Fewer meals sound more hearty than a fresh lasagna. Melted cheese and sauce combine with layers of noodles and ricotta, making a meal many of us know and love. However, it’s a meal few of us have time to make from scratch. It’s true that when you’re making dinner, you’re making memories. But in our busy lives, how do we keep making dinner a time to gather with friends and family? Thankfully, it’s not laboring over the meals themselves that matters but the memories surrounding them.
Text by Annika Bastian
A Childhood Favorite
Lasagna holds a special place in both my heart and my appetite. As a child, the meal felt festive. When lasagna was on the menu, I knew it was going to be a good day.
My mother would devote an entire Sunday afternoon to making her lasagna. She’d get home from church a little after noon and have dinner on the table by four. It was a weekend treat we enjoyed with family and friends for as long as I can remember. She often served lasagna when report cards went out, when birthdays came around, or when loved ones visited town. To me, lasagna is the meal that brings together family and food.
Making My Own Lasagna (Sort Of)
Once lasagna’s in the oven, the hard part is over, but assembling that Italian goodness is enough to make most of us choose a different dinner option. I haven’t made a lasagna by hand in years, not when lots of delicious pre-prepared options exist. From fresh to frozen, I’ve tried all kinds of pre-made lasagnas. I find it’s worth the extra penny to get fresh, pre-prepared options. When I’m near Homewood, I make sure to stop at Market Table and pick up their hearty and healthy family-sized veggie lasagna. It’s the perfect meal to share with kids who’ve come home from college, friends on board game night, or with your spouse for candle-lit alone time.
Bringing Friends and Family Back Together
With the main dish taken care of, all you have to do is steam broccoli or whip up a simple salad and some buttery garlic bread for tasty side dishes. They’ll be ready in so little time you can set the table for a hassle-free dinner. Then, you can enjoy being with your friends and family, making memories instead of washing dishes in the kitchen.
Just as soon as Halloween’s over, Thanksgiving rushes toward us and suddenly it’s Christmas. The holidays can be a little hectic, especially if you’re hosting friends and family in your home. Here are five holiday hosting tips to make your seasonal gatherings warm, merry and bright.
Whether you’re preparing the Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, chances are you’re going to have a lot of mouths to feed. Try making a list of everything that needs to be accomplished before the big dates, including food, entertainment, etc. Stock up on items you might need — and buy a few extra so you won’t be short. As for the meals, it might be wise to begin preparing them the day before they’re served. It’ll take more pressure off you and give you time to focus on other preparations.
Don’t be proud. Preparing holidays meals by yourself is hard, if not impossible. If the kids or other family members want to help, it’ll make your work much easier. You’ll have free hands to tend to other matters, a true culinary form of multitasking!
Prepare Non-Food Items Early
Plates and silverware are just as important as the food you’ll be preparing, so make sure to stock up. Try and take inventory of them the day before the holiday. You might also want to set the table the day before as well, freeing yourself of the task later.
Don’t Forget Beverages
There’s so much going on while preparing holiday meals that it’s easy to forget the all-important drink. Ideal compliments for a Thanksgiving dinner could be apple cider or white wine, while hot buttered rum or eggnog would make a perfect Christmas quencher.
Once the meal is prepared, it’s time to kick back, have a few plates, catch up with the family and relax. Now that the work has been done, your holiday is finally beginning.
As a holiday, Thanksgiving deserves more respect. It’s a day where it’s socially acceptable — and expected of you — to eat as much as you possibly can (and be thankful for your loved ones, of course). Since this is a holiday that revolves around food, you’re going to want the best recipes you can get your hands on. Here are five Thanksgiving essentials no gathering should go without.
No great Thanksgiving meal is complete without turkey. It’s synonymous with the holiday. So why fight tradition? You’ll want the best offering possible to satisfy your holiday guests. This recipe makes delicious turkey and gravy, giving you the perfect centerpiece for your holiday meal.
Another Thanksgiving staple? Potatoes, of course! Whether they’re mashed, boiled, baked, etc… they’re a must. This simple and traditional recipe for mashed potatoes will leave even your pickiest guests satisfied. It’s a classic recipe without any of the frills, perfect for anyone who wants to stay in their comfort zone.
Green Bean Casserole
Some kind of green vegetable is an essential for every meal, not just Thanksgiving! That being said, green beans are always an ideal side. But if you want to shake things up this holiday, why not try this tasty casserole? It’s a “no cans” take on the classic dish, offering a fresher take on a Southern staple.
Classic Cranberry Sauce
Here’s another holiday favorite that deserves a place at your family’s dinner table. There are several fancy ways of fixing cranberry sauce up, but why not go the traditional route? It’s a classic for a reason.
Thanksgiving desserts are a must and one that is truly essential is pumpkin pie. This recipe gives you a classic offering, sure to satisfy every sweet tooth. The recipe leaves off whipped cream, so guests can add their preferred amount.
With these essential Thanksgiving recipes, no mouth will go unfed and no appetite will go unsatisfied at your dinner table. Of course, cooking a full Thanksgiving meal can be intimidating to even the most experienced chef. Plus, the holiday season’s always rushed and hectic. Why not give yourself a break and let Market Table do the work? Our Thanksgiving catering options include everything from a Smoked Turkey Breast to Rosemary and Garlic Green Beans to Pumpkin Pie — you can even get the entire meal catered! Place your orders online or in-store by Friday, November 16th then sit back and relax until Turkey Day comes!
Halloween’s all about the candy, but you need a few other food options to keep your party guests happy. Luckily, you can keep up the spirit of the season by making some spectacularly spooky snacks. Here are a few recipes for a Halloween party sure scare up some appetites.
Picture from https://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/halloween/recipes/a49353/ghost-pizza-bagels-recipe/
Ghost Pizza Bagels
These appetizers won’t draw any boos from your party crowd. In fact, adding a fun little mozzarella ghost to your pizza bagels will have your guests screeching in ghoulish delight. This recipe also makes for a great kid-approved snack. Plus, they’re as fun to make as they are to eat.
Picture from https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a55767/mummy-meatballs-recipe/
If you’re craving a deadly – or undeadly – snack, these mummy meatballs are the way to go. These might take a little longer to make, but the results will be worth it. They’ll make a delicious addition to your snack table and be the talk of your monster mash.
Halloween sweets are a must, but they don’t have to be limited to candy. This recipe turns party-favorite chocolate chip cookies into a mouth-watering treat. The result is a spooky dessert you can really sink your teeth into.
Dead Velvet Cake
Best name for a dessert ever? Yes. Scariest cake ever? Yes! This spooky take on red velvet cake is a scream, especially if it’s topped with this plastic cleaver prop or a fake severed hand. It’ll make a scary-good dessert that will kill at your Halloween party.
The Witch’s Heart – Halloween Cocktail
No Halloween party is complete without a spooky drink. The recipe for this truly bewitching Halloween cocktail will be a hit at your party. Add a little dry ice to make it steam like a witch’s brew. For an extra scare, create a fruit “eye” for garnish by popping a blueberry into a lychee then skewering it. Spellbook sold separately.
Adding any of these recipes to your Halloween party spread will surely result in a hauntingly good time. Just make sure to save room for candy, too.
As old as civilization itself, wine has been a staple to the diets of many cultures. In some parts of the world, it was even considered safer to drink than the water. In modern times, we tend to focus on the actual experience of dining and drinking wine itself. This experience can be amplified by finding a delicious wine that pairs well with the flavor profile of the foods served.
At its core, wine functions best as a palate cleanser. This means that pairing wines with certain foods will make eating the food itself a more worthwhile experience. But how do you know what wine pairs well with what food? And how can someone pair wines with food when they can’t even tell the difference in wine varieties? These five tips will have you pairing food and wines like a sommelier in no time!
You may not be entirely familiar with the flavor profiles for different wines. Never to fear: the flavor profiles for food are already familiar to most food enthusiasts. Though there may be as many as twenty different kinds of tastes on the tongue, they can be boiled down to a list of six. These are the flavors fatty, salty, acidic, sweet, bitter, and spicy. When it comes to pairing, your first step is to decide which flavor is most prominent in the dish you’re serving. For example, bacon would chiefly have a salty taste, whereas bread pudding would be sweet.
Similarities Shine, Opposites Attract
Where wine pairings shine is in the balance of flavors between the wine and food. A congruence pairing brings together a wine and food with similar flavors, creating balance. On the contrary, a complementary pairing brings together a food and wine with flavors that contradict each other. Once you’ve determined the primary flavor of the food and what kind of pairing you’re looking for, it’s time to find wine with the right flavor profile.
The flavor profiles for different varieties of wine are simple to understand. This is because wine only has three types: bitter, acidic and sweet. Most red wines have a bitter flavor profile. Next, sparkling, white, and rosé wines all have a pronounced acidic flavor profile. Finally, sweet wines obviously have large notes of sweetness in their flavor profile.
For the pairing beginner, there are a couple of staple rules that can help your wine pairing. First, one should always make sure the wine is more acidic than the food. When you don’t know what goes well with a flavor of food, you can also base it on regional pairing. For example, Italian food can go well with an Italian wine like Bianco or Rosso. Also, red wines pair best with bold meats like steak. In contrast, white wines pair well with light meats like chicken or fish.
Now that you understand the basics of wine and food flavors, how does you choose the right wine with the right food? It all goes back to congruent or complementary pairings. For example, if trying a complementary pairing, chicken pairs well with many different kinds of wine. Although it pairs well with wines like rosé, the best one to choose is a light white wine. The high acidity of the wine creates a complementary pairing with the chicken by cleansing the palate. On the other hand, a congruent pairing would be like pairing a chardonnay with a salad with vinaigrette dressing. Both of these flavors have high acidity, which similarly complement each other.
Ready to create your own pairings? Market Table stocks a wide variety of wines — you’re sure to find one suited for any meal you put on your table. Our Girl’s Night Out (Thursday, September 20th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM) gives you the perfect chance to test your pairing skills. We’ll taste five of our fine new wines and you’ll also get to enjoy two full glasses of the wine of your choosing. Plus, we’ll serve up an array of delicious appetizers. Tickets are only $20 and can be purchased here. Any time you need a little help with wine pairing, we’re always here with palates that can help you find the right wine to pair with your guests’ heaping plates.