Thursday, June 28, 2012

Recipes and Tips for your 4th of July Barbecue

In addition to fireworks and sparklers, the Fourth of July is known as a day to break out the grill for a barbecue.  Whether you are hosting or attending, it is always fun to create a special dish to celebrate the holiday.  Here are a few of our favorite recipes and tips for creating memorable twists on a few staple barbecue items.

Watermelon Sangria Blush
Impress your guests with something other than beer and wine - a fruity drink for a summer day!
- 2 Cups sliced fruit (such as limes, oranges and kiwi)
- 1 bottle of Watermelon Mojito Mixer
- 1 750mL bottle white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
- Soda Water to taste
- Watermelon wedges for garnish

Fill a large pitcher with ice and sliced fruit.  Add Watermelon Mojito mixer and wine and stir.  Add soda water to taste.  Garnish each glass with watermelon wedges and serve.

Southwest Sweet Potato Salad
Chances are pretty good that there will be a traditional potato salad at the barbecue.  This recipe changes it up a bit and uses sweet potatoes instead of regular.
For Potato Mixture
- 3 lb sweet potatoes, washed and cubed with skin on
- 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 large red onion, diced
- EVOO - enough to coat potatoes and vegetables
For the Dressing
- 1/2 cup Spicy Corn Relish
- 1/2 bottle Cilantro Lime Dressing
- 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Salt & Pepper to taste

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
2) Wash and cube sweet potatoes
3) Place in a roasting pan and toss with oil until all are coated
4) Roast in oven until browned, approximately 20 minutes, allow to cool
5) Toss the diced peppers and onions in olive oil and place in roasting pan - roast at 450 degrees until browned, approximately 15 minutes - allow to cool
6) Combine all ingredients for dressing
7) Toss sweet potatoes, peppers and onions and dressing in a large bowl.
8) Chill for at least 1 hour before serving

The great part about grilling is you don't have to spend hours and hours in the kitchen to prepare.  There are several ways to add extra flavor to your dishes without missing out on the nice weather.  Here are some of our quick tips for the grill season;
  • Try adding Farmhouse Red Relish to your ground meat before forming it into burgers.  Not only does it keep them extra juicy but it also adds a nice sweet and spicy flavor.
  • If you are strapped for time, purchase a bag of pre-cut coleslaw mix and toss it with one of our flavored Aiolis such as Roasted Garlic or create your own such as Habanero Mango Coleslaw
  • For those opting to not eat meat, try grilling portabella mushrooms brushed with Sesame Ginger Teriyaki Sauce.  The meaty texture of the mushroom holds up well on the grill and is a great meat substitute.
  • Rub a pork tenderloin with Espresso Spice Rub and let it marinate for an hour or so before grilling to develop a deeper flavor
  • Brush your seafood with Curried Mango Grill sauce for a tropical flavor or just provide it as a dipping sauce
  • Top your hot dogs and hamburgers with specialty mustards and ketchups
And since the grill is on, you might as well do dessert too!
Grilled Pound Cake and Aged Balsamic Macerated Strawberries

Happy Grilling!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Greeting our four-legged friends at our South Windsor store

For those who have visited our offices here in York, you know that we love our four-legged friends!  We get frequent furry visitors and are sure to provide water bowls outside and a place to stretch their legs.  Sometimes you will see Daisy, Lily and Violet, Jim and Jonathan's Golden Retrievers, greeting guests and employees.  They like to do quality control with our selection of pet products as well!  With our love of animals, we were more than thrilled to participate in the Paws on the Promenade which took place this past weekend at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor, CT, where one of our company stores is located.

The pups were lining up to get their treats at our booth at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor, CT.  All natural doggy biscuits were on the menu for this annual event, which attracts all kinds of four-legged friends.  Some were visiting with their owners and others were looking for permanent homes, but all enjoyed the pampering and beautiful weather.

Waiting patiently for a treat
We're going to need a bigger biscuit!

"Got any Goodies?"

Now THAT's a water bowl!

Sharon is ready with the treats
Did someone say cookie?

We're cute too!

To keep up to date on events in your area, please check our store pages or our Facebook page for event listings!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Few Ideas for Father's Day

Somehow it seems that Father's Day often gets pushed aside for graduations, the end of the school year and summer celebrations.  With the hectic schedules that begin Memorial Day Weekend, it is important to mark the day on your calendar and be sure to show your appreciation to your father, or the father figure in your life.

To celebrate here at Stonewall Kitchen (in our York, ME and South Windsor, CT locations) we will be hosting our Dogs for Dad's Event from 11am-2pm on Sunday, June 17th!  Every Dad gets a free hot dog with all the fixin's, and for everyone else, hot dogs can be purchased for $2.00 and all proceeds go towards the ASPCA.

And if you can't make it to one of our Dogs for Dads events, here are a few of our favorite gift ideas for Dad;

Porcelain Grill Griddle Gift
- Maple Chipotle Grille Sauce
- Roasted Peach Whiskey Sauce
- Espresso Rub
- Kansas City Rub
- Porcelain Grill Griddle
- Prime Cuts Tea Towel
- Silicon Grill Brush

Grill Caddy
- Maple Chipotle Grille Sauce
- Vidalia Onion Fig Sauce
- Sesame Ginger Teriyaki Sauce
- Bourbon Molasses Grille Sauce

Ultimate Grill Kit
- Maple Chipotle Grille Sauce
- Lemon Pepper Chicken Rub
- Memphis Rub
- Stonewall Kitchen Grilling Cookbook
- Silicon Grill Brush

Friday, June 8, 2012

Behind the Scenes in our Cooking School - designing our classes

It is a warm, drizzly spring day. The cold weather greens in my garden are finally mature enough to harvest: arugula, spinach and mesclun. Pea tendrils curl up from the darkened earth, reaching up to grab their wire trellis and I’ve finally taken the cold frame off the tomatoes, exposing them to the warmer nights and sunshine-filled days. Birds sing hopefully, looking for mates while my family plans the chicken coop for the new spring flock. And what am I thinking of? Snow.
Or at least, barren trees accompanied by a late Fall harvest: acorn squash, cranberries, apples, turkey…It’s true – while the rest of the northern hemisphere is having thoughts of warm weeks to come, I’m planning for Autumn and the holiday season. It is menu-writing time for Third Quarter at Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School.

The Cooking School was started by Jim and Jonathan because they wanted to create a place where people could come, enjoy a meal and want to come back again. So far, their idea is working. Since the school was started four years ago, we have had thousands of classes and taught tens of thousands of people. I am lucky to have been involved in the school for the past year. Cooking for and feeding people comes from deep inside me and sometimes I cannot believe that I actually get paid to do it!

Course catalogs are published on a quarterly basis. Started months in advance, in-house instructors and visiting chefs alike prepare their menus and turn them in for scheduling and several rounds of review within the company. Keeping this information in mind, this means that I am currently teaching classes with menus I dreamt up in February. While snow was flying, I was thinking of coleslaw,tomatoes and grilled everything.

So now the converse is happening. I am tasked with creating 2 menus per week for 4 months. Even my faulty math knows this means a daunting 32 complete menus. First step is to remember what Fall and Winter feel like. I go through my iPhoto library and look at pictures I’ve taken over the years of wintery New England landscapes, holidays spent with my family, images of food that I’ve cooked. I then go to my cookbook shelves and start to pull some down, stacking them next to my computer. I pore over them, dog-earing
pages that give me ideas, making notes in my notebook, revising recipes in my head. What would people like to eat? What types of classes have we had requests for? What can I prepare that would make a good class: something delicious and soul satisfying, a menu that inspires people to cook at home, perfect for entertaining.
All of these thoughts are in my head as I write down possibilities, scratch them out, start all over. I know my deadline is Friday - and so far I’ve only created 12.
And I realize I’ve got a class coming up that I need to prepare for - but that is another blog entry all together.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Stonewall Kitchen Mustard Recipe Contest - We Have a Winner!

The votes are in and after much deliberation we have found the winner!  It was no easy task.
First we solicited recipes from bloggers all across the country. Then we sorted through a whole pile of fabulous recipes and blog postings on the recipe creations. Next, we came up with eleven finalists and then passed it off to the Stonewall Kitchen and blogger fans for voting.  Votes were tallied from Facebook, Pinterest and the Stonewall Kitchen Blog to determine the final top three which were:   
Fiddleheads, Shrimp & Flageolet Beans with Champagne Shallot Vinaigrette using Stonewall Kitchen Champagne Shallot Mustard.

Ham and Pineapple Biscuit Sliders with Stonewall Kitchen Spicy Honey Mustard.


Mustard Hoagie Rolls using Stonewall Kitchen Maine Maple Champagne Mustard.


Each of these three recipes tasted delicious and were beautiful culinary presentations which made the final decision so tough.  

The Fiddlehead and Shrimp recipe was not only a beautiful presentation, but the light flavors of fiddleheads, with shrimp, beans, and the asparagus we added, really made for a great dish we would be happy to serve at our next dinner party. The mustard sauce was complex and full of flavor and we really enjoyed dipping our mustard hoagie rolls right in for a lasting morsel of flavor.

The Ham and Pineapple Biscuits were simply delicious. The grilled pineapple was refreshing against the robust mustard sauce and the biscuits rounded out the sandwich in a good-southern-manners sort of way! And we really enjoyed the presentation from the Framed Cooks blog. The pictures were bright and fun. We can envision preparing a plate of these for our next picnic.

The Hoagie Rolls were unique and oh, so tasty!  The texture offered a dense outer layer which protected the soft doughy inside. The tasting panel really enjoyed eating these just as is - without being made into a sandwich. We made a request to our recipe developer to make pretzels out of the dough. She said they came out great as a pretzel too (they must have because we never got to see or taste them - somehow they disappeared in the photo studio!).

And this is what our Judging and Tasting panel consisted of:

And the winner is....drum roll, please! .....Framed Cook's Ham and Pineapple Biscuit!  Congratulations!  
Thanks to each and every blogger and voter who participated in our first recipe contest.  We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.  Be sure to try the recipes from each of our contestants, they really are all so wonderful. Keep an eye out for our next recipe contest. Dessert maybe?