Fall Soup – Cozying Up with Clam Chowder

Fall Soup – Cozying Up with Clam Chowder

There is just nothing quite like a hot bowl of soup on a cold day, and clam chowder is easily in my top three favorites. Oddly enough, I have never made it! Clam chowder has always seemed like one of those soups that will take a ton of time to make; it’s a restaurant meal, not an at-home dish. Well, as usual, Claire Hoenke is blowing my mind. Turns out clam chowder is actually not hard to make at all. I’ll give it a try if you will, too. Claire, teach us your chowdery ways.

Last month, I told you all about my undying love for autumn. For part two of my love song, I have set my sights on dinner. By now, the weather around here has actually started to turn ever so slightly cool. I have switched my air conditioning off, and in the mornings, I wake up and pull my blankets tighter around my chin against the cold night air. By the time I’m ready to leave the house for work, I’m already thinking about soul-warming comfort foods.

But it’s a work day! There’s no time to braise short ribs or a brisket. I need to come up with something I can make inside of an hour; over the course of the morning, my mind has zeroed in on soup. Stews, chowders, and broths start rippling through my brain, and already the thought of a steaming bowl of soup has my mouth watering. I run a mental checklist of recipe components against my pantry’s current inventory, and after work, I make a brief stop at the grocery store.

It’s going to be clam chowder tonight, and I could not be happier.

My clam chowder is adapted from the Culinary Institute of America’s recipe, and both my husband and I count it among our favorite things to eat; at this point I have made it so many times, I can basically do it in my sleep. I also have a tendency to keep bottles of clam juice in the house, just in case of a clam chowder emergency, and tonight is just such an emergency! I pick up some bread and cream and rush home to pull out the rest of my ingredients. Less than an hour later, I am sitting down at the table with my husband and a hot bowl of soup, and we both float off on a chowdery cloud. This recipe is so easy, and so luxuriously comforting, I have decided that I just have to share it.

Clam Chowder

  • 1 to 1 ½ pound canned or frozen baby clams, juices reserved
  • 2 8oz. bottles clam juice
  • 2 or 3 bacon slices, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled, diced
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons dry sherry, or to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Hot sauce (such as Tabasco), to taste
  • Worcestershire sauce, to taste
  • Optional loaf of bread or soup crackers

Start out by draining the juices from the clams. In my case, I did have one 10 oz can of clams, but that’s not really enough, so I also pulled a bag of Trader Joe’s cooked frozen langostino tails out of my freezer and let them thaw in the sink for a few minutes. Really, any seafood will do in a pinch, and if you’re lucky enough to live close to a Trader Joe’s, you can usually find some fun options in their frozen section. Add the bottled clam juice together with the drained juices, and it should equal at least 3 cups. Mince the clams and set them aside for now. At this point in the cooking process in my house, the cats have moved into the kitchen with me and are swirling around my ankles begging for bits of whatever is producing that delightful smell. I do not give in to their demands.

Fall Soup Clam Chowder

Chop up the raw bacon and throw it into a 6 or 8 quart soup pot set over medium heat. You want to let the bacon bits render slowly, for about 8 minutes until they are almost crispy. While the bacon is cooking, chop up the onion. When the bacon is ready, add the onion and cook it, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent. Add in the flour and turn the heat down to low, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes. Then, slowly add in the clam juice. Use your spoon or a whisk to get all the crispy bits up off the bottom of the pan, and then cook the juice at a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

While the juices simmer and thicken, peel and dice your potatoes. I like my soup to be super chunky, so I use 4 medium to large sized Yukon golds. When the clam juice is about the thickness of heavy cream, add the potatoes to your pot, along with the chopped thyme and the bay leaf. Cook the potatoes until they are tender, which should be about 15 minutes, depending on the size of your dice.

Fall Soup Clam Chowder

Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, combine the cream with the minced clams and simmer them together for about 5 minutes to cook the clams. If you have bread to go with the soup, this is the time to put it into the oven to warm up in time for dinner. If you are using any pre-cooked seafood items, chop them to bite size and add them to the soup pot in the last minute or so of the clams’ cooking time.

When the potatoes are tender and the clams are cooked, add the cream mixture to the soup pot and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the sherry, and season to taste with Worcestershire, salt and pepper, and a good couple shakes of your favorite hot sauce. Take the bread out of the oven and get ready to feast. I guess a side salad would be good here, if only to round out the meal, but I just can’t be fussed to bother with it on soup night. Luckily, this recipe yields about 2 quarts, so there is enough for seconds!

Fall Soup Clam Chowder

I think it’s pretty important to have a couple of can’t-fail recipes in your back pocket, and this is one of my favorites. It combines all good things into an even better thing, and it cooks up quickly without much fuss. It’s perfect for a chilly evening, and we’re fixing to get quite a few of those in the near future. Do yourself a favor and just add clam juice and canned clams to your next grocery list and you’ll be a believer too!

Printer friendly recipe: Clam Chowder

Butcher Block Co. Announces blOKTOBERFEST in Celebration of Oktoberfest

Butcher Block Co. Announces blOKTOBERFEST in Celebration of Oktoberfest

E-commerce Company’s Fall Promotion Honors Bavarian Tradition

Butcher Block Co. has announced a fall promotion tied to Bavaria’s Oktoberfest that is nowadays celebrated in cities across the globe. Using a clever play on words, the online retailer whose website (https://butcherblockco.com) features butcher block countertops, islands, tables, carts, cutting boards and knife blocks unveiled their blOKTOBERFEST promotion.

Kathleen Grodsky, Butcher Block Co.’s Vice President of Marketing and Operations, explained that the online store will offer a 5% discount to customers who make purchases through October 31st and enter the coupon code “BLOKTOBERFEST” during checkout.

“The Oktoberfest festival is held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany every year from late September through early October. Tens of thousands attend the festivities to sample local beers, enjoy traditional food and enjoy music and parades,” Grodsky explained. “It has become so popular that a number of cities around the world now stage their own Oktoberfests, modeled after the events in Munich,” she continued. Commenting on the event’s origin she shared that, “In 1810, Bavaria’s Prince Ludwig wished to commemorate his betrothal to Princess Therese, so he arranged festivities that included a horse race that drew a crowd estimated at 40,000. It was such a resounding success that it instantly became an annual affair.”

Butcher Block Co.’s President, Mark Shook, offered that, “Oktoberfest fits perfectly with our mission and our audience. It’s all about people coming together to eat, drink, sing and dance. No matter where you go in the world you will see people enjoying good food and drink and the company of one another. That’s what our company is all about as well. The tagline on the Butcher Block Co. blog website (https://butcherblockco.com/blog) sums it up succinctly: “For people who love to cook, entertain and gather in the kitchen.”

About Butcher Block Co: The company sells exclusively online. All Its products are made for cooking and/or for kitchens and dining rooms, by such leading manufacturers as John Boos & Company. Priding themselves on their deep knowledge of the market, the company’s slogan is “The Experts in All Things Butcher Block.” Their best-selling products include butcher block countertops, kitchen islands, carts, tables and cutting boards. BBC also recently added knife blocks to their online store. For more information please visit: https://butcherblockco.com


Kathleen Grodsky

[email protected]

website: https://butcherblockco.com

phone: (877) 845-5597

Fall Baking: Stirring Up Memories

Fall Baking: Stirring Up Memories

It’s time to start gearing up for Fall Baking and I couldn’t be more excited! It’s still too hot here to use the oven, but all the local bakeries are breaking out their fall-themed goodies and it just makes me feel better about life. In a week or two I’ll be able to use my oven in the evenings, and I think I’m going to start my fall baking with these Oatmeal Lace Cookies that Claire is about to share with us. When I showed the photo to my son, he said, “I wish we lived at Claire’s house.” Me too, buddy, me too. Not only do these cookies look and sound fabulous, but Claire has managed to capture that fall feeling in her words. Let’s all cozy up to the fire and have Claire tell us a story.

My favorite season is fall. That might be an odd choice for a California girl, given the lack of seasonal change here, but it’s really just a holdover from growing up in Michigan. It’s not just because it means that my favorite holidays are around the corner. There’s something about autumn that just carries in the air in Michigan, and that feeling just gets infused in everything. When I first made the move out here, it was early spring. It was beautiful, and I spent the summer at the beach, so I barely missed my home state. By the time October rolled around, though, it was still beautiful and sunny and warm outside, and intense homesickness started to set in. I missed the crisp, cool air and the changing leaves. I missed wearing cute sweaters, and drinking fresh apple cider from the orchard up the road. I missed the fall.

One day that first California fall, I was walking home from work, lost in thought about apple pie and hay rides and colorful gourds. I was starting to feel a little bit overwhelmed by the thought that I might never see a real autumn again. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a gust of cool wind picked up behind me, and I heard the sound of dry leaves skittering across the pavement. The wind blew in a little spiral around me, sending my hair flying, and a shiver went through my body. It was like Mother Nature had seen me struggling, and sent me a hug. That sound, that breeze, just transported me back to autumnal Michigan, and I understood just how closely my memories are bound to my senses.

I decided that day that just because it was still 88 degrees outside didn’t mean that I couldn’t throw myself headlong into my favorite season inside. I went home and started my fall baking, and I made my own autumn.

Since then, I have never looked back. When my friends back home start posting pictures of themselves in hats and sweaters, and I feel that pang of jealousy, I just close the curtains to block out my next-door-neighbor’s palm trees, and I throw myself into reviving those autumnal memories. I have started on my Christmas knitting, so I can have the touch of wool on my hands. I’ve been planning out my Halloween costume, and giggling at the prospect of frightening my neighbors’ children. And, of course, I’ve broken out my fall baking supplies, to surround myself in sweet, autumnal aromas.

I’ve decided to start my fall baking slowly and simply this year, so I’m making an oatmeal lace cookie with a chocolate ginger drizzle. The golden color and crispy snap of a lace cookie is a delicious analogy for dry leaves, and the crystallized ginger on top gives these rich treats the perfect, autumnal kick. Of course, the best way to really enjoy a thing like this is to share it with loved ones, so I’ve also decided to get into the gift-giving season early this year. I’m packaging these up in cellophane and seasonal ribbons to give to my California friends. Maybe we’ll even share them over mulled cider.

Oatmeal Lace Cookies with Chocolate Ginger Drizzle

Ingredients: Fall Baking

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2¼ cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2¼ cups rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, minced

Preheat your oven to 375º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats and set them aside. Heat the butter and brown sugar in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden or silicon spoon, until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in oats, flour, salt, egg, and vanilla.

Drop teaspoons-sized mounds of cookie batter onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between each cookie to allow them to spread. Do not give in to the temptation to make bigger mounds or to put more than six or eight on a sheet, or your cookies will all run together, and you won’t get those nice, crispy edges. Bake for 5 -7 minutes, watching closely to prevent them from over-baking. The cookies should be golden brown, with dark edges. Allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for about a minute before you move them onto racks to finish cooling.

Fall Baking

When all of the cookies have completely cooled, lay them out onto sheets of parchment paper. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Transfer the melted chocolate to a resealable plastic bag and snip the very tip off of one of the bottom corners to make a hole. Holding the bag about 5 inches above the cookies, drizzle the chocolate back and forth in a zigzag until the cookies are covered to your preference. While the chocolate is still soft, sprinkle the ginger over the cookies, and then allow them to set for a couple of hours.

Fall Baking

Any cookies that you don’t give away to friends should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot, but they’re so tasty, I doubt they’ll stick around for very long. Some of the ginger that doesn’t get stuck on a chocolate line will obviously fall off of the cookies, but I scoop those bits up and put them in the container with the cookies because the more ginger aromatics, the better. I want to open that Tupperware and feel transported! And then I want to just eat those ginger bits!

Fall Baking

Do you love fall baking? What seasonal traditions get you the most excited? What costume should I wear for Halloween?

Printer friendly recipe: Fall Baking – Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Butcher Block Co. Adds Italy’s Artelegno Products

Butcher Block Co. Adds Italy’s Artelegno Products

The E-commerce Company’s Kitchen Product Offerings Now Include Stylish Artisan Knife Blocks

Butcher Block Co. announced today that it has entered into an agreement to distribute on its website (https://butcherblockco.com) knife blocks and other kitchen accessories designed and manufactured by Artelengo of Italy. Butcher Block Co. currently sells butcher block countertops, islands, tables and carts, as well as cutting boards.

Mark Shook, Butcher Block Co.’s president, stated the move is in keeping with the company’s overall business strategy. “Our mission is to offer visitors to our online store not only the finest butcher block furniture and accessories, but also other types of distinctive kitchen products, as long as they’re beautiful and functional,” he explained. Earlier this year the company added to its “virtual shelves” handcrafted Cotton and Dust-brand cutting boards, as well as the innovative Scrapesation wooden grill scraper. “Our latest discovery is one we’re even more excited about,” Shook continued, “since it moves us into an all-new product category: knife blocks, both the magnetic variety as well as conventional blocks with slots for knives, scissors and knife sharpeners.”

According to Company Vice President, Kathleen Grodsky, “Artelegno was founded in 1960 but began distributing its products in the U.S. only recently. Their gorgeous knife blocks and unique cutting boards made of beech wood are clearly a cut above the standard domestic fare. We’re eager to help Americans discover such elegant and stylish products for their kitchens.”

According to company promotional materials, Artelegno’s mission is “to improve the quality of everyday life.” They seek to create truly innovative products based on proprietary, original designs. The company intends to continue “in the path of Italian tradition, always striving to blend beauty, functionality and durability.”

Summing things up, BBC’s Shook said, “We view this as a win-win partnership. We get the chance to offer our discriminating customers Artelegno’s top-shelf products and in turn, they gain visibility on one of the premier U.S. online stores specializing in first-rate kitchen products and catering to self-described food and cooking fanatics. You can expect other announcements of a similar nature in the near future.”

About Butcher Block Co: “The Experts in All Things Butcher Block” pride themselves on being the number-one resource for helpful information on kitchen furniture and accessories, and one of the premier sources for butcher block countertops, kitchen islands, carts, tables and cutting boards. They set the standard for outstanding customer service and employ sharp, dedicated, hard-working people who share a passion for all things kitchen, and especially for all things butcher block. For more information please visit: https://butcherblockco.com

View the Artelegno line of products at https://butcherblockco.com/artelegno


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

Back to School – On-the-Go Breakfast Cookies

Back to School – On-the-Go Breakfast Cookies

It’s Back to School season! That means hectic mornings for parents and kids as we all adjust to the new schedule. Thankfully, Sarah W. is here with the perfect on-the-go breakfast cookies. That’s right – BREAKFAST COOKIES! We’re not much for morning eating in my house, but I bet I could convince my kid to eat a cookie before school! I love that these are easily and endlessly customizable – add nuts, seeds, dried fruit, whatever!  So, Sarah, tell us how to make these back to school morning miracles!

Ah, September. Even though I don’t have children of my own, it’s hard to miss the displays in every retail outlet right now. New backpacks, new clothing, new shoes, and new time management schedules. After a summer with a more relaxed schedule, families with kids heading back to school must start to feel the pinch of getting everyone ready and out the door on time. Leisurely breakfasts are a thing of the past when the kids are headed back to school!

I think my favorite part of going back to school as a kid was getting new notebooks. I always preferred three-subject spiral-bounds with college-ruled pages that I could cram a million notes in. Something about fresh white pages, and knowing that I’d get to fill them with my own words was addicting about starting up the school year. At the end of the year, I always made cases to keep my old notebooks for a while – I didn’t really care about keeping old handouts or book covers, but my notebooks filled with my words, representing my thoughts and work… that was something special to see on the bookshelf in my room.

My least favorite thing about going back to school was definitely waking up early. I am a habitual night owl and would rather stay up late at night reading and making popcorn and watching movies than go to bed early in order to rise and shine or greet the new day, or whatever it is that holds appeal for you morning people. Eating early in the morning usually upset my stomach, so I’d end up skipping breakfast until my mom started forcing breakfast shakes and granola bars on me to eat en route to school.

With such a time crunch in the mornings, having something prepared ahead of time that can be eaten on the go in the car or on the bus can make all the difference in getting places on time. Managing the back to school rush by prepping breakfast for the whole week ahead of time can make a big difference.

That’s where these On-the-Go Breakfast Cookies come in – the perfect solution to you back to school chaos!

I like something sweet in the morning, and these cookies do the trick. Subbing applesauce for eggs, and using chickpeas as the base may sound like a weird hummus, but these taste like no-bake cookies. Adding chocolate chips makes them extra special. These do have a tendency to fall apart, so be extra careful when transferring them to your cooling rack. Any crumbles can be saved to sprinkle on yogurt, too, if that’s more your speed in the morning.

The hardest part of this recipe is getting the consistency right. First, you need to grind your chickpeas in a food processor. I’ve done this without a food processor, and it’s much harder since chickpeas have a translucent husk or outer layer that needs to be totally pulverized in order to give you a smooth consistency. Stand mixers and hand mixers just won’t do it. Be careful to pulse your food processor, as opposed to holding down the button for long spurts of time – I burned out a Ninja motor doing this, and now am more careful with my little red Cuisinart. I ended up using 4 cups of oats to make the batter hold together – you really just want a dough that will hold its shape on the cookie sheet. Oh, and applesauce! If you buy those little individual-sized containers, fear not on measuring – they’re each half a cup!

I modified this recipe from a great blog, Chocolate Covered Katie, by adding enough oats to beat this batter into submission, allowing it to be formed into balls to bake.


  • 2 cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  • 3 T oil
  • 1 ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • About 4 cups oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (hahaha, I used almost a whole bag – add these to taste)

-Preheat oven to 350°F.

-Rinse chickpeas thoroughly. Blend in the food processor until you have a hummus-like consistency. I found it helpful to add the oil and some of the applesauce to make this easier, and to switch back and forth between the Chop and Grind settings on my machine if things got stuck.

-Put your hummus in a large mixing bowl and add everything but the oats and chocolate chips. Mix well. You should have a sort of runny batter.

Back to School

-Add your oats about a cup at a time until your dough will form a ball.

-Add your chocolate chips. Then add a few more.

-Drop by rounded tablespoon (I use a melon baller) onto a greased cookie sheet or a sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. Use the back of your spoon to flatten slightly. Bake for 20 minutes.

Back to School

-As each batch of cookies comes out of the oven, very carefully transfer to a wire cooling rack. These will be ready to be handled when the next batch is out (about 20 minutes cooling time). Don’t try to move them before they’ve cooled (unless you want extra crumbles for yogurt). Store in an airtight container.

Back to School

These are great with a glass of milk, and since chickpeas have a decent amount of protein (7g per ½ cup), these make a great morning boost to get a jump start on your day – both for you and your back-to-schoolers. My husband has been sneaking them after dinner for a treat, too.

What’s the best part of going back to school? What shortcuts in your morning routine help get you out the door on time?

Labor Day BBQ Recipes and Tips

Labor Day BBQ Recipes and Tips

Labor Day is just around the corner, bringing with it backyard barbecues and time with friends and family. Are you preparing to host this year’s BBQ? If you want your Labor Day BBQ to be a smashing success, check out this round-up of some of our best BBQ posts!

Before you get your grill going, read up on our tips for making delicious BBQ plus the coolest new grill tool, the Scrapesation.

Labor Day BBQ

While watermelon is still in season, try these unique Watermelon Ricotta Starters as an appetizer.

Let your guests create their own masterpieces by setting up a Build-Your-Own Kabob station. It’s a great way to keep your Labor Day guests entertained and satisfied while they’re waiting for your perfectly smoked ribs to finish up!

Don’t forget to pick up a good selection of local brews to go with all your BBQ delights. You’ll need something frosty if you’re going to be standing over a hot grill all day, after all!

To finish off your feast, surprise your Labor Day crowd with a tart dessert that will help cut through all that smoky, meaty goodness. Key Lime Pie is the perfect way to end your Labor Day party and say farewell to the summer.

Key Lime Pie

Walnut Butcher Block – Bring the Trend Home

Walnut Butcher Block – Bring the Trend Home

Over the last several months, we have seen a substantial increase in orders of Walnut butcher block products. The popularity of Walnut butcher block has been growing steadily for years, but the recent sales indicate this trend has really taken off! So, what’s got people so excited about Walnut? To put it simply: it’s gorgeous! Walnut butcher block has the ability to look both modern and rustic, making it a versatile material that can be used in just about any room of your home.

Whether you lean toward traditional country, sleek minimalism, or ornate details, Walnut butcher block can fit in beautifully with your style.

Let’s start small with countertop cutting boards. A Walnut butcher block cutting board is not only functional, it adds a pop of color and style to your kitchen. Because of their good looks, Walnut cutting boards and chopping blocks also double nicely as serving boards. Can’t you just picture an array of fabulous cheeses laid out on one of these beauties?

Walnut Butcher Block

If you are looking for more prep space than a cutting board will provide, consider adding a stunning Walnut butcher block island or cart to your kitchen. This is a great way to bring in some warmth and usable space if you’re not quite ready to remodel the whole kitchen. A Walnut butcher block island, table, or cart will add a fine furniture look to your home.

Walnut Butcher Block

If you are ready to remodel the whole kitchen, or if you just want to update an existing island or countertop, we have Walnut butcher block countertops available in a wide variety of sizes, and can customize to your specific size or shape if needed. Available in End, Edge, and Blended Grains, you are sure to find a look that fits your personal style. With its rich beauty, Walnut butcher block also stuns in other rooms of your home, from the office to the laundry room.

Walnut Butcher Block

If you would like to squeeze a little Walnut into your life, check out our selection of beautiful products, or give us a call and let us know what you’re looking for. We are thrilled to offer such a gorgeous collection of Walnut butcher block pieces for your home. This is one trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so jump on board with us!

Outfit Your Restaurant or Commercial Kitchen with Butcher Block Co.

Outfit Your Restaurant or Commercial Kitchen with Butcher Block Co.

Do you run a restaurant or commercial kitchen? Let Butcher Block Co. help outfit your space with the beautiful and high quality products of John Boos & Co. Butcher Block Co. has grown into the leading online distributor of John Boos products, and while we love our residential clients, we are also experts at catering to commercial operations like restaurants and bakeries. You may be surprised at the variety of products offered to keep your commercial kitchen or restaurant running smoothly!

One of the most important areas in your commercial kitchen is your prep space. Depending on the product you’re putting out, you may need several smaller prep tables, a long and narrow work table, a huge and hefty baker’s table, or a combination of all of the above. We’ve got you covered with Boos Maple-top work tables ranging from 24” X 36” up to 60” X 168”, available in a variety of standard sizes or customized to your specific needs. You can upgrade your standard steel base by adding casters, shelves, drawers, and bin stops. Poly-top tables are perfect for particularly messy jobs, as the lighter weight, removable tops are easy to clean and sanitize. You will most likely need some stainless steel prep tables in your arsenal as well. Stainless steel adds low-maintenance function that is perfect for plating or packing. Just like the Maple-top tables, these can be customized with shelves, drawers, even cabinets, to accommodate your needs. And don’t forget your cutting boards and chopping blocks! With a variety of NSF certified boards to choose from, there is a chopping block for every job in your kitchen.

REstaurant Commercial Kitchen

Once you have all that delicious food made, it’s time to clean up! Having the right equipment for cleanup is essential for efficiency. John Boos stainless steel sinks are available with one to four bowls depending on your needs. Drainboards are available on neither, either, or both ends. Whether you run a bakery, a restaurant, or a commercial production kitchen, we have the John Boos NSF certified sink to meet your needs.

Restaurant Commercial Kitchen

If you’re running a restaurant, it is essential that your dining area is comfortable and inviting. With Boos butcher block dining tables, you get the versatility to create a classic, modern, or rustic space that fits perfectly with the aesthetic of your food. With our residential clients, we have seen butcher block implemented in high-end modern homes, cozy mountain escapes, in-home taverns, and as the centerpiece of every variation of the standard family home. It is no different in a restaurant dining room – butcher block is a gorgeous and functional addition that is appreciated by all. Boos dining tables are available in a variety of wood types with the option of staining to your specifications. Our Boos dining tops come in a variety of shapes, as well, allowing you to utilize your dining space to its fullest potential. Contact us for custom sizing or shapes. Traditional black metal bases are also available.

Restaurant Commercial Kitchen


If you have any questions about any of our commercial grade John Boos products, feel free to give us a call at 1-877-845-5597 or send an email to [email protected] We’re here to help you set up your commercial space with the best available products.

Fun Food: Build-Your-Own Kabobs!

Fun Food: Build-Your-Own Kabobs!

We love to have fun with our food, and letting your family or guests get creative with their own kabobs is the perfect way to bring fun to your summer cookout! We’ve shared lots of grilling tips already, but today Sarah W. is here to tell us about making the perfect kabobs. Whether you’re just grilling up a meal for yourself, or having a Build-Your-Own Kabob party, Sarah’s got you covered. Skewer us with wisdom, Sarah!

Growing up, my family loved to grill out on a nice summer night. Chicken breast, the occasional steak, maybe pork chops. There’s something totally transportive about the smell of barbeque and smoke on a hot summer evening. It’s a safe zone for me. We couldn’t always afford the best cuts of meat, but a tasty sauce and an element of fun easily made those childhood memories great ones. My dad is the family’s grillmaster – the man loves to cook, loves to experiment with new recipes, and he knows how to handle anything you can think of to throw on the grill. I didn’t inherit his knowledge of perfect grill temperatures and how to test meat’s doneness by feel over a fire, but my husband is also a great grill guy, and I slip into my mother’s role of preparing the food, as I can remember helping her slide meat and veggies onto skewers as a child.

First things first: kebab or kabob? Technically, kebab is a big hunk of meat, usually lamb or beef, slow-cooked on a long metal rod and shaved off in thin slices to pile onto amazing sandwiches like gyros. Shish kabobs are meat and veggies cooked on skewers – the Americanization of kebab.

Either way you slice and dice it, there’s something very primal about cooking meat on a stick. I was thinking of cavemen huddled around a fire roasting things while assembling and flipping these on the grill. They’re an easy dinner to throw together – anything grillable is game. Kids can help assemble their own masterpieces, and picky eaters or guests with allergies can have their own selection of stuff on a stick to be grilled on a separate part of the grill.

Kabobs are the perfect FUN FOOD!

So let’s get down to DOs and DON’Ts.

  • DO make your own kabobs. Grocery stores will sell you pretty prepackaged kabobs with meat, onion, and bright pepper slices on wooden skewers. DON’T buy them. It’s much more cost effective to make them yourself.
  • If your are just cooking up a few skewers for yourself or a small gathering, DON’T assemble skewers the way you see them in grocery stores. You can make pretty patterns, but some veggies have different cooking times, and it’s important to cook your meat thoroughly. Having a skewer of meat, a skewer of mushrooms, a skewer of peppers, etc, will ensure that things with short cook times can be taken off the grill before they burn or turn mushy.
  • If you are having a party and want your guest to build their own kabobs, DO par-cook your veggies ahead of time so everything cooks evenly on the skewer. You can either grill or oven roast your heartier vegetables until they are about halfway done, and then set them out for your guests to add to their skewers. When grilled along with the meat, these will have just enough time to get piping hot and acquire those beautiful grill lines (and flavor!).
  • DO season these suckers. I found an herb-seasoned vinegar that added a great splash of flavor, and helped my other spices stick. You don’t necessarily want to crust your ingredients, but seasoning is, as always, so important to make food taste good. And why expend energy on cooking something that turns out bland? I would, however, shy away from garlic or garlic powder, as it burns easily. If you’re working ahead, this is a great opportunity to marinate your meat.
  • DON’T leave your grill unattended. These don’t take super long to cook, so stand over that grill like the world’s best babysitter or guard dog. Also, unattended fire can lead to bad things.
  • DO pick vegetables that cook up firm and won’t get mushy. Eggplant, while delicious grilled, is most likely going to fall off your skewers. I would also skip potatoes. This is a meal for squash, mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, anything that holds up well.

Fun Food Kabobs

When we first moved into our house, my husband and I could never find wooden skewers anywhere. This resulted in my mother-in-law and mother each buying us giant packages when they saw them next, so I’ll probably never have to buy them again. You can also use nice metal skewers, but be careful! These usually have nice loops on the end for an easy handle, but they get VERY hot and stay VERY hot. Don’t grab the handles without a potholder until you’re sure they’re cool. I have both metal and wooden skewers, and find myself with a preference for the wooden ones. Part of this is that we have six metal skewers, and usually end up with seven or eight skewers worth of stuff to grill. Another factor is slippage. Wooden skewers tend to have a grain to them, which helps grip your food even as it cooks. Metal skewers, as they get hot, have a tendency to help cook your stuff from the inside, which is great for chicken, but keep an eye on your food, as it may be more done than you think.


  • Beef or chicken
  • Veggies (I used half a container of mushrooms, 2 small summer squash, and a green bell pepper)
  • Seasoning (I used an herb-infused white vinegar, chili powder, salt and pepper)
  • Skewers


  • Cut your vegetables into square-ish pieces of a uniform size. You don’t want these to be too much bigger than your skewers- they should be easily separable. I went for pieces at least an inch wide and two or three inches long. Some things, like the mushrooms, I just cut in halves or quarters, depending on their size. Do your vegetables first so you can use the same cutting board for meat after without cross-contaminating anything.
  • Cut your meat into 1″ to 1.5″ -sized chunks.
  • Skewer it! Try to skewer in the very center of your bits and pieces. This will ensure that they stay balanced and don’t try to make an early bid for freedom as you’re flipping and transporting them. With vegetables, skewer through the skin if possible. Squashes and zucchinis have skin that will stay pretty firm as it’s cooking, and the extra grip on your skewers will help keep them from sliding off.
  • Season it. I splashed herb-infused vinegar over everything, then sprinkled chili powder, salt, and pepper. I only did one side, then seasoned the other side once everything was on the grill.
  • Once your grill is hot, throw these bad boys on, seasoned-side down. This gives you an opportunity to season the other side without making a huge mess. We used a grill mat, which can be helpful if you’re afraid things will slide off the skewers and between the grill grates.
  • Your vegetables will probably need 5-6 minutes before flipping. Our meat cooked quickly, and needed to be flipped after about 2 minutes. This is going to vary based on your grill, and any hotspots it has. A good reason to use seasoning is that it facilitates a sear, and can make it easier to tell when your food is ready to be flipped. I used long grill tongs to turn these once I saw a nice sear on the bottom.
  • Cook for the same amount of time on both sides to ensure even cooking and doneness. Use a fork to slide food from skewers.  This can lead to food flying everywhere, so be cautious and supervise any small children attempting this trick.


What’s your favorite fun food to assemble or cook?

Friends Luncheon – Feeding Friendships One Dish at a Time

Friends Luncheon – Feeding Friendships One Dish at a Time

Leading up to my visit to Claire’s, I was so excited for all the delicious food, but I had no idea our little friends luncheon was going to be so grand! Working on a fabulous meal together was the perfect way to catch up with out-of-town friends. I can’t wait for our next get-together! If you are thinking of planning a friends luncheon of your own, read on for some fabulous recipes and tips from Claire.

At this point, I think my love for hosting has been fairly well established, so for me, nothing beats having friends over for a weekend stay. I enjoy all parts of the process, from the planning stages up. I gleefully plot out a menu and a rough list of possible activities, carefully tailoring each visit to my guests’ particular tastes, and being sure to plan for several hours of doing nothing at all in order to establish a truly vacation-y vibe. Also, depending on the previous night’s activities, sometimes sitting around doing nothing is exactly what we need.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting several friends at once. Andrew and Meredith drove down from San Jose, and Candi made the trek up from Phoenix with her 9-year-old son. I made the long haul to several grocery stores.

For a get-together like this one, I like to keep the fare simple, but impressive. I planned the weekend menu around dishes that wouldn’t take too many ingredients, and that wouldn’t clash with each other on my cooking surfaces. My guests rolled in late Friday evening, so I threw together a basic cheese board with fresh bread, and we sat around it munching while we caught up. Saturday morning, I made buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy, and since we had such a heavy breakfast, we decided to make our next meal a late luncheon.

For the next several hours, we sat around laughing and digesting, and remembering why we all had so much love for each other, while planning out our friends luncheon.

I settled on making a roasted pork tenderloin, because it can be easily sliced into small servings, and it’s a fairly simple cooking process. We also had a trio of artichokes, another cheese board (because there’s no such thing as too much cheese), and one of my favorite crowd-pleaser recipes, tomato pie. For a dinner party, I usually like to have everything basically ready by the time my guests arrive. In a sleepover scenario like this, though, it’s much more fun when everyone hangs around the kitchen and helps, so I planned around each of my friends’ kitchen strengths. Andrew quickly got to mixing cocktails while I pulled ingredients out of the fridge. Candi, who, incidentally, is a fire wizard, went out to the patio to get the grill going while I started prep on the artichokes. Mer tested the cocktails and cheeses for quality control.

Friends Luncheon

For the artichokes, I squeezed a couple of lemons into a big pot of boiling water and dropped them in, then threw in the halved artichokes. After about 15 minutes, I checked them to make sure they were done, and then gave them to Candi. She slathered them in a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt, and pepper, and finished them on the grill to char up the edges a bit. We put them on a platter with bowls of butter and mayo for dipping.

Our friends luncheon was coming together nicely, but surveying our progress, I realized that we were missing a key ingredient: dessert! Luckily, I had just bought a giant box of strawberries, so I put Candi to work hulling those while I threw together a shortcake. My recipe of choice comes from my grandma’s copy of Cross Creek Cookery, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and it is pure perfection.

While the shortcake cooled and the oven was still hot, Andrew took a break from mixing cocktails to work on the pork tenderloin. He put together a mixture of dried herbs and spices from my pantry, rubbed down the tenderloin, and threw it in a hot skillet. After he got a good sear on all sides, he put the skillet into the 450° oven and let it roast for about 18 minutes. Then he covered the pan in foil to let the meat rest while we prepped the tomato pie.

At this point, our friends Jess and Ian showed up. My husband and Ian loaded Candi’s son into the car and headed out to play some disc golf, and not a moment too soon, because Andrew’s cocktails were starting to catch up with us. Our 90’s hip hop dance party heated up while we waited for timers to ring.

When the tomato pie finally came out of the oven, we were ready to get to the grub. We put everything out buffet style, set out plates and silverware, and sat around the table inhaling the fruits of all our hard work. In our case, the tomato pie was maybe a little darker around the edges and the pork just a little more done than planned. That’s just what happens when you ignore the kitchen timer because you’re in the middle of a dance-off. Anyway, the best foods are flavored with laugh-attacks.

Friends Luncheon

Tomato Pie

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 4 or 5 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 8 oz Gruyere cheese, sliced or shredded
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped

Preheat your oven to 400°. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to desired size; I like to fit mine to a stoneware baking tray, but any cookie sheet or pizza stone will work. Bake the pastry for about 15 minutes, until it is golden brown, but not quite done. Spread the mustard evenly over the pastry, then layer on the cheese, basil, and tomatoes. Pop back into the oven and bake until the cheese is melty and the tomatoes are cooked, about 10 more minutes.

Friends Luncheon

Strawberry Shortcake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 quart strawberries
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • Half pint of heavy whipping cream
  • Dash of vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Butter a round cake pan and set it aside. Preheat the oven to 400°. Mix the first five ingredients together and sift. Cut the butter into pieces and quickly work it into the flour mixture with your fingers. Add the egg, and then milk. Mix quickly and turn the dough into the cake pan and pat it into shape with the flat of your hand. Bake the shortcake for 20 minutes and then turn it onto a cooling rack.

Set aside a few of the largest strawberries to top the finished cake, and cut the rest into pieces. An hour before you’re ready to eat, add the brown sugar. Let the berries sit in the bowl for about an hour in a warm place, stirring occasionally to make sure they are macerating evenly. Cut the shortcake into two layers and butter each cut side. Pour the cream, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of sugar into a tall bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. To assemble, stack the cake layers together with strawberries and juice between and on top. Top with whipped cream and decorate with reserved berries.

Friends Luncheon

Printer friendly recipes: Friends Luncheon Recipes