A Bite of History – National Donut Day

June 5th – an entire day dedicated strictly to donuts? Yes, please. Who wouldn’t want to take part in that?

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There are so many “National Days” dedicated to various things. I just recently discovered “National Eat What You Want Day” … really? That’s a bit excessive in my opinion. But “National Donut Day“? That I will celebrate.

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For those of you who don’t know – we have a retail location called “The Cafe at Easy Entertaining” where we serve breakfast and lunch during the week. And on Fridays we make donuts. Homemade, fluffy, large donuts. (Calling all locals – come give one a try. You won’t be disappointed.) Just a little bit of context as to why I’m writing about National Donut Day

Have you ever thought about just exactly why there are all of these “National” celebratory days? Or maybe that’s just me.

Regardless – the history behind National Donut Day in particular is pretty cool.

Observed on the first Friday of every June, National Donut Day started back in 1917 during WWI. The Salvation Army offered complimentary donuts and coffee to soldiers during war time as a means of bringing the soldiers a form of cheer. The donut’s roots trace back to Europe, so the Salvation Army is credited with bringing the donut to the states considering the soldiers returned craving these tasty treats.

National Donut Day commemorates the “Donut Lassies” who were the female Salvation Army volunteers who provided writing supplies, stamps, clothes-mending, and of course, the donuts.

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Pretty cool, huh? Since National Donut Day occurs on a Friday – we’ve got fun plans for this year’s #DonutDay. We’re going to make 200 of our gourmet donuts and, with plans to sell out, donate all profit to the Wounded Warrior Project.

So if you’re a local or close by – stop by our Cafe, enjoy a treat in honor of the Donut Lassies, and help us support the Wounded Warrior Project!

#DonutFriday #DonutDay

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What’s Fresh Featured Ingredient – Schartner Farm’s Parsnips

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Winter is packed full of root vegetables and parsnips are a gem in the produce world that’s often overlooked. This beige colored root vegetable is very similar to a carrot – they’re a bit spicier in flavor but the longer they grow the sweet they become.

Next time you’re at the market, grab some parsnips and keep Chef Ashley‘s tips in mind… Continue reading “What’s Fresh Featured Ingredient – Schartner Farm’s Parsnips”

Leftover Hazelnuts from the Holidays? We’ve got tips for that!

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Hazelnuts have a range of uses in the kitchen and can add a wonderfully nutty and buttery taste to your next dish.

What can you do with them you ask? Well … we’re here to tell you

Chef Ashley recommends…

A Pesto

“Hazelnuts are a hearty nut with a distinct flavor profile. I would make use of them in a non-traditional pesto (not recommended for a basil pesto). For example if you’re making a kale pesto the flavor of the hazelnuts would complement nicely with the kale.”

Hazelnut & Blue Cheese Spread

“Hazelnuts and blue cheese are a great and classic combination and this spread makes for a great crostini topper. To make this spread lightly toast your hazelnuts in the oven first – then toss them in the food processor and grind them until they make a coarse powder. Transfer them to a bowl and add your blue cheese (the amount is a matter of preference). To create the “spread” consistency add in just enough mayonnaise or sour cream to create a spread that’s thick enough for you. If you do use these on top of a crostini, a dried fig would be a great addition on top to add a bite of sweet.”

A Crust

“Hazelnuts are commonly used in crusts for pies and tarts, but they can be used as a savory crust too – like on fish or chicken. Simply toast and grind your hazelnuts as mentioned above and transfer them to a dish large enough to use for coating. Lay your filet or chicken breast in the dish and coat with the hazelnut crumbs, pressing firmly to assure they stick. Whether you sear or bake it, this is an appetizing addition of flavor.”

If you use Chef Ashley‘s tips in the kitchen – show us! Snap a behind the scenes shot and share it with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

#LetsGetCooking

Top 14 Appetizers of 2014

2014 is coming to a close & I was thinking it would be fun to recap our top 14 appetizers of the year as we enter new beginnings. This year has been a whirlwind for us, hosting out first series of weddings at our Cafe, strengthening our brand, and growing in numbers – Easy Entertaining is barreling towards 2015 and we couldn’t be more excited about what it stand to bring us!

Now, these appetizers are in no particular order. Since our menus change five times per year there was no way to accurately rank them from number 1 to number 14. BUT these were the fan favorites of 2014 … enjoy.

Our Signature Cranberry Pinot Noir Meatballs

these babies are our top seller – that I can say with confidence. It’s no doubt that these sweet and tangy bites of heaven are our number 1 for 2014.

cranberry_pinot noir_meatball_appetizer_catering_providence Continue reading “Top 14 Appetizers of 2014”

What’s Fresh Featured Ingredient – Fresh Meadows Farm Cranberries

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I took a little inspiration from the holiday season for this week’s featured ingredient. This time of year, you see cranberries everywhere – whether it’s in a floral centerpiece of a part of your spread for a holiday meal, these beautiful crimson berries are great to utilize while they’re still in season.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

“That’s right, I said it… homemade cranberry sauce. I know it comes in a jar and it’s super easy to open and serve, but it’s also super easy to make and it tastes a lot better. For every 12 oz back of fresh cranberries, simmer them in a sauce pot with a cup of sugar and a couple tablespoons of water, until the cranberries are soft. Once they’ve softened, increase the head to a medium flame and let it cook until the cranberries burst – and just like that you’ve got cranberry sauce. You can also introduce accent flavors in the beginning of the cooking process, like a lemon or orange peel, or even some apples. Just be sure to remove the citrus rind before serving as it will make the end product bitter if it’s consumed directly. Make this recipe your own – add your favorite spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.”

Craisins

“Dried cranberries have just as many uses as fresh cranberries. Try a handful of craisins in your next batch of chocolate chip cookies for a complementary tang to go with the sweetness of the chocolate.”

Appetizer Bites

“Everyone’s hosting parties this time of year – trust me it’s a lot easier with appetizers that can be set out and enjoyed at room temperature. Next time you’re at the market, grab a pack of wonton wrappers – this appetizer is easy, and a great way to utilize your leftover cranberry sauce. If you line a mini muffin tin with the wonton wrappers, and bake them just until they’re crispy, about two minutes, they make a great cup for a dollop of goat cheese topped with your leftover cranberry sauce and some chopped and toasted walnuts.”

I hope Chef Ashley‘s tips help you out for your next holiday soiree – if you use her tips at home show us! Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!

#LetsGetCooking

It’s Onion Season

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I know what you’re thinking – onions? Why write about onions? Well to answer simply .. onions are awesome. Onions are the base of almost every recipe, probably ever, and you can do so much with them in addition to stocks and soups.

Additionally, nothing, and I mean nothing, smells better in the kitchen than the aromas of onions and garlic sautéing together at the start of a recipe – am I right?

Mirepoix

“The base for any good soup, stock, stuffing, or roasted chicken is mirepoix, which traditionally consists of carrots, onions, and celery. these items are one of the essential building blocks of flavor, right up there with garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs.”

Red Onion Jam

“A great crostini topper that goes exceptionally well with chicken pate or creamy cheeses, is a red onion jam. A little bit of sweet with a little bit of savory, it’s the perfect appetizer to put out for upcoming holiday parties. I can’t share our secret recipe for it BUT I can tell you that you can find a pretty great recipe for it here.”

Show us your cooking adventures! Take a picture and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

#LetsGetCooking