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At Garden of Eating, we are dedicated to providing all of our clients with fresh, flavorful meals, beautifully and professionally presented for every event we cater. We pride ourselves in listening to our clients’ specific requests and designing a menu that reflects their needs.


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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Going Green for 2015!

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It’s just after the most wonderful time of the year, and that means that millions of Americans will recommit to a healthy lifestyle at the beginning of 2015. If you’re one of them, kudos! While we love foods that are decadent and rich, a healthy and nutritious diet is the key to getting and staying healthy.

To help jump start your year of health, we’ve put together a list of our favorite healthy green foods. These are not only loaded with health benefits, but they are easy to find and trendy for 2015. Many of them are perfect for your green morning smoothie or as a side dish for dinner.

1.   Kale

This super food has been popular for several years now. As it becomes more and more common to see both in home kitchens and in restaurants, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be a staple in your vegetable crisper at all times. Kale is perfect in your morning smoothie, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and baked, or steamed with garlic and onion to eat as a side dish at dinner (it’s great with fish or chicken!)

2. Avocado

Another super food long touted for its nutritional value, avocado is a versatile food that you should be keeping handy in 2015. Avocados are extremely versatile and can be added to everything from salads and sandwiches to omelets and dips. Avocados are also a good source of unsaturated fat.

3. Arugula

If kale is the green of the last 5 years, arugula is the green of the next 5 years. Loaded with health benefits including everything from vitamin A, C, K, and folic acid, arugula is a great addition to almost anything you’re having for dinner. While it’s a frequent ingredient in salads, arugula is also delicious steamed or sauteed and added to pastas, pizzas, or quiches.

4. Green Curry

While it’s probably not the best addition to your morning smoothie, green curry is a trendy, delicious, and healthy ingredient to have stocked in your kitchen. Spices are a great way to boost your metabolism and add flavor to food without adding sodium or sugar. Green curry is usually made with coconut milk, which is a healthy source of fat. Make your own curry from scratch or head to your local Asian supermarket and pick up green curry paste. Just add coconut milk and your favorite vegetables, then sprinkle with crushed peanuts, Thai chili pepper, and fresh lime.

5. Bok Choy

Bok choy is a traditional Asian vegetable with almost unbelievable benefits for your health. While bok choy is still not exploding in popularity in the US, we suspect it’s on its way as Asian fusion cuisine becomes more and more popular. Bok choy is a carotenoid, which is a dietary antioxidant believed to lower your risk of cancer. On top of that, just one cup of shredded bok choy contains half of your daily requirement for vitamins A, C, and K. Bok choy also helps to lower blood pressure.

Convinced now? Get some bok choy at your local health food store or at an Asian supermarket near you. Bok choy is great steamed or sauteed and can be flavored with virtually anything you like. It’s also great in soups and stews.

Stock your refrigerator with these 5 greens and you’re on your way to a healthier you in 2015!

How to Pair Champagne With Food For New Years

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One of the most fun aspects of New Years Eve (especially for us foodies!) is enjoying champagne, a drink reserved for only the most festive occasions. Champagne is a symbol of both the sweetness of the memories of the previous year and a welcoming in of the good times that will come with 2015.

While many of us are accustomed to pairing wines with food, the rarity with which most of us enjoy champagne means that it’s sometimes hard to know what foods go well with champagne. These simple yet impressive choices are sure to please your New Years Eve guests.

Savory

When you need a savory hors d’oeuvre to go with your New Years toast, choose something warm and rich to go with the cooler weather. Some ideas include:

  • Mini-quiches. This warm, rich appetizer is popular this time of year because it is filling and versatile. Try offering your guests several different flavors with ingredients that further enhance the flavor of the champagne such as sharp cheddar, basil, sausage, or scallions.
  • Fruit and nut plate. This is a great option if you prefer to keep it simple. It also satisfies the taste buds both of guests looking for something savory and those looking for something sweet. Take advantage of the time of year with some wintry nuts such as walnuts, chestnuts, and pecans.
  • No pairing list is complete without cheese. Choose flavorful, full cheeses such as brie, gouda, or gruyere.
  • Creamy dips. A creamy baked artichoke dip fits nicely with champagne. Plus, it’s always a hit with guests!
  • Fish is a natural complement to light, crisp wines, so it is perfect for pairing with champagne. Choose a flaky, warm, heavier white fish for best results. If your event has the budget, spring for a nice slice of fresh tuna.

Sweet

For sweet options, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. While some desserts are best as a keynote of your food offerings (such as fondue), others are great in combination so that you can provide a couple of different options. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Chocolate fondue. Fondue is a guest favorite because it’s fun and participatory. Champagne is perfect with chocolate covered strawberries, bananas, pound cake, or angel food cake.
  • Lemon or lime tart, cake, or pie. The crispness of the citrus combined with the sweet bubbles of champagne make a heavenly pair. A citrus sweet is also a good candidate for a gluten-free option if your guest list require one.
  • Rhubarb pie. This classic holiday dessert has long been considered by experts to perfectly compliment champagne.
  • Persimmons are delicious frozen or baked into a dessert. They are traditionally eaten around the holidays, and they’re also in season.
  • Cobbler and vanilla ice cream. Bake some blackberry, blueberry, or apple cobbler to enjoy with your beverage.

Ring in the New Year right with a diverse and festive menu to perfectly complement the festive occasion. And whatever you do, don’t run out of champagne!

Image via Flickr user aloha75.

How to Host a Last-Minute Office Christmas Party

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So Christmas is almost here and so is your office Christmas party. The only problem is that the office has been so busy during the month of December that you and your party committee haven’t had a chance to plan the Christmas party.

Don’t worry, it’s not too late! Here’s our guide for planning your last-minute Christmas party. Follow this advice and you’ll have everyone convinced that you’ve been planning for months.

Keep it Simple.

The first step is not to panic. The good news is that you don’t need anything fancy or elaborate to have a Christmas party. All you really need is:

  • A space
  • A Christmas tree
  • Food
  • A theme

Find a Space.

You may already be planning on simply using your office space for your party. If you are planning your party last-minute, it will likely be hard to find a space available for rental this close to Christmas. But no worries. Your office will be perfectly adequate for your Christmas party. Think of it this way: during such a busy time of the year, people will be relieved not to have another big event in their social calendars to fight through traffic to arrive at on time. Remember, just keep it simple!

Arrange for Food.

If you have a minimal budget for your Christmas party, we recommend using whatever budget you do have for the food. Let’s face it: you don’t have time to get together a menu and decide who is going to bring what. Worse yet, you don’t have time to cook.

The best arrangement for food for your last-minute Christmas party is to hire a catering company to prepare finger foods or dinner. Then, send an email to your party attendees to bring a drink or dessert. We find this arrangement to work well because during such a busy season, people may not have the time prepare food. Instead, let those who are able to contribute do so by bringing a dessert or drink to share with the group.

Choose a Theme.

A theme is a great way to generate buzz for your Christmas party and let everyone get involved. While it’s not an absolutely critical part of your party, it’s easy to implement and makes the party more fun for everyone involved. Check out our recent post with 4 great ideas for your Christmas party theme for a little inspiration.

Gift Exchange or Not?

There are two kinds of Christmas parties: ones with gifts exchanges and ones without. Okay, sure, there are a number of different kinds of Christmas parties, but gift exchanges are so ubiquitous that it’s worth considering whether or not you want to include it for your party.

The main factor in gift exchanges is participation. If you don’t have enough participation, there will be just a few people doing the gift exchange and others will be left out. If they aren’t involved in what’s happening at the party, they may even be tempted to leave early.

If it’s very short notice (just a few days), do not opt to do a gift exchange. It doesn’t give people enough time to get a gift. But if you have several days and you think that your office would enjoy participating, go ahead and do a gift exchange!

All in all, hosting an office Christmas party at the last-minute is easy if you keep it simple and make a few strategic decisions as soon as you can.

Merry Christmas to you and yours from Garden of Eating Catering!

4 Brilliant Christmas Party Theme Ideas

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So you’re having your annual Christmas party again this year, but you’re looking for something a little different. After last year’s ugly sweater party and the traditional white elephant exchange the year before, you need a fresh take for this holiday season.

Garden of Eating has you covered. Below, we’ve collected our favorite Christmas party theme ideas. After this year’s Christmas party, you’ll be the talk of the town.

1. Gingerbread house-building contest.

This idea is especially good for parties with children, or even for large family gatherings. Divide your group into small teams and provide each team with the same ingredients. Bring the kids shopping with you to select the most unique ingredients you can find. Just make sure the results will be edible. Children love to be the judges for this contest. Don’t forget the camera!

The menu: Well, gingerbread houses obviously! Provide some hot cider, tea, and coffee to wash it down.

2. “White Christmas” Party.

Have you ever noticed how clothing gets darker and darker beginning around Thanksgiving every year? This Christmas, brighten things up with a White Christmas party. Guests should wear as much white as possible.

The menu: Ask your caterer to create a white menu for your guests, such as creamy alfredo chicken breast over linguine, baked garlic cauliflower, warm dinner rolls, and white wine. Finish with angel food cake or vanilla cheesecake for dessert.

3. A spin on the white elephant Christmas party.

Put a twist on the typical white elephant party with a game of Jenga. Buy the game made of wooden blocks, then grab a couple of friends to help you write a different condition or command on each block with a permanent marker. Guests will take turns taking a block, and then they must do what the block says or risk losing their gift. If the tower falls, guests need to give their gift away.

Your blocks can say anything you want. You could have guests tell the group something interesting about themselves, such as their favorite place they’ve ever traveled; you could give them a “dare,” make it a drinking game, or do all three!

The menu: Ask your caterer to prepare some casual Christmas-themed finger foods to fit the fun atmosphere of the game.

4. Christmas ornament party.

Have each of your guests bring an ornament to help you decorate your tree. This is a great idea if your Christmas party is also in celebration of a housewarming, a wedding, an engagement, or a baby.

Alternatively, have a Christmas ornament exchange by giving each guest a number at the door and having a raffle for each guest’s Christmas ornament throughout the evening.

The menu: We think it would be fun to provide a menu of round foods to resemble the traditional Christmas ornament: little bagel finger sandwiches, homemade pizza, a cheese ball, bowls of soup, and chocolate “cake pops” are all nice options.

This holiday season, wowing your friends and family with a breath of fresh air at your Christmas party doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Use one of these tips instead!

3 Simple Sports Party Food Ideas

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It’s that time of year again: time to spend weekend afternoons cheering on your favorite team with family and friends. Everyone knows that a sports gathering just isn’t a sports gathering without a constant stream of food to keep the fans enthusiastic.

But you don’t need to break the bank to make that happen, nor spend the entire day cooking. The best snacks for sports events are the simplest. Garden of Eating has a few favorite sports party food ideas up our sleeve. With these recipes, you’re sure to please!

1. Quesadilla Bar

The perfect compliment to beer and sports is cheese, cheese, and… oh yeah, more cheese! That’s why quesadillas are a great snack for the game. But here at Garden of Eating Catering, we like to take quesadillas to the next level by letting your guests create their own.

Put all your ingredients out for guests to choose from, then put small bowls out for guests to use to fill with their desired ingredients.

Some ingredients we recommend are:

  • Multiple kinds of cheese. We like pepper jack, cheddar, and mozzarella, but choose whatever you’d like.
  • Sliced chicken breast
  • Chopped veggies: onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, and jalapeno
  • Sliced avocados or guacamole
  • Pinto and/or black beans
  • Fresh corn salsa

Serve with fresh salsa and sour cream. This idea would be best for smaller groups or parties for which people will arrive at different times.

2. Chili with a Twist

Chili is a simple yet hearty food choice best for cooler days and games for which you need some serious food. Even though it’s filling, it can be inexpensive as well.

We prefer to spice up the usual chili by adding fall favorites such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and corn. Some other ideas for a simple twist on chili might be to:

  • Use pork or chicken instead of beef.
  • Use unconventional beans like garbanzo beans, lima beans, or even substitute lentils.
  • Spice up your chili with cayenne pepper, oregano, or a touch of cinnamon.

3. BLT Sliders

Few foods are simpler than sandwiches, and sliders make for the perfect fun-sized party food. Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches offer a different kind of slider that’s a cinch to make. Just fry up a whole mess of bacon, cut up some lettuce and tomato, and you’re in business for sandwich self-assembly.

A few items we might add to the traditional BLT include:

  • Caramelized white onions
  • Avocado spread
  • Chipotle mayo
  • Swiss cheese
  • Sprouts

In no time at all, you’ve got plenty of food to go around for the big game. Now all you need is for your team to win! Unfortunately we can’t help you with that. But we can help you with food and event tips, tricks, and advice to make your life easier. Check back with the blog for new food and event ideas each week.

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