Posts tagged Magnolia Square Market

Viking Blod

While my blogs usually start off with me walking the market and finding a new culinary treasure displayed on the shelves, this time it was actually my husband’s fortune.

A new mead has arrived at Magnolia Square Market, its bottle sets it apart from the myriad of shiny, colored glass beer and wine bottles. This vessel is ceramic and painted in black matte, which catches the eye with a red, white and gold label.  ‘Viking Blod’ if that name doesn’t inspire sense of intrigue you may want to check your pulse.  My husband said it evoked thought of Klingon Blood Wine, which considering the name is interestingly coincidental… It is a warrior’s drink!

Viking Blod a Nordic honey wine with hibiscus and hops added (they had my husband at “honey wine”).  Theo saw husband’s interest was piqued and handed him a bottle, so here we are sitting in the dining room after the kids are in bed, with mismatched glassware and a chilled bottle between us.

We were looking forward to sampling it all afternoon. We actually had mead (a honey wine) served at our wedding 10 years ago. They were both homebrewed by our friends and have set the bar pretty high for us when we have tried other store bought bottles. I am a big fan of sweet drinks so mead has always been a personal favorite, while my husband’s tastes lean more towards Scotch or beer.

DSCF0079 While neither of us are master brewers or sommeliers here is what we thought of Viking Blod.

The smell was very pleasant with flowery sweetness and hint of spice, it is 19% ABV and you can clearly smell it. It has a beautiful rose and old gold color, and we both noticed how the tears rolled slowly down the glass.

The first sip was sweet and easily recognized as a mead, and was much better than the last store bought mead we had tried.  I got flowery notes with a lite spice and a very pleasant taste that lingers on the tongue. I is definitely something I might take with me to the next girl’s night to share a few glasses with.

My husband found a smoky flavor, almost peat like with whisky but not as much. The hops were light and not at all overpowering and mixed with the spicy sweetness. It was something that he would want to drink out at camp surrounded by friends around a fire.

All around we feel that it is a wonderful drink to sit back and enjoy.



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Today’s subject is all in thanks to Chef Josh. Normally I like to take a look around and pick something that looks somewhat familiar or that had been recommended to me by a guest or co-worker. Not today!

Josh picked a jar of Bratrollchen out of the cooler and told me to write about it. Knowing that I have a new found love for our selection of canned fried fish.  I don’t know what my reluctance is to the jarred variety is but even after a year I still haven’t mustered up the courage to sample the Rollmops or Bismarckherring.

Carrying the jar back to the office I grabbed a small dish & fork I sat down at my desk and began my brief journey. Looking over the label I saw much of the same things that are used in the cans like: Vinegar, breadcrumbs, oil, etc. This jar also was kind enough to have an English translation Bratrollchen is Fried Herring, rolled.

Fried Rolled Herring balls

Oftentimes when I’m sampling something to blog about I tend to immerse myself into the item for a few minutes so that I don’t miss anything, today that didn’t really work out so well. I think I was distracted with the strong smell of vinegar that hit me as soon as I opened the jar; my concentration was completely broken right after Theo walked by and commented on the shape and color of the fried fish balls that I was forking out into my little dish. I won’t repeat what his observation was….but I will say that I agreed.

I cut the first one in half to look at what it was I was about to try. I wasn’t expecting to see what I did. The fish appears to be finely shredded first then shaped into balls, breaded, fried & then submerged in the jar of oil & vinegar, with carrots, celery, onions & mustard seeds.

The taste was exactly the same as its canned friends although obviously lacking the subtle metallic taste. What was really nice was that not once did I get a fish bone!

Sydney & Aaron were the only other brave souls working that took up my offer to try some. Aaron felt that the vinegar taste was a bit strong but he really liked the texture. Sydney was also very happy at the absence of bones, saying that the texture was way more pleasant than the whole fried fillets we had tried last time. Sydney commented further that she thought it would probably taste even better served hot.

After all the Bratrollchen were all finished off I fished out the pickled veggies that had fallen to the bottom of the jar. Thinly slivered onions, carrots, celery & mustard seeds…they were all quite tasty.

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Marzipan Picnic

What do you think of when the 4th of July comes around? A day spent with family and friends, maybe out on the water, grilling in the backyard, sitting out on a blanket under the stars watching fireworks?

When thinking over what I could blog about on such a great holiday I didn’t want to write about the obvious Brats and BBQ. I saw the boxes of marzipan sitting on the shelf and a cute idea struck me.  When I was younger on the 4th of July I would often have little picnics on my Grandma’s back patio. I’d get an old blanket and spread it out in the shade of her house and just enjoy the weather listening to music on my Walkman and enjoying a Peanut Butter & Fluff sandwich.

After my moment of nostalgia passed I thought it might be a fun idea to make a small summer picnic basket out of Marzipan. If you have never tried it, it is a delicious almond paste. Now I haven’t worked with Marzipan in 2 years and I forgot just how different it was than working with fondant. It is a little stronger and can support its own weight better, however when the marzipan cracked I had a much harder time trying to fix it and make it smooth.

I used one box of marzipan and made a full spread for my picnic. I only spent 15 mins fiddling around and the results aren’t half bad. If I’d had the time to color or airbrush I think it would have looked phenomenal.

I made two Coca Cola bottles, a burger with bacon, brat in a bun, sandwich, apple, & a bunch of bananas.

Marzipan is great to mold and give as gifts, or use as decorations on baked goods (dipping them in chocolate is a great idea!) A BIG favorite of mine is during Christmastime when a variation German Stollen is made with marzipan in the middle.

When I was finally finished I sat back and enjoyed my mini almond flavored mid-day dessert.

Wishing you all a safe, fun filled 4th of July!

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Goose Liverwurst for lunch

Goose Liver Sausage…sounds fascinating doesn’t it? Having worked in the restaurant for several years I became a big fan of our Liverwurst sandwich on German bread with onions and pickles, that liverwurst is mostly pig liver. Today I wanted to try something that was familiar but different.  Looking over the options in the cooler of Bloodwurst, Calves Liver Pate, and 2 kinds of Teewurst the Goose liver just seemed like the way to go.


Chatting with Sydney while fixing my plate we decided it would be best to stay somewhat traditional with my sample. So instead of using slices of German bread I chose to pull a crunchy brotchen from the bakery rack, and laid out some pickle & onion slices. It was easily spread on the bread halves and I was surprised to see several small liver chunks and I noticed that its color was lighter than the Schaller & Webber brand we use other times. On one slice I added spicy mustard and my veggie fixings, and then it was off to my desk to pull out my note pad and dig in.

I sampled a small slice on its own to get the full taste and flavor. Slightly smoky it tasted very much like the liverwurst had with the exception that this was slightly sweeter with a very nice aftertaste.

It was wonderful when spread out on my crunchy brotchen, and even better with the mustard, pickles and onion. It was a small lunch with a mighty punch! I only used a quarter of the package, the rest I shared with my co-workers. Just a taste and it was gone, a great treat for everyone.

For a really creative party idea I’d like to say liverwurst is also really handy when making a unique visual (and edible) piece on a buffet table. I never would have considered molding and sculpting pate, but Chef Linda has created some adorable Liverwurst pigs on a few occasions and I think they are just the most unique looking arrangements I’ve ever seen.

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Corned Beef & Cabbage? YES PLEASE!

Erin Go Bragh!

Ok ok ok so maybe “Ireland Forever!” is not the best thing to shout out in a German deli, but it sure made me smile and really gets me excited for St. Patrick’s Day.

What has become a tradition in my house is the Willow Tree’s special Corned Beef and Cabbage.  Usually during the one week its available my husband and I will have one plate a day…for seven days. By the last day we are so full of it we are only too happy wait until next year.

The corned beef is so tender and juicy, with the most delicious briny taste. The red potatoes are always done just right, and served next to our freshly braised cabbage, onions & our favorite Applewood Smoked Bacon.  Together they fill the plate, covering it in a hearty mound of joy. Served on the side is our special Dijon Mustard Egg Sauce, I usually order an extra because it is just SO GOOD to dip the potatoes and drizzle over the corned beef and cabbage.

Because we’ve had so many requests it has been decided that while we can, we will offer the steamship round corned beef at Magnolia Square Market!  So now I can enjoy a full plate for lunch and take home some corned beef for a nice Irish style home cooked dinner. Hmmm I’m thinking a side of colcannon and some hot cross buns…is it dinner time yet?

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Feb 3rd National Carrot Cake Day!


I have to say that I’m so happy the bossman shared the news of this great day early in the morning. Because what a nice way to begin the work day than with a nice muffin and a cup of coffee.  Chef Lisa began making GF Carrot Cake Muffins for the bakery a few weeks ago and they’ve been such a big hit.

     Now I’ve been pretty good about keeping away from sweets lately, but today I wanted to be bad with something that tasted really good. I sampled a piece of carrot cake from the Willow Tree Café & Magnolia Square Market’s GF Carrot Cake Muffin. So bring on the sugar rush!


The Willow Tree’s cake is made with freshly slivered carrots, crushed walnuts and California golden raisins. It’s moist and wonderful with an excellent texture. Spread in between the layers is a fruity apricot jam. What’s nice is that the brown sugar gives it just the right amount of spice, without completely overshadowing the cake. Not that it’s something to worry about because our bakers always make a lot of cream cheese frosting, so they can use a generous amount when icing (it’s also to help the crushed walnut stay on the sides). To top off the cake, each slice gets a fondant carrot as decoration.


The GF carrot cake muffins are so delicious! It’s similar to our carrot cake in that we use the fresh slivered carrots. Because Chef Lisa is using Gluten Free flour it’s still moist but the texture is a little more dense than the cake. She also leaves the crushed walnuts for the topping. She pipes a nice layer over the tops of the muffins and then sprinkles the walnuts over for an easy and effective decorative look that reminds me of a cupcake.

Well I hope everyone enjoys this special occasion, I know that I’ll be okay once I come down from my sugar high.


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Happy (Belated) National Cheese Day

Last Friday (Jan 20th) was National Cheese Day. I (along with many others) was completely ignorant of this particular day. Had I not been checking my FB at work I would not have seen my bosses post, and his brief illumination of that special occasion. I’m sure in Wisconsin there were some crazy parties and maybe even a festive parade overseen by the town’s ‘Cheese Queen’…but this far south of America’s Great Dairyland I’m afraid I was totally clueless.

So in a late celebration of the day I wanted to sample one of our fairly new cheeses. One that has caught my attention many times is a big beautiful cheese wheel of Gouda…but not just any normal Gouda, no this is a true Dutch creation that is imported from Holland. They took the classic smooth taste of Gouda and ad in Mediterranean herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic & cured olives. What you get is a cheese that is out of this world!

 It is so well made that the taste of the cheese is in perfect harmony with all the additions. While savoring a bite I could taste the olives and tomato. The herbs and garlic didn’t over take the taste at any time; they just stayed in the background with a subtle taste that let you know they were at the party.


Cheese is a wonderful item by itself but it is always better paired with…well anything, for example fruit, slices of salami or deli meat, wine, beer, etc. Now I would have loved to find a great wine to pair with this full flavored cheese, I’m at work and I don’t think popping open a tall bottle of wine to drink at my desk is a good idea. Especially since the only glassware I have handy is my tea mug (hmm wine incognito, maybe some other time).

Relinquishing that idea I went and took a look through our deli case, my eyes fell upon the Mailander salami. It’s the funny one that at first glance looks like it got stuck in a net. When sliced it has a cool flower shape. When arranged on a platter it really adds to the overall presentation. The taste is excellent, while it does have a greasy feel to the touch it didn’t taste as fatty as some salamis I’ve tried over the last few years.  It has a slightly spicy taste that gives it a little tang; it tasted closer to an Italian pepperoni. Although the taste lingered much longer than any pepperoni that I can remember, which would lead me to imagine just how good this would be on a homemade pizza….I can almost picture my husband’s face when I’d pull it out of the oven a pizza with flower shapes all over it 😀


Theo came out of the office in the middle of my sampling procedure and told me to melt the cheese on top of the salami. Well I’m not going to turn down more samples a tasty salami and cheese. I wasn’t feeling really creative so I made a simple little roll.  Heated up and combined the flavors of both were really enhanced.  The Gouda by itself would be amazing as a grilled cheese. The salami got pretty greasy after the short trip in the microwave, which let’s be honest… that’s not the best way to heat salami. It tasted alright but it brought the spices forward and not in the best way. To me the mailander, when eaten plain & by itself it is best enjoyed cold.


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