Posts Tagged ‘Pacific Merchants Trading Company Blog’

Make Our Broccoli Casserole this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

This Christmas, make yourself a delicious side dish that’s sure to delight your tastebuds. A family tradition, our Account Executive Jill’s aunt has been making her Broccoli Casserole for years, and has graciously shared it with us for our blog!

This recipe is just the perfect size for our 9×9 square cane baker, which is sure to look great on any Christmas dinner table.

Ingredients

  • 1 small package frozen Broccoli
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 1/2 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 well beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. chopped onion
  • 15 Butter Crackers
  • 2 tbsp. butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Farenheit). Bring a pot of water to a boil, cook broccoli for two minutes and then drain. Mix all ingredients, save crackers and butter, together. Transfer mix to casserole dish.

Place crackers in a sealed plastic bag, and gently smash them, making sure not to break them up too much. Sprinkle mixture on top of casserole dish, and place small pieces of butter around the top as well. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, do not cover dish.

We hope you enjoy this Broccoli Casserole Recipe as much as Jill has over the years!

Christmas is Coming… and Guess Who’s Getting Fat?

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

The Royal Christmas Pudding Basin by Mason Cash

The British Royal Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding is a big deal in Great Britain, even for the British Royal Household. For the past several years, Queen Elizabeth II has gifted hundreds of her loyal subjects, family and friends with Christmas Puddings prepared and presented in none other than Mason Cash pudding basins! We are proud to offer a brief and fascinating history of Christmas Pudding in the English tradition, and a tremendously long and deliciously overwrought recipe for same.

Happy Holidays!

Family recipes for Christmas Pudding are often closely guarded secrets, handed down from generation to generation. Many are based on the Royal family’s Sandringham recipe – rich with dried fruit and spices, some include nuts, grated apple or carrot – harking back to years when sugar was scarce.

The first Sunday in December is ‘Stir-up’ Sunday, the day when the best puddings are begun. It’s already time to roll up your sleeves and think about making the Christmas pudding. Some cooks go so far as to prepare it six months to a year in advance. In the old days, it was traditional for everyone in the house to come into the kitchen and give the batter a stir while making a wish. The puddings are cooked, cooled and tucked away in a dry place to wait for their final steaming on Christmas Day when they will be turned out onto a handsome dish, decorated with a sprig of holly and wreathed in blue flames from a generous dousing of warmed spirit.

It seems as if all of Fortnum and Mason’s stock goes into the recipe: currants, raisins, sultanas, almonds, candied fruit, ginger…. There may also be cherries and citron, or one of the two, or neither, depending on the recipe. Some chefs add to the mixture a diced russet apple and a grated carrot.

Tradition dictates that six objects be found in the pudding: two rings to bring love, a sixpence as a sign of prosperity, a trouser button for the bachelor, a thimble for the spinster, and a little pig who will determine the glutton at the table. The tradition of hiding silver coins in the pudding is a link to earlier days in English and Scottish courts when the leader of the Christmas revels was chosen on Twelfth Night by finding a bean hidden in the pudding

At the end of Christmas Day, after having listened to the Queen’s Christmas Message, the plum pudding is brought out to be enjoyed for tea on the stroke of five, as one raises a drop of port to toast the Queen!

The presentation is a festive affair. Dickens describes the arrival of the Christmas pudding in “A Christmas Carol”:

“Mrs. Cratchit entered, her face crimson, but smiling proudly, with the pudding resembling a cannon ball, all speckled, very firm, sprinkled with brandy in flames, and decorated with a sprig of holly stuck in the centre. Oh! The marvelous pudding!”

All guests receive a slice with a little dancing flame so that they can make a wish before it goes out.

Countrywide, brandy butter is served with the pudding alongside cream or custard, it’s a tradition that originated in Cumbria – where the best brandy butter is still made today, a delicious blend of butter, sugar and spirit with a hint of spice.

Ingredients

– 250 g (9 oz.) sultanas
– 250 g (9 oz.) seedless raisins
– 250 g (9 oz.) currants
– 10 g (2 tsp.) candied lemon zest
– 10 g (2 tsp.) candied grapefruit zest
– 20 g (4 tsp.) candied orange zest
– 20 g (4 tsp.) candied citron
– 125 g (4 oz.) candied cherries
– 60 g (2 oz.) blanched almonds
– 60 g (2 oz.) chopped almonds
– 500 g (18 oz.) chopped suet
– 250 g (8 oz.) rye bread crumbs
– 125 g (4 oz.) brown sugar
– 1/2 tsp. powdered cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
– 1/2 tsp. ginger
– A pinch of salt
– 4 tbsp. brandy
– 250 ml (1 cup) milk
– 30 g (2 tbsp.) butter
– 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
– 125 g (4 oz.) flour
– 2 tbsp. baking powder

Brandy butter

– 250 g (9 oz.) unsalted butter
– 250 g (9 oz.) icing sugar
– 50 ml (2 oz.) brandy
– Grated zest of 1 orange (optional)

Method

Quick method (only 7 hours!)
1. Chop the raisins, currants, cherries, candied fruit and peel;
2. Place all the dry ingredients into a large non-reactive bowl and combine; add the other ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended;
3. Line a Mason Cash pudding basin with a large piece of cloth that has been buttered and floured on each side; pour the mixture into the basin and enclose by folding in the four corners of the cloth; top with a piece of buttered parchment; cover;
4. Place the pudding in the oven in a pan half-filled with water or in a steamer on the stove top; cook for 6 hours at a bare simmer, checking the water level from time to time;
5. Remove the pudding from the pan and let cool;
6. Cover with a fresh cloth and parchment; replace the cover or wrap in aluminum foil and let ripen in a cool spot (not refrigerated) for at least one month. It will be even better if it ages longer!
7. On Christmas Day, return the pudding to the oven or steamer (as described in step 4) for 3 to 4 hours; unmould;
8. Flambé with brandy or cognac and serve hot with brandy butter.

Longer method… 216 hours! (7 days macerating time)

1. Chop the raisins, currants, cherries, candied fruit and peel; pour 1 litre (4 c.) of rum over top and let sit for 48 hours; drain, reserving the rum;
2. Combine all the ingredients except the eggs; add 200 ml (generous 3/4 cup) of the reserved macerating rum and the juice of an orange and a lemon; cover the bowl with a cloth moistened with rum and let sit 7 days. Stir the batter once a day, adding a little rum if necessary to keep the batter soft;
3. If the batter becomes too stiff, thin it with a small glass of old ale; if the batter is too thin, add a little flour and mix gently; continue with the recipe (above). As adapted from worldwidegourmet.com

Every Day is Mother’s Day!

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

I’m a little perverse when it comes to certain holidays. Every year I beg my husband not to buy me flowers or candy, or take me to a fancy restaurant on Mother’s Day. The flowers are marked up to astronomic levels, the candy goes straight to my hips, and the restaurants are overcrowded and impersonal. It makes me crazy that utterly contrived holidays, created solely to boost sales of consumer goods, have been indelibly imprinted on the guilt and obligation strands of our collective DNA. It’s not that I don’t mind a little appreciation on occasion, but hey— every day should be Mother’s Day! And Father’s Day, for that matter!!

Instead, I beg the kids to whip up a handmade card that I can decorate my office with, or perhaps serve me breakfast in bed. Last year was poached eggs, lemon crepes, and a yummy yogurt parfait! I ask my husband to barbecue for dinner. He is only too happy to select the perfect tri-tip and grill it to perfection, accompanied by my favorite pink bubbly. Yes, all I want for the holidays is a little family time, a soupcon of harmony, and good eats! And I have to say, I’m blessed. That’s just what I get!

In honor of Mothers everywhere – and every day! – 20% off our Mason Cash Batter Bowl, through May. Hint: perfect for lemon crepes, or plain old pancakes! Also, check out our comprehensive line of Mason Cash bake ware, mixing bowls, pudding basins and pet bowls, as well as our adorable Price & Kensington tea-for-one teapots –because “I love you” is a year round holiday!

— Celeste
(A special thank you to my wonderful husband, for letting me take his blog over this month.)

Lemon Crepes

Prep Time: 25 min
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Skill Level: Intermediate
Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

• 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup powdered sugar
• Juice of eight lemons
• 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 12 medium crepes
• 1/4 cup butter
• Splash of Cognac

Directions

Using a hand-held blender, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar, powdered sugar, juice of two lemons, 1 tablespoon of the lemon zest, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Fill each crepe with 3 tablespoons of the filling. Roll the crepes up tightly and place in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
In a large saute pan, over medium heat, melt the butter with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Add the remaining juice of six lemons and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest. Stir to mix thoroughly. Add the crepes to the mixture. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cognac. Carefully place the pan, back over the heat and flame the mixture, shaking the pan back and fourth several times. Continue to shake until the flame dies out. Lay three crepes in the center of each plate. Spoon the sauce over the top and serve.

Crepes:

• 3 eggs
• 1 1/4 cups milk
• 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
• 1 cup sifted flour
• Salt and white pepper

For crepes, combine the whole eggs, milk, butter, flour until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat a 7 1/2-inch crepe pan. Lightly oil the pan. Pour 2 tablespoons of the batter in the center of the pan. Tilt pan from left to right to cover entire surface. Cook the crepe until the edges begin to brown and flip cook until done. Remove from the pan.

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse

The Picasso of Placemats

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Serving a memorable meal is a fine art. That art begins with sumptuous cookery: delicious dishes composed with rich daubs of color, broad swathes of texture, and subtle accents of spice. But plating out a delightful dinner is only half the magic. Table setting provides the ultimate framework for the meal you’ve poured your culinary creativity into. Flowers – always. My wife loves when I bring them home, but often picks them fresh from the garden. My kids enjoy collecting pebbles, branches and leaves in the fall and creating the look of a little Japanese garden on the table. They’ve even used a battery operated dime store Zen fountain as a centerpiece, and the effect is charming. Candles? Absolutely, but keep them unscented so they don’t compete with the amazing smells wafting from your serving dishes. I’m also a big fan of oversized, oft washed, super soft dinner napkins. Buy the best and use them often. They just get better with age. But I have to admit that as a purveyor of placemats, I am most inclined to wax poetic about the spectacular qualities of these regularly rectangular, occasionally oval little beauties.

Placemats are a beautiful adornment for a bare table, but they also look lovely on a tablecloth. I recently attended a function at a very fancy restaurant and was pleased to see our Red Maple placemats embellishing a tablecloth of crisp white linen. The look was surprising, both modern and classic. I got a kick out of how several of the other diners commented on the table setting, without knowing the placemats were one of my products! I also surmised that the restaurateur was saving a fortune on laundry bills by using our dishwasher safe placemats on top of the linens!!

Placemats come in a wide variety of colors and weaves, and your best bet is to make sure they complement your dishes, serveware and home decor. Sometimes we serve off of very modern white dishes at home, and pretty much anything goes. Placemats can tie in with a seasonal or culinary theme, flowers, or even complement the color palette of the food being served – although I would warn against getting too cute and matchey-matchey. If you are serving on a patterned china, then the placemat should be more subtley paired, to be a backdrop for the plates. A tailored neutral is often best in that case. But whatever you do, have fun. Think a little outside the box – or rectangle – as the case may be. If you do, you are sure to produce a masterpiece!


As Seen In ACE Bristol Farms Dean & Deluca Sur La Table Whole Foods Williams Sonoma Wynn Las Vegas
© 2019 Pacific Merchants Trading Company. All Rights Reserved.