Seas the Day!

There is nothing better than lounging on the beach on a hot summer day. With easy access to a plethora of beautiful beaches via public transit, we New Yorkers are quite lucky! From Far Rockaway, to Fire Island, to the Hampton Villages, there is no shortage on beautiful beachfront fun. Laying in the summer sun near the water with a cocktail in hand and a speaker loudly singing makes for the most perfect day, so gather up your friends, pack a cooler full of snacks and our Watermelon Margarita Slush Punch, maybe a volleyball and frisbee, and make a day if it. It’s also important that you go prepared, regardless of which beach you choose to visit. A proper beach bag should contain a blanket or beach towels for lounging, a Bluetooth speaker, a hat, sunglasses, loads of sunscreen, water,  a book or a few magazines, and maybe also a collapsible beach umbrella. For snacks, it’s important to bring foods that don’t easily spoil — so I would personally avoid any type of meat or seafood unless you have a really well insulated cooler — like fresh fruit kabobs, vegetable crudités, chips and dip, or maybe even a classic PB&J…using Gus & Grey Jam of course!  Most importantly, pack plenty of water, as staying hydrated is imperative when spending a day outside in the heat of the summer. Spending most days surrounded by concrete, it can be hard to remember the beauty that surrounds us, but luckily so, the beauty of nature and the roaring ocean is only a quick train ride away!

Happy summer!

Payton

Watermelon Margarita Slush Punch

Ingredients:

1/3 c sugar

1/3 c fresh lime juice

5 c cubed seedless watermelon

1/3 c tequila

Fresh mint leaves

Method:

-Heat lime juice and sugar in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool.

-Add watermelon, lime syrup, tequila, and mint to a high speed blender and blend until smooth.

-Place in a shallow dish and freeze, agitating mixture with a fork every 30 minutes to create slushy texture. Transfer to a freezer safe storage vessel when completely frozen.

-Pack in cooler completely encased in ice.

-To build cocktail, add slush to a glass, add in another shot of tequila, and top with club soda and a wedge of lime! Enjoy.

Ice Cream, Yes Please!

There is nothing better than ice cream on a warm summer day.  With Van Leeuwen opening down the street I am tempted almost daily to stop and have a cone.  The most intriguing part of the shop are their flavors.  They have everything from basic vanilla and chocolate to Royal Wedding Cake and S’mores.  Always being someone who is up for a challenge, I decided to pull out my ice cream maker and see if I could create some amazing flavors with the products from the marketplace.

When I received my ice cream maker years ago, I was given a copy of the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Cookbook and to this day, their sweet cream base is what I use to start all of my ice cream creations. I am happy to share the recipe below along with the creative flavors I produced. Put the ice cream in a cup or a cone and enjoy!

Happy Friday,

Julie

Ben & Jerry’s Sweet Cream Base

Makes 1 quart

Ingredients:

2 large Eggs

¾ cups Sugar

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup whole milk

Method:

-Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.

-Whisk in the sugar a little at a time and then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 more minute.

-Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend.

-Pour entire mixture into prepared ice cream maker and freeze as directed.

-Add mix-ins during the last few minutes of freezing.

Flavor Creations

Black Forest – Gus & Grey Sassy Red Head with Paul + Pippa Chocolate Biscuits

Cashew & Cranberry – Chopped Cacao Prieto Dark Chocolate Bark

Chocolate Chip – Chopped Palette de Bine Single Origin Chocolate

Toffee Crunch – Lucy’s Toffee Crumbles

It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere! Strawberry Moscow Mule with Gus & Grey Sassy Redhead

Who doesn’t love a cocktail on a hot summer day or night… or even better, BOTH?! Not only do I enjoy drinking a delicious cocktail, I also equally enjoy crafting the perfect cocktail, and playing around with and experimenting with different flavor combinations. Variation is limited only to your imagination, so let your creativity run wild…. I certainly do! In the summer, I love using seasonal produce paired with fresh herbs, like blackberries or strawberries and mint, or cucumber and basil, or raspberries and thyme…. so on and so forth, the list goes on and on. A combination of nostalgia, the ocean breeze, and the warm hug of a summer evening pairs so perfectly with a cocktail. I relish the nights set underneath a star painted sky sipping something cool, light, and refreshing. A lovely craft cocktail also elevates your summer outing, picnic, or party to the next level, so plan accordingly 🙂

Since it’s almost strawberry season, how does a Strawberry Mule with Gus & Grey Sassy Redhead sound?! Pretty amazing, right? I think so too! Fresh strawberries, ginger beer, maybe some fresh mint for good measure, vodka, and Gus & Grey Sassy Redhead Jam for a little spicy-sweetness, how could you go wrong with this combination?! Get your friends together and enjoy a beautiful summer moment outdoors with this delicious cocktail. Enjoy!

Strawberry Moscow Mule with Gus & Grey Sassy Redhead Jam

Ingredients:
⅓ c sugar
⅓ c water
⅓ c Gus & Grey Sassy Redhead Jam
1 c fresh strawberries, chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, plus lime wedge for garnish
3 oz chilled vodka (yes, this is a double! You can thank me later!)
Ginger beer

Method:
– Make simple syrup by combining sugar, water, and Gus & Grey Sassy Redhead in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until all of the sugar is dissolved. Add the chopped strawberries and allow to steep for at least 30 minutes. Now would also be the perfect time to add some fresh mint leaves, gently mashed beforehand to release their oils. After steeping, strain into a pitcher.
– To an ice filled cocktail shaker, add a few tablespoons of simple syrup, vodka, and lime juice. Shake until chilled.
– Muddle a few fresh strawberries and a few mint leaves in the bottom of a copper mug, add ice, and top with the vodka mixture, making sure to leave room for the ginger beer. Top with ginger beer and a wedge of lime and ENJOY!

Happy summer, everyone!

Payton

Bring on the grill… Summer is here

This past weekend we had weather that made it really feel like summer.  I spent Saturday at a friend’s house soaking up the sun, warm weather and, most importantly, eating meat from the grill.  Cooking over an open flame makes everything taste better, everything.  One of my favorite meats to grill is skirt steak. It is super easy to prepare, and everyone likes it.  The skirt is cut from under the breast of the steer and rarely is thicker than 3/4 inch, which makes for quick cooking. Try the recipe below to impress your friends this summer.

Happy Friday!

Julie

Spiced Skirt Steak

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:

2 lbs. skirt steak, trimmed

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons La Boîte Ayala – Rosemary, Black Pepper and Garlic Blend

Method:

-Combine olive oil and La Boîte Ayala – Rosemary, Black Pepper and Garlic Blend and rub into skirt steak.  Let the meat sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling.

-Prepare your gas or charcoal grill. Once the grill is hot oil the grates to prevent sticking.  Add the steak to the grill and cook 3-4 minutes per side for medium.

-Allow meat to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Life’s a Picnic

A picnic seems to be a quintessential summer outing; a nostalgic activity that quite effortlessly releases one’s childhood spirit. There is something so relaxing and youth-inspiring about lounging on a blanket laid overtop grass covered ground underneath the burning summer sun, sharing food, laughter, and time with those whom you cherish. More than just mere eating on the ground al fresco, a picnic ignites the melody of the summer breeze, bringing forth a connection to the ease, joy, and fascinating energy of the summer months. We think that a picnic is all about joyful relaxation, so we’ve compiled a list of tips, tricks, and artisanal food products to make your time outdoors as effortless and stress-free as possible. As with most things in life, preparation is key, and with any luck, our tips below will be the start to a relaxing summer day!

Tips and tricks for the perfect picnic:
1)The right food is imperative! Food that isn’t fussy, packs and travels well, does not require multiple utensils, and is nearly mess free makes for perfect picnic eating. In addition to the amazing artisanal items in our Life’s a Picnic gift-set, you should find yourself packing things like an assortment of different sandwiches and wraps, chips with a few different dips like hummus and salsa, fresh fruit kabobs, vegetable crudite with hummus and pesto, a simple meat and cheese tray, crackers, and a few sweet options like cookies or brownies for dessert — maybe even an alcoholic slush for the adults. Make sure paper plates, utensils, napkins, and stackable disposable cups find a place in your basket as well — biodegradable and made from recycled materials if at all possible! Also, use frozen bottles of water to keep your chilled items cold, and then drink once they defrost. For more inspiration, check out our Life’s a Picnic Pinterest Board.

2)REMEMBER FOOD SAFETY! A picnic isn’t stress free and enjoyable if you get food poisoning. Remember to keep cold items cold, using plenty on ice packs and or frozen water bottles, and do not allow the food to sit out in the hot sun for too long before enjoying once your picnic is set up. Pack away the cold items when not in use, and pull out of the cooler when needed.

3)Cleanliness and sanitation is essential. When packing your basket, don’t forget a to add few empty trash bags, as well as wet-wipes, and hand sanitizer.

4)Stay hydrated! The summer sun can be brutal! In addition to summer inspired beverages, both adult and kid-friendly alike, don’t forget to pack bottled water as well. As noted above, use frozen bottles of water to keep your chilled items cold, but it doesn’t hurt to pack extra water just in case.

5)Sunscreen. If you’re planning on spending more than 30 minutes outdoors on a summer day, sunscreen is an essential element in your picnic pack. It may also be handy to pack some toxin-free bug spray.

6)A comfy blanket with a large surface area to fit you, your friends and loved ones, in addition to the food is a must — the foundation to a perfect picnic.

We hope these tips prove helpful! Enjoy the summer sun, everyone!

-Payton

Comfort Food for a Rainy Day

I had the most delicious roasted mushroom and caramelized onion toast at Ladybird in the East Village a few weeks back, and ever since then, my palate has been hooked on all things mushroom. Inspired by the delicious simplicity of the dish, I decided to try my hand at recreating it, from scratch… which meant also baking the perfect loaf of bread to act as a vehicle for the scrumptious roasted mushrooms and caramelized onions. And what a ride it has been!

Since today is quite gloomy, I thought I’d share a yummy whole wheat bread recipe. It is delicious as is, but somehow even more delicious once toasted. Enjoy with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onion, a generous smear of roasted garlic hummus, and sliced avocado for a spin on Ladybird’s creation, or simply enjoy with butter and Bee Local honey or Gus and Grey jam. The moral of the story…. The bread itself is so delicious that it doesn’t really matter what you top it with! So let your creativity soar!

When baking a whole wheat or whole grain bread, there are a few tips to remember. Unlike processed white flour in which the bran and the germ are removed, whole grains are fully intact with the bran, germ, and endosperm, and therefore require more moisture to ensure that the bread once baked is not too dry or crumbly. Due to the excess moisture, as well as the added bran and germ, whole grain bread is heavier than bread made with processed white flour, so additional time for the bread to rise is necessary to ensure the proper texture. Also, avoid over kneading! Lastly, depending on the humidity in the air, more or less flour than the recipe calls for may be needed, as making the perfect bread is all about feel — so if your bread doesn’t turn out great the first time, don’t fret and simply try again.

 

Happy baking!

Payton

 

Whole Wheat Bread

2 Loaves

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon dry yeast

2 cups warm water

5-6 cups whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

 

Method:

-preheat oven to 375°

-make sponge: In large bowl, combine yeast, water, and 2 cups of whole wheat flour, stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for 30 minutes.

-Prepare the Bread:

  1. Add salt and just enough flour to create a dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl.
  2. Turn dough out onto a clean and floured work surface and knead for 10 to 15 minutes, adding remaining flour as necessary, until a smooth dough is formed. The dough should be moist, but not sticky.
  3. Transfer dough to a clean and lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and proof in a warm place for 50 to 60 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
  4. Prepare loaf pans with oil and parchment paper.
  5. After the dough has doubled in size, punch down, and allow to rise one more time.
  6. Divide dough in half, form into two loaves, and transfer to loaf pans. Allow to rise again, under a damp towel, for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Bake bread for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. If using a thermometer, the internal temp should register between 190° and 205° F.

Lessons from a Mom

This Sunday marks my fifth Mother’s Day as a mom and my first as a mother of three boys!  While most of my days are filled playing trains, running around and cleaning up messes I couldn’t be happier with my sons.  One of our favorite activities is reading books.  I feel like I have learned a lot from the books we read (beyond the names of the entire set of Thomas and his friends) and I’d like to share some of the lessons with you.

  1. You need help from your friends In The Little Blue Truck, the big, mean dump truck gets stuck in the mud.  With the help of Little Blue and Little Blue’s friends they are able to get the dump truck out of the mud.  As a working mother of three I know I cannot do it all on my own and my friends are always there when I need them.
  2. Team work is important In Mighty, Mighty Construction Site the trucks realize they all have to work together to get the job done. While I always new it was important to work as a team, I’ve found this is a lesson I apply at work and home.  At Julie’s Beet we collaborate on ideas for the site and marketplace and work together to get our many thoughts out to you. At home, I work with my husband to make sure we provide the best environment for our children.
  3. You must work hard and be patient to get recognized. In The Little Red Caboose, the caboose is sad because he always comes last and no one is excited to see him.  Then one day the train starts slipping down the mountain and the caboose saves the day by putting his breaks on.  After that the caboose gets all of the cheers and waves.  In life (personal & professional) nothing comes easy. I’ve learned that a lot of hard work pays off.  This is especially important as Julie’s Beet enters our fourth year.  We’re going to keep at it to make our marketplace the best around and cannot wait for more recognition from others.

I have grand plans to plant a garden this Mother’s Day.  We’ll see if the weather cooperates and the boys do too. I’ll have a great Mother’s Day as long as I am with my three boys… I know we’ll get to read at least one story!

Happy Friday,

Julie

Mother’s Day Round Up 2018

This year we decided to think outside of the (Gift)box for Mother’s Day and ask some of our artisans(who are also moms) what they would want for Mother’s Day this year.  While each of these women deserves to be pampered everyday for all their hard work in the kitchen and at home, they all seemed surprised that anyone would ask them what they want.  We’re so glad we did because their responses allowed us to put together this amazing list of gifts for moms that love to cook, hike, eat and just relax.

 Hedley & Bennett Ms. Marlin Chef Coat :  This Chef’s coat is designed specifically for women, has the look and feel of a traditional chef’s coat but is designed with a cleaner cut to highlight a woman’s curves.  Perfect for a day in the pasta kitchen according to Leah from Semolina Artisanal Pasta but also great for the home chef.

Darn Tough Micro Crew Hiking Socks: These hiking socks are made in Vermont but perfect for where ever your feet take you.  These socks are comfortable, durable and perfect for those days out in mountains or the urban jungle.

Chelsea Miller Chef’s Knife –These knives are for someone who takes their knife work very seriously.  Hand Made by Chelsea Miller, herself, each knife is a one-of-a-kind.  The perfect gift for your one-of-a-kind-mom who likes to cook.  To be honest, these knives are so amazing you could consider each one a work of art.

Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour – Lucy of Lucy’s Granola made it clear that she would love a home-cooked meal on Mother’s Day but not something ordinary.  She loves this cookbook and would eat anything from it.  Apparently, it is pretty difficult to get Ethnic Ingredients up in Maine so she would also love some of the special ingredients needed to cook from this book. Persiana is full of recipes from the Middle East bringing a lot of flavor to your table.

Stasher Bags –These bags are perfect for snacks and lunch on the go while also taking care of the environment.  In half gallon, sandwich and snack sizes these bags are perfect for mother’s and their children and they aren’t just for holding food. Cook in quantity and freeze portions to make packing lunch easy and feel good about reusing the bag.  Stasher bags are also great for carrying make up and small toy parts.

Plants – Whether you choose something with a flower or not, plants definitely make moms smile.  This Herb Garden Kit from The Tasteful Garden is perfect for the mom who likes to grow and also cook.  I’m secretly hoping I’ll find this waiting for me on Mother’s Day.

Maia Moda Breastfeeding Top –Give a pregnant or breastfeeding mom a wardrobe update that is beautiful yet still functional.  For those days when you want to upgrade your look to something a little closer to your pre-mommy style, the ladies over at Maia Moda have you covered (literally). This dual purpose maternity and breastfeeding top has it all from style to versatility and is even machine washable.    Not to mention the entire line is made in the USA.

Pair any one of these gifts with one of our gift sets and your Mother will feel like a queen for the day! I hope my family reads this list so I get something amazing.

Happy Friday,

Julie

Smorgasburg!

As the days quickly get warmer, New York City seems to recharge and become more and more alive. From  markets, street fairs and concerts, there is an abundance of things to do outdoors on a beautiful Spring or Summer day. Since we’re all about food, we especially love the warmer months of the year due the re-emergence of SMORGASBURG from its winter hibernation. Dubbed by the New York Times as “The Woodstock of Eating”, Smorgasburg was launched in 2011 and is now the largest open-air food market in the United States. Every Saturday in Williamsburg and every Sunday in Prospect Park, one-hundred local vendors come together to bring hungry people delicious food throughout Spring and Summer. From po boy’s to grilled lobster to vegan fare and everything in between, Smorgasburg has something delicious for everyone. One of my personal favorites is the Calexico Burger from Chickpea & Olive followed by a vegan scoop from Bona Bona Ice Cream Truck. Make sure to bring a blanket to spread out on the spacious open grounds, a book, and good company to help you enjoy the day! Also, most of the vendors are cash only, so if you don’t normally carry cash, be sure to stop at an ATM before starting your day.

– Payton

Saturday+Williamsburg.jpg

Week Night Dinner with Eggs

I love cooking and especially love cooking for my family. Every week I plan out our dinners based on who will be home and their eating preferences.  On occasion my husband will tell me he’s going to be out and then at the last minute change his plans and come home for dinner.  I think he just wants to keep me on my toes.  In these situations I often get pretty creative with what is in the refrigerator and pantry.  This recipe for Shakshuka is from one of those nights. The side dish, spaghetti squash ‘hash browns’ is definitely still in the development phase!

Happy Friday,

Julie

Ingredients:

2 large red bell peppers, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

1 jar Hellenic Farms Kalamata Olives

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

6 oz baby spinach leaves, washed

5 large eggs

Olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

-Preheat oven to 350°F

-in a cast iron skillet, sauté peppers and onions until they are tender. Add the Hellenic Farms Kalamata Olives and tomatoes and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.  Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Season with salt and pepper as you are cooking. Remove the pan from the heat.

-Make 5 wells in the mixture.  This is where you will crack your eggs.  Crack an egg into each well.  Place pan in pre-heated oven and cook for 10-15 minutes.  Egg whites should be cooked and you can adjust the cooking time to keep the yolks runny or cook them through.

-Remove from oven and enjoy along with some crusty bread.