Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Almost Vegan Lasagna

For the sauce:
1 20oz can of diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 tube of Gimme Lean Sausage substitute
2 tablespoons basil
2 tablespoons of garlic
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon black pepper

For the "ricotta" (This part of the recipe was taken from this lasagna recipe)
1 16 oz tub of firm tofu drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/5 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast 
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon salt
8 oz vegan cream cheese

1 package lasagna noodles (this where is became not quite vegan. I was in a rush and could only find egg noodles)
8 oz package of vegan mozzarella shreds

Cook pasta until al dente. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown sausage. Combine the rest of the ingredients for the sauce and bring to simmer. Add browned sausage and turn down to low.

Combine all of the ricotta ingredients except the cream cheese in a food processor. The original recipe called to fold the cream cheese in, but I'm lazy and just added it to the food processor and pulsed quickly.

Put a small amount of the sauce on the bottom so the noodles don't stick and start layering. At the very end cover with the mozzarella shreds. 

Bake until cheese is melted.

I'm actually surprised how much I liked this. Which is great because I have a TON of leftovers. I might play with the acid in the ricotta. It was a bit much. But it was really nice and light instead of that super heavy feeling you get from meat lasagna. It's a keeper! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Breakfast Love

Pancakes with Polenghi mascarpone whipped with cinnamon and 365 Maple Syrup. But beware, the mascarpone makes them pretty rich. Even with my recent obsession with maple syrup/mascarpone mixture (it's been a deliciously messy addition to my morning bagel) I couldn't finish these.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Vegan Pumpkin Waflles

Why yes, that is a hello kitty head.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My First Roast Chicken!

I have this issue with poultry. I think it stems from seeing the Birds at far too young an age. But birds of any kind freak me out. But I love, loooooove roast chicken. So I had to at least give it a try. I did super simple stuffing the inside with lemons and brushing the outside with butter, lemon zest, and parsley. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mast Brothers Chocolates

I attended the holiday prep meeting this year and got to taste several new products the specialty department can carry. These are probably my favorite. I've looked at these every time I've walked through the chocolate section at Formaggio Kitchen. The wrappers are gorgeous. I snagged the Maple Pecan bar and the Serrano Peppers bar.

Both of the bars are 74% cocoa, but still manage to be silky smooth chocolate. The giant chunks of pecan in the Maple Pecan bar are salty and delicious. There isn't a super strong maple flavor. But it wasn't really missed. I'm a sucker for some salty chocolate. When I first tasted the serrano peppers I couldn't taste much heat at all. It's a very VERY slow heat. But then it hits you and it's pretty strong.

They have a Stumpton Coffee bar that I can't wait to try. And now I need to figure out a reason to keep the pretty wrappers...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jasper Hill Harbison

Went to visit the newly opened Wellesley Whole Foods and couldn't pass up Jasper Hill's new beauty Harbison. It's like Vacherin and completely not Vacherin all at once. It was mushroomy and buttery and flavors I haven't even figured out yet. I brought this to my new team and Andy and I pretty much polished off the whole thing by ourselves. I REALLY want some place to bring cheese to so I have an excuse to buy another one.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Celebrating with cookies!

We've been planning this trip to the Vermont Cheesemaker's Festival for months now. In fact I bought my ticket mere days after they were available. Pre-move to be exact. And that's where the trouble started. I remember very clearly thinking "I should put this somewhere I won't lose it." Cut to last week when we start hammering out details and I realize I have no idea where it is. After several days of taring my apartment apart I finally found it at the bottom of a laundry basket today. So to celebrate I made this fun play on a classic. Half blondie, half chocolate chip cookie. All delicious!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (stolen from Fake Ginger)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips
(I used semi-sweet because it's what I keep on hand)

Melt butter; stir in granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; stir just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.(I needed the full 30, maybe a few more if you'd like them really crunchy on the outside)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment or aluminum foil. Spray lightly with oil.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blueberry Madness

Friday was a one day Madness sale at the store on fresh blueberries. I love blueberries but almost never buy them since they're so expensive. But at $1.99 I picked up three pints. One pint I proceeded to demolish while stuck in cape traffic on my way home. And a second one went to today's breakfast. I haven't quite decided what to do with the third so if anyone has some suggestions...

Blueberry Pancakes with Lemon Blueberry Syrup

For the pancakes

2 1/4 cup self rising flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 buttermilk (I never keep buttermilk around so I soured whole milk using lemon)
1/2 milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
The rind of one lemon
2 eggs
1 cup blueberries

Mix dry ingredients together (including sugar) and create a well.
Melt butter over low heat, once melted remove pot and stir in wet ingredients.
Pour the mixture into the well and whisk until smooth. 
Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat adding a tablespoon of oil if necessary.
Pour small amounts of batter onto heated pan. 
Add desired amount of blueberries to each pancake as the batter starts to bubble.

For the syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup blueberries
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Dissolve the sugar into the water over medium heat.
Add blueberries, zest, and lemon juice and bring to boil.
Turn the heat down and let simmer until it cooks down and thickens.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chocolate peanut butter cheesecake

My reward for surviving cheesefest (pics to come)!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Problem Solving With Chutney

What do you do when you want to call attention to a perfectly ripe camembert everyone should buy NOW? Make it pretty of course! Herve mons Camembert with Farmhouse chutney, golden raisins and roasted garlic.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Crack Heard 'Round the World

In true WFM Dedham awesomeness, we held our "Crack Heard 'Round the World" event today. And I have to say it was even more majestic than I could have imagined. It's fun to see so many people get excited for something we do several times a week. Seeing the number of people who have never tasted Parmigiano-Reggiano from a fresh cracked wheel is a nice reminder of why my job is awesome.

Kristen, the Parm Queen, and Andrew, the Parm King 

She can not even handle the excitement
Regional VP Laura Derba does the honors

The turn out was amazing. People got super excited about it.

 Next up Cheesefest May 20th. The excitement is already building!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Roasted sweet potato and butternut squash soup with fromage forte cheesy bread

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Sphericals!

I was given two very important pieces of news today;

1. Michael and I were tasked with coming up with Easter related "in-house made" items for the weekend
2. It's apparently not cool to use the phrase Easter Egg anymore, thus making the naming process much more difficult

With this in mind we opted for Capricho de Cabra "Spring Sphericals" (ok, we called them "holiday eggs" on the tag, but spring sphericals is pretty damn fun to say). I went large format and decorated with pink peppercorn, parsley, and lemon zest. Michael opted for mini eggs and used honey infused beets, parsley, lemon zest, and chives.
Michael and Kristin showing off the spheres

We did singles and a mini collection

Wheat grass and berry baskets. Martha would be proud
Sometimes my job is crazy stressful and intense. And sometimes my job is shaping cheese into egg shapes and making them pretty.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Simple Cheesemaking @ Formaggio Kitchen

Have I mentioned how excited I am to be moving into a space where I won't be sharing a kitchen or a refrigerator with anyone? A place where if I decide on a whim to make a huge batch of ricotta I can hang cheesecloths filled with drippy cheese everywhere?

In preparation for this joyous occasion I went to the :Simple Cheesemaking" class at Formaggio Kitchen. The bubbly Jessica taught us how to make our own butter, ricotta, and yogurt. So really it should probably have been called "Simple things to do with dairy in a slightly more solid form" but that's less catchy.

 This was the plate that greeted me upon entering the annex. Butter, ricotta, and yogurt plus some accouterments (My favorite being the Confitures de l'Ard├Ęche blackberry preserves. They also produce an insanely good chestnut preserve as well)
This right here is the most perplexing piece of butter I have ever tasted. This is Buffalo milk butter from Campania. It has the texture of shortening and a sweet, almost vanilla flavor. I'd love to try it on French Toast or something sweet.

I did learn one very important thing while tasting all the butters. It's not really butter that I respond to, it's salt. It's not that I didn't appreciate the varying degrees of richness (though I'll take my $3 kerrygold over Plugra any day of the week) I enjoyed them so much more when I dipped them in one of the salts they had on the plate. I might be part deer. 

This is Jessica showing us how the butter seperates from the buttermilk.

The watching of the actual process of making these things is kind of hard to make interesting with photos so I'll post more when I get a chance to actually try making them myself. I'm particularly interested in making the ricotta and parlaying that into stuffed pastas. And apparently it's not that difficult to make ricotta into Ricotta Salata, which could also be a fun experiment.

My only complaint about the Formaggio classes is that it really depends on the group you have with you. I've had some hits and misses. At this particular class I sat next to a woman who vacillated between asking me to repeat everything Jessica said and shushing the girls sitting on the other side of me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring Sippers

If anybody is in the Dedham area this friday night, please stop by the store for our wine evet

Spring Sippers

Monday, March 14, 2011

Showing Some Love to Jasper Hill

Ever wonder what your giant mug would look like plastered all up in people's faces at your place of business? Well I don't have to wonder anymore! We set up the table display featuring the wheels of Cabot Clothbound we picked up on our trip to Jasper Hill.

You might be able to tell that Jefe wrote the text as mine might have been less about the cheese and more fangirl squeeling about meeting THE Mateo Kehler. 

The flavor of the batch is just as amazing as I remembered. A mix of sweet pineapple and a brothy saltiness to it that makes me want to break off giant hunks off the display for a snack (I don't of course, that's what backstock is for). I haven't tried the beer that our beer buyer picked out for it yet, but I'm a big fan of the Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale so I'm looking forward to it.

I can't possibly say enough nice things about the people we've met and worked with at Jasper Hill. I have had a number of chance encounters on my cheese journey so far that have led to such exciting experiences including taking a class on domestic cheeses from a guy named Vince at Formaggio Kitchen. Vince now works at the Cellars at Jasper Hill and was my lovely and patient contact while planning this trip. It was Vince that first gave me the speech about these two guys in Vermont making some of the best cheeses you were likely to find. So it's fitting that he appears there on the end (on the right) of our sign. I'm looking forward to many more trips up to the Cellars "gain a palate" for the different flavor nuances!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

2 for $1 Mini Cupcakes

Once again proving the theory that everything is cuter in mini. The bakery at my Whole Foods has started selling mini cupcakes and cookie sandwiches. This way I dont have to decide between chocolate and vanilla.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Harvest Roaster Visit

It's day's like this one that reminds me why I love my job so much. I got paid to take a field trip to visit my favorite local coffee roasters New Harvest Coffee in Pawtucket, RI.  Six of us from the store went. We spent the day with Todd and Brian showing us around and demonstrating a cupping for us.

 Part of their business is maintaining bar equipment and developing coffees for baristas to use. They ended our visit by making us all drinks. I have to say Brian won me when he grabbed the whole milk without asking (for anyone who hasn't spent some time behind an espresso bar the fattier the milk the creamier and sweeter the foam will turn out).

Todd (on the left) and Brian (on the right) conducted a blind cupping for us. Cuppings are the traditional way to taste new coffees. Since you're brewing directly in the cup without any sort of filter you get all the tasty coffee oil left in. They gave us a single origin from each of the three main growing regions (Africa, Central America, and the Indo-Pacific). I was a little bit rusty but was still able to determine the regions correctly.
 This is where they store all their green beans. I have a slightly bizarre love of the smell of burlap. In fact that mixed with the coffee roasting in the next room had me considering moving in.

This is one of their two roasters. This one was "Wolf Bain" I believe, the other was "Cupcake".

They were some of the nicest nerdiest guys I've met working in coffee. It doesn't hurt they're producing some of my favorite coffees to drink at home. I'm kinda partial to their Rwanda coffee but if the cupping taught me anything it's that I need to start exploring their other regional offerings.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Nigella's Chocolate Banana Muffins

I am notorius for buying a bunch of bananas and then forgetting they exist. I like to tell myself it's my subconscious requesting banana bread. I just happened to be flipping through my new Nigella Lawson book Kitchen which just so happens has a recipe for "Chocolate banana muffins".

The batter ends up looking like pudding. It's thick and sticky and VERY promising. 

Now I have to admit, I should have been tipped off by the fact that they're "muffins" and not "cupcakes" but I was expecting something slightly more decadent. These are light and taste only slightly of chocolate.The consistency is very nice and they're very moist. I'm definitely going to give these another go, but I think I'll add something to the batter like chocolate chips or dried cherries or both! For now I'm sprucing them up with a little mascarpone and sour cherry spread generously slathered on.