Classic Meatloaf, Amplified

Growing up in the Midwest, meatloaf was a staple comfort food during the long and cold winter months. The combination of ground beef, sweet onions, bread or crackers, salt, pepper, and a sweet and tangy ketchup glaze seems to make every midwesterner that I know very happy during the winter time. I feel that it is almost customary that every midwestern mother has her own meatloaf recipe, or at least her own unique addition or adaptation of one. In my house, my grandma Carolyn’s meatloaf recipe reigned supreme, and no matter how hard my dad and I tried, regardless of the step-by-step handwritten instructions given to us by my grandma, our meatloaf never seemed to taste as good as hers… she just has the magic touch in the kitchen, where muscle memory and eye measurements outperform numerical metrics.

Whether served hot right out of the oven, or cold between two slices of buttered bread, a basic meatloaf comes together in minutes and provides the hearty and stick-to-your-ribs satisfaction that most individuals crave during the winter months. I no longer eat meat, and I haven’t for years, but I vividly remember the delicious comfort that meatloaf provides, a comfort that is both filling and warming, as well as nurturing.

In hopes to provide you with the best possible meatloaf recipe, I called my grandma this afternoon to request verbal instructions of her exact procedure. Of course, as mentioned above, she reiterated that she relies only on sight rather than measurement, but she was able to provide me with a quantifiable recipe that is similar to hers. Thankfully, it’s quite easy, as any meatloaf recipe should be, containing only a handful of simple ingredients. Of course, because I can never leave well enough alone, I’m going to swap out saltine crackers for The Matzo Project Salted Matzo Crackers and Heinz Ketchup for D.a.T. Ketchup which I think will provide a more unique and complex flavor, as D.aT. Ketchup boasts a few additional spices that Heinz Ketchup doesn’t contain. I’m leaving everything else alone, so please rest assured that this meatloaf will be nearly as good as my grandmas.

First things first, it’s all about the beef. Not all ground beef is created equal as it can contain various amounts of fat, so when choosing ground beef for your meatloaf, choose something with a higher fat content to insure that your meatloaf doesn’t get too dry during the cooking process. 70/30, which is the ratio of lean meat to fat, is a good choice, as the higher fat content will keep your meatloaf moist as well as add additional flavor and richness. Second, a ketchup glaze is key. A tangy and sweet glaze is not only delicious, but is also needed to cut through the fatty richness of the meatloaf rounding out the flavor to make it even more palatable. Lastly, chose your additions wisely, as simplicity lends to the best final result.

I hope you all have had a wonderful start to the new year! Cheers to lots of love, laughter, hugs, happiness, and of course, delicious food this 2019!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Classic Meatloaf, Amplified

Ingredients:

1 lb 70/30 ground beef

1 c crushed Matzo Project Salted Matzo Crackers

1 c minced white onion

1/2 c whole milk

1 large egg, whisked

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

2 tbsp D.a.T. Ketchup

Glaze:

1/4 c D.a.T. Ketchup

2 tbsp packed brown sugar

1 tbsp white vinegar

Method:

-preheat oven to 350 degrees

-to a large mixing bowl, add ground beef, crushed crackers, onion, milk, egg, 2 tbsp ketchup, and seasonings. Mix until just combined, being careful not to overwork the meat

-gently compress meat mixture into a 9”x5” loaf pan

-meanwhile, combine 1/4 c ketchup with brown sugar and vinegar and then spread on top of meat mixture

-bake for 1 hour, uncovered, and then remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing

Enjoy!

Here we go, 2019!

Happy New Year!  I hope 2019 has started off well for all of you.  We have a tradition of hosting New Year’s Eve at our home and this year was not different. I believe this may have been the tenth year we hosted but who’s counting, right?  The party has changed over the years as we’ve gotten older and children came into the picture.  We’ve had parties end at 4am but now we’re starting at 6pm and if you’re still standing at 10pm, I’ll kindly offer you something to go!  That gives me enough time to clean up and join my husband on the couch to watch the ball drop before heading swiftly off to bed.  The kids don’t get the memo that they’re supposed to sleep later on New Year’s Day!

As we start a new year, there seems to be a lot of pressure to make new resolutions and make changes to your life. Like most people, my resolutions tend to be similar from year to year, meaning I don’t quite get that part of my life resolved as I had hoped.  As I look ahead to 2019, I’ve decided I should concentrate on the parts of my life that are great and keep them that way instead of adding something else to my plate. I juggle a lot as a mother of three small boys, a wife and a small business owner.  Like that tradition of hosting New Year’s Eve, here are some of the pieces of my life I resolve to keep running as smoothly as they are.

  1. Schedules:  We’re a very busy household with 5 different schedules for work, school, classes and playdates. I keep most of our dates in my handy iPhone calendar and post the important ones on our family calendar.  Each year, I create a calendar which lists the birthdays of friends and family and has photos from the past year. It is a great way to keep us on point and enjoy some memories from the past year.
  2. Exercise:  I used to work out 6 days a week, that was before having kids.  With three of them running around it is often difficult to carve out time for myself to get the exercise I need.  Last April I joined Obe Fitness and can work out in the privacy of my own home at 6am before anyone else wakes up.  In addition to these workouts 3 days a week, I aim for 1 day of yoga, 1 run and 1 other workout(Physique 57, Fhitting Room, Swimming). I strive to keep that going through 2019 to keep my body and mind healthy!
  3. Healthy Eating:  I love cooking and cook a lot for myself and my family which equates to healthier eating.  Typically for the grown-ups at home I keep the meals low carb with lots of vegetables and healthy proteins.  The kids get their fair share of pasta and potatoes but usually mixed with some healthy proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables.  French fries and milkshakes are a staple when we’re eating out but balancing that with healthy home cooking keeps us on a well-balanced diet.  And my go-to snack during the day is a mix of almonds, raisins and chocolate chips… a little bit of sweet to complement the protein in the nuts and get me through the afternoon.

What are your resolutions for 2019?

Happy Friday,

Julie

A look back at 2018’s trends

From the beginning to the end 2018 was full of headlines pertaining to food, foodies and  chefs alike.  We said goodbye to Anthony Bourdain. We said hello to Top Chef Kentucky, Season 16 and also to Dunkin(formerly Dunkin Donuts). As the year comes to a close we’re looking back at the trends we’ve seen in the food world. 

  1. Eco-friendly Packaging:  From the movement to ban plastic straws to re-useable to-go packaging(think Stasher Bags and Healthy Human bottles) this year was all about saving planet earth.  Our new dressings from Farmhouse Labs are sold in small mason jars, perfect for re-purposing in your kitchen.
  2. Plant-Based Protein:  Vegan food is really coming into its own with chefs across the country substituting meat for plant-based proteins.  The meatless Impossible Burger even bleeds like real meat.
  3. Cauliflower:  Cauliflower went beyond just being a vegetable and has been used as a substitute for rice, pizza crust and even gnocchi.
  4. Spiralizing:  I’ve hopped on the bandwagon here and got the spiralizer attachment for my Kitchen Aid Mixer.  It turns boring vegetables into something more exciting. I also use it for peeling and slicing apples for applesauce. 
  5. Eating Local:  This is something I’ve always loved and continue to support local, small businesses through Julie’s Beet. Farmers Markets continue to be a popular destination for local cooks and we love seeking out their awesome products to share with all of you.
  6. Comfort Food:  While our tastes are becoming more sophisticated, it turns out, we’re still loving the foods we had growing up.  I often take a ‘Cooking Light’ approach to these types of meals to make them slightly healthier for my family but definitely find comfort in ‘comfort foods’.
  7. Delivery:  Think UberEats, Grubhub, Seamless, and even Instacart. We spent 2018 having everything from that ice cream sundae with extra whipped cream and walnuts to a gallon of milk delivered to our door and sometimes within an hour(especially important for that ice cream sundae!)

At Julie’s Beet we’re always trying to keep up with these trends but also want to bring you the best products on the market.  We’re thrilled you’ve decided to join us on our journey this far and are very excited to see what 2019 brings.

Happy Friday,

Julie

Minnesota Christmas

Christmas time has always been my favorite time of year. From all of the lights, to the snow frosted trees, to the dancing notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and baked apples, to the love and warmth of being surrounded and sharing in holiday joy with friends and family, the holiday season is unlike any other time of year. The spirit of the season is seemingly alive, finding shelter in nearly all of those whom you come into contact with, which can only be described as an all-encompassing blissful wonderment.

As young children, and even into our late teens and early twenties, my siblings and I would wake up at nearly 3am on Christmas morning and rush downstairs to see what Santa had left for us, carefully tiptoeing past our parents room as to not wake up our mom. As we sat surrounded by stacks of gifts and overflowing stockings, my siblings and I would rifle through the loot in our stockings before trying to guess what each of our wrapped packages contained. My dad, who is the only person that I know who starts his day at 4am, would soon find us downstairs eating candy and eagerly waiting to open our gifts. My dad would put on a movie or TV show for us and we would each find a spot on the couch, and if excitement allowed us, we’d fall back asleep until our mom was awake and ready to document each of us opening up our gifts. I treasure these memories dearly, and I hope to one day create the same magical experiences with my own children.

As per tradition, each Christmas morning before gifts were opened, my mom or I would make cinnamon rolls, pancakes, and scrambled eggs, which, due to anticipation for gift opening, hardly got eaten. Each of my siblings and I would take turns opening gifts, taking turns sitting on a chair positioned in front of the Christmas tree so that my mom could photograph each gift being opened, as my dad sat on the corner of the couch videotaping the madness. This is something we still do to this day, however, as each of my siblings and I get older, the less focused we are on receiving gifts, but we rather appreciate the time spent together so much more. This year, instead of asking for a plethora of material gifts we asked for an experience, so my parents are taking us to the Dominican Republic for a week of fun in the sun!

The older I get, the more and more I love just being present and sharing in love, joy, and laughter with my friends and family, and it’s now my favorite part about Christmas. I love cooking together, sharing in laughter together, eating together, celebrating together, more over, just being together, all encased in the warmth and love of the season. I cherish this time of year dearly.

I hope you all have the chance to experience the magic of the holiday season!

Happy holidays and happy Friday!

Payton

Gifts and DIY, Oh My!

Gift giving can be something of a chore but when you find the perfect gift it can be magical. Nothing beats watching someone open your present and seeing their eyes light up and a big grin come across their face.  That is when you know you made a good choice. This can happen for kids of all ages, meaning kids and grown-ups alike, have the same reaction to the perfect gift.  We’re coming down the home stretch of holiday gift giving but there is still time to get that perfect gift and also to have it arrive in time with out paying an arm and a leg for shipping😊You can check out our Experience Gift Guide here to find out how to give the whole experience and not just something in a box.

If you are more of the crafty type, here are some DIY ideas that you could make mostly with things around your house.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Jar – Of course we would substitute chunks of our favorite Rococo Chocolates Bar in place of the chocolate chips but this recipe from Very Best Baking by Nestle hits all of the right notes.

T-shirt Chew Toy for Dogs – I actually made this one and my sister’s dog can’t put it down. We all have old t-shirts laying around, right?

Kid’s Dishtowel Apron – If your kids love to cook as much as mine do, this is the perfect use of one of those extra dish towels spilling out of your kitchen drawer.

With gift giving it is often more about adding a personal touch than it is about how much you spent. As long as the gift is from the heart it will be loved by the recipient.

Happy Friday,

Julie

P.S. Our Showroom will be open today and tomorrow from noon to 5pm for your holiday shopping needs. Stop by for a visit if you are in NYC, we’re at 210 W 80th Street New York, NY 10024.

Holiday Treats… an ode to National Cookie and National Brownie Days

I’m sure that it’s no surprise to any, but I love baking. At times, I find myself dreaming about sugar and sweet creations. Seemingly infatuated by the all-encompassing world of pastry, I find the combination of sugar, flour, fat, salt, heat, and other flavor components to be something of a magical science. As a child, instead of watching Saturday morning cartoons, I found myself enchanted by the cooking shows on the Food Network, and nurtured by a family of wonderful cooks and bakers, I find much comfort and joy in creating in the kitchen. The realm of pastry is vast and endless, and I quite love exploring it.

During the holiday season in general, more over as soon as the weather begins to cool, my urge to bake begins to intensify. Cold weather plus the joy of the holiday season creates the perfect baking environment, as being surrounded by friends, family and warmth makes the experience all the better. Sugar cookies are by far one of my favorite things to bake for the holidays, with gingerbread cookies following in close second. My grandma makes the best cut-out sugar cookies, which are thin and crisp, yet they surprisingly still melt in your mouth, that she decorates with vibrant holiday colors — which I attribute to the reason why I love to bake them. I recently purchased a rolling pin embossed with a holiday scene that I’m so excited to try out on this years cookie creations.

Every Christmas morning, I find myself baking cinnamon rolls for my family and myself. On occasion, they come from the Pillsbury can, other times they are scratch made. I made cinnamon rolls the last time I was home in Minnesota which I plan to recreate this Christmas. This time, however, I plan to add more of a pecan pie element to the rolls — I’ll let you know at a later date how they turn out. I also recently made lemon scented Belgium Waffles which were quite fluffy and airy due to the addition of a high quality Italian lemon soda that I can’t wait to make for my family!

Since the holidays are soon approaching, and since both National Cookie Day and National Brownie day were celebrated this week, I wanted to share with you two amazing recipes that you can wow your friends and family with! The fi-rst recipe is my take on a traditional peanut butter blossom cookie — which my grandma always makes for Christmas as well — in which I subbed Jacobsen Salt Co. Salty Caramels  for Hershey Kisses. These cookies are so moist and pack a serious peanut butter punch! The second recipe is for fudge brownies featuring Rococo Chocolates Organic Drinking Chocolate and a Gus and Grey Spellbound infused cheesecake swirl. The combination of rich chocolate and blueberry and lavender cheesecake is truly irresistible!

If you’re anything like me, you love baking with friends and family for the holidays. My wish for you is that you’re able to find some time in the kitchen surrounded by those you love and together create your favorite holiday treats. The recipes below are a great place to start! I wish you all a safe and happy holidays!

And most importantly, happy baking!

Payton

Classic Peanut Butter Blossoms with Jacobsen Salt Co. Salty Caramels

Yields 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 c granulated sugar, plus extra for dusting

1/2 c firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/2 c creamy peanut butter, I prefer natural

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1.5 c unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 box Jacobsen Salt Co. Salty Caramels, unwrapped and cut in half

Method:

-preheat oven to 350 degrees

-cream butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy, roughly 3 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and mix until well incorporated

-Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Add to the wet ingredients, stirring just to combine. Be careful not to over mix

-Using a 1 tablespoon scoop, scoop the dough, roll into a ball, roll in granulated sugar, then place the dough onto a parchment lined sheet tray approximately 2 inches apart

-Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden and set. Immediately place a Jacobsen Salt Co. Salty Caramel in the center of each cookie and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Fudge Brownies with Rococo Chocolates Organic Drinking Chocolate and Gus and Grey Spellbound Infused Cream Cheese Swirl

Yields 1 8×8 pan of brownies

Brownie Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 c granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 c Rococo Chocolates Organic Drinking Chocolate, plus additional for dusting

1/2 c all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

Cream Cheese Swirl Ingredients:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 c granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 c Gus and Grey Spellbound Jam

Method:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Butter an 8×8 inch cake pan, then lightly dust with drinking chocolate, making sure to tap out any excess

-Combine melted butter, which has been allowed to cool slightly, with sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon powder, drinking chocolate, and salt, whisking to combine. Gently fold in flour and baking powder until just combine, be careful not to over mix, then pour into prepared baking pan

-Meanwhile, make cheesecake swirl by combining cream cheese, sugar, egg, and Gus and Grey Jam, whisking to combine. Dot the surface of the browning batter with the cheesecake mixture, then using a wooden skewer, swirl the cheesecake mixture and brownie batter together

-Bake for 30 minutes, or until slightly set

Enjoy!

Hostess Gift Ideas

The holiday season is in full swing, and I’m sure you, like many, are frantically searching for the best gifts to give to those in your life. Finding the perfect gift can be challenging, as it should be thoughtful, personal, and enjoyable. Admittedly, I am not the best gift-giver, never have been, and may in fact never be, but I always try my hardest to be thoughtful of the individual receiving the gift. This year at Julie’s Beet, we’re highlighting experiences paired with delicious culinary gems from our marketplace as gifts to give to the treasured people in your life, but that’s for another post. This post will be focused on giving something sweet and thoughtful to the host of your holiday party…. and if in fact that individual happens to be you, more the reason to treat yourself for a job well done this holiday season.

A host or hostess gift can be large or small, simple or elaborate, and acts as a symbol of thankfulness and gratitude to that individual for hosting you in his or her home or space. It can be something as simple as a bottle of wine, or something more elaborate like a wine decanter, candles, a decorative vase, or dinnerware. Whatever the gift may be, it’s always a nice touch to show the host or hostess that you thought of him or her.

Since we’re all about food, we think the best host or hostess gift should be comprised of something edible or food related. Below, you’ll find some of our favorite products paired together to create the perfect gift for the host or hostess. If you chose to purchase the products together, or instead purchase a single item, we can assure you that the recipient of the gift will be delighted!

First, who doesn’t love chocolate? Barely anyone. Chocolate is a great gift because it is adored, treasured, and craved by many. It also pairs nicely with wine… and no one is ever disappointed with a gift of wine. This year, shower your host or hostess with an assortment of Rococo Chocolates Artisan bars, which are crafted from the finest quality ingredients, are wrapped in beautifully designed packaging, and are a luxury British chocolate. Pair the assortment of bars with Rococo Chocolates Organic Drinking Chocolate and Paul and Pippa Cocoa Chip Biscuits for a host or hostess gift fit for a God or Goddess… (Get it? Because chocolate is said to be the food of the Gods.) This gift of chocolate is sure to please!

Maybe the individual hosting your holiday party is an avid home cook, and if so, help him or her stock their pantry with the essentials. Five Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Five Balsamic Vinegar, Jacobsen Salt Co. Kosher Sea Salt and Oregon Flake Sea Salt are an amazing addition to any cupboard or pantry, and any home cook would be more than delighted to receive them as a gift. Five Olive Oil was created by World Excellence Products in Greece, and they hold their product to a very high standard — which is apparent after first taste, as the taste of Five Olive Oil is unparalleled. Founded in 2011, Jacobsen Salt Co. was the first company to harvest salt in the Pacific Northwest since Lewis & Clark built their salt works in 1805, and is now recognized as America’s leading salt maker. Jacobsen Salt Co. salt boasts a pure taste and beautiful presentation and is treasured by chefs and home cooks alike. If you really love and treasure the host or hostess, add in some beautifully crafted spice blends from La Boîte which are meticulously studied and crafted. These pantry essentials will act as the perfect gift for the chef or aspiring chef in your life.

Next, on to our wine and cheese loving host or hostess. A bottle of wine by itself makes for an amazing host or hostess gift, but pair it with a box of The Matzo Project Matzo Crackers, a jar of Gus and Grey Jam, a bottle of Bee Local Hot Honey, and maybe an assortment of cheeses, and you’ve got yourself a gift that keeps on giving. This is the perfect gift that can be enjoyed as a relaxing ‘treat-your-self’ snack as a means to relax and regroup after hosting a holiday party.

Lastly, why not give the host or hostess of your holiday party the option for a quick and easy breakfast? Cue Lucy’s Granola, a box of Paper and Tea Tea, a jar of Gus and Grey Jam, and loaf of sour dough bread. This gift will bring bring an amazing post-holiday breakfast together in no time flat. This too is a gift that keeps on giving.

This holiday season, in midst of shopping for the perfect gift for those on your  list, be sure to include something special for the individuals hosting your holiday gatherings. As mentioned above, the gift can be small and sweet, or slightly more elaborate, as it’s the gesture and thought that counts — but with the help of our suggestions above, we hope that the thought and gesture is well received and greatly appreciated.

Happy Holidays!

Payton

The ABC’s of Thanks

As I packed our bags to fly to St. Louis to spend Thanksgiving with my family I thought about all of the things I am thankful for this year.  While it is easy to think about what we are thankful for, it is often more difficult to tell others.  Here are the ABC’s of what I am thankful for this year.

A – Avocados… packed with nutrients and ‘healthy’ fats, avocados take any dish to the next level and are delicious!

B – Boys… I have four of the most wonderful boys at my house who love me with all of their hearts and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

C – Creativity

D – Democracy

E – Exercise… it comes in many forms these days but exercise is the way I relieve stress and I often come up with my best ideas while I’m out for a run.

F – Family… having a special bond with my sisters and beyond makes for a fantastic get together at Thanksgiving.

G – Giving… I am so fortunate to have the ability to give to others who don’t have as much as I do.  Especially during the holiday season, I think it is super important to give back.  As you know, we’ll be donating part of our profits from now until the end of the year to NY Common Pantry.  Now you can feel good about shopping.

H – Heat and Hot Water… Since the gas got turned off in my building I have been frustrated with my electric cooking situation but I definitely appreciate that we are still able to keep warm and have hot water to cook and clean with!

I – Ice Cream

J – Joy

K – Ketchup… one of the few things that makes French Fries better, hold the truffle oil, I’ll take ketchup any day!

L – Legs… my legs are my vehicle in the city getting me where I need to be, helping me be strong and allowing me to go, go, go.

M- Music… the tunes set the mood for whatever I am feeling or need to feel.

N – Nachos

O – OxiClean …. Keeping our clothes stain free!

P – Phone… this should really be  iPhone. I know we’re all on our phones too much lately but how convenient is it to have a way to talk to someone, get your email, check your calendar, use a calculator and follow the news all on the same place.  And that list is just the beginning.

Q – Quiet … I truly appreciate the moments in my day without noise to let myself think and decompress.

R – Rest… I need more of it but truly am thankful for the rest I am able to get in my day.

S – Subway… mass transit, not the restaurant! It is entertainment for my kids but also a great way to get around the city

T – Trucks … on the street we love looking for construction trucks, garbage trucks, delivery trucks, etc.  They make our walks entertaining and keep us looking ahead.

U – Umbrellas … Anyway to keep dry on a rainy day is something I am thankful for.

V – Vaseline… it keeps your lips from getting chapped

W – Women… My grandmothers, my mom, my sisters and my friends; I couldn’t get through life without their examples, strength and support.

X – Xi… perfect for when I have an  to use and X in Scrabble

Y – Yogurt… a meal any time of the day and perfect for all ages

Z – Zippers… closing jackets in a flash!

Happy Black Friday,

Julie

Our Salad Game Just Got A Whole Lot Better

We all know that salads become a little harder to eat, let alone crave, once the weather begins to get colder. The nourishment that a salad provides, however vast, becomes slightly unappealing with the decline of exterior temperatures. Luckily, we’ve recently stocked our shelves with a delicious and versatile new line of salad dressings from Farmhouse Labs to improve your salad game, moreover food game in general, as these dressings are a delicious addition to more than just salads. These sustainably sourced creations from Farmhouse Lab will have you craving salad even in the dead of winter, which is a win for your body and for preventing winter weight gain, as well as a win for bringing a little summery brightness to your next meal.

I usually begin my day with a large black coffee and then fast for the next few hours — I feel like this allows my body time to flush everything out of my system before restarting digestion for the day. My favorite thing to eat for breakfast after having fasted for hours, as odd as it may sound, is a large mixed green salad loaded with fruit, veggies, nuts and grains — so I’m very excited about the addition of Farmhouse Lab Dressings to our marketplace. I especially love a baby kale and baby spinach salad with quinoa, avocado, carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, blueberries and strawberries all dressed in a simple lemon Tahini vinaigrette. I feel like this salad will also pair perfectly with Sunny Avocado, which boasts a delicious fruity sweetness and acidic tang.

I love salads for their versatility, as you can add nearly anything you desire to a salad, from meats and cheese, to vegetables and legumes, to chips and crackers, to fruit, nuts, and seeds — really anything goes! That’s the beauty of it. You can pack so many nutrients into a salad and set your day off right! When it’s colder, try serving something hot or warmed over a bed of heartier greens like kale or rainbow chard. A simple chicken salad with chickpeas, roasted root vegetables, and toasted walnuts may be the way to go, as you can add chicken directly from the stove or oven to your salad and enjoy warm. Try marinating chicken breasts with herbs, citrus, and Farmhouse Lab Red Sunflower dressing for an added spicy kick for at least 12 hours. Then roast in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the breast reads 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Also, while we’re experimenting, maybe add some cooked brown rice that has been tossed with cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and raisins to the base of your salad before adding the marinated chicken and roasted vegetables. Of course, drizzle with more Farmhouse Lab Red Sunflower dressing to serve.

This Thanksgiving, why not impress your friends and family with a modern take on a traditional Caprese salad recipe. First, cook one package of Semolina Artisanal Strozzapreti Pasta according to package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, quarter 3 quarts of cherry tomatoes — try to find an heirloom organic variety at your grocery store — and add to a large bowl. Meanwhile, add 1 pound of cubed fresh mozzarella to the bowl of tomatoes, as well as 2 cups of basil leaves that you have gently torn. For added interest, roughly dice 3 peaches, peeled, and add to the bowl as well. Once the pasta has finished cooking — al dente… now is not the time to over cook your pasta — allow to cool for roughly 10 minutes and then add it into the bowl with tomatoes, cheese, peaches and basil. Finally, add a generous pour of Farmhouse Lab Berry Olive dressing, a nice amount of freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste. Serve this modern take on a Caprese salad over a bed baby arugula and enjoy. I’m sure this with be a crowd pleaser!

As snow is in the forecast for the coming days, be sure to not allow it to stop you from consuming your greens. Farmhouse Lab dressings will rescue your salad from its winter blues, as well as help transform many other foods into delicious culinary works of art. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Happy Friday.
Payton

 

A dreamy trip to California

As many of you know, I worked at Bouchon Bakery in The Time Warner Building in New York City for over three years. It wasn’t always easy working for Thomas Keller but I did learn a lot about food, service and hospitality.  Chef Keller is obviously very talented with food and also in the industry of making the guest’s needs come first.  To this day, when I am cleaning I often think if he would approve of the appearance of my shop.  Some days, I would love for him to walk in and see what I am doing and on other days, I might hide behind the table stacked high with boxes of chocolate.  The Thomas Keller ‘Empire’ is based in Yountville, California and during my three years at Bouchon Bakery I tried and tried to get sent out to California to work, but to my disappointment, never got on that plane out west.

This past weekend, my husband surprised me with an early birthday present… a trip to Napa Valley with three friends.  This was my opportunity to recharge, drink some wine and eat some amazing food.  There was definitely talk of going to The French Laundry for dinner but I decided that is a once in a lifetime meal and I want to experience it with my husband.  We did have an amazing meal at Single Thread Farms but I’ll save that for another time.  We made a reservation for Sunday Brunch at Ad Hoc.  Ad Hoc is likely the most casual of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, serving a single meal, family style for weekend brunch and nightly dinners.  I started brunch with a Bloody Mary(a true sign of a vacation without kids!) and it only got better from there.  Our meal consisted of a simple spinach salad filled with pickled red onions & grapes and topped with a creamy avocado dressing.  The main course was Chicken Fried Steak topped with gravy along with roasted potatoes.  We added a Spanglish Sandwich which was the best combination of  a fried egg, toasted bread, cheese, tomato and lettuce I’ve had in a long time.    Feeling very satisfied, we were presented with a Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting for dessert.  It was rich, tangy and sinfully sweet.

After brunch I wanted to explore the rest of Yountville and check out the rest of Thomas Keller’s restaurants.   A walk down Washington Street took us past Bouchon Bakery with a line winding down the block for their fresh baked goods and coffee.  Next was Bouchon  the bistro famous for classic French dishes and finally we stumbled into the garden at The French Laundry.  I’m not sure we went in the proper entrance to the property as I never saw the famed Blue Door but the garden was amazing.  We passed diners in a small dining room which opened out into the garden and the beautiful fall afternoon.  The setting was magical and I look forward to returning one day to experience it for myself.  We meandered back down the street to where we started our walk and got in the car to drive back to the airport.

The trip to California was exactly what I needed. It was a chance to catch up with old friends, catch up on my sleep and catch up with dreams of the past. I am so glad I was able to play ‘hooky’ from my life for a few days. I have returned refreshed and ready to take on the busy season ahead.

Happy Friday,

Julie