Tag Archives: Holidays

2014 Cool Stuff for People

6 Dec

I realized recently that I know a lot of amazing people who create things like books and products and experiences. I want to share of the amazing things they have created with you. When I put the call out for my colleagues and friends to remind me what they have been doing I was flooded with ideas for my Local-ish Holiday Gift Guide but I couldn’t add every item so if you have an amazing friend who makes cool food related stuff please add them in the comments below. I believe in sharing the love!  Of course a few of these goodies come from me and my husband and our crazy projects!
I have no shame!

Be on the look out for my Gingerbread House Cookbook Kit in 2016~

Happy holidays to you!

ox, Jennifer
Pretty Little Baking Kit Jennifer Carden Author / Matthew Carden Photography – My latest project this adorable kit of petite cakes to make and give.
carden_baking_kit.01

The Toddler Cafe Jennifer Carden Author / Matthew Carden Photography – An oldie but a goodie, getting your kids to eat more foods the fun way

These books below are all projects from Matthew Carden Photography/Jennifer Carden Food Styling / Author Lara Starr
Wookiee Pies, Clone Scones and other Galactic Goodies Comes with Yoda, Darth Vader, and R2-D2–shaped cookie cutters to create 30 sweet and savory treats!

Ice Sabers 30 Chilled Treats Using the Force of Your Freezer

 

9781452104669_large_1 9781452107615_star-wars-cookbook_norm

 

 

 

 

0405176750054396x528

 

 

Chef Olivia Cookbook and Cookie Cutters Kit

 

 

 

 

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Cookie Cutter Cookbook

 

hungrycaterpillar-cookbook_cookiecutter_9781452125527_350

Featuring Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar™, this cookbook contains 25 delicious recipes as well as 3 shaped cookie cutters: the beloved caterpillar, a circle for the caterpillar to crawl through, and the beautiful butterfly. Recipes range from breakfast and snacks to beverages and sweets. Perfect for everyday fun as well as book-themed parties, very hungry kids will rejoice in cooking and eating as well as immersing themselves in the world of their favorite characters.

 

 

 

Giving Thanks Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving illuminated with the exquisite illustrations of cut-paper artist Pamela Dalton, this picture book offers a stunningly beautiful photos by Matthew Carden 
World of Doughnuts by Stephanie Rosenbaum Who doesn’t love a doughnut? With 50 mouth-wateringly delicious recipes from around the globe, these sweet treats are universally loved no matter where you go. 
Whoopie Pies Amy Treadwell s it a cake? Is it a cookie? With such deliciously soft and sweet cream-filled snacks, does it matter? The Internet is abuzz with recipes and stories of whoopie pie folklore, while customers everywhere are descending on bakeries in droves demanding these delectable treats.
Sodium Girl Cookbook Jessica Goldman Foung – Hilariously funny gal who can teach you how to eliminate salt from your diet.

How about a subscription to…

Edible Marin Wine Country Contributors Jennifer Carden and Matthew Carden

or a gift certificate for a local culinary tour with

West Marin Food and Farm Tours with Elizabeth Anne Hill see what is amazing right around the corner.

Or a very local visit to

Super Fresh Gallery ART ART ART Food art is where it’s at and we carry photography, painting and much more including all the cookbooks mentioned above by Matthew and Jennifer (that’s us) purchase online 

Heidrun Meadery in Point Reyes for a glass of Mead!

Teeny Cake Seriously the best cupcakes around Marin.

Trek Winery began as a family owned and operated winery in 2007 after years experience in the wine business and amateur winemaking. Opening its first public tasting room in September 2012 in Downtown Novato, Trek Winery has become a premier venue for live entertainment including professional stand up comedy and live music, as well as a venue for private gatherings, weddings, and other large events. As Trek continues to serve the greater Marin community by making excellent wine at an affordable price, we invite you to take the first step and experience the adventure that is Trek Wine!

 Orion’s Kitchen A caterer for your next party, Orion’s Kitchen offers a wide range of personalized culinary services including event catering, one-on-one or group instruction, and an on-demand market place.

 

 

about_bottlesWhoopie_Pies

granolaEMWC-Winter14-CoverHiRes904525hive

 imagesRancho-Gordo-Sampler

 

 

 

 

or

Fantastic Food Jewelery by Carrie Tilly at our Square shop!
The Warm Kitchen Cookbook Amy Benigno Fothergill Amy’s book is a fantastic guide for Gluten free goodies of all kinds!

Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings Michele Anna Jordan  Radio host, writer, chef  
In Jennies Kitchen fab culinary shop and recipes too to make cooking simple

Cooking for Isaiah Sylvana Nardone New Gluten free flour blends born out of the need to cook for her son
Erika Lenkert Just came out with a beautiful, very cool quarterly magazine, GFF (Gluten Free Forever)
Trick Dog Treats  Liz Smith -Wholesome tasty treats for your dog

The Foobler Dog treat dispenser for when you have to leave your pet alone

Natures Habit Granola Matthew Carden and Jennifer Carden produced the labels and recipes for this yummy snack.
Hive Napa Julia Scanell Hive Napa is a passionate creative/culinary resource to the food and wine industry, offering savvy, appropriate packaging design; honest, down-to-earth recipe development; and inspired cookbook design solutions.
Barn Raiser Eileen Gorden – From healthy and artisanal foods to community kitchens and organic farms, when we put our collective support behind these innovators, we create a healthy food future for us all. Crowd funding for the food world!
Rancho Gordo Steve Sando features glorious heirloom bean varieties, corn, rice and herbs and spices

Melt the Art of Macaroni and Cheese Melt isn’t your average mac and cheese cookbook. I’m cooking withreal cheeses here, combining nostalgia of the old-school dish with high-quality ingredients to produce recipes that are both classic and chic. In Melt, you’ll find dishes that comfort and intrigue.

Whole Spice Company kosher artesian freshly ground in house spices certified Kosher

The Veggie Queen  Author, Chef Jill Nussinow is a cookbook author and Pressure cooker expert!

Parini’s Chocolate Cakes These gluten-free cakes are truly flourless and loved by all, even those who are free to eat gluten.
They are made from four locally sourced, organic ingredients (chocolate, butter, eggs and cream) and contain no added sugar.
Flavors: Chocolate, White Chocolate, Chocolate Espresso, Chocolate Peppermint and White Chocolate Peppermint.
Sizes: 9-inch ($45), 6-inch ($25) and Minis (sold by the dozen for $30).
Can be picked up in San Rafael. Contact information: Christine at 415.306.4796 or christineparini@me.com

Advertisements

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Pumpkin Pie

27 Nov

It’s time….pie time! Here is a cute little info graphic all about pie. Have a wonderful holiday season!

20131127-082723.jpg

Ready Set Go…Thanksgiving 2012 (post 1 of 2)

17 Nov

Marinated Dry Jack

Yes, it is RIGHT around the corner, you know, TD, Turkey Day! I wanted to give a few ideas to help spruce up your gobble gobble party (I made that one up)  So I wrote a post on getting organized and shared some recipes for make ahead foods but you can’t see that yet! I couldn’t resist sharing this scrumptiously easy appetizer with you first.
So if you are going out or having the whole family over you may be needing some recipe ideas. This one is easy, beautiful and can be morphed into many many different ideas. This is a cheese you can marinate for up to a week (he hem, it’s less than a week away..panic sets in)
If you have some pretty jars around, mason jars or French Jelly jars save them! Never toss pretty jars, thy come in handy a lot, I especially love to give gifts in them. When my guests arrive I don’t want them to fill up on chips and junk, I want them to have small nibbles of highly flavored snacks. When I saw this recipe I knew it fit the bill, who doesn’t like cheese, olive oil and garlic?
The herbs are in the in the garden, the only thing I didn’t have on hand was the cheese. A Parmesan Reggiano would be fantastic or  marinate a fresh mozzarella or even olives. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my next post on getting organized  and see my menu for Thanksgiving.

 Cheese Marinated in Herby Olive Oil

Do not store this for more than 10 days, garlic in oil can eventually have botulism and can pose a health risk. Use the oil up for cooking a few days after you eat the cheese, and always refrigerate this recipe.

  • 7 oz dry jack cheese, rind removed and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh sage leaves (I didn’t add sage)
  • 5 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 sprig(s) fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon(s) pink peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) black peppercorns
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled,smashed
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oi

Layer the cheese, sage, basil, and rosemary, the peppercorns and garlic  in a decorative jar and pour the oil over the top until the cheese is almost completely covered.  I leave the tops of the cheese dry so the guest can pick up the cheese stick without getting greasy.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, I used a large jar and wanted to eliminate air on the cheese so I used some seal wrap, pressing it down directly on the olive oil and on the sides of the jar.  for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

 

Hamantashen, to fold or to pinch? (that is the question)

5 Mar

Hamantashen Cookie

Making cookies is always fun for kids but for us, these are especially exciting to make.  The familiar shape of the triangular cookies shows itself every March, it is the official cookie of Purim, a Jewish holiday geared toward the kiddos. (You definantly don’t have to be Jewish to make these!) We first tried a recipe that seemed to have good reviews but they came out too cakey, I needed another try and I knew exactly where to look for the perfect recipe.

I went straight to Claire’s old Preschool, the ECE Preschool at the Marin Osher JCC  A place where baking and kids is perfectly natural! They use tried and true recipes passed down from Bubi to Bubi and they really work.  If 100 preschoolers can make Challah or Hamantashen taste good then I know the recipes work! When I visited, the Director handed me an adorable colorful printout of the Hamantashen recipe. Let’s back up a minute, I know you are wondering what’s up with that weird name and why is the cookie shaped like a triangle?

The Origin of Hamantaschen
“Hamantaschen” is a Yiddish word meaning “Haman’s pockets.” Haman is the villain in the Purim story, which appears in the Biblical Book of Esther. In the story, Haman is the Grand Vizier of Persia and a rabid anti-Semite. When Mordechai, a Jewish member of the king’s court and relative of Queen Esther, refuses to bow down to Haman, the Grand Vizier plots to have all the Jews in the kingdom massacred. However, Queen Esther and Mordechai discover Haman’s plot and are able to foil it. In the end, Haman is executed on the gallows he planned to use on Mordechai.
Jews eat hamantaschen on Purim as part of the celebration of the holiday, which commemorates how Jews escaped Haman’s dastardly plans. One explanation for the triangular shape of these pastries is that Haman wore a three-cornered hat. (excerpt from http://judaism.about.com )
There are some other facts about Purim that the kids really love one is

There are four good deeds that people try to carry out at Purim time.

1) To hear the reading of the Megillot Ester (Book of Esther) at a group gathering. This developed into a custom several hundred years after the real event took place.

2) To enjoy an atmosphere that encourages celebration with food and drink.

3) Helping out at least two people who are less fortunate than we are (charity) by giving them gifts on the 14th of Adar.

It has also become a tradition (Machatzit Hashekel) to give 3 half-dollar coins to charity to commemorate the half-shekel given by each Jew in the time of the Holy Temple. This good deed is usually done in the synagogue.

4) Giving gifts to a friend who is not necessarily poor. These ready-to-eat gifts might take the form of a fruit basket (Shalach Monot), pastry or beverage.

The best part of Purim is the dress up, the kids dress as Esther, Hamen or any royal. Purple is often used in decoration because it is the color connected to royalty.  The celebration is kind of like Mardi Gras and Halloween all wrapped up in one, lots of sweets and lots of fun!

Now that the history part is out of the way we can get on to sweeter things..

This recipe was great to use, a parent form the school made it, I have no clue who, but thanks because it is so handy!

The traditional filling of the Hamantashen is poppy-seed but we love strawberry or apricot preserves. I also sliced up fresh strawberries and added a slice to each one for a fresh taste.  The method is much like making sugar cookies, you roll out the buttery dough and chill. The triangle starts with a circle, imagine that, stay in school kids, the wonders of math never cease! Use a cup or a round cookie cutter to cut circles, drop a bit of filling in and then from your triangle (recipe below)

Raw chocolate chip dough

I butter

There is a debate in the land of Hamantashen about the correct way to seal up the Hamantashen, to fold or to pinch. I was always a pincher but I recently tried a recipe from Cupcake Project, while her tashen looked and tasted good, her suggestion of folding was intregiung to me. Folding the dough can produce a beautiful cookie but we had problems. Our dough was cracking with each fold although our cookies came out pretty we were discouraged by the cracking.

When we used the recipe below we pinched, you may have to use some water on the dough to make it stick but the pinched ones came out perfectly! So I say, depending on the recipe, your oven and your skill level pinching may be the way to go. **Note- for gluten free see bottom of post.

Lizet’s Hamatashen Recipe

preheat oven to 350˚ƒ
4 1⁄2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Mix together in a large bowl

3 sticks butter (1 1/2 c).
soften in a bowl
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
beat eggs in a bowl, stir in vanilla.
add eggs to flour mixture, add butter, stir, then dump on clean surface, knead briefly until sticky.divide dough in quarters.  ( I wrap and chill at this point)
roll to 1/4 inch thick on floured board.
Cut circles using a cutter or cup.
Place 1 tsp filling in center of dough.
Fold or pinch 3 sides to make a triangle.
Leave some filling showing in center. 
Bake on cookie sheet about 15 minutes.

Filling: use jam, or mix 1⁄2 lb. Prunes with 1⁄4 c. strawberry jam in a food processor. Or try making your own poppy seed filling…

Mohn (Poppy seed filling)

2 c. poppy seed, finely ground

1 egg

1/3 c. honey or sugar

1 Tbs. lemon juice

1⁄4 c. chopped nuts

Wash the seeds well, them grind them in a food processor or place the seeds in a cloth and pound them with a mallet. Mix with the remaining ingredients. chill.

                                                                                  
 

Folding the dough on a cookie sheet avoids the transfer disaster.

**NOTE

When we made these goodies with for our third grade class we needed a gluten free recipe. I tried a pie dough mix and it was terribly unsuccessful. As you can see it the photo they were like sand and not folded or pinched, we just dug out a space for the jam..

One of the moms made up a batch of GF cookie dough from Pure Pantry sugar cookie mix and it worked really well for the Hamantashen. I only have a photo of our ugly ones because the better ones got gobbled right up!

Ugly duckling gluten free cookies

Your (Crayon) Heart’s Desire

11 Feb

Colorful Crayons

It is very unusual for me to put non-food on my blog, but since I have re named the Toddler Café to Playful Pantry I thought I could use artistic licence to bend the “rules” this time. The reality here is that this craft is made entirely in the kitchen so THERE!  Also I just really loved the photos Matthew took and wanted to share them with you.

If you follow me around the internet then by now you know I love Pinterest where I find great crafts and ideas. I pin all kinds of things from how to clean your pots and pans to how to make pom-poms out of  a T-shirt!  I came across a very popular pin on how to make cute crayon hearts for Valentine’s Day. I knew right away that it was the perfect thing to make for our class this year. My daughter goes to a Waldorf School and the kids have to MAKE all 18 of the Valentines to exchange, no store-bought ones allowed!!  Mostly we make flat cards, the kind that slip into an old school style decorated  shoe box with a slot, but we just couldn’t resist this project for Heart Crayons!

This project is easy but time-consuming, I would suggest to make only a few hearts, not 26 like we made!! (it did take all day) I wrote this “recipe” as if your child would be  helping so read on and enjoy.


This is a great way to avoid handing out candy, I assume they will get enough candy throughout the day, am I wrong?

Steps to making

Crayon Hearts

You will need:

Old crayons

a few bowls, one for garbage one for chopped crayons

an x-acto knife

a chefs knife

one old cutting board

a silicone heart pan or other silicone baking mold

1/4 – 1/2 cup measuring cup

The fun starts when the kids get to clean out the crayon bin!! Sort all the old crayons (washable don’t work as well as classic)

The grown up can slice down the side of the crayon with an x-acto knife.

The grown up will pre-heat the oven to 225˚F

The child will take off the cut crayon wrappers.

The grown up will chop the crayons into 1/2 inch chunks (on an old cutting board, it will be ruined by the end of this)

 The child will measure the crayons into the molds, they will melt down a bit so decide how thick you will want them and use the measuring cup so they will all be about even in the end.

The child will place the heart molds on a sheet pan.

The grown up will place the Pan in the oven, bake for 20 minutes until the crayons are melted.

The grown up will remove the pan from the oven, gently, they muck up if you move them too much.

Cool the crayons in the refrigerator until hardened, pop out of molds.

We decided to stick these to red glittery  heart shaped boards with foam tape. My daughter wrote “You Color My Day” with a white paint pen, they are adorable!!!

Even daddy got a special crayon!!

**Hot Tip** ask your local chain restaurants if they up cycle old crayons!!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from The Cardens!

25 Dec
A HUGE THANKS TO ALL OUR FRIENDS, READERS AND COLLEAGUES.
HAVE A GREAT NEW YEAR!!
%d bloggers like this: