Homemade Paleo Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Homemade Paleo Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Erin, our guest blogger over at Food Wise Family, has a healthy cranberry sauce recipe that is sure to be your new holiday favorite!

Whether you are cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family, or you are just bringing a side dish for the upcoming holiday, homemade cranberry sauce is the way to go. Skip the canned stuff and buy some fresh cranberries instead. This dish is perfect for making the day before and grabbing from the fridge just in time for dinner.

Cut Out the Refined Sugar
I can’t have a turkey dinner without cranberry sauce, but when I started eating paleo I wanted a cranberry sauce that wasn’t full of refined sugar. So, I adapted this recipe from my mom’s that she makes every holiday.

To make this cranberry sauce recipe paleo, I removed all the refined sugar and replaced with real maple syrup.

I chose maple syrup because that’s something we always have in the house; however, you can substitute the maple syrup with honey or coconut sugar. If you use coconut sugar, make sure it completely dissolves before adding the cranberries.

Paleo Cranberry Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1/2 – 3/4 cup of real maple syrup*
1 small piece (about 1 inch in size) of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3 cups of fresh cranberries

Instructions
1. In a large saucepan, combine orange juice, orange zest, maple syrup, and ginger. Simmer for about 5 minutes, while stirring often.
2. Bring to a gentle boil on medium heat and stir in cranberries. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop and the sauce starts to thicken (about 10 minutes).
3. Let cool and place in a storage container. Refrigerate until serving time.

*Recipe Note: Use 1/2 cup of maple syrup for a more tart cranberry sauce, or use 3/4 cup of maple syrup for a sweeter version. Personally, I enjoy a tart cranberry sauce!

Cranberry Sauce steps

I believe that the food we put on the table should not only be healthy, but easy and full of flavor. Check out my website foodwisefamily.com for more wholesome recipes.

See more of Erin’s recipes on our Butcher Block Co. Blog:

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice

Super Moist Gluten Free Banana Bread Recipe

Try Our Recipe For Easy Grilled Sweet Potatoes

 

National Fig Week – Gettin’ Figgy With It

National Fig Week – Gettin’ Figgy With It

National Fig Week is November 1st-7th, which falls between the summer and fall harvest seasons. Unfortunately for us in Phoenix, that means no fresh figs in the grocery store. Fresh or not, figs are a fascinating fruit! Or are they…? Turns out figs are actually inverted flowers! Each fig is basically a sack filled with tiny flowers. Figs have been considered an aphrodisiac food since ancient times, due in part to their, umm, resemblance to a certain anatomical part that I will leave to your imagination (this is a family-friendly blog!), plus the fact that they are filled with seeds. Let’s not forget the world’s original lingerie: fig leaves. We’ll discuss this more later.

If all this fig talk is revving your engine, grab your closest hungry friend and get figgy with it!

Figs are packed with potassium and iron to keep you pumped up during your favorite fig frolicking. We’ve got the most delicious Fig, Blue Cheese, and Honey Crostini to kick off the festivities.

Fig

Tips before starting:

  • Taste all of your ingredients.  Grab a chunk of baguette, a blob of blue cheese, a piece of fig, and a couple drips of honey and try them all together. This will give you a great starting point for how to assemble your toasts.
  • If your cheese is super pungent, go easy. If it is more mild, though, slather it on.
  • Dried figs are going to have more concentrated sweetness than fresh.
  • I prefer a good quality, local honey.  The stronger your blue cheese, the more honey you can use.
  • A lovely alternative to honey is a balsamic reduction. Reduce balsamic down slowly over medium-low heat until it becomes syrupy. This should cook out some of the acidity, leaving a punch of flavor with a bit of sweetness.
  • If you’re not into blue cheese, go away. Just kidding! If blue cheese isn’t your thing, try goat cheese as a lighter alternative. Add a little fresh rosemary for extra earthiness. There is plenty of room for creativity!

Fig

Fig, Blue Cheese, and Honey Crostini

  • Baguette
  • Olive Oil
  • Blue Cheese
  • Figs (dried or fresh), sliced
  • Honey

Slice baguette on the bias into 1/2” thick pieces. Brush both sides with your favorite olive oil and toast on both sides until light golden brown. This can be done stovetop or in the oven; or for even more flavor, toast them lightly on the grill.

Meanwhile, prepare figs. If using dried figs, simply slice into 2-3 pieces. For fresh figs, if you’ve already got the grill going for your bread or a main course, cut figs in half, brush with olive oil, and lightly grill, cut-side down. Slice into thin pieces.

Heat blue cheese for about 10 seconds in the microwave until spreadable.

Spread blue cheese on each piece of toast. Top each toast with sliced figs and return to oven for a few minutes to warm the figs through. I popped mine in the toaster oven at 400°F for 4-5 minutes.

While your toasts are warming up, get your honey ready to drizzle. High quality honey is more likely to solidify a bit in cooler temps, so you may need to heat it up slightly. Scoop out a tablespoon or so into a microwave safe bowl and heat in five second bursts (mine literally only took five seconds) until runny.

Transfer warm toasts to your serving dish and drizzle liberally with honey.

Slap on your fig leaves and have some fun!

Fun Fig Facts

Having researched more into figs, I think part of the aphrodisiac quality comes from the terribly sexy way figs are fertilized. Those internal flowers are pollinated from the inside by a very special fig wasp, who dies after depositing her eggs and pollen into the fig’s ovaries (seriously, that’s what they’re called). When the male wasps hatch, they fertilize the unhatched females, and then tunnel through the fig flesh and die. Newly hatched female wasps pick up some pollen from inside the flowers, stretch their freshly-grown wings, and make their way out through those sacrificial brotherly tunnels, off to find a new fig to turn into a nursery. I read half a dozen articles about this and was still a little confused, until I found this fun and informative video with illustrations. It was a bit off-putting at the end when our host tells us we’re eating dead wasp bodies, but it turns out that’s a bit of a stretch. Figs produce enzymes that break the wasp exoskeleton down during ripening, so you don’t need to worry about getting wings stuck in your teeth. Besides that, most of what we find in the grocery store are “common figs,” which are artificially polinated without the need for wasps.

Do you believe in the aphrodisiac power of foods? I ate an entire tray of these fig crostinis, and I can’t say I got anything but full… So it’s probably safe to serve these at Thanksgiving.

 

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice

Erin, our guest blogger from Food Wise Family, is getting us ready for yummy, pumpkin spice season! 

How to Make Pumpkin Spice
Now that fall is upon us, pumpkin spice is everywhere and somehow in everything, so it’s time to make a fresh spice blend. With only five ingredients, you can have this delightful autumn spice blend in five minutes or less. I am all about making homemade spice blends, and that includes pumpkin spice, which is also called pumpkin pie spice. This tasty blend is made up of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice, and somehow manages to encapsulate all that is fall.

Why You Should Make Your Own Spice Blends
Making your own spice blends saves money, especially if you already have the spices. A quick peek in the cupboard might reveal that you already have the ingredients for pumpkin spice. Without even thinking about it, you just saved some money by looking in your cabinet and making your own spice mix. Even if you don’t have all the spices, making your own blend will still save you money in the long run, particularly if you use a lot of pumpkin spice, or if you cook a lot with the individual spices.

Additionally, making your own pumpkin spice at home means you can customize the spice blend to meet your needs. If you have an allergy to a certain spice or just don’t like it, leave it out. Customize your blend to fit you and your family.

What Is Pumpkin Spice Used For
Typically, pumpkin spice is used in sweet pumpkin recipes, such as pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, and don’t forget your pumpkin spice latte. Don’t limit yourself to just using it with pumpkin recipes. Branch out and sprinkle it on warm homemade applesauce, on freshly roasted butternut squash, or even delicious candied maple pecans. Get creative and liven up your food with these warming autumn spices this season.

Pumpkin Spice
Total Time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients
2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1.5 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1.5 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice

Instructions

  1. Add all spices to a small bowl and mix well.
  2. Place spice blend in a small airtight container. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.

Note: This mixture fits perfectly in a 4-ounce glass mason jar.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice
I believe that the food we put on the table should not only be healthy, but easy and full of flavor. Check out my website foodwisefamily.com for more wholesome recipes.
Read our other Butcher Block Co. blogs featuring pumpkin!
The Custom Baker’s Table of Your Dreams!

The Custom Baker’s Table of Your Dreams!

We are so thrilled to feature this Custom Baker’s Table from our customer, Anna, in Florida. When Anna originally called to get this table quoted, I assumed she was a professional chef, but it turns out this HUGE baker’s table is for her home! This is easily the largest baker’s table I’ve seen for home use, so I was super excited to get to work on this project.

Anna’s request was for a 168” long (that’s FOURTEEN FEET!) by 30” wide baker’s table, with a maple top, a stainless steel shelf for storage, a pan rack that holds eight sheet pans, and a set of three drawers. All of this was to be on a stainless steel base with commercial grade locking caster wheels. Anna decided on the placement of her drawers and pan rack, and I got to work with John Boos to get everything drawn up.

Baker's Table

Once the drawing was approved, Boos began building the baker’s table. It took right about three weeks for production and then was on its way to its new owner! According to Anna, “Getting it off the truck was a little exciting but we got it done with some help from friends.” The total shipment weight was nearly 800 pounds! We planned ahead and added liftgate service onto the order to aid in getting it off the truck. Thankfully, these baker’s tables ship “knocked down,” so customers are able to carry them inside piece by piece. Still, the maple top alone was around 300 pounds, so it’s a good thing Anna recruited friends!

Baker's Table

After assembling her baker’s table, Anna didn’t waste any time getting to work and utilizing all of her newfound prep space. “One day I made bread, rolls, breadsticks, and cookie bars and had room for cooling, kneading, my mixer, and proofing box all at one time!“ We are thrilled to see that it is getting put to good use!

Baker's Table

Thank you so much, Anna, for sharing your awesome baker’s table with us! We are delighted to show it off and hope it inspires more home bakers to get in the kitchen and get cookin’! If you’re in the market for a baker’s table for your own home or restaurant, you can view standard options here, or give us a call at 877-845-5597 to talk about a more custom project. If you order soon, you’ll have it in time for your holiday baking!

Happy Customers – Island Upgrades

Happy Customers – Island Upgrades

We love when our happy customers show off their beautiful butcher blocks! This week we are highlighting two gorgeous island upgrades, one featuring a standard size John Boos Blended Walnut top, and the other using custom Butcher Block Co. American Cherry Plank-style butcher block. Both look beautiful and add warmth and function to the kitchens.

The first of our happy customers is Rachel from Colorado. Rachel’s 97″ X 36″ Blended Walnut island top has a Varnique semi-gloss finish, which is ideal since this is being used as an eating area as well as extended work space. What an impact!

Happy Customers Blended Walnut

Happy customer #2 is Teri from Tennessee. We worked with Teri extensively to find the perfect style and fit for her kitchen island. This plank-style American Cherry block is a unique and beautiful accent to her kitchen. Having chosen the natural oil finish, Teri can use this block for all her chopping and food prep. Teri’s project proves it is worth it to put in a little extra time and effort to get things just right – it looks fantastic!

Happy Customers Cherry Plank

We want to see what you’ve done, too. The more happy customers, the better! Send us your photos and we may feature you on our social media pages. We love to see them, and so do our other customers!

Summer Restaurant Week Featuring John Boos Commercial Grade Products

Summer Restaurant Week Featuring John Boos Commercial Grade Products

We’re celebrating Summer Restaurant Week here at Butcher Block Co. with John Boos commercial grade products. Whether you have  a bakery, deli, cafe, or large restaurant, you can trust in John Boos NSF-approved equipment. We offer a variety of John Boos commercial grade products designed to stand up to the wear and tear of restaurant kitchens, all while helping you work efficiently, run smoothly, and look good doing it!

If you are looking to upgrade your restaurant or other food service kitchen, check out our John Boos commercial grade products for the highest in quality.

For “back of house” products, we offer prep tables available in wood, stainless steel, or poly tops; stainless steel sinks with up to four basins, with and without drain boards; stainless steel cabinets with optional doors and/or drawers, in both maple and stainless tops; custom and standard size commercial grade butcher block countertops in hard rock maple; and a variety of NSF-approved cutting boards and chopping blocks. John Boos commercial grade products are top of the line — that’s why you see them in restaurant kitchens across the country, and on nearly every cooking show on TV.

John Boos commercial grade

If you’re looking to jazz up the “front of house,” Boos has you covered with restaurant quality dining table tops and bases. Available in maple, red oak, cherry, or walnut, there are a variety of standard sizes from which to choose. If you need something outside the standard parameters, contact us to get a quote for custom sizes and shapes. Traditional black metal bases are sold separately and come in both dining and bar height, and in disc, cross, or T style. If you really want to make a statement, consider a custom bar top. A gorgeous butcher block top spanning the length of your bar makes a huge visual impact and is sure to impress your patrons. Butcher block is both durable and beautiful, and will bring warmth and class to your dining room.

John Boos commercial grade

If you are a restaurateur, be sure to consider our business financing for commercial food service equipment. It is as simple as a click of a button with this 30 second online application. Now it can be easy to purchase your John Boos commercial products.

commercial financing

 

Roasted Cauliflower Rice Recipe

Roasted Cauliflower Rice Recipe

The cauliflower rice craze continues to spread and I love it.  Touted as the new kale, it remains a trendy and healthy veggie often prepared as a substitute for rice in recipes. It has also found its rightful place as an alternative ingredient in many gluten-free recipes and even pizza crust!

I am pretty happy preparing it as an alternative to rice, as I attempt to avoid bad carbs and stick with healthy veggies instead. Like rice, the cauliflower morsels will soak up the flavor of the surrounding seasonings making it very flavorful. There is nothing too fancy about this recipe, but everyone needs a tried and true recipe now and then, and this roasted cauliflower rice can be made just how you like it. Best of all, it is not mushy because instead of it being sautéed in a pan, you roast it in the oven to the desired crispness!

Ingredients

  • 1 bag (16 oz.) – Cauliflower Rice
  • ¼ cup – Garlic Infused Olive Oil or use whatever flavor you like!
  • Fresh Tarragon
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 lemon juiced

Preparation

Preheat to 425 degrees convection roast. For those of you who are true cooking enthusiasts, you may want to make your own cauliflower rice by ricing the florets in your food processor. But if you are like me and looking for the easy route, use the already riced Cauliflower you can find at Costco and other stores.

In mixing bowl, combine cauliflower rice, infused olive oil (Trader Joe’s), salt and pepper. Stir. Spread the mixture on a foiled cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, then stir it around a bit. If you like crispy cauliflower rice, continue to roast to desired crispness. Take it out of the oven and add 2T chopped fresh tarragon to the top.  Fresh tarragon is really worth it, so make the extra effort to purchase it. Transfer your roasted cauliflower rice to a serving bowl and add the juice of 1 lemon and stir. Serve.

I like to double the recipe so that I have extra available to add to other goodies I find in my fridge. I will add it to other roasted vegetables, or add some rotisserie chicken to it to create another meal. I even mix it in with my less trendy kale salad!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie – A Fresh Summer Dessert

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie – A Fresh Summer Dessert

Claire is back and she brought Strawberry Rhubarb Pie! Claire has never let us down in regards to summer delights, and this is the perfect dessert as we transition into the hot summer months. Let’s all take advantage of the farmers’ markets and roadside stands this weekend to pick up some fresh fruit and see what treats we can come up with. In the meantime, Claire has pie to share.

A little birdie has told me that it’s dessert week at Butcher Block Co. I know for a lot of people, that might conjure images of chocolates or cakes, but my favorite desserts are all fruit-based. Baked fruit, fresh fruit, whatever, I love it. We’re coming into fruit season now, and I can tell because giant, weathered rainbow umbrellas are popping up along roadsides over tables offering the best local summer produce at the best prices. We’re not quite at stone fruit season, but I am here for the early summer offerings, like strawberries and rhubarb. I love rhubarb, but like so many of the best foods, I didn’t appreciate it in my youth. I thought it was too tart, and also, it was a weird food that no one ever heard of and it looked like weird celery. When I was a kid, my mom would make rhubarb pie, and I would eat the crust and the ice cream and leave the filling. I was an idiot with bad taste; I always ordered the chicken sandwich in restaurants, which is why I didn’t discover how good hamburgers could be until I was well into my adulthood. But I digress.

When I was a teen, my dad actually planted some rhubarb in our front yard. I watched it grow from a little puff of leaves on slender pink stems into a giant, fan-leaved monster that threatened to take over the whole garden. By that time, like all teens, I still hadn’t completely grown out of my idiocy, but at least I had better taste. I started making a mess in the kitchen trying to copy my mom and grandma’s pies. I did apples in the fall, peach in late summer, and as the spring would start to turn hot, I did my part to rescue the garden from the encroaching rhubarb-pocalypse. Of course, as an obnoxious teen, I couldn’t stick to their tried-and true recipes. Instead, I stole all the newly-ripened strawberries from the tiny patch at the side of the house and put them into a pie with the rhubarb. It turned out awesome. It was like a revelation. My family never really came around to my side – old habits die hard, I guess.

For me, strawberry rhubarb pie is my absolute number one pie pick.

I don’t make a ton of pies anymore. It’s less fun when the mess is in my own kitchen and I can’t rely on my dad to come in behind me and start doing dishes. Also, I am a grown adult person, and I can’t just go around eating pies all the time. Still, when I see those umbrellas pop up along the roadsides, I know I have to do at least one strawberry rhubarb pie to bring me back to those flour-coated summer days in the kitchen, my dad buzzing around me with a sponge and the whole house smelling like heaven. Heading home from the grocery store last weekend, I saw one of those rainbow umbrellas, and I had to stop. Fifteen minutes later, I was at the kitchen table hulling the sweetest strawberries, the whole house already smelling like heaven.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
I don’t have my grandma’s recipe on hand anymore, so for this strawberry rhubarb pie, I used Deb Perelman’s recipe from the Smitten Kitchen, which of course turned out amazing, even though I over-cooked the filling a smidge in order to get a prettier color in the crust. I really like the way the tapioca thickened the juices without affecting the flavor at all. Then I figured, as long as I was committing sacrilege by deviating from my family’s recipe for the filling, I might as well go whole hog. Mom, you may want to stop reading here.

My grandma always made the same crustStrawberry Rhubarb Pie for every pie with just flour, salt, vegetable shortening, and a little hot water to bind it all together. It’s a great workhorse crust. It doesn’t have a ton of flavor, but it’s reliable and simple to make, it works for a savory or sweet filling, and it’s what I grew up with, so it has always been my go-to. However, my mantra in the kitchen and in life is that the worst reason to do a thing is “because that’s how my parents always did it.” Plus, maybe I still have some of that obnoxious, rebellious teen in me. I decided to try my hand at an all butter crust for a change, and I am telling you, my eyes have been opened. It was flaky, rich, and as much the star of the dish as the incredible filling. After a perfect pie like this, I don’t think I could ever go back to shortening. Sorry not sorry, Grandma.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

In the spirit of dessert week, my husband and I have devoured nearly the entire glorious pie in the space of five days. I top each serving with some gently sweetened whipped cream, and I shamelessly lick the plate clean. What are you doing for dessert week? What is your quintessential summer dessert? Is it weird that I’m strongly considering making another strawberry rhubarb pie this weekend?

Enter our John Boos Standing Butcher Block Giveaway!

Enter our John Boos Standing Butcher Block Giveaway!

Butcher Block Co. Announces June Standing Butcher Block Giveaway

The Grand Prize Is an Authentic John Boos Butcher Block Worth up to $1000.

Online etailer Butcher Block Co. today announced a sweepstakes event that will run the entire month of June 2017. From time to time the company runs such promotional events to educate consumers about the beauty and utility of butcher blocks and to remind food service professionals of the heritage, prominence and trustworthiness of the John Boos brand.

Standing butcher blocks are a favorite among high-end home designers, amateur gourmets, culinary enthusiasts and professional chefs. The earliest Boos Blocks were made more than a century ago and used primarily by blacksmiths before John Boos discovered that his massive wooden blocks supported by sturdy wood legs could also satisfy the unmet needs of butchers in meat shops throughout the Midwest. From there his eponymous blocks made their way into workplaces of all types and sizes, into the kitchens of diners and restaurants, and eventually into homes.

Today the company’s line of standing blocks is expansive. It includes end-grain blocks made from Hard Rock Maple, American Cherry and Black Walnut, in thicknesses of 4, 6, 10 and 16 inches. To this day end-grain blocks are considered by many to be the only true replicas of the original butcher’s block.

Not only do end-grain blocks reveal wood’s intricate end-grain patterns and deliver the checkerboard look they are famous for, they also provide the toughest surface for cutting, slicing, chopping and pounding. That’s because millions of microscopic wood fibers comprise the cutting surface of an end-grain block. These fibers are both resilient and forgiving. They yield just enough to reliably absorb sharp knife or hatchet blades without causing them to dull prematurely. As a result, knives used on end-grain chopping blocks, cutting boards and countertops tend to stay sharper longer and to last longer.

Standing blocks are also gaining popularity among interior designers; presumably more for their aesthetics and functionality over their resilient cutting surfaces. As Americans increasingly yearn to simplify their lives and to reconnect with nature they are seeking beautiful pieces of wooden furniture that are both highly functional and works of art worth showing off. Toward this end, Boos & Co. makes many of its classic blocks available on colored bases. As many as thirteen color options are offered on some of their creations. Painted or stained legs (and table aprons, as applicable) can help direct attention to the piece’s real focal point – its gorgeous wood top; and can help the piece complement its environs, regardless of whether it’s situated in a kitchen, a breakfast nook or dining room or even in a foyer.

Consumers can enter the John Boos Standing Butcher Block Giveaway by visiting BBC’s Facebook page by June 30, 2017.

Enter Now for your chance to win in our exclusive John Boos Standing Butcher Block Giveaway!

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

Contact Info:
Name: Kathleen Grodsky
Organization: Butcher Block Co.
Address: 10448 N 21st Pl Phoenix, Arizona 85028

Custom Butcher Block Projects from Happy Customers

Custom Butcher Block Projects from Happy Customers

I get to work on most of our custom butcher block projects, so when we get pictures back from happy customers, it really makes my day! Remember the speed bag platform made from a butcher block table top? I’m not sure we’ll ever top the uniqueness of that one, but I’d sure love to see you try! Even in traditional applications, I’m always stunned by the amazing work our customers do, and I love that you all appreciate the beauty, warmth, and function that butcher block can bring into the home.

Recently, we received photos of three beautiful uses for custom butcher block.

Jerry in Georgia upgraded his workspace with these gorgeous desks made from John Boos Walnut custom butcher block with custom commercial grade stainless steel bases. These bases usually come with commercial grade Maple tops, but we had Boos put together this custom design and it looks so sharp! Since he is using these as desks, Jerry elected to go with the Varnique semi-gloss finish, for a smooth, maintenance-free surface.

Custom Butcher Block

 

Over in Arkansas, Tom and his wife built their own table base and used a custom butcher block for the table top. This John Boos Blended Maple top also has the Varnique semi-gloss finish, perfect for easy clean-up on a dining table. Isn’t this fantastic? I love the base and I’m so glad we could get the perfect size top for them.

Custom Butcher Block

Now let’s head way down south to Key West, where James has crowned his island with a stunning Butcher Block Co. Walnut Plank Style custom butcher block top. He asked for a “showstopper,” and boy did he get one! The plank style allows for wider sections of wood, which really show off the beautiful grain pattern and natural color variation of the Walnut. I think everyone should have one of these!

Custom Butcher Block

If you would like to explore the idea of adding custom butcher block to your home, give us a call or shoot over an email. We love working on these projects and seeing your creative ideas!