Friday, June 24, 2011

the girl & the fig for your Summer Pantry

We love "the girl & the fig" products at Gatewood Hall. We started carrying this wonderful line last year and many of you have come to love it!! Created by Sondra Bernstein proprietor of the renowned Sonoma, California restaurants Estate, The Fig Cafe and The Girl & The Fig these products will make feel like you are in the wine country! These are great additions to your Summer Pantry!

The fig and port vinaigrette is the signature dressing for the famous grilled fig & arugula salad at Sondra's girl & the fig restaurant. A perfect balance of tangy and sweet. Serve on a salad of arugula, toasted pecans, pancetta, grilled figs & chevre. (say it with me, HEAVEN!!!!). You can also use it as a marinade for pork or chicken.

The Apricot Fig Chutney is probably one of the most popular products from the girl & the fig. Plump apricots and calimyrna figs are a fantastic combination for flavor and texture. With a hint of ginger, spices and dried cherries, this chutney is a very versatile condiment that will add another flavor dimension to your favorite dish.

Serving Ideas:

The most popular box lunch sandwich from the girl & the fig is the house-roasted turkey, apricot fig chutney, fiscalini cheddar cheese on a baguette. (YUMMY!!). A great and easy appetizer is to take the small phyllo shells and put a small piece of brie or goat cheese, spoon in a little chutney and warm in the oven, delicious and easy gotta love that! You can also...

- Add to a cheese and charcuterie platter.
- Marinate chicken or pork chops with apricot fig chutney and grill.
- Serve as a condiment for pork loin, roast chicken, turkey breast
- Serve on a Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Mix with Cream Cheese or Mascarpone and make Stuffed French Toast.

Mostarda is an Italian condiment made of candied fruit with a kick from mustard or mustard seed. Traditionally mostarda was served with boiled meats called bollito misto which is a speciality of northern Italian cooking. More recently it has become a popular accompaniment to cheeses. Subtle flavors of rosemary, cinnamon, coriander, and ginger add depth and create a nice balance in the multi-dimensional product. Serve alongside charcuterie or cheese, or even as a spread on a sandwich . Also delicious as a condiment or sauce with grilled chicken, pork, lamb, and sausage. You will love it!

The red onion confit is a blend of red onions, red wine vinegar, red wine, sugar, thyme, salt, pepper. Serve with charcuterie dishes, grilled sausages, barbecued chicken and meats. Add to a turkey or cheese sandwich. It almost has a sweet and sour flavor and adds a nice addition of flavor to the most basic recipes.

Serving Ideas:

- Serve with charcuterie dishes, grilled sausages, BBQ chicken and meats.
- Add to a turkey or cheese sandwich.
- Use as a condiment for cheese platters.
- Warm gently and use as sauce for pork, chicken, turkey, or beef.
- Use as a sandwich condiment or on a burger. YUM!
- While braising, add a couple tablespoons to the pot.
- Add a few tablespoons to sautéed vegetables. (I do this and it really dresses up something simple!)

The salts are wonderful blends that include:

Fennel citrus herb blend - A blend fennel seed, lemon and orange peel, sea salt, lavender, mustard seed and other spices. Sprinkle on fish, chicken or pork before pan searing or grilling. Add water to brine pork or chicken.

Lavender sea salt- Simple lavender flowers blended with grey sea salt. Subtle scent and flavor makes this a great addition to certain dishes for an unusual dose of flavor. (I love it on fresh heirloom tomatoes!)

Citrus sea salt- Oven dried lemon and orange peel mixed with grey sea salt. Sprinkle on fish, chicken or pork before pan searing or grilling. Toss with pasta or risotto. Serve as a condiment on the table.

We also have Sondra's outstanding cook book that is full of great recipes that promote her vision of country food with French passion.

Stop in this weekend we will be having tastings of some of the girl and fig products...we will get you hooked!! See you soon!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Exciting News! Gatewood Hall Gracious Home is Opening a Second Store in Big Canoe!

We wanted our Blog and FaceBook friends to be the first to know...We are so excited to announce (drum roll please!!) GH is opening a second store! Our new store is located just inside the gate at Big Canoe and we are thrilled! Thank you to all who have supported us over the last five years, it is because of you that we are able to take this next big step at Gatewood Hall Gracious Home! This was not an easy decision, believe me we had to put a great deal of thought into it and we really appreciate the support of Ann at Big Canoe who really worked hard to help the details come together (We jokingly say we surrendered to her persuasion!).

We have some wonderful customers and friends from Big Canoe that kept teasing us and saying we needed to open a location closer to them but honestly this growth just wasn't a part of our business plan at this moment. However, as you have heard us say before we believe everything happens for a reason, so when Ann came to us we really had to take a look at this opportunity. While the space is not huge we plan on stocking it full of some wonderful things from our bigger main store, when asked what we sell I say everything for a gracious life...from soap to sofas!

Our goal is to have the store open Saturday June 25th! (fingers crossed). Wish us luck! We will keep you posted. Thank you again for all of your support, we feel so fortunate to be able to continue to pursue our little dream called Gatewood Hall Gracious Home!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sansaba for Your Summer Pantry

This week we are highlighting a perfect product for your summer pantry. A longstanding GH Favorite... Sansaba Preserves! The original Peach, Pecan & Amaretto has been a top selling product for us since we opened and we still love it! All of the flavors are great over cream cheese and served with crackers for a great appetizer. One of our customers loves to make special sundaes with Breyer's vanilla ice cream, and I love to (O.K. I know this not a heart healthy recipe) pan fry homemade pound cake (from the freezer) in butter and then top with any flavor, add some whipped cream...YUM!

Try this recipe for a easy yet fantastic pie that everyone loves!

One of our customers made this pie for a church social and everyone went crazy over it. She was so excited because she isn't much of a cook so she is usually asked to bring paper products however, after this pie everyone asks her to bring dessert. She bought a case of Sansaba to have on hand, and get this she won't give out the recipe as it is now her "secret". While this recipe calls for peach, pecan and amaretto it really works well with any of their flavors.

It is great on pancakes, or waffles on slathered on a biscuit (another customer told me last week that she eats it straight from the jar! I'll mention no names, we don't judge!)

Finally, one of my favorites is to grill chicken and then baste it with the peach, pecan and jalapeno serve on rice and it is AWESOME!! Come try it out if you haven't already! A must have for your summer pantry.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Entertaining is Simple With a Well-Stocked Summer Pantry

It seems like during the summer unexpected guests can drop in at anytime, but that doesn't have to catch you unprepared. The key to successful entertaining on the fly is the idea behind the Gatewood Hall properly stocked “Summer Pantry”. Below is an extensive list of items a gracious host or hostess could keep on hand. Please don’t be overwhelmed. Rather than store them all just select a few that suit your tastes. Pick items that you love and that are versatile (for your needs) and then keep them in supply. Convenience products are not all the same. I have a few of my favorites to keep in the pantry and freezer during the summer for last-minute appetizers, snacks, quick meals or to dress up leftovers. I will share those with you over the next few weeks.

As I have mentioned, I believe the key to the successful Summer Pantry is to stock up on versatile, shelf-stable ingredients so you can knock out a tray of hors d'oeuvres at a moment's notice.

Must-have options for the cupboard:
o A good quality mild cracker or crisp bread
o Cheese straws- (A true southern expectation. There are so many great store-bought versions there is no need to make them, most are foil sealed which gives them a long shelf life, or you can even freeze them.)
o Pickled veggies— For serving as antipasto or garnishing a Bloody Mary or Martini
o Canned dolmades- (stuffed grape leaves), a Greek treat stuffed with rice.
o Jarred roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes— Items like these plus a little fresh garlic dress up a jarred pasta sauce, or can be used atop crackers in hors d'oeuvres
o Jarred pesto- Spread it on crackers or slices of crusty bread. (Pesto just tastes like summer to me and while I love to make it from scratch there are so many great jarred versions you can’t go wrong.)
o Nuts- Pistachios, smoked, mixed- (My favorite is Marcona almonds from Spain. They are sold at many specialty stores, but the best buy is from Costco. Marcona almonds are flat and crunchy, and have a more delicate flavor than American almonds. They're simple, classic, satisfying and healthy too.)
o Stuffed olives— keep a few jarred or canned varieties on hand, preferably good quality ones with a twist such as stuffed with garlic, jalapeno, or even almonds. (Sometimes I’ll buy a mixed jar of olives, drain and refill with a hearty red wine, but be sure to refrigerate if you do this)
o Unique or special salsa- (I usually keep a regional peach or fruit version and a great traditional flavor)
o Olive tapenade
o Jarred eggplant appetizer
o Wonderful fruit jam or chutney

o Good local honey
o Really great mustard
o Your favorite mayo (you can add things to it to make it a great spread)
o Dry salami, pepperoni or other cured meat
o A can of quality Italian tuna in oil for sauces or topping salads and crackers- (Truthfully I never keep this on hand this but I have a friend who swears by it!)


o Champagne or Prosecco— Serve alone in the evening or mix with juice and garnish with a strawberry for mimosas at brunch
o Sparkling water
o Soda
o Beer
o Red wine
o White wine

Seasonings, Stocks & Spices

o Extra virgin olive oil
o Balsamic vinegar and a flavored dipping oil- (like garlic, basil, or lemon)
o Sea salts ( I love the flavored versions like lavender or citrus)
o Chicken, Beef & Vegetable stock
o Garlic powder- (I prefer the jarred crushed garlic)
o Canned Italian tomatoes and paste (I love good canned tomatoes!)
o A good pre-made canned sauce (You can add some spices to give them a bit of flare. Without question an unusual pasta and a jar of sauce + added fresh garlic and herbs to brighten the flavors create a no-fuss dinner.)

Rice & Pastas
Boil, drain and pour your favorite sauce and you are good to go.

o Arborio ( aka: Risotto)
o A couple varieties of pastas (I like the idea of Penne, Linguini and Tri-colored Fusili)
o Jasmine or Brown Rice

Crusts, Bread & Shells in the Freezer
These are great to have in the freezer. Just thaw and fill with just about anything for a last minute appetizer or dessert.

o Frozen puff pastry
o French Baguette
o Ready-made pizza dough
o Pie crusts

Cheese in the Fridge
Most cheeses last for a really long time in the fridge, and can be a valuable addition to your Summer Pantry

o Cream cheese
o Goat cheese
o Wedge of Cheddar
o Chunk of Parmigiano- Reggiano
o Brie


o Vanilla ice cream (a really good one, I prefer good ole Hagen Daz)
o Cookies (I have a friend who makes a big batch of their favorite cookie dough and freezes them for an easy quick sweet end of a meal sometimes they make ice cream sandwiches. Take your favorite cookie, put a spoonful of ice cream and top with another cookie. Keep in the freezer until you are ready to serve. A simple & fun treat!)
o Pound cake
o Frozen fruit
o Chocolate or Caramel (I love a really great jarred chocolate or caramel sauce, in the summer there is something about a really great sundae or ripe fresh fruit dipped in chocolate or caramel simple yet decadent!)

Miscellaneous Items
o Beautiful or fun paper napkins & plates
o Easy melamine plates, trays and service ware
o Nice looking tooth picks & bamboo skewers

You don't want to be caught with nothing to serve when people drop by and your well-stocked Summer Pantry (and freezer) will ensure that you always have fun, party food available without much prep required. I will spotlight some of my favorite products, where to get them and what to do with them over the next few weeks. I know we have some really great entertaining friends out there…Have I missed something that you love to keep in your Summer Pantry? Please share your ideas! I love hearing from you!

Happy & Gracious Summer Entertaining!