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The summer weather has arrived and my herbs are so happy! They are growing like crazy now. Many of you know that I grow rosemary and chives here at the market so I can harvest them fresh for immediate use. I also have five rosemary plants at home to supply us for our rosemary bread and other things. For me, summer only really arrives when my herbs start really pushing growth and I can harvest them.So, in celebration of my herbs, I’m featuring a recipe that highlights the flavors and aromas of fresh rosemary and lemon. The Dijon mustard is a wonderful twist. Once again, this week I’m cheating and using chicken tenders rather than the chicken breasts – just for time’s sake. You can follow the recipe and just marinate for 30 minutes to an hour, or you can marinate for longer. I prefer longer, as I think it makes the chicken juicier and more tender. However, this recipe works beautifully for the fast, delicious meal, too.Don’t forget to reserve some of the marinade. Some will be used for basting, the rest can be used to brush on a few slices of our Italian bread. Brush the bread, then grill briefly, just enough to get those grill marks on it and make it nice and toasted. (Best garlic bread ever!)By the way, this recipe also achieved “Do Again” status from the family. I’m so proud!  Grilled Rosemary Chicken Breasts Ingredients8 cloves garlic, minced, (about 2 T, 2t)3 T olive oil2 T minced fresh rosemary1 1/2 T Dijon mustard1 1/2 T lemon juice1/4 t ground black pepper4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or 1 - 1 ½ lbs chicken tendersDirections Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate. Whisk garlic, olive oil, rosemary, mustard, lemon juice, and ground black pepper together in a bowl. Place chicken breasts in a resealable plastic bag. Pour garlic mixture over chicken, reserving 1/4 cup. Make sure to reserve it. You’re going to want to use it! Seal bag and massage marinade into chicken. Let marinate for 30-60 minutes. Place chicken on preheated grill and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the chicken, baste with reserved marinade, and continue to grill until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Cover with foil and let rest for at least 2 minutes before serving. (Alternatively, you can bake the chicken at 425 until juices run clear, about 15 minutes for tenders, longer if you’re using whole breasts.)
Wow! You guys DO read my newsletter! Thanks! In response to my request for recipes, I received multiple recipes and offers for more. This is great, since it’s been a really busy week at the bakery. I was so thankful to have an idea already in my hand when it came time to prepare for this week’s blog. This week, we’ve been running hard trying to keep up with restaurant and coffee house orders. (It’s a good problem to have!) We’ve also been reviewing our product lines for spring – how many strawberry recipes do you think we have? Rhubarb? Blueberry? Even I was surprised.Of course, it wouldn’t be a normal week without family in the mix, too. We visited one daughter at school and brought home a load of college dorm room stuff, had another daughter and her hubby and dog come for a visit, and have been helping a third with studying for finals. Busy times.Speaking of busy, you have all seen the bakery in operation during market hours, but did you realize how much other cooking we do there? Spinach filling for the spanakopita, mushroom filling (lots of sautéed onions and garlic going on), and some other recipes require cooking and sauteeing. On rare occasions, we even cook dinner during bakery hours to save time and use the hot ovens between batches. This week, I made a test of my weekly recipe during production hours - between making sweet rolls, cutting brownies, and packaging and labeling other products. It is a fairly easy recipe with a couple of ingredients you might not have on-hand, but are readily available and easy to find. I served it with a Caesar salad and Country French bread warmed in the oven. It even got a “It’s really good!” remark from my son and an “It’s yummy” from my daughter.To be fair, I “Sandi-fied” the recipe, so it’s not exactly as it came to me, but I think you’ll like it as much as we did. (I did some research and this recipe is very close to a classic Chicken Piccata. I found that interesting.)  Chicken with Olives, Lemon and Capers 1 lemon, sliced 1/4” thick¼ c + 1 T EVOO1 ½ lbs chicken tenders (basically, boneless, skinless chicken breast in smaller pieces)3 large cloves garlic, minced1 can chicken broth½ c water½ cup Sicilian green olives, sliced (Yup, the green ones with the red things inside.)2 T small capers (I have a jar of these in the fridge most of the time, but most folks don’t. You’ll find them in the same section of the store as the olives.)2 T butter2 T chopped chives (I just ran out the door of the bakery to my chives patch. The original recipe called for parsley, but I don’t have any of that growing, so…)½ c sour creamHeat 1 T EVOO in heavy skillet on medium high. Add lemon slices and brown on both sides. Remove from pan to platter.Add 2 T EVOO to skillet and sear chicken until golden brown on each side. Transfer to a plate.Add remaining EVOO to pan and sauté garlic until fragrant. (Don’t let it get too dark, as it will get bitter.)Add olives, capers, chicken broth and water to pan and cook until reduced almost by half. Return the chicken and lemons to the pan, along with any accumulated juices. Continue simmering until the chicken is cooked through. Add butter and chives, cook for another minute or two, then stir in sour cream. Top with freshly-ground pepper and serve immediately. (Yes, I did garnish with fresh rosemary, too.)If you must hold this over, remove the lemon slices after a bit so they don’t make the sauce bitter. Otherwise, it’s a great recipe to make ahead and reheat.
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It’s time for the truth around here. Sometimes, I just throw things together (like everyone else) and we graze or gobble, depending on my success.It’s been one of those weeks. So busy. We’ve had ups – restaurants with much larger orders than usual, great tasty developments in the bakery, beautiful weather to enjoy when we stepped out of the door to fetch something from the walk-ins, fun visitors, and (last but NOT least!) one kid who was recognized by her college for many years of volunteer and community service. (Woohoo! Go Liana!) Then, there’ve been the downs - car excitement – two kids, two cars, too much excitement for one family (everyone is safe and sound, so no worries there!), and the weather is turning chilly and damp again.All this to say that I’m feeling uninspired as I write this. You’ve had those days, haven’t you? “What in the world should I cook for dinner?” “What should I wear today…other than the sweats and t-shirt I’m feeling inclined to shrug on?”I must tell you that, earlier this week, I was very inspired and whipped up a delightful shrimp scampi that we all enjoyed - with an entire loaf of warm Italian bread to wipe the plates clean of all that garlicky, buttery goodness. However, I didn’t really use a recipe. (Not an uncommon event around here.) I can tell you that I sautéed the shrimp (about 2 pounds of good-sized shrimp) by themselves in some EVOO, then set them aside. Threw some butter in the pan, about 6 cloves of garlic (smashed), a few shakes of red pepper flakes, a squeeze of half a lime, and a couple of glugs of dry vermouth (I didn’t have any dry white cooking sherry or other wine) and scraped the bottom of the pan until I had a nice garlic butter sauce. Then, I returned the shrimp to the pan, pulled the bread out of the oven where it was warming, threw a bag salad in the salad bowl and called it dinner.Tonight was a bit different, but just as tasty. Tom threw together some amazing toasted cheese sandwiches for us, using Asiago bread and extra sharp cheddar. Chase that down with a Blue Moon (complete with the orange slice!), and you have a delicious, fast, easy meal for a tired couple of bakers.This weekend I’ll be talking to the kids who are in charge of two dinners each week and we’ll plan a bit better. (I’ve got these Cornish game hens in the freezer that I’m dying to try!)In the meantime, I hope you are all enjoying culinary delights in your own kitchens. If you have suggestions for my menus, please send them! I’m always up for a challenge or a chance to try something new – both in the kitchen and on the page.Please, please send me ideas so I can cook and write about them.Have a great weekend and don’t forget to stop by the bakery for a few loaves of bread that will go with any menu you have planned for the coming week. (Can I just add that the Dill 'n Veggie bread we're featuring this week makes awesome toasted cheese? Add a slice or two of tomato and you've got a sandwich feast!)
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This past weekend, we traveled to North Carolina on our annual pilgrimage to get our millstones maintained. We also brought home a new (to us) grain mill to enable us to increase production. (Check out the facebook page to help us name “her”.) On the way, as we usually do, we visited bakeries and cafes. One of the visits was to a café/bakery that featured a wide variety of savory and a few sweet breakfasts. It gave me an idea.My family enjoys a savory meal on Sundays at noon. What if we could do something like French toast, but make a savory variety? Hm. Using our Asiago loaf would be a great place to start. We have already used it (and recommended it) for grilled cheese sandwiches, savory meat sandwiches, alongside pasta or meats, and just for toasting.For those who enjoy bacon and eggs, this is a natural extension of that type of meal. Rather than separating the eggs and toast, we are combining them! This is a great meal to serve for weekend company because the “fillings platter” can be prepared ahead and all you have to do is make the toast. Here’s what to do:  Savory French Toast  1 loaf Asiago Bread, sliced thick4 eggs2/3 c milk¼ - ½ t Old Bay Seasoning or your favorite seasoning blendFresh ground pepper to tasteOptional toppings:Cream cheeseRed onionAssorted cheeses, slicedTomato, thinly slicedParmesan, freshly gratedPrepare the eggs with a bit of milk, whisking thoroughly.Saturate each slice of bread well with the egg mixture, and grill.Meanwhile, prepare a spread of cream cheese softened with a few drops of milk until easily spreadable.Have a plate of thinly-sliced tomato, red onion, lettuce, cheeses (whatever type suits your fancy!), prosciutto, lox, and any other type of filling you might like on a bagel.There is NOTHING like a savory feast to begin a lovely weekend morning. We can’t wait to hear your feedback on this idea!
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Recently, Tom and I treated ourselves to a lovely meal at a local Italian restaurant. It was spectacular and inspiring. Having been encouraged by the wonderful food, I decided it was time to try a classic that would pair well with our crusty Italian loaf. The recipe? Chicken Marsala. I found the perfect version in my America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School book.Now, I know you are thinking, “This is not one for the faint of heart!” After all, how many times have you had to halve chicken breasts and pound them to ¼” thickness? It really isn’t that difficult and it’s worth the extra effort for this amazing, delectable meal. Just stick with me.There are a few tricks in this recipe that really make it work. First, we’re not going to dilute the marsala sauce with chicken broth, so we’ll end up with a great flavored, rich sauce. We’ll be sautéing the meat ahead, then making the sauce using the browned bits in the pan to help flavor the dish. The addition of a bit of pancetta will up the flavor profile, as well. Finally, adding a little lemon and butter to the sauce just before serving tempers the sweetness of the marsala while giving it a silkiness that one only gets with real butter.Ready? Let’s get started.  Classic Chicken Marsala 4 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, tenderloins removed (If you’re not certain what this means, a quick Google search turned up multiple videos with the technique. It takes seconds to do, so no worries.)1 c all-purpose flourSalt and pepper¼ c EVOO2 ½ oz pancetta cut into 1-inch long, 1/8-inch wide pieces8 oz white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin1 clove garlic, minced1 t tomato paste (Remember that time I told you about the tomato paste in the tube? If you didn’tget it then, now is a perfect time to pick some up. It lasts a long time in the fridge and you can use a little bit – like a teaspoon – without any waste.)1 ½ c sweet Marsala4 ½ t lemon juice4 T unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled2 T chopped fresh parsley1 loaf Sandi’s Breads Italian, sliced thick and toasted in oven (Pop the slices into the oven with the chicken when you are a few minutes from finishing the sauce.)  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Halve chicken horizontally, then cover halves with plastic wrap and pound to even ¼-inch thickness. Place flour in shallow dish. (If you have time, chill the chicken in the freezer for about 15 minutes. It will be easier to slice that way.) Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season each cutlet with salt and pepper. One at a time, dredge each in the flour, shake off excess, and place on large plate. Heat 2 T EVOO in 12-inch skillet on medium high until shimmering. Place 4 cutlets in skillet and cook until golden brown on first side, about 3 minutes. Flip, reduce heat to medium, and cook until no longer pink and lightly browned on second side, about 2 minutes. Transfer to large, oven safe platter. Wipe skillet, repeat with remaining cutlets. Tent cutlets with foil and place in oven to keep warm. Cook pancetta in same skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally and scraping any browned bits, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove pancetta with slotted spoon and transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Add mushrooms to skillet, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, and crisp pancetta and cook until tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in Marsala, scraping up any browned bits. Return to high heat, bring to vigorous simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and measures about 1 ¼ cups, about 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in lemon juice and any accumulated chicken juices. Whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately accompanied by slices of toasted Italian bread to soak up the sauce.
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This week’s recipe is a family Easter favorite: Roast Leg of Lamb. Served up with a variety of sides, assorted dinner rolls, and Raspberry Pecan Bars for dessert, it’s a great meal.We will start our Easter morning with warm Hot Cross Buns and Chocolate Cherry Babka, then have the lamb for Easter dinner when we get together with the extended family.Even if you’re not a get-together-with-large-groups sort of person or family, this is a beautiful, easy meal with just a bit of prep time the night before. Ready, here goes…  Roast Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary ¼ c honey2 T Dijon mustard2 T chopped fresh rosemary1 t freshly ground pepper1 t lemon juice¼ c balsamic vinegar¼ c EVOO6 cloves garlic, halved1 t coarse sea salt or kosher salt 1 cup water5-pound leg of lambCombine first 7 ingredients in a bowl. Rinse and pat dry the roast. Cut 12 slits around the roast and insert halved garlic cloves. Using your hands, rub the marinade all over the roast. Place it in a covered pan and refrigerate overnight.Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place lamb on rack in roasting pan, pour water and remaining marinade into bottom of pan. (This will make a wonderful gravy with the drippings!) Place it in the oven without the lid and roast 15 minutes.Cover, reduce heat to 350 and continue cooking. Begin checking temp at 45 minutes, using an instant-read thermometer. The lamb is done (rare) when it registers 140. If you prefer a medium rare, let it roast until the internal temp is closer to 150.Let rest 10 minutes before carving.
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This week’s recipe comes from a friend in my book club. (If you don’t get to indulge in a monthly book club with great discussion, food and wine, I highly recommend it!) Anyway, with Easter coming, I was looking for ways to use up leftover ham, or to serve something a little “outside the box”.These sliders are so scrumptious and easy to make that you’ll want to make them for all your potlucks and picnics, too. You’ll need a pack of our slider rolls for this one – the honey whole wheat bread blends so well with ham!If you need to try this combination without the sauce, try our Ham ‘n Cheese Boli roll. It’s made with the same bread and filled with ham, swiss and provolone. It’s a delicious sandwich roll already made up and can be eaten cold or warmed in the microwave for just a few seconds. For that matter, grab a few, top them with the sauce and bake for an even easier meal!   Ham and Cheese Sliders with Savory Brown Sugar Glaze Ingredients:6-8 Ham 'n Cheese Boli rollsor1 pack Sandi’s Breads slider rolls½ - ¾ lb chipped deli ham, or sliced leftover ham¼ - ½  lb thinly sliced swiss cheeseSauce:1/3 c brown sugar2 sticks butter1 ½ T Dijon mustard1 ½ T Worcestershire Sauce1 ½ T Poppy Seeds (optional)If using boli rolls, place them in a 13X9 pan and drizzle sauce over the tops. Otherwise, slice all rolls in half while still connected. Put bottoms in 13X9 inch pan. Place ham on bottoms, followed by swiss. Replace tops.In a saucepan, melt the sauce ingredients. Bring to low boil and let boil at least 2 minutes. (Don’t skip this – your sauce won’t get thick enough to glaze the sandwiches.) Pour over the rolls and bake at 350 degrees about 13-16 minutes. Cut apart and serve.Note: You might not need all the sauce. You’ll just have to eyeball it.
As you know from my recent stir-fry recipe, my family loves Asian food. You name it, we enjoy it – Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese.The recipe below, for an Asian-themed burger, made my mouth water the first time I saw it. Let us know what you think! (By the way, everything in this recipe is available at the market – ground turkey from Dutch Country Poultry, all vegetables and herbs from our own produce vendors, and sea salt and pepper from Nut ‘n Pickle Bulk Foods!)  Asian Spring Burgers INGREDIENTS:1 pound lean ground turkey1/2 cup finely chopped onion or scallions1/3 cup chopped water chestnuts2 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper(optional)2 cloves garlic, minced1 tablespoon dried parsley1 tablespoon soy sauce1 tablespoon cold water2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon ground black pepperDon’t forget the Sandi’s Breads Whole Wheat Sandwich Rolls – split them and toast the insides on the grill before serving!Preheat and gently oil your grill, mix all ingredients together, shape patties, grill! Serve on our whole wheat sandwich rolls, buttered and grilled.  Top with sprouts and a sprinkling of chopped scallions
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My family loves corned beef. I mean LOVES corned beef. The only time we have it is during this time of year – St. Paddy’s Day – and they look forward to it all year long. With that in mind, last weekend I surprised them by having St. Paddy’s Day a week early. I put the corned beef in the slow cooker on Saturday night and we had an amazing Sunday lunch.I usually cook our cabbage and potatoes separate from the beef, but the following recipe includes the vegetables in with the beef and is delicious. The stout gives a depth of flavor to the meat and the brown sugar keeps it from being too bitter. Add the vegetables about half way through the cooking and you have a fantastic meal ready for the table. Add a crusty loaf of bread and feast! It’s literally a one-pot meal.Finish it off with Irish Soda Bread or Cinnamon Coffee Cake and a cup of tea!  Crock Pot Corned Beef Dinner Ingredients1 1/2 (12 fluid ounce) cans or bottles Irish stout beer (such as Guinness(R)), divided1 (4 pound) corned beef brisket and spice packet1 1/2 cups brown sugar2 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks1/2 head cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped (use the other half to make haluski – pan fried cabbage and noodles)1 large sweet onion, chopped3 large carrots, chopped2 red potatoes, cut into chunksDirections Pour 1 bottle Irish stout beer into a slow cooker. Rinse corned beef brisket and pat dry. Rub with brown sugar and spices included with the brisket, and gently place brisket into the slow cooker with the stout beer. Pour remaining 1/2 bottle Irish stout beer on and around brisket and vegetables to moisten the brown sugar. Cover the cooker and cook on Low. After about 3 hours, arrange sweet potatoes, cabbage, onion, carrots, and red potatoes on and around the brisket in the slow cooker. Continue to cook until corned beef is tender, another 3 ½ - 4 hours. Allow brisket to stand 5 minutes before slicing.
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Before I get started on this week’s recipe, I must do a quick advertisement for last week’s. If you haven’t tried it yet, I am encouraging you now to get those pork chops. The sauce is so savory and the chops are so tender. It is really a great recipe and worth the couple of minutes of planning to get the chops marinating overnight. You’ll have plenty of sauce for dipping a great loaf of bread in, too!Now, on to this week’s adventure to the Orient!Last week dinner took a little more prep time, so this week we’re back to a get-it-on-the-table-fast recipe. Stir fry is always a great go-to for me, since I usually have a variety of ingredients available in the fridge and freezer. A quick stop by the store on the way home for some fresh ginger and a sweet pepper might be necessary, but worth it. (I’m encouraging our kids to think about these types of meals, not just because they’re fast, but they tend to be high protein with lots of veggies – just what we should be eating.) If you’re watching salt intake, keep an eye on the soy sauce (get the low sodium kind) and the teriyaki. (There are a myriad of ways to keep the sodium down while maximizing flavor.)One way to speed up a stir fry is to keep a bag of frozen stir fry veggies in the freezer. This recipe would use about half a bag.  Otherwise, use the fresh vegetables and take the time to cut them up. (The beef will be marinating while you do this, so it’s time well spent.)After a nice stir-fry meal, treat yourself to a cup of tea and travel from the Orient to Europe to have a nice Irish Soda Bread for dessert. It’s light and flavorful – the perfect accompaniment to a great cup of tea!   Beef Vegetable Stir Fry ¼ c soy sauce¼ c rice vinegar (I like the garlic rice vinegar and make sure to have it on hand.)2 tablespoon brown sugar2 teaspoons cornstarch1 T Teriyaki sauce1 tablespoon sesame oil1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root1 tablespoon minced garlic1 pound beef round steak, cut into very thin strips4 ounces snow peas½ red sweet pepper, sliced thin1 c sliced mushrooms1 can water chestnuts1 c broccoli floretsDirections In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar and cornstarch. Add the thinly sliced meat. Set aside. Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium high heat. Stir-fry ginger and garlic for 30 seconds. Add the steak and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until evenly browned. Remove from pan. Add broccoli, mushrooms and pepper and stir-fry until broccoli is bright green. Add remaining vegetables – snow peas and water chestnuts. Add the soy sauce mixture and return beef to the pan, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer until the sauce is thick and smooth. Serve immediately.

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