Stone Fruit Week Wrap up…

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Stone Fruit Week Wrap up…

I want to start this week’s wrap up off by giving you a glimpse behind the curtain at MDF and no I am not the wizard, that job falls squarely on the shoulders of Traci and Heather. There is a whole lotta love,  I mean thought, at least one meeting, (yes there’s food) several days of planning, recipe writing, recipe testing and then at least one, usually two days of food styling and photography.

When it came to the planning meeting for this week, stone fruit as our subject matter was a no brainer. Summer and stone fruit go hand in hand, for that matter stone fruit is summer in your hand.  If you never make a single one of these recipes, please at the very least take a bite out of as many of these drupes as you can get your hands/mouth on.

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We started the week off with an intro to stone fruit and then on Tuesday we featured Nectarine Salsa, I am incredibly proud of this recipe, not only does it taste great, it highlights the nectarine and is a wonderful representation of how I like to cook. (Let the ingredients shine, equal balance of sweet and savory, presence of heat and several textures.)

Next we took a journey down south with a totally different take on the crumble… Our Peach and Cardamom Crumble takes advantage of a white peaches less acidic and sweeter taste paired with the herbal and citrus characteristics of cardamom to create a truly memorable dessert.

On Thursday we brought you Roasted Chicken with Pickled Cherries and Radish Sprouts… a sample of what happens when Traci and I start freethinking about a flavors.

“What does it pair with, what can we do to enhance its core qualities, what sounds wrong but tastes so right?”

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Friday brings another dessert inspired by the south but with our MDF name all over it. The Caramelized Plum Tartlets are a great example of how to incorporate several textures into a dish thats featured ingredient is high on flavor but low on crunch.

For those of you wondering where the cocktail is, let me refer you back to cocktail week for the Crazy Jane … ok, ok I can’t help myself. A classic is begging to make an appearance here:

Apricot Bellini

Add 2 tablespoons of *apricot puree to a glass of chilled sparkling wine (Those of you that follow us, know we prefer Prosecco)

*Apricot Puree

4 apricots, pitted

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

1 teaspoon sugar

Place all the ingredients into your food processor and process until smooth. Force mixture through a sieve with a spoon then store in an air tight container in your refrigerator.

Nectarine Salsa

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Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Eating a freshly picked Nectarine, right off the tree and the juice running down your arm, ahhh it just doesn’t get any better!!!

The dog days of summer are here, so get your hands on these juicy lil gems and try our MDF recipe of the day.

Nectarine Salsa

2 cups diced nectarines

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup diced red onion

2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño or Serrano pepper

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup diced peeled avocado

In a medium size bowl combine nectarine, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno and salt.  Mix to combine and gently stir in avocado.

This salsa works well on fish, chicken or pork and it is very versatile.  We made a big bowl of it over the weekend and just enjoyed it with tortilla chips.   As with almost all stone fruit recipes this would work with peaches, mangos or cherries.  If you plan on making ahead, we suggest you combine the avocado and a bit more lime juice at the last-minute to serve.

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Clean:

We try to use fruits and vegetables when ever possible that are 100% organic so we don’t have to worry about trying to wash off harmful pesticides.  With organic,  just a good rinse and rub under cold running water to remove any dirt, will do the trick.

Select:

Peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and other stone fruits that are not purchased local tend to be shipped to the grocery store unripened.  To determine if your fruit needs to ripen a little longer just press gently near the stem of the fruit, it should dent if its ripe.  If you get a few hard ones just store them uncovered on the counter for a couple of days.  My Grandmother used the kitchen windowsill, that always seemed to speed up the process.

Store:

If you choose to keep them around for a few more days, they are best stored uncovered in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer, here they can usually last for up to a week.

Cook:

Stone fruit is delicious by itself, these incredibly versatile drupes interchange beautifully, a recipe for one is a recipe for all!

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Those of you that are familiar with urban table’s line of products know we make several chutneys and mostardas.  For most of the year we use dried fruits, however, whenever we can jump on the FRESH bandwagon, we do so!   Here are two simple recipes from The New York Times that will add freshness and liven up your backyard bashes.

chutney:   Combine 1 1/2 pounds chopped fruit, 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup water in a skillet and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until just tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste; add 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, 1-teaspoon curry powder, a pinch of ground cloves, more sugar if needed and fresh orange juice to taste.  Simmer, reducing mixture to desired thickness. Partly cool, then stir in 1⁄4 cup each raisins and toasted nuts (like macadamia), and serve.

mostarda:  Combine 3/4 pound dried fruit, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a skillet and bring to a boil.  Add 1 minced shallot, 1 tablespoon minced candied ginger, 3⁄4 cup white wine, 4 1/2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar and 2 to 3 teaspoons each Dijon mustard and butter.  Simmer until jam-like, 15 minutes or more. Taste; add more sugar if needed.  Cool and serve.

Modern Day Forager

Related Article:

Spicy Nectarines

Local Farms We Love

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Having just moved here from Illinois in the last couple years, I am still amazed and delighted by the number and the quality of farms here in the valley and the incredible variety of produce that these farmers are able to coax from what looks to my mid-western eye to be scorch earth.  In my short time here, I have been incredibly fortunate to meet and work with several of these amazing people; here is a brief overview of just a few of them.

(Full disclosure: I am currently employed and loving life at Blue Sky Organic Farms)

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WEST VALLEY

Blue Sky Organic Farms:  A family farm dedicated to hard work and growing the best quality produce possible.  Located in Litchfield Park, Arizona since 1995 this 35-acre farm is certified organic, which means the fields and growing practices meet strict federal standards and those standards are upheld through rigorous inspections by third-party inspectors and conducted under the strict purview of the Arizona Department of Agriculture.

Blue Sky Farms specializes in growing a wide variety of vegetables and melons for local restaurants, Arizona Whole Foods Markets, The Old Town Scottsdale Farmers’ Market, and their own farm stand and test kitchen.

Owner David Vose’s chef background further compliments his ability to grow specific items, specific sizes and unparalleled quality and shelf life for both chefs and retailers alike.

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http://blueskyorganicfarms.net

Location:

4762 N 189th Avenue

Litchfield Park, AZ. 85340

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Boho Farm and Home:  This little half-acre urban farm the likes of which I had never experienced until we (urban table) were asked to be vendors at an annual Farmer’s/Flea market she hosted.  Caroline Van Slyke an interior designer turned sustainable farmer does a little bit of everything on this diminutive parcel of land, that in my humble opinion is an urban oasis.

Caroline is growing some incredible vegetables and flowers along with raising chickens and ducks and still finds time to produce some of the tastiest jams and marmalades in town, whip up fabulous cheese and if that wasn’t enough she is willing to share all her knowledge with you during one of the many classes she offers.

http://www.bohofarmandhome.com

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SOUTH MOUNTAIN

MAYA’S FARM:  I first met Maya Dailey, owner and farmer of this small operation that is big on results, before I moved to Arizona, at the Slow Food International Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre in Turin, Italy.  What I learned immediately from meeting Maya is that she is passionate about what she does and because of her; Maya’s farm produces very high-quality vegetables, herbs, flowers and eggs.

Maya has never used pesticides, herbicides, or commercial fertilizers and just recently became one of only 3 Certified Organic Farms in the valley.  Maya’s farm is nestled up to South Mountain Park in Phoenix, Arizona, a beautiful location where visitors are welcome and like Caroline, Maya likes to share her knowledge and offers many classes throughout the year.

http://mayasfarm.com

Located:

6106 S. 32nd Street

Phoenix, AZ 85042

(32nd Street & Southern)

SCOTTSDALE

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Singh Farms:  Singh Farms is located on the Northeast corner of Loop 101 and E. Thomas Rd on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Reservation.  Yes, really, there is a farm there, I was surprised too but a farm it is and a gorgeous one at that!

Owners Lee and Ken Singh have created another urban oasis with and an incredible selection of seasonal vegetables surrounded by mesquite trees and a wonderful farmer’s market Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (noon in the summer)

We carry some of Singh farms products in the larder and they were our farmer at the Miller Market on 1st. this year and we have had nothing but rave reviews on their produce and all their quality products this season.

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https://www.facebook.com/singhfarms

Located:

8900 E. Thomas Road

Scottsdale, AZ 85251

480-225-7199

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The Simple Farm:  Lylah and Michael own another of our urban farms, this one is sandwiched between gated communities in the middle of Scottsdale and this one has goats, to be more specific, a herd of purebred Nubian goats.  Twice a day this heard is milked and that milk is transformed into amazing caramels and cheeses.

On Thursdays the farm is open to the public from 8:30 until noon with a French styled market offering eggs, cheese, vegetables, flowers, fruit and herbs they grow along with other local produce they bring in. More importantly the caramel, you have to try the caramel!  We cant keep the stuff in stock at the larder, salted goat milk caramels… how can that be bad?

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http://www.thesimplefarmmarketgarden.com

Located:

9080 E. Cactus Rd Scottsdale, AZ.

1/4 of a mile east of the 101.

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Why do we have collections?

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While preparing for this week, we did a little research on collecting.  Here is what we learned.  People have a basic need and a natural tendency to collect.  The need to collect may stem as far back as, an earlier period in our evolution.  Lots of animals hoarded things, especially food.

We realized that for our crew at MDF we all had a very strong connection between the past and the present, we saw value in the things we collected, each piece told a story that took us back to a simpler time, we had fond memories of people we loved who used these pieces and the impetus was the back story of why it was made, how it was made and who made it.  So we want to know, why do you have your collections?  Please share, we so loved all of your comments yesterday, thank you.  Enjoy!

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Local Favorites and a Classic

 

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A hometown favorite for us, these culinary sugars are elegant, decadent, but so versatile and can be used in so many different ways.  We went over the top and used the Ruby Pink Grapefruit Hibiscus as a finishing sugar to the broiled top of our grapefruit.  We have also used them to rim glasses of our specialty drinks from week two.  The possibilities are endless.

La Bella Terre  http://www.labellaterre.com/

Also available at Urban Table Larder http://www.urbantable.com/

Local homegrown and handmade pottery.  These one-of-a-kind  pieces are just gorgeous and have rich and inviting colors, nothing is ever mass produced.  Perfect for any decor, and adding these pieces to a brunch table will really make your event special.  All of Alley’s pieces are glazed, lead free, and food safe.  Dishwasher, microwave and oven safe but she recommends hand washing.

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Roots Farm Studio  http://www.etsy.com/shop/rootsfarm    https://www.facebook.com/rootsfarmstudio

Also available at JAM http://www.jamminlifestyle.com/ and limited edition urban table pieces at the Urban Table Larder http://www.urbantable.com/

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We are thrilled to be using these Orange Sunshine Bitters and love to bake and cook with them.  Another local fav, we are thrilled when we have the opportunity to go above and beyond the boundaries of just using them in cocktails.  A real treat!

AZ Bitters Lab http://azbitterslab.com/

Available around the valley and at the Urban Table Larder http://www.urbantable.com/

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Heather has a documentary approach to photographing food and she has over 20 years experience in the food industry and brings the same passion to her work as a photographer as she did when she was a working chef.  Now, Heather has added her amazing  work to foodstuffs, kitchen decor and market bags. These hand towels will be a great focal point and give a European look to any kitchen.

Heather Gill Photography   http://heathergillphotography.com/

Also available at the urban table larder http://www.urbantable.com/

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This is a true classic, a must have in everyone’s cookbook library.  Marion Cunningham, aka Fannie Farmer, has written a book that celebrates the simple pleasures of cooking.  Making the most out of the first meal of the day.  Makes a great gift  for a seasoned chef or someone just starting out in the kitchen.

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=

Brunch Week Wrap Up

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Brunch ahhh, who doesn’t love brunch.  Our second week post is filled with drink recipes that work well these dishes.  If you need cocktail recommendations please look back at last week‘s post.  Thirst quenching and mouth watering sips with a twist.

We live for making food and sharing it with those we love.  It is what we do.  We also live for lazy summer days and sleepy Sunday mornings.  Here at MDF, we have been sharing our fondest childhood memories of weekend soirees and brunch.  Our breakfast backstory….how did these gatherings shape us….can you feel the nostalgia coming on?

For Heather her memory takes her back to french toast piled high to the ceiling.  French toast and milk go hand-and hand for Heather, it is the perfect breakfast duo.  Heather’s grandparents had mountains of blackberries in their yard and her grandma would collect the backyard bounty and produce batch after batch of this thick rich syrup to pour over the top of this yummy  goodness and if that wasn’t enough, then she added a light dusting of powdered sugar over the stacks of golden bread to make it even more special.

Weekends meant sleeping in for Rj and brunch meant spending that last day of his week at his favorite place, his grandmother’s house.  A sensory overload of sorts, the sights and smells of his grandma’s waffles is still a family affair that he carries on and continues with his children today.

And as for me, it takes me back to comfort food and family; our house had an open door policy, a haven for good food and breaking bread.  Food was the draw, always plentiful and the weekend just included even more family and even bigger sense of community.

Our coddled egg recipe is reminiscent and reflective of days gone by.  It is a recipe that gently immerses the egg just below the boiling point and slightly cooks and coddles the egg.  We encourage you to try this old time favorite and this is a great addition to any recipe collection.

The blueberry jam is our go to pantry staple and extremely versatile, so keep the recipe handy for when all that fresh little fruit is at your farm stand.

The french toast is big and bold, sophisticated, with the unique splash of citrus bitters, rich flavorful filling, a perfect balance of sweet and savory, and the quintessential brunch favorite.

We think that the grapefruit is just a fresh take for a tried and true breakfast classic.

Don’t keep these recipes all to yourself, share with your closest friends and family.  Really that is what food is for, sharing.

Last, but surly not least, the cold brew.  Ahhh, coffee, our morning ritual, our daily rocket fuel, we all have a jars , with this robust, smooth and deeply intense flavor, chilling in our iceboxes.  We are prepared for the hot desert days ahead in sunny Arizona.  You can find these way cool mason jars (shown below) at JAM for ten dollars.  JAM is located at 6938 E First Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, 480 522-5410.

Thank you for joining us again this week.  We would love to connect and hear your fondest childhood morning memories of breakfast and brunch in the comments or on our Facebook pages.

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Cold Brew Coffee

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Glazed Grapefruit with Ruby Red Grapefruit & Hibiscus Sugar

frenchtoast

Stuffed French Toast

blueberryjam

Elegant, yet Simple Blueberry Jam

eggs

Coddled Eggs with Bacon & Chevre

Modern Day Forager

Coddled Eggs with Bacon and Chevre

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

We are always looking for different ways to cook eggs.  While preparing for this post, I was reminded of an old legend I learned while in culinary school.

The folds in a chef’s toque represented the number of ways to prepare an egg.  This 100-pleat white hat was only reserved for the heads of the most knowledgeable and regarded chefs who had mastered their craft.

While attending school you are taught to be the best, hone and ply your skills, master every method of cooking and honor your craft.  A pledge of sorts, that defines you.  So for me, it starts with eggs.

Today we chose coddled eggs.  The egg is slowly and gently immersed into the water just below boiling point.  This recipe will also allow you to add just about anything from your pantry or garden to the ramekin or jar you use for the process.

Thomas Keller who is big muckety muck around here at Modern, he does a version at Bouchon with potato puree, earthy mushrooms and fresh baby spinach that would blow your mind.

Doing this week on breakfast cookery took me back to my strong commitment to my profession and why I am honored to be a chef today.  Hats off to eggs!

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Coddled Eggs with Bacon & Chevre

2 Tbl. plus 2 tsp. unsalted, room temperature butter

4 eggs

4 tsp. heavy cream

¼ cup cooked, diced bacon

¼ cup crumbled goat cheese (we like Vermont  Butter and Cheese Company, Chevre)

4 tsp. scallions thinly sliced (we like sliced on the bias)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil a pot of water. (We used a teapot)
  3. Butter bottoms and sides of 4 ramekins (5 to 6 oz.) with 2 tablespoons of butter.
  4. Put ½ teaspoon piece of butter in bottom of each ramekin.
  5. To each ramekin add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of cream, one fourth of the bacon, one fourth of the cheese, 1 teaspoon of scallions, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cover each ramekin with foil.  Place each in a baking dish and then fill dish with boiling water half way up the ramekins.

Bake until whites set and yolks are runny, about 20 minutes.  Garnish with additional scallions.

Serve immediately.

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Modern Day Forager

Elegant, yet Simple Blueberry Jam

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

We are oh so sweet on this Blueberry Jam…here at Modern.

This simple but elegant spread is bursting with tiny little gems of goodness and has the perfect balance of sugar, juicy lemons and a touch of brightness from the zest.  We topped and stuffed it into rich and mouth watering french toast, dressed and layered it on lemon mascarpone pancakes for a lovely weekend brunch, and even used it as a component for a rich and fruit forward pan sauce with pork for a farm to table gathering.  Channel you inner canner,  and with a little help from a good season,  try this humble and unassuming little jar of jam.   It will be sure to liven up any summer time soiree.

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Simple Blueberry Jam

2  1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1 cup sugar

1 1/4 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1 pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring often.
  2. Smash berries (I use a potato masher)
  3. Simmer on medium high heat (as foam forms skim it from the top) for about 12 minutes, until thickened.
  4. Chill in an ice bath.  Once completely cooled you may store in fridge.

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Modern Day Forager

Glazed Blueberry Stuffed French Toast with Bacon & Orange Sunshine Bitters

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

 

A sweet and savory french toast like no other.  One of the most decadent recipes we have styled and ever tasted.  We saw this combination of flavors on a menu in NYC and always wanted to recreate the flavor profile.  We chose to use challah bread as our vehicle, plus the addition of crispy thick cut bacon and citrus bitters to mix things up, so here it is.  Waking up to this..is really not hard to do.

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Glazed Blueberry Stuffed French Toast with Bacon & Orange Sunshine Bitters

Ingredients:

1 loaf challah bread, sliced into 2 ½ to 3 inch slices (recipe makes 6 to 8 slices)

8 oz. ricotta cheese

12 to 16 slices of bacon, cooked crispy and chopped (retain pan drippings)

1/4 cup blueberry jam

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1 cup whole milk

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbl unsalted butter (melted)

2 Tbl unsalted butter

1 Tbl brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp orange bitters (we used AZ Bitters Lab Orange Sunshine)

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3 Lg eggs

maple syrup (for serving)

Directions:

  1. Place sliced bacon on a rack in a sheet pan and bake until crispy, drain on a paper towel.  Retain pan drippings to cook French toast.
  2. With a small sharp knife, make a horizontal slice in bottom crust of bread creating the pocket you will pipe filling into.
  3. In a bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, blueberry jam, and lemon zest. Place mixture in a Ziploc bag and when you are ready to fill bread pockets, slice corner off bag and pipe.
  4. In a bowl whisk together milk, syrup, salt. Tablespoon of melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, bitters, cinnamon, and eggs.
  5. In a large (preferably cast iron) skillet heat bacon drippings on medium heat. You will need about 2 tablespoons, you can add butter if you need more fat.
  6. Using your piping bag, fill each bread pocket with approximately 2 tablespoons of filling.  Push bacon into filled pocket of bread, pushing out to edges as much as possible.
  7. Once slices are stuffed soak each slice in egg mixture for about 10 seconds per side, then place in hot skillet.  Cook until both sides are caramelized.

Serve warm topped with extra jam, fresh berries, lemon zest and maple syrup.

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Modern Day Forager

FOUND…Modern Cocktail Week

Behind the Bar…

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Made in Brooklyn, these all-natural syrups pair so well in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.  A perfect alternative to the everyday mass-produced, soda has gone artisanal.   Take matters into your own hands and make your own fresh and seasonal soda with your favorite home carbonating kit, bottled seltzer or sparkling water

Soda Syrup 12.7 oz Bottle  $10.00

There is a 2-bottle minimum for shipping. (Does not include  Shipping)

http://pandhsodaco.com

P&H Soda may also be purchased at the urban table larder 

6938 E. 1st. Street

Scottsdale, AZ. 85251

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Join in on the liquid love rival; Jack Rudy is a small batch tonic handcrafted in Charleston, SC.   It stands alone, because of its interesting ingredients of lemongrass, white pepper, allspice and orange peel, and none of that citric acid and high fructose corn syrup stuff.  Bar none this is the best tonic around. 

Orders are sold in packs of (2) 17 ounce bottles

$32.00 (does not include shipping)

http://www.jackrudycocktailco.com

atwestendWallBar

This modern raw metal mounted wine bar, with great design is perfect for showcasing your favorite wine, spirits, glassware, and vintage linens.   A space saving piece for small space living.

At West End – round metal wall bar $299

www.atwestend.com/round-metal-wall-wine-bar.html

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This kitchy poster from The Boys Club Mixology 101 series, is a fun addition to any bar and highlights types of glassware, their name and what drinks they are used for.  Your walls will never look better with good information and a little educational too. 

 Bar poster – glassware poster $18-24

www.thesweettooth.co/products/glassware-poster

woodenmuddlers

Mix your drinks in  true Mad Men style with these hand-carved sheesham wood muddlers.  Sheesham (also known as Indian Rosewood) is a fast-growing hardwood, sourced from sustainable managed plantations.  Three styles to choose from.

Wooden Muddlers – Task $16

http://shop.tasknewyork.com/product/wooden-muddlers

Modern Day Forager