Cheers to 2015! (And a special announcement…)

Food52 Desk

Five months ago, I landed a fantastic job at a company with incredible coworkers, but last week I left it. Five reference calls, three interviews, and two editorial tests later, I am now an Assistant Editor at Food52, a food website I fell in love with over a year ago. From now until January 5th, I’ll be tying up loose ends at my previous position, and eagerly planning my start at Food52! While I don’t see this blog changing at all, I’ll be linking back as often as possible with all of the great recipes, columns, and adorable treats I come across at work!

Cheers to 2015!

Holiday Host Gift: Challah Wreath

Challah Wreath Host Gift

Most of the parties I get invited to at this point in my life are accompanied by a case of Bud Light or boxed wine, but there are certain situations that require a host gift that doesn’t come in a cardboard box. And I’m not talking about wine (Let’s all get a little more creative!). Here’s a gift that’s easy to make, under $10, and is guaranteed to be a hit every time.

After the smash success of Challah French Toast and the realization that honey in braided bread might be the best thing since sliced bread, I now present the Challah Wreath. All you do is follow the recipe below to make challah (I doubled the recipe to make a larger wreath), then braid the challah into a circular braid. To do this, braid the challah on a baking sheet, braid the end pieces into each other and tuck them in so that the start and end points are disguised. Also, remember to put a small bowl or other oven-proof object in the middle so the hole doesn’t close up!

Once baked, place fresh rosemary into the challah to look like branches, and add either edible flowers or cranberries for some color. As a final touch, put a soft, round cheese in the middle so that the challah can be shared around the table with some delicious cheese for the perfect hors d’oeuvre!

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Recipe: Four-Ingredient Weeknight Chicken

FourIngredientChicken

If I had all the time in the world, I would cook a four-course spread every night (and probably weigh twenty pounds more than I do), but unfortunately having a 9-6 (which is often more like a 9-7:30) doesn’t lend itself to nightly feasts. To compromise my love of cooking with maintaining my sanity, I keep a few dishes in my arsenal that are incredibly easy and pair well with an after-work beer.

This dish is one that my mom often cooked as part of her weeknight arsenal, and I was amazed to find how easy it is when I asked her for the recipe. While the ingredients are somewhat reminiscent those one might find at a 1950s Tupperware Party (Is Lipton’s Onion Dip Mix actually safe to eat?), it’s undeniably delicious and easy!

Time: 40-60 minutes
Yield: 8 servings of chicken

You will need:

½ pack Lipton’s Onion Dip Mix
Half a jar of apricot jam or preserves
¾-1 cup teriyaki sauce
8 chicken thighs

To make:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place roughly four scoops or half a jar of apricot jam in a small mixing bowl with the Onion Dip Mix. Add teriyaki sauce until it has the consistency of molasses.
  3. Place the chicken thighs in an oven-safe dish and pour the sauce over the pieces of chicken, making sure to cover it evenly.
  4. Cook the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, then lower the oven to 350 degrees and cook the chicken for another 15 – 30 minutes, until it is is cooked and still a little pink, and the sauce has become caramelized.

25 Days of Food

Online Advent CalendarOne of my favorite things about December mornings are the cheap, slightly-plasticy-but-nonetheless-delicious chocolates that I eat every morning from my advent calendar. It invokes the nostalgia of counting down the seconds until Christmas. Because I can’t hand out chocolates to each and every one of you every morning, here is an e-version of an advent calendar, filled with prizes and delicious photos of food!

Check back every day for culinary treats!

 

Shake It Out: Apple Cider Nor’Easters

Nor'Easter from Shake the Cocktail Book

Ever since moving to New York, I’ve developed a fascination with bartenders/mixologists/cocktailians. Two points if they have a tattoo of the logo of the trendy bar they serve, three points if they can make and shake two tumblers at once.

More than that, I’m mesmerized by their behind-the-counter assortment of brews, bottles, and bitters. Watching a mixologist create a complicated drink can be like watching a chef serve a five star meal, which is how I decided that I would like to become one – for a day.

This goal came with several obstacles:

  •  The Pisco Sour incident of 2012 (Pro Tip: Don’t make a cocktail with an egg if you don’t know what you’re doing.)
  • My kitchen is incredibly ill-equipped for cocktail-making. Unless you count a hammer as a muddler (which I have).
  • I’m terrible at making decisions. Especially when it comes to deciding which delicious alcoholic beverage I’d like to devote my time and resources to creating.

This is where Shake (Clarkson Potter, $25.00) comes in. Written by Eric Prum and Josh Williams, it’s a hipster’s fantasy with easy-to-follow cocktail recipes, accompanied by beautiful photos. While I would have liked to have seen a few more recipes, this is one of the best cocktail books I’ve seen because it takes complicated recipes and breaks them down so that even a beginner could follow them and make delicious drinks with minimal effort.

Shake Cocktail Book

For my Monday après-work drink, I selected the Nor’Easter from the Fall Section, which made my Monday approximately 74% better. Here’s the recipe so you can follow along and bask in apple cider deliciousness:

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