Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hi there, friends!

Our new website is finally up!  We were using this blog as a temporary way to distribute information about Pop-Up General Store, so now that we are all set to go with the new website, we'll no longer be posting here.  If you want to catch up with us, check things out over at


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Recipe Ideas and Cooking Instructions for September 15th Pop-Up

Pizza Dough

Tips for a successful pizza!

Take the dough out of the refrigerator an hour before you want to use it. Form it into a ball by placing it on a work board, and cupping your hands around it, use a circular motion and the tension formed by rolling on the work surface to form the ball. Transfer it to a lightly floured surface, dust the top with flour and cover with a towel. Let it rest for an hour to relax the gluten. Preheat your oven with a pizza stone to 450 degrees. Generously sprinkle a flat pan or pizza peel with semolina and set aside. You will be assembling the pizza on this.

Generously flour a work surface and dust the top of the dough ball with flour. To form the pizza you can either roll it briefly with a rolling pin, or stretch it by hand, or a combination of both. I recommend by hand as this will teach you how to handle the dough. Begin by dimpling the dough with your fingertips, leaving about an inch at the edge for the crust. Pick up the dough and using your fists, start from the middle and gently stretch the dough, working outward, to an even thinness. Don’t worry about the shape, it will look beautiful when you take it out of the oven.

Transfer to your semolina sprinkled pan. While you are assembling the pizza, check a few times that the dough isn’t sticking to the pan by gently wiggling it. The pizza dough should slide readily on the semolina. If you have a sticky spot, just lift the dough a bit and toss some more semolina under the sticky spot.

A good base for the bottom of the pizza is a mixture of finely minced garlic in some good olive oil slathered on. Top your pizza with whatever makes you happy, but resist “loading” the pizza, a light touch with the toppings is best.

Slide your pie onto the preheated stone in the oven and bake, rotating for even brownness until desired doneness. You can use a pizza peel or metal spatula to lift the pie a bit and check the color of the bottom to help guide you. This should take about 15-20 minutes. However, pay more attention to how the pie looks while it’s baking, rather than the time. All ovens are different and baking times are merely guidelines in many cases, nothing more.

Slide finished pizza onto a cutting board, brush the crust with olive oil, slice it up and get to it!

Happy pizza making!

Spicy Calabrian Sausages

Savory and fiery, these sausages will definitely wake up your palate! Cook the sausages over medium heat in a cast-iron skillet, or on the grill, 8-10 minutes in total, until cooked through. The juices should run clear but freely. Turn them every 3-4 minutes to avoid burning on one side.

Kept in your refrigerator, they will last 4-5 days, or they can be frozen for up to a month.

A few ideas on how to serve them:

These sausages would be delicious served alongside some sauteed bitter greens, such as rapini, and roasted potatoes.
Or, remove the sausage from the casing and crumble it onto a pizza before baking for a delicious topping.

One of our favorite things to do is to make sausage sandwiches with arugula, pecorino cheese, caramelized onions, and sauteed sweet peppers. Yum! Don't forget the aïoli!

The other night, we cooked up a big staff meal of bronze-cut pasta with these spicy sausages, some of our tomato sauce, and basil, and it was fantastic (see full recipe below).

Heirloom Tomato Sauce with Basil

This sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for up to a month. To use, just gently bring to a boil.

For pasta, always add hot pasta to hot sauce. For pizza, just ladle room temperature or cold sauce onto the dough before baking.

One special thing we love to do with heirloom tomato sauce is to poach fresh farm eggs in it for breakfast. Simply thin out the sauce with a little bit of water, and use it as the poaching liquid for your eggs (be careful not to add too much water--the sauce will definitely be thicker than what you're used to poaching eggs in). You can add a few chili flakes, and if you like a little flair, some crushed cumin seed and a splash of sherry vinegar to the sauce. Serve with grilled or toasted bread rubbed with garlic.

Fresh Bronze-Cut Rigatoni Pasta

This rigatoni is extruded through traditional bronze plates, which leave the pasta micro-grooves that encourage sauce to cling to the noodle.

Keep refrigerated. Though the pasta is fresh, it can be dried for a few days in the refrigerator and then stored in the cupboard. If you'd like to try that, then spread the pasta out on a cookie sheet, let it dry out in the fridge until it's hard, and bag it up and store in a dry, cool spot.

The rigatoni can be cooked just like any other dry noodle you've made before: simply boil 2 gallons of water per pound of pasta you plan to cook, heavily salt it until it tastes like ocean water, then add the pasta. Stir from time to time, and cook until al dente, which depending on the freshness of the pasta can take anywhere from 3-10 minutes.

Serving suggestions:

At this time of year, think about serving the Rigatoni with Basil Pesto, Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes.

For the pesto:

Pick the leaves from: 1 bunch of basil, to yield about 1 lightly packed cup

In a mortar and pestle, pound to a paste: 1 garlic clove, peeled with a pinch of salt

And continue to pound: 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

Add: 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

Transfer this mixture to a bowl. Coarsely chop the basil leaves and put them in the mortar. Pound the leaves to a paste. Return the pounded pine nut mixture to the mortar. Pound the leaves and pine nut mixture together. Continue pounding as you gradually pour in: 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Taste for salt and adjust if necessary.

(If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can make pesto in the blender.)

Boil 1 pound of pasta as described above, adding 1/2 pound of trimmed green beans to the water, cut to the length of the pasta, when the pasta is half-way cooked.

When the pasta is cooked, strain it and toss in a large bowl with 1 1/2 cups basil pesto and salt. Mix in a pint of stemmed and halved cherry tomatoes and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Durum pasta always pairs well with tomato based sauces, so anything from marinara to puttanesca sauce would be perfect. We made a delicious pasta the other night when we were making the sausage:

Bronze-Cut Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrian Sausages and Heirloom Tomato Sauce

Chop and saute one small onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil until soft and brown. Add two cloves of chopped garlic.

Uncase and crumble 3-4 sausages in large pinches into the pan and cook over medium heat until golden brown.

Add 1 1/2 cups heirloom tomato sauce into the pan and bring to a simmer.

Boil 1 pound of pasta as described above. Drain and add into the sauce and toss. Add a handful of torn basil leaves and garnish with grated parmesan if desired. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Amy Cakes: Cupcake Perfection

The great thing about cupcakes is their ability capture all the best parts of cake--all in a smaller, less guilt-inducing portion. with maximum frosting to cake ratio. And voila! A few bites of heaven.

Amy Hatwig, a core member of the Bakesale Betty team, and founder of Amy Cakes, knows how to take these phenomenal goodies to the next level. This week, she is offering two of her most delicious flavors: Chocolate with Chocolate Ganache, as well as Banana with Whipped Crème Fraîche
. As cute as they are, once you try one, you'll be glad they come by the half-dozen!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pizza Politana: Neapolitan wood-fire oven

Pizza Politana brings Naples to you...on a custom-built the form of an authentic Neapolitan wood-fired oven!

And after the oven, everything else stays local-- Pizza Politana uses organic, seasonal ingredients from farmers and artisan producers in the area. Come by Pop-Up this Wednesday (September 15th, 5-7pm, Grace Street Catering) to try a slice-- or a whole pie.

For the first time this week, you can also take home their signature pizza dough and try your hand as a pizzaiolo. Pre-Order your dough before 1pm today, and then start brainstorming about what other goodies you'll toss on top!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mike the bejkr: Artisan Bread

What is more basic, and more essential, than a loaf of bread? As a true canvas for flavor, a great slice of bread can feature a favorite cheese, make a phenomenal sandwich, be topped with the season's best vegetables, or simply be eaten with a generous slather of good butter. While the possibilities are endless, they all start with a good quality loaf of bread.

We love Mike [the bejkr] Zakowski's bread, and we are so excited to feature three of his unique loaves, both for pre-order and for direct sale this Wednesday. Try his Pain de Campagne, a rustic country miche including rye and spelt flour. There's also his Pain Biologique, a hearty whole grain seed loaf including hemp, sesame, flax, and pumpkin seed. Not to be missed, his Farro Spezzato Batard is a delicious whole wheat bread with cracked spelt. Whatever you do with your bread, when it's this good, it's almost impossible to go wrong...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blue Chair Fruit: Preserving the Season

Blue Chair Fruit knows their fruit. Rachel Saunders founded Blue Chair Fruit in 2008 after nearly ten years of preparation and intense study of fruit and fruit preserving techniques. Their jams and marmalades are sourced directly from local organic farmers, and their tiny batch process captures the best textures and flavors in each ingredient. Poised perfectly between sweetness and tartness, and ranging from complex flavors (Black Plum Jam with Candied Citrus and Bay) to timeless classics (English Marmalade), Blue Chair Fruit truly is a our favorite way to preserve the season.

Available for Pop-Up pre-order for the first time, Blue Chair Fruit will be offering duo packs of their jams: Dolly Plum Jam and English Three-Fruit Marmalade. Even if you don't pre-order, make sure to stop by and see them during Wednesday's Pop-Up, as they'll be offering wider variety of delicious flavors (will it be Strawberry-Rose? Early Girl Tomato and Plum?).

Perhaps most exciting of all, Rachel has written her first book, The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook! Set for release September 21st, the cookbook offers more than 100 original jam, jelly, and marmalade recipes. Her creative, modern, and sustainable approach is a must-have resource for home and professional cooks everywhere. You can now pre-order signed copies of the book directly from their website!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pop-Up General Store next Wednesday, September 15th

Hi there!

We wanted to let you know that we'll be
popping up next Wednesday, September 15th!

Next week, we'll be offering some of our favorite foods, including
Spicy Calabrian Sausages, perfect for grilling. We'll also be making Heirloom Tomato Sauce and Fresh Bronze-Cut Rigatoni.

We're also happy to share with you offerings from several of our friends: Soul Food Farm, Becker Lane Organic Farm, Peko Peko, Ghost Town Farm, Amy Cakes, ebcb, Katz, Four Barrel Coffee, Pizza Politana, Mike [the bejkr], Devil's Gulch Ranch, Grace Street Floral, Chris Weiss, Studebaker Pickles, and Blue Chair Fruit.

Pre-order and pay for your items, then come visit our pop-up location in the historic Temescal streetcar depot that houses Grace Street Catering. We'll be there next Wednesday, September 15th from 5pm to 7pm awaiting your arrival! We'll have lots of extras for sale, so feel free to pop in even if you don't place an order!

Don't forget your reusable shopping bags! And please remember,
for day-of purchases, we can only accept cash or checks at this time.

Chris & Samin

How it Works:

For Pre-Orders: Place your order and pay online by Monday, September 13th at noon. When you click on the link above, it'll take you to Page One of the order form--make sure to scroll down to the bottom and click over to Page Two to see everything we're offering!

Please note that your order will not be considered complete until you pay with a credit card. You'll know everything went through when you receive an automated confirmation email.

At the Pop-Up, proceed to a different line on the side of the building facing 47th Street. Volunteers will pull up your order and assemble your purchase!

For Day-Of Purchases: You can now pay each individual vendor for your purchase, instead of paying at a general cashier. Vendors will take both cash and checks (made out to Pop-Up General Store)!

Parking: Please keep in mind that the Pop-Up General Store occurs in a residential neighborhood with limited parking. While we are working on securing a nearby parking lot for future Pop-Ups, at this time, only street parking is available. We encourage you to be respectful about where you choose to park so as to not disturb our neighbors.