HOW-TO

FIRST COURSE
Hanukkah 2014: Simple Potato Latkes with Sweet Paprika

Hanukkah certainly brings one delicious dish to mind--potato latkes! These simple savory pancakes are not only a staple for the Jewish holiday, they are also the perfect appetizer for any occasion. Many people see potato latkes as tedious and time consuming, but let us be the first to tell you there is no need to be intimidated at all. Think of it as quick workout with the grater, and once you have the potato peeling and onions all done, you're 90% through the battle. These traditional potato latkes are even better when a little sweet paprika is added to the mix! Serve these comforting morsels with the traditional applesauce and sour cream or be a little adventurous and use whole milk Greek Yogurt, which gives a perfect cool and creamy contrast to these sizzling potato pancakes.

FIRST COURSE
How-to Make a Week of Lunches with One Trip to the Farmers Market


















If you only had to shop once a week for 7 days worth of lunches, would you do it? All it took was $25 and a trip to the farmers market in Union Square to produce these five simple recipes that celebrate seasonal ingredients. Now you can use the money you saved on lunch for a much deserved happy hour!

FIRST COURSE
Homemade Crispy “Cheddar” Kale Chips


Turn your favorite superfood into an addictive and “cheesy” batch of healthy kale chips! We all know the abundance of health benefits that come from incorporating kale into our diets. From supporting healthy eyesight, to weight management, to heart health, kale provides us with a tremendous amount of vitamins and nutrients and is a no brainer for improving our well-being. Turning a bunch of fresh kale into kale chips seals in all of the nutritional value, while giving you a light flavor-packed snack that you can go to town on and not feel the slightest bit of guilt. This vegan recipe for “cheddar” kale chips uses a combination of roasted red peppers, cashews, and nutritional yeast, along with many other bold spices to give you that cheesy flavor we all crave in an inventive healthy way.

FIRST COURSE /home/skydata/media/blog/blog_article/27149/images/150x92/url.jpg
Gingerbread: Youtube's Cutest and Most Creative Cookies

Have a look at the gingerbread "mice and men," women, and children, as well as some of their not-so-humble abodes as Youtube's holiday baking videos begin going viral once again this season.

First thing's first, you have to get the basics down:

Fifteen minutes of gingerbread vlogging -- from a wacky Walmart expedition to winter wonderland houses:

Another take -- only nine minutes long this time!

Gingerbread Lattes are the specialty of the "house!"

Mickey & Minnie mouse are in the (gingerbread) house!

We love a double whammy: gingerbread + ice cream, FTW.

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FIRST COURSE
Stay Warm With Hot Chocolates From Around the World

Hot chocolate has always been the favored warm treat for the cold winter temps. Whether it’s an elaborate frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity or a good old-fashioned mug of Swiss Miss, you’ll always feel that sense of comfort when drinking hot chocolate. Not only is it creamy and rich but also it’s full of antioxidants, even more so than wine or tea! The secret to a perfect hot chocolate is a little half and half, quality cocoa powder, and chocolate with at least 60% cacao solids. Let’s take a little trip around the world with five hot chocolate styles representing India, Italy, Mexico, Paris and China. Once you have the right ingredients you can make gourmet quality hot chocolate right at home!

FIRST COURSE
What Do Those Buzzwords On Your Menu Even Mean?

You want to eat responsibly, but reducing your carbon footprint isn't always so easy when the food industry has a revolving door of buzzwords that confuse and elude diners. While nutritional facts and purveyor lists are a welcomed sight on menus, even the most experienced diner and self-proclaimed foodie might find themselves wondering what exactly all these words really mean.

Before you find yourself tangled in a word jumble of heritage breeds, heirloom varietals, sustainably sourced and foraged foods, take a minute to brush up on some prime vocabulary.

This simple guide will explain some of the common food industry buzzwords so restaurant patrons will know what they are paying for or are not paying for when they dine out.

  1. Organic: Of course, organic brings about that warm and fuzzy feeling. If it is organic it must be good, right? Really, something is organic if it complies with government sanctioned regulations. In the U.S., this means no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, no hormones or antibiotics, no GMO and absolutely no irradiation have touched your food. But, it does mean other fertilizers and pesticides may have been in contact with your favorite after work snack.
  2. Local: How local is local you ask? Well, that depends. According to Greenopedia, strict locavores only consider food grown within 100 miles of its final resting place on a plate to be “local." However, 400 miles is the more generous and common maximum distance food can travel from farm to table to still be considered locally grown or raised.
  3. Sustainable: In order for a food item to be sustainable, it must have the ability to maintain and reproduce without without damaging the surrounding ecology, economy, political environment or cultures. In the food world this means, that sustainable fish you chose for dinner last night may be or may not have been raised on a fish farm, but it will not be responsible for the collapse of world fish stocks.
  4. Heritage: According to The Livestock Conservancy, heritage breeds are a relic of the pre- industrial agriculture days. What exactly makes a particular breed of cow, chicken or pig heritage today is still being defined, but we do know that heritage breeds are animals with unique genetics that are helping to keep the biodiversity of the livestock industry growing.
  5. Heirloom: Much like your family heirlooms, heirloom varietals come from seed species that are very old. These are not your fruits and vegetables grown on large-scale industrial farms. Instead these plants often produce food that looks less uniform than the conventional, but are sought out for their flavor and uniqueness.
  6. Foraged: While the general population does not scavenge for food, the foraged food trend just might convince you to start (or leave the hard work up to the professionals who supply the trendiest restaurants with these highly sought after finds). Simply put the foraged dandelion greens on your $30 entree were plucked from their naturally occurring ground, not cultivated.
  7. GMO/Non-GMO: If it says non-GMO then zero genetically modified crops were used in its creation. If the uncertainty of what these so-called “franken foods” might cause later, best bet is to avoid them. It is important to note that GMO seeds are not the same as hybrid seeds, which were bred overtime through cross-pollination and not formed in a laboratory.
  8. Free-Range: This typically conjures up images of happy chicken freely wandering as they please, but according to The Humane Society, there are no enforced regulations required to make the claim in the U.S. The free-range birds are generally uncaged with some roaming freedom. What they eat and general animal welfare treatment is left up to the farmer.

FIRST COURSE
Golden Apple Noodle Kugel with Candied Pecans

Ah yes, it’s time for the amazing smell of sweet noodle kugel baking in the oven. This rich and creamy noodle pudding with a crunchy golden brown layer on top is a favorite staple of Jewish cooking and one of those cherished holiday aromas to look forward to every year. Although there are many tempting variations of kugel, we have a unique recipe with candied pecans, cinnamon apples and a crunchy and buttery corn flake topping that will blow your mind.

Ingredients

½ lb wide egg noodles

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons salted butter

FIRST COURSE
Gluten Free Appetizers Made Easy with a Handy Convection Oven

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s time to start brainstorming recipe ideas. Why not test out a few ideas before the big day? Everyone knows all too well the stress of holiday cooking and that feeling of “how will I possibly have everything ready in time?” This year if you feel like you may need an extra hand in the kitchen, make things a little easier for yourself with a Black & Decker Extra-Wide Convection Oven. With convection ovens, the circulating air helps to heat your food faster and speed up the baking/toasting/broiling process. Although your family may have traditional Thanksgiving appetizers that you look forward to every year, change up your holiday routine by offering your guests a few simple and scrumptious gluten free options that are so addicting they might become a new holiday favorite! For starters we have an amazing recipe for cheesy cauliflower “bread” sticks with marinara dipping sauce, Greek-style stuffed mushrooms and classic double stuffed mini potatoes.

FIRST COURSE
Getting Creative With Candy Corn for National Candy Corn Day

Candy Corn has been a symbol of Halloween for over a century. George Renninger, an employee of the Wunderle Candy Company in Philadelphia, first invented candy corn but the credit for sale and production of this innovative tri-colored candy is mostly attributed to the Goelitz Confectionary Company, now known as Jelly Belly! This tiny kernel shaped, yellow, orange and white sugary morsel has made it’s way into every trick-or-treater’s candy bag, every store front window display, every Halloween party and most importantly has influenced years and years of Halloween themed recipes and family traditions. This year for National Candy Corn Day we have summed up three impressive candy corn recipes for you to whip up that are sure to impress your friends and family: An Amaretto Spiked Candy Corn smoothie, Spooky and Nutty Candy Corn Biscotti and last but not least, Trick-or-Treat Salty and Sweet Chocolate Bacon Fudge!

FIRST COURSE
Three Delicious Recipes Perfect for Fall Baking

As we make our way into the middle of October and closer toward winter, we also think about activities that require zero contact with the chilly outside world. Baking is one of those activities. With the assistance of three seasonal fruits, apples, pumpkins (yes a pumpkin is a fruit), and pears we have some simple and scrumptious recipes for those days that you feel like keeping warm at home. First, we have a recipe for an easy apple and honey tart with puff pastry, pumpkin ricotta and chocolate chip muffins and, last but not least, a pear crisp with grapes, almonds and ginger. All of these flavor combinations work, we promise!