Rachael's Hot List: Spring 2013 Edition

She's got great taste in friends and fashion, but it's her taste for great food that makes our Chef Rachael a Twin Cities tastemaker. If you're looking for what's new, fresh and fabulous right now, she's sharing her thoughts on what she's taking home in her stylish reusable shopping bags this month:

Freekeh Energy Salad (in the Deli Department)

Around here, we all have our own personal favorites, but for me this one is the best of our new freekeh salads. This Good Foods for Good Health choice is the perfect balance of chewy, crunchy and tender textures with sweet, nutty and fresh flavors. Honestly, when we tried these for the first time, we had a very hard time narrowing our new selection of freekeh salads down to a manageable number. We really did "freekeh" for freekeh!

SushiYum Yum Roll (at the Sushi Bar)

People are oddly interested in what I eat – I suppose it's telling to know what someone who spends so much time working with food decides to eat or cook in her free time. Lunch is always something from the store (obviously!), and I'm sort of embarrassed to admit how often I eat the same things over and over (and over!). One of those repeat lunches is always sushi. I've tried just about every choice we have, and this new one is my new favorite. A great size, wonderful flavor – it's sweet, spicy, and crunchy. The name does it justice!


I love a glass of wine with dinner as much as the next girl, but when the weather gets warm, I gravitate towards cocktails. I've yet to find a recipe that isn't improved with a splash of this orange-flavored liqueur, especially my favorite warm-weather libation, the margarita. Cinco de Mayo kicks the season off for me – I'll need to buy a new bottle before the summer is over! You can substitute this in any recipe calling for triple sec or orange liqueur.

Blackberry Pie

It's pretty hard to find a blackberry pie anywhere in town – trust me, I've looked! On our first date, my husband and I shared a slice at Dodd's Steakhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Consequently, it's a special dessert to us so whenever I see it anywhere, I snap it up! Kowalski's has so many great pies to choose from, with flavors you just cannot find elsewhere. Other favorites in my house are Raspberry Lime and Boysenberry.

Graeter's Ice CreamQueso fresco

Mexican cuisine is a big deal at my house. Tacos, nachos, chilaquiles, etc. are easy sells to my grade-schoolers! Queso fresco is an ideal cheese for grating over enchiladas and chilaquiles – it melts really well and has a uniquely salty flavor that makes all my Mexican recipes taste a little more authentic. I'm also really excited for the addition of V&V Supremo products in our stores this month. Chihuahua® Cheese and Crema Supremo® are sure to be in my cart soon.

Graeter's Ice Cream

I went to high school in Cincinnati, so I was enjoying Cincy-born Graeter's long before it made its way to Minnesota. Lucky thing for you natives, because it's really great ice cream.

Angostura bitters

I mentioned my love of summery cocktails, right? No proper home bar is complete without a bottle of this. A highly-concentrated, herbaceous infusion, just a drop or two is enough to transform an ordinary cocktail into something particularly special. It's almost magical. Try one of your favorites before and after to see what I mean.


If you are one of those people who think celery is only for Thanskgiving stuffing or for making Ants on a Log, boy are you missing out! Celery is one of my favorite salad additions – for its crunch and fresh, herbal flavor. And have I mentioned celery leaves? I might love them even more than the stalks.


I think of summer when I think of the velvety soft skin and sweet, tender flesh of a perfect in-season apricot. Small, beautiful and delicious, I love to eat them out of hand, but I especially like to make them into homemade apricot jam.

Kowalski's Prairie Spice SoapSauvignon Blanc

I usually say I'm a red wine person, but I'm not above white wine – especially in the summer when a cool glass is so nice to sip while sitting on the deck at the end of the day. Sauvignon Blanc is nicely crisp and has that hint of grapefruit that makes it not too sweet. I've also recently discovered it's a great choice for White Sangria, and I encourage you to try it, too.

Kowalski's Prairie Spice Soap

I know it's not food, but it smells like it, so it counts! I love the scents of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove in any and all cleaning products and health and beauty products. I really wish someone would invent a nutmeg and clove-scented cologne! Until then, I can wash up with this locally made bar, which you can find in the Health & Beauty Aisle in the Grocery Department.


A dash of angostura bitters on a lemon wedge. Bite into it it will cure the hiccups immediately!

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