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18 Nov 2021

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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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Guests with Food - CookinGenie

28 Sep 2021

Cooking for someone with a severe food allergy can be intimidating. And with food allergies on the rise, it’s becoming more common than ever. You want people to enjoy your food. But you would never want to be responsible for giving someone a severe allergic reaction.

Thankfully, with the right knowledge and planning, cooking for guests with severe food allergies doesn’t have to be daunting. It will take some extra steps, but it’s always better safe than sorry. Here are some things to remember before cooking for guests with food allergies.

Know your allergens and their severity

People can have food allergies to just about anything. But food allergies, which are not the same as food sensitivities and intolerances, are not all created equal. Some people have allergies with mild symptoms like hives and a stomachache. Others may have allergies that could cause life-threatening anaphylactic shock, which may include dangerous symptoms like a swelling throat, fainting, wheezing, and trouble breathing.

While all allergies have the potential to be severe, certain ingredients are far more likely to cause extreme reactions. The 8 most common severe allergens are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat.

It’s important to understand the complexities of these allergies. Someone who’s allergic to milk can’t eat other milk-derived products such as cheese, yogurt, or ice cream. And while some of these allergies sound very similar, they can be different. For example, someone may be allergic to almonds, but not peanuts. Or they may be allergic to shrimp and scallops, but salmon is fine. Whatever the case may be, make sure you talk to your guests and understand exactly what it is they’re allergic to.

Avoid allergens entirely in the meal

Some people tend to think that if a guest has an allergy, they can just leave out that ingredient for that guest and it’ll be fine. While this may be true for some, in cases of severe allergies, the allergic person may not even need to directly consume the allergen to have a dangerous reaction. For example, an invisible trace of peanuts that can be spread through the air onto a dish may be enough to trigger an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts. So, if possible, it’s best to leave the allergen out of the entire meal, even for those who aren’t allergic to it.

Check labels

Reading labels can be a pain, but it’s an important safeguard against allergic reactions. Sometimes ingredients can have unexpected allergens. For example, Worcester sauce, which is a popular condiment for steak and burgers, often contains anchovy paste, making it unsuitable for people with seafood allergies. But, by the name, look, and flavor it, you would never know, making reading the labels all the more important. By law, common allergens are bolded on the bottom of the label, making it easier to identify them.

Additionally, because just a trace amount of an allergen can cause a reaction, you need to watch out for any possible exposure. Some foods, like prepackaged cookies, may not actively contain nuts but may be processed in the same facility as almonds. In this case, those cookies would not be safe to serve to someone with a severe nut allergy.

Clean and sanitize the kitchen

Before beginning to cook for someone with a severe food allergy, be sure to thoroughly clean and sanitize the kitchen, including surfaces and utensils you will use. There’s no telling if there may be trace amounts of the allergen floating around the kitchen. So, to be safe, give everything a good cleaning beforehand.

Be prepared for the worst-case scenario

If you take all the proper steps to protect against food allergies, you should have nothing to worry about. But just in case, you should be prepared to handle a severe allergic reaction. Make sure any guests with food allergies are carrying their EpiPen on them. Also ensure that someone in your party knows how to properly inject an EpiPen as the person having the reaction may not be capable of injecting it themselves.

The EpiPen will help immediately ease the symptoms of the reaction. While one person is injecting the victim with the EpiPen, someone else should call 911 to get the victim professional medical aid. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, try to keep the victim calm while lying on their back.

Anaphylactic reactions are scary, but if handled properly, everything should turn out fine. Less than 1% of anaphylactic reactions from food are fatal, according to the national institute of health.

CookinGenie takes allergies seriously

At CookinGenie, the chefs know that protecting customers from allergies is of the utmost importance and they’re experienced in cooking for people with serious allergies. Genies can modify orders to fit around allergies and the support team will work with every customer to craft the best meal.

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CookinGenie Valentine's Day Menu

27 Jan 2022

One of the most amazing things that separate CookinGenie from visiting any restaurant is the variety of the available chefs and their menus. To help you narrow down your delightful choices, we’ll go over some of the best Valentine’s Day Menu we have available for your upcoming date night. To make your Valentine’s Day date night even better, we’re offering a limited-time complimentary dessert: chocolate mousse. The perfect finish for any of these great selections. 

Delectable Valentine’s Day Meal Selections 

Hayley’s Fruit and Cheese Board 

 

Everyone loves something to nibble on, so why not explore this excellent fruit and cheese board with a selection of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and jam? The variety of tasty morsels on this board will keep you happily snacking as you enjoy your evening. 

Fanan’s Spring Rolls 

 

Are you looking for a tasty vegetarian dish? Don’t skip spring rolls because you think it’s a side dish. They make a great entree, especially when they’re jammed full of tasty ingredients. You can’t go wrong with these crispy spring rolls that are just packed with flavor. 

Courtney’s Chicken Marsala Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms, Brown Rice & Broccolini 

 

When you’re looking for a wholesome meal that will tickle your tastebuds, you can’t beat chicken marsala. A rich flavorful chicken dish is sure to warmly fill your stomach just like the love in your heart. The chicken pairs perfectly with a rich wine sauce, mushrooms, nutty brown rice, and broccolini. 

Dylan’s Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Fondant Potatoes and Roasted Carrots 

 

A classic favorite, the rack of lamb, is sure to please. The thick-cut fondant potatoes and roasted carrots round out this delicious meal. The elegance of this meal is sure to please even the most discerning diners. 

Rashidah’s Citrus Honey Baked Salmon with Rice and Veggies 

 

Is your Valentine sticking with their resolution to eat healthier this year? You can’t go wrong with a beautiful salmon dish that’s sure to please. This glazed fish dish comes with rice and veggies that complement the flavor.  

Francesca’s Chicken Piccata with Mushroom and Cheese 

 

There’s an unspoken rule that Italian dishes are the height of romance for some people, so checking out this Sicilian favorite is sure to please. The pan-seared chicken matched up with yummy tortellini will make your kitchen smell amazing, leaving you excited for your meal. 

La Mont’s Skillet Mussels with Fennel White Wine and Toast Points 

 

Seafood is one delicacy that you can’t ignore. If you and your partner love a taste of the sea, mussels may make for a flawless dining experience. Plus, who doesn’t love a meal where you can savor every drop with delicious toasted baguette pieces? 

Edmund’s Surf and Turf with Filet Mignon, Lobster, Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Roasted Asparagus 

 

When you’re looking to go all out for your Valentine, there’s something to be said about the classics. Steak and lobster is the perfect pairing for a fancy dinner. Add in the creamy garlic mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus, and you’ll create the ideal extravagant meal for your sweetheart. It might be the exact meal you need to set up a pristine evening to pop the question.   

Make Your Valentine’s Day a Little Sweeter 

Also, don’t forget that for a limited time, you and your date will enjoy a complimentary chocolate mousse to enjoy after your main course when you book for Valentine’s Day. Just our way of saying thanks for using CookinGenie for your special events.  

Experience the CookinGenie Difference 

New to CookinGenie? This Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to give CookinGenie a try. Experience all of the luxury of having a personal chef cook in your kitchen at an affordable price and skip all of the problems that come from going out to eat on Valentine’s Day. You’ll be wondering why you waited until a special occasion to enjoy a professionally cooked meal at home after you’ve experienced the difference CookinGenie provides. 

What to Expect 

You may have avoided using a personal chef in the past because it’s completely different from what you’ve experienced. But, once you book your Valentine’s Day meal, you’ll be able to sit back and relax while the magic happens in the kitchen. There is no shopping for ingredients or having to clean up. Instead, your chosen chef will arrive, prepare the meal using your kitchen, and you’ll be able to enjoy a professionally cooked meal right in the comfort and privacy of your own home. 

Book Now 

These are some of our most requested dishes. Of course, once you find a suitable dish for your Valentine’s Day dinner, you’ll want to book your spot before it’s not available. But, don’t miss out on the perfect dining experience by waiting. Are none of our featured Valentine’s Day dish selections working for you or your special someone for one reason or another? All of our other dishes are available for you to choose from to help personalize your personal chef experience. 

Skip the hassle of going out to eat this Valentine’s Day. You may worry that you’ll let your loved one down by not going to a restaurant like you do every year. It’s time to switch things up. You may surprise them with an even better way to spend the holiday. CookinGenie is here to help create a lovely Valentine’s Day for you. Check out some of our featured selections for this very romantic occasion to find the right menu for your date night. Don’t forget about the special complimentary chocolate mousse that’s being offered for a short time to round out the perfect evening. Start scrolling through the different dishes offered today to find the right one for your next celebration of love. You won’t regret not having to deal with parking, long waits for tables, or other Valentine’s Day fails.

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