Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Be A Better Hostess

10 Tips To Help You Become The Ulitmate Hostess With The Mostess

We all want to be the best host or hostess. As we send out our party invitations, we imagine ourselves stress free, floating around the room making sure all our guests are happy and having fun. In reality, we typically find ourselves running into the kitchen cursing the ice maker for jamming up or realizing that you just ran out of cups! We, at Harter House Supermarkets, have put together 10 tips to help you prepare yourself and your house for an event so you really can be the ultimate host(ess) with the most(ess).

1. Make Time Work For You - Let time work for you, not against you. This means allowing adequate time to plan for the time of party or even you are throwing. Don’t try to throw a baby shower tomorrow. Give yourself time to shop for supplies, create any party favors or activities, and time to clean your house! Also, don’t try to plan too many things in a short time span. You can’t be everywhere or everything to everyone all the time. You’ll find that there is so much you can do ahead of time (food prep, decorating etc.) that there is no need to be stressing once the party begins.

2. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate - Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your friends and family keep telling you they are always here for you, so call in a favor! Get your kids to help with household chores, send your spouse to the store for last minute items so you can continue cooking. Ask your artistic, creative friends to help with decorations. Think about who you know and what their strengths are and as them to lend their expertise. They’ll be touched that you think so highly of them and will enjoy helping you create a fabulous party experience!

3. Choose Food Wisely - If you aren’t a really whiz in the kitchen, pick easy, make ahead recipes. Even if you are a french trained chef. it’s still a good idea to select menu items that can be prepped ahead of time. That way all you’re doing the day off are finishing touches, not creating something from start to finish. Let our experienced personnel at Harter House and World Flavors help with delicious ideas.

4. Set The Mood - People’s moods are very affected by their environment. Choose appropriate lighting (low light for a cocktail party, ample lighting for kid’s party with arts and crafts etc.) Use music to help you out too. If you want the tone to be soft and mellow, playing the new Metallica album probably isn’t a good idea.

5. Have An Emergency Supply - Keep snacks that you would serve to guests in the pantry in case you run low on food or burn one of your dishes! Things like gourmet cookies, biscotti, muffins, nuts, even popcorn could do in a pinch. Also keep plenty of beverages on hand in case you run low.

6. Circulate - Once you’ve set the last dish out, circulate the room. Be sure you introduce people so they feel more comfortable. Think of it like wedding, you want to talk to everyone that made an effort to show up!

7. The Glass Half Full - Keep an eye on people’s beverages. Offer to fill them up before they are completely drained. It keeps people from having to leave conversations or activities the might be enjoying at your party! Be sure to offer a place to “rest” before guest’s who may have over indulged head home. It also helps to keep a local cab company’s number handy.

8. Strategic Seating - You don’t have to have a seat for everyone that attends (unless an activity you are doing requires it). It’s better if you don’t so people are constantly shifting around and mingling.

9. Separate Food And Drinks - Don’t set the drink station right by the food. Otherwise, everyone will stay in the same spot so they can graze. If you put the drinks across the room, they have to move around!

10. Cool As A Cucumber - Your demeanor will greatly affect the tone of the party. So if someone spills red wine, even if you are flaming on the inside, handle it with grace. There are very few things that could happen that are really worth worrying about so relax and enjoy. If you come off as being stressed, you may create a tense environment and that’s not fun for anyone.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why Dry Aged Meat is Better!

In a mass produced commercial environment where all attention is given to the profit margin, dry aging is being done only for a few discriminating customers.

Harter House Supermarkets in Springfield, Mo. has introduced Dry Aged Beef Products to the retail grocery market.

Quality dry aging makes the beef you buy not only more tender, but concentrates flavor and produces meat that is superb in taste and texture.

Up until 20 years ago, Dry Aged beef was the norm, then with the advent of vacuum packaging along with increased efficiencies in beef processing and transportation, we lost the dry aging process
Though rare in today's corporate, profit driven markets, the art of producing dry aged beef is still in demand for gourmet customers who know its unsurpassed quality.

There is the difference between Wet aged beef and Dry aged beef.
90% of aged beef is done by Wet Aging or aging-in-the-bag and has become the industry norm.
The beef is vacuum packed in plastic and sits at controlled temperatures for 7-28 days. Inside the plastic, the meat ages and becomes more tender yet there is no flavor development since there is not a concentration of flavor occurring with loss of moisture.

The method of Wet Aging has become more popular because it is cheaper and more profitable. Dry Aging is more costly due to the approximately 45% loss in shrinkage and extra trim required, time, storage, refrigerator space, and labor.
Dry aging occurs while the beef is in a refrigerated cooler, at a specific temperature and humidity, for 21 to 28 days after harvest and prior to cutting.
When beef is Dry Aged (Pork is NEVER aged!) two things happen. First, moisture evaporates from the muscle creating a greater concentration of beefy flavor and taste. Secondly, the beef’s natural enzymes break down the fibrous, connective tissue in the muscle, tenderizing it.
Some high quality restaurants and retailers age their meat for 28 days or more. Increased aging adds to the shrinkage and trim loss due to the drying and surface mold. Also, most of the tenderizing activity occurs in the first 10 to 14 days.

Humidity control is essential in managing dry aging and is perhaps the biggest reason why dry-aged beef costs substantially more, since the resultant evaporation causes significant shrinkage. Typical shrinkage is 35 to 45%. And dry-aged beef usually cost about 25-35% more than wet aged beef due to shrink and cutting loss.
But if you have ever had dry-aged beef, you know the cost is worth it!

Ask your friendly neighborhood butchers at either Harter House stores in Springfield to tell you more and visit Harter House at 1625 S. Eastgate to view the process in our Dry Aged Cooler.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Nutrition on a Budget

In this economy, finances are a stressor, and the food budget is one place you may be able to cut expenses. But what is the wisest way to accomplish that goal? Making poor food choices actually increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure; so when you cut your food budget, don’t cut out necessary nutrients.

Here’s what Dr. Kristina L. Sargent, D.C., offers in the way of tips to follow for low-cost nutrition:

* Stay on the Perimeter: To choose the healthiest foods, stay on the perimeter of the grocery store. You don’t really need to make your way into the aisles – where the processed stuff is located – why tempt yourself to spend money on food without nutrients that stresses your body?

* Cut out Processed Foods: Chips, muffins, cookies, soda, sports drinks and other beverages are an example. Most of those foods don’t have many nutrients like vitamins and antioxidants, and actually rob your body of nutrients as it tries to process them.

* Meal Plan: Start by planning a week to 10 days worth of meals — and be sure to include breakfast, lunch (if you pack your own), dinner and snacks. You can save time by building up a recipe file with your favorite dishes. You can also use cookbooks, print out recipes you find online or keep copies of recipes in a special folder on your computer. Grab the advertisements while you are at Harter House Supermarket to see what’s on special — you can save even more money by planning some of your meals around those sale items.

* Buy Frozen Foods: With frozen foods there’s no worry about spoilage and you will be getting more of the nutrients your body needs to combat stress.

* Cut Coupons: Look for online coupons as well as the coupons in newspapers and magazines.

* Use your own Water: Buy a water-filter pitcher instead of expensive individual bottles of water.

These days are stressful enough, and your body doesn’t need more. So choose to de-stress by feeding your body an anti-stress diet, reducing your grocery bill at the same time.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Eating Right When Eating on the Run

Are you always on the run? Do you never seem to have quite enough time
in the day? Sound familiar? Lack of time is a major reason why many people
give up eating right, but you don’t have to. In fact, healthy eating is more
important than ever when you’re trying to keep up with a hectic schedule.
A good diet helps your body withstand stress better. But as you’re hustling through your day, you’re probably not thinking about making your next meal a healthy one.
Skip the fast food restaurants.
Learn to eat more meals at home!

Your local Harter House supermarkets have great-tasting nutritional products available to put quick meals together. Foods, so tasty you’ll be wondering why you haven’t been eating this way your whole life. You can learn about products and how to prepare new recipes through many websites.
Make a date to spend 2 to 3 nights a week, at least, to have a good quality family dinner all together. Creating a pleasant mealtime environment is critical to getting children and adults alike to eat healthful foods. Structure and routine are important to all, so the best mealtime environment includes setting routines and having consistent meal times.
I have friends who dine out for nearly every meal: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I'm sure they have a good time and eat well, but this is an expensive habit. Some people don't eat at home because they don't know how to cook. It's easy to learn, though. And cooking is a skill that you can use for the rest of your life.

Cooking at home is an excellent way to save money. But if you’re accustomed to dining out for most meals, it can be a difficult transition. Fortunately, there’s plenty of help available on the web.
Some points:
1. Always start with a game plan. This is really the hardest step.
Your game plan can be simple (1 meal for 2 people), but it works best if the plan covers the basic angles (1 fish meal for 2 people with a vegetable side dish). Two quick ways to make this easy:
* designate a meat (or protein source) a night.
* buy whatever’s in season, and on sale at Harter House, and cook it up fresh whenever possible.
Monday: Pasta
Wednesday: Beef (make it special with a Dry aged Steak from Harter House.)
2. Recipe sources. Cookbooks are great; but I also use the internet a lot. I can type into google: “recipe beef 30 min” and I get several hundred thousand hits for recipes that take 30 minutes (or less) to prepare with beef. A search on “recipe heart healthy 30 min” gives me almost as many heart healthy main dishes.
Get your recipes as an early part of the game plan. Once you have an idea of all the ingredients you need, write them down and take the list with you to shop.
3. Buy fresh. Whenever possible buy the ingredient fresh or frozen rather than canned. The cheapest vegetables tend to be the ones in season, and also are the healthiest. The more of these you can squeeze into your meals, the better.

However you cook, get in the habit of buying the best ingredients at Harter House Supermarkets.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An Evening with the Cattle Barons

We dusted off our boots and kicked up our heels in support of the American Cancer Society. We dressed in our western best- denim, diamonds, cowboy hats, and boots!

We were joined by the most benevolent and prominent citizens of the Ozarks as we gathered to help save lives and raise money. We enjoyed an evening of live entertainment, gourmet dining, dancing, Las Vegas style gaming, unique auctions, and more in a relaxed western atmosphere.

Here are just a few of the delicious recipes that we were served at the event.

Garlic Citrus Shrimp By Avanzare Italian Dining
12 Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 Cup Butter
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
Pinch of each - Crushed Red Pepper flakes, slat & papper
1/4 Cup White Wine
Juice of 1 lemon
Melt butter in saute pan and add shrimp, garlic, red pepper, salt & pepper. When the garlic begins to brown, add wine and lemon and thicken.Serve with baguette or toast and eat immediately.

Cranberry Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini
1 clove garlic
1 Cup Sweetened dried cranberries
1 Tsp Red Pepper flakes
1/2 Cup parmesan cheese
1/4 Cup Italian Parsley, minced
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Goat Cheese (from Harter House World Flavors)
24 toasted baguette rounds
Pulse garlic in food processor until finely diced. Add Cranberries and red pepper flakes. Pulse until blended but chunky. Place mixture in a medium bowl. Stir in parmesan cheese, parsley and oil until blended. Spred a tsp. of goat cheese over baguette round and top with 1 Tbl. of mixture.
Stuffed Pork Loin - this was my favorite!
1 Pork Loin (appx 3/4 lb.)
1/3 Cup Swiss Cheese, shredded
1/4 Cup Dried Apricots, thinly sliced
1 tsp. fresh Thyme, minced (1/4 tsp. dried)
4 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
dash cayenne pepper
1 Tbl. butter, melted
Cut a lengthwise slit down the center of the roast to within 1/2 in. of the bottom. Open roast so it lies flat; cover with plastic wrap. Flatten to 1/2 inch thickness. remove wrap; sprinkle with cheese, apricots, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne. Roll up jelly-role style, starting with a long end. Tie at 2-Inch intervals with kitchen string; secure ends with toothpicks. Transfer to baking dish coated with non-stick spray. Brush tenderloin with butter. Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
7 Cups Potatoes, peeled & cubed
6 Cloves garlic, peeled, minced
1/2 Cup low-fat milk
1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tbl. Butter
1/2 Tsp salt
1/8 Tsp White Pepper
Place potatoes in a saucepan. Cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes; drain. Place drained potatoes in a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients; beat with a mixture until smooth.

Stuffed Mushrooms
2 Lbs. large mushrooms
3/4 lb. cooked baby shrimp
1 Cup Bacon Flavored Crackers, crushed
1 Cup Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a medium baking dish. Remove stems from mushrooms. Finely chop stems, cooked baby shrimp, crushed bacon flavored crackers and cream cheese. Stuff mushroom caps generously with the mushroom stem mixture. Top with sharp cheddar cheese. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Salmon with Blackberry Wasabi Sauce - By Avanzare Italian Dining
1/2 Cup all-fruit blackberry jam
1/8 Cup Wasabi paste
4 Salmon Steaks
1/8 Cup Coconut milk
1/4 Tsp. black pepper
pinch salt
Mix jam, wasabi, coconut milk, salt and pepper. Brush salmon with mixture while grilling.


Friday, August 19, 2011

A Gluten Free Diet

Harter House Supermarkets are committed to providing YOU, our customers, the products YOU’RE looking for!
A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, malts and triticale. It is used as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent, often as "dextrin". A gluten-free diet is the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease, the related condition dermatitis herpetiformis, and wheat allergy.
Today, there is a “fad” aspect because gluten intolerance, once thought rare, is getting overdue attention. Researchers believe that some people who do not have celiac disease, an immune disorder detected through a blood test and intestinal biopsy, do none the less have some gluten intolerance or sensitivity, causing symptoms from bloating to rashes.
The good thing is that the trend has produced more gluten free versions of foods, like cereal, bread and pastas, that the truly intolerant would otherwise have to give up.
Gluten FREE Products
Available at Harter House & World Flavors - 1500 E. Republic Road
– Many of these same items also available at Harter House - 1625 S. Eastgate location

XOCHITL Tortilla Chips – Salted and No Salt
Southern Homestyle Corn Flake Crumbs
Progresso Soups – Traditional Potato, Broccoli, Cheese
Progresso Soups – New England Clam Chowder & Rich & Hearty New England Clam Chowder
De Boles G.F. Pasta – Penne, Spirals, Lasagna, Spaghetti, Fettuccine
Lundberg Basmati Rice – Brown & White
Snap Dragon Vinaigrettes - Japanese Black Sesame
Snap Dragon Vinaigrettes - Java Ginger Sesame
Snap Dragon Vinaigrettes - Tangy Vietnamese
Head Country BBQ Sauce – Hot Hickory Smoke, Original
Organicville – Organic Ketchup
Smart Balance All Natural Peanut Butter – Chunky & Creamy
Hendrickson’s - Sweet Vinegar & Olive Oil Dressing / Marinade

Blue Diamond Nut Thins – Almond, Sea Salt, Hazelnut, Cheddar Cheese, Smokehouse, BBQ, Pecan, Country Ranch

Sesmark Rice Thins Crackers – Ancient Grains, Garlic Hummus, Sea Salt
Sesmark Mini Rice Crackers – Sesame Garlic
Quinoa G.F. Pasta – Veggie Curls
Konrico Wild Pecan Brown Rice
Konriko Artichoke Brown Rice Mix
Frontier Soups – Illinois Prairie Corn Chowder Mix
Frontier Soups – Minnesota Heartland – Eleven Bean Soup Mix
Koops Mustards
San-J Asian Sauces / Marinades
Bekemeiers Fruit Butters
Herb OX Bouillon – Chicken & Beef
La Tiara Yellow Corn Taco Shells
Roland Feng Shui – Seaweed Rice Crackers
Roland Feng Shui - Original Rice Crackers
Roland Feng Shui – Wasabi Rice Crackers
Allegro Marinades – Hickory Smoke, Teriyaki, Original
R.W. Garcia – Flaxseed Tortilla Chips
Michael Seasons Baked Cheddar Cheese Puffs
Food Should Taste Good Tortilla Chips – Lime, Cheddar , Sweet Potato, The Works, Chocolate, Multi-Grain, Jalapeno, Olive
Sunland Natural Peanut Butter – Creamy Raspberry Spread
Bakery on Main Granola
Bob’s Red Mill – Bread Mix, Cornbread Mix, Biscuit & Baking Mix, Pancake Mix, AP Baking Flour, Brownie Mix, Chocolate Cake Mix, Whole Grain Steel Cut Oats, Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal
Gluten Free Pantry Muffin & Scone Mix
Schar Pizza Crusts
Best Choice Beef Broth, Chicken Broth
Colgin Natural Hickory Liquid Smoke
General Mills Corn Chex, Rice Chex, Honey Nut Chex
Walden Farms Fruit Spreads – Grape, Raspberry, Strawberry, apricot, Apple Butter, Blueberry, Orange Marmalade, Creamy Peanut Butter Spread

Walden Farms Syrup – Chocolate, Strawberry, Blueberry, Pancake
Walden Farms Pasta Sauce – Tomato & Basil, Garlic & Herb, Alfredo
Walden Farms Dips – Chocolate, Marshmallow, Caramel, Veggie Ranch, French Onion
Walden Farms BBQ Sauces – Original, Honey, Thick & Spicy
Walden Farms Tomato Ketchup, Cole Slaw Dressing, Seafood Sauce, Mayo
Walden Farms Dressings – Raspberry Vinaigrette, Creamy Bacon, Russian, Sesame Ginger, Asian, Chipotle Ranch, French, Sweet Onion, Creamy Italian, Bacon Ranch, 1000 Island, Italian w. Sun Dried Tomato, Caesar, Ranch, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Honey Dijon, Blue Cheese, Jersey Sweet Onion

Van’s Natural Foods Waffles
Udi’s – Plain Bagel, Muffins, Cinnamon Rolls, Pizza Crusts, Bread
Food For Life Breads
Cedar Lane All Natural Omelettes

Red Bridge Gluten Free Sorghum Beer

8th Continent Soymilk – Chocolate, Original
Nestle Coffee Mate Creamers – Liquid – Assorted Flavors

Rocky Mountain Coconut Cream Dessert Cup
Food For Life Rice Pecan Bread

Stop by today and pick up some healthy Gluten Free Products from HArter House world Flavors!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Building A Strong Local Economy

When asked to name our favorite restaurant, café, shop, or even grocery store, we will almost always cite a unique local business. We embrace the idea of distinctive businesses with local character, but often forget their survival depends on our patronage.

It is easy for us to get so consumed by efficiency that we forget that much of our lives we spend eating out, shopping and doing other business. We owe it to ourselves to consider the quality of our experience, and ask if we win when we choose a community-based / locally owned business. Local owners with much of their life savings invested in their businesses have natural interest in the long-term health of the community. Community based businesses are essential to charitable endeavors, frequently serving on local boards, and supporting a variety of causes. Yes, there are some corporate chains that give back to towns in which they do business, but anyone who raises funds for local non-profits will tell you that independents are their base of support. Not that all local businesses are models to follow, and corporate chains are not inherently bad, but the overall impacts are clear: local businesses play a vital role in our community that corporate chains rarely do.
Harter House Supermarkets are proud Charter Members of Springfield's Best Locally Owned Companies
Founded in 1994, for over 17 years, this not-for-profit organization has been educating the public about the importance of buying from locally owned business, keeping our dollars in our own community, and buying from reputable, honest and ethical businesses.

Springfield’s Best - Building A Strong Local Economy
Springfield's Best is a business alliance taking a cooperative approach and working together for the benefit of everyone, members and community. Collectively our actions are significant in this community, by encouraging each other and supporting each other’s choices.
· Citizens are under-informed about the many important values independent businesses provide us individually and as a community. We do business where we perceive we receive the best for our time and money. Perceptions however are not always accurate when we are lacking some of the essential information for fully informed decisions.
· There is strength in numbers and if locally owned businesses join together we will be able to affect the scales in our favor and see success for local business.
Why Buy Locally Owned?
We realize it is not always possible to buy what you need locally and so merely ask you to Think Local FIRST!
Top Ten reasons to Think Local - Buy Local - Be Local

  1. Buy Local -- Support yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms -- continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community

  2. Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.

  3. Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun -- all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place.

  4. Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.

  5. Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.

  6. Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.

  7. Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.

  8. Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.

  9. Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.

  10. Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Host a Romantic Dinner at Home

You don't have to have a special occasion to host a romantic dinner.
Set aside the excuse you can't cook.
If you are culinary-challenged, you can still plan a romantic dinner at home for the two of you by either choosing simple recipes to follow or by purchasing some of the meal courses from a restaurant or store.
Time Required: As long as you want it to
Here's How:
1. Set the stage of your romantic dinner by making sure the two of you will be alone.
If you have children, arrange for babysitting at someone else's home.
2. Plan your romantic dinner on an evening of a week that you are sure your spouse won't have other time commitments already scheduled.
3. Do you want the romantic dinner to be a surprise or not? If it is a surprise, light candles in the entrance of your home to surprise your spouse.
If the dinner won't be a surprise, consider giving your spouse an invitation that you write yourself.
Send the invitation by mail, leave it on your mate's pillow, send it with a bouquet of flowers, leave it on the dash of your spouse's car, etc.
Your invitation needs to be specific as to when the romantic dinner is planned. Be creative!
4. Set the table with a tablecloth, cloth napkins, nice dinnerware, crystal, unscented candles, and flowers. The napkins can be rolled or folded in a pretty way.
Sprinkle the table with rose petals or sparkly heart shaped sprinkles. You can set floating candles in small glasses filled partly with cranberry juice.
5. Decide on your romantic dinner menu.
Keep it simple, but don't forget the appetizers. Plan on serving foods that your spouse likes. This isn't a time to experiment with a new recipe.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Spread a Little Joy

I'm back! I was in the Carribean eating coconuts and drinking rum. But now I'm home and I'm cooking again. Food is my passion and I love trying new recipes all the time! I enjoy the whole experience of presentaion and atmosphere, so much so that my husband makes fun of me. But that doesn't stop me. I'm a romantic!

It's amazing what a little PHILLY can do, It's more than an extra ingredient - It's a secret weapon. From making rosotto a more luscious experience to putting a new twist on ordinary chicken, ther's no limit to what you can do when you add a little PHILLY Cream Cheese.

While experimenting with different cheeses in 1872, dairy farmer William A Lawrence created a lush, spreadable cheese and named his discovery after the city (Philadelphia) famous for it's high-quality food. From it's origin, Philedelphia Cream Cheese has always been about the joy of discovery.

Make tonight a relaxing and romantic night of good eats, with ample time to gaze lovingly into each others eyes. Here's a favorite recipe of mine;

Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken
4 oz. (1/2 of an 8 oz. package) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
2 Slices Bacon, Cooked, Crumbles
2 TBLs. dry Bread Crumbs
2 TBLs Chopped Kalamata Olives
2 TBLs coursely chopped slivered almonds
1 Egg
1 TBl plus 1 Tsp. fresh Thyme, Divided
4 Small boneless, skinless Fresh Harter House Chicken Breast halves (1 lb.)
1/2 Cup Dry White White
1/2 Cup Chicken Broth

  1. Heat Oven to 325 F

  2. Combine first 6 ingredients. Add 1 TBL Thyme, mix well. Use small sharp knife to cut pocket in the thick long side of each chicken breast, being careful to not cut through to opposite side, fill pockets with cream cheese mixture.

  3. Heat oil in large skillet on medium high heat. Add Chicken, cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until browned on both sides. Transfer to 13x9 inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; cover. Reserve drippings in skillet.

  4. Bake 25 to 30 Minutes or until chicken is done (165 F). Meanwhile add wine and broth to drippings in skillet; cook on medium heat 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half, stirring frequently to scrape up browned bits from bottom of skillet. Stir in remaining thyme.

  5. Slice Chicken. Served topped with sauce.

For more philly cheese recipes visit

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tortuga Rum

As I sit at the airport, waiting to board my plane back to civilization, I'm thinking about more things to share with you from my week of adventures in Grand Cayman.

My girlfriend, Gwen, asked us to bring her back a bottle of Tortuga Pineaple Rum.

It's NOT available for her to purchase at Harter House or anywhere else that we know of locally, so traveling here or having a friend bring a bottle back is her only option.

Unfortunately, for Gwen, we were so interested in trying it ourselves that we opened the bottle and didn't leave much for Gwen.

We did. however, pick up another bottle, and several more for ourselves, Duty Free just now at the airport.

I never really understood Duty Free, but I can tell you that we paid $30 for the bottle on the island and $10 for each bottle at the airport! We were informed of this and that's why we did not purchase another bottle till now!

So let me tell you a little bit about Tortuga Rum. Founded in 1984, Tortuga Rum Company has grown to become the largest duty-free liquor business in the Cayman Islands. Robert Hamaty, worked for the Cayman Airways and noticed that passengers boarding his plane were carrying Burmuda Rum. Thats when he decided the Cayman Islands should have their own rum too, and the idea of Tortuga Rum was culminated.

In 1991, Robert and wife Charlene, overcame many obsticles and setbacks, but pushed forward, seeing an opportunity to sell local products duty-free to visitors of the island, by both air and sea. The first duty-free liquor store was opened in 1987.

The Tortuga Rum Cake story officially began in 1987. It was at this time that Charlene started baking rum cakes at home, using a family recipe that had been handed down through generations. She of course used Tortuga Rum as the main ingredient. Encouraged by rave reviews from family and friends, the Tortuga Rum Cake made it's first "Public" appearance on a dessert menu of a local restaurant, and was an immediate hit. The demand for the rum cakes became so great that in 1990 a 1,700 square-foot commercial bakery was established.

Tortuga Rum now consists of 11 different varieties and is now a global name, with a mail-order business, and it's also found onboard luxury cruise ships, to name just a few. From inception, the Tortuga Rum Company has become synonymous with one of the world's finest confections. The Tortuga Rum Cake is the Cayman Islands #1 export and souvenir item. And this compnay says it has has some amazing things still coming. YUM!!

I think I will try to get the Tortuga Rum Cake to sell at Harter House World Flavors!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The 3 Top Drinks of Latin America

1. The Perfect Margarita

Margarita Mix is the worst thing you can possibly put in your Margarita.  It's a terrible concoction of high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and a laundry list of chemicals that have never been necessary to make a real Margarita.  Unlike it's unnatural counterpart, a real Margarita is light and refreshing, the perfect beverage for a hot summer day.

A REAL Margarita.
  • Salt for rimming the glass  -  Not ordinary salt.  To spice things up I recommend a Cumin or Cayenne Salt.
  • Ice.  
  • 1 1/2 Oz. Tequila  -  This is IMPORTANT.  It needs to be blanco, 100% Agave Tequila.  I recommend Cuervo 1800, Patron Silver, Herradura, or Don Julio. 
  • 1 Oz. freshly squeezed lime juice.  
  • 1/2 Oz. Cointreau.  NEVER USE TRIPLE SEC, or as I call it, Cointreau's ugly cousin.

Pour the salt in a shallow dish.  Moisten the rim of the glass with a dampened paper towel and then dip in the salt.

Fill the glass with ice; add the tequila, lime juice and Cointreau; and stir until chilled.

Serve immediately.

2.  The Perfect Mojito

Cuba may very well be the apex of fine, refreshing cocktails, and as an example, the Mojito may be the most popular drink to come from our exiled neighbors to the south.  I often like to pretend as I sit next to the pool drinking my Mojito that I'm actually at a hotel in Havana, smoking a cigar, wearing a fine Guayabera Shirt and Fedora, and playing checkers against my compatriot next to me.

Prepare to be refreshed.

  •   1 Tablespoon of sugar
  •   Juice of half a lime
  •   Fresh Mint
  •   1 1/2 Oz. White Rum  - IMPORTANT.  High quality Blanco Rum.  I recommend 10 Cane Rum, Bacardi Superior, Diplomatico, and Havana Club Anejo Blanco.
  •   Sparkling Water

In a high ball, crush 3 to 4 sprigs of fresh mint and drop into the bottom of the glass.  Add the juice of half a lime and the sugar.  Muddle, either with a muddler (preferred) or with the back of a spoon.

Place 3 to 4 ice cubes and pour the rum over the ice.

Top with sparkling water, stir, garnish with an additional sprig of mint and serve.

3. The Perfect Cuba Libre

According to Bacardi-

The world's second most popular drink was born in a collision between the United States and Spain. It happened during the Spanish-American War at the turn of the century when Teddy Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and Americans in large numbers arrived in Cuba. One afternoon, a group of off-duty soldiers from the U.S. Signal Corps were gathered in a bar in Old Havana. Fausto Rodriguez, a young messenger, later recalled that Captain Russell came in and ordered Bacardi (Gold) rum and Coca-Cola on ice with a wedge of lime. The captain drank the concoction with such pleasure that it sparked the interest of the soldiers around him. They had the bartender prepare a round of the captain's drink for them. The Bacardi rum and Coke was an instant hit. As it does to this day, the drink united the crowd in a spirit of fun and good fellowship. When they ordered another round, one soldier suggested that they toast ¡Por Cuba Libre! in celebration of the newly freed Cuba. The captain raised his glass and sang out the battle cry that had inspired Cuba's victorious soldiers in the War of Independence.
 However you make a Cuba Libre it is key to make sure that you use Mexican or Spanish Coca-Cola, most Spanish markets have it.  The reason?  U.S. Coca-Cola is sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup while it's Mexican counterpart is sweetened with the real stuff, sugar.

From now on, let's not call it Rum and Coke.  It's a Cuba Libre.


  • 2 Oz. Bacardi 151 or Bacardi Gold Rum
  • Half a lime
  • 3 to 4 ice cubes
  • Chilled Coca-Cola

In a high ball, squeeze the lime into the glass, and drop the squeezed lime into the bottom of the glass. 

Pour the rum over the lime and muddle.

Add the ice, top with the Coca-Cola, garnish with a slice of lime and serve.

As always, Harter House World Flavors on Republic Road has all the spirits and ingredients you will need for all these recipes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Trip to Tuscany

One of many spectacular view in Tuscany.
There are very few places on this spinning rock more beautiful, artistically rich, and elegant as Tuscany.   Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Gelileo, Vespucci and Petrarch, all called Florence, the capitol city of Tuscany, home.  Needless to say, other than the gorgeous vistas and spectacular views, a main reason to visit is the vast array of art and culture available from some of the greatest artists in history.
Botticelli's The Birth of Venus
Olive Garden may claim to have authentic cuisine from Tuscany, but their concept of what authentic Tuscan cuisine may entail is far from what visitor's savor when in the historic cities of Tuscany.  The wines, Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino, are known around the World as the best of the best, and one of the highlights of any visit is to take a tour of the World famous vineyards. 
Bistecca Fiorentina

Almost everywhere in Tuscany, meat is grilled over open fires, but one of the most well-known dishes is be Bistecca Fiorentina. This is a perfectly cooked T-bone steak, which is often served with a splash of olive oil, or the steak is thinly sliced and topped with peppery arugula lettuce called Tagliata con Rucola. Wild game such as pheasant, rabbit, partridge and wild boar are plentiful across the Tuscan hills and have been hunted to supplement the meals of farmers for centuries.  Try ordering that next time your at the local Olive Garden.

Bistecca Fiorentina


4 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 (2 1/2 pound) Harter House porterhouse steak
3 tablespoons Tuscan olive oil
Moist, grey sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
6 lemon wedges


  • Press chopped rosemary onto both sides of porterhouse steak; set onto a plate and allow to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Start an outdoor grill using hardwood charcoal, such as hickory. When coals are white and glowing, arrange for high heat.
  • Gently brush or rub olive oil onto steak, then season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
  • Place steak onto grill, and cook until a dark, golden brown (not burnt) crust forms, 5 to 10 minutes depending on thickness of meat. Turn over, and continue cooking until golden on the other side, 5 to 10 minutes more. When finished, place steak onto a platter, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  • To serve, remove the two pieces of meat from the bone, and replace the bone onto the serving platter. Trim any unwanted fat from the round (tenderloin) steak, slice into 6 equal pieces at an angle to the grain, and fan out on one side of the bone. Slice the rectangular (loin) steak into 1/4-inch slices at an angle to the grain. Fan out on the other side of the bone. Finish by garnishing the platter with lemon wedges and a sprinkle of additional sea salt.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Eating Turtle is Good!

As we explore the island of Grand Cayman, we see signs advertising Turtle Burgers, and I'm curious about it.

These cute, majestic and perptually endangered
creatures are a delicacy here. All turtle meat served legally on the island eminates from the Cayman Turtle Farm.

The Cayman Turtle Farm is visited by hordes of cruise ship passengers that visit the spot each week. It really is a unique place worth checking out, better still when the cruise ships are NOT in port.

Just think, where else can you cuddle with a turtle and get your photo snapped with him before heading over to the on-site restaurant to eat one of his buddies? As you might imagine, some people have a problem with this place.

The Turtle Farm certainly rides a fine line between putting on a good show for the tourists and feeding the island's insatiable appetite for turtle meat, a culinary tradition that dates back centuries in the Cayman Islands. It's a delicate balancing act, but one that's probably best for all parties concerned. Yes, even the turtles.

For one thing, The Turtle Farm regulates the legal sale of all turtle meat in Grand Cayman. This works to reduce the reckless poaching that put turtles on the endangered list in the first place.

For another thing, the Farm is heavily into turtle research and preservation, with the sale of all that turtle meat funding a portion of the conservation efforts. More than 30,000 turtles have been released back into the wild since the facility opened in 1968.

The restaurant at The Turtle Farm features Turtle Stew with rice and beans, plantains and coleslaw pictured above. The menu also includes Turtle Burgers and Turtle Steak, but the Turtle Stew is the most traditional. Also, none of the meat is wasted. Even the fins are used in making Turtle Stew.

So when you plan your trip to Grand Cayman, be sure to include one meal of Turtle Meat, because it really is an island traditional meal. Have you tasted Turtle meat?

One side note, we don't sell Turtle Meat at Harter House Supermarkets...yet!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Trip to Hong Kong

One of the most densely populated areas in the World, walking through the streets of Hong Kong, you never feel like you're alone.  Located on China's southern coast, surrounded by the South China Sea on the east, south and west, Hong Kong is known for its beautiful city skyline and deep natural harbor.
Hong Kong's City Skyline
Hong Kong is the World's most vertical city, growing upward rather than outward.  Public transportation is highly used due to the density of the population, leading to its ranking of number one in the World in public transportation.  In fact, Hong Kong is ranked number in one the World in several areas including economic freedom, quality of life, corruption perception, human development, and several other areas.
A statue to Hong Kong's native son, Bruce Lee.
Hong Kong has a highly successful film industry, with many films made their being remade by Hollywood in recent years.  Film stars of Hong Kong films include Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Jet Lee and Stephen Chow.  "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame" is a film coming out this Winter in the United States that is example of the exciting type of filmmaking Hong Kong is famous for.

The food of Hong Kong is influenced by Cantonese cuisine, Japan, and Western culture, making it some of the best culinary experiences in the World.  The main course is usually paired with either rice or noodles, similar to other Asian cultures.  Wife cake is a traditional pastry made from winter melon, almond paste, sesame, and five spice powder.  The story of the wife cake is legendary in Hong Kong.   A couple that lived a very poor life in imperial China. They loved each other and lived in a small village.  Suddenly, a mysterious disease spread. The husband's father became very sick. The couple spent all of their money in order to treat the man's father, but he was still sick. The wife sold herself as a slave in exchange for money to buy medicine for her father-in-law.  Once the husband learned about what his wife did, he made a cake filled with sweetened wintermelon and almond. He dedicated this pastry to his wife, whom he'll never forget and sold it. His cake became so popular that he was able to earn enough money to buy his wife back. 
Wife Cake.

For more Hong Kong and Chinese food choices and ingredients, stop by Harter House World Flavors, where we have a wide selection of items to choose from. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Trip to Grand Cayman

As I enter the security checkpoint at the airport, where everyone shows their drivers license, I show my passport and the security person comments, "Oh, a professional traveler!" Yes, that is me.

If not a professional traveler now, it is what I want to be when I grow up!

Michele & Craig Kauffman

I am traveling to Grand Cayman. meeting up with best friends going back to high school years.

Some general Grand Cayman information;

On May 10, 1503, Christopher Columbus named the Islands Las Tortugas after the large number of sea turtles observed.

Grand Cayman is located in the western Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba and west of Jamaica, consisting of 76 square miles.

The capitol is George Town.

Caymanians drive on the left. (That's just wrong.)

The Cayman Dollar is, today, is approximately equivelant to $1.20 US.

Grand Cayman is in the eastern time zone, but because they don't have daylight savings time, we are on the same time as the Central time zone this time of year.

The island lies largely unprotected at sea level and was hit by hurricane Ivan in September of 2004. The storm surge completely over-washed Grand Cayman destroying 95% of the buildings.
The stingrays are one of the biggest tourist attractions on the Island.

We are staying at The Reef Resort on the East End of the Island. It is a small 3 story complex with every room having an ocean view. No crowds here. It is about a 45 minute drive from George Town where the cruise ships dock and town is bustling.

We plan to explore all areas of the island in the next week. And, of course, I plan to sample ALL , or as much of, the island cuisine and adult beverages as possible.

Our hang out here has been the Rusty Pelican's Beach Bar. For lunch I had Black & Blue Mahi Mahi on a ciabatta and it had to be the best Mahi Mahi I've ever had!

Right now, we are headed back out to grill the 2-inch thick Porterhouse steaks that I brought here from Harter House! I know, I know, You wish you were here!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Trip to Mumbai

The capital city of India, once known as Bombay, Mumbai is the home to over 11 million people, making it the 6th largest city in the World.  It is the epicenter of the Indian film industry, economy and arts.  With a Gross Domestic Product of $205.7 billion U.S. dollars, it is also one of the profitable cities in the World as well, with numerous foreign banks and financial institions, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley to name a few, having large executive offices located within the city centre.
Mumbai lies on the west coast in India and has a deep natural harbor.
Mumbai is the entertainment capital of India, especially the film industry known as Bollywood.  Indian films often follow a specific pattern, very similar to the classical American musical with dialogue being spoken and breaking out into song during key moments of conflict.  Former Miss Universe, Lara Dutta, is currently one of Bollywood's favorite actresses, carrying on the tradition of beautiful female leads in Indian films.
The beautiful Lara Dutta
The cuisine of Mumbai consists of mostly Indian Spices, herbs, vegetables and fruit, given the large portion of vegetarians in India.  Hindu beliefs play a strong factor and influential role in Indian cuisine.  However, because of Britain's influence during the occupation of India during a large portion of their history, Indian cuisine has evolved to include some meat into some dishes.  Naan, Indian flatbread, baked in a clay oven called a Tandoori is commonly served with most meals.  the clay oven giving the bread a distinct and delicious flavor.  Gem of India, located on Battlefield Road, is a great place locally to try Naan and several other unique Indian dishes.  For the full experience, I recommend trying the Gem of India Dinner for Two, which, in addition to Naan, includes Mulligatawny Soup (A delicious blend of chicken, rice, and Indian Spices.), Vegetable Samosa (A vegetable stuffed pastry), Pakoras (Deep-fried Vegetables), Papadam (Thin, crisp flatbread), Tandoori Chicken (Chicken baked in the clay oven.), Lamb Bhuna (Lamb in a curry sauce), Chicken Tikka Masala (No description necessary, absolutely delicious), Saffron Rice, Raita (Cucmber-mint sauce) and dessert.  All of this for $35!  You will not be disappointed.
An Indian feast.
Should you wish to try fixing Indian food yourself, stop by Harter House World Flavors on Republic Road.  We have a large selection of spices, frozen Indian Meals, and other Indian items for you to select from.  The food can be as mild or as hot as you like and the flavors are wonderful and rich.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Springfield Sale Items August 3 - 9, 2011

Buy One Get One Free
6 oz. Bacon-Wrapped
Pork Loin Filet
(Save $3.49)

Other Meat Specials:
USDA Choice Boneless New York Strip
$8.99 / lb.
Fresh, Never Frozen Boneless Chicken Breast
$1.99 / lb.
Butterfly Pork Chops
$3.49 / lb.
Lean Pork Cutlets
$2.49 / lb.

Check out all of this week's Specials, click here.