Turn your Grocery List into Santa’s List!

Sarabeth preserves

Give the gift of Brunch! Love these Sarabeth preserves!

Every year, I feel like my holiday to-do list keeps getting longer. Between baking holiday treats, visiting with friends and family, packing for my trip home, and buying gifts, I find that December just flies by!

This year I realized I could add a lot of gifts to my grocery list. After all, grocery shopping is perfect for the food and drink lovers on your list!  Here are some of my ideas:

chocolate

Wrap these delicious PB&J chocolate bars in scrapbook paper for a festive stocking stuffer!

For a Stocking Stuffer Idea: Take a chocolate bar (our PB&J dark chocolate bars are fantastic!) and wrap it in scrapbook paper for a festive touch!

For the budding foodie: Teach kids to grow their own food with the Back to the Roots mushroom garden.  In just a couple of weeks, they’ll have their own pearl oyster mushrooms to enjoy.

Then I decided to ask the people who know our products best – my co-workers. From sweets to beer and everything in between, they came up with a lot of ideas that will surely satisfy anyone on your gift list!… 

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Serve with a Side of Friends

Sides Party

The Turkey Party filled with Sides

For close to a decade, my dear friends Toph and Josslynne Welch open their home every November and host a pre-Thanksgiving potluck. The premise is simple: the hosts cook the turkey (plus some appetizers, a few sides, a couple desserts…) and the guests bring everything else. Josslynne says, “New York is a transient city, we created this party almost 10 years ago when we realized all of our friends scattered for the holidays; it is a wonderful opportunity to gather around a table to share the food and the people we love before the holiday crunch.”

This annual event, affectionately known as The Turkey Party, occupies a most-revered spot on my social calendar. It is a chance for friends to come together, celebrate the advent of the holidays and, best of all, feed each other delicious food.

In the early years, we stuck pretty closely to standard Thanksgiving fare and family recipes, impressing each other (and ourselves) with our burgeoning dinner party skills. Now that we’re older, wiser and much more comfortable in the kitchen, the Turkey Party has become a great excuse to try a new recipe or reinvent a family classic. Our hosts generously encourage us to try new things, “We want the flavors of each dish to be reminiscent of something mom made, but nothing you’ll find at her table three weeks later when the real deal rolls around.”… 

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Seasonal Dishes by Chef Donatella Arpaia

Roasted Veg

Roasted Root Vegetables

With November upon us, our thoughts quickly turn to the upcoming holiday season (especially Thanksgiving!)

Celebrity Chef, Restauranteur, brand new mom (of a 1 month old baby boy!), and frequent Iron Chef America/The Next Iron Chef judge Donatella Arpaia knows a thing or two about entertaining.

So we were excited when she sent us these two seasonal recipes. They’re great for casual or formal get-togethers.

The aromatic soup is perfect for chilly evenings. The blend of cloves, star anise and peppercorns, perfectly fragrances the butternut squash. The roasted root vegetables is simple and quick. It also represents Fall produce at its best…. 

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5 Easy Fall Recipes

Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes are one of my go-to, easy-to-make Autumn dishes.

I love Autumn. The leaves turn from green to brilliant shades of yellow, red and orange. The weather is cooler. And I can happily turn on the oven to make hearty dishes my family will enjoy.

From rich squashes to crisp apples and savory sausages, Fall’s bounty fills my home with warm, welcoming scents.

Usually I like to keep dinner dishes simple and just roast chicken along with root vegetables (like potatoes, butternut squashes, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.) in the oven. It’s so easy to toss the chopped vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and a few herbs (rosemary, Herbes de Provence, and oregano are some of my favorites) and then roast them in the oven…. 

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Apple Juice in Your Pancakes?

Red Jacket Orchards apples

Apples are a healthy substitute for ingredients in dishes like pancakes and omelets.

Did you know there are plenty of places you can use apples, apple juice and apple sauce instead of other ingredients?

From pancakes to baked goods, apples and apple-related products have been used to replace fattier ingredients without sacrificing taste…. 

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Late Summer Cooking Inspiration from Chef Tina Bourbeau

cherries

Stone fruits, like cherries, pair well with cheese. They can also be cooked down in red wine and served with your favorite meats.

Ever run out of ideas on what to make for dinner? Late summer is the best time of year for light and delicious seasonal treats.

“There are more choices right now than during any other season,” says FreshDirect Chef Tina Bourbeau. Below are some easy ideas to get you going in the right direction. Rule of thumb: “It’s hard to go wrong with your favorite cheese and your favorite stone fruit,” she says.

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Six Quick Ideas for Peak-Season Berries

Having grown up in Oregon, a state famous for its prodigious berry selection, I learned early on that the best thing you can do with a berry is to (drum roll) just. eat. it. However, that would make this blog post rather uninspiring, so…

Fresh Strawberries

Fresh Strawberries

Most folks showcase berries’ goodness in muffins, cobbler and pie, but I’ll be honest with you — I don’t really do a whole lot of baking with fresh summer berries. Peak-season berries are pretty much perfection as they are and, honestly, the last thing I’m thinking about doing on an 80°-plus day is turning on my oven.

Besides, baking is just NOT my strong point (you could do serious damage with good aim and one of my cakes), so I’m always interested in tips that don’t require careful measurement and a gentle touch…. 

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Two Perfect Picnic Dips

Yes, I’m still talking about bean dips… I can’t help it.

White Bean & Caramelized Onion Dip

White Bean & Caramelized Onion Dip

Picnic season is upon us and bean dips make an excellent addition to the blanket — they’re easy to make, are best served at room temperature and can be taken pretty much anywhere since they don’t rely on mayonnaise for a rich, creamy texture.

Even better? These two tasty dips easily double as spreads for al fresco sandwich-making. The white bean dip is fantastic on crusty sourdough with marinated artichokes and roasted peppers; the green pea dip is divine with ham on pumpernickel…. 

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How I Fell in Love with Fennel

I can still remember my first taste of raw fennel.

Fennel

Fennel

I had yet to reach the age of happily consuming vegetables (and broccoli only served to amuse me with its tree-like appearance), but here was a crunchy vegetable that looked a little like celery and… TASTED A LOT LIKE CANDY! One crisp, licorice-scented bite and I was hooked.

Once I started cooking on regular basis, my childhood appreciation of fennel’s sweet flavor developed into a deep, abiding love.

It might seem silly to declare my devotion to foeniculum vulgare, but I find fennel to be such an engaging ingredient. This singular vegetable develops a variety of characteristics based on different preparations, and it brings its distinct flavor to whatever I’m preparing.

Since fennel offers a hint of spring before most of the real spring vegetables arrive, now’s a great time to experiment with a few tasty ideas… both raw and cooked. … 

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14 Ways to Love Citrus

I’ve always been struck by the perfect timing of the peak citrus season.

Red Grapefruit

Click for grapefruit and more

Just when the bitter cold winter months are this close to getting me down, FreshDirect gets shipments of zesty oranges, tangerines and grapefruit.

As I break open a citrus peel and revel in the bright floral, almost piney scent, I am virtually transported to a sunny locale (insert mindless hula humming here).

These dazzling fruit can (and should) be enjoyed just as they are, but there plenty of other ways to use citrus’ unmistakable flavors and aromas in baking or cooking. Here are 14 of my favorite fast uses. … 

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