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!

Happy Friday,


A Fast Start to 2015 February 13 2015

Wow, it seems like it was just yesterday that I was ringing in the New Year.  Maybe that is because it has been a very busy start to 2015.  Last year I became a mother and quickly learned life gets much busier when there is a child involved.

The year started off with our annual New Year’s Eve party with friends.  My husband and I decided to modify the party this year and include the children. No one seemed to mind the early start to the festivities and I definitely did not mind getting to bed at 12:01. My son, my daily alarm clock, hasn’t learned about sleeping in yet.  January seems to have flown by after that and here we are in the middle of February.

The really exciting part of 2015 is getting Julie’s Beet up and running.  I have been dreaming about having my own business since college really. I guess that is why I chose Mathematics and Business as my major.  I really started working on the business  when I left my full time job in June 2011.  A change of plans, including a move abroad, delayed that realization for a few years.

I moved back to New York in January 2014 and have been working on Julie’s Beet since.  The goal of the site is to create a marketplace sharing products I love and know you will too.  These products are the labor of love of the artisans who create them and are sure to find a place in your heart, your kitchen and your tummy.  With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, it could not be a more appropriate time to think about the people and the foods we love. I’ll be cooking some of my husband’s favorite dishes for our romantic dinner!

I look forward to introducing you to the fantastic collection of artisans we will feature on Julie’s Beet and telling you each of their stories.  I hope you will join me in this exciting adventure of food, friends & love.

Happy Friday,