Cinco de Mayo and Taco Tuesday!

Cinco de Mayo and Taco Tuesday? On the same day?!

That’s right! Larder & Cupboard has lots of new ways to create Mexican flavors, whether it’s for your annual celebration or your weekly taco night, starting with locally-made tortillas made from organic Missouri corn.

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We recently lowered the price on our frozen La Tortilla Buena corn tortillas. Use them instead of your conventional tortillas in your favorite taco and enchilada recipes. Or, try some hyper-local huevos rancheros.

Huevos Rancheros

Serves 4

4 La Tortilla Buena corn tortillas

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon Mission Taco Joint Morita hot sauce

1/2 cup of your favorite salsa

4 large eggs, fried

1 log Heartland Natural Chevre, cut into 8 rounds

Heat oven to 425° F.

Put the tortillas on a baking sheet and place in the oven to warm, about 5 minutes. (Cover with foil if you don’t like crisp tortillas.)

Toast the cumin in a small, dry saucepan over medium heat until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Add the beans and hot sauce.

Remove the tortillas from the oven. Spoon some beans onto each, then top each with some salsa, 1 fried egg, and some cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted.

Surely we don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo just to have a reason to drink Mexican-inspired cocktails, right? But since it is a celebratory occasion, we can get you started. For a cool margarita twist, try Quince & Apple’s Cucumber Margarita, flavored with their Lime and Cucumber Syrup and Orange Marmalade. To give it some spice, rim the glass with Spiceologist’s Chile Margarita. This rub’s peppers and citrus notes adds heat to your drink, and is also delicious on grilled pork for tacos.

If you’re serving those Huevos Rancheros for brunch, pair them with a spicy Bloody Maria by the Sea, made with Stu’s Smoked Jalapeno Blood Mary Mix Concentrate.

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Bloody Maria by the Sea

Makes one cocktail

2 ounces tequila

3 dashes Worcestershire sauce (We love the offerings from Bourbon Barrel Foods and Colonel Pabst.)

3 dashes Mission Taco Joint Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce

½ ounce fresh lime juice

6 ounces tomato juice

2 ounces Stu’s Bloody Mary Concentrate No. 3 – Smoked Jalapeno

3 Wineforest Sea Beans, for garnish

In a shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients except the sea beans, and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Garnish with sea beans.

Post-brunch coffee goes south of the border, too, when you swirl a spoonful of rich buffalo milk dulce de leche from Annabella Buffalo Creamery into a cup of Stringbean’s bright, naturally sweet Mexican coffee.

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The dulce de leche’s also fantastic with Pastaria’s Askinosie Dark Chocolate or Vanilla Bean gelatos for an easy dessert. If you want to go all-out and conjure up some Tex-Mex restaurant nostalgia, we’ve got a spin on fried ice cream with Banner Road Baking Company Granola. This granola, made in St. Louis by Pastaria pastry chef Anne Croy, has been the must-have item at Larder & Cupboard this month. With bittersweet Askinosie Chocolate and rich Sump Coffee in the mix, Banner Road Kickstart makes an unexpected fried ice cream breading.

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Fried Gelato

2-4 servings

1 pint Pastaria gelato

2.5 cups Banner Road Baking Company Kickstart Granola, lightly crushed and divided

1 egg

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

½ tablespoon milk

Bolyard’s Lard for frying

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form half-cup balls of gelato on the sheet, and freeze for two hours or until gelato is very hard.

Roll gelato in half of the crushed granola. Freeze for another 30 minutes.

Whisk together egg, sugar and milk. Brush over granola-coated gelato, then roll the gelato in remaining granola to thoroughly coat. Return to freezer for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Melt lard in a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan until it’s three inches deep. When lard reaches 400 degrees drop gelato balls in one at a time. Fry for 30 seconds each. Drain on paper towels. Serve drizzled with Seed Geeks Honey.

Savory Shortbread the Hard Way. Grilled Cheese the Easy Way

Mistakes were made.

I used to make shortbread all the time, and had the ratio of flour, butter, and sugar memorized. When I decided to make a savory version with Spiceology’s Pink Peppercorn Lemon Thyme Rub, I thought I’d be fine by double-checking my memory with an online recipe.

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 Mistake number one: trusting my memory.

Mistake number two: not going to one of the reputable cooking websites that I normally frequent. No, I won’t give the name of blog whose savory shortbread recipe I used to refresh my memory. Suffice it to say that I should have known better when I saw that the ingredients were out of order and the sugar wasn’t listed. I assumed the half-cup of nothing in the recipe was sugar, because I’ve done this a million times, right?

 Not a mistake: combining this bright, floral, slightly spicy blend into a buttery cookie.

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 The ratios from the first recipe left me with what I optimistically called “butter crisps”. They weren’t shortbread, but they were still a tasty way to move this spice blend beyond the barbecue grill.

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It’s entirely possible that the blogger’s recipe works for her because of difference in climates. Or differences in the liquid content of the butter. These things can make a difference.

Also not a mistake: this recipe for Pink Peppercorn Lemon Thyme Shortbread. It took some tinkering to get it to work, but I can safely say this version works. The result is a crumbly cookie with a hint of the spice in rich butter.

Mistake number three: limiting shortbread cookies to the realm of sweet. Sure, chocolate-dipped shortbread’s delicious (especially when made with the following recipe, substituting Spiceology’s Raspberry Chipotle Rub for the Pink Peppercorn Lemon Thyme. Go down the street to Kakao to get the chocolate to melt.). So’s shortbread sprinkled with mapley-sweet Wine Forest Candy Cap Mushroom Sugar. But savory’s an interesting twist, and a great option if you’re don’t have much of a sweet tooth but still want a little dessert. This pairs well with chai for a spicy twist on afternoon tea.

Pink Peppercorn Lemon Thyme Shortbread

Makes one 9″x9″ baking pan

  • 1.5 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon Spiceology Pink Peppercorn Lemon Thyme Rub
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″x9″ square baking pan.

Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Mix in salt and Spiceology Pink Peppercorn Lemon Thyme Rub.

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Add flour and mix until the mixture’s combined and crumbly, but holds together when pressed.

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 Press mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Lightly score with a knife.

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 Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool, then cut into squares.

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 Mine are but wee Scottish shortbread, because we gave them away on Sample Saturday. You can cut yours whatever size you like.

Also not a mistake: Larder & Cupboard’s new made-to-order grilled cheese sandwiches. Five bucks gets you buttery toasted Great Harvest bread loaded with our proprietary blend of aged white cheddar, whole-milk mozzarella, and gouda. We’ve got this recipe down-pat. It’s a great $5 lunch. Add a Spindrift soda for $2. It’s a good decision.

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And the Winner is … These Oscar Party Snacks!

I’m not a movie person. Or an award show person. But I’m a snacker, so any excuse for a party with salties and sweeties is okay by me. This weekend’s Oscars offer a chance to glam up some old favorites.

You need popcorn, of course. Go super-luxurious and easy by tossing popped corn with Ozark Forest Truffle Butter or Wine Forest Fennel Salt.

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The fennel salt’s sweet and aromatic, perfect for a late-winter hint of spring.

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In Februrary Bon Appetit published a recipe for spicy-sweet Buffalo Wing Popcorn, which we’re loving with Gift Horse Hot Sauce from Juniper.

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Or, if you don’t want to mess with baking your popcorn, make buttered popcorn with a good dose of Spiceologist’s Black and Bleu Rub. We just got our first shipment of it yesterday, and it’s delicious!

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We’re doing a smoky take on kettle corn with Bourbon Smoked Sugar and Salt:

Smoky Kettle Corn

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1/3 cup Bourbon Smoked Sugar

3/4 teaspoon Bourbon Smoked Salt

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn and sugar. Give the kernels a quick stir and then cover with a lid.

Once the popcorn starts popping, carefully pick the pot up and give it a quick shake every few seconds until the popping slows down, between 3-4 minutes. Remove immediately from the heat and pour the kettle corn into a large bowl.

Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

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If you’d prefer all sweet, we have some flavorful twists on the Honey Blondies recipe that ran in Martha Stewart Living in January with bourbon barrel-aged vanilla, Seed Geeks local raw honey, and Missouri-grown Hammons black walnuts.

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Honey Blondies, L&C-Style
Makes 16

1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for pan

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

⅓ cup Seed Geeks Honey

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons Bourbon-Madagascar Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon coarse salt
½ cup Hammons recipe-cut black walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8″ square baking pan. Line with parchment, leaving an overhang on two sides, then butter and flour the parchment.

Melt butter and honey in a saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, then transfer to a bowl. Stir in egg and vanilla, then flour, salt and black walnuts until just combined. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

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Bake until browned on edges and set, about 28 minutes. Let cool completely in pan set on wire rack, then lift blondies out of pan using parchment overhang. Cut into squares. Blondies can be stored in an airtight container up to three days.

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Top off your Hollywood-style celebration with a classic cocktail named for classic Hollywood honcho, Mary Pickford. Originally pomegranate grenadine gave her signature drink its pink blush, but we’re giving it an award-winning cherry twist with Quince & Apple’s Tart Cherry Grenadine. It won a 2014 Good Food Award – that’s like Best Picture!

Cherry (ahem) Pickford
Makes 1 cocktail

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1.5 ounces white rum

1.5 ounces pineapple juice

1 tsp Quince and Apple Tart Cherry Grenadine
dash of liquid from Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cherries

1 Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cherry for garnish

Combine everything but the cherry in a shaker filled with ice. Shake, pour into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with the cherry.