Farmers Market Finds July 21 2017
This week began my ‘summer vacation’ on the beautiful island of Block Island. The island is full of beautiful beaches but I am beginning to discover there is a lot more that makes it a special place. While the island is small, about 8 miles by 4 miles, there is a lot to do.
This week I was really excited to visit the Farmer’s Market. It is held twice a week but on Wednesdays it is outside of the Spring House Hotel. The hotel restaurant did not disappoint on our dinner there earlier in the week stating they are a farm to table restaurant with an ocean view! The garden out back is pretty impressive so I had high expectations for the market. The produce at the market was top-notch and I came home with some Swiss Chard, Zucchini and Radishes. Follow our Instagram feed to find out what happens to those. I was surprised by the number of local artisans who set up shop at the market selling everything from baked goods to jewelry to clothes & Block Island Coasters. There were also musicians playing making the market an event for the entire family.
I hope I will visit the market again before heading back to New York. In the mean time, I am also excited to see what other hidden gems there are lurking around the island.
Getting Fancy at the Food Show June 30 2017
This past week the food scene took over New York when The Summer Fancy Food Show arrived at the Javits Center. In case you haven’t been the Fancy Food Show highlights amazing food products from around the world. I love going to see what is new and hot in the food world and to search out some amazing culinary artisans and products for our marketplace. This year’s show did not disappoint. There were two floors filled with food and there were not two booths that were the same.
I was able to check in with some of our current artisans at the show and find out what is new and exciting with them. I don’t want to give too much away but you’ll be seeing some new olives in the marketplace straight from Hellenic Farms. Hellenic Farms is an amazing importer and distributor of Greek foods and they took great care to keep the olives of the highest quality on the market. Tiny But Mighty Popcorn has an amazing new package design and also a new flavor of microwave popcorn! They also found a way to make the butter popcorn taste more buttery! The Matzo Project now has Matzo Ball Soup Mix available and they are debuting some chocolate covered Matzo in the fall. There is a lot of excitement to come with these great vendors.
I also had some time to explore and look for new gems amongst the many exhibiting at the show. Marshmallows, pretzels and cookies were among the favorite new lines I tasted. I also sampled a lot of different salsas looking for the perfect one. The show was filled with a variety of cold brew coffee options which kept me going as I marched through the many aisles. There is a trend currently of green or raw products. I also saw a lot of food produced for specific diets … paleo, gluten-free, etc. While it is amazing what they can do with some food ‘substitutes’ I definitely like to keep our products full of real ingredients. I’ll be sure to post about new products when they hit the marketplace. If you subscribe to our newsletter you’ll also be one of the first informed.
My legs and feet are glad the show is over. My taste buds are excited and my mind keeps imagining all the new gift sets we’ll be able to offer for your needs once the new products arrive. Until then….
Summer Camp Fun June 23 2017
This week my oldest son started summer camp. It has been really fun for him which is great! The tricky part for me has been figuring out what to pack in his lunch that he will actually eat. Now I’m sure you are thinking the son of a culinary professional must have a great palette. Not to disappoint you too much, but he’s three and is in a bit of a picky stage. He’ll eat almost anything if it can be dipped in ketchup and mayonnaise but condiments don’t pack particularly well in a lunch box. I turned to the internet for some ideas on how to make my child’s lunch more exciting and appealing. Here are some of my favorites.
- Take a traditional sandwich and make it interesting by cutting it into a favorite shape with a cookie cutter.
- Have a color theme for the lunch like orange with carrots, cheese, orange & goldfish crackers.
- Let your child order their lunch like from the room service breakfast menu that you place on your door.
- Don’t stick to traditional lunch items… try waffles, pancakes, or breakfast cereal to keep it interesting.
If anyone has any other ideas I am definitely open to suggestions.
Father's Day Gift Guide June 09 2017
With Father’s Day just over a week away I’ve been thinking about what to get my dad and my husband. For some reason dads are more difficult to shop for than moms. Here are some suggestions on what to give your dad this year instead of a tie!
For the GRILLING Dad: The Coco for Garlic and Tamarind Oh! Sauces from EssieSpice make great marinades and finishing sauces for anything you want to grill… chicken, beef, pork, even vegetables. You also cannot go wrong with a little bag of Pure Flake Salt from Jacobsen Salt Co. The perfect way to finish a nice juicy steak or piece of fresh fish.
For the SNACKING Dad: Does your dad just likes to chill out in front of the television watching the big game or movies? The microwave popcorn from Tiny But Mighty comes in a Butter and Kettle Corn version and is ready in 2-4 minutes. The Ranch Salad Almonds from Nuts About You also make a great snack and don’t forget a piece of Matzo from The Matzo Project topped with dad’s favorite cheese or spread.
For the DRINKING Dad: Does your dad start the day with a Bloody Mary or finish the day with a Martini? We have gifts for him too! The spice blends from La Boite make excellent cocktails, especially the Bloody Mary Spice Master Collection. The Green Olives from Artion Greek Foods are perfect in a gin or vodka martini.
Please place your orders by Monday June 12th for guaranteed delivery with standard shipping before Father’s Day.
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 😊
Matzo All Year Round! March 31 2017
This week I discovered that Passover may be coming sooner than I’d like. The big tip off was that everything at the Kosher Butcher was labeled Kosher for Passover. I won’t bore you with a Jewish History lesson but in a nut shell Passover is the holiday where we celebrate the Jew’s exodus from Egypt and retell the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments among others. Of course, the holiday has a lot of eating traditions and the biggest one for Passover is that we give up all leavened things. That means no cakes, breads, cookies, donuts, etc. for eight days. As you can imagine, that is a pretty tough endeavor for someone who love sweets! Luckily, there are some really delicious recipes to be made from Matzo that you almost forget it is Passover.
The recipe below for Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crunch is that good. I made it using The Matzo Project Salted Matzo from our marketplace. Feel free to expand on the recipe and top with candies and nuts of your choosing. It will only make the recipe better, I promise. Just like The Matzo Project Matzo, this recipe is good all year round!
Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crunch with The Matzo Project Salted Matzo
Makes approximately 30 pieces
4-5 pieces The Matzo Project Salted Matzo
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 12-oz bag chocolate chips
-Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
-Cover the baking sheet with The Matzo Project Salted Matzo, cutting and breaking as needed to fill all of the space.
-To make the toffee combine the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Once mixture comes to a boil, continue cooking and stirring for an additional three minutes to let the mixture thicken. Pour the toffee over the matzo, spreading with a spatula to make an even layer.
-Put pan into the oven a bake for 10 minutes or until toffee topping is bubbling over. Remove from oven and place on wire rack. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the pan. Let the chocolate soften for 3-5 minutes before spreading evenly over the toffee.
-Put the pan into the refrigerator for about 45 minutes to let the toffee and chocolate harden. Don’t leave in for too much longer as it will make it difficult to cut. Remove from the refrigerator and cut into squares.
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!
Friday the 13th Food Superstitions January 13 2017
Today is Friday the 13th! That may scare some of you and for others(the less superstitious) it is just like any other day. I did some research about food superstitions in honor of this day. Here are a few quirky ones I found.
SALT - If you spill salt you’ll get bad luck. To counter this throw salt over your left shoulder with your right hand.
ORANGES – Giving an orange to someone will make them fall in love with you.
TEA – Never put milk in your tea before the sugar otherwise you’ll never get married. Spilling your tea means a stranger is about to visit you.
COFFEE – If there are bubbles in your coffee, you should catch them with your spoon and eat them. Then you’ll come into money.
HOT PEPPERS – Never pass a hot pepper directly to a friend or it will end the friendship. Instead place the pepper on a table and let them pick it up.
PEANUTS – Don’t eat peanuts at any kind of performance. It is bad luck for the performers.
BANANAS – Don’t bring bananas on a ship it means you won’t catch any fish or the ship could get lost at sea.
Have a little fun with these when sharing food with your friends. Superstitious or not!