Displaying items by tag: Compliments to the Chef, Paula and John Reardon

Thursday, 18 October 2018 13:48

A Single Serving

Hello my Foodie Friends!

The focus and awareness of single servings has been on the rise. Factors and benefits such as convenience, freshness, and dietary awareness have a major appeal to everyday consumers. Now more then ever individuals are placing importance on elements such as convenience and dietary awareness. Everyone ranging from busy families on the go to people dealing with the everyday chaos of life can take advantage of the handiness that single-serve products provide! Single-serve cooking can assist with the emphasis being placed on leading healthier lifestyles. Single-serve products provide the health and wellness many are looking for. Portion and calorie control are much easier for on-the-go consumers to calculate, which offers convenience.

The Ramekin is an item we sell at Compliments to the Chef that can help you with your quest for single servings. What, exactly, is a “ramekin?” A ramekin is a small, single-serving sized small mould or dish, traditionally round with a fluted exterior, in which ramekins or other individual portions of food, such as soufflés or mousses, are baked and served; (also) a small container for an individual serving of sauce.

Typically made of ceramics, ramekins are small bowls that are often associated with custard desserts. Yet there are a wide variety of uses for ramekins in your kitchen. They can be used to mix a small amount of ingredients, hold snacks or serve dips and salsas. You can also use ramekins to bake many different foods -- from sweets to main dishes. This is particularly beneficial if you’re watching your weight because eating from these small bowls will help you manage portion size, a key component in controlling caloric intake.

There are so many uses for a ramekin.  Here are a few:

You can bake eggs in a ramekin.  Eggs have been put on the bad food list in the past, but the truth is that they are a good protein option for starting your day. The cholesterol in eggs is in the yokes, so if that’s a concern you can always use just egg whites. Use ramekins to bake eggs as an alternative to the typical fried or scrambled eggs. Just crack an egg into a ramekin coated in nonstick cooking spray, pour one tablespoon of low-fat milk over it and season as desired. Try adding shredded low-fat cheese or Canadian bacon. You can also put vegetables like spinach, tomatoes or diced peppers on the bottom of the ramekin before adding the egg. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees F. The temperature of the egg should reach 160 degrees F, according to safety guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Bread pudding is usually a decadent dessert, but you can fit it into your healthy diet. Using your favorite bread pudding recipe and preparing it in ramekins allows you to have a small single serving, keeping calories under control. You can also experiment with swapping some of the ingredients to boost nutritional value. For example, use whole wheat bread and low-fat milk instead of white bread and heavy cream or whole milk. Recipes like the pear bread pudding featured in “The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook” uses these substitutes as well as several spices to make a healthier, flavorful dish.

Mini pot pies and meatloaves: Portion control and attractive food presentation are both advantages you’ll get when preparing main dishes in ramekins. Serving a personal pot pie or meatloaf to your family will likely be a hit, especially for kids. You can still prepare your recipes for these classics as usual and then divide the prepared food among the ramekins before baking. You may need to cut down the amount of your original recipe, however, if you plan to use only a few ramekins. If you’re concerned about grease filling up the ramekins when cooking mini meatloaves, try placing a piece of bread -- preferably somewhat stale or toasted -- in the bottom of the dish. The bread will absorb a large amount of the grease. It will also help to use leaner ground beef; try to use 90 to 93 percent lean.

Fruit desserts: Ramekins are ideal for many classic desserts, such as custards, mousses and even mini baked cheesecakes. They also work well for baking individual fruit desserts, such as crisps and cobblers. Crisps use a topping primarily made with dried oats while cobblers are flour based. An additional advantage to preparing desserts this way is that you can use a variety of fruits to prepare several different crisps or cobblers at once.

One of our favorite uses for ramekins is for single servings of mac n cheese recipe. Mac n cheese is down home comfort food and it makes you feel all warm and cozy. These little ramekins are ideal for individual servings of mac n cheese. I love the whole experience – I hold the ramekin as I scoop some out and I feel the warmth of it since it just came out of the oven. I scoop in and get a large spoonful of cheesy goodness. Along with the cheesy inside there is this crunchy and crumbly topping that might even be the best part of the dish. Here is the recipe - Amazing I tell you!!

Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs to pick up an array of sizes of ramekins and cool tools to assist you with your culinary needs. Enjoy those ridiculously delicious single serving creations. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & Paula


Mac n Cheese Ramekins


Published in Food
Thursday, 11 October 2018 12:36

Piece of Pizza

Hello my Foodie Friends!

One of our family’s favorite foods is pizza, especially Paula’s homemade pizza.  Pizza is an excellent all around family food that every person can personalize and enjoy on the day it is cooked, or the following day (Breakfast Pizza?).  It is also a perfect “on the go” food to help with the crazy schedules that we all have. Back in the days before children, pizza was a frequent meal for Paula and me. Our lives were basically like “two ships passing in the night.” 

When Paula and I first dated, one of our favorite romantic places to eat was an Italian restaurant called Verdolini’s. We were there so much they knew our order when we came in.  The waitresses used to elbow each other and fuss over the young lovers. They were planning our wedding even before we even thought about getting married. The lighting and ambiance was straight out of a movie. The whole Verdolini family worked there and when he was old enough, my brother Bill worked there also. They made a pizza that was different from any pizza I have had before or since. Paula was curious about their ingredients and how it was made.  She would ask and they would say “it’s a secret.” We had my brother Bill, however, as our spy on the inside.  Bill would bring home any leftover pizzas at the end of the night and hand them out to whoever wanted them.  He could not manage to get the entire recipe from the owner but he got enough that he and Paula came close. One of the special parts was baking them in their stone oven.  We have tinkered with it over the years and I think Paula’s pizza is now perfect. That’s the thing about pizza; it’s a personal taste type of food.  The way I like it might be different than the way someone else likes it and that’s ok.    

Paula still enjoys making homemade pizza. One of our favorite items in the store that we use to make our pizza is a Pizza Stone made by Old Stone Oven.  Over 35 years ago, Old Stone Oven Company introduced the original baking stone for home use.  This pizza stone is thicker than other stones. It is made of a special blend of lead-free clays and has porosity and heat retention that is unmatched for giving a delicate crispy, restaurant-quality crust to any pizza, focaccia, or other breads in a standard home oven.  It is oven and grill safe to 2000˚ Fahrenheit. The Old Stone Oven Pizza stone has a heat core that is specially engineered to concentrate heat evenly at the center. This solves the problem of a large pizza having an undercooked center while the outer edges are crispy. These stones can be used with care on outdoor grills – both charcoal and gas fired. They are also made in the USA. The trick to a crispy pizza is to heat the stone in the oven prior to putting your prepared pizza on it. 

Stop by downtown Saratoga Springs’ Compliments to the Chef at 33 Railroad Place where we have Cool Tools for Cooks. Get creative with your pizza and make lasting memories.

After 60 years in business, our hometown Italian Restaurant, Verdolini’s, closed due to a flood and family health problems but they live in our memories forever. 

Enjoy making pizza with your family and friends. Sing, dance, play music really loud, and have fun eating your very own creation. Remember Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” 

 Take Care,
John & Paula


Neopolitan Pizza


Published in Food
Thursday, 04 October 2018 12:35

Wrap It Up

Hello my Foodie Friends!

School has been in session now for a month. New routines such as school lunches, weeknight dinners, and afternoon snack attacks can put your kitchen into a state of chaos. When my children were younger and in primary school, they insisted that they bring their lunch. With mine and Paula’s hectic corporate jobs, the night before included the additional job of determining what our children wanted us to pack for their lunch.

We have a new really cool item that will help with your prep - Z-WRAPS. Z wraps are natural, sustainable and practical. They are an all natural, reusable modern way to protect your food and the environment. Aren’t we all tired of constantly throwing away plastic bags? With cotton fabrics in signature designs, these sustainable wraps are handcrafted in beeswax, organic jojoba oil and tree resin in Z-Wrap’s workshop in Western Massachusetts USA!!!

Z-wraps are not just for sandwiches. There are many different uses for them.  Z-Wraps bring simple sophistication to your home or lunchbox, and a touch of warmth to a gift or dinner party. There are four different sizes:  Small: Perfect for little slices of cheese, cut up veggies, and other tiny nibbles. Medium: This is your sandwich wrap! Fits a block of hard cheese perfectly. Wrap up some leftovers or cover a bowl, it’s that simple. This is a very versatile size. Large: Take a covered dish to a potluck in style! This is for larger pieces of freezing food. Extra Large: Super-sized wrap for your biggest food items. Great for a baguette or loaf of bread; cover large bakeware pieces or wrap big, green, leafy veggies. 

Here are some fun facts about Z-Wraps:

Wrap your Z Wrap around food or over a dish. And let the warmth of your hands do all the work. The Z Wrap cools quickly and will hold its seal or stick to a bowl. It’s best to use a Z Wrap that’s bigger than the item you’re wrapping. While a small one should be sufficient for a sandwich or a small amount of fresh herbs, a large bowl will work best with a wrap that falls at least half way down from the top.  If it’s sticky, that’s a good sign! It means your Z Wrap is ready to do its job – seal around your food. They are designed that way so they can wrap tightly around food or a dish, with the warmth of your hands. 

Use your Z Wrap to wrap hard cheeses, fruit, vegetables, bread, fresh herbs, and baked goods. You can also use it to cover leftovers in bowls and baking dishes. We do not recommend using your Z Wrap to wrap raw meat or eggs.Your Z Wraps should last up to one year, depending on how much you use them and how well you care for them. Make sure they do not come into contact with hot water or hot surfaces or the wax will melt and they won’t last as long. We like to roll up our Z Wraps and store them in a basket. You can also store them flat, inside a kitchen drawer or on a shelf. We recommend keeping them in a cool place. 

Z Wraps are handcrafted with 100 percent cotton fabrics in signature designs, as well as beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. Beeswax is a natural wax made by a certain type of honey bees. It has antifungal and antibacterial properties that help keep your food fresh and clean. Beeswax is both waterproof and breathable, so it protects your food from getting wet at the same time as keeping in moisture. In short, it helps keep your food fresher for longer. Like beeswax, jojoba oil is antimicrobial. Tree resin helps your Z Wrap stick to itself and to other vessels.

Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad place and catch some “Z’s” as in “Wraps” to help you wrap it up in your kitchen. We also have a great assortment of cool tools for cooks to assist you with your culinary needs. Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen” with your family!! 

 Take Care,
John & Paula


Lunchbox Pizza


Published in Food
Thursday, 27 September 2018 12:28

Let’s Make Pasta!

Hello my Foodie Friends!

 I love Pasta. There, I said it. It is a weakness I have. Homemade pasta is a bigger weakness. Once you experience homemade pasta, it is close to impossible to go back to the store brand pastas.  Making homemade pasta can require extra time – but it is worth it.  If you haven’t ventured past the convenience of dried pasta, it’s time to make some changes in your life. We have nothing against dried pasta — there is definitely a time and a place for it, and in fact, sometimes there’s nothing better for a quick and satisfying weeknight dinner. If you’ve ever tried homemade pasta, however, you understand what pasta is really all about. Homemade pasta is a little chewy and very tender; it really does just melt in your mouth. It may sound difficult, but making your own pasta is actually much easier than you might think. Fresh pasta comes together quite quickly. Mixing and kneading the dough takes about 10 minutes, then you let it rest for 30 minutes. You can use this resting time to pull together the ingredients for the pasta sauce. After resting, rolling out and cutting, the dough takes maybe another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how fast you go and how many helpers you have.

Speaking of helpers, it helps to have a few. You can definitely do it by yourself, but it’s really nice to have an extra set of hands, especially if you’re hand-cranking the dough through a counter-top pasta roller. Whether working by yourself or with someone else, I find that you fall into a rhythm of rolling the sheets of pasta, cutting the noodles, and sprinkling everything with flour.

Once you’ve made your pasta, you can cook it right away, dry it, or freeze it for later. When you do cook it, remember that homemade pasta cooks much more quickly than the dried pasta you buy in stores. Give it about four minutes in salted boiling water, taste it, and keep checking in one-minute increments until the pasta is al dente.  Add spinich or carrots to create more colorful pastas. What’s fun about these pastas is that the dough is really colorful and contains very concentrated vegetable juices, but they don’t have an overt vegetable taste. They are delicious, and I am pretty sure they could still pass a picky eaters taste test. Unless the picky eater hates colors. 

Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place to pick up a Marcato Atlas Pasta machine and other pasta accessories.  Plan an evening with Italian wine and appetizers and then roll up your sleeves to make pasta from scratch. Work your magic in the kitchen. Enjoy dinner al fresco (Caesar salad, bread, pasta, chicken Marsala, tiramisu for dessert and, of course, finished with home-made limoncello)  and share an evening with great company and interesting conversation – all the ingredients for a truly memorable meal.  Remember; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” “Mangia.”

 Take Care,
John & Paula



4 to 6 servings

3 large eggs
2 cups flour, plus extra   for rolling the pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mixing bowl
Fork or dough whisk
Pasta machine 
Baking sheet
Clean dishtowel

1. Combine the Flour and Salt: Whisk together flour and salt with a fork in a mixing bowl.
2. Add the Eggs: Create a deep well in the middle of the flour and crack the eggs into this well. Whisk the eggs to combine.
3. Begin Combining the Flour and Eggs: As you whisk the eggs, begin gradually pulling in flour from the bottom and sides of the bowl. Don’t rush this step. At first, the eggs will start to look like a slurry. Once enough flour has been added, it will start forming a very soft dough. Don’t worry if you haven’t used all the flour.
4. Knead the Pasta Dough: Turn the dough and any excess flour out onto a clean counter. Begin gently folding the dough on itself, flattening, and folding again. It will be extremely soft at first, then gradually start to firm up. Once it’s firm enough, begin kneading the dough. Incorporate more flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to you or the counter. Slice into the dough with a paring knife; if you see lots of air bubbles, keep kneading. The dough is kneaded when it forms a smooth elastic ball and has very few air bubbles when cut.
5. Rest the Pasta Dough: Clean and dry the mixing bowl. Place the ball of dough inside and cover with a dinner plate or plastic wrap. Rest for at least 30 minutes.
Note: At this point, the pasta dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Let it come back to room temperature before rolling.
6. Divide the Pasta Dough: Sprinkle a baking sheet generously with flour and scrape the ball of dough on top (it will stick to the bowl; use a spatula or bowl scraper if necessary). Divide the dough into four equal portions. Dust the portions with flour and cover with a clean dishtowel.
Note: Keep everything well-floured to prevent the pasta from sticking to itself or the roller as you work. If the dough starts to feel sticky as you roll it, sprinkle it with flour. Also sprinkle flour on any pasta you’re not working (rolled, cut or otherwise) with and keep it covered with a dishtowel.
7. Begin Rolling Out the Pasta: Set your pasta machine to the thickest setting (usually marked “1”). Flatten one piece of dough into a thick disk between your hands and feed it through the pasta roller. Repeat once or twice. Fold this piece of dough into thirds, like folding a letter, and press it between your hands again. With the pasta machine still on the widest setting, feed the pasta crosswise between the rollers (see picture). Feed it through once or twice more until smooth. If desired, repeat this folding step. This helps to strengthen the gluten in the flour, giving it a chewier texture when cooked.
8. Thin the Pasta: Begin changing the settings on your roller to roll the pasta thinner and thinner. Roll the pasta two or three times at each setting, and don’t skip settings (the pasta tends to snag and warp if you do). If the pasta gets too long to be manageable, lay it on a cutting board and slice it in half. Roll the pasta as thin as you like to go. For linguine and fettuccine, I normally go to 6 or 7 on the KitchenAid attachement; for angel hair or stuffed pastas, I go one or two settings thinner.
9. Cut the Pasta: Cut the long stretch of dough into noodle-length sheets, usually about 12-inches. If making filled pasta or lasagna, proceed with shaping. If cutting into noodles, switch from the pasta roller to the noodle cutter, and run the sheet of pasta through the cutter. Toss the noodles with a little flour to keep them from sticking and gather them into a loose basket. Set this basket on the floured baking sheet and cover with a towel while you finish rolling and cutting the rest of the dough.

Homemade Fettucine

SAVE THE DATE: “Pasta Making: Past and Present”
Join us for a Pasta Making Demo at Compliments to the Chef on September 29 from 12-3 p.m. with Professor/Chef Rocco Verrigni. 


Published in Food
Wednesday, 19 September 2018 20:00

Through Thick or Thin

Hellomy Foodie Friends!

The cooler autumn months are a great time to make those heartier dishes that stick to your ribs. One of our favorite dishes is Eggplant Parmigiana. 

When my wife Paula was at the end of her due dates for our children, she was always encouraged by the Italian women in the family to eat Italian food to induce her labor.  We won’t promise you that by eating Eggplant Parmigiana you are guaranteed to go into labor, but according to some of the Old Italian wives’ tales, it may be just the trick to get your baby’s show on the road. Ironically enough, Paula did eat Eggplant prior to each time she went into labor (early or not). Making Eggplant Parmigiana can be a tedious task of slicing and prepping.  Do you have a mandoline hiding in the back of your pantry, just begging to be used? Essentially, you can accomplish much of a mandoline’s work with a steady hand and a sharp knife. However, when slicing up zucchini ribbons, slicing eggplant or shredding brussel sprouts, mandolines cut prep time down significantly and promise consistent, even results. And they’re fun to use! Especially when you need to create consistently thick or thin slices for your favorite recipe. At Compliments to the Chef we carry several different brands of mandolines. The OXO Good Grips mandoline is a perfect tool for home chefs. It is a trusty tool through thick and thin (produce). Slice or julienne cucumbers, potatoes and more with a turn of the comfortable dial on the Chef’s Mandoline Slicer.  We also carry mandolines by Zyllis and the Asian style Benriner. Each mandoline includes a food holder that protects hands and the stainless steel blade quickly makes even slices. All blades store safely on board and are removable for easy cleaning. With this easy-to-use mandoline hands and fingers stay away from sharp blades at all times. Most mandoline’s come with three or four slicing blades beyond the basic blade. These allow you to slice paper thin, a little thicker (think potato chips), thick julienne (think french fries), and thin julienne. If you’re not sure how your blades will slice, invest in a few potatoes and try each setting out. It’s usually a good idea to have a few extra veggies on hand when you’re learning to use your mandoline as well so you can get the hang of the whole process.

Enjoy making your favorite recipes with the use of a tool that can make life easier for you through thick or thin (slices). Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs for cool tools for cooks. If you are waiting for a new little one to arrive (maybe try some Eggplant to get things moving along!!). Even not, Eggplant Parmigiana is delicious. Put on some Italian music and sing while you are cooking. Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” 

 Take Care,
John & Paula


Eggplant Parm

SAVE THE DATE: “Pasta Making: Past and Present”
Join us for a Pasta Making Demo at Compliments to the Chef on September 29 from 12-3 p.m. with Professor/Chef Rocco Verrigni. 


Published in Food
Friday, 14 September 2018 10:34

Apple of my Eye

Hello   my Foodie Friends!

Well it’s September and you know what that means?  No, it’s not just John and Paula’s birthday month, it is Apple time in New York. Wow, apple pies, apple sauce, apple turnovers, apple juice and cider and simply - apples. 

I was reminiscing with my wife the other day, remembering one special time, long ago in the month of September that my brothers and I had.  It was the great army tent camp out and apple raid. We grew up in your typical baby boomer neighborhood of 4.7 kids per household.   I was age 8 and my brothers were 7 and 6 respectively. We had just moved to the neighborhood and were hoping to make friends with the other kids. My dad who still had ties to his army buddies, went out and bought an army surplus tent. But this wasn’t just any tent, it was huge. It made the tents on the TV show Mash look tiny. So we begged our dad for a camp out and could we invite some of our new friends from the neighborhood. He said “sure” so we proceeded to invite every little boy in the neighborhood. But there was one requirement: you had to have a bike. One particular evening at about dusk, there was a convoy of little boys on bikes with their sleeping bags and pillows. My parents were a little overwhelmed when about 15 little boys of various ages ranging from 5 to 8 years old arrived at the Reardon household doorstep. My parents had to ask each little boy for their phone number to speak to their parents to make sure it was okay with them to spend the evening at our home. We all bunked in side by side in the tent and we fit with ease. I was the oldest by two months so my dad said “you’re in charge, and I don’t want any shenanigans from you kids.” Later, when my dad left, I looked at my army and said; “Oh boy are we going to have fun!” A half mile away was the biggest apple orchard in town. We waited until we knew everyone was asleep. You see, I had a plan. I told all of the boys to take the pillow cases off of their pillows and we were going on a raid to get apples. Now, some of the younger ones were very afraid so we said if you don’t want to go you can stay here and we will be back soon. We got on our bikes, wrapped our pillow cases around our necks, and headed out for the local orchard. When we got there, we all started quietly picking apples. We had our pillow cases about half full when one of the boys, I think it was Johnny Babbs or Karl Sobie, started yelling there was a dog and somebody was coming. Pillow cases started to get dropped and I yelled out “run for it, lets get to the bikes!” We urgently took off for home. I held on to my apples because I didn’t want to let them go. We giggled when we got back until we finally fell asleep. The next day, word of the apple raid got out. My mom demanded that Danny, Billy, and I return the apples and apologize to the owner of the apple orchard. It was the longest bike ride of our lives. We rode onto his farm and knocked on his door. An “old” man answered the door or at least I thought he was old, but he was probably 45. We told him that we were sorry and we returned the apples and that we meant no harm. He was not a happy farmer. He told us that this is how he fed his family and that when you took his apples you were taking from his family’s table. His dog came out to greet us also; it was a small dog but seemed big to us at the time. He let us go and said don’t do it again. To the rest of the kids in the neighborhood, we were heroes because they didn’t have to go back and apologize. The story of that raid is still told today when we get together. 

So that leads to the fun gadgets that you can use for your apple pleasures. The first gadget is a simple corer and removes the core with a simple twisting motion.  The next one is an apple corer/divider. In one motion, you can core and slice your apples into eight pieces. The last one is an apple peeling machine which is quick and easy to use. It works great with apples or potatoes. It can slice and core, or just peel. It is suction mounted and holds securely to smooth surfaces. This one is great if you have kids that have braces on their teeth so they can still enjoy apples. Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs for your assortment of apple cooking gadgets to help you with your family culinary creations. 

Our children are the apples of our eyes. So let’s have fun picking apples and making beautiful family memories together. Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen!” 

 Take Care,
John & Paula


Apple Crisp

SAVE THE DATE: “Pasta Making: Past and Present”
Join us for a Pasta Making Demo at Compliments to the Chef on September 29 from 12-3 p.m. with Professor/Chef Rocco Verrigni. 


Published in Food
Thursday, 06 September 2018 13:17

“It all comes of liking honey so much...”

Hello  my Foodie Friends!

The movie Christopher Robin was out this past August. The story of Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh brings back some of the most precious memories I have of my children being very young. One of my favorite songs (that I also play in the store) is “Return to Pooh Corner” by Kenny Loggins. Each time that song plays it pulls me back to the magical times of my children being little and saw all of the tiny little miracles that we seem to overlook as we get older. One of the reasons I often think of Winnie the Pooh is that he loves “hunny.”  Pooh Bear is nothing if not consistent. He gets stuck in honey pots. He falls in honey pots. He knocks over honey pots. When he is hungry for honey, his stomach rumbles loudly so that everyone is aware. And then, watch out because he will stop at nothing to get that honey; even if it’s from a tree full of bees. That is commitment and a huge reason why we love Pooh.

As I reminisce about reading stories about Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin to my children, I think about the books that first make us fall in love with reading and stay with us forever. I often think about the impact of Pooh on my love for honey. My wife puts honey in her coffee each morning and uses it for many recipes throughout the year. With the kids back to school and the mornings full of energy to get out of the house, honey is a wonderful treat to put in your morning oatmeal or on top of your favorite muffin. 

At Compliments to the Chef, we offer a beautiful way to store and quickly serve your honey.  The stylish Kilner honey pot comes complete with a beech wood dipper that is ideal for storing and serving your honey. It is also versatile for preserving and pickling any fruits and vegetables. This Honey pot features a clip top lid ad rubber seal for freshness and has a 0.35L capacity. Honey isn’t just for afternoon tea. From a glazed ham to a caramelized pudding, there are so many recipes that are the perfect excuse to get your fingers a little sticky.

Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place to get your special “hunny” something to help with their culinary needs. We are never too old to re-read some of our own childhood favorite stories and to make magical memories with our family. Create traditions and draw upon those times that make you most happy.   Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & Paula

“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think - Christopher Robin” 

-A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh


Honey Pears

SAVE THE DATE: “Pasta Making: Past and Present”
Join us for a Pasta Making Demo at Compliments to the Chef on September 29 from 12-3 p.m. with Professor/Chef Rocco Verrigni. 


Published in Food
Wednesday, 29 August 2018 20:00

Spin Class for Foodies

Hello  my Foodie Friends!

I cannot complain when it comes to hot weather. With hot weather comes the yearning for lighter fares such as salads. Creating imaginative salads was always a favorite to do by my children.  When they were young (and still occurs) our eldest child, John would be accused (by his sister Aubrey) of not wanting to help in the kitchen with the making of the salads.  One of the best and fun solutions was to get a Salad Spinner. This tool assisted us back then and still does today. How did we know our son liked it? When we would come home and the video game would be on pause and salad ingredients everywhere (we knew he was having fun and using the tool).

Why would you consider using a salad spinner? No one likes a wet salad. But there are two important reasons that go beyond personal preference that make spinning your salad a necessity. The first is that most salad dressings are oil-based. Water repels oil, and so salad greens covered in water will repel dressing. This will result in the dressing pooling at the bottom of your salad bowl instead of coating the greens.

The second reason to remove water from your salad is to retain its freshness. The more moisture that’s in your salad, especially if you’re not dressing the whole thing at once, the more quickly it will go bad. The leaves will turn brown and everything will lose its crisp texture if it sits in excess moisture. If you’re not planning on consuming all of your salad immediately, make sure each of its components is as dry as possible before combining them. 

If those two essential warnings against wet greens have not convinced you that you need a salad spinner in your life, fear not, there are plenty of other reasons to get one. Many people think of salad spinners as one-trick ponies that only serve a single purpose and otherwise occupy more than their fair share of precious space in your home, but they actually have quite a number of alternate uses. Salad spinners are useful for washing and drying a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. They are ideal because you can wash and dry things in a single container, and the spinning action they use is delicate enough that it won’t damage or bruise your produce. The next time you need to wash berries, broccoli, green beans, or mushrooms, try using a salad spinner. You’re sure to delight in how dry its contents become, and how quick and easy it is to use. You can also use the internal compartment of your salad spinner as a colander for fresh-cooked pasta. If you’re making a cold dish like pasta salad, spinning the noodles to remove the excess starchy water will cool them more quickly and also help keep them from sticking together.

The basket is also great for defrosting meat and drying before cooking. Vegetables from which it is good to remove excess moisture before frying like zucchini, eggplant, and shredded potatoes, can also be dried in a salad spinner, rather than squeezed out by hand. It also works well as a small dryer for hand-washed delicates.

Do you wash your greens and berries?  Washing your salad ingredients can reduce the risk of illness.  Listeria and E-Coli are dangerous food-borne illnesses that have been present in unwashed salads.  It is difficult to wash salads. The Salad Spinner is a tool that has become a kitchen must-have. 

One of our favorites and best sellers is the Zyliss Easy Spin Salad Spinner. It’s one pull to gourmet salad that’s as easy as 1-2-3. Zyliss has engineered a high-performing innovative glide wheel motion that results in smooth operation and a consistent, fast movement effectively drying and fluffing greens and herbs. This upgraded model of a classic includes an approved ergonomic handle design and break button with quick braking action to fluff salad. Founded over 50 years ago, Zyliss is a Swiss company which enjoys international popularity for finely crafted hand-held kitchen tools. Known for their legendary durability, quality and engineering, Zyliss tools have been a favorite in the United States for over four decades. All of the Zyliss products are made of only the finest materials, using the most modern production methods. Each Zyliss tool is precision made, and undergoes stringent inspection before being introduced to the market.

Salad Spinners, they bring siblings together! Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place to check out the Zyliss Salad Spinner and an assortment of other cool tools for cooks.  Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Have a safe and wonderful Labor Day Weekend. 

 Take Care,
John & Paula


Here is a great recipe to use for this holiday weekend. Use the salad spinner to help!

seven layer salad

“Pasta Making: Past and Present”
Join us for a Pasta Making Demo at Compliments to the Chef on September 29 from 12-3 p.m. with Professor/Chef Rocco Verrigni. 


Published in Food
Thursday, 23 August 2018 20:00

Happiness is…Cheesecake

Hello  my Foodie Friends!

This weekend marks the 149th running of the Travers Stakes for Saratoga Springs. Travers is the most popular day during the entire Saratoga summer racing meet. The city will be packed with residents and tourists. Many of us will be creating menus’ for our guests who will be traveling in to watch this spectacular event. This weekend is also my Mother-in-law’s 86th Birthday. Her favorite dessert, and one that would be a great one to serve your guests, is Cheesecake. My Mother-in-law makes her cheesecake with a graham cracker crust layered, crushed pineapple, and cherries. 

Cheesecake is can be a unique global dessert. Each region of the world also has its own take on the best way to make the dessert. Italians use ricotta cheese, while the Greeks use mizithra or feta. Germans prefer cottage cheese, while the Japanese use a combination of cornstarch and egg whites. There are specialty cheesecakes that include blue cheese, seafood, spicy chilies and even tofu! In spite of all the variations, the popular dessert’s main ingredients – cheese, wheat and a sweetener –remain the same.

No matter how you slice it, cheesecake is truly a dessert that has stood the test of time. From its earliest recorded beginnings on Samos over 4,000 years ago to its current iconic status around the world this creamy cake remains a favorite for sweet tooth’s of all ages.

To help make a cheesecake, you do need very important tools – the Spring form Pan.

Spring form pans are a kitchen essential for producing flawlessly smooth cheesecakes, perfectly crusted tarts, or intricate ice cream cakes without damage to their tops, bottoms, or sides. Meant to eliminate the risks associated with removing cakes from traditional pans, removing your product from the pan is the final step before placing your delicate treats on display, serving to the customer, or packaging them to go.

Many people ask me how I won Paula’s heart and I tell them on our first date I brought a dozen Red Roses and a cheesecake to meet her Mom and Dad.  When I entered their home carrying both of them Paula said, “Wow, how did you know my mom loves cheesecake?” Thinking quick on my feet, I looked at Paula’s mom and said “here I got these for you!”   Paula’s mom quickly responded: “no one ever gets me flowers and cheesecake!” Her dad (retired Army Master Sergeant) just smiled at me and said in his southern drawl: “nice job young man”.  I was on a roll with my improvising and I told them that, in my family, it is a custom to give gifts to the mom.  So my sage advice to all young suitors out there is take care of the Mom and good things will follow. 

Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place. We have an assortment of spring form pans and accessories to assist with your Travers Stakes celebrations. Remember my Food Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” 

 Take Care,
John & Paula


SAVE THE DATE: “Pasta Making: Past and Present”
Join us for a Pasta Making Demo at Compliments to the Chef on Saturday, September 29 from Noon until 3 p.m. with Professor/Chef Rocco Verrigni. 




Published in Food
Wednesday, 15 August 2018 20:00

“Love is All Around”

Hello  my Foodie Friends!

August can be a very warm month and it becomes a quest to stay cool. We tend to eat lighter and refreshing foods during this time of year. One of my favorite summer combos is strawberries and cream.  Our children love waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. When they were younger they probably could have eaten it every single day and not get sick of it.  This combo is also great on or in cake such as a gorgeous Swiss roll.  This is a perfectly refreshing summer dessert that is loved by all! Cake rolls look really fancy as well as complicated but they are actually quite easy to make. One essential item you need to make a cake roll is a jelly roll pan. A jelly roll pan (typically 10½ by 15½ inches) is simply a smaller version of a rimmed baking sheet (about 12 by 18 inches). When it comes to equipping your kitchen, baking sheets are more versatile. You can use one to roast a large batch of vegetables, bake a dozen or more cookies, or even make a large sheet cake. A jelly-roll pan has 1-inch-high sides and is perfect for making cake rolls; it can stand in for a cookie sheet in a pinch.

Love is all around especially when we bring and serve fantastic desserts. We have a ton of bakeware to assist with your fun summer culinary desserts. Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad place for your “cool dessert” culinary needs. Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & Paula

 Strawberry Swiss Roll

Published in Food
Page 11 of 12


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