Very useful Eggs, A Christmas Brunch Recipe December 15 2017
Eggs are a very useful product in my kitchen… my family will eat them hard boiled, fried and scrambled. This recipe for a brunch frittata is a great way to use up leftover pasta and any vegetables you have hanging around in your refrigerator. It is easy enough to make in the morning but can also be made the night before and warmed or served at room temperature. The perfect breakfast for Christmas morning after opening all of your presents.
Brunch Frittata with Semolina Artisanal Pasta
Makes 6 servings
8 oz piece of Semolina Artisanal Pasta Strozzapreti
8 oz fresh spinach
3 Tablespoons olive oil
8 large eggs
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
-Cook Semolina Artisanal Pasta Strozzapreti according to package directions.
-Preheat oven to 350°F. Crack eggs into a large bowl and beat together. Season with salt and pepper.
-In a 10 inch non-stick pan, warm olive oil. Quickly sauté spinach in pan, add the cooked pasta and mix together. When the pan is hot again add the beaten eggs. Let cook slowly over medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Avoid stirring the egg as you want a crust to form on the bottom of the pan. Add the cheese to the top of the mixture and place in pre-heated oven.
-Bake for 8-12 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through and the cheese is melted.
-Let rest in pan for 5 minutes. To remove place a large plate on top of the pan and flip over. Cut into wedges to serve.
The Magic of the Holidays in NYC December 08 2017
As I was walking down the street on Thanksgiving I saw someone setting up to sell Christmas Trees. That is when it dawned on me that the holiday season has begun. New York City is a magical place to be during the holidays; I understand why everyone wants to visit. The city is buzzing for the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas as the tourists come to shop, dine and see the sights. Here are some of my favorite happenings this time of the year. Be sure to add them to your to do list if you live in New York or are just visiting.
Winter Village at Bryant Park – This outdoor market has become very upscale in the past few years. Browse vendors for the perfect gift and then sit and watch the ice skaters while you taste your way through the different food options. If you have little ones with you that don’t want to ice skate, check out the carousel.
The Shops at Columbus Circle – The lights hanging in the shopping center will always have a special meaning to me during the holidays. When I worked at Bouchon Bakery, I got to see the light display everyday. I could hum the tunes to you note for note. Luckily I’ve forgotten the songs but have fond memories of people sitting down with a hot chocolate and a cookie to see the light show in the afternoons.
Rockefeller Center – This is one Christmas Tree you don’t want to miss. It is impressively large and decorated to perfection. Check out the tree while shopping, ice skating or on your way to Radio City to see the Rockettes(another one of my favorite NYC Holiday happenings).
The Holiday Train Exhibit at the NY Transit Museum Annex – Visit Grand Central Station and take a detour to this amazing model train. There are dozens of trains going around the tracks and even if I didn’t have a some who is obsessed with trains I would still find it interesting. Grab a bite to eat on the downstairs concourse. The options have improved in the past few years.
Don’t forget to spend time with Family and Friends this holiday season as well. And if you make the trip to NYC on a Friday be sure to stop by our showroom. We’ll be open for all of your holiday shopping needs.
Our Holiday Gift Guide is Here! November 17 2017
It’s gift giving time and we want to make that as easy as possible for you. Here is our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide filled with goodies for everyone on your list from Grandma Terry to Baby Felix. Well, maybe not the baby but you get the idea!
GIFTS OF WARMTH
The holidays are filled with gatherings of friends and family that give us the warm fuzzies. Here are a few gifts that will literally warm you up from the inside out.
P & T Tea Bags: Our selection of teas from this German tea producer include Tip of the Morning, a traditional black tea blend; Berry Pomp, a fruit tea made from dried berries; Pu Er Bai Ya, a pure Chinese white tea guaranteed to warm you all of the way through; and Mighty Green Tea, a rich Japanese Sencha green tea full of all of those components guaranteed to improve your health.
Undone Chocolate Cacao Tea: This is drinking chocolate’s lighter cousin. While still having a distinct chocolate flavor Cacao Tea is much lighter than rich drinking chocolate making it perfect to sip on later in the day. If you’re feeling especially festive, use the cacao shell tea as an infusion in your favorite vodka to have a Chocolate Martini when celebrating with friends.
Rococo Chocolates Drinking Chocolate: Winter wouldn’t be complete without a delicious cup of rich drinking chocolate. This mix from Rococo Chocolates is pure dark chocolate making it perfect to mix with water or milk for a very rich drink sure to warm you on the coldest days. The drinking chocolate can also be substituted in your favorite recipe in place of cocoa powder making that chocolate treat even more indulgent.
D.a.T. Sauce: This hot sauce provides a different kind of warmth using chilis to warm you up. We’ve done a lot of testing and this hot sauce is great on EVERYTHING! The perfect size for a stocking stuffer, pick up a bottle or 3 to give to your favorites this year.
GIFTS OF HOSPITALITY
The holidays are all about taking care of the ones you love whether it be at your place, theirs, or an impressive destination. These gifts are all about spreading the hospitality that comes along with the festive season.
The Matzo Project Matzo Crackers: These crackers might scream Passover but are actually perfect for Hanukkah, Christmas, Festivus and the New Year. They make the perfect vessel for the rich, stinky cheese at your cocktail party or pair them with cream cheese and smoked salmon as a perfect brunch item. With their quirky packaging these Matzo Crackers are also the perfect conversation piece during those slightly awkward moments at your neighbor’s holiday gathering.
Pasta Tonight Gift Set: This gift set contains Semolina Artisanal Pasta Strozzapretti, Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce and FIVE Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The combination of the three products makes an amazing and easy weeknight meal but are also special enough to serve for a festive meal. Add a bottle of red wine and await you’re all set!
Essie Spice Sauces: Essie’s sauces liven up any event starting with your taste buds. Try the rich and savory Coco for Garlic or sweeten your dish up a bit with a splash of TamarindOh!. This year Essie expanded her line beyond sauces introducing her Fi:Ye Collection. This collection includes handmade items for the kitchen and the table. The Fi:Ye Small Dinner Plates are the perfect addition to your holiday table-scape. Head over to Essie’s site to learn more about this amazing project.
GIFTS OF JOY
The joy of the holiday season should be spread around all day, every day. These items are perfect to pop in your bag for the unexpected meeting with a friend or to treat yourself to a little joy while out doing your holiday shopping.
Tiny But Mighty Microwave Popcorn: It doesn’t get easier than popping a bag of popcorn into your microwave and hitting start. Pop ahead of time and pack in your bag for a delicious snack on the go. If you don’t finish the entire bag, don’t fret, use the remaining kernels to make a garland to decorate your tree.
Nuts About You Ranch Salad Almonds: While Ranch Salad sounds more like a summer staple, these almonds are great year-round. Enjoy their great taste and the energy coming from this super food. We’ve found these to be the perfect size to tuck inside your ski jacket for a quick snack before your next run.
Rococo Chocolates Holiday Bars: The flavors Gingerbread Spice Milk Chocolate, Christmas Pudding Dark Chocolate, Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh Dark Chocolate and Moroccan Mint Dark Chocolate scream Happy Holidays! The packaging is so beautiful you don’t even need to worry about wrapping paper. Perfect for everyone on your list big and small.
We are also able to curate custom gift sets to fit your needs. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917.951.6527 for more information.
Award Winning Apple Pie Recipe November 03 2017
I often here the saying ‘It runs in the family’ when people are referring to common traits like athleticism or beauty. I’ve always known that making, and eating, good food runs in my family. This was confirmed a few weeks ago when my mother won an apple pie contest. You’ll find the winning recipe below.
The 9th Annual Apple Pie and Dessert Contest was held on September 24th at the Home & Remodeling Show at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Sponsors for the event were STL Moms and Dads, STLToday, and Sububarn Journals. My mom decided to make her pie recipe in a new pie pan the week before the judging. The risk paid off and she came home the winner with her Apple Crumb Pie. You can view the all of the winning recipes here.
Congratulations Mom and thank you for passing along your cooking genes!
APPLE CRUMB PIE
1 9 inch pie crust, baked
5-6 large Jonathan apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 c sugar, divided
2 t cornstarch
1 t cinnamon
¾ c flour
1/3 c butter, softened
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, mix together ½ c sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Toss with apples. Mound into prebaked pie crust. Mix together remaining ½ c sugar and flour. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over apples. Bake in preheated oven 40-50 minutes until golden brown. Best served warm and the day it is made.
One Handed Snacks for Busy People October 20 2017
I just read a great post about snacks you can eat with one hand. While it was intended as for new mothers with little or no time on their hands, I feel it can also be applied to those of us who are generally busy. I have found that being organized and planning ahead makes everything better especially when it comes to meal planning and putting healthy food in your mouth. All of these suggestions are for items that can be prepared ahead of time. Here is a list of some of my favorite one-handed snacks (or meals as it may be!).
- Mini Muffins: Take your favorite muffin recipe and bake them in miniature sizes. Don’t forget to adjust the baking time since they are smaller they won’t take as long to bake. These also make great snacks for kids.
- Smoothies: Mix veggies, fruits, yogurt, and milk in a blender and puree. This is perfect for using any fruits or vegetables that you don’t think you’ll eat before they go bad. Some combinations turn out better than others but you can drink it through a straw quickly and get lots of energy.
- Trail Mix: This is one of my very favorites. I typically mix almonds, raisins and chocolate chips but feel free to add other nuts and dried fruits.
- Hard Boiled Eggs: Eggs are an excellent source of protein and you don’t always have time to whip up a fancy omelet. Cooking them hardboiled in advance makes the perfect breakfast, lunch, or snack. I started eating hard boiled eggs when I tried the Paleo Diet many years ago and it is one of the habits that has stuck.
- Pre-cut vegetables, fruit or cheese: pair these with a healthy dip like hummus or eat on their own. As a chef, I used to think it was silly to cut something up ahead of eating it but when you’re really hungry and barely have a hand to eat with it can be a lifesaver.
Let me know if you have any other tips for snacks that are easy to eat on the go.
Olives Straight from Greece September 29 2017
We’ve been working with Hellenic Farms, an importer of specialty Greek Foods since we opened. They are the importer of the delicious FIVE Olive Oil from World Excellent Products. When we wanted to add olives to our marketplace it made sense to see what Vivianna at Hellenic Farms had to offer and we weren’t disappointed. The team at Hellenic Farms recently started producing their own line of olives and we are thrilled to have them as part of our marketplace.
The Pitted Kalamata Olives are in a large variety in a vinegar brine. They are harvested by hand in the fall and naturally cured to keep their exceptional taste and premium quality. Kalamata Olives are a staple of Greek Cuisine, found commonly in a Greek Salad but also paired with fish. Here is a great recipe for Olive Chocolate Tapenade using Kalamata Olives. It is super quick and will impress your guests!
The Greek Green Olives from Hellenic Farms are of the Chalkidiki variety. They are premium quality olives from the groves in Northern Greece and are also harvested by hand. These green olives are firm in texture and mild in flavor. Hellenic Farms ensures they are carefully processed to maintain their nutritional value and distinctive taste. Green Olives are great snack but also perfect in a martini.
I always have a jar of each of these olives in my pantry. They are perfect to put out for an unexpected guest or add to the latest dish I am cooking. I hope you’ll enjoy them too.
New Product Alert - Gourmet Matzo Ball Soup September 08 2017
Just in time for the coming Jewish Holidays, I am happy to welcome The Surprisingly Delicious Matzo Ball Soup Kit from The Matzo Project to our marketplace. If you’ve tried their Matzo Crackers you know this isn’t going to be your typical Matzo Ball Soup. The geniuses over at The Matzo Project have once again succeeded at turning something that could taste like cardboard into something gourmet!
This Matzo Ball Soup Kit has almost everything you’ll need to make the matzo balls and the broth. You just need 4 tablespoons of oil (slightly more or less if you are interested in making sinkers or floaters), 2 eggs and water. There are three easy steps to follow on the back of the box and it really is that simple. The mix is vegetarian, low fat, and contains no MSG, Trans Fats or anything artificial. It doesn’t get much better than that, unless it is grandma’s homemade matzo ball soup. The signature Grandma from The Matzo Project is pictured on the box sitting atop of a bowl of her delicious soup.
My family likes to have Matzo Ball Soup every Friday night. I made the switch a few weeks ago to this mix without telling them. They were all smiles when they tried it and I am sure your family will be too. Order some now for your holiday meal and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Super Easy Peach Cobbler August 25 2017
As you’re well aware by now, I truly enjoy all of the fresh produce that comes along with the summer. Peaches are one of my favorite fruits and they’ve been really delicious lately. I made this super easy Peach Cobbler last weekend to bring to friends. It is the perfect dessert to serve a crowd. Make it really easy on yourself and cook it in an aluminum pan so you don’t have to worry about bringing anything home. Make the cobbler even better by serving it warm topped with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.
Find the recipe below!
Easy Peach Cobbler
Makes 10 serving
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of Salt
1 cup milk
4 cups fresh peach slices
1 tablespoon lemon juice
-Melt butter in a 9 x 13 inch pan
-Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter, DO NOT STIR.
-Combine remaining 1 cup sugar, peaches, and lemon juice in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat stirring constantly. Pour over batter, DO NOT STIR.
-Bake at 375°F for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or cool.
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.
Sweet & Smoky Pecan Pie Recipe July 28 2017
A couple of weeks ago we celebrated National Pecan Pie Day. While summer may have you thinking more about strawberry pie and ice cream, this recipe is too good to not to share. We use the Bee Local Cherry Wood Smoked Honey which has just the right amount of smokiness to compliment all the sweetness in the pie. You can serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to cool things off. I guarantee, you will not be disappointed.
Southern Pecan Pie with Bee Local Cherry Wood Smoked Honey
Makes 6-8 Servings
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup Bee Local Cherry Wood Smoked Honey
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 unbaked pastry shell(9 inch)
½ cup pecan halves
-Preheat oven to 350° F.
-In a small bowl combine the sugar and flour. Stir in the eggs, Bee Local Cherry Wood Smoked Honey, butter, vanilla, & salt. Add the chopped pecans a mix well. Pour into pastry shell. Arrange pecan halves in a design on the top of the filling.
-Cover edges of pastry with foil. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 20-25 minutes. A knife inserted into the center of the pie should come out clean.
-Cool on a wire rack and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
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.
We're on #WestSideWednesdays July 14 2017
A few months ago I let you know about a cool opportunity I had to make a video with one of our customers. Annette Akers is a real estate agent and neighborhood experts so I was thrilled when she asked me to be a part of her YouTube Series called West Side Wednesdays.
Our episode is now live on YouTube for all of the world to see. You can view it HERE!
If you are planning a visit to New York City be sure to check out Annette’s other episodes for some great secrets of the Upper West Side.
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.
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.
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.
Join us at Grand Bazaar NYC June 02 2017
Today I’m busy getting ready for our first trip to Grand Bazaar NYC. Actually, I’ve been to Grand Bazaar NYC many times as a customer but this will be my first time on the other side, selling products from our market place. Grand Bazaar NYC is the largest curated weekly market in New York City. You’re sure to find amazing items from local artists, antiques, collectibles, and edibles. This Sunday, June 4th, is International Food Day at Grand Bazaar NYC. We’ll be joining over 20 other artisanal food vendors in celebration of this day of fantastic food.
If you are in New York City and looking for something to do this Sunday, we hope you’ll join us. Grand Bazaar NYC is located at 100 West 77th Street, at the Corner of Columbus Avenue. The bazaar is open from 10am-5:30pm. Please stop by and say hello, shop our market place and enter a chance to win a gift set full of my favorites from our marketplace.
Where's the Beef? May 25 2017
Every Sunday evening my family sits down for dinner together. It is one of the few times during the week that this happens so I always try to cook something delicious and something that everyone will eat. That is more of a challenge than you would think when you are feeding a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. This past Sunday I made a brisket and it was good, I mean really good. So good in fact, that my husband asked what I did differently. We’ve been ordering from a new butcher called Grow and Behold. It is pasture-raised Kosher meat and you can taste the difference. This particular cut was called ‘Second Cut Brisket’. I mostly ordered it because I wanted to make a brisket and it was the right size for my family.
All this talk about what the piece of meat is called got me thinking about where does it actually come from. Here is a quick guide to a few of my favorite cuts of beef and how to prepare them. I’m going to keep it simple but if you want to dig further, I highly recommend the book Meat; Everything you Need to Know by Pat LaFrieda.
BRISKET – Cut from above the front legs of the cow, this cut is perfect for braising. Traditionally used for corned beef or smoking.
FILET MIGNON – A very ‘fancy’ cut of beef. This comes from the loin of the cow. It has a melt-in-your-mouth texture and is quite elegant. There are a wide range of preparations from sautéing to grilling.
SKIRT STEAK - This cut comes from the plate(belly) of the cow. It is great when marinated and then grilled. When you are slicing, be sure to cut against the grain.
RIB-EYE STEAK – Cut from about the ribs of the cow….with a generous amount of marbling, this cut is rich, tender and juicy. It can be prepared in a variety of ways but my favorite is simply putting it on the grill.
I hope this gives you some insight into the beef you’ll be cooking up this weekend for the unofficial start of summer.
Buzz, Buzz... Save the Bees May 19 2017
The spring brings the birds and the bees to mind as the flowers are blooming the sun warms everything up. Bees are a very important part of our agriculture system and there has been a big movement lately to save the bees. J. Crew has a ‘Save the Bees’ t-shirt with 50% of the profits being donated to helping the bees. There is a message on our box of Honey Nut Cheerios to ‘Bring Back the Bees’. According to the Cheerios website they will be looking to turn 60,000 acres of oat farms into homes for bees providing over 3000 acres of habitats with wildflowers that allow these pollinators to thrive. Our friend at Bee Local honey take their love of bees one step further.
Bee Local Honey was created to be a trusted and tasty honey company producing and sourcing only the most sustainable, healthy and uniquely delicious honeys in the country. Bee Local ensures their bees are not fed high fructose corn syrup and never use in-hive chemical treatments to heal the common ailments of the bees. This produces some really tasty honeys that have flavor profiles similar to chocolate or wine. Bee Local takes the flavor profile one step further with the creation of their smoked honeys.
The Cherry Wood Smoked Honey has notes of deep cherry, tobacco and leather in a robust flavor profile. This honey is created using a cold-smoking method by Chef BJ Smith of Portland’s Smokehouse Tavern Restaurant. The honey is a truly amazing way to add a lot of flavor to your cooking with little effort. Drizzle it over Fried Chicken or mix in your Hot Toddy for a tasty treat. We have used it to make Roasted Carrots and there weren’t any complaints about those. The Cherry Wood Smoked Honey is also great in a marinade for your chicken or pork before it hits the grill.
Remember the bees that work so hard to produce these amazing honeys when you are enjoying the nice weather this spring. Of course, we don’t want a bee buzzing around our picnic basket but we do need them in other areas of our lives.
I love you, Mom! May 12 2017
This Sunday is Mother’s Day, a day set aside to make our mothers feel extra special. As a child, I always appreciated what my mother did for me. As I got older, my sisters and I would try to make Mother’s Day something to remember. We would take my mom out for lunch or to get her nails done… something out of the ordinary to make sure she understood how much she meant to us. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I truly was truly able to appreciate everything my mother did for me.
This Sunday I will be celebrating my fourth Mother’s Day as mother. When I first became I mom I remember someone telling me ‘The days are long but the years are short.’ I now know how true that is. Being a Mom is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week position. You don’t get any time off, you may eat your meals standing up or on the move and it is very likely that by the end of the day you’ll end up with something on your shirt that you probably don’t want there (vomit, pee, glue, whatever!). Oh and you can say good-bye to any ‘free-time’ you ever thought you had. To be honest, it doesn’t sound all that fun but being a mother is one of the most rewarding roles I have ever played. The perks of being a Mom are not ever being alone (even when you are using the toilet), having the unconditional love of your children(in my case 2 amazing little boys) and watching your kids grow into a ‘real’ people.
I don’t think we’ll be doing anything too out-of-the-ordinary this Sunday and that’s okay with me. I know I’ll get to spend the day with the 2 boys that make me the mom I am and if I’m lucky they’ll let me give them lots of hugs and kisses. Be sure to tell you mother you love her this Sunday and every day!
Is it Ramp Season yet? April 21 2017
Spring is finally in the air here in New York. That means the flowers are blooming and spring’s bounty of vegetables is about to arrive at the farmer’s market. At my house, we always are on the lookout for ramp season. It is a short one so if you aren’t quick on your feet those ramps will be gone before you know it. You may be asking yourself, is a ramp a vegetable or the thing you use when you’re pushing your child in their stroller into a building?
Ramps are part of the onion family but aren’t leeks or shallots. They look a bit like a scallion but are slightly smaller with one or two long, broad green leaves. They taste stronger than a leek with the addition of a garlicky flavor. Ramps get a lot of hype because they are one of the first vegetables to poke through after the ground defrosts from the winter. If you haven’t tasted a ramp yet, keep your eyes peeled for them at your local greenmarket or your favorite restaurant. Chefs love their delicate and unique flavor. When I worked at db Bistro Moderne(many years ago) we would pickle 5 gallon buckets of ramps during their season so there would be some on hand year-round.
I’m still making plans for the ramps that will make it to my kitchen this season. Perhaps they will be sautéed with white wine and used as a ‘sauce’ over veal chops. Maybe I will chop them up and add them to a cheese omelet. To keep it simple I may just pair the ramps with pasta and olive oil. No matter what happens to those ramps , I am sure they are going to be delicious. I’ll be sure to report back on how my ramps get used. How do you like to cook or eat ramps?
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!
Purim Celebration March 10 2017
This Saturday night marks the beginning of the Jewish Holiday of Purim. This is one of the more festive holidays and is enjoyed by all ages. Children dress up in costumes similar to Halloween and there are often carnivals to celebrate the holiday. One big tradition of Purim is to give Mishloach Manot or Purim Baskets. Traditionally these consist of at least two different food items that are given to family and friends. Historically this was to insure everyone had enough to eat during the feasting portion of the holiday. These days it just adds to the celebration.
I am sure you already have your baskets set for this year but we do have a lot of great Kosher products in our marketplace that would be perfect for next year! I prefer to do homemade items and my kitchen has been busy this week with lots of baking to get ready for the holiday. Today we packed up our Purim Baskets and will deliver them to friends this weekend.This year, along with a hand decorated card by my 2-year-old, we included Grandma Terry’s Hamantaschen, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Rococo Chocolates Bee Bars. I am sure our friends will not be disappointed when they open their baskets of goodies.
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