Sunday, July 25, 2010

Classing Up The Joint

At Little Pots & Pans Co. we don’t offer many customers “packaged retail” , it’s a great way to service the local co-ops, smaller grocery/cafes who do not have kitchens/ovens, plus it was an initial step of getting our tarts into Whole Foods. I hadn’t given our labels much thought until I was woo’d by a new printer offering me a great deal.

Here’s our former label:

Ta - da! Fresh off the press and out to customers this week:

It was time to be (as my great-uncle use to say channeling a little Rodney Dangerfield) “really classing up the joint in here”. He also had a penchant for polyester checkered pants, but that’s a post for another time.

If you’ve been following us on twitter or even reading some of the posts below, you (might) have seen reference to things stepping up for us here at Little Pots & Pans Co. We’re beginning a transition period of taking our tarts to the next level in our efforts to grow as a company and our client base. Transitions aren’t known for being easy (it would scare me more if things went smoothly out of the gate) and we’ve had our bumps to contend with. However, I’m looking forward to seeing where our tarts will take us (and where they’ll land). 2010 is about working on recouping, stabilizing and growing and I’m pleased to see progress (no matter what size) in our goals to do so.

In October we’re going to 5 (yes 5, can you believe it?), and with it will be coming guest blog posts and an assortment of fun things (maybe a party?).

For now, though, I’m tasked with thinking about the coming onslaught of tomatoes we’ll be (finally) hit with. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Weeknight Cooking: A Bite Off The Grill Via Bittman

After a day of all things tarts (and depending on what day it is can drive what happens in our world of tarts), there is still dinner to be made. We tend to eat dinner at home most nights, as much as I enjoy heading out and trying new places, there are very few of us these days who are comfortable floating the expense of eating out every night.

So, much like most of this country, I get home and start figuring out what’s for dinner. I try hard to be organized about meal planning, well, mostly to insure I don’t wander around the grocery store and/or farmers market aimlessly (we’ve all had those days when we’ve gotten home from buying food to only realize we’ve purchased 5 heads of lettuce from various farm stalls and not much else even to make salad with). Luckily, by the fact we’re several farmers markets gives me opportunity to pick up last minute ingredients (like for the rest of the salad).

A few weeks ago I had picked up a lovely piece of halibut and the first (!!) sungold cherry tomatoes of the season among other things at the farmers market. (Oh how we’ll be talking much more about tomatoes very soon.)

Initially I was thinking panzanella salad as a side one night and maybe an asian-ish grilled halibut another. Then I saw NYTimes Mark Bittman’s recipe for Greek Fish 

I didn’t follow it verbateum (what fun would that be?). I added a few tablespoons of capers (plus a little brine), a few dashes of hot sauce, and part of an Indian long pepper that I had sitting around in the fridge. All added an extra little snap as the flavors came together. The halibut, which I had roasted on the grill, went into the mixture while I sautéed the last of the snap peas and finished the herbed rice.

If I had been more patient I would’ve snapped the whole dish, but it was late, we were hungry and I had tomorrow’s day of tarts to think about (new fruit flavor!).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tart and Sultry

Things are heating up in our world of tarts. Literally and figuratively.

We love summer, we really do. Bright sunny days, our herb garden (eh hem, lone basil plant) sprouting up fragrant leaves. But with the sun comes the heat, and on any given day we assemble and bake hundreds of tarts. Bake. Turn on the ovens and add a few hundred degrees into our quickly sweltering space. Some days it’s like swimming through the waves of heat.

Our current space isn’t partitioned, so whether you’re making dough, assembling tarts or doing admin/paperwork/boss-type things (um, me), there’s not much of a chance of a breather from the ovens. (Of course in January it’s the opposite story, any reason to get the ovens going is a good reason).

I keep us plied with gallons of iced tea, fans and mandatory refrigeration breaks. Conversation tends to drift to topics like whether ice cream sandwiches can be considered dinner (they are sandwiches, right?). Our neighbors next door are nice enough to let us occasionally come sit in their lovely air-conditioned waiting room (chiropractors) and we never arrive without a plate of treats for their staff.

Friends of mine have commented that it must be great to have days when you literally feel like you’ve sweat off 5lbs (and can eat or drink anything as a result). Hmmm… I wonder if I can turn this into the next biggest weight-loss thing. Sweatiest Chef? Doesn’t quite have “that catch” now, does it?

I can’t complain about the heat too much, it’s just part of what we do. Besides, the great summer weather (after drying out the farmland fields finally), is growing some good things for us.