Rachael's Hot List: Fall 2013 Edition

Chef Rachael Perron, Kowalski's Culinary DirectorOur Chef Rachael is always trying something new, even if it's just new to her. She's as good a barometer as any as to what's new, in season or just plain ol' good, so we peek into her cart every now and again to see what she thinks is ripe and ready to relish! Here's a look at what she's been taking home as of late and her reasoning as to why you'd probably enjoy it too:

Take & Bake Rosemary Garlic Ciabatta Rolls – I've been known to put rosemary in a lot of strange places, so it stands to reason that I would like just about anything with rosemary in it, these crusty, chewy rolls included. My favorite way to eat these is as a burger or grilled chicken sandwich roll.

Spanish Cocktail Mix – The entire mix is fabulous, but I admit my favorite little nuggets in this crunchy, salty nut mix are the garbanzos and fava beans – where else can you find them? Luckily my husband prefers the corn nuts and Largueta almonds and leaves me the pistachios. It's the ultimate bar or snack mix! Find it in the Imported Cheese Department.

Kowalski's Pizza SauceKowalski's Signature Pizza Sauce – This is one of our best-selling Signature Products and the reason is simple: it's really good. You may like to slather it on pizza or dip chicken tenders in it. I've even heard some like the hearty, intense flavor on pasta. If you're like me, you'll find plenty of reasons to keep a jar in your pantry at all times. My most recent experiment was with a Chicken Pizza Burger that had my kiddos asking if there was more after just a few bites – a sure sign of my mommy mealtime success.

Ground Chicken – Two words: Chicken. Burgers. (See Chicken Pizza Burger reference above!)

Caramel Apples – It's everybody's favorite variety of apple – and mine, too. ‘Tis the season!

Chuao Chocolate BarsChuao Chocolate Bars – I rarely buy (or much less eat) entire chocolate bars, but when I do, it has to be worth it. This isn't just your ordinary candy bar experience – this is something to savor. From the packaging, which is gorgeous with a real luxe feel, to the bar itself, you just have to take your time with it. Particularly the Rocky Road Bar. Before you even unwrap it, just give it a tiny squeeze. Yes, those are marshmallows you're squishing! The Firecracker Bar? Let it melt slowly in your mouth until the popping candy starts to tickle your tongue – it's intoxicating. The Potato Chip Bar? Yes, it tastes like (and contains) actual potato chips. Run, don't walk, to get these – you won't be sorry.

Kowalski's Balsamic Vinegar – Lately I've been putting Balsamic Glaze and Balsamic Syrup on everything, most recently in place of BBQ sauce on grilled chicken. I've even been drizzling it on my fruit. It keeps really well in the fridge, so I make a big batch and use it over the course of a few weeks.

Zucchini – September is time for the best lunchbox treat ever: Chocolate Zucchini Cake!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Let's just say that of raisins, I am a fan. I'll even put them in chocolate chip cookies. The chewier the cookie, the better, and I'll take lots of texture, too. Oats and raisins – what's not to love?

Heirloom TomatoesHeirloom Tomatoes – We're lucky to be able to get pretty great tomatoes year round from local grower Bushel Boy, but this time of year I can't resist the colors of these tomatoes. I always pick the most odd-shaped ones in the basket! I especially love piling the green ones on a turkey sandwich with sliced avocado and handfuls of cilantro – gorgeous! It's also a great time of year to make my recipe for Eggplant Towers – they're even more stunning when you mix the dark, blackish-purple eggplant with red, yellow and green heirlooms.

Manoucher Bread – I've always been a huge fan of all of the Manoucher products, but for some reason I hadn't tried the Handmade Baguette until recently. Now it's the only one I buy! In just a few minutes in the oven, this loaf turns out perfectly crusty on the outside, pillowy on the inside, with a softer mouthfeel and less chew than a traditional baguette. Add a little softened butter and it doesn't matter what else I've made for dinner – I'm pretty pleased with myself!

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