Tag Archives: Ohio Gourmet Foods

Happy National Cream Puff Day!

Cream puff with Chocolate caramel sea salt sauceThere’s no need to feel let down after all the holiday celebrations when today is National Cream Puff Day!  Cream puffs have been around in various forms almost forever and their exact origin is unclear.  Most people credit French chefs for the flaky, filled pastries, although Italy and Germany also had their own versions centuries ago.  The hollow puffs are usually filled with pastry cream, custard or ice cream, but they are equally delicious with savory fillings.  Small puffs filled with chicken or shrimp salad are beautiful and tasty for an appetizer buffet.

I shared an easy cream puff recipe last year, which I usually fill with my mom’s vanilla custard.  Robert Rothschild Farms Chocolate Caramel & Sea Salt Sauce takes them to Cloud 9 level.

If your New Year’s resolutions included taking off a few pounds, resolve to start on January 3, and enjoy a cream puff today!

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Robert Rothschild Farms Chocolate Caramel & Sea Salt Sauce

IMG_0878This post is overdue because Robert Rothschild Farms Chocolate Caramel & Sea Salt Sauce is way too good not to share.  My brother told me how much his family enjoyed it over ice cream, and while we completely agreed, I kept waiting for a great recipe inspiration that would really do it justice.  It finally came to me — cream puffs topped with Chocolate Caramel & Sea Salt Sauce.  That should work!

I started with a cream puff recipe from my vintage Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.  “New” is relative in this case, as this was my first cookbook and has been my go-to resource for cooking basics for many years.  The recipe is easy, but you need to be patient and beat the batter long enough to insure it will puff when baked.

Cream Puffs

  • 1/2 cup butter (the recipe says “or margarine”, but no)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour (always King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour in our house)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs

Melt butter in 1 cup boiling water.  Add flour and salt all at once; stir vigorously.  Cook and store until mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate.  Remove from heat; cool slightly.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each until smooth.  Drop by heaping tablespoons 3 inches apart on greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 400° until golden brown and puffy, about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven; split.  Cool on rack.  Makes 10.

I always use my mom’s vanilla custard recipe for the cream filling.

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To assemble the cream puffs, heat the Chocolate Caramel & Sea Salt sauce in the microwave.  Place the bottom of a cream puff on a plate and fill with about 2 tablespoons of custard.  Place the top of the cream puff on the custard, and drizzle with the chocolate sauce.

I wasn’t surprised at the delighted response to the cream puffs.  The chocolate sauce took them from good to great, with its dark chocolate, creamy caramel and salty bite.  If you have followed our blog for any amount of time, you know my affinity for sweet and salty foods, so this is really easy to love.

Cream puff with Chocolate caramel sea salt sauce

We already knew the Rothschild Family does savory sauces well, because their horseradish sauce has earned a reserved space in our refrigerator door.  The Chocolate Caramel & Sea Salt Sauce also posted a win in the dessert category at our house!

Where to buy Robert Rothschild Farms Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Sauce

    • Buy from the artisan
    • Buy from Amazon
    • Find a store  (Note: “Find a store” links to a list of retailers on the Company’s website, but stores may not carry all of the Company’s products. Please check with your local store to be sure they have this specific product in stock. If not, ask them to carry it!)

 

 

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The Original Bloomer Candy Company Chocolate Peanut Butter Logs

DSC01530We love this candy!  It brings dreamy chocolate together with the crispy, crunchy taste of vintage peanut butter logs.  The box we bought was empty before we knew it!  The Original Bloomer Candy Company has been operating in Zanesville, Ohio for more than 100 years.  The company’s products are literally a part of American history, and maybe part of your own personal history,too.  Orange slices, Bit-O-Honey and circus peanuts are just a few of the retro treats available on Bloomer’s website.  I wonder how many Dum Dums, Bloomer’s fruit-flavored pops, Karen and I received at the end of children’s choir practice at church!

The company prides itself not only on maintaining its history of producing quality candies, but also to its commitment to middle-class American values.  This video from Bloomer’s website expresses the company’s operating philosophy, and shows the level of mutual commitment between employer and employees that provides the foundation for its success.

Grab yourself a sweet taste of American candy history with some of The Original Bloomer Candy Company’s treats.

Update — November 14, 2016

A reader reached out to us to find Bloomer’s products, and sadly, it looks like The Original Bloomer Candy Company is no longer in business.  Please contact us if you have information about this great company.

 

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1-2-3 Gluten Free Brownies

Gluten-free food has got to be one of the most significant menu trends in many years.  Many people are making voluntary decisions to go gluten-free, but those who have  been diagnosed with celiac disease have no choice but to eliminate gluten from their diets.  Such has been the case for my sweet mom, who recently learned she  has celiac.  As she has been working on a major diet makeover, I’ve been trying to help out by researching gluten-free foods and doing some cooking for her.

I purchased a box of 1-2-3 Gluten Free Brownies before I knew the story behind the product, but I started doing my research as soon as I got home with the brownie mix.  Company founder Kimberlee Ullner learned she had celiac when she was an adult, and she resigned herself to eliminate foods she loved to eat, and eat only the gluten-free foods available on the market.  Her resignation turned to resolve when her two nieces and a nephew were diagnosed with celiac.  She wanted them to be able to eat the same types of foods their friends enjoyed, and she started developing her own recipes for gluten-free foods.  Her nieces and nephew were not the only ones to give her recipes rave reviews; everyone thought they were delicious, and family members encouraged her to develop products for the market.  Kimberlee’s story was very compelling and her products appealing.

Mom and I had researched gluten-free baking from scratch, and we quickly determined that was going to be a no-go in most cases.  In Mom’s home town, all the specialty flours and gluten-free products aren’t readily available.  In anyone’s home town, these ingredients can be expensive to buy and a pain to store.  Although the products are more accessible in the Dallas area where we live, the “from-scratch” recipes we found were complicated.  Mom doesn’t have the energy, and I don’t have the time for complex recipes.

When Mom was diagnosed, one of the first gluten-free products I bought was a brownie mix that yielded an 8″x*8″ pan and cost $19.99.  Not very practical for many people!  I was happy to find the 1-2-3 Gluten Free Brownie Mix for less than one-half of that cost, and was thrilled with the end result.  The mix makes a 9″x13″ pan of thick, silky, and completely delicious brownies.  They aren’t just good gluten-free brownies; they are really good brownies, period.   The company’s tag-line is “Easy to Make, Can’t Beat the Taste!”, and we heartily agree.

1-2-3 Gluten Free Brownies

1-2-3 Gluten Free Brownies achieved a trifecta in gluten-free baking:  affordable, easy, and delicious.  Mom and I are anxious to try some of the company’s other baking mixes.  “Aaron’s Favorite Rolls” just might be next!  Check out Kimberlee’s gluten-free mixes on her website.   Mom and I highly recommend the brownies!

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Savory Horseradish Chicken

Robert Rothschild Farm Horseradish Sauce would have received the “Condiment of the Month” award in February if we had one.  It has been a go-to favorite for sandwiches and appetizers since we first tasted it.  It was past time to try it in a entrée, and the company’s website had a recipe that fit the bill on a busy weeknight.  It called for ingredients usually on hand, could be on the table in under an hour, and sounded pretty tasty.

Savory Horseradish Chicken

  • 1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup Robert Rothschild Farm Horseradish Sauce
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted

Combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and parsley.  Brush chicken with horseradish sauce and roll in breadcrumb mixture.  Place chicken in greased 15″ x 10″ baking dish and drizzle with melted butter.  Bake at 400 ° for 15-20 minutes, or until done.

IMG_0355I reduced the recipe to serve two and we thought it was really, really good.  The bread crumb and parmesan crust was deliciously crunchy.  The horseradish sauce did double duty by sealing in moisture and adding that very distinctive tang.  The baking process mellowed the heat of the horseradish a bit, so I think this chicken would probably  be suitable for a family meal.  A quick rice pilaf and garlic sautéed green beans rounded out the plate.  I’ll be replenishing our supply of Robert Rothschild Farm Horseradish Sauce very soon!

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Robert Rothschild Farm Horseradish Sauce

Bob and Sara Rothschild left the San Francisco Bay area in 1976, moved their family to Urbana, Ohio, and began farming raspberries.  After several years of success with their pick-your-own raspberry operation, they decided to make raspberry preserves with excess berries.  That simple decision led to a specialty food business producing dips, spreads, mustards, sauces, preserves, condiments and sweet toppings.  The Rothschilds focus on “open and serve” foods that add easy elegance to home cooking.  That is my kind of gourmet food!

Someone aptly nicknamed horseradish “white heat” for its ultra-hot flavor.  Although I’m a fan of spicy foods and condiments, plain horseradish is a little too much for me.  I prefer horseradish sauce as a complement to beef or chicken, and as a tasty spread for sandwiches.  We picked up Robert Rothschild Farm Horseradish Sauce at Central Market.  I sampled it straight from the jar, and loved the creamy texture and taste.

I put the “open and serve” concept to the test with about the easiest snack you can imagine.  The idea came from the 34° Crisps website and it was a smashing success.  Try this at home soon!

Beef with Horseradish Sauce

  • 34° Cracked Pepper Crispbreads
  • Robert Rothschild Farm Horseradish Sauce
  • Thinly sliced leftover or deli roast beef
  • Red onion, thinly sliced

Spread crispbreads with horseradish sauce.  Top with roast beef and onion.

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It was really hard to stop eating these little gems.  They will definitely be in appetizer rotation at our house.  Easy and delicious — genius!

Robert Rothschild Farm has plenty of tempting  gourmet products.  Balsamic Caramelized Onion Spread just might be the next one on my list.

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More Than Gourmet White Wine Sauce

A short-cut to a classic French sauce?  Mais oui!  “Sauce Guys” Brad Sacks and Bill Finnegan, and the More Than Gourmet staff have done the shopping, chopping, mixing and slow-simmering to make this delicious “foundation sauce” that will have you on your way to compliments before you can say “sous chef”.  One of Central Market’s “foodies” did an excellent job of selling us on the foundation sauces.  First, they are made with real food – nothing artificial.  The recipes are formulated so home or professional cooks can add a variety of seasonings to make the sauces their own.  More Than Gourmet’s website has a great selection of recipes to encourage creativity.  The sauces are shelf-stable, so they are easy to keep on hand.  Finally, the soft-packs are easy to store and environmentally friendly.  Karen picked up the red wine sauce and I chose the white to try.

I can’t believe the foundation sauce  sat in my pantry as long as it did.  My thought was to try one of the more complex and elegant recipes on MTG’s website for a special dinner.  As it turned out, the sauce was the starting point for a great alternative to take-out at the end of a workday that lasted just a little too long.  More Than Gourmet’s Garlic Sauce recipe seemed like a natural with baked parmesan chicken.  You may already have a parmesan chicken recipe in your repertoire that you can dress up with this delicious garlic sauce, but here is how I prepared mine.

Parmesan Baked Chicken

Preheat oven to 375°.  Line a shallow baking sheet with foil coated in nonstick spray.  Mix 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese with 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or mayonnaise.  Place 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts on baking sheet and cover with parmesan cheese mixture.  Sprinkle about a tablespoon of Italian bread crumbs over the cheese mixture.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until chicken is done.

More Than Gourmet Garlic Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 (11 ounce) container More than Gourmet White Wine Sauce

Salt and ground pepper

Warm the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add minced garlic and sauté until golden, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the More Than Gourmet White Wine Sauce, parley and thyme and simmer for 4-5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Plate the chicken breasts when done and ladle the garlic sauce over them.  Enjoy!

The sauce had promise from the start.  When I opened the carton, it was very fragrant, and as I poured it into the saucepan, it was smooth and silky.  In less than ten minutes, the garlic sauce was ready to top our parmesan chicken.

More Than Gourmet offers a pantry full of sauces and stocks you can order directly from their site.  There are vegan and gluten-free options for those with dietary restrictions or preferences.  The Sauce Guys have poured their love of classic French cooking into their products, and they have organized their website so you can easily search recipes by product, cooking method, occasion, or degree of difficulty.  We’re counting this as a great find!

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Cheryl’s Cookies

I’ve had a couple of occasions to order bouquets from 1-800-flowers this year, and I’ve been tempted to add a sweet treat to go along with the flowers. I’ve also had a couple of occasions when I’ve received mail-order sweets that were less than exciting, so I wasn’t sure about sending something sight unseen, or in this case taste untested.    What to do?  Research and tasting, of course!  Cheryl’s Cookies is part of the 1-800-flowers brand family, but has artisan roots.  Success takes many forms for food artisans.  Some revel in maintaining personal relationships with their customers, making their products in small batches, and retaining a high level of personal control over their business.  Others, by plan or providence, grow their businesses to the point where they bring on partners, merge or are bought out by other companies.  Cheryl’s falls into the latter category.

College roommates Cheryl Krueger and Caryl Walker opened Cheryl’s Cookies in Columbus, Ohio in 1981 in a small storefront with six cookie flavors.  The business grew and the product line expanded to include fancy cut-out cookies with Cheryl’s buttercream frosting, brownies and cakes.  In 2005, Cheryl & Co. became part of the 1-800-flowers brand, while still maintaining their own retail outlets, internet business, and a business gifts division.

Cheryl’s website offers a nice variety of of cookie collections for many occasions.  We created our own box with buttercream frosted, chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, sugar, and oatmeal raisin cookies.  All were good, but the buttercreams were far and away our favorites, with great texture and very tasty frosting.  We love Cheryl’s cookie club with 6 deliveries per year to the recipient of your choice (or yourself).  The cookies are individually wrapped and sealed to retain freshness.  They have a fall collection of gift boxes and tins available now.  You can add your own decorating panache to Cheryl’s cookies by ordering ready-to-frost holiday cut-out cookies and a tub of vanilla, cinnamon, or mint buttercream frosting.   Be sure to check out their $5 cookie greetings, a single cookie in a gift box sent with your personal message.  A huge red, white and blue salute to Cheryl’s for offering free shipping to APO and FPO addresses!

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