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Deli News

Yes, this is where you get our magical Popcorn Tofu. Yes, you can get it by the pound or in a Po-Boy. And yes, it has its own Facebook page.

Our deli counter is both traditional and uniquely Wheatsville. We will custom make you anything from a sandwich to a No-Ice Smoothie. Every day we make the prepared dishes you can see (and sample!) at the counter. Based on your feedback, we’ve got some favorites in heavy rotation and make everything else based on seasonal availability or because we’ve got a crazy craving.

If you just want to Grab and Go our Hot Bar is the place to pick up breakfast tacos, home-made soups, salads or one of our hot entrees. Between the deli and the hot bar you could eat three meals a day here and never dirty a dish at home.

Local Vendor Spotlight: Skull & Cakebones

When and why did you decide to make vegan cupcakes?
Sascha has been vegan baking since 2002 when her infant presented with dairy and egg allergies. Coming from a great line of bakers, her library filled with old newspaper clippings and recipes transcribed from generations past, Sascha taught herself how to recreate these recipes as vegan. Yauss, who has both an undergraduate and graduate degree in design, has been working in the industry since 2003. She has honed her skills in marketing and design, teaching at the college level for over a decade. In fall 2011, Yauss’s mom started encouraging us to put our talents together to package and sell cupcakes. We decided to take the leap in early 2013 and the rest is sweet, sweet history.

What local partners’ products do you use?
Cuvee coffee, Buddha’s Brew kombuchas, Jester King beers, Buzz Mill Coffee, SRSLY chocolate, JBG Organic veggies, Love Bean fudge and caramel spreads, Tequila 512, Treaty Oak rum, Revolution Spirits gin, NadaMoo! ice creams, Bona Dea gluten free flour blend, confituras jams, Zhi teas, Hot Dang OG burger, Happy Hemp toasted hemp seeds, Austin Pesto Co. basil, and lick ice cream so far.

What is your favorite treat that you make?
We can’t get enough of that chocolate Cuvee coffee pudding that goes on top of the Mocha Marmalade trifle jars. Whenever we make it, we all take a little bit home to eat (usually at night, before bed, IN bed!)

Are there new products in the works?
We are always working on new and exciting products! We are constantly looking for new partnerships for the most unique flavor pairings we can bring to market. If we aren’t baking for production, we are baking for R&D.

What are your favorite things about Wheatsville Co-op?
Do you mean besides Popcorn Tofu?! A trip to Wheatsville feels like a trip to visit with old friends. Everyone there is so lovely, supportive, and kind. It feels like everyone really believes in our company and our product, and is as invested in selling it as we are. We have SO much gratitude for the Wheatsville Co-op family and their bear hug of warmth.

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Popcorn Tofu!

Wheatsville may be many things to many people, but for a lot of folks, it’s all about the Popcorn Tofu. Scroll through our Yelp! page, and you’ll see people from all over the country waxing rhapsodic over these deep-fried nuggets of goodness, using words like “stupendous” and “divine.”  One enthusiastic fan raves, “It is so good I look like a crazy woman when I eat it, because I have to talk to it and let it know how much I love it.” So how did this magical stuff come to be a Wheatsville staple?

Popcorn tofu originated about ten years ago, when Wheatsville was still one store with one tiny kitchen. The cooks were struggling to meet the demand for another iconic Wheatsville dish, the Southern Fried Tofu, which calls for slices of frozen, thawed, and pressed tofu to be dunked in a marinade, then breaded with a dry mixture of flour, cornmeal, nutritional yeast, and spices. In order to streamline this process, one of the cooks came up with the idea to combine the wet and dry ingredients to create a batter for the tofu, and Wonko’s Popcorn Tofu was born (the name was quickly abbreviated to just Popcorn Tofu, or PCT in Wheatsville-speak—apparently Wonko was a shy guy).

The new dish was an immediate hit, so much so that frying batches in a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop quickly became unsustainable. Fresh Manager Dana Tomlin (then kitchen manager) took matters into her own hands and bought a tabletop deep fryer at Target, then the largest commercial fryer that could fit in the kitchen, and still the deli ran through batches of PCT in a matter of hours. By then, plans for the renovation of the Guadalupe store were in progress. Dana says, “I like to think we did it for the sake of the PCT lovers of the world! But, honestly, most of the store was having this same thing happen—we were all busting out of our seams and the need for space, larger equipment, and more storage was increasing.”

I began my Wheatsville career at around this time, in the spring of 2008, as a baker and a deli counter clerk. I have vivid memories of Dennis, a former cook, making the popcorn tofu at the end of his shift, around 2 pm. Customers would start to trickle in at this time, asking, “Is the popcorn ready yet?” We counter clerks would dash to the kitchen to pull portions of freshly fried PCT from the cooling rack to make po’boys, and by the time it was cool enough to put in the display case, half of the batch would be gone. I don’t ever recall a batch lasting past 7 pm.

One of the deli’s main priorities for the renovation, then, was to ensure that we NEVER AGAIN run out of popcorn tofu! We built our kitchen, with a giant hood vent and electrical capacity, to support a full-sized commercial fryer, doubled our batch size to 40 pounds of tofu, and the rest is Wheatsville history! The freezing, thawing, and pressing process still takes several days but is essential to the success of the dish, since it helps the batter cling to the tofu, so we’ve created a walk-in and freezer storage system that revolves around the process.  Our suppliers fortunately adapted to our continuously growing demand for tofu—we buy more tofu from our distributor than anyone else in Texas!

With the PCT system honed to this fine edge, we were able to introduce another flavor a few years back. The Spicy Buffalo Popcorn Tofu (BPCT) made its debut for Super Bowl 2012 and rapidly became part of our daily routine, along with its companion sauce, the Vegan Blue Cheez Dressing. When we rolled out our pizza program not long after, Chad Peters, one of our longest-tenured cooks and a popcorn tofu master, suggested using the small crumbles that are the inevitable by-product of the frying process as a topping. I admit I scoffed, but of course he was right—the PCT and BPCT pizzas with vegan Daiya cheese are among our top sellers.
Over the years, we have shared these recipes and the tips and tricks that make them successful with over 20 other co-ops around the country. We like to think that we are helping to grow the co-op Economy nationwide, right in line with our BIG direction, by demystifying the magic that is popcorn tofu!

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Cooking Wings for Your Football Party

Click for Game Day Party Planner and Snack Ideas!

Wings Know How

Few things in life say football and party like chicken wings. Hot wings are a staple menu item in sports bars all over the US and deep frying or roasting are the most popular methods of cooking wings. Some BBQ joints offer smoked wings.

I think wings have been relegated to sports bars and wing shops for far too long—wings are amenable to many flavor profiles and cooking methods. I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t braise them and let them crisp up in the pan! I don’t follow a recipe but boldly mix flavors and techniques to achieve wings that are specialized beyond the humble sports bar wings. Here are some ideas to fix wings your own way.

Rubbing and Marinating

The great thing about chicken wings is they can take more intense flavors. You can easily use rubs and marinades that are designed more for red meat and pork rather than poultry.

Rubs

Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning  is what I use the most for a wing rub. It has great flavor, no MSG, and it is always in my kitchen. Also carried here at Wheatsville, The Paleo Powder is a no-gluten no-MSG product made here in Texas, and the Salt Lick makes a couple of rub options. Lemon Pepper is another great flavor.

Marinades

Like rubs, you can use just about anything for marinating wings. Try one of the Wheatsville Marinades like Teriyaki or Mojo. Howard Miller, S. Lamar Meat Dept. Supervisor, likes to mix ranch dressing or buttermilk with Yellowbird Sauce.

Sauce

I like to make a kitchen sink sort of sauce, but Sriracha is pretty much always an ingredient. Vinegar is always a good addition, along with some sort of fat. I usually use a mild oil like canola, but butter is the traditional way to go. I then add a little mustard and honey and start adding hot sauces like Yellowbird.

If you don’t want to make your own sauce, there are plenty of excellent premade sauces. I really like the Stubb’s Wing Sauce. The Texas Texas Dang Good Sauce is an all around good sauce for anything and goes well with wings.

Bringing It All Together

If you are deep frying wings, use a rub, fry them, and then toss them in sauce,
but I usually roast them. I rub them and put them in the oven without sauce until they start to dry out, about 10 minutes, then I start basting them. I remove them from the oven and toss them in sauce several times during cooking. 
You can also dredge them in a flour and rub mixture and just let them be in the oven. The flour gives them a nice crust that is like fried chicken. The rub added to the flour kicks up the flavor.

I cook them for no less than 45 minutes at 375°– 400° F, but I open the oven four times to baste and my family likes a little carbon on their wings. If you leave the oven closed, use the lower temperature for a few less minutes.

Sometimes having loose suggestions rather than a set recipe is intimidating but wings can be a great way to stretch out and share some adventure with your family and friends—especially with beer and sports!

Howard’s Yellowbird Buffalo Wings

1 lb chicken wings, separated at joints, discard the tips
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup ranch dressing
several squirts of Yellowbird Habanero Sauce
¾ cup flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder

Mix the butter, ranch dressing, and Yellowbird sauce. Coat the wings and let the wings marinade in the mixture for a couple hours in the fridge in a large storage bag.

Preheat Oven to 425°F.

Coat wings with with seasoned flour (flour, salt,  black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder) and arrange a single layer of wings on a lightly greased baking sheet. Adorn each wing with a little melted butter.

Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and crispy on the outside, about 35-45 minutes. Turn the wings over halfway during cooking so they cook evenly.

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Resolution Support & Superfood Smoothies

If your New Year’s resolution is to eat better, to be more active, to lose weight, or to have more energy, then you may want to start incorporating smoothies into your daily diet. Smoothies are a versatile and delicious way to boost your nutritional intake. Whatever your specific nutritional goal or need is, our full selection of smoothies and drink mixes can help you achieve it! Here’s a few of our popular smoothie products available in the Wellness Department:

Greens
Health Force Vitamineral Greens*

Formulated by Dr. Jameth Sheridan, this superfood blend of greens from the earth and ocean is raw, vegan, and goes a step beyond organic to be tested 100% free of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, irradiation, and GMOs. Not content with standard USDA Organic testing, Health Force calls products that meet this standard TruGanictm. Beyond these great qualities is a product that has been pulverized to the point that is dissolvable in liquid without the scratchy fibrous qualities found in many green foods products. This item is both a staff and customer favorite.

Proteins
Plant Fusion Plant-based Protein*

This plant-sourced blend of proteins is perfect if you are looking to add some protein to your diet. Each serving contains 21 grams of protein while adding only 120 calories to your shake. The protein blend comes from organic sprouted quinoa, organic sprouted amaranth, yellow peas, and artichoke. And while you will find enzymes for digestibility and branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) for muscle recovery, you won’t find any GMOs, gluten, soy, or dairy in this product!

SFH (Stronger Faster Healthier) Whey Protein
SFH has a premium line of whey protein that is derived from A2 milk. A2 milk differs genetically from A1 milk. Most milk sold in grocery stores is either A1 or a combination of A1/A2 milk. Research hasn’t been conclusive but many believe that A2 milk is easier to digest due to the type of beta-casein, which constitutes 30% of milk’s protein, it contains. Coincidentally, milk from goats also contains the A2 beta-casein but unlike goat’s milk, A2 cow’s milk does not have a goat’s milk-like taste.

Weight Loss
Garden of Life RAW Fit

RAW Fit is a certified USDA Organic, raw, plant-based, vegan shake that is formulated with weight loss in mind. In addition to 28 grams of protein, RAW Fit also contains green coffee bean extract, chromium, and cinnamon to support healthy blood-sugar levels. Ashwagandha is an ingredient in RAW FIT which can help reduce stress related cravings. There is also a healthy dose of soluble and insoluble fiber to help keep you feeling full. To top it all off RAW Fit contains probiotics and enzymes to support a healthy digestion that can make the most of the nutrition you put into it.

Total Nutrition
Vega One

Vega One is formulated by former professional triathelete and two time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion, Brendan Brazier. With total nutrition in mind, Vega One can cover a lot of your dietary needs. Each serving contains 17 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, almost 7 grams of omegas, 1.5 grams of greens, 1 gram of Maca, 200 mg of antioxidants, 300 mg of enzymes, 1 billion probiotics, and 50% of your daily vitamin and mineral needs. Vega one is a great way to bolster your daily nutritional intake and just like Brendan Brazier, Vega One is vegan.

*Available as a smoothie add-on in the Deli

From chia seeds, to flax seed oil, to local bee pollen, to fiber powders, and superfoods, we have a full spectrum of items for vegans and omnivores alike. Stop in and ask one of the helpful Wellness staff members and we’d be happy to show you a product just right for your needs!

For most of us, the New Year brings resolutions to take better care of ourselves. The Wheatsville Deli offers a wide range of healthy and delicious smoothie options to help you with your health and wellness goals.

Superfood Smoothies
By Lisa Weems, Deli Coordinator

We start our custom smoothies with a base of banana (an excellent source of vitamin B6 that also contains vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber) and add your choice of apple, orange juice, or soy, rice, almond, coconut, or cow milk. We then blend in your choice of fruits—strawberries, pineapple, peaches, mango, blueberries, and/or raspberries, as many or as few as you like! Add in any of our extras for a small additional charge, from yogurt or nut butters for a tasty protein boost, to omega-3 powerhouses chia seed or flaxmeal, to plant- based nutritional supplement powders. You could create a custom smoothie every day of 2015 and never drink the same one twice!

We revamped our smoothie menu a few years back to incorporate an even broader range of ingredients, specifically vegetables. Our January Resolution Smoothie is a nutrient-rich treat that starts with our housemade Gingerade, a perfectly spiced fresh ginger infusion mixed with citrus juices. We blend this tasty brew with banana, spinach, cucumber, and carrot—perfect for a healthy breakfast or post-workout replenishment.  We are happy to add the veggie of your choice to your smoothie—just ask your friendly deli counter clerk what is available! Happy new year! Here’s to a healthy and smoothie-filled 2015!

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Frosty Summer Sippers

Summer is here! and boy are we thirsty. Luckily the Deli has you covered with tried and true thirst quenching favorites and some new additions as well. Firstly the most exciting thing for us is the addition of the self service beverage fountains along with the coffee and tea urns. Getting your favorite summer beverage is now faster and easier than ever! So what are these awesome drinks and why do we love them so much?

Iced Coffee Toddy
I like to call this "the secret to success". We cold brew a special blend of roasts for 24 hours; giving it a smoother taste, more caffeine and a lower acidity level which makes it easier on your tummy. It's a great way to start your day with a charge.

Gingerade
Our special blend of Ginger, Orange Juice, Raw Sugar, Fresh Lemon and Lime Juice along with Cloves and Cinnamon make this beverage as nourishing as it is delicious.

Cucumber Agua Fresca
The name says it all! This is a simple blend of Agave, Cucumbers and Fresh Lime Juice. Agua Frescas are a great choice on these hot and muggy Austin summer days.

Watermelon Agua Fresce
  With watermelon in season it only seemed logical to craft an Agua Fresca with this delectable treat. Again, keeping it simple we combine Watermelon, Agave and Lime Juice and boom we have magic!

Hibiscus Mint Tea
Brewed in house, this is a refreshingly floral beverage. Did you know that Hibiscus actually contains properties that cool your body down when it is hot?

Unsweetened and Sweetened Black Tea
Whether you prefer your Black Tea sweet or unsweetened i think we can all agree that this beverage is a summer staple in the South. We brew our unsweetened Black Tea in house and the good folks at Moonshine are providing us with Sweet Tea, just add a lemon wedge and you're instantly on your front porch in a rocking chair.

Whichever your favorite becomes or already is, we in the Deli are committed to have all of these beverages ready and waiting to be enjoyed so come on by to the Deli and get refreshed!

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Wheatsville Classic: Popcorn Tofu

When I first started working at Wheatsville, about 10 years ago, we were regularly making Southern Fried Tofu (SFT)  but really struggled with the demand. In order to make the process more efficient, one of my cook’s came up with a wet batter – this way the battering process was one easy step. What he didn’t know at the time was that he was only creating another great item that people were going to love as much, and eventually more, than SFT. This was the beginning of Wonko’s Popcorn Tofu, rightly named after the cook who created it.

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