Crispy Duck Fat Potatoes with Garlic-Parmesan Butter

One of our top selling pantry items is the Rouge Duck Fat from France. This decadent and amazing recipe is a customer favorite. ~ Ann Marie

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds new or fingerling potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 T unsalted butter
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 T)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 T finely minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1 c)
  • 6 T Rougie Duck Fat

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Season heavily with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are completely tender and a cake tester or paring knife inserted into potato shows little resistance, about 5 minutes after it starts boiling.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until softened and fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl. Add parsley and grated cheese. Set aside.
  3. Drain potatoes and allow to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, split each potato in half lengthwise. Heat 3 tablespoons duck fat in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add as many potatoes as you can fit in a single layer, cut-side down (you should be able to fit about half the potatoes). Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until potatoes are golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with garlic butter. Repeat with remaining duck fat and potatoes, transferring to same bowl. Toss potatoes to coat evenly in garlic-butter mixture, and season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.

Recipe from Serious Eats

Marinated Idiazabal Cheese with La Cultivada Quintaesencia Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This recipe incorporates one of our favorite store olive oils:

The La Cultivada premium EV olive oil from Spain is 100% organic. Enjoy this exquisite oil over salads and grilled vegetables, or simply as a dip for crusty artisan bread. Certified organic by S.C. CAAE.
2018 Awards: Gold medal at Ecotrama, Gold medal for package design at Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition

Ingredients:

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and mix with a rubber spatula to combine. Cover with plastic and let marinate at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours, mixing occasionally. Serve at room temperature with tooth picks and crusty bread for dipping in the oil.

Recipe from Serious Eats

Gazpacho Andaluz with La Sacristia Sherry Vinegar

There can be nothing more refreshing that Gazpacho on a nice hot summer day. Enjoy this special recipe that incorporate a very special Sherry Vinegar from Spain: Sacristia Vinagre de Jerez Reserva. Bon Apetit! ~Ann Marie

Ingredients:

For the soup:

  • 1 slice county-style bread, about 1″ thick, crusts removed
  • 2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 pounds very ripe tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 T La Sacristia Vinagre de Jerez Reserva
  • 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil

Optional garnishes:

  • 1/2 green pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and finely diced

Directions:

  1. Soak bread for 30 minutes in a small bowl with water to cover. Squeeze out excess moisture with your hands.
  2. Puree bread, cucumbers, tomato, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and one cup water in a food processor until very smooth.
  3. Push the puree through a coarse sieve with the back of a wooden spoon. Gazpacho should be fairly thin. Season to taste with salt.
  4. Chill gazpacho in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Adjust seasoning. Serve in individual glasses, or in soup bowls with garnishes on the side.

Recipe from Saveur

Spinach and Artichoke Galette

One of my go to appetizers are galettes! I love to get creative with them. One of my favorites is this delicious galette with Italian artichoke hearts. We always like to keep the jarred artichokes stocked at the store as a recommended pantry item for our customers. (I sometimes substitute puff pastry for the pie crust an extra decadent treat…) Bon Apetit ~Ann Marie

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 oz fresh spinach
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 jars Frantoi Cutrera Artichoke Hearts, drained
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 store-bought pie crust
  • flour, for dusting
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced thin or shredded, about 1 c
  • 2-4 oz bleu cheese, broken into chunks
  • 2 T pine nuts (optional)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 T fresh basil for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and garlic. Cook for one to two minutes until garlic is fragrant, being careful to not overcook. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted. Remove from heat and stir in artichokes, basil, lemon juice, pepper, and salt.
  2. Flour work surface and roll pie crust to 1/8 inch thickness. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Leaving a 3 inch border around the edges, top the dough with mozzarella cheese, then the spinach artichoke mixture, and top with bleu cheese and pine nuts, if using.
  3. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling. Brush the crust with the beaten egg. Place in preheated 375°F oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Allow to cool 5 minutes, then slice and serve garnished with fresh basil.

Journey to Poland with Ann Marie

While I had never thought I would ever make it to Poland to see this country, the opportunity arose and Britt, my Garden Store manager and Polish pottery lover and I thought “why not check out the Polish Pottery festival in Bolesławiec”.      It was a decision we will never regret.

Our trip began with our flight into Wroclaw, Poland.   For some reason it took me the whole trip before I mastered actually saying the name of this town.   I guess my age is showing and this “old dog”  needs some Polish pronunciation lessons.    Once we checked into our hotel and dropped our bags it was out to the street to walk around this historic town.

Wrocław is the largest city in south western Poland and sits on the banks of the Oder River.   The town like all of Poland still retains the remnants of Soviet control with not so beautiful block building but the town center and area surrounding are stunning.    But what was beautiful were the people that were enjoying the beautiful town center and the surrounding areas especially along the river.  The town has undergone alot of renovation these days and we could tell the people of Wroclaw took much pride in their town.    There is too many things to mention about the town and in fact we could have spent weeks poking around.  Here is the link to Wikipedia to read more: https://bit.ly/2wlQwFx.

Our immediate focus was food of course.   Britt organized a food tour and at 5:00 we were swept into a full foodie tour and a bit of history of Wroclaw. Pictures speak louder than words but I can say Yum.  See for yourself:

Next day we were off to the pottery car.   Now, just want to warn you that if you are traveling and anticipating getting a car- in Poland you will need an international drivers license.   Thankfully we could take the 1 1/2 hour trip by taxi without a hiccup and around $100.00 which was ok considering the distance.   I highly recommend though getting the license for the trip as it seemed pretty straight forward driving and to be able to check out nooks and crannies you will need a car.

The festival was bright and lively on the first day and everything in site was amazing.   Of course lots of Boleslwiec pottery- I think at least 10-15 different factories at least.  Great venue of restaurants all around the town center to choose from as well.   While browsing we also checked out other handmade items and hope we can import them to sell in our store.  We will keep you posted.

The next day we had a fantastic tour of the pottery factory where most of the Polish Pottery at Ann Marie’s originates.  Our Polish Pottery representative Twila from Pottery Avenue in the US sponsored us on the tour and it was amazing.  One of the largest pottery factories I have toured in Europe.

Our final day at the festival was on Friday and it was packed with crowds.  Although I think there were some tourists I believe it was mostly the Polish celebrating the Pottery and enjoying the festivities!   Lots of activities and special events and also a pottery parade featuring many of the pottery factories.   The US Army also marched and I must say they had a nice representation.

Back to Wroclaw for one more Pączki (Polish donut) and Polish Sausage before flying home.

 

 

 

 

Boxing Day Traditions

 

When is Boxing Day?
Boxing Day is the 26th December and is a national holiday in the UK and Ireland.

A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present. Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants and the day when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.

Activities on Boxing Day
Boxing Day is a time to spend with family or friends, usually those not seen on Christmas Day itself. In recent times, the day has become synonymous with many sports. Horse racing is particularly popular with meets all over the England.

Many top football(soccer) teams also play on Boxing Day.

Boxing Day is also a time when the British show their eccentricity by taking part in all kinds of silly activities. These include bizarre traditions including swimming the icy cold English Channel, fun runs, and charity events.

Fox Hunting on Boxing Day
Until 2004, Boxing Day hunts were a traditional part of the day, but the ban on fox hunting has put an end to this in its usual sense. Hunters will still gather dressed resplendently in red hunting coats to the sound of the hunting horn. But, since it is now forbidden to chase the fox with dogs, they now follow artificially laid trails.

.The New Boxing Day Sport – Shopping

Another ‘sport’ to emerge in recent years is shopping. What was once a day of relaxation and family time sees the start of the sales. Sales used to start in January, post-New Year, but the desire to grab a bargain and for shops to off-load stock means many now begin on Boxing Day.

Boxing Day in Ireland
In Ireland, Boxing Day is also known as “St. Stephen’s Day” named after the Saint stoned to death for believing in Jesus.

  In Ireland on Boxing,  there was once a barbaric act carried out by the so-called “Wren Boys.” These boys would dress up and go out, and stone wren birds to death then carry their catch around the town knocking on doors and asking for money, the stoning representing what had happened to St Stephen. This terrible tradition has now stopped, thank goodness, but the Wrens Boys still dress up but instead parade around town and collect money for charity.

Food and Drink on Boxing Day
With guests often popping in for a snack or tipple the food and drink on Boxing Day are more relaxed than Christmas Day.

Lunch will usually be a buffet or leftovers from Christmas lunch. Baked Ham is a popular Boxing Day meat and of course, mince pies with brandy butter or a slice of Christmas cake are almost obligatory.

 

Comfort and the Joy of Food

When it comes to comfort, at our house anyway, it’s all about love and food.  Growing up with an Italian Grandmother I got both good hugs and great food.  Even though the cuisine was on a very lean budget for Grandma, it was amazing and delicious and all home grown and homemade (including the chickens and beef and pork and wine).  I feel so fortunate for this and that is my thankfulness on this coming Thanksgiving Day.

One thing about Risotto- it is a food to prepare while with friends on a cold night and in your cozy kitchen.   It takes time to prepare but while you do, you will be having great conversations and maybe a wee bit of wine with them.    Try this recipe or another delicious “Risotto with Friends” and cheers to you all.  Happy Holidays~Ann Marie.

Risotto with Truffle Oil

1 T butter
1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
1 1/4 c Arborio rice
1/2 c white wine  (remember to always use a top quality dry white wine)
2 T butter
2 T  Truffle Oil (available in our store and online!)
1/3 c Parmesan cheese
1 tsp milk, or as needed
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 T chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat the chicken broth in a stockpot over medium-low heat until warmed.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan; add onion, cook and stir until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3. Pour wine into rice mixture; cook and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add 1 ladle of hot chicken broth to pan, cook until absorbed, stirring constantly. Continue adding 1 ladle of broth at a time until rice is tender but firm to the bite, 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Mix 2 tablespoons butter, truffle oil, Parmesan cheese, and milk into risotto until fully incorporated; season with salt and pepper, garnish with parsley.  Grate a bit of truffle onto the top if you are fortunate to have!

 

 

 

Inspirations from the Forest-Celebrating the Majestic Pine

 As the holidays approach we are always inspired by the Majestic pines…the site and smell transport us to holidays past and hold excitement of holidays to come…

pinetree

despite its stillness the pinetree manages to dance.
its arms stretch out,
thin and rigid,
ardently asserting I am.

looking at this one I’m overcome with strangeness:
slanted on a mountain peak
it reaches out into the darkening night,
as if awaiting to spar with the moon.

~from HelloPoetry.com

Simon Pearce– inspired by Vermont Evergreens.  

Celebrate this holiday season with something special from Simon Pearce, Vermont glassblower, Ireland inspired. His handblown glass trees reflect the beauty of the forest which is captured with brilliant clarity. As in nature, each of his trees is unique: they’re handmade by Simon Pearce artisans to showcase the purity of their materials and honor the regal yet rough-hewn essence of an evergreen. Collect multiples to create your own shimmering forest or give one as an elegantly elemental gift!
  

Arte Italica Natale

Natale is the festive collection to entertain through the winter season. Berries and pine boughs surround the snowy evergreens. The Natale Square Plate is perfect for serving tasty treats, or cookies for Santa. Pair the collection with pewter or some of Arte Italica’s new pieces. Hand made in Italy.

Recipe of the week

Pine Needle Tea 

Bouquet of Foraged Pine
2 cups Filtered Water
1 teaspoon Raw Honey
Pinch of Salt 
1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar

 

Begin with heating the filtered water on the stove at a low to medium heat. Begin with your pined bouquet and separate the needles from the stem, pulling them off in the opposite direction of growth. Make two piles, needles and stems. Take the needles and chop them with a knife or herb chopper into one to two inch sections. Place into the water as it just begins to come to a boil. Keep at a lower heat! You want to steep the pine needles, not boil them otherwise they will taste bitter. Simmer on the stove for ten minutes. Add in the pinch of salt which expands the flavor and then turn off the heat and keep covered for five minutes. Strain out the pine needles with a colander or cheese cloth and pour tea into a mug. Stir in the raw honey and apple cider vinegar and sip the woods. 

Cozy Fall Inspirations and Burleigh Pottery

As the temperatures dip and the days shorten, we at Ann Marie’s are preparing for the cold season ahead. Whether as an accompaniment to hot porridge and maple syrup in the morning, catching up with old friends, or cozying up to a warm fire and a good book, autumn is the time or year we reach for our favorite teas.   And what better way welcome the cold weather and say you care than one of Burleigh’s new gift boxes? Boxes feature either a breakfast or tea cup, saucer and side plate, in Burleigh’s classic prints. Pair with any of Thursday’s Cottage delicious curds and Yorkshire Gold tea for a truly British gift.

 From the elegant Asiatic Pheasants line to the cheerful Calico, Burleigh’s prints are quintessentially British and integrate well into both traditional and modern kitchens. The unparalleled craftsmanship and range of pieces have made Burleigh a favorite at Ann Marie’s and around the world.

William Leigh and Frederick Rathbone joined their talents to form a pottery in 1862. Their names were joined into “Burleigh” in the 1930s, but the techniques have remained largely the same since the pottery’s founding.

Prints are transferred from an engraved copper roller to tissue paper, and from there brushed by hand onto unglazed pieces. Burleigh is the last pottery in the world to use this traditional transfer technique. Each piece is fired three times, and it takes 25 craftsmen contribute to the finishing of each piece. The results are dishes we love, perfect for both entertaining and everyday use.

English Scone Recipe

Taken from cooking.nytimes.com

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups self-rising flour (3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt can be substituted)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter at cool room temperature, more for pan, optional
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 cup dried currants, optional
  • 1 egg yolk

PREPARATION

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the sugar. (Or give all the dry ingredients a quick whirl in a food processor.) Cut butter into bits and work it into the dry ingredients with fingertips or a pastry blender, or by pulsing the processor, until mixture is finely crumbly. If using a food processor, transfer mixture to a bowl.
  2. Gradually add 1 cup milk and the currants, if using, and mix with a fork. Knead lightly by hand to make a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 20 minutes.
  3. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with butter or line it with parchment paper. Roll dough to a 3/4-inch thickness. Use a fluted 2- or 3-inch cutter to punch out scones. Scraps can be kneaded lightly for additional scones. Beat the egg yolk with remaining milk and brush on the scones. Place on baking sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes until risen and golden brown.

Check out our selections of Curds and Jams to top off  your hot out of the oven scone at Ann Marie’s.

Fall Harvest and Festivals In Switzerland.

 

It is always a struggle for me to decide whether to travel to Europe in the fall-it is the most fantastic time to go, when the tourists have abated and the festivals of wine, harvests and the “hunt” for game and mushrooms are beginning.   But, it is always hard for me to leave my beloved northern Wisconsin which has amazing color and weather this time of year.  So I usually wait for the last moment and go in October to catch the best of both.    Some of my best memories of fall in Europe are the visits with my husband Stephan to his home town of Schaffhausen, a beautiful city in northern Switzerland.   We stay at  the Park Villa Hotel.   I cannot compare this place to anywhere else I have ever stayed.   The proprietor Max is a true gentleman, the ultimate host, and let me add, quirky and entertaining.   The entire hotel, including the guest rooms, are stuffed with amazing antiques…not your usual antiques, but truly amazing one-of-a-kind.    His kitchen is wonderful.   During the fall, the truffles and other mushrooms are on the menu along with incredible game dishes that Max has worked his magic on.   Swiss wine is always a treat.  You rarely see it here in the states because they do not export very much, so that light, wonderful, local wine of Schaffhausen made from Pinot Noir grapes  is something I always look forward to.   All around Shaffhausen in the country villages there are the festivals for the fall, usually centered around the wine harvest.   And we always find room for a  lovely sausage and beer.  Also, one cannot miss a trip to the Rhinefalls- the biggest waterfall in Europe.

One of the things I love most is that life changes season to season and always there is something to look forward to.   I think when I am home I get caught up in the day to day activities, but over there, the seasons and harvest bring out such different tones.   I think it is the traditional vs our modern world.  They retain the traditions and keep them alive for future generations.   My kind of world.

For the season at our Ann Marie shop I have brought in some special dinnerware -Forest Walk, new from Juliska of Portugal.  Also, our vintage pewter pieces from Arte Italica are a handsome addition to any celebration and add a luxury element to your Forest Feast.  It is a time to start thinking  feasts and platters and wine and celebrations and creating a lovely table for the upcoming celebrations.

For food and drink I am stocking my pantry with Ann Marie fall gourmet foods like Chestnut Egg Tagliatelle, Truffle Salt, Truffle Oil, Truffle and Olive Pate, Polenta, and Risotto.   For a delicious warm up try our  Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon Cranberry, and our special Harvest Fall Blend Coffee.   More inspirations include Cherry Bitters for a hot toddy and Hazelnut Cranberry Crisps to serve with goat cheese.

Happy Fall Celebrations,

Ann Marie

 


 

Inspired by fall in Shaffhausen, enjoy this pasta with mushrooms along with your favorite Pinot Noir and a simple salad of bitter greens with a classic vinaigrette.  The town of Shaffhausen owns a vineyard around the Munot Castle that sits in the center of town overlooking the River Rhein.  The wine they produce is named Munoetler.

View on Rhine river and famous Munot fortifiction. Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

View on Rhine river and famous Munot fortifiction. Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

Pasta with Fall Mushrooms

Serves 4-6

2 packages 8.8 oz. Chestnut Egg Tagliatelle 

1/2 pound assorted wild mushrooms (golden chanterelle, shiitake, cremini, oyster, porcini, etc.), trimmed and sliced

2 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt

freshly ground pepper

Truffle oil

Grated Pecorino Cheese to taste

Handful of chopped Italian parsley

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil.

In a large saute pan, over medium high heat, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for just until it becomes aromatic and careful not to burn.  Add the mushrooms and saute until they begin to brown and release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and let reduce about 5 minutes. Add the cream and reduce about 5 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and quickly toss with mushroom sauce.  Finish with a drizzle of truffle oil, a sprinkle (or more) of delicious sheep’s milk Pecorino cheese and parsley.

 

 

 

 

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