Romantic Dinner for 2… at HOME!

The day of LOVE is finally upon us. As you may have expected, I always cook dinner for my husband on Valentine’s Day.  Restaurants do a great job of creating amazing tasting menus for two but I find it all a bit fussy. Also, I might be one of the only people you know who doesn’t care for truffles and doesn’t eat shellfish. All of the fancy stuff is just lost on me.  Anyway, if you’re looking to put together a simple but elegant meal for two follow these recipes below. 

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Julie

Rick’s Picks Phat Beets Happy Appy

Recipe from Rick’s Picks

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

2 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

 Method

-Spread a teaspoon of goat cheese onto crostini or cracker.

-Top with Rick’s Picks Phat Beet

Pasta Putanesca with Due Cellucci Traditional Tomato Sauce and Hellenic Farms Kalamata Olives

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

½ bag Semolina Artisanal Pasta Strozzapreti

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped

1 large pinch red pepper flakes(optional)

¼ cup capers, drained and chopped

¼ cup Hellenic Farms Kalamata Olives, chopped

2 cups Due Cellucci Traditional Tomato Sauce

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Method:

-Cook Semolina Artisanal Pasta Strozzapreti  according to package directions.

-In a large saute pan, heat olive oil.  Add anchovies,  red pepper flakes, capers and Hellenic Farms Kalamata Olives. Cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring to combine.    Add Due Cellucci Traditional Tomato Sauce  and bring to a simmer.

-Add cooked pasta to the sauce, tossing to coat.  Stir in parsley and Parmesan Cheese. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

 

Red Raspberries filled with Chocolate Champagne Ganache

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

100g Rococo Chocolates Sea Salt Dark Chocolate(about 1 ½ Artisan Bars)

45 mL Champagne or Prosecco

½ teaspoon honey

50 mL Crème Fraiche

10-12 Large Red Raspberries

Method:

-Melt the chocolate slowly in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave 30 seconds at a time at about half power.  Stirring after each time in the microwave. 

-Place the champagne in a small heavy-based saucepan, ad the honey and gently heat until boiling. Remove from heat.

-Gently stir in 1/3 of the mixture into the melted chocolate with a rubber spatula.  As the mixture starts to thicken, stir in the next third of the champagne mixture.  By the addition of the last of the champagned you will have a smooth and glossy ganache.  Beat the crème fraiche into the mixture using a stick blender until it is fully incorporated.

-Allow the mixture to cool and thicken slightly.  Pour into a piping bag.

-Pipe chocolate ganache into the center of the clean, dry raspberries.

-Let cool completely. As the ganache cools in will become the consistency of butter.  Raspberries can be wrapped with plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for one day prior to serving.  Allow raspberries to come to room temperature before serving.

 

 

Fashion & Food

Fashion Week hit NYC by storm this week. If you missed it just head over to Instagram and search #NYFW and you’ll see what I’m talking about.  While the models and the clothes, accessories, etc. are the stars of Fashion Week, food is becoming much more fashioned then before. Thanks to the ease of taking a photo on our smart phones and then posting these photos to social media, food has become something that is shared often. I have no idea how many food-based accounts are out there just on Instagram alone; there is definitely something for everyone. 

I tend to follow accounts for one of these reasons:

  1. To stay up to date on what is happening with a product/artisan
  2. To get new recipe Ideas
  3. Restaurant Reviews
  4. Networking Opportunity

My feed is a lot of food, food, food and I love it that way. I am constantly inspired by beautiful plates posted by others and respect the amount of work it takes to get them looking that way.  I save recipes to make later and drool over those meals everyone is having. I find it interesting how each account has a unique take on the food they are posting. I hope you are looking on Instagram Stories at the meals I’m preparing at home.  I’m still learning how to get the best images but really enjoy sharing the love the comes out when I make a meal for my family. I always struggle with how much of just food to post and how much of the account should be focused on our products. I hope you like the balance I’ve found but am always open to suggestions on how to improve.

Why do you choose to follow certain accounts on Instagram?  What are your favorite foodie accounts?

Happy Friday,

Julie

Hot Cocoa My Way

Winter is really settling in here in New York with cold temperatures, lots of wind and the occasional snow.  One of my favorite ways to warm up from the cold is a nice, rich cup of hot chocolate. I use Rococo Chocolates Organic Drinking Chocolate when I am feeling very decadent but there are so many variations that make a plain old cup of Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa taste really great too!  Today, January 31st, just so happens to be National Hot Chocolate Day. In celebration of this wonderful day, here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate – simply stir your mix your hot chocolate with a peppermint candy cane

Mocha Hot Chocolate – Instead of using water to make your hot chocolate, use coffee.  This is one of is a go-to when I am feeling really tired!

Hot Chocolate Affogato – This is more of a dessert than a hot chocolate… put 2 scoops of your favorite ice cream in a mug and pour the hot chocolate right over the top.  I recommend vanilla if you are a purist but if you’re not try something fun like Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food!

Elvis Presley Hot Chocolate – One of the king’s favorite sandwiches was Peanut Butter & Banana.  Add these flavors to your hot chocolate by making a ‘smoothie’  In a blender combine 1 banana, ¼ cup peanut butter and 1 ½ cups hot chocolate. Be careful when blending hot liquids as there is the possibility for explosion.

Nutty Hot Chocolate – Instead of making your hot chocolate with regular milk or water, use almond milk.  The flavor is rich and the taste is delicious.

What is your favorite variation on a classic hot chocolate?

Happy Friday,

Julie

New Year, slightly delayed

Happy New Year! As the first few days of 2020 come to a close, I cannot help but look back on what 2019 had to offer. It was definitely a year of ups and downs for me both professionally and personally.  And the truth is, I started this blog post 3 weeks ago and 2020 did not get started the way I had planned.  I apologize for the delay and lack of engagement.  I am ready to get the year started off right!

In 2017, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to hire someone to work with me at Julie’s Beet. I made that happen in 2017 but in early 2019, it became clear that that relationship was ending.  It was a wonderful having someone to bounce ideas off of and help out with the workload, but it just didn’t make sense anymore.  We parted ways amicably and I started to look for someone new. It isn’t always easy to find the perfect person especially in a small business like mine.  Thus, the search continues… On the flip side, working by myself has forced me to be more efficient in my actions and more purposeful as well. It has forced me to become more of a planner and less of a last minute person.  I look at this as a positive.  On a positive note for 2019, my family grew by one.  We welcomed a healthy baby boy in August and he has become my partner in crime over the past 5 months.  While he doesn’t have so much to say, he is a very good listener and is always there to lend a smile when needed.  Pretty soon, he will also be able to taste the products and will become a much better helper!

Looking ahead to 2020, I have made some resolutions or goals for my business.  I’m going to share them with you so you can hold me accountable.

  1. Update the IT system – While there’s not too much tech work at Julie’s Beet there is some. I need to give the whole ‘system’ an update starting with a new laptop computer, having something with more storage and power will allow me to be more efficient at task at hand. I also plan on updating parts of the website, making it more user friendly.
  2. Find the Right Help – I mentioned above that I have been working solo for most of the last year. In the past I  created a position that combined many skills from customer service to marketing to packing and shipping. The truth is, it is pretty difficult to find someone who excels in all of the these areas. I plan to divide and conquer, which may mean hiring a marketing specialist in addition to someone to help out around the shop.  At the end of the day finding the right person for the specific task is most important.
  3. Stay Fresh – I love all of the products in the marketplace(they wouldn’t be there if I didn’t) but I also feel it is important to keep the products relevant. If something is amazing but just isn’t what you all want, then it is time to find something else. I get it, just because I love something doesn’t mean you will too!  My plan is to continue looking for new and innovative artisans that follow our goals and bring those artisans and their products to you!

And with this list I plan to go out and give my all in 2020!

Happy Friday,

Julie

Stop everything and bake!

chocolate-chip-cookie-recipe

The countdown to Christmas is really on now! If you’re like me you have the shopping mostly done and your menu planned.  All that is left to do is some holiday baking.  Check out our Pinterest Board Cookie Exchange for some fun holiday recipes.  Even though it is fun to whip up a batch of dreidel shaped cookies or maybe even a snowman; when it all comes down to it, what people really like are Chocolate Chip Cookies. Here is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve found. If you want to make them festive for the holidays, sprinkle some colored sugar on top or mix in some fancy sprinkles like Sweetapolita to make them really feel like the holidays.

Happy Friday,

Julie

Makes approximately 36 cookies

Ingredients

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup (one stick) butter, softened

½ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

2 cups chocolate chips 

Method

-preheat oven to 375°F

-Combine flour, baking soda & salt in a small bowl and set aside. Beat butter, oil, both sugars and vanilla in a large mixer bowl until creamy.

-Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the flour mixture.

-Stir in the chocolate chips.

-Drop by rounded tablespoon on to ungreased cookie sheet.

-Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.

Holiday Menu Ahead

It is hard to believe we’re already in the middle of December and in the thick of holiday shopping season. I’ve started thinking ahead to what we’ll be eating on Christmas Day.  We’ve invited a couple of friends over for an early dinner(normal time if you have children 5 and under😊). I want to be able to spend time with my company so I need a dish I can prepare ahead.  It is Christmas and while I don’t formally celebrate the holiday, I realize we need something a little special for our meal.  Here is the final menu… I’ve linked some of the recipes so you can enjoy them for your holiday meal.

Happy Friday,

Julie

Hor’s D’ouvres

Chocolate Olive Tapenade with baguette              

Vegetable Crudite with Farmhouse Labs Berry Olive Dressing

Main Meal

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Roasted Cauliflower Farro with Pomegranates and Pistachios

Green Salad with Anchovy-Mustard Vinaigrette

Dessert

Milk Bar Peppermint Bar Cake

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzels

#shopsmall everyday

Last Saturday was Small Business Saturday and if you’re like me you received many reminders to #shopsmall.  American Express started Small Business Saturday 10 years ago. It falls the Saturday after Thanksgiving when many people are in full-blown holiday shopping mode.  While it is nice to have reminder to shop from smaller artisans/stores/retailers this time of the year, I think it is important to shop small year-round.  Don’t get me wrong I still order from Amazon, especially when I need a gift for the birthday party my son is attending in a few days or I’m pretty much out of diapers, but I do try to think ahead and order from small businesses and shop at local boutiques.

One of the reasons I shop from smaller artisans is because their product tends to be more unique.  Everyone starts small and when they do they are really passionate about what they are making.  This results in a product that is made with love and attention to every detail.  There is also a lot of pride when you produce something that has your name on it.  I always feel I am getting a quality product when I shop small because an artisan will only sell something that makes them smile.

I saw a statistic last week that small women-owned businesses employ 9.4 million workers and that is just women-owned businesses.  Keeping small business alive is what keeps these jobs. Think about that the next time you shop. I know large businesses employ more workers but the barista at Starbucks is very different from the barista at your local coffee shop.  The local shop probably has a lot more personality and that barista has a much higher chance of moving up the ranks and learning about running a business versus just making coffee. 

The next time you’re walking down the road or looking for a gift online, look a little further than the big shops.  By shopping small I guarantee you’ll get something you truly enjoy.

Happy Friday,

Julile

I’m thankful for…

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  While we all eat a fairly similar menu on Thanksgiving Day( Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Pie). It got me thinking that there are so many amazing foods to be thankful for, I cannot believe we all limit ourselves while we celebrate each year.  Here is an alphabet version of the foods I’m most thankful for.

A – apple

B – banana

C – cream cheese

D – diet coke

E – eggs

F – falafel

G – grapes

H – hamburgers

I – ice cream

J – jam

K –  ketchup

L – lemon

M – meatballs

N – nachos

O – orange juice

P – parlsey

Q – Quince

R – raspberries

S – salmon

T – tomatoes

U – unsalted almonds

V -veal

W – water

X – xigua(watermelon)

Y – yogurt

Z – zucchini

What are some foods you are thankful for?

 

Happy Friday,

Julie

Dreaming of Thanksgiving…

This fall has been especially busy for me… turns out adding another person to the mix is a lot of work. I’ve been keeping up with the kids’ classes, this blog, the marketplace and feeding everyone. I somehow didn’t realize Thanksgiving is next week.  I am very lucky to be attending two Thanksgiving feasts and don’t have to cook for either of them.  That has left me with plenty of time to scour Instagram, Pinterest and the rest of the internet for the best Thanksgiving Recipes.  Let me present to you my Thanksgiving Dream Menu! If you’re in a pinch these recipes may be just what you need to get the most magnificent meal on the table.

Happy Friday,

Juliie

Appetizers

White Cheddar and Cranberry Dip from Little Broken

Pumpkin Shaped Cheese Ball from The Country Cook

The Main Meal

Perfect Roast Turkey from Ina Garten

Rachael Ray’s No-Fail Turkey Gravy

Cranberry Sauce from Julie’s Eats and Treats

Creamy Mashed Potatoes from Mad About Food

Simple Spiced Stuffing

Roasted Delicata Squash with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette from Feed Me Dearly

Butternut Squash Pasta

Cacio e Pepe Brussels Sprouts from How Sweet Eats

Thanksgiving Kale Salad with Cranberry Cinnamon Vinaigrette from How Sweet Eats

Dessert

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Dip from A Night Owl

Pumpkin S’mores Cupcakes from How Sweet Eats

Apple Pie with Spiced Whole Wheat Crust and Gus & Grey Perfection Jam

The Leftovers

Turkey Chilli

Chilly Day… Warm Soup!

My dad and stepmother are visiting New York this weekend. They are now retired and spend most of their time in a warm climate.  New York decided to give them a taste of the winter weather they’ve been missing as winter came really early this year!  While the purpose of their trip is to spend time with their grandchildren, a visit to New York City wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Times Square and more specifically a Broadway show! I became a little nostalgic thinking about my days working at db Bistro Moderne in the theater district.  Those pre-theater rushes were no joke! One of my favorite recipes from my days in the kitchen there is Butternut Squash Soup.  Here is the recipe so you can make it this weekend and warm your body from the inside out!

Happy Friday,

Julie

Butternut Squash Soup

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash, peeled, cubed and seeds removed

3 tablespoons olive oil

Jacobsen Salt Co Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground black pepper

1 tablespoon butter

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, sliced thin

1 large carrot, chopped

1 quart vegetable stock

Method:

-Preheat oven to 400°F.  Toss the butternut squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Arrange butternut squash in an even layer on a large sheet pan. Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes.

-Meanwhile in a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook 7-9 minutes, until tender.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

-Add roasted squash to the vegetable mixture and cover with vegetable stock. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

-Blend carefully in small batches until the soup is smooth and creamy.

-Serve garnished with fresh thyme, your favorite croutons or a drizzle of crème fraiche.