Romance in The Times of Covid A Novel Way to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Celebrate Valentine's Day with CookinGenie

09 Feb 2021

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Romance in The Times of Covid A Novel Way to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has been celebrated since ancient Roman times—it began as a pagan fertility festival to celebrate Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, where goats were sacrificed, and women were paired off with men by lottery. The celebration was “Christianized” by Pope Gelasius I as the feast of St. Valentine in the 5th century, but it took centuries for the day to be associated with love. Written valentines first appeared in the 1400s, but it was the Victorians who transformed Valentine’s Day into the romantic celebration of cards and flowers that we now know.

Typically, in a normal world, Valentine’s Day meant scoring a reservation at an ultra-cozy restaurant for a leisurely feast in a romantic, dimly lit dining room. We can hope for those days to be a reality soon again. But if you are looking to celebrate and don’t want to miss out on a fine dining evening with your special someone, CookinGenie can make it happen. Turns out you CAN make the day extra special —and we’re here to help.

CookinGenie brings the restaurant experience to your home so you can enjoy a sumptuous Valentine’s Day meal prepared by a local culinary expert in the safety of your very own dining room. All at below restaurant prices. Our Genies offer a wide variety of special occasion appetizers, entrees, and desserts for your celebration. We’re talking a silky Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto, or decadent New York Strip Steak with Potatoes, Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce, or perfectly prepared Fettuccini Mare, bursting with cherry tomatoes and plump, tender shrimp. They’ll show up at your door with everything they need to make your meal, and when they’re done, our Genies clean up and leave your kitchen as clean as (or maybe even cleaner!) than it was when they arrived. All you need to do is dim the lights, pop open the champagne, and light some candles for a romantic dinner for two (and there may be leftovers to pack a lunch the next day).

Book your Genie this Valentine’s Day weekend and see just how romantic “let’s stay in” can be.

PS Don’t see your favorites on our menu? Send us an email and we’ll work to customize a meal just for you.

(Also ReadTracing Tacos – A Journey Through Time)


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Meal prepping for dinner - CookinGenie

21 Apr 2021

Today, the age-old question of how to meal prep for dinner is more complicated than ever. With a range of different meal delivery services, prepared and frozen foods delivered to your doorand a wide market for takeout, the choices are seemingly endless. Now, entering the fray is a new service, CookinGenie, which rethinks the idea of dining at home by bringing a culinary expert into your home to prepare a delicious, home-cooked meal in your very own kitchen. So, with all these choices available, let’s look at the process, price, positivesand negatives of each to find out the option that might work best for you 

 

Meal Delivery Kits for Meal Prepping 

Price: 

$-$$ With so many different meal delivery kits available, the prices can run anywhere from $5/meal to $18/meal. But for most mainstream services like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh, $10-12 per meal is standard.  

Process: 

Visit the website of one of the many meal delivery services, create a profileand begin choosing your dishesWith a few clicks, you can have boxes of fresh ingredients and recipes arriving as soon as the next day. Then, unpack the box, follow the recipe, and cook yourself a meal 

Pros:

  • The recipes are quick and easy to make.  
  • Feeling of accomplishment from cooking your own food 
  • You can customize the number of meals you want. 
  • Kits are accommodating to dietary restrictions and allergies.  
  • Precise portioning cuts down on food waste. 
  • The platform is easy to use, offers plenty of fresh, healthy choices. 

Cons: 

  • Kits come with excess packaging to get rid of.  
  • Subscription required. 
  • For hungrier eaters, portion sizes may leave a little bit to be desired.  
  • On occasion, ingredients may arrive spoiled.  
  • Dishes are not quite chef or restaurant quality.  
  • You still need to put the time and effort into cooking and cleaning up afterward.  
  • Usually supporting a large, multinational corporation.  
The bottom line:

Easier than shopping and cooking for yourself and cheaper than eating out, meal prepping kits are a good mix of affordability and convenience. But if you’re looking for a more memorable experience that you don’t have to cook yourself, there are better options out there. 

 

Ready to Eat/Frozen Meal Delivery Service 

Price:

$$ There are many different services that ship frozen meals to your door, and they can all fluctuate on price, with some high-end options out there. However, you can normally expect to pay about $11-15 per meal, plus shipping fees 

Process: 

Create a profile on a frozen meal delivery site such as Home Bistro, choose your meal(s) or meal plan(s)wait for delivery, and pop the box in the microwave to heat up. 

Pros:

  • Good variety of chef-inspired meals that come with protein, starch, vegetable, and sauce.
  • Many of the meals are highly tailored to specific diets such as weight loss, keto, and paleo. 
  • Most of the meals are ready to eat after just a few minutes in the microwave or oven 
  • Frozen meals can keep in the freezer indefinitely.  
  • No cleanup required.  

Cons:    

  • Many services don’t begin to offer free shipping unless you order a certain amount.  
  • Reheating frozen food can feel boring and impersonal; food may be bland 
  • Boxes may take a while to arrive. 
  • Sometimes food may come partially defrosted or not reheat evenly.  
The bottom line:

There’s no denying the convenience of being able to pop something in the microwave and have a hot meal in a few minutes. But while frozen meals have certainly improved from the days of supermarket TV dinnersthey’re more of an occasional fare than something you’d want to eat regularly.  

 

Takeout/Delivery

Price:

$-$$ Depending on where you’re getting takeout from, the price can fluctuate greatly. 

The Process:

Call up a restaurant, go online to order, or use one of the many apps like DoorDash or Uber Eats to set up a pickup or delivery.  

Pros:

  • During the pandemic, it’s easier than ever to get takeout 
  • There’s a great variety of places to get fresh, healthy, delicious takeout from. 
  • Usually only takes about 30 minutes to get food.  
  • Supporting local businesses.  

Cons 

  • You have to drive to the restaurant or pay extra delivery fees. 
  • Generally, one can only get one type of cuisine at once and may not have leftovers to enjoy all week.   
  • If you have dietary restrictions or allergies, it could be tricky to ensure the meal fits your needs. 
  • Food apps layer on their service charges and those can add up. 
The bottom line:

Generally speaking, takeout is a relatively affordable, convenient way to have dinner once or twice a week.  

 

CookinGenie for Meal Prepping

Price:

$$ Prices will differ by Genie and by dish, but most are between $10-$15 per portion. 

The Process:

Visit CookinGenie.com, type in your location, and you can browse through our many talented genies. You can look through each genie’s menu and profile individually, or search by dish or type of cuisine. Then, select the dishes you want to order and pick a time and date for a genie to come to your home and cook for you. They will arrive with everything they need, cook you a delicious meal, and restore your kitchen to the state they found it in.  

Pros: 

  • CookinGenie food is fresh, wholesomeand delicious.  
  • A skilled cook preparing restaurant-quality food for you adds a unique personal touch 
  • A wide variety of different cuisines and dishes are available at once. 
  • Service is accommodating to dietary restrictions and allergies.  
  • Generous, family-friendly sizes of 4 or 8 portions.  
  • Flexibility; date night, dinner parties, special occasionsweeknight family meals, and meal prepping can all be taken care of by CookinGenie
  • You don’t have to leave home, cook, or clean. 
  • Supporting a local business and local chefs.  

Cons: 

  • CookinGenie does require some planning ahead.  
  • May take a couple of hours after the Genie arrives for food to be ready.  
The bottom line:

In terms of affordability, CookinGenie is on par with takeout, cheaper than frozen meal delivery, and just a hair more than most meal kits. But that small difference is well worth it when you consider the superior food and convenience of not having to cook yourself. With so many options out there, it can be hard to decide what the dinner plan should be. But all things considered, in terms of taste and overall value for your hard-earned dollars, CookinGenie stands head and shoulders above the rest.

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30 Oct 2019

A friend of mine recently ordered delivery of groceries to her home. The person delivering presented her a business card and offered his services as a home cook. Not only was he willing to purchase her groceries, but he was also willing to prepare her food. Talk about full service! We wanted to applaud this gentleman for combining his talents with a secondary service that his customer base would benefit from. Not only can he expand the services he offers, but he can also reach a wider base of people who could benefit from his services.

The gig economy is growing with no signs of slowing down. We think we’re going to see more and more of this kind of crossover opportunity. It makes sense to diversify. By offering more than one service you become more valuable to your customers, and your service becomes even more individualized and personal based on your knowledge of their preferences. It also opens the door to additional profits. It allows you to offer a secondary service to the families that you cook for already and creates an endless stream of new individuals who might be looking for a home cook but never considered one before.

Maybe you’re working as an Uber Driver or a Task Rabbit already and you have a dream of becoming a cook. But the enormous amount of training or investment to open your own business is daunting. Alternatively, starting from the ground up with an entry level job at a restaurant usually means years of hard work & inflexible hours just to gain a base level of knowledge. But becoming a home cook is a new emerging opportunity that is gaining in popularity each year. Just as people are willing to outsource their cleaning, or their grocery shopping many busy families and professionals don’t have the time or expertise to cook quality meals each day.

Many home cooks start small, by apprenticing with an experienced cook. Going with them to jobs teaches them how to speak to clients, plan menus, and execute dishes in a time efficient manner. It can also teach them how to overcome some of the common quirks that come with cooking in someone else’s kitchen. Some start by portion sharing with friends and family. Meaning just preparing a double batch of whatever you cook for your own family and selling the bonus portion to friends and family. Some start by delivering meals or offering pick up services with a set menu and build a clientele with a Facebook group.

Then there are businesses like ours. We take experienced cooks and home cooks alike and introduce them to the world of being a home cook. We can help you with advertising, building a clientele, and growing your business. We can help you build your own reputation, while earning a decent wage.. The possibilities are endless in a gig economy, but everyone has to start somewhere. If you want to cook fresh meals to help out busy folks who want to eat food made in their own kitchens, send us a note. We are here to help!

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Charcuterie - CookinGenie blog

26 Apr 2021

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.  

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