The Big Apple October 23 2015
It is hard to believe it was 11 years ago that I packed up my things and made the move to the Big Apple, New York City. I was 25 with a sense of adventure and determination and had nothing to lose by following my dreams to make it in NYC. They say if you can make it here you can make it anywhere.
For the first few months I stayed with some friends in Westchester. I was taking a 5:15am train to be at the restaurant, db Bistro, where I worked by 6am. That’s early! It didn’t stop me from working hard and then going out and exploring the city in my ‘free time’. In a short time I had a room in an apartment on the Upper West Side and started making friends. A lot of my friends now, I met when I first moved to New York City. We were all young and looking to make a career for ourselves while also trying to have a good time! I can appreciate how much sleep I didn’t need back then.
Fast forward 11 years and I’m still living on the Upper West Side. I’m no longer renting a room in an apartment but making a home for my family. I still get up early, but at least I get to make my own hours, which means no 5am wake-up unless that is what I want. I don’t have too many nights out on the town but I still take advantage of all that New York City has to offer. I love getting together with my foodie friends. It is amazing the different paths we have taken from that tiny kitchen at db Bistro. A lot has changed in the past 11 years but one thing remains the same, my sense of adventure and determination. I am still committed to ‘making it’ in New York City and want Julie’s Beet to be a dream come true.
I really appreciate your support in my venture. I’m always open to advice, suggestions and words of encouragement. Feel free to comment or email. Enjoy the then and now pictures below!
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!
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 Lesson From My Dad June 19 2015
It is Father’s Day this weekend and that got me thinking about the ways my Dad has influenced me.
One thing I definitely learned from my dad is how to love food! My dad loves food and at his house nothing gets wasted. I remember taking a picture on a family vacation of him throwing away some leftovers. I guess they weren’t going to get eaten and there was no way to bring them home. My dad not only likes to eat good food but he also likes to cook. I love cooking with my dad because he is very creative in the kitchen, like I am. He’ll use a recipe as a guide and then likes to experiment with the ingredients. He often says things like “I’ve been thinking about making a sauce for our duck using rhubarb but I want to make it spicy.” or "What do you think about adding cheese to these potatoes?" We did make that rhubarb sauce for our duck and added some fresh jalapeños to make it spicy. It was delicious!
When I am looking for new products for the marketplace I often think about how my dad would use something. It guides me to products that are easy for people to enjoy. All of our products are great straight out of the jar, bottle or box but a lot of them are even better as part of a recipe. I’ll keep experimenting with the collection and pass along my winning recipes to all of you.
Thank you Dad for passing along your love of food and for your inspiration to experiment in the kitchen!
To all of the wonderful Dad’s out there, Happy Father’s Day! Enjoy this day all about you.
A Day in the Life of D.a.T. SaUce June 12 2015
By now, you are familiar with D.a.T. SaUce, the Louisiana hot sauce in our marketplace. It is a great blend of tomatoes, garlic, and spices with just the right amount of vinegar to keep you coming back for more. I was excited when an order came in last week for 4 bottles of the sauce. Someone is REALLY into this sauce and I wanted to figure out why. I’ve had a bottle in the refrigerator and tried it here and there but this was my cue to really figure out where to use D.a.T. SaUce. My goal was to try to use the sauce at every meal. Here’s what I learned.
8am – Breakfast
Usually this is yogurt and granola but I knew that wasn’t going to work with hot sauce so I made an omelet. I put some zucchini and cheddar cheese inside. It was delicious and even better when I poured a bit of D.a.T. SaUce on top. I’m not into super spicy so a little bit goes a long way for me. This was a winning combination and one that I would try again and again.
11am – Snack Time
I never quite make it directly from breakfast to lunch (or lunch to dinner for that matter) without a snack. What is a quick and easy snack that everyone loves? Pretzels! Would that work with hot sauce? The answer is YES. I dipped my pretzel sticks in D.a.T. SaUce and was surprised with the result. The extra salt from the pretzel balanced some of the heat and made a snack I really enjoyed.
1pm – Lunch
Today’s lunch was created from leftovers in the refrigerator. We used some leftover roast beef, asparagus & broccoli to make a little stir fry. I was tempted to use another spice from the marketplace but decided to stick with my experiment. Once again, D.a.T. SaUcE was a winner.
5pm – Snack Time
Trying to save room for the delicious dinner that was cooking in the oven, I opted for an apple as my afternoon snack. This is the one pairing with D.a.T. SaUcE that I will skip in the future. The apple was juicy and sweet and just didn’t marry well with the sauce.
8pm – Dinner
Following on the English Tradition, we typically have a Sunday Roast at our house. This Sunday was only slightly different as we made Red Wine Braised Short Ribs. You can find the recipe for the ribs here.
It is June, but the weather wasn’t too hot, so it was the perfect evening for such a comforting dish. Once again, D.a.T. Sauce was an excellent addition to the meal. I used it sparingly as the ribs were sooo delicious on their own. The heat and the vinegar from the hot sauce were a nice balance with the richness of the meal. We had a salad on the side to try to keep the meal moderately healthy.
It was a spicy day but you can see from my little experiment, D.a.T. SaUcE is good on just about anything. It is available in two sizes. If you still aren’t sure, go with the smaller one but I guarantee you’ll be coming back for more.
There’s More than Corn in Indiana June 05 2015
While Indiana might be famous for the delicious corn produced there, the saying is correct. There IS more than corn in Indiana. But to tell you the truth, I’ve never been able to visit the state without having at least one ear of corn.
I’ve been in Indiana this week spending time with my family at the lake. It is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of New York City, quite the opposite in fact. Our days include playing in the sand, swimming a bit and going for boat rides. The highlight of my trip is always our visit to Sweet Corn Charlie’s. This is the produce stand from the local farm which produces the best corn you’ve ever tasted. I’ve seen my dad and grandmother argue about who got the freshest corn from Sweet Corn Charlie’s. It doesn’t really matter when you get the corn, it is always delicious!
This year, I am even more excited about our visit to the produce stand because I am hoping to find something for the marketplace. I never know where I am going to find the next food gem for Julie’s Beet and sometimes I find the treasures when I least expect it. The best part is the adventure of looking and tasting.
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!
WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM MY MOTHER May 08 2015
“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” —George Washington
From a young age, I dreamt of success. I had a great role model in my mother. I didn’t fully appreciate how wonderful my mother was until recently. Now that I am trying to balance running a business with being a good mother, I definitely do.
Here are some lessons from my mother that I carry with me today.
- Be Confident – To accomplish your dreams, you need to put your best foot forward and not be afraid of the unknown. I’ve watched my mother go from working part-time for a company to becoming the COO of that same company. I watched her get there with confidence and, as a business owner, know I must do the same.
- Respect Others – This was the number one rule at our house, followed closely by no phone calls after 10pm. By respecting others you command the same respect for yourself. Respect leads to support from others. It is a lot easier to work with those supporting your goals than to work against them. This is as important in the professional world as it is in my personal life.
- Reach for the Stars – Being a girl from the Midwest, The Big Apple seemed like a really scary place to be. My mother encouraged me to set my goals high and go for it! I am glad I listened. I love living in New York City and could not think of a better home for Julie’s Beet.
- Family is the Most Important – I would not be where I am today without the support of my family. They have seen me through my successes and my failures. While they may not agree with every one of my decisions, I know they will always be there for me, as I will be for them.
- A Hug is a Powerful Tool – My husband will tell you I LOVE Hugs, maybe too much. After a good day or a bad day, to say ‘Hello’ or ‘Goodbye’ or when you do not quite know what to say, give a hug. You’ll feel better and so will the person on the other end of that hug.
This weekend we celebrate Mother’s Day. Take a moment to tell your mother you appreciate everything she’s done for you. If you aren’t able to put that in to words, a hug will do.
A Mother's Day Afternoon Tea fit for Royalty May 01 2015 1 Comment
It is almost Mother’s Day and I am sure you are trying to think of something original and unique to give to your mother. As a mother, celebrating my second Mother’s Day, I am able to tell you with confidence all your Mom really wants is to be treated like a queen for the day and to spend some quality time with her family.
Treat your mother like a real queen with a traditional English Afternoon Tea. You can serve this menu anytime of the day to make your mom feel like royalty.
The recipes you need are below.
Don’t forget flowers and a card that says ‘I Love You Mom!’
Place your orders for all of these great products before May 3rd to guarantee delivery by Mother’s Day. Don’t forget to use code SHIP4MOM for free shipping.
Plain Scones – From The Bouchon Bakery Cookbook
Makes 12 Scones
1 cup + 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 ¼ cups +2 tablespoons cake flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup + 3 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
8 ounces unsalted butter, cold, cut into ¼ inch pieces
½ cup + 1 ½ tablespoons Heavy cream
½ cup + 2 tablespoons crème fraiche
1 teaspoon large-crystal sparkling sugar
-Place the all-purpose flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and sift in the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and granulated sugar. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest setting for about 15 seconds to combine.
-Stop the mixer, add the butter, and, on the lowest setting (to keep the flour from flying out of the bowl), pulse to begin incorporating the butter. Increase the speed to low and mix for about 3 minutes to break up the butter and incorporate it into the dry mixture. If any large pieces of butter remain, stop the mixer, break them by hand, and mix just until incorporated.
-With the mixer running, slowly pour in the cream. Add the crème fraiche and mix for about 30 seconds, until all of the dry ingredients are moistened and the dough comes together around the paddle. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle and pulse again to combine.
-Mound the dough on the work surface, and, using the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper, push it together. Place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap, and, using your hands, press it into a 6-by-9 inch block smoothing the top. Press the sides of your hands against the sides of the dough to straighten them. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours, until firm.
-Line a sheet pan with a Silpat or parchment paper. Using a chef’s knife, cut the block of dough lengthwise into thirds and then crosswise in half. Cut each rectangle in half on the diagonal to make a total of 12 triangles. Arrange them on the prepared sheet pan, leaving space between them. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid, at least 2 hours but preferably overnight. (The scones can remain in the freezer for up to one month.)
-Preheat the oven to 325°F (convection) or 350°F (standard). Line a sheet pan with a Silpat or parchment paper.
-Arrange the frozen scones 1 inch apart on the sheet pan and brush the tops with cream. Sprinkle the top of each scone with a generous pinch of sparkling sugar. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes in a convection oven, 25 to 28 minutes in a standard oven, until golden brown. Set the sheet on a cooling rack and let cool completely.
The scones are best the day they are baked but can be stored in a covered container for one day.
Serve with your favorite Gus & Grey Jam.
Cucumber & Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches
Makes 4 servings
1 English Cucumber
8 oz soft Cream Cheese
8 Slices white bread
FIVE Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-Slice English cucumber into 1/8 inch thick slices
-Spread one side of each piece of bread with soft cream cheese
-Layer slices of cucumber on top of cream cheese on 4 slices of bread
-Drizzle FIVE Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top of the cucumbers
-Top with 4 remaining slices of bread
-Trim edges off the bread and cut each sandwich in to 4 pieces
Tomato & Mozzarella Cheese Tea Sandwiches
Makes 4 servings
2 Roma Tomatoes, sliced thin
8 slices Mozzarella Cheese
8 Slices White Bread
FIVE Estate Balsamic Vinegar
-place sliced tomatoes on a paper towel to absorb some of the liquid
-Layer 1 slice of Mozzarella Cheese each on 4 slices of bread
-Top with a layer of sliced tomatoes
-Drizzle FIVE Estate Balsamic Vinegar over the top of the tomatoes
-Top with 4 remaining slices of Mozzarella cheese and 4 remaining slices of bread
-Trim edges off the bread and cut each sandwich in to 4 pieces
Egg Salad with Izak N. 37 from La Boîte
Makes 4 servings
4 eggs, hard boiled
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Izak N. 37
Salt to taste
8 Slices White Bread
-peel and chop hard boiled eggs
-Mix eggs with mayonnaise, Dijon Mustard, Izak N. 37
-Add salt to taste
-Layer ¼ of egg salad mixture on each of 4 slices of bread
-Top with 4 remaining slices of bread
-Trim edges off the bread and cut each sandwich in to 4 pieces
Makes 24 Cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup orange juice, without pulp
½ cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
½ cup pieces Rococo Chocolates Sea Salt Milk (or Dark) chocolate bar
-Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pan with pan liners.
-In a large bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Add the orange juice, oil, vanilla and eggs. Mix for 2 minutes, until everything is thoroughly combined.
-Add the boiling water in 3 parts, gently mixing it in with a spatula or wooden spoon. If you are using an electric mixer be careful, the water splatters.
-Add the Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Pieces after the water is fully incorporated in to the batter.
-Pour in to prepared pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then transfer on to a rack to cool to room temperature.
-Once cool can be stored in plastic at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Makes approximately 20 cookies
½ cup margarine or butter
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 ¼ cup flour
-Preheat oven to 400°F
-In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
-Add baking powder and flour one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. The dough will be very stiff. It may be necessary to blend the last of the flour by hand. Do not chill the dough!
-Divide the dough in to 2 balls. On a floured surface roll each ball in to a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Dough should be 1/8 inch thick.
-Dip heart shaped cookie cutter (or whatever shape you choose) in flour before each use. Pick up dough around cut cookies. Place cookie onto ungreased cookie sheet using a spatula dipped in flour.
-Bake on top rack of oven for 6-7 minutes or until cookies are light brown. Remove cookies immediately from cookie sheet after taking out of the oven.
Why Our Artisans are so special! April 17 2015
What a week we have had a Julie’s Beet. It was very exciting to officially launch the site and your response has been phenomenal. Julie’s Beet wouldn’t be where it is today without the support of my family and friends. My husband has been especially important in the process and he definitely gets to hear more about the products than he wants to. He also has the benefit of tasting the delicious recipes I am have been making with them, so you do not need to be too sympathetic.
We also wouldn’t be where we are today without the support of our artisans. Here is why we think each one of these artisans was special enough to be a part of the launch collection.
La Boîte – Lior Lev Sercarz, the spice master behind La Boîte, has been an inspiration in the process of ‘building’ Julie’s Beet. He is truly passionate about his craft and you are able to taste that in each blend. Lior’s outstanding and unique spice blends will quickly become a staple of your pantry. More here…
Gus & Grey – These jams, jellies, marmalades and preserves are made with a lot of love in Michigan. Each jar is filled with small-batch recipes made by Tara Grey, the jam pimp behind Gus & Grey. Since I am from the Midwest, I was immediately drawn to Tara’s story and wanted to include something close to home in the launch. More here…
Rococo Chocolates – The chocolate combinations from Rococo Chocolates are out of this world. After working for this award winning chocolatier, it was a must have for the opening collection. Their chocolate is organic and they even have their own cocoa plantation on the island of Grenada. Rococo Chocolates is all about ‘Pleasure and Provenance’ keeping the chocolate delicious and paying close attention to each ingredient. More here…
World Excellent Products – Making olive oil has long been a tradition in Greece. Leave it to World Excellent Products to keep this tradition modern with their FIVE Olive Oil and Vinegar Collection. The olive oil is very fresh with a vibrant flavor and the packaging is so stylish! This winning combination made us jump at the opportunity to have World Excellent Products on Julie’s Beet. More here...
We are always looking for delicious products to add to the marketplace. If someone you know makes something really special please let us know. We will definitely give you credit for the introduction.
How to Throw a Party for 60 April 10 2015
This week we celebrated the first birthday of my son Hamilton. As he is my first child, I couldn’t let this occasion go by un-celebrated. Since our immediate family who live locally includes 25 people, we decided to go for it and invite our friends as well. To our surprise, everyone responded YES, so we had a big party on our hands. There were 60 guests, 35 adults and 25 children to be exact.
With my background in cooking and event management, the party came together well. Here is a guideline of how we were able to get everything accomplished and also enjoy the party.
Baguette Sandwiches – Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese, Grilled Vegetables & Goat cheese
Frittatas – Asparagus, Mushroom & Parmesan Cheese, Plain
Tea Sandwiches – Cheese, Cucumber and Cream Cheese
Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Pasta Salad
Banana Cake & Smash Cake
Sparkling Wine, Sparkling Water, Juice, Soda, Water
Four Weeks Ahead
Send out invitations – We used evite to make this easier. My grandparents who are in their 80’s and 90’s were able to figure it out, so this is definitely user friendly!
Three Weeks Ahead
Order all non-perishable items – You don’t want to be running around finding these items right before the party. And you definitely don’t want to pay for express shipping. Crossing this off my list early, allowed me to focus on other to-do’s closer to the party. This included paper cups, plates & napkins as well as plastic cutlery. I also ordered plastic table coverings, balloons, party favors and the decorations. We had a bubble themed party so the favors were bubble solution and bubble gum. I ordered some extra bubble gum to have out during the party.
Two Weeks Ahead
Confirm guest count
Put together party favors – When entertaining a big group, it is important to plan ahead. The favors can be made weeks in advance (unless it is something perishable) and will save you a last minute headache at party time.
Make a prep list – The prep list (a to-do list) is something I’ve used since my days of working in a kitchen. It is a list of everything that needs to get done. By looking at each project (item on the list) I was able to prioritize and also make a plan of what could happen ahead of time.
One Week Ahead
Purchase the food - Make that trip to the supermarket or order online or both. Since my son was born, I have learned to love the convenience of grocery delivery. The only downside is that sometimes you get potatoes instead of eggplant or they forget to deliver something entirely. I had my groceries delivered 4 days before the party to be safe. I still made trips to the grocery store three times after that, but it was nice to have the bulk of everything delivered.
I also ordered the baguettes for the sandwiches about a week ahead. This way I could relax on party day and not stress about getting to the bakery early so they would have what I wanted.
Three Days Ahead
Cook Pasta for Pasta salad, prep vegetables
Prep scones and put in freezer, I used the recipe from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook which has you freeze the dough ahead of baking!
Two Days Ahead
One Day Ahead
Make Fruit Salad
Frost & Decorate Cupcakes
Pick up smoked salmon
Get out all platters and serving utensils needed
Set up the bar
Chill beverages (it was cool enough on party day that we were able to chill the beverages outside!)
Set out tablecloths and decorations
Pick up Bread & ice
Set out Food & Beverages
During the party I was able to mingle with my guests and spend time with my son. It was nice to have a few close friends offer to help and I took them up on their offers. People want to be included so don’t say NO to help. I wouldn’t ask someone to do my dishes or take out the trash, but cutting the cake and setting out the favors are definitely within reason.
Happy First Birthday Hamilton! Hopefully in one year, I’ll be celebrating the first anniversary of Julie’s Beet.With this guide, I’ll be able to put the party together in no time!
Spring is in the Air April 03 2015
Wow, I cannot believe it is already April. I saw some flowers poking through in Central Park when I went running this week, a sure sign that warmer weather and spring is on the way. This weekend includes Good Friday, Easter and the beginning of Passover, another sign that spring is here.
Every holiday has its own traditions and for me those traditions usually involve food and family. On Passover we eat a lot of Matzah(unleavened bread) a very blah food! I’m always looking for creative ways to make it taste better. This year, I’ll be spreading some jam from Gus and Grey on my Matzah! At the Passover Seder we eat a lot of other foods (thank goodness!) and we get to drink four glasses of wine (that makes the end of the meal very interesting). Now that I am cooking for my family, I try to improve on the recipes prepared by mother & grandmother. I know I’ll be using Ayala N.16 from La Bôite on my roast beef and organic dark chocolate from Rococo Chocolates in my Passover Cake. I am sure everyone will love the updates to our traditional recipes. Maybe it will become a tradition to update the recipes each year?
The best part about holidays is knowing I’ll be with my family and friends. I wish you a very happy holiday weekend. I hope you enjoy the company of good friends, family and delicious food.
Happy 32nd Birthday Rococo Chocolates March 13 2015
This week Rococo Chocolates celebrated their 32nd birthday. To celebrate, I’d like to tell you a bit about Rococo Chocolates and their history.
Rococo Chocolates was founded in 1983 by Chantal Coady. She opened her first shop on the Kings Road in London and there is still a shop at that location today. Chantal has been very innovative in the way she sees chocolate and has been passing this along to her customers from the very beginning. In 2014, Chantal was recognized for her service to the chocolate industry, receiving an OBE (Order of the British Empire) as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honors.
‘Pleasure and Provenance’ is how Rococo continues to be the top chocolatier in the UK. They use organic products whenever possible and never forget why they are making these chocolate treats. While the chocolate is divine, the packaging is also strikingly beautiful. The designs are all handled by Chantal Coady who is still very involved with the business as the Creative Director. Her artistic vision and sophisticated palette have allowed the company to grow and expand over the past 32 years.
Rococo Chocolates now has four shops in the UK, three in central London and one in the Chester Grosvenor Hotel. I had the pleasure of working at the Rococo Chocolates in Belgravia, London, running their Chocolate School. It was as much fun as it sounds. There I was introduced to the delicious chocolate piece by piece. My favorite flavor is the Sea Salt Milk Chocolate. It is like nothing you have ever tasted… sweet, almost caramel flavored milk chocolate with just the right amount of salt to awaken your taste buds. The entire Artisan and Bee Bar Collections are a story in their own. I will have to save that for another post.
Hopefully, your mouth is watering and wanting to know more about Rococo Chocolates. We are proud to feature some of their collection in our marketplace. I hope you will enjoy exploring the different chocolates as much as I did.
A Holiday Tradition March 06 2015
This week we celebrated the Jewish Holiday of Purim. For most people this means costumes, carnivals and gifting sweets to friends. As a child, Purim for me meant making Hamantaschen, a traditional Purim cookie shaped like a triangle, with my grandmother. I continue the tradition as an adult making these cookies each year for friends. This year I used the Clementine Marmalade from Gus & Grey Jams and the cookies were divine! I know my grandmother would be proud of the finished product. Below is her recipe.
GRANDMA TERRRY’S HAMANTASCHEN
Makes 36 cookies
1 cup oil
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
5 ½ cups flour
2 cups of your favorite Jam
Beat eggs well. Add oil and sugar and continue to beat.
Next add vanilla, baking powder and salt, mix well. Gradually add the flour, you may need to mix the last bit in by hand.
Chill the dough for 20 minutes.
Divide dough in half. Roll out on floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. Cut into 3-4 inch rounds. Continue rolling and cutting the dough until you have all the circles cut.
Fill with a heaping teaspoon of your favorite jam. Draw sides in to form a triangle and pinch closed.
Place cookies on a sheet sprayed with non-stick spray or on a silpat. Allow some space between the cookies so they do not stick together.
Bake at 350 F or 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
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