‘Real isn’t how you are made’, said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become real’. – The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams Bianco
Ready for Spring
A Well-Stocked Kitchen – 4 Food Staple Musts
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. –
A well-stocked kitchen will enrich your life by providing you with what you will use multiple times throughout the week. Below is what we believe every kitchen should have on hand at any given time.
Bread is not just a part of life. Bread is life itself. – Manoucher Etminan
Each loaf from Manoucher is freshly baked and made by hand using only the finest, purest ingredients. It is then flash frozen so that when it is thawed, it is ready to be eaten, as though no time has passed between oven and plate. We find this very convenient as it allows us to always have bread on hand whenever we need it.
A good loaf of baguette is useful morning, noon and night as a side for soups, on a cheese platter or cheese plate, with butter and jam in the morning, dipped into an olive oil/balsamic mix and also creamy cheese like baked Brie. Easy to make into garlic bread as well – the possibilities are endless.
Persian Noon Loaf
We also love Manoucher’s Persian Noon Loaf which is hand-shaped and folded around feta cheese, olive oil and basil. This folded loaf is delicious on its own with a slice of Gouda, but really it may be used to create lovely gourmet sandwiches of any type.
A meal of bread, cheese and beer constitutes the perfect food. ~ Elizabeth I
Parmigiano Reggiano DOP
Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, a partially skimmed Cow’s milk cheese, is a staple in Italian kitchens (and ours as well). We shave and grate this granular cheese over salads, risottos, pastas, salads, pizza, veggies and any Italian dish that needs salty, cheesy flavour. It may also be used as a coating for chicken, cut into chunks as a snack and even used as a garnish for a bloody mary.
Salt is also what makes Pecorino Romano, a sheep’s cheese, special as it may be used as a substitution for salt, but with a richness that salt can’t provide. Consider Pecorino Romano as you would a nice olive oil acting to enhance all sorts of dishes. Like Parmigiana, it is a wonderful topper for foods and a special ingredient for many recipes. It may act as a great alternative to Parmigiana and is just as desirable depending on your preference.
Another great cheese to always have on hand is a good mild Gouda, which is amazing sliced thin paired with baguette and butter at breakfast or as a snack any time of the day. It’s also a lovely cheese for a sandwich or to offer an unexpected guest.
3. Flaked Sea Salt
There must be something strangely sacred about salt. It is in our tears and in the sea. – Khalil Gibran
Our choice? Maldon Salt
Maldon salt is harvested on England’s Essex Coast and is loved for its tactile texture which is soft, sheer and shaped like a pyramid. It is also considered the fastest-dissolving of all salt grains. Place in one of our ceramic Emile Henry Salt Pigs, and when one of your recipes calls for it, take a pinch, crush the crystals between your fingertips and let them fall gracefully, like fallen snow, onto your food or into your pot of boiling water.
4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Good oil, like wine, is a gift from the gods. The grape and the olive…were destined, each in its way, to promote the welfare of man. – George Ellwanger
Each oil can taste different depending on where it is grown or when it is harvested – mild, robust, gentle or spicy.
Some less expensive oils are meant for cooking, while others taste best with zero exposure to heat and are meant to only be drizzled over already cooked food, used in salad dressings, for the dipping of bread, to replace butter on veggies, rice and potatoes, and for finishing dishes after they come off the heat.
The olive oil of choice in Herma’s kitchen.
Frantoio Valtenesi il Frantoio is a well-rounded extra virgin olive oil from Lambardy, Italy that is obtained from hand-picked olives at the right time of maturation, and crushed promptly to ensure the fragrance and quality of the final product. This olive oil is flavourful, yet affordable.
Winter Cure Serving Tip: Combining olive oil, garlic and lemon juice together and placing it in a dish for dipping bread will lift your spirits during the last days of the winter gloom we are experiencing.
Also try…Garlic Expressions
An important weapon in our kitchen arsenal!
Garlic Expressions is a zesty vinaigrette that’s fused with pickled garlic cloves. We aren’t sure what to describe it as…a dressing, marinade, condiment or sauce. The versatility of this vinaigrette adds a flavorful punch to your favorite dish. We love dipping sliced baguette into it.
Condiments make a difference.
Hearty and full of flavor, our Traditional Pub Mustard is incredible as a sandwich spread, as a dipping sauce for grilled shrimp, sausage and chicken or blended into a vinaigrette. Made to be bold, Stonewall Kitchen’s Pub Mustard will bring your brown-bag-lunch to a whole new level.
Joe Beef’s Apple Dijon is also special. The extra apple flavour is especially nice with ham and cheese sandwiches and pork chops.
Salt Spring Kitchen’s Candied Jalapeños
Fantastic on a sandwich or burger, these Candied Jalapeños are hot and sweet, bringing any savoury dish to the next level. Pair with cheese plates, cured meats, tacos, nachos, sandwiches, burgers, omelets and pizza. Over and over the reviews for this British Columbia product say they are the best of the best.
Cafiti Fruit Ketchup
With its currants grown in a garden in Quebec, CAFITI fruit ketchup will complement all your traditional dishes and many more! Created from Cafiti’s Chef’s family recipe, it will undoubtedly remind you of your grandmother’s, with a little je-ne-sais-quoi that beautifully renews the taste!
Our freezers are filled with all your favourites.
Harry came back from Markham last Friday with a large load of all the wonderful Village Grocer foods you are used to seeing in our freezers. Their frozen Entrees, Sides, Soups, Meat Pies and Quiche are the perfect no-fuss, no-mess foods that simply only need to be thawed and placed in the oven or on the stove top.
We are also well-stocked with Bitterballen, Croquettes and Piano Pizzas.
The tools to make it happen!
Find Global Knives (entire collection), Epicurean’s Cutting Boards, Emile Henry’s Mortar & Pestle, Salt Pig, Oil Cruet and so, so much more that will transform your kitchen into a chef’s haven – a place where you might create with the best tools at your fingertips.
Herma’s Cheese Shop
Janis has ordered some lovely cheeses that will grace our doorstep at the beginning of next week – cheeses special for Oscar Night (March 12th), St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) and Easter (April 9th) as well as cheeses to help lift our spirits during this time of never-ending winter blues.
Tapas night with Spanish cheeses
To beat the winter blues enjoy a night of Spanish Cheeses (Boletus, Di Ablo and Manchego), Mediterranean Olives, Almonds, Skewers of Shrimp and/or Meat (found in our freezers), Olive Oil and Manoucher Baguette that when combined with some lovely Spanish wine, Spanish guitar music, candlelight and good conversation, will transform your evening into something really special.
A blue to cure all blues, even the winter ones!
Limoncello, which is a lovely mild blue, creamy yet firm, has been infused with fermented lemons that have been pressed and soaked into the cheese. That’s not all. It has been topped with candied lemon peels and white chocolate, making it the perfect after-dinner dessert cheese to be enjoyed with port, brandy or espresso.
Prosciutto sliced to your liking!
Be sure to ask Janis or Herma to slice Prociutto di Parma DOP for you in the Cheese Shop. This is an Italian, dry-cured ham, thinly sliced and uncooked. Very versatile, because it is thinly sliced, we love to wrap it around breadsticks and sometimes veggies or fruit – a delicious and pretty meat that is beautiful on cheese and charcuterie platters.
Savings at Herma’s
20% off ALL Coffee
This includes Muskoka Roastery Coffee Co. and Crank Coffee Co. Coffee (whole bean).
Great news! The two paintings hanging in the photo above are available at a discount of 50% off. These vibrant 2’x4′ paintings of a deer and a rabbit in Elizabethan garb represent chess pieces in Alice in Wonderland that are really stunning! They may be sold separately. If interested, stop by or call 905-885-9250.
Also, during your visit to Herma’s find smaller items that are 50% off located on select shelves here and there.
We look forward to seeing you in coming days. Have a wonderful weekend!