Friday, November 12, 2010

Holiday Gift Box

The holiday season is around the corner and we've been busy working in the kitchen like little Christmas elves. Can you believe that Christmas is only 42 days away?! Wow... I know this is redundant, but where did the year go?!

A few days ago we introduced our newest flavor...Mexican Chocolate Shortbread. Now, we would like to introduced our Holiday Gift Box with 4 new cookie flavors...Chai Spice Shortbread, Mexican Chocolate Shortbread, Ginger Spice Shortbread Men and Citrus Rosemary Sablés. Also, included in the box is our Cinnamon Guava Shortbread Sandwich and our vanilla bean marshmallow. Our mission this holiday season is that our customers indulge on sweets that are infused with herbs and spices.

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mexican Chocolate Shortbread

Just a quick update. Wanted to introduced our newest flavor for the holiday season...Mexican Chocolate Shortbread. It's a rich, chocolate shortbread with a light hint of Saigon cinnamon and heat under tones of Aleppo chili. I absolutely this cookie.

This cookie was inspired by Mexican hot cocoa. There is nothing better than curling up on the couch with your favorite throw blanket and a big cup of Mexican hot cocoa nestled in your hands...with vanilla bean marshmallows, of course. It just warms the soul. Happy Eating!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Stained Glass Snowflake Sablés Cookies

It's November 8th and it's starting to feel like winter around here. I heard it was actually snowing earlier today...yikes! That being said, we are getting ready for the holidays. Yes, it's that time of year again. Agh...where did the year go?!?

We brought back our Stained Glass Snowflake Sablés Cookies for the holidays. We are working on our holiday gift boxes. Stayed tuned...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Fall is my favorite season and as you can maybe guess...I love Halloween. The idea of dressing up as your alter ego or your favorite classic movie monster is just amazing. I know Halloween *tends* to be for kids, but I can't help myself. I just love it. I love scaring tick-or-treaters and chaperons alike (I was a zombie... with a gooey melt-y face, blood and all). Well, off to watch a scary movie and eat leftover Halloween candy...So love Halloween.

I know... The pictures are a little blurry, but it's pretty dark out
Happy Halloween! 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

They're Back... Spiced Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Today I noticed that the leaves are starting to turn and it's getting chilly out. Fall is definitely here...well, after all it is October. What better way to acknowledge it than to bring back our Spiced Pumpkin Seed Brittle? Our harvest-inspired brittle is warmly spiced and is the perfect accompaniment to those golden-yellow and fire-red hues that are outside. 

On a side note – As a small company, sometimes it's hard to find spare time to come up with new items for the holiday seasons. Sometimes I wish I had extra hands or more hours in the day to develop new products, but we are working on a Halloween Gift Box. There is a lot of pressure since Halloween is only 24 days away. I promise, we will be adding it to our shop very soon. Keep a look out...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Grilled Salmon and Red Currant Salad

I usually find myself being nostalgic about certain ingredients. I think I get that from my mother. Red current and cucumbers definitely takes me back to my childhood. I still have vivid memories of tea time with my great aunt.

I loved going to her house. From the moment you walked into her house, you could smell lovely red currant jams and cookies being made. She was the most perfect dainty lady and she made me feel like a princess. From her hand painted ceramic tea cups to her handmade tea sandwiches, she was lovely.

She always served tea in the living room on a beautiful silver tray. The tray was always adorned with her cucumber and handmade pâté tea sandwiches, red current jam, shortbread cookies, and chamomile tea. We sat up straight and drank tea out of her precious tea cups. Pinkies out and nibbled on tea sandwiches. Of course, my favorite memory was piling the red currant jam on top of the shortbread cookies and gobbling it all up as we giggled with each other. It is the simplest things in life that have the biggest impact.

If she was still alive, I think she would have truly loved this salad. The combination of red currants and cucumbers are just lovely with salmon.

Grilled Salmon and Red Currant Salad
Serves: 4

1/2 pound skinless Salmon fillet
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Thyme, stems removed
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Grilled Salmon, flaked
1 seedless Cucumber, skin peeled and very thinly sliced
1/2 cup Parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 Vidalia Onion, very thinly sliced
2 - 4 tablespoons Red Currants

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Honey
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

To grill salmon: Wash the salmon fillet and pat dry. Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Grill the salmon for about 5-7 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness or until it turns pale pink.

Remove the salmon fillet from the grill. Allow the fillet to cool on a plate. When cool enough to handle, flake it with a fork.

Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, salt and pepper until the ingredients are combined. In a slow stream, add the extra virgin olive oil while whisking until the oil and vinegar have emulsify. Or in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Combine all the ingredients and shake well until combined.

Salad: In a large bowl, combine the grilled salmon flakes, cucumber, onions, parsley and red currents. Drizzle with the dressing, gently toss. Transfer to a serving platter and enjoy.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


As you noticed, I have been MIA. It has been very stressful the past few weeks. I had a hacker hack my website. ...Argh... But later I realized, he/she didn't hack into my website, the shopping cart software I downloaded was hack. Thank goodness I caught it in time. So, I decided not to use that shopping cart software...for obvious reasons (hackable).

Do you know much it costs to hire someone to design a website...whoa! So, I been reading every book on Designing Websites for Dummies. I'm convinced that it's all about trial and error. Can't learn from mistakes. I'm just so excited that I am almost finally finished with my site...Yay! Check out Zugar Haus. I would love to hear some feedback blog buddies. :)

Summer is over and fall has arrived. By the way, fall is my favorite time of the year. While shopping at the farmers' market I came across these beautiful pale green stone fruit. Honeydew Nectarines! I knew right away that I needed them. They are so meaty and deliciously sweet.

The only thing it has in common with the honeydew is the color. To me it's a cross between a nectarine and a pluot. They are a little expensive. I did some research and found out that it is only available 2 - 3 weeks out of the summer. Now I understand why it's expensive, but this succulent stone fruit is worth the purchase.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Espresso Cup & Sorbets...

Okay... So, this little simple espresso cup is my new treasure. Yes, it's a simple common cup and this is the only one I have. It may look like a common cup that you might be able to buy/find anywhere, but it's the story behind this simple cup.

While, in Europe; my husband and I found ourselves driving on a narrow, serpentine road through the Alps. Hungry and looking for local cuisine, we found Restaurant Kainer in Triesenberg, Liechtenstein. What a jewel. They specialize in seasonal, local home-style cooking. The restaurant has a garden terrace with a wonderful view of the Alps and the Rhine Valley, but it was raining.

We stayed for hours. We enjoyed the wonderful food, local beer and the home-y atmosphere. We bonded with an amazing elderly couple that sat next to us. We “spoke” for hours. Unfortunately, we spoke English with little to no German and they spoke German to little to no English, but we bonded nonetheless. At one point, our waiter and the restaurant owner sat down and drank with us. To say the least, we had a great time.

Now back to my espresso cup. I rarely order dessert when I eat out, but since I was on vacation... why not?!? I decided to order a coffee dessert called Deutscher Eis Kaffee. It's a dreamy chilled coffee cream with vanilla ice cream topped with whipped cream and espresso beans. All I can say is... YUM! I was served this dreamy dessert in this cute little espresso cup. Yup, this very same espresso cup.

As we were getting ready to leave, our waiter gave me the little espresso cup. I was so excited and I thought it was a great gesture. Plus, what girl doesn't like a gift? This little cup survived its trip back to the states from Liechtenstein and I treasure it.

Nothing screams summer like citrus and sorbet. This weekend I found myself with an abundance of limes and I decided to try some flavor combination. I love simple and flavorful desserts. 

Strawberry Lime Sorbet
Yields: approx. 3 cups

Simple Syrup
2 cups Sugar
2 cups Water

Strawberry Puree
1 quart Fresh Strawberries, cleaned, stems removed and quartered
1 teaspoon Lime Juice, freshly squeezed

1 1/2 cups Strawberry Puree
1 cup Simple Syrup, chilled
1/2 cup Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
Zest of 1/2 Lime
Splash of Vodka, about 1 - 2 teaspoons

Simple Syrup: Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer until sugar dissolves, about 3 - 5 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

* I usually make large batches of simple syrup and keep it in the refrigerator. I keep it on hand for just about anything: Sorbets, Poaching Fruits or my husband's favorite... Mojitos.

Strawberry Puree: Combine the strawberries and lime juice in a food processor or a blender. Pulse for about 3 - 4 minutes, then process until the strawberries are completely pureed, about 1 - 2 minutes. Press the strawberries through a strainer to remove the seed, if you desire. I actually like the seeds, so I skip this step.

Sorbet: In a medium bowl, stir in simple syrup, strawberry puree, zest, lime juice and vodka together. Chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Process the mixture in an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Pink Grapefruit Lime Sorbet   
Yields: approx. 3 cups

Simple Syrup
2 cups Sugar
2 cups Water

1 1/2 cups Pink Grapefruit Juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
1 cup Simple Syrup, chilled
1 tablespoon Pink Grapefruit Zest
Zest of 1 Lime
Splash of Vodka, about 1 - 2 teaspoons

Simple Syrup: Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer until sugar dissolves, about 3 - 5 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Sorbet: In a medium bowl, stir in simple syrup, pink grapefruit juice, lime juice, zests and vodka together. Chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Process the mixture in an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Zucchini Blossoms

During the summertime, I go to Delicious Orchard religiously. There are certain fruits and vegetable that are so evanescent, that it almost becomes a gift when you find them. And zucchini blossoms are just one of those gifts that I look forward to every summer. To me, zucchini blossoms are a real delicacy. They are so delicate and delightful.

There are many ways to prepare zucchini blossoms, but Polenta Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms are by far my favorite way to eat them. I know it seems like a sin to fry these delicate beauties, but it really complements the sweetness of the blossoms. Zucchini blossoms tend to wilt quickly, so you must prepare them right away.

Polenta Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms 
Yields: 20 blossoms

20 Zucchini Blossoms
1 1/4 cup Chicken Broth
1/4 cup Cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Rosemary
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Greek Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Thyme
1/8 cup Fontina Cheese, diced (small enough to fit through a pastry tip)
1 tablespoon Parmesan Cheese, grated
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Egg
1 cup Panko (Japanese Breadcrumbs)
Flour for dredging
Olive Oil for frying

Rinse the zucchini blossoms in cold water. Gently pry open each blossom and remove the stamens by pinching with your fingertips. The stems can be left intact or trimmed, it's up to you. The blossoms I picked up at Delicious Orchard did not have much of a stem left. Pat dry the blossoms with paper towels.

In a small saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil with the fresh herbs. Whisk in the cornmeal over medium-low heat until thick, about 3 - 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Once cool, stir in the cheeses, salt and pepper. Transfer the polenta to piping bag with a large pastry tip (I believe I used #1A). Otherwise, use a small spoon.

Pipe each blossom with polenta, about 2 - 3 teaspoons depending on the size of the zucchini blossom. Gently twist the tops of the blossoms closed. Repeat this step with each blossom.

In a frying pan, pour enough olive oil to reach a depth of 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Temperature of the oil should reach 375 degrees.

Lightly beat the egg in a shallow dish or plate. On a second shallow dish or plate, add panko. Form a little assembly line, use one hand for wet and the other hand for dry (you do not want to end up with the "claw"). Dredge each blossom in flour. Dip into the egg and finally, coat each flower with panko.

Holding the zucchini blossoms by the stem, gently place the blossoms into the frying pan. Do not overcrowd the frying pan. Fry the blossoms about 1 - 2 minutes on each side, or until golden. Remove the blossoms onto a paper towel lined platter to drain any excess oil and continue frying the rest. Serve immediately.

Arrange the zucchini blossoms onto plates or serving platter. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and garnish with a herb salad.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Day Trip & A Camera Phone

I love taking day trips to Delicious Orchard, it's a wonderful country food market. It's almost a mini vacation or escape from day to day life. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and I'll try to remember it on my next day trip. So, I used the next best camera phone. So, I'll apologize ahead of time for the low quality pictures.

At Delicious Orchard you can find everything from fresh local fruits and veggies to fresh baked bread, doughnuts, pies and old fashioned candies. As soon as you walk in, you can smell the yummy doughnuts and the fresh pressed apple ciders.

As weird as this may sound, I feel like a character out of a Disney movie when I'm there. You are surrounded by flowers, berry bushes and apple trees. It seriously makes me want to prance around the trees and sing along with the birds. I know...corny, but I love coming here.

I usually want to buy everything when I'm here. I was really excited to picked up some honeydew nectarines, eight ball zucchinis, red currents, meyer lemons, zucchini blossoms, and lots more. Tonight, I will be making the polenta stuffed zucchini blossoms. I'm super excited to prepare these. I will be posting the recipe for you very soon.

While here, you can enjoy the outdoor Cider Cafe. I love grabbing a bite to eat at their cafe. You can lounge around outside surrounded by nature. The birds tend flock to your feet as you eat. I don't think they're just being cute, they truly want my cider and panini. Unfortunately for them, I do not like sharing my food. =) Oh, did I mention that they press their own apple cider?!? So yummy.

These little guys were just inches away from me. I think they actually posed.

I'm already counting down the days to pumpkin picking already, just so I drink warm apple cider with their apple cider doughnuts.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Simple and Flavorful

Who hated beets as a child?!?

Okay, I was a weird child. I actually liked beets, brussel sprouts and all my veggies. The only veggie I didn't like as a child and still will not eat is okra. I really, really dislike okra. It's gummy, slimy, weird and just plain yucky. I just had a bad experience as a kid and I have tried to eat it since. Maybe, I need to find someone who knows how to prepare it correctly. For now; I refuse to eat it.
I really enjoy beets. It has a sweet earthy taste, that I just love. As a child, I used to rub the beets on my look like I had lipstick on. I thought I looked so fancy. I can't believe I am admitting to it...quite embarrassing actually. I hope I am not the only child to have done that.

Summertime for me equals simple, easy recipes. This is by far, my favorite beet salad. It's so simple and flavorful.

Beet and Feta Salad  
 Serves: 4

3 - 4 medium-size Beets, trimmed and scrubbed
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup Parsley, roughly chopped
Feta Cheese
Salt and Pepper to Taste

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1/8 teaspoon clove Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

Place beets on aluminum foil lined with parchment paper. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Seal foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork or knife.

Allow the beets to cool. Once cooled, rub your finger and thumb across the skin of the beets. The skin should peel right off. Remember, beets stain. If desired, wear gloves to protect your fingers from its stain. Cut into quarters or smaller pieces. Allow chilling in the refrigerator.

In a medium bowl, place balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, pour the olive oil in a steady stream until emulsified. Add beets and parsley; gently toss to combine. Plate salad onto plate and crumble feta cheese on top. Do not toss the feta cheese with the beets; the beets will stain the feta.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We're Back...

We have been back from Europe for a while. And I miss it already. I miss the coffee and my daily brie fix. Brie for breakfast, snack, lunch...well, you get the picture. I regret not smuggling some back home.

Summer is here and so is grilling. I love grilling and eating outside. And there is nothing better than Grilled Chicken and Onion Quesadilla. Oh, and margaritas.

Grilled Chicken and Onion Quesadilla 

Serves: 4 - 6 

1 whole Chicken Breast, boneless and skinless
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh Parsley, roughly chopped
1 Jalapeño Peppers, seeded and sliced
2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon fresh Lime Juice
1 large Vidalia Onion, cut into thick slices
1/2 teaspoon fresh Greek Oregano, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Fontina Cheese, shredded
8 (6-inch diameter) Flour Tortillas

Combine water, parsley, jalapeno, lime juice and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken breast in shallow baking dish. Pour marinade over, coating completely. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 - 6 hours.

Preheat grill to medium-heat heat. Remove chicken from the marinade and grill until cooked through, about 5 - 6 minutes per side. Brush onions with the remaining extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill onions until tender, about 4 - 5 minutes on each side.

Remove chicken from the grill and let rest for about 10 minutes before cutting. Allowing the chicken to rest, will reassure that the juices redistribute throughout the meat. Slice the chicken breast into 1/4-inch pieces.

Set the grill to medium-low heat. Depending on the size of your grill, place 3 or 4 tortillas on the grill. Sprinkle with a thin layer of cheese, chicken, and onions. Top with another tortilla and grill until browned and crispy on each side, about 2 - 3 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut into wedges and serve with salsa verde. 

Salsa Verde 

Yields: about 2 cups

1 pound Tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed well and sliced in half
2 Jalapeño Peppers, sliced in half and seeded
1 small White Onion, quartered
2 cloves Garlic
1 Lime, zest and juice
1/2 cup Parsley
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat the boiler. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the tomatillos, jalapeños and onions in a single layer with the cut side down. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Place under the broiler for about 5 - 6 minutes to lightly blacken the skin. Feel free to remove some of the charred skin if you like. Place tomatillos, jalapeños, onions, garlic, lime juice, lime zest, parsley, crushed peppers and sugar in a food processor (or blender). Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow to cool in the refrigerator.

Okay, before I give you my super top secret margarita recipe, do not judge me. =) This is the easiest and yummiest margarita you'll ever make. No squeezing or juicing limes required...I know, easy!?

Lazy Margaritas 
Yields: about 4 - 6 cups

1 (12-ounce) bottle Beer, I use Tecate
1 (12-ounce) Limeade concentrate, thawed
3/4 cup Tequila
1 Lime, sliced

Rub the rims of each glass with the lime slices. Dip each glass rim in kosher salt to coat.

In large pitcher, combine beer, limeade, and tequila. Stir to combine and pour over ice. If desired, garnish with lime slices.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ciao Italia

So, after our awesome trip to Germany, our next stop is Naturno, Italy. It has been my long, long dream to visit Italy. Well, to be exact; it's been my long, long dream to visit Florence, Italy. My husband and I are hopping into our rental car and driving there. It's about a 3 hour drive, not so bad since were are taking the scenic route.

To get to Italy from Lichtenstein, we drive through the Alps...I know, cool right? The different views are so serene and just splendid. At times, we about 4,810 meters (15,782 feet) from sea level. The roads are so narrow at times, but the view outweighs the scary driving.

Yup...! That's an actual road on the edge of the Alps. Nuts... right?!

The whole drive there, I brushed up on my Italian, only to find out that they predominately speak German (D'oh). Only 2.89% speak Italian here. Naturno was once part of Austria until World War II. Okay, okay...I'll stop with the history lesson. Oh, how I love places full of history and culture. It's just amazes me.

So, of course I ate pizza while I was here. I mean how could I not, I'm in Italy. I was told by locals that they have the best pizza by far in Italy. And boy, was it delicious. I had a brie pizza (I just can't stop eating the's so good. you can't find this quality back at home) and my husband had some form of pepperoni on his.

After eating a whole pizza each. Yes, we each ate a whole pizza. It was just that good. I truck my way towards Juval Castle... After all, I needed to burn off the pizza I ate. By the way, it was the first mansion built in Naturno. The castle is nestled majestically in the mountains where vineyards and apple trees flourish against a background. So quaint. Unfortunately for me, I didn't have enough time to actually hike up to visit the castle due to the weather. My stay in Italy was not long enough, we were only there for two days.

I did get to visit St. Procolo Church. Okay, I studied Art History in college and this is where my dorky-ness comes out. So, as you can imagine I was super excited to see the pre-Carolingian and Gothic frescoes at the church.

Unfortunately, the fresco has faded... but we can still see some of the beauty that is left

By the way, the path that you see in this picture is called Via Claudia Augusta. It's an old Roman road used during 46AD that linked Italy and Germany. Isn't it astonishing that they used to walk this path on foot through the Alps to Germany...amazing.

He's Italian. So cute...and Fluffy!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Walking in Circles

Being in Europe is an experience unlike any other. It just amazes me that we can hop into our rental for about 2 hours and be in a completely different country. It's just incredible. Our mission this morning is the Hofbräuhaus. Going to Munich, Germany is my husband's one and only wish on our trip. I must say, I definitely do not abject.
Do you see a seahorse?

On our drive into Munich, we see beautiful landscapes and interesting bridges. The skies on the other hand, didn't quite know what to do. It rained on and off, but it was lovely nonetheless. As we arrived, the skies completely cleared and we had nothing, but sunshine. Now to find parking...

Most of Europe is completely automated, which is super cool. Needless to say, it can be a little difficult for tourists. There are no toll booths or attendants like in the States. It can be a little challenging when our German is a little rusty (okay, almost nonexistent).
We finally find parking, now to make our way downtown. Munich is just wonderful. It's a melting pot of all cultures, subcultures, and diversity. A mixture of historical and modern architecture. Walking towards the square we were greeted by the Isartor City Gates. It's an impressive building and one of the oldest gate remaining today.
So, about 2 hours of walking in circles around the square... We saw tons of street performers, architecture, lederhosen and no Hofbräuhaus. Now, I'm hungry and becoming cranky. My poor husband has to hear me (bitch) complain about being hungry. Yay! We finally find the Hofbräuhaus! Beer and sausage here we come.
We are finally here and of course, the batteries on my camera runs out of juice. Oh wait, I forgot to bring a spare. Awesome, but that's ok. I can't wait to eat.

Gas for our rental car... $123.13 Us Dollars
Trying to find a parking... Insane
Parking... $34.35 Us Dollars
Finally finding the Hofbräuhaus... Yummy
Last picture before my camera died.
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