We’re in the final countdown to Turkey Day and, because I know you probably need it, I’ve put together a list of last-minute Thanksgiving tips. Give it a read and make sure everything’s set for the big day!
Set the table ahead of time. If you don’t have matching china, no sweat. You can create a beautiful eclectic look by mixing and matching dinnerware, glassware, and stemware. Try to stick to a cohesive color palette, and maintain a few consistent elements (matching napkins, for example) to keep things looking polished.
Get scrappy with your table decor. Got a bag of frozen cranberries? Fill the base of candle jars for an easy, decorative touch. Have a pine tree in your backyard? Snip a few branches and arrange down the center of the table. You get the idea. You can even make placemats or a whole tablecloth out of brown craft paper, and let guests scribble down what they’re thankful for over the course of the meal.
Decide where guests are sitting, and make place cards. I’m generally pro-assigned seating when it comes to Thanksgiving. It’s just comforting knowing that family feuds won’t erupt, and conversation will (hopefully) flow feely throughout the meal. Place cards don’t have to be fancy, but they are something you can have fun with. Try writing guests’ names on fall leaves, or for a more adult crowd, making homemade labels and tying to airplane shots of Wild Turkey Bourbon.
Light some candles. Tea lights and even white pillar candles are very inexpensive, and just placing these throughout the house can add a warm glow and a cozy touch.
Turn on the tunes. Here are some great Thanksgiving playlists.
Play a game. My family will forever be playing our classic salad bowl game, which contains elements of both Catch Phrase and charades, and offers enormous entertainment potential largely based on the amount of wine the group has consumed. This site also has a number of family-friendly, Thanksgiving-themed games.
Keep ’em cold. Remember to put cold drinks in the refrigerator (or outside if it’s cold enough) the night before the big event.
Stock a bar cart. Go easy on yourself and let your guests prepare their own drinks. Set up a bar cart with as many of the essentials as possible: bourbon, cointreau or triple sec, gin, rum, tequila, scotch, dry and sweet vermouth, and vodka. Make sure you have wine and beer available, too, as well as nonalcoholic options.
Mull wine. Add red wine and mulling spices to a crockpot, set to low, and forget about it. Bonus: your house will smell amazing.
Finish planning and shopping. Hopefully you have your menu planned by now. If you’re still doing grocery runs, make sure these essentials are on your list: butter, stock, fresh herbs, garlic, whipped cream, ice, and booze.
Take inventory. Pick out serving dishes and utensils for each dish, and label with sticky notes. Make sure you’re not forgetting anything, and that you have the right dishes for each menu item.
Dedicate Wednesday to cooking. Look through your recipes and figure out everything that can be done ahead of time, then do all those things! Check out the nifty timeline at the bottom of this post for help.
Recruit helpers! There’s no shame in putting your hubby and kids to work as long as they’re getting a fantastic Thanksgiving meal out of it!
Keep your apps simple. No one is going to hate on a well crafted charcuterie board or cheese plate.
Consider the casserole. Casseroles can be made entirely ahead of time, then popped in the oven once the turkey comes out for reheating. Rescue gluey potatoes or overcooked veggies by spreading in a casserole dish with some cream, topping with parmesan cheese or breadcrumbs, and crisping under the broiler.
Remember, it doesn’t all have to be homemade. No one is going to care if you use a store-bought pie crust or start with boxed stuffing.
Utilize your grill. If you’re running low on oven space, fire up the grill and use as a second oven or stovetop. Just please, make sure it remains outside the house.
Keep food warm. Pre-heat your serving dishes, utilize your slow cooker for things like mashed potatoes or dressing, and reheat sliced turkey in the oven with a ladleful of warm stock.
Serve dinner family-style or set up a buffet. Individual plating is just not realistic for Thanksgiving, and doesn’t fit spirit of the holiday in my opinion.
FATQs – Frequently Asked [Turkey] Questions
How early can I buy it? A frozen turkey can be purchased up to a year in advance. A fresh one should be picked up no more than two days before the big event.
How much do I buy? One pound per person, or a pound and a half per person if you’re counting on having leftovers
How do I defrost it? Allow one day for every four pounds of turkey (a 12-pound turkey will take three days to defrost, for example). Place the turkey on a large rimmed platter or in a bowl, and thaw in the refrigerator. It will defrost faster if you remove the neck and giblets from the cavity as soon as possible (you may need to defrost it for at least a day first before you can do this). Do not thaw your turkey at room temperature.
What if I need to cook two turkeys? Rather than roasting two separate birds, roast one (and use it as your centerpiece), while simultaneously roasting a tray of turkey parts on a separate rack underneath. (Here’s a recipe). The parts will cook up nice and quick, and are easy to carve.
How long do I cook it?
|Size of turkey||Approximate cook time at 350 degrees|
|9 to 11 pounds||2½ hours|
|12 to 14 pounds||3 hours|
|15 to 17 pounds||3½ hours|
|18 to 20 pounds||4 hours|
|21 to 23 pounds||4½ hours|
|24+ pounds||5+ hours|
How do I know when it’s done? When the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Your Last Minute Thanksgiving Timeline
Use this timeline, courtesy of The Kitchn, to make sure everything gets prepped, cooked, and served on time:
Take a deep breath; I have complete confidence in you! Remember, Thanksgiving is all about being grateful for the blessings in our lives. Even if you burn your casserole, forget the whipped cream, or drop some mashed potatoes on the floor, remember how much you did pull off, and most importantly, enjoy the company of the loved ones around you (who probably don’t care whether or not you burnt the casserole).
Sources: http://www.buzzfeed.com/alessiasantoro/thanksgiving-for-the-lazy, http://cooking.nytimes.com/thanksgiving/dinner-ideas-tips?em_pos=medium&emc=edit_ck_20151120&nl=cooking&nlid=72653682, http://www.thekitchn.com/a-last-minute-no-sweat-timeline-for-cooking-thanksgiving-dinner-225851, http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/2011/11/17/thanksgiving-disaster-kit, http://communitytable.parade.com/455307/pambeth/8-last-minute-thanksgiving-tips-from-me-to-you/, http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/entertaining/food-drink/home-bar-essentials-checklist
More than 3000 years ago, the first recipes were scratched in cuneiform on clay tablets in Mesopotamia. Tongue in cheek, I think of this moment as the first modern marketing of recipes.
I wonder who was the Betty Crocker of Babylonian cookery? …Do we all know Betty Crocker was a personality invented in the 1920s by General Mills to share recipes, cooking tips, and help promote their products? Let’s move on.
Originally, recipes promised better nutrition, better health, and more food for the community. Preserving meats, boiling nuts, and peeling vegetables might have made someone a veritable foodie in ancient days, but it also might have made them a doctor.
While early recipes usually lacked full ingredient lists, cooking times, and clearly written steps, these recipes were important because they provided great value.
My interest in recipes is not simple.
I’m in the business of marketing food products to people using recipes. I do business development for our application, Cookpanion, which helps people share recipes on Facebook.
When I went traveling for a few years, I built my networks through working on farms, our mealtimes, and through recipe sharing.
In my current residence, 10 neighbors and I have come together to try to make a cooking show/blog. We’re 4 shoots in, and hope to finish our pilot next week. No teaser yet :/ sorry.
For me, recipes are part of my everyday activity! And what I’ve found interesting, this is true for billions of other people.
Here are some beautiful quotes I’ve culled that express to me why RECIPES = LOVE = LIFE
Recipes as Tradition
Italians are famous for their food culture; their recipes are handed down from generation to generation and children cook alongside their nonnas, who express their love to their family in a dish. http://www.simplebites.net/why-and-how-you-should-create-a-healthy-food-culture-for-your-family/
In my life food is also strongly tied to traditions and to culture…. Now that I am a mother I find that preparing food with my daughter is one of my favorite things. I love that I can spend that time with her and mostly I enjoy sharing with her memories and traditions that are important to me through food. I am hopeful that food will help me keep my Latino culture alive in my children. http://growingupbilingual.com/2013/recipes/culture-through-food/
At that great moment of crisis, the Rabbis transferred the Temple in Jerusalem into the Jewish home, moving its rituals, personnel, sacred space, food, blessings and prayers to the family and the family Shabbat table. http://www.juf.org/news/thinking_torah.aspx?id=28094
Food is synonymous with family life. Traditional and ethnic family recipes are often at the top of lists demonstrating what is passed down through the generations, according to research.* http://blog.myheritage.com/2011/11/did-you-know-myheritage-recipes/
In her seventh book “The Way To Cook” Julia Child writes “Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.” Family recipes are a way of keeping our ancestry alive, as well as a part of ourselves. http://www.streetdirectory.com/food_editorials/cooking/recipes/the_power_of_food_and_the_importance_of_family_recipes.html
I have lived in many different places where I have made new friends, shared meals, and then recipes. I also have recipes from many familly members. These are not just recipes, they are also memories. Whenever I use a recipe, I think of the person who gave it to me and remember our times together. http://www.theidearoom.net/2012/12/do-you-share-recipes.html
Recipes As Memories of Shared Moments
Some of my favorite recipes for family gatherings and special occasions came from my grandmother. If food is love, then passing what you know about how to prepare it is passing on your love in way. http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/the-importance-of-handing-down-recipes/
Mine are from my grandmother who has now passed away. I make them often and take them to special events. I feel a connection to my grandmother because of them. http://www.theidearoom.net/2012/12/do-you-share-recipes.html
I never knew either of my grandmothers, both died before I was born. But thanks to my mom, while I may not know my grandmother’s voice, I know her fluid handwriting well and the type of recipes she wrote down. http://state-journal.com/cooking/2013/10/24/family-recipes-are-an-important-keepsake
The encounter got me thinking about the Holiday Season full of food and celebration. ALL of the wonderful recipes our family eats at this time of year come from someone else. They come from old college roommates, recipe books, grandmas, from friends and neighbors, and from wonderful blogs all over the internet. http://www.theidearoom.net/2012/12/do-you-share-recipes.html
I can not think of El Día de los Muertos without craving Fiambre and on Christmas I have to have my Ponche de Frutas and my tamales. I don’t care if it’s still in the 80’s here in Florida, my ponche is as much a part of my holiday as the Christmas tree. http://growingupbilingual.com/2013/recipes/culture-through-food/
- Returning home
“I love the thought that the recipes are the link to home.” http://www.theidearoom.net/2012/12/do-you-share-recipes.html
Over winter break, Wraight will cook her daughter’s favorite meals, including tortilla soup, butternut squash bisque, spaghetti and meatballs, and a baked casserole of chicken and stuffing that was Molly’s grandmother’s recipe. “It’s warm and hearty food, and what I remember from my childhood,’’ says Molly. http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2011/01/05/for_hungry_collegians_theres_no_place_like_home_for_the_holidays/
The other is my greatgrandmother’s recipe for a particular type of bar that… (t)raditionally, we only make it for people in the family (sons and husbands) who have been gone for a long time (our family are mainly farmers and military) and who are returning, as a welcoming back treat. I still make it for when my brother comes home on leave or back from a deployment. http://www.seriouseats.com/talk/2009/07/do-you-have-a-recipe-you-wont-share.html
The emotional pull of recipes and food is automatic in most of us. Two movie examples that show the range and have been long time favorites see Ratatoullie, and Like Water for Chocolate. But there is the other aspect of recipes that I alluded to in the beginning.
Good recipes can save lives. And this is something very important to me deep-down. Currently, I relate to Jamie Oliver around his Food Revolution. Many members of my family have had their lives greatly lengthened by changing their diets and habits.
Initially, it is difficult when you discover sugar-restriction, nut/shellfish/gluten allergies, or a doctor recommends a particular diet, regardless if it’s paleo, vegan, or balanced. No one is saying it’s easy. Obligatory plug, *but Cookpanion can make it easier*.
However, you soldier on, find what works for you, and you get back to making the most of your life. In my family, we spend some time each holiday season sharing the recipes that each person has discovered during the year. This makes sure we’re all included around the table. It also helps us take into account each person’s changing dietary, health, or personal needs.
Everyone deserves a nice meal during the holidays with the people they love. Sure, it may lack some ingredients, cooking times, and steps, but the value is strong. Share your recipes; share your love!
Additional Sources For Some Fun Recipe Reading:
- Food in the Internet Age, By William Aspray, George Royer, Melissa G. Ocepe
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. While some people cringe at the idea of spending four straight days in close quarters with their family, I find myself counting down the days until I get to head to the ‘burbs to reunite with the family for the long weekend. Wednesday night finds me and my mother feverishly cooking and baking (and sipping wine) into the wee hours of the morning. Thursday I awake (not too early) to the smell of boiling potatoes and the sound of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on TV. We continue the cooking marathon until it comes time to gather with close friends for the big event. Food and laugher abounds. We eat and drink and eat and drink some more, pausing only for our customary viewing of The Grinch (to welcome the holiday season, of course) and a few rounds of salad bowl. I’m in heaven.
This year, our Thanksgiving table will probably be the most accommodating diet-wise that it ever has been, as we’ll have die-hard carnivores alongside vegans, vegetarians, oil-free guests, and eco-friendly eaters. With more and more families facing similar challenges, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to provide some insight and inspiration aimed at satisfying every type of guest at your Thanksgiving feast.
If you’re going to have a meaty main on your Thanksgiving table, it better darn well be turkey. Below is a tried-and-true recipe that is guaranteed to be a hit. To console the environmentalist in the crowd, make sure to opt for a free-range, local heirloom turkey (it will taste better, too!). And for those who aren’t crazy about turkey (or have enough of a crowd coming that they want an additional protein), here is a beautiful glazed ham recipe. Note that both of these recipes are also gluten- and dairy-free.
I myself have been pescatarian for the better portion of my life and find that, with a veg-based entree option and plenty of side dishes (which there always are), Thanksgiving is easy and satisfying. I recently came across this hilariously brilliant “Vegducken” recipe that I will be including in this year’s feast in place of (or maybe in addition to) the classic Tofurkey. Pair with a satisfying vegetarian stuffing and you’re sure to please any meat-free guest. Also, be aware of recipes that have “hidden” carnivorous ingredients (chicken stock, bacon bits, etc) and, when possible, alter the recipe or make a portion of it veg so everyone can enjoy it.
The Gluten-Free Guest
With a staggering 29% of the adult population currently avoiding gluten, this is one potential accommodation worth paying attention to. Luckily, gluten-free products are everywhere today. For classic gluten-bearing dishes like stuffing, I recommend preparing a small portion with gluten-free bread, which can be found at many major grocery chains. You can also easily replace all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour in baked goods and gravies, and replace traditional dinner rolls with homemade gluten-free cornbread. It’s also courteous (and easy) to keep your protein free of gluten (see section 1: The Carnivore) and offer a variety of accommodating side dishes.
Don’t freak out if you have a vegan joining you for Thanksgiving–it will be ok. I’ve been test-driving veganism myself recently, and I’m feeling amazingly calm headed into the holidays. My biggest challenge has been replicating my mother’s dairy-laden mashed potatoes, but I’ve landed on a recipe that’s fantastic. I will be contributing a beautiful cashew milk cheese to the appetizer platter, subbing vegan butter into my favorite appetizers and desserts, and preparing a protein-rich quinoa dish loaded with squash, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. Doesn’t sound half bad, right? Just like I mentioned in the Vegetarian section, beware of unsuspecting non-vegan products like gelatin, non-organic cane sugar, and even wine.
The Low-Fat Foodie
Those who are watching their fat intake have every right to a fabulous Thanksgiving, and it’s easier than you may think to offer heart-healthy versions of some of our favorite holiday dishes. Serving a salad? Serve the dressing on the side and whip up an easy oil-free alternative. Roasting veggies with olive oil? Steam some instead for a fat-free option. Mashing potatoes? Reserve a portion and mash with fat-free sour cream and roasted garlic. You get the idea. It’s even possible to roast turkey without oil or butter. I’m not saying you have to do it all, but making a few changes here and there can really make a difference to the low-fat guests at the table.
The Eco-Friendly Eater
Greening up your Thanksgiving dinner is easier than it sounds. Shopping organic and using fresh veggies over canned ones is a great place to start, as commercial canning of vegetables uses the same amount of energy as 8.5 million refrigerators running for an entire year. Being mindful of disposable kitchen supplies is another easy way to stay eco-friendly. Break out the real china and glassware to cut back on waste, and consider using cloth napkins instead of paper. Encourage guests to bring reusable tupperware for leftovers, and use towels rather than paper towels to clean up (inevitable) messes in the kitchen.
Thanksgiving is all about being grateful, and cooking for people can be a pretty incredible way of showing gratitude and giving back. So think of the extra effort here as a gift to those you love, and serve a meal that everyone can enjoy equally. Cheers!
Sources: http://life.gaiam.com/article/6-ways-green-your-thanksgiving-dinner, http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/03/09/173840841/gluten-goodbye-one-third-of-americans-say-theyre-trying-to-shun-it, http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/overweight-obesity-statistics.aspx
November is upon us. The days are cooler (not to mention wetter), the sun is long gone by the time we step foot in our homes at the end of the day, and the holiday commercials are already in full swing. Luckily I’m still finding myself in the “oh this is so cozy and nice” mindset most of the time. I’m baking up pumpkiny treats on a biweekly basis, making good use of my Nexflix account, and enjoying listening to the pitter patter of rain outside my window.
Besides all the classically cozy aspects of fall, there is a whole bounty of delightful new Northwest produce that, if you don’t already have in your kitchen, you absolutely should. Here are six peak-season picks worth trying:
1. Asian Pears
Asian pears are those beautiful light golden, faintly dotted fruits that begin to show up in markets in the late summer months. They have the shape and crunch of an apple paired with the grainy texture and delicate sweetness of a pear. I love eating them all on their own, or sliced and paired with a little almond butter or a nice pungent cheese. They also make a wonderful addition to salads and slaws thanks to their firm texture. Finally, Asian pears work beautifully in many apple- and pear-friendly baked dishes, and tend to release even more sweet liquid than these neighboring fruits. Besides its awesome flavor and versatility, my favorite part about this fruit is its shelf life! Asian pears will happily sit in your crisper drawer for up to four weeks, or on your countertop for up to two weeks.
Not only do beets add a gorgeous pop of color to any dish, but they offer a delightfully nutty, mildly sweet flavor that pairs beautifully with other fall flavors. Plus they’re loaded with health benefits! This superfood is high in vitamins and minerals, plus it’s detoxifying, energy-boosting, and can even help your mental health. Try tossing peeled, cubed beets with a little olive oil and salt, then roasting until tender. Serve with a generous sprinkle of goat cheese, a handful of spicy greens, and some chopped hazelnuts. Perfection. Beets can also be enjoyed raw (grated into salads or sliced thin and sprinkled with sea salt) as well as boiled, steamed, pickled, or even puréed and used in baked goods.
Cranberries are another uber-healthy fall food that is packed with antioxidants and nutrients. The trick with this one is to not get carried away with the sugar that is so often needed to counteract the berry’s intense tartness. Dried cranberries make wonderful additions to baked goods (cakes, breads, muffins), salads (I’m obsessed with the cranberry / pumpkin seed / roasted squash combo), cereals and oatmeals. Fresh cranberries can be candied, turned into delicious juices and syrups, roasted and served alongside roast pork, turkey, or chicken, or simmered into sauces and jellies. Cranberries can also be used to make some fabulous cocktails (freeze a few extra and use as festive ice cubes in said cocktail to up your game even further).
Most of us have experience with the more commonplace mushroom types (button, portobello, crimini), but this time of year you’re likely to encounter all kinds of strange and beautiful varieties, each of which lends itself to different cooking methods. Portobellos, for example, are thick and hearty; they make excellent meat substitutes and are great for grilling. Hen of the wood mushrooms, on the other hand, are delicate and feathery, and will benefit from just a light sauté with butter, shallots, and thyme. Which reminds me, if you haven’t tried sautéed mushrooms over buttered toast, you must go try this immediately. You can also enjoy mushrooms raw, roasted, stir fried, stuffed, or even breaded and fried. The sky’s the limit.
Radishes are those crisp, peppery, bright pink bulbs that you have probably seen at the farmers market, or found thinly sliced atop salads or tacos. These gorgeous little root vegetables make great snacks, and are perfect for dipping in creamy hummus or fresh ricotta drizzled with a little olive oil. They’re also great in salads (both green and mayo-based), on sandwiches (try pairing with goat cheese, mashed avocado, and crisp sugar snap peas!), or atop appetizers (crostini with pesto and thinly sliced radishes = heaven). But what most people don’t realize is you can actually make delicious cooked radishes, too. Simply roasting them with butter makes for a divine side dish, while grilling them or baking them into crispy chips are both equally tasty methods.
Although often confused with turnips, rutabaga is actually a direct cross between turnips and cabbage, and has a sweet, starchy, just mildly bitter flesh. While it can be enjoyed raw (sliced thin and used as crudités or grated into salads), it really shines when it’s cooked. Roasting, sautéing, or baking the root veggie yields a nutty, sweet-savory flavor that pairs beautifully with other warm, smokey, earthy flavors (think chipotle, nutmeg, kale, Italian sausage…). You can also use rutabaga pretty much anywhere you would use potatoes: mashed, in gratins, for french fries, or added to soups and stews.
Alright my friends, you should now be equipped to prepare some truly fabulous fall dishes. Enjoy!!
Sources: http://www.finecooking.com/item/5044/asian-pears, https://www.jamesbeard.org/sites/default/files/blog/additional/AsianPear.jpg, http://www.vegetariantimes.com/article/1-food-5-ways-beets/, http://www.fullcircle.com/goodfoodlife/2012/05/10/6-health-benefits-of-eating-beets/, http://www.thekitchn.com/all-about-beets-97160, http://firstdescents.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/beets1.jpg, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/269142.php, http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/article/10-things-to-do-with-fresh-cranberries, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/45/Cranberries20101210.jpg, http://www.vegkitchen.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Mushroom-varieties.jpg, http://www.myrecipes.com/how-to/7-ways-with/ways-to-cook-with-mushroom, http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-mushrooms-on-the-stove-top-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-63191, http://www.wikihow.com/Cook-with-Mushrooms, http://www.redonline.co.uk/food/recipes/gordon-ramsay-s-baked-courgette-wild-mushroom-risotto, http://medicaltreasure.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Rutabaga.jpg, http://foodfacts.mercola.com/rutabaga.html, http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/popular-ingredients/radish-recipes/radishes-creamy-ricotta, https://thelocalharvest.ca/product-category/vegetables/
1. El Dazzle Halloween and Winter Beer Release Party
Friday October 30th, 6 pm
Tickets: $15 for adults, free for kids
Location: Hale’s Palladium, 4301 Leary Way NW, Seattle (Fremont)
What To Expect: “Creme Tangerine rocks out with some Beatles tunes, while you enjoy the release of Hale’s winter ales, and your kids enjoy pumpkin carving and a costume party.” Music from 8-11 p.m.
Friday October 30th, 7 pm
Tickets: Free w/ RSVP
Location: WeWork, 500 Yale Ave N, First Floor, Seattle (South Lake Union)
What To Expect: “This circus-themed party (Official Closing Party for Seattle Startup Week) might just turn into a genuine circus of insanity, because it’s free AND there’s an open bar provided by LUCID…just RSVP to secure your spot. Come in costume and enjoy music by Integral DJs.”
Saturday October 31st, 4 pm
Location: Poco Wine + Spirits, 1408 E Pine St, Seattle (Capitol Hill)
What To Expect: “Special Halloween ‘spirits’ and films. POCO bartenders will be crafting special themed drinks for the night.”
4. Dia de Muertos
Saturday October 31st, 4:30 pm
Location: Mezcaleria Oaxaca, 422 E Pine St, Seattle (Capitol Hill)
What To Expect: “Known in the salsa dancing social community, DJ Yambu (Cesar Sanchez)’s vinyl collection represents a broad taste of music, from Latin to mainstream. Mezcaleria Oaxaca will be debuting its new fall/winter cocktail selections, and the evening will feature a Hornitos cocktail specially priced and handcrafted by the Mezcaleria mixologists.”
5. Booktoberfest: ‘Ales from the Crypt: Spooky Stories ‘n Suds
Saturday October 31st, 6:30 pm
Location: Brouwer’s Cafe, 400 N 35th St, Seattle (Fremont)
What To Expect: “Sit around and listen to scary stories about beer. While drinking beer! Hear ‘chilling tales of the macabre consequences of bragging under the influence, and of the grim and ghastly fate that awaits those who chug spoiled beer.'”
Through October 31st
Location: Ghostfish Brewing Company, 2942 First Ave S, Seattle (SODO)
What To Expect: “Pumpkin carving not your thing? What about pumpkin sharpie-ing? Head to Ghostfish from Oct 27-30 to do so, where they’ll provide all the supplies. Come back at 3 pm on Halloween to vote for the winner, enter the costume contest, and drink special Halloween drinks.”
7. Halloween Hangover Brunch at Linda’s
Sunday November 1st
Location: Linda’s Tavern, 707 E Pine St, Seattle (Capitol Hill)
What To Expect: “If you show up to Linda’s on the Sunday after Halloween still in costume, you’ll get 20% off your tab. ‘A Sunday morning walk of shame never tasted so good.'”
Sources: https://www.thestranger.com/events/food, http://halesbrewery.com/index.php?id=23, http://halloween.wework.com/Seattle, http://www.pocowineandspirits.com/?blog_post=halloween-spirits-at-poco, http://us9.campaign-archive1.com/?u=07b04e0bd2c985891c3afcd1b&id=5f3b5c56ab&e=edabb1a73c
If you publish and share recipes as often as we do (or even half that), you’ve probably found yourself wondering what makes a good recipe great. Whether you’re a business trying to spark fan engagement, or a home cook trying to preserve a fantastic recipe you scribbled down on a napkin, use this checklist to ensure you’re producing top-notch recipes that are ultra-usable and will live on to be cherished forever.
☐ A Beautiful Recipe Image
You don’t need to be a professional photographer to produce great food photography. Check out our guide to DIY recipe photography for simple tips (think lighting, camera angle, props…) that can help make your dish look just as good as it tastes. Food Network also has a great food photography guide worth peaking at.
☐ Description & Notes
A brief but well-crafted description of your dish will not only entice other cooks to give your recipe a go, but provides a great opportunity to point out less-obvious details about your recipe. Think prep methods (a mandoline may be preferable to a knife), ingredients (need to visit a specialty store to find something?), serving details (maybe your recipe makes 8 appetizer servings but only 4 entree servings)…you get the idea.
☐ Recipe Source
This is a biggie, especially in the world of online recipe publishing. Make sure you always credit the original recipe source, whether that’s a website, an individual, a cookbook, or one of many more source types. Here’s an interesting read on recipe copyright, specifically as it pertains to online sharing.
☐ Recipe Time
I’ve been shocked over the years at how many recipes neglect to state how long you’ll be in the kitchen. Giving an overall time estimate is immensely helpful for people like me who are bouncing all over the place and need to know if a recipe can be completed in 30 minutes versus two hours. Dividing the total time into prep time and cook time wins you bonus points.
Ever finish cooking a dish and realize you have enough food to feed a small village? Or have the opposite experience, and end up with barely enough food for one? Providing an accurate serving count can solve these problems. Note any possible exceptions in the recipe description or notes area.
Forgive me for getting real elementary here, but let’s review the basics: each ingredient in your recipe should have a quantity (“2”), a measurement (“tablespoons”), a name (“butter”), and any necessary pre-preparation instructions (“melted”), listed in that order (“2 tablespoons butter, melted”). Make sure to keep your measurements consistent (don’t switch between metric and imperial, for example), and be as specific as possible.
Make sure to break your recipe down into digestible steps, and write clearly and concisely. If you’re using our app to publish your recipes, you’ll notice we lay steps and ingredients out side-by-side to make the recipe as clear and kitchen-friendly as possible. If you’re not doing this, make sure to note when ingredients are being split between steps.
☐ Bonus: Recipe Categories or Tags
Now more than ever, recipe tags like “gluten-free” or “vegetarian” are key in quickly allowing users to identify which recipes will be relevant for them. It’s also handy to identify the course or dish (“breakfast”), cuisine type (“Mexican”), associated occasions (“Game Day”), or even taste (“spicy”).
There you have it! Even for the pros out there, it’s always a good idea to review the basics and make sure your recipe content is the highest quality possible. Feel free to check out our recipe publishing tools if you need a place to start, and remember to have fun with it! Until next week, folks!
All Hallows’ Eve is just around the corner and if you’re anything like me, you’re counting down the days to your big Halloween bash not because you have a killer costume to show off, or a truly terrifying basement-turned-haunted house, but because you just can’t wait to concoct some eery edible treats!
Below are 18 recipes that are sure to wow any Halloween party-goer. Some are cute, others creepy, and a few downright frightening. Offer a mix of sweet and savory dishes, and don’t forget something to wash it all down with!
Let the Halloween cooking commence!
15. Egg Eyeballs
16. Hot Dog Mummies
18. Halloween Punch
Did you have any idea how many crazy Halloween concoctions are possible?! Have fun here. Don’t try and do it all, but also don’t limit yourself! Get creative in the kitchen, and your Halloween party is sure to be the talk of the town.
We are fortunate to have many wonderful brands and businesses using Cookpanion to publish recipes on their Facebook pages, but today I wanted to shine some light on a few of our local recipe publishers. Our Seattle Cookpanion Pros range from restaurant groups to television programs to truffle experts, each of whom has brought a unique perspective and a beautiful collection of recipes to the Cookpanion community. Here we’ll take a behind-the-scenes peak at five of these Seattle Pros, and highlight a few of their recipes that we just can’t get enough of.
Who They Are
With three restaurants, two food trucks, a catering biz, and a line of tasty Bacon Jams, Skillet has become a recognized and beloved name throughout Seattle since their start in 2007. The group is known for serving highest-quality, locally inspired diner fare in a laid-back setting. While their restaurants and food trucks are unique to Seattle, Skillet now sells their Bacon Jam in stores across the country. Since joining forces with us in 2014, they’ve used the Cookpanion app to publish and share dozens of recipes with their 18,000+ Facebook fans. We’ve loved working with this down-to-earth group and can’t wait to see what they cook up next!
Skillet’s Bacon Jam Boom
“We had truly just begun selling bacon jam [and] our volume was low — maybe 50 or 100 jars in a month. It was Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving that we received a phone call to let us know that our bacon jam was going to be listed as part of Martha Stewart’s recommended holiday food gift list. We had no idea what that meant although we thought it was good.
And it was good, but we were so unprepared to respond to the volume of orders, [which] started flowing in at the rate of 100 to 200 PER DAY! We didn’t have that many jars or labels. We didn’t have anywhere near the quantity of bacon or other ingredients. We didn’t have enough people to stir the pot or manually fill the jars or pack the finished product in boxes. We didn’t have a UPS account to ship so we bought a lot of stamps. It was crazy.
We survived that holiday season (somehow), and [the experience] showed us that we had a product that people loved. In retrospect, these tales become legendary. But having been there, it’s a bit embarrassing to realize how young we were as a company at that time. But I guess that’s the point of knowledge gained from experience. It always comes one lap too late to handle the first instance.” -Greg Petrillo, CFO
Who They Are
New Day Northwest, KING5’s notable daytime talk 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. New Day began using Cookpanion in March 2015 to accommodate this growing collection of recipes. On their Recipes tab, page visitors can find 630+ recipes as well as seasonal collections, food-related articles, themed menus, and recipe contests. Their 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.
60 Seconds with Margaret Larson
We were able to steal host Margaret Larson for a quick Q and A. Here’s what we learned!
Favorite foods: Dark chocolate and Chicken Tikka Masala
Favorite Seattle restaurant: Dahlia Lounge
Favorite food as a kid: Pizza
Celebrity chef crush: Sharone Hakman
Little Known Fact: Larson has won four Emmy awards in the category of broadcast journalism. You go, girl!
Who They Are
Stockbox is a neighborhood grocery store located in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood. The business actually began as a graduate project at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute in 2010, and has grown into a thriving Seattle food hub that goes beyond the typical grocery store: “We are working to build a network of stores that are the hub for fresh food, community connections, engaging experiences, and innovation in grocery” (stockboxgrocers.com). Stockbox has been a fantastic Cookpanion partner, publishing beautiful peak-season recipes on their Recipes tab.
Meet the Stockbox Team
“Our team has pretty diverse hobbies – one team member who designs costumes, another who is crazy about growing plants, another who knows the best spots in the city to play basketball, and another who enjoys playing music in a punk band.” –Kate Bandzmer, Marketing manager
Stockbox Staff Pick
“For an easy, filling, thirst-quenching snack my go-to is the Honeycrisp apples. I had one in my gym bag the other day that was close to a week old, but I was super hungry so I ate it. It was still the best apple I’ve had yet this season, because it retained all that flavor and juiciness. But right now I’m also into kale-melon-pear smoothies with soy milk, so I’m always picking up those ingredients at Stockbox.” –Kate Bandzmer, Marketing manager
Who They Are
Truffle Dog Company offers a variety of services and goods centered around truffles (the subterranean variety, not the chocolates!), including professional and recreational truffle dog training, harvesting services for orchards, consultation services, and truffles available for purchase. They are knowledgeable about this unique culinary gem, and are experts when it comes to training man’s best friend to harvest them! Truffle Dog Co has been a fabulous local partner that we’ve been lucky to work closely with. They have provided invaluable feedback that has helped us significantly improve our app, not to mention they publish some darn tasty recipes!
What the heck is a truffle??
“Truffles are the fruiting bodies (spore-bearing mechanisms) of underground mushrooms. The actual fungus from which the truffles grow are formed by an underground network of mycelium in a symbiotic relationship with a host plant. This mutually beneficial arrangement occurs when the fungal mycelium and the root cells of the plant grow together to create mycorrhizae. The plant provides sugars to the fungus through photosynthesis, and the fungus provides the plant with minerals, water, and other nutrients from the soil that it could not get by itself.” (truffledogcompany.com)
Why use dogs for harvesting?
“Why not, we say! Properly utilizing dogs (or pigs) for locating truffles is more gentle on the environment (and we think more fun!). Unripe truffles lack odor, and therefore don’t have much culinary value. Using dogs allows us to find only the ripe truffles with their amazing aromatics, thus preserving and ensuring optimum culinary value. Dogs also pinpoint the location of ripe truffles and thus less of the environment and fragile duff layer of the soil is disturbed when collecting.” (truffledogcompany.com)
Who They Are
TaylorMade Meals & Catering is a young Seattle business founded by Janna Taylor, a nutritionist and Bastyr University graduate who is passionate about healthy home cooked food. We first met Janna at the Queen Anne Farmers Market a few months back and were taken with her bubbly personality and excitement surrounding all things food. She describes her concept as “mama’s home cooked meals, but delivered to your door and healthier,” and offers delivery and catering services for both individual and corporate clients.
We got the chance to throw some questions Janna’s way and here’s what she had to share:
[Q] What’s your favorite kitchen gadget?
[A] Hands down my wooden reamer. A reamer is used to juice citrus fruits like lemons, limes or oranges. Fresh lime/lemon juice is far superior to its bottled counterpart and adds brightness to any dish. A reamer is small, efficient and less than $5. I use it with every meal I make.
[Q] What was your biggest “oops” moment in the kitchen?
[A] I was prepping homemade jambalaya for well over 200 people, and realized my knife was getting a little dull, so I honed it to get a better edge on it. Not 30 seconds back in to dicing [peppers], I cut myself….really bad. I went to the hospital and 2 hours later I was leaving with 5 shining new stitches in my pointer finger. Thank goodness the jambalaya event wasn’t for another two days!
[Q] Any obscure foods or restaurants that you love?
[A] I’ll take a raw oyster over a cooked one, any day of the week. [My] favorite places for raw oysters [are] Ballard Annex, The Walrus and the Carpenter, and Taylor Shellfish Farm.
[Q] What’s your biggest “guilty pleasure” food?
[A] I love bread and butter. With all the hype about gluten-free being healthy, sometimes I hide my bread love from people out of fear of judgment. But there’s no stopping it! I even make my own bread from scratch and churn my own butter.
[Q] Any little-known facts about you or your business?
[A] Everything I cook with is made from scratch. Butters, ketchup, mayo, mustard, salad dressings, marinades, stocks, sauces, pickles, jams, yogurt, the list goes on and on. When I moved into my house my partner had to build me another pantry just for my homemade condiments!
We adore each and every one of our Cookpanion Pros, and as you can see, each one really has a unique story to tell. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about the folks behind the magic. Now go enjoy cooking up some of their fabulous recipes!
Check in next Tuesday for our next post, and until then, happy cooking!
While the sun-kissed days of summer may be behind us, many of Seattle’s farmers markets are still in full swing, and are bursting with beautiful fall produce and all sorts of other treasures. I took the liberty of visiting these markets one-by-one to check out the goods, and here’s what I found.
Location: University Way NE (the “Ave”) between 50th & 52nd
Hours: Saturdays 9-2
What stood out: Appel Farms, a family-run dairy farm in Ferndale, Washington, had an impressive lineup of tasty handmade cheeses, with flavors ranging from jalapeño gouda to Greek olive feta to bacon cheddar!
Tip: This is a sizable market with tons and tons of beautiful produce. Take a lap before deciding which booth to buy from! Also, if you’re planning on stopping for lunch (or even if you’re not), stop for a naan at Tandoozy. Just trust me on this one.
Location: Broadway Ave E & E Pine St
Hours: Sundays 11-3
What stood out: As a Cap Hill resident and regular market-goer, it’s hard to play favorites with this one, but I will say that the Malus Ginger Beer I tasted for the first time last week was phenomenal, and the folks serving it were just as lovely. Steel Wheel Farm and El Chito (delicious tamales) are other favorites.
Tip: If you’re there on a nice day, pick up picnic makings (fresh fruit, bread, cheese…even wine and smoked salmon can be found!) and walk a block east to Cal Anderson park to enjoy your goodies!
Location: California Ave SW & SW Alaska, in the heart of the West Seattle Junction
Hours: Sundays 10-2
What stood out: Growing Washington has a great selection of produce. I also know several folks who are part of their Food Box delivery program and love it. For prepared food, I highly recommend trying a toasty empanada at Pampeana. I went for the Spinach & Cheese variety and it was dreamy.
Tip: This is a fairly small market; if you have time to kill after making your way through the vendor booths, take a stroll along California Avenue. Pop into Pegasus Book Exchange, grab a pastry at Bakery Nouveau, or browse vinyl at Easy Street Records.
Location: Ballard Avenue NW, between Vernon Place NW and 22nd Avenue NW
Hours: Sundays 10-3
What stood out: It was fascinating talking with the folks at Farmbox Greens, who have taken on the complex challenge of vertical urban farming. Their gorgeous microgreens are delicate and delicious, and there is much to learn from the knowledgable owner!
Tip: While you’re in Ballard, take a tour of the many breweries nearby. NW Peaks Brewery, Lucky Envelope Brewing, and Stoup Brewing are all worth a visit.
Bonus: Vashon Island Farmers Market
Although this market is a ferry ride away from the city, I’d highly recommend stopping by if you’re ever on the island, or are looking for a fun day trip. Also note that this market stops running between December and April.
Location: 17519 Vashon Highway SW
Hours: Saturdays 10-2 (April through December) plus Wednesdays 3-6 (June-September)
What stood out: Perhaps my favorite sample of the day (and there were many) was provided by Seattle Canning Co. Their Tomato Relish and Spicy Eggplant Kasundi (chutney) are both to die for.
Tip: Bring the little ones! This is a super kid-friendly market, with face painting, live music, and plenty of space to spread a blanket out on the grass!
As you can see, Seattle’s farmers market scene is still bustling, even with the weather turning colder. Enjoy exploring the bounty our beautiful region has to offer, and take the time to meet the people behind the magic! The farmers, cooks, craftsmen, and business owners behind the booths LOVE sharing their story!
Look out for next week’s post, and until then, happy cooking!
With nearly 1.5 million mobile apps in the Apple app store alone, one could say the market is just a little saturated. Among all this noise, how’s a consumer supposed to know which ones are worth while? Hopefully this post will help! We all know recipe apps are wildly popular (watch out for ours, set to launch this winter!), but here we’ll shine some light on a few lesser-known products that solve problems faced by foodies everywhere. Enjoy!
For the gluten-free, lactose-free, meat-free or otherwise restricted foodie, this app is a real gem. Just set your dietary preferences, scan a product barcode, and see if you should chow down or steer clear. Although the library of recognized products could be expanded upon (and to my knowledge, it’s growing all the time!), this app has real potential.
Free, Available for iOS & Android
Mobile food is all the rage right now, but it can be hard to keep track of where all those trucks are stationed! Roaming Hunger attempts to solve this problem by listing/mapping the mobile food offerings nearest to you. The app provides detailed information on each vendor, and also lets you book food trucks directly for events and parties.
Free, Available for iOS & Android
Ok, this one is really cool. Instead of waiting in line at a busy restaurant, just check in using the app, and show up when your table is ready! For restaurants, the app also provides a complete front-of-house management tool that can help staff manage waitlists, reservations, server rotation, and more.
Free, Available for iOS & Android
If the thought of grocery shopping makes you want to curl up in a corner, this is the app for you. Instacart is a grocery delivery app that lets you select a nearby store, fill up your virtual cart, and sit back and relax while your groceries are selected, transported, and unloaded for you. The first delivery is free, and following deliveries begin at $3.99 (which I justify by the fact that bus fare alone costs $2.75 one-way here in Seattle).
Free, Available for iOS & Android
Us Seattleites love our seafood (and we’re definitely not alone), but there has been growing concern and publicity regarding the sustainability of many of our favorite ocean eats. Seafood Watch, created by the Monterey Bay Aquarium (to whom I give major props, by the way), offers a guide to sustainable seafood, informing the consumer as to which restaurants, seafood picks, and sushi selections are your best ocean-friendly bets.
Free, Available for iOS & Android
Auguste Escoffier was a French chef famous for popularizing and updating traditional French cooking methods. The Escoffier Cook’s Companion app is a great resource for any home cook (think obscure ingredient explanations and a complete kitchen glossary…), and contains many of the tools so often needed in the kitchen (converter, timer, etc).
Free, Available for iOS
I was trying to keep this list composed of only free apps, but I just had to include this one. I so often find myself in need of an ingredient substitution when, say, I don’t have a third egg on hand, or I’m looking to lighten up a butter-laden recipe. This app contains a comprehensive list of all your ingredient substitution options, so you’ll always be able to make it work.
$2.99, Available for iOS
Take a peak at some of the above recommendations and let us know what you think! We’re always on the lookout for snazzy new food tech!
Check in next Tuesday for our next post, and until then, happy cooking!