Archives for March 2014

How to Remove Stains and Scratches from Butcher Block

How to Remove Stains and Scratches from Butcher Block

One of my favorite cutting boards is the John Boos Round Herb Cutting Board that came with a nifty mezzaluna rocker knife. Not only is this board superb for chopping herbs, I use it every day to hold an unruly fruit or vegetable. The concave bowl just seems perfect for hugging that last lemon, a spare onion, or a shiny apple just waiting to be eaten. Unfortunately, I did not notice my onion went bad one day and it left a really nasty stain on the board. I wiped it up, but it had penetrated pretty deeply. Then I procrastinated about 6 months before doing anything about it! Maybe this sounds familiar. But don’t fret; there is hope.
Unsightly stains and deep scratches can be removed from butcher block to help restore their appearance. Stains can result when liquid spills are allowed to dry on the block. If addressed soon after, they can be removed pretty easily by wiping with a damp, soapy sponge, drying with paper towel, then applying some Boos Bees Wax Board Cream.

Penetrating stains, older stains, and knife gouges in butcher block will require some “muscle” but they usually can be removed!

How to remove Stubborn Stains and Scratches:

Remove stains with salt

  1. The first step is to try and remove the stain by sprinkling kosher/table salt on the stained area and rubbing with a damp sponge for a few minutes. Always rub in the direction of the wood grain to avoid further scratch damage. If the stain is still present, continue to step 2; otherwise, wipe clean and move on to step 5 to finish up.
  2. Stubborn stains or deep scratches will require sanding. There is no set “grit” or coarseness of sandpaper to use.sand 300w You will want to experiment, starting with a finer grit and working to a coarser one, until you find the grit that works.I can’t say this enough – always rub in the direction of the wood grain (not against it). Trust me, you will be tempted to do so, but please don’t, or risk further scratching the board.Once you see the stain or scratch is being removed, stick with that sandpaper. Remember: the higher the number, the finer the grit.Given butcher block is a very hard wood, it makes sense that you will need to use a coarse grit in the range of 80 to 100Stains removed to correct the problem.
  3. I would start with 150 grit and if that does not work, move to the 100 grit or 80 grit.
  4. When the stain is removed, be sure to use a couple different grit papers to sand the area to a smooth finish again. Use the 150 grit first, then finish with a 220 grit paper to restore the smoothness.
  5. Wipe the butcher block with a damp, soapy wash cloth to remove sanding dust and dry thoroughly.
  6. You must treat the exposed surfaces with a food safe mineral oil to protect and moisturize the wood. The best cure is to apply Boos Mystery Oil to penetrate the cutting board and restore the moisture. Then follow with an application of  Boos Block Board Cream to put a protective seal on the block and reduce the chances of future spills  penetrating the wood.
  7. Remember, you should apply oil or cream to your butcher block once a month to keep your board healthy.
Given my Round Herb Board is Hard Rock Maple it took me a while to find the right grit to remove the stain. I was surprised that I had to go down to a 60 grit and sand for about 15 minutes. But it was worth it! Then I used the 100, 150 and finally 220 grit, respectively, which left it feeling silky smooth again.
My beloved Herb Board looks like new. Herb is happy too!
stains removed butcher block like new
St. Patrick’s Day with a Southwestern Twist

St. Patrick’s Day with a Southwestern Twist

For St. Patrick’s Day last year, we covered the most delicious cupcakes in the history of chocolate. We’re going to go the savory route this year with brisket and pickled cabbage. Chef J is not known for being the most traditional lad around, so of course he is giving this meal a bit of a twist! Whether you see green in the form of shamrocks or cacti, Chef J’s Southwestern Brisket is sure to make you feel lucky. A jar of pickled cabbage is a good substitute for a pot of gold, right? Take it away, Chef J!

It’s almost that time of year again! That time when green starts making it’s way into fashion and people dig deep to claim some far removed Irish heritage. Ah, St. Patrick’s Day! Is it safe to assume we will all be celebrating this holiday by spending the day in church? Perhaps one might take advantage of the rare opportunity to enjoy a small glass of wine or break lent and have a bit of salted pork. Let’s face it: most of us here in the states really don’t know anything about St. Patrick’s Day. It has been given an entirely different definition than was intended, but that’s ok. It’s now an excuse to party. Is that such a bad thing? I argue that no, it is not. We all love a good reason to get together with friends and family to enjoy some food and drink. Let’s tape some cardboard shamrocks around the office, tint our cupcake frosting green, and do our best leprechaun impressions- it’s time to party!

The first St. Patrick’s treat I think about, after Jameson and Guinness (so, the third thing…), is corned beef and cabbage. Is it Irish? No (the demand for and production of corned beef was actually in part responsible for much of the devastation of the Irish famine). But is it delicious? You bet your Blarney Stone! You will find the internet littered with recipes for corned beef this time of year; it’s essentially a brisket that has been cured in brine for about 10 days, then boiled. You can also pick one up at the super market that is ready to go. Although I do occasionally get the craving for saltpeter, I usually prefer to enjoy my brisket in a more southwestern style.

Here is a St. Patrick’s Day recipe for delicious, tender brisket that you don’t need a week and a half to prepare.

Southwestern Brisket:

  • 3-4 lb. brisket
  • 1 TBS kosher salt
  • 1 TBS ground black pepper
  • 1 TBS ground mustard
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

Heat your oven or BBQ to 175.
Combine all spices and mix well.
Evenly coat the brisket with the spice rub.
Wrap the brisket tightly in several layers of plastic wrap. Then aluminum foil. Place it in a deep roasting pan to catch any juices that might escape.
Roast the wrapped beef for 6 hours.
Remove it from the heat and let it sit, while still wrapped up, for at least 30 minutes.
Get your oven or BBQ up to 375.
Unwrap the brisket carefully. Save the juices!
Place the brisket back in the roasting pan and pour the liquid over it.
Roast at 375 for 20 minutes, flipping it over every 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let it sit in a warm place for another 15 minutes before slicing.
A little spicy mustard or prepared horseradish will put this over the top!

Quick Pickled Cabbage:

  •  ½ head of cabbage (green or purple), thinly sliced and washed
  • 2 qts. water
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 TBS kosher salt
  • 1 TBS whole coriander
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 2-3 whole cloves

For this recipe you will need a very clean, heat proof container that can be sealed, leaving little to no room for air. I have found that the big pickle jar (the one on the bottom shelf at the super market) is the perfect size.

Combine all of the ingredients except for the cabbage and vinegar in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Cook until the salt has dissolved.
Pack half of the cabbage into the jar and pour the liquid over until it is just covered. Do your best to get about half of the spices in.
Pack the remaining cabbage in and pour the rest of the liquid over. If there is still a little room on top you can press more cabbage in or add more simmering water. You want it to come just about to the rim.
Cover the top of the jar with a few layers of plastic wrap and then screw the lid on tightly. The plastic will help to form an airtight seal.
Let the jar sit at room temperature until it has cooled. It can sit out over night.
Refrigerate after opening.

Printer friendly recipes: SW Brisket with Pickled Cabbage

National Meatball Day: Swedish Meatballs

National Meatball Day: Swedish Meatballs

 My dog’s name is Meatball so I get to celebrate every day, but for the rest of you, this Sunday is your chance to delight in the joy of one of the world’s simplest of pleasures. Meatball and I will be enjoying his namesake in the form of Chef J’s Swedish Meatballs and we think you should, too! I’ll let Chef J wax poetic about balls of meat now.

Whether you prefer yours on top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese (perhaps you are just  looking to replace one that might have been lost when somebody sneezed); meatballs are one of those perfect foods. It’s pretty clear from the name that they are balls of meat. IT’S A BALL OF MEAT!!! What simple brilliance! What pure elegance! This spherical culinary wonder deserves to be celebrated! So, in keeping with tradition, we will hold these greasy balls on high this Ninth of March!

That’s right: March 9th is National Meatball Day!

Meatballs can be added to almost any dish: put them in a between two pieces of toasted, soft bread with thinly sliced veggies for a delicious sandwich, pile them on top of your pasta and load it up with cheese, or just serve them up with gobs of ketchup and gravy! However you eat them, meatballs are great. In honor of the woman who introduced these delicious little rounds into my life, I will be enjoying mine with a big spoonful of lingonberry preserves. My Farmor (Swedish for “father’s mother;” the same Farmor who gave us Peanut Blossoms) used to make these when I was a kid and I still love them to this day! These little balls of meat are called Köttbullar (Swedish for “little balls of meat”). They are amazing! Dip them in ketchup, or lingonberry preserves, or in a nice tasty gravy like Farmor used to make. They are fast and simple to make, and they can be frozen raw or after they have been cooked if you want to save some for later.


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • 8 oz. cream
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients; form into 1” balls.
Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium.
Coat pan with butter or oil and add meatballs.
Cook until dark brown.


  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 oz. red wine
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 12 oz. crushed tomatoes, canned or fresh
  • Salt & pepper

Sweat the onions in a large pan (use the one you cooked the meatballs in!) until they begin to turn translucent.
Add garlic and let it start to brown.
Deglaze with wine and add the herbs.
Reduce by ½ and add tomato and bring to a simmer.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Printer friendly recipes: Swedish Meatballs