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Make a Merry Margarita

‘Tis the season to start thinking about holiday entertaining. Our new recipe for a Merry Margarita features fabulous seasonal flavors – tangerine, ginger, pomegranate – in a gorgeous and festive cocktail. We’re handing out the recipe this Sunday, November 22, at the North Shore Emporium. Tickets are free to this celebration of the best locally crafted food, but if you reserve online you will not have to wait at the gate. Continue reading Make a Merry Margarita

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Spiker’s Shrubs at the new Boston Public Market

Heading into Boston to check out the fabulous new Public Market? Be sure to stop by Corner Stalk Farm’s booth and pick up a box of gourmet greens hand-grown in their pesticide-free hydroponic East Boston compound. You can also pick up Spiker’s Shrubs to splash on your greens (or in your favorite spirits, seltzer, or tea). Our Pineapple Basil Shrub features basil fresh from Corner Stalk.

Check out our Master Recipe for vinaigrette here. Spiker’s Pineapple Basil Shrub makes greens sing! (You can use any of our shrubs for a delicious vinaigrette.)

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Dad deserves a cheese plate with a Spiker’s Shrub drizzle

Spiker’s Shrubs in cocktails and mocktails are like salt and pepper. What many people don’t know is that shrubs are a powerful secret weapon in your kitchen pantry when it comes to sauces, dressings, and gravies.

For Father’s Day, we’ll be at Shubie’s on Saturday, June 20 from 1-5pm to show you how you can turn Spiker’s Shrubs into an incredible fruity-tart drizzle for cheese plates and appetizers.

Shubie’s has one of the most impressive cheese selections on the North Shore. To showcase this selection, we created a variety of plating suggestions to pair with our master “cheese drizzle” recipe. Just 3 minutes in the microwave transforms our cocktail mixers into a floral, fruity-tart glaze.

For example, the gorgeous Jasper Hill Harbison shown here is a creamy, gooey, luscious cheese wrapped in a ribbon of spruce bark. The woodsy, citrus, and floral notes are intoxicating. Just bring the cheese to room temp, scoop it onto a cracker or slice of baguette, and drizzle with one of our Spiker’s Shrub drizzles. Or try a drizzle with these other cheeses from Shubie’s:

Cloumage, a fresh cream cheese style which is like a cross between ricotta and cottage cheese. Made in Westport, MA.
Brebirousse d’Argnetal, an addicting, creamy sheep’s milk brie from France.
Colston Bassett Stilton, by far the best Stilton in the world. A much cleaner, purer taste than other blues. Great minerality and and not overly pungent.

Curious? Come to Shubie’s on Saturday, June 20, from 1-5pm. Pick up some shrubs, cheese, artisan crackers and other condiments to create a fantastic gift basket for your favorite dad, neighbor, or friend.

 

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Set up a Shrubbuffet for New Year’s Eve cocktails and mocktails

ChampagneShrubCocktail

Looking for a fun and festive addition to your New Year’s Eve menu? While everyone is waiting to ring in the new, you can treat your guests to the new and refreshing combination of Spiker’s Shrubs paired with the Champagne or Prosecco of your choice (or Perrier for a designated driver special). Just set up a bar with the bubbly on ice, and an array of Spiker’s Shrubs. Tie a ribbon around a few tablespoons (use one-half to one tablespoon per glass), and your Shrubbuffet is ready for sipping, sampling, and toasting.

For a true Bellini, choose Spiker’s Peach Rosemary Shrub. Or spin out onto new territory by trying Tuscan Tangerine. We use the entire fruit — peel and all — in our Tangerine Shrub, so the concentrate carries with it not only the delightful citrus taste of tangerine but also a sophisticated bitter nuance from the oils in the peel.

Pineapple Basil, Apple Crisp, Pear Cardamom, and Cranberry Orange Shrub are also great options. Each of these shrub flavors changes your Bellini profile, and gives your guests additional reasons to raise a glass.

[box size=”large”]Make merry with mocktails! Don’t forget the non-drinkers (including designated drivers) at your party. Include chilled bottles of Perrier (our preference) and ginger ale and plenty of festive glasses, and let them enjoy the shrubbuffet too![/box]

Shop locally at these retail destinations.

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Cranberry Chocolate Soufflé Pie

Cranberries are almost always relegated to the relish bowl during the holidays. But in this light and airy treat — a chocolate soufflé shell filled with delicately perfumed cranberry filling simmered with Spiker’s shrubs (Crangerine, Sour Cherry Plum, or Berry Amour), and a drizzle of white chocolate — it gets to sit on the dessert table with all the other goodies. It’s gorgeous to look at, easy to make, delicious to eat, can be prepared in advance, and gluten-free.

The shell of this elegant dessert is assembled like a soufflé. But don’t worry: this is one soufflé that’s supposed to collapse. In fact, that’s what creates the well in the center where you add your cranberries. (What a nice change from rolled pastry or press-in-the-pan cookie crumb crusts!)

Give it a try. We think you’ll agree that the marriage of cranberries and chocolate is absolutely heavenly.

[gmc_recipe 685]

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Cuban Picadillo with Cranberry Shrub

picadillo, traditional dish in many latin american countriesPicadillo is a super-fast comfort food that can be whipped up on the stove top in under 30 minutes. (Or prepare in a slow cooker for walk-away convenience). The aromatic spices and the tangy sweetness contributed by the apple and cranberry are a welcome change from standard taco filling or Sloppy Joes. Serve this over rice, like a stew, or wrapped up in tortillas or lettuce leaves. Tastes great the next day, so feel free to make ahead. If you double the recipe, you can freeze the leftovers and thaw as needed for a yummy last-minute meal.

A finishing sprinkle of chopped pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and almonds provides a welcome crunch and an extra New World accent.

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Spiker’s Cranberry Blog is back!

Spikers_cranberries-in-boxLet the Thanksgiving countdown begin! If you aren’t yet in the mood for cranberries, you will be by the time turkey day rolls around! We’re doing our part to keep tradition alive by bringing back our annual “Cranberry Blog” and by introducing a brand new shrub flavor using this beautiful fruit which is one of three which can trace its roots to North American soil. (Grapes and blueberries are the other two.)

It’s not hard to find cranberries lovable. So round, so bouncy, so tart and tangy! And talk about versatile: Cranberries lend themselves to use in almost any kind of recipe (well, maybe not scrambled eggs), and they get along famously with other fruits (as we learned when we paired a shipment of the Bay State’s finest with fresh Valencia oranges, ginger, and clove to create our new Cranberry Orange Shrub.

Cranberry Orange Shrub retains the tannic bite of fresh, raw cranberries but is softened with enough sub-notes of fresh orange to turn that bite into more of a gentle nip. There’s still plenty of acidic balance thanks to the addition of apple cider vinegar, and the touch of ginger and clove add a welcome finish. Enjoy it by itself in an ice-filled glass of seltzer, or add a splash your favorite vodka, gin, or Pisco cocktail. At mealtime, sprinkle a bit of Cranberry Orange Shrub over raw or cooked greens, glaze a pork tenderloin during the final minutes of roasting, or add a few tablespoons to our favorite Cranberry Blackbottom Pie (recipe to come next week).

Cranberry Orange Shrub will be ready by November 15 — just in time for Amesbury’s annual Open Studio Tour. Stop by to see us at Kitchen Local, 14 Cedar Street. Or be sure to look for all of our shrub flavors at retailers near you.

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Shrub-glazed nuts are sweet, tart, and fast

SpikersShrub-GlazedNutsHave you ever made spiced nuts: the kind you coat with sugar and/or egg white and heat in the oven or the stove top? In my opinion most of the recipes are a pain. If you aren’t careful or you get sidetracked for just a few minutes, the entire batch can burn. If you add too much sugar, it might melt into jaw-breaking nuggets instead of a silky sheet of sweetness.

And speaking of sugar, take a look at the quantities that are usually called for. If this doesn’t cause a glycemic shock I don’t know what does.

There’s a better way to create glossy, delicately sweet nuts without all this fuss: just use a splash of Spiker’s Shrubs. Any flavor will do, but right now we’re partial to Apple Crisp, Peach Rosemary, and Pineapple Basil. The fruity, tart notes in each of the shrubs adds an extra layer of flavor to whatever spice blend you choose. And it takes less than three minutes for the liquid to reduce and coat the nuts with a lump-free sheen which allows the flavor of the nuts to take center stage.

Our master recipe is veritably fool-proof. Once you’ve made a basic batch,  consider some of the variations suggested here. You might never go back to the old ways again!

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Quick way to remove ribs from kale, collards, and other greens

Behold the de-ribbed leaf. From here, chop or chiffonade the leaves, or steam them whole for stuffed and rolled recipes.
Behold the de-ribbed leaf. From here, chop or chiffonade the leaves, or steam them whole for stuffed and rolled recipes.

I love this time of year! Although sweater weather usually heralds the end of summer’s lush green colors, a whole new family of green is arriving at our table: swiss chard, collards, kale, and more.

When lightly cooked and splashed with any flavor of Spiker’s shrubs, the tangy, fruity accent delivered by the shrub pairs beautifully with the iron-rich depth of the leaves.

The only thing that used to discourage me from consuming a healthy quantity of greens was the tedious preparation involved in stripping out the thick ribs from the centers of the leaves. But one day while fumbling in the knife drawer for a cutting tool, my friendly pizza cutter shined up from the throng of blades and said, “Try me!”

And the rest is history. The pizza cutter was so efficient at stripping out the ribs that the prep was done in no time. All you have to do is fold a leaf vertically, trim off the base of the them, and then use the pizza cutter to closely shave away the rib. Voila! What remains is a beautiful leaf ready to be chopped, or steamed whole for use in stuffed and rolled recipes.

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