Monday, July 6, 2015

Easy Summer Party Pleasers

These recipes will make you look like a gourmet chef. Keep plenty of Smithfield Ham Sausage, Ham Slices and Bacon on-hand for easy summer party pleasers!

Grilled Barbecue Shrimp: Soak large peeled raw shrimp in orange juice for 1 hour. Wrap each piece with half slice bacon and secure with pick. Brush with barbecue sauce and grill until bacon is done.

Honey Blues: Spread softened Blue Cheese on baguette slices, top with ham slices and drizzle with honey.


Crispy Ham Sausage and Cheese Wafers

Crispy Ham Sausage and Cheese Wafers
Ingredients
·         6 ounce Ham Sausage
·         8 ounce Shredded Cheddar cheese
·         1/2 lb Butter, softened to room temperature (important)
·         2 cup Flour
·         1/2 teaspoon Salt
·         1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
·         1 1/2 cup Rice Krispies Cereal
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook ham sausage according to package directions. Drain and cut into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside. Combine cheese and butter. Add flour, salt and cayenne. Mix well until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold cooked ham sausage and cereal into flour mixture. Shape into 1-inch balls and place on baking pan 2-inches apart. Lightly flatten with fork. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Let cool 5 minutes on pan. Serve warm. Store in refrigerator or freezer.
Makes: 4 1/2 dozen

These are very similar to the Southern cheese straw, but are rich, delicate wafers with crunch from the cereal and great flavor from the addition of the ham sausage. 




Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Virginia Gifts for Father's Day

Father's Day has been celebrated for over 100 years. The first Father's Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington. Sonora Smart Dodd, often referred to as the “Mother of Father’s Day,” was 16 years old when her mother died in 1898, leaving her father William Jackson Smart to raise Sonora and her five younger brothers on a remote farm in Eastern Washington. In 1909 when Sonora heard a Mother’s Day sermon at Central United Methodist Church in Spokane, she was inspired to propose that Father’s receive equal recognition. The Spokane YMCA, along with the Ministerial Alliance, endorsed Dodd’s idea and helped it spread by celebrating the first Father’s Day in 1910. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge recognized Father’s Day and urged the states to do likewise. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation calling for the third Sunday in June to be recognized as Father’s Day and requested that flags to be flown that day on all government buildings. President Richard M. Nixon signed a proclamation in 1972, permanently observing Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June.

This year Father's Day is celebrated on Sunday, June 21. We know something a dad is sure to love to get for his special day......food. Dad's love Virginia Peanuts. We have peanuts for the golfing dad, the baseball loving dad or a can that says Father's Day and reminds dad to take some time off today. Dads also love tasty BBQ Sauces such as Bone Doctor’s Original Tomato Based and Vinegar based Carolina BBQ sauces, James River Barbecue Sauce. Some Dad's love soup, others have a sweet tooth for preserves and honey. Some of our gift baskets are perfect for a Dad or Granddad. Check out Southern Gourmet Treasures, Barbecue Time, Bloody Mary Brunch, or Tasty Days. How about a Smithfield Sampler that is sure to please such as the Smoked Country Sampler or a Smithfield  or Peanut Shop of Williamsburg Gift Basket such as the Virginia Country Breakfast or Classic Peanut Sampler.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Summer Spiral Ham Glazes

Spiral Sliced Half Ham
Add a little spicy heat to your Summer Spiral Hams this year.  Try these fruity glazes with mild “hotness” for an awesome sweet-hot taste sensation perfect for the hot summer days ahead. ENJOY!

SRIRACHA PINEAPPLE GLAZE: ½ cup Pineapple Preserves; 2 tbsp. Sriracha Sauce, and 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh Rosemary. 

JALAPENO PEACH GLAZE: ½ cup Peach Preserves, 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh Jalapeno Pepper (seeds removed), and ½ TSP finely chopped fresh Sage.

PEPPERY ORANGE GLAZE: ½ cup Honey, ¼ cup freshly squeezed Orange Juice, 1 tbsp. orange zest, and 1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes.
Combine ingredients and generously brush over ham during final 30 minutes of cooking. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Maple Syrup Season in Virginia is Over

The Highland Maple Syrup Festival is over for this year and on March 30 Puffenbarger's Sugar Orchard's Facebook page announced: " The 2015 maple season is officially DONE!! "

Some interesting things about maple syrup:
Warm sunny days (above 40 degrees F) and frosty nights are ideal for sap flow.

The Maple season may last four to six weeks, but sap flow is heaviest for 10 to 20 days.

The harvest season ends with the arrival of warm spring nights and early bud development in the trees.

A maple tree is usually at least 4 years old and 10 inches in diameter before it is tapped.

Tapping does no permanent damage to the tree and only about 10% of the sap is collected each year.

Each tap yields an average of 10 gallons of sap per season. That yields about one quart of syrup.

A gallon of pure Maple syrup weighs 11 pounds.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March is National Peanut Month

From The Peanut Shop of Charleston's Facebook Page:
In honor of National Peanut Month, here are 10 fun peanut facts that you may not know!

1. Peanuts flower above ground and then migrate underground to reach maturity
2.The world's largest reported peanut was four inches long. It was grown in North Carolina by Mr. Earl Adkins. 3. Ever wonder where the term "Peanut Gallery" comes from? The term became popular in the late 19th century and referred to the rear or uppermost seats in a theater, which were also the cheapest seats. People seated in such a gallery were able to throw peanuts, a common food at theaters, at those seated below them. It also applied to the first row of seats in a movie theater, for the occupants of those seats could throw peanuts at the stage, stating their displeasure with the performance.
4. Adrian Finch of Australia holds the Guinness World Record for peanut throwing, launching a peanut 111 feet and 10 inches in 1999 to claim the record.
5. Tom Miller pushed a peanut to the top of Pike's Peak (14,100 feet) using his nose in 4 days, 23 hours, 47 minutes and 3 seconds.
6. The first peanuts grown in the United States were grown in Virginia, hence the Virginia variety peanut, which is the largest peanut grown in the USA.
7. As early as 1500 B.C., the Incas of Peru used peanuts as sacrificial offerings and entombed them with their mummies to aid in the spirit life.
8. Peanuts have come a long way from their original use of feeding pigs to becoming counted for as two-thirds of all snack nuts consumed in the United States.
9. Americans eat 3 pounds of peanut butter per person every year. That's about 700 million pounds, or enough to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon!
10. Peanuts are members of the pea family!


Eat Healthy Virginia Peanuts.... Live Longer
TheVirginiaMarketplace.com 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Pour It On... Maple Syrup is Good For You

In two weeks, March 14-15 and the weekend after, March 21-22 is the 57th Annual Highland Maple Festival. Take a step back in time to Highland County, “Virginia’s Sweet Spot”. Held on the 2nd and 3rd weekends of March, the Maple Festival has been an annual event in Highland County, Virginia, since 1958. Each year, thousands of visitors are drawn to this unspoiled, rural region of Virginia to celebrate the “opening” of the trees and observe the process of maple syrup-making. Sugar camp tours provide a unique and educational experience that portrays a rapidly vanishing way of American life. The Highland Maple Festival was designated a “Local Legacy” by the Library of Congress in 1999.

 At The Virginia Marketplace we have chosen to use maple syrup from Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard, located on Route 637 (Maple Sugar Road), southwest of Blue Grass, Virginia in Highland County in our gift baskets and gift boxes.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

January is National Soup Month

January is National Soup Month. Since it’s cold outside (in most places in the U.S.) or if you happen to be in a warm place like Florida then it’s the perfect time to have some seafood soup. We are suggesting three recipes from the Blue Crab Bay website dressing up Blue Crab Bay Soups.

 The first one is Clam Chowder with Bacon Bits. Start with a can of Blue Crab Bay New England Clam Chowder. Here are the other recipe ingredients: one large white potato, one stalk celery, two strips cooked bacon, chopped, 15 oz. half-and-half, and parsley, chopped. Boil the potato until tender, then dice. Sauté finely chopped celery an
d most of the bacon, and set aside. In a stockpot, combine the New England Clam Chowder and half-and-half. Heat slowly, stirring frequently. When very hot, add the diced potato and celery, and stir until warm. Ladle into serving bowls, then garnish with crumbled bacon and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Cape Charles Crab and Shrimp Chowder
 The second recipe is Cape Charles Crab and Shrimp Chowder using 2 cans of Blue Crab Bay Cream of Crab Soup. . Here are the other recipe ingredients: 5 slices of bacon, finely diced, 1 onion, finely chopped, 3 stalks of celery, finely chopped, 1 carrot, finely chopped, 1 red pepper, finely chopped, 4 tbsp. butter, 4 tbsp. flour, 4 cups chicken stock, 1 cup of half-and-half, ½ tsp. hot sauce, ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce, and 1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp and 2 cans White Crab Meat. In a large kettle, cook diced bacon until crisp, then add onion, celery, carrot and red pepper and cook until tender, stirring so as not to burn. Add butter and let it melt, then add flour and stir until well absorbed. Add stock, soup, half-and-half and sauces. Mix thoroughly, then allow chowder to simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes. Add shrimp and cook just until they turn pink. Before serving, carefully fold in crab meat and allow to warm. Salt and pepper, if desired. Yields about 6 bowls or 12 cups of soup.
She-Crab Soup

The third recipe is “kicked up” She-Crab Soup using Blue Crab Bay She-Crab Soup. The other ingredients are: 1 can cream or half-and-half, dry sherry, whole nutmeg, fresh crabmeat, and fresh parsley for garnish. Empty contents of She-Crab Soup can into saucepan and add one can of cream or half-and-half. Heat soup slowly, stirring frequently. Do not boil. Ladle the soup into two to four bowls, depending on their size. Drizzle with sherry. Grind nutmeg atop soup and garnish with crabmeat and parsley. Serves two to four.