7.18.2018

Martha's Grilling!

Summer cooking often incorporates some form of grilling, whether it's for you and your family or for a much larger gathering, such as a family reunion. Martha has been keen on grilling lately and brings us three new ventures that have us excited about firing up the Bar-B! 
The first is a partnership with Martha's favourite butcher, Pat LaFreida Jr. who runs Pat LaFreida Meat Purveyors in New York City. Martha and Pat have created the "Ultimate Grilling Pack" which can be ordered through Pat's website and delivered right to your door. The pack includes Martha's personal selections, including four dry-aged USDA prime Angus bone-in New York strip steaks, center cut-30 Days-1.0" thick (11 - 13 oz), four Original Blend hamburger patties (6 oz each, 1.5 pounds total), a package of six Pat LaFreida all-beef hot dogs and a container of Martha's signature herb butter, which can be used on the steaks or the burgers. The total for the package is $159. Click here to learn more, including the packing and shipping methods.
Martha also recently purchased a new grill for her farm in Bedford, New York: a Grill Dome made by Southern Botanical, a Texas-based company. The colour of the Grill Dome can be customized and, of course, Martha chose a subtle gray to match the buildings at her farm. Martha was so enamoured of the design that she featured the grill on her latest Facebook Live video, where she demonstrated grilling techniques using meats from the aforementioned Ultimate Grilling Pack with Pat LaFreida. 
Here is Martha with CEO of Southern Botanical, Jason Craven, who showed Martha how to use the grill in her live video. 
The third bit of Martha + grilling news is the announcement of a new book on grilling coming out next spring. Martha Stewart's Grilling will be published March 26, 2019. It will feature 125 recipes "for gatherings large and small." While there is no cover yet, the book's description has been issued by the publishers. You can read it below. You can preorder the book by clicking on the highlighted link above.

"There's nothing like the satisfaction of cooking over a live fire, whether a weeknight meal or outdoor entertaining. Martha Stewart's Grilling captures this spirit, while providing essential tips and techniques for both experienced outdoor cooks and those brand-new to the grill. Longtime favorites like pulled-pork sandwiches and bacon-and-turkey burgers are alongside foolproof dishes such as Korean short ribs and mojo-marinated shrimp. Crowd-pleasing appetizers, burgers, tacos, and kebabs join colorful cocktails to allow for easy entertaining, while smart strategies make grilled classics like pork chops and butterflied whole chicken a snap. Friends and family alike will love diving right into beautiful platters of grilled meats and vegetables, followed by grilled or chilled sweet treats--the perfect ending to a simply delectable meal."

7.10.2018

Inside Martha's Next Book, "Pressure Cooker"

Clarkson Potter, the publishers of Martha's books, have issued three recipes for readers to try in advance of the publication of Martha Stewart's Pressure Cooker, which will be released on August 28th. The recipes hint at a book that will be quite broad in its scope, incorporating tried-and-true pressure-cooker classics like braised short ribs as well as some 'non-classics', such as raspberry upside-down cake. I have never used a pressure cooker before but quite a few of my friends (most of whom are in their early 30s) swear by the device to get them through those busy weeknights when pulling out a bunch of pots and pans to make dinner seems like a chore. Most of them use the latest craze in home-cooking gadgetry, the Instant Pot, which took kitchens across North America by storm last year. (Not to worry: Martha Stewart's Pressure Cooker has recipes that can be used in the Instant Pot!)
So, without further adieu, here are the three advanced recipes from the book. Click on the images below to expand them. The recipes all sound perfectly delicious!
If you're someone who loves one-pot cooking, keep these other two Martha Stewart cookbooks in mind: One Pot and Slow Cooker. Both are currently in bookstores and can be purchased on Amazon.com.


6.29.2018

Season Ten of Martha Bakes Airs July 5

It seems unreal to me that Martha Bakes is now entering its tenth season! While the program had its first airing on the Hallmark Channel in 2011, where it enjoyed two seasons, it was PBS that really gave the baking series its proper audience. Since 2013, PBS and Martha Stewart Living have produced two seasons of the program per year and it has since become the channel's most popular baking series. On July 5th, the series will begin to air its tenth season with an episode on adorned cakes.
This season will explore a range of new recipes, from desserts to breads to pastries - with a relatively heavy focus on desserts. (No complaints here!) Below is a summary of each episode.

JULY 5 - EPISODE ONE:  ADORNED CAKES - The season 10 premiere shows how to turn one basic recipe into three stunning celebration cakes: a berry chiffon cake, a confection-topped caramel chiffon cake, and a woodland stump cake that's truly a modern yule log masterpiece.
Berry Chiffon Cake - Photo by Mike Krautter

JULY 14 - EPISODE TWO: PERFECT PATE A CHOUXLearn to make this magical dough that's the foundation for three spectacular filled desserts: pâte à choux swans swimming in a pond of chocolate, custardy coconut eclairs, and a towering pink croquembouche.

JULY 21 - EPISODE THREE: DECORATIVE BREADSThree boulangerie-quality breads: a crusty golden brown artisanal boule, a unique "edible landscape" onion and leek focaccia, and a buttery, multi-layered brioche feuilletée.

JULY 28 - EPISODE FOUR: ELEGANT COOKIES - Recipes that turn humble cookies into art: "faux bois" vanilla and chocolate shortbread decorated with chocolate bark and pistachio moss, embellished wreath cookies with sugared flowers, and pretty-as-a-picture cherry blossom cookies.

AUGUST 4 - EPISODE FIVE: MAGNIFICENT MERINGUESLearn the foundation for three different meringue-based desserts: meringue wreath with jewel-like sugared berries, chocolate angel food cake with a decadent milk chocolate frosting, and almond dacquoise bombes.

AUGUST 11 - EPISODE SIX: BREAKFAST PASTRIES Join Martha to make an easy-to-prepare sweet-yeasted dough in three addictive recipes: pear and frangipane pastries, a pull-apart cinnamon and brown butter swirl designed to share, and mouth-watering jam-filled croustades.

AUGUST 18 - EPISODE SEVEN: FANCIFUL TARTSTips and techniques for creating showstopping tarts, such as red fruit tart piled high with colorful berries, lemon custard tarts filled with a citrusy curd, and a rosy pink apple tart.

AUGUST 25 - EPISODE EIGHT: IMPRESSIVE CHOCOLATE DESSERTS - S'mousses, a twist on the campfire favorite of graham crackers, marshmallow and chocolate; a chocolate and peanut butter tart; and a triple chocolate ice cream cake.
Pink Crochembouche from Episode Two - Photo by Mike Krautter

Be sure to check your local PBS listings for air times. Click here for the official Martha Bakes website. You can also watch full episodes online at TVGuide.com after the shows air.

6.23.2018

Martha Stewart Weddings to Cease Print Publication

I was really saddened yesterday when I learned that Martha Stewart Weddings will no longer publish its quarterly magazine. According to an article in the New York Post, the magazine will cease publication of the print version of its magazine but will instead move its content online. Once a year, Meredith Corp. plans to publish a special issue of Martha Stewart Weddings for the newsstand, the first of which will appear this September. Martha Stewart Real Weddings, a supplement to the main Weddings magazine which published twice a year, will also cease publication.

Amy Conway, who was the editor-in-chief of Weddings, has moved to Health magazine, another Meredith title. Several other staff members were moved into other roles at Meredith but others were let go. Elizabeth Graves, the editor-in-chief of Martha Stewart Living, will now oversee the Weddings website and the special annual publication.

Martha Stewart Weddings began as a supplemental special issue for Martha Stewart Living in the fall of 1995. Filled with ideas for the bride regarding all areas of wedding planning, the magazine went on to publish as its own entity in 1999 as a quarterly magazine centered on seasonal wedding themes and ideas. The magazine covered topics such as gowns, cakes, jewelry, stationery, flower bouquets, table settings, favours, etiquette, honeymoon destinations and more.
I did not collect the Weddings magazine the way I collect Living, however I have purchased enough copies over the years to have amassed a full file folder of clippings: tear-sheets of my favourite cakes and flower arrangements, stationery ideas and favours. I also have several collector's editions of the magazine and some of the Weddings books that Martha published. The ideas the publication contained could always be parlayed into any celebration, whether it was an anniversary or a milestone celebration. After more than 20 years, it must be sad for Martha and Darcy Miller, the chief editorial director for Weddings and the one who really gave the Weddings brand its voice, to say goodbye to the magazine.

I look forward to the annual issue in September.

6.11.2018

Martha Stewart Weddings: Two Covers for the Summer Issue

The editors of Martha Stewart Weddings have printed two covers for the summer issue of the magazine. Both covers feature confections by Wendy Kromer: one is a flawless cake with a woven icing motif and the other features individually wrapped cookies (very fancy cookies) all pretty in pink. The issue features beautiful bridesmaid's gowns, new takes on 'casual' summer wedding dresses (think boho-chic) and my favourite feature is all about single-serving desserts: remember those fancy cookies? Which cover do you like best?

6.10.2018

Remembering: Martha Stewart Paint

There are literally thousands of paint colours on the market today and making a selection can be daunting, if not entirely confusing. Martha understood that when she set out to design her own line of paint colours in the 1990s. Top of mind for Martha was simplicity in the selection process, without sacrificing a wide range of colour palettes to choose from. The history of Martha's paint lines dates back to the late 1980s when she was hired as a lifestyle consultant for Kmart. From there, it blossomed into one of Martha's most successful merchandising ventures. Below is a history of Martha's paint brands put together with the help of my friend Kenn LaFramboise. Enjoy!
Above is just a small selection of the hundreds of paint colours developed by Martha Stewart Living over the years.

Her first forays into the world of paint was through Kmart when she was hired in 1987 to be the brand's lifestyle consultant. Charged with revitalizing the store's sagging home sales, Martha was brought on board to act as a spokesperson for the company's line of housewares, which included a line of paints manufactured by Dutch Boy. While Martha initially had very little say in the selection of the colour palettes, she was asked by Kmart to use the paints in their commercials. It wasn't long before Martha asked to have some say in the colour selection process but her suggestions were often overlooked in favour of the tried-and-true 'builder special' colours that sold so well.

Not one to take no for an answer, Martha endeavored to create her own line of paint colours with the help of Eve Ashcraft, a colour specialist. Using the book "The Garden Month by Month" by Mabel Cabet Sedgewick as inspiration, Martha and Eve developed a line of hues inspired by nature, from soft greens to pale pinks, faded blues to rich reds. Martha took her samples to Fine Paints of Europe, which later manufactured the paint with Schreuder Paints. The original palette "Colors of the Garden" had just 29 colours and was not widely distributed. It wasn't until Martha launched her mail-order catalog, Martha by Mail, that the paints found an audience. In 1995, Martha added the "Araucana Colors" - inspired by the egg-shell hues of Martha's Araucana hens - and later "The Colors of Skylands" (49 colours) inspired by her home in Maine.
The Araucana paint palette was designed with calming neutrals in mind, inspired by the egg-shell hues of Martha's Araucana hens.
In 1997, when Martha Stewart Living renegotiated the terms of its partnership agreement with Kmart, Martha and her team were given full creative control of her namesake brand and Martha created her first mass-market paint line called Martha Stewart Everyday Colors. The collection included hundreds of colour options and was later expanded to include enamel paints and accessories, including rollers, brushes, paint trays and other painting tools. The Martha Stewart Everyday Colors line went on to become the most successful paint line in Kmart's history.

In 2005, after the launch of her new Signature furniture line with Bernhardt, Martha also released a new palette of colours called Martha Stewart Signature Colors with Sherwin Williams. The collection featured 416 sophisticated colours, designed to coordinate with the new Signature furniture, carpet and lighting collections Martha had developed. The paints were designed to mix with eight different Sherwin Williams paint finishes and the colour cards had many helpful and unique features to make the palette selection simple. For instance, the paint cards had large round holes cut from the centers, allowing the consumer to overlap the paint cards to coordinate a palette. Each card also featured suggested paint hues (ceiling, trim) that would coordinate with your main colour choice.
When Martha's partnerships with Kmart and Sherwin Williams ended in 2006, Martha took her paint palettes to Lowe's where she rebranded many of her past paint colours under a new moniker and logo: Martha Stewart Colors. The 350 paint colours were manufactured by Valspar and were available for a period of two years.


After the discontinuation of her paint lines in all retail markets, Martha was poised to bring back a paint line to a mass-market retailer. This time it was The Home Depot. The Martha Stewart Living paint line was launched in March, 2010, with 250 original paint colours, including interior and exterior grades. The paints were formulated to be low VOC (volatile organic compounds) to minimize paint fumes. In 2011, the line was expanded to include specialty finishes, including metallic and textured finishes. Accessories, including brushes, rollers and special tools to create trompe-l'oeil effects, such as faux boix, were also developed. The paint brand was discontinued just two years later but the colour palettes remained available to be mixed with Gidden Paint bases.
Tiny symbols on these textured paint chips denote which hues pair well with others: matching the symbols will create a roster of coordinating palette options.
Special brushes, sponges and tools were designed to create unique textures and patterns, such as faux-bois, linen, gingham and plaid. 
Below is an abbreviated history of Martha Stewart's paint brands. Many thanks to my friend Kenn LaFramboise for his efforts in helping me with this bog.


AT HOME WITH MARTHA STEWART

* When Kmart decided to hire Martha as their ‘lifestyle consultant’ a merchandise line was built around her name. Included was a color palette with Martha's name on it that was manufactured by Dutch Boy paints
* Martha had no input into the color palette or the rest of the line that was created.
* Started 1987-1989

FINE PAINTS OF EUROPE WITH SCHREUDER PAINTS

* First original palette development with Eve Ashcraft and Martha in 1992
* Limited retail distribution. Not considered a ‘mass market’ product
* The first palette, Colors of the Garden (29 colors) was inspired by the book “The Garden Month by Month” by Mabel Cabet Sedgewick. The color chart of flower colors inspired Martha to retain Eve to develop her own.
* The first glimpse of the palette can be found in the April/May 1992 issue of March Stewart Living in an article titled “Painting the House.”
* Other color palettes were added to the collection, including the Colors of Skylands 1999 (49 colors) and the Araucana Colors 1995 (22 colors). The entire collection contained 100 different colors
* All of the palette fan decks were sold through Martha by Mail in the 1990s .
* The paint was never distributed through mass-market retail. It was only available at high end specialty paint stores.

MARTHA STEWART EVERYDAY WITH KMART

* The first mass market paint line debuted in May, 1997 through Kmart
* Colors were developed with Eve Ashcraft
* Expanded in 1998 to include Garden enamels (spray and brush) as well as painting tools (brushes, rollers, etc.)
* The Martha Stewart Everyday Colors line was the most successful paint line in Kmart's history
* Color cards included multiple complementary colors to make picking coordinating colors easier
*The Everyday paint line ended when Martha's partnership with Kmart ceased in 2007.

MARTHA STEWART SIGNATURE WITH SHERWIN WILLIAMS

* Debut was May, 2005
* Program ended: January, 2007
* Collection of 416 sophisticated paint colors which launched in conjunction with the debut of her Signature furniture line with Bernhardt.
* Unique paint chips (color cards) with punch out center to allow for easier color coordination with other items in the room
* Palette Cards were available to help the consumer coordinate colors. Each card showed 5 different colors specifically designed to coordinate with one and other; perfect for picking wall, ceiling, trim colors.
* Formulated to mix with 8 different Sherwin Williams paint bases

MARTHA STEWART COLORS WITH LOWE'S

* Debuted in April, 2007
* Ended November, 2009
* Collection of 350 paint colors mixed in Valspar paint bases
* More of a partnership rebranding than a new launch, the line utilized much of the same color palettes as the Signature Paints with Sherwin Williams

MARTHA STEWART LIVING PAINTS WITH THE HOME DEPOT

* Debuted in March, 2010
* 280 original paint colors
* Utilized a ‘symbol’ coordination system: matching symbols on the color cards meant that the hues coordinated with each other.
* In February, 2011 the line expanded to include faux finishes and specialty finish paints
* Paint chips included a ‘bend over stripe’ to see what the suggested ceiling color looked like with the paint color
* Available in indoor and outdoor formulas with low VOC (volatile organic compound) meaning there was minimal toxicity and fumes
* In January, 2012 the Martha Stewart Living paint line ‘brand’ was discontinued, however the palette was still available at The Home Depot. It was reformulated to mix with Glidden paint bases.
* The paint colors can still be mixed today if a customer has the formula code.

5.16.2018

The Martha Manual

Next January, Martha will release the first in a series of three books devoted to doing things the Martha Stewart way. "The Martha Manual" is the first in the series and will instruct readers on how to do (almost) everything, from building a campfire to removing red wine stains; from how to fold a flag to how to bathe a cat. Encyclopedic in its tone, with 400 pages of information, I imagine the book will have a similar feel to the Homekeeping Handbook but will cover a wider range of lifestyle topics, such as how to play certain lawn games and the best way to pack a weekend bag. Encompassing organizing, gardening, cooking, celebrating and crafting, the book will be a go-to resource for any household conundrum.