5 Easy Breezy Fresh Fruit Recipes

Sometimes life is like a bowl of cherries, and we hope this summer will be sweet and simple for everyone. But with a little thought, why not go beyond the bowl and branch out a bit? With all of these big, ripe sweet cherries we have right now from California, it’s hard not to think of all the fun ways to eat them! Here’s one of my favorites:

Fresh Cherries and Yogurt

Smear a little of your favorite vanilla yogurt across a plate or platter, scatter some washed and pitted cherries on top, and garnish with a little chocolate crumb. For the “crumb” I like to use crumbled Tate’s Double Chocolate Chip Cookies or the classic thin chocolate wafers that aren’t too sweet.

Dessert isn’t the only way I like to eat my cherries. Here are some suggestions for utilizing these beautiful berries!

  • Added to a green salad for a pop of sweetness.
  • Fresh component of a cheese or charcuterie plate. Cherries pair wonderfully with a nice and mild creamy blue or fresh goat cheese.
  • In a sauce or reduction accompanying poultry.
  • Plopped on top of oatmeal with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of crunchy granola.
  • On top of a toasted piece of DLM Classic 10 Grain Bread smeared with creamy ricotta and finished with a drizzle of local honey.

Looking for other ways to enjoy the bounty of fresh fruit this season brings? Check out some of my go-to recipes below!

French Blueberry Loaf with Mascarpone and Lemon Curd Sauce

Strawberry Oatmeal Cookie Tart

Grilled DLM Pound Cake with Blackberries and Caramel

Strawberries Romanoff

Chef Carrie Cooks: Lobster Cooking Tips

First off, it’s Lobstermania this weekend at DLM (sale starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday and once they’re gone, they’re gone)! But we actually kick it off with our sold out Lobster 101 cooking class event Friday night at the DLM Culinary Center (hint: buy your tickets early next year). On Saturday, you can procure fresh, live Maine lobster for $15, which is quite a deal for such quality of lobster weighing in at 1.25 lbs or larger. You can buy them already steamed fresh or you can do it at home with no Annie Hall freak-outs, I promise! Follow my tips below for steaming or boiling live lobster, and before you know it, you’ll be serving up a couple for dinner alongside corn-on-the-cob and some of our Bakery’s Herb Cheddar Biscuits!

To start, if you have never handled a live lobster, keep the bands on. Also, the lobster doesn’t “scream” when you start cooking it. If you do hear a noise it’s just the steam escaping from the shell.

Lobster Boiling Tips

Boiling a lobster is easy and probably the best way for cooking 4 or more at one time. Get a big pot and fill with fresh water about 2/3 full. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp of salt per gallon of water. Bring to a boil and add lobsters. Start the timer when the water comes back to a boil. You can figure 6-7 minutes for a 1.25-lb lobster, 7-9 minutes for 1.5-lb lobster, and 10-12 minutes for a 2-lb lobster.

Lobster Steaming Tips

Steaming lobster works great and tends to yield a more tender, less messy cooked lobster than boiling. Fill a large, deep pot with 2-3 inches of water. Bring to a boil, add the lobsters, cover, and steam, about 8 minutes per lb.

How do you tell when it’s cooked? Remember, sometimes the lobster may be undercooked even if the shell is entirely red. Double check that the meat is a creamy white color with no translucent areas. Give a good tug on one of the antennas and if it pops off, the lobster is done You can also insert an instant read thermometer into the underside of the tail. It should read 135-140°F.

5 Things to Know About Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. The 80- to 90-lb wheels of cheese designated as Parmigiano-Reggiano must only be made by approved producers. They are made by traditional methods that have been used for more than nine centuries.

2. We choose to have our Parmigiano-Reggiano aged for 24 months—longer than most. We think this has the best balance of flavor, texture, and aroma. The wheels are carefully aged in special rooms where they are cleaned and kept at specific temperatures and humidity.

3. As the cheese ages, peptones, peptides, and free amino acids form. When these crystalize, they give Parmigiano-Reggiano its distinctive, slightly crunchy texture, as well as making it a healthy, easy to digest food.

4. After aging for one year, professional cheese testers from the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium scrutinize each wheel for maturation, aroma, color, consistency, and internal structure. After passing inspection, the wheel is branded with the Consortium’s symbol and finishes aging.

5. Once a wheel is opened, it’s susceptible to oxidation, like a fine wine, and should be wrapped in clean plastic wrap. Store in the warmest part of the fridge and never freeze.

 

DLM’s Todd Templin, front right, visits the aging room for Parmigiano-Reggiano and takes in the wonderful aromas of a freshly split wheel.

 

DLM Food Explorer Viva Italia

On my first trip to Italy some years ago, I was surprised to learn that Tuscans largely ignore balsamic vinegar, and Milanese favor rice over pasta. And right in between Milan and Tuscany you find many recognizable delicacies from lasagna to Prosciutto di Parma to balsamic vinegar in the region of Reggio Emilia. Hazelnuts are a big deal in the north and hot peppers in the south.

You learn that when speaking of Italy’s great food culture, it’s impossible to describe it without putting it in a regional context. Maybe it’s the Italian connection to the land, a long culinary history, or simply local pride. In any case, discovering the regional foods of Italy is both educational and incredibly fun. Over the years, so many of us at DLM have traveled to Italy to discover its food treasures, and we’ve made it a point to bring a number of those back to you.

You see Italy’s influence at DLM in the Italian products themselves, like our Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil hailing from the hills of Tuscany or our Parmigiano-Reggiano from Modena. Other times, you’ll find its reach in the form of a technique we’ve learned from studying with Italian masters that we then replicate here, such as our DLM Handmade Mozzarella, Naples-Style Pizza, and Tuscan butcher-inspired specialty prepared meats, to name a few. As you can imagine, we could write a book on our passion for Italian food, but for the purpose of giving some focus, we are spotlighting a few regions of Italy that have inspired us the most: Tuscany, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, and Southern Italy, mainly Calabria and Sicily.

We’ll be celebrating Italy all month culminating with our Food Explorer Day taking place May 18. Join us for great fun and good Italian eating on our next stop as Food Explorers…buon appetito!

TUSCANY

FOOD

Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (GROCERY), Pane Toscano (BAKERY), Pecorino Toscano (THE DLM CHEESE SHOP), Italian Oven-Ready Meats (MEAT)

WINE

CAPPONE CHIANTI CLASSICO – Count Sebastiano Capponi is a dear friend to DLM, hailing from his lovely Tuscan estate that’s been in his family since 1524! This young-vine Chianti is named for the first ancestor of Sebastiano. It’s 100% Sangiovese, brimming with beautiful fruit and richness.

VILLA CALCINAIA CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA – 100% Sangiovese from the best blocks of old vines near Greve in Chianti. It’s a well-structured wine that’s full of rich black fruits, leather, spice, cigar box notes, and supple tannins.

FONTALEONI VERNACCIA DI SAN GIMIGNANO – A wonderfully dry, minerally, and extremely pleasing white wine from the surrounding vineyards of the hilltop town of San Gimignano.

CAMPANIA

FOOD

Naples-Style Pizza (DLM WASHINGTON SQUARE & SPRINGBORO), San Marzano Tomatoes D.O.P. (GROCERY), DLM Handmade Mozzarella (THE DLM CHEESE SHOP)

WINE

COLLI DI LAPIO ROMANO CLELIA FIANO DI AVELLINO – A white wine from the Avellino province and a varietal the Romans called Vitis Apiana, vine beloved of bees. It’s dry, lovely, and has hints of pear and hazelnut, floral tones, and a hint of minerality.

EMILIA-ROMAGNA

FOOD

Prosciutto di Parma (DELI), Mortadella (DELI), DLM Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (GROCERY), Lasagna (GOURMET TAKEAWAY), Parmigiano-Reggiano (THE DLM CHEESE SHOP)

WINE

CASALI ROSA DI ROSA RED SPARKLING WINE – Perfect chilled with a plate of charcuterie enjoyed al fresco with its bright raspberry/blueberry fruit and soft bubbles.

LO DUCA LAMBRUSCO REGGIANO – Lambrusco does not exactly excite most after we’ve suffered so many terrible mass-produced and exported representations of this wine. However, Lo Duca is bright, semi-sweet, and has a naturally carbonated essence. Try it in a cocktail.

SOUTHERN ITALY (CALABRIA + SICILY)

FOOD

Cannoli (BAKERY), DLM Gelato (FROZEN), Scalia Anchovies (GROCERY), Marinated Anchovies (SEAFOOD BAR)

WINE

VILLA POZZI NERO D’AVOLA – The Pozzi family is a fifth-generation winemaking family located on the island of Sicily.

DONNAFUGATA ANTHILIA BIANCO – An amazingly crisp, minerally, and vibrant white wine blend from Sicily that’s perfect for light seafood dishes, salad, or poultry.

 

Savoring Every Bite of Emilia-Romagna

Modena is one of my favorite cities in Europe, a land of fast cars and big flavors. A few years ago, we spent an afternoon with Maria Livia Manicardi touring her family’s estate where they produce their wonderful balsamic vinegars. She makes our DLM Balsamic Vinegars, including Aunt Angie’s Balsamic Vinegar, which is great for everyday use. Best of all, Maria creates our DLM Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. It’s a blend that we chose on site with Maria and we’re extremely proud to put our name on it. We think you will love its richness, depth, and complexity.

Maria Livia Manicardi produces our DLM Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. On a visit, she offered us a sample directly from the barrel where it ages.

Just outside of Modena are the rolling hills where the Minelli family’s cows quietly graze. Modena is known not only for its balsamic vinegar and Prosciutto di Parma, but also for its Parmigiano-Reggiano, named after the provinces Parma and Reggio-Emilia. For more than a decade, we’ve been buying this cheese from the same family, brothers Valerio and Giovanni Minelli, and Giovanni’s son Carlo. As we toured their operation, Giovanni said something I’ve never heard before from a farmer. We were visiting the barn where the cows were eating fragrant hay, and he whispered “Look into their eyes. They are happy.” And we’re happy to enjoy so many wonderful foods from Reggio-Emilia!

Several of us spent a memorable afternoon enjoying food company, wine, and Parmigiano-Reggiano at the Minelli estate, overlooking the hills of Modena. This family produces our Parmigiano-Reggiano.

The Treasures of Tuscany

Over the years we’ve had the great fortune to travel to Italy several times to find new and exciting foods to bring back to DLM. Often, our home base is Tuscany. Our good friend and partner Alex Zanetti has graciously hosted us at his villa in the small medieval town of Lucignano. The rolling hills of this part of Tuscany are home to the olive trees that produce our signature Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Made exclusively of Tuscan olives, it’s virgin pressed and bottled within a few miles of the olive groves. Its distinctive peppery notes are indicative of Tuscan oils and makes it our go-to olive oil for vinaigrettes, sauces, or simply drizzled over grilled meats or pasta dishes.

A trip abroad a few years back took several DLM food explorers, left, to Tuscany. One stop was at the estate of Count Sebastiano Capponi, right, whose beautiful wine we carry.

Not far from Lucignano is the better known town of Montepulciano. On our last visit, we enjoyed strolling through the street market, sampling pici (long cut pasta that is significantly thicker than spaghetti), pork sandwiches, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Some of the pictures on this page are from that trip. It’s a pleasure to be able to share some of our food finds with you this month.

The olives used in our Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil are grown on the Zanetti family’s estate. This olive oil has flavor, balance, and a peppery kick. Middle, Alex Zanetti shows DLM’s Scott Achs the olive grove.

Campania

The Italian Renaissance is widely known for a rebirth of art, culture, and literature. During that time period, Naples, which is located in the region of Campania, is largely credited for the modern birth of one of the quite arguably most popular foods—pizza. So beloved, Pizza Margherita was created by a Neopolitan pizza maker to honor Queen Margherita. Today, we love to create this flavor at our Naples-Style Pizza Station using those signature ingredients with our homemade red sauce, DLM Handmade Mozzarella (another handmade Naples favorite we make at DLM), and whole basil.

When we first sought to bring an authentic pizza-eating experience to DLM, we looked no further than the pizza-making style of Naples. We believe that to master this style, these components need to be just right: The dough (which is Made Right Here), a pizza oven to yield a crispy crust with chewy interior, correct technique when working with the dough, and the quality of ingredients as well as manner that they are applied.

Truly Toscano

For me, Tuscany is where Italian cooking begins. Low-lying hills with clean, graceful curves and a forest of vineyards make the countryside a temple of beauty. When I traveled there in 2001, my assignment was to study in an Italian butcher shop and bring knowledge home of these oven-ready specialty meats that have made the area famous.

Even now, the memories of sharing a bottle of Chianti Classico with Stefano Falorni in the Piazza Matteotti seems like just yesterday. Stephano and his brother Lorenzo are the fifth-generation owners of the Antica Macelleria Falorni located in Greve, the heart of the Chianti district. I spoke six words of Italian and they bested me by speaking seven words of English. Yet, the language of great food made with superb ingredients is universal. So when you see these gorgeous oven-ready meats in our Meat case, we can all thank our friends in that family-owned butcher shop.

MONTASTICI

Boneless eye-of-round beef thinly sliced and rolled with mozzarella cheese and prosciutto.

ARISTA PRONTA DA CUOCERE

Pork roast seasoned with fresh rosemary and garlic.

PORCHETTA

Boneless pork rolled with fresh pork belly.

PORK CUTLETS SIENNA

Thick-cut pork chops pounded into cutlets and breaded.

POLLO RIPIENO

Boneless chicken stuffed with ground pork, veal, and bread crumbs and seasoned with rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic.

FAGOTTINI DI POLLO

Boneless chicken thighs seasoned with fresh rosemary and garlic.

PETTO DI TACCHINO

Boneless turkey breast stuffed with fresh basil, garlic, and fennel.

5 Reasons We Love Our DLM Bath Bombs!

Bath bombs are exploding with popularity to help relax, rejuvenate, and revitalize your body, mind, and soul. So, we researched and came a across a local shop that is a member of the Handcrafted Soap Guild and is passionate about using natural, simple ingredients to create handmade products. Now you can turn bath or shower time into spa aromatherapy time. Our DLM Bath Bombs are available in 6 fragrances including:  Pink Lilac, Pink Grapefruit, Lavender Rose, Green Tea, Florida Fresh, and Eucalyptus Spearmint.

  1. They are beautiful, fun, and easy to use.

    Bath bombs look beautiful when they’re sitting in a clear jar on your bathroom counter. And as soon as you fill your bathtub with warm water and drop one in the tub, all the excitement begins as you watch the fizzy bubbles come to the surface, enjoy its lovely color, and gorgeous fragrance.

  2. They create a spa-like atmosphere in the comfort of your home. 

    Life is busy and we can’t always make time to go to the spa. Bath bombs help create the perfect ending to any type of day. You just need some calm music, tea candles, fine wine, and a good book to relax your worries away!

  3. They are all natural and use organic essential oils.

    The local shop that we partnered with is a member of the Handcrafted Soap Guild and is passionate about using natural, simple ingredients to create handmade products.

  4. They are good for your skin.

    A bath bomb adds emollients and softeners to your bath’s water that moisturize and indulge your skin. No matter what your skin type, the beneficial ingredients in bath bombs leave it soft and silky. Yes, it’ll cleanse your skin, but the ingredients inside will also pamper and soothe it. 

  5. They have aromatherapy benefits.

    The scent lingers on your skin and stays with you all day. If you’re taking your bath in the morning, you’ll want to opt for an energizing scent like Grapefruit or Florida Fresh. It wakes up tired skin and a sleepy mind, and helps you face the challenges of the day. If you’re taking your bath in the evening, consider calming, relaxing scents like Lavender Rose.

Our shower tablets are similar to bath bombs but for those of us who don’t have the time to take a bath. Simply place the shower steamer in your shower away from direct water flow and enjoy as you breathe in the vapor filled with natural organic essential oils. DLM Shower Tablets come in the following scents: Energizing, Relaxation, and Sinus.

Hot Stuff!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotta have it. You might even say I am addicted to hot sauce. In fact, I won’t even make or order eggs for breakfast if there isn’t any to be found. (I mean really—why bother?) I actually have something in common with the amazing Beyoncé—she feels the same way I do about hot sauce! She always carries hot sauce in her bag wherever she goes.

Doing a little bit of research on the huge and fiercely loyal following that hot sauces have leads me to believe that this isn’t a fad that is going away any time soon. I think it’s more of a cultural influence on how all of our tastes are becoming more global. Think about it, have you ever heard of a chipotle pepper in mainstream America 20 years ago? Now it is reported that over 50% of all American households currently have a bottle of some brand of hot sauce.

I read somewhere that Tabasco is the “Kleenex brand” of hot sauces and although Louisiana-style hot sauces are most common, what has really taken off in the hot sauce market are ones with ethnic influences and wider ranges of flavors. Sriracha is a good example. It’s not only a new condiment that the restaurant industry had to make room for on their tables, it’s the trending flavor for the snack aisle in grocery and convenience stores. You can find it on popcorn, crackers, and all sorts of other items.

Right now if you opened my fridge at home, I think I have 5 kinds. I like to use different ones depending on what I am cooking or eating. Tabasco for eggs, Crystal for seafood, Sriracha to kick anything up a notch, Schultz’s for anything Buffalo-style, and Gochujang to help add a warm, slightly smoky depth to sauces and soups.

What’s your favorite hot sauce?