Hot soup on a cold winter day…

February 3, 2011

Yesterday we were engulfed in a seemingly endless snow storm.  Over 500 schools were closed.  Wow, what a wonderful day!  I cross country skied in the morning and spent the rest of the day with a hot cup of tea catching up with my desk.

Naturally on a day like this, soup is a perfect compliment.  In January I shared a French Onion Soup recipe on our local television station.  The thought wouldn’t leave my mind.  I whipped up a batch and I must say, nothing could have felt more perfect as I sat with my tasty bowl, watching the snowflakes pile up outside. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did…


French Onion Soup with Olivia’s Butter & Garlic Croutons

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 4 cups assorted  white, yellow, red onions, shallots,  sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 1/2 pound grated Gruyere, Parmesan, or cheese of your choice.
  • Olivia’s Butter & Garlic Croutons



Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.  Cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine, Worcestershire and Balsamic vinegar, bring to a broil, reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has evaporated and the onions are thick. Remove the bay leaves. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

When you’re ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls.  Arrange 5 or 6 croutons on top of the soup and cover with a handful of cheese.  Place bowls on a sheet pan on middle rack of the oven and broil until cheese is brown and bubbling about 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly before eating. Enjoy!


The Color “Crouton”

December 23, 2010

A Google alert recently came to my email box advertising a pair of boots in the color “crouton”.  I began to think… to us at Olivia’s the color “crouton” is obvious; a vivid golden brown created by rich oils and seasonings as our croutons bake into the crisp morsels we proudly display through the window of our retail boxes.

But what about those other croutons?  You know, the ones that are basically dried and then sprayed with flavoring.  Those croutons are virtually white.  I’d be very disappointed if my new boots arrived and they were white with dehydrated green specs.

At Olivia’s we make croutons by hand, seasoning freshly baked bread with delicious oils and butter and plenty of fresh garlic, grated cheeses, herbs and spices baked in the whole time! What a novel thought…  The next time you are looking for croutons, or boots remember our “crouton” color, a rich golden brown.  I hope I am getting those boots for Christmas!  Happy Holidays to everyone.  I hope you will be sharing Olivia’s Croutons at your holiday gathering.




Growing garlic at Olivia’s…

December 20, 2010

Olivia’s “lives” on an incredible farm in New Haven, Vermont.  Blessed with unbelievable soil, we have had great success with our wheat.  This year we harvested 90,000 lbs of wheat berries and we are having our flour milled at a local mill and blending it into our bread recipes.

With our wheat success, we are trying something new… garlic!  We have been talking about growing garlic for several years, but let’s face it there are only so many hours in a day.  Thankfully our daughter Olivia, the company’s namesake, has taken it upon herself to make the garlic piece happen. She and her boyfriend Jake spent several weeks this fall researching, sourcing and planting 100 lbs of organic garlic.  They hope to yield 500-1,000 lbs from this planting, most of which they will plant for the following years crop.  Someday in the future, we hope to be using some of this garlic, along with the homegrown flour to make our croutons.

What’s next??? Probably basil….

Olivia’s Turkey Meatloaf

December 14, 2010

Our “Can’t Wait for Thanksgiving Turkey Meatloaf” becomes “Remembering Thanksgiving Turkey Meatloaf” this time of year.  We still crave that comforting taste combination of turkey and stuffing, baked in a yummy pork and onion gravy.

After a cold day outside, shoveling snow, or cross country skiing, come inside and smell the turkey and poultry seasonings, priming your tummy and warming your fingers.  This is an easy, satisfying meal yielding plenty of leftovers for a family of four.

Remembering Thanksgiving Turkey Meatloaf


  • 2 c coarsely crushed Olivia’s Traditional Stuffing
  • 2 c chicken broth (reserve 1 cup for gravy)
  • 1 ½ c chopped onion, ½ large, (reserve ½ cup for gravy)
  • 1 c chopped celery, 2 stalks
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 lb lean pork breakfast sausage* (reserve ¼ lb for gravy)
  • 1 t poultry seasoning
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T flour for gravy
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl mix stuffing and 1 c chicken broth.  While stuffing is soaking, prepare onion, celery and add to stuffing mix along with ground turkey and ¾ lb lean pork sausage, eggs, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Combine ingredients, but do not over-mix.  Place meatloaf mixture into a large loaf pan or hand form into a loaf shape on a cookie sheet.  Bake for a total of 60 minutes, or until center of meatloaf reaches a temperature of 155 degrees.

Prepare gravy in a 12” fry pan over medium heat.  Sauté remaining ¼ lb of sausage and ½ cup of onion until tender.  If your sausage is very lean you will need to add 1 T butter.  Add 2 T flour and stir until combined.  Add 1 cup of chicken broth and simmer stirring frequently until gravy has thickened. Adjust thickness by adding sifted flour or chicken broth if necessary. Salt and pepper to taste.

When meatloaf has baked for about 40 minutes, add gravy to the top and finish baking, approximately 20 minutes.

This is a yummy, moist meatloaf that reminds me of the flavors of Thanksgiving, a combination of turkey and stuffing wrapped into one. Enjoy!

*If you cannot find lean pork sausage (the commercially prepared varieties have too much fat) you can make your own by mixing 1 lb lean ground pork, 2 t brown sugar and 2 t poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.

Olivia’s Pork Loin

November 16, 2010

Olivia’s Stuffed Pork Loin

1 pork tenderloin

2 ½ cups of Olivia’s Stuffing or Croutons*

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped celery

2 Tbsp butter

1 ½ cups chicken broth

Salt & pepper to taste

2 slices of bacon

Butchers string

*The great thing about this recipe is that almost all of our croutons and stuffing make a great filling for this recipe. I have used the Traditional or Cornbread stuffing, Butter & Garlic, Multigrain w/Garlic and Organic Garlic & Herb croutons. All of them work, each with a slightly different taste.

Heat oven to 350 degrees

In a skillet melt butter, sauté onions and celery until clear.  Add chicken broth until warmed, add croutons and let stand off of the heat until liquid is absorbed into the croutons.

Rinse tenderloin and cut a slice down the middle on top (like a New England style hot dog roll).  Be careful not to cut all of the way through.  Open the meat at the slit and attempt to flatten.  Make another cut down the middle of each half, without cutting through so that it looks like you have 4 quarters of a circle if you look on from the end of your piece of meat.  Pound the meat to make it somewhat flattened.  Season with salt and pepper.  Lay flat in a greased baking pan, like a lasagna pan.

Add warm stuffing mixture to the pounded pork. Wrap pork around stuffing and with butcher’s string, tie meat so that it looks like a fat roast.  Place raw bacon on top of the meat to prevent drying while baking.

If this is more than you want to deal with, you can just cut the slice down the middle top and over fill the crevice with stuffing. It’s not as pretty, but tastes just as good.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Stuffing should reach a temperature of 160 degrees. Enjoy!

This is an easy recipe that creates a special meal.


Jarlsberg Soup and Olivia’s Croutons, a yummy combination…

October 22, 2010

At this time of year we naturally begin craving soups. For a warm, homemade soup I can’t think of a better topper than Olivia’s Croutons. The added crunch and heartiness can turn a simple soup into a meal.

Jarlsberg Soup with Olivia's Parmesan Pepper Croutons

Last week my associate Heidi brought in a delicious Jarlsburg and Veggie soup that was just perfect with our Parmesan Pepper croutons. I want to share the recipe and hope that you enjoy it as much as we have.

FYI, quantities are approximate. Heidi cooks with her eyes and nose, not so much with the measuring spoons…

  • 4 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ¾ chopped carrots
  • ½ chopped celery
  • 1 small crown broccoli, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper (although I normally add extra pepper!)
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ground sage and/or dried thyme to taste
  • 2 cups heavy cream or ½ and ½
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups shredded Jarlsberg cheese, slightly dusted with flour so it won’t stick together
  1. Begin by melting the butter in a medium sized sauce pan. Add vegetables and sauté until just tender. Add flour, stirring constantly over medium heat until well distributed. Gradually add the chicken broth, allowing mixture to thicken.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the cream and egg. Blend well. Add about ½ cup of the thickening broth to the heavy cream/egg mixture and mix. Add the mix to the soup, stirring constantly. Continue to simmer at lowest heat. If the soup is too thick, add more chicken broth.
  3. Here’s where the love is added! About 10 minutes before you serve your soup, add the shredded cheese. The idea is to add a little at a time and stir each addition of cheese until it has melted.  Ladle into beautiful bowls and top with plenty of croutons!

Happy slurping…

-Francie (Olivia’s Mom)

Amos, just being Amos.

October 6, 2010

Faces on the Farm: The People of Olivia’s Croutons

September 23, 2010

Judy... Bringing law and order to the kitchen!

Name: Judy

Job at Olivia’s: Bread Cutter/Packing/ Go-to Lady when all else fails!

What do you like best about working at Olivia’s?: Work is close to home; not far to drive!

What do you least like about working at Olivia’s?: The basement!

What is your favorite crouton or product that we make at Olivia’s? Vermont Cheddar Dill

What would be your signature flavor of crouton? You can’t put a flavor code on tells it like it is!

What would you like to share about your family?: I have two grandsons that keep me laughing!

What are your favorite hobbies and pastimes?: I enjoy reading, quilting and playing golf.

Is there anything else you would like to share?: People are scared of me!!!!

A Taste of Tuscany for Gardners with Too Many Tomatoes (and anyone else)

September 9, 2010

It is a real life episode of “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” – eat them before they eat you! It happens every year. You wait all summer for your tomato plants to produce fruits; then, they are all ripe at the same time. Rather than simmer the fruits of your labor into a sauce, try pairing them with all natural, Vermont-made Olivia’s Croutons for a refreshing panzanella salad.

Originating in Tuscany, panzanella is a bread salad most often enjoyed during the summer months. At its core, it consists of sliced bread and fresh tomatoes mixed with oil and vinegar, but numerous ingredients can be added for a unique taste. Olivia’s Croutons retain their texture and crunchiness while covered in oil and vinegar, plus you can choose from five varieties of flavors: Organic Garlic and Herb, Butter and Garlic, Parmesan Pepper, Vermont Cheddar and Dill, and Multi Grain with Garlic. Each variety brings a flavorful twist to this classic summertime dish. Just like your homegrown tomatoes, Olivia’s Croutons are all natural and made on the farm, not in the factory.

Olivia’s Panzanella Salad with Butter & Garlic Croutons

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 box or 2 cups Olivia’s Butter & Garlic Croutons, (or your flavor choice) slightly crushed
  • 2 cups ripe tomato, in chunks with the seeds removed (or try cherry tomatoes, cut in half)
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup cucumber, in chunks with the seeds removed
  • ¼ cup capers, or substitute sliced Kalamata olives
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, slightly chopped

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste

Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a large bowl, and then add the vegetables and toss. After adding Olivia’s Croutons, let the salad stand for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally, before serving!

Carrots, lots and lots of carrots!

August 31, 2010

When we planted the garden in the spring I don’t think we properly calculated the volume those little seed packets would produce. Our carrot row is about 20 feet long! It didn’t seem so overwhelming until we started to actually harvest some of the tender roots. At first the carrots were so delicious we’d eat them lightly sautéed in butter, or fresh with other garden offerings in a crudité. But now, the carrots are large, though still sweet, and we have so many. The horses are happy to help us out, but I feel like I should be doing something more productive than just feeding the horses. Besides they are just as happy with only the tops.  Hence, Carrot Soup!

I have seen carrot soup on several menus and I must admit, I have rarely ordered it. Come on, Carrot Soup??? But as I soon found out,  this is really easy to make and very good (if I say so myself). The Olivia’s Croutons make a great addition, providing some texture to the dish. The flavors blend perfectly and the croutons transform the soup into meal.

Carrot Soup Recipe

4 Tbsp butter

1 C. chopped onion

4 cloves chopped garlic

1 Tbsp chopped ginger

4 C. grated carrot

1 Qrt. Chicken broth

Salt, Pepper, Parsley for taste

Olivia’s Butter & Garlic Croutons

  • Sauté onion in melted butter until soft, add garlic and ginger and stir a few moments. Add carrot and chicken broth and simmer about 30 minutes until carrot is tender.
  • Puree with a hand blender and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley and top with Olivia’s Butter & Garlic croutons.




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