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Someone provides you with an excellent, invitingly clean sandbox. You jump in to play and all the tools are there; the buckets and shovels, the castle forms and characters. How can you not have fun? My sandbox this past weekend was the store.

The idea came from a customer who volunteered to hold a cooking demo in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. My only demand was that we not serve corned beef and boiled cabbage. We settled on Pan Seared Salmon in Black Cherry Vinaigrette Sauce, Pan Seared Sea Scallops in Sesame Oil and Jalapeño Balsamic, Potatoes Anna made with Butternut Squash Seed Oil and Rainbow Slaw featuring Pomegranate-Quince Balsamic.  Joe also brought fresh cantaloupe and dark chocolate from Ava Marie Chocolates for dessert with a variety of vinegars.

The cooking demo/tasting was a new event, something untried so far. All the particulars such as recipe cards, tasting packets and sample bottles were prepared. The morning of the event, we gathered at the store to set up. Floors were cleaned, boot-scaper carpets were shaken and vacuumed, stainless steel Fustis were gleaming, decorations and signs were hastily drawn up.

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Recipe and Tasting Packets

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Celebrity Chef Joe Stanislaw getting ready for the crowds

The team consisted of the owners, Korey and Kim, their niece Caitlin, Chef Joe and I. Deb from the bookstore was thankfully popping in with suggestions, such as “Where were all those recipe cards you had printed??” Ah, she saved my butt there. We polished and chatted and waited for the flood. And the flood did come.

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Suddenly the store was awash with bright coats and colors. Folks were clustering around the cooking, commenting and tasting. The aisles were crowded with people tasting and exclaiming over various oils. I worked my way to the back and saw a familiar customer who was enthusiastically showing a friend one of the new Blackberry-Ginger dark balsamic vinegar flavor. “Love it on my grapefruit half every morning!” I quipped as I headed to the stock room for more fresh bread.

Laura Mahoney, my photo blogging buddy, was on hand to catch all the action for us. It was fast-paced but well-organized. I don’t think anyone had to wait very long to be served and there was plenty to taste while you waited.

The day flowed by so quickly, I was caught by surprise as Chef Joe started to pack up. He had run out of some items on the menu and had improvised for plates and cutlery for the last hour.

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How did so much energy finally start to slow? It was perfect for everyone to catch their breath and evaluate the event. We had all had fun, there was no dispute there. It was well worth our time. It was such a heroic effort to pull it off so seamlessly, no question.When all was said and done, and we were smiling idiotic grins. Guess we passed all the milestones.

Next up? Chef Joe will be back for an Easter menu extravaganza!

8 comments on “St. Patrick’s Day Un-Boiled

  1. Martha, that menu sounds to-die-for! Much better than some old boiled cabbage! What a great and fun way to showcase your products. Congrats on the great turnout. Did you have a favorite menu item? ~Terri


    1. Touring NH says:

      I don’t know if Martha did, but the scallops were AWESOME and the dark chocolate drizzled with espresso balsamic vinegar was “to die for”


    2. I loved the salmon but I have to say the Rainbow slaw came as a pleasant surprise!


  2. Touring NH says:

    I was a great event, glad I could be there to capture it! Can’t wait to try out those recipes in my own kitchen!


  3. Kim says:

    Many thanks Martha – couldn’t have done it w/out you! Indeed, it was an amazing day!


  4. I love corned beef and cabbage, but once each year suits me fine. I think I’d like this menu as well!


  5. mariekeates says:

    What a brilliant idea. Hope you sold lots of oil!


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