How to Prepare for Valentine’s Day Dinner

Preparing Valentines Day Dinner can be stressful, but with the right food preparation surface and advice your meal can be a success.

How to Prepare for Valentines Day Dinner with Custom Wood Countertops Butcher Blocks
How to Prepare for Valentine’s Day Dinner

The first step in preparing Valentine’s day dinner is to select the recipes you want to make as an appetizer, entree and dessert. Choose something that you and your date will both enjoy and that you have confidence to make to ease stress.

Allrecipes provides plenty of appetizer inspiration, from crab-stuffed mushrooms to brie cheese fondue. Country Living offers over 40 romantic dinner recipe ideas like butternut squash ravioli, bucatini with winter pesto, pancetta and brussel sprouts linguine and more. The Food Network made a list of decadent chocolate desserts perfect for the holiday, like chocolate raspberry mousse candy cake and chocolate cheesecake.

Once you have selected the recipes you are going to make and purchase all of the ingredients, it is best to ensure that you have all of the tools you need for preparation. The most important tool is the surface that you will be using to prepare the food.

Grothouse solid wood butcher blocks are the surface preferred by top chefs at home and in restaurants. Butcher blocks are very hard surfaces and knives keep their edge far better because the blade slides between the wood fibers much like cutting into a firm brush. Grothouse Original Oil™ Finish is a heavy weight pure mineral oil used for lasting protection that is food safe and  hypoallergenic. It does not contain any Tung oils. You can prepare your meal with no concerns if your date has any nut allergies.

One of the best ways to prepare Valentines day dinner is by cooking together! It is a fun and romantic way to start the evening and enjoy each other’s company. Together, you can start the night by preparing a delicious meal and end it by enjoying it together!

#ValentinesDayDinner #ValentinesDay #ButcherBlocks #GrothouseThings

Butcher Block Stations

Butcher block stations are custom crafted to turn any kitchen into a veritable work horse. The best stations function as both mobile food preparation spaces and storage centers.

Butcher Block Stations custom crafted to turn any kitchen into a veritable work horse
Butcher Block Stations

The surface area is a butcher block countertop crafted out of solid wood in end grain construction style. End grain construction style is preferred by chefs because it keeps knives sharp and can be sanded down and oiled to look like new. Butcher block countertops are finished with Grothouse Original Oil™.

Butcher Block Station designed by Tyler Florence for Kitchen of the Year 2011
Butcher Block Station designed by Tyler Florence for Kitchen of the Year 2011

The ultimate butcher block station was designed by Tyler Florence for Kitchen of the Year 2011. Crafted in all solid wood construction, the station features custom laser engraving on the front face of the butcher block. The butcher block also features one long integrated knife slot, keeping knives out of the way but easily accessible.

The base of the station includes five drawers for convenient storage, each 150 lb rated undermount drawer slides with soft close. 500 lb rated casters for heavy duty use were installed to enable the station to be mobile.

Custom Wood Butcher Block Station designed by TRK Design Company with Laser Engraving
Butcher Block Station designed by TRK Design Company

Placed in front of a handy message board, this movable kitchen island station designed by TRK Design Company has a 6″ solid Lyptus wood butcher block engraved with the name of the farm estate.

Custom Wood Butcher Block Station designed by Blue Bell Kitchens with Waste Hole
Butcher Block Station designed by Blue Bell Kitchens

While butcher block stations are often designed to be mobile, they can also be built into a kitchen island or perimeter kitchen countertops. The Walnut butcher block pictured above was designed by Blue Bell Kitchens. The butcher block is rabbeted into the granite countertop and features a waste hole, enabling food scraps to be easily thrown away by removing the stainless steel lid.

Follow @grothouseinc on Instagram for weekly kitchen design inspiration. Visit the Countertop Image Library to view more butcher block stations.

#ButcherBlockStations #ButcherBlocks #CustomWoodCountertops #GrothouseThings

Chopping Stations

“3 Kitchen Features You Might Not Have Thought Of” written by Mitchell Parker for Houzz discusses three subtle and strikingly special kitchen features that make for one-of-a-kind style; one of which were chopping stations.

Parker explains that what sets one space apart from another is often not a big, grand gesture, but rather a small, thoughtful addition that stays with you even after you’ve left the room.

Chopping Stations Kitchen Design Ideas Butcher Block Countertops
Chopping Stations

Chopping stations create the ultimate food preparation area and are often located near the range. End grain butcher block countertops are the chef-preferred surface material for chopping stations. This construction style is the kindest to knives and keeps their blades sharp. In addition, butcher blocks tend to be self-healing and most knife marks disappear after cleaning and re-oiling.

Kitchen Designs with Chopping Stations

Chopping Stations designed by Stonington Cabinetry & Designs
Walnut Butcher Block Chopping Station designed by Stonington Cabinetry & Designs

Stonington Cabinetry & Designs selected a Walnut butcher block for the chopping station in this bright, white transitional kitchen. Matching the Walnut wood kitchen island, this chopping block is conveniently located across from the sink and near the range.

Wenge Butcher Block Chopping Stations designed by Homestead Kitchens
Wenge Butcher Block Chopping Station designed by Homestead Kitchens

Kate Connolly of Homestead Kitchens cleverly designed a Wenge butcher block chopping station to be located parallel to the range. Kate explained, “The Wenge butcher block is not only practical, but adds another layer of texture and interest to this mostly monotone kitchen.”

Walnut Butcher Block Chopping Station designed by Pinestreet Carpenters
Walnut Butcher Block Chopping Station designed by Pinestreet Carpenters, Inc.

Pine Street Carpenters, Inc. designed a Random Mix Walnut with Sapwood butcher block for a food prep station in between the sink and the cooktop. The butcher block adds warmth and ties in the flooring and floating shelves.

Chopping Station with Walnut Butcher Block designed by New England Design Works
Walnut Butcher Block Chopping Station designed by New England Design Works

A Walnut butcher block was also designed by Karen Swanson of New England Design Works for this transitional style kitchen with walls of subway tile.

Designing a chopping station for your kitchen can make the space one-of-a-kind. To learn more about end grain butcher blocks, click here. Be sure to follow Grothouse on Instagram for daily design inspiration.

#ChoppingStations #KitchenDesign #ButcherBlocks

Wenge Butcher Block designed by Homestead Kitchens

Our Custom Wood Countertops Blog features the industry’s most talented and innovative designers throughout the United States and abroad. This featured kitchen includes a Wenge Butcher Block designed by Kate Connolly of Homestead Kitchens.

Wenge Butcher Block designed by Kate Connolly of Homestead Kitchens
Kate Connolly of Homestead Kitchens

About the Designer: Kate Connolly is an interior designer, mother of 2 little girls, aspiring yogi and art lover. She has been designing kitchens professionally for 20 years, collaborating with clients in suburban New England. Kate loves piecing together client’s wish lists into functional spaces making their everyday life easier; playing with colors and textures creating a cohesive space that her clients feel at home in. Kate and her husband, Kevin, opened their business, Homestead Kitchens, twelve years ago. They work together with wonderful employees in a beautiful 1904 house where every room is filled with inspirational kitchens.

A Tip from Kate: Think about how you want the room to feel whether it’s formal/fancy, clean/uncluttered, fresh/modern/trendy or warm/comfortable. Then create a focal point by letting one or two items stand out (in this kitchen it is the tile backsplash and the Wenge butcher block).

Wenge Butcher Block designed by Homestead Kitchens
Wenge Butcher Block designed by Homestead Kitchens

Design Details

Cabinet Manufacturer: Signature Custom Cabinetry

Cabinet Hardware: Top Knobs

Flooring: Oak Hardwood

Countertops: Persa Avorio Leathered Granite and 2 1/2″ thick Wenge Wood Butcher Block

Faucet: Moen

Sink: Kraus

Backsplash: Cobblestone 3×12 Gloss Glass Tile

Wall Color: By homeowner

Stove: Thermador

Dishwasher: Thermador

Other Appliances: Imperial hood

Additional Comments and Advice: The clients wanted to omit the kitchen table and have a large island with seating for informal family meals and entertaining. To avoid a seam on the island, we opted for a gorgeous Grothouse Wenge butcher block top at one end. It was not only practical (the perfect spot for food prep), but adds another layer of texture and interest to this mostly monotone kitchen.

Wenge Butcher Block Countertop designed by Homestead Kitchens
Wenge Butcher Block Countertop designed by Homestead Kitchens
Wenge Butcher Block designed by Kate Connolly
Wenge Butcher Block designed by Kate Connolly
Wenge Wood Butcher Block for a Kitchen Island
Wenge Wood Butcher Block for a Kitchen Island
Design by Kate Connolly of Homestead Kitchens
Design by Kate Connolly of Homestead Kitchens

View additional projects by Homestead Kitchens on their website, Houzz, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. To see more designs including a Wenge Butcher Block, visit the Grothouse Countertop Image Library. Stay up to date with Grothouse news and announcements by liking our page on Facebook.

#ButcherBlock #ButcherBlockCountertop #KitchenDesignInspiration #CustomWoodCountertops #WoodCountertops

Cutting Boards for Unique Personalized Gifts

Personalized Cutting Boards by Grothouse
Personalized Cutting Boards by Grothouse

Cutting boards crafted by Grothouse make the perfect unique personalized gifts for anyone – including family, friends, and even clients – because they can be customized for anyone’s taste and budget.

Designing Cutting Boards for Unique Personalized Gifts

Designing cutting boards is easy when they are crafted by Grothouse because they can include a multitude of features – including laser engraving, edge profiles, and more.

Anything can be engraved into a cutting board crafted by Grothouse. This is a major reason as to why they are such great gifts for clients. A company logo can be engraved as well as the client’s name if desired. Showcase Kitchens designed this cutting board to feature their company logo.

Personalized Cutting Boards for Companies
Personalized Cutting Boards for Companies

The Fisher Group designed the cutting board featured below to include their company logo in the upper left hand corner and “Habitable Art” in a different font style in the bottom right hand corner. This design is clever because it is not only personal, but also leaves plenty of space on the surface for food preparation.

The Fisher Group Personalized Cutting Board
The Fisher Group Personalized Wood Cutting Board

A special quote or design can be engraved on the cutting board for a family member or friend. The design does not have to be engraved on the top of the board. Designs can be engraved on the sides or even the back of the cutting board. One client had a cutting board custom crafted for their sister with engraving of their sister’s name on the front side.

Cutting Boards make Unique Personalized Gifts
Cutting Boards make Unique Personalized Gifts

Custom cutting boards make for great event giveaway gifts as well. Cutting boards can be purchased in bulk and prepared for your event. Engrave the cutting board with event information or add a ribbon with a nice tag to each board that is given away. Grothouse has crafted cutting boards for events by House Beautiful magazine, Lehigh Valley Style magazine, and many more.

Juice grooves can also be engraved into any cutting board. Juice grooves are a great feature because they collect fluids from cutting meat, vegetables and fruits to avoid drippings onto the floor or countertop. Juice grooves can be added in a simple design, like along the edges of the cutting board, or they can be added as a more complex design like the tree pictured below.

Unique Personalized Gifts Cutting Boards with Juice Grooves
Personalized Cutting Boards with Juice Grooves

Cutting boards can be custom crafted out of any wood specie. By choosing a cutting board crafted by Grothouse, you know you are receiving a board built out of the finest quality wood, no matter the specie.

To keep the overall appearance of the wood cutting board simple, choose a classic edge profile like the Roundover. For a more dramatic appearance choose an edge profile like the Roman Notch or the Perlen.

Per request, Grothouse can add feet to the bottom of the cutting board to sit on so that it does not scratch the surface it is placed on and so that the board itself does not scratch.

Wood Cutting Board Finish

Personalized Cutting Boards Finish
Grothouse Original Oil™ Finish

Compliment the cutting board with a bottle of Grothouse Original Oil™. Our oil is the best wood cutting board finish for keeping the wood properly maintained. The finish is hypoallergenic and contains no Tung oils, permitting the entertainment of guests with no worries of nut allergies. It is also fragrance free and color free. When applied to the board, the wood may appear darker at first. Over time the color will appear lighter, as it looked before the oil was applied. Cutting boards should be oiled on a regular basis, depending on the amount of use and the environment it is typically stored in. Cutting boards need to be oiled when they appear visually dry.

If you are interested in designing Unique Personalized Gifts crafted by Grothouse, request a quote by clicking here. Please contact us if you have any questions about our custom cutting boards!

The History of Butcher Blocks

At Grothouse, we refer to wood surfaces crafted in End Grain construction as Butcher Blocks. According to Wikipedia, Butcher block, or butcher’s block, is a style of assembled wood used as heavy duty chopping blocks, table tops, and cutting boards.

The Evolution of Butcher Blocks

Antique Butcher Blocks
Antique Butcher Block

The history of wood butcher blocks is not defined. Some say the use of a butcher block first originated in China. Others say that wood has been used in the preparation of food since the prehistoric ages. Butchers used tree rounds to carve meat on. The rounds were often too soft and they rapidly became unsanitary.

Throughout the centuries, mankind evolved and started creating machines. When the circular saw was invented, nicer, cleaner slabs of wood were cut and used as cutting boards. Since soft wood was the most available type of wood at the time, it was the material of choice to be used for cutting boards.

The boards were made smaller since the slab of wood could now be cut to any desired size. Since they were made smaller, they were also used to eat off of and some people referred to them as trenchers. Trenchers were originally pieces of stale hard bread that were used as substitute plates. Wood trenchers quickly became the replacements of the eatable dinnerware.

Hard wood butcher blocks were the preferred choice of the butcher industry. They were made to be extremely thick and durable, so durable in fact, that a butcher could use the same block for almost his entire career.

One fact remains true, butcher blocks have been used in butcher shops for centuries, and still are in many European countries today, as well as in homes for the use of food preparation.

Visit our website to learn about butcher blocks manufactured today.


Sources Used:

Butcher Block Pros and Cons

Butcher Block Pros and Cons by Grothouse
Grothouse Butcher Block Pros and Cons

This blog post covers the butcher block pros and cons. At Grothouse, the term ‘butcher block’ refers to a wood surface crafted in End Grain Construction. End Grain is the premium construction style recommended for direct food preparation. It is the construction style of choice for upscale applications. In end grain construction, small wood pieces stand vertically to show only the ends of the wood.

Butcher Block Pros

There are far more butcher block pros than cons. To start off, a butcher block can be used for direct food preparation. This means you can cut and chop directly on the wood surface.

Knives keep their edge far better when used on butcher blocks. This is because the blade slides between the wood fibers, much like cutting into a firm brush. Cutting on hard surfaces like stone or glass can dull sharp blades.

An added benefit is that butcher blocks do not show knife marks quite as readily as surfaces crafted in other construction styles.

Any light scratches or knife marks made in the butcher block surface can be sanded off and re-oiled to look brand new!

Butcher block countertops can be crafted to include a number of different patterns and inlays, as well as numerous features and options.

The most popular use for butcher blocks is kitchen islands. They provide a functional work surface and unlike stone slabs, can be made any size without unsightly seams.

Butcher Block Pros and Cons by Grothouse
Sapele Mahogany Butcher Block designed by Plain & Fancy.

All Grothouse butcher blocks are finished with Grothouse Original Oil™. Grothouse Original Oil™ is a food safe oil finish. The finish requires ongoing maintenance depending on the environment and amount of use.

Butcher Block Cons

The major butcher block con is that end grain surfaces cannot be sealed with our Durata® Waterproof Permanent Finish. Only surfaces crafted in flat grain or edge grain construction can be finished with Durata®. Durata® is a maintenance free finish. You can learn more about Durata® on our website. Because butcher blocks cannot be finished with Durata®, they cannot include a stain application.

Butcher Block Customer Reviews

We have received a great deal of positive butcher block customer reviews. Cheryl R. from Mountain Lakes, New Jersey wrote:

Dear Grothouse,

I just wanted to say thank you and share a few pics of the beautiful butcher block you created for us! We love it! It was supposed to be all about the function but it has become a masterful design feature!

I think it garners most of the compliments in our new kitchen! It was a pleasure working with your people from start to finish!

David L. from Santa Rosa, California said:

Although it’s been a little over a year since we did business with you, I just wanted to say thanks again for the incredible butcher block countertop you built for our new kitchen island. It is the perfect combination of beauty and function – we get lots of compliments from friends who visit.

Read more butcher block customer reviews here. Visit our website for more information regarding butcher block pros and cons. Visit our Pinterest to see inspiring designs including butcher blocks.

Trencher Cutting Board

Grothouse Trencher Cutting Board
Trencher Cutting Board exclusively available at Grothouse

As decorating styles evolve and diversify, Grothouse continues to expand its product choices. The Trencher Cutting Board is a uniquely crafted working surface exclusively available at Grothouse.

The gradual sloped design collects juices in the well at the back of the board—and away from the work area—making it a popular choice for slicing watermelon, citrus and carving meat. The ascending wall keeps flying vegetables, like carrots, at bay and confined to the cutting surface.

Trencher Cutting Board with Ascending Wall
Trencher Cutting Board’s ascending wall

The trencher reverses to a flat surface, perfect for slicing bread or serving hors d’oeuvres. The flat reverse side of the cutting board can also be used for general chopping and prepping tasks.

Trencher Cutting Board Specifications 

The Trencher measures to be 15 inches in diameter and 2 inches in height. Only weighing 6 pounds, it can be easily transported from one area to another. The wood species is Sapele Mahogany. It has red and brown tones with iridescent stripes for a truly remarkable appearance.

The trencher can be cleaned with mild soap and water. It is important to periodically oil the trencher with Grothouse Original Oil™ to ensure the surface is properly moisturized. To learn how to properly oil the cutting board, read the instructions here.

Trencher Cutting Board with Laser Engraving
Trencher Cutting Board with Laser Engraving

Trencher Cutting Boards can include Laser Engraving. Anything can be laser engraved, from pictures to logos to words, the possibilities are limitless. The text ‘The Grothouse Lumber Company’ in the trencher pictured was strategically placed at the end of the cutting board so that no crumbs get stuck in the engraving.

This feature allows you to truly customize your trencher. Many designers use laser engraved cutting boards for Christmas gifts, charitable donations, and much more.

The Trencher can be purchased on the Grothouse Online Store. For design inspiration, visit our Countertop Image Library.

Butcher Block Prestige Chef Box

A classically designed cutting and serving board storage system, The Butcher Block Prestige Chef Box™ is designed to fill all of your kitchen food preparation and food presentation needs. The Prestige Chef’s Box includes a series of cutting boards, all fashioned with custom features for culinary endeavors, stored beautifully in a solidly built case.

Butcher Block Prestige Chef’s Box
Prestige Chef’s Box™

Prestige Chef Box | The Cutting Boards:

The standard cutting board size is 1-3/8″ thick x 16-1/4” deep and 18-1/8″ wide. The cutting boards are crafted in edge grain construction. The boards can be ordered in any of the wood species we offer. The depth and width can be adjusted to meet your specifications. Clients can customize the topography of each board based on the intended use. The cutting board pictured below includes juice grooves around the outside of the board and in the center of the board creating an image of a tree. Juice grooves are great for carving meat because all of the juices collect in the grooves, allowing a clean preparation space.

Prestige Chef's Box Cutting Board
Cutting Board with Juice Grooves

Prestige Chef Box | The Case:

A hand made, all solid hardwood box is custom designed to hold your size and number of cutting boards. The case is assembled with box joint joinery. The case can be ordered in any of the species of wood we offer and will be automatically sized to fit the number of cutting boards and size of cutting boards you specify. The typical thickness of the box walls are 3/4″. You can choose a 3 drawer or 5 drawer configuration. Rubber feet are standard and will be installed on the bottom of the case.

Prestige Chef’s Box Case
Prestige Chef’s Box™ Case

Prestige Chef Box | Finish:

The standard finish for the cutting boards is Grothouse Original Oil™. Durata® Waterproof Permanent Finish is not recommend for the cutting boards. This is because most food preparation applications include cutting or chopping, which would scratch the finish.

The standard finish for the case is Durata® Waterproof Permanent Finish in Satin sheen. The case may be custom stained or may include any of our stock stains if desired.

Prestige Chef Box | Maintenance:

The cutting boards are finished with Grothouse Original Oil™. You will need to care for the cutting boards by oiling them. A good rule of thumb is a minimum of once a week for the first month after you receive your box and monthly thereafter. The frequency will vary based on the environment and amount of use. The boards should be oiled when they appear visually dry.

» Letting a board dry out because of a lack of oil is the #1 cause of problems of cutting boards. Oiling will help keep that beautiful sheen and create the desired patina. It will also prevent cracking.

» You can wash your surface by hand using anti-bacterial dish soap and warm water. If required, add a small amount of bleach or vinegar to water for extra bacteria killing power.

» Use a steel scraper to keep the top free of food build-up. When required you can use 220 grit sandpaper to keep the top smooth and free of knife marks. For deeper cuts, start with 150 grit sandpaper and then use to 220 grit sandpaper to finish. Always oil the top after sanding.

» Do not expose cutting boards to excessive heat, cold or moisture! Never put in a microwave or dishwasher. Never place on stove burners.

» The Durata® case can be cleaned with soap and water; furniture polish may also be used if desired.

» Please allow 30 days for the Durata® Finish to fully harden after receipt of your box.

You can learn more information about the Prestige Chef’s Box on our website. To order your very own, Request a Quote.