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

Contact:

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

Waffles! Don’t Be a Square – Jump on This Hot Food Trend!

Waffles! Don’t Be a Square – Jump on This Hot Food Trend!

Waffles are pretty much the best thing ever. Which is why I’m amazed it has taken this long for everyone to jump on board the waffle train and make this breakfast delight the hottest trend in food. There is even an entire website dedicated to putting things in waffle irons and seeing what happens! Not to be left out of the trend, Chef J has created a delicious dish that puts twists on both waffles and cheesesteaks!  These are two of my favorite things, so this is your invitation to wow me, Chef!

It’s time to face the awful truth, people! Breakfast breads are breaking through the preconceived boundaries of established meal paradigms. They are — oh shoot… I should have said “waffle truth”! That would have been a great pun…  Anyway. Waffles are good for food times other than in the morning. That was the whole point of that emphatic outburst. How about waffles for dinner? Great idea! Let’s eat them with steak and cheese, and maybe some beer, too!

If you have a waffle iron gathering dust and dog hair, sitting in the back of a long-forgotten shelf, it’s time to dig it out and dust it off.

A waffle iron is one of the best appliances a kitchen can have: it has two heating elements, allowing for the revolutionary ability to cook from above and below!

It can handle any dough you can throw at it — try pizza, muffin, biscuit, cake… you get the idea. Try smashing your sandwich in a waffle iron! Use a soft bread and lots of cheese; you might just have your mind blown.

Here is one of my favorite recipes. It’s something along the lines of a Philly cheesesteak, but with a Phoenix twist.

Phoenix Cheesesteaks with Cornbread Waffles

Waffles:

  • 1½ cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 12 oz. milk
  • 4 oz. maple syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 TBS oil

Sift dry ingredients together.
Mix in wet ingredients and stir to combine.
Cook in waffle iron.

Fixins:

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 8 oz. grilled sirloin, flank, or similar steak; sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, roasted and sliced
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 oz. beer
  • 1 TBS tamari
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 6 oz. jack cheese, sliced
  • 6 oz. mahone or mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • Salt & pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet.
Sauté garlic, pepper, and mushrooms until garlic browns.
Add sliced steak, 4 oz. beer, tamari, rosemary and cumin. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and reduce by 1/3.
Spoon the mixture over half of the waffles, top all waffles with cheese.
Broil for 2-5 minutes on high. Put the two waffles together to make a sandwich.
Dip in remaining pan juice.

Printer friendly recipe: Waffle Cheesesteak

Simplify Your Life Week: Smoothie Edition

Simplify Your Life Week: Smoothie Edition

National Simplify Your Life Week is August 1st through the 7th. I am all about simplifying my life (because I’m lazy, not because I’m organized…), and I want to share a couple of tips with you about one of my favorite things: SMOOTHIES! I love smoothies and so does my son, so we go through a lot of fruit and yogurt. Unfortunately, I was finding that we didn’t go through it quickly enough to use it all up before it went bad, so we were also throwing away quite a bit. I would justify this to myself with the fact that I had saved money by buying in bulk (so it was still cheaper than it would have been in an appropriate quantity from the grocery store), but wasting food just doesn’t feel good. So I started playing around with different ways to freeze and store my ingredients, and I think I have a pretty solid system working here. What’s more, I am now able to easily sneak vegetables into my son’s smoothies without him having a clue. Every time in the past that I tried to get him to eat a smoothie containing a handful of spinach, he would take one sip and act like I had given him poison. Now he doesn’t have a clue it’s in there and happily gulps down his healthy smoothie as a treat every day!

Simplify YOUR smoothie game with these tips!

Shopping Tips:

  • Purchase in bulk only items that can be easily frozen and stored or that you know you will be able to use in about a week.
  • Avoid buying pre-frozen fruits that contain added sugars. You want to be able to control the sweetness level and the types of sugars you are eating.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new. One of my favorite finds recently was juicy black cherries. Cherries are usually on the pricy side, but I found some fresh ones on sale and brought home a couple pounds, and I am so glad!

Spinach and other leafy greens:

  • Wash fresh greens thoroughly.
  • Add 1-2 cups of your preferred liquid (I use water, but coconut water is a good way to sneak in some extra nutrients) to your blender and top with a couple handfuls of greens. Simplify your Life
  • Blend on high and continue adding greens in small handfuls until your blender can’t handle any more. You don’t need this to be super watery, but it needs to be thin enough to pour. If you have a monster blender like I do, you’re going to basically be dealing with straight up liquid anyway. Working in smallish batches will simplify this process.
  • Pour your liquid greens into ice cube trays and freeze solid.
  • Empty your beautiful emerald cubes into airtight containers or zipper bags and store in the freezer.
  • Sneak one or two cubes into your kid’s smoothie when he’s not looking and laugh maniacally (on the inside) at your devious ways.

Fresh Fruits:

  • Wash/dry/peel as appropriate.
  • Cut into small chunks.
  • Line a tray with parchment paper and spread fruit pieces in a single layer.
  • Freeze solid.
  • Transfer to airtight containers or zipper bags and store in freezer.

Liquids:

  • Some liquids, like carrot juice, you just won’t go through fast enough to keep in the fridge. I buy the case of 3 bottles of organic carrot juice from Costco, and each one is supposed to be used within 7 days of opening. That’s not happening here. There are only a couple different smoothies I even like it in, and I am certainly not drinking them every day.
  • Freeze some or all in ice cube trays and then store in zipper bags or airtight containers. Most ice cube trays hold ¾ to 1 oz. per cube, so keep that in mind when you go to use them.
  • Some liquids are best left in their liquid state, such as almond and soy milks. Also, you’re going to need something in liquid form to even make your smoothie, so pick the ones that you will be able to go through before expiration. I like the cartons of almond milk because I use it in my coffee as well as smoothies, so I can easily use it up before it goes bad. Other things, like regular fruit juice, I have in the fridge anyway because my son drinks it.

Miscellaneous Tips:

  • Always put your liquids in first. I do: liquid, yogurt (silken tofu is good for a protein boost, too), spices/seeds/sticky stuff (like cinnamon, flax seed, honey or peanut butter), frozen fruits/vegetables, fresh leafy greens if I’m using them. Add more liquid in small amounts if your blender locks up.
  • Start out on a medium low setting and work your way up to full power. In the Vita-Mix, I can knock out a smoothie in about 30 seconds, but experiment slowly with your blender so you don’t burn out the motor.
  • To clean your blender, rinse it out thoroughly, add a drop of dish soap and a cup or two of hot water, then blend (with the lid on!) for 30-45 seconds on high. Rinse again with hot water and you’re all set for next time!
  • Designate a specific ice cube tray to carrot juice if you plan on freezing it. That stuff remains a sticky, staining mess even after it is frozen!
  • Simplify your life even more by portioning out ingredients for single smoothies into small zipper bags. Include everything but the liquids and fresh ingredients and you’ll be start to finish in about one minute!

This is how I make the sneaky smoothie for my son:

Berry Sneaky Smoothie Simplify your lIfe

  • 1 cup juice (usually grape)
  • ½ cup yogurt (plain, honey, or whatever is in the fridge)
  • 1 tsp. flax seeds
  • 1-2 spinach ice cubes
  • ½ of one banana, in frozen chunks
  • ½ cup frozen mixed berries
  • ½ of one apple, fresh or frozen

Add ingredients to blender in order listed. This is important because you need to hide the spinach in case your kid walks in on you. Starting on medium low and working up to high power, blend until you can’t tell there is spinach in there, 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on blender strength.

 

Gadget Love: The Story of Susi the Garlic Press

Gadget Love: The Story of Susi the Garlic Press

Story time! I grew up in a gourmet kitchen store surrounded by the best the culinary world had to offer, both in equipment and food. I spent my formative years learning the ins and outs of cookware, knives, butcher blocks, and gadgets. Thousands upon thousands of gadgets. We had two “gadget walls,” both of which were probably 20 feet long and 12 feet high. They were loaded with every little doodad a cook could ever dream of using! From meat tenderizers to cannoli tubes, ice cream scoops to crab crackers, we had everything.

Part of the store’s  appeal was that we ran cooking classes nearly every day of the week, and in these classes, our students got to sample our collection of old standbys and hot-off-the-line gadgets. From the time I was a young pup, I got to help prep for classes, which meant I got to play with all of these toys, too (forget action figures and dress-up, I wanted to play chef!). I remember the first time I got to use the garlic press; I was probably eight years old and barely contained the strength to squeeze that magical bulb through those tiny little holes.

Between the sheer delight of turning a clove into a pile of minced ambrosia and the lingering pungency on my fingers, I was hooked on this little gadget.

Crushing garlic was now my favorite thing to do ever in the whole world. This was over 20 years ago and I still rarely use that magic trick to wash the garlic odor from my hands (although I will use it to get rid of fish odor – that’s just gross). The scent takes me back to those early days in the demonstration kitchen of feeling so important to be able to help out a celebrity chef.

A gadget that creates delicious memories.

The nectar of the gods. Brought to you by Susi.

 

Throughout the years the store was open, we sold at least a dozen different brands and styles of garlic press, but my old trusty remained my go-to gadget every time I helped in the kitchen.  I received a stunningly beautiful $45.00 German garlic press as a wedding gift, as well as the updated and larger version of my favorite, but they just weren’t the same. When the store closed in 2009, we were allowed to ransack the kitchen to grab a little piece of memorabilia. You better believe I made a beeline to the drawer that held my first love and snatched her right up for my own! I took home enough stuff to overstock my kitchen for the rest of my days, but my hands-down most sentimental item is still that garlic press. I use it several times per week, whereas I think I used that fancy German one maybe three times over the last ten years (I actually got rid of it!). My trusty press is named Susi, which isn’t even remotely creative because that’s what the manufacturer named her, but I didn’t want to confuse her in her new home. Okay, that’s enough anthropomorphism for one garlic press. It’s amazing what a silly little gadget can mean to a person. I will never get rid of my garlic press because it carries with it my memories of growing up. Let’s just say the garlic fumes aren’t exactly what make me teary-eyed when I’m making dinner. My favorite gadget.

Are you “overly” sentimental about anything in your kitchen? I want to hear about the pie plate passed down by your grandma, or the rolling pin your dad used to chase a raccoon out of the kitchen (that has to have happened to someone!). Please share your stories with me – I love a good cry (or a good laugh)!

 

Kitchen Organizing Tips for Fall Baking!

Kitchen Organizing Tips for Fall Baking!

Fall is here and it’s time to get ready for the baking season! I know I’m excited! This year I’m trying something new, though – I am reorganizing my kitchen for fall in the same vein in which I reorganize my wardrobe. Tank tops and salad spinners will be tucked away in favor of boots and bakeware. I have a whole hutch full of baking equipment, but it lives in my living room because my kitchen is tiny. I went on a kitchen organizing spree this Spring, but a lot of the equipment that is taking up prime real estate could be replaced with more seasonal items. So I am going to share with you some of the tips I’m trying to follow that I think will help you prepare for this delightful season, too!

  • Designate a main workspace. Mine is my dream island (the one in the link is the one that lives in my head, not my kitchen…but some day she will be mine). It currently houses my knife block, cutting board, my overflow pots and pans that don’t fit on my pot rack, and two junk drawers (and a pile of mail…).
  • Remove all non-essential items (especially mail) from this area.
  • Think about your Fall cooking/baking style. Do you love making pies and tarts? Are you a huge fan of roasted root vegetables? Do stews and rustic breads show up on your dinner table at least once a week? Go through some of your favorite dishes in your head and make a list of your most common equipment.
  • Figure out a game plan for this area with the above-mentioned list in mind. DON’T add anything back to this area before you have some type of plan. That just leads to clutter and dysfunction. Kitchen organizing isn’t just about making your kitchen look tidy – it’s about making your kitchen work for your unique style. For example, if you’re going to be using your food processor and stand mixer a lot more often, it would certainly make sense to have them out all the time (if you have room for that, of course). Likewise, this is probably a good time of year to have your canisters of flour and sugar within arm’s reach. A small wall-mount or magnetic spice rack could be a nice addition to hold your nutmeg and allspice for all those pumpkin pies. This is also a great place to keep a little stack of mise-en-place bowls. Trust me, you’ll use them.
  • Slowly start bringing in your equipment and make adjustments to your game plan as necessary. I just realized my rolling pin has holes in the handles and I can hang it on my pot rack right above my island. I hadn’t noticed this before because it has been tucked away in a drawer in the hutch in my living room for the past nine months. Fortunately I had a wine bottle handy the last time I had to roll something out!
  • Preheat your oven and get to work! Isn’t it nice to have your roasting pans and pastry brushes all within reach?

Try some kitchen organizing by creating your unique  “Fall Baking Zone”.  It makes for fun and easy baking.

BLOG FALL BAKING ZONE.xlsx

What else do I need? What are you going to add to your Fall Zone? Do you have any great kitchen organizing tips for Fall?

It’s That Time of Year Again!

It’s That Time of Year Again!

It’s time for spring cleaning! The kitchen is a great place to start! As the most used room in many homes, it is important to have a kitchen that is organized in a way that fits your needs. Next time you prepare a meal, take note of where you keep things, and what you reach for most often, and how you use your storage space.

Reorganize to promote a good flow to your kitchen.

Do you find yourself walking across the kitchen to get a knife, or digging through a drawer to find your favorite spatula? Your commonly used kitchen tools should be within reach of the areas in which you use them – knives next to the cutting board, utensils next to the stove, etc. One of my favorite additions has been to add a small magnetic spice rack on the side of my fridge, so I can keep my most-used spices right next to the stove (but I pretty much just throw things in the pan with no rhyme or reason…). Now that is a smart use of storage space!

Found Space.

Trying to maximize storage space and organization in my own small kitchen, I have begun to understand the importance of “found space.” See, I have very little cabinet space, and you’ll remember my struggle with tripping over pans on my kitchen floor. I have a fairly big butcher block table with two drawers and a shelf, but it was a cluttered mess and I couldn’t accept that there was so much open space above the shelf (I can only stack my pans so high!). My solution was to add another shelf – it seems so obvious now, but for some reason it has taken me years to notice the potential in that big open storage space! I also added a pot rack above it, and have now turned an empty wall into functional storage space. (Can’t put holes in your walls? Think about a table/pot rack combo like this) When shopping for storage solutions in your kitchen, take into consideration how to best maximize the footprint of each item you choose – adding shelving, cabinets, or a pot rack will create extra storage space on a piece that takes up the same amount of space.

Country Butcher Block

John Boos Country Butcher Block via butcherblockco.com

 

Hide it when you don’t need it.

If you just need some extra workspace from time to time, I highly recommend a folding kitchen cart. The handy wheels make it easy to get your prep done in the kitchen and then roll your cart out to your party for serving. These fabulous options are easily compacted into a slim little number that will slide into your pantry or that storage space next to the refrigerator! Seriously, how cool is that folding cart shown in the header?!

Speaking of that storage space next to the refrigerator, have you seen these awesome DIY pull-out shelves floating around on Pinterest? Talk about found space! I am cooking up plans to build something similar to this in the very near future!

 

Space Saving

Source: learning-to-b-me.blogspot.com via Butcher Block Co. on Pinterest

 

Have you gotten creative with your kitchen storage space? We would love to hear your ideas!