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The Ultimate 4th of July Recipe

By Liz Strauss
on July 01, 2020

The Ultimate 4th of July Recipe

The 4th of July is quickly approaching and we can’t wait to show you this Blueberry Tomato Caprese recipe courtesy of Freutcake. With the combination of red, white, and blue ingredients, as well as our robust extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, this makes a perfect, last-minute addition to your celebration this weekend.

Blueberry Tomato Caprese

Blueberry Tomato CapreseBlueberry Tomato Caprese Dressing
Blueberry Tomato Caprese Ingredients
Yield: 4 

Ingredients

1 pint blueberries
2 pints cherry tomatoes
Fresh basil
Either our Blueberry, Lavender, or Italian Fig balsamic vinegar
Any of our Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oils
Salt and pepper
Mozzarella cheese
Blueberry Tomato Caprese Ingredients
Robust Olive Oil

Instructions

Rinse blueberries and cherry tomatoes and drain. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and toss in a servings bowl along with the blueberries. Set aside.
Slice mozzarella cheese into ¼ or ½ inch slices and cut into the desired shape. Star shapes are strongly encouraged!
Top the tomatoes and blueberries with the cheese.
Tear fresh basil over-top and drizzle one of our robust extra virgin olive oils and either our Blueberry, Lavender, or Italian Fig Balsamic Vinegars on top.
Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Blueberry Tomato Caprese
Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? With our irresistible selection of olive oils and balsamic vinegars, the dressing options for this recipe are endless. Come take a look at our options in-store or place an order online for curbside pickup!
Photos by Liz Strauss

How to Macerate Fruit in Balsamic Vinegar

By Katie Shernan
on May 30, 2020

How to Macerate Fruit in Balsamic Vinegar

How to Macerate Fruit in Balsamic Vinegar

With just a few simple steps, fresh fruit is turned into a flavorful, saucy, sophisticated treat. Macerated fruit makes for a wonderful treat on its own, and even better when served with yogurt, ice cream, pound cake, crumbled biscotti and more. Easily control the sugar content to your taste or dietary needs.

 

A Few Suggestion Flavor Combinations: 

Strawberries – Chocolate di Torino, Tuscan Strawberry, Sicilian Lemon

Nectarines – Honeybell Orange, Raspberry, Peach

Mixed Berries – Cranberry Pear, Vanilla, Estilo Affinato

 

Here’s the gist:

  1. Pick some fresh fruit. Sliced strawberries are a popular for maceration but blueberries, blackberries, nectarines, peaches, cherries, and rhubarb are also great choices!
  2. Cut fruit into bite sized pieces. Sliced fruit will absorb the flavors of the maceration liquid better than intact fruit. Consider mashing a bit of fruit into your maceration liquid – especially if you are using berries exclusively.
  3. Choose your macerating liquid. Essentially, you are looking apply acid and sugar to the fruit in order to develop (soften) its texture and enhance flavor. Fruit liquors or even lemon juice and sugar may be used here but we love to use balsamic vinegar! Dark balsamic will provide a deeper, more syrupy flavor while white balsamics add a brighter, tangier flavor. You may choose to add some additional sugar, honey, or other sweetener but that is subject to taste.
  4. (Optional) Seasoning – Fresh herbs, black peppercorns, and bright citrus zest are just of a few of the many additional seasonings you can use the flavor your fruit if desired. But feel free to keep it simple and omit this extra step - the fruit will be delicious on its own!
  5. Steep Your Fruit. Allow the fruit to steep in the macerating liquid for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Macerating time will vary depending on the fruit you choose and its ripeness as well as your desired final texture. Softer/very ripe fruit will break down faster to create a soupier final product. For a firmer texture, choose firmer fruit and use a shorter steep time.

 

For more information on the science behind this process, check out: The Science of Maceration

 

Recipes

You do not need a recipe to make macerated fruit! Trust your taste buds and do a little experimentation. But here are a few recipes to serve as examples 😊

Yogurt Cups with Balsamic Macerated Strawberries

Balsamic Macerated Berries and Fruit

Grilled Pound Cake with Balsamic Strawberries and Marscapone Cream

Plum Cobbler Cake

By Katie Shernan
on May 13, 2020

Plum Cobbler Cake

Plum Cobbler Cake

Adapted from Original Plum Torte, originally published in the New York Times

 

This recipe is one of our new favorites! The texture of the cake is almost biscuit-like - similar to the top of a cobbler without the soggy bottom. Consider topping it with pecans or sliced almonds.

We reduced the sugar in this recipe (using the lesser ¾ cup from the recommended ¾ to 1 cup sugar) and skipped the sugary topping from the original recipe – opting instead to maintain a crispy, chewy edge. 

In the image shown, we mini versions of this cake using 5" spring form pans and a loaf pan with a parchment sling. Next, we’ll try this recipe with peaches and apples – especially this fall when we can get local and in-season fruit! It keeps well for 2-3 days on the counter wrapped in plastic or other food wrap, or for several months in the freezer.

 

1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

 

3/4 cup sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup unbleached flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 eggs

3-6 plums, cut into eighths (or quarters if small)

pecans or sliced almonds for topping (optional)

 

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.
  3. Spoon the batter into a springform pan of 8, 9 or 10 Place the plum slices on top of the batter.
  4. Bake approximately 1 hour. Remove and cool, refrigerate or freeze if desired. Serve at room temperature.

A Beginner's Guide to EVOO

By Liz Strauss
on March 28, 2020

A Beginner's Guide to EVOO

We are committed to providing your home with the ultimate Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) out there. Our oils are sourced from various countries around the world. With different olive varietals, we provide you with their crush date, area of origin, and a full chemical analysis of each Premium EVOO.

Intensities

Our EVOO even come with their own unique intensity in bitterness. More specifically, our oils range from a mild to robust intensity. While the mild EVOO’s offer a buttery and light peppery finish, a medium EVOO offers a more fruity flavor and peppery finish. The robust EVOO, on the other hand, offers a bold flavor and a peppery finish that gives that extra kick to your dish.
To learn about our EVOO’s smoke point (the temperature it begins to chemically break down at), click here.
Our Premium EVOO has gone through a series of chemical requirements, as well as a tasting panel. These requirements include the following:
  1. Be pressed within 6 hours of harvest
  2. Contain Much higher levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E
  3. Contain very low fatty acids

Not only do our EVOO's work great in marinades, sautéing, roasting and grilling, our oils are also known for their incredible health benefits

  1. Lower cholesterol levels
  2. Lower the risk of heart disease
  3. Help prevent cancer

Now that you know a bit about our EVOO, it’s time to see the oils work their magic! Between desserts, sauces, and entire entrées, there’s an endless number of opportunities for our oils. Check out these simple recipes to get started.

Olive Oil Cake

Recipe courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 ¼ cups (8 3/4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar

¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¾ cup milk 

Instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-inch springform pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip eggs on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Add 1¼ cups sugar and lemon zest, increase speed to high, and whip until the mixture is a fluffy and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and, with mixer running, slowly pour in the oil. Mix until oil is fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl as needed. Add milk and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Add remaining flour mixture and mix until just incorporated, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl as needed.
  3. Transfer batter to prepared pan; sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the entire surface. Bake until cake is deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out with few crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove side of the pan and let the cake cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.

Spaghetti with Olive Oil, Chili, Garlic

Recipe courtesy of The Guardian

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Serves 4

400g spaghetti

200ml extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

A large handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Salt

Instructions

  1. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a low heat, and fry the garlic for 1-2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to spread the flavor through the oil. Add 2 tbsp cooking water to the pan and stir in the chili and parsley. Season with salt and cook for 3 minutes, mixing occasionally.
  3. When the spaghetti is ready, drain it quickly so it is still rather wet and add it to the sauce. Gently toss to coat, then leave for a minute over a low heat before serving on hot plates. 

Like what you see? Give our blog a visit to view even more recipes!

Boost Your Health Naturally with Fire Cider

By Katie Shernan
on March 17, 2020

Boost Your Health Naturally with Fire Cider

Fire Cider is among the most popular products at Port Plums! Read on to learn about all this spicy, tangy tonic has to offer. 

This information comes from the Fire Cider website: https://firecider.com/

What is Fire Cider?

Fire Cider is a spicy, sweet, and tangy apple cider vinegar (ACV) tonic infused with roots, fruits, and spices. Health tonics restore, stimulate, or invigorate the body.

To the base of certified organic apple cider vinegar, we've added whole, raw, certified organic oranges, lemons, onions, ginger, horseradish, habañero pepper, garlic, and turmeric. Everything you’d find in a grocery store!

These ingredients have immunity-boosting, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. They also have the potential to boost metabolism and energy, ease sinus congestion, lower blood sugar, curb cravings, and aid digestion. It’s also certified organic and gluten-free!  

How to take it:

We like to drink ½ to 1 tablespoon straight up every day to keep us hale, hearty, and energized.

Fire Cider is just as tasty when mixed with seltzer, fruit juice, or tea. Many of our customers make a delicious salad dressing with our tonic, olive or coconut oil, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and herbs. Fire Cider is also great on cooked greens, and as a marinade for meat, seafood, and tempeh. Add some to your bone broth for a nutritional boost – the vinegar will help pull nutrients out of the roasted bones!

How to store it:

Fire Cider’s main ingredients are apple cider vinegar and honey, two of nature’s greatest preservatives. This means our tonics are shelf stable and don’t need to be refrigerated. We keep our bottle tightly capped in a cool, dry, easy-to-reach spot in the kitchen.

 

Ingredient Breakdown:

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Ancient apples were often too small or bitter to eat raw, but when pressed, their juices could be fermented into hard cider. Today, the same processes are still used. Apples are pressed, yeast and bacteria are added, and the alcoholic fermentation process begins where the sugars are converted to alcohol.

Then a second fermentation process happens. An acetic acid-forming bacteria is introduced and the alcohol transforms into vinegar. Acetic and malic acid are responsible for the recognizable sour taste of vinegar. Never heat-treated or filtered, our apple cider vinegar base is raw and living, still containing the living Acetobacter colonies.

  • Contains the Mother - a living colony comprised of strands of proteins, beneficial enzymes, and friendly bacteria
  • High in acetic acid

RAW HONEY

With powerful antioxidant and antibacterial properties, our raw honey is organic, Fair Trade-certified and collected in regions using ancient, sustainable practices that help to support the local farmers and their communities.

Original Blend Fire Cider uses a multi-floral honey from the Calakmul rainforests of the Yucatan in Mexico. The bees get to live their lives in and amongst ancient Mayan ruins protected from logging and deforestation threats.

Honey-Free Fire Cider does not contain this ingredient

HABANERO

Originating in the Amazon, habanero peppers and been in use for over 8,000 years. They are a mainstay in many of the dishes of the Yucatan and have been found at archeological sites spreading throughout South and Central America, from Peru to Mexico. They bring the heat and a surprising, underlying citrus flavor that works so well with the oranges and lemons in our recipe.

  • Capsaicin acts as a digestive aid
  • Capsaicin is a powerfully alkaline phytochemical

ORANGE

Oranges originated in China and arrived with traders to the Mediterranean around the year 1500. They have become the most cultivated fruit tree in the world! The oranges we know and love today are the result of cross-breeding a pomelo and a mandarin, and they make up about 70% of the citrus grown worldwide. The entire fruit (peel, pith and juice!) is used in our recipe for maximum benefit. It adds a bright, unexpected sweetness.

  • Pith and peel are full of phytonutrients
  • Loaded with over 60 flavonoids

TURMERIC

A staple in the Ayurvedic and Chinese medicinal traditions and many Asian cuisines, turmeric has also been used as a fabric and food dye for hundreds of years. It’s long been known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Turmeric brings a pungent bitterness with a warm, black pepper-like flavor and earthy, mustard-like aroma, as well as a vibrant color to our recipe.

  • Excellent source of vitamin B6 and zinc
  • Full of powerful curcumin

GINGER

Ginger was one of the first spices exported from Asia. This hot and fragrant rhizome was traveling around the islands of the Pacific as Europe was first being settled. Fresh ginger, redolent with natural oils like gingerol, is added to our recipe, skin and all. Ginger also has a warming effect on the body, so it’s not just the burn of the habaneros raising your temperature.

  • Packed with vitamins and nutrients, like: iron, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate, niacin, riboflavin, gingerols, beta-carotene, capsaicin, caffeic acid, curcumin and salicylate
  • Powerful digestive aid

LEMON

Introduced to Italy 2,000 years ago from its origin in northeast India, the lemon may be the most unlikely of popular fruits. .It’s sour and bitter, and is not a fruit often enjoyed on its own, but it brings so much flavor to a culinary party. The lemon is another whole fruit in our recipe. From the oil in the zest to the tangeretin in the peel, every part is here for the benefit it brings to the flavor party. That zing ain’t just from the vinegar!

  • High in vitamin C, which is necessary to produce collagen
  • Vitamin C maximizes the body's ability to absorb iron

BLACK PEPPER

Those little kernels we love to grind onto our food are actually the dried fruits from a flowering vine native to Southwestern India. Green peppercorns are the fruit before it ripens, and white peppercorns are the fruit's seeds. Black pepper is the world’s most traded spice. A little goes a long way! A very small amount of whole peppercorns steep in our recipe to support the benefits of turmeric and for the added flavor.

  • The piperine in black pepper makes the curcumin in turmeric more bioavailable to your body
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals

GARLIC

Garlic is a fundamental flavor component in many of the world’s best-known cuisines, and the plant is almost 100% edible. Crushed garlic is a natural adhesive, so in a pinch it can be used as a temporary glue for glass or paper! Raw and whole, skin and all, the garlic in our recipe adds a pungent bite and helps support the bold notes of the horseradish in balancing out the flavor.

  • Full of powerfully beneficial allicin
  • Packed with potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, selenium, beta-carotene

HORSERADISH

Horseradish is revered for its strong smell and bitterly pleasant flavor. It has been cultivated as far back as ancient Greece, where its worth was equivalent to gold. There are records of George Washington having grown it at Mt. Vernon, as it was a well-known condiment served with meat in European cultures. Fresh horseradish helps to balance out many of the sweet components of our recipe and adds an earthy undertone.

  • The isothiocyanate compound is a powerful nasal decongestant
  • Excellent source of vitamin C and folate

ONION

Onions were a favorite crop in ancient Rome, and evidence of onion gardens has been uncovered at Pompeii. Onions have been cultivated the world over, from China to the Americas, for more than 7,000 years. Sharp, spicy, and pungent, onions are nutrient dense and full of organosulfur compounds, folate, and vitamin C. If your eyes are stinging just a bit after your morning shot, you can bet it was the onions as much as the habaneros.

  • Great source of quercetin
  • The phytochemicals present in onions act as stimulants for vitamin C

Cooking With Mint Olive Oil

By Liz Strauss
on February 28, 2020

Cooking With Mint Olive Oil



After simultaneously crushing olives and mint leaves using traditional granite millstones in Italy, our Mint Olive Oil provides a deliciously fresh flavor.
That's why we suggest trying our Mint Olive Oil in some recipes
you may already be making!
Whether you’re planning your St. Patrick’s Day party, thinking ahead for Easter,
or just want to try something new, these three recipes provide the most unique take on your favorite dessert or dish.
 
Recipe inspiration from The Olive Oil and Vinegar Lover's Cookbook 
by Emily Lycopolus
 

Mint Dark Chocolate Brownies 

Looking to put a spin on your everyday-brownie? How about mint chocolate?
We thought so.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Mint olive oil
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp Dark Chocolate dark balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
 
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line an 8- x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. 
In a large mixing bowl, use a wooden spoon to combine the olive oil with the sugar. Add the eggs and balsamic and stir just until blended. Sift the cocoa, flour, and baking powder, and salt into the oil/sugar mixture. Be careful not to overmix and beat in too much air – otherwise, they’ll turn out too dense and be more like cake than brownies.
(Optional: Mix in your desired amount of chocolate chips)
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until the brownie just starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Cool completely in the pan before cutting. 
 

Mint & Lavender Lamb Chops

The mixture of mint and lavender is perfect for this time of the year.
Why not give one of the simplest, yet most impressive dishes a try and show off to your family and friends. You'll thank us later!  

Ingredients:
2 garlic cloves minced
2 Tbsp Mint olive oil
2 Tbsp Lavender dark balsamic vinegar
1 tsp grainy Dijon mustard
4 (1/2 – 3/4 lb each) frenched lamb chops
2 Tbsp finely chopped mint leaves, divided
 
Instructions:
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, olive oil, balsamic, and Dijon.
Place the lamb in a shallow dish and drizzle with the marinade, turning to coat both sides. Place 1 Tbsp of the mint leaves on top. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4 hours, or up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Bake the chops, uncovered, for about 20 minutes,
turning halfway through cooking time. 
Sprinkle with the remaining mint before serving.

 

Mint Tzatziki

You probably didn't know you needed this, but try replacing the mayo on your sandwich with this tzatziki. Other ideas are to dip your roasted potatoes in it or pair with your lamb burger for Easter Lunch.

Ingredients:

1 English cucumber
2 tsp sea salt
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus a sprig of dill for garnish
1 Tbsp chopped mint leaves
2 Tbsp Mint Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice

 

Instructions:

Peel the cucumber, slice it lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds. Grate it into a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth and set over a bowl.

Add the sea salt, toss well, and let drain at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or overnight in the fridge. Squeeze the cucumber really well to get out as much water as possible. (You can pop a weight on top of the cucumber if you'd like.)

Mince the garlic, then use a mortar and pestle to mash it to a fine paste.
Mix the dill and mint with the garlic, gently mashing them together.

Scoop this mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the drained cucumber and olive oil and mix to combine. Stir in the yogurt, balsamic, and lemon juice.
Season to taste with salt. Garnish with a sprig of dill before serving.
Serve with pita chips, crackers, sliced cucumbers, or use as a condiment!

(Note for leftovers: This will keep for 2 days in the fridge in an airtight container!)

 

 

And there you have it!
 Mint Olive Oil works wonders in some of our everyday foods.
Enjoy your new favorite recipes and let us know how you like them in the comments below!

 

 

Pictures for illustration purposes only; actual recipe results may vary.

The Sweetest Gifts For Your Sweetheart

By Liz Strauss
on February 04, 2020

The Sweetest Gifts For Your Sweetheart

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and we have some of the sweetest products that will do nothing but make your loved one smile.
If you’ve given us a visit before, you may be familiar with Seacoast Sweets and Farm+Sea, some of our top products for loved ones here at Port Plums,
and even more fitting for your Valentine's Day shopping.
 

Seacoast Sweets

“I just fell in love with the brand and the aesthetic of the brand. We are just die-hard New Englanders and it has that beautiful coastal packaging. It’s such a humble product…”
-Danielle Anderson, co-owner of Seacoast Sweets
 
What makes Seacoast Sweets so special is the thought and care that go into their patties, including their all-natural and scrumptious ingredients (and not to mention the New England-inspired packaging). The company was founded on the basis of family tradition and “…giving somebody something to put a smile on their face,” says Danielle. It’s exactly why Danielle and her husband, Kevin, bought it back in 2018 when the company was up for sale. Originating from Newburyport, MA, the heart of the company had carried on in Rhode Island, where every single patty is continuously hand-made, hand-trimmed, and hand-wrapped either individually,
in an assortment of 4, or an assortment of 12.
 
Looking for some insight on which to get your loved one?
As a “die-hard peanut butter and chocolate girl,” Danielle’s favorite is of course the peanut butter patty. Although, as Danielle says, choosing a favorite is like asking her which is her favorite child.
So, honestly? You can’t go wrong with any of them!
 

Farm+Sea

“From the concept, to the brand, to all of the details that go into the product,
to then see it being used in someone’s home…that, for me, is the
most rewarding part.”
-Mary Swenson, co-owner of Farm+Sea
 
What could be more perfect than igniting a cozy and warming ambiance with your loved one this Valentine’s Day? Enter, Farm+Sea. This company roots from a genuine passion for enhancing people’s lives through meaningful and humble scents. As Mary and her husband, Rob, have always had creative and entrepreneurial mindsets, the two set out to recreate people’s homes. Farm+Sea crafts products such as candles (large, medium, or small), perfumes, lotions, and reed diffusers in a production studio in our neighboring town, Amesbury, MA.
After showcasing one of her first batches of candles she’s ever made at a maker’s market five years ago, “…it ended up taking off in ways that [she] never expected it would…” explains Mary. “With Rob working alongside me, we’ve got our thing.”
The Scents
A part of Farm+Sea’s main goal is to provide New England-inspired scents,
by incorporating the farms and sea around us and using just exactly what defines our home for inspiration. While the scents change seasonally, we’ve got a few for you and your loved one that might just be perfect for this time of year.
From Pear + Amber to Cozy Harbor, there’s an assortment to choose from
when deciding which will mean more for your loved one.
    
 
Interested in getting one just for yourself? (We don’t blame you.) 
There’s going to be some new ones on the horizon this year including a Sandalwood + Eucalyptus, according to Mary.
You may need to stick around for that one!
 
Now that you’ve got a sense of where to take your Valentine’s Day shopping,
feel free to stop by and see for yourself just how much your loved one will appreciate these special and authentic gifts.

Photos by Maggie Griffin
Special Thanks to Danielle and Mary for taking the time to talk to us!

Italy's Finest Visits Port Plums

By Liz Strauss
on January 24, 2020
1 comment

Italy's Finest Visits Port Plums

“There’s no such thing as bad pasta,
just bad people...”

...jokes Silvestro Silvestori, the owner, founder, and director of Italy’s incredibly special cookery school, The Awaiting Table in Lecce, Italy. Silvestro joined us in our Demo Kitchen earlier this month to introduce to us what he knows best, Pugliese cuisine. As he broadened the knowledge of our locals on Southern Italian food, he emphasized to us what exactly makes it different from other regional cooking in Italy.

 


via The Awaiting Table


via The Awaiting Table

via The Awaiting Table


Silvestro has spent the past 17 years teaching the food and wine of Puglia, the Southeastern region of Italy you may recognize as the heel of Italy’s famous “boot.” Earlier on, he spent his time working in the food industry and studying humanities, giving him the tools necessary to be the renowned teacher he is today. Not only is he an expert in food, Silvestro is also a nationally-certified sommelier in Italy, allowing him to share his wine expertise alongside his delectable dishes.

His 12 unique classes take place in either his 16th century palace-converted home in Lecce, a castle just south of Lecce or even on wheels, as you bike through a traditional Italian village. This specific class, “Bicycling, Cooking, and Wine,” demonstrates how the land and sea around you affects the food and wine you’ll consume later that evening in the school’s castle.


via The Awaiting Table

His school has caught the attention of many, only to leave them understanding more than just how to cook a traditional Pugliese dish. When Silvestro’s students step into his class, they’re taken on a journey. They learn the “why” rather than just the “how.” They uncover the story behind the ingredient they’re holding, and how it affects just about everything else sitting in front of them, reinventing the way his students view their food. “Putting Italy into a very pin-pointed regional map is another thing that we spend more time on,” Silvestro explained to us when describing the importance of regional cooking in Italy. “People think they already know it, so first you kind of have to knock that down and build it back up again.”

Our co-owner, Karen Shernan, learned just this when she attended one of Silvestro’s classes in Southern Italy months back. There, she and the class visited fish and produce markets to select just about every ingredient for what they were making that day.

Chef Silvestro Visits Port Plums

Months pass by Karen's visit and Silvestro is here in the States conducting two sold-out classes in our Demo Kitchen for locals itching to learn the same lessons he teaches at The Awaiting Table in Lecce.

Recipes throughout the class included the following:

la pasta salentina (Pugliese Pasta in 5 Shapes)
fave e cicoria (Fava Beans and Chicory)
la Sopratavola and il negroamaro (Wine with Raw Vegetables)

Those two nights, Silvestro focused on what exactly sets Southeastern Italian cuisine apart from other regional Italian cooking, such as essential cooking. While a dish might only require three ingredients, they are “pristine, absolutely fantastic,” as Silvestro said. “Find good things, don’t screw them up,” he advised us.

The students left with more than what they were expecting. With 4 new recipes and a deeper insight into Pugliese cuisine, the students grasped more than just how to make pasta. They gained a rare understanding of olive oil, including how to taste it correctly. A mild intensity olive oil and a robust intensity olive oil were even sampled, demonstrating the vast difference between the two. Silvestro also explained to us the unfamiliarity people have with olive oil. “Olive oil is like a computer to me…the second I have to take one apart, I wouldn’t know anything at all. So, I have a false sense of familiarity when it comes to computers and I think most people have a false sense of familiarity when it comes to olive oil.”

Hear it from the students themselves!

Silvestro Silvestori (left), Karen Shernan (middle), Pam Older (right)

"Silvestro imparted all sorts of unusual knowledge and the dishes, all native to his beloved Puglia, were all interesting and healthy."
Pam Older, local business owner and friend of Karen

"I liked learning so much about that region…different parts of Italy and Puglia…It was very educational, the food was delicious and the wine was wonderful. It felt like a very cultural experience…"
– Kerri, customer and Newburyport local

"Loved the class! Not only did Silvestro demonstrate and share some easy and delicious recipes but also interesting details about olive oils and wines from the region."
- Joanne Szahun, customer and Newburyport local

Silvestro’s cookery school, The Awaiting Table, can be found here, where you can browse his different classes, buy olive oil, or simply learn.

Interested in signing up for future classes at our Demo Kitchen? Take a look at our offerings here. We can’t wait for you to join us!

Photos by Maggie Griffin, unless otherwise noted

The Port Plums Gift Guide: From Stocking Stuffers to Yankee Swap Gifts

By Liz Strauss
on December 13, 2019

The Port Plums Gift Guide: From Stocking Stuffers to Yankee Swap Gifts

It’s our favorite time of the year again and we’ve got some amazing original gift ideas for you to try out! We can bet that everyone’s going to be wishing you were filling their stockings this year. Or, got a Yankee Swap coming up? You’ll want the whole party knowing which gift was yours. From rollerball perfume to butter dishes, to even bowl cozies, we have plenty for you to choose from.

Stocking Stuffers

Farm + Sea Roller Ball Perfume
Blended right in our neighboring town, these Farm + Sea Roller Ball Perfumes is an incredible way to support not only a local artisan but also your perfume-obsessed family member! These perfumes are made with cosmetic-grade, phthalate-free fragrance oils, and skin-friendly coconut oil.

Price: $14.95
McCrea's Caramels
A staff and customer favorite, McCrea’s Caramels are one of the yummier goodies we sell here at Port Plums. Allow your family to delve into their richness, packaged in either a sleeve or pillow box.
Price: $4.95 (Pillow), $15.95 (Sleeve)
Mini Oils and Vinegars
If your family is big on cooking, you may want to introduce them to a few of our favorite oils and/or vinegars. They’re a great way for newcomers to give their favorite recipes a little boost!
Price: $4.95
Bowl Cozies
Our Bowl Cozies are the perfect addition to your family’s kitchen,
especially if you entertain frequently. With the various designs and patterns available, there’s bound to be one that’s just for you.
Sold exclusively in stores
Price: $12.95
Here at Port Plums, we absolutely love to bake. Therefore, we have what seems to be an endless supply of cookie cutters (rightfully so). Now, your cookies can fit just about any theme you can possibly think of. If you want to kick it up a notch, pair a cookie cutter with one of jars of sprinkles. They come in many different colors and themes, and can add an extra "twinkle" to any cookie!
Price: $2.95 (Cookie Cutters), $17.95 (Twinkle Sprinkle Medley Sprinkles)

Yankee Swap Gifts

Popcorn Bowl
If you haven’t seen or heard of our popcorn bowl…where have you been?! There has never been a more delicious and easier way to make popcorn. Our favorite way is to top the kernels with some Garlic Olive Oil and sprinkle on some of our Black Truffle Sea Salt, just before popping it in the microwave.
To up your gift game even more, consider throwing in our Garlic Olive Oil,
PopZup seasonings (a new favorite in the store), and popcorn kernels, as well.

PopZup Popcorn Seasoning sold exclusively in-store
Price: $22.95 (Popcorn bowl), $7.95 (PopZup), $4.95 (Kernels)
Stasher Reusable Silicone Bags
We have a variety of sizes and colors for these 100% pure platinum silicone, non-toxic & BPA free reusable bags. With their Pinch-loc™ seals and dishwasher/microwave safe feature, they offer nothing but convenience. You can even throw in a marker to top off the gift, as you can write on them!
Or better yet, throw some baked goods or candy inside.
Oil & Vinegar Pairing in Gift Box
Attending a Yankee Swap filled with people who love to cook, or are looking to start? A common gift our customers get from us is an oil and vinegar duo, packaged in our signature gift box.
We generally suggest getting an oil and vinegar that pair nicely together,
such as the Fig Dark Balsamic Vinegar and Garlic Olive Oil, or
the Beach Plum White Balsamic Vinegar and the Lemon Olive Oil.
The pairing options are endless, so feel free to reach out to us for suggestions!
Sold Exclusively in Store

These are probably one of the more adorable products we sell and would complement just about anyone’s kitchen.
There couldn’t be a cuter way to store your butter.
Price: $19.95
Made by the same company as the Roller Ball Perfumes, these soy-based candles leave no carcinogens in your home. We also have a plethora of scent options available, scents you didn’t know you needed! Be sure to come in and smell the new seasonal scents, such as Fir Tree, Snowflakes, and Sugar Plum!
Price: Large - $23.95, Medium - $15.95

There's never been a more perfect time to
stop by our store and 
pick up a holiday treat for your loved ones!
The options are endless here, and we can't wait for you to see for yourself.

 

 

Photos by Maggie Griffin

Our Staff Picks Might Be Yours Too

By Liz Strauss
on November 25, 2019

Our Staff Picks Might Be Yours Too

 Here at Port Plums, we have over 65 different olive oils and vinegars. 

Could you imagine trying to pick a favorite?
Luckily, we are here to guide you!
All of our staff members have a favorite and want nothing more than for you to try them!

 


Katie Shernan, Co Owner
“I love the versatility of this balsamic! It's delicious on sweet and savory dishes but my favorite way to use it is in a simple dressing with olive oil,
Old World Gourmet mustard, salt, and pepper.”
Aged up to 18 years in chestnut, oak, mulberry, and ash barrels, this robust balsamic is a perfect pair to just about any of our oils. It even tastes great on its own with your favorite vegetables, meat, and fruit.
   

 



Karen Shernan, Co Owner

“I like the Lemon Fused Olive Oil because it makes a great light base for a salad dressing, is wonderful for cooking seafood and roasting spring vegetables. I also use it as my body oil in the winter when my skin is dry!”
As it’s harvested and produced using traditional granite millstones in Italy, the Lemon Fused Olive Oil is a premium fresh pick for our staff. Produced by crushing the olive and lemons simultaneously in the same press with no added essences, the essential oils from the lemons harmonize with the oil of the Coratina olives. We especially love that these olives are hand-harvested by the producer in Andria near the Adriatic Coast. This oil works well drizzled on top
of sautéed vegetables, a green salad, or can even be used to
make a homemade aioli!


Maggie Griffin, Store Manager & Social Media
“My favorite vinegar in the whole store is the pineapple balsamic. It's sweet but tangy and awesome mixed into a cocktail with coconut rum. Also great drizzled over grilled fruit, steak tips, or just as a salad dressing. I recently added it to some salsa that my mom made with mango, black beans, and avocado and it was amazing! I’m pretty sure my dad licked the bowl clean.”
This staff favorite makes a delicious addition to marinades and dressings, pairing perfectly with our Chipotle Olive Oil or Harissa Olive Oil for a smoky and spicy flavor. If you’re a fan of grilling, this might also be your new favorite! It also pairs nicely with our Dark Toasted Sesame Oil for an Asian flair.
  

Leighann Richards, Store Manager & Buyer
“I love to use this one for a bright simple vinaigrette with Dijon mustard, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea salt and pepper!”
Our Champagne Vinegar sources from the Ardenne region of France, giving us the crisp, creamy, and acidic essence to our favorite recipes. You may try it with vinaigrettes, marinades, sauces, homemade mayo or aioli. It’s even great for pickling and preserving!


Liz Strauss, Content Writer & Sales Associate
“What I love most about this oil is that it allows me to add a superfood to just about any of my dishes. Whether I’m cooking with it or just using it as a dressing, it adds that extra nutritious and yummy boost some meals might be lacking!”
This 100% pure, all-natural, and handcrafted oil is made from premium avocados. Its buttery sensation can’t help but project its richness, yet it leaves no overwhelming flavors like you would expect. While you can use this oil with uncooked foods, we would also recommend cooking with it because of its high smoke point compared to olive oils.


Emily, Sales Associate
“I use all of the dark balsamics, but the raspberry is always my go-to. It has a wide variety of uses from something as a simple as a salad dressing, in a smoothie, or even drizzled over vanilla ice cream.”
Both delicate and fruity, this dark balsamic pairs nicely with any salad, yogurt, granola, meat, or even works as a glaze or in a marinade! Its sweet and tartness works well on its own, but is also commonly paired with our Persian Lime Oil.

Eleni, Sales Associate
“My favorite is the Cranberry Pear Vinegar because of its light and sweet flavor. I love to use it on oatmeal and as a dressing for salads.”
This happens to be our most popular white balsamic. Because of its crisp, tart flavor, it compliments any green salad, chevre, or vanilla yogurt perfectly. We also like to use it in mixed drinks!
(Be sure to check out our holiday cocktail recipe blog!)



Shannon, Sales Associate
Pesto Infused Olive Oil
“My favorite olive oil is the pesto infused oil. As a big fan of the basil, parmesan, and garlic combo, I love to drizzle it over pasta or use it for bread dipping.”
Looking for a new approach to pasta? With its fresh basil, parmesan cheese, and garlic flavors, our pesto infused olive oil tastes delicious drizzled over not only pasta, but also homemade focaccia, white pizza, Caprese salad, grilled eggplant, or even just for bread dipping!
 
Now that you have an idea of what we recommend, it's the perfect time to swing by and see for yourself.










Photos by Maggie Griffin

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