Friday, January 29, 2010

Join us at the Boston Home Show

You won't want to miss out on the Boston Home Show this weekend!

That is where we will be this weekend! Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School presents Famous Chefs of New England! We will be bringing together all the best chefs from New England to put on a series of cooking demonstrations for our attendees. These demonstrations will be taking place every hour on the hour for the duration of the show. For our attendees these demos are included in the cost of your ticket!

Thousands of homeowners will walk through the doors of the Bayside Expo Center looking for ideas and trends designed for their biggest investment – their home.

A jam-packed (no pun intended) event complete with over 400 exhibitors, free seminars, and over $40,000 in giveaways including a Dream Kitchen Makeover.

You don’t want to miss this, stop by the Boston Home Show at the Bayside Expo Center. Click Here for more information . . . . can’t wait to see you there!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Caught a cold? Make some soup!

I caught a cold skiing. Unfortunate, isn't it? Oh well - it was a pretty amazing weekend out on the slopes! Sadly now here I am all stuffy. A nice bowl of soup always makes me feel better. However, if you're like me, the last thing you want to do when sick is cook! Not to worry, I have a solution! When soup from a can just doesn't cut it try one of our soup mixes. They taste like homemade but take a lot of the work out of the process! Enjoy!

-Katie aka sniffles

P.S. Do you have an easy homemade soup recipe that you'd like to share? Please leave it as a comment below... it looks like I might be eating a lot of soup over the next few days!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Going Skiing or Snowboarding in Maine?

Are you headed to Maine to ski or ride this weekend? The mountains have gotten 12"+ from this 3 day storm! (I shot this photo just yesterday) I'm taking the day off tomorrow to head up to ski country and I hope you'll be able to take advantage of this winter wonderland too!

Lucky for me, before I leave work I can stock up on cocoa and snacks for the weekend! The good news for you is that Stonewall Kitchen is super close to the highway and on your way to the mountains. We're just 7 miles after you cross into Maine on 95 North. Take the York, ME exit #7. (It is the last exit before the Maine toll plaza) The access road from the highway leads you straight into Stonewall Kitchen, you can't miss it!

My shopping list:

1) Sticks, Straws & pretzels! Grab some small ziplock bags and they make the perfect snack for the lift ride up the mountain. Who wants to have to take a break from the trails just because they need a snack? Not me!

2) Cocoa to keep in my thermos waiting in the lodge. Yes, I did just say I hate to have to stop - but sometimes your little toes get too frozen! Cocoa is the perfect cure for the chilly skier.

3) Drink mixers. All of the skiers I know like to unwind after a day on the slopes. Looking to save money at the ski lodge bar? Head back to where you are staying and mix up your own drinks. You'll look like a star with our quick & easy mixers. Just don't forget the vodka! I like Pinnacle and you can grab some at the NH state liquor store - also just off the highway.

Wondering where to ski in Maine? Here are three mountains I like:

- For beginners:
With plenty of green trails, this mountain is small enough to not intimidate a beginner. However, it is still big enough keep skiers of all levels entertained.

- For intermediate skiing & riding:
This is a mostly intermediate mountain. While there are still plenty of easy and hard trails most of the mountain is perfect for intermediate skiers.

- For the advanced road-tripper:
Visit Sugarloaf's snowfields for the only above the tree line skiing in the northeast! While this mountain does still have some green trails I think it might be a bit intimidating for a first time skier. The only drawback is that it's quite a hike... 3.5 hours north of Stonewall Kitchen!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We have new packaging

Have you heard about (or seen) our new packaging and new products? We now have a "new look" to our dessert sauces and fruit butters. They all contain the same delicious recipes and amount as our previous jars, but the best news is the new lower price!!!
Key Lime Curd is one of our newest toppings. If you love our lemon curd – you must try our Key Lime Curd.

Laurie says: I am lucky enough to be on the tasting panel (I am sure the panel has a different name than that however). We receive notices to go to the lab and sample and evaluate new food products. It is pretty interesting to taste three of the same products with each one boasting a unique flavor.

Katie says: I may not be lucky enough to be on the official panel - but I do get to taste a lot of new products! Since I need to photograph them before they can be shown online or in the catalog - I usually end up having a taste when I'm done with it on set. Don't worry, I shared some fruit butter and biscuits with Sam in HR!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Composting in January?

Believe it or not, yes, this is possible! Did you know that you can set-up an entirely indoor compost system? You can! Ok, I'm sure your next question is why in the world would I want to do this?

1) Save the earth by making less food and paper/cardboard waste!
2) Save money on plant fertilizer by feeding house plants and outdoor gardens with your compost!
3) Be hip, with-it and cool... green is in, didn't you know?

Last year I attended a composting workshop* because I had always been interested but didn't really know what it was all about. What I learned is that you don't need to have a big garden or even an outdoor space to compost! You can create an indoor composting bin out of a storage bin you probably already own. It's called Vermicompost.

Is it smelly?
Nope. It just smells like dirt. Yep, like the kind you might buy - in a bag - for your garden. The worms eat odor-causing bacteria. Just don't put any meat, dairy or oily food in and you'll be all set!

Do the worms escape?
Nope. They like it in the dark moist bin with their food. Plus, you keep a lid on it and drill only small holes for ventilation. The worms won't get out.

Here is a great video to show you everything from setting up your bin to feeding the worms:

You will need:
- A Rubbermaid style bin (buy a pre-made bin here)
- Extra bin lid or tray (to go under)
- Worms
- Handful of soil
- Shredded cardboard & newspaper

You can keep the bin in an out of the way place that is 50-80 degrees. Don't want to have to dig around in there too much? Start by placing food all on one side of the bin. When you can see you have a lot of nice compost switch sides and the worms will move over! You can get the compost out of the "done" side and keep adding food to the other side.

Don't want to have to run over to the bin every time you peel a carrot? Try our compost keeper for your kitchen scraps.

*The workshop I took was taught by Lisa Spence (from Salem Community Gardens) and hosted by Crunchy Granola Baby.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jamming in Seattle - Jam Tour Day #2 Recap

It's Day 2 of our fantastic Wild Maine Blueberry Tour, and Stacy and I can't wait to get started. Today is going to be a day of store visits plus a little bit of sightseeing. We'd better have an early start. Good things my sister called me at 8:00 am ET forgetting that I was in Seattle instead of Portland, Maine ... that makes it a 5:00am wake up call for us! Well, no time like the present, we might as well begin the day!

We begin the day with breakfast at Starbucks! A quasi-funny place for two tea drinkers ... but as the saying goes ... "When in Rome ..." The hot chocolate and Chai that we order are a great kickoff to the day.

A short walk from our hotel is the Pike Place Public Market.
We head down there and enjoy the sights.

First thing we see is Corner Produce. These guys are displaying a huge assortment of beautiful, colorful vegetables. It has the look of a summer harvest, yet it is January. We left several jars of our Wild Maine Blueberry Jam with these guys. They'll be enjoying the jam themselves and sharing with their customers as well. If you are in the area, stop in to see them and enjoy some of the best jam available.

Next stop, the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market. We just had to see it. They sing, they shout ... they throw fish. All in a good day's work. Have a look at what we found tangled up in their Dungeness Crabs.

And even the fish here are eating our jam.
Looks like our Jam Tour is having quite an effect!

Mid-day, we were at West Seattle Thriftway where we again were thrilled to meet so many new fans of our jams and specialty foods. The staff at this store is by far one of the nicest teams. They are 100% focused on making it a great experience for their customers. And I think they must hold the record for the quickest checkout line. If you don't want to linger in the checkout aisle reading the magazine covers, then this is a great store for you.

In the afternoon, we were at QFC near the University. Look at the flowers outside of their store. More evidence that we are not in Maine. We gave away hundreds of jars of jam.

My favorite takeaway from today is the sheer joy that people experience when it clicks in their mind that ... yes, we are simply giving them a free jar of jam. No catch, no gimmick. Just a great jar of jam to enjoy. You can see their posture change as the smile comes across their face.

Stacy and I closed the day with dessert. A friend from home suggested that we check out the ice cream sundaes at Icon Grill knowing how much we love dessert. I can't repeat her actual words, but the gist was that this dessert would be ridiculously great. So we had to try it. Cynthia wasn't exaggerating. An edible bowl filled with vanilla ice cream, topped with a cone filled with hot fudge ... and a sweet waiter ready to dress the sundae with M&Ms, cookies and of course whipped cream. A little of everything please. And with that, the day is done.

Thank you Seattle for a great launch to our tour. We have fallen in love with this city over the past three days and will now begin dreaming of a return visit. Tomorrow, we head to San Francisco.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Jamming in Seattle -- Jam Tour Day #1

What a great first day for the Jam Tour. Seattle is a beautiful city, the views are amazing. The tour is being kicked off by myself and Laura, both of us from the marketing team. We were lucky enough to need to criss-cross the city a few times as we headed back and forth to Bellevue. Amazing coastline spots (and we thought Maine had that nailed!) with the snowcapped mountains in the near distance ... it is truly spectacular.

We gave out free sample jars of Wild Maine Blueberry Jam, coupons and offered tastings of our jam on our Simple White crackers. We were very well received everywhere we went. The most common response we got when we asked people if they wanted a free jar of Blueberry Jam was "Who could pass that up?" Yes, a few skeptics asked "What's the catch?" ... nope, no catch! One gentleman was so happy he says he is going to include us in his will. Now that's showing some love for our Wild Maine Blueberry Jam!

Another lucky perk of being in Seattle for the tour is that my brother lives out here. He and his family treated us to an incredible dinner at Wild Ginger in Bellevue. Their menu offers that each diner "take a culinary tour of China and Southeast Asia". And they state that "Our staff is here to guide and inspire you." Well, inspired we were. The food is served family style (if you wish, and we did), so we quickly found our table overflowing with curried tofu, beef and prawn satay, mushroom and snowpeas, seafood Thai noodles and more. The food was amazing. And I have to say how impressed Laura and I were that my 4-13 year-old niece and nephews devoured the food right along with us. Wild Ginger boasts one of the best wine lists and they have received accolades from Wine Spectator. We enjoyed our dinner with a very nice, smooth Syrah. Finished it off with banana, coconut and ginger flavored desserts. Nothing could have improved the evening!

It is so great to be able to meet our fans face to face. Some of you arrived after recieving our twitter and facebook messages. We're glad the word is getting out. We are just getting ready to start day #2 on the tour. We hope to see more people out today. We will be heading to West Seattle Thriftway at noon and then QFC on 2746 NE 45th Street.

Join the tour, and if you can't, let someone near us know. We will keep you updated on our whereabouts. In the meantime you can check out our entire schedule to see if we will be visiting a city near you.

(Photo from luthor522)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Deadlines? Solutions!

I’m usually good with deadlines, but sometimes life conspires to make things challenging as the clock ticks closer to the eleventh hour.

Wait. I should introduce myself. My name is Kelly, and I’m the newest contributor to the Stonewall Kitchen blog. (Not to be confused with “internet Kelly,” I am “sales Kelly,” henceforth known as KellyCS.) I’m a relatively new member of the Stonewall family, having joined its ranks in August 2008. However, I have been a consumer and fan for years, and am excited to have the chance to share with you my enthusiasm for the best specialty foods around.

Now back to deadlines. Dinner preparation sometimes loses in these contests of time. Luckily, there is always a solution in the pantry or fridge. Home late one evening, I wanted to make something fast but still delicious. I quickly thawed frozen chicken breasts in the microwave, cut them into long slices, and sautéed them in Roasted Apple Grille Sauce.

While the chicken cooked, I made some instant mashed potatoes. OK, I know what you’re thinking. Don’t laugh. They’re much better than they used to be – especially when made of baby red potatoes and swirled with a dollop of Roasted Garlic Onion Jamand super convenient when pinched for time. A crop of fresh broccoli in the microwave steamer made for a fantastic 4-minute veggie. And finally, for a little extra creaminess, just a teaspoon or so of sour cream stirred into the newly created “Roasted Apple Chicken.” Voila! Dinner. In about 15 minutes.

Another great solution for the time-challenged is to plan ahead for those days when you know you’ll be late. I suggest booking a class at the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School.

My husband and I attended last night’s sold-out class with Chef Ben Hasty, and not only ate a crazily delicious meal, we learned a number of good tricks to use for future meals. I can’t wait to try making “rossiti” – a risotto-like dish made of potatoes that takes a fraction of the time that the classic rice-based dish takes. And blood oranges will definitely become a seasonal staple in our fruit bowl. We also learned not to fear rutabagas.

Thanks for reading. I’m off to make dinner.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Join the Tour ... 2010 Jam Tour

This year, we'll be traveling around the country spreading our love for Wild Maine Blueberry Jam! Teams from Stonewall Kitchen will be visiting specialty food retailers and attending local events. We are looking forward to connecting with our loyal fans and meeting those who have yet to experience our great jams.

Throughout the tour, we will be handing out free samples, coupons for $2.00 off any Stonewall Kitchen jam, jelly or marmalade. Plus at many locations, we will be offering onsite tastings of our jams and specialty foods.

Check out the schedule and plan to join the tour.

See you on the road!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Jams!

We are so very excited to introduce our new jam flavors to you!
Blueberry Peach Jam
Peach Jam
Mixed Berry Jam
Strawberry Balsamic Jam

Kim has been busy developing new recipes for these new jams and I've been hard at work photographing (and tasting) them.

Here's a great tip for the first three on the list (or almost any of our jams and butters). Serve this spread at your next brunch and your guests will be impressed with your culinary skills! Don't worry, we won't tell that it is actually quick & easy to make.

Blueberry Peach Spread
Makes 1 ½ cups

8 ounces cream cheese (or butter), softened
½ cup Stonewall Kitchen Blueberry Peach Jam

Cream the softened cream cheese and Stonewall Kitchen Blueberry Peach Jam until uniformly blended. Refrigerate until ready to use. Delicious on toast, bagels, English muffins and croissants.

Our new Strawberry Balsamic Jam is not sweet like our other new jams, but it is also not quite a savory - like our Roasted Garlic Onion Jam. I couldn't wait to try it, but I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to use it. Well... Kim to the rescue! She created a panini that is simply to die for. I saved some from the photo shoot to share with my coworker Jamie. She declared that it was "the best sandwich I've ever had!" And, I might just have to agree! Give this recipe a try and let Jamie and I know if you love it as much as we do!

Chicken, Brie, and Arugula Panini
Made with Strawberry Balsamic Jam
Serves 4

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ½ inch thickness
Olive oil
8 slices of bread, preferably crusty or rustic bread
1 jar Stonewall Kitchen Strawberry Balsamic Jam
8 ounces Brie cheese, thinly sliced
2 ounces arugula or baby spinach leaves

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat in a medium size sauté pan. Sauté chicken breast until cooked through and juices run clear. Let rest and slice.
2. Brush one side of each slice of bread with olive oil. Turn slices over and generously spread the Stonewall Kitchen Strawberry Balsamic Jam over each slice. Layer arugula, sliced chicken and Brie cheese over four of the slices. Top with remaining slice of bread (olive oil side out). Cook sandwiches in a Panini maker until golden brown and cheese melts. *

* If you do not have a Panini maker you can use a sauté pan or grill pan and press down on sandwich as it cooks on both sides.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Did you chill & grill this weekend?

On Facebook we had a lot of great replies to Laurie's blog about chillin' & grillin'! (And Flo - thanks for posting the poem to our blog!) At first I thought, brrrr, it's too cold to grill in the winter! Then Sunday came around and sure enough my husband and some of our friends wanted to grill before the Patriots game! Now I'm wondering, how many other people were out there braving the elements to grill? If you did venture out to your barbecue what did you make?

We cut up chicken breasts into 2" steak tip sized pieces and marinated them in Wasabi Ginger Sauce. I was afraid that they would fall into the grill, but my husband was right (yes, I really just said that). Not only were the pieces of chicken safe from falls - but they were very tasty! The smaller pieces allowed for more of marinade to flavor the chicken.

We also made burgers. Our friend Jim is famous for his grilling "Jim burgers." These fabled concoctions are hard to beat! Working here I have plenty of Stonewall Kitchen sauces & jams in my fridge so I decided to see if I could make my own delicious burger recipe. I have to say, the Katie burger gives the Jim burger a run for its money! I added 1/2 jar of Roasted Garlic Onion Jam to the ground beef (approx 1.5 lbs). Our cafe serves burgers topped with RGOJ, and that's where I got the idea. I also added 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and a tablespoon of A1 along with salt and pepper to the ground beef. We topped these with Country Ketchup and cheddar cheese creating a slightly spicy twist on the traditional burger!

Looking for a healthier burger option? Chutney can help to keep a turkey burger moist and delicious. Try our recipe for the Best Ever Turkey Burger.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Chillin' and Grillin'

Don’t let the season determine your outdoor cooking. Even though it’s chillin’ it’s thrillin’ to be grillin’ no matter what the temperature is outside. Over 60 percent of Americans don’t mind putting on the parka to grill their favorite meal even if some of the sizzle comes from a snow flurry or two.

The perks are the same as in summer…the fabulous flavor, a break from meatloaf, and the absence of pots and pans in the sink. Most extreme grillers go with a gas fueled grill…no waiting for coals to heat up while you literally chill out. But there are diehard charcoal grillers who relish the flavor and aroma only charcoal can give…even if cooking takes a tad longer.

So there’s no need to put your grill away for the winter. Instead, put on a few extra layers of clothing and head out for the deck and your favorite grill for some punch in your winter menu.

That being said, have you tried our Sesame Ginger Teriyaki Sauce yet? You can make an incredible meal in minutes with chicken, beef or pork. I love using it as a marinade when grilling. Share your winter grilling recipes with us!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Foodie Resolutions?

What are your foodie resolutions for 2010? Cook dinner at home more? Bake the perfect batch of brownies? Eat out at that one restaurant you’ve always dreamed of visiting? Open your own restaurant?

It’s a lot easier to make New Year’s resolutions than it is to keep them. I’ve heard statistics that say anywhere from 50 to 92% of all resolutions are not kept. They say that the trick to keeping a resolution is to break them down into smaller, more manageable goals. So, if you want to cook at home more, you might start out by cooking a big dinner once a week so that there will be plenty of leftovers for another dinner and a lunch or two. Gradually work up to more nights, or encourage yourself further by saying you’ll try a new dish or two from a favorite cookbook. Did we mention we have two new cookbooks?

This year, I’m just not quite sure what my big resolution is going to be, but traveling more, taking an international cooking class (check out our cooking school schedule) are definite goals of mine. I’d also like to hold a few more contests on Facebook with giveaways for all of you readers. Beyond that, I’ll have to make them up as I go through 2010! What about you?