Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Create a Terrarium

You can easily make a terrarium for your home, just follow these simple steps.
Pin It
Gather your materials.
Suggested supplies:
  • Glass container
  • Variety of small plants (2-4" pots) – compatible to your container
  • Screen
  • Gravel – small pea-sized stones
  • Activated Charcoal Pieces – found at garden center. Charcoal helps drain your terrarium since there is no drainage hole and also prevent fungi.
  • Potting soil
  • Decorative Moss

For desert terrarium:
  • Succulents
  • Desert sand
  • Brush

How-To
No.1
Clean glass terrarium container with glass cleaner.
No.2
Cut screen, using base of container as a suggested circumference.
No.3
Pour gravel into terrarium.
No.4
Pour in charcoal and place screen on top of charcoal.
No.5
Keeping plants in their containers, arrange plants until your desired look is achieved to determine how you want to plant them.
No.6
Take plants out of their containers, using your hands make holes in the soil for each plant. Place plants in holes. Cover and smooth out soil around plants.
No.7
If using decorative moss, first moisten moss, making sure to push excess moisture out. Stretch pieces of moss, without breaking apart and place around plants.
No.8
Place your new terrarium in a location suitable for the type of plants you choose and enjoy it. You can easily change them or add new items as your mood and seasons suggest.
For your desert terrarium, follow the same steps as above but you can leave plants in their containers if you prefer; hide pots under sand, gravel and rocks. For ours we just used fine desert sand. We used a paintbrush to brush off excess sand to tidy up our terrarium.

Caring for your terrarium – Terrariums are living but do not need much to be cared for. Give your terrarium plants indirect sunlight (depending on the type of plants you selected), spritz with water as needed; they thrive in a damp environment much like a greenhouse but don’t require as much water as regular plantings, occasionally fertilize if plants look withered and make sure you provide your plants with good air circulation. You will want to occasionally prune plants back, due to their close living quarters.

Let soil dry out between watering your succulent plants, they do not require much water and generally thrive in sunny locations, just be sure their leaves are not getting burnt by the sun.

Terrariums will thrive without much work, much like your outdoor plants living in their natural environment. 

You can purchase our glass terrarium on our website: Shop Now

Friday, February 17, 2012

Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School Recipe

It's quiet in February, in Maine. The winter quiet is even more noticeable around here because the happy summer commotion is slowly silenced by each latching shutter and “I’ll see you next summer,” calling. It is an enjoyable silence. Often visitors plan their vacations to Maine during the winter for this exact reason.

So how do we - at Stonewall Kitchen - keep entertained during these quieter months? Cooking of course! What better way to spend an afternoon than making preparations for a meal you are bound to share with others – to break the silence or maybe to just enjoy it [the quiet] together.
 
At Stonewall Kitchen our Cooking school offers classes year round and is a really nice way to spend a winter afternoon or evening.
We often get requests for the recipes from our cooking school. This particular recipe is from one of Kim’s recent classes and a recent   request. A little inspiration for your own winter weekend cooking!


Chicken Sorrentino 
 serves 4
ingredients:
2 eggs
2 tablespoon water
1 ¼ cup olive oil
4 slices eggplant (1/4 inch thick)
Flour for dredging
Bread crumbs for breading (preferably Panko)
4 chicken cutlets, pounded thin
2 Tablespoons butter
4 slices prosciutto
½ cup marinara sauce
   4 slices mozzarella cheese
    ½ cup sherry wine
      ½ cup chicken broth
         Salt and pepper to taste
      Basil Pesto oil


Directions:
 
Lightly beat the eggs and water in a deep dish using a fork or whisk.

Heat 1 cup of oil in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Dredge slices of eggplant in flour, dip in the egg, then press in bread crumbs. Place eggplant in oil and cook until brown on both sides. Remove eggplant and place on paper towel to drain.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat remaining ¼ cup of oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Dredge chicken in flour and place in pan. Sauté chicken until lightly browned on both sides. Drain oil and return pan to heat.

Add butter. On each piece of chicken place one slice of prosciutto, one slice of eggplant, a little marinara sauce and one slice of mozzarella.

Add sherry wine and broth. Then place a spoonful of marinara on top of each slice of mozzarella. Simmer for about 5 minutes then place pan in oven.

Cook until the mozzarella is melted.

Remove from oven and transfer chicken to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm. Put pan back on heat and reduce juices on medium high heat scraping bits from the bottom of the pan until slightly thickened. Plate chicken, pour sauce over chicken and finish with pesto oil and serve.
French Silk Chocolate Pie
 Serves 8-10

Ingredients:
1 single blind baked pie crust
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
3 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and softened.
Directions:

In a large bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer on medium-low until frothy. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to whip until the cream forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a small bowl and refrigerate.

Combine the eggs, sugar and water in a large heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan filled with ½ inch of barely simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water).

With the electric mixer on medium speed, beat until the egg mixture is thickened and registers 160˚ on an instant-read thermometer, 7-10 minutes.

Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat egg mixture until fluffy and cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.

Add the chocolate and vanilla to the cooled egg mixture and beat until incorporated. Beat in the butter, a few pieces at a time, until well combined. Using a spatula, fold in the whipped cream until no streaks remain. Scrape the filling into the pie shell and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Serve.

 Pie Crust

1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch slices
¼ cup cold vegetable shortening cut into pieces
2 tablespoons cold vodka
2 tablespoons cold water



Directions:

Process ¾ cup of the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and shortening and process until homogenous and dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds. Scrape the bowl with a spatula.

Add the remaining ½ cup flour and pulse until the mixture is evenly distributed around the bowl and the mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty the mixture into a medium bowl.

Sprinkle the vodka and water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix, pressing down on the dough until it sticks together.

Form into a disc and chill at least 45 minutes up to 2 days.
Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat oven to 375˚.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 15 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a generously floured counter to a 12-inch circle, about 1/8-icnch thick. Transfer dough to a 9-inch pie plate, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Ease the dough into the plate.

Trim the dough to ½-inch beyond the lip of the pie plate. Fold the overhang under itself. Using your thumb and forefinger, flute the edge of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Remove the pie plate from the refrigerator; line the crust with heavy-duty foil, folding the excess over the edge of the pan, and fill with pie weights. Bake on the rimmed baking sheet for 20-25 minutes.

Carefully remove the foil and weights, rotate the baking sheet, and bake until the crust is golden brown and crisp, 10-15 additional minutes. Remove plate from oven and cool completely.

French Silk Pie was born in America. Betty Cooper, who lived in Maryland, won a $1,000 prize for her recipe in 1951 in the Third annual Pillsbury bake-off









Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chocolate for your Sweetheart

Valentine's Day comes every year, and every year you want to make it special for your loved ones.  What better way to make someone happy than with homemade chocolate!  Here are 3 fantastic, decadent recipes from a recent cooking class called Chocolate for your Sweetheart taught by Heather, one of our cooking school instructors.

Making homemade treats for your Valentine adds such a special touch to the day so we have created a recipe for everyone.  Each recipe is a little more in depth than the previous, depending how much time you have to put into your homemade treats.  Or, if you have no time, you can sign up for one of our Valentine's Day Classes and let our chefs do the cooking for you!

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles
Makes 24 Truffles
Pin It
Bittersweet-Chocolate-Truffles
Truffles can be simple to make at home. 
And making them yourself is sure to earn you some brownie points!
Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Assorted coatings such as toasted coconut, finely chopped nuts and cocoa powder (shown in above photo)
Directions:
  1. Place chocolate in a medium bowl.  Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and then pour over chocolate.
  2. Let sit (without stirring) 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
  3. Refrigerate (uncovered) until somewhat firm, about 1 hour.
  4. Spoon mounds (2 level teaspoons each) of chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.  Return to refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  5. With your hands, roll mounds into balls.  Place desired coatings in shallow bowls.  Roll balls in coatings, pressing in and covering completely.
  6. Return to baking sheet; chill until set, about 30 minutes

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Serves 10-12
Pin It
Flourless-Chocolate-Torte-w-SWK-Cherry-Cognac-Sauce
Top this fudgey cake with vanilla ice cream or one of our Dessert Toppings

Ingredients:

  • 8oz quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. Godiva chocolate liquor
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Butter bottom & sides of 10" spring form pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter in a metal bowl of a pot of barely simmering water.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups sugar.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well.  Sift cocoa over mixture and whisk until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into pan.  Bake until tip has formed crust and a toothpick comes out clean (30-40 minutes).  Cool for 10 minutes then remove sides of the pan.
  6. Whisk cream, chocolate liquor and 1 Tbsp sugar until stiff
  7. Garnish cake with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.
    TIP:  Try warming one of our Dessert Toppings such as Black Cherry Cognac Sauce (shown above), Chocolate Raspberry Liquor Hot Fudge or Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Sauce for an extra kick of flavor.


Chocolate Macadamia Caramel Tarts
Pin It
Macadamia-Caramel-Ganache-Tartelette-w-Homemade-Vanilla-Bean-Ice-Cream

Ingredients:
Crust:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp. ice water
Ganache:
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cocoa), chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted macadamia nuts (about 7 1/2 ounces), toasted, coarsely chopped.
Caramel Filling:
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Directions:
For Crust:
  1. Blend flour, powdered sugar and salt in food processor.  Add butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp. ice water and blend just until moist clumps form, add more ice water by the teaspoonful if needed.
  3. Transfer dough into individual tart pans, or one 9" pan with removable bottom.
  4. Using lightly floured fingers, press dough firmly and evenly onto bottom and up sides of pan.  Chill for 1 hour.
  5. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.  Line crust with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake until pale golden around edges and sides are set, about 20 minutes.  Remove foil and beans; bake until crust is golden and cooked through, about 14 minutes.  Transfer to rack and cool crust completely in pan.
For Ganache:
  1. Bring cream to simmer in heavy small saucepan.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate, stir until smooth.
  2. Spoon 3 Tbsp. ganache into 1 corner of small resealable plastic bag and salt; set aside at room temperature for piping.
  3. Spread remaining ganache evenly over bottom of crust.  Sprinkle chopped macadamia nuts evenly over ganache layer in crust.  Freeze crust while preparing caramel filling
For Caramel Filling:
  1. Combine sugar and 1/3 cup water in heavy medium saucepan.  Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.  Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is golden amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling the pan, about 8 minutes.
  2. Remove pan from heat.  Add cream and butter; stir until any caramel bits dissolve and mixture is smooth.  Attach candy thermometer to side of pan and bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat.  Boil without stirring until thermometer registers 240 degrees F, about 2 1/2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, whisk in vanilla and salt.
  4. Remove crust from freezer.  Working quickly, pour caramel filling into crust.  Gently shake tart pan to allow filling to settle evenly in crust.  Cool completely at room temperature, about 3 hours.
  5. Place reserved resealable bag with chocolate ganache in microwave and heat in 5-second intervals just until smooth and pourable.  Using scissors, cut off very small tip from corner of bag with ganace.  Pipe ganache decoratively over caramel filling in crosshatch pattern.
  6. Chill until chocolate is set, about 20 minutes.
  7. Remove sides from tart pan.  Place tart on platter, cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Stonewall Kitchen's Super Bowl Playbook


With all this talk around here about the “big game” on Sunday we thought it would be fun for you to see how we go from idea to execution for our emails and website photos.


We, of course are rooting for the home team, The New England Patriots but have not confirmed our plans for Sunday night, yet. It will most likely be a game-time decision, which is easily accomplished with our quick and easy options for throwing a party together in under two hours!


The Play by Play

Before you can purchase any Stonewall Kitchen items a lot of behind the scenes work must happen.


First and foremost of course, is the idea for a new product, which comes from Jim Stott and Jonathan King, owners of Stonewall Kitchen. Our test kitchen then creates several variations of the product which our tasting team evaluates. After several evaluations, to make sure we produce the best possible product, we are ready for production. A lot more goes into this of course, but we are going to jump to the recipe development.

Kim is our recipe developer. She develops the recipes which appear on the sides of some of our product jars, like our simmering sauces and she also creates recipes for each and every product which appear on our website, on recipe cards, and recipe booklets. Kim also cooks the food for all of our photo shoots and in her spare-time she teaches class in our cooking school.



To get ready for our Super Bowl themed photo shoot, Kim set up four different stations in the kitchen, and neatly organized all the ingredients based on the four different recipes she choose: Our Guacamole Spice Mix, Buffalo Wing Sauce, Three-Bean Chili using our Sloppy Joe Sauce and our Cornbread Mix.





Kim shared some quick cooking tips with us which made preparation and clean-up so much easier.




Place parchment paper in your baking pan and spray it with cooking spray before you pour your baking mix in, this allows you to simply lift the corn bread out of the pan, no need to gauge the pan while trying to cut pieces out and it also makes for a quick clean-up.


  Use a spoon to scoop out the core of a jalapeno for effortless prep.



Cut an avocado in half, remove the pit, and then cut the rest of the avocado into squares to turn an otherwise messy job into a neat and easy way for preparing guacamole.



After all the food is cooked, baked and prepared it is time to deliver it to our photo studio.


This is where Michael, our photographer, and Cynthia,our stylist, prepare the scene to be photographed. Cynthia picks the props, and positions things just right so Michael can capture the scene. Once the photos are complete, Michael sends them around for review.


Once the photo is given the “go” our web designer, Ted, creates an email using copy from our copywriter, Nina. And often Kim’s recipes are linked to the email as well.


Super Bowl email picture appearing in your in-box soon


The emails then get sent out. You can sign-up here: email sign-up if you would like to receive our bi-weekly emails.

Sometimes we use the photos for other portions of our website or for promotional materials.



Cheers!  We hope you enjoy your own Super Bowl party!