Every Excuse to Cook…Eat and Shop!
Last weekend I had the pleasure and privilege of attending the annual holiday champagne blogger brunch hosted by the founder and CEO of The Cook’s Warehouse, Mary Moore, and her exceptional team including Wendy Allen, the cooking school director, and David Dunford, in charge of corporate sales and events.
Although this was my first year attending this annual affair, my history with The Cook’s Warehouse runs deep, and in a huge way I have all the wonderful friends I’ve made there, and at their partner store Sherlock’s Wine Merchant, throughout the years to thank, for inspiring me to launch my own One Crafty Kitchen.
A Class Act
A French Feast
Chef Borra prepared a beautifully delicious meal for us, which consisted of fresh Gougères, Strawberry and Basil Soup, homemade Hummus with some of the most amazing homemade bread that I have ever tasted, Quiche Lorraine with winter salad, and for dessert, Crêpes with rosemary scented strawberry preserves and raspberry-studded Panna Cotta. I was in heaven! Did I mention the bottomless bubbles? We were also treated to Sherlock’s private label Guyot Choppin Brut Champagne, which marvelously went with absolutely everything on the menu. Rarely do I serve just one wine with a multi-course meal but this confirmed what I always say, crisp sparkling wine is so incredibly versatile that you can serve it with anything.
French Entertaining Made Simple
I grew up eating my Grandmother’s crêpes, which I looked forward to each and every Saturday morning, simply smothered in sweet maple syrup and dusted with powdered sugar. Check out the easy recipe along with a step by step picture guide, and learn how to make savory crêpes as well. Chef Borra’s crêpes, however, stuffed with the savory-sweet preserves was a total game changer. And the gougères were just incredibly irresistible. I asked one of the other writers sitting next to me, Linda Carmical of Do.Food.Better., to pass me one and she laughed as she handed me the entire platter. These classic savory cheese puffs are that good, so of course I’m going to share my own favorite recipe which you might guess involves goat cheese and fresh herbs.
The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide
One Stop Shopping at The Cook’s Warehouse
Next on my list is the new local assortment of flavored sugars from Beautiful Briny Sea. These 16 oz containers are the perfect stocking stuffer! You know how I love my sea salts so I am already a big fan of their flavored culinary sea salt collection, which includes Truffle and Rosemary salt. Now Beautiful Briny Sea has introduced an entire collection of flavored sugars for baking, rimming cocktail glasses (like my ruby-studded Pomegranate Margaritas) and other endless possibilities.
Next up was the Blendtec Blender with which we got to see Chef Borra in action, quickly whipping up her Quiche filling and Crêpe batter. The Blendtec can pulverize anything instantly and quietly. These powerful, easy-clean, USA made commerical-grade blenders are perfect for crafting those healthy smoothies and soups to help support your New Year health and fitness goals!
The Cook’s Warehouse also offers professional knife sharpening services but if you find yourself constantly in need of an edge, the Darex Work Sharp is the perfect gift for you. This affordable knife sharpening system will expertly sharpen, grind or hone your kitchen tools and amazingly enough will even eliminate those pesky nicks and dents in your favorite chef’s knife!
And speaking of knives, my all-time favorite, go-to for absolutely anything that needs sharp cutting is my 8 inch chef’s knife. This versatile knife is the one tool that every kitchen must have. And now Cook’s has the ClassicWusthof 8 inch anniversary chef’s knife for only $89.00! Trust me, that is an incredible bargain for this razor sharp German culinary lifesaver.
For the outdoors lover in your life, the Lotus Grill, which was just introduced in the US, is the perfect tailgating and camping accessory. Not only does it come is a handy carrying case, but it’s the perfect size to tote along in your car, boat or shoulder, and because the exterior stays cool during cooking, you can pop it right back in the car when the party’s over!
Next up was the Spread THAT! from the maker of Scoop THAT! These cool revolutionary gadgets use the heat from your hand to make spreading and scooping the coldest butter or hardest frozen ice cream with ease. We got to see this one in action as it instantly softened butter straight out of the refrigerator!
For the sipping cocktail lovers, Corkcicle has recently introduced the Whiskey Wedge. This combination silicon ice form and stylish glass will keep your favorite spirits perfectly cold with a low-melting wedge of ice that won’t water down your concoction. I cringe as I type this, but it’s also the perfect gift for those who like to put a little cube of ice in their wine. At least this handy invention will keep that wine tasting as it was masterfully made to taste.
For the baking enthusiasts, Mary Moore and The Everyday Gourmet worked together to bring us this unique SiftStir tool which sifts your dry ingredients and whisks the wet ones all at the same time. You know I’m all about kitchen shortcuts so this brilliant, dishwasher-safe timesaver is going straight into my stocking!
And last but not least, proof positive that great things do come in small packages, The Big Green Egg has just introduced the MiniMax. This powerful high performance counter-top sized Egg even comes with its own transportation so you can tote it over to the pool, campsite or tailgate! This travel-ready grilling smoking baking machine has 133 square inches of cooking area. In other words, on your countertop, you can expertly cook up 4 burgers, 2 big steaks, a rack of ribs, a chicken and even a 12 pound turkey! But don’t try all that at the same time. And don’t worry this 20 inch tall cooking genius isn’t going to weigh down Santa’s sled.
And that’s just the tip of the holiday iceberg! Cook’s has a wide selection of the latest cookbooks, including local chefs and celebrity personalities.
Last Minute Shopping and Disclosures
I was in no way compensated for this post although I did receive the coolest party favor bag complete with one of my all-time favorite tools from cooking class, the garlic cone which magically peels garlic cloves as quickly as you can rub your hands together. Another fantastic stocking stuffer! Otherwise, these opinions and recipes are solely mine, and based on my own experiences.
Experience the comprehensive collection of culinary gear and cooking classes for yourself at any one of their four convenient Atlanta area locations. Or you can meet up with me at my favorite local Brookhaven joint-store of Cook’s and Sherlock’s where you’ll find me every Saturday afternoon for their complimentary wine tasting! Cheers and happy holidays!