Thursday, November 14, 2013

More Quick Meal Ideas

Fast Pizza.....preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place a couple of individual-size, Kontos-brand, hand-stretched pizza crusts on a cookie sheet.  Spread a few spoonfuls of pizza sauce on top of each crust and then top with your favorites including some sliced, shredded or grated Italian-style cheeses. Bake for 5 minutes. One of our pizza sauces on hand at the store contains ground pepperoni, so you really do not even need to add meat.  (If you prefer a crisper crust, slide the pizzas right onto the oven rack instead of placing the cookie sheet in the oven.)

Salad - while the pizza is baking, toss some pre-washed 80-20 blend of romaine and spring-mix salad greens in a bowl with some chopped tomatoes and other veggies of your choice.  I like a handful of sliced onion and some black olives.  Dress with your favorite dressing or vinegar and oil.  I like Garlic Expressions salad dressing.

Have a little more time and feeling adventurous?  How about stuffing some poblano peppers and baking those?  I like to blanch the peppers in boiling water for a couple of minutes to soften them so they do not need to bake so long to become tender.  You can make a stuffing out of finely-ground beef mixed with finely chopped veggies such as onions, garlic, and celery, and some bread crumbs or cooked rice to help hold it all together.  Adding a beaten egg to the mixture also helps the stuffing combine like a meatball inside the pepper.  Prepare a  light tomato sauce and spoon it over the tops of the peppers in a casserole dish.  You could add about a half cup of water to the casserole before placing it in a 350 degree oven uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how cold your ingredients were and how large the stuffed peppers are.  For safety, test with a cooking thermometer for beef doneness (recommended 160 degrees for ground beef).  These are good with any style potatoes--mashed, baked, fried, or hash browns.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I still remember hearing "COLD BEER HERE....GET YOUR COLD BEER HERE!" as the red-aproned, beer-concession vendor walked up and down the big cement stairs at the baseball and football stadiums in Cincinnati where I went to school.    I also recall how good a cold beer tasted when consumed on a hot day at the zoo.  Another place where a cold beer seemed to make a lot of sense was at Chuck-E-Cheese's with pizza while the kids worked up a frenzy playing all those noisy and colorful games.  Watching the passersby on busy Division Street in Chicago from a window seat at a tavern, and sipping an ice-cold microbrewery beer, really can't be beat.   Well maybe it can.....drinking an ice cold Tsingtao beer in a frosty glass to wash down a spicy meal of dry-braised jumbo shrimp stir fried with green onions, hot peppers, garlic, and ginger over steamed rice.....or enjoying an ice-cold Guinness Stout while waiting for the waiter to bring out my sampler plate of lamb curry, tandoori chicken, and spicy samosas.  A hot summer day, sitting around the pool and grilling bratwurst.....and having some cold brews with friends....that is a lot of fun too!

Did you know that America's beer distributors directly employ more than 130,000 people in the United States and add 54 billion dollars to America's gross domestic product annually? Beer distributor activities contribute more than 10.3 billion dollars to federal, state, and local tax bases. Yes, it is true, according to a study just published by the Center for Applied Business and Economic Research at the University of Delaware.

According to the federal government's Alcohol, Tax, and Trade Bureau (TTB), there were over 2,031 breweries in the United States in 2012. Of those breweries, 66% produce only between 1 and 1000 barrels of beer (31 gallons in a barrel) per year and only 16 breweries (less than 1%) produce over 6 million barrels a year.    According to the National Beer Wholesalers Association's beer factsheet citing the Brewer's Almanac, this 2,031 number of breweries in 2012 compares to only 48 breweries in 1961, 350 breweries in 1971, and in 1981 there were 1,499 breweries.

 In 2010, Anheuser-Busch had the largest market share at 49.3% followed by Miller-Coors with 30.2%.The next largest market share is Crown Imports (e.g. Corona) at 5.3%.    In 1971, Anheuser-Busch had 29% market share followed by Schlitz at 19% and Fallstaff at 13% market share.

There are over 13,000 different beer labels available to American consumers in a highly regulated distribution system.  This system includes:
  • over 2,000 U.S. breweries (with operations in every state), 
  • about 3,300 licensed, independent beer distributors in the U.S.,
  • and over 548,000 licensed alcohol retailers.
This system ensures the integrity of the product as well as the responsible sale of the product and, of course, the collection of taxes.

According to a Gallop Poll in July 2010, the U.S. drinking rate hit a 25-year high with over 67% of U.S. adults drinking alcohol.  Over the past ten years, the "beverage of choice" among U.S. adults consuming alcohol has remained relatively steady with
  •  over 40% preferring beer,
  •  about 33% preferring wine,
  •  and about 25% preferring distilled spirits. 
Over the past 30 years, the percentage of U.S. adults who do not consume alcoholic beverages has remained rather steady at about 33%.

So what is your beverage of choice?  I prefer wine.  More about that later....

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Historic Moment in Burlington Township November 5, 2013

On Election Day this year, Burlington Township voters passed local liquor options to allow Homer Village Market to sell beer and wine for carryout in an otherwise "dry" township.  As the owner of Homer Village Market, I am grateful to the community for giving me this privilege.  

Following the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the voters in Burlington Township (and many other localities throughout the United States) elected to continue the prohibition of the manufacture, distribution, or sale of beer, wine, mixed beverages, and spirituous liquor.  In the 1980's the requisite number of voters successfully petitioned to put the issue of beer and wine sales on the ballot for a convenience store in Burlington Township, but the issue did not obtain a majority "YES" vote at the election.

In 2006, Homer Village Market became a qualified applicant for C-1 and C-2 liquor permits at the Ohio Board of Liquor Control.  The application for these permits has been pending since that time because of the "dry" status of the township.  It was necessary to obtain the majority "Yes" vote by the voters in Burlington Township before the permits could be issued to Homer Village Market. 

The 2013 election was the first attempt by Homer Village Market to obtain the voter's consent for the issuance of these permits.  Two local options were presented for voter approval and both passed with a majority "Yes" vote. 

  • The retail sale of beer, wine, and mixed beverages, Monday through Saturday (in original, sealed containers) for off-premises consumption
  • The retail sale of beer only on Sundays between the hours of 11 a.m. and midnight (in original, sealed containers) for off-premises consumption
Because it was not known how the election would turn out, Homer Village Market did not make any plans for implementing the beer and wine sales in 2013.  Now that the voters have approved these local options, Homer Village Market will begin making preparations in accordance with the Ohio Liquor Laws, to be stocked, licensed, and ready to retail beer and wine by early February 2014.

We have waited 93 years for these sales to be allowed, so I hope customers will not mind waiting a few months for Homer Village Market to get our shelving rearranged, inventory stocked, and premises inspected for licensing to begin retail sales of beer and wine in early 2014.   Meanwhile, please let us know your brand preferences so we can have your favorite beer and wine in stock when retail sales begin.  You can visit the store's website for contact information or stop by the store.

Soup Weather

When the weather turns chilly and windy, warm soup really hits the spot!  This morning before I headed to work at the store, I gathered a handful of jumbo carrots and some peppers from the fridge.  At the store I gathered some potatoes, garlic, and a big, white onion.  In less than 10 minutes, I had everything prepped, seasoned, and layered in the pot set to simmer.  I added more water and some soy sauce to the broth about 30 minutes later. Vegetable soup was ready in time for my lunch.

For dinner, I plan to sauté some beef tips or chicken--depending on what sounds good later--and add that to my soup bowl with some peas.  For leftovers tomorrow, I might try a bowl of soup (in half of a baked acorn squash) with sliced sausage added.  This process of adding ingredients to create a new meal out of the one just prepared is known as "morphing" (as in metamorphosis)!

This week, customers shopped for ingredients for potato soup with ham and also for making chili. What kind of soup do you and your family like to make?