Holiday Book Giveaway!!

 

This contest has ended– please see the bottom of the post for winner announcements.

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Holiday Book Giveaway TODAY!!

There were so many amazing cookbooks and other books that came out this year and I have done a round up of my favorites to gift this holiday season. I encourage you to run out and support your local indy bookstore in these final days before Christmas and Hanukkah instead of ordering online! I think it's great to Shop Small and Shop Local whenever you can.

My beloved publisher, Abrams, has generously offered to give away 3 of the books in my list:

To enter, just sign up for my newsletter via this link. Three winners (one for each book) will be announced here in this blog post and on Instagram tomorrow morning 12/21/16 at 10am PST. (Sorry, U.S. only!)

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MY 2016 (COOK)BOOK LIST:

  • Everything I Want To Eat by Jessica Koslow. I have never been to this popular restaurant in LA but have been following it on Instagram for years and really want to go. She has super-unique ideas for healthy comfort food.
  • Butter & Scotch by Allison Kave & Keavy Landreth. Booze + Baked Goods = Brilliant. I have never been to their bakery/bar in Brooklyn but NEED TO. I recently had their brownies and went crazy over them. This book has such fun retro-style photos and delicious treats.
  • French Country Cooking by Mimi Thorisson. Perhaps the dreamiest blog out there, Mimi chronicles her life in food (plus a gaggle of dogs & kids) in a chateau in France, and it's now in book form, too.
  • Molly on the Range by Molly Yeh. She has one of the most fun and most popular food blogs out there and her book is just as fun! I want to make her scallion pancake challah.
  • In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney. From my favorite design blogger, stories about business and inspiration from women working today in creative fields. 
  • Love & Lemons by Jeanine Donofrio. Vegetables galore from this popular blogger. I wish she'd make me her recipes every day so I could eat like this always.
  • Small Victories by Julia Turshen. I have already made a few of her recipes (like the lasagna) and they are simple crowd pleasers when you just don't know what to make!
  • Home Baked by Yvette van Boven. This is from last year but I had to include it! I love her incorporation of watercolor into the layouts- such an artful and useful baking book.

Good Luck & Happy Holidays!!

 

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UPDATE 12./21/16: And the winnners are......

Tera Schoeneck, Kathleen Casazza and Susan Wilson. Congrats, you 3! You should have received an email with winner instructions (if not, email studio@theforestfeast.com). Thank you so much to everyone who entered and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Holiday Party Appetizer: Greek Kale Dip

It's holiday party season and I'm always looking for ideas on what to serve or bring. This year I came up with a Greek Kale Dip, which is a twist on the traditional Spinach Dip that my mom (still!) makes every year. Instead of spinach and sour cream, I used Taylor Farms Kale and Greek Yogurt. But I kept the dry soup mix addition (it's classic!). I like this recipe because it's easy to make ahead and travels well. If you're serving it at your own party, putting it alongside a cookie platter, a cheese plate and some bubbly with pomegranate seeds is easy and feels festive. 

For the cookie platter, I bought chocolate chip cookies, hazelnut wafer cookies and tall pirouette cookies served in a copper cup. I chose just one nice block of cheese (goat Gouda) and some crackers. I like to pre-pour a few glasses of Prosecco with a few pomegranate seeds in each, then leave the open bottle, plus a bowl of the pomegranate seeds for guests to help themselves.

I decorated our outdoor bar with some fresh garland, candles, foraged pinecones and red berries, fresh pomegranates, magenta peonies (!) and some dark red amaryllis flowers.

Greek Kale Dip

16 oz Greek yogurt

1 big handful of Taylor Farms Fresh Leafy Kale Greens (about 2 c)

6 oz crumbled Feta cheese

1 packet of dry leek or onion soup mix (I prefer leek but it may be harder to find)

3 chopped scallions (white and green parts)

1 (8-inch) round sourdough bread loaf

For serving: Sliced baguette and Taylor Farms Organic Broccoli & Cauliflower pieces

Sauté the kale on medium in a large skillet with a splash of olive oil and water. Keep it covered, but stir occasionally, until the kale is bright green and wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer the kale to a cutting board and chop finely. Allow to cool and mix the kale with the yogurt, feta, scallions and soup mix. Cut the round top off the loaf of bread and use your hands to pull the bread out, forming a bowl. (Save this bread for something else, like a panzanella). Fill the bread bowl with the dip and serve on a large platter with slices of baguette and fresh vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower.

* This dip is easily made ahead. Just store and refrigerate in a large plastic bag or container and pour into the bread bowl before serving.

Cheers & Happy Holidays!

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This post was done in partnership with Taylor Farms. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Forest Feast possible. #ATaylorFarmsHoliday @yourtaylorfarms

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Holiday Appetizer & Edible Gift: The Cheese Ball!

Every year growing up (and still to this day!) my parents make cheeseballs to serve and pass out as gifts at their annual holiday party. They pull out their largest stainless steel mixing bowl to make a huge batch, and it is often my job to mix it with my hands. Their recipe includes cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and black olives, and is rolled in parsley, walnuts and dried cranberries. One ball is served at the party, and the rest are wrapped in tissue with a bow and placed in a small gift bag with crackers. All the bags are lined up at the door for guests to take home. 

I've partnered with Clover Organic Farms to make my own twist on my mom's classic cheeseball recipe. Clover is a dairy farm from Sonoma County, where I grew up, and my family has been using their products for years. They are a family-run business that I trust operates in an ethical and sustainable manner, including the treatment of their animals, their employees, our planet, and their product. I can't always afford to buy everything organic, but I always prioritize dairy, and Clover is my go-to, local brand.

For the base I simply mix one block of cream cheese and one grated block of white cheddar. You can leave as-is, or get creative with add-ins. I made 3 variations on this recipes in the video, and here is one:

Pomegranate-Pistachio Cheese Ball

makes 1 cheese ball (recipe easily multiplies to make multiple balls)

8 oz Clover Organic Sharp White Cheddar, grated

8 oz Clover Organic Cream Cheese

1/4 c fresh pomegranate seeds

1/2 c chopped, shelled pistachios

Bring the cream cheese to room temperature to ease mixing. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and pomegranate seeds and mix well using your hands. Roll the mixture into a ball, and then roll the ball in the chopped pistachios. Serve alongside crackers, sliced baguette, crudité or sliced apple. Or wrap in plastic to refrigerate or gift. The ball can be made a day or 2 before, but it's best to roll in the topping(s) right before serving to keep the nuts crunchy.

Other Add-In Ideas: Instead of pomegranate seeds, you could mix in capers, scallions, red onion, walnuts, olives, dried cranberries, currants, etc.

Other Roll-In Ideas: Instead of pistachios, you could roll in chopped pecans, macadamia nuts, dried cherries, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chives, parsley, pine nuts, etc.

To make the cheese balls a gift, wrap them in plastic, then wrap them in a fabric napkin, tea towel or piece of tissue (something square works especially well), and tie with a bow. I like to use pastry twine and brown twine, and tie in a fresh flower and a sprig of rosemary or fresh greenery. I also turn shipping tags (purchased at an office supply store) into gift tags by painting a couple watercolor stripes on the bottom and adding a name or message.

This is an easy appetizer to make ahead and serve at your own holiday party, bring to someone else's or give as an edible gift. Let me know what fun flavor combinations you come up with!

Have fun and Happy Holidays!

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This post was done in partnership with Clover Organic Farms, a dairy brand I have used and trusted for years. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Forest Feast possible. Click here for more holiday recipe ideas from Clover. @cloverpetaluma @CloverStornetta #CloverCooks

Thanksgiving Appetizers: Butternut Hummus & Deviled Eggs

I spend most of Thanksgiving day cooking, and love to have some tasty appetizers on hand to keep everyone going (but not too full) before the big feast. Here are a couple fun ideas that are easy to prep ahead.

My local paper, The Palo Alto Weekly, did a really lovely article and video all about Thanksgiving Appetizers adapted from my new cookbook. We shot a 15-minute recipe video on the deck where I made some fun recipes like this Butternut Hummus (below) and an adaptation on my deviled eggs, turning them into Butternut Hummus Deviled Eggs with Pomegranate Seeds. Read the article by Anna Medina and get the recipes HERE.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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The video above is by The Palo Alto Weekly, shot by Veronica Weber. Host: Anna Medina. The video accompanies the article published 11/17/16.