Breaking Fresh Bread with Friends

We’re halfway through August and, dare I say it, summer is almost over (doesn’t it feel like it just started?!). Fall in our kitchen means root vegetables, casseroles, and of course, hearty soups. And what would a bowl of soup or a casserole be without some bread to sop up the juices? That’s why we’re excited to announce that at the end of this month, we’ll be starting to bake bread in the Never Enough Thyme kitchen and it’ll be available for you to pick-up along with your other treats at the Food Shop. Bread is a staple food that I think we sometimes take for granted – especially the traditional method of preparing it from scratch. Even if you’re not the one to do all the work, surely you can still appreciate a fresh, homemade loaf of bread.
Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods that has historically been popular around the world; but its significance goes beyond the plate and is ingrained (pun intended!) in many cultures. For instance, in Christianity, bread is an important part of the Eucharist at mass. And in some cultures, the type of bread one buys is a sign of social and economic circumstances – buying the more expensive bread means you’re financially secure, for example. And of course, the term “breaking bread”, metaphorically refers to “having a meal together”. So, whichever bread you choose to “break”, we hope you choose to share it with those who are important to you. Cheers!

Show Appreciation with Chocolate Grand Marquis

The other day a long-time customer stopped by and I was reminded why I love Elmira so much. She was one of our first customers 12 years ago when we started Never Enough Thyme and over the years we’ve been a part of her family through food at weddings, showers, and many birthdays.

In addition to food, we’ve shared laughs, visits, and friendship.

It’s a great feeling to know you’ve contributed to someone’s life in such a positive way and that you’re able to be a part of so many important events and milestones. And there are many people and families just like this who make my day when they come to visit and catch up. These are the relationships that have become a joy and privilege over the years within our family.

We feel blessed knowing we can walk down the street and people say “hi”. Small towns and small businesses don’t exist without the support of the community. The Downtown Elmira BIA is one such supporter who has worked hard to improve the shopping experience in the downtown core.

It’s been almost 13 years since we moved to Elmira, and it’s grown as time has passed, but you’ve continued to include us in your busy lives – and for that, we thank you!

Enjoy this dessert as a token of our appreciation, or make it for someone special to show them yours. There are a few bowls to clean afterwards, but it’s so worth it!

Chocolate Grand Marquis

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped, melted and smooth
  • ½ cup butter + ¼ cup butter, both at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar + ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup 35% whipping cream

Instructions

  1. Line spring form pan or loaf pan with plastic wrap.
  2. Use an electric mixer to beat ½ cup of butter until fluffy, then beat in first ¼ cup of sugar and the cocoa powder.
  3. Whisk 4 egg yolks, ¼ cup water, ¼ cup butter, and second ¼ cup sugar in metal bowl.
  4. Set over simmering water in a double-boiler, whisking constantly, until it reaches 160˚F (about 5 minutes).
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat the warm yolk mixture until thick and cool, about 5 minutes, then beat in cocoa mix.
  6. Fold in melted chocolate and vanilla.
  7. In another bowl, beat whipping cream into soft peaks and fold into chocolate mix.
  8. Spread into prepared pan and freeze.
  9. Enjoy!

 

Image: rakratchada torsap / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Elmira’s Blockbuster Days Are Here!

The Downtown Elmira BIA has been working hard on this week’s Blockbuster Sale. If you don’t already have it marked on your calendar, this annual event takes place this Thursday, Friday and Saturday – August 7, 8 and 9.

The Blockbuster Sale (formerly Sidewalk Sales) may be annual, but this year it has a new name, look, and exciting new activities. This event is fun for the whole family and begins Thursday where you can start off with shopping in downtown Elmira.

Some stores will remain open until 8 pm. Then after you shop-til-you-drop, you can enjoy live entertainment at the band shelter, grab dinner at a local restaurant, or stop by the Kin Club BBQ (at the old KFC parking lot).

The fun continues on Friday with a new addition this year of a barbecue and car show. Face painters, jugglers, a magic show, balloon artists and more will also be downtown on Friday.

But if you miss the first two days, you can still come back for more sales on Saturday. Of course, we’ll be there for the fun, too, so be sure to stop by the Food Shop!

Check out the Downtown Elmira BIA on Facebook or Twitter for up-to-date info on this must-attend event.

burger

It’s Burger Flippin’ Season

It’s the end of July and we’re well in to barbecue season. While my husband is usually the barbecuer in our family, I was excited to christen a new grill at the lake earlier this summer. Though the meal was simple, there’s still nothing quite like those grill marks and that smoky flavour. And opportunities to dress up any barbecue meal are always plenty.

We usually make burgers in batches and freeze them to have on hand for busy weeknights or to take for weekends away. This time, Wellesley Gourmet let us sample their tasty burgers. The chicken burger was my favourite – juicy and grilled to perfection!

To make our burgers a bit more “gourmet”, we gathered some of our favourites from the Never Enough Thyme store, including mango chutney, maple-chipotle BBQ sauce, onion marmalade, and pickled asparagus. It was a great mix that was perfect for kids and adults. The word “delish” comes to mind.

Making homemade burgers comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes and recipes – some have sauces, seasonings and fillers, including eggs. But to really let the beef shine, many chefs prefer this three-ingredient burger. There’s no over-mixing, and as long as the beef is fresh and of good quality, the flavour is wonderful. Now is a good time to make friends with your butcher!

Whatever you choose to throw on the grill, enjoy your barbecue season! Don’t forget the variety of cheeses, buns, toppings, preserves and sauces available locally. You’re only limited by your imagination. Here are some ideas to get you started. Happy grilling!

Three-Ingredient Burger

  •  750 g fresh medium or lean ground beef (you can mix your cuts to get the perfect mix of sirloin and chuck, for example)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper

 Instructions

  1. Place ingredients in bowl and combine.
  2. Press into 6 patties.
  3. Place on preheated grill on medium.
  4. Cook approximately 6 to 8 minutes on each side – they will be firm to the touch when cooked through.
  5. Allow to rest for 4 minutes and serve on a toasted roll with your favorite toppings. We suggest some of the following combinations:
  • Boursin cheese, bell pepper jelly and arugula
  • mango, brie and chicken
  • smoked cheddar, maple-kissed bacon, caramelized onions and BBQ sauce
  • Portobello mushroom, goat’s cheese, roasted red peppers, pesto and baby spinach

 

Image: KEKO64 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Working together to grow in a positive way”

elmira wibIf you’re a woman living or operating your business in Elmira, then the Elmira Women in Business (WIB) might interest you. Self-described as “a group of local women navigating business together”, the Elmira WIB meets monthly to network, enjoy guest speakers, and business showcases.

“The goal is to keep it casual and productive,” says Karen, owner of, and photographer at Green Apple Photography and one of the organizers for the monthly get-togethers.

“There are a lot of great women in our area who run their own businesses, and I found that there wasn’t a place, time, or group for us all to meet and connect together,” she adds.

Karen says that, so far, there has been a wide range of attendees, including a nutritionist, real estate agent, massage therapist, personal organizer, communications company owner, lawyer, nursery/garden centre owner, and web designer, to name just a few.

The goal of the networking nights is to allow people to meet other local businesswomen, share marketing ideas, discuss difficulties and opportunities for small businesses in Elmira, and to simply share your story.

At each meeting, the businesses are showcased and attendees can learn about how they operate, what they do for marketing, and what they offer the community.

There is also opportunity to learn more about specific business topics and women’s interests with guest speakers.

“Our latest speaker was Gail Martin, editor of The Elmira Independent. She gave a wonderful talk on building relationships with local media.”

The Elmira WIB website is under construction, but in the meantime, you can join their mailing list or stay up-to-date via Facebook and Twitter.

Local Strawberry Blessings

strawberries It’s that time of year in Ontario – where beautiful, delicious produce is fresh and plenty, something that we are blessed to have locally. Red and juicy berries are one of my favourites, when they’re in season.

We use strawberries a lot in the Never Enough Thyme kitchen – on salads, in scones, or with goat’s cheese and brie on a crostini. While there’s nothing quite like fresh strawberry jam on toast, these tasty little morsels are versatile.

I came across a recipe this past winter for “Strawberry Blessing” and saved it until the local berries were ripe for the picking. Keeping a recipe that long was a challenge for me as I love developing the original and creating a new one.

The first time I test a recipe, I try to stay true to the original guidelines, and make notes as I go along. For instance, this recipe is made with mascarpone, an Italian sweet cheese; but sweetened cream cheese would have a similar result.

Enjoy the local strawberry blessings, however you choose to use and eat them! This instance is my take on the delicious dessert – perfect for a summer barbecue or potluck.

Strawberry Blessing

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups strawberry jam
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 3 tbsp. Grand Marnier
  • 1 1/3 cups whipping cream
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 ¼ pound mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tbsp. lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 pound of berries
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 5 mint leaves
  • 16 lady fingers

Instructions

  1. In a pot, mix 1 cup of jam, water, and orange juice and whisk together.
  2. Bring to a simmer and allow to cool.
  3. Add the Grand Marnier.
  4. In a bowl, whisk the whipping cream, 6 tbsp. sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
  5. In another bowl, whip mascarpone cheese until soft and smooth.
  6. Add in the lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon and whip together.
  7. Add the whipped cream, with a small amount first to allow the mascarpone cheese to get smooth. Then add the rest of the whipped cream.
  8. Slice strawberries, add sugar, and chopped mint.
  9. Line a 9×9 pan with plastic wrap. Spread half of the cheese mix over the plastic wrap. Add a layer of sliced berries. Spread the other half of the remaining strawberry jam over the cheese mix.
  10. Dip lady fingers in the jam water and place over the jam, rounded side down.
  11. Place another layer of cheese mix, berries, jam, and more lady fingers.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 4 hours.
  13. Unwrap and flip onto serving platter. Decorate with berries and mint, then serve.

 

Image: rakratchada torsap / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

No-bake dessert – perfect for hot days

dessertIt’s the season for barbecues and potlucks, end-of-school parties and bridal showers, which inevitably means trying to come up with something new or original to bring to the gathering.

I find desserts can be a simple route to go, but who wants to turn on the oven and bake when the weather outside is hot? That’s why we suggest wowing party-goers with this no-bake recipe for mocha creams the next time you’re assigned dessert – although maybe not for the kid party with Kahlua in the mix.

The recipe includes a short list of ingredients and simple instructions – the “hardest” task is letting the creams sit to set. You do have to turn the stove on briefly, but it’s better than heating up your house with the oven.

These little morsels will melt in your mouth and we’re sure your guests will think you bought them from some gourmet bakery, or they’ll be dying for the recipe!

Bon appétit!

Mocha Creams

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp. instant coffee
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. Kahlua
  • White chocolate
  • icing sugar
  • cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Melt semi-sweet chocolate and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, cream the butter in a bowl until soft, and then add the instant coffee.
  3. Stir in the semi-sweet chocolate, egg yolk, and Kahlua.
  4. Chill mixture until firm enough to pipe.
  5. Fill a piping bag and pipe small stars on parchment lined pan, chill in fridge to set.
  6. Melt white chocolate in double boiler and hold the mocha creams by the base, then dip them into the chocolate.
  7. Allow mocha creams to harden, then sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon. Enjoy!

 

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Recipes are just guidelines in the art of cooking

recipesRecipes can be sacred in families – closely guarded secrets, passed down through the generations, treasures only a select few may have the privilege of receiving from a grandma or a family friend. And at the same time, others like to share recipes and modifications we make in our own kitchens with others.

Honing a recipe can take time and requires playing with the recipe until it suits your taste, and more importantly, the tastes of your guests!

Such is the case for some recipes in the Never Enough Thyme kitchen that have evolved over time – some are still evolving! Taste is personal and the art of cooking can sometimes get lost if you follow the recipe exactly. Where is the love and your own personal touch?

Perhaps some wouldn’t agree, and I certainly come from the perspective of cooking for a living; but the danger of following a recipe to the point of no return loses the instinct of the act itself. There is a fine line between consistency and creativity and every person following the same recipe will have a different outcome.

Cooking from the heart takes instinct and courage and the masters of this are many moms who love cooking for their family. My own son, Aiden, tells me he loves my cooking, especially my chocolate chip cookies – a recipe I collected and have enjoyed for many years. But I bet a different mom with the same recipe would have different results, and her kids would love them too.

Collecting and sharing recipes is a gift. Here is just one recipe from our vast collection that we’d like to share with you.

Herbed Crepes with Smoked Salmon

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • vegetable oil
  • smoked salmon

Filling

  • 3 tbsp. sour cream
  • 1/2 block of cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 tsp. horseradish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Whisk eggs, milk, and melted butter together. Add the flour, salt, and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
  2. Place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cream together the filling ingredients and set aside.
  4. Preheat a pan and pour in vegetable oil.
  5. Ladle crepe batter into pan. This will make a very thin pancake.
  6. Once golden on one side, flip to cook other side. Allow to cool when finished.
  7. Layer smoked salmon and horseradish cream inside crepe and roll it up.
  8. Refrigerate and cut into 1 inch slices when ready to serve.

 

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Barbecue season is upon us

bbq sauceThe weather has been warm for a while now, and after the winter we had we’re sure you’ve had a barbecued dinner many times by now and were probably out on the ‘cue at the first sign of above zero temperatures.

The great thing about barbecuing is the variety you can get with just a few simple ingredients. You could barbecue chicken every night of the week, but depending on the spices you add (sweet versus salty), the sauce you douse it with (a glaze versus a spicy sauce), the way you cook it (with some smoke or maybe on skewers), and the side dishes you pair it with, the meal could be entirely different each time. And we’re sure that because of this fact you wouldn’t get sick of eating chicken.

The other part about barbecuing that’s great – besides the great flavour and being able to cook dinner outside – is the clean-up, which is slim to none. There will be the usual place settings, but otherwise, maybe just a flipper or a set of tongs and a sticky barbecue you may have to scrub. Whatever few dishes there may be, leave them for the dishwasher or for the next day and go put your feet up outside to soak in a few more rays of sunshine!

Barbecue sauce is simple and versatile with so many flavour combinations possible. If you’re looking for something different, made with some local ingredients and a few additional, stop by the Never Enough Thyme food shop for our in-house, homemade barbecue sauce, including maple chipotle, and maple Dijon – both made with local, Elmira maple syrup.

See you soon at 83A Arthur Street South in Elmira! Happy barbecuing!

“Helping you eat your way to health”

nutritionAs a fellow lover of food, I’m excited to introduce you to Amy Sonnenberg of Designed for You Nutrition – a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. Amy loves food just as much as we do at Never Enough Thyme – not just to eat, but she’s also interested in how it grows, where it comes from, and preparing it.

Amy also sees food as a way to connect with people, share and celebrate. And the sharing is something she aims to do through her business – she wants “to share with others how to use food to our advantage, choosing the right ingredients to support our health.”

After studying at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, Amy is now a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and she owns and operates Designed for You Nutrition in downtown Elmira. Amy is also a wife and a mother of two young children, so she understands the challenges us moms face – those of busy schedules, potentially picky eaters, allergies, budgets, and that sometimes it’s tough to go home and cook a healthy meal at the end of a long day.amy

With all of these factors in mind, Amy’s services include everything from one-on-one nutrition assessments and
meal plans, complete with recipes, to a personalized trip to the grocery store, and lunch and learn sessions at your work, to services geared toward childhood nutrition, and more!

On her website, Amy states that she wants “to walk along side you and help you discover the joy of eating, the fun of cooking and the satisfaction of feeding you and your family well.” So what are you waiting for? Contact Amy to get started down the path of the right nutrition, just for you. Phone 519-503-7926 or email amy.e.sonnenberg@gmail.com.

 

Photos from: www.designedforyounutrition.com.