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Chickpea, Spinach, and Chorizo Frittata

Adapted from

Chickpeas and chorizo make this a hearty, substantial and savory frittata, and it’s ideal when you want dinner on the table fast.

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

6 oz. Mexican chorizo, removed from casing if needed, diced

1 c. canned chickpeas, drained

1 roasted red pepper, diced

1 tsp. smoked paprika

2 c. baby spinach

6 eggs, beaten


Directions: Turn on the broiler to high, and set the oven rack 5-6 inches below the heating element.

Warm the olive oil in an oven-safe frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until tender and fragrant. Add the chorizo, chickpeas and roasted red pepper, then stir in the smoked paprika. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the chorizo is browned. Stir in the spinach, and cook just a minute, until wilted. Use a spoon to spread all the ingredients evenly in the pan, then pour in the eggs. Set the pan under the broiler and cook a few minutes, checking frequently, until the eggs are set. Sprinkle lightly with salt, then slice and serve. (You can also serve this at room temperature, if you’d like.) Serves 6. 

Star Recommends: Woodenhead Zinfandel: Medium dark ruby, viscous. Aromatics a little shy right now. Earth, incense, dark fruits and spice, veiled. The 2014 Zinfandels seem to be lighter in weight, although this is full flavored with berry, spice and the typical black pepper for this wine. Briar notes linger on the long finish.


Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese

Adapted from

This is amazingly close to spinach and artichoke dip in sandwich form. Three different cheeses, fresh spinach and really good bread make this a grilled cheese you’ll want to make again.

1/2 c. drained, coarsely chopped artichoke hearts (canned)

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

3 c. baby spinach

1/2 c. shredded mozzarella

2 Tbs. grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan

1 Tbs. sour cream

1/2 tsp. hot sauce (plus more to taste)

pinch salt

4 slices bread

2 Tbs. cream cheese

1 Tbs. butter

Directions: Spread the artichoke hearts on a clean kitchen towel or paper towel and press out as much liquid as you can. Set aside.

In a small skillet over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Stir in the garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and sauté just until wilted. Transfer the spinach to a large bowl. Add the mozzarella, Pecorino or Parmesan, artichoke hearts, sour cream, hot sauce and salt to the bowl and stir to combine. 

Spread the cream cheese onto each slice of bread. Divide the spinach and cheese mixture between two slices of bread. Spread into an even layer, then top with the other two slices of bread. 

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Grill the sandwiches, flipping once, until each side is golden brown and the filling is melted.Enjoy hot. Makes 2 sandwiches.

Star Recommends: Ca’ Momi Pinot Noir: Wild berries, caramel and forest floor flavors follow its alluring nose of blueberry compote, strawberries and smoky white pepper.

Spinach-Mushroom Soup with Middle Eastern Spices

Adapted from

Thanks to a few different kinds of mushrooms and lots of warm spices, this rich and wholesome soup is full of deep flavor. 

6 Tbs. olive oil, divided

1 1/4 lbs. mushrooms, trimmed, chopped, divided (use a mixture, like cremini, oyster, chanterelles, and shiitake)

1/2 lb. shallots, minced, divided

1 Tbs. tomato paste

2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

3/4 tsp. cinnamon 

pinch ground allspice

2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. black pepper

2 c. baby spinach

lime juice, to taste

Directions: Heat half of the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir in half of the mushrooms and half of the shallots. Sauté for 10-12 minutes, until the mushrooms are golden brown and most of the water has evaporated. Transfer the mushroom-shallot mixture to a bowl and cook the remaining mushrooms and shallots the same way with the remaining olive oil.

Return all the mushrooms and shallots to the pot over medium-high heat. Add the tomato paste, thyme, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and allspice, and stir to combine. Cook just until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add 5 cups of water and the salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and lower heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Stir in the baby spinach and cook just until wilted, 1-2 minutes. 

Use an immersion blender or food processor to coarsely puree the soup. If it seems to thick, thin with a little water. Stir in the lime juice, and taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serves 6.

Star Recommends: Dominio de Punctum 99 Rosas Chardonnay/Viognier: Beautifully balanced fruitful and fresh wine with elegant citric aroma with white flower notes. Organically grown Chardonnay and Viognier grapes.

Pineapple Coconut Muffins 

Adapted from

Oats and coconut stand in for wheat and dairy in these fruity, moist, and tropical muffins. Perfect for breakfast or as a snack. 

1 1/4 c. rolled oats

1/2 c. plain yogurt

1/2 c. coconut milk (full-fat, stirred before measuring)

1 1/2 c. oat flour (see note)

1/3 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. coconut flakes

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 fresh pineapple, medium, roughly chopped (seenote)

1/3 c. coconut oil

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 banana, mashed

Directions: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line 12 muffin cups. In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, yogurt and coconut milk. Let stand for 10 minutes. 

In a separate bowl, mix together the oat flour, brown sugar, coconut flakes, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Place the chopped pineapple in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to roughly puree. Measure out 1 cup, and place in a bowl with the banana, egg, and the coconut oil. Mix well. Add this pineapple-banana-egg mixture to the bowl of rolled oats, yogurt, and coconut milk, and mix well to incorporate. Fold the oat flour, coconut flake mixture into the bowl and combine.

Fill the lined muffin cups about 2/3 high. Bake 16-20 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into one comes out clean.

Notes: For the oat flour, place 2 cups of rolled oats in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it’s the consistency of cornmeal.

To prepare a pineapple, slice off the top and bottom of the pineapple with a sharp knife. Stand the pineapple upright and slice off the skin. Use a paring knife to remove any remaining eyes. Slice the fruit away from the core, and discard the core. Makes 12 muffins.

Star Recommends: Astrolabe Pinot Gris: Pure, focused wine with a delicacy of structure, finishing crisp and dry. Stonefruit and pear flavors dominate, followed by some light citrus

Baked Beans with Pineapple and Bacon

Pineapple adds a sweet, fruity flavor to these very easy baked beans. 

2 1/4 c. dried navy or Great Northern beans, soaked overnight in plenty of water

1/4 c. dark brown sugar

1/4 c. molasses

2 1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. salt

15 oz. crushed tomatoes

1 cup crushed pineapple, from about 1/3 medium fresh pineapple (see note)

1 bunch green onions, trimmed, sliced

8 slices thick smoked bacon

Directions: Preheat oven to 325ºF. Place the soaked beans and soaking liquid in a large Dutch oven or other oven-safe pot. Add the brown sugar, molasses, dry mustard, salt, tomatoes, pineapple, and half the sliced green onions. Stir to combine. Arrange the bacon in a layer on top of the beans. Cover, and bake about 5 hours, until the beans are tender, but not falling apart. Remove the lid during the last 30 minutes to crisp the bacon.

Served topped with the remaining green onions.

Note: To prepare a pineapple, slice off the top and bottom of the pineapple with a sharp knife. Stand the pineapple upright and slice off the skin. Use a paring knife to remove any remaining eyes. Slice the fruit away from the core, and discard the core. To crush, pulse the fruit in a food processor. Makes10 servings.

Star Recommends: Capcanes Mas Collet: Medium deep red with flecks of violet; ripe cherry flavors; blueberries; smooth well integrated oaky, toasty aromas; medium-bodied; fruit-driven; fine ripe sweetness; good acidity; perfectly balanced; round ripe tannins; long ripe-fruit finish

Sweet and Sour Stuffed Yellow Peppers

Adapted from

Bright yellow peppers are stuffed with a wonderfully seasoned brown rice and vegetable mixture. If you’d prefer, you can substitute the rice for your favorite grain.

1 c. brown rice

2 c. water

4 tsp. cornstarch

1/2 c. vegetable broth

4 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1 c. diced pineapple

4 cloves garlic

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 c. red wine vinegar

1/2 c. ketchup

2 Tbs. agave

1 Tbs. olive oil

3 c. shredded red cabbage

1 c. diced onion

1 c. diced green pepper

4 medium yellow peppers

Directions: Combine the rice and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stir, and reduce heat to low. Cook, undisturbed, for 30-40 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and vegetable broth. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Stir in the pineapple and garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the crushed red pepper, red wine vinegar, ketchup, and agave, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, then stir in the cornstarch-broth mixture. Cook, stirring, until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat, and pour over the cooked rice.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the red cabbage, onion, green pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Add the vegetables to the bowl of rice and sauce, and stir to combine.

Slice around the stems of the yellow peppers, and remove the insides. Place the hollowed-out peppers on a rimmed baking sheet. Spoon the rice-vegetable filling into each pepper to fill, then bake for 30-40 minutes, until the peppers are tender. Enjoy hot. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Domaine du Bagnol Cassis Blanc: A blend of Marsanne, Clairette and Ugni Blanc, this dry, juicy wine tastes like white fruit and ocean spray, and it’s the perfect match for these peppers.

Bistro Beet Burgers

Adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Isa Does It.

I like to double this recipe and keep them in the freezer. Just cook them first, and place on a baking sheet before sticking them in the freezer. When frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe bag. Voilà - convenient, homemade, delicious veggie burgers!

1 1/4 c. cooked and cooled brown rice

1 c. cooked lentils, brown or green, drained

1 c. shredded beets

1/2 c. breadcrumbs

3 Tbs. minced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs. tahini (or peanut butter or almond butter)

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. ground fennel

1 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

black pepper

olive oil

6 burger buns

Directions: Combine the brown rice, lentils, and beets in the bowl of a food processor with a metal blade. Pulse 15-20 times until incorporated but still has lots of texture. Turn the mixture into a large bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, tahini, thyme, fennel, mustard, salt, and black pepper. Mix very well with a wooden spoon, or clean hands. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Shape the mixture into patties, using about 1/3 cup for each one. 

Heat a skillet (cast iron, preferably) over medium-high heat. When hot, add some olive oil and turn the pan to coat it in oil. Cook the burgers about 12 minutes total, flipping once or twice, until the burgers are heated through and the edges are charred. 

Serve hot on buns, with your favorite toppings. Makes 6 burgers.

Star Recommends; Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Granges: Bernard Baudry and his son Matthieu produce five cuvées of Chinon Rouge, the youngest and freshest of which is Les Granges. All their grapes are hand-harvested at optimum ripeness with clean, unfettered vinification (in cement and wood tanks), the key to their varietal correctness. Bright, zesty, meaty, honest. 

Peppercorn Steak Salad with Roasted Carrots and Gold Beets

Adapted from

This fresh dinner salad is made with sweet, roasted carrots and beets, and spicy, peppery steak atop a bed of tender greens. 

1 small onion, sliced into medium chunks

3 medium beets, trimmed and peeled, very thinly sliced

1/2 lb. carrots, trimmed, peeled, sliced

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 Tbs. maple syrup



4 steaks, about 1/2 lb. each (ribeye, or filet mignon, or beef tenderloin)

3 Tbs. black peppercorns, lightly crushed with mortar and pestle

3 Tbs. butter

8 c. arugula or baby spinach

1/4 c. crumbled goat cheese

1 c.walnuts, lightly toasted

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine the onion, beets, and carrots in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Sprinkle both sides of the steaks with salt. Sprinkle the crushed peppercorns over both sides of the steaks, pressing them to stick. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the steaks, turning once. For medium, it will be 10-15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 155ºF. When they are cooked to your desired doneness, transfer to a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Let stand for 5 minutes, then slice into thin slices against the grain.

Divide the arugula or spinach between 4 plates. Arrange the sliced steak over the greens, then top with the roasted vegetables, crumbled goat cheese, and walnuts. Finish each salad with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Dusted Valley Boomtown Merlot: In 2003, Wisconsin natives Chad Johnson and Corey Braunel left the comforts of their corporate jobs to move to Walla Walla and fulfill their dream of crafting world-class wine. Combining Washington State grapes with their rough and tumble know-how and a sizeable piece of their souls, the family created Dusted Valley and Boomtown. Good story, better wine.

Farfalle with Golden Beets, Beet Greens, and Pine Nuts

Adapted from

This pasta dish with caramelized onions and lots of garlic is a lovely way to use beets and beet greens. Use gold beets, or you’ll end up with pink pasta!

4 Tbs. olive oil, divided

2 large onions, quartered lengthwise, sliced crosswise

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 bunches small golden beets (about 2 inches in diameter), greens washed and sliced into ribbons, beets peeled and sliced into wedges

12 oz. farfalle


black pepper

1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 c. pine nuts, toasted

Directions: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions about 10 minutes, until they begin to turn golden and tender. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 more minutes, until the onions are very tender and browned. Stir in the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the beet greens to the pan, drizzle with the last 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then cover and cook another 5 minutes, until the greens are tender.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil, and cook the beets in it about 10 minutes, until easily pierced with a paring knife. Use a slotted spoon to remove beets and place them in a bowl. 

Return the water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, and drain. Return the pasta to the saucepan, and transfer the onions-and-greens mixture into the pot of pasta. Stir in some of the pasta cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, until the mixture is somewhat creamy. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Serve pasta hot, topped with the toasted pine nuts. Makes 4 servings.

Star Recommends: Farnese Fantini Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo:  The wine tastes soft, fruity and easy to drink. At first blush it seems somewhat simple, but after a few sips of this extremely tasty wine, you quickly come to appreciate its charms. Maraschino cherries, plums and a touch of spice stand out in this nicely balanced, medium-bodied wine. It ends dry with good length.





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