3 Fun Finds in the Shop!

CHALLERHOCKER

Challerhocker cheese is one of my favorite hidden gems in the shop!

One of the fun parts about my job is that I often get to taste or hear about interesting products that come into the shop.

The first hidden gem comes from our Cheese market. The Challerhocker is a raw cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland. Its name means “sitting in the cellar” – and the 10 months it has been sitting there lends to its creamy, salty, acidic, buttery and nutty flavors.

It’s perfect to slice up as a snack or to melt gently on your favorite burger. … 

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We Know Local!

Red lettuce

Local red lettuce is one of the many seasonal produce we sell in the store!

It’s local season at FreshDirect, which means we are directing all of our efforts to sourcing and promoting the freshest, best-tasting local produce for your eating pleasure.

From early May to mid-October, Eric Stone, our produce category manager, and I make frequent trips to the North Fork of Long Island, the Hudson Valley and south central New Jersey to check in on the crops’ progress and visit with our farmers. We take pride in our relationship with our farmers and work very closely with them to ensure that we receive the cream of the crop, and in return we offer fair prices and visibility for their fresh products.

There are a few new and exciting things happening in the local department this year! For starters, we’ve sourced a number of our commodity items from New Jersey under the Jersey Fresh umbrella. Produce from New Jersey does not receive the Jersey Fresh stamp of approval unless it meets the “quality standard for the size, shape and coloring of that commodity.” Be sure to check out McGregor’s Microgreens micro arugula and Cassaday Farms strawberries, both great examples of vendors that exemplify Jersey Fresh quality standards…. 

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Chef Tina’s Spring Fish Soup

Fish Stew

Make Chef Tina's Spring Fish Soup at Home

I love to make fish soups and like with most things I cook, I try to let the ingredients dictate what I will be cooking. Recently, our fish department had some gorgeous red snapper so I went for it. I decided to combine my love for spice and Lebanese and Arabic cuisine to make up a fish soup.

Though this cuisine usually uses yogurt, I decide to use crème fraiche since yogurt is tricky and can easily curdle. Crème fraiche provides the tang and acid of the yogurt, with none of the complexity of dealing with the delicate cooking.

The beautiful thing about soup in general is that it is all about love- truly you can judge a good cook by their ability to make a soup (and a salad but that’s a different post!). Take the same care with soup as you would with anything you are cooking (ingredients, seasoning, doneness, viscosity, depth, etc.). Soups are generally NOT a quick thing to cook (be suspicious of soup recipes that equate quick with good), but the payout is generous, and usually worth at least two meals, depending on how many people you are feeding.

This recipe should feed about 6-8…. 

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Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas from Chef Tina Bourbeau

Thanksgiving sides

Got leftovers? Chef Tina has some great ideas on what to recreate with them!

Leftovers are a conundrum for me. I’m not a fan, but I hate to waste food. If there were ever an opportunity to enjoy leftovers though, Thanksgiving is it. It’s a great opportunity to double-utilize some really beautiful food.

Haricots verts work beautifully with a fresh dose of olive oil and lemon juice to top up a frisee salad.  Take the chill off the beans, re-season them to taste, then dress some frisee with more of that olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

If you really want a treat, dice and render some of that leftover bacon and cook up a few sunny-side-up farm-fresh eggs in the bacon fat. Toss your dressed frisee with shaved Parmesangreen beans and bacon. Add the eggs on the top and voila-la!  You have a lovely brunch on-hand. (Croutons optional)…. 

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Thanksgiving Confessions of a FreshDirect Chef

Thanksgiving sides

Chef Tina embraced the challenge of creating this year's offerings of Thanksgiving Sides. Don't they look good?

Thanksgiving Dinner can take so much time to prepare. As a chef, I end up experimenting a lot: adding on, doing more, trying X to get it just right.

Luckily, I’ve already cooked Thanksgiving dinner here at FreshDirect. I created our Thanksgiving offerings around a few different ideals: tradition (different for everyone, yes, but there are definite common threads), desire (what do I crave with my bird) and overall mass appeal (you’d be surprised by how many people love Brussels sprouts). I know I will never be able to please everybody. (But I try my best!)

It made sense for me to offer two stuffings: one vegetarian, one not. Our vegetable offering runs the gambit from lightly steamed to covered in yum: maple, butter AND marshmallow. The potato offerings are pretty straightforward. I’ve learned not to mess with the mash. And then there are the wild cards like peas with pesto butter and baked macaroni with gruyere cheese. My instincts wouldn’t naturally lead me to the latter two when I think of turkey or Thanksgiving, but both are delicious and we sell zillions so we must be doing something right.
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Chef Floyd Cardoz Shares His Thanksgiving Traditions

Turkey

Chef Floyd Cardoz loves making Thanksgiving feasts with a twist!

What are your Thanksgiving traditions? For Top Chef Masters winner Floyd Cardoz, Thanksgiving means getting together with family, watching football, and cooking a Thanksgiving feast that’s traditional with a twist.

I chatted with the chef, who created our popular Tabla meals, about what Thanksgiving means to him:… 

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Making Your Own Applesauce is Great Stress Relief

Gala Apples

Gala apples are perfect to use to make a nice, naturally sweet applesauce.

Think making your own applesauce is difficult? Think again.

Not only is making applesauce easy, it’s also a great way to relieve stress. Yes, stress. The repetitive motion of peeling apples is calming and chopping and mashing can be satisfying, especially on a challenging day.

The best part, you don’t really need any special equipment. Just follow these easy steps:… 

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Cooking Advice from Chef Floyd Cardoz

Floyd Cardoz

Chef Floyd Cardoz loves cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients - especially from his garden!

Long before he was a Top Chef Masters winner, Chef Floyd Cardoz was a fan favorite of mine. In addition to creating the tasty Tabla dishes for FreshDirect (his favorite’s the Tabla Banana-Leaf Wrapped Salmon), Floyd is a father based in Verona, NJ who loves to garden and cook for his family.

I was excited to have the opportunity to chat with him about what he learned from winning Top Chef Masters and his cooking advice for both parents and those who say they don’t know how to cook.

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Floyd Cardoz’s Watermelon Salad

Watermelon Salad

Floyd Cardoz's Watermelon Salad is a perfect salad for summer!

Were you as happy as we were when Floyd Cardoz won Top Chef Masters? We were ecstatic when the chef behind our Tabla meals became the Season 3 winner.

So to celebrate National Watermelon Day (today!), he sent us this fresh, vibrant watermelon salad recipe to share with you! This salad pairs especially well with Chef Cardoz’s Spicy Black Pepper Shrimp.
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Juicy Burger Tips from Pat LaFrieda

Where do you find the richest, juiciest, meatiest burgers in New York City?

Pat LaFrieda's Original Beef Hamburger

Pat LaFrieda's Original Beef Hamburger

Those in the know seek out Pat LaFrieda & Son, where they’ve been cutting and grinding top-quality meats for more than 90 years.

We wanted burger tips from the best in the business, so we tracked down Pat LaFrieda himself to learn about his approach…. 

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