The Scoop on Potatoes

Blue Moon's Fingerling Potatoes

Blue Moon’s Fingerling Potatoes

What is a potato?

A potato is a vegetable. It is part of the nightshade family of plants (along with tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. The potato is actually the swollen portion of the underground root, called a tuber. The tuber serves to provide food for the leafy green (above-ground) part of the plant. If allowed to turn to flower and fruit, the potato plant will bear an inedible fruit resembling a tomato.

What is the history of the potato?

The potato was first cultivated by the Inca Indians in South America, way back around 7,000 BCE. After the Spanish Conquistadors discovered Peru in 1536, they brought the tuber back to Spain. Families of Basque sailors began to grow potatoes along the coast of northern Spain by the end of that century. It was in 1589 that Sir Walter Raleigh introduced potatoes to Ireland, with the cultivation of 40,000 acres in County Cork.

The Irish potato famine was the result of a potato blight in the 1840’s; a plant disease that destroyed most of the potato crop throughout Europe. As the Irish working class subsisted mainly on potatoes, they were greatly affected by the potato blight. Almost one million people died from starvation or disease over the course of the famine, and another one million emigrated out of Ireland.

Health Facts:

Potatoes are high in carbohydrates and Vitamin C. They have more potassium than bananas, spinach, or broccoli. Only about 20% of the potato’s nutrition (mostly the fiber) is found in the skin. Most of the Vitamin C and potassium are in the flesh.

Uses of potatoes:

– Potatoes are used to brew alcoholic beverages like vodka
– Potato starch is used as a thickener and binder in soups and sauces, and as an adhesive in the textile industry
– Potatoes are commonly used in cooking (of course!). They’re often prepared mashed, roasted, fried, or in pancakes.

By |August 22nd, 2014|News|Comments Off on The Scoop on Potatoes

3 Ways to Make Use of an Abundance of Tomatoes

Hello, tomato.

tomatoes plum

So wonderful to see you again.

Such taste, such loveliness, such flavor… tis’ the season of Jersey-grown tomatoes.

As a tomato lover, I sometimes find myself thinking with my eyes, and come home with more tomatoes than I can possibly consume. What’s a girl to do?

3 Ways to Make Use of an Abundance of Tomatoes

1. Give them away.

I know it may be difficult to give away such perfections of nature, but share the tomato love and give some away. Do you have friends who say they don’t like tomatoes (gasp!)? Gift them with a local tomato in season, at its peak ripeness, and watch them change their tune.

2. Roast them.

If you have less-than-pristine tomatoes, try roasting them in the oven to coax out their flavor. Eat them after roasting, or freeze them to enjoy year-round- roasting concentrates the flavor, so they’ll taste great. David Lebovitz has an excellent recipe here.

3. Can them.

Canning tomatoes sounds intimidating. I am new to canning myself- this summer will be the first time I’m putting up foods for the fall. Canning tomatoes is a big messy endeavor, so make sure you have the help and space you need before you dive in. It’s important to note as well that improperly canned tomatoes can cause botulism, a deadly poisoning. Follow the current USDA guidelines to keep you and your family safe. Mother Earth News has a helpful article on how to can tomatoes at home safely here.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy an abundant tomato harvest?

By |August 8th, 2014|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on 3 Ways to Make Use of an Abundance of Tomatoes

How to Make a Simple Salad Dressing

One of the perks of working for Blue Moon is free greens. During the spring and summer, this means salad for at least one meal a day for me, every day of the week. A challenge (aka an opportunity for improvement) I face is keeping my salads interesting.

How do I do this when the greens themselves don’t change, though they are fresh and wonderful and delicious? It’s all in the dressing.

Homemade salad-dressings (mainly vinaigrettes) are relatively new to me. I grew up with bottled salad dressing (Thousand Island’s ranch, anyone?), and have been doing a simple oil and balsamic mix for the past few years. Now that I’m eating salad Every Single Day, my repertoire of simple dressings has expanded. I use the formula below as my starting point for dressings.

Basic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

I have a chart (I love charts) of different options in each category, and mix and match to create a dressing that suits that greens and my taste buds for the week.

salad dressing

My go-to combinations right now are honey mustard (olive oil + Dijon mustard + onion or chives + honey) and Asian sesame (peanut oil + rice wine vinegar + minced scallions + sesame seeds, Bragg’s liquid aminos, and grated ginger).

My challenge for you? Think of 2 different flavor combinations that you might like, and put them on your list to make over the next two weeks!

By |June 13th, 2014|News|Comments Off on How to Make a Simple Salad Dressing

The Chefs’ Bookshelf- Part 6


Chef Kenny Kunz is a thoughtful, deliberate cook, who carefully considers his work in the kitchen and the dishes he is preparing. The cookbooks he recommends for us are true classics from the greats.

Kenny Kunz
Cook, Ulivo, Philadelphia, PA
Recommended Cookbooks:
A Return to Cooking, Eric Ripert
The French Laundry Cookbook, Thomas Keller
Italian Cooking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America, Culinary Institute of America

There are so many cookbooks I use for inspiration on a regular basis. A Return to Cooking, by Eric Ripert, and The French Laundry Cookbook, by Thomas Keller, are both great because they talk about more than recipes. They talk about inspiration, the importance of fundamentals, and those things appeal to me as a restaurant professional.

There is one traditional recipe cookbook that I really do use a lot and draw much inspiration from. The C.I.A’s Italian Cooking.  One of its three authors, Alberto Vanoli, is an amazing Italian chef, who I had the privilege of working with a long time ago at the opening of the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia. This book is full of beautiful, simple, traditional, Italian food. Every time I use this book it is like reconnecting with my old Chef, and simultaneously revisiting Italy.


By |January 24th, 2014|News|Comments Off on The Chefs’ Bookshelf- Part 6

The Chefs’ Bookshelf- Part 5

The Chefs' Bookshelf


The Chefs’ Bookshelf
Cookbook Recommendations from Blue Moon’s Favorite Chefs

Do you have an aspiring chef among your family or friends? You might consider picking up one of the cookbook recommendations below for young chef. My cousin Sean (12 years old and Thanksgiving’s best sous chef in family history) will likely be seeing one of these under his Christmas tree this year!

Tony Sauppe
Executive Chef, Vault Brewing Co., Yardley PA
Recommended Cookbooks:
Culinary Artistry (Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page), Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor (Harve This), and the publication Art Culinaire

Chef Tony uses cookbooks mainly for inspiration, rather than for recipes. He sends aspiring cooks home with a stack of books to study from. He recommends three publications as must-reads.

culinaryartistrycoverCulinary Artistry by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page explores the creativity of culinary composition as it relates to imagination, food, and taste. It is essentially a pairing book, combined with many chef commentaries and working recipes. Culinary Artistry is on Tony’s must-read list for new cooks. “If you haven’t heard of this book, go out and pick it up.”

molecular gastro
Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor by Herve This, is all about the actual science of cooking- for instance, why starting a stock with cold water produces a clearer stock. Molecular Gastronomy is not so much geared towards modern cuisine as it is towards the science of every-day cooking. Tony appreciates it as “it helps me learn what’s happening, and understand the science behind the techniques that I’m using.” He’s always digging into this book for background knowledge.

art culinarie
Art Culinaire is a quarterly hardcover publication that uses recipes and photography to speak to the quality and beauty of professional food preparation. Tony looks to Art Culinaire for inspiration for future dishes. “When writing a menu and creating new dishes, I will breeze through Art Culinaire for inspiration and ideas. It’s all very beautiful and upscale cuisine.”

Tony has a modern style with a rootsy influence. He likes to recreate the classics, but with a modern twist, and his cookbook recommendations show that.

By |December 13th, 2013|News|Comments Off on The Chefs’ Bookshelf- Part 5