Inside the Sprout Kitchen: The Art of the Order

Over the last year or so, the Mid-Shore is growing used to the idea, thanks to Sprout Kitchen in Trappe, where one can order freshly prepared meals delivered to your door rather than having to make a mad dash to the supermarket as the dinner hour approaches.

Unlike such popular meals by mail startups like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, where one still needs to go to the trouble of actually cooking those entrees, Sprouts takes it to the next step. And the next step is not only cooking these meals but locally sourcing the food that is prepared.

And with that kind of business plan, the irony is that Sprout Kitchen owners, Emily and Ryan Groll, actually encourage their clients to order less than more.

Why? In this latest installment, the Grolls answer that question and much more, as we visit once again Inside the Sprout Kitchen.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For information about the Sprout Kitchen and their meal plans please go here

Food Friday: End of the Summer Corn

Here we are, on the precipice of the end of summer. I’ve been teetering back and forth between wishing for change, and wishing that if it cooled down just a few degrees we could live in this weather all year round. Well, if we wanted that we could move to Florida, and that is just too problematic. Who really wants hot days and all those thunderstorms? I am ready for a little change, though.

If I eat one more ear of corn-on-the-cob I am sure my head will explode. I feel similarly tired of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. It might mean that I am almost ready to head back into the kitchen, and relieve Mr. Friday of his summer cooking duties. Or I can make some side dishes to go with the last picnic of the summer season. Labor Day is a significant cookout opportunity, and we need to make the summer go out in style.

There is still so much fresh produce to enjoy at the farmers’ markets! I found a great app the other day: Seasonal Food Guide. It has a state-by-state produce guide to “Find What is in Season Near You.” There is a handy dandy Learn & Cook button, too, which always helps when you are in the middle of dinner despair. And it is free. Hooray. Here is a link to their helpful webpage: http://www.sustainabletable.org/4529/the-seasonal-food-guide I found the app in the iTunes app store.

This is a sweet and easy way to enjoy corn and cilantro all year long, but notably in these waning days of summer vacation. The jalapeno gives it a nice little kick. https://food52.com/recipes/61614-jalapeno-cilantro-corn-salad

Food52 has explored corn variations extensively. I love the concept of charred corn. Now I have a new term for corn that we have unintentionally scorched on the grill. Mr. Friday is a big fan of wrapping the ears of corn in aluminum foil and tossing them on the grill. And sometimes we get distracted by bright shiny objects and do not return to the grill in a timely fashion. Voila! Charred corn as an ingredient. And sometimes we are amazed at our own cleverness! https://food52.com/recipes/17913-charred-corn-and-avocado-salad-with-lime-chili-and-tomato?

One of our friends has decamped for New England for butter-drenched lobster-y Labor Day weekend. She is already taunting us with Instagram-ready photos of her deelightful meals. I hope she is having a very good time, and here is a recipe for her leftover lobster bits which also includes charred corn: http://abetterhappierstsebastian.com/journal/2015/8/24/charred-corn-farro-risotto-with-lobster

If it happens to be raining this weekend (and with Tropical Storm Harvey wandering around out there, it probably will) and you can’t get outside to the grill – never fear. You can make charred corn in a good sturdy cast iron frying pan, or under the broiler. And then you can make a charred corn pizza: http://www.homemadeaustin.com/2017/06/charred-corn-flatbread.html

Here are a zillion ideas from Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes-menus/best-corn-recipes-cob-soup-salad-gallery/1

As summer wafts away we will be thinking more about cozy meals and roasted seasonal vegetables. In the meantime, go celebrate your Labor Day weekend with drawn butter, hot, charred corn, a couple of hot dogs, a crab feast (or two) and don’t forget to sneak a little reading time in the hammock. Next weekend it will be time to put away all our toys of summer. Enjoy!

“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.”
― Heny Rollins

Inside the Sprout Kitchen: Where’s the Beef (Coming From)

If there has been one food group under attack over the past several decades in America, it would be meat products. Denounced by vegetarians, maligned by some environmentalists, and avoided by more than a few health experts, meat, or more precisely, beef has lost its once secure place in the pantheon of American culinary popularity over the years.

Nonetheless, it remains an important staple for the vast majority of consumers, even with those who consider themselves advocates for healthy diets. And that would include Emily and Ryan Groll at Sprout Kitchen.

While it is true that the Grolls are conservative when it comes to offering beef in their weekly selection of prepared foods, they do enjoy it periodically as an excellent alternative to turkey or other white meats. And nowhere is this better seen than when they make their unique recipes for classic meatloaf or Mongolian beef.

They also have done their due diligence is finding the right local beef producer to supply them.  In this case, and after months of extraordinary research, they entered into an exclusive partnership with Evermore Farms in Westminster, Maryland.

In the latest edition of “Inside the Sprout Kitchen,” Emily and Ryan talk about the role of beef in their cooking philosophy and the importance of knowing where their beef is coming from.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For information about the Sprout Kitchen and their meal plans please go here

Inside the Sprout Kitchen: Talking Turkey

When a good percentage of your total food purchases is dedicated to buying the best turkey, which Sprout’s Kitchen does, it’s a big deal.

And like everything else the Sprout Kitchen owners, Emily and Ryan Groll, do, they spent a lot of time figuring out who was the right producer, what kind of bird they would use, and where it came from.  While there might have been more convenient options, the Grolls make a 100 mile trip to Maple Lawn Farm in Howard County when they need turkey.

In the latest edition of Inside the Spout Kitchen, Emily and Ryan recap why Maple Lawn fits the bill for their unique food business, and why consumers should know the difference between real turkey and “a real turkey.”

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For information about the Sprout’s Kitchen and their meal plans please go here

Spy Food: A New Breakfast Place Opens in Easton

When Stephen Mangasarian closed Restaurant Columbia of Easton several years ago, he said that one day he’d like to try something more casual, “…maybe even a sandwich shop or diner.”

Well, less than a month ago Stephen opened Breakfast In Easton. It’s kind of a diner, and for sure it provides a darn good breakfast!

While remaining involved in Banning’s Tavern as executive chef, Stephen prepares an excellent breakfast for his guests at his new hideaway location at the back of 28 South Washington Street…right behind the Talbot Historical Society. And, Jen takes the orders, makes the coffee and serves the meals.

Nice place to stop in the morning. They only take cash, but the pancakes and sausage were less than $8.

 

Piazza Food Bites: Let’s All Scream for Bacon

Poor bacon. The poster child for heart-related illnesses and consistently on the guilty food lists for most people over thirty, bacon never seems to gets a fair break in our modern world of healthy living.

We will leave it to the scientists to determine bacon is right or wrong for you, but for Emily Chandler, owner of Piazza Italian Deli in Easton, it is more of a question of who produces the bacon and how they do it, rather than how it ranks on cholesterol tests. And her search for the perfect bacon ended up in a small town in Indiana and her introduction to Smoking Goose Meatery’s Applewood Smoked Bacon.

In this edition of Piazza Food Bite, Emily talks about the unique and straightforward approach Smoking Goose takes will all their meat products and also her own bias on when it’s best to use American style bacon over the thinker, more intense Italian prosciutto also found in her store.

This video is approximately one minute in length. For more information about Piazza please go here.

Inside the Spout Kitchen: It’s All about Baywater Greens

While Sprout’s Kitchen prides itself on finding the freshest local ingredients for all their prepared entrees and snacks, there is very little doubt that their number one priority has been in the area of produce to make their hugely popular weekly salads and greens that make all their meals special.

The challenge was to find a local farm that could deliver exceptional product all year around, not just during the traditional growing season. They also wanted to make sure the producer was indeed local, which permits Sprouts to use greens just harvested and use for their meals the very next day.

After much research, Sprout owners Emily and Ryan Groll discovered Baywater Greens just outside of Salisbury to play this critical role with Sprout’s Kitchen. Now on their 6th generation of family farmers, Baywater has been successfully using hydroponic greenhouses in 2010 to grow organic produce in addition to their traditional outside fields to be the premium choice for restaurants up and down the Delmarva as well as Baltimore and Washington, DC.

In our latest edition of Inside the Spout Kitchen, Emily and Ryan talk about how important Baywater Greens is to their business and their early success in providing the freshest, healthiest meals to their ever growing list of clients on the Mid-Shore.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For information about the Sprout’s Kitchen and their meal plans please go here

Inn at Perry Cabin Inaugurates Farm to Table Menu

Respect for the intimate connection between a place and its environment is among Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond’s core tenets; hence our excitement to introduce a farm-to-table menu this summer, our commitment to local and sustainable sourcing of ingredients, and our eagerness to welcome Vicky Mullaney to our Library on Saturday, July 1, from 3-6 p.m.

Mullaney is a hunter, chef, mother of five, manager of The Lodge at Black Pearl and author of the new The Lodge at Black Pearl Cookbook. Renowned as much for its extraordinary food as it is for its legendary waterfowl hunting, The Lodge is right here on the Eastern Shore amid one of the country’s most beautiful and bountiful wilds, and its recipes champion that.

Along with her husband, Mullaney embraced the healthful benefits of the farm-to-table movement, which continues to entice people into the field and stream in search of their own wild meals and lean meats that are free from growth hormones and antibiotics. The cookbook features recipes and tips for both fresh game and seafood—Duck and Sausage Gumbo, Goose Breast Pate and Peppered Venison Tenderloin, to name a few—along with plentiful and esential culinary creations for those who hunt in the grocery store, from cinnamon rolls to cucumber salad to double chocolate layer cake.

Mullaney will be signing copies of her new cookbook at Inn at Perry Cabin as part of a program of Independence Day events for neighbors and guests. This event is open to the public, and admission is free.

To whet appetites even further, Mullaney will be sampling two of her favorite dishes from the book: Smoked Bluefish Pate and her signature Black Pearls (peppermint patties), both are pictured in the attached.

Piazza Food Bites: Summer is Made for Bellini

Piazza Italian Market wine advocate, Jenn Martella, doesn’t hesitate when she responds that the perfect summer drink is the famed Bellini cocktail.

According to Jenn, the Prosecco and peach juice concoction, invented around 1934 at Harry’s Bar in Venice by bartender Giuseppe Cipriani, hits all the right notes on hot summer evenings. While not difficult to make, the Bellini depends heavily on the best ingredients, which includes Piazza’s exclusive “Baby” Prosecco.

In our Spy chat, Jenn talks about the drink’s origin and other uses for the delightful peach juice that make summertime sunsets perfect on the Eastern Shore.

This video is approximately one minute in length. For more information about Piazza please go here. 

Piazza Food Bites: Let Us Now Praise Extra Virgin Olive Oil

While the Spy’s intention in working with Piazza Italian Market has been to present our fun “food bites” in one-minute segments, we had to make an exception when we talked to owner Emily Chandler on the importance of honest to goodness extra virgin olive oil.

We linger for an extra minute or two as Emily discusses the nuanced differences that exist between “everyday” oil and exquisite and sometimes costly “finishing oil” that is so essential to the gourmets. In this case, we talked to Emily about an exclusive Ravida selection that celebrates the 25th anniversary of the family business partnership between Natalia and her father, Nicolo.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Piazza please go here.