As you might imagine, my wife and I enjoy cooking. It’s from our passion for eating well that Earlywood has its roots. We’re always looking for new recipes and foodie blogs are where it’s at these days.
What makes a good food blog?
The best food blogs get us salivating and inspire us to cook great meals. They’re well-designed websites that are easy to navigate and include a searchable recipe index. We like blogs that provide handy tips as well as simple and easy-to-follow recipes. Beautiful photos pull us in, and we love authentic bloggers. We like people who give us the feeling that we know them. People like us with busy lives, kids and an honest love for food.
Here are our 3 favorites:
Chocolate and Zucchini is a fantastic blog by Clotilde Dusoulier. Her Pinterest-inspired blog, is searchable, but, if you’re like us, it pulls you in and you’ll find yourself deep into the site before long. Clotilde is French and lives with her husband and two children in Paris. For us regular old Americans, there’s just something kind of nice about the fact that she lives in Paris!
The idea of French cooking might be a little intimidating, what with Julia Child’s reputation, but Clotilde keeps it real and her cooking is inspired by two years she spent in California. Her focus is on fresh, seasonal and colorful foods, her recipes are accessible, and oh, so tasty. Try her Chicken in a Bread Crust recipe. It is a step-by-step guide that will have you feeling like a French chef.
Clotilde has been blogging since 2003 and does all her own photography. She’s also a prolific cookbook author and recipe developer. Give Chocolate and Zucchini a visit. You won’t be sorry. And hey, look, isn’t that an Earlywood coffee scoop she has featured for March’s desktop calendar? Yep. She’s a huge fan of Earlywood utensils… and we’re huge fans of her. Her openness, humor and honesty when blogging makes us feel like we are old friends!
Where would we be without salt? Better yet, where would we be without Not Without Salt?
Ashley Rodriguez is the blogger behind the classic, hearty recipes on Not Without Salt. Her dishes cross all cuisines and make use of creative and seasonal ingredients. She’s there for breakfast lunch and dinner, and although she once worked in a busy professional kitchen in Beverly Hills, her calling is to feed her husband and three children. We like knowing she’s cooking for five, because we’re cooking for four and it forces us to throw all excuses out the door and just cook and eat great food! She’s still got her dessert chops though, check out her Lemon Cake with Fresh Raspberries.
The Rodriguez family lives in Seattle, and Ashley recently published her first cookbook, Date Night In. Ashley says, “This is the story of nourishing our relationships and the food that connects us.” Talk about down to earth, and the recipes in the book (there are a several online) are downright delicious.
Her photos, which she shoots herself and which have gotten serious nods from the likes of Saveur.com, are great, especially her macro work. Her tight shots of fresh food will make you hungry in a second.
Spoon Fork Bacon is the work of Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park. As you might have gathered by the name, they’re a spunky duo with a fun approach to food. (Check out their BBQ Pulled Pork Pop Tarts for a home run at your next get together.)
Talk about down to earth and accessible. Teri and Jenny confess to loving hotdogs, and a recent post gives their readers some pretty creative glazes for donuts. Teri does all the photography for the site, and Jenny is a food stylist by trade. It’s a one-two punch for their stunning photos.
The site’s spare esthetic is pleasing, but you’ll find plenty of depth in their content, which is updated frequently. These women are pros at social media, and can be found across all platforms. Their Instagram feed will have you drooling, and if you’re an Instagram user and haven’t found us, we’re @earlywood_designs. Give us a follow while you’re there.
Need a little more inspiration? Check out Saveur Magazine’s roundup of their favorite food blogs. They cover everything from cocktails to diet-specific blogs.Now go make dinner fantastic. You don’t have any excuses.
“What is the best oil to treat wooden utensils and cutting boards with?”
It’s a question we get every time we are out selling Earlywood products and it’s easy to see where the confusion comes from. There are old-fashioned treatments and modern oil blends that all claim to be the best way to preserve wood used in the kitchen. So let’s take a look at your options for treating wood, and clear up the confusion.
There are essentially two kinds of oil used for treating wood, oils that harden, and oils that don’t harden.
Oils that harden, including polyurethane and varnish are basically what you’ve got on your furniture. Based on smell alone, it should be obvious why they are not good for anything that comes into contact with food, yet we do occasionally see people use it. It creates a shell around the utensil that, with use, will eventually crack and chip off in your food. Not good, friends. Not recommended.
Oils that don’t harden, include food-based oils, linseed oil, tung oil, and petroleum-based oils. These all offer safer protection, but they’re not all equal.
Food based oils like olive, corn, vegetable, and canola oils will never dry and chip off into your food like hardening oils, but they can discolor your utensils, thicken, and go rancid, giving your spoons and cutting boards a rotten smell. Have you ever see an old cutting board that someone is selling at a garage sale that is yellow and sticky on the surface? It is that way because they most likely treated the board for years with one of these food-based oils. These oils are especially troublesome when used on counter top cutting boards that don’t get a thorough washing very often.
An exception to the typical food-based oils, is walnut oil. It’s widely recommended because it doesn’t go rancid. It dries, unlike the other oils in your kitchen. However, it can still get a tacky feel. If you’re a believer in walnut oil, be sure to apply it only to utensils you use – and wash – often. That should help keep it from developing a thick, sticky coating.
Another option is tung oil. It does a good job. It will dry, which will keep it from going rancid, and it shouldn’t create a sticky buildup, but to get a proper coating you’ll need to spend 7-10 days coating and drying.
We should also mention beeswax. It’s a safe option. It will give you a shiny smooth surface and be essentially waterproof. This sounds like a good thing, but the problem is that it is hard at room temperature, and as soon as you dip that treated spoon into a hot dish, the wax immediately melts into your food, thus losing most of its protection. Beeswax is often blended with mineral or other oils and is dubbed as “spoon oil”. We have found that the addition of wax to mineral oil only thickens the oil, makes it harder to apply and restricts the depth to which it can soak in. Therefore, we’re not huge fans.
So, we’re down to petroleum based oils, and within that category is our recommendation for treating your utensils, mineral oil. Mineral oil gets a bad rap from time to time because it is petroleum based. If you are anti petroleum products, that’s your thing and that’s just fine. We’re not here to convince you otherwise, we’re just here to tell you what works best for oiling wooden spoons!
Mineral oil has a lot of great qualities when it comes to treating wood that will be in contact with food. Here are a few of its benefits:
It’s 100% food safe
It quickly penetrates the tight grain of the hardest hardwoods
It will never go rancid like food-based oils
It never dries or leaves a sticky residue
It is odorless
It has a decades-long shelf life
It enhances but does not change the natural color of the wood
It can be used for utensils, cutting boards, knife handles (even if they are plastic)!
We specifically recommend a low-viscosity mineral oil for the task. Viscosity refers to the thickness of a liquid. On one end of the spectrum you have high viscosity liquids like hydraulic fluid and the other end of the spectrum you have very low viscosity oils like WD-40. The mineral oil that we use and sell on our website is lighter than water and penetrates deeper into the wood than thicker oils. We add a little lemon peel oil, which has antimicrobial properties and you get to enjoy the refreshing lemon scent while you oil your spoons.We hope that clears things up for you a bit. Now, go oil your utensils and cook something great!
Did your Earlywood utensils see some heavy use this holiday season? Or maybe you received them as a Christmas gift and you’ve used them every day since? Either way, we hope you have been putting them to good use. If so, they could probably use a little TLC by now. Here’s what we suggest:
The first thing to remember is that water is not a friend of wood. It can cause your utensils to swell, warp, fade, and crack. To prevent this, hand wash your utensils with hot soapy water and dry in a rack. The wash cycles in a dishwasher are too long and those hi-temp drying cycles don’t help either. They soak up water, then dry out but don’t get scrubbed. This will make sure that your utensils turn gray, fuzzy and live a short life.
After the first few times you used your utensils, you may have noticed your spoons looking or feeling a little fuzzy. That’s to be expected as the grain of the wood is raised by exposure to water. If that hasn’t worn off by now, rub your utensils with a Scotch-Brite pad. Use the little purple one you got with your purchase or the scratchy green side of your dish sponge. A one-time scrub will remove the fuzz for life. Keep the pad; it can be used again and again on your other wooden items.
Every once in awhile, give your utensils a good coat of oil. We prefer mineral oil, because it is food safe, has no scent, never goes rancid and soaks in quickly. The oil will repel water and thus reduce the number of times your utensils go through the wet/dry cycle. This will prevent warping, fading and cracking that can be caused by repeated exposure to water. Give them every bit of oil they will soak up. It’s a good idea to put on as much as you can, then let them sit overnight before drying extra off with a towel to make sure they soak up every last drop.
In our opinion, oiling wooden spoons is one of life’s simple pleasures. It’s akin to waterproofing a good pair of hiking boots or a good pair of leather gloves. Take your time and enjoy it! If you want to keep your Earlywood utensils in like-new condition, oil them every 5-6 uses, but if you’re a fan of that well-used look (like we are), then you can oil them every 3-6 months.
If you are still left with unanswered questions, please ask us in a comment.
We’re excited to announce a sweet, new gift set for your sweetheart in plenty of time for Valentine’s Day. This set comes with a flirty kitchen towel and our bestselling trifecta, which includes a flat sauté, a scraper, and a spreader.
With a choice between two double-entendres you can drop a hint without implying that your sweetheart should be spending more time in the kitchen. (the photo shows both sayings)
See the product page HERE.
The towel measures 20X28 inches and comes with a twill tape loop for hanging. It’s thick, all cotton, and sewn to withstand washing after washing. The towel comes in your choice of a pink micro dot pattern or a light gray stripe, which match the pink or gray appliquéd hearts. The flirty sayings are screen printed on the fabric, which is machine stitched to the towel.
You choose the saying:
Spoon this chick
I want to get crème fraîche with you
Choices, choices! The trifecta, which comes with the towel, also comes in a choice of wood combinations:
Ebony, jatoba, bloodwood
Jatoba, ebony, maple
Bloodwood, maple, ebony
This fun Valentine’s Day gift pairing is the first in a series of seasonal and exclusive collaborations between Earlywood and our friends at Geo. Nici, owner and designer at Geo, and I met in Red Lodge in the mid 90s and spent many a day together fishing, running and skiing in the Beartooth Mountains. Nici now lives in Missoula with her family, and it’s been fun to see how our lives as independent, creative professionals seem to mirror each other. You can get to know Nici through her blog, digthischick.net, and find more of her work at shopgeo.net.
Now, go to the website and pick up this Valentine’s Day gift set before you find yourself buying a stale box of chocolates at the last minute!
One step in the design process here at Earlywood is to define how and why traditional wooden spoons fall short when it comes to many common cooking tasks. Once the downfall is identified, the next step is to design a tool that will excel at that task, while maintaining a form that is pleasing to the eye and comfortable in the hand. The reasonably priced Trifecta is the result of 3 such iterations of our design process. It scrapes, spreads, and stirs better than any traditional wooden spoon can.
- The L Flat Sauté paddle is perfect for stirring nearly everything we cook. It is 13" long, which allows it to keep the cook's hand far from the heat and provide more projected surface area (pardon the specifics, but I am a mechanical engineer after all) than a regular wooden spoon, so they mix up your dinners quicker and more efficiently. The radius at the front corner of the L Flat Sauté is also smaller than that of a regular bowled wooden spoon, thus allowing you to get into those previously unreachable tight pan corners.
- The Giga Scraper, with a straight front edge is designed to remove the stubborn, yet tasty morsels of food stuck to the bottom of your pan. Ever tried scraping polenta or salmon off the bottom of a cast-iron pan with a regular wooden spoon? What takes 50 scrapes with a spoon, will take 5 with the wide path of the Giga Scraper.
- The third musketeer, the Large Spreader, makes easy work of spreading thick dips, cutting cheeses, and handling all other spreadables from hummus and brie to peanut butter and jelly. All tasks which are pointless to even try with a traditional wooden spoon.
We are told over and over again by customers that these are the first tools they reach for when they begin to cook. You know, they’re our favorites too.
You save $1 each when these 3 are bought as the Trifecta and they were Earlywood’s best seller last year. Even in our enthusiasm to release the ladle and servers last month, we wanted to be sure to remind you about these handy and hardworking utensils. Judging by our success at the Made Fair in Missoula, Montana last weekend, we're wondering if the reminder is even necessary.
Happy Holidays from us!