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    Charcuterie 101

    Charcuterie 101

    Charcuterie 101 

    What is charcuterie? By definition, charcuterie, (pronounced “shar-ku-tuh-ree”) is the art of preparing and assembling cured meats and meat products. This French term, which originated centuries ago, only recently gained popularity as the trend of charcuterie boards has skyrocketed to high status. 

    So, why is charcuterie suddenly all the rage? First of all, it’s a casual, yet intimate way to enjoy food. A charcuterie board promotes gathering and conversation. It also sparks aesthetic and culinary interest, causing guests to linger longer and create lasting memories. 

     

     

    Second, because of the variety offered on a charcuterie platter, there is something for everyone. Every pallet, dietary need, or food restriction will be satisfied from the multiple offerings on a single board. In addition to cured meats, traditional charcuterie boards offer fruits (both dried and fresh), pickled vegetables, nuts, seeds, cheeses, crackers, and dips such as honey, jam, or hummus. 

     

     

    Third, charcuterie boards are beautiful to look at and as the saying goes, pretty food is more fun to eat! 

    The sky is the limit when it comes to creativity; charcuterie boards are a true form of art! 

     

    SPICY CRAB DIP FROM THE KITCHEN WILD

    SPICY CRAB DIP FROM THE KITCHEN WILD

    This super simple recipe was inspired by many incredible moments out on the water crabbing with my husband and children. So many in fact that we needed to start freezing our Dungeness crab because we were catching so many that we just couldn’t eat them all.

    Served on The Food Pallet Serving Board

    Ingredients:

    2 cups lump crab meat, plus 1/4 cup for topping dip after baking

    8oz. cream cheese, softened

    1/2 cup mayonnaise

    1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

    1 Tbs. fresh chives 

    2 garlic cloves, minced 

    1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 

    2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes 

    Sourdough bread bowl for serving dip in plus 1 Tbs. butter and 1 garlic clove for frying sourdough bread crumbs. 

     

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees 

    Add softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, garlic, Worcestershire, crushed red pepper flakes and chives in a mixing bowl and mix until combined. Gently fold in 2 cups crab meat. 

    Cut off top of sourdough bread and gently hollow out loaf leaving enough bread around the edges for structure. Fill bread bowl with crab mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden and bubbly. 

    While crab dip is in the oven, break up leftover sourdough bread into small pieces. Melt 1 Tbs. butter in skillet and add one smashed whole garlic clove, add bread and sauté until golden and crisp. Remove garlic clove. 

    Top hot crab dip with bread crumbs, chives and crab meat, serve with sliced bread, crackers, vegetables or maybe just a spoon because this dip is delicious on just about anything!

    For more great recipes join Katie on her Instagram @Thekitchenwild

    Venison Chili from The Kitchen Wild

    Venison Chili from The Kitchen Wild

    VENISON CHILI & CORNBREAD w/ HONEY BUTTER

    There are a few meals that are an absolute must for hunting camp and venison chili is one of them. After being in the woods all day there’s something so comforting to coming back to camp to a heaping bowl of hearty chili piled high with cheese and onions and of course that giant side of cornbread with an inappropriate amount of honey butter (because is there anything better than an inappropriate amount of honey butter?! The answer is NO! It’s so so good!)! It’s the perfect way to warm up and fuel up in preparation for the next days hunt!

    Served up on a French Oak Blackened Board

     

    Ingredients:

    (Large hunting camp recipe, you can easily cut this recipe in half for a smaller group) 

    2 lbs ground venison 

    3 cans Tri Blend beans (dark red kidney, pinto and black beans)

    2 Tablespoons olive oil

    2 onions

    2 green peppers

    8 stalks celery

    3-4 cloves garlic

    2 McCormick chili seasoning packets

    1 can Rotel tomatoes  (I blend these because my husband doesn’t like tomatoes) 

    1 can stewed tomatoes (blended)

    2 cups water 

    1 Tablespoon honey 

    1 tsp Johnny’s Seasoning Salt  

    Cracked black pepper to taste

     

    Instructions: 

    In a large stock pot add olive oil, cook ground venison until it has browned. Set aside.

    Add more olive oil back to pot, diced onions, peppers and celery. Sauté until they start to get soft.

    Add venison and garlic back to your pot, sauté for 2-3 minutes until garlic is cooked.

    Add McCormick seasoning packets, blended Rotel and stewed tomatoes, beans, Johnny’s, honey and water.

    Simmer for 30-60 minutes (if I’m in a hurry, 30 minutes will do but the longer the better!). Top with cheese and chives and enjoy!

     

    For more great recipes join Katie on her Instagram @Thekitchenwild

    Epoxy for Cutting Boards, just say No.

    Epoxy for Cutting Boards, just say No.

    Epoxy for Cutting Boards, just say No.

    With the advent and popularity of DYI hobby sales websites, we at Todd Alan Woodcraft have been seeing a lot of DIY wood hobbyists selling cutting boards with epoxy coatings -or- having the epoxy embedded in the wood near the cutting surface. As a professional woodworking company we felt called to address why this is a bad idea and you should really- just say No, to epoxy cutting surfaces.

    We at never use epoxy on any of our cutting boards or butcher blocks for many different reasons which I will address below.

    First and foremost, food grade epoxy is safe when applied correctly for non-cutting, or light duty cutting surfaces, such as serving boards, charcuterie boards or serving trays therefore epoxy does have its place in the kitchen or dining room.
    There are many beautiful charcuterie and serving boards using food grade epoxy available on our site here.

     

    This food grade level of epoxy is a different FDA grade than what you would normally see in table tops, benches ect. and unfortunately a lot of DIY hobbyists may not be up to industry speed on which products are safe and which are not safe to use on a surface that makes contact with food.

    There are so many products catering to the DIY crowd are produced outside of the US where possibly some of the compounds are not listed, and let alone the thousands of “tutorials” by professionals and other hobbyists, there is a lot of conflicting information on direction and use for epoxy.  Its extremely important that if you are a DIY Hobbyist selling your product, and reading this blog, that you make sure you search out brands that have high-ratings and are compliant with FDA standards. Also it’s equally important that you learn to properly measure, mix, pour and cure any epoxy. 

    When it comes to purchasing a cutting board or butcher block, it is extremely important that it contains no epoxy on or near the cutting surface- food grade or not.

    When you use a cleaver or kitchen knife on a wood surface, wood has a natural way of self-healing over time and several studies have found that there are natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties in many varieties of harder wood due to its porous healing nature. Wood pulls bacteria in trapping and killing it through the drying process after cleaning. 

    The following are some of the problems with epoxy as a medium to heavy Use cutting surface and why we don’t use it:  When coated with epoxy, or making contact with epoxy,  wood reacts differently and doesn’t self heal once you’ve broken though the epoxy to the wood level.

     

    Epoxy over time can collect bacteria hiding under the deep scratches and cuts on a cutting board from your knives, even if cleaned thoroughly. Blood and Juices can dry and create a bacteria laden surface.

    Epoxy can break down over time with knife use and also chip and splinter when used as a butchering or medium to heavy cutting surface. Small particles could get into your food, and thus get into your digestive system.  
    Epoxy is a hard plastic surface, and harder on cleavers and knife blades, causing them to dull faster. 

    And finally, epoxy will over time with chopping and butchering use and heavy cleaning will eventually end up looking horrible with scuffing or clouding, thus destroying any heirloom or artistic value of your board.

    When you are considering purchasing a cutting board or butcher block, we at Todd Alan Woodcraft, suggest purchasing one that is Wood based without epoxy inlay and is sourced and produced in the USA from a professional and experienced woodworker.

    You can find our full line Todd Alan Woodcraft line of Cutting Boards Here.  

    Functional Natural Minimalism: Wood and Metal are back. Trends for 2020

    Functional Natural Minimalism: Wood and Metal are back. Trends for 2020

    Welcome to 2020. Part of the job of operating a design, production and retail company is watching trends in interior design and home decor.  There are many major trends which we see coming on for the next 2 to 5 years, and some micro-trends which we won’t  address since they’re short term.  We’re looking for those trends of substance. Since wood comes in so many different grain patterns, colors and styles we are always on the look out to see what suits our clients and how we can adapt our current products to fit the longer term trends, avoiding short term changes and “craze”s.

     

    One major trend, that is still on the go is Minimalism. We’re not talking about cleaning house and throwing away things you don’t need and living in a sterile environment akin to a hospital surgery suite. We’re seeing people living with less plastic clutter, but most importantly the home items they're purchasing have a form and function to them and are natural. Minimalism is often confused by people who think it’s little to nothing in product and size, and all straight lines.
    There are a lot of Minimalist pieces with curved edges or natural edges made of either plastic, composite or natural materials, such as wood. Organic elements that are crafted are making a strong comeback for the next few years.  Wood we predict, with its organic aesthetics- taking the environment and sustainability into account, will be a long term trend.
    Many Mod and Minimalist pieces are being produced from engineered “glue lam” and cross-laminated timber. This was a hot trend starting in 2019 and we see this going far into the 2020’s.

     

    Wood.

    Wood is making a strong comeback into kitchens as people tire of disposable plastic products.  This goes from flooring, walls, blocks and countertops. Comfortable looks inspired by nature that give small spaces an organic, natural and open feeling.  
    We’re seeing a long term trend of Maple, White Oak, French Oak, old growth reclaimed Vertical Grain Fir and Ash- all lighter woods, white or off-white blonde. These go well with some of the interior paint trends we’ve been seeing end of 2019  into 2020 and going into 2021 are- Purples, Pinks , Frosty blue and Pastels in all different shades.
    We are also seeing a long term trend at the opposite end of the color spectrum for interior. Darker natural woods- such as Walnut, Roasted Oak,  Mahogany and flame charred European and French Oak. All natural and without any staining, just a good clear protectant.  Interior colors going with the darker woods from 2020 and beyond are Cobalt Blue, Clay Red, Sliver Gray and coming back for the next few years is a Mustard Yellow and Hunter and Jade Green. 
    Natural wood serving trays, cutting boards and serving boards of all these light and darker woods are desirable for many homeowners in their kitchens, replacing thin plastic or composite cutting and serving boards.  Wood is a great economic way to add visual impact into a space.  
    Maybe you want a big KickAsh cutting board in your kitchen, something as simple artistic and rustic as a European Styled Charcuterie Board or something elegant and relaxed like a Reclaimed Vertical Grain Fir Ottoman Tray. We like Teak Wood, because it’s versatile and can tie in with a lighter or darker home environment. It looks good with a variety of popular and even timeless colors. We have a limited line of Plantation Teak Serving/Charcuterie Boards  that would be great for a black and cobalt blue with white room -or- would go well with a frosty blue and white room as well. Metallics go well with Teak too.

     

    Metal (and wood) Lighting

    Metal lighting with natural wood accents is making an illuminated comeback this year and next for every room in the house in the form of table lamps. One popular style is Industrial lighting that’s a combination of vintage pieces picked from various era’s and paired with wood bases. 
    Industrial era lighting is different than what’s commonly called “Steam punk” style lighting, as Industrial is simple, clean and with little parts as possible. Steam punk has unneeded parts that mimic imagined steam powered recreations of modern pieces and can tend to look gaudy. 
    Industrial era lighting is merging existing materials, mixing various metals and wood to form something new with its own unique characteristics- industrial chic. Many of our customers are interested in the parts and woods they’re opening their homes to.  We’re being asked about the backstory on the antique metal parts and reclaimed woods we’re incorporating into our deigns.
    Two examples of Industrial era table lamps are our  Raw Steel Industrial Edison Lamp on Figured Maple and Roasted Oak base and the one-of-a-kind Pipe Threader Edison Lamp we have on the Todd Alan Woodcraft site.
    With Industrial Era lighting, we suggest incandescent Edison style light bulbs. Lamps with Edison bulbs provide essential brightness and give a room a feeling of warmth.  Edison bulbs go great with the light colors this year, as well as the cooler  darker colors. 

     

    Mod Lighting

    Mod(ern) lighting is looking like it’s off to a great start in 2020.  This iconic style features funky patterns combined with sophistication.  Wood is another key component of this trend, as compared to the past 10 years, with metals and plastic. Retro designs feature sleek lines, simple forms and pairing those with creativity and imagination in accents.
    A great example of Mod Lighting is our Polished Copper Grand Edison Floor Lamps in Vertical Grain Fir Base where the unique end-grain patterns of the lamp bases give way to the sleek copper pole, and features an oversized exposed Edison bulb.  These lamps go well with a variety of up and coming popular colors on the light and dark ends of the spectrum.
    Since table lamps are the thing it seems this year, we’ve been ahead of the trend with our  Baltic Birch Framed Copper Lamp in Jatoba Base Minimalist lamp, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.  It’s a complex yet simple table lamp using a glue of Baltic Birch in the form of plywood as the frame holding a simple single light.
    The atmosphere in a Mod inspired room should never be overwhelming with different elements. Mod is inspired by simplistic, futuristic art and each piece should be a work on its own. Mod lighting and Mod style goes well with lighter colors, allowing the pieces to “pop” and stand out.  The lighter colors of wood in lamps work well in Pinks, Purples and pastels. 
    To sum it up, we look forward to the future and what growth and changes are in style, finish and materials are around the corner. We also look to the past, and how we can conceive new ideas from tried and true iconic styles.
    Pick what you like since your personality is reflected in your style, color palette and design. Its your personal environment, your experience and inspiration, there is no one-size-fits-all element or trend. There are so many options in wood, metals and fun colors- have fun in 2020 adding a touch of adventure to your home!