Let’s ‘Stalk’ About It!

Spring is the best time to enjoy asparagus, and while the extended winter weather delayed the local crops rolling into the stores—it will be arriving in the coming weeks—there’s still plenty of the noble green of spring to enjoy. When asparagus is this fresh, use it in abundance! Now is a great time to start challenging yourself to get out of the same old way you both cook and eat asparagus. I know that roasting and grilling are the easiest and most common ways to cook one of America’s favorite spring veggie, but it is amazingly versatile in your kitchen.

My favorite way is raw, shaved with a vegetable peeler as either the base of a salad or as an ingredient in one. Throw chopped asparagus in a stir-fry with some local shiitake mushrooms, or enjoy it is as a simple, puréed soup. With its vibrant green color it just tastes like spring!

Asparagus spears tend to be categorized in 3 sizes—thin, medium, or thick. It’s hard to grill or roast those skinny ones, so use them in sautés, stir-fries, or soup. The larger ones tend to have a mellower, meatier flavor and I like these roasted or grilled. (Make sure you peel them first!) Medium sized spears are pretty versatile so have fun and do a little exploring with your cooking method. We’ve pulled together 5 recipes for you to test out as you Aspire to Asparagus this spring.

DLM 1948 Classic Dark Roast Coffee

We are super excited to introduce this brand new coffee to our lineup. We wanted to capture a throwback, wake up kind of roast that has a fantastic aroma and taste. Perfect for your daily cuppa, 1948 is a classic dark roast coffee that’s as bold and memorable as our treasured history, including that first fateful year in 1948 when our doors opened as a fruit stand on the corner of Dorothy Lane.

Roasted in small batches, this coffee is everything a dark roast should be: smooth, full-bodied, and not bitter. It was fitting to give it our anniversary name. We’ve tried it in a traditional drip coffee maker, Aeropress, pour-over, and French press, and no matter the brewing method you choose, you can count on the DLM signature quality shining through to brighten every morning.

Behind the Scenes at the DLM Bakehouse

Hidden in an un-marked part of our Washington Square shopping center is a secret studio where our bread bakers create their art behind the scenes. Driving around the back of the store at 7 p.m., our bakers are busy getting to work. Perfectly proofing, scoring, and baking bread, rolls, and bagels all night long. This is a studio like none you have ever seen, with buckets of bubbling, gooey sourdough starters, giant mixers, and rotating stone-hearth deck ovens. The DLM Bakehouse is alive and moving nearly 24 hours a day with the mission of providing our stores with the freshest bread possible, delivering product every morning. What we don’t sell from the previous day is donated to various organizations to feed the needy, so that every piece of bread that is placed in the case for sale is always just a few hours old.

Ship DLM Artisan Bread near and far through shop.DorothyLane.com!

Baking is a science that involves many aspects that can affect the final product with the slightest variation. Outside temperature, humidity, water temperature, and even the speed of the mixer can make or break an entire batch of bread. Mixing is where the process starts, and one of the most important steps to achieving great bread. Have you ever been distracted while trying to mix a batch of cookie dough, coming back to the bowl unable to remember what ingredient you put in last? Imagine being responsible for mixing thousands of pounds of dough in a day. It takes skill and concentration to get the dough just right. From the mixing bowl, the dough goes to our group of bench workers where the dough is allowed to gas up with air. It’s punched down and allowed to rise again. It’s then divided into individual sized loaf weights and “first round” begins. This consists of each loaf being given what we call a “rough shape” where the dough is gently rounded and allowed to rest. “Second round” begins with the final shaping of each loaf into the more polished look you see in our Bakery. Seeds or toppings are added to the loaf and it enters its final stage of relaxation prior to being baked. Thanks to our hands-on process, you’ll notice that no two loaves of artisan bread look alike.

If this all seems very time-consuming, it’s because it is! We are very serious about bread and care to do it right, without cutting corners. Sometimes bread doesn’t rise like it should, due to weather or other factors, but our bakers wait until the time is right to place it in the oven. Several of our skilled folks have been baking bread for more than 20 years, and it’s a passion for them. Stop by our Bakery counter and try a sample, take a look at the gorgeous, caramel-colored bread behind the glass, knowing that our associates worked day and night to provide you with the best. Lastly, grab some butter or cheese with an artisan loaf and enjoy!

Drizzle Liberally: How to Make Pesto with Novello

Wondering how to make pesto from scratch? Vera Jane’s Novello Extra-Virgin Olive Oil is just the Earthy taste of spring you need and will help you in your pesto pursuits (keep reading for our perfect pesto recipe). In Tuscany, Italy, sits the Zanetti family’s farm, where the olives are grown that are used to make our very own Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.

The fruit of their labor is harvested once a year during a small window. Most of the oil will be stored and bottled as needed, but a select amount is sent to us as the first harvest for you to enjoy. We consider this the most exciting oil of the year with its grassy taste that explodes with freshness as it hits your mouth. It’s a special treat, indeed, and only distinguished as Novello for a limited time. What to do with it? Drizzle liberally. Here are a few ideas, including our recipe for perfect pesto.

  1. Drizzle on top of steamed vegetables, pasta, pizza, steak, or DLM Gelato.
  2. Use to lightly fry meats and seafood.
  3. Finish with a little sea salt, freshly ground pepper, or dried herbs and use as a dip for DLM Artisan Bread.
  4. Make bruschetta, a simple vinaigrette, or pesto!

HOW TO MAKE CHEF CARRIE’S PERFECT PESTO RECIPE

3 garlic cloves
½ tsp sea salt, or more to taste
3 oz basil leaves ( about 1 cup packed )
2 Tbsp pine nuts
2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
½ cup Vera Jane’s Novello Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

USING YOUR FOOD PROCESSOR
Pulse the garlic, salt, and pine nuts until finely minced. Add the basil and pulse until finely minced. Stir in the olive oil and cheese, and adjust seasoning according to taste if needed.

For more of an authentic pesto, use a mortar and pestle for a finer texture.

MORTAR AND PESTLE
Step 1: Combine the garlic salt and grind into a paste.

Step 2: Add the basil a handful at a time and grind in a circular motion; continue until all the basil is crushed.

Step 3: Add the pine nuts and crush into the paste, then grind in the cheese.

Step 4: Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until well incorporated. Ready to eat right away, or place in a covered jar with a small amount of additional olive oil.

PESTO USES

  • Toss with freshly cooked veggies
  • Mix into mayo
  • Drizzle over eggs
  • Smear on bruschetta
  • Dollop on soup

Why Buy Organic When it Comes to Flowers?

Customers frequently tell me that while they can understand why choosing organic and locally grown products for their tables makes a difference, they are less particular about why it matters when choosing flowers. So with that question in mind “why does organic matter?”, I spoke to some of our local growers, whose organic local bouquets you’ll see in our stores.

One of the first calls I made was to my longtime friend Leslie Garcia of Peach Mountain Organics located in Spring Valley. She and her husband Doug have been growing flowers and produce organically for more than 30 years. I asked Leslie why she chooses organic farming. “After I read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, I could not imagine farming any other way,” Leslie says. “It was the first book published that made a clear, meticulously researched case against the use of DDT and the dramatic and dangerous impact pesticides were having on our  environment and wildlife.”

Non-organic farmers may spray and then directly sow seeds in the field. The seedling emerge in a non-competitive environment. “One of my methods is to start seeds in the greenhouse, repotting them after seedling stage, allowing them to grow and become established. Then, I cultivate the ground and set a stronger plant into the bed. This will give it a competitive edge when weeds begin to sprout,” Leslie shares. This method is a successful alternative to using herbicides but requires more labor and materials.

Nellie Ashmore of That Girl’s Flowers, another organic grower whose flowers you’ll find at DLM, agrees. “Non-organic farmers are often able to offer products at a lower price,” Nellie says. “They will use fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides that are not only less expensive but can be applied mechanically. At my farm, I use a wide variety of methods to fertilize and control pests and weeds.” She explains that fish emulsion is an excellent organic fertilizer but that it’s costly and has to be applied by hand. The same is true for the essential oils that she applies to control insects. Nellie also hand cultivates during the growing season to control weeds. So why does organic matter? Besides the reasons aforementioned, health matters, the earth matters, wildlife matters, and clean runoff from farmland matters. Organic matters because it returns something to the soil, contributing value for goods received. “Farming is not suppose to be like mining, taking resources from the land and returning nothing. If we want the land to continue to produce, then we need to nurture it, treating nature with respect and graditude”, Leslie says pointedly.

Best. Gift. Ever.

As the very wise Julia Child once said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” We couldn’t agree more.

Which is why we’ve got you covered when it comes to gifting these individuals something special. There are many ways DLM can quell your quest for the perfect gift for the foodie in your life! From necessity to novelty, the DLM Culinary Center has you covered with gadgets and gear!

Cookware:

Many cooks swear Le Creuset is simply better than any other cookware. Here are a couple reasons why it’s been a classic staple in the kitchens of so many good cooks: it’s durable, heats perfectly and evenly, can be used with a variety of cooktop surfaces, and it’s pretty! Stop by and see what we have in store. We can also special order any piece or color you’d like with no shipping charges.

An Inexpensive Change of Seasons

Seasonal colors fill the Culinary Center with our lines of various linens and accessories, including napkins, table runners, dishtowels, coasters, and more. From whimsical designs to more modern flair, there’s something for everything kitchen. Shop the unique selection of gifts and collectibles for a bridal shower or gift.