Life is a Picnic June 07 2017
The warmth outside shows that summer is nearly upon us. There is nothing better than spending a day outside, whether at the park or enjoying a beach day. Instead of cutting that time in nature short by having to look for food, I pack a delicious picnic full of fresh fruit, snacks, and crave-worthy sandwiches.
My current favorite is an easy-to-make chicken salad sandwich on golden brown Challah bread. You can use a home-made roasted chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken; either will work fantastically well. This recipe also gives you a chance to sneak some fruit into lunch for the kids, the crunch and slight sweetness balance the savory richness of the dressing.
Rosemary Chicken Salad
Makes 3-4 servings
1 small, roasted chicken
2 Tbsp Empire Mayonnaise Co. Rosemary Mayonnaise (to taste)
1 tsp lemon juice
A handful of sliced almonds
One medium-sized apple(pink lady, fuji, or gala are my favorites)
Bibb lettuce(optional, to garnish)
-Line a shallow baking sheet with your handful of almonds, toast until golden-brown, about 5 minutes at 350 degrees
-Carve the chicken into one inch pieces and place in a mixing bowl. I like to get a mix of white and dark meat
-Slice the apple into small batons
-Add the toasted almonds, apples, and lemon juice to the bowl
-Incorporate Empire Mayonnaise Co. Rosemary Mayonnaise and toss to coat
-Garnish Challah with two large bibb lettuce leaves
-Serve on your favorite sandwich bread
-Enjoy your sandwich in the sun!
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.
The San Francisco Treat July 10 2015
You may remember the jingle, Rice-a-Roni, a San Francisco Treat!. I was in San Francisco last weekend and am happy to report the food scene has moved well beyond rice packets. In fact, San Francisco may just be my number two food city, behind New York City of course!
I had the pleasure of dining at Saison, where Chef Joshua Skenes is doing something amazing with food. Our table was a front row seat looking in to the pristine kitchen. The highlights of the meal for me were a battle creek trout complete with its roe and crispy skin, and a beet from their farm which had been cooked over the open fire. It tasted just like barbecue. A meal at Saison is definitely a splurge, but well worth it. The attention to detail is above and beyond and they do not miss a beat.
The other food highlight of my visit to San Francisco was a visit to the Ferry Building. The Ferry Building is home to the local Farmer’s Market three days a week and also has food stalls from many local food artisans. It is a great place to go to see what is up and coming in the food scene. California has a great climate for farming and artisans who care a lot about how their products are made. The Ferry Building Marketplace is a perfect way to showcase these products to the rest of the world. We did our best to taste a bit from everyone and made a fantastic picnic. We had coffee from Blue Bottle, cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, bread baked fresh from Acme Bread Company, chocolate from Dandelion Chocolate and fresh cherries and tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market. That made for a feast!
This trip out west has become an annual tradition for my family. I look forward to visiting San Francisco again next summer or perhaps sooner!
A Quick, Easy and Delicious Appetizer July 02 2015
I’m always looking for shortcuts that make me look like I’ve spent all day in the kitchen. This appetizer is perfect for last minute guests or just something quick to put together before your schedule guests arrive. I won’t tell them how easy it is to prepare if you don’t!
Rick’s Picks Phat Beets Happy Appy
Makes 10 servings
8 oz. Fresh Goat Cheese, softened
Crostini or Crackers(To make your own, slice a day-old baguette into ¾” rounds. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil. Bake in a 400°F oven for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely)
Rick’s Picks Phat Beets cut in to 1” pieces
-Spread a teaspoon of goat cheese onto crostini or cracker.
-Top with Rick’s Picks Phat Beet
-Crown with blueberry, depending on availability
Pickles for your Holiday weekend Barbecue May 22 2015
Wow, I cannot believe it is already Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start to summer. It is time to start thinking about backyard barbecues, pool parties and picnics in the park. With that in mind, we are pleased to announce the addition of Rick’s Picks to the marketplace at Julie’s Beet.
Rick Field, founder and CEO of Rick’s Picks, started pickling at a young age making traditional pickles with his family in Vermont. Fast forward to the present and Rick is making a variety of pickles both traditional and unique new flavors. Rick brings innovation to a category that hasn’t seen change for a long time. All of the pickles are made of in season ingredients from local farmers.
Phat Beets – Aromatic Pickled Beets: We couldn’t pass up adding a beet product to our marketplace and these beets are delicious. They are sweet and tart with ginger and rosemary. Impress your friends this weekend by placing these slices on top of crusty bread and soft goat cheese.
Mean Beans – Spicy Green Bean Pickles: Some like it hot and these beans are perfect for that. Cayenne and fresh dill make sure these beans have a lot of flavor. Try adding one to your Bloody Mary or wrap with salami for a quick, delicious addition to your picnic.
Hotties- Spicy Sriracha Habanero Pickles: These pickle chips are packed with a punch. They make a great addition to your burger. Don’t forget to have a beer close by, the heat may take you by surprise.
K.O. Pickles – Kosher Organic Dill Pickles: A new addition to the Rick’s Picks family and ours as well. These traditional dill pickles are certified Kosher and Organic. On top of that they are really delicious. We recommend you put a jar out on the buffet table this weekend. You will not be disappointed.
Smokra – Pickled Paprika Okra: I have never been a fan of okra, but these pickles are helping to change that. The perfect balance of tang, zest & spice make this okra out of this world. Another great addition to your Bloody Mary or after you’ve eaten all of the okra, use the brine to marinate your brisket.
Have a great holiday weekend!
A Beginner’s Guide to Olive Oil April 24 2015
There are so many different kinds of olive oil out there it is easy to get confused. How do you know which type is best for you?
Here is a short guide to give you a better understanding of olive oil.
Olive oil is the fat obtained from an olive. It is traditionally used for cooking but is also found in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and soaps. Olive trees are typically grown in the Mediterranean and olive oil is often associated with this region.
All production begins by crushing the olives in to a paste. The paste is then mixed and finally the oil is separated from the watery matter and fruit pulp. This is traditionally done using a press but more modern producers use centrifugation.
Cold Press/Cold Extraction- the oil was not heated over a certain temperature during processing. This allows the oil to retain more nutrients.
First Cold Press/First Cold Extraction- The fruit of the olive was crushed exactly one time to make the oil.
Olive Oil Grades
Extra-Virgin- Comes from virgin oil production only, meaning the oil was produced by mechanical means, no chemicals were involved. It has a superior taste & some fruitiness. 80% of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is produced in Greece and it accounts for approximately 10% of all olive oil production.
Virgin- Also from virgin oil production but of a slightly lower quality. There is more acidity but still has a good taste.
Refined- Made by refining virgin olive oils with a high acidity. May be refined with chemicals. Most refined oils have a small amount of Virgin Oil added for flavor.
Organic- No chemicals were used to treat the olive trees or their fruit throughout the growing process.
There are hundreds of different varieties of olive trees resulting in numerous types of olives. These olives have different looks and can also vary on size, oil content and ripening time. All of these factors contribute to the flavor of an olive oil. Many say the varietal and maturity of the olive have the strongest effect on the taste of the olive oil.
FIVE olive oil is produced from Koroneki Olives. These olive characteristically have a deliciously robust flavor with a pleasant peppery zing on the finish. This is an obvious choice for FIVE Olive Oil since Koroneki trees have grown for over 3000 years in Greece.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil- Heating this oil over a certain temperature will compromise the flavor. We recommend serving an olive oil of this variety by drizzling over meats, fish, salads and bread.
Virgin – Cooking at temperatures below 375F. Also good for drizzling on vegetables, fish and meats.
Refined- Use in cooking at higher temperatures. If you want to cook above 400F canola or vegetable oil is better suited.
The collection from FIVE Olive Oils is of the highest quality. The oils are best enjoyed drizzled over your favorite dishes after they are finished cooking or over raw vegetables. As the weather warms up, we will have access to even more delicious ingredients that will be the perfect pairing for FIVE Olive Oils. Shop FIVE Olive Oil Here!
I’m looking forward to another beautiful spring weekend and perhaps another picnic in the park. I won’t forget to pack my FIVE Olive Oil!