The best holiday gift guide for the foodie in your life. There are gifts for every budget and men and women alike. Stay tuned for more gift guides in the coming week!
It’s that time of year again! Thanksgiving is upon us, which means Black Friday is right around the corner and, I don’t know about you, but holiday shopping is already on my mind. I have been getting a lot of questions about some of my favorite products (both in life and in the kitchen) so, in this ultimate shopping season, I thought I’d bring you some gift guides featuring many of my favorite products, many of which are on sale right now (or will be on sale by Friday.)
Today’s gift guide is geared toward the foodie in your life, but I’ve also got a few more gift guides up my sleeve for the coming weeks (heads up, mamas!) Sure, you could wait until Black Friday to scoop up some of these awesome presents, but there are also some great items that could be used as hostess gifts (or just be useful in the kitchen) over the Thanksgiving holiday.
So, without further ado, here is my gift guide for the foodie in your life!
(Gifts are listed as shown in photo clockwise from top left.)
Call me a coffee snob, but we wouldn’t be able to live without our fresh ground coffee beans every morning. An airtight coffee canister will make such a difference in keeping your beans as fresh as can be!
A cast iron skillet is such an inexpensive yet versatile addition to your kitchen. If you know someone who loves cooking but doesn’t have one of these, get one for them ASAP!
Isn’t this just the cutest little bread box you ever did see? I’d love one for my kitchen counter!
I finally jumped on the Instant Pot train a few months ago and I’m so glad I did! These things are game-changers, especially for busy families that love home-cooked meals.
I’ve been trying to be a lot more conscious about waste these days and I’ve found some great products that have helped me limit the number of plastic bags I’ve been using. These reusable muslin produce bags are the perfect gift for anyone that’s trying to do the same!
If I had any more room for another kitchen device, you can bet I’d be investing in an air fryer. Healthy frying? Right up my alley!
Isn’t this owl spoon rest just the cutest thing you ever did see? The perfect Secret Santa gift!
In keeping with my mission to reduce my usage of plastic bags, I recently invested in some of these Stasher bags and can’t wait to grow my collection! Plus, I love that they can go in the microwave, dishwasher, etc.
My bamboo cutting board is BASICALLY the only cutting board I use in the kitchen. I couldn’t live without it!
The Dutch oven is another kitchen item every foodie needs in his or her kitchen. And there are so many great colors, how can you resist?
My BBQ-loving hubby loves this vacuum sealer I got him a couple of years ago. We can buy all the great, big packs of meat at Costco and keep everything nice and sealed up in the freezer. It’s also great for marinating!
Finally, who can resist a good cheese board? I love that you can write on this AND that it comes with the appropriate knives. Holiday entertaining at its best!
So, what did I miss? Are there any holiday gifts you can’t wait to get for the foodie in your life? Let me know in the comments below!
This Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs is simple to make yet full of flavor. It’s the perfect entrée for your holiday gatherings and showcases some of the season’s best ingredients.
With all of the craziness of the holidays, it’s often easier to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of things than it is to slow down and take time for what this time of year is really about – spending quality time with family and friends. In this season of life where I feel like there are never enough hours in the day, I find myself craving these types of moments more than ever. That’s why, when some of my favorite ladies in the food, wine and entertaining industries decided to get together for a Fall Harvest Feast, I quickly agreed to participate – and brought this Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs as the dinner’s centerpiece. It was almost like Friendsgiving came early and I’m so excited to share all of the details (including this roast chicken recipe!) with you today.
I’m going to make a general assumption here, and that assumption is that many of you feel intimidated about roasting large cuts of meat or whole birds. Am I right? I mean, I was once in the same boat. But I’m a firm believer that practice makes perfect and, let me tell you, I have practiced and practiced roasting chicken and – no brag – have pretty much perfected a super simple recipe for you.
You may remember that a while back I posted a similar recipe – this Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots – as a great show-stopper for any dinner party (or weeknight meal, for that matter.) Well, this is ALMOST the same recipe, but with a few autumn-inspired tweaks that make it perfect for any gathering you may be hosting in the next couple of months.
And yes, it is so easy. Aside from spending maybe 10 minutes prepping the bird and one flip about 15 minutes into roasting, it’s basically a “set it and forget it” recipe, so you can spend that quality time with all of your loved ones. It also looks quite stunning in its finished form, so if you’re looking for a dinner dish that will add that festive feel to your table, this Red Wine Roast Chicken is it!
But enough about my chicken, I want to tell you a little bit about the dinner itself! First off, the location and one other very important component of any harvest dinner – the wine! We were lucky enough to go back to the beautiful Folded Hills, a winery and farmstead about 30 minutes up the coast from Santa Barbara. If you want to learn more about them, I wrote an entire post about it here. Long story short, if you’re looking for friendly faces, delicious wines, the best chocolate chip cookies and cute little farm critters, be sure to plan a stop here the next time you’re cruising the 101.
And then, of course, I can’t leave out all of the other wonderful ladies who contributed their talents to this gorgeous feast. The table was set and styled by the lovely Viktoriya of Fold Santa Barbara, who makes beautiful linens both for retail and special events.
Denisse (aka Le Petit Chef Santa Barbara) added a stunning Root Vegetable Gratin that was absolutely devoured. And can you believe blogging isn’t even her full-time gig? When she’s not blogging (or slinging donuts with her husband), Denisse is a private chef in and around SB. Did I mention she’s also extremely well-versed in vegan and other special diet cooking?
Finally, I can’t leave out our very talented photographer, Silas Fallstich (aka Full Frame Fotos). If you live in Santa Barbara (or anywhere nearby), chances are you’ve seen Silas’ work. It’s featured in many of our local publications on a regular basis and we were so grateful to have such talent capturing our lovely day. We have him to thank for all of these gorgeous photos!
Sure, we call this “work” – and it is – but it’s days like these that make all of those hours in the kitchen, behind the camera, typing on the computer and with our arms elbow-deep in dirty dishwater completely worth it. If there’s one thing I’ve taken away from this line of work, it’s that every blogger, entrepreneur or creative truly wants to help and support one another. Forget competition, we’re all in this together. And as we inch closer and closer to the ultimate day of gratitude, I have to say I’m so thankful for each and every one of these folks I’ve met along the way and the support structure we’ve built around one another.
Here’s to a season of gratitude, thoughtfulness, positivity and support!
This Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs is simple to make yet full of flavor. It’s the perfect entrée for your holiday gatherings and showcases some of the season’s best ingredients.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: chicken, entertaining, entree, main course, protein
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
1approximately 5-pound whole chicken
Salt and pepper
2sprigseach fresh rosemary, sage and thyme, plus additional for garnish
1poundseedless red grapes
2large shallots, peeled and quartered
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove innards from chicken and rinse with cold water. Let drain in a large colander for 2 minutes.
Pat chicken dry and place in roasting pan, breast side down. Pour red wine all over and inside the chicken. Season with salt and pepper.
Stuff the fresh herbs inside the chicken.
Place chicken in oven and turn down heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Remove chicken from oven and, using tongs or wooden spoons, flip chicken over so that the breast side is now facing up.
Return to oven and continue cooking until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Start checking the temperature after about an hour and a half. For the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, add shallots and grapes to bottom of roasting pan.
Once meat thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit, remove from oven. Transfer grapes and shallots to a serving platter first, and then transfer chicken so it sits in the middle of the grapes and shallots. Garnish with additional fresh herbs. Use a carving fork and knife to serve.
A unique, refreshing tropical sangria featuring some of the best flavors of the islands. Pineapple, mango, white wine and RUM all come together in a delicious drink that’s fit for a crowd.
Okay, I just want to start off by saying I am completely aware that this is the second tropical recipe I’ve posted in a row, but I don’t think you’ll blame me once you see what I have in store for you. This refreshing Tropical Sangria was inspired by our trip to Hawaii a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say it is one of the best sangrias I’ve tasted in a loooooong time.
If you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that there aren’t more recipes for Tropical Sangria out there in the world. I saw it on the menu of the pool bar at the condos we stayed at on Oahu and, although I never got a chance to try that one (well, I had the chance, the mai tai I had from them was just enough to discourage me from trying any more of their mixed drinks), I knew I wanted to try and make my own – and undoubtedly better – version as soon as we got home.
If we’re thinking “tropical,” of course we’re going to go with a white wine base. And we’re not talking chardonnay – this white wine needs to be crisp, refreshing, herbaceous and, yes, tropical. I went for a Sauvignon Blanc, but a Pinot Grigio would be great as well.
The next step is to find the most tropical fruit that you can. Pineapple and mango always seem to be a safe bet here on the mainland, but you could also incorporate things like passion fruit, guava or even lychee if you can find them.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I like my sangria to be a little more “high octane” than just your average bottle of wine. And don’t even talk to me about adding any sort of soda water. I think it just waters things down wayyyyyy too much, especially since our Tropical Sangria is going to be served over plenty of ice. This is where the rum comes in! I mean, come on, there’s no liquor that’s quite more tropical than that.
Finally, there are a couple of other not-so-secret ingredients that really seal the deal, and they’re ingredients you’ll find in many of your favorite tiki drinks. We’re talking orange curacao and orgeat. Sure, you could leave them out, but I love the extra dimension they give the drink and they truly do make it taste much more tropical.
One thing I love about this drink (aside from how tasty it is) is that, unlike many other cocktails, this makes a huge batch. In other words, it’s perfect for a party! I recommend mixing it up in a pitcher in advance and getting the sangria nice and chilled – sans ice – until you’re ready to serve. When it comes time for your guests to whet their whistles, just scoop the ice into the individual glasses and pour the sangria over it. Don’t forget to scoop out some of the fruit into each glass! That booze-infused juiciness is the best part.
If you ask me, this Tropical Sangria is the perfect drink for your long Labor Day weekend. No matter where you find yourself, everyone can use a little island flavor in their life, right?
Some of early summer’s star produce comes together beautifully in this perfectly balanced Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Amaretto Crust.
As someone who left a sufficiently cushy job in the corporate world to become self-employed, one of the most frequent questions I’m asked is, “Do you ever miss being in an office with coworkers?” And my answer is always, “Honestly, no.” Sure, the self-employed world can be lonely at times, but I consider myself AMAZINGLY lucky to have found a solid group of like-minded ladies (and yes, even some men) who have also set out on their own and forged a path for themselves in the world of entrepreneurship, specifically in the food, beverage and entertaining bizzes.
Recently, a few of us got together to kick off summer with a beautifully styled beach picnic featuring some incredibly delicious food and wine. Since I’ve been itching to refine my pie-making skills, I offered to bring one showcasing some of my favorite fruits of the season thus, this Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Amaretto Crust was born.
Here’s what everyone else brought/contributed (with live links to their posts/websites!)
Jamie (also a private chef) just started this “micro-shuckery” here in SB and, let me tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve tasted these oysters. She brought both raw and BBQ oysters to our little picnic and the BBQ sauce on the cooked ones was just insane!
Not only does Viktoriya make some of the most beautiful table linens, she’s also a pro at food and prop styling, She made our entire picnic set-up look like a dream…I only wish I could bring her (and her beautiful napkins and tablecloths) along with me for every picnic I go on!
If you plan to serve wine at any get-together you’re hosting, you’ll want to invite Hana-Lee. She chose the perfect wines to pair with each of our dishes. I couldn’t believe what a perfect match the Riverbench Demi-Sec Sparkling Wine was for my Strawberry Rhubarb Pie!
Even though she stepped in for another photographer at the last minute, Meg was an absolute dream to work with and captured all of the beautiful images you see here and on the others’ posts.
Okay, now back to this pie. First, raise your hand if you (like me) are totally intimidated by pie-making because of the difficulty of making pie dough, rolling it out and then not only getting it to fit just right in your pie plate but also baking it to a beautiful golden brown in perfect synchronization to whatever filling you put inside.
Well, I’m here to tell you good news and bad news:
First, the bad news – it is hard. And it’s most likely not going to be perfect on your first attempt. You will most likely need to refine your practice in order to get it “just right.”
Next, the good news – it gets easier! Practice makes perfect. Once you find a recipe you like and practice it a time or two, you start to get a better feel for how it should look, feel, etc. I’m happy to say that, now that I have a basic pie crust recipe that I feel totally confident in, I’ll be making so many more pies and, after trying this recipe, I hope you will, too!
There are just a couple of little secrets I want to let you in on that make this “not-your-average” Strawberry Rhubarb Pie recipe:
It’s a fairly popular notion that adding chilled vodka to your pie dough (instead of water) will make it extra tender and flaky due to the alcohol dissolving during the cooking process. You know I’m all about using booze when needed, but for this recipe you’ll find me subbing in amaretto for the vodka, adding that slight nuttiness that goes perfectly with the rest of the components of the pie. For all other aspects of the dough, I turned to my favorite Model Bakery (affiliate link) recipe as a guide – I knew they wouldn’t let me down!
Although the ingredients for the filling are all pretty typical, there is one ingredient that may look a little odd – balsamic vinegar. I added this to bring depth and a slight tang to the filling that pair perfectly with all the almond notes tied in throughout.
I have to say, for being such a novice in this particular aspect of baking, this Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Amaretto Crust was a pretty huge hit.
It’s also perfectly portable which makes it a great dish to contribute to any 4th of July celebrations you may be attending this week.
Some of early summer’s star produce comes together beautifully in this perfectly balanced dessert that's perfect for any warm weather get-together.
Keyword: pie, rhubarb, strawberry, summer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
For the crust:
5tablespoonschilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4cupchilled butter-flavored shortening, cut into cubes(Can use regular shortening too)
For the filling:
1poundstrawberries, hulled and sliced (about 3 cups sliced)
2stalksrhubarb, sliced (about 2 cups)
For the streusel:
3/4cupunsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/2cupslivered almonds, crumbled
Begin making the dough at least an hour or two before you plan on baking your pie. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
Next, using a pastry blender, cut in both the butter and shortening until dough is blended but crumbly with some pea-sized pieces.
Slowly mix in the amaretto using a fork until a loose dough begins to form.
Using your hands, shape the dough into a thick disk. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or even overnight.
To make the filling, combine strawberries, rhubarb, balsamic vinegar, sugar and flour in a large bowl. Mix until the fruit is evenly coated with the sugar, flour and vinegar. Refrigerate until you’re ready to bake your pie.
Finally, assemble the streusel topping. Mix together all streusel ingredients in a medium bowl, using your fingers as needed to break up the butter pieces and make the mixture even and crumbly.
Pull out your refrigerated pie dough about 15 minutes before you’re ready to start baking. This will allow it to come back down to room temperature a bit and make it easier to roll out. Once your dough is at a “roll-able” temperature, roll it into an approximately 13-inch circle and fit it into a 9-inch pie pan. You may need to trim some edges and work the dough a bit once it’s in the pan to get the crust as uniform as possible. Crimp the ends as desired and then freeze for 15-30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove your crust from the freezer and pour in the filling, then top with the streusel.
Bake pie in your 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also at this point I recommend putting on a pie shield or covering the edges of your crust with foil to prevent it from burning. Bake pie at this new reduced temperature for one hour to one hour and 15 minutes, or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Let cool before serving (preferably with vanilla ice cream!)
Sauteed leeks and a medley of mushrooms create the perfect appetizer, whether served warm at home for a light dinner or chilled at a casual beach picnic.
Boy, have I got a delicious treat for you today, and it comes in the form of this Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta! I sure hope you’re on #teammushroom, because this recipe is chock full of them. If not, you should probably stop reading now and I promise you’ll have better luck with my next post ;-P But seriously, gimme all the mushrooms and nobody will get hurt. I love those little funghi and I’m getting my fair share of them thanks to this new favorite recipe for topping bread!
I’ve made something similar before as part of my homemade Bruschetta Bar, but this Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta climbs to a whole other level with not one or two but THREE different types of mushrooms plus more leeks than you’ll know what to do with (hint: eat them.) It’s healthy yet filling at the same time and, when piled on top of hearty, freshly baked bread (my fave is a darker sourdough or multigrain loaf) it can easily pass as a light meal.
Another bonus? Even though it CAN be served warm, Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta tastes just as good when served room temperature (or even cold), making it an ideal dish to serve for entertaining or to take with you for a picnic, to the beach, to a potluck, etc.
As the mother of a very small child with what seems like no time at all to spend in the kitchen, recipes like these are the ultimate lifesaver right now. In fact, don’t put it past me to make a batch on a Sunday and head to the fridge for it multiple times during the week when I want something healthy and quick. As a certified carb lover, it also makes me feel like I’m working some slightly more nutrient-packed foods into my day-to-day.
I’m going to keep it short today because, well, it’s 75 degrees out and there are much better things I could be doing than sitting behind my computer, but I hope you are having a wonderful week!
As I’m getting more and more back into regular posts, I’d love to hear what sort of recipes you’d like to see from me. Cocktails? Healthy food? Seasonal fare? Meal prep? Entertaining?
12ouncesmixed mushrooms, sliced(I used baby bellas, shiitake and cremini)
1tablespoonchopped fresh rosemary
1tablespoonfresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
1loafhearty bread, sliced
Olive oil to coat bread
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add leek, shallots and garlic and sauté until leek is translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and stir to combine.
Add sherry, vinegar and fresh herbs and cook over medium heat until mushrooms release their juices and have wilted significantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove mushrooms from heat and let cool. Turn oven on to medium broil and place rack in middle of oven. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
Brush olive oil lightly over both sides of each piece of sliced bread and place on prepared baking sheet. Broil bread until golden, somewhere around 5 minutes for each side (keep a close eye on it, as oven temps vary greatly and your bread can go from golden to charred in a matter of seconds.)
Let bread cool and then serve alongside mushrooms (you can either load the bread slices with mushrooms yourself before serving or let guests load their own.)