Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New Norman Rockwell Merry Christmas Labels from Virginia Diner

Give the gift of nostalgia and simpler times with Virginia Diner’s NEW Norman Rockwell licensed Merry Christmas Peanuts.

The Norman Rockwell painting for the 36 oz. Salted Virginia Peanuts label was originally published in the December 14, 1929 edition of the Saturday Evening Post.

The Norman Rockwell depiction of Santa Claus from 61 years ago on the 40 oz. Virginia Diner ButterToasted Peanuts was originally produced when the Virginia Diner was celebrating its twenty fifth anniversary.

The 18 oz. Virginia Diner Salted Virginia Peanuts features an iconic Norman Rockwell painting that appeared in 1949, the twentieth anniversary of the Virginia Diner. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Red Rocker Cashew Toffee with White Chocolate for the Holidays

For the Holiday Season we are excited to have added Red Rocker Cashew Brittle with White Chocolate to our gift baskets. Crunchy, roasted cashews are perfectly blended in buttery toffee. Gourmet white chocolate is melted over the top and then generously sprinkled with more delicious cashews. It's no wonder this original recipe is their top seller. ITts soooo good!!

 Red Rocker Candy, LLC started as a desire to make the best toffees and brittles as gifts for friends and family turned into the fulfillment of a life-long dream. This Virginia’s Finest Company is guided by the old-fashioned values of family, quality, goodness and customer enjoyment. Their products bring back the flavors and sentiment of times-gone-by when • it was acceptable to eat a rich treat • it was paramount to use only the finest ingredients • and making something by hand still meant something.

Red Rocker Candy is now based in the small Virginia town of Troy. Each batch of candy is hand-made in their facility using only the finest ingredients: pure butter, the best nuts money can buy, and the best chocolates available on the market. In August, 2015 Red Rocker Candy was in VIRGINIA Living magazine’s August feature about candy making in Virginia. Near the end of the month VDOT posted the Red Rocker Candy logo on highway signs on Interstate 64.
Holiday Snack Attack

Some of the gift baskets we have added Cashew Toffee with White Chocolate to include Holiday Snack Attack, Snow Day,Gingerbread Magic, and Holiday Brunch Delights.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Ultimate Holiday Ham

I saw this mouthwatering recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, for a Holiday Ham on the Today Show website. It would make our Smithfield Spiral Cut Smoked Ham into the ultimate holiday party dish. The glaze takes only a minute to make and the ham tastes like you worked it for hours. You can serve it with extra mustard and mango chutney.

1 (14- to 16-pound) fully cooked, spiral-cut smoked ham
6 garlic cloves
8 1/2 ounces mango chutney
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
Zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the ham in a heavy roasting pan.
Mince the garlic in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the chutney, mustard, brown sugar, orange zest, and orange juice and process until smooth. Pour the glaze over the ham and bake for 1 hour, until the ham is fully heated and the glaze is well browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Gift of Peanut Butter

We have been selling The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg All Natural Peanut Butter since we began The Virginia Marketplace in 2006. This peanut butter is just that - peanuts, and maybe a pinch of salt. No added sugars. It is available in smooth, salt free smooth, crunchy, or as sampler of all three.
This holiday season we have added The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg All Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter to some of our gourmet gift baskets and gift boxes.

Our Snowy Days Gift Basket includes The Peanut Shop of Williamsbug All Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter, Byrd Mill Raspberry Pancake and Waffle Mix and Ginger and Spice Cookie Mix, Red Rocker Cashew Toffee, The Peanut Shop Williamsburg Peanut Butter
Milk Chocolate Bars, Chincoteague New England Clam Chowder, Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard Maple Syrup, and The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg Milk Chocolate Virginia Peanuts. Our Nut Lover's Basket includes The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg All Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter, Red Rocker Cashew Toffee, Graves Mountain Strawberry and Black Raspberry Preserves, and The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Bars.

Our Snack Happy Gift Box includes The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg All Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter, Byrd Mill Ginger and Spice Cookie Mix, The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg Milk Chocolate Peanuts, Graves Mountain Strawberry Preserves, Monastery Almond Creamed Honey and The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Bars. Our Snack Attack Gift Box includes The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg All Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter, The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Bars, Byrd Mill Cinnamon Muffin Mix, Monastery Natural Creamed Honey, Graves Mountain Strawberry Preserves, and The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg Hot Sriracha Seasoned Virginia Peanuts. Our Nutty Snack Time Gift Box includes Red Rocker Cashew Toffee, The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter, The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Bars, The Peanut Shop of Willimasburg Virginia Peanuts, Graves Mountain Strawberry Preserves and Monastery Natural Creamed Honey.

Some people feel they should not indulge in the rich, creamy taste of peanut butter because they are afraid of the fat. It’s time to take another look at peanut butter because studies have shown that it is indeed a very healthy food choice. Here are some of the reasons you should include peanut butter as a part of a healthy eating plan.
If you want to lose some weight, peanut butter can help. Peanut butter is very filling. A little bit goes a long way to keep you satiated. With its combination of protein (8g per serving) and fiber (2g per serving), it makes a big dent in your hunger pains and tamps down cravings to eat more than you’d prefer.
You can include peanut butter in your plan to keep diabetes at bay. The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study demonstrating that participants, eating 1 ounce of nuts or peanut butter for a minimum of five days per week, lowered their risk of developing diabetes by 30 percent!
Peanut butter is considered a good food in your plan to keep your heart healthy. Packed with fantastic nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals and potassium, peanut butter can be good for your heart. Several studies bear this out, as those who consume peanut butter regularly in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease versus those who avoid it. One study showed that diets high in monounsaturated fat, which includes foods like peanut butter, lower bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while maintaining good HDL cholesterol.

To borrow from an old idiom about cake: you can have your peanut butter and eat it too!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Crabbing in Virginia Beach

When we were in Virginia Beach we went crabbing. We were so successful we spent a whole evening cracking and eating our bounty. You can find out an enormous amount of information on crabbing in Virginia Beach from the VB Guide: From late spring until early winter, the succulent blue crab abounds in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. All along Rudee Inlet and Linkhorn Bay, you will see clusters of people standing on the banks, dangling strings in the water. Although this method of catching crabs may seem primitive, it is highly effective.

A mature blue crab is usually between five and seven inches wide, across the back from “point to point”. The back of the blue crab is olive green, but their undersides and legs are white. Their claws have a blue-ish color, hence their name. One way you can tell a male blue crab from a female is by the tips of their claws. A female looks as if she has just returned from having a manicure- her claws are tipped in red. Many people assume that crabs are always red, but actually they become bright red-orange only when they are cooked.

A male crab is called a “Jimmy”. In addition to his plainer claws, you will notice that he has a small “apron” on this underside. A “Sally”, or she-crab, has a larger apron. If her apron is rounded and covered with an orange, spongy substance, she is known as a “sookie”, or egg carrying female. If you catch a sookie, you must return her to the water.

Crabbing is a major industry for the Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore. Commercial crabbers usually trap their crabs in “crab pots”, although some set long baited lines along rivers. In winter, when crabs are dormant, boats dredge the bay. In the late spring, Watermen traditionally bait their pots by using a Jimmy as a male siren to attract the innocent Sallies.

Although crabbing for a living is a hard life, catching enough crabs for dinner is fun and easy. Crabs will eat almost anything. Watermen say they prefer eel, but weekenders usually save chicken necks or hunks of “trash fish” for them. Tie the meat to a piece of twine, and throw it into the water. (You may need to weight it down with a spare key or fishing weight.) Wait about 5 minutes, then slowly put it in. Crabs are greedy and this is often their downfall. A crab will usually hold onto the line as you gently lift it up. Bringing them in is not difficult, but don’t try to grab the crab or remove it from the line! Crabs will protect themselves! Carefully retrieve the crab with a net and then flip it into a cool container. Do not kill the crabs you catch. They must be alive when you begin cooking them. Just keep them cool until you are ready to begin dinner.

Crabbing is permitted in Virginia Beach without a license, but there are certain regulations. Crabs must be a minimum of five inches wide from point to point, and all egg-carrying females must be thrown back. You may catch only one bushel a day.

Most crabs you catch will probably have hard shells, but you may come across a soft-shelled crab, either in a restaurant, or while crabbing. When a crab has grown too large for its shell, it will molt or discard the shell. The remaining skin hardens in a short number of days to form another hard shell. But in the meantime, it is very vulnerable and is referred to as a “soft-shelled” crab.

Watermen and crabbers can tell when a crab is going to shed its shell. Some companies sort out the crabs and hold the shedders until the day they molt. On that day, the tender soft-shelled crabs are sent, still alive, to the market. But because soft-shelled crabs can remain soft for such a short time, many are now frozen and then distributed. Soft-shelled crabs are prized as delicacies. They are best when small, lightly floured and sautéed in butter. However, most local restaurants serve large ones, battered and fried. You eat the whole crab-claws, skin and all-sometimes in a sandwich. Many watermen augment their incomes by selling fresh crabmeat. Commercial firms also cook and pick the meat and then pack it in cans, often pasteurizing it. Undoubtedly it keeps longer, but the process also tampers with texture and flavor. Really fresh crabmeat is unbelievably sweet and delicate, and it needs very little cooking because crabs must be cooked before the meat can be removed from the shell. Just sauté the crabmeat in butter with a little pepper and lemon. Another favorite is a spicy, steamed crab dish. Add some seafood seasoning to a couple of inches of water in a large steamer or pot. Pour in a beer or two and some vinegar. Bring to a boil and dump in live crabs. Cover and steam the crabs until they are bright red-orange. Pick and dip in fresh, melted butter.
Crab Balls

Southern Shores Specialties Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes and Crab Balls come from the Chesapeake Bay. a fluffy blend of jumbo lump and backfin crabmeats are combined to impart the sweet flavor of the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab. Crab meat washed and cooked within an hour of delivery, then handmade and frozen to ensure freshness.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Blue Crab Bay Company is 30 Years Old

2015 marks 30 years since Blue Crab Bay founder Pamela Barefoot sat down at her rural kitchen table to create herb blends for clam and crab dip. Since that day, her company has navigated the perils facing small businesses on Virginia's isolated Eastern Shore. The internationally recognized specialty foods producer has come back from a fire, weathered recessions and successfully reached beyond their remote location to a larger market seeking their high-quality specialty foods and crab stoneware. Their location is the source and inspiration of many of their products, including award winning clam-juice infused Sting Ray Bloody Mary mix.

Sting Ray Bloody Mary Mixer was featured in July on the MSN Travel page as their pick for a souvenir from Virginia! Sting Ray Bloody Mary Mix is featured in many of our Seafood Gift Baskets. We also sell Blue Crab Bay Seafood Soups and Clam and Crab Dips,

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
·         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
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

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.