How to Dazzle Your Dinner Party Guests? A Charcuterie Spread May Be The Answer

Charcuterie - CookinGenie blog

26 Apr 2021

Share:

How to Dazzle Your Dinner Party Guests? A Charcuterie Spread May Be The Answer

Whether it be displayed out at your dinner party, the beginning of date night, or accompanying your favorite bottle of wine, a charcuterie board is a perfect accouterment. Charcuterie (pronounced “shahrkyut-uh-ree) is the French word for the art of cookery dedicated to the preparation of preserved meats, typically pork. The name charcuterie dates back to 15th-century shops which sold many different styles of pork, from terrines and pâtés to hams and sausages. They also specialized in confit, another preservation style involving slowly cooking protein in its rendered fat, for other delicacies like foie gras, a preparation of fatty duck or goose liver. The chef that runs the establishment is referred to as a Charcutier. In a more modern French kitchen, charcuterie is typically handled by a Garde Manger, a chef who is in charge of cold items like salads, cold soups, fruit, and charcuterie.  

Before they got to dinner parties: the origins of Charcuterie 

Charcuterie started as a way of life for people who were looking to preserve what they had excess of. Someone could take and eat what they could fresh from their kill and smoke or cure what they couldn’t currently use or didn’t want to go bad. Early examples of American cookbooks have recipes for a preserved culinary survival food called Pemmican, which is a loaf of dried beef, berries, and tallow to form a high-energy, simple food source. This was introduced by Native Americans and then eventually adopted by European fur traders and then found its way to the arctic as it was easy to prepare and would last for a long time before going bad.  

In modern kitchens, when you see a charcuterie board on a dinner party menu, it refers to an artisan-level crafted assortment of meats and sometimes cheeses that seek to work as something to nibble on before the main course. It is often selected with the flavor profile of the wine, menu, or season in mind. In the summer, a cool and crisp Moscato will cut through a razor-thin slice of a rich prosciutto or serrano ham. Likewise, spicy dried chorizo or soppressata will help finish that bottle of bold, tannin-rich Cabernet Sauvignon on a cold winter night.  

In general, charcuterie typically has three main branches: whole-muscle, pâtés, and cured sausages. Whole muscle typically refers to a whole loin of muscle, cured in salt and sometimes spices. It can include anything from American Bacon, Prosciutto, Speck, Jamon Serrano, Country Ham, Pancetta, Bresaola, Cappocollo, Guanciale, and Lardo. Pâtés can be any type of culinary preparation of forcemeat, herbs, fats, and spices. The most famous one people would know by name is probably pâté de foie gras, made from the livers of fattened geese, but most cultures around the world have their own takes on meat-pastes. Cured sausages cover anything from the pepperonis and salamis that you find in your local deli to finely crafted dry-aged Spanish Chorizo or French Saucisson.  

Nowadays most specialty grocers, Mediterranean wine bars, and some high-end pubs will carry a varying assortment of curated meats and cheeses. In Cleveland, we even have access to locally made craft cheese and charcuterie. Places like The Brooklyn Cheese Shop and Astoria Cafe & Market, produce many varieties of their old-world preparations and recipes. If you are looking to assemble a charcuterie spread for your dinner party guests, CookinGenie can help. There are many Genies who can create this incredibly classy looking starter for your guests.  


Related Post

29 Oct 2019

Do It Yourself meal kits have been around since the early 2000’s and rose quickly in popularity. Globally the business size is well over $2B. So why has this service become so popular?

Most of these companies win customers with a free meal or a discount on their first order. With pre measured ingredients and easy to follow instructions they offer a solution to busy people who wanted to prepare fresh meals for. Some companies even offer specific menu’s catering to special diets such as Paleo, Vegetarian or Keto. As a concept it seems like a great solution to a common problem.

But all good things come with a downside. They offer fixed menus in rotation and limited options for variety. The portions don’t generally allow for left overs and the packaging creates a bulky excess amount of trash or recycling to deal with. Not to mention the work of actually preparing the food. Although they advertise saving time, by allowing you to skip a trip to the grocery store. They usually don’t provide more than a few meals a week, so you still end up at the store to buy staples. You also still have all the work of chopping, cooking and cleaning up after the meal. A task that is less time consuming for singles then for families.

Although this industry quickly blossomed, the bloom might be fading from the rose a bit. Blue Apron is the largest and most widely used meal kit delivery service (Followed by Hello Fresh and Plated.) Although they seem to be able to easily lure in customers with free meals and trial packs, they have trouble maintaining a customer base long term. In fact Blue Apron’s stock has dropped precipitously since its IPO in 2017. Per meal costs or around $10 without leftovers is an issue.

In conclusion these services fill a need for some consumers. Or are at the very least a good short-term solution for people who need a few quick easy meals in a busy season. But in the long-term families are still looking for something better. Something that actually saves time, produces less waste, and offers variety, and healthy food prepared from fresh ingredients. All at an affordable cost.

Allowing our Genies to cook you a fresh healthy meal in your own kitchen may go towards solving the problem that some of the DIY meal kit companies could not solve.

Refernces:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-meal-kit-delivery-service-market-worth-usd-8-94-billion-by-2025-hexa-research-300811555.html

https://slate.com/business/2017/06/blue-apron-customer-retention-low.html

Read More

Foods to know the Difference Between Food Allergies, Intolerances &Sensitivities

01 Oct 2021

We’re all familiar with food allergies, but nowadays you constantly hear terms like “sensitivity” and “intolerance” to different foods. These three terms often get lumped together, but they’re unique conditions that elicit different responses from the body and have varying levels of seriousness. So, what do all these terms mean? And how should they affect your cooking?

Food allergies

Of the three, food allergies are the most serious. A food allergy is an immune response in your body, usually diagnosed by an allergist with a formal test. The cause of food allergies is still unknown, but the body perceives a harmless food as a threat and in response releases an immune hormone called histamines to “attack” that food it sees as harmful. The release of these histamines causes various symptoms such as hives, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. The onset of symptoms from an allergic reaction is usually immediate.

In cases of extreme allergic reactions, the victim can go into anaphylaxis, a rare allergic condition which can cause fainting and restricting airways. Anaphylaxis requires emergency medical attention and can be life-threatening.

People can be allergic to almost anything, but the most common severe food allergies are milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, wheat, and shellfish.

Allergic reactions from food can range from a slight itch in the ears to a fatal case of anaphylaxis, and just a trace amount of the allergen can be enough to cause a dangerous reaction. Even those who believe they have a “mild” allergy may have a severe reaction any time they consume that allergen, so it’s best to avoid it altogether. Cooking for someone with a food allergy must be done with great caution.

Food intolerances

While food intolerances are not as serious as allergies, they can cause significant illness and discomfort. An intolerance is not an immune response like an allergy, but instead is marked by the body’s inability to digest certain foods. Most food intolerances cause uncomfortable symptoms including stomach pain and diarrhea, but they are never life-threatening. Food intolerances are usually diagnosed by a doctor and symptoms often take several hours after eating to occur. Some common food intolerances are to lactose, a sugar found in cow’s milk, and wheat.

Unlike with allergies, those with food intolerances can usually have small amounts of the food they’re intolerant to. For example, those with a lactose intolerance may be able to have a little bit of grated parmesan cheese on a pizza or a touch of heavy cream cooked into a soup, but a spoonful of yogurt may make them sick. Similarly, someone with a mild intolerance to gluten may be able to have a dash of soy sauce over rice, but not a bowl of pasta.

There are, however, some more severe intolerances. Celiac disease is a rare intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, that can cause severe stomach pain, diarrhea, and violent vomiting. People with Celiac disease cannot have any traces of gluten.

Food sensitivities

Compared to food allergies and intolerances, food sensitivities have the mildest of reactions. Similar to an allergy, food sensitivity is an immune response so it can affect multiple organs with a wide range of symptoms including headaches, fatigue, rashes, and nausea.

The reaction from a food sensitivity can begin hours, or even days, after eating. Because of the delayed onset, food sensitivities can be hard to pinpoint and many of them go undiagnosed. Food sensitivity to gluten, for example, can be as simple as generally feeling tired a couple of days after eating bread. A good way to figure out if you have food sensitivity is to systematically eliminate certain foods from your diet for a week or two at a time to see if there’s a change in how you feel. You can also get tests for certain food sensitivities.

For many people with food insensitivities, a moderate amount of the ingredient will not lead to symptoms. However, as with allergies and intolerances, the level of sensitivity varies from person to person.

The bottom line

Food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities are all challenging conditions that should be taken seriously when cooking. When cooking for others with any of these conditions, be sure to talk to them beforehand and fully understand the nature and severity of their condition. If it’s just a mild sensitivity or intolerance, you may be able to use a little bit of the ingredient to make the tastiest dish possible. But, if your guest has a severe food allergy, you should steer clear of that ingredient.

At CookinGenie, all allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities are taken very seriously. CookinGenie chefs undergo a rigorous interview process, and they are adaptable to different dietary restrictions. The CookinGenie support staff will also work with you closely to ensure your meal meets your requirements so that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a delicious homecooked meal.

Read More

Personal Chef or Caterer - Who to choose - CookinGenie

25 Feb 2022

You’ve decided that you’re going to throw a dinner party. It’s time to gather up your friends and family to spend some quality time together over a good meal. No one wants to spend their entire evening and lead up to the party worrying over the menu, shopping, and preparing the food when they could be focused on other things. So, that means you’ll want to bring in some help to provide the meal part of the dinner party, but who do you choose? Your options include personal chefs and catering services. Do you know how you should make your choice? Let’s break down the similarities and differences between the two services and help you make your plans for a fun dinner party.

Personal Chef Services

Personal chef services mean that you’ll have a trained chef come into your home and prepare your meal, in the same manner, they would if they were in a restaurant. It brings the restaurant experience into your home. Typically, when you book a personal chef service, they shop for fresh ingredients to make the dish you select, arrive at your home to prepare the menu item using your kitchen, and then clean up after they’re done. As a result, your food is fresh and hot when you sit down to eat. When it comes to a dinner party, you can select as many dishes as you’d like, such as appetizers, the main course, and even dessert, based on the menu each chef offers.

Catering Services

A catering service offers the benefit of experience. Most catering companies are very familiar with providing food for parties of all sizes, and they often do it well. They employ chefs to create meals in their kitchens, and then the food is delivered to the party hot and ready to eat. Catering companies often have an extensive menu to select from because of the way that the food is prepared in a commercial kitchen in advance of the party date. Typically, a catering company will arrive at your party and set up the food in the area you select. You may find that they need to set up chafing dishes or other warming trays to keep the food warm while the party is in full swing. You can also pay for servers in case of a much larger dinner party, but that’s not always included in the cost of your meal.

(Also Read – Personal Chef Vs. Private Chef Vs. Catering Services: Which Option Is Right For You?)

Benefits of Personal Chef Services Over Catering

Both personal chef services and catering offer you the benefit of being more present at your dinner party. They both free you from being in the kitchen while your friends and family have a great time. You’ll be able to chat and enjoy yourself. However, some benefits come from personal chef services above a catering service. With a personal chef service, you know precisely who is preparing your meal as you get to handpick them. You also have peace of mind that the ingredients are fresh and the meal is made that day. You have no fears about something being prepared in advance, sitting in a freezer, and then being dethawed for your dinner party. The personal part of the title of a personal chef means that you get that personal touch when it comes to your food preparation from start to finish. Your food will be piping hot and ready to be enjoyed right from the kitchen. Since a critical component of a dinner party is the meal, it can be vital to pick the right menu prepared fresh in your own kitchen. It’s a great way to make your friends and family say wow after the party is over.

(Also Read – Why Should Busy Families Hire a Personal Chef?)

Cost Comparisons

You may be thinking that you’re going to choose a catering service over a personal chef solely because of the cost. People often believe that catering services are affordable while personal chef services are meant more for black tie affairs and the wealthy. While a personal chef service seems like an expensive extravagance, you’d be surprised to learn that the cost isn’t prohibitive. Of course, the price of the different dishes will vary based on the ingredients involved, but it’s all upfront when you book. There are no surprise costs or fees as you’ll be able to see the prices per serving on the website—no contacting different services for quotes. So not will these charges be around the same as you’d expect to pay at your favorite restaurant, but you’ll save time by being able to see the costs online.

(Also Read – How to Save Hours Per Week with a Personal Chef?)

CookinGenie Difference

The CookinGenie difference turns an evening of uncertainty into an evening of confidence. You know that you can count on a great experience thanks to the CookinGenie platform. The booking process is streamlined and very user-friendly. Your chef will arrive in a timely fashion and prepare the menu you’ve requested. That means no shopping, cooking, or kitchen cleanup for you. Plus, you and your chef are protected through CookinGenie if something does not go as expected during your evening. So choosing CookinGenie has some great benefits.

Using CookinGenie

CookinGenie was designed to be used by anyone wanting to place a reservation with a personal chef on the website. The user-friendly nature makes it fun and easy to plan your dinner party. You can scroll through the different chefs and the different menus they offer. You can easily see prices and the available dates for each chef to make picking out the details for your party easy. Once you decide on the date, chef, and menu, you enter your details and payment information. That’s it. The food aspect of your dinner party is complete leaving you to plan out all the other little details that help make a dinner party a must-attend event.

Are you convinced that CookinGenie is the right choice for your upcoming dinner party? Check out the different menus you can plan using our personal chefs. Your guests will be amazed at the restaurant-quality meal while you’ll be able to sit back relax during your own party. Put entertaining back into your dinner party. Just book and be ready for a fantastic time with your friends.

Read More