It’s hard to think about the holidays without the food. Imagine Thanksgiving without the turkey (or turducken, if you’re feeling fancy) or Christmas without the gingerbread and eggnog.
But, with the holidays hustle and bustle, it can be hard to plate that perfect pie or curate a mouthwatering cheese board. There’s no shame in getting a helping hand from the kitchen elves at the Bea’s Knees. Nestled in the Shoppes at Stats, this gourmet eatery is a return to artisan foods. Lisa Grabow opened The Bea’s Knees 2 years ago by pulling food artisans from Chef Center, Pasadena’s commercial community kitchen.
Grabow focuses on local, Southern California food artisans. She has nougat made in Altadena, honey from Pasadena and olives grown in state, not to mention the appetizing selection of freshly baked goods, including pumpkin pie and flourless chocolate cake.
Order an all-American Apple pie to complete your next gathering. Drop off your own pie plate in advance for a dessert that truly feels homemade. The stunningly beautiful crust and sweet-but-not-too-sweet filling will leave your guests in a post-pie coma.
On the more savory side, a handcrafted cheese board is the perfect start to any celebration. Grabow has an impressive selection of cheeses and makes a point to source sustainable products. Cheese boards make a thoughtful hostess gift to the chef that has everything. Grabow recommends ordering a week in advance for parties of 20 or more.
“Food is what culturally brings us together,” said Grabow. It just wouldn’t be the holidays without it.
The Bea’s Knees is located at 120 South Raymond Ave, Pasadena. Call 626) 795-9308 or visit www.thebeaskneespasadena.com for more information.
Essentials for the Perfect Picnic
Thursday, July 21, 2016 | 7:55 pm
Although we enjoy sunshine all year long this is Pasadena, after all), summer remains the most popular season for eating outdoors. Pack your picnic basket and take your next meal outdoors. From gourmet fare to comfort food, there’s no wrong way to picnic. Follow these tips from Lisa Grabow, Owner of The Bea’s Knees in Old Pasadena and Amy Vigouroux, General Manager of The Kitchen for Exploring Foods.
Baskets and Bags
Packing a picnic is half the battle, luckily, The Bea’s Knees offers an array of picnic baskets from a wine and cheese-centric case to a large 4-person kit complete with a throw blanket. These wicker wonders come stocked with plates, utensils and cutting boards; many also have special compartments for wine or beer. Grabow adds that The Bea’s Knees packs custom picnics if you drop off your basket and give 24 advance notice.
For toting wine or beer, try a bag instead of a bottle. These collapsible flasks and bags make it easy to bring your favorite beverage without lugging around a bottle. In addition to wine and growler bags, Grabow also stocks stylish wine cases and carriers.
Sandwiches, Salads and Small Bites
Seasonal produce reigns supreme all summer. From citrus-infused salads to peach cobblers, the best place to draw inspiration is from the Farmer’s Market. The Kitchen for Exploring Foods has a daily selection of sandwiches and salads that can easily turn into a picnic. They also offer pre-order picnic boxes which come with a sandwich, salad and small dessert. Grab a nostalgic soda, like Bubble Up, when you pick up your food.
Sandwiches and salads are just the beginning. A picnic can also include fun items like chips, dips and charcuterie or cheese plates.
“A great cheese plate has something that will please everyone. It can cleanse and reinvigorate the palate,” Grabow.
She offers a rotating selection of cheeses – each with its own mini-history – and creates custom cheese plates with fresh fruit and nuts. She adds that cheese is ideal for a picnic because the flavor gets better with age.
Wine, Beer and Cider
Grabow adds that hard ciders are very popular in the summer because they are dry, bubbly and refreshing. The Bea’s Knees offers apple, cherry and oak barrel aged ciders. Grabow recommends pairing cider with creamier cheeses because the evanescence helps cut through the fat.
She also suggests a summer wine that cools the palate.
“Roses are the most popular because of their short shelf life – you wouldn’t want to go older than 2014 – and their nice fruitiness,” said Grabow.
Still, she doesn’t shy away from white, bubbly or even reds. In particular, she suggests Escudo Real’s Vinho Verde for its low alcohol content, so you can enjoy it without regret the next morning.
Don’t Forget Dessert!
Keep it simple with mess-free desserts like cookies and brownies. The Kitchen for Exploring Foods retails their ginger cream cookie sandwiches and has a selection of freshly baked goods on hand daily. Call ahead if you have your heart set on a sweet treat – otherwise stop by and be pleasantly surprised by mini-pies and cookie bars.
Stop by The Bea’s Knees for nostalgic jam thumbprint cookies filled with their homemade jam or chewy chocolate brownies and peanut butter cookies.
“Sometimes a picnic is just for the sake of a picnic,” said Grabow.
While summer concerts and outdoor events are popular picnic times, there’s no need to have a reason to enjoy a picnic. Grabow adds that Pasadena is filled with picnic spots like Memorial Park, the Arroyo, the Rose Bowl and Laurel Canyon.
Vigouroux adds that food safety is important to remember, especially in the hot weather. Keep food chilled with ice packs or in a cooler and consume your picnic within two hours.
Source: Pasadena Now >> Living
KABC, Los Angeles
"What you need to know to pick right olive oil"
LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Americans take a mere 24th place in the world when it comes to olive-oil consumption, which is too bad because it’s a heart-healthy fat with many benefits. But from cold pressed to flavored, there’s a lot you need to know before choosing the right type.
“The procedure for sampling and tasting olive oil is exactly like tasting wine. You’d take a sip, aerate the oil in your mouth, consume or swallow the oil and then exhale thorough your nose,” said Chip Reibel of Beyond the Olive in Pasadena.
He and Crystal Reibel own Beyond the Olive, where tastings help consumers learn more about olive oil, starting with color. “Color doesn’t mean anything with the flavor of olive oil. Mentally, people think, ‘Oh, it’s a bright green color, it’s going to be grassy, it’s going to be robust,'” Reibel said. A cobalt blue glass is used to disguise color and encourage use of taste and smell instead.
“What you really want to look for is a date of harvest or a best-when-used-by. There’s a very short shelf life on olive oil,” Crystal Reibel said. Crystal Reibel says olive oil goes rancid between six and twelve months, so don’t buy too much. “You want to make sure that when you do get your olive oil, that you keep it with an airtight pour,” she said. When it comes to storage, heat, light, air and time are the enemy, so store yours in a cool, dark pantry, not sitting on top of your stove. It’s also helpful to buy dark bottles to protect against light.
Then, there’s the term “extra virgin.” “It’s an olive oil made solely with olives, there’s nothing else added to it. It’s mechanically pressed within 24 hours of harvest, no chemicals added or heat,” Crystal Reibel said.
With over 600 growers and manufacturers of olive oil, California has government regulations on the term extra virgin, yet the United States does not have strict guidelines on imported olive oils, so Crystal says an imported extra virgin olive oil might possibly be a blend. The same holds true for “light” olive oil, which means light in taste, not light in calorie, and is also a blend. What does the term “cold pressed” mean on olive-oil bottles? “The first time that you extract the oil out of the olive paste is your first cold press, that’s your best quality oil,” Chip Reibel said. Finally, if buying a flavored olive oil, choose one where the fruit is crushed with the olives rather than infused versions for the best flavor.
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