Sticking to our guns, I mean our “buns”!

Our good friend and former partner Jill brought us an article from the News Journal highlighting the thoughts of Sam Calagiones’s who is the founder and president of the very successful Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and star of the Discovery Channels “Brew Masters”.

Calagione was speaking during the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business Executive Leadership Series at Salisbury University.  In the article, Calagione’s was quoted as saying, “When we weren’t profitable, it would have been very easy to discount our beer, dumb down our beer, but we didn’t.”  “We stuck to our guns and we kept brewing these exotic beers”.  In response, Bob Wood, dean of the Perdue School, stated that Calagione had shared a valuable lesson to the audience. “Money is fine, but if you’re in it for the money, you’re in it for the wrong reasons.” “You’ve got to have a passion for what you do.”  The article further stated that Dogfish Head doesn’t compete with other breweries, but instead offers a spirit of collaboration.

These statements and Calagione’s philosophy really resonate with us because we feel the same way.  Hand crafting all natural desserts and using high quality ingredients is more expensive and time-consuming than the alternative.  Not everyone cares or appreciates the effort, but  we are passionate about what we do and committed to providing high quality desserts, breads and beverages to our customers.   We won’t feed you anything we wouldn’t feed to our own family!

From the beginning, we consciously decided not to compete with our commercial neighbors.  We could have and it would certainly have generated additional income for us, but we didn’t and don’t.  We are very interested in the spirit of collaboration.   We believe that collaborating with other businesses will help us and others be the best that we all can be.  Particularly in the little town of Berlin, Maryland, we believe that what’s good for one of us is good for all of us!

We’ve learned a lot this past year!  We’ve had ideas that didn’t work so well and great ideas that have and we have grown from both.  We know that there are more  lessons to come and that we are going to make mistakes along the way.  We’re choosing to measure our success by remaining focused on what makes us and our customers happy.

Some business professionals suggest that you not only know your competition, but that you also model their successes. We understand why that makes sense, but also believe that whether personally or professionally, solely following that philosophy can be the distraction that discourages and prevents you from living and creating authentically.  We salute Sam Calagione for all of his success and his forward thinking business approach.  Like Mr. Calagione’s, we too are going to “stick to our buns” and continue providing superb quality, all-natural desserts, breads and beverages to the best customers on the planet!

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Italian Easter Pie…Oh My!

Right after graduating from college, I had the privilege to work with a wonderful Italian woman named Jean.  She was a fabulous cook and her specialties included, of course, traditional Italian dishes.  It was Jean who turned me onto the tradition of the Italian Easter Pie!

Now, I am married to a wonderful Sicilian man whose mother was one of the best cooks on the planet, but the Italian Easter Pie, thanks to Jean, was a recipe that I was able to introduce to them.  In fact, in contains all of their “favorite ingredients”, but what is the history behind it?

Since Easter is preceded by Lent, which is a time of fasting, particularly from meat on Fridays, Easter Sunday is a time to celebrate and indulge.  For Italians, the celebration includes the rich, cheesy, quiche-like Italian Easter pie filled with eggs, cheese and Italian meats.  Depending on the region, Easter Pie has many different names and recipes.  In Naples they call it “pastiera” and it is made with ricotta and whole grains to symbolize rebirth.

Sicilians make it with macaroni, pork, cheese and eggs.  Calabrians prefer ham, sausage, hard cooked eggs, mozzarella and ricotta.  “Pasqualina” as they call it in Liguria contains spinach, ricotta, cheese and eggs.  From Umbria to Marches, the pie is really more of a bread.

No matter what you call it, where and when you eat it or the combination of ingredients you choose to fold into it, Italian Easter Pie is a delicious addition to any brunch, lunch or holiday celebration.

RECIPE

For the crust:

• 2 cups all purpose flour
• ¾ teaspoon salt
• 2 sticks butter
• 2 eggs

For the filling:

• 6 eggs
• salt and pepper to taste
• 8 oz. ricotta cheese
• 2 oz. shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
• 3 oz. diced  ham, I prefer capicola
• 3 oz. diced salami, I prefer sorpresssata
• 3 oz. diced pepperoni

Directions
To make the crust, mix the flour and salt and place it in the bowl of a food processor.   Cut the butter into cubes and add them one at a time to the dough.  Pulse the food processor just enough to work in the butter into the consistency of a coarse meal.  Add the eggs and pulse the dough until it comes together in a ball.  Cut the dough in half so that one half is a little bigger than the other.  The smaller half will be the top crust. Wrap each in plastic wrap and rest the dough for an hour in the fridge.

For the filling, beat the eggs with the salt and pepper.  Then blend the cheese into the eggs. Dice or  julienne the meat, or put it in the food processor for a finer textured pie and add this to the egg/cheese mixture.  I usually add 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Roll out the larger piece of dough on a floured board until it will fill a 9-inch pie shell. Add the filling. Then roll out the smaller piece of dough until it will cover the top.  Crimp it around the edge to seal it.  Brush with a beaten egg wash and  poke some holes or slits in the top crust to allow the steam to vent.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

“Be the change you want to see in the world!”

Earth Day began on April 22, 1970 and has been celebrated every year on the same date.  Then and now, it’s a day to reflect on our planet, our environment and what we can do to help keep them healthy.  As a result of this movement, the following agency and acts were established and passed…

  • The Environmental Protection Agency was established later in 1970.
  • The tough Clean Air Act of 1970 was passed with only a handful of dissenting votes in both Houses of Congress.
  • The Federal Occupational Health and Safety Act aimed at “in-plant pollution” was passed by a coalition of labor and environmental groups.
  • Within the next three years, such landmarks as the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act were passed.

Of course, their is still so much to do!  Everyone can make a difference just by simply recycling our waste.  At “BAKED” we use compostable packaging, we recycle paper, plastics, cans, and glass and we compost our kitchen waste.  We are so fortunate to have the help and support of Grow Berlin Green (GBG).  GBG is a three year campaign and collaborative project between Assateague Coastal Trust (ACT), Lower Shore Land Trust (LSLT) and Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) in an effort to make a positive impact on Berlin’s enviroment.

GBG organizes events, educational conferences, contests and  community spruce-up days, just to name of few.  On Saturday, April 16th they will host the 3RD Annual Take Pride in Berlin Clean-Up Day.   According to their website, http://www. growberlingreen.org the day will feature…

many opportunities to help clean and spruce up the ditches, grounds and facilities around the Berlin area, including picking up litter, cleaning recreational equipment and placing storm water decals on designated storm drains around town.  The festivities after will include a chance to sign up for rain barrels, a special Green Box drawing, music from the band Galaxy Collection who will be “Jamming for the Land”, and many other fun activities, crafts, food and give aways.

It’s not too late to register for this event or to get involved, become part of this movement and make positive change! Think about this…

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – gandhi


Paying it forward, making a difference one cupcake at a time!

The expression “pay it forward” is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead.  In celebration of our 1 Year Anniversary, we intend to do just that!  From April 4th through April 8th, we will be collecting monetary and food donations to help the First Baptist Church of Berlin replenish their food pantry. When you donate, we will happily satisfy your “Sweet Tooth” with a FREE, all natural dessert.

My first experience with the term “pay it forward” was watching the film Pay It Forward which was an adaptation of the novel written by Catherine Ryan Hyde.  In the book and the movie it is described as the obligation to do three good deeds for others in repayment of a good deed that one receives.  In this way, the need to help others then spreads through society and the movement, in turn, makes the world a better place.

Courtesy of WIKI…

The idea of the book and movie has been championed in real life by the Pay It Forward Foundation. The Foundation focuses on bringing the idea of paying it forward to school age children, parents, and educators. The simple idea of doing good works for others to repay the good that has happened to you is one that can easily be conveyed to children and encourages them to be socially aware and take a role in making the world a better place.[citation needed] The main character of the book was a 12-year-old child, thus giving other children someone they can relate to.

We are a small business and “giving product away” is an expense, but we are committed to this community and making a positive difference here.  There are so many people struggling in this economy, the need for assistance in and surrounding this community is greater than ever.   Imagine, if each of us performs three good deeds to help another, no matter how small, and those people perform three good deeds and then those people perform three good deeds and so on.   What an impact it would make…whose life might be changed…how this world could be different?

We have been given so much by this community.  The best part of owning this business has been meeting the locals, servicing our customers and this great community.  We mean it when we say that “We have the best customers on the planet in the greatest little seaside town”.   Everyone has been so helpful, welcoming and supportive.   “Paying it forward“, even if it’s one cupcake at a time, is just our way of saying Thank You and encouraging positive change in the community that we share!