We Visited Christopher Kimball's Milk Street and This is What We Learned

By Liz Strauss
on September 12, 2019

We Visited Christopher Kimball's Milk Street and This is What We Learned

Last fall, we partnered with Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street. Culinary magazine, school, public television show, and podcast, Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street has altered the way individuals have tackled their culinary endeavors. Through their innovative expertise and approach to the culinary world, the Milk Street team is dedicated to bringing ease to intimidating recipes.

After visiting the Milk Street studio in Boston last month, we were exposed to that very ease Christopher Kimball uncovered a few years back.

The key is making cooking as simple as possible, as Rosemary Gill, Milk Street’s Director of Education, explained to us. This compliments our business’ mission completely. We provide you with quality olive oils and vinegars, and even the tools necessary in making the most delicious meals you’ve ever cooked up yourself, and in the simplest manner. In fact, we wanted to make it just that much easier for you by getting an inside scoop on how the pros do it.

Cook Like a Pro

Contrast is the cornerstone of Milk Street’s culinary art. Gill stressed to us nothing but contrast, and for good reason. By this term, she means throwing together different flavors and different textures.

via Maggie Griffin

“You get a lot of meals that are sort of one note, you know, they are overwhelmingly soft or chewy,” she explains. For example, she suggests that for mashed potatoes you could throw in some chopped chives. “You get more dimension…” she reveals. “We’re using contrast in order to elevate and draw more attention to the main ingredient.”

One of the most important lessons Gill teaches her students is knowing how to analyze what’s missing, and knowing when you’ve put too much of something in a dish.

 

Let’s Get Started!

We all know that cooking can seem dreadful after a long day at work, or if you simply just don’t know where to start. This is precisely what Milk Street hopes to help individuals with through the “Milk Street: Tuesday Nights” cookbook. The cookbook is there for you to create outstanding meals in a reasonable amount of time, just perfect for the middle of the week. Starting off with meals such as those listed in the cookbook are a great starting point. Then, just keep cooking!

via Maggie Griffin

“You’ve got to make it a habit,” Gill advises to those who want to get into cooking. She also suggests that if you are interested in global cuisines, to choose one at a time and cook just from that region for a month or two. “You’re going to start seeing some similarities and you’re going to start understanding how flavors are put together… you’re just going to be building your library,” she says.

Using One of Our Favorite Ingredients: Olive Oil

One recipe that Gill loves herself is the Cantonese Steamed Fish from “Milk Street: Tuesday Nights,” because of the technique it requires. Sometimes, she’ll make it with a Mediterranean flavor profile, which is when she’ll utilize olive oil.

Gill also tells us her favorite ingredients to add to olive oil:

  1. Za’ atar
  2. Lightly crushed fennel & coriander seeds
  3. Cracked fennel seeds & thyme or oregano

 (Hint, hint: We sell some of these!)

We hope that our customers can utilize a variety of these tips to create new skills in the kitchen. Whether you cook up a new “Tuesday Night” dinner, or try one of our olive oils for the first time, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
We’d love to hear what you think!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by Maggie Griffin

What is Rosé Balsamic Vinegar and How Do I Use It?

By Katie Shernan
on July 26, 2019

What is Rosé Balsamic Vinegar and How Do I Use It?

 

Rosé Balsamic Vinegar is a delicious treat that highlights everything we enjoy about rosé wine: bright acidity and soft, subtle aromas of crabapple, watermelon, raspberries, strawberries, and wet stone. Unlike traditional balsamic vinegar which is typically made from a combination of Trebbiano, Lambrusco, and/or Sangiovese grades, Rosé Balsamic is made from the Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) grape variety. This grape produces earthy, but elegant wines that translate beautifully into a well-balanced, clean, cool, crisp and dry vinegar. For a delicious vinaigrette, combine it with your favorite olive oil and Dijon mustard. The velvety consistency will lovingly caress everything from salad greens to grill-bound asparagus and seafood.

Excellent Complements
Nicoise Salad
Light Vinaigrettes
Goat Cheese
White Asparagus
Mixed Drinks & Spritzers
 
Ideas for Use
Combine Rosé Balsamic with any suggested olive oil pairings for a great salad dressing.
Combine Rosé Balsamic with Chipotle, Harissa, or Mushroom & Sage olive oil for a pork or poultry marinade.
Serve Rosé Balsamic over ice with vodka or sparkling water.
Use Rosé Balsamic as a glaze on seafood.
Use Rosé Balsamic in a vinaigrette to dress warm fingerling potatoes or sautéed haricot verts and sprinkle with chopped chives.
Drizzle Rosé Balsamic over sautéed herbed zucchini.

Sweet Corn and Lentil Salad with Grilled Halloumi

By Katie Shernan
on July 23, 2019

Sweet Corn and Lentil Salad with Grilled Halloumi

This vegetarian dish celebrates some of our favorite summer farm stand vegetables in one light yet filling entrée! Sweet summer corn and tangy tomatoes play off the earthy, tender lentils. The salad is delicious served warm or cold.

Grilled halloumi cheese adds the perfect rich, salty finish to the fresh, bright flavors of the corn and lentil salad. Halloumi cheese (also know as Grilling Cheese) is a soft, curd-like cheese that, similarly to feta, does not melt. It was traditionally made in Cyprus using sheep's milk cheese. Halloumi is available at specialty markets and Whole Foods.

This dish is sure to become a summer favorite in your household!

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

½ red onion, finely sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 lemon juiced

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 ¼ cups green lentils

½ cup cooked sweet corn, cut off the cob

1 pack halloumi cheese, cut into ¼” slices

 

Toss the tomatoes, red onion, 1 clove garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl with ½ tsp salt. Cook the lentils until just tender (around 15 minutes), drain and add to the tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a frying pan over medium heat, grill the halloumi slices 2-3 minutes per side or until golden.

Optional: Serve with sauteed Swiss chard as pictured above.

 

This recipe is a modified version of: https://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/vegetarian/warm-puy-lentil-cherry-tomato-and-halloumi-salad/

7 Ways to Use Citrus Mint White Balsamic

By Katie Shernan
on July 05, 2019

7 Ways to Use Citrus Mint White Balsamic

The new Citrus Mint White Balsamic is one of our favorite summer flavors!
The tangy, bright citrus notes complement the light and refreshing mint aroma.
Amp up the flavor at your next cookout with one of these 7 ways to use citrus mint balsamic vinegar.

Beverage:

Blend 1oz Citrus Mint White Balsamic + 2oz white rum + club soda to taste for a refreshing cocktail.

Mix with iced tea for a quick and delicious Arnold Palmer.

Side:

Pair with Roasted Onion & Cilantro Olive Oil and drizzle over grilled vegetables.

Toss with cubed watermelon and feta cheese.

Make this Moroccan Lemon Mint Couscous for a perfect hot weather side dish. 

Dinner:

Toss with toasted sesame oil, chicken, and veggies for a South Asian-flavored stir-fry.

Use as a shortcut in this recipe for Citrus Balsamic Salmon.

 

We also recommend pairing this summery balsamic with lemon olive oil, orange olive oil, lime olive oil, mint olive oil, basil olive oil, chipotle olive oil, Milanese gremolata olive oil, or harissa olive oil. Visit Flavor Infused Olive Oils to check them all out!

Savory Bread Pudding with Ham, Asparagus and Brie

By Katie Shernan
on April 07, 2019

Savory Bread Pudding with Ham, Asparagus and Brie

An indulgent, filling breakfast entree that checks all the boxes and it couldn't be easier to put together! We've got carbs, melty cheese, flavorful ham, and green veggies for good measure. 

Add a fresh fruit salad and you have the perfect Easter brunch menu! 

 

Printable: Savory Bread Pudding with Asparagus, Ham, and Brie

Savory Bread Pudding with Asparagus, Ham, and Brie

Recipe Adapted from The Harvest Baker by Ken Haedrich

Serves 8

Ingredients

6 cups leftover (stale) cubed yeast bread

½ lb fresh asparagus

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ large onion, finely chopped,

2 garlic cloves, minced

5 large eggs

2 cups half and half

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or ¼ tsp dried thyme)

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

6-8 ounces brie cheese with rind, cut into small chunks

1 cup grated sharp cheddar or fontina cheese

1 cup diced cooked ham or smoked sausage

 

  1. Butter a medium-size shallow casserole dish. Spread the cubed bread out in the casserole dish while you’re doing your prep, to help it dry out.
  2. Peel the lower third of each asparagus spear with a vegetable peeler or a paring knife. Cut off the tender tips and slice the remainder of the spears into 1-inch sections.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Add the asparagus tips and chopped spears along with the garlic and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the asparagus is not quite tender. Remove from heat.
  4. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Add the half and half, mustard, thyme, salt, and pepper. Whisk well.
  5. Spoon the cooked vegetables evenly over the bread, then distribute the brie, cheddar, and ham over that. Whisk the custard briefly and pour it slowly over everything. Using a large spoon, gently press on the solids so they’re submerged by the custard. Cover the dish loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours; overnight is fine.
  6. When you’re ready to bake the pudding, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the foil from the dish and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. When the pudding is done, it will have puffed nicely, and the surface will be golden brown. To check the center, carefully – so you don’t leave a big crater – dig into it with a spoon or butter knife and see how it looks. It should not be soupy or look like there’s a lot of uncooked custard. Transfer the pudding to a cooling rack and cool briefly before serving.

 

Printable: Fresh Fruit Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Fresh Fruit Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3 tablespoons fruity white balsamic vinegar (we love White Raspberry, Coconut, and Peach but any of the fruity white balsamics will work nicely)

1 tablespoon honey (optional)

1 cup cantaloupe, cubed

½ cup blueberries

½ cup raspberries or strawberries

1 cup fresh pineapple

1 cup green grapes

Fresh mint leaves (optional)

 

Mix balsamic vinegar and honey (if using). Drizzle over fresh fruit and toss gently. Garnish with mint leaves if desired.

 

Can You Cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

By Katie Shernan
on March 23, 2019

Can You Cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

 

Extra Virgin is often used in its raw form and commonly misconstrued as a poor choice for cooking. This is because it's flavor will dissipate somewhat when heat is applied and it has a lower smoke point than refined olive oil. However, the smoke point of high quality EVOO is much higher than conventionally thought. Our EVOOs typically have a smoke point of 420-430 degrees. America's Test Kitchen reports 410 degrees as the smoke point while Milk Street found it to be as high as 446 degrees. In general, extra virgin olive oil is a good choice for cooking over low and medium temperatures. It's expecially good for sauteeing and roasting. But of course, the complex flavors and health benefits of extra virgin olive oil can be most fully enjoyed in its fresh, raw form as a salad dressing, finished oil, dip, or whatever else your heart desires!

Smoke Point

The smoke point of a fat is the temperature at which it begins to chemically break down. Visually, it occurs when a heated fat stops shimmering and begins to release smoke. This temperature can vary dramatically depending on the oil and how it has been processed. For example, refined oils tend to have a much higher smoke point than their virgin counterparts.

For more information on smoke points (and why smoking oil isn't always a bad thing!) check out this article: Cooking Fats 101: What's a Smoke Point and Why Does it Matter? 

 

8 Ways to Use Tangerine Balsamic Vinegar

By Katie Shernan
on March 15, 2019

8 Ways to Use Tangerine Balsamic Vinegar

Tangerine Balsamic Vinegar combines the flavor of tart tangerine with rich, sweet balsamic. Tangerine balsamic vinegar pairs well with Blood Orange Olive OilRosemary Olive OilLemon Olive OilSesame Oil and Garlic Olive OilChipotle Olive OilBasil Olive Oil and Baklouti Green Chili Olive Oil. The following recipes are just a few examples of the countless delicious ways to use tangerine balsamic vinegar.

Read more »

Strawberry Upside Down Cake

By Katie Shernan
on February 04, 2019

Strawberry Upside Down Cake

I love to bake! It's a pretty common sentiment - especially amongst our Foodie Friends at Port Plums! So when a good friend asked me about making a Strawberry Upside Down Cake for a family get-together this month, I couldn't resist. 

This cake is fantastic for summer when strawberries are in season but it also makes for a lovely valentine's dessert. Just look at the sweet little strawberry hearts dotting the top! Serve with fresh strawberries and whipped cream or ice cream.

The original recipe comes from Five Heart Home. I found that I went through more than 12oz of strawberries when picking pretty ones for the top of the cake so I increased the volume 1lb. Extras can be used for garnish or a snack!

I used a 9" spring form pan for this cake and it came out beautifully but a regular 9" round or square cake pan will do the trick. 

 

Ingredients

For the Strawberry Layer:

  • 1lb strawberries, washed, hulled, & sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
For the Cake Batter:
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously grease the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. Cut the 3 tablespoons butter into small pieces and place in the cake pan. Place the pan in the oven for a minute or two until the butter is just melted.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven and swirl the melted butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the melted butter to form a thin layer at the bottom of the pan. Arrange the sliced strawberries in a single layer over the brown sugar, making sure the slices are touching or slightly overlapping.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter and sugar until fluffy. Scrape the bowl and blend in the egg and vanilla. Beat on high for 3 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. With the mixer on low speed, gradually blend the flour mixture into the wet mixture, alternating with the milk until just combined.
  5. Scrape the batter into the pan and carefully spread over the strawberries. Bake for 28 to 32 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Set the cake pan on a cooling rack and cool the cake in the pan for 3 minutes. Carefully run a thin knife or spatula around the edge of the cake pan, then lay a cake platter on top of it. Pressing down on the platter, quickly invert the pan so that it's upside-down on the platter. Wait for 1 minute and then slowly and carefully lift the cake pan from the top of the cake. If any berries stick to the pan, place them back on the top of the cake. Serve cake warm or at room temperature. Cool completely before covering and storing leftovers at room temperature for up to three days.

Cooking with Pistachio Oil

By Katie Shernan
on January 21, 2019

Cooking with Pistachio Oil

Pistachio oil is a new addition to our offerings - one that many people have never encountered! So here is a little introduction to one of our new favorites! 

 

Cooking with Pistachio Oil

Pistachio oil is a rich, nutty, emerald-green oil extracted from the Pistachio Nut. Pistachio oil is high in vitamin E and healthy fats – much like avocados! There are countless ways to use it in your cooking:

Dress with it! Pistachio oil makes a wonderful dressing when mixed with a sweet acid (balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and honey, other fruit juices, pomegranate molasses) and complements bitter greens (arugula, endive, watercress, rocket) particularly well. You can also add a neutral oil or mild olive oil to reduce the flavor intensity. It also dresses a fruit salad very nicely like this one:

pistachio oil dressing fruit salad

Fruit Salad with Mint and Pistachio Oil Recipe

Bake with it! Replace 1/3 or less of the fat (olive oil, butter, shortening, etc.)  in a baked good recipe with pistachio oil for extra rich, nutty flavor.

Pistachio Oil and White Chocolate Biscotti Recipe

Pistachio Yogurt Lemon Cake Recipe

Brush it! A few minutes before cooking is complete, brush pistachio oil on chicken or oily fish like salmon or trout. Brush peaches or nectarines with pistachio oil before grilling and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Try replacing the olive oil in these recipes with Pistachio Oil:

pistachio crusted salmon

Pistachio Crusted Salmon Recipe

peaches with pistachios and ricotta

Peaches with Pistachios, Ricotta, and Honey Recipe

Drizzle it! Drizzle over steamed or lightly boiled vegetables for an extra burst of flavor and a very healthy dish. Drizzle over pasta with grated parmesan cheese.

Toast it! Drizzle over your avocado toast (especially with pumpernickel bread!), brush on bread and toast for a crispy sandwich or crostini with brie and fig jam.

Try replacing the olive oil in this recipe for Pistachio Oil:

Avocado Toast with Pistachios Recipe 

Whip it! Use it to make a rich pistachio mousse like this one:

Pistachio Oil Mousse Recipe

 

Learn more about our California Pistachio Oil

Introducing: Beach Plum White Balsamic

By Katie Shernan
on December 09, 2018

Introducing: Beach Plum White Balsamic

We are thrilled to introduce our very own Beach Plum Balsamic Vinegar!

Beach Plums, the namesake of the local Plum Island, are a wild fruit native to the East Coast from Maine to Maryland. Featuring a sweet-tart flavor, Beach Plums are most often used in jams and baked goods.

After a particularly beautiful walk in the Parker River Wildlife Refuge, we were inspired to create Beach Plum Balsamic Vinegar. We found an expert in Beach Plums who combined his own whole fruit with high quality White Balsamic Vinegar and allowed it to age for 3 months. The result is a unique, fruited, white balsamic vinegar with notes of ripe cherry, cranberry, and plum.

This exclusive and unique balsamic can be used to add flavor and zest to all sorts of dishes.

  • Combine with lemon or blood orange olive oil and mustard for a delicious salad dressing
  • Brush it on pork or chicken
  • Add to roasted squash or Brussels sprouts
  • Drizzle over fresh fruit, yogurt, and ice cream
  • Mix with club soda and vodka for a fabulous holiday cocktail!

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From the Blog

We Visited Christopher Kimball's Milk Street and This is What We Learned

We Visited Christopher Kimb...

September 12, 2019

Last fall, we partnered with Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street. Culinary magazine, school, public television show, and podcast, Christopher Kimball’s Milk...

Read more →

What is Rosé Balsamic Vinegar and How Do I Use It?

What is Rosé Balsamic Vineg...

July 26, 2019

  Rosé Balsamic Vinegar is a delicious treat that highlights everything we enjoy about rosé wine: bright acidity and soft,...

Read more →