So Trader Joe’s is coming to Louisville?

The Big Guy must listen to my food prayers.

Signs are pointing to “yes” that Trader Joe’s is coming to Louisville.

The quirky grocery chain loved by hipsters and health nuts “intends to apply for licenses to sell beer and liquor at 4600 Shelbyville Road – the Shelbyville Road Plaza in St. Matthews – by June 1,” according to the Courier-Journal. And Business First seems pretty certain about the store’s arrival.

The Powers That Be still aren’t confirming that the store will definitely make a home in Louisville, but this is obviously a step in that direction.

The news made me do a happy dance. But one complaint – can we get a nice store like Trader Joe’s in a different part of the city? Gas is expensive, yet I have to burn a quarter tank just to do some decent shopping in Louisville. /end rant

Borders is closing in downtown Louisville. Should some food-friendly businesses move in?

Mega-bookseller Borders has filed for bankruptcy, and the company will close 200 stores across the country. Two of the victims are the Borders stores on Hurstborne Parkway and Fourth Street in Louisville.

I’m especially sad to see the Fourth Street location go. It was a great place to grab a cup of coffee and chill with a good book in the heart of town.

Borders’ closing in downtown Louisville at Fourth Street Live could leave an epic gap. From the Courier-Journal:

Losing the two-story, Fourth Street Borders location opens a gaping hole downtown, affecting the quality of life for office workers, tourists and convention goers, said Chris Poynter, spokesman for Metro Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

Why am I talking about a bookstore on a food blog?

This could be a chance for some local businesses to step up their game in the downtown area. And if I had my way, I’d love to add some kind of food establishment, be it a restaurant, coffee shop or grocery store. For example, take a peek at what’s happening in the D.C. area. Grocery stores have become social hot spots.

But what do you think? Should a food-oriented business (or businesses – it’s a big space) replace the Borders on Fourth Street. Let’s take a vote. You can pick more than one option.

What foods do you need for a snowpocalypse?

(Blogger’s note: I couldn’t make it out to do a $10 Challenge this week because of the weather. The Challenge will be back next week.)

I made the mistake of going to the grocery store the day before a predicted snowpocalypse* in Louisville.

Here was the scene inside the Kroger on 27th Street and Broadway:

People were pissed to be at Kroger, I tell ya.

The checkout lines reached back into the food aisles. Just about every lane was open. It seemed like many people shared the same train of thought that I had – stop in the store after work to pick up a few items to keep from trudging out in the snow the next day.

People assume that folks run out to get loaves of bread and gallons of milk before a snowstorm. Know what items had been plucked from the store shelves during my visit? Ramen noodles and bottled water. Other miscellaneous items I saw in carts included hot dog and hamburger buns, pudding and potato chips.

What items do you run to get before a predicted snow storm? Leave your choices in the comments.


*Snowpocalype is used loosely. If more than two inches of snow falls in Kentucky, it’s considered a cause for panic.


Where have you been all my life? 3 new ingredients in my kitchen

There I am, cooking and stuff. Photo courtesy of Marianne Hale's Facebook page.

Cooking has become my therapy.

I make simple dishes like omelets or twice-baked potatoes when I need to mull over something important. I cook a tedious recipe when I need to be distracted.

But cooking can get mundane if I don’t switch it up a bit and try new ingredients.

I’ve been playing around with some new-to-me food items and jazzing up my meals. These are my three favorite ingredients that I’ve recently discovered:

1. Golden raisins

Photo courtesy of shauna | glutenfreegirl via Flickr.

I used golden raisins for the first time when I made honey-carrot-raisin muffins. I was initially pissed that I had to buy a new kind of raisin (I keep a box of regular raisins on hand for impromptu oatmeal-raisin cookie making), but there is a noticeable difference between the light and dark varieties of dried fruit. Golden raisins are more tart and tangy than the dark raisins and work well in many recipes:

  • Waffles. Prepare mix according to the directions on the box. Throw in a mashed banana, a handful of chopped walnuts and a handful of golden raisins. Cook according to instructions.
  • Peanut butter and banana sandwich. Toast your favorite type of bread (white, wheat, English muffin, sandwich thin, etc.). Spread a hearty scoop of peanut butter on one side. Top with sliced banana. Sprinkle with golden raisins.
  • Trail mix. Mix golden raisins with walnuts, almonds, peanuts and chocolate chips.

2. Sesame oil. I’ve held up on buying sesame oil because I thought I would never use it. But it turns out that many Asian recipes call for this ingredient. I cooked this recipe for sesame chicken from Food Network Magazine as my inaugural run with sesame oil, and it was a success. The rich, pungent oil gave an authentic Asian flavor to the dish. If you prepare this recipe, however, be prepared to stand in front of the stove for a long time and be willing to wash a large stack of dishes.

3. Freshly ground mixed peppercorns. I bought a handy little pepper grinder a few weeks ago at Kroger for just $1.99 (a manager’s special). This has been the best two bucks I’ve spent in a while. Adding pepper seems very basic, but freshly ground pepper can make a dish sing with flavor. I use my pepper grinder on everything, including eggs, potatoes and broccoli. Unfortunately, the pepper in my cute shaker has sat on the stove unused for days. Sorry, little guy.

Bits and pieces: Frankenfish, fried beer and other food news from the web, 9.7.10

  • Genetically modified salmon is safe to eat and poses little risk to the environment, the Food and Drug Administration said in an analysis the group released last week. According to an article in the New York Times, the FDA’s favorable assessment will make it more likely that this fish will be the first genetically modified animal to enter the American food supply. But “a coalition of 31 consumer, animal welfare, environmental and fisheries groups announced opposition to the approval last week, citing, in particular, concerns that the salmon could escape and possibly outcompete wild salmon for food or mates,” the article stated. I’ll hold off on buying Frankenfish, thankyouverymuch.
  • The Association of Food Journalists announced its list of the best food writers and writing at the group’s annual conference last week, according to the Poynter Institute. I’m searching for the article that won first place for best magazine food feature: “Why America is Addicted to Olive Garden.”
  • This is change I can believe in. White Castle is stepping up their game by testing new concepts in selected restaurants, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. In Lafayette, Ind., WC has introduced Blaze Modern BBQ in one of the company’s existing restaurants. The menu includes seven types of meat, baked beans, corn on the cob and jalapeno cornbread. Down in Lebanon, Tenn., WC is trying a pressed-club-sandwich concept called Deckers that offers 10 sandwiches ranging from PB&J to chicken Cordon Bleu. And there are rumors of a noodle menu at a White Castle in Ohio.
  • Only in Texas can you find beer, club salads and butter that have been battered and submerged in grease. These items are just some of the fried treats at this year’s Texas State Fair, according to the Dallas Morning News. I would eat the Texas Fried Frito Pie – “Chili, accented with a hint of sharp cheddar, encased in Fritos. Battered and fried.”

3 ways to use bargain feta and spinach

I have a problem buying in bulk. 

There are five bottles of salad dressing in my refrigerator to prove it. 

If something is on sale that I use often, I will buy at least two of that product. This often leaves me with stuffed cabinets, a full refrigerator and a looming deadline to cook the sale items before they spoil. 

 This was the case recently after a trip to Aldi. I bought a huge bag of fresh spinach leaves for $1.88 (not sure of the exact size, let’s just say pretty friggin’ big) and two small tubs of feta cheese for $4. 

After a little experimenting, I figured out how to incorporate these bargain foods into breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here are the recipes and meals I created or adapted to efficiently make use of a couple of great grocery deals. Plus, these recipes are fairly easy and quick. 

Breakfast: Egg-white omelet with spinach and feta 

  

Pair with a glass of OJ.

 

 

Separate three eggs. Whisk the egg whites and set aside. Spray cooking spray of your choice in a medium pan over medium heat. While pan heats, tear a small handful of fresh spinach leaves into medium-sized pieces (man, I like everything medium). Place spinach into pan, let simmer for a couple of minutes. Pour egg whites into pan. Let cook. When eggs are nearly done, sprinkle in feta cheese. 

Lunch: Walnut cranberry spinach salad (courtesy of The Boyfriend) 

The salad is paired with coleslaw (top right) and grilled catfish.

 

 

Put a hearty handful of spinach into a bowl. Top with chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, chopped pieces of a Granny Smith apple (or whatever kind you have on hand) and feta cheese. Drizzle with light raspberry vinaigrette. If you have it available, pair with a piece of grilled fish. 

Dinner: Spaghetti and pesto turkey meatballs (adapted from this AllRecipes listing) 

Heck, yes. My favorite dish of the post.

 

 

Mix together a pound of ground turkey, two tablespoons of basil pesto, one teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 cup of feta, 1/2 cup of unseasoned bread crumbs and a cap full of Mrs. Dash basil/garlic/tomato blend. Form mixture into about 15 2-inch diameter meatballs. Place meatballs on wire rack in a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (or however long it takes for your oven to cook them) 

While meatballs cook, prepare half a package of spaghetti according to package directions. In a large saucepan, heat a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce. 

When meatballs are done, drop them in the sauce. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Mix drained spaghetti noodles with the sauce and meatballs. 

While the noodles, sauce and meatballs mingle for a few minutes, throw two hearty handfuls of spinach into a bowl. Mix with slices of red onion, tomato and carrots. Top with light balsamic vinaigrette. 

Eat and enjoy. 

  

Do you have a feta cheese and spinach recipe? Share in the comments.

Fine print: Louisville grocery deals for the week of 6.20.10

Bear with me, folks.

I’m going to try something new with this entry.

I want to make it simpler to find grocery deals  in Louisville. So instead of doing a long run-down, I’m going to highlight the best deals on certain products.

If you like this format, let me know. Contact me if you don’t.

The Cheapest…

  • Milk: Kroger, $1.98/gallon (with Kroger card)
  • Bread: ValuMarket, 99 cents/loaf (Bunny bread)
  • Raspberries: Meijer, Five containers for $5
  • Peaches: Kroger, 88 cents/pound (with Kroger card)
  • Grapes: Meijer, 88 cents/pound
  • Minute Maid Orange Juice: ValuMarket, $1.99/carton
  • Cantaloupes: Meijer, Two for $3
  • Top sirloin steak: ValuMarket, $3.99/pound
  • Kellogg’s cereal: ValuMarket, Five boxes for $10

No grocery listing this week on the blog

It’s tough living in a house with five other people.

Sometimes, they forget that you need to see the grocery ads from Sunday’s paper in order to update your blog.

Sometimes, they throw the ads into the recycling bin outside.

And sometimes, it rains.

All this means that there will be no Fine print: Louisville grocery deals this week.

My apologies, folks.

In the meantime, visit some of the websites of the grocery stores you frequent to learn about their sales this week.

4 tips for shopping at Aldi

A good friend of mine may never return to one of the best places to find great grocery deals.

The store was Aldi. The friend was confused.

Courtesy of http://www.Aldi.com

Aldi is a discount grocery store chain with more than 1,000 stores in 31 states. The store also has international arms in Europe and Australia. Aldi carries “private selection,” aka off-brand items, that are comparable to many of the name brands you find in other grocery stores. But these items are often just a fraction of the cost of popular brands, which is music to my little red wallet (just check out this week’s deals for proof).

Unfortunately, my friend visited Aldi and left not wanting to ever return.

She shopped with her arms filled with groceries because she couldn’t figure out how to detach a cart from the rows outside the store. She couldn’t put her food in bags after she paid because the store charged for bags. Then there was an incident involving a metal bar and a cardboard box that I’m still trying to figure out.

Aldi is a fabulous store with great prices. But here are some things you need to know (courtesy of the store’s website) to get the most out of your shopping experience.

  1. Bring a quarter. “You’ll find ALDI shopping carts hooked together right outside the door. As you approach the store, just insert a quarter to release a cart. When you’re finished shopping, reconnect the chain and get your quarter back. This expense-saving tradition (no rolling carts to chase and no damaged cars!) has become a legendary part of the ALDI culture.”
  2. Remember those reusable bags in the back of the trunk? Better bring them inside. “And as long as you’re bringing a quarter, bag even more savings at ALDI by bringing some bags from home. To help bring you honest to goodness savings, we don’t hire baggers or bury the cost of free grocery bags in our prices. Instead, we encourage you to bring your own.” If not, you’ll end up having to buy your own bags.
  3. Don’t forget your cash. Aldi doesn’t accept credit cards, but they gladly take debit cards, cash and food stamps. Taking checks also slows down the line and saddles us with bad check costs, so we don’t mess around with them. By avoiding credit cards, we avoid the extra time it takes to sign a slip and the hefty processing fee charged by credit card companies.”
  4. Don’t expect to get all your grocery shopping done at Aldi. I usually stop at Aldi first during the week, but wrap up my grocery shopping at other stores. “Our customers find they can do as much as 90% of their weekly shopping at ALDI. We carry everything from fresh meat and produce to frozen foods to dairy, bakery, canned goods, and paper products.”

Any other tips for Aldi shoppers?

19 farmers’ markets to visit in and around Louisville (and counting)

Peppers at a farmers' market.

Updated 6.16.10

It’s that time again.

Farmers’ markets have sprouted up across Louisville, displaying a rainbow of produce more brilliant than anything in an art gallery — cardinal red peppers, mustard yellow melons, kelly green pea pods.

I plan to visit my first farmers’ market of the season this week. Here is a list, courtesy of Local Harvest, of some markets in Louisville and southern Indiana.

  • Old Louisville FarmWorks Market, 1143 South Third Street (parking lot of Walnut Street Baptist Church)
    • 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays, June through mid-October
  • Gray Street Farmers’ Market, 485 E. Gray Street
    • 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Thursdays, June 4 through Oct. 29
  • Bardstown Road Farmers’ Market, 1722 Bardstown Road
    • 4:00-6:30 p.m. Thursdays
    • 8am-noon Saturdays (year round, different hours in the winter)
  • Rainbow Blossom Farmers’ Market, 3738 Lexington Road
    • Noon-4 p.m. Sundays, May through October
  • Beechmont Open Air Market, Southern Parkway at Wellington Avenue
    • 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, June through September
  • Broadway Baptist Church Farmers’ Market, 4000 Brownsboro Road
    • 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, now through September
  • Mid City Mall Farmers’ Market, 1250 Bardstown Road
    • 4-7 p.m. Thursdays, now through October
  • St. Matthews Farmers’ Market, 4100 Shelbyville Road (parking lot of Beargrass Christian Church)
    • 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, May through September
  • Suburban Christian Church Farmers’ Market, 7515 Westport Road
    • 3-7 p.m. Thursdays, May through October
  • Phoenix Hill Farmers’ Market, 829 East Market Street
    • 3-6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, now through October
  • Jeffersontown Farmers’ Market, 10434 Watterson Trail
    • 3-6:30 p.m. Tuesdays
    • 7 a.m.-noon Saturdays, May through October
  • Jewish Family and Career Services, 3587 Dutchmans Lane
    • 12:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays, May through October
  • Okolona Farmers’ Market, 7405 Preston Highway
    • 4-7 p.m. Tuesdays, June 23 through Sept. 8
  • Southwest Farmers’ Market, 10200 Dixie Highway (Valley High School)
    • 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, June through October
  • St. Andrew United Church of Christ, 2608 Browns Lane
    • 3-6 p.m. Thursdays
  • Norton Commons Farmers’ Market, corner of Norton Commons Boulevard and Meeting Street, Prospect, Ky.
    • 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, now through Nov. 6
  • St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church Farmers’ Market, 6710 Wolf Pen Branch Road, Prospect, Ky.
    • 4-6:30 p.m. Tuesdays
    • 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, now through Oct. 30
  • Jeffersonville Farmers’ Market, Corner of Chestnut and Locust streets at Wall Street Church, Jeffersonville, Ind.
    • 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays (June 1 through mid-October)
    • 3-6 p.m. Tuesdays (June 1 through mid-October)
  • New Albany Farmers’ Market, 202 E. Market Street, New Albany, Ind.
    • 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays (May through October)
    • 4-7 p.m. Wednesdays (May through October)

Have I missed something? Please forgive me if I have omitted your favorite market. Just shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment.