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To say we’re merely happy about the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling is an understatement. To all of our friends in (and in support of) the LGBT community, as of Friday, June 26, we have all won! We look forward to attending so many weddings, writing many “yay” cards, and celebrating a victory that was long overdue. In the meantime, swing by OG to relish in the glorious freedom to be who you are! We’re thrilled to stock (and restock!) these hand stamped, hand painted cards by Janine Kwoh of Kwohtations. And Somerville-based Janine doesn’t only “Yay that You’re Gay”; she cheers’ to every almost-adult-awkward encounter through her clever quips like “Sorry I was Hangry”, “Sorry I got Drunk”, “Sorry you were Misgendered”, and “Sorry you hate your job”.
Oh, 4th of July … otherwise known as:
- The day America became an Independent Woman, Pt. 1, and
- Prime time to whip out your tongs, get your grills hot and fill up your glasses with nothin’ but the good stuff.
Whether you’re planning to throw it in the backyard or on the beach while taking swigs out of a flask (no judgement, really), no 4th barbeque would be complete without some USA-reppin’. And if you’re going to be an attendee, your gift game had better be as good and noble as a bald eagle perched on top of the Statue of Liberty while red, white and blue fireworks explode in the background.
So make your life easy; peruse this little guide below. Every product is USA-made and has been crafted in small batches with love, so you can share the American goodness and hospitality with everyone you love.
- Raft’s Lemon Ginger Syrup pairs perfectly with whisky, gin or rum, sans high fructose corn syrup or empty flavoring agents. ($20)
- Sub stale store bought cookies with Lark’s crispy, light, Taza chocolate-studded Oat Bark instead. ($7)
- Mike’s Hot Honey packs a chili pepper-infused punch to everything from grilled meats to cocktails to ice cream (yes, ice cream.) ($16)
- With bold bursts of organic mustard seed and balsamic vinegar, Mustard & Co.’s Classic Mustard brings the fireworks and flavor to any hot dog or hamburger. ($10)
- Alex’s Ugly Sauce atop your sides delivers on the spice without sacrificing great taste, with all ingredients sourced from conscientiously grown produce. ($10)
- A splash of Morris Kitchen’s Spiced Apple Syrup added to your final cocktail in lieu of apple pie* will warm the body and soul with sweet, cinnamony goodness (*Kidding. Who skips the apple pie?) ($18)
- Make your picnic table display Instagram-worthy by placing all of your beautifully packaged, American-made goods on top of Small Gunns’ multi-purpose Plaid Towels (from $25)
- And lastly, goat milk-based Fat Toad Farms Caramel drizzled over sundaes (or anything, really) is the perfect ending for an otherwise sweet, sweet night. ($14)
Cheers friends, and Happy 4th!
Brownies are a go-to, classic dessert. I like to think of brownies like an old, faithful friend. They have been with me since childhood and carried me through many a birthday celebration, the sudden “I need to bring a dessert to a dinner party and only have 30 minutes to spare!” freak out, and those “all-I-want-are-chocolate” kind of days alike. They are just a delightfully and perfectly simple dessert; nothing too fancy, but everything so classic. Tried and true, never to go out of style.
Derek, of Broma Brownie Company (formerly Boston Brownie Company) knows how to take this simple staple and amplify it to a whole new level. I am not joking. While always delicious, I think it is rare to find a brownie that literally makes your jaw drop. So what makes his brownies different you ask? My hope is that this interview informs you on the artisanal nature that brownies can take on, and also gives you a look into the heart behind Broma Brownie Co. You will soon learn these are no run-of-the-mill brownies. These are brownies filled with craft, honest ingredients and made by someone who knows food, lives food, and cares about giving you the best brownie experience you have ever had. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
O & G: So Derek, why brownies? Have they always been a love from childhood? Why not cookies or cupcakes?
D: Who doesn’t love brownies? Brownies are the most iconic dessert in America next to the apple pie, and one of the most nostalgic treats in America. Brownies can instantly bring you back to your childhood, sitting at your grandma’s kitchen table with a plate stacked full of brownies and tall cold glass of milk to wash them down. But we also found the history of the brownie very intriguing. The first brownie recipe was published in the 1896 Boston Cooking School Cook Book. We felt since the brownie was born in Boston that brownie needed proper representation. With that said I’m also a huge chocoholic!!!
O&G: What made you first say to yourself, “There needs to a new kind of brownie”?
D: The brownie market has become complacent with run of the mill brownies made copious amounts “dutched processed”; cocoa powder that has been chemically treated to extract bitterness. With everyone being more aware of what they’re putting into their bodies (present company included) we wanted to be honest with our ingredients and our business practices.
O&G: Where do you source most of your ingredients? I know you said many of them are local, so where do you find these?
D: I’ve been in the restaurant industry for 20+ years and have had the opportunity to work with some of Boston’s top Chefs. I was influenced by the chef’s insistent “farm to table” approach; this is many years before it became fashionable. Over years you learn who to buy from and where to look for new sources.
O&G: Alright…someone is taking their first bite of a Broma Brownie, what is the ideal reaction?
D: When they bite in I want them to relax their shoulders, close their eyes, tilt their head to one side, and make their “Ohhh” Face! Like it’s best thing they have ever tasted.
O&G: I feel like your brownies are much more than just a “brownie.” There is a lot of thought and art behind each brownie.
D: Our brownies are really about the chocolate and we base our creativity around that. Chocolate has natural inherent flavor profiles so we try to play off of them like our use of Bourbon & Cherries, Amber Rum & Raisins, Spices and Citrus.
O&G: I would love to hear a little bit more about the business behind the brownies. Can you lay out a bit of your story leading up to Broma Brownie Co.?
D: After being in the restaurant business for 20+ years I wanted to make a change but still wanted to be part of that industry which I love. My wife Kristin is a very talented classically trained pastry chef and she had a killer brownie recipe. So we tweaked and played with the recipe making it a little more contemporary and then it all came together and we knew we had a hit and with some encouragement from family, friends, and co-workers here we are.
O&G: Alright, so honestly what about running your own business has been unexpected (difficult or wonderful)?
D: Changing people’s perception of the brownie, which is both difficult and wonderful. There’s nothing like hearing someone say, “What’s so special about your brownies, brownies are brownies”? And then watching them make their “Ohh face” as they try one, it’s the ultimate feeling.
O & G: Finally, what is the best piece of advice given when starting Broma Brownie Company you hold on to?
D: Don’t listen to the “Nay Sayers” and cut them out of your life completely (sounds harsh but its true) and be honest! If your truly honest about what you create people will see that and it will help pave the way to your goals/success.
So now are you ready to go find the most delicious brownie ever? Oh…did we mention they are made with 100% organic, preservative free, locally sourced New England ingredients and contain 100% fair trade organic cacao. (AKA Everything good in life!) Don’t deny yourself it’s goodness any longer. You need to go find yourself some Broma Brownie Co. brownies!
– KrysiaDerek will be joining us at Olives & Grace (81 Pembroke Street) on April 19th for a brownie tasting. Please come on by the shop and get a chance to talk with Derek and taste Broma Brownies for yourself! Find more info on the event here.
“KITE – Kid’s Inspiring Tomorrow’s Education – a one- for- one school supplies company”
Two best friends, Emily and Elizabeth together started KITE.
For every pack of pencils bought, a pack of pencils is given to a child in need. The hope behind KITE’s one-for-one project is to help lower the rate of poverty through providing school supplies to children without them. Looking around at the poverty situation, Emily and Elizabeth have noticed how a lack of school supplies leads to unproductive learning and even the abandonment of school altogether. That is why they are on a mission to help kids stay in school, one adorable pencil at a time. Starting with a pencil, the hope is to provide a better learning environment, helping kids to stay in school, and empowering kids to break the poverty curve.
The history of KITE goes a little bit like this…
Both Emily and Elizabeth took time working in Africa. Emily had the chance after college to work in an orphanage with underprivileged children. She experienced schools in desperate need of school supplies and saw the way this need affected the education received. Emily went to Rwanda in high school and after college worked with a company that empowered artisan women in Rwanda. These experiences gave way to the inspiration of KITE. The two friends started with a big vision, to lower the rate of poverty. A big vision carried out with something as simple as a pencil.
Why pencils? Well, because pencils are by far the most basic of school supplies. A pencil is the essential writing instrument to education. A pencil is a symbol of childhood education. So, the better question is why start with anything besides pencils?
And let me be the first to tell you, these are no ordinary pencil. They are adorable pencils, sky blue with clouds, and more designs to come soon. Emily was in the fashion world before KITE, leading to these pencils being true artistic gems.
[Ultimately, KITE is passionate about making change. Making education a reality for more children through the humble act of providing pencils.]
Who would have thought a pencil could do so much good? KITE not only serves as a tool for formal education, but also creates awareness of poverty and is a reminds us of the gift of an education.
Check out more of their story on:
Interview by Brad Jones of To Cure, a food anthology.
Nathan and Jenn Clark have discovered a recipe for success—success defined not just by making a living, but by making a life. And they found it making marshmallows. Wondermade is an Orlando FL based company giving the classic culinary treat an artisanal twist. Think Bourbon, Lavender, Carrot Cake…all of which are made by hand and packaged with care. Nathan chatted with me about how he got into making mallows and why those made by hand can’t even be compared their Industrial counterpart.
So Nathan, how did you get into gourmet Marshmallow making of all things? Was it to appease your inner S’more eating child?
Actually, the whole thing started as a gift. I was stumped on what to give my wife, Jenn, for Christmas. Fortunately, I heard a piece on NPR about the benefits of candy and I started wondering what it took to make different types . I got to thinking about marshmallows and learned that we had almost all the equipment we needed. The only thing we were missing was a candy thermometer. So under the tree that year Jenn received a candy thermometer and the recipe for making marshmallows.
The first time we cooked the marshmallows it was a revelation. The difference between our first try and the marshmallows we bought at the store was striking – It was like we’d been tricked our entire lives into thinking the cheap store-bought kind were real marshmallows when really they were just cheap marshmallows.
Well I for one appreciate you lifting the wool from our eyes. Certainly it’s hard to go back to the factory version. Speaking of that despicable word “factory”, it sounds like from the outset that your mallow making was different, that it was a family affair?
We’re just a couple who stumbled onto something we really love. We’re both really focused people so locking into Wondermade and creating really fun marshmallows was a natural fit for us. Even better, it’s something we could chase together which is pretty much priceless when you’re married. We’ve got four young children so it’s hard to carve out time for each other. We immediately loved doing this together, so that was a big part of the appeal of throwing ourselves at the science and art of marshmallow-making.
Science, yes! Art, absolutely! But where does craft fit in? What exactly does “hand-crafting” a marshmallow entail?
We’re hands-on every step of the process. But the “hand-crafted” label means more than just making things by hand. When things are machine-made the human touch is focused on rooting out defects. When things are hand-crafted the human touch is directing a product towards perfection. That’s a really huge difference. You’ll never achieve something truly great just by trying to avoid mistakes.
Is it the process of “directing a product towards perfection” through the magic of human handicraft that makes your marshmallows Wondermade?
I’d been using the name “wondermade” for years before we started with the marshmallows. I’d always loved the name, but never had a business behind it. When we sat down to brainstorm names around this burgeoning marshmallows enterprise, we kept hitting deadends. Nothing seemed right. Then my wife rightly pointed out the problem wasn’t that the ideas for names were bad, but the problem is that “Wondermade” was better. It just perfectly captures our joy and vim and wonder that we put into making every box.
You crowd-sourced funding through kickstarter to establish a production space, no? How was that process? Did you find that people were really eager to offer their support for your cause?
It was a blast to Kickstart our very own candy factory. The best part was connecting with so many people who really believed in us. Every supporter was someone literally buying in to the idea that marshmallows could be something truly remarkable. It was such an encouragement and validation. In fact, we’ve got a couple of other ideas we’re thinking about Kickstarting in the coming months, so stay tuned. Our new space is great – it’s big enough to handle the holiday rushes and small enough to keep things intensely personal. There’s something so fun about having a space like this for Wondermade. During the Kickstarter we called it a “Magical Marshmallow Workshop” because the idea that we could have a dedicated space to hand-craft marshmallow is pretty magical. The workshop always smells wonderful, like whatever flavors we just cooked. So we come home smelling like peppermint or chocolate or strawberries often covered in tiny flecks of marshmallows. Really, it’s just a great place to create.
What’s your favorite marshmallow recipe? Or should they just be savored alone?
By themselves, yes… alone, never! Marshmallows are best enjoyed with friends.
Step 1: Invite friends over
Step 2: Open box of marshmallows
Step 3: There’s some opportunity here. You could just share what’s in the box. Or you could take a cookie sheet and lay the marshmallows on graham crackers – broil for a few minutes and you’ll have indoor s’mores. You could even grab a lighter or a torch to toast some skewered marshmallows.
DRAM Apothecary (Northern Colorado)
by Brad Jones
When bitters were first added to alcohol the cocktail was born. But the history of bitters reaches back much further than the early 19th century. Although now used almost exclusively as flavoring agents for our favorite cocktails, (and an instrumental part of the craft cocktail revolution), bitters as traditional tincture and herbal medicine have been around since time immemorial. In her new line of hand crafted bitters, Shae Whitney, founder and bitters maker of DRAM Apothecary, has managed to merge these worlds once more. And it’s our health and taste buds that stand to reap the benefit.
O&G: Okay Shae, in a dozen words or less, why use Bitters?
Shae: They have so many uses, from flavoring cocktails, sauces and cookie batter to soothing upset stomachs and calming allergies. My Honey Chamomile Bitters will add a delicate charming nuance to cakes and muffins, a soft and interesting kick to any cocktail and if you battle with seasonal allergies like I do, a hefty shake in small glass of water will calm reaction symptoms immediately. Bitter flavors induce satiation which in turn kick starts your digestive system and gets things moving along.
O&G: Now we’re talkin. How did you get started?
Shae: I studied food science, agriculture and herbalism in my college years, so the preparation of bitters was familiar to me, from a medicinal standpoint. Bartending was my main bread and butter for about 7 years, and one day I found myself reading the ingredients of the classic Angostura Bitters and I was shocked to see they use synthetic flavoring and dye, two things I am very opposed to. So I set out to make better, all-natural bitters that could even have added health benefits.
O&G: Sounds like in DRAM you’ve found a way to merge your two passions then, mixology and herbalism.
Shae: Absolutely. I have essentially fused these two worlds together with my product line. This is something I am very proud of, being able to make bitters that don’t just taste good but will also make you feel good! DRAM is the only wild-crafted bitters company. It truly is a product of the Colorado soil, my home, and that is precious to me and fans of DRAM.
O&G: Would you say there’s such a thing as “northern Colorado terroir”?
Shae: The location of our factory is definitely important to the bitters. Our bitters are crafted at 9,100 feet in Silver Plume, CO using spring water straight from the peaks. Silver Plume is considered to be a “living ghost town” as there are original historic structures preserved in time on dirt roads, with less than 100 people living among them. We chose this setting as it was in line with our aesthetic and belief in bitters made the old-fashioned way with wild herbs gathered from the surrounding hills and valleys.
I can’t speak for a general terroir of Colorado, but I do know something special happens when you craft bitters using herbs grown in fresh mountain air, away from pollutants and contaminants. We are working on opening the space up as a bar/cafe/tasting room. If you ever find yourself in Colorado please do stop by!
O&G: Foraging herbs from hillsides in the Colorado summer sun? Sounds like you have your hand in every step of the bitters making process, from bark to bottle. This speaks to the difference between artisanal bitters and their more commercial equivalent, no?
Shae: In my opinion commercial bitters companies aren’t even in the business of manufacturing bitters, they are in the business of manufacturing synthetic culinary flavorings. Commercial bitters are crafted using alcohol, and a bittering root such as gentian, synthetic flavoring and dye. By making them this way they essentially cut out the most important, (and time consuming part), which is allowing herbs to steep and macerate in alcohol for 1 week to 6 months.
Artisanal bitters are generally made in very small batches, around 2-5 gallons, while commercial are made on a massive scale, in giant plastic or stainless steel tanks. At DRAM we use only glass and wood in the crafting of our bitters as I was taught that metals can have various reactions with herbal preparations. We never use plastic as it is known to leach chemicals.
O&G: It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, let’s talk consumption.
Shae: I have a recipe for Hollandaise Sauce that was born out of a desperate moment. I had no citrus in the house, artichokes on the grill and hungry guests. I decided to use my DRAM Citrus Medica bitters in place of the lemon juice and the result was this lovely sauce with unusual and intoxicating depth to it. I include this recipe on a little card with all of my orders.
But to quench your thirst…here is an interesting recipe using ROOT plus DRAM Hair of the Dog Bitters. I am a huge fan of ROOT liqueur made by the folks at Art in the Age in Philedelphia.
2 oz bourbon
1 oz ROOT
1/2 oz grapefruit juice
splash of ginger ale or 1/2 oz simple syrup
5 shakes DRAM Hair of The Dog Bitters
Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Serve in a mason jar over fresh ice and top with a float of sour beer, preferably Duchesse De Bourgogne. A nice wheat beer will do the trick as well. Garnish with a lemon wheel or fresh mint.
Interview by Brad Jones. Big thanks to Shae & the DRAM team for schooling us. Photo’s provided by DRAM.