Cookpanion Blog

A place for tech tips, food news, and culinary inspiration

Law & Food: Nutrition Decoded

Law & Food: Nutrition Decoded

The FDA plays an important role in ensuring that the products you buy are properly labeled and non-deceptively enticing. While many of these decisions translate easily onto the “Nutrition Facts” label, others hide away and turn into gimmicky marketing schemes.

While your best bet towards a healthy body can be found in counting calories and measuring out daily values, there’s something to be said for understanding the quick-glance offers that food products claim. Here’s a quick educational guide to help you navigate the trenches:

Calorie Buzzwords

Calorie-free: A serving is less than 5 calories. Careful with those tic tacs as a box does indeed add up.

Low-calorie: Most food products end up at 40 calories or less per serving. Main dish/entrée products run right around 120 calories or less per serving.

Reduced-calorie: Calories for these products will measure out at 25 percent fewer calories than the original food product.

Total Fat Buzzwords

Fat-free: The product will have less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving.

Low-fat: The product will have 3 grams of fat (or less) per serving.

Reduced-fat: The product will have 25 percent less fat when compared to the original version of a food product.

Saturated Fat Buzzwords

Saturated fat-free: The product will have less than 0.5 grams of sat. fat per serving..

Low in saturated fat: The product will have 1 gram or less of sat. fat per serving size OR no more than 10 percent of calories coming from saturated fat.

Reduced saturated fat: The product will have 25 percent less saturated fat when compared to the original food product.

& Daily Value Guidelines

Percentage Breakdown: Don’t stress on terms like less, light, low, free, etc… It’s more important to understand your intake with some simple guidelines. For daily values, 5% is a low amount per serving while 20% represents a high amount per serving. Using these percentage points, make sure to balance different types of foods that are high and low in their respective daily values.

Being educated with these tips means you can cut down on time stuck in the grocery store while beefing up on some food math! Keep that in mind the next time you see the too good to be true “miracle” product and stick with your newfound intuition.

Sources: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm079449.htm#videohttp://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm20026097.htmhttp://life.familyeducation.com/nutritional-information/nutrition-and-diet/48693.html?page=2http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/5-ways-to-outsmart-nutrition-labels

3 Ways to Win Your Coworkers’ Love

3 Ways to Win Your Coworkers’ Love

Valentine’s Day is upon us! It’s a glorious time of champagne, chocolate, and strawberries covered in chocolate.

I, however, join the ranks of single folks and am celebrating accordingly. In other words, I’ll chow down on some delicious takeout from whatever happens to have the quickest estimated delivery time. For me, takeout is an act of love and self-compassion. I’m pretty sure that definition of takeout can be found somewhere on the Internet (especially if self-referenced material counts).

Valentine’s Day is also a time where we can appreciate one another, single or not. While I’m throwing my feet up and ordering food Sunday night, I’ll have made a batch of cookies for the coworkers beforehand. I invite you to join me in bringing some cheer to your office through these quick cookie recipes that alleviate the Monday grind.

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1. Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies by Kitchen Monki

Perfect for dietary restrictions and healthy lifestyle choices.

These are what I’m making. I score points with both my roommate and coworkers by going the gluten-free route.

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2. Chocolate Chip Cookies by Amanda Gross

Classic and essential.

No one will scoff at the classic. This is the perfect choice for all around fun and good times.

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3. Peanutty Valentine Cookies by Kathleen Kwiecien

Cook with love (and hearts).

Now is the time to take advantage of the surplus of heart shaped chocolates. Add in peanut butter and you’ve got a dangerous friend maker.

 

Super Bowl 50: Fans and Wayward Spectators Rejoice!

Super Bowl 50: Fans and Wayward Spectators Rejoice!

For the fans, this weekend will be all about the big game. For the rest, this weekend will be all about hanging by the cooler and catching up with friends and family. For all, this weekend will be about food.

Falling between the two groups puts me in a precarious situation. Unable to focus on the game or the camaraderie, I’ll probably settle on the potluck-esque feast that is to come. The feast itself will lead to its own problems, as I’ve yet to commit to bringing a specific dish (the cardinal sin of shared food activities).

And yet, when I think of what I could make, I always end up falling into the “pick up a sixer” category.  Just know that it’s not for lack of trying or an inability to cook. What it really comes down to lies in the fact that I know the “basics” are taken care of. So, cue a listicle of recipes that inspire and cut through the basic food necessities to help both you and I blow everyone out of the water.

Pro Tip: Save these recipes for later by clicking the “Bookmark” tab on each recipe page. Make sure to create a new bookmark category (Potluck, Sunday Funday, Superbowl)!

1. Buffalo Balls by Terry McBriarty
Frank’s RedHot Recommended

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Finger food!
Perfect for when you want to avoid the bones. Great for kids, great for your uncle on his fifth beer who really shouldn’t be trying to swallow chicken wings whole. To top it off, you can make these in under an hour.

2. Buffalo Chicken Dip by Tiffany Holmes Lampe
Frank’s RedHot Recommended

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Everything you love in one bowl.
Everyone loves a good dip. On top of that, everyone loves a good dip that indulges in a little gluttony. With this recipe you’ll be dipping your chicken and celery into a dish made with chicken and celery. This is innovation.

3. Pomegranate Cucumber Guacamole by Alicia Michelle

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Guac with a fresh kick.
The perfect way to tailor a mainstay in order to combat the hot sauce that runs rampant in Super Bowl apps (see above recommendations). With the addition of pomegranate arils, you can even talk up the health benefits of double (read triple) dipping.

4. The Burger by Skillet Street Food

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Back to the basics on a not so basic combo.
The Burger is the burger that brought the words “bacon” and “jam” together. This recipe gives you the opportunity to perfect a new classic and show off the professional chef that’s hiding inside all of us.

5. Bacon Jam Infused Vodka by Skillet Street Food

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Okay, you’ve decided to go the bartender route…
Heat jam, mix with vodka, and infuse for 48 hours. Let sit while you dream of the weekend.

So, go forth, cook something delicious, and feel free to drop some food facts on Sunday courtesy of good ol’ market research:

*  1.25 billion chicken wings are eaten during the game
*  69.9 million pounds of avocados are mashed and munched upon.
*  11.2 million pounds of potato chips are consumed during the game. This doesn’t include the cumulative 1.1 million pounds everyone will find hidden in the couch after the game.

Sources: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2932857/Fresh-not-fried-popular-Super-Bowl-food-Sunday-VEGETABLES-not-chicken-wings-pizza.html, https://www.franksredhot.com/, http://skilletstreetfood.com/shop/usa/bacon-jam/, http://www.jcbspecialties.com/events/super-bowl-sunday/

By Benjamin Porter

Resolution Management: Looking Past January

By February 1st, according to one 2015 study, 64% of those who have made new year’s resolutions will have stuck with them. Unfortunately, six months out, only 46% will be actively maintaining those same resolutions. What the data tells us is this: Maintaining a goal is hard.

It makes sense, especially when one’s goals need to be balanced out by the responsibility that comes with everyday life. Eating right, losing weight, and trying new things are all on my 2016 resolution platter. However, all of these goals need to be constantly planned out and acted upon between connecting with family, fixing up the apartment, and working the good ol’ 9-5. To say I’ve mastered it, well that would be a lie.

What’s worked for me, however, is echoed by Confucius: 

“When it is obvious goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”

In my life that means finding ways to incorporate my goals into my everyday responsibilities. Instead of driving to work, I walk. When I splurge on a meal out, I take the time to plan some cheaper meals in. All of these moments allow me to live my goals instead of working them.

As a company, one of Cookpanion’s goals is to be an advocate for those who love food, and for those who want to engage in acts of self-improvement by expanding their culinary palates. That’s why, day in and day out, we work to bring businesses and individuals together in ways that foster fun and active relationships with the food we cook and enjoy every day.

So, as we move into February, here are some recipes to help you live your goals, not just work them.

Pro Tip: Save these recipes for later by clicking the “Bookmark” tab on each recipe page. You could even create new bookmark categories for each of your resolutions!

1. Pork Tenderloin (Slow Cooker Recipe)

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Pork Tenderloin – Slow Cooker | Kara Gonzales

Free time galore!
What’s not to love? Slow cooker recipes give you the benefit of being able to tend to other tasks while the meal prepares itself. Have a date night? The crockpot will do all the work while you clean the place up!

2. Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Asian Chicken Lettuce Wrap by Coley | MyHotDip.com

Healthy and different.
Avoiding carbohydrates? Try some of these delicious wraps and load up on protein and veggies. Lettuce wraps like these are a great way to spice up what could’ve been a bland piece of baked chicken!

3. Waldorf Mason Jar Salad

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Waldorf Mason Jar Salad by Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods

Save money and enjoy a unique take on lunch.
Here’s a sweet way to avoid the lunch rush that wipes out both your time and wallet. It’s a resolution triple threat that contains healthy ingredients, a wallet-wise price, and spill-free transport.

4. Bourbon Crunch Iced Latte

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Bourbon Crunch Iced Latte | Torani

Moderation and espresso!
Feel free to reward yourself with one of Torani’s signature sweet treats while knowing that moderation is a part of the key to success.

Know someone looking to live his or her goals this year? Send them a link to our recipe app: apps.facebook.com/cookpanion

Sources: http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/, http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/confucius140548.html

By Benjamin Porter

8 Healthy Food Trends Worth Trying

8 Healthy Food Trends Worth Trying

Happy 2016 everyone! If January finds you renewing your gym membership, restocking your refrigerator, and swapping out cookies and candy for quinoa and kale, you’ve come to the right spot. To start the new year off right, we’ve zeroed in on eight trendy health foods that live up to the hype. Incorporate these power picks into your diet and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, happier you this year.

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1. Coconut Flour

Why It’s Awesome: The coconut is at it again. As if coconut oil, coconut water, and coconut milk weren’t enough, now you can start utilizing coconut flour, which adds a delicious, subtle coconut flavor to baked goods. This flour packs a fibrous punch with 5 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons, and it is well suited for those with diabetes, as it can lower the glycemic index of baked goods. Plus, it’s gluten free!
Our Favorite Brand: Bob’s Red Mill
Recipe Pick: Coconut Flour Zucchini Bread with Crumble Topping

 

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2. Acai

Why It’s Awesome: Acai berries are loaded with antioxidants, with more than double the amount found in blueberries and nearly ten times that found in grapes. The specific type of antioxidants found in this berry–anthocyanins are particularly good for heart health. Acai has also been associated with weight loss, as well as healthy skin and digestion. Finally, the berry is known to be immune-stimulating and energy-boosting.  Not bad, eh?
Our Favorite Brand: Navitas Naturals
Recipe Pick: Kale, Berry And Acai Power Smoothie

 

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3. Kelp & Dulse

Why It’s Awesome: Not only is kelp is high in iodine, which can improve thyroid function and control metabolism, but it can also help with healthier skin and hair. All in all, kelp has 46 different minerals, 16 amino acids, and 11 vitamins…wowza. Kelp is most often seen in the form of kelp noodles, but you can also find kelp buds, which make a tasty addition to many savory dishes. Dulse (say it like “pulse”) is another nutrient-packed seaweed variety that can be crisped up like a potato chip, and is also rich in iodine.
Our Favorite Brand: Maine Coast Sea Vegetables
Recipe Pick: Smashed Avocado, Kelp Noodle, and Lemon Bowl

 

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4. Kimchi (or fermented anything, really)

Why It’s Awesome: Kimchi, or spicy fermented cabbage, is most known for its digestive health properties, which stem from the enzymes and probiotics contained within the food. But it doesn’t stop there. This trendy condiment can also aid with cholesterol, obesity, and even cancer. It acts as a natural inflammatory,  contains loads of antioxidants, and can help boost the immune system. Lastly, kimchi can help with diabetes by decreasing glucose levels.
Our Favorite Brand: Ozuke
Recipe Pick: Pad Thai With Kale & Collards Kimchi

 

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5. Kefir

Why It’s Awesome: Speaking of fermentation, kefir, which is a fermented dairy beverage, is an uber-healthy yogurt alternative that is packed with immunity-boosting probiotics (good for tummy trouble!). One 6-ounce serving contains 6 grams of protein and 20% of your daily calcium, phosphorus, and B2 needs. This health food has been shown to improve bone health and lower the risk of osteoporosis, and it may even be proactive against cancer.
Our Favorite Brand: Trader Joe’s
Recipe Pick: Kefir Potato Salad

 

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6. Hemp

Why It’s Awesome: This trendy super-seed, which tastes similar to sunflower seeds, is loaded with phosphorus, magnesium, and fiber, and is extremely versatile: it can be incorporated into baked goods, sprinkled atop yogurt or salads, blended into soups and smoothies, and more.
Our Favorite Brand: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods
Recipe Pick: Quinoa Hemp Cereal

 

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7. Bee Pollen

Why It’s Awesome: Bee pollen, the food of small bees, is made up of 40% protein, with about half of that protein in the form of free amino acids that are ready to be absorbed by the body. Bee pollen has been known to increase energy, act as an anti-inflammatory, aid with allergies, sooth the digestive system, boost the immune system, and even improve skin. The best part? It tastes awesome, like crunchy little granules of top-shelf honey. Sprinkle it on cereal or yogurt, enjoy with chocolate or ice cream, blend into smoothies, or just enjoy with a piece of fruit.
Our Favorite Brand: Uncle Harry’s
Recipe Pick: “Honey” Mustard Dressing

 

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8. Matcha

Why It’s Awesome: Matcha is a bright-green powder produced by finely grinding matcha green tea leaves. The powder contains 130 times more antioxidants than the average green tea, and is said to boost energy levels, lower stress, improve mood, and aid metabolism. Enjoy it stirred into hot water or milk, blended into smoothies, or even made into ice cream!
Our Favorite Brand: Encha
Recipe Pick: Green Tea Ice Cream

Other healthy food finds that get honorable mentions include green juice (and veggie smoothies), tiger nuts, chia, and rooibos tea. Check them out if you’re interested!

Hope you’ve enjoyed our healthy new year findings! Until next time, folks!

Sources: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/thousands-overdosing-on-caffeine-as-coffee-crisis-sparks-call-for-urgent-action-10491259.html#gallery, http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/10_super_healthy_food_trends_you_haven_t_tried_yet, http://acaiberryeducation.com/, http://www.stylenectar.com/stylenectar/2014/09/how-to-make-kimchi-for-probiotic-health.html, http://janiceameesglutenfree.com/cranberry-chocolate-chip-bread/, http://resources.gale.com/gettingtogreenr/uncategorized/kelp-its-whats-for-dinner/, http://www.bodyenlightenment.me/blog/2011/05/little-known-ways-to-use-hemp-as-a-beauty-elixir/, http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/10-amazing-health-benefits-of-bee-pollen, http://www.beepollenbylaura.com/Ingredients-Benefits_c_13.html, http://www.karenskitchenstories.com/2014/03/green-tea-ice-cream-scoop-adventures.html, http://authoritynutrition.com/9-health-benefits-of-kefir/

 

2015 Food Quiz

2015 Food Quiz

To celebrate the end of the year and highlight some of the best (and worst) food-related happenings of 2015, we’ve put together a little quiz! Test your knowledge below!

1. What was the #1 best selling food product in the world in 2015?
A. KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese
B. General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios
C. Franz Bakery Homestyle Split Top White Bread
D. DiGiorno Original Rising Crust Four Cheese Pizza

2. How much was invested in food delivery services (think Munchery, Blue Apron, Postmates) this year?
A. $90 million
B. $380 million
C. $750 million
D. $1.5 billion

3. Which of the following animal welfare advancements did NOT occur this year?
A. McDonald’s pledged to source chickens raised without antibiotics
B. Costco made the switch to to cage-free eggs
C. JBS (Brazilian pork producer) agreed to phase out use of gestation crates
D. StarKist implemented an anti-shark finning policy

4. The sales of foods marketed as “local” surged to what number this year?
A. $800 million
B. $6 billion
C. $11 billion
D. $32 billion

5. Which of the following plans did General Mills announce this year?
A. They will soon offer all employees meditation sessions, yoga classes, and mindfulness programs
B. They will be launching a line of affordable pet food products
C. They will be partnering with AmazonFresh to offer more extensive online purchasing and delivery services
D. They will be removing all artificial colors and flavors from their products

6. After Allrecipes.com, which recipe website was the most popular in 2015?
A. Food Network
B. Epicurious
C. The Kitchn
D. Food.com

7. The typical American family threw away this amount of money in groceries this year.
A. $800
B. $1600
C. $2100
D. $3200

8. What was the best-selling cookbook of 2015?
A. The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom, by Melissa Hartwig
B. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime, by Ree Drummond
C. Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F*ck, by Matt Holloway and Michelle Davis
D. The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, by J. Kenji López-Alt

9. Which major restaurant chain was linked to an E. coli outbreak that affected over 50 people?
A. McDonalds
B. Chipotle
C. Chili’s
D. Panera

10. How much venture capital was poured into food startups in the first half of 2015?
A. $121 million
B. $300 million
C. $1.18 billion
D. $2.06 billion

11. KRAFT announced their plans to swap the artificial orange coloring in their iconic Macaroni & Cheese for which naturally derived ingredients?
A. Dehydrated sharp cheddar cheese
B. Paprika and Turmeric
C. Red and yellow beet powder
C. No way…KRAFT will never change their classic recipe

12. What’s the name of the Facebook recipe app that took the online recipe publishing world by storm this year?
A. Foodbook
B. Basil
C. Kitchen Monki
D. Cookpanion

All set? When you’re ready, scroll down to reveal the answers!

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ANSWERS:

1. A. KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese was the #1 best selling food product in the world in 2015, generated more than $555,897,000.

2. D. $1.5 billion was invested in food delivery services in 2015!

3. D. StarKist DID NOT implement an anti-shark finning policy this year.

4. C. $11 billion: The total sales of foods marketed as “local” this year.

5. D. General Mills will be removing all artificial colors and flavors from their products 

6. A. Food Network was the most popular recipe website after Allrecipes.com in 2015.

7. B. $1600: The amount of money in groceries the typical American family threw away this year.

8. A. The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom, by Melissa Hartwig was the best-selling cookbook of 2015.

9. B. Chipotle was linked to an E. coli outbreak that affected over 50 people this year.

10. D. $2.06 billion in venture capital was poured into food startups in the first half of 2015!

11. B. Paprika and Turmeric: The naturally derived ingredients KRAFT plans to swap in for the artificial orange coloring in their iconic Macaroni & Cheese

12. D. Cookpanion: The name of the Facebook recipe app that took the online recipe publishing world by storm this year. You guys should all know this one ;).

Now look at all the fun facts I’ve armed you with for your New Years Eve party! But in all seriousness, cheers to all of you, and thank you for making this a terrific year for Cookpanion! Happy 2016!

Sources: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/12/29/460589462/the-year-in-food-artificial-out-innovation-in-and-2-more-trends, http://top101news.com/2015-2016-2017-2018/news/foods/best-selling-food-products-world-usa/, https://www.yahoo.com/food/the-year-in-food-what-was-hot-and-tasty-in-2015-151910214.html

Spotlight On: KING 5 New Day Northwest

Spotlight On: KING 5 New Day Northwest

New Day Northwest, KING 5’s notable weekday lifestyle show, has been in the recipe publishing business since its start in 2010. The show regularly attracts big-time chefs, health and fitness experts, restaurateurs, and celebrities, many of whom share sought-after recipes on the show. Seattle’s Tom Douglas, Jack Bishop of America’s Test Kitchen, Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated, and Kevin Garvin, Executive Chef and President of Neiman Marcus restaurants, are just a few of the special guests that have talked food (and cooked it too!) on the show.

New Day began using Cookpanion in March 2015, and as a result, has been able to substantially expand their page to accommodate their growing collection of recipe content. Within their Cookpanion-powered Recipes tab, page visitors can find 628 recipes, dozens of food-related stories, a handful of themed menus, as well as any ongoing contests they may be running. Their recipe profile aims to highlight the diverse population of foodie guests they host on the show, and acts as a hub where the Seattle culinary community can gather to share and discover unique recipes and resources.

NDNW Widgets

New Day has capitalized on the app’s diverse toolkit in order to best showcase their recipe content: they regularly feature an image slider with noteworthy recipes, as well as a featured recipe list, at the top of their profile. They’ve also taken advantage of widgets that highlight stories & contests, categorize recipes by month, and provide information on their show and links back to their website.

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Since they added the Cookpanion Recipes tab on March 24th, 2015, New Day has acquired 1528 new page likes, translating to a 5.7% increase in their Facebook fan base. On average, their recipe posts reach nearly 2200 Facebook users, with top posts delivered to over 4500. Comments, likes, and shares on a single recipe have reached numbers in the high 50s, while post clicks have reached nearly 200. With a Facebook audience composed of 76% women, New Day has taken care to share relevant content–including recipes–to speak to this particular demographic as well as grow their general fan base.

Another interesting takeaway from crunching numbers on New Day’s Facebook page is that “link” posts, which include Cookpanion recipe posts, reach an astounding number of users compared to posts containing photos alone. This finding speaks to the power of recipe content when it comes to reaching and broadening one’s audience.

NDNW Quote

We are grateful for New Day Northwest’s fantastic ongoing support, and have so enjoyed watching them leverage their recipe content and experience growth and success as a result. We can’t wait to see countless more businesses, small and large, experience the same type of success with the help of the Cookpanion app!

Here are a few of our favorite New Day Northwest recipes:

Find their complete recipe collection on their Facebook Recipes tab and follow them on their tab for instant recipe notifications!

If you’re a brand or business who wants to use the Cookpanion app on your page, contact us at [email protected] or get started today at app.cookpanion.com/tab! Cheers!

Happy Holidays From Cookpanion

Happy Holidays From Cookpanion

The Cookpanion team had a chance to step away from our computers, white boards, and cell phones this past weekend to celebrate a truly wonderful year. We enjoyed an evening of fabulous food (duh), delightful wine, and the company of this great little family that we have formed.

Cheers to a successful year past, and to an exciting year ahead!

Holiday Party

Mastering the Latke + 5 Foolproof Recipes

Mastering the Latke + 5 Foolproof Recipes

Latkes are deceptively simple: all you really need is onion, potato, and oil. But for the perfect latke–that light, crispy, golden-brown pillow of potatoey goodness–you’ll need to keep a few things in mind.

The Onion

To achieve that subtle but essential savory flavor that the onion imparts, use a nice fresh onion and make sure to chop it finely and evenly (learn how here). Your latkes will hold together better, and you’ll avoid getting a bit old bite of onion when you chomp into the final product. I advise against grating your onion, as this often leads to a soggy pile of onion meal, rather than small, in-tact bits that lend themselves well to crisping.

The Potato

The most important thing to remember when it comes to the potato is to wait until the last minute to grate it in order to avoid discoloration. Box graters work great, but a food processor fitted with a grater blade can save you a ton of time, especially if you’re making large quantities of latkes. In terms of potato type, russet potatoes are the traditional variety used, but you can easily substitute sweet potatoes, yukon golds, purple potatoes, or practically any variety.

Once you’ve combined the onion and potato, the next key step is to remove any excess liquid. This will help your latkes hold together when they hit the fryer. To get your onion-potato mixture nice and dry, wrap it in a clean kitchen cloth and wring tightly to squeeze out any extra liquid.

The Oil

There are a few important points to remember here. The first is the oil type. You’ll want to use an oil with a high smoking point so you can crispify your latkes at a nice high temperature without setting off your fire alarm. You also probably want to use a neutral-tasting oil that won’t impart much flavor on the latke. Vegetable oil and safflower oil are both good bets, as is clarified butter.

Next is the amount of oil. Make sure to fill your fry pan with at least 1/2 inch of oil to avoid uneven cooking, but don’t overfill the pan either, as this will make it harder to maintain your latkes’ perfect pancake shape.

Last but certainly not least is temperature. If possible, use a deep fry or candy thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil. The ideal temperature for latkes is between 360 and 375 degrees F. If you don’t have access to a thermometer, here are a few ways you can test the oil: 1 – Drop a small piece of bread into the oil. If it takes 60 seconds to brown, the oil temperature is perfect for frying. 2 –  Place a kernel of unpopped popcorn into the oil. When the kernel pops, the oil is hot enough to fry.

Now that you have the technique down pat, here are a few awesome recipes to try out!

1. Classic Potato Latkes

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2. Sweet Potato Latkes with Brie & Baby Arugula

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3. Butternut Squash Latkes with Sriracha Aioli

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4. Curry Vegetable Latkes

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5. Cheese Latkes

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Sources: https://www.yahoo.com/food/5-rules-to-follow-so-you-dont-screw-up-your-141918745.html, http://toriavey.com/how-to/2013/11/how-to-make-crispy-latkes/

 

2015 Foodie Gift Guide

2015 Foodie Gift Guide

Happy December! It’s amazing how quickly the holiday season snuck up on us! It seems like within a couple days my social calendar has reached it’s capacity, my bank account has begun dwindling, and the frequency with which I visit amazon.com has increased by at least 400%. Not to mention the number of cookies, breads, dips, and bottles of wine traveling in and out of my kitchen is alarming. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Below is a compilation of gift ideas fit for the foodie or home cook in your life. I’ve taken care to list only top-rated products, as well as items in a number of categories and price ranges. Hope you find something for everyone on your list!

For the Baker

Customizable Cookie Stamp
Interchangeable letters, numbers, and symbols offer endless possibilities for personalized treats.
$15 | uncommongoods.com

Typhoon Novo Kitchen Scale
This retro-inspired kitchen scale is sleek and stylish, with a deep glossy red color and stainless steel accents.
$64 | amazon.com

Color Me! Cookies
What’s better than eating cookies? Coloring and designing them first! Cookies come in a reusable tin that keeps them fresh for up to 2 months.
$40 (10 cookies and 5 markers) | elenis.com

Artisanal Caramel Sauce
This Portland-based company makes high quality, silky smooth caramel sauces in flavors like lavender, habanero, and whiskey. Try on ice cream, pound cake, or even waffles!
$10 | almachocolate.com

Smoked Chocolate Chips
This unique treat is the result of cold-smoking organic semisweet chocolate over alder wood for 10+ hours. Try in classic chocolate chip cookies or ganaches, or go savory with a mole sauce or pork rub.
$15 | getyourhotcakes.com

For the Entertainer

Bread Warmer
Slide this beautiful terra cotta plate under bread to keep it warm at the dinner table. Where has this been all my life?!
$15 | uncommongoods.com

Aboro Tart Platter
This stunning contemporary platter is perfect for serving show-stopping delicacies, or just adorning your dining room. The craftsmanship and quality inherent in the Bernardaud brand make this porcelain art piece worth the price.
$245 | bernardaud.com

Brass Trivets
These brass trivets conjure up images of stars and galaxies. The brass is bright and shiny and will naturally and beautifully oxidize with use. They are produced by a Japanese company that has been forging brass for over a century.
$81 | mjolk.ca

Gilded Rim Glassware
Talk about classy. These ultra-thin, rose tinted glasses with delicate gold details would make a stunning addition to any bar or dining table.
$22 | anthropologie.com

Jamón Ibérico
Iberico ham, known as “the treasure of Spanish cuisine,” will surely please any charcuterie expert. Try this beautiful pre-sliced variety for instant eat-ability.
$20 | tienda.com

For the Cocktail Enthusiast

Cocktail Spices
Inspired by the classic Bloody Mary recipe, mixologist Jim Meehan worked with spice genius Lior Lev Sercarz to create this line of cocktail blends. “They make the drink,” he says.
$45 | laboiteny.com

Mini Bitters Set
This small set of bitters from Berg & Hauck lets you make great cocktails anywhere.
$31 | kegworks.com

Spherical Ice Cube Trays
Mixologists like using big, round pieces of ice for spirits served straight, because they melt slowly and won’t water down drinks. New York’s Museum of Modern Art sells a tray for mixologist wannabes that produces two-inch-wide spheres.
$18 | momastore.org

Rocks Glass
All whiskey lovers should have a Nate Cotterman tumbler in the freezer. The glass cube inside keeps your whiskey ice cold without watering it down.
$90 | natecotterman.com

Liquid Intelligence
In Dave Arnold’s world, the shape of an ice cube, the sugars and acids in an apple, and the bubbles in a bottle of champagne are all ingredients to be measured, tested, and tweaked. Liquid Intelligence brings readers behind the counter and into the lab.
$22 | amazon.com

Mixology Dice
Roll the dice to create new flavor combinations with ingredients in eight categories, including spirits, fruit and spice.
$24 | shopspring.com

Carry-On Cocktail Kit
This TSA-approved cocktail kit provides everything you need to mix two proper Old Fashioneds, Gin and Tonics or Moscow Mules at 30,000 feet.
$24 | anthropologie.com

Glacial Ridge Cocktail Pitcher
The perfect addition to that Pinterest-inspired bar cart you’ve been working on.
$36 | anthropologie.com

For the Coffee/Tea Lover

Coffee and Tea Sugar Notch Set
An adorable way to serve your guests sugar with a delicious cup of coffee or tea.
$18 | uncommongoods.com

Tracy Stern Iced Tea
Tracy Stern Tea & Co. specializes in blends for iced tea. The oolong lychee is so complex and delicious you’ll want to brew it even on a cold, wet day in March.
$20 | tracysterntea.com

Capresso Cool Grind Blade Grinder
Preserve the flavor and aroma of your coffee with the stainless steel blade and beaker that keep heat build-up to a minimum when grinding.
$30 | surlatable.com

Blue Bottle Travel Coffee Kit
This stylish and compact kit is a must for any coffee snob who never stays in one place for long.
$179 | bluebottlecoffee.com

Espresso Tamper
As adorable as espresso spoons are, your home barista really doesn’t need another set. These customizable coffee tampers from Reg Barber perfectly pack and distribute espresso grounds, and are a favorite among competitive baristas.
$64 | coffeetamper.com

For the Adventurous Eater

The Flavor Thesaurus: A Compendium of Pairings, Recipes and Ideas for the Creative Cook
As appealing to the novice cook as to the experienced professional, The Flavor Thesaurus is a globetrotting collection of flavor pairings as told by a writer with a discerning palette and an entertaining, original voice.
$18 | amazon.com

Global Olive Oils
Eliunt’s olive oils—sold in black-glass bottles that block sunlight—range from fruity Lebanese to nutty Portuguese.
$130 (10 2-oz bottles) | theingredientfinder.com

Squid Ink Spaghetti
Filotea’s dried pasta from Italy has the tender texture of fresh-made.
$19 | marxfoods.com

Kitchen Curry Master Spice Kit
An Indian pantry at your fingertips, the Curry Master sends you all of the hard-to-find spices you need to develop the complex flavors of a rich curry or an authentic aloo gobi.
$60 | kitchencurrymaster.com

Solstice Canyon Cardmom & Clove Almond Butter
This is almond butter as you’ve never had it before: raw; stone-ground; and blended with coconut, sea salt, and an array of chai spices including clove, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon.
$9 | bohem.com

For the DIYer

Hard Cider Kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop
Take full advantage of that abundance of fresh apples in your CSA with this super-easy cider kit.
$40 | brooklynbrewshop.com

Tofu Making Kit
Ever wonder how soybeans become tofu? Find out first hand by making a one-pound brick of the vegetarian staple from scratch using this DIY tofu kit.
$19 | uncommongoods.com

Cheese Curds
Caputo Brothers curds help make chef-quality mozzarella at home.
$24 | saxelbycheese.com

Pizza Stone
Weber’s ceramic pizza stone absorbs moisture to make perfectly crispy pizzas and can be used on a charcoal or gas grill. You’ll never order pizza again, trust me.
$35 | homedepot.com

The FareTrade Subscription
Rockstar chefs curate monthly packages of their favorite artisanal food products, along with recipes for how to use them. This month’s box features items like curry pumpkin pesto sauce and wild mayhaw jelly.
$65/month | thefaretrade.com

And More!

Rotary Peeler
The Rotary Peeler from Joseph Joseph has three blades—regular, serrated and julienne—so it saves space in your utility drawer. The julienne blade alone is worth the price.
$12 | josephjoseph.com

Miniature Cast Iron Skillet
This diminutive version of Lodge’s winning cast-iron skillets comes preseasoned, just like its big brothers. The miniature size is great for playful, single serving breakfast presentations.
$12 | lodgemfg.com

Tea Towels
Rustic modern tea towels are artistically photo printed with animals like the horned elk.
$25 | huset-shop.com

Wine Infused Cedar Grilling Plank Set
Wine infused, richly colored planks, impart flavor into the food you’re grilling.
$12 | uncommongoods.com

Spiralizer
The KitchenAid Spiralizer is perfect for any foodie with a gadget itch. In addition to cutting fruit and veggies into long ribbons, the attachment also peels, cores and slices.
$100 | kitchenaid.com

Formaticum Cheese Paper 
Good cheese itself is one of life’s little luxuries, so it’s a shame to let it dry out wrapped in plastic. This specially made cheese paper lets cheese breathe. We love the illustrated goat/cow/sheep label indicators, too.
$8 | amazon.com

Kitchen Hacks Book
Instant aged bourbon? Two-ingredient chocolate magic shell? These hacks and more are revealed in this nifty little book!
$12 | amazon.com

Hopefully I’ve given you some food for thought (no pun intended) when it comes time to make those holiday shopping lists! Until next week, loves!

Sources: http://cookingontheweekends.com/2015/11/20-cool-gifts-for-foodies-for-under-20-2015/, http://www.foodandwine.com/holiday-guide/christmas-gifts, https://food52.com/shop/products/1952-carry-on-cocktail-kit, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/multimedia/2015-holiday-gift-guide-food.html#spiralizer