Pork and Beef Stroganoff (rich and hearty).

So many flavors prompted lots of discussion: How'd you get this sauce? Which spice did you use? Which cut of salmon worked best?

This smelled amazing. From the Redmond PCC Deli.

These new recipes will gradually appear in each PCC Deli in the coming months. Lucky us! 

Did you know? Many of our PCC Deli recipes are available to you in our Recipe Database. Check them out and get cooking!

More about: PCC Deli

Leafy greens, every day

"Karen! I was just given a heap-load of kale by a slow food group I was photographing yesterday," my friend Jenny announced via Facebook.

"What the heck do I do with it?"

An especially gorgeous bunch of chard.

This was not the first time I've been asked this question, and I'm positive it won't be the last. For such unassuming produce, kale, chard, collards and other leafy greens sure do intimidate and mystify people, including, for many years, me. Now that's I've found so much inspiration, I can't get enough of them.

Here's the list of ideas my friends and I sent Jenny, who has since become a kale fiend in her own right:

  • My personal favorite Sausage, Lentil and Greens Soup by PCC Cooks instructor Marie Donadio.
  • Ina Garten's Ribollita.
  • Simple kale with garlic and bacon.
  • One friend chops up kale, adds it to onion that's been sauteed until soft, then seasons with salt, pepper, hot sauce and whatever vinegar is on hand. He also mixes it with lumpy mashed potatoes for an incredibly tasty side dish his family has dubbed Kale n' Taters.
  • Former PCC Cooks instructor Becky Boutch offers a similarly delicious take.
  • Another friend makes kale chips by tossing large pieces of kale with olive or peanut oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, then baking at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, flipping the leaves halfway.
  • Via one of my favorite vegan home cooks: I generally saute it with lots of garlic, usually in olive oil. Then I might add red pepper flakes (or nanami togarashi for extra deliciousness), tamari and balsamic or rice vinegar; salt and red wine vinegar; or salt and a splash or two of beer. Or I'll chop it up and add to a white-bean soup or stew. Or steam it, add just a bit of salt, and then layer mashed potatoes, greens, and a bunch of mushroom gravy. Or use it in a tofu frittata or strata.
  • At the urging of friends on Twitter, I gave a kale-and-frozen-pineapple smoothie a whirl in my blender. While I don't think it's for everyone, it definitely left me energized and feeling bright.

A vibrant, energy-packed kale-and-frozen-pineapple smoothie. I've heard these also are great with frozen mango!

One easy way to get to know greens is to order them when you go out to eat. Pay attention to what the chef does to achieve textures and flavors you enjoy, then look up recipes to try those techniques for yourself at home.

 

Beyond tasting great, leafy greens are good for you in so many ways. They're chock full of nutrients, including vitamins K, A and C, manganese, folate (listen up, pregnant and soon-to-be pregnant ladies!) and calcium. They marry well with a variety of flavors and can pair with nearly any cuisine. A New Year's resolution I make each year is to enjoy leafy greens every day. So far this year, I've come pretty close.

What are your favorite ways to enjoy leafy greens?

More about: chard, collard greens, greens, kale, spinach

Cottage cheese, so many ways

I think each of us has a food we've never tried until adulthood, much to the shock of our friends. Mushrooms and various shellfish come to mind. Sometimes it's a certain dessert, or a type of wine.

For me, it was cottage cheese. I didn't make its acquaintance until into my 30s, when it suddenly occured to me I might be missing out on something great based on the eating habits of friends. Just to make sure of my hunch, I asked the local food community on Twitter how they best enjoy cottage cheese.

The replies came fast and furious.

  • Atop papayas with jam on top (@fourchickens)
  • Plain with low-sugar jam mixed in (@cooklocal)
  • With a ripe pear (@pastrycraft)
  • With flax seed and manuka honey (@jenniellingson)
  • With cracked black pepper (@rmarcham)
  • With chopped green onions, salt and pepper (@nandron)
  • With a teaspoon of mayonnaise stirred in (@thesunbreak)
  • With pepper or potatoes (@annamharlow)
  • With black pepper and Tabasco sauce (@curtwoodward)
  • With Chobani nonfat yogurt (@hawkblogger)
  • With pineapple and granola (@carbzilla)

What exactly is cottage cheese? My trusty copy of "The Food Lover's Companion" calls it a fresh cheese made from whole, part-skimmed or skimmed pasteruized cow's milk, with a moist texture and mild flavor. I found it to be a creamier version of the cheese curds I enjoy from the farmer's market. At PCC, we carry cottage cheese from Organic Valley and Nancy's. Store it in the coldest part of your fridge for up to 10 days past the stamped date.

I'm still happy eating it plain, though it's clear there's no shortage of options. How do you most enjoy it? 

More about: dairy, organic food

New year, new habits

Each year, I resolve to do something better, whether it's sip more water from my reusable bottle, eat fewer cookies, or spend more time outdoors. From the chatter on Facebook and Twitter this week, I know you do, too. So this year, I look forward to helping you find the tools to keep those resolutions long past February :) 

We'll begin with yogurt. It's one of the most nourishing foods for your body and has sustained cultures around the globe for millenia. It's rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin and B vitamins, and, like other fermented foods, contains friendly bacteria that promote healthier digestion and can help boost the immune system. PCC carries an even-growing number of varieties (many made with organic ingredients) including yogurt made from cow's milk, goat's milk, coconut milk, soy milk and rice milk. You can even make your own.

Yogurt's not just for breakfast or snacking, either. Spoon it into a fancy dish with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey for a lovely (and healthy) dessert. Better yet, use plain yogurt in your cooking and baking in place of sour cream (it makes a killer dip for raw veggies). Find recipes for soups, dips, smoothies, desserts, slaws and plenty of additional culinary inspiration here.

Next up: Leafy greens.

More about: dairy, dairy alternatives, yogurt

2010 year in review: Top 10 lists galore!

We already revealed the Top 10 most-viewed PCC recipes of the past year. Here's a look at other chart toppers!

Most-viewed Sound Consumer pages

Certified organic leaf lettuce the size of pom-poms from Rent’s Due Ranch in Stanwood, Wash., shown by Greenlake PCC Produce Coordinator, Dan Johnson (from Organic Can Feed the World in September's Sound Consumer).

  1. The Truth About Fats
  2. Microwaved food: Is it healthy?
  3. Organic can feed the world
  4. Kick the sugar craving
  5. Calcium vs. magnesium: The key is balance
  6. Not all shrimp are equal: Wild shrimp vs. farmed shrimp
  7. Let food be your green medicine
  8. Insights by Goldie: TSP in Cheerios
  9. Agave: Considering the issues
  10. Tomato and pepper growing in the Pacific Northwest

Most-viewed video pages

  1. Easy Whole Grain Side Dishes (from KING 5 TV's "New Day Northwest")
  2. Kitchen Sink One-pot Pasta (from KING 5 TV's "Gardening With Ciscoe")
  3. The Good News About Gluten Free (from KING 5 TV's "New Day Northwest")
  4. Brown Sugar Sour Cream and Strawberry Scones (from KING 5 TV's "Gardening With Ciscoe")
  5. Cure Your Cold and Flu Naturally (from KING 5 TV's "New Day Northwest")
  6. Best apples for eating/baking (PCC Quick Bites)
  7. Homemade mustard as a holiday gift (from KING 5 TV's "Gardening With Ciscoe")
  8. Homeade Whole Grain and Olive Oil Baguette (from KING 5 TV's "Gardening With Ciscoe")
  9. Our PCC Natural Markets recipe search screencast
  10. Individual Strawberry Grand Marnier Frozen Souffles (from KING 5 TV's "Gardening With Ciscoe")

Did you have a favorite story video that appeared on the PCC website? I particularly enjoyed this one, about our adventures at a PCC Cooks class on making homemade Chinese noodles!

More about: agave, gluten free, health and body care products, Lynne Vea, mustard, PCC Cooks, recipes, sugar, unsaturated fat

2010 in review: Top 10 most-viewed recipes

It's always fun to look back at year's end at which recipes tickled our collective fancy (and surprise, surprise: many of them hail from the PCC Deli). Here's a look at what topped our recipe database for 2010!


1. PCC Emerald City Salad

2. PCC Quinoa Tabouli

3. PCC Perfect Protein Salad

4. Warm Roasted Root Vegetable Salad With Hazelnuts, Chèvre and Aged Balsamic

PCC Emerald City Salad

5. Brown Sugar, Sour Cream and Strawberry Scones

6. 5-color Quinoa Salad

7. Chipotle Shredded Pork with Tomato Lime Salsa

8. Warm Pear and Hazelnut Tea Bread

9. Savory Rainbow Bean and Whole Grain Winter Soup

10. Spice-scented Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque

Happy cooking!

More about: baking, PCC Deli, recipes, root vegetables, salad, soup, whole grains

Congratulations to our recipe contest winners!

Thanks so much to all of you who entered our recipe contest in November! The trio of winners, randomly selected, each received a PCC gift card for adding to our Recipe Database. Here's a little about two of our winners, Sheila and Mary.

"It's fun to start with a pile of ingredients and put them all together into something that tastes good. It's almost like solving a puzzle," Sheila, left, says about her love of cooking. Time in the kitchen is her favorite way to unwind.

"My fantasy is having an entire weekend to plan a menu, shop, prepare ingredients and cook a great meal for a group of friends and family members. I have always loved food, and I think it is so rewarding to impress family and friends with good meals." Sheila, we totally agree!

Sheila advises new cooks to pay attention to tastes they like and to ask cooks and servers about specific ingredients. "You can build a whole meal around a specific ingredient -- just do a Web search for a few things you might have on hand, like "curry chicken potatoes") -- or look at PCC's online recipes, and you're bound to find something great to cook."

Her favorite section at PCC is produce. Try her recipe for Sauteed Kale.

"I love PCC's fresh vegetables. I try to use only seasonal ingredients in my meals, and PCC  has a good selection of squash and greens in the fall, and berries and cherries in the summer. Clean, organic, locally grown produce is important to me, and I never have to worry about PCC meeting all my requirements."

 Mary, left, whose favorite PCC department is our bulk section, submitted a recipe for Potato Corn Chowder. She learned to cook from her mom, who always included the family in her kitchen projects, from baking homemade bread to canning beans. "She was and is a great cook and always made working in the kitchen fun," Mary says.

Mary enjoys cooking as a way to relax and unwind at the day, loves to read cookbooks and uses recipes more as inspiration than a guide. She loves to cook for others and to see the pleasure a good homemade meal can create.

Her biggest piece of advice for new cooks? Relax.

"I see too many people that come at a cookbook with a white-knuckled approach and are so afraid of making a mistake and not having it turn out that they do not enjoy the experience, smells and sheer fun of cooking. Some of my "mistakes" have turned out to be my best results!" says Mary.

Again, thank you to all of you out there who shared a recipe, and hope to see more of your delicious meals in the database in the coming months!

 

 

More about: community, recipes

The Top 10 Biggest Food Stories of 2010

Here's a great piece in The Atlantic that's worth a read as 2010 winds down. What do you hope 2011 will bring when it comes to food safety, politics and agriculture? 

And did you know PCC has taken on a stand on many of the top issues the named above? We have advocated for school-lunch reform, support the Non-GMO Project, do not sell products with high-fructose corn syrup as an ingredient and offers an abundance of local and/or organic fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy options and more.

PCC offers two great, easy ways to stay up-to-date on the latest food news: Our monthly Sound Consumer newsletter and our PCC Advocates e-newsletter. And remember: Each meal you buy or create is a chance to show your support for healthy, sustainable foods. 

More about: food politics, food safety, organic food

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