Holiday Shopping at The Mercantile – Handcrafted Rustic Cedar Cheese Boards

Can you believe that it’s already time to start thinking about the holidays?  I can’t either!  Parties, guests, food, gifts, etc.  I decided to start easing into the holidays at The Mercantile this month by focusing on them.

Last spring I made some handcrafted rustic cedar cheese boards. My intention was to sell them, until, I showed them to my daughter and my sister in-law who absolutely loved them.  When I asked them if they’d like one, they eagerly said yes.  And need I say more?

Since I am already lining up projects to keep me occupied this winter, I decided to make some more cheese boards.  I’m hoping to sell these before I show them to anyone else in the family!

Each board is unique, and each varies in size, color, and yes, even in their imperfections.  These are made from aged cedar which has been milled and hand rubbed with a food grade oil to help preserve them (by me).

These would make the PERFECT HOLIDAY GIFT for the FOODIES in your life.  Or, you could always splurge on yourself too!

The description and prices of each board are outlined below.

Rectangular Cheese board #1 (small) is approximately 10 1/2” long x 7 1/4” wide and is about 9/16” thick.  This board is $20.00, plus shipping. SOLD

Rectangular Cheese board  #2 (medium) is approximately 14 3/4” long x 7 1/4” wide and is about 5/8” thick.  This board is $25.00, plus shipping. SOLD

Rectangular Cheese board # 3 (large) is approximately 16 1/2” long x 7 1/2” wide and is about 9/16” thick.  This board is $30.00, plus shipping.  SOLD

If you’re interested in purchasing one of my handcrafted cheese boards then please EMAIL me with the size that you’d like to purchase.  Since I only have three boards finished at this time, orders will be filled first come, first serve.  Once a board has sold I will contact the buyer with a grand total (including the shipping charges).  I will also note on my blog if a board is no longer available.  Payment will be accepted via PayPal.

If you have any questions about the sale please contact me prior to making your purchase.

Other sale terms

* Seller has the right to cancel this sale at any time without prior notice – but will probably never have to do that because only civilized people come to my blog Smile

* All items sold as is.  These cheese boards have natural imperfections.

* All sales final

* Props not included

Please not that the picture below is of the underside of the medium cheese board.  Each underside board has knot holes and similar characteristics.  Also, these photos have been edited and the color may appear slightly different from the actual board.

Pair one of these boards with a nice piece of cheese and a good bottle of wine and you’ve got one gift down!  How many people do you have to buy for this holiday season?

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Skinny Mini’s

I have a proclamation to make.  I have fallen head over heels for mini desserts.  And let me tell you why – they are so stinkin cute, you can eat more than one and NOT feeling guilty, and they are darn tasty. 

I recently received some mini dessert dishes from Libbey Glass and I’m going to put them to the test.  I wanted to blossom my creativity a little and these little beauties have given me the incentive to do just that.

The first dessert I came up with is made with sugar-free raspberry gelatin.  HOLD ON!  DON’T LEAVE!  You are going to want to see this, even if it’s just out of curiosity.   

I wanted my first mini dessert to be simple, low calorie, and for a more mature audience.  Wait until you see how I adultified (new word) it.   

Please allow me to introduce … Skinny Mini’s.  A raspberry (sugar-free) gelatin topped with Mascato infused whipped cream and mini vanilla shortbread bites.

As for the taste, I ate three of them just while I was taking pictures.  When I made that announcement to my husband he laughed at me and tried to tell me that making mini’s means you ration yourself.   Nah… I don’t think so.  Not when you are talking about sugar-free gelatin, a tiny dollop of whipped cream, and a bite sized shortbread cookie I quickly retorted. 

To make Skinny Mini’s you will need (per my suggestion) one box of twelve Libby Flare Dessert Dishes and mini spoons (they are sold as a package). 

You will also need one small box of sugar-free raspberry gelatin.  Prepare the gelatin following the instructions on the box and divide it equally into the dessert glasses.  Refrigerate until firm.

Mini Vanilla Shortbread Bites

1 stick of chilled margarine

1/4 c. granulated sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. all-purpose flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, and line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add margarine, sugar, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer until creamy. Add sifted flour, and mix until batter holds together. Spread batter onto prepared baking sheet making a square about 5”x 5”. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.  Use a mini cookie cutter to cut baked cookie dough; set aside.

Mascato Infused Whipped Cream

1/2 c. of heavy whipping cream

2 tsp. of white Mascato wine

1/2 tbsp. of granulated sugar

Place heavy cream and sugar in a chilled bowl and mix with electric mixer until cream thickens into whipped cream.  Slow drizzle the wine into the whipped cream while the beaters are going.. Using a pastry bag squeeze whipped cream on top of each gelatin dessert.  Place a mini shortbread bite on top of  each dessert topped with whipped cream; garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

Now, enjoy!

How could you possibly feel guilty indulging in these?  Really…

While Libbey did provide me with these mini dessert dishes, I was not compensated for this post, and the opinions contained herein are my very own.

Holiday Wine Tasting at Americana

If  Santa were to fill my stocking with Finger Lakes wine this year I’d be a very happy girl.   Of course, I’d need a much bigger stocking than the one I  already have.   The choices of wines here in the Finger Lakes are endless. 

I recently took a very short drive (like almost in my backyard kind of drive) to Americana Vineyards.  Their winery is one of my favorites, and I love to stop in there from time to time.  I thought I’d  share my visit with you.

Americana’s tasting room is situated in a tastefully decorated old barn that has a neat story behind it.   On my visit, I was greeted at the door by  one of  their two chocolate labs  – Max or Rubie.   Aside from the dogs, the winery also has a huge friendly cat that roams around the place and manages to look more like the wineries watch dog than the dogs do – go figure.

Aside from the tasting room at Americana, you will also find the Crystal Lake Café which serves (so I’m told) delicious food that is made in-house daily with the freshest local ingredients;  a gift shop with a great selection of specialty food items, among other unique treasures; the biggest variety, and some of the most delicious homemade fudge that you’ve ever seen or tasted in one place.  I had intentions of trying their red velvet fudge and forgot to once  the wine started flowing.  Oh well, I guess that gives me an excuse to go back soon.

Behind the winery is a  large pavilion that plays host to concerts and other events when weather permits.  And when weather doesn’t permit, the upstairs of the barn does the job.  Americana has concerts scheduled every Friday from 6PM-8PM, and every Sunday from 4PM-6PM.

As for wines, Americana’s got them all.  Dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet, and sweet –  in red, white, and blueberry.   If my calculations are correct, I counted 27 different wines in all.  For $3.00 you can taste 6 wines of your choice, and for $1.00 more you can taste their 2 of their limited edition wines, or 3 of their blueberry wines.  My favorite Americana wine?  Their Semi-Dry Riesling – amazing!

And to think that I almost forgot to mention the hot mulled wine that I  sampled.  It was delicious and would certainly add a little cheer to any holiday party.  I’m adding their mulling spices to the list that I’m getting ready for Santa.

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Looking for something fun to do this month?  I suggest fitting in a wine tasting,  meal, concert, or a little shopping at American Vineyards. If you’re not from the Finger Lakes; add this trip to your “bucket list” and visit a fun winery in your area.

If  you’re a fan of  Finger Lakes foods and beverages don’t forget to nominate them for the Finger Lakes Foodie award in the Finger Lakes Food Revolution – time is running out!

* I have not been compensated for this post.  It’s simply me sharing one of my great Finger Lakes adventures with you.  If you are a Finger Lakes business and happen to be looking for a freelance writer or photographer – let’s talk!

Finger Lakes Food Revolution 2012

If someone were to ask me to explain to them what makes the Finger Lakes food and beverage scene so unique, I’d have say it’s the fact that we are fortunate enough to have it all.

We are literally sitting in the midst of four specific wine trails – Keuka, Seneca, Cayuga, and Canandaigua Lake. There are dozens of craft or microbreweries scattered throughout the region, and yes, there is even a handful of spirit producing distilleries here as well.

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But don’t let me steer you into believing that the Finger Lakes is just about booze; it’s not.

We have a considerable number of local Finger Lakes dairies producing some of the most delicious farmstead cheeses you’ve ever tasted. We have access to pasture raised meats, farm fresh ingredients, u-pick farms, along with deliciously unique products produced right here in this region.

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Also on the food scene, there are community supported agriculture programs, local farmers markets to explore, along with and farm to table dining experiences at an array of local eateries.  Not to mention,  agriculture food festivals galore; maple, grapes, potato, garlic, tomato, sauerkraut – take your pick.

And it only gets better.  This year the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection which promotes tourism in Ontario County, is hosting the Finger Lakes Food Revolution, all part of the annual Slice, Dice and Spice IV.  This event gives locavores like myself, and tourists who love Finger Lakes, the opportunity to nominate, vote, and support our favorite Finger Lakes foods, beverages, restaurants, food events, and locally made ingredients.

Do you have a something you favor from the Finger Lakes? You are welcome to participate in this event too.  Just visit the Finger Lakes Food Revolution website and get in on the nomination process which is currently underway.  Nominations are expected to wrap up in early December – so don’t miss your chance to join in on the fun, and let your voice be heard!

That Time of the Year in the FLX

It’s grape harvesting time here in the Finger Lakes and that means several things to this region.  Grape pies, grape festivals, and wine making galore.  All of which are great for our regions economy.  A trip through Naples, New York during last weekends Grape Festival was proof of that.  Not a parking spot to be found along State Route 21, or a bare spot to be found on the village’s never ending side-walk.  I had to stop counting the number of people I saw carrying  baskets of grapes, or the number of  signs I saw for homemade grape pies – because there were too many.

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On any given day, it’s not uncommon to pass by area wineries where you’ll see limos and busses waiting for their passengers who are inside bellied up to the tasting bars. 

We recently took a trip to Fulkerson Winery on the West Side of Seneca Lake. Fulkerson’s has one of the largest wine selections that I’ve seen at any given area winery.  And I have to say that the girl who poured our samples at Fulkerson’s was much more personable and attentive than the fellow who waited on us at the other big winery just down the road.

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Aside from delicious wines, Fulkerson Winery also sells fresh grape juices, and they are one of the areas few suppliers of home brewing and home wine making supplies.  I think their prices are very reasonable and their selection is superior.

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If you can’t make it to their winery they offer on-line shopping.  Every season I get their annual catalog which gives the specifics of what type of grape juices are available for purchase, and what date they anticipate they will be made available.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention their nice gift shop too.  We usually end up dragging my mother in-law out of it – just kidding, sort of…

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If you are wondering if I’m promoting Fulkerson Winery because they have paid me to say nice things about them, I’m not.  I just like giving you a local’s perspective on the places I think are worth visiting here in the Finger Lakes. * (If you are a winery in the Finger Lakes and you’d like me to write about business – I’d love to hear from you.)

I originally got acquainted with Fulkerson Winery when I made my first batch of homemade wine.  And here is how it turned out – go ahead take a peek.

The FLX Files

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In the midst of re-organizing my blog I decided to dedicate a page to one of the most amazing regions of New York State -  the Finger Lakes (FLX).   Over my last two years of blogging  I have  portrayed this region in many of my blog posts, and it only seemed right to give those posts a place all of their own.  While strolling through the FLX files you’ll likely find photos, mentions, and stories about a specific foods, wines, places, and events here.  I welcome you to the place I call home.

Red-White-and Finger Lakes Wine

Are you a wine-ie

Say Cheese

Weekend finds, but no food post

Homemade pizza from the Finger Lakes

Willkommen to Germany

Wine, and more wine…1st stop, Eleven Lakes Winery

Finger Lakes Cork & Fork, an Event to Remember

Kitchen Disasters

A Day of Adventure

A Day at Willard Asylum for the Insane

Black & Blues

Picking blueberries and my mood

Calling All Foodies from the Finger Lakes and Beyond

Apple Filled Oatmeal Cookies

2nd Annual Finger Lakes Cork & Fork Partners & Pairings

Another Great Finger Lakes Cork & Fork

Making Homemade Wine

Writing (and) Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Holiday Gift Ideas with Pumpkin Cheese Bread

Willard Asylum for the Insane – Updates

Sunday Morning and Doughnut Holes

A historic event, a statue, and photos

Shiitake, Almond, Wild Rice Salad with Balsamic Dressing

In The Finger Lakes – Bully Hill Vineyard

A Surprising Walk

Cream Puffs, You, and The Finger Lakes

Get Out Your Soup Making Pot

Finger Lakes Cork & Fork, an Event to Remember

I was raised in a rural part of New York State where agriculture has been a primary source of income for many people, for many years. Aside from having a small garden, a few berry bushes, raising small flocks of free range chickens and ducks for their eggs,  and maple sugaring in the spring,  my personal hands-on experience in agriculture has been minimal.

My first experience in agriculture came at an early age when a friend of mine, whose parents owned a potato farm, offered me a job picking potatoes one weekend.  Eager to make money, I spent my entire day on my hands and knees, in the dirt, pulling potatoes out of acres of cultivated rows.  Needless to say, it was then, that I realized my fortunes wouldn’t be made working as farm laborer.  My experience picking grapes was slightly more enjoyable than potato picking, but not a lot.  The downside to grape picking, spending entire days out in cold, rainy weather, and having to contend with bees on the nice weather days.

I probably didn’t know it then, but those experiences  helped shape my views on the agriculture today.  I’ve come to realize that without our local farms, and  workers willing to put in the long hours and endure the unpleasant elements nature hands out, each our lives would be significantly different. 

This past weekend I decided to pay homage to New York State agriculture.  I was fortunate enough to attend the first annual Finger Lakes Cork & Fork event held in the Seneca County.   The concept of the Cork & Fork, to create a farm to feast event to promote  fresh, locally grown, raised, or farm made products and wine.  The products then make their way into the hands of some of the area’s best know chefs.  The chefs job; to prepare a epicurean adventure.  And that, they did. 

The friday night Partners & Pairings event featured a variety of tapas.  And of course, they were paired with some of the best wines from the Finger Lakes, and the excellent jazz tunes from the Johnny Russo Trio.

Chef Deb Whiting of Red Newt Bistro   offered a taste of her Apple Sausage Meatballs in a Creamy Apple Cider Sauce.  The meatballs were made with pork sausage from Autumn’s Harvest Farm , and cider from Red Jacket Orchards .  The meatballs were paired with a 2007 reserve Riesling from Red Newt Cellars.  If these didn’t bring  your taste buds alive, I’m not sure what would. 

Chef Sean Congdon of Greenside Grill prepared a Tea Scented Pork Belly with Brussel sprouts, Jerusalem Artichoke & Quince.  This dish was delicious, and was paired with a Riesling Ale from Three Brothers Wineries & Estates.

Chef William Cornelius offered a dish prepared just special for this event.  He named it Cheriyaki Chicken.  The chicken came from Perrine Farms of Lyons, NY, and the sauce, a creation by Chef Cornelius, made for Brick Village Gourmet.  This dish was calling me back for seconds.  It was paired with Barn Raisin’ Red from Americana Vineyards, one of my favorite local red wines.

One of the most tasteful dishes of the evening was one prepared by Chef Sean Agate of the Divine Kitchen & Bar at Hotel Clarence.  As Sean reminded us, it was a very popular dish in the 70’s.  Here’s to his Finger Lakes fondue, and to the 70’s!  The cheese used in the fondue came from Muranda Cheese Company, and was paired with yet another great  Riesling from Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars.

Don’t worry, there were plenty more excellent dishes and wines to be sampled, and they made for a room full  of very happy tasters.  And dessert?  Lucienne’s Chocolate offered a Port Infused Finger Lakes Black Currant Biscotti with Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt.  Out of this world…  It was paired with Finger Lakes Ruby Port from Knapp Winery.   Life’s So Sweet Chocolates offered Chocolate Chili Truffles paired with Gewürztraminer Ice Wine from Standing Stone Vineyards.  Not only did I eat my truffle, I ate my hubbies too.  Don’t tell anyone…  And lastly, Cayuga Lake Creamery offered their Homemade Black Raspberry, and Vanilla ice cream,  drizzled with Moonglorius from Eleven Lakes Winery.  A perfect ending to a great evening of tastings and pairing.

The second day of the event included cooking demonstrations offered by some of the same local chefs who prepared the dishes the evening before.   There was also more local food and wine to be sampled, and purchased.  It was nice to be able to chat with owners of the businesses, or their representatives.  I asked quite a few questions, and learned a lot.

Chef Sam Izzo of Simply Red Bistro of Sheldrake Point

As I wandered through the large barn that housed all of the vendors I realized there were  a lot of products that I wasn’t familiar with.  To name just a few,  Tom’s Bootleg BBQ Sauce, Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese, Sunflower Oil by Stolor Organics, Stony Brook Squash Seed Oils, and wines made by Kings Garden Vineyard, among several others.  In all, there were 65 exhibitors representing  wineries, restaurants, foods & farms, specialty items and education. 

This was a great event.  A foodie, and wine lovers paradise.  It gave recognition to those who work  hard in the food and wine industry everyday, and I have to say, it left me with an even stronger appreciation for my life in the Finger Lakes.  If you didn’t attend this years Cork & Fork, you will want to catch next years, it can only get better.