Archives for July 2014

If It’s Summer, It Must Be Picnic Time

Yes, summer is here, finally! And, why not enjoy a picnic with family and friends?   Easy comfort foods, red gingham tablecloths, lemonade and sugar cookies, and, even an ant or two are so fun.  Perhaps, we feel as though we are going on a mini vacation.  Packing up the picnic basket, gathering chairs, quilts, candles, causes one to relax and enjoy the simplicity of it all.  

To be quite honest, though, I’m usually not enthused about partaking in picnics.  I’m sure it relates to hot, humid, buggy experiences of days past. I kept thinking to myself, “Do people really enjoy this type of al fresco dining?” And, the answer is “but, of course.”  But, hold on, I recently had one of those “ah-ah” moments when I found myself in the middle of planning a very elegant, pre-theatre picnic.   Such fun, for we kept enhancing the dinner by adding to the ambience with French china and linens, silver tableware, silver candelabra, and fresh flowers.  Ok, I finally get it!!

The menu must be delicious, and fun.  For serving pieces, I’ve been using the Weck canning jars. Besides, using these jars for putting up garden fruits and vegetables, they provide the perfect “vessel” for soups, salads, and desserts; thank you, Marcel’s for selling these gems.  They are perfect for individual servings of a dessert, such as the English, “posset”.  This is similar to a panna cotta, but, lighter and so good.


POSSET….inspired by Laura Calder

1 ½ cup heavy cream
½ cup sugar
½ cup lemon juice

Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan.  Bring it to a boil, and boil for 3 minutes.  Pour into Weck jam jars or pretty glasses.  Put in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours till firm.  I like to serve with fresh berries on top of the posset.  


My New Favorite Gadget by Chef Jamie Bordoshuk

Even though I’m pretty good at rolling sushi (I’ve definitely taught my fair share of Sushi classes) this new gadget caught my eye.  The Rice Cube, a red square box that looks like a 3D version of Tetris, and fits together like a puzzle to form a cube of rice.

My son had just graduated from high school.  When asked what food he wanted for his Graduation party, he immediately replied Sushi.

After making a batch of sushi rice, I decided to give the Rice Cube a work out.  I made the rice cubes and added a thin slice of sashimi grade tuna on top. Finally I wrapped a band of nori around the middle.  My first appetizer was done and it was time to forge on. 

image23For the next appetizer, I mixed rice with softened cream cheese, minced capers and red onions.  I put the rice mixture into the cube, and when it came out, I topped it with a slice of smoked salmon.  It was a New York Bagel and Lox with an Asian flair. 

On to dessert.  Adding a bit of coconut milk and water to the next batch of rice gave it a sweet touch.  After the rice went through the bright red box, coming out a perfect square, strawberries and pineapple topped it off perfectly.  A drizzle of chocolate sauce finished it off.

I give this Rice Cube 5-stars, and challenge you to put your imagination to work and come up with your own Rice Cube inventions.

Meet Us at Marcel’s by Kathy Malpede

As I have had the pleasure of working at Marcel’s these last few months and getting to know the faces behind the designs, merchandise, recipes and overall cooking expertise that make Marcel’s a true gem, I’ve made new friends and mentors.  Wouldn’t you love to learn a little more about our talented retail staff who help us all cook, create and celebrate? 

One of Retail Manager Dana Williams’ favorite things about Marcel’s is the access she has to great culinary information.  Some of her very favorite recipes these last three years have come from co-workers, customers and our chefs!  Thanks to Teri, Dana has become quite the scone baker.  Thanks to Chef Kelly, she has fallen in love with canning and preserving.  Dana’s very favorite appetizer is a twist on a recipe in the book Plenty that she received from one of her favorite customers, Jani Casto.  Dana feels that being surrounded by people that love to talk about all things food just seems to suit her! 

Rita Cevaal is one of our retail leads.  Her favorite thing at Marcel’s is all of our local and small batch food products.  These items are not easily found elsewhere.  Local, unique and yummy!

Oh to have a chef in the family!  Jamie Bordoshuk, another one of our retail leads and accomplished chefs, was visiting family a few years ago in Washington D.C.  For Thanksgiving, he made an Eggs Benedict breakfast on Friday morning for the entire family. That’s 36 plates of Eggs Benedict!!

Ina 3

Here are a few of us with our new friend Ina Pinkney

As Diane Sibon’s husband Steve would tell it, before they moved to Toronto, all she could make was a microwaved baked potato.  She then met two great friends, who were, and still are, “foodies”! Through their friendship she developed her appreciation of good food and wine as well as her love of cooking and entertaining. She still visits them once a year.

Teri Hiben’s favorite meal to prepare is for her 3 young adult sons and their friends.  This has been a great joy for her; especially over the past 10 years when they have all brought hungry friends home for dinner.  Being at the table with them allows her to have a peek into how her sons interact with their friends and get a glimpse at their growing relationships. Teri enjoys deciding what to make, usually lots of meat or chicken, some tasty potatoes, a fresh vegetable and a huge salad are included.  Dessert is the easiest to prepare for Teri, it’s her chocolate cake or a seasonal pie, always with a scoop of ice cream.  She is always delighted to see a table of well-fed young people, talking, laughing and full of life.

One of Deb Forkins’ favorite things about Marcel’s has been the connections that it has offered her – new friendships from the talented, high-energy, creative team that she works with to the wonderful people who walk through Marcel’s doors everyday.  One of the many fun evenings of the year is when the retail staff takes an evening after the store closes and decorates long into the night turning the store into a winter wonderland for the holidays.  Spirits are jovial and much laughter occurs amid the work.  Oh, and usually wine is served.

Traveling is a passion for Carolyn Raber.  One of her best trips was 4 days spent cruising the coast of Maine on board a 1919 wooden windjammer ship.  There was no electricity or running water, but fantastic meals were served from the wood-burning stove!

Karen Fleming loves good movies.  Her absolute favorite cooking movie is “Julie & Julia.”  Karen loved learning about Julia Child’s life and early years in France.  She thinks of her every time she chops an onion!  Watching Julie’s struggles and determination to cook Julia Child’s recipes always inspires Karen to try new things in the kitchen.  Bon Appetit!

When Kelly Montgomery first became interested in learning to cook, she read Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes 1 and 2, cover to cover.   She doesn’t think she’s ever made any of those recipes, but learned SO MUCH.  Kelly reads cookbooks front to back instead of browsing for recipes!

And of course, last but not least, our fearless leader, Jill Foucré and her husband Bob Bye.  For ten consecutive years Jill and Bob hosted an annual pig roast at their home that was the social event of the season!  It grew from about 60 people to 150 over the years with a 200 pound pig, a live band, and enough food for an army which Jill cooked (including 50 – 60 dozen homemade cookies), enlisting the help of anyone who walked into the kitchen!  The pre-party on Friday night would draw 50 – 60 people and the pre-pre party on Thursday night wasn’t too shabby either.  Then there was the post-party on Sunday…  Those were the days!

Come into Marcel’s and meet our staff.  We would love to help you cook, create, and celebrate!


2014 Kitchenware Retailer of the Year and U.S. Global Innovator Award (gia) winner for independent kitchen retailers. 

Marcel’s Culinary Experience is featured in Chicago Magazine’s 2014 Best of Chicago: Best Cooking School for Date Night


Grilled Fresh Fish Packets with Corn, Tomatoes, and Yukon Gold Potatoes

Grilled Fresh Fish Packets with Corn, Tomatoes, and Yukon Gold Potatoes
Serves 6
  1. 24 oz. Sea Bass or other firm fleshed white fish or wild salmon, cut into 4 oz portions
  2. 3 Ears of corn, shucked
  3. 1 Pound grape tomatoes, halved
  4. 3 Large Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ¼” dice
  5. 1 Pound fresh fava beans in the pod, removed from the pod, steamed and shelled (or substitute with 1 C. thawed edamame)
  6. ¼ C. Pinot Grigio
  7. ¼ C. Packed fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  8. ¼ C. Packed baby arugula leaves, chiffonade
  9. 2 T. Packed fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
  10. 6 Thin slices unsalted butter
  11. Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Arrange 6 12” square sheets of foil on a work surface. Drizzle or spray each with olive oil. Center a piece of fish on each sheet of foil.
  2. Combine the shucked corn, halved tomatoes, diced potatoes, and fresh fava beans in a large bowl. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Spoon the mixture evenly over each fish filet. Combine the fresh herbs and divide between the fish filets. Dribble with the pinot grigio and place a thin slice of unsalted butter on top of all, then wrap the packets, completely sealing the fish and ingredients inside.
  3. Place the packets on a medium hot grill and cook, depending upon the thickness of the fish. Thicker sea bass filets will take 15 minutes, thin wild salmon filets will take 6-8 minutes. Carefully remove one packet from the grill to test for doneness, and re-seal and return it to the grill if needed.
  4. Arrange the foil packets on dinner plates, open carefully, and enjoy!
Marcel's Culinary Experience

No Knead Bread

No Knead Bread
  1. 4 cups bread flour
  2. 2 cups room temperature water
  3. 1/2 tsp yeast
  4. 2 tsp kosher salt
  5. 1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
  6. Need 4 or 5 quart lidded pot that can withstand high baking temperatures (such as cast iron).
  1. Combine dry ingredients. Add water a little at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon. Cover, and let sit 18 - 24 hours. Put pot into a preheated 450 degree oven, leave for 30 minutes. While pot is heating, turn dough out onto a floured surface and with floured hands, form into a free form ball. Let rest under a towel. When the heated pot is ready, remove from oven and lift dough into it. Bake for 30 minutes with lid on, remove lid and bake for another 20 minutes. Turn out immediately and let cool before slicing.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Panna Cotta with Raspberry Balsamic Reduction

Panna Cotta with Raspberry Balsamic Reduction
Serves 8
  1. 6 tablespoons cold water
  2. 2 packages unflavored gelatin
  3. 4 cups heavy cream
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. 1 tablespoon vanilla
  6. 1 pint fresh raspberries
  7. 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  8. Fresh raspberries for garnish
  9. Fresh mint for garnish
  1. Lightly oil eight ramekins or custard cups.
  2. Place the cold water into medium bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and allow it to stand for 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine the cream and ½ cup of the sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
  4. Pour the hot cream mixture into the softened gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in the vanilla.
  5. Divide the custard evenly among the prepared ramekins. Cover and chill until the panna cotta is set, at least 4 hours.
  6. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine the raspberries, remaining ½ cup of sugar and the balsamic vinegar. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until reduced by one half, about 15 minutes.
  7. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve placed over a bowl. Press down on the solids to extract all the liquid and discard the solids in the sieve. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. To serve, run the blade of a paring knife around the edge of each panna cotta and unmold onto serving plates. Drizzle with some of the balsamic reduction and garnish with fresh raspberries and mint.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Vietnamese Beef Salad

Vietnamese Beef Salad
  1. 1 pound skirt, flank, or sirloin tip steaks, pounded thin, cut into strips
  2. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  3. 2 T. hoisin sauce
  4. 2 T. black bean sauce
  5. 2 T. soy sauce
  6. 2 T. sriracha
  7. The juice of two limes
  8. ¼ c. sesame oil
  9. 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  10. 1/2 cup roughly chopped mint leaves
  11. 1 English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  12. 3 medium carrots cut into matchsticks
  13. 1 daikon radish, cut into matchsticks
  14. 1 red pepper cut into match sticks
  15. 1 thai chili pepper cut into match sticks
  16. 1 c. grape tomatoes cut into quarters
  17. Chili oil for the pan
  18. 1 bunch leaf lettuce, rough chop
  1. Season the steaks liberally with salt and pepper and set aside
  2. In a bowl, combine the hoisin, black bean and soy sauces, the sriracha, the juices of two limes and the sesame oil. Whisk together until well. Taste and adjust. The dressing should be well balanced and not taste of any one ingredient
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the cilantro, mint, cucumber, radish, red pepper chili pepper and tomatoes. Set aside
  4. In a large sauté pan, add a tablespoon of chili oil. Sauté steak until just cooked through. Pour a bit of the dressing over the steak until just coated and remove the steak from heat and toss with salad mixture
  5. To plate, add a bit of leaf lettuce to each plate, top with steak and salad mixture and drizzle with additional dressing. Serve room temperature
Marcel's Culinary Experience

New Recipes by Teri Hiben

Collecting and using lots of recipes is a bit of a hobby for me.  When I peruse my collection I find many old recipes like Mom’s No-Fail Pie Crust and chocolate chip cookies,  my mother-in-law’s baked beans and Grandma’s Santa cookies.  No substitutes will ever match these favorites in our family.  I do, however, like to try new tastes and techniques from friends, classes, cookbooks, and cooking magazines..  Websites and blogs are great resources, too.  Just check out our Marcel’s recipes on our website and you’ll see what I mean.

One more recent family favorite came by way of my son, Mark.  Several years ago, Mark attended a friend’s graduation party.  The host family hired a Caribbean grill guy who was grilling up some jerk chicken.  On Mark’s third time through the line to load up his plate, he asked the grillmaster, “How do you make this?  It’s just amazing!”  It was a delighted man who taught Mark all about the components of a good jerk spice rub, about seasoning the chicken overnight so the meat can absorb the flavors and finally about his secret finishing sauce:  a mango pepper sauce.  The grill guy was so happy to have this focused, continually hungry pupil that he sent Mark home from the party with an aluminum tray full of his grilled chicken (in case Mark got hungry later) and a prized bottle of his mango pepper sauce.  Fortunately Mark shared his loot with the rest of us and so began a new Hiben family favorite.

Years later, grilled jerk chicken is what Mark enjoys eating when he’s home from college.  We’ve served it to many of the guests in our home, too, who have been equally delighted.  You’ll be happy to hear that Marcel’s has the ingredients you’ll need to make your own jerk chicken at home this week!

photo 2 (1)This is what I do:  I generously rub the chicken with some Caribbean Jerk Rub from s.a.l.t. sisters the night before serving.  I’ve not been able to find the mango  pepper sauce from the grill guy, but I have found that our Chili Dawg’s Mangobanero Habanero Pepper Spread, watered down with a bit of water (just enough to make a thick sauce), makes a perfect substitute.   This recipe works equally well with a cut up chicken, a whole spatchcocked chicken or chicken breasts.  Just grill the spice covered cuts of chicken as you normally do.  About five minutes before removing the chicken from the grill, brush on the mango pepper spread and let the heat grill it to creat a perfectly glazed chicken.  Sweet, spicy hot deliciousness!

Share your recipes, cook, create, and celebrate!

Garlic Shrimp and Potato Tortilla Bites

Garlic Shrimp and Potato Tortilla Bites
Yields 30
  1. 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  2. 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  3. 1 large sweet onion, cut into ¼ inch dice
  4. 1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into ½ inch dice
  5. ¾ cups chicken stock
  6. 3 T smoked paprika
  7. 3 t dried oregano
  8. 2 t Kosher salt
  9. ¼ t fresh cracked black pepper
  10. Olive oil for greasing pan
  11. 3 T fresh thyme leaves
  12. 2 lbs shrimp, peeled deveined, and cut into ¼ in pieces
  13. 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large heavy skillet, add oil and heat over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion and cook until softened and lightly golden, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute
  5. Add potatoes, chicken stock, paprika and oregano, stirring well to combine.
  6. Bring potato mixture to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover skillet.
  7. Cook until potatoes are tender, stirring once or twice, about 10-12 minutes.
  8. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Fit a 13x9x2 inch baking dish with aluminum foil and generously brush the bottom and sides with olive oil.
  10. Pour potato mixture into prepared baking dish and add shrimp, stirring well to combine.
  11. Pour beaten eggs over potato/shrimp mixture, stirring gently to combine.
  12. Place baking dish in preheated oven and bake until eggs are set, about 20-22 minutes.
  13. Remove pan from oven and let cool.
  14. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the tortilla to loosen, place a cutting board on the top of the pan and flip to release tortilla.
  15. Carefully peel foil away from tortilla and cut into 2-in squares with a serrated knife.
  16. Place tortilla bites on a serving platter and garnish with thyme leaves.
  17. Insert a hors d’oeuvre skewer in each and serve immediately.
Marcel's Culinary Experience