Friday, December 30, 2011

Lucky Foods for the New Year

Being "Mainers" we have a special love for lobster and enjoy it as often as possible, except for one day; New Years Day.  Did you know that it is actually considered unlucky to eat lobster for New Years?  I guess we can survive only enjoying it 364 days a year.  A lobster crawls backwards, and for the new year the last thing you want to do is move backwards, which is why it is considered an unlucky food for the new year.  Another unlucky food?  Chicken.  Although a chicken moves forward, they scratch backwards, also symbolizing a move in the wrong direction for the new year.

A few lucky foods for the New Year are;

Black-Eyed Peas
Considered lucky since the Civil War, Black-Eyed Peas symbolize prosperity.

Greens
Greens, in the form of lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens, etc, symbolize money.  Greens should be eaten on New Years eve, meaning luck with money in the upcoming year.

Pork
Pigs, unlike lobsters, move forward, constantly sniffing the ground looking for what is ahead of them.  Pigs symbolize moving forward in the upcoming year.

Cake
We think any day you get to eat cake is a lucky one, but especially on the new year.  Traditionally, ring-shaped cakes (such as a bundt cake) symbolize wholeness and  completion.  Often, a small trinket or token is baked inside the cake and the person who gets that slice will receive an extra dose of good luck in the upcoming year.

So as you prepare your New Year's menu, be sure to include some of these "Lucky Foods"

Tenderloin of Pork with Beet Greens

Using both pork and greens, this dish will bring you a double dose of luck in 2012!


Ingredients:
  • 2 tenderloins of pork (approximately 1-1.25 pounds each)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup Cognac, wine or apple juice
  • 3/4 cup Stonewall Kitchen Fig & Ginger Jam or Roasted Garlic Onion Jam
  • 1/2 pound beet greens (approximately 4 cups, tightly packed)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to coat pan)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Directions:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add enough oil to lightly coat pan.  Salt and pepper the tenderloin and then sear 3-4 minutes per side until all sides are browned.  Transfer to an oven-proof dish and add 1/2 cup of the stock.  Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes, until pork is slightly firm to the touch, registering 150 degrees on a meat thermometer.
  3. While pork is baking, return saute pan to medium heat and add Cognac to deglaze pan.  Add remaining 1 cup stock to pan and reduce by half.  Add jam and reduce to sauce consistency.  Transfer sauce to a bowl.
  4. Remove pork from the oven, and pour the pan juices into the sauce.  On medium heat, saute the beet greens until slightly wilted.
  5. Plate greens, top with pork that has been cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices and drizzle with sauce.
Caramel Apple Butter Bundt Cake

Enjoy this lucky cake for breakfast or dessert!



Ingredients:

Filling:
Cake Batter:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Grease and flour a 10" bundt pan
  3. In a small bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients, set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  5. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Add eggs to butter and sugar, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and beat until smooth.
  7. Alternately, add dry ingredients and sour cream into the resulting egg mixture, beating until smooth.
  8. Measure 1/2 cup batter and add to filling mixture.
  9. Pour just over 1/2 of the batter into the pan.
  10. Make a 1" trough in the center of the batter all the way around the pan.
  11. Spread filling through.
  12. Cover with remaining cake batter.  Smooth around top, so the filling is completely covered.
  13. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake begins to pull away from the edges of the pan and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Wishing you lots of luck in the year to come!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Breakfast Recipes for your Christmas Morning

For most families on Christmas, Christmas morning either starts at the crack of dawn in anticipation of all the presents Santa left, or you enjoy a quiet, lazy morning.  No matter how your Christmas morning is spent we think there is really no better way to enjoy the daylong celebration than with a delicious breakfast or brunch.  Here are some of our favorite breakfast recipes sure to make your morning a joyful one!

Baked Herb Eggs
Ingredients:
  • 6 thin slices of good deli ham or Canadian Bacon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup light cream
  • 3 Tbsp. Stonewall Kitchen Traditional Pub Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • dash of oregano
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray 6 ramekins (4.5oz round) with pan spray.
  3. Pull the ham slices into small pieces and place in ramekins.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat eggs.
  5. Add to the eggs, cream, mustard, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, cheeses, pepper, green onion and herbs.
  6. Stir well, then spoon into prepared ramekins.
  7. Use a fork to push ingredients below egg mixture.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden and set.

Baked French Toast with Mimosa Jam
Ingredients for the french toast
  • 1 2/3 cup light cream
  • 5 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp/ pure vanilla
  • Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 - 12oz loaf rich egg bread, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, softened
Ingredients for the mimosa orange syrup
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the light cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Grease a 9x13 inch pan with butter.  Arrange pieces of bread in a single layer close together.  Pour egg mixture over the bread.  Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  4. Pour off extra egg mixture.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over the top.  Bake 20-30 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.  Cut into individual portions.
  5. While the french toast is baking make the syrup by combining the Mimosa Brunch Jam, orange juice, lemon juice and butter in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until jam and butter are melted.  Serve over baked French toast.  Garnish with sour cream and mint leaf.
Mixed Berry Fruit Salad


Ingredients:
Directions:
  1. Clean and hull berries.  Drain well or lay on paper towels to dry.
  2. Heat marmalade slightly in a microwave or over low heat.
  3. Combine fruit, Tangerine Marmalade and mint in a medium serving bowl.  Mix until uniform
  4. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Apple Crumb Cake with Stonewall Kitchen Apple Butter Syrup



Ingredients for the cake:
  • 2/3 cup plus 4 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla or flavored extract
  • 5 large apples, cored and sliced thin
Ingredients for the crumb topping
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 ounces cold butter in pieces
Ingredients for the syrup topping
Directions:
  1. Beat together oil, milk, and eggs.  Mix in dry ingredients.  Gently stir in vanilla or other flavoring.
  2. Pour 1/2 of the batter into a greased 11x17 pan.  Lay apples over the mixture to create a colorful pattern.
  3. Cover the apple with a thin layer of crumb topping.  Repeat with the rest of the apple slices, batter and topping (top layer of the crumb mixture should be think to completely cover the fruit).
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Combine syrup and cream in a heavy saucepan and heat, stirring.
  6. Serve cake warm or at room temperature with warm syrup topping.

If you are looking for more holiday meals for this coming weekend, check out our holiday recipe page!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Shipping at Stonewall Kitchen - Behind the Scenes


Every year it is amazing to see the organization and hard work in our warehouse to ensure orders are received by Christmas!  Each staff member at Stonewall Kitchen dedicates a minimum of two days each holiday season to helping in the warehouse.  It is a great way to get everyone to work together and get in the holiday spirit.

Here is a quick video, shot by owner Jim Stott during his recent trip to our warehouse, that shows a behind-the-scenes look at how we get the packages to your door!

If you still need to ship out a holiday package, please check our shipping information page to see what date it will need to be ordered by to get to your home in time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cupcakes for the Holidays

Not only do these cupcake decorating ideas make fabulous looking cupcakes in the wink of an eye but tomorrow is National Cupcake Day; what better way to honor such a day?

Use your favorite cupcake and frosting recipe. Make sure you purchase some piping bags which you can find at the grocery store or craft store. Kids love using the piping bags and they also make things a lot neater and easier than using spreaders. Also, purchase a few bags of candy such as gum drops, nonpareils and marshmallows.

For our ribbon cupcakes we used red and green gum drops as decorations. We rolled them with a standard rolling pin, sprinkling regular sugar on the surface to prevent too much stickiness. After rolling out the gumdrops, the pieces can be easily cut into almost any shape with a pair of kitchen shears. We cut the gum drops into strips and then used frosting to hold the pieces together in the center to create the finished bow. We finished these cupcakes off with a few sparkling dragees. Our poinsettia cupcakes and the holly leaves were also made using this method.

To make the peppermint pin wheel, Santa and the pretty wreath cupcakes, we first coated the top of the cupcake with a generous amount of plain white frosting. We piped on the decorations using the same frosting dyed with food coloring and used licorice and tiny red dot candies to finish off Santa’s face and the wreaths. For Santa's hat we used the rolled-out gum drops as well.


For the snowmen we used marshmallows, made a gum drop scarf, two eyes made out of pieces of licorice, and a hat made from nonpareils. The kids will really like making these.


Don't you think these cupcakes would be great to make for a bake sale, school holiday party or December birthday party?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Toast the season with style and great taste: Drink Recipes for All

The Holidays don't have to be all about Eggnog and mulled cider.  It's a great time to get a little creative behind the bar to add some pizazz to your holiday party, and your fun concoctions do not need to contain alcohol.  Here are some great recipes created by our recipe developer, Kim, that everyone can enjoy!

Pomegranate Cosmopolitan


Ingredients:

Directions:
  • Mix all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker and shake well.
  • Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lime twist

*For a non-alcoholic version, eliminate the vodka & cointreau and replace with club soda (to taste) and a splash of Orange Juice.

Bloody Maria



Ingredients:
Directions:
  • Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  • Serve over ice.  Garnish with skewered sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and habanero peppers.
*For a non-alcoholic version, simply omit the tequila or vodka for a spiced tomato juice cocktail.

Pomegranate Champagne

Ingredients:

Directions:
  • Add Pomegranate Cosmo Mixer to champagne glass
  • Top off with chilled champagne and garnish with pomegranate seeds or a few raspberries.
  • Enjoy!
*For a non-alcoholic version, replace the champagne with club soda, or a soda such as Sprite or 7-UP


Cheers!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tips for a Crafty Holiday

Well, here we are, the second week into the holiday season. So many great ideas have passed our desks it is hard to narrow them down, we wish we could do them all!  Each one of our holiday tips comes from a bit of research and our own splash of creativity; we shop for all the materials, cook all the recipes, make each craft, go into our photo studio and work with our photographer to style and shoot each tip. We then write explanations up and post them on our website and here on our blog. It is a lot of work, but a fun team effort we look forward to each year.  We hope you are enjoying these fun holiday ideas as much as we are! You can also view them all here: http://www.stonewallkitchen.com/ (box in upper right-hand corner of home page).

Today's tip is all about holiday wall decorations. Your treasured holiday ornaments are just the thing for decorating a tree for the holidays or for adding a little touch of merriment to your home, but here are some ways to extend the holiday spirit to your walls. These are a couple of our favorite and fairly simple ideas:

NOEL

You can find pre-made wood or cardboard letters in any sewing or craft store. Choose your favorite holiday words … joy … peace … merry … or as we did, noel. Simply spray paint the letters in a color to complement your space. We used a bronze colored spray paint on these oversized letters. Using the new stick on wall hanging tags (found at any hardware store) hang them in any fashion you find pleasing – on a bare wall, or on a sometimes overlooked space like the stairwell. Add decorations of an appropriate height and width to balance out the letters - if you are using the large letters as we did.

Little White Boxes

Similar to a curio box, this adorable decoration is a project you and even your kids might enjoy doing. You can make these boxes in one of two ways. If you’re handy in the workroom (or know someone who is) simply make nine or twelve 3-4” square boxes from plywood. If you are having fun with the kids, find the same number of jewelry boxes or craft boxes from a local craft store. Glue the boxes together and allow them to dry completely before spray painting them the color of your choice. Meanwhile, gather special ornaments, pine cones or trinkets from around the house. Put one item in each box. Use your imagination. Our little piggy is actually a salt shaker dressed up for the holidays with a bright red bow! Hang with wall hanging tags and have fun moving items in and out each year!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Simple Holiday Decorations for the Outdoors

We gave you a few ideas this past week to decorate the inside of your house, but what about the outside?  Here are a few ideas to get your outdoor decorations started.
Apple Topiaries

These are fun to make and look great out on the front stoop or porch, in the garden or even inside by the front door.

You will need:
  • One garden urn
  • Large Styrofoam cone found in the floral department at a craft store
  • Long wooden skewers - the kind used for BBQ
  • Various sized apples down to crab apple size
Directions:
  1. Place foam tree in urn, you may have to secure it by filling rocks into the gaps or cut the bottom off to make it a bit shorter and more stable
  2. Start at bottom of foam tree with larger sized apples moving up to smaller apples.  Fill in holes with smaller crab apples or you could even use frozen cranberries skewered with toothpicks.
  3. We left ours plain, but you could add a box and drape ribbon down the sides of the topiaries.
  4. Stand back and enjoy your creative display!

Wine Bag Door Hanger

This simple, yet surprisingly different, door hanger makes for a nice welcoming holiday decoration.



You will need:
  • Hook
  • Ribbon for hanging and decorating bag
  • Pretty fabric wine bag
  • Greens or other holiday decorations like candy canes
Directions:
  1. Hang your pretty wine back on the door hook or door handle, tie some ribbon around it, fill with greenery and enjoy!
  2. Wine bags are also great for holding thoughtful things for your holiday guest on the back of the guest room door.
  3. Wrap a few small presents and travel sized toiletries they may need while staying with you.
  4. Don't forget an orange too; a traditional token of holiday welcoming.

Festive Yarn Spheres

This is a fun craft to do with the kids and makes for inexpensive and festive outdoor decorations.



You will need:
  • Yarn (twine can also be used for a more natural look) in two or three different colors
  • Elmer's glue
  • Rubber gloves (for keeping hands free of glue)
  • A bag of regular sized, round balloons
Directions:
  1. Blow up balloons to various sizes, think of shaping them like spheres.  Make sure to tie balloons off with string instead of knotting them.
  2. Mix Elmer's Glue - basic white glue - with a little water in a bowl.  Just add a little water at a time to prevent mixture from becoming too thin and watery.  Consistency should be like paint.
  3. Cut sting in 2 foot lengths, or whatever length is easiest for dipping string into bowl of glue.  Circle balloons with each length of glued string until balloon is covered for desired look.
  4. Hang balloons from string knots to dry.  This is best done in a garage, basement or laundry room where balloons can hang freely.  Balloons should take a day or two to dry completely.  They will feel stiff once dried.
  5. Slowly let the air our of each balloon, pushing the balloon away from the yarn.  Don't just pop balloons, this can cause the spheres to collapse.
  6. Hang finished spheres from string or ribbon from outside tree branches.  They would also look great hanging from a porch ceiling or inside for party decorations.

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Have you missed our previous tips?  You can catch up by visiting our website!