Mulled Wine With Cranberries

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 3 cups dry red wine (such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the cranberry juice cocktail, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and star anise. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in the wine and cranberries and bring back to a simmer. Serve warm.

Americans Are Cooking More Meals at Home, Eating Out Less

Are you cooking at home more than you used to and eating out at fast-food restaurants less? If so, you are right on trend.

Today, 82 percent of the meals Americans eat are prepared at home, a much higher percentage than a decade ago, according to research from NPD Group Inc. cited by Bloomberg.

At the same time, restaurant dining has declined. The average American ate out about 185 times last year, whereas in 2000 they ate out about 216 times a year, NPD reported. In fact, in 2018, the total number of restaurant visits per person hit its lowest point in 28 years, according to Bloomberg.

So what’s driving the eat-at-home trend? A bunch of things, probably. But a lot of it may be that the money-versus-convenience ratio is changing.

Cooking meals at home is getting more convenient. We stay in and watch Netflix and so eat at home, rather than, say, going out to the movies and grabbing dinner out. Pre-made meals and online grocery delivery are on the rise, Bloomberg notes, making eating at home a cinch.

Meanwhile, eating out has gotten more expensive, as restaurants have boosted prices to keep up with rising labor and rent costs. Add to that the increasing pressure of student debt, the high cost of childcare and a growing interest in eating healthy meals, and home cooking — often cheaper and healthier — starts to look a lot more appealing than forking over for a high-cal fast-food meal.

To mitigate the effects of the changing consumer habits on their bottom lines, some fast-food chains — like Chick-fil-A — are testing meal kits you can buy in the drive-thru lane and cook at home, Bloomberg reports.

Quick-Pickled Vegetable Salad with Harissa Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 4 medium carrots, sliced into thin rounds
  • 4 medium inner celery ribs, thinly sliced on the bias, plus 1/2 cup lightly packed celery leaves
  • 1 cup thinly sliced white onion
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 tablespoon harissa
  • Three 6-ounce romaine hearts, dark outer leaves removed and inner leaves torn into bite-size pieces (10 cups)

Directions

  1. In a heatproof medium bowl, combine the carrots, celery ribs and onion. In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup of the vinegar with the garlic, sugar, 1 1/2 cups water and 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Pour the hot brine over the vegetables and let stand until cool, about 30 minutes. Drain the vegetables and refrigerate until just chilled, about 15 minutes; discard the garlic. Reserve the brine for another use.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the pumpkin seeds and a pinch each of salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Let cool.
  3. In a serving bowl, whisk the harissa with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Add the romaine, drained pickled vegetables and celery leaves and toss well; season with salt and pepper and toss again. Sprinkle the toasted pumpkin seeds on top and serve.
    Tips:
    Pair with a racy, briny Greek island white.

Maine Restaurant Gets Lobsters Stoned Before Dinner

It is a question that has plagued conscientious humans since they discovered the lobster’s supreme edibility: how do you cook them so they don’t feel pain?

Maine lobster pound owner Charlotte Gill is grappling with the ethical implications of killing delicious, buttery-sweet crustaceans by offering them a hearty dose of cannabis smoke before turning them into lobster rolls, according to the Mount Desert Islander.

To reduce the suffering of her signature sea creatures, Gill undertook a series of experiments on a specimen named Roscoe at her restaurant, Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound. Over the course of a few minutes, Roscoe sat in a box as Gill pumped cannabis smoke into the water. She then removed the lobster’s claw bands. For the next three weeks, he was reportedly never aggressive again with the other lobsters in his tank, implying that he was seriously chilled out by the drug.

Roscoe was eventually released back to the ocean, where he is now undoubtedly telling his shelled friends about one heck of a trippy alien abduction experience.

Marijuana use and possession of up to 2.5 grams in Maine was legalized in 2017, though it is not yet legal to sell the drug in stores.

Gill is currently offering a choice between traditionally boiled or steamed lobsters and ones that have first been subjected to marijuana smoke, though she intends to get all of her lobsters high for the next lobster season.

But fear not, ye old cannabis abstainers; psychoactive THC breaks down at a temperature of 392 degrees, so between the steaming and “a heat process that will expose the meat to a 420 degree extended temperature,” there’s no chance you’ll be getting stoned yourself after a meal from Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound.

Ravioli Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 oz. (32-oz.) jar marinara
  • 16 oz. whole milk ricotta
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 c. freshly grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1/4 c. freshly chopped basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 oz. (12-oz.) packages frozen cheese ravioli
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º and grease a 9”-x-13” baking dish with cooking spray. Warm a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat and add ground beef and onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook until beef is browned and onion is soft, about 10 minutes, then drain fat and return to skillet. Stir in garlic and marinara, then reduce heat and simmer for flavors to meld, 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add ricotta, egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan, basil, garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  3. Spread 1/3 of the meat sauce into prepared pan. Top with a single layer of ravioli, half of the remaining meat sauce, half of the ricotta mixture, and half of the mozzarella and remaining Parmesan. Repeat layers, ending on cheeses.
  4. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.Remove foil and bake until golden and bubbly, 15 minutes more. Sprinkle with remaining basil and serve.

Three Flavour Focaccia

Ingredients

DOUGH
  • 400 g strong white bread flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 100 g fine ground semolina flour or strong white bread flour
  • 1 sachet dried yeast
  • ½ tablespoon golden caster sugar
  • 300 ml lukewarm water
  • olive oil
  • extra virgin olive oil , to finish
BASIL AND CHERRY TOMATO TOPPING
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil , (30g)
  • 1 large handful of ripe cherry tomatoes
  • white wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
THREE-CHEESE AND ROSEMARY TOPPING
  • 30 g Taleggio cheese
  • 1 small log goat’s cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
BALSAMIC ONION TOPPING
  • 2 red onions
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • balsamic vinegar

Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until very fluffy, 2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add peanut butter and continue mixing until mixture is completely smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes more.
  3. Add flour mixture in batches and continue mixing, scraping sides of bowl as you go. Refrigerate batter 1 hour.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with parchment. Drop tablespoons of dough on prepared baking sheets, about 1½” apart.
  5. Using a fork, score cookies with a cross-hatch pattern.
  6. Bake until golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to let cool before serving.