Lighten Up with Grilled Salad

Lighten Up with Grilled Salad

This grilled salad is killing me. I want to eat it right now, exactly as Claire has made it. I can’t even come up with words for how perfect this looks, so I’m just going to pass the tongs to Claire now so that you all can join me in drooling. Fire it up, Claire!

Like most people, I love cooking out on the grill. I don’t have a great grill, but I do have a little fire table with a grilling surface, and it does the job just fine for my postage-stamp of a back yard. Right now, my town is experiencing prime grilling weather. It’s summery enough that I’ve been thinking a lot about hamburgers lately, but it’s not so hot yet that I’m sweating through my shirt as soon as I step outside. I’ve been smelling BBQ smells in the neighborhood, and it’s got me primed. I’m pretty excited for this summer’s inaugural meal off the grill, but I think I’d like to keep it on the lighter side. My husband has been a little sick, so I’ve been ladling chicken soup down his throat for the last five days, and it seems a little extreme to go right from broth to burgers. Besides, I really need some roughage in my diet after soup week, if you know what I mean. Anyhoo…

A couple of years ago, my best friend took me out to dinner at this super swanky restaurant for my birthday. There were so many things on the menu we wanted to try, we decided to just order them all and split them, tapas style. We must have tried a dozen different things, but try as I might, I can’t recall a single one of them except the grilled salad. It was a full romaine heart, halved lengthwise and grilled. They topped it with some kind of balsamic and little crunchy things. We were so surprised by the grilled lettuce; it seemed so novel to us! In retrospect, it seems so obvious. I mean, grilled veggies are sort of notorious for being awesome. So are grilled fruits, and grilled everything else, for that matter, which brings me to this week’s recipe.

A grilled salad is the perfect transition into summer fare.

Grilled Salad

The best thing about grilling out is that the food gets so much flavor from the grill, there is barely any prep involved. The flip side of that is, because you’re not doing much to dress it up, the quality of the food you start with will be reflected in the meal you end with, so start with the good stuff. When I got to the store, I already knew I wanted to do a grilled salad, but I believe in letting the groceries direct the meal, so I also got some shrimp and apricots. It’s still a little early for stone fruit, but I caught a whiff of these as I was walking past the display, and they just really called to me.

Grilled Salad

For the salad’s base, simply slice the lettuce lengthwise, drizzle or brush a little olive oil on the sliced side, and place them on the grill. Repeat with the apricots, slicing from top to bottom and removing the pits. With the produce, you’re not trying to cook the food through. You just want to get a light char and imbue it with that good smoky flavor.

Grilled Salad For the shrimp, skewer them, drizzle them with olive oil, and then give them a good hit of salt and pepper. Don’t put too many shrimp on a single skewer, and don’t crowd them, or they won’t cook evenly. With a high heat cooking source like an open grill, they will cook quickly, so probably no more than 30 seconds per side. You want them just barely opaque.

Grilled Salad

To dress your grilled salad, you can go premade, but I like to pull out my food processor and whip something up. In this case, I’m going with basically an eggless Caesar dressing. A spoonful of Dijon mustard, a generous pour of sherry, a couple glugs of extra virgin olive oil, two or three cloves of garlic, the juice of one lemon, a good heap of Parmesan, a few grinds of pepper, and five anchovy fillets. Whir it all together until it’s smooth, lightly dress the lettuce, and top with your favorite salad fixings. Serve it with a good bottle of chilled white wine, and dig in. This grilled salad is a joyful herald of a season of good eating and I can’t wait to get down to it!

Grilled Salad

Sotherly Acquires, Remodels, Relaunches Crown Plaza Houston, Renamed “The Whitehall”

Sotherly Acquires, Remodels, Relaunches Crown Plaza Houston, Renamed “The Whitehall”

Iconic Houston Hotel Renovated; Reverts to Original 1963 Name, The Whitehall

Virginia-based Sotherly Hotels acquired the Crowne Plaza Houston Downtown hotel in 2013 with the vision of restoring the property to its earlier glory as The Whitehall – one of the South’s most stylish destination hotels strategically located in the South’s largest MSA (metropolitan statistical area). Constructed in 1963 and recognized by Preferred Hotels and Resorts and Historic Hotels of America, it’s located in the heart of downtown Houston – a desirable destination for those attending functions at nearby Rice University or the George R. Brown Convention Center, or events at Minute Maid Park or the city’s theatre district.

In April Sotherly completed a $5 million renovation project intended to breathe new life into guest and meeting rooms, public spaces (including an outdoor rooftop swimming pool), two new eateries and a revamped restaurant that some consider the property’s main attraction. Formerly called Brazos, the restaurant received a major facelift and a new name to go along with its new look: “Edgar’s Hermano.” Its unusual menu reflects the region’s distinct cuisine, with such unique offerings as fried chicken with poblano/potato enchiladas. Executive chef Sylvia Covarrubias describes her new menu as, “A fusion of southern food and Mexican cuisine – flavors familiar to Texans.”

Resort Interiors of Myrtle Beach, SC, who handled the restaurant refit, designed an authentic look for the restaurant. In keeping with the restaurant’s brown motif, they selected John Boos walnut butcher block dining table tops constructed in edge-grain style. In the opinion of Kathleen Grodsky, Marketing VP at Butcher Block Co., who supplied the Boos dining tables, “Edge-grain walnut was the perfect choice. It presents the beautiful variety of walnut’s light, medium and dark browns in parallel rails of the wood. Those same shades of brown can be found in the strips of reclaimed wood that line the wall of the restaurant and resemble the side of a barn, capping off the restaurant’s rustic look.”

The Whitehall Restaurant

Butcher Block Co. (website: https://butcherblockco.com) is an online seller of butcher block countertops, furniture (e.g., kitchen islands, carts and dining tables) and accessories (e.g., cutting boards and chopping blocks). BBC sells products made by John Boos & Co., among others. Boos is recognized as a leading U.S. manufacturer serving the food service industry. The company also makes, and BBC also sells, wood and steel baker’s tables, stainless steel work tables and base cabinets and stainless steel compartment and platter sinks.

Contact:
Kathleen Grodsky
[email protected]
website: https://butcherblockco.com
phone: (877) 845-5597

Campfire Pies for Outdoor Fun

Campfire Pies for Outdoor Fun

I’m predicting this summer’s food trend is going to be campfire pies. I really want this to be true, at least… Campfire pies are so beautifully simple and remind me of childhood. I had completely forgotten the magic of campfire pies when Sarah mentioned them a while back, but now she has me on a mission. This is going to be the best summer. You should get on the campfire pie train, too. I promise they will make all your outdoor fun even better, and with Memorial Day coming up, you’ve only got a little time left to get your supplies. Sarah is here with all the details to get us started. Let’s make some pies!

Oh, Memorial Day weekend. That extra day off of work that feels desperately needed as you gear up for summer, the chance to get away for a weekend, the cookouts. The cookouts. My favorite thing about the holiday weekend is naturally food-inspired.

For the past ten years, my husband and his friends have been going to a cabin in a nearby state park to celebrate Memorial Day weekend. Due to us being a number of people spread out over the state, we have a Google Drive spreadsheet that goes back several years, listing who brings what. This, guys, is an excellent idea.  The cabin trip is the best kind of tradition – over the years we’ve rented boats, hiked, gone swimming, played games, played putt-putt, and gotten ice cream. Every year we add new things to do, but a few mainstays never change. One of these is the cooking out.

The firepit outside our cabin gets heavy use year after year. The first night of our trip is always dedicated to campfire pies. Consider the grilled cheese sandwich. Buttered bread, hot skillet, melty cheese. Yes? Now add the satisfaction of cooking those suckers outside on the coals of your bonfire and a fun gadget (I love fun gadgets). To make campfire pies, you will need a pie iron. I recommend having two for maximum production efficiency. You have a few options based on how you like your sandwiches. If you don’t like crust, go for one of the round pie irons, but be warned! These result in smaller pies, and you can’t stuff them as full. For bigger pies that include crust, go with this guy. Your campfire will need to have some decent coals – I recommend waiting at least half an hour after starting your fire to begin cooking.

Campfire pies are endlessly customizable and the perfect addition to your outdoor fun!

You can basically make any kind of sandwich or sweet pie with these babies. I’ve gone grilled cheese, hot ham and cheese, any kind of dessert pie you can think of, and even ooey gooey brownies (oh yes!). Sandwiches are pretty easy – some element of sauce and/or cheese is necessary to hold your pie together and give it a lot of flavor. Dessert is pretty much anything your heart desires that fits between two pieces of bread. Pie filling of any kind, pudding if you’re feeling a chocolate pie. The best dessert I’ve had is the aforementioned ooey gooey brownie, which is brownie batter poured straight into the pie iron, no bread required. Cooked correctly, you’ll open your pie iron to a molten chocolate mess that is absolutely delicious (add marshmallows for a s’mores-ey kick). Today, we’ll be making pizza pies with cherry pies for dessert.

Ingredients:

  • Stick of butter
  • Bread (go white bread, here)
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzerella cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • Cherry pie filling

-Preheat your pie irons. Once your bonfire has some coals, position your (closed) pie iron against them to get the metal hot. It doesn’t need to be screamin’ hot, but a little preheat will help your buttering game.

-Butter! This is what gives your campfire pies that delicious sear. There are two opinions on buttering- butter your bread, or butter the pie irons. I find you use less butter (and can therefore make more pies!) when you butter the pie irons. So unwrap the end of a stick of butter and rub it on each pan of your open pie iron. Enjoy the sizzle.

-Position your bread, being careful not to burn yourself. Add pizza sauce, a good handful of mozzarella cheese, and some pepperonis. You can load up both sides of your bead if you like, but while that results in mega-flavor, it can also make your pies burst open like a hot pizza roll when you bite into it. One side of toppings is sufficient.

Campfire pies

-Close your pie iron. Many come with latches, but they can be difficult to open when your pie is done if you’re not keen on burning yourself or your food. Make sure your pie iron closes completely, or you’ll be picking ash out of your food.

-Position your pie iron on your coals. This cooktime is tricky, because it depends on how hot your coals are. After 5-8 minutes, pull your iron out of the flame, find a decent light source, and, while holding your pie iron parallel to the ground, open one side to check the doneness. You want to lift the side of the iron that has been sitting on the coals, since that is the part that has been cooking. If you have a nice grilled cheese sandwich-style sear, close your iron, and put it back on the coals on the other side.

-Once your pie is done, things get slightly tricky. Have a plate ready on a flat surface. Hold your pie iron over the plate, and open both sides slowly to pop out your sandwich.

Campfire Pies

-When it’s dessert time, butter your pie iron.

-Position your bread, then add a few spoonfuls of pie filling.

-The cooktime is about the same, maybe a little less. Be sure to check it often and flip halfway through.

-Enjoy your dessert!

Campfire Pies

One safety note: Be very, very, very careful where you place your pie irons while they are still hot but not in use! Campfires generally take place in the dark, and pie irons unfortunately do not glow in the dark or light up. My group of friends has resorted to a designated pie iron area, where all pie irons live if they are not on the fire being used. Trust me, you do not want to add a hospital visit to your fun holiday weekend because someone burned themselves badly. And it should go without saying that children should be very carefully supervised while using pie irons. To be safe, the wooden handles are the only portion of the pie iron that should be considered safe to touch.

Do you have any Memorial Day weekend traditions? What kind of campfire pie are you most excited to try first?

Mother’s Day Brunch – Croque-Madame in Honor of Mom

Mother’s Day Brunch – Croque-Madame in Honor of Mom

My lovely brothers are hosting a Mother’s Day brunch this Sunday for all of the moms in our close-knit family.  As one of the moms being honored at this Mother’s Day Brunch, I will be requesting that my brothers  follow Claire’s advice here by making something cheesy and savory and definitely topped with an egg. Claire not only provides us with another delicious breakfast/brunch recipe, she is also determined to make us all a little weepy with a beautiful dedication to her mom. I haven’t met Lynn, but if Claire is any indication, her mother has done a darn good job. Claire, I’ll hand this off to you now. Make us cry, but then please make us feel better with fantastic food!

For fairly obvious reasons, I’ve been thinking a lot about moms and motherhood these past couple of weeks. Not everyone has a mom, and not everyone who has a mom has a good mom. Reflecting on that fact makes me feel, above all, grateful that my mother, while human and flawed like anyone else, has been good and caring and supportive of me for my whole life. She put up with me and believed in me, even during my most chaotic years, which admittedly lasted far longer than they should have. She cried for me. She cheered for me. She went gray for me. Through everything, I have always known that if I needed her, she would not hesitate to be at my side, whatever the cost. She is a good mom.

Mother's Day Brunch

If anyone deserves to retire in style, my mom does, and damn it, she is doing it. This summer, she and my dad are selling the home I grew up in, and they are moving onto the boat they have spent the last 10 years restoring. They will spend the foreseeable future sailing around this gorgeous planet of ours, seeing all the things they didn’t get to see while they were busy being attentive and fiscally responsible parents. This morning, it occurred to me that once they set sail, it will be the first time in my life that my mom is going to be ACTUALLY unavailable to me, despite the fact that I moved over two thousand miles away from her eight years ago. It’s a new feeling, and one I’m having a hard time processing. It’s making me miss my mommy.

Mother's Day Brunch

So, in honor of my mom and my feelings, I am throwing a Mother’s Day brunch in her honor. Even though she’s too far away to join me at my table today, I know she’s well represented here. She taught me to appreciate a well-appointed place setting, and so I am setting the table with the linens I remember eating off of in her house, and serving the meal on her mother’s gold plates. She taught me to never scrimp where it mattered, so I am using the best ingredients I can find. And she taught me how to make Hollandaise, and it is finicky and temperamental, so I’m skipping it this year. Besides, eggs Benedict is played out.

I want something as unexpected and decadent as my mom for this Mother’s Day brunch, so I am going with croque-madame, which I am predicting will be the next big brunch staple.

Croque-Madame

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 ½ cups grated Gruyère cheese, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 slices of the best quality deli ham
  • 8 slices of good bread
  • 4 fresh eggs
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Start by making your béchamel. In a 1 ½ quart heavy saucepan, melt 5 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk, cooking the roux until it is golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk and bring it just to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, nutmeg, and half of the shredded cheese and stir until the cheese is completely melted. Remove the pan from heat and cover it while you assemble the sandwiches.

Preheat the broiler with a rack in the top third of the oven. Prep a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Lay the slices of bread out, spreading a spoonful of béchamel on four of them and topping with the remaining shredded cheese. On the other four slices, spread the mustard and top each with two slices of the ham. Flip the ham side onto the cheese side and heat about a tablespoon of the remaining butter on a skillet or griddle.

Mother's Day Brunch

When the griddle is hot, carefully grill each sandwich on both sides until they are golden brown and the cheese is melted. Move the sandwiches onto the prepared baking sheet and top each one with about 1/3 cup of the béchamel. Broil the sandwiches until the sauce is bubbling, then turn off the broiler and move the pan to the lower third of the oven to keep warm.

Mother's Day Brunch

Add the remaining butter to the skillet and fry the eggs sunny-side-up, until whites are just set and yolks are still runny. Top each sandwich with an egg and serve. I put the remaining sauce in a little pitcher so we could add more as we saw fit, and I went a little crazy with the pepper grinder. Making that first cut, and seeing the yolk and steam release from inside the sandwich, I knew my mom would be proud. She taught me to revere a good sauce and a runny egg, so I know she would have loved this Mother’s Day brunch meal as much as I did. I also knew that she would be the first one to like the picture I would post to Facebook later.

Mother's Day Brunch

Mama, I know you’re reading, because you are my biggest fan and you never miss one of my posts. As you literally embark upon your next adventure, I know that you will continue to live as richly as you have so far. Even though you’ll be out of my reach, I will be thinking of you often. I hope it makes you feel as good as it makes me feel to know that you have imbued me with all of your vim and vigor and your incredible power to set an inviting table and top it with a damn good meal. I love you.

Mother's Day Brunch Table Printer-friendly recipe: Croque-Madame

Announcing 12 New John Boos Products With More Modern Style

Announcing 12 New John Boos Products With More Modern Style

New John Boos Products – 129 Years After Its Founding, Iconic Maker of Boos Blocks Still Relevant
Even though the company was founded more than a century ago, the John Boos name remains one of the best-recognized brands in the home and commercial kitchen furniture and equipment space. Ted Gravenhorst, Boos’ VP of Sales and Marketing, explained the company’s focus on new product development: “One way to keep a brand top of mind with consumers is by continuously refreshing your product line – adding on-trend features to best-selling items and introducing all-new products that tap into emerging tastes and trends.” A full slate of new John Boos products were previewed with customers during the 2016 International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago. Designs were refined based on feedback they received, and one dozen new products were just announced for immediate availability. The new slate includes:

  • 5 distinctly different butcher block tables, in maple, cherry and walnut, and in edge-grain, end-grain and blended grain construction styles
  • 4 carving boards that incorporate full-perimeter juice grooves plus handle grips holes or wing extensions
  • 3 cutting board designs, including maple and cherry boards with walnut end rails; Mezzaluna herb boards; and chopping blocks elevated on stylized, wooden pedestal-and-ball legs

john boos products

According to Gravenhorst of Boos & Co., “The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Boos dealers seem pleased with the breadth of this year’s new product line-up, as well as the magnitude of the tweaks.” His sentiment was echoed by Kathleen Grodsky, Marketing VP at Butcher Block Co. (website: https://butcherblockco.com), the leading online seller of Boos Blocks:

“These new John Boos products incorporate bigger shifts in design than seen in past years. These sorts of changes position Boos to appeal to consumers who seek the heritage of traditional butcher blocks but prefer a more contemporary style for modern or urban settings.”

About John Boos: Boos & Co., headquartered in Effingham, IL, manufactures wood and steel products designed principally for residential and commercial kitchens.
Butcher Block Co.: BBC is a leading online seller of butcher block countertops; kitchen islands, tables and carts; plus cutting boards, knives and knife blocks.
For more information please visit: http://johnboos.com and https://butcherblockco.com.

Contact:
Kathleen Grodsky
[email protected]
website: https://butcherblockco.com
phone: (877) 845-5597

New Countertops You’ll Love – Let Us Count the Ways!

New Countertops You’ll Love – Let Us Count the Ways!

As you have probably noticed, we recently introduced a new line of countertops. Butcher Block Co. countertops are available in 15 different species, providing you with a wide range of aesthetic choices and expanded sizing options. The variety of wood species, size, edging, and finish options means you are sure to find something that will work for your project!

As more homeowners are choosing to take on remodeling and renovation projects, the introduction of Butcher Block Co. countertops has come at the perfect time.

According to Consumer Affairs, spending on home remodeling projects is expected to increase by 9.7% by early next year, and one of the best opportunities for return on investment is updating the kitchen.

countertops

We love our John Boos countertops in Blended, Edge, and End Grain, but we know our customers are sometimes looking for something a little different. With expanded sizing options in length, width, and thickness, Butcher Block Co. countertops offer solutions for very small and very large projects that we previously could not accommodate, and with faster turn-around times, too. Sometimes our customers are simply looking for a beautiful wood countertop and are not interested in using it as butcher block. Our large selection of species provides choices for heavy use (Maple, Hickory, Mahogany) to light use (Knotty Pine, Alder, Spanish Cedar), so you can find a beautiful countertop no matter your needs.

While Butcher Block Co. countertops are also available in the traditional butcher block styles of Edge Grain and End Grain, our most popular has been the Plank Style. With face-grain boards ranging in width from three to six inches, Plank Style countertops offer more of the natural character of the tree. The last several years have seen a boom in natural elements being used in the kitchen to bring warmth to modern design. The addition of plank style countertops has come with a new set of customers who appreciate the broader visual picture of the grain pattern and natural color variation offered by these tops.

countertops

Customers who are seeking an even more rustic look can opt for a hand-scraped finish on either plank style or edge grain countertops. The hand-scraped finish is achieved by running a scraper along the length of the top, creating slight variations in the surface. In Red and White Oak, you may also choose a quarter-sawn option, which showcases the rings of the source tree and provides a unique look and superior stability. Further customization can be found in our eight different edge options ranging from a sanded square edge to the classic small or large Roman Ogee.

countertops

Butcher Block Co countertops are made-to-order and take 2-3 weeks for production, depending on your choice of finish. Unfinished tops ship more quickly, and will need to be finished on-site right away. This is a great option should you elect to stain the top to your liking. Oil and varnish finished tops will arrive ready for install.

We are delighted to offer these new options to our customers! If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at [email protected] or give us a call at 877-845-5597.

Can Planting More Trees Save Us from Climate Change?

Can Planting More Trees Save Us from Climate Change?

“The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.” – John Muir

“But what have trees done for us lately?” you ask. 

For starters, trees provide us wood used in the buildings that shelter us and the furniture on which we work and rest. Forests are home to two-thirds of the planet’s land species. They help capture, store and purify water passed on to cities and towns downstream. By some estimates they even supply nearly half of the ingredients found in medicines we rely on to keep us healthy. But more topical this week, as we celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day and contemplate the state of our planet, forests are effectively the lungs of the Earth. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release the oxygen we need to survive.

If you were paying attention in school you learned that carbon dioxide – the major greenhouse gas driving climate change – is in essence, plant food.

Through the process of photosynthesis, trees absorb sunlight (thanks to the presence of a pigment found in all green plants) and suck up water and carbon dioxide to produce carbohydrates and oxygen.

photosynthesis_equation

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/57561701462135038/

Photosynthesis is the most effective means for removing carbon from the atmosphere.

The carbon captured is converted into tree roots, trunks, branches and leaves (collectively, “biomass”). The process absorbs nearly 30 percent of mankind’s annual carbon dioxide emissions (released principally through the combustion of fossil fuels), prompting the curious mind to ask, “is it possible to minimize, if not altogether eliminate, the threat of climate change by planting more trees?”

Here’s the short answer: Planting more trees – in and of itself – will not solve global warming. After all, it’s called the carbon cycle for a reason. Carbon sequestered in biomass must someday return back to the atmosphere, either through natural decay or human interference. Newly planted or regenerating forests can continue to absorb carbon for 50 years or more, however, it is hypothesized that even if tree-planting were executed on a massive scale, the incremental trees would capture only 2 to 3% of total annual global greenhouse gas emissions. Link: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/nov/29/planting-trees-climate-change

Make no mistake, deforestation contributes to global warming.

In fact, it’s the second leading cause. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that tropical deforestation (e.g., in the Amazon, the Congo and Indonesia) causes as much as 10% of the world’s heat-trapping emissions to go unabsorbed each year. [source: http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions/stop-deforestation/deforestation-global-warming-carbon-emissions.html#.Vxp1i2NZsy5] That’s why it’s important that the trees we do use come only from well-managed forests where sustainable practices are rigorously employed, such as North America’s hardwood forests.

Whereas the Kyoto Protocol encourages tree planting and reforestation, experimental projects to date have identified a number of hurdles, including the high input costs (principally land and labor) and the cost of protecting young trees from natural threats. One other interesting learning is that we must plant the right trees in the right places. Tropical forests benefit the planet by lowering overall temperature, whereas forests far from the equator are more likely to trap heat in their dense canopies, thereby raising temperatures. [source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory].

So while planting more trees cannot reverse global warming, you simply can’t go wrong by greening up your neighborhood and your planet, and by buying lumber and finished goods made of wood harvested from woodlands that are managed in a sustainable fashion so they are sure to absorb the maximum amount of carbon possible.

John Boos’ Wood Plant Site Expansion Plan Approved

John Boos’ Wood Plant Site Expansion Plan Approved

The World-Famous Maker of Boos Blocks Doubles Down on its “Made in America” Heritage

John Boos & Co. has reported that the Planning Commission of the town of Effingham, Illinois has approved the site plan presented by Boos calling for a new wood plant and retail showroom to be built in the small Midwestern town it has called home for more than 125 years. Boos is a world-renowned manufacturer of butcher blocks and butcher block tables, kitchen islands and carts, cutting boards and chopping blocks.

Joe Emmerich, president and CEO of Boos & Co., explained the company’s strategy is to consolidate under one roof multiple wood manufacturing buildings plus a retail outlet. The project is expected to improve productivity and to expand the company’s wood furniture and cutting board manufacturing capabilities.In 2012 Boos made a similar massive investment in a facility of 87,000 square feet. That structure houses corporate offices and the company’s metal fabricating plant. Boos is also a leading manufacturer of stainless steel tables, base cabinets and compartment sinks sold principally in food service channels.

“At 122,000 square feet, the scale of this new wood plant relative to the town of Effingham is simply astounding,” declared Mark Shook, owner of Butcher Block Co., John Boos’ largest online dealer (website: https://butcherblockco.com). “You could allot almost 10 square feet to each of Effingham’s 12,500 residents and fit all of them comfortably inside the building.”

“This level of corporate commitment to keeping and expanding manufacturing jobs in small-town America sets a great example other captains of U.S. industry should strive to emulate,” Shook observed.

About Butcher Block Co. – BBC, which operates exclusively online, sells a wide range of kitchen furniture, equipment and accessories made of wood and/or metal, including butcher block countertops, islands, tables, carts, cutting boards and chopping blocks.

For more information please visit: http://johnboos.com and https://butcherblockco.com.

Contact:
Kathleen Grodsky
[email protected]
website: https://butcherblockco.com
phone: (877) 845-5597

Microwave Oven Sales in U.S. Finally Back to Pre-Recession Levels

Microwave Oven Sales in U.S. Finally Back to Pre-Recession Levels

According to the data aggregating company, Statista, annual U.S. shipments of microwave ovens, which totaled nearly 14 million units in 2005 and 2006, languished between 9 and 10 million units from 2009 to 2014. This caused anthropologists to question whether Americans’ infatuation with this modern marvel was on the wane. Healthcare professionals held out hope that the decline signaled a shift toward healthier, fresher foods. Appliance industry experts pointed to a slowdown in technical innovation, coupled with improved reliability and longer useful lives for nearly all appliances. Construction experts attributed the decline in microwave oven sales to the significant drop in new home construction during the protracted recession and slow recovery. Their assessment is likely spot on.

But in 2015, microwave oven shipments jumped more than 20% in the U.S., to just below 12 million, prompting the question whether it was a one-time blip or a longer-term firming of demand. Statista’s projections suggest the latter, as the firm expects U.S. shipments will range between 11.5 and 12 million in 2016 and 2017 – in line with 2007 and 2008. New home construction will drive sales of built-in units; whereas innovations in smart appliance and wireless technologies are expected to drive sales of countertop models.

According to the International Houseware Association, a microwave oven can be found in more U.S. households (96%) than can any other home appliance.

IHA reports only two other items rank above 90% in household penetration: clothes irons (95%) and ironing boards (91%). Electric coffee makers (84%) and blenders (82%) round out the Appliance Top 5.

Since over half of the microwave ovens sold each year are countertop models, kitchen carts are also experiencing higher demand. Butcher Block Co. (website: https://butcherblockco.com), a leading e-tailer of kitchen furniture and accessories, indicates sales of microwave oven carts, in particular, are on the rise. Butcher Block Co.’s VP of Marketing and Operations, Kathleen Grodsky, says “John Boos butcher block carts and Catskill Craftsmen hutch-style microwave oven carts are top sellers. A cart proves most valuable when you don’t have space on kitchen counters to store small appliances such as microwave ovens. Drop-leaf carts are also perennial favorites. Homemakers love their versatility. They don’t take up much floor space day in and day out, yet they provide valuable extra work space whenever it’s needed.”

About Butcher Block Co. – BBC sells countertops, plus kitchen carts, islands and tables, as well as butcher block cutting boards, kitchen knives and knife blocks. Its top-selling kitchen cart brands include John Boos, Catskill Craftsmen, Chris & Chris and Oasis Concepts.

For more information please visit: https://butcherblockco.com

Contact:
Kathleen Grodsky
[email protected]
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Favorite Breakfast Recipe – Biscuits and Gravy

Favorite Breakfast Recipe – Biscuits and Gravy

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then you better be paying attention, because Claire is about to share the most important recipe of your life! I sing Claire’s praises a lot around here, so it’s about dang time she gives up the recipe for my favorite breakfast of all time – BISCUITS AND GRAVY! She has made these for me every time I’ve gone to visit, and even my picky kid likes them. I have had biscuits and gravy from (at least) a dozen different restaurants, even in a couple in the South, but nobody makes them as good as Claire. Looking over this recipe, I’m a little surprised by how easy this is. I could actually do this, and if I can summon a little of that special Claire Hoenke magic, I bet mine will come out at least half as good (and that would be good enough for me!). Ok, let’s get moving along. Claire, enlighten us, please.

Last year around this time, I made a beautiful and nutritious breakfast for you using beautiful and nutritious spring produce. This is not that post.

This morning I had to take my kids to the doctor. They both needed to have procedures done, and they were going to be under anesthesia so the doctor told me to go home and wait for them to call me. When I got home, I didn’t have to use my purse to block the kids from running out the door. I sat down on the couch, and I didn’t have to worry about my youngest climbing onto my chest and burrowing into my hair. I decided to make breakfast, and I didn’t have to worry about my oldest jumping onto the counter and eating the ingredients. Oh, wait, did I say, “my kids”? I meant my cats, though for real, they are my kids, and it is really weird when they’re not here. I don’t like it.

Breakfast

(His name is Bacon. He is perfect.)

To deal with the discomfort of my weird, empty house, I decided I needed to curl up in the cocoon of some rich, creamy, easy-to-make, unhealthy comfort food. I mean real, serious business comfort food. The thing you always want to order in a breakfast cafe, but maybe you don’t think you should, or you don’t want to be seen eating it in public because you’re already a fat lady eating in public and you already have your own weird food issues and you don’t need that kind of judgement from strangers… ahem… Maybe that last one is just me. Anyway, that forbidden thing for me is biscuits and gravy. Luckily, sausage gravy is so easy to make at home, you never need to order it at a restaurant, which is actually good because it saves you from a lot of disappointing gravies that are really never as good as the recipe I am about to share with you.

Since I’m going for ease and speed, I am going to opt for a simple drop biscuit today. Combine your dry ingredients, cut in the butter, add the milk, drop on the pan, and bake. Bing bang boom. I’m also adding cheese to my biscuits because it’s my party and dammit, I love cheese. I really only make my fancy buttermilk biscuits for company, because they’re always going to play second fiddle to the gravy anyway. Honestly, you could put any bready thing under it and call it a success.

These Biscuits and Gravy make the perfect breakfast – delicious, fulfilling, and surprisingly easy.

Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (one stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup milk or half and half

Gravy

  • 1 lb pork sausage
  • 1/3 cup flour, divided
  • 4-5 cups milk
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Seasoned salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients, and then use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut in the butter. If you want to add in any additional ingredients (cheese, bacon, herbs, etc.), now is the time. Stir in the milk and use two spoons to drop the biscuits in semi-freeform lumps onto the baking sheet. I like mine to be king of rounded, but with craggy edges so the finished biscuit has a little crunch to it. Bake until they’re golden brown with crunchy bits, about 15 to 20 minutes, and then serve.

Breakfast

While the biscuits are baking, make your gravy. Put the sausage into a heavy pan or skillet and brown it over medium high heat, using a wooden spoon to break the sausage into bits. When it is cooked through, add the flour in two phases, stirring until it is absorbed. Use the spoon to stir the sausage around and cook the flour, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan, for about a minute or two. Add the milk, and stir, stir, stir while the gravy thickens. If it gets too thick, just add a little more milk. When the texture is right, season with hot sauce, black pepper, and seasoned salt, and spoon it over your biscuits.

breakfast

And just like that, you have a lovely, indulgent bowl of comfort right there to pet your tummy and remind you that your cats are just fine and they’ll be home tonight, and they’ll probably be all goofy and extra-snuggly while the anesthesia wears off. In the meantime, you don’t have to worry about Bacon trying to steal a bite of that sweet, sweet gravy. Sausage gravy brings out the truth in us, as evidenced today by my outing myself as a fat cat lady who eats her feelings. So who does the gravy reveal in you?

Printer-friendly recipe: Biscuits and Gravy