Summertime Chocolate... Yes Please! August 18 2017
Summer isn’t typically the time when we think about chocolate, at least not chocolate bars. I’ve definitely had my fair share of chocolate ice cream this summer. I’ve also been experimenting with the Cacao Shell Tea from Undone Chocolate in my cocktails. I’ll be sure to let you know when the recipe has been perfected.
Undone Chocolate is the creation of Adam & Kristen Kavalier. While the chocolate is produced in Washington, D.C. the company selects cocoa from around the world. They are looking for beans with the highest level of antioxidants and often pay more than 3 times the price paid for fair trade chocolate to get the best beans available. These beans then travel to Washington D.C. where they are processed into the delicious bars and cacao tea.
Undone Chocolate specializes in dark chocolate bars with 72% being their chosen blend. They have amazing flavors like Roasted Almond & Himalayan Pink Salt and Cardamom, Cinnamon, and Chili. While the bars are amazing, we fell in love with their Cacao Shell Tea at the Northwest Chocolate Festival a few years ago. It is a unlike any tea you’ve ever tried with just the right amount of chocolate flavor to satisfy your sweet tooth. The tea is made simply from the shells of the cocoa beans that are used to make chocolate. What a wonderful way to use a product that is normally over looked.
S'more Please! August 11 2017
Yesterday we celebrated National S’mores Day. This is a holiday we look forward to all year. Who doesn’t love the combination of gooey marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers?
Anyway, it got me thinking about how to make the perfect S’mores and how my technique has changed over the years. When I was younger I was all about catching the marshmallow on fire and having a black char all around the outside before smooshing it between two squares of graham cracker and three rectangles of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. As I have matured in my marshmallow roasting, I’ve realized you don’t actually want to burn the marshmallow. It is better to be patient and keep the marshmallow away from the direct flame allowing it to brown ever-so-slightly on the outside and get super soft on the inside. Then you take this perfectly roasted marshmallow and smash it between 2 squares of graham cracker. The chocolate is always up for debate. I could still use Hershey’s and be perfectly happy as it reminds me of my childhood. More likely I’ll add a few squares of dark chocolate to the mix… either Palette de Bine Camino Verde 85% Dark Chocolate or Rococo Chocolates Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt. Both make the S’mores out of this world!
Hopefully you’ll find time this summer to enjoy a cookout over an open fire. Be sure to bring a bag of marshmallows, graham crackers and some really delicious chocolate. S’mores are the perfect ending to a meal outside.
Summer Heat is Here! June 16 2017
We had a bit of a heat wave in New York this week and as luck would have it, my air conditioner broke right in the middle of it! During the days of 90 degrees inside I discovered a box of melted chocolate wafers. It wasn't too upsetting as I put them to good use making some delicious brownies. What it did do was get me thinking about summertime shipping.
We want to make sure all of our products get to you in the best possible condition. While all of our products are shelf stable, some are heat sensitive and require special shipping when the weather heats up. If you live in Phoenix, Arizona, like my sister, this applies for more months of the year than if you live in New York, where we are based. We’ve created a special section of Summer Gifts which will arrive in perfect condition no matter what the weather is. The items that are especially sensitive to the heat(mostly chocolate) have a note in their description so you can choose summer shipping at checkout. This allows us to pack the products with cooling elements and insure they don’t spend too much time in transit. We’ll be sure to reach out to you if you miss this part of the order. At the end of the day, we just don’t want you to be disappointed with our products.
The moral of this story is you can still enjoy your summer filled with delicious artisan products from Julie’s Beet, we just need to be careful on how they ship. So go out to the beach, the country, camp or stay in the city and we’ll have your orders there in great condition.
Happy Father's Day to all of the amazing Dads celebrating this weekend, including lots of our artisans.
Healthy Eating can be Delicious too! May 05 2017
This week at school they were handing out blue and white cookies in celebration of Israel’s Birthday. One of the parents said ‘No thank you, I’m doing The Whole 30 Diet.’ He only looked slightly disappointed as the cookies passed him by. The truth is we sometimes go on these extreme diets with the hope that in the end they will modify our eating habits. The good news is no matter what your eating habits are, healthy doesn’t have to equate to tasting bad.
At my house, we did The Paleo Diet almost 6 years ago. That meant for 10 days we had no caffeine, alcohol, carbs, dairy or salt. We did get to eat a lot of protein, fruits, and vegetables. The diet made me realize that some of the meal choices I made weren’t giving me the energy I needed. From this 10 day experience I made some changes for the better. Our house is now mostly carb-free. We rarely have pasta or potatoes as part of a meal and I must say I don’t really miss them. Here are some tricks to keep your healthy eating delicious.
- Season Your Food – The spice blends from La Boîte add an amazing amount of flavor to vegetables and proteins. That means you don’t need a heavy sauce to coat what you are cooking to make it taste delicious.
- Stick with Dark – Chocolate that is. Dark Chocolate doesn’t have any dairy mixed in which makes it much healthier for you to consume. The single origin bars from Palette de Bine take dark chocolate to the next level and really are out of this world. Now you might thinking, chocolate isn’t healthy. When you eat a bar as amazing as these you need just a little bit to satisfy even the biggest sweet tooths.
- Go Nuts – Almonds, Walnuts and Pecans make a great snack and pack a lot of energy into something easy to take with you. Our Ranch Salad Almonds are perfect for keeping your energy levels up during the day with something delicious and tasty.
I hope these tips will help you keep to your healthy eating goals and be the in the shape you desire before swimsuit season begins 😊
Judging Chocolate, Sign me Up! April 07 2017
Last Friday, I had an amazing opportunity to assist with judging the International Chocolate Awards. In the pouring rain, I made my way from the Upper West Side in New York to Hoboken, New Jersey. I thought that journey was long but when I sat down to judge I realized I hadn’t come as far as others. I found out about the judging from my friend Jessica of Bar Cacao. She specializes in Craft Chocolate and is ready to get involved with all types of chocolate. Jessica traveled from California to be here for the judging. At my table there was a man from Portland, Oregon and a woman from Germany. I guess people really will travel for chocolate.
I was a little intimidated by the thought of judging these prestigious awards but when I arrived at Ultramarinos in Hoboken, where the event was held, I was given a warm welcome. What I thought would be a super stringent judging process ended up a being a great opportunity to not only taste a lot of chocolate but also network with colleagues in the chocolate industry. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of chocolate to judge and that was taken very seriously; but I was surprised by the amount of discussion that came along with the judging. Here is a run-down of my experience.
After I was set up on the judging system, all online and confidential I believe, I had to awaken my palette. I was give 3 chocolates to taste and record their flavor profile. Later in the day one of these chocolates would return to see if my palette was still on par with where I started. Between each tasting I tried to drink a lot of fizzy water to cleanse my palette and people also eat very plain polenta to help keep their taste buds in tune. Next came the chocolate and lots of it. Every 10-15 minutes we were presented with a plate of 3-5 different chocolates. They all had a description of what was inside and I was informed to taste the stronger flavors (like chili) towards the end. Everything came out without packaging so you didn’t know who the producer was. The most memorable chocolates I tried were a dark chocolate ganache with soy sauce and Pedro Jiménez Sherry which was surprisingly successful. I also really enjoyed a dark chocolate ganache layered with a bumbleberry gelee. I can tell you coconut cream is popular right now along with Asian flavors (wasabi, soy sauce, pickled ginger).
After about 3 hours, it was time for me to return to the real world. I had a slice of pizza on my way back to the Path Train to balance out the sweetness from the chocolate. Most of the other judges were in it for the long haul, tasting up to 8 hours a day for 3-5 days in a row. You can read more about the International Chocolate Awards on their website.
We also have a collection of past winners in our marketplace including Palette de Bine Vietnam 72% Dark Chocolate, Rococo Chocolates White Chocolate Cardamom, Rococo Chocolates Sea Salt, Almond & Rosemary, Rococo Chocolates Basil & Persian Lime and Rococo Chocolates Sea Salt Milk Chocolate.
Craft Chocolate is here March 24 2017
The chocolate industry has been growing rapidly in North America over the past few years. I was first introduced to the industry while working for Rococo Chocolates in the UK. I became very familiar with the chocolate industry in the UK and in Europe but I was in for a real surprise when I moved back to the US in 2014.
The most exciting part of the chocolate industry in North America is the Craft Chocolate Makers. Craft Chocolate is loosely defined as a chocolate bar that is made from bean to bar by one chocolate maker. These chocolate makers carefully source their cacao beans from farms around the world, looking for the perfect flavor. The cacao beans take on a new character from each craft chocolate maker as they impart their uniqueness through the process of roasting, grinding, conching, tempering, molding and packaging their bars. Many of these craft chocolate makers take their chocolate one step farther and make single-origin bars. This means all of the cacao beans for a specific bar are sourced from a specific country or region. Here is a link to a great article about craft chocolate featuring my friend Jessica of Bar Cacao.
We are thrilled to welcome craft chocolate maker, Palette de Bine to our marketplace. Christine Blaise is the mastermind behind this craft chocolate made in Mont Tremblant, Canada. We have two of their single-origin bars, Vietnam Lam Dong 72% and Ecuador Camino Verde 85%. Both bars have their own flavor profile which become more distinct when tasted side by side.
It’s Friday, go ahead and have a bar of chocolate!
Stock Your Pantry February 10 2017
We’ve just survived another round of snow here in New York. There is always a lot of hype prior to a snow storm about stocking your pantry. Since we don’t typically drive to the supermarket in New York I feel it is less of an issue than it might be in other places. I do however promote stocking your pantry with great food items to use in a pinch whether it be a snow storm or an unexpected guest. I know I’m always pushing products from our marketplace (that is my job!) but a quick survey of my pantry found the following items and here are some suggestions on how to use them.
Jacobsen Salt Co. Kosher Salt – This is a no-brainer. Good salt makes everything taste better and I pretty much use this salt on everything from seasoning a steak to brightening up a salad.
La Boîte Spice Blends – I have too many spice blends to count. After cooking the box of pasta from your pantry toss generously with your chosen spice blend and some olive oil before serving.
Rick’s Picks Phat Beets – These are good straight from the jar but are also great in a salad paired with goat cheese or blue cheese or whatever cheese is hanging out in your refrigerator.
Due Cellucci Traditional Tomato Sauce – Of course you could pour this amazing sauce over that pasta from your pantry OR you could use it as a base for a delicious tomato soup. Pair the soup with a grilled cheese sandwich and everyone in your house will be happy!
Lucy’s Granola – This a great breakfast option when you’re snowed in and don’t have anywhere to go. I recommend having breakfast in your pajamas when there is no place to go. Pour some granola on top of your yogurt for a delicious parfait. You can also sprinkle onto pancakes as they are cooking for some extra crunch and hidden deliciousness.
Paul & Pippa Biscuits – Is it a cookie? Is it a cracker? Well, these biscuits are both. The sweet flavors are great with a cup of tea and the savory would be great with that cheese from the refrigerator.
I’m sure if I moved some of the boxes of Cheerios around in my pantry I would find more products to tell you about but I think you get the idea. I hope you’re surviving the weather wherever you are. Remember you can order from our marketplace rain or snow or sleet or hail or sun!
Something New in the Marketplace February 03 2017
And just like that we are into the month of February. I often find that with a new year, there are lots of other new things. The marketplace at Julie’s Beet is no different. We’ve added quite a few new products over the past few weeks. Here they are(in no particular order).
Rococo Chocolates Collector’s Edition Organic Drinking Chocolate Tin – This metal tin contains the same drinking chocolate we’ve always had in our marketplace. The big difference is you will have this amazing decorative tin to keep long after the drinking chocolate is finished. Perfect for holding pens on your desk or hiding your favorite treats. The drinking chocolate can be made with milk or water for a rich and/or creamy treat.
Rococo Chocolates Milk Chocolate Artisan Bar Sea Salt, Rosemary & Almond – If you love almonds or salt in your chocolate this bar takes it to the next level. With just a hint of savory Rosemary essential oil, caramelized almonds and a sprinkle of sea salt you’ll be taken straight to a happy place. Enjoy this new addition to our already extensive line up of Rococo’s delicious artisan bars.
Undone Chocolate Cacao Shell Tea Jar – The crew at Undone Chocolate now offers their Cacao Shell Tea in a sleek glass jar. The jar is bigger(4 oz) so you can make more of the delicious chocolatey tea.
The Matzo Project Everything and Salted Matzo – I’ve been speaking with the masterminds at The Matzo Project since last June and am thrilled to finally have their product in our marketplace. It is made in Brooklyn New York and is just the kind of product I love. It has amazing packaging and a great taste to go with it. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do and don’t worry your grandmother will approve.
I was at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco a little over a week ago looking for more amazing products. Of course, I found some really good ones. Keep your eyes peeled for even more artisans to join the our growing collection.
Celebrate National Chocolate Cake Day! January 27 2017
February is a month full of celebrations at my house. We begin with my husband's birthday next week. That is followed by both of our mother's birthdays then my son's first birthday. Not to mention Valentine's Day is in there too!
You cannot have a birthday without a cake. As you know, I am always looking for new ways to use the products from the marketplace. I also love to bake, so am planning to get creative with the birthday cakes I'll be making. Here is a recipe for a Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake. I've substituted Rococo Chocolates Drinking Chocolate for traditional cocoa powder. If you are feeling really adventurous, use Empire Mayonnaise Co. Rosemary Mayonnaise.
Follow us on instagram @juliesbeet for images of all of the cakes I'll be making and eating this month!
Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
Makes a double layer 9-inch cake
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2/3 cup Rococo Chocolates Drinking Chocolate
1 ¼ teaspoon Baking soda
¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 1/3 cups Water
-Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour 2 9-inch cake pans or line cupcake pan with wrappers.
-In a medium bowl combine flour, Rococo Chocolates Drinking Chocolate, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
-In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla for three minutes or until light and fluffy. Add mayonnaise at a low speed until blended. Alternately add flour mixture and water, starting and finishing with the flour mixture. Pour into prepared pans.
-Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for ten minutes before removing from the pan and cooling completely.
-Once cool dust with confectioners sugar or frost as desired.
The Perfect Gift November 25 2016
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. The turkey has digested and we’re getting ready for the traditional Friday-after-Thanksgiving Family Football game. I would be lying to say I’m not 100% focused on the game; I’ve got a few other things on my mind.
Tis the season for gift giving and I spend a lot of time pondering what will be a good gift for each person on my list. The list becomes pretty long when you have 15 nephews and nieces! Here are some tips on how to select the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
- Give a piece of You – Even if you aren’t crafty, you can still give a unique gift that represents yourself. Do you love to cook? Give a cookbook. Do you love the movies? A gift of popcorn would be appropriate.
- Find a common ground – Giving a gift is tough when you don’t know the person well, so focus on what you do know. I know my cousin’s husband really likes to grill and I love to cook too. A gift of these spices from La Boîte are going to make the perfect gift. Do you both love dessert? Then you cannot go wrong with our chocolate selection.
- Resist the urge to give something you’d like – This one is tricky given tip #2 but ultimately the gift is for someone else, not yourself. Make sure you’re thinking about them when selecting the gift and keep that other one for yourself and a rainy day.
At the end of the day, be sure to give. Multiple studies support that you feel better after giving a gift compared with receiving one.
If you are in New York in December, be sure to stop by our showroom. We’re opening our doors the first three Fridays to help you find that perfect gift.
Thanksgiving Recipes! November 04 2016
Halloween is over and it is finally time to look ahead to Thanksgiving. It is definitely one of my favorite holidays because it is all about family, friends and eating!
Here are some great recipes for your Thanksgiving meal using some of the products from our marketplace.
Roasted Chicken with Jacobsen Kosher Salt, just in case a Turkey won’t fit in your NYC oven
Honey Glazed Carrots with Bee Local Cherrywood Smoked Honey
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with La Boite Ayala N.16 and Bee Local Portland Farmland Honey
Simple Stuffing with La Boite Breeze N.5
Pumpkin Pie with Paul + Pippa Chocolate Crust
Place orders by Thursday November 17th for guaranteed delivery before Thanksgiving.
Our trip to The BIG Chocolate Show October 14 2016
Last Saturday I was able to attend The Big Chocolate Show in New York City. As you can imagine, it was a chocolate lovers dream. The show was at the Terminal Stores in New York, which once was a long tunnel trains passed through and is now a spectacular event space. It also is home to many offices, Colombe Coffee and The Porchlight. The setting was great and the chocolate did not disappoint.
I was really excited to try chocolate from newer producers. I can assure the bean-to-bar movement is still going strong. I tasted single origin chocolates made in everywhere from Mexico to Hoboken, New Jersey and Brooklyn too! I also got to learn more about the Fine Chocolate Industry Association and see what is on the horizon for the chocolate industry.
Here are the products that really stood out to me:
Gotham Chocolate: These chocolate bars and truffles are made in the kitchens at Gotham Bar and Grill in New York City. They had intense dark chocolate with coffee and white chocolate with smoked cinnamon from our friends at La Boîte. The packaging is stunning and the chocolate was really smooth and tasty.
John & Kira’s: This chocolate company is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They use delicious Valrhona Chocolate in their creations and the rest of the ingredients are typically local products. I tasted a divine honey caramel made with honey from a local farm. I bought some Pumpkin Spice Caramels to save for a special treat on Halloween.
Wolter Chocolate: This is one of the finest chocolates I have ever tasted from Mexico. It goes from tree to bar in the Tabasco region of Mexico. The company is just starting out and it was great to hear their stories of making chocolate and finding their way into the US market.
I left the show with a belly full of chocolate and a smile on my face. I have to say my two-year-old did too! I still think our collection of Rococo Chocolates and Cacao Prieto are outstanding among the competition. Now that the weather has cooled off it is time for chocolate to take center stage. We're busy getting ready for our open house next weekend. Stop by and enjoy a bar or two or three!
Picky Eaters August 05 2016
Children, especially toddlers, are often called picky eaters. They love everything that isn’t good for them… bread, pasta, French fries, chocolate. As a young girl, I vividly remember my grandmother saying “There is no such thing as I DON’T LIKE!”. We were threatened to get more of whatever we didn’t like and were clever enough to try to use it to get more sweets. When I went to culinary school one of my instructors claimed you should never say you don’t like something but use the phrase “This food has never been prepared to my liking.” It definitely sounds more sophisticated than “I don’t like this food” but really says the same thing.
I’ve been making my sons food since he was a baby hoping early exposure would make him less of a picky eater. I made a puree of everything I could think of and he ate most of it. Then the pickiness set in. What I’ve discovered is that he usually has a favorite condiment that will get him to eat almost anything. I used to put hummus with everything and he would gobble it up. These days hummus seems to only go on pretzels or crackers. When I met Stefanie of Due Cellucci Tomato Sauces she said other parents claimed their kids would only eat things with ‘Stefanie’s Sauce’ on them. I was a little skeptical since my son doesn’t like tomatoes to begin with. I recently discovered Stefanie was right! My son still loves his pasta but now he wants it with tomato sauce. That is a bonus for both of us because he’s getting what he wants and I know he is eating something healthy. For young (picky) eaters I recommend their Traditional Tomato Sauce. If I try to sneak in some Tomato Basil Sauce I’m often advised to get rid of the green stuff!
Recently my son has developed a new found love of mayonnaise. We’ve been putting it on our proteins this week. I’ll write more about mayonnaise soon.
Sending Mishloach Manot March 18 2016
With Purim less than one week away, I am frantically trying to decide what to include in the Mishloach Manot I will be giving to friends. The gift of MIsloach Manot is one of my favorite Purim traditions. The idea is to give the gift of food (at least 2 types) to family and friends so they will have enough food for the Purim feast. It is also said to increase love and friendship among the Jewish People.
Our Gourmet Kosher Gift Set is the perfect go-to Mishloach Manot for procrastinators. It includes Rick’s Picks K.O.(Kosher Organic) Pickle Spears. These pickles are the perfect straight out of the jar and are even better when paired with your favorite sandwich. Cacao Prieto Chocolate Bark is so delicious. I love the apricot pistachio and the art work is a postcard so beautiful. This is part of a gift that keeps on giving. Tiny But Mighty Heirloom Microwave Popcorn will make a treat for many in just 3-4 minutes. Use the Jacobson Salt Co. Kosher Salt in your cooking or put a bit on your table to finish your dishes. All of these products are certified Kosher but so delicious it doesn't even matter!
Our products are also always available on their own. Have some fun and put together your own unique collection. We would be happy to put together a personalized set and ship them off to your family and friends. Order by Tuesday March 22nd for Purim delivery.
Here’s our favorite recipe for Hamantaschen. Another great item to include in your basket.
No matter how you celebrate… Happy Purim!
Dreaming of Spring February 19 2016
As the winter weather comes and goes here in New York, I’m beginning to look forward to spring. A day with temperatures below zero will do that to anyone I imagine. Spring is one of my favorite times of the year and filled with lots of fun holidays including my son’s birthday! Here is a quick peak at what we have in store for the upcoming holidays.
St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday March 17th – Get your green on with these great products
Rococo Chocolates Basil and Persian Lime Artisan Bar
Paul + Pippa Lime After Time Biscuits
Artion Greek Foods Green Pitted Olives
Purim, Wednesday March 24th – We have everything you need to impress your friends by giving the best Mishloach Manot. Check out our Gourmet Kosher Gift Set.
Easter, Sunday March 27th – On Easter everyone wants chocolate eggs. You won’t be disappointed with these Hazelnut Praline Quails Eggs from Rococo Chocolates
April Fools Day, Friday April 1st -The jokes on your friends, get them to buy you something special from our marketplace in exchange for no pranks on this day.
Passover, Friday April 22nd – Try the chocolate bark from Cacao Prieto as a sweet addition to your seder table.
Earth Day, Friday April 22nd – You can feel good about the earth when purchasing the products in our Organic Gift Set.
Extreme Valentine's Day February 05 2016
February is a very busy month for my family as it includes my husband’s birthday, both of our mothers’ birthdays in addition to Valentine’s Day. I usually cook dinner for my husband on his birthday and on Valentine’s Day. I am often stumped on how to make each menu unique while still being a meal he, and I, will enjoy. This Valentine’s Day I’m thinking I’ll just do a mix of canapes and finger foods. Hopefully he will think they are cute, fun and perhaps romantic when paired with a bottle of wine?
When working at Rococo Chocolates I was often tasked with preparing canapes for the different events we had. One of my favorites is from Chantal Coady’s book, Rococo, Mastering the Art of Chocolate. These canapes, a pairing of cheese and chocolate, are thoughtfully called Extreme Canapes as they really test your taste buds. People are often hesitant to try them but always love the combinations. Rococo Chocolates Wafer Thins are thin chocolate disks, which are treated just like a cracker in this case. Top the chocolate disk with your favorite type of cheese and enjoy. Some of the best pairings I’ve tried are a salty blue cheese on the 65% Dark Chocolate Wafer and a soft goat cheese on the Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Wafer.
We carry the wafers in our marketplace and you can get great cheeses from your local cheese shop. If you are in New York City, here are my favorite cheese shops:
Murray's Cheese – multiple locations around the city but I prefer the west village shop. Enjoy tasting your way through their cheese case. If you have some extra time, they also have cheese classes!
Ideal Cheese – 942 First Ave at 52nd Street, This East Side cheese shop is a destination. It stocks some really unique cheeses and the staff has all of the information needed to assist you in finding the perfect cheese.
Lucy’s Whey – I love their stall in Chelsea Market but you can also find this great shop on the Upper East Side. They have really delicious grilled cheese sandwiches. I suggest munching on one while you do your shopping. This ensures your cheese will make it home for the extreme canapes.
Go ahead and take your Valentine’s Day menu to the extreme!
Cook Outside the Box January 29 2016
As a cook I am always looking for new ways to use different ingredients. This could mean roasting cauliflower in the oven or boiling it on the stove and mashing to mimic mashed potatoes or putting it in the food processor to make cauliflower rice. I often feel the same way when it comes to the products in our marketplace. Does Jam only belong on toast? Do you only put salt on your savory dishes? Here are some ideas for using our products thinking ‘outside of the box’.
This delicious pickled okra with smoked paprika is a delicious treat straight out of the jar. Don’t waste that brining liquid when you are finished with the pickles. Save it to brine your next brisket and give it a smokey, tangy flavor.
Sure this sauce is great for making sticky sweet chicken wings(perfect for your super bowl party!) or a quick pad thai. Did you know Tamarind is also a wonderful addition to dessert? Warm the sauce and pour over vanilla ice cream like a caramel or chocolate sauce. We guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Gus & Grey Holy Hell-Ghost Pepper Jam
We all know ghost peppers are one of the hottest peppers in the world. Try taming this jam by addition some to a tart and tangy margarita. It will definitely add some heat but will also make a memorable drink without all of the burn.
I love a granola and yogurt parfait just as much as you do. A very creative way to use Lucy’s Granola is to add it to your oatmeal cookies to replace the oatmeal. You’ll add a lot of crunch and a whole lot of flavor.
I’d love to hear any other suggestions you have for cooking ‘outside of the box’!
My Visit to the Northwest Chocolate Festival October 09 2015
I had a great time in Seattle last weekend and if there was one word (besides amazing) to describe my weekend it would be Chocolate! From the moment I arrived to the moment I got back on the plane to New York the weekend was centered around chocolate.
FRIDAY: The first stop from the airport was Fran’s Chocolates where I was able to see caramel and chocolate making in action. I also ate a few sea salt caramels and even saved a few to share with my husband when I got home. From there it was on to Pike’s Place Market. I was overwhelmed with the selection of culinary treats both sweet and savory. I had to have some Chukar Cherries and settled on a bag of Dark Chocolate covered Cabernet Cherries to bring home. There was still time in the afternoon to catch a factory tour at Theo Chocolate. This was awesome to see in person. I know a lot about the chocolate making process but hadn’t seen the machinery first hand. We also got to taste a lot of Theo’s delicious chocolate! The day finished with a casual dinner and I didn’t even have dessert. Unusual for someone with a sweet tooth but there were enough sweets earlier in the day to last all night!
SATURDAY: The morning started with a savory breakfast of Huevos Rancheros to line my stomach before another onslaught of chocolate. Then it was off to the Northwest Chocolate Festival. This was chocolate heaven. There were two floors filled with artisan chocolate makers tasting and selling their chocolates. I had no idea the number of chocolate makers there are out there and to be honest, they were all fantastic. The festival also consisted of a full line up of cooking demonstrations, talks and tastings. It was a good break from the action to sit and learn more about the state of the chocolate industry and where it is going. The good news is there are a lot of really energetic chocolate people out there who are working to ensure the industry moves in the right direction.
After the festival there was time for a quick dinner. This time salad to cleanse the palette before my flight back to New York. I am sad my visit to Seattle was so short but I definitely made the most of my time there. I’m just waiting for the New York Times to do a piece on 36 Chocolate Filled Hours in Seattle, Washington! I’ll have all of the tips on where to go.
Check out some of my photos from the trip here.
Seattle Here I Come October 02 2015
Today I’m headed to the wonderful city of Seattle, Washington. The west coast home of the Seattle Seahawks, Starbucks Coffee and The Northwest Chocolate Festival (the reason for my trip). This will be my first visit to Seattle and I am very excited to eat and drink my way through the city. I’ll be there for less than 48 hours, so have made a short list of the foodie places I am going to visit.
Here is my plan:
Fran’s Chocolates: Fran’s makes the most delicious sea salt caramels you will ever eat. I’m planning to add them to the marketplace just in time for the holidays. Seattle is where these delicious treats are made and they have a Retail, Production and Viewing area in Georgetown. I cannot wait to watch them prepare their famous caramel and look forward to trying at least one.
Pike Place Market: I’ve heard a lot about the guys who throw the fish in the market. I look forward to that and exploring the many other artisan and food retailers in the market. Maybe I’ll find something new to add to the marketplace.
The Chocolate Box: Featuring chocolates and wines from local makers this shop is a must visit! I look forward to seeing what the locals are making before going to the festival which features chocolate makers from around the world.
The Northwest Chocolate Festival: I am going to try to maintain some composure at the Chocolate Festival and not eat too much chocolate. I don’t think that will actually be possible but I’m going to give it a try.
I’ll be sure to let you know about all of the wonderful foods I discover on my adventures out west.
A Happy, Healthy & Sweet New Year September 18 2015
L’Shana Tova 5776! This week marked the beginning of the New Year on the Jewish calendar. As with most Jewish Holidays, there are certain foods associated with this holiday. We typically eat apples dipped in honey and just about anything else that is sweet. Here is a delicious recipe for Chocolate Honey Cake. I used the Portland Farmland Honey from Bee Local. It is new to our marketplace and super delicious. Read more about Bee Local here.
Chocolate Honey Cake with Bee Local Portland Farmland Honey
Makes one 9-inch loaf cake
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ cup Bee Local Portland Farmland Honey
2/3 cup light brown sugar
½ cup orange juice
1 cup mini chocolate chips
-Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. Melt the unsweetened chocolate in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time stirring in between. Set aside
-Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
--In a larger bowl, beat the eggs and add the oil and Bee Local Portland Farmland Honey. Then add the brown sugar and chocolate chips.
-Alternately add the dry ingredients and the orange juice. Stir in ¾ cup of the mini chocolate chips.
-Pour the batter in to the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips over the top.
-Bake on lower rack of the oven for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for about 15 minutes. Gently run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake, then remove it from the pan.
To Salt or Not To Salt? August 21 2015
I’ve been doing a lot of research this week on artisan salt producers. There are some really great ones out there and I am searching for the perfect salt to add to the marketplace. While looking at all of these wonderful salt makers I started thinking about if we really need salt and if our palettes have grown accustomed to too much salt.
One point is very clear, salt brings out the flavor in food. Don’t believe me? Take a slice of tomato, first try it without salt. Then add some salt and see how much more flavor that tomato has. Salt has even found its way in to sweets like our Sea Salt Milk Chocolate and Sea Salt Dark Chocolate from Rococo Chocolates.
I am a big fan of salt and as a young chef I was taught to season the ingredients all the way through a recipe. This helps to layer the flavor and have an end result of a really flavorful pot of soup, salad, tomato sauce, or whatever you might be cooking. With so many different types of salts out there, it is difficult to decide which one to use. In this post on Panna Cooking, Chef Sebastian Rouxel tells us why he prefers to bake with kosher salt. https://www.pannacooking.com/tips/kosher-salt-vs-sea-salt
I also prefer Kosher salt in my cooking, but definitely have a variety of sea salts and finishing salts around to complete different dishes. Finishing salts have larger crystals so you just need a pinch on top of a dish. Which type of salt do you prefer to use in your kitchen? Do you think we use too much salt?
I’m going to continue looking for the best salt I am able to find to add to our marketplace as long as you promise to use it in your kitchen!
A Trip Across the Atlantic August 07 2015
I am getting settled back in to the Eastern Time Zone after travelling to London and the UK for a week. It was the perfect time to take this trip as it was super HOT in New York before I left and it is never really hot in London or England for that matter. It definitely made me appreciate the British summer with temperatures in the 60’s and the sun shining bright.
The trip was mostly for fun as I haven’t been back to London since I lived there. Even after 18 months, I was still able to find my way around and I still remembered the pin code for my bank card! One of the highlights of my trip was a visit to Rococo Chocolates. I was able to visit their shops in Marylebone and in Belgravia(where I used to work). The chocolate business is generally slower in the summer because who wants chocolate melting all over their hands, right? Rococo has come up with a brilliant alternative for the summer months, Rococo Chocolates flavored Ice Creams!!!!! I shared a Milk Chocolate Sea Salt with my son and it was amazing. He was literally licking the container.
We decided to take a break from the hustle and bustle of London and rented a car to drive out to the British Countryside. It is not such an easy feat to drive on the left side of the road and sit on the right side of the car. We survived and even stopped at Stonehenge as we made our way to the beautiful beaches of Weymouth. Our last day of the trip was spent in London catching up with lots of old friends.
It was great to be away but it is even better to be back. We have a lot of great new products coming to the marketplace at Julie’s Beet and I cannot wait to share them all with you.
The San Francisco Treat July 10 2015
You may remember the jingle, Rice-a-Roni, a San Francisco Treat!. I was in San Francisco last weekend and am happy to report the food scene has moved well beyond rice packets. In fact, San Francisco may just be my number two food city, behind New York City of course!
I had the pleasure of dining at Saison, where Chef Joshua Skenes is doing something amazing with food. Our table was a front row seat looking in to the pristine kitchen. The highlights of the meal for me were a battle creek trout complete with its roe and crispy skin, and a beet from their farm which had been cooked over the open fire. It tasted just like barbecue. A meal at Saison is definitely a splurge, but well worth it. The attention to detail is above and beyond and they do not miss a beat.
The other food highlight of my visit to San Francisco was a visit to the Ferry Building. The Ferry Building is home to the local Farmer’s Market three days a week and also has food stalls from many local food artisans. It is a great place to go to see what is up and coming in the food scene. California has a great climate for farming and artisans who care a lot about how their products are made. The Ferry Building Marketplace is a perfect way to showcase these products to the rest of the world. We did our best to taste a bit from everyone and made a fantastic picnic. We had coffee from Blue Bottle, cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, bread baked fresh from Acme Bread Company, chocolate from Dandelion Chocolate and fresh cherries and tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market. That made for a feast!
This trip out west has become an annual tradition for my family. I look forward to visiting San Francisco again next summer or perhaps sooner!
My Visit to the Fancy Food Show July 03 2015
If I had one word to describe the Summer Fancy Food Show at the Javitz Center in New York City, it would be amazing. If I had a second word, it would probably be overwhelming. The sheer volume of the show is enough to scare anyone away who doesn’t have a plan and a stomach made of steel, as I mentioned before there is A LOT of tasting.
The show opened Sunday and I decided to get there early to beat the crowds. It was a good idea as it was a rainy morning and the halls didn’t begin to fill up until around mid-day. I was able to walk up and down the endless aisles looking, tasting and chatting with the amazing vendors behind the amazing products. Luckily, I had a rough plan as to what I was looking for which made it easier to navigate the stands. Good news, I found a lot of terrific products for our marketplace. Some of the highlights from the show included Duck Fat Caramel (it really contains duck fat, I had to ask!), heritage popcorn and these fantastic lime-flavored biscuits from Spain.
In addition to all of the new products, it was nice to chat with the people behind some of our current products. Ioannis from World Excellent Products, the producers of FIVE Olive Oil, was at the show. They have some special products I look forward to introducing closer to the holidays. I also spent a lot of time with the team from Rococo Chocolates. This was their big debut in to the US Market and it was well received. They rolled out some new packaging at the show and I look forward to sharing that with you when the next shipment arrives. Due to the high temperatures in New York, that probably won’t be until the end of the summer. It will be worth the wait, I promise! Rick from Rick's Picks had a great stand as part of the New York aisle. I could have spent an entire day just chatting with these local artisans. I am so lucky to live in a city with an emphasis on quality artisan products!
With tired feet and a full stomach, I left the show on Tuesday feeling very satisfied with my experience. I am excited to expand our selection of artisans and look forward to introducing them to you very soon.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend.
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