My chocolate Champurrado Tart is one of my specialties. I was inspired to create this tart after watching the 2006 film, Quinceanera, in which the girl in the movie’s grandfather sells Champurrado in the streets of Los Angeles. I was familiar with atole, but had not tried champurrado before that movie. Atole is a Mexican cornmeal based beverage that comes in many flavors, and is drunk in colder weather for energy and sustenance. Champurrado is a chocolate flavored atole with aniseed. I loved the thought of chocolate and anise together, and ever since seeing the film, it has been one of my favorite combinations. The tart shells are made with a bit of Mexican cornmeal, and the filling has chocolate, thick cream, and aniseeds. It is a delightful experience that we hope you try.
Goods and Goodies | posted on October 10, 2013
This month’s sundae is the Caramel Apple Sundae, made with our homemade goat milk caramel (cajeta), 100% honeycrisp apple sauce from Phillip’s Farms, and toasted pecans. My mother was from Mexico, where it is very common to find crepes with cajeta and pecans on dessert menus. It is a match made in heaven. I like to add apples to this combination, because I think they lighten up the cajeta nicely, and compliment it’s sweetness. I was never an applesauce person, because I associated it with what I saw kids eating for school lunch when I was little. However, I became a big applesauce person after I tried the one made by Phillip’s Farms. They only use honeycrisp apples in the making, giving it a lovely, natural tartness.
We layer the sundae with the apple sauce on the bottom of the cup, fill it up with the flavor of your choice, then top it with a heavy drizzle of homemade goat milk caramel, and toasted pecans. The caramel and pecans are perfect together, but if you dip your spoon even further in the cup, you will find a heavenly surprise of Fall apple bliss.
Up next for November? The Poire Belle Helene!
Goods and Goodies | posted on September 18, 2013
I went to an all girls high school in Farmington, Connecticut called Miss Porters School. Our mascot, or symbol rather, was the daisy. It was also the name of the cafe on campus, where we would stuff our faces at 10 am, between our 2- bagel breakfasts and 4- plate lunches, and where we would go at 4 pm for a snack before our 6 pm dinner. The Daisy Cafe was known for their Daisy Dirt Cups, which was soft serve topped with choco crunchies and a gummy worm. In the spirit of September and going back to school, I made our special sundae this month the VG Dirt Cup. It is the same thing as the Daisy Dirt Cup, only the gummy worms are organic, just because we are in the West Village and people might expect that. I hope you come in and enjoy this cup of pure after school delight soon!
Goods and Goodies | posted on August 12, 2013
We started serving the “Duke’s Affogato” on Friday, and it was a huge hit over the weekend. This idea was brought to my attention by Sam. Sam is the tall guy that works Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons. Chances are he has served you many times, and you might even be friends. Anyway, it was his idea to make a salted caramel milkshake with cold brew instead of rice milk (like our usual milkshakes). He whipped one up for us and it was delicious. Cold Brew is cold brewed iced coffee. We leave ground coffee beans to brew with cold water overnight. This brewing process creates a stronger tasting coffee, as it uses a higher proportion of coffee to water, and is much less diluted tasting than just cold coffee. It is a great match for salted caramel, and we make it even better by blending in Vegan fudge by Coop’s of Watertown, Mass., and raw cacao nibs. It is pretty much perfection.
I am sure you want to know why we call it the “Duke’s Affogato”. Well, if you knew Sam you would understand the name. Come in and try one the next time you are near VG.
Many chefs are known for their iconic flavor combinations. Pierre Herme and his Lychee, Raspberry, and Rose “Isphahan” theme immediately comes to mind. Though I didn’t come up with it myself, since it is part of the Greek vernacular, I would still hope that people will always link me to Pistachios, Sour Cherries and Mastic, since that is my favorite. I haven’t quite coined the name for it as a theme, but there is time for that. The mastic’s herbal/camphoric/healing essence contrasts beautifully with any yogurt/milk base, the pistachio warms it up with nuttiness, and the sour cherries give it the acidic zing that makes it all mean something. If you haven’t tried mastic yet, now is a great time to come by the shop for some of our mastic products.
There is a joke with my friends and family, that whenever I make something, the flavor is usually mastic. I chew on mastic, I use mastic shampoo, conditioner, soap, sunscreen, lotion bars (made specially for me, but soon for you too), and I drink mastic coffee, water, and liquer. It truly pervades through almost all aspects of my life. Although Mastic is really good for you, I don’t think it was only for the health benefits that I started my mastic obsession. It was more the flavor and scent that have always lured me to buy all sorts of mastic products. Whenever I pull something to my nose and it has mastic, there is no further debate, I always buy it.
Mastiha, as it is known in Greek, is a natural, raw resin from the island of Chios. Though the Pistacia Lentiscus tree can grow throughout the Mediterranean basin, it is only in the Southern half of the island of Chios that the “tears”, as the pieces of resin are known, have their therapeutic benefits. They have antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, making them a natural cure-all. When the raw Mastiha tears are ground up, they can be used as a spice in cooking, where they will release their camphoric aroma. Traditionally, the spice is used in Greek Easter cookies and taffy, but nowadays many chefs are embracing mastiha for savory dishes as well.
We now carry the large “Tears” at the shop, as well as the Mastiqua, and soon we will also have sunscreen for the Summer. And, of course, we have our Mastic Coffee- a ritual everyone should embrace.
Goods and Goodies | posted on August 5, 2010
I adore these sachets. They are embroidered by hand with floral motifs and filled with high quality dried lavender from Provence. I love how detailed and delicate they are, and how they bring back the quality of handmade gifts from times past. These make beautiful gifts for baby showers, bridal showers, weddings, and hostess gifts. Place them in your closet or drawers for a refreshing odor that will keep your clothes smelling clean for a long time.
Goods and Goodies | posted on August 4, 2010
Have you ever tried using a lotion bar? If not, you will have to get your hands on one of our Victory Garden lotion bars in either rose or lavender scents. I bought my first bar last year from the Stonington, CT farmers market in lavender. It took me while to get into the bar, since I was not used to the roll-on texture. It was thick and slightly oily. However, as the Summer continued and I got more exposure to the sun, my skin started to get increasingly dry. I started rolling on the bar after the shower, enveloping myself in the lavender bliss. I quickly became obsessed with how soft it left my skin. My friends started to notice and ask about it. The oiliness factor is something that might make you want to use the bar in the Fall and Winter, but I find that it wears off after a short while of being on the skin, leaving only the soft glisten.
Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Beeswax (from CT), Mango Butter, Cocoa Butter, Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, Fragrance (phthalate-free), Vitamin E.
Goods and Goodies | posted on July 26, 2010
I am so proud to sell Turkish Pestemals (pronounced Pesh-teh-mal). I first fell in love with this traditional flat-woven towel in the hammam (of course) a few years ago. Both I and the woman exfoliating me in the white marble room were wearing them wrapped around our waists. There was something very appealing to me about the primal loin-cloth idea in the bath. I liked that it was thin, and not as bulky as the terry cloth towels we are so used to in the United States.
When I arrived at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, I searched them out to bring home. (more…)
The other day I stopped by the Studio Farm in Voluntown, CT to pick up the lip balms they made for Victory Garden. I first tried the balms last Summer at the Stonington Farmers Market. It did not take long before I noticed how effective they were, and started buying them for all of my friends. Everyone agreed- these lip balms were the best they had ever tried. (more…)
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