Destination: Oaxaca, Mexico

Mexican food—who doesn’t like it? It’s a cuisine that’s embraced worldwide. Interestingly, Mexican cuisine was the first to be awarded an UNESCO Culinary Heritage Status. As we embark on a new Food Explorer destination this month, we’re especially drawn to the cooking coming out of Oaxaca, Mexico (pronounced Wa-ha-ka).

We’re not the only ones who are slightly obsessed with Oaxacan cuisine. American chefs, restaurateurs, and cookbook authors are heavily influenced by Oaxaca, including Rick Bayless, Alice Waters, and Diana Kennedy, to name a few. It’s become quite the trendy food-lover destination bringing in tourists to the region and flooding their food markets. Although we can’t hold a candle to that experience, we’re excited to bring our interpretation of some of these food experiences to DLM.

Oaxacan cuisine has a large variety of ingredients coming from mountain areas, central valleys, southern coastline, and in and around the capital city that shares its name. Think staples like not only corn and beans, but a variety of chiles and stunning produce, seafood, chocolate, avocados, cheeses, and even the smoky mezcal that heavily influences this cuisine. Other more exotic ingredients are the delicious, but not super attractive, corn fungus called  huitlacoche (or corn smut) and a small type of grasshopper called chapulín that is full of protein and plentiful to the area.

We especially love favorites from Oaxaca, such as tlayudas, tamales, quesadillas, black beans, and Oaxacan cheese, also known as quessillo. Chocolate also is plentiful, mostly drunk hot. But the primary focus and foundation of Oaxaca cooking is mole, see page 6 for more! We’re excited to explore Oaxaca and we hope you join us for the journey.

Click here for some recipes to try at home or ways you can bite into Oaxaca, Mexico, via DLM.

Your Guide to Classic Steak Cuts

One of my favorite classes George Punter and I taught was a food and wine pairing class called The Great American Steakhouse. We pulled out all the stops with a classic throwback menu of Clams Casino, Wedge Salad, Steak au Poivre, Hand-Cut French Fries, and Chocolate Mousse, plus wine pairings that were simply stunning. Needless to say we all had a blast, but we did spend quite a lot of time just talking steak.

Rib-Eye
Rib-Eye

I pulled out all of our tender steak cuts and we discussed each of their attributes. If you are always buying and ordering the same cut, I would like to challenge you to break out and try a couple different ones. Different steak cuts vary in textures, looks, moisture & fat content, and obviously price.

Rib-Eyes tend to be the choice of most serious steak lovers. Plenty of tender meat and lots of flavor, it is sometimes called a Tomahawk Steak with the rib bone attached, or Beef Rib Steak, Saratoga Steak, or Cowboy Steak. In my kitchen, I don’t mess around too much with this cut because you are paying for all of its natural, big flavor. Enjoy it simply well-seasoned with some good sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. And a glass of California Cabernet.

NY Strip Steak
NY Strip Steak

Although Strip Steaks have less visible fat, I enjoy the firmer, slightly chewier texture better when I am in the mood for serious steak. This particular cut was made famous by Delmonico’s, an NYC restaurant founded in 1827. This restaurant offered a short loin as one of their signature dishes, and so the cut became known in the East Coast area as the Delmonico Steak. New York Strip, another name, is cut from the short loin part of the sirloin and has a fine-grained texture that has enough fat to produce lots of flavor but tends to not be as tender as a ribeye.

Call it what you want, Filet, Filet Mignon, Tenderloin, or Châteaubriand, it’s unbelievably tender and buttery on both texture and flavor. It also happens to be one of the leanest types of steak cuts. Since fat = flavor here, this is the steak I like to serve with some kind of full-flavored sauce (béarnaise or green peppercorn) or mount with some herb butter to ramp up its flavor.

 

Porterhouse

The Porterhouse is a thick, bone-in steak where you get the best of the strip steak on one side and filet on the other all in one cut. (The T-Bone is the smaller, thinner cut version.) A fun steak to share or carve at the table as one of these can easily feed 2-3 people! I like to grill this one for special occasions, seasoned well and drizzled with some Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.

 

Top Sirloin

 

Love all sorts of rubs and marinades? Then Top Sirloin is for you. I tend to think of this steak cut as the unsung hero. Although it is naturally a bit tougher than the other tender cuts of steak, its grainy texture and leanness will more than make up for it in its overall flavor and price point. This cut benefits from the added fat a marinade can provide or the flavor boost from your favorite rub. I love it for steak salads and sandwiches, plus it can serve a crowd (or my family) who all want steak but are on a budget.

Vary your steak choices based on what you want on your dinner plate. Each steak cut offers different attributes and might not work for every finished dish. Remember two important things: fat = flavor and you get what you pay for!

Get Your Kicks with These 8 Recipes from Route 66

The ultimate road trip in America has got to be driving Route 66, spanning eight states with iconic comfort foods along the way. Although it was officially decommissioned in the 80s, it continues to attract tourists, road warriors, and food lovers looking to taste pure Americana. Today the historic route boasts vintage motels, nostalgic roadside attractions, and some really good road food.

After the Great Depression, folks finally had a little extra cash so they piled into the family car and embarked on a road trip of a lifetime with destination spots like the Grand Canyon or Disneyland Park in mind. Even great movies, songs, and books were inspired by the open road and aura of Route 66. For many, this road trip is also about the iconic flavors, like home-style baked goods, spicy chiles, BBQ, and all-around good country eating!

Buckle up and take a bite out of these eight recipes representing the eight states along Route 66!

1. Chicago Dog

2. Kansas BBQ Rub

3. Country Fried Steak

4. Buttered Pecan Blueberry Cobbler

5. Cowboy Steak

6. Easy Sticky Buns

7. Chicken Posole

8. Fish Tacos with Lime Crema & Cabbage Slaw

DLM Food Explorer Viva Italia

On my first trip to Italy some years ago, I was surprised to learn that Tuscans largely ignore balsamic vinegar, and Milanese favor rice over pasta. And right in between Milan and Tuscany you find many recognizable delicacies from lasagna to Prosciutto di Parma to balsamic vinegar in the region of Reggio Emilia. Hazelnuts are a big deal in the north and hot peppers in the south.

You learn that when speaking of Italy’s great food culture, it’s impossible to describe it without putting it in a regional context. Maybe it’s the Italian connection to the land, a long culinary history, or simply local pride. In any case, discovering the regional foods of Italy is both educational and incredibly fun. Over the years, so many of us at DLM have traveled to Italy to discover its food treasures, and we’ve made it a point to bring a number of those back to you.

You see Italy’s influence at DLM in the Italian products themselves, like our Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil hailing from the hills of Tuscany or our Parmigiano-Reggiano from Modena. Other times, you’ll find its reach in the form of a technique we’ve learned from studying with Italian masters that we then replicate here, such as our DLM Handmade Mozzarella, Naples-Style Pizza, and Tuscan butcher-inspired specialty prepared meats, to name a few. As you can imagine, we could write a book on our passion for Italian food, but for the purpose of giving some focus, we are spotlighting a few regions of Italy that have inspired us the most: Tuscany, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, and Southern Italy, mainly Calabria and Sicily.

We’ll be celebrating Italy all month culminating with our Food Explorer Day taking place May 18. Join us for great fun and good Italian eating on our next stop as Food Explorers…buon appetito!

TUSCANY

FOOD

Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (GROCERY), Pane Toscano (BAKERY), Pecorino Toscano (THE DLM CHEESE SHOP), Italian Oven-Ready Meats (MEAT)

WINE

CAPPONE CHIANTI CLASSICO – Count Sebastiano Capponi is a dear friend to DLM, hailing from his lovely Tuscan estate that’s been in his family since 1524! This young-vine Chianti is named for the first ancestor of Sebastiano. It’s 100% Sangiovese, brimming with beautiful fruit and richness.

VILLA CALCINAIA CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA – 100% Sangiovese from the best blocks of old vines near Greve in Chianti. It’s a well-structured wine that’s full of rich black fruits, leather, spice, cigar box notes, and supple tannins.

FONTALEONI VERNACCIA DI SAN GIMIGNANO – A wonderfully dry, minerally, and extremely pleasing white wine from the surrounding vineyards of the hilltop town of San Gimignano.

CAMPANIA

FOOD

Naples-Style Pizza (DLM WASHINGTON SQUARE & SPRINGBORO), San Marzano Tomatoes D.O.P. (GROCERY), DLM Handmade Mozzarella (THE DLM CHEESE SHOP)

WINE

COLLI DI LAPIO ROMANO CLELIA FIANO DI AVELLINO – A white wine from the Avellino province and a varietal the Romans called Vitis Apiana, vine beloved of bees. It’s dry, lovely, and has hints of pear and hazelnut, floral tones, and a hint of minerality.

EMILIA-ROMAGNA

FOOD

Prosciutto di Parma (DELI), Mortadella (DELI), DLM Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (GROCERY), Lasagna (GOURMET TAKEAWAY), Parmigiano-Reggiano (THE DLM CHEESE SHOP)

WINE

CASALI ROSA DI ROSA RED SPARKLING WINE – Perfect chilled with a plate of charcuterie enjoyed al fresco with its bright raspberry/blueberry fruit and soft bubbles.

LO DUCA LAMBRUSCO REGGIANO – Lambrusco does not exactly excite most after we’ve suffered so many terrible mass-produced and exported representations of this wine. However, Lo Duca is bright, semi-sweet, and has a naturally carbonated essence. Try it in a cocktail.

SOUTHERN ITALY (CALABRIA + SICILY)

FOOD

Cannoli (BAKERY), DLM Gelato (FROZEN), Scalia Anchovies (GROCERY), Marinated Anchovies (SEAFOOD BAR)

WINE

VILLA POZZI NERO D’AVOLA – The Pozzi family is a fifth-generation winemaking family located on the island of Sicily.

DONNAFUGATA ANTHILIA BIANCO – An amazingly crisp, minerally, and vibrant white wine blend from Sicily that’s perfect for light seafood dishes, salad, or poultry.

 

The Treasures of Tuscany

Over the years we’ve had the great fortune to travel to Italy several times to find new and exciting foods to bring back to DLM. Often, our home base is Tuscany. Our good friend and partner Alex Zanetti has graciously hosted us at his villa in the small medieval town of Lucignano. The rolling hills of this part of Tuscany are home to the olive trees that produce our signature Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Made exclusively of Tuscan olives, it’s virgin pressed and bottled within a few miles of the olive groves. Its distinctive peppery notes are indicative of Tuscan oils and makes it our go-to olive oil for vinaigrettes, sauces, or simply drizzled over grilled meats or pasta dishes.

A trip abroad a few years back took several DLM food explorers, left, to Tuscany. One stop was at the estate of Count Sebastiano Capponi, right, whose beautiful wine we carry.

Not far from Lucignano is the better known town of Montepulciano. On our last visit, we enjoyed strolling through the street market, sampling pici (long cut pasta that is significantly thicker than spaghetti), pork sandwiches, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Some of the pictures on this page are from that trip. It’s a pleasure to be able to share some of our food finds with you this month.

The olives used in our Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil are grown on the Zanetti family’s estate. This olive oil has flavor, balance, and a peppery kick. Middle, Alex Zanetti shows DLM’s Scott Achs the olive grove.

Truly Toscano

For me, Tuscany is where Italian cooking begins. Low-lying hills with clean, graceful curves and a forest of vineyards make the countryside a temple of beauty. When I traveled there in 2001, my assignment was to study in an Italian butcher shop and bring knowledge home of these oven-ready specialty meats that have made the area famous.

Even now, the memories of sharing a bottle of Chianti Classico with Stefano Falorni in the Piazza Matteotti seems like just yesterday. Stephano and his brother Lorenzo are the fifth-generation owners of the Antica Macelleria Falorni located in Greve, the heart of the Chianti district. I spoke six words of Italian and they bested me by speaking seven words of English. Yet, the language of great food made with superb ingredients is universal. So when you see these gorgeous oven-ready meats in our Meat case, we can all thank our friends in that family-owned butcher shop.

MONTASTICI

Boneless eye-of-round beef thinly sliced and rolled with mozzarella cheese and prosciutto.

ARISTA PRONTA DA CUOCERE

Pork roast seasoned with fresh rosemary and garlic.

PORCHETTA

Boneless pork rolled with fresh pork belly.

PORK CUTLETS SIENNA

Thick-cut pork chops pounded into cutlets and breaded.

POLLO RIPIENO

Boneless chicken stuffed with ground pork, veal, and bread crumbs and seasoned with rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic.

FAGOTTINI DI POLLO

Boneless chicken thighs seasoned with fresh rosemary and garlic.

PETTO DI TACCHINO

Boneless turkey breast stuffed with fresh basil, garlic, and fennel.

Lamb: A Delicious Sign of Spring

Growing up, my husband’s family had ham every single Easter, whereas at my house, our holiday meal centerpiece rotated between lamb, fish, or the occasional ham. We still debate over which one of our meals was the best. Of course, I think mine was always better as I loved the changing variety of that spring celebration meal. What did your family have on the spring celebration table growing up?

Although ham is an easy choice for a delicious centerpiece, especially when you have our signature Heavenly Ham® as an option, a roasted leg of lamb can be a bit more showy. Even though it looks and tastes ultra-elegant, it really is pretty simple to make at home. After experimenting with several recipes, one of my favorites is Rosemary & Garlic Lamb.

I also love how lamb pairs so nicely with other “springy” things like asparagus, goat cheese, tender lettuces, and the newly released rosés that combine to make a delightful meal. So if you haven’t mixed up your menu lately, spring is always a good time to start. It may be time to save the ham and eggs for the brunch table this year and look to lamb. (Even better, you’ll notice that we’re having a Leg of Lamb Sale in this week’s Club Deals.)

Speaking of lamb, my husband and his six siblings took turns sculpting the lamb out of butter for the table centerpiece (yes, it had cloves for eyes). It was a very big deal and as grown adults they still talk fondly about making that lamb-shaped butter.

But in my family it was all about the lamb cake. My mom had a lamb cake mold that she would get out every year to make a rich, plain pound cake in the shape of this adorable animal. Then my siblings and I would get to decorate it with white buttercream frosting, coconut flakes, and whatever color jelly beans we didn’t want to eat. Although I can’t quite remember what the finished cakes looked like, I do remember how much I love that frosting/coconut combo. Who cares about jelly beans?

I’d love to hear about your springtime traditions!

27 Ways to Feast like a Parisian at DLM

A lot of folks think of art, romance, and the Eiffel Tower when France comes to mind. For us, it’s all about the food & wine! There is not a region of France that does not produce some great beverage or gastronomic morsel that is not in demand throughout the world, and we are so fortunate to have such a plethora of great French items here at DLM. So come along and have a French picnic or French-inspired dinner right here in Dayton!

 

1. LE VILLAGE SPARKLING FRENCH LEMONADE

Perfect for cocktails or a laid-back Saturday afternoon. Try it as the French do in a panaché: half lemonade and the other half a lager beer.

2. MACARON

Featuring a unique array of flavored shells and fillings, we get this French favorite from our dear friend Ghyslain.

3. MADRANGE JAMBON NATURAL HAM

No added nitrites, nitrates, water, or coloring, enjoy this ham on a baguette with a hint of Dijon mustard and cornichons.

4. MICHE BREAD

“Miche” is literally a French word for “loaf” and a fitting tribute to this bread’s rustic character. After tasting it on a bakery-lined street in Paris, we knew we needed to bake this bread at DLM!

5. J. LEBLANC HUILE DE NOIX WALNUT OIL

You’ll love the beautiful aroma of roasted walnuts from the south of France. For a vinaigrette, combine with Banyuls Vinegar or lemon juice.

6. LE PITHIVIER

Named after the town where it originated in the Loire region of France, this puff pastry has a light almond cream.

7. OYSTERS

Walk into any French restaurant and you will likely see an oyster dish on the menu. In fact, it’s estimated that France is the No. 1 consumer and exporter of this wine of the sea.

8. JACQUES GONIDEC SARDINES

The ultimate treat smeared on a cracker, bread, or even eggs. Hand packed in olive oil and available with tomato, lemon, or chili peppers!

9. GROIX & NATURE SALMON OR SCALLOP RILLETTES

Fishing is second nature to the inhabitants of the island Groix in Southern Brittany. We like these delicacies on DLM Italian Mini Toasts, warm blinis, or in a salad.

10. FICELLE SANDWICHES

With varieties like The Parisian, you’ll be picnic-ready with a few of these French-style sandwiches in your basket.

11. CROQUE MONSIEUR

French ham, Gruyère cheese, and our béchamel sauce, grilled to perfection at our Sandwich Station!

12. LE CHOCOLAT DES FRANÇAIS

Delicious and fun, these high quality French chocolate bars have a whimsical side with labels that remind one slightly of an Andy Warhol collection.

13. DLM BUTTER CARAMELS

The Paris-Caramels company’s reputation is based on the quality of the ingredients with only Charentes-Poitou PDO butter, milk, crème fraîche, and French cane sugar used in the making of these decadent treats.

14. LA MOUTARDERIE EDMOND FALLOT

Located in the charming village of Beaune (the heart of Burgundy), this mustard is unrivaled by any other taking this simple condiment to near gastronomic perfection!

15. LES COMTES DE PROVENCE

Jams with a wonderfully distinct flavor while not being overly sweet. Try spread over buttered Farmhouse toast.

Fromage of France

France’s varied terroir can sustain different milk-producing animals resulting in a variety of cheeses. Here are some of our favorites, clockwise from the top left!

16. MORBIER

A rich cows’ milk cheese with a traditional line of ash separating the morning and evening milk. This pungent cheese is great on a baguette with a glass of red wine.

17. P’TIT BASQUE

Sheeps’ milk cheese from the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains. This mild, delicate cheese is the perfect charcuterie accompaniment.

18. BRIE DE MEAUX

This is the luscious, true Brie from the region of Meaux. With its bloomy rind and earthy aromas, it’s simply divine with jams from Les Comtes de Provence served on top!

19. MIMOLETTE

An interesting cows’ milk cheese with a burnt orange color. It’s buttery in the palate with a slightly nutty, salty tone that makes it great in omelets!

20. LE PAPILLON ROQUEFORT

A sheeps’ milk cheese made in the world-famous caves of Roquefort. Simply smear on warm and crusty bread.

 

French Wines

21. LA FERME DE GICON CÔTES DU RHÔNE ROSÉ 2018

From the south of France, this is summer in a bottle with its bright, dry strawberry and raspberry fruit and floral tones. Made primarily of Grenache with a touch of Syrah, it is perfect with a cheese and olive plate.

22. CLARENDELLE BORDEAUX ROUGE 2015

A new favorite of ours with its blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Ample black currants and silky smooth tannins make it a very friendly dinner wine.

23. CHAMPALOU VOUVRAY LA CUVÉE DES FONDRAUX 2017

This Loire Valley wine shows a lot of stone fruit and orange peel wrapped in an elegant sheath of crisp acidity, pairing well with seafood. This is a seriously good Chenin Blanc from vines averaging 45+ years!

24. CLOS LA COUTALE CAHORS 2015

This is the ultimate dinner wine that is just the right balance of rustic old worldliness and total drinkability! A blend of primarily Malbec and a touch of Merlot, this wine is made for grilled steaks.

25. CHÂTEAU GRAVILLE-LACOSTE GRAVES BLANC 2017

A crisp, invigorating white wine that is made primarily from Sémillon in Bordeaux. It lends itself well to seafood, roasted chicken, or a salad with a vinaigrette made with Leblanc Huile de Noix Walnut oil.

26. FLORENSAC PICPOUL DE PINET 2017

A great everyday white wine that’s crisp, clean, and vibrant making it perfect as a crowd pleaser on the patio or paired with light seafood or poultry dishes.

27. DOMAINE DE VERQUIÈRE RASTEAU

Organically farmed Grenache and Syrah from a small family estate beneath the limestone cliffs of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Intensely flavored, it’s a beautiful wine paired with grilled foods or a hearty cheese and charcuterie plate.

Sausages with a Bang!

If you haven’t tried our bangers we make every day fresh in our Meat department, this weekend is a good time to start. We make both English-style and Irish-style (difference being the Irish has the addition of ginger) with just the right amount of fat to make the sausage pop and “bang” while browning them up in a skillet.

At my house, I like to roll them around in a sauté pan with a little oil and get the casing nice and snappy. We also have some really good bangers from a company called Jolly Posh. These sausages are larger in diameter and great for a quick Irish Banger Dinner or stuffed inside one of our Bakery buns with some whole grain mustard.

Started by Nicholas Spencer, Jolly Posh was inspired by traditional Irish foods and his hunger for the classic flavors of home (Ireland). Their all-natural bangers are free of hormones as well as nitrites, nitrates, and MSG. In our stores, look for their Traditional Pork Bangers and Pork & Herb Bangers.

Or try some of their white pudding, which is seasoned pork, oatmeal, and breadcrumb mixture that is awesome for an “over the pond” breakfast experience. Just slice it up, fry it till golden brown, and serve it alongside some of our local eggs. It’s magically delicious!

The Art of the Winter Roast

Simply speaking , pot roasting or braising is cooking a tougher cut of meat gently and slowly in liquid until it becomes tender. This can result in a flavorful sauce that’s just waiting to be served with a starch or sopped up with DLM Artisan Bread.

The bonuses are plenty as not only does it make your house smell amazing but it feeds a crowd of people economically. And yes, it does tend to taste better after a day or two, so make enough for leftovers.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT CUT OF MEAT

Good news—tougher cuts tend to be cheaper and they make the best braises. That combo of low and moist heat turns well-worked muscles, sinews, and connective tissue into rich, gelatinous, fall-off-the-bone deliciousness. Try: Chuck roasts, short ribs, pork shoulder, veal breast, lamb shanks, and chicken thighs. Bone–in meat imparts even more flavor.

BROWN & SEAR LIKE THE BEST

This step creates the foundation flavors for the entire braise, resulting in gorgeous, deep golden-brown coloring. Browning takes time and space, so don’t crowd your pan as it may take multiple rounds! Heat a heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven with a little fat to start. Then, complete the following steps.

STEP 1: Remove browned meat from pan and start the next round of browning mirepoix, additional veggies, aromatics, etc. 

STEP 2: Deglaze pan using liquid. This helps those browned bits become liquid, reinforcing the dish’s foundation flavors. Use enough liquid to partially submerge the meat. More liquid yields a stew-like consistency while less results in a more concentrated, richer sauce.

STEP 3: Cover dish and either place in a low-heat oven (325°F or less) or low simmer on the stove. Note that the oven tends to be more consistent. How long? It depends on what you’re braising and the size of the cut. That’s the thing about braises—it’s done when it’s fork tender.

STEP 4: Season sauce to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a splash of acid, such as lemon juice or a glug of wine to brighten things up. Want the sauce thicker? Remove the meat and veggies and bring liquid to a strong simmer. Reduce until desired consistency and season.

POT ROAST 3-WAYS

GUINNESS BEEF STEW

Meat: Chuck roast cut into 2-inch pieces.
Veggie Base: Mirepoix, leeks, potatoes.
Deglazer: Guinness Stout.

BEEF IN BAROLO

Meat: Chuck roast.
Veggie Base: Mirepoix, pancetta, fennel, tomato.
Deglazer: A hearty dry red wine (try Barolo).

AMERICAN POT ROAST

Meat: Chuck roast.
Veggie Base: Mirepoix and potatoes.
Deglazer: Beef stock.