Get Your Kicks with These 8 Recipes from Route 66

The ultimate road trip in America has got to be driving Route 66, spanning eight states with iconic comfort foods along the way. Although it was officially decommissioned in the 80s, it continues to attract tourists, road warriors, and food lovers looking to taste pure Americana. Today the historic route boasts vintage motels, nostalgic roadside attractions, and some really good road food.

After the Great Depression, folks finally had a little extra cash so they piled into the family car and embarked on a road trip of a lifetime with destination spots like the Grand Canyon or Disneyland Park in mind. Even great movies, songs, and books were inspired by the open road and aura of Route 66. For many, this road trip is also about the iconic flavors, like home-style baked goods, spicy chiles, BBQ, and all-around good country eating!

So as we inch closer to summer, we thought it would be fun to take you all on a road trip along Route 66 for this month’s Food Explorer destination. Join us as it all comes to a head June 22 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. for our Route 66 Food Explorer Day! We’ll be featuring pit stops from each state along Route 66 including our Kansas-Style Smoked Brisket Sandwich Cookout, demos, special menu items, and more! Be on the lookout for classic cars that day at the DLM Route 66 Drive-Up Car Show.

But for now, buckle up and take a bite out of these eight recipes representing the eight states along Route 66!

1. Chicago Dog

2. Kansas BBQ Rub

3. Country Fried Steak

4. Buttered Pecan Blueberry Cobbler

5. Cowboy Steak

6. Easy Sticky Buns

7. Chicken Posole

8. Fish Tacos with Lime Crema & Cabbage Slaw

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.

 

Lamb: A Delicious Sign of Spring

Growing up, my husband’s family had ham every single Easter, whereas at my house, our holiday meal centerpiece rotated between lamb, fish, or the occasional ham. We still debate over which one of our meals was the best. Of course, I think mine was always better as I loved the changing variety of that spring celebration meal. What did your family have on the spring celebration table growing up?

Although ham is an easy choice for a delicious centerpiece, especially when you have our signature Heavenly Ham® as an option, a roasted leg of lamb can be a bit more showy. Even though it looks and tastes ultra-elegant, it really is pretty simple to make at home. After experimenting with several recipes, one of my favorites is Rosemary & Garlic Lamb.

I also love how lamb pairs so nicely with other “springy” things like asparagus, goat cheese, tender lettuces, and the newly released rosés that combine to make a delightful meal. So if you haven’t mixed up your menu lately, spring is always a good time to start. It may be time to save the ham and eggs for the brunch table this year and look to lamb. (Even better, you’ll notice that we’re having a Leg of Lamb Sale in this week’s Club Deals.)

Speaking of lamb, my husband and his six siblings took turns sculpting the lamb out of butter for the table centerpiece (yes, it had cloves for eyes). It was a very big deal and as grown adults they still talk fondly about making that lamb-shaped butter.

But in my family it was all about the lamb cake. My mom had a lamb cake mold that she would get out every year to make a rich, plain pound cake in the shape of this adorable animal. Then my siblings and I would get to decorate it with white buttercream frosting, coconut flakes, and whatever color jelly beans we didn’t want to eat. Although I can’t quite remember what the finished cakes looked like, I do remember how much I love that frosting/coconut combo. Who cares about jelly beans?

I’d love to hear about your springtime traditions!

So Simple, So French

It’s referred to in my vagabond family of travelers as “that salad”. A lot of the times you don’t even order it. It just always shows up. It comes as a side dish, a first course, and a lot of the times it’s served like a heavy handed garnish to round out a plate. Over many wine-fueled meals my family has complained, “Why we can’t get this kind salad at home?” My son loves it and stated a long time ago he would eat salad everyday if I only made it for him back at home. So I did, and I am happy to say that he now makes it for himself!

Click here to view my recipe for salade verte.

“That salad” is the classic French salad called salade verte and it’s served everywhere in France. I am serious here—the corner bistro, the cafeterias, the Michelin starred places, fancy burger joints, and even at the breakfast buffet at your hotel.  It is, at its most simple, a lightly dressed lettuce. No croutons, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, etc. This salad doesn’t need any of it. It is perfect in its simplicity. Light, fresh, and delicious.

Since the salad is so simple, you’ve got to get it right when trying to recreate it at home. The lettuce that is most commonly used in France is what we here in America call Boston lettuce. Boston lettuce is part of the Butterhead family of lettuce. It is slighty bigger than Bibb lettuce, which tends to be easier to find around here. The leaves of both types of these lettuces are soft and tender, so you can usually find them packed in clear plastic containers that help prevent bruising.

For the dressing (a side note—the server will not give you a choice), it’s served with vinaigrette a la moutarde.  A classic vinaigrette made with Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, oil (usually sunflower or olive oil), salt, pepper, and finely minced shallot. Not a lot of variation here, although sometimes in southern France they will sub the vinegar with lemon juice and they always use olive oil.

The more I travel back to France and other parts of Europe the more I am starting to see a trend on using a bottled dressing that tends to be whitish in color and a little sweet. I can’t tell you all how disappointing that is! What has made this salad so distinctive is the freshness of the just-made vinaigrette. Sometimes the fast shortcuts are NOT the answer!

I challenge you to get out your whisk the next time you want to make a salad! Master this and you will be enjoying this simple balanced salad for years to come.

Spring Stationery

Does anyone else consider themselves an office supply fanatic? To-do lists, memo pads, travel notebooks, cute recipe cards—these are the kinds of things I love to look at, shop for, and generally just kind of geek out about. I often find myself walking around a good bookstore, stationary shop, or gift store browsing their collections and envisioning getting myself so organized with such cute stationery!

Thankfully Peggy, Culinary Center Manager, shares the same enthusiasm for stationery. So we’ve ramped up our selection with all sorts of pretty pastel and floral designs by Rifle Paper Co. Owned by a husband and wife team, Rifle Paper Co. has quickly grown from a business being run from their basement to an international brand. With their adorable products they hope to inspire sharing memories through handwritten notes or cards. We’re excited to now carry their journals, list pads, recipe boxes, and cards, all beautifully designed and well-priced.

Bright and colorful with plenty of flower power, they make me so happy because they scream spring. Come see us in the Culinary Center to embrace your love for stationery and browse the new selections we have to offer.

Getting to the Point

Wusthof KnivesAfter 20 years of teaching the knife skills class, I am still amazed what a lot of folks don’t know about knives. It may sound strange, but learning how to hold and use a knife correctly will help you work faster and safer. Sometimes all it takes is a little forethought before you just randomly start breaking down your veggies.

The benefit of good knife skills comes with uniformity. I can’t stress this point enough! Every time you lift your knife to cut or chop, think to yourself: Is this the same thickness? Is this the same size as the last piece? Plain and simply put, pieces of food that are the same size and shape cook at the same rate. I remember my mom fishing around a big pot of boiling potatoes looking for the biggest to see if potatoes were done yet! With uniformity, you don’t have to ‘go fishing’.

Another bonus to good knife skills and uniformity is presentation. We all know that we eat first with our eyes. There is a simple elegance to perfectly cut and sized vegetables that a ”rough  chop” will never be able to give. If you’re looking to get on point, here are a couple of my favorite knives that we always carry in the Culinary Center:

I love the Chef’s knife. It can handle a lot of the everyday tasks in your kitchen. Its stable and curved blade helps promote a rocking motion that enables you to have better control and a finer dice. Available in 3 sizes (6 inch,  8 inch, and 10 inch) I like to call the 8-inch knife the workhorse of the kitchen. The 6 inch is a good one for beginners or those who are a little shy about knives. The 10 inch can cover more ground when prepping for larger quantities.

A Bread knife can do things that the chef’s knife just can’t.  Think things that squish. You use a sawing motion when using this knife, so it’s perfect for bread, tomatoes, croissants, etc. The serrated blade is not meant for chopping.

The Paring knife is handy to have around. Whether you are paring, peeling, or slicing, the small size of the blade can tackle mincing garlic to peeling an apple. Most are now available with either a serrated blade or a straight one.

When it comes to Japanese knives, two of my favorites are the Santoku and the Nakiri. The hollow edge of a Santoku creates air pockets which help prevent thin cuts or soft slice foods from clinging to the blade. The straighter, blunt, squarish shape of the Nakiri facilitates a straight up and down motion for chopping and most veggie prep.

Feel free to come in and ask us any questions you may have. We love talking knives and are happy to set you up with a cutting board so you can try out whatever type of knife you are interested in.  Or sign up for our popular knife skills class.  I look forward to seeing you soon!

Geeking Out Over Cookbooks

I have a cookbook problem. I’ll admit it. It’s been going on for longer than I care to admit. Gone are the days of just buying a book for 1 recipe. I have gotten much smarter over the years with buying only the new ones that offer something truly different whether it’s recipes, techniques, history, or just good food stories. My purchasing of cook books has slowed down a little because now I spend an amazing amount of time reading recipes on the computer. I know that a lot of great recipes are “free” on the internet, but it is not the same thing. I still find myself craving books! I want to hold them, read them, cook from them, and most importantly share them.

I love paging through ones that belonged to my mom. Seeing her handwriting makes me miss her even more. I like trying to find that one recipe in an old book on my shelves that I haven’t looked at in a while. Opening it up, I can tell which recipe pages were more well-loved and it brings back warm memories of a certain time and place.

What’s really cool is that I just so happen to work with a bunch of people who have the same problem. In fact, our last staff meeting we had a potluck of our favorite “vintage” recipes. Needless to say, we had a ball! I am not sure we will ever be able to compete with Amazon in selling books, but the one thing we can do is use our passion to help you find some true gems.

We’ve put together a curated cookbook selection at the Culinary Center. Some are the most popular and trending new releases, others are tried and true favorites that offer something special, and a few are obscure gems that we would love to share with you. One thing is certain, all of them have a good reason for being there and taking up shelf space.

Come visit us at the Culinary Center–we can geek out together!

Give the Gift of a Culinary Adventure

Cooking classes, interactive food, wine dinners, and themed events make excellent gifts for anyone who is really into food or wants to be. Do you have someone like that in your life? Make their day with a DLM Gift Card. Your friends, family, and colleagues can choose classes that fit their interests and their schedules.

Our Winter/Spring Schedule is hot off the press, so come and pick one up at your favorite DLM location. Or easier still, you can view them all at your convenience online, anytime. Be sure to register early as classes fill quickly. https://www.dorothylane.com/classes/

We have plenty of comfort food classes to help you survive the winter months—including one on how to use that Instant Pot Santa will leave for you under the tree. We’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day with both an indulgent Valentine’s Day Dinner and our popular food and wine class, Girls’ Night Out; Galentine’s Day. Many of our students will be rolling up their sleeves, learning how to make pasta from scratch and excellent pie. We’ll explore through wine and food the French Alps, regional Italy, Eastern Europe, Spain and Latin America. Or just come in and relax for one of our Seafood Suppers on Friday nights in the early Spring.

We think sharing good food is at the heart of every memorable occasion, so come and join us as we celebrate the love of food and the pleasure of sharing it.

Register here for the Culinary Center’s Winter/Spring classes:  https://www.dorothylane.com/classes/

4 Chocolate Bark Recipes To Gift This Season

‘Tis the season to create something sweet for those you love! One of our favorite things about Chocolate Bark is that not only is delicious to have on hand for your festive gatherings, but it’s a great gift idea if you are looking to add a homemade touch. So, without further ado, here are four chocolate bark recipes to keep you and yours holly jolly this season!

 

Minty White Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: White chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, peppermint extract, green food coloring.

Almond + Sea Salt Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: Dark chocolate, slivered almonds, shredded unsweetened coconut, sea salt.

Pistachio + Dried Cranberry Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: bittersweet chocolate, pistachios, dried cranberries, orange zest.

Dried Fruit + Walnut Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: Bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, walnuts, dried apricots, dried cherries, golden raisins.

You Get What You Pay For: Hammer Stahl Cookware

I am excited to share that the DLM Cullinary Center has brought in a line of cookware from Hammer Stahl. Founded in 1874 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, it is one of the oldest cookware companies in North America. In the 1970’s, they began manufacturing their famous Hammer Stahl American Clad Cookware in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Although there are several high quality cookware companies out there, we feel that this line is a smart way to move forward. In the past, we’ve carried one of their well-known competitors that uses 3-ply, and to our surprise this line is less expensive! Check out their story here and see how they make their pans.

The Hammer Stahl cookware difference is that the 7-ply material is used throughout the cookware, from the bottom and all the way up the sides to the top. Because the Hammer Stahl cookware is made this way, the pan heats more evenly. Other companies use the expensive materials bonded together at the bottom of the cookware, leading to uneven heating.

Hammer Stahl’s 7-ply construction includes a layer of ferritic steel that makes the cookware induction stovetop friendly. This ferritic steel layer throughout the cookware means better quality and stronger cookware. Cheaper “induction ready” cookware only use a magnetic type of stainless steel that is more corrosive.

The handles are hollow so that they stay cool for comfortable handling—that will take some getting used to since we finally got used to always using pot holders no matter what. All of the cookware is hand-finished and hand-polished, by American workers, and include a lifetime warranty. Stop by the DLM Culinary Center and see these beautiful and hard-working pans. We think you’ll love them as much as we do.