I’m giddily preparing for this year’s Thanksgiving feast. It will be the first Thanksgiving since moving up here to New Hampshire that our little family will not only all be here but are now established on the east coast. The Rolling Stones, as we have been affectionally called might need to be redefined as the “Standing Stones” (you know… like in ‘Outlander’…my current TV and book series obsession)
Recently, I went to the New Hampshire Made convention held over in Manchester. All products made in New Hampshire are showcased under one roof. Since moving here, we’ve been having a terrific time discovering and sampling many of the wonderful products that are made right here in our adopted state. One can imagine, with such a rural landscape of many farm families, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to locally made produce, meats, and products.
One family run company that caught my attention, through my taste buds, was Wozz Kitchen Creations. Usually, when sampling is temptingly splayed before me, I politely take one pretzel stick and select one sample of a product to try. At the convention, product inventor, Warrick, affectionally known as Wozz, saw my very satisfied lip smacking and eye rolling after I tasted the Balsamic Fig Mostarda Spread. He handed me the pretzel stick bowl and without hesitation I plunked another one into the curiously labeled Indian Spiced Beetroot Savory Spread. All pretense of politeness was put aside as one pretzel stick after another moved through the enticing flavors. I was hooked on this line of products. I became curious about the owners behind these delicious chutneys, spreads, finishing sauces, and dessert sauces.
Wozz, or Warrick, founder of Wozz Kitchen Creations and I chatted for awhile. He has a terrific story to tell. I’ll let Wozz tell the tale of his many adventures:
“I had been bouncing around the globe working on private yachts and cooking for the palettes of the wealthy and sometimes famous. I sailed and worked as a private chef for 7 years all over the world on a dozen different luxury yachts. My adventures took me to sail the Atlantic four times and cover passages from the Southern Ocean and Australia’s East coast to the Philippines, the Maldives in the Indian ocean via Egypt’s Suez canal and the Red Sea. I sailed through all of Europe, Turkey and the Eastern States and across the Atlantic to the Windward Islands of the Caribbean, USA, Cuba and South America.
Wozz…Wow! Wow…Wozz! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself)
I was hooked on the adventures on the high seas, sailing on luxurious yachts, picking up flavors from the many ports of call, and creating a rich tapestry of experimental dishes to wow his traveling guests. Warrick casually listed the many exciting destinations he and his wife, Ashely, have now seen. While he was telling his tale, I was sinking and dunking one pretzel after another pretzel into one delicious jar of goodness after another. As a food and travel blogger…it was a win-win..fabulous flavors tied to sensational travel narratives.
His story continues with his being swept off his feet after meeting his wife Ashley,the native New Hampshire-ite, entering the picture who must have been pretty dazzled by the tales of adventure had by this globe trotting Australian. The story of Wozz became the story of Wozz & Ashley. Their travels continued but together now. They criss-crossed the globe and continued building their adventurous tale as a couple. Wozz was still combining the flavors he discovered on the many ports of call while sailing into his role as a chef in order to create dishes that pleased his well travelled passengers. He experimented with spices and flavor combinations and offered menu selections of his creations to the luxury yacht cruisers on board.
Not only did I leave the convention with an armful of their products to try out, now with the holiday season in full swing, I have ordered another box full of their product line to keep my holiday dishes easy to prepare and delicious at the same time. Holiday season at our house starts with a house full of leaf-peeping visitors during the month of October. During this month, there wasn’t a weekend when our guest bedrooms weren’t being enjoyed by dear friends or relatives. The month is filled with apple cider donuts, blueberry cream scones, pies, and aromatic roasts. I had list after list of menus planned just for that month.
To finish off the wonder that is October, Patrick and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a wonderful trip to Iceland (photos coming soon… if I can pare them down from 1000’s to around 10 or so) This capped off this first round of festivities for fall 2016. Now I am unleashing my energies by swapping out my Halloween notepad for my Christmas note pad and scribbling more lists of holiday meals to prep.
I reminded myself that with all of this wonderful activity during October behind us…I have in front of us to begin the holiday season cooking and entertaining…and so I decided to help myself make things easier to reach for the Wozz product line. Rarely…rarely do I buy products that are bottled or jarred…but these offerings are definitely an exception. I am unabashedly tooting their horn for them because I have been so pleased by the flavor combinations.
My poor young adult children are starving for home cooked meals. Phone calls and texts home lately have politely requested I cook just about every dish I know how to cook. Incorporating options like Thai Orange & Ginger Spread as well as Thai Peach & Basil Spread will make that mission easier to accomplish, I thought. Only six years ago, I decided to learn how to cook so that my family would be drawn to the table…and stay there for awhile. I figured back then, if I could lure them with delicious meals, then I’d better crack open some cookbooks.
So when I hear my children’s requests, it is like music to my ears.
Last weekend, on a whim, we had a group of 8 gathered around our long kitchen table. This is what begins to happen around the holidays, right? All of sudden, spontaneous dinners pop up and the first question is, “Oh dear, what am I going to put on the table for dinner? What will feed 8-10 people?” Unfortunately, I am not too much of a spontaneous person. I like to have lists, carefully planned out to-do’s, and loads of time to pull my meals together. But, if I operate that way all the time…we wouldn’t have friends over as often…and we would miss out on fun times together.
I looked at my ready supply of Wozz’s chutney creations and the Cranberry Blood Orange Cognac jumped right out as the option that sounded the most exquisitely flavorful. A pork roast, I thought. A roast easily feeds a large number of guests, can be flavored so many ways, and is attractive to lay out on a pretty platter with this ruby read spread filled with chunks of juicy cranberries spooned over the top.
And not least of all, a pork roast cooking in the oven with an aromatic cranberry, blood orange, cognac chutney bubbling away on the stove top fills the kitchen with scents of fall and the holidays. So many wonderful memorable weekends were spent this October month…as well as into these early days of November.
Girlfriends and family who came to visit from Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Missouri saw New Hampshire all cozied up around our fireplace as we soaked in the gorgeous display of fall foliage. We traveled west towards Vermont and stopped at quaint harbor villages and sipped on bowls of creamy seafood chowder. We rolled over hills and windy country roads to sample cider and donuts at some of our favorite apple farms.
Portsmouth, on the seacoast, gets funky and fun during the month of October. This adorable port town puts on quite the fall show. These creative pumpkin head creatures line the city center shopping area and wave their scrawny arms about in the air.
With all of the fun destinations to take friends and family when they visit here, dinners have to be pretty well thought out back at home. But, I still want them to be delicious and special…so without hesitation, I am reaching for these chutneys and spreads for the holidays this year.
I’ve tried the Triple Ale Onion Spread once over Bratwurst sausages. Loved it. I’ve also put it out as a spread for crackers and cheese tray. The Spicy Summer Mango was a terrific sweet/savory addition spooned into some soft black bean tacos for another impromptu weekend when the table filled with friends.
No doubt I am having fun with this product line. I’ve only scratched the surface. I’m looking forward to trying out some of the dessert sauces. The Rum Toddy Toffee sounds like it might be perfect drizzling over some wine poached pears alongside some shortbread for our Christmas table.
I’ve also made out my Christmas list. These are going to be my go-to Made in New Hampshire gifts this holiday season. The Wozz website is easy to navigate, put items or holiday gift packages in a cart, and send off to friends and relatives. We send so many gifts my mail anyway since we live so far from all of the places we’ve lived over the years that choosing a local company to support feels special…especially now that I’ve eaten (tested) out many of the products.
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup chopped apricots
- 1½ cups cranberry juice, divided
- 1 (3-pound) boneless center-cut pork loin
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cup port
- Wozz Kitchen Creations "Cranberry Blood Orange Cognac Chutney
- Preheat oven to 350°. Place cranberries and apricots in a small bowl; pour ½ cup cranberry juice over berries, and soak 10 minutes or until fruit is slightly plumped. Drain, if necessary but keep the juice.
- Trim pork loin of excess fat; rinse and pat dry. Slit 1 end of pork loin with tip of a small knife to make a ½-inch incision. Use a sharpening steel or handle of a wooden spoon to make a tunnel inside center of pork loin. Combine cranberries, apricots, and 1 tablespoon rosemary; stuff mixture down tunnel, using spoon handle to push through center. If handle isn't long enough to go all the way through, stuff from both ends. Rub pork loin with 1 tablespoon olive oil, remaining 1 tablespoon rosemary, thyme, sea salt, and pepper.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil with butter in a heavy-duty roasting pan or large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Sauté pork loin, evenly on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Add port and remaining cranberry/apricot juice; bring to a low boil, scraping any brown bits from bottom of pan.
- Bake at 350°, basting several times, 40 to 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 150°. **I ALWAYS rely on my instant read meat thermometer hooked up from the pork to a counter top alarm device. Mine is from Hamilton Beach. Remove pork from oven, and place on serving platter. Let rest, loosely covered, 10 to 15 minutes. (Pork will continue to cook.) Slice pork loin into generous slices and arrange on a serving platter.
- Open the jar of Wozz Cranberry Blood Orange Cognac chutney. Pour the entire jar into a saucepan. I added the drippings from pork roast to the chutney. Gently heat the chutney on the stovetop. Remove from stove, spoon on top of the pork slices and serve. Delicious!