It’s a Smorgasbord: Menu Essentials for a Swedish Spread

The word “smorgasbord” may sound complex, but really, it’s just a Swedish term for a meal offered buffet-style. Looking to make it truly authentic? Here are five foods to feature.

Swedish Menu Essentials

Lingonberry Jam
A tart red fruit spread. Think of this as the Swedish ketchup ­– it goes on everything.

Pickled Herring
Choose mustard, onion, garlic, or dill flavors for this tasty fish.

Swedish Meatballs
To us, they’re cute and tiny. To the Swedes, they’re just meatballs.

Open-Faced Sandwiches
These date back to a time when a slice of bread was used as a plate. Pile it high.

Pea Soup and Pancakes
Savory and sweet, this combination is traditionally served on Thursdays.

Our Sunday Supper: Smorgasbord-Style Boutique opens Sunday, March 2, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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March 2, 2014

Today in the Shaker: Grapefruit Rum Cocktails from the Blog Pastry Affair

Sometime between college graduation and now, I realized that I could recreate the same tasty drinks I’d sip at swanky Boston bars for a fraction of the price. Case in point: jalapeño margaritas. Needless to say, my friends were impressed when I served those up last week – salt rim and all.

This week? I went on the hunt for a tart concoction that didn’t scream summer. The answer: rum. Even when packed with grapefruit and oranges, rum – the way it warms from the inside – is ideal for cold weather. “The ruby color, however, is what keeps me coming back,” writes Pastry Affair blogger Kristin Rosenau. “A pink grapefruit is juiced, which is mixed with ginger ale for sweetness, rum for boldness, and triple sec to round out the citrus flavor.” Consider me convinced.

Grapefruit Rum Cocktail Recipe

Click the recipe card to download and print.

A couple of quick tips: Mason jars give this mixture a rustic feel, but it can just as easily be served in a martini glass. And, if you find it too sweet – or you’re looking to cut a couple calories – swap in club soda for the ginger ale.

Our Cocktail Hour: A Splash of Citrus Boutique opens Saturday, March 1, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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March 1, 2014

Turn Up the Heat: A Fiery Cocktail for Taco Night

Pandora set to the salsa station? Check. The taco bar’s set up. With homemade guacamole – obviously. You’re a champ. But the fact is, it’s no party without the proper beverage. From the blog Love and Lemons: Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas.

Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas Recipe

Click the recipe card to download and print.

Jeanine Donofrio of Love and Lemons suggests mixing the margaritas with regular tequila, then preparing a jalapeño-infused tequila for guests to add to their drinks to taste. But, if you’re for spicy all the way, I say shake it up with the infused version from the start. If the taste is too sharp, add a slice or two of cucumber to balance the heat.

First things first – shop our Sunday Supper: Mexican Night Boutique on Sunday, February 23, at 3PM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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February 23, 2014

For the Aspiring Sommelier: Blissful Wine & Cheese Pairings

Last Sunday at the Boston Wine Expo, we absorbed mouthwatering cooking tips aplenty. While in the same room with hundreds upon hundreds of vineyard owners and wine experts, we couldn’t resist asking – how does a beginner go about pairing wine with cheese? According to Angie Van Ruiten of California’s Van Ruiten Family Winery, the most basic rule is this: “Pair soft cheese with white and hard cheese with red.” To graduate beyond novice? Read on.

Delicious Wine and Cheese Pairings

Blue Cheese
Salty blues like Gorgonzola balance best with sweet whites like Riesling and Moscato.

Hard Cheese
Pour a full-bodied red – Cabernet Zinfandel or Chianti – with full-flavored Cheddar, Gouda, and Parmesan.

Soft Cheese
Brie, Muenster, and Camembert work well with Champagne or Chardonnay, which won’t overpower their milder flavors.

Okay, enough studying. Prepare for your soiree with our Cocktail Hour: Host a Wine & Cheese Party Boutique on Friday, February 21, at 3PM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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February 21, 2014

3 Types, 1 Kitchen: Which Cookware Works for You?

Whether you’re a braise-and-sear kind of cook or you keep health in mind, we’ve outlined the benefits – and a few things to be mindful of – for each. So, do your research, then get choosing. That stack of cookbooks is begging to be cracked.

How to Choose Cookware

Continue reading “3 Types, 1 Kitchen: Which Cookware Works for You?” »

February 18, 2014

Refine That Palate: Chef Jody Adams Dishes Cooking Tips at the Boston Wine Expo

Last Sunday, instead of my usual afternoon of brunch and Bloody Marys, I headed down to the Seaport Boston Hotel and World Trade Center for the 23rd-annual Boston Wine Expo. Oenophiles from Oregon, Italy, and beyond gathered to promote their best-selling bottles, while local chefs from hot spots like The Tip Tap Room, towne, and Tavern Road gave cooking demonstrations to eager foodies.

First up on my must-see list? Chef Jody Adams, a James Beard Award winner (it’s kind of a big deal in the biz), author, and founding force behind two acclaimed area restaurants, Rialto and Trade. In addition to serving up her tasty Tomato and Farro Soup – a recipe we just happened to find on her blog, The Garum Factory – Adams spilled a few priceless kitchen tips for aspiring cooks.

Jody Adams Tips

Images by Marisa DiSarno

Continue reading “Refine That Palate: Chef Jody Adams Dishes Cooking Tips at the Boston Wine Expo” »

February 18, 2014

On the Home Front: Behind the USA-Made Brand, Vermont Farm Table

It’s a fact that buying within our borders means the majority of your dough stays local, and you can trace those locally sourced materials back to their roots. Case in point: Vermont Farm Table. This Burlington-based woodworking company has our attention. Here, a bit about the brand.

Vermont Farm Table

With little design education and a lot of dedication, Dustin Glasscoe began this woodworking company out of a two-car garage in Shelburne, Vermont. Utilizing reclaimed and repurposed materials, as well as nontoxic oil-based finishes, each piece is handcrafted to last. Really last. He fully expects them to pass down to future generations.

Thinking twice about buying out of the country? Shop our American Mainstays: USA-Made Cookware & More Boutique on Monday, February 17, at 3PM ET.

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February 17, 2014

On the Table Tonight: Fried Chicken from the Blog Cupcakes and Cashmere

Tomorrow is Presidents’ Day. And in honor of George Washington’s southern roots, we’re whipping up something truly indulgent. Enter: this crispy recipe for classic fried chicken from Cupcakes and Cashmere.

Cupcakes and Cashmere's Fried Chicken Recipe

Photo by Emily Schuman

Topped with lightly fried thyme, rosemary, and sage, then served with a squeeze of lemon, this juicy dish is comfort food at its finest.  So call over friends, pull out a deep cast iron skillet, and treat yourself.

Prep for the evening at our Sunday Supper: Southern Delights Boutique on Sunday, February 16, at 3PM ET.

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February 16, 2014

Forget Roses: Try a Bacon Bouquet

Flowers are so last year. This Valentine’s Day, why not give that special someone a gift you can both enjoy? Namely, bacon.

Bacon Bouquet for Valentine's Day

Image via Business Insider

The editors of Business Insider take Valentine’s Day very seriously, and this homemade bouquet of bacon roses proves it. Easy to make with only a few kitchen items – and, of course, juicy strips of bacon – it’s a fail-safe last-minute gift idea. (Unless your sweetheart is vegetarian. In which case, sorry.) The only challenge is not eating it all yourself first.

Ready to give it a try? Watch the how-to on Business Insider.

By Christine Mitchell, Staff Writer

Would you rather get a bouquet of roses or bacon this Valentine’s Day? Tweet us at @ruelala to share.

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February 14, 2014

Guilt-Free Dish: Lemon Basil Pasta from the Blog Love and Lemons

It’s February. And the idea of keeping some kind of resolution… well, let’s just say, I’ll become a morning person just as soon as the Boston sun rises at 5AM. As for diet, thanks to a myriad of food blogs – including one of Rue’s personal favorites, Love and Lemons – it’s easy to put in a valiant effort.

Tonight? Pasta. A personal splurge. But this one’s chock-full of uber-healthy veggies like asparagus, peas, spinach, and basil. Also known as easy, simple, and delicious.

Love and Lemons Pasta Dish

Photo by Jeanine Donofrio

“Despite starting this meal way too late, it comes together super fast,” writes Love and Lemons blogger Jeanine Donofrio. “The lemon and olive oil highlight the crunchy spring vegetables in a bright but simple way. And especially if you’re using homemade pasta, the flavors don’t overwhelm the taste of the fresh noodles.”


Next year’s resolution? Making my own pasta. (We’ll see.)

Before you pull out the ingredients? Check out our Sunday Supper: Fast, Fresh, & Healthy Cooking Boutique on Sunday, February 9, at 3PM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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February 9, 2014