Guest Blogger: Everything You’re Doing in the Gym Just Might Be Wrong

By Katie Shernan
on August 14, 2018

Guest Blogger: Everything You’re Doing in the Gym Just Might Be Wrong

At Port Plums, we seek to bring joy and health to your life - even outside of the kitchen! We've partnered with subject matter experts to bring you this guest blogger series. Please enjoy the first installment by local fitness expert, Bruce Cohn of Bruce Cohn Fitness.

 

Everything You’re Doing in the Gym Just Might Be Wrong

You’re a busy person who knows it’s important to be fit. You want to be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck while training in the gym. And as a strength coach who focuses on performance, I want the same for my clients. But too often the workouts I see are not effective and are, at times, counterproductive.

My first goal in training is to Do No Harm. My clients train hard but they follow scientific principles of progression which take into account both acute and chronic injuries, illnesses, life stressors, and past training experience.

My training programs help clean up faulty movement patterns by looking at what my clients do regularly and include exercises that counter the effects of repetitive movements and postures. Most people sit far too much with shoulders rounded forward, hip flexor muscles shortened, and butt muscles deactivated. The cumulative effect is tissue damage leading to back pain, sore shoulders and necks.

Too many people in the gym are reinforcing bad movement instead of improving movement. I have heard it suggested that if you follow the average male around the gym and do the exact opposite of what he is doing for a workout then you will get a pretty effective workout. You know the routine: bench press, bicep curls, and maybe some time on the bike or treadmill.

Females tend to focus on the inner and outer thigh machines, lifting light dumbbells to avoid “bulking up”, and the long, slow walk to nowhere on the treadmill. Neither gender ends up working on the things they most need.

In either case, these workouts tend to reinforce repetitive movement patterns and muscle imbalances that are responsible for chronic pain and injury. Our predisposition to take the path of least resistance and only do those exercises we already do well, actually hurts us and makes workouts ineffective.

Bruce Cohn Fitness programs address these issues and empower clients to improve performance with reduced injuries as they participate in the game of life. Our programs reinforce function through practice and progression.

At Bruce Cohn Fitness all of our clients do Kettle Bell swings, Medicine Ball throws, and Battling Ropes to improve power and burn more calories. And make no mistake about it: power is not just for athletes. Every time we get up from a chair, climb stairs, or react to a fall we are using power. Does your workout involve force production and force absorption? If not, why not?

In addition to power training, our programs include all of the 5 basic movement patterns: hinging at the hipsbending at the kneestabilizing the spineupper body pulling, and upper body pushing. In simple terms we program exercises involving:

  • Lowering to and raising from benches, floor etc.
  • Balance, core stability and improved tissue length
  • Raising knees, toes, and extending hips
  • Pulling shoulder blades down and in
  • Doing upper body pulling exercises in 2:1 ratio to pushing

Want to perform better in your recreational passions or activities of daily living?

Call Bruce today at 781-454-8500 or email: bruce.coach@gmail.com

3 Ways to Use Espresso Balsamic Vinegar

By Katie Shernan
on August 14, 2018

3 Ways to Use Espresso Balsamic Vinegar

Today we're highlighting one of our lesser known infused balsamics, Espresso! There are countless ways to use this flavorful ingredient in your cooking, but here are 3 ideas to get you started.

 

When you're done reading, use code ESPRESSOYOURSELF at checkout or mention this post in-store to receive 20% off any size bottle of Espresso Balsamic Vinegar

 

Espresso Balsamic Grilled Flank Steak

Ingredients:

  • 1 flank steak, 1 1/2 - 2 lbs
  • 1/2 c Espresso Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients and place in a sealable plastic bag or flat, shallow container large enough to hold the meat.
  2. Rinse the meat, pat dry, and place in the marinade, covered, for 2 hours minimum (up to 24 hours). Turn occasionally.
  3. Heat the grill of your choice to medium-high heat.
  4. Remove the steak from the marinade, scraping any clinging sauce and shallots back into the dish with a spatula.
  5. Pat the steak dry, and oil and salt the surface lightly. Grill 3-6 minutes per side, taking care not to overcook. Baste with the marinade while cooking, reserving at least 1/2 c. When done, set on a platter to rest, tented with foil, while you finish the sauce (let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing).
  6. Put the remaining marinade in a small saucepan and bring to the boil along with any juices that collect on the platter.
  7. Reduce to a simmer and cook for a minute or two; the sauce should thicken slightly.
  8. Slice the steak thinly against the grain and spoon the sauce over to serve.

Original Recipe

 

Espresso Spritzer

This recipe does not actually contain espresso balsamic but demonstrates just how much of a shortcut infused balsamics can be!

A shrub is a sweet and acidic liquid used in making beverages (similar in concept to bitters). Historically it was know as "drinking vinegar." Balsamic vinegars behave beautifully as shrubs in mixed drinks.

Rather than going through the process of creating a coffee shrub as demonstrated in the following recipe, try adding a teaspoon or more of espresso balsamic to a glass of sparkling water for a refreshing treat!. 

Coffee Shrub Recipe

 

Espresso Balsamic Roasted Pears

This is another recipe in which the original version does not contain espresso balsamic but trust us! The deep, caramelized notes of espresso balsamic perfectly complement the mild, sweet pears. Add some salty Manchego or Roquefort for an amazing foil.

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 firm-ripe Bosc pears, halved lengthwise and cored
3 tablespoons espresso balsamic vinegar
4 oz Manchego or mild fresh goat cheese, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Melt butter in an 8-inch square glass baking dish in middle of oven, about 3 minutes.
Arrange pears, cut sides down, in 1 layer in butter and roast in middle of oven until tender, about 20 minutes.
Pour vinegar over pears and roast 5 minutes more.
Transfer pears, cut sides down, to serving plates with cheese and spoon some of juices from baking dish over pears. Drizzle pears and cheese with honey and sprinkle with pepper.

Original Recipe

 

Feeling inspired? This discount is available through the September 30th!

So Hot! 2 Cayenne Chili Infused Olive Oil Recipes

By Linda Davis Siess
on February 17, 2018

So Hot! 2 Cayenne Chili Infused Olive Oil Recipes

Our Cayenne Chili infused olive oil is hot! Its brilliant red hue hints at the bitingly hot flavor - which lends itself perfectly to spicy hot recipes. Try these two very quick recipes to savor that tongue-tingling flavor, and let us know what you think!

Read more »

You Make It! Homemade Olive Oil Pizza Dough

By Linda Davis Siess
on February 07, 2018

You Make It! Homemade Olive Oil Pizza Dough

You Make It! Homemade Olive Oil Pizza Dough

Our flavorful olive oils are the secret ingredient in easy-to-make homemade pizza dough. Check out the simple, inexpensive recipe and set aside some time to make impressive and delicious pizzas in your own kitchen!

Read more »

Healthy Resolutions with Winter Veggies: Slaw & Sprouts

By Linda Davis Siess
on January 06, 2018

Start the new year off well with a healthy resolution: eat your veggies!

Maple balsamic vinegar, mild extra-virgin olive oil, and Tuscan herb infused olive oil are the stars of these recipes, 2 ways to enjoy cabbage and Brussels sprouts.

Read more »

Lovely Lemon Olive Oil Shortbread - 2 recipes

By Linda Davis Siess
on December 28, 2017

Lovely Lemon Olive Oil Shortbread: 2 Recipes

Lemon infused olive oil adds a rich, bright taste to shortbread cookies! Try either or both of our recipes to bake a delicious and easy-to-make treat - we offer a dairy-free version, as well as a recipe using part butter/part olive oil. YUM!

Read more »

Everybody Loves Trifle! 3 Combos, Bundt Cake Mixes & RE Kimball Jams

By Linda Davis Siess
on November 21, 2017

Everybody Loves Trifle! 3 Combos, Bundt Cake Mixes & RE Kimball Jams

Just a Trifle – but oh, how delicious!

Simple ingredients combine to make a magically delicious dessert: everybody loves trifle!

We offer three trifle combinations to tempt your tastebuds, with tips for success.

Read more »

Easiest Olive Appetizers

By Linda Davis Siess
on November 10, 2017

Easiest Olive Appetizers

Say “Olive You!” With Tasty, Easy Olive Appetizers

 

 

Holiday gatherings and cozy time spent indoors are on our autumn-into-winter calendar: time for conversation, and fun, and food! Time for easy, delicious appetizers to share with friends and family.

Start with olives from Port Plums! Here are four tested and crowd-approved recipes that take advantage of the great flavors found in our variety of stuffed olives from Spain. Perfect for formal or informal gatherings – and full of great taste.

And they're easy recipes! Simple enough to pull together in minutes, pop into the fridge, and have at hand for an impressive and delicious presentation when friends come by.

  

#1: Fig and Olive Tapenade:

This recipe was the hands-down favorite among our tasters. It comes together in minutes to make ahead. It's savory and sweet, with great textures, and makes a lovely presentation. We served it with cream cheese, but tasters suggested that goat cheese would also add tangy, rich goodness. What do you think? Yum!

Fig and Olive Tapenade

 

1 C dried figs, chopped

1 Tb Tuscan Herb infused olive oil

2 Tb fig balsamic vinegar

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

2/3 C almond-stuffed Manzanilla olives, chopped

  • Chop the figs and olives into dice, for easier serving and eating.
  • Simmer figs in ½ C water in pan over medium heat, cooking until tender.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate, covered, four hours or overnight, for flavors to blend. 

For serving:

  • Place 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (or goat cheese), room temperature, on a serving plate, and top with tapenade. Garnish with whole stuffed olives, if desired.
  • Serve with crackers or toasted baguette (very nice brushed with garlic olive oil before toasting!)

 

#2: Warm Seasoned Stuffed Olives:

Delicious aromas, delicious taste – heat and enjoy! These olives are wonderful simply piled in a bowl with picks handy, or enjoyed atop crackers or bread. Try them, too, as a topper for a tangy soft cheese such as goat, feta, or cream cheese, or alongside cheeses recommended by your cheesemonger (maybe Manchego? Mmm!). Or – as a luxe and memorable pizza topping!

 

Warm Seasoned Stuffed Olives

 

1 Tb garlic infused olive oil

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

 

5 or 6 fresh thyme sprigs (strip away and discard large twigs)

2 C olives – try a mixture of:

  • Garlic-stuffed Gordal Olives
  • Seville orange-stuffed Manzanilla Olives
  • Lemon-stuffed Manzanilla Olives

 ¼ tsp salt - if needed, or to taste

  • Roughly chop the olives (easier for eating).
  • In a saucepan, simmer all ingredients for about ten minutes until well heated.
  • Season, if desired, with ¼ tsp salt (or to taste).
  • Serve warm, alone, or with bread or crackers, or cheese, as desired.
  • Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

 

#3: Awesome Olive Dip

This simple recipe is rich and versatile: use it as a dip, a spread, or even as a special ingredient – tasters suggested it could be a wonderful stuffing for a fancy chicken breast, or a tasty ham roll-up. The seasoned “La Abuela” recipe olives are so savory. My mouth is watering!

 P.S. One taster made fun of this dip's name – until he tasted it!

 

Awesome Olive Dip

 

1 C Pitted Queen Olives, “La Abuela” Recipe (about 12 large olives)

3 Tb brine from olives (or more, as needed), including onion slices and herbs from jar

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

 ½ C mayonnaise (I like Caine's)

  • Using a knife, food processor, or blender, chop the olives to desired fineness (I like mine minced, with small bits remaining – not a puree), adding brine (including onion and herbs). 
  • Mix in the softened cream cheese, and then the mayonnaise, adding more brine, if needed, to bring the mixture to a good dipping consistency.
  • Enjoy immediately, or refrigerate for several hours or overnight for even better flavor. Serve with crackers, bread, and/or crudite. . . or experiment!

 

#4: Quickest Lemon Olive Hummus

 Homemade hummus! This is one the fastest recipes ever, and an eye-opener for me. Who knew how simple it is to create wonderful hummus? Chickpeas, olives, olive oil, garlic, parsley: give it a whirl and that's that! (Of course, the flavorful lemon-stuffed Manzanilla olives are our secret ingredient.)

 Quickest Lemon Olive Hummus

1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained

 

1/3 C lemon-stuffed Manzanilla olives (about 12 small olives)

 

4 Tb lemon infused olive oil

 

1 clove garlic, minced

 

½ tsp dried parsley (or 1½ tsp fresh)

 

salt and pepper to taste

  • note: if desired, stir in water, a little at a time, for a less dense consistency
  • Blend all ingredients to desired consistency using food processor, blender, or immersion blender. Enjoy immediately, or refrigerate several hours or more, covered, to let flavors blend. Serve with crackers, pita bread, and/or crudite.
  • This is a recipe to play with, too – try other flavors of stuffed olives to create your signature blend!

Spend more time with your family and friends, and a little less time in the kitchen, with these easy recipes. Start with a jar of exquisite olives – or one of each flavor! – and create memorable appetizers in minutes. Happy Cooking!

 

-Linda

 

 

Stovetop Apple Crisp

By Linda Davis Siess
on October 09, 2017

Stovetop Apple Crisp

Stovetop Apple "Crisp"

 

The weather is changing, apples are ripe and abundant, and once again it's Pumpkin Spice Season – Autumn in New England! This recipe celebrates those great tastes of Fall, with an iconic apple recipe made a bit simpler – no baking; it's all done on the stove. Cooking's done in a snap, once the apples are peeled and sliced.

 

I chose two types of apples: Golden Delicious (which holds its shape) and Macintosh (collapses like applesauce). Together, they make an appealing (aPEELing, ha) combination. Choose your apples depending upon which textures and flavors you like best.

 

Pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar create that familiar apple-pie taste, so good on a brisk fall day. A pinch of salt tones the sweetness down a tiny bit. And butter brings a lush richness.

 

Once the apples were cooked down, I decided to experiment with deepening and enhancing that wonderful spicy apple flavor – with balsamic vinegars and flavor-infused maple syrups. (Yum!) My favorite add-ins turned out to be vanilla, red apple, or maple dark balsamic vinegars, and the ginger or cinnamon-vanilla Runamok infused maple syrups. Just a touch of any of these adds a new depth of flavor. I liked them all, each for a different tasty reason!

 

As for topping – the “crisp” part of apple crisp, I cheated and did not make a streusel. Instead, I added granola, easy to layer right on top of the cooked apples. There are so many great flavors from which to choose, and already prepared – win! I especially liked two different flavors from Maple Nut Kitchen: pumpkin gingerbread, and maple nut. Before topping the apples, I poured some granola into a bowl and microwaved it, just to warm it up a little. I also tried a variation: I put some butter and granola in a pan on the stove, and stirred it on medium heat, which didn't exactly crisp it up, but did add some nice butter flavor, and warmth for serving.

 

Also on top, I'm guessing no one would say no to a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you have it. But this is delicious as is, and it's even good (shh!) cold from the refrigerator – a perfect Fall breakfast!

 

Stovetop Apple “Crisp”

Skillet Spiced Apples, Topped Your Way!

  • 8 apples
  • ¼ Cup butter
  • ½ Cup dark brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch of salt

- Peel all the apples (slice them during the next step).

- In a large skillet, over low heat, melt the butter. Add the apples as they're sliced (uneven chunks and some peel are fine, and save a little time: “rustic” vs. “refined”). Cook over low to medium heat, stirring, and continuing to cook for about five minutes after all the apples are in the pan.

- Stir in the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt, and cook another five to ten minutes over medium to high heat, until apples are done to your liking and some of the juices have evaporated.

 - All done! Remove from heat. If desired, stir in your choice of:

Choose whatever flavoring appeals to you, and stir in a teaspoonful or so to start. Add more to taste, as desired.

- Top with your choice of:

  • Maple Nut Kitchen Granola – try Pumpkin Gingerbread, Maple Nut, or your favorite flavor. Try it heated, either in the microwave, or toasted in about a teaspoon of butter in a pan on the stove, stirring frequently.

and/or -

  • Vanilla ice cream!

Serve warm, or cooled; reheated in the microwave, or cold from the refrigerator (I won't tell!).

 

Happy Cooking!

-Linda

 

 

Fearless Refrigerator Pickles with Fire Cider

By Linda Davis Siess
on September 25, 2017

Fearless Refrigerator Pickles with Fire Cider

Fearless Refrigerator Pickles – with Fire Cider, Two Ways

 

 

 

Who knew that making pickles is easy? Not me. But it is! Living proof, right here!

 

Gather a combination of unblemished veggies. Got a garden's overabundance of zucchini, summer squash, carrots, or peppers? This recipe is for you. Otherwise, the farmer's market or grocery store will have what you need.

 

The brine ingredients were easy to find, with a trip to the grocery store and a visit to my spice cabinet, and a side trip to Port Plums to pick up a bottle of Fire Cider (the unsweetened version) – and I was ready to fearlessly rock my pickle jam! So to speak.

 

For my batch of pickles, I used three smallish pickling cucumbers, three carrots, and two yellow peppers. I washed the veggies, trimmed their ends, removed seeds from the peppers, and sliced them all up into slender julienne, into smallish pickle-sized pieces. I also used two medium onions, sliced thinly; plus 4 cloves of garlic (from one head) for the brine. 

 

These all fit to the top of my canning jar, pushing them in a bit. I could have also used a non-metal bowl. (Keep the garlic out; it goes in the brine.)

 

I placed the brine ingredients in a saucepan, stirred them a bit to melt the sugar, and brought them all to a boil. Don't breathe the steam! Or – if you have a cold, maybe do so – it'll clear your head! After a minute of boiling, I carefully poured it – liquid, spices, and all – over the veggies. Remember that turmeric can stain; protect surfaces from drips, with a paper towel. 

 

And that was that! Covered, popped into the fridge, and all that was left to do, was to wait! Four days, if you can. I made it to two days, and was very happy with the yummy result. (And they say these pickles will last in the fridge for a month. . . but this batch is already a tasty memory!)

 

 That's it: Fearless Refrigerator Pickles! If I can make pickles, delicious, zesty-sweet pickles. . . you can, too!

 

 

Sweet/Hot Quick Pickled Veggies with Fire Cider (Refrigerator Pickles)

 

Thinly slice, dice, or cut in julienne strips:

 

  • about 6 cups of raw vegetables, in any combination - such as pickling cucumbers, carrots, beets, zucchini, squash, red or yellow peppers, radishes, etc.

 

Also thinly slice:

 

  • 2 cups onion (about 2 medium onions) 

 

In a saucepan, combine and bring to a boil, and continue boiling for 1 minute:

 

  •  1 C cider vinegar
  • ½ C unsweetened Fire Cider
  • ¾ C sugar (or to taste)
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp mustard seed
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ - ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • ¼ tsp peppercorns (tricolor are pretty)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

Lightly toss together the veggies and onion. Place them in a large canning jar or a non-metal bowl.

Pour the boiled vinegar mixture over all. Don't worry if vinegar doesn't completely cover veggies – shake them occasionally; they will collapse as time passes and brine will cover.

 

Cool slightly. Cover with lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least four days for flavors to meld. (Pickles are yummy right away, but the flavor really develops over time.)

 

Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to one month. Reuse brine, if desired, to make more pickles or to add flavor to other recipes!

  

Yield: about 7 cups

 

Notes: Turmeric can stain, use care. Also, try slicing your vegetables with a spiralizer, then cutting the spirals into bite-sized pieces. Experiment with different combinations of vegetables. Enjoy!

 

Now that you're a pickling pro, here's an even easier recipe! This one has the spicy, refreshing bite of radishes. The radishes will grow paler, and the brine pinker, with time – if they don't get gobbled first!

 

Quick & Fierce Pickled Radishes (Refrigerator Pickles)

 

Thinly slice:

 

  • around 9 medium radishes, roots and tops removed

 

In a saucepan, combine and bring to a boil, and continue boiling for 1 minute:

 

 

Place radishes in a medium-size canning jar or a glass bowl.

 

Pour the boiled vinegar mixture over the radishes. 

 

Either enjoy immediately (after cooling to room temperature), or cover, refrigerate, and serve after a day or more.

 

Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to one month.

 

 

That's it! Happy Pickling!

- Linda

 

 

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From the Blog

Guest Blogger: Everything You’re Doing in the Gym Just Might Be Wrong

Guest Blogger: Everything Y...

August 14, 2018

At Port Plums, we seek to bring joy and health to your life - even outside of the kitchen! We've...

Read more →

3 Ways to Use Espresso Balsamic Vinegar

3 Ways to Use Espresso Bals...

August 14, 2018

Today we're highlighting one of our lesser known infused balsamics, Espresso! There are countless ways to use this flavorful ingredient...

Read more →