Vegan Eating During the Holidays January 05 2018
Although it may seem like a daunting task, with a little preparation and planning, remaining vegan during the holiday season is really quite easy. With so many amazing vegan products on the market, and hundreds of quality vegan recipe blogs on the internet, creating a bountiful and satisfying holiday spread has never been easier. I think it's fun to create vegan versions of traditional holiday recipes and share with my non vegan friends and family -- and in most instances with baked goods and foods where meat isn't the main ingredient, many cannot distinguish the difference between the traditional recipe and the vegan recipe. As for almost everything, preparation is key, and making sure that you have the correct supplies and ingredients on hand is essential. Experiment with new recipes and ingredients, and ask your loved ones to help you with preparation -- this makes cooking more fun and highlights the magic of the holiday season.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2018!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sneak Peak - New Year's Eve Menu December 30 2016
I am busy getting ready for our annual New Year’s Eve Celebration. I’ve decided to give you a sneak peak at this year’s menu. How many products from our marketplace can you spot?
I may add a few other surprise items to keep it interesting. For those of you attending… come hungry!
Happy New Year!
Devilled Eggs with La Boîte Izak N. 37 & Rick’s Picks Hotties
Caviar with traditional condiments(egg white, egg yolk, chives, red onion, crème fraiche)
Smoked Fish from Barney Green Grass with lemon wedges, toast points and crackers
Cheese Plate with Paul and Pippa Don Manchego and Tomato Bravo Biscuits
Baked Brie in Puff Pastry with Gus & Grey Jam
Simple Pizzas with Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce( cheese, mushroom & truffle oil)
Tiny But Mighty Microwave Popcorn
Rococo Chocolates Dipped Pretzels and Strawberries
Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcake Menorah
Cheers! Berry Pomp Punch Recipe December 16 2016
We’re just over 1 week away from Christmas and Hanukkah. While I’m looking forward to celebrating those holidays with family and friends, I am actually focused more on New Year’s Eve. We have a tradition of hosting the New Year’s Eve festivities at our home. The tradition has changed a bit over the past 2 years now that I have two small children. The party that used to last until 2am and beyond now begins at 6pm and everyone is gone by 10pm. It is great for my other friends with children and serves as the warm-up for those who have bigger and better plans afterward.
Each year my husband and his friend spend hours if not days and weeks trying to decide what will make the perfect punch. There used to be 2 punches that no-one drank but last year I limited them to one and it seemed to work out. We had guests drink every drop of that punch. This year I am going to make a suggestion by placing this recipe from P & T for Berry Pomp Punch out on the counter. It is the perfect punch for all of your upcoming holiday celebrations.
P&T Berry Pomp Punch
Makes 4-8 servings
2 bags P&T Berry Pomp Tea
350 mL Vodka
200 mL Fresh Lemon Juice
400 mL Cloudy Apple Juice
400 mL ginger beer
Orange Slices for Garnish
-Infuse P&T Berry Pomp Tea in vodka overnight
-Strain vodka into punch bowl
-Mix all ingredients together and serve with ice and orange slices
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
Place orders by Thursday November 17th for guaranteed delivery before Thanksgiving.
Visit our Showroom This Sunday October 21 2016
Is it summer or fall? The weather this week has me thinking of June or July but not October. As it turns out the weather will be more seasonal for our Fall Open House this Sunday. I’ve been busy all week getting the showroom ready. I hope you’ll be able to join the fun as we open our doors, welcome the fall and the busy holiday season ahead.
Here is a preview of all the excitement we have in store...
Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce Sampling: From 1:30-3pm, Stefanie, the creator of Due Cellucci Tomato Sauces, will be on site with her delicious sauces warmed up and ready to taste.
EssieSpice TamarindOh! Tequila Sunrise Punch: We are always looking for new ways to use our products and this recipe from EssieSpice is perfect. We’ll have a kid-friendly version as well.
Special Markdowns: We have a few specials cooked up for Sunday including Rococo Chocolates Bee Bars for just $1 each and Tiny But Mighty Popcorn at half-price!
Raffle Give Away: Enter to win a Big Apple Gift Set featuring all or our local artisans.
I hope to see you on Sunday. Here are the details one more time!
Julie’s Beet Open House
Sunday October 23rd, 11a – 5p
210 West 80th Street
New York, NY 10024
Good Bye Summer! September 02 2016
There is just something about being at the beach that relaxes me. Maybe it is the sound of the waves crashing on the beach or the feeling of the sand in my toes? Perhaps it is knowing that after my kids play at the beach all morning they’ll take the best naps ever? Or that since we have a grill my husband will be cooking dinner? I’m not sure what it is exactly but my family and I just returned from the most relaxing week on Block Island. We went to the beach every day and some days twice.
When I return from a relaxing week like last week, I always welcome the hustle and bustle of New York City to get me back to reality. I’m a bit less relaxed as I see the possibility of checking things off my To-Do List but I always have a better perspective than before a week away. I enjoy going back to all of our usual spots and just being home. My children love rediscovering their toys and they still take naps (thank goodness!). My husband still helps with dinner and we find a few minutes each day to unwind together.
This weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. My family and I are off for one last getaway before we get into the rhythm of the school year. It is sure to be another great weekend, hopefully as relaxing as the rest of them. Enjoy the last weekend of fun in the sun. Let me know where your adventures take you and if you find any good food gems!
Delicious Passover Foods April 22 2016
Tonight marks the beginning of the Jewish Holiday of Passover. This holiday celebrates the exodus from Egypt of the Jewish people and incorporates the story of Moses, Pharoh and the ten plagues. As with most holidays, there are a lot of special foods for Passover. Unfortunately for this holiday, there are a lot of foods to avoid. That doesn’t mean you cannot have something delicious during the holiday.
I’ve taken some of the products from the marketplace to make these holiday staples even better.
Matzoh Pizza is a favorite at my house. This year, we’ll be using Due Cellucci Traditional Tomato Sauce to top our Matzoh. Just spread the sauce over a piece of Matzoh and cover with your favorite toppings. Then finish with shredded mozzarella cheese. Put under the broiler in your oven for about 5-7 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Chocolate Toffee Matzoh is one of my favorite Passover desserts. When you have to cut out leavened foods, there isn’t much to feed a sweet tooth but this always does the trick. Cover a baking pan with aluminum foil and place a single layer of Matzoh on the foil. Next heat one cup butter or margarine with 1 cup brown sugar. Stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Pour over the arranged Matzoh. Place in a 350°F oven until the toffee topping is bubbling. Immediately sprinkle with one bag of chocolate chips. To make this even better we chopped up some Rococo Chocolates Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Artisan Bars and used them instead of Chocolate Chips. As the chocolate melts, spread it to cover the toffee layer. Cool in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, if you leave it too long it will become difficult to cut. Cut and enjoy.
If you are celebrating Passover, I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends and delicious food!
Cooking with Kids April 08 2016
One of my fondest memories growing up is cooking with my family. Whether it was baking with my grandmothers, grilling with my grandfather (he set a timer so we would have a perfectly cooked steak with perfect grill marks) or making dinner with my parents, I always enjoyed being around food and creating something from a recipe. As a parent now, I love cooking with my son and introducing him to new foods.
It is my son’s second birthday on Saturday. He had few requests for his party but high on his list were a chocolate cake and chocolate muffins. We made the cake and muffins yesterday. I have been cooking with children for years but am still amazed at how they manage to make a mess in the kitchen. We had a great time baking and hopefully he likes the finished product once it is decorated with lots of frosting. For the chocolate cake I used this recipe for chocolate cupcakes and baked it in a large cake pan for about an hour. Here is the recipe for the chocolate muffins.
Chocolate Chip Birthday Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup White Sugar
¾ cups chocolate chips (we used Rococo Chocolates Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Bar)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt
½ cup milk
½ cup vegetable oi
¼ cup chocolate chips (we used Rococo Chocolates Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Bar)
-Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper liners
-Combine flour, sugar, ¾ cup chocolate chips, cocoa powder and baking soda in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk egg, yogurt, milk, and vegetable oil until smooth. Pour into chocolate mixture and stir until batter is just blended.
-Fill the prepared muffin cups ¾ full and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.
-Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
These eggs are EGG-STRA Special March 25 2016
With Easter this weekend, I’ve got one thing on my mind… EGGS! Specifically I’ve been daydreaming about our Hazelnut Praline Quails Egg Crate and Superior Sea Gull “Fleur de Sel’ Salted Caramel Egg Crate. These delicious eggs were created by Rococo Chocolates for the Easter Holiday but became so popular they are now part of their selection available year round. One bite and you’ll agree we cannot limit the enjoyment of these eggs to this time of the year. You’ll find them in our marketplace year round as well!
These eggs are so realistic you’ll need to remind your friends they are the chocolate ones, not the ones you boil! A creamy hazelnut praline center is coated with milk chocolate and wrapped with a candy shell. The shell is painted to look identical to a real quail egg. The packaging in the crate makes the perfect gift!
These eggs are filled with a delicious and gooey Sea Salt Caramel. With just the right amount of salt added to the sweetness it is hard not to eat the entire crate. These Sea Gull eggs make the perfect gift for anyone living near the coast. They will be enjoyed by adults and children alike!
I hope everyone celebrating Easter has their share of delicious chocolate eggs and the hardboiled ones as well!
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!
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!
The Crown Roast January 22 2016
I’ve always been impressed by the presentation of a Crown Roast of Lamb(or veal or pork for that matter). It seemed really intimidating to make but I was eager to accept the challenge. When I decided to host a dinner for Christmas, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to go for it! I did my research and ended up adapting a recipe from the book Meat, Everything you Need to Know by Pat La Frieda. I figured a celebrated butcher wouldn’t lead me in the wrong direction for this ambitious meal.
I am pleased to report the Crown Roast was a success both in terms of how it was presented and how it tasted. The recipe said it would serve 10-12 and we were only 8. There were very few leftovers which I take as a compliment and glad everyone was up for the challenge of consuming the delicious piece of meat.
Click HERE for the recipe.
New Year = New Resolution January 08 2016
I am still amazed that we are in 2016! It is going to be another exciting year. I am sure many of you have resolutions for the New Year. As I have been quite busy with Julie’s Beet and a few other side projects I’ve decided to focus on just one resolution for 2016. It was tough to narrow down the list but here it is.
My resolution for 2016 is to be more organized. I know I am probably not the only one with this resolution but here is how I plan to tackle it.
- Put everything away in its proper place. That means everything from hanging up my jacket in the closet to filing important papers, instead of just making a stack on the floor. The hope is having less clutter with physical items I’ll be able to have a clearer picture of what needs to happen.
- Make Lists! I already do this sometimes but need to do it all the time. Typically if I write something down I have a better chance of remembering to actually do it. A daily to-do list or a grocery list make the smallest tasks more manageable. By having the items written down, I won’t have to spend time wondering what I forgot or worrying that I am missing something.
- Storage...I guess this goes back to number 1 but when everything has a proper place it is much easier to find something and also prevents items from going missing. I plan to get proper storage for the items that clutter my life. Then I won’t have to spend time looking for my keys, my phone and that piece that is missing from my son’s puzzle!
If you have any other recommendations on how I can organize my life better in 2016 please send them my way.
Happy 2016 and Happy Friday!
Wedding Bells October 16 2015
This weekend I am off to a family wedding and it got me thinking about my wedding. There are so many details that go into planning the perfect event and everyone’s idea of perfect is different. You may be one of those people who look at all of the little details or take a more laid back approach and just focus on the joy of the occasion.
I like to think I took an approach somewhere in the middle. The details were very important to me as I think that is what made the day unique to my husband and myself. We wanted all of our guests to feel the joy of the occasion so had some sparkling wine waiting for them as they entered. We wanted them to feel warm as they went back out in to the winter night so had coffee, hot chocolate and cookies waiting on the way out. We also had some La Boîte Spices as our wedding favors so our family and friends could remember the day even after they left the party.
While I take a lot of pride in organization and the fine details, on my wedding day I did what I tell all brides to do(and is advice given to me by someone very wise although I cannot remember who!)… Enjoy your day, no one knows what all of the details are supposed to be except you. Let them think everything is how you planned and everyone will have a great time! This is advice that can be applied in any situation from a simple dinner party to a large event. It worked for me that day and I still use the advice when planning events, like our Open House coming up on Halloween. I hope you’ll be able to join and have a great time tasting delicious products from our marketplace. I promise to have a great time so you can enjoy yourself as well!
I am sure Rachel & Brian’s wedding will be flawless this weekend. I’m looking forward to a fantastic weekend with my family. I hope you enjoy yours!
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.
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.
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