Friday, October 30, 2009

Stonewall Kitchen Spirit

We take our holidays quite seriously around here at Stonewall Kitchen. Yesterday we had our annual Halloween Costume competition. Many departments came up with costumes which were judged by Jonathan King. We saw many great costumes some of which included Sandra Dee and Danny Zuko, 60’s hippies and three blind mice. Not only was the parade a great, the ice cream social was a nice treat afterward. Thank you Stonewall Kitchen Event planners. (Check out Katie's pictures below)

So get ready for some Trick or Treats. I am going to make our tasty Pumpkin Whoopie pies for some friends coming to share their little one’s first Halloween. It is going to be a great weekend in New England and perfect for watching horror movies at night. Enjoy!

BTW . . . . our holiday preview is now on the web and ready for you get a jump start on your holiday shopping.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Getting in the Holiday spirit!



Today we had our annual Halloween parade. Design tied the cooking school for best group costume. What do you think? We won pizza parties... yum!

(These & more photos posted by Richard on the Cooking School's Facebook page)

And the individual costume winners received Stonewall Kitchen gift certificates!



Are you excited for Halloween? I happen to live in Salem, MA so for me it's been Halloween since October 1st! It has been fun to watch the Ferris wheel & fried dough vendors roll into town as the festivities begin. Here at work people keep asking me about what's happening in Salem. If you're looking for the official Halloween experience there is no place like it! Here is a link to all of the events in Salem, MA. http://www.hauntedhappenings.org It is just one hour away from Stonewall Kitchen in York, ME.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Boo!


It's pouring rain and 50 degrees in the northeast today, but the good news is we will have better weather coming for this weekend and for both Trick or Treat night and Halloween. (In this area we do Trick or Treating the night before Halloween, no one seems to know why! If anyone out there knows, please let us know!) Anyway, hopefully kids won't have to wear winter coats and warm pants under their costumes this year as often happens in Maine!

It seems as if over the past 10 years or so this goulish holiday has developed into as much fun for adults as kids. People decorate homes and front porches, friends gather for costume parties and even store clerks get in the spirit wearing costumes for the day! The staff here participates by wearing costumes and we have a parade and award prizes for our favorite costumes. Can't wait to see what they come up with this year!

Our stores have lots of fun decorations still available and plenty of treats for the tricksters in your neighborhood. I really love the table decorations we have this year and the novel little gifts are perfect to take along to a party for a hostess gift. Come into the store to see the things that are left, but hurry, time is running out.

You might want to try my favorite spooky recipe as a treat for the kids this weekend. The recipe is on the website as well and should be a hit at any party you attend but be careful it is pretty creepy.

Witch Finger Cookies
Makes: 3 dozen

Ingredients
1 box of Stonewall Kitchen Sugar Cookie Mix
1 large egg
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2-3 dozen almond slices, toasted*

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the Stonewall Kitchen Sugar Cookie Mix according to directions on the package.
Pinch off a piece of dough (approximately 1 Tbsp.) and roll on a floured surface to form a 3-inch by 1/2 inch log. Shape a finger by pinching one end to form a fingertip and then two knuckles along the log.
Using a toothpick make several lines in the dough along each knuckle.
Insert a toasted almond slice for the fingernail.
Bake cookies on an un-greased cookie sheet for about 15 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.

Don't be scared with the results!

Recipe Tips * Toast almond slices by heating over medium heat in a sauté pan until golden brown. Make sure nuts are tossed continuously to prevent burning. This takes approximately 4 minutes.
Cynthia

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuscan Mammas at Stonewall Kitchen



Since our Cooking School opened in May of 2008 we have had over 11,000 attendees and hosted more than 80 guest chefs from all over the world; each with their own amazing recipes and menus to share. This past weekend was no exception when we hosted the Tuscan Mammas from Tutti a Tavoli in Tuscany, Italy. Both classes were completely sold out weeks in advance and no one walked away disappointed. The food was amazing and the Tuscan Mammas were over-the-top entertaining. And two guests were lucky enough to walk away with free tuition to attend Tutti a Tavola in Tuscany ... how exciting!



On Monday their menu included an Onion Tart, Short Pasta with Leek Sauce, Chicken Fricassee, Sauteed Spinach, and for dessert a White Dome with Seasonal Fruit. I got to sample all the dishes and they were fabulous.

Here are a couple of their recipes from the weekend.

Torta Salata di Cipolle
Onion Tart


Ingredients

  • 1 kg onions, preferably white

  • 2 eggs

  • A good handful of freshly grated Parmigiano

  • Salt, pepper, olive oil

For the pie crust:

  • 200g flour

  • Olive oil, water, salt.

Preparation

1. Slice the onions thinly and cook them in oil until golden. Adjust salt.
2. When ready and cold, add eggs and freshly grated Parmigiano.
3. Mix quickly the flour with some cold water, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
4. Stretch the dough with a rolling pin as thin as you can and line a baking pan.
5. Pour in the filling and bake at 200°C – 400°F approx. 30 minutes.

And for dessert ...

Dolce Bianco ai Frutti
White dome with season fruit

Ingredients

  • 500g white yoghurt

  • 400g cream

  • Sugar to taste

  • Fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches etc)

Preparation

1. Mix yogurt and sugar.
2. Whip the cream firmly and fold it in.
3. Line a strainer with a thin cloth and pour in the mixture.
4. Put the filled strainer with a bowl underneath in the fridge for 12 hours.
5. Unmold it on a dessert plate and decorate with the fruit.
6. Serve with fruit in season.

In fall/winter grapes, tender pears etc and add hazelnuts, walnuts, dates.
In spring/summer fresh berries with a fruit sauce

Enjoy!


If you are interested in planning your own Tuscany adventure you can visit their website.




Friday, October 23, 2009

What Can I Bring?

When I host a party and invite my friends – the obvious question from them is “what can I bring?” I always need help with desserts - so that is a no-brainer. With Thanksgiving approaching, we made available on our website the “What can I bring?” Guide. It is loaded with great recipes for appetizers, veggie sides, cocktails, and desserts. Possibly this year you can add a couple of new dishes to your repertoire. “What can I bring?”





Some reminders from Kelly’s post on Monday . . . . .

Take in all the beautiful colors of fall on your way and once there head on over to Harvest on the Harbor Food and Wine Festival. Located at the Ocean’s Gateway in Portland’s historic waterfront area. Our store and cooking school staff will be there offering some amazing recipes for you to sample. That’s this Saturday, October 24th, from 12-4pm.

For additional information visit www.harvestontheharbor.com

Also, on Saturday stop by our cooking school in York, ME and have TV host/cookbook author Mary Ann Esposito sign one of her cookbooks for you. Mary Ann will be teaching a class in our cooking school (sorry that part is sold out) but afterwards she is be available for cookbook signings in our school area. Limited cookbooks are available on site. Signing will be offered from 12:30 to 1:30 on Saturday, October 24th.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

RGOJ

RGOJ - what is that? I too wondered this when I first started working at Stonewall Kitchen. I soon learned that it stood for "Roasted Garlic Onion Jam" one of our best selling products (#5 to be exact). RGOJ can be used to make one of the quickest and tastiest snacks - Roasted Garlic Onion Jam pizza.

Roasted Garlic Onion Jam Pizza
Stonewall Kitchen
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients

  • 1 thin pizza crust (12" Boboli)
  • 3 tablespoons Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Garlic Onion Jam
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese (or feta, goat or any cheese)
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Spread jam evenly over crust
  3. Sprinkle blue cheese over entire top of the pizza
  4. Bake 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted and jam begins to bubble
Cut it up into little squares to serve at a cocktail party or add some grilled chicken and/or peppers to turn it into a quick dinner. Here at Stonewall Kitchen we've all been super busy getting our Holiday Products & Catalogs ready so I'm sure I won't be the only one to make this for a quick dinner soon! Thank goodness for quick but still tasty meals. With all that garlic you'll surely be safe from Dracula & any other vampires that might come out this time of year ;) The only vampire I'd like to dine with would be Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) of Twlight!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Looking for something to do this weekend?

We have a couple of great ideas for you. First, why not take a drive up the scenic coast to Portland, ME. Take in all the beautiful colors of fall on your way and once there head on over to Harvest on the Harbor Food and Wine Festival. Located at the Ocean’s Gateway in Portland’s historic waterfront area. Our store and cooking school staff will be there offering some amazing recipes for you to sample. That’s this Saturday, October 24th, from 12-4pm.
For additional information visit www.harvestontheharbor.com


Also, on Saturday stop by our cooking school in York, ME and have TV host/cookbook author Mary Ann Esposito sign one of her cookbooks for you. Mary Ann will be teaching a class in our cooking school (sorry that part is sold out) but afterwards she is be available for cookbook signings in our school area. Limited cookbooks are available on site. Signing will be offered from 12:30 to 1:30 on Saturday, October 24th.

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Cookbooks


I just got my own copies of our two newest cookbooks, created by our owners here at Stonewall Kitchen – Jonathan King and Jim Stott. I was excited to take them last night and check them out. I think these are my favorite cookbooks that Jonathan, Jim, and author Kathy have put together (Honestly, I am not trying for a promotion. :) They are smaller (easier to have in the kitchen while cooking), cheaper (better for you), yet still have all the great recipes and images that you have come to love.

Not only are the images beautiful, (I wouldn’t buy one without pictures – how would I know if I made it look right?) but it was so well written with great wit and a down to earth flair. Some of the copy is humorous and I was cracking up out loud reading, but the real deal is that there are so many great recipes for every occasion. I am usually intimidated by complicated recipes. Not so with these cookbooks – I think I could pull off most of these recipes (well, not so sure about the desserts, but not my thing any way). Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that any accomplished cook would love these cookbooks as well (again so many great and “fancy” recipes), it is just that the instructions are so well written a novice could make them come out perfectly. They also have entire menus for breakfast and for special holidays to help you plan.

Maybe it is kismet, (not sure) but my neighbor left two gallons of fresh apple cider on my door step while I was at work. I just read in the Winter Celebrations book that I can make Apple Cider Jelly with it. My only contemplation - let the cider age and get a bit sassy or go for the jelly. Since I have 2 gallons (and I don’t have to peel any apples – so lazy), I am going to make some jelly. I can’t wait to give it a try (as well as some other ones that have already caught my eye), my house will smell simply amazing on Saturday.

I am seriously giving these cookbooks for Christmas (well done Jonathan and Jim) autographed too – bonus! Oh BTW – here are the links Winter Celebrations and Breakfast – check them out!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Do you receive our emails?

We are so excited to have you following our blog - thank you! It never ceases to amaze me all the different people who want to hear more about Stonewall Kitchen. Just today my husband sent me this email:

"Thought you’d like to know Micaela came in today with a Stonewall Kitchen bag because she went shopping there recently. A big “Oh, I love Stonewall Kitchen!” conversation broke out in the office soon after. Now they’re all on the website asking which pictures are yours."

I replied to the gourmet food loving accountants,

"Tell them to check out our blog too. Today is my day to write for it!"

As I sent them my reply, I thought to tell them about our emails and social networking. Perhaps, between looking at excel spreadsheets, they might like to see some tasty treats pop up in their in-boxes. Maybe you would too? Here is what one looks like:



Did you know that you can receive updates from us by email? You'll hear about new products, sales, products of the month, home & garden, gifts, cooking school, holiday tips... and of course you'll get to look at more of my photos. In fact, I think that's why my Dad signed up. (Thanks Dad) The 'sign up for updates' option is at the bottom of our homepage. Click on the photo below and scroll to the bottom of the page (it looks just like this) to start receiving our delicious email!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Carbs are Good!

After almost a year with only a little taste now and then of pasta I finally threw my diet to the wind last week and sat down and thoroughly enjoyed a spaghetti and meatball dinner I had made for myself at home. My dearest friend Prudence introduced me to a meatball mix from a company in Westerly, Rhode Island that created meatballs that were as good (if not a tiny bit better) than the meatballs we devoured at my aunt's house in the North End of Boston when we were kids. There's nothing quite like good, genuine Italian food on a cold autumn night.
I have to admit I cheated on the sauce. I used two jars of our Traditional Marinara and it was awesome. I rolled and placed the meatballs directly into the sauce (without browning them) and let them simmer in the sauce until cooked through. They were perfect! Thought you might get a kick out of a couple of fun translations of the pastas on our grocery shelves ...
Spaghetti, from spago, "cord"
Linguini, "little tongues"
Vermicelli, "little worms"
Conchiglie, "shells"
Rigatoni, "furrows," short, wide fluted tubes
Lasagna, ribbons of pasta (from Latin for "pot")
Fettucine," "small ribbons"
Ravioli, "little turnips"
Rotini, "spirals" or "twists"
Capellini (angel hair), "fine hairs"
Fusilli, "little spindles" (spirals)
Penne, "quills"
Tortellini, "little cakes"

What's your favorite and why?
Cynthia

Monday, October 12, 2009


It happened today! It was the first morning that I have had to wait to defrost the windshield before leaving for work. Yes, the cold crisp air is here I'm afraid but looking on the bright side it does bring with it the opportunity to make some of my favorite fall foods. Yesterday, I made a Glorious Beef Stew for my family. I know that it sounds dramatic but that was the actual recipe title a friend shared with me, and it was pretty darn good. It did take a few hours to prepare, prompting the desire for warm, hearty meals. Not having a few hours to prepare dinner tonight, I am going to make our recipe for Pumpkin Soup. It is so easy to make, with just a few ingredients and paired with a tossed salad I have a great dinner!

The recipe calls for 1 jar of our Maple Pumpkin Butter, which happens to be one of the featured products this month.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Columbus Day

A long holiday weekend for some is on the horizon. The leaves, I believe, are just about peak on the coast (may be a little more in some areas) and I think it will be a busy weekend on the coast of Maine. It is beginning to enter the OMG I can't believe how incredibly gorgeous it is here state of mind. The vistas are distracting and I can't get enough of it. Maybe I'll play leaf-peeper and go for a fall foliage drive this weekend. Perfect for a walk on the beach and visiting your favorite stores along the coast. Stop in and see us – check out our locations.


I might be pushing it - but I really want to have one big last barbeque this weekend for Columbus Day. BBQ Burgers with beers and some wood stacking. I will hit the store before I leave for the weekend to grab some mustard, and of course our gourmet ketchup. So Happy Columbus Day everyone (does anyone really say that?) Cheers!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Delicious Blueberries

Today Jimmy came into work with a delicious blueberry pie! (I'm referring to Jim Stott, co-owner of Stonewall Kitchen) Luckily I was one of the first people to see him and he offered me a precious slice. He was planning to eat a big piece of the pie as his lunch. He is one of the few people who has a bigger sweet tooth than me! Well... Jim and my co-worker Jamie, who saw my slice and thought it must be for her. Lucky for Jamie I decided to share! It was so good I thought I'd dedicate today's blog to delicious blueberries.

Click here for a quick link to our Stonewall Kitchen Blueberry Products.



Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake
(Show in the above photo) Once one of our favorite baking mixes, we've broken down this delicious recipe for you to make and enjoy all on your own!

Serves: 8-12

Ingredients
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 - 13 oz. jar Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine Blueberry Jam, stirred well
Directions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter a 10” bundt pan and lightly dust the inside with flour.
  3. In a mixer, or by hand, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, blending well, and then add sour cream. Mix until combined.
  5. Gradually fold in flour, vanilla, baking powder, and salt into creamed mixture until just blended.
  6. Reserve 1/2 cup of batter and mix with 3/4 of the jar of blueberry jam.
  7. Pour 3/4 remaining batter into the prepared pan, smoothing to the edges and creating a slight "trough" with a spatula.
  8. Gently spoon the blueberry mix into the batter "trough", being careful not to touch the side of the pan.
  9. Pour the remaining batter over the jam and smooth the top.
  10. Set pan on middle rack in the oven and bake for about 60 minutes, or until the sides of the cake pull away from the pan and a cake tester (or toothpick) inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Turn onto a plate, sprinkle with confectioners sugar, drizzle with remaining jam and enjoy!
Wild Blueberry and Peach Pie
A New England tradition with a creative twist. Serve warmed a'la mode. Even your mother will want this recipe.

Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons creme de cassis
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 + 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1(13 oz)jar Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine Blueberry Jam
  • 1 + 1/2 cups peeled and diced peaches
  • Pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1 egg white
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°degrees F.
  2. Stir cornstarch into creme de cassis and lemon juice until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Combine 1 cup of the blueberries with Wild Maine Blueberry Jam in saucepan and bring to a boil over medium–high heat. Cook until preserves are melted and berries start to pop. Stir in the remaining 1+1/2 cups of berries and peaches. Pour in lemon juice mixture and continue cooking for 2 minutes longer. Fruit mixture will be quite thick. Set aside to cool, about 8 minutes.
  4. Line a 9–inch pie plate with pastry, leaving overhanging edge untrimmed. Brush with egg white. Pour cooled fruit mixture into pie shell. Roll out remaining dough into a circle and cut into 1/2 inch strips. Arrange them over pie in a lattice pattern and trim. Bring edge of bottom crust over rim and crimp edges.
  5. Bake pie on a cookie sheet in the middle of oven until crust is light brown, about 8 minutes. Adjust heat to 350 degrees F and continue baking until crust is golden brown and juices begin to bubble, 25 to 30 minutes. If crust becomes too brown before end of cooking time, cover with foil. Remove pie from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla or peach ice cream, if desired.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What a Pretty Picture


I love the image that you see at the top of our blog. Our staff photographer, Katie and I worked on this photo a while back and used some of my favorite Burleighware items in the shot. Burleighware is the name of the classic transfer style of porcelain we have been carrying in our stores for years. The first time I saw the collection of these traditional style pieces I fell in love with their feel, shapes and beautiful designs and the more I learned about it the more I wanted to start a collection of my own.

Let me tell you just a bit about the company that makes Burleigh in England. William and Rosemary Dorling bought the factory that produces Burleigh in 1999. The factory itself had been making pottery since 1851 and they were the premier manufactuers, regarded world wide as the finest makers of transferware, in the early 1900s. The Burleighware made now is made in the same tradition that has been their process for generations. It is unbelievably labor intensive and something to watch. Jim and Jonathan traveled to Stoke-on-Trent in England years ago to find out exactly how the magic happens.

Barges bring clay down the Mersey Canal to the factory where it is fashioned into molds that date back hundreds of years. Each piece is fired and allowed to cool before the pattern is applied. Delicate tissue is imprinted with one of many historical patterns that previously had been hand engraved onto a copper roller. As the tissue rolls off these big copper rollers the intricate patterns are hand cut (amazingly) by craftsmen who have been training for years.

The tissue is then applied to the biscuit pieces and rubbed gently using a brush and soft soap. The ink transfers to the piece and the tissue is then carefully washed off leaving the wonderful pattern. Then the triple firing takes place hardening the clay and a special glaze that assures the pattern will never fade.

The striking patterns and rich colors are incredible. You can find a lot of the "blue" patterns on our website. Burliegh crafts ironstone in black, red, green and many classic colors. I have dinnerware in black and love the versatility of it. I can make it casual or elegant and I find I use it all the time. My favorite collection though is tiny pitchers, all in different styles and patterns. I have them in the transom over my front door in a house that was originally built in the early 1700s. They haven't faded and they look great.

Burleigh's website is burleigh.co.uk and it is worth checking out. Look for our collection on our website and I am sure you will find them as beautiful as we all do. Cynthia

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gadgets, Gadgets, Gadgets

We all have them and we all love them! Why is it there is such a fascination with gadgets? There are those gadgets that work well and we use them all the time and then there are those that just seem to sit in our cupboards and collect dust. That got me thinking and I surveyed the Stonewall Kitchen staff to ask them about their favorite gadgets. Overwhelmingly I got a response of the Veggie Chop by Chefn. This is used regularly by our Cooking School Staff and it is their favorite. You can easily and uniformly chop veggies, onions, nuts, etc. It is easy to clean and disassemble and it is relatively small for storing.



They also recommended the Emulster and Garlic Wheel by Chefn. Some other close runners up were the Pot Minder and Brown Sugar Savers. I do actually have a brown sugar saver which I leave in my brown sugar and it does work. The Palm Peeler by Chefn which is worn on your hand and easily and safely lets you peel your veggies. The Microplane Graters are great tools in the kitchen. I use the zester frequently at home.

The Chopper/Scrapper came highly recommended by our Recipe Developer because it is so useful in the kitchen. You can use it to cut and measure brownies, cakes or bars. Or it can be used to scoop up chopped veggies.



Finally, our Mini Spatula made the list because it can get into every small jar or space that you can imagine.


I would have to say that my favorite gadget that I use at home is the Swiss Mandoline Slicer by Zyliss. I use it all the time. It has all the great attachments so you can julienne or slice veggies or potatoes uniformly and effortlessly. It is easy to disassemble and clean and stores together with the holder so all the attachments don't get lost in your pantry.


We would love to hear your list of favorite kitchen gadgets.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Time for Comfort Food

The weekend is upon us! The leaves are turning quickly and from what I hear of our forecast a little rainy tomorrow. Time to start making some comfort and cozy meals. Our photographer Katie, just took this great shot of some comfort food. (Great shot Katie)!



It has our corn chowder soup mix, cheddar herb biscuit mix, cornbread mix and red pepper jelly. I am definitely making some chowder and biscuits for a quick dinner next week.

I am headed north in Maine to my niece’s college soccer game. Ever since my niece was probably six years old, she has always reminded me that my baking is horrible. I made her non-fat brownies once and she said “no offense Auntie – but these are gross!” Last year I made our pumpkin whoopie pies. Reluctantly, she and a couple of ladies on the team tried them, smiles came to their faces and my niece said “hey Auntie, these are pretty good”. Success I thought! With that being said, it is tradition that I bake something for the team after the game tomorrow. Tonight I will make our Triple Fudge Brownie Mix and our Blondie Mix. I am sure with these mixes I will get lots of smiles. Enjoy everyone and have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Social Networking Trifecta

That's right, we are now blogging, tweeting, and facebooking! I'm not sure the last is actually a verb; but, who knows? I didn't used to think friend was a verb either... how things have changed with social networking!



It has been quite a project to get all of these accounts up and running. Since we are new to all of this, we are constantly checking out your blogs, tweets & wall posts. One of my very favorite blog entries about Stonewall kitchen is from Sues of We are not Martha.

She says: "If you live in New England, I strongly encourage you to take the trek to York, Maine, and try a class at Stonewall Kitchen. Actually don’t, because the classes fill up quickly enough as it is; I don’t want them to fill up any faster!"
(read more by clicking below)
Pumpkin pumpkin class at Stonewall Kitchen

The Afternoon Store has been kind enough to blog about us three times this month! Check our what they have to say about our Pancakes, Savory, and sweets!

Thanks to Sues, The Afternoon Store, and all of you, our fans & followers for helping to make our first month of social networking a success!