Winter-tainment Party Guide
33 inspired products — plus 6 smart ideas — for hosting a fun gathering this season
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COOKina Cuisine’s reusable green/red baking sheets are nonstick and easy-clean, and offer a healthy (PFOA-free!) cooking and baking experience. Ideal for using as an alternative to aluminum foil, parchment, or wax paper. You put the sheet right on a baking tray. $13, Organize-It, Shelby Township, metro-area Home Depot stores, homedepot.com.
A Perfect Pot
The vibrantly colored, conical-shaped pots from IMUSA’s GlobalKitchen can be used to bake meats, fish, poultry, and vegetables to perfect fork-tenderness — going from stove or oven to tabletop with artistic ease. The collection includes a stockpot, pressure cooker, wok, paella pan, and ceramic calerdo. $19-$59/ea., metro-area Target stores, target.com. — Honey Murray
Stir Up Some Comfort Food
In Laura Frankel’s Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes: 120 Holiday and Everyday Dishes Made Easy (Surry Books, $15, amazon.com and metro-area Barnes & Noble stores, barnesandnoble.com), holiday favorites simmer in the ol’ slow cooker, and voila — you get everything from tamales to Moroccan chicken!
Make it Fast!
Fiskars’ fast-prep herb shears, $10, allow you to mince herbs in seconds without a knife or cutting board, not to mention helping you get other kitchen chores done in a snap. Metro-area Jo-Ann stores, joann.com.
Kate Spade introduces its All in Good Taste fun-loving cooking items, featuring words and sayings — like this wooden cutting board, $30, metro-area Macy’s stores, macys.com.
“When my wife and I entertain, whether it’s an informal gathering or a big party, there must always be a luscious, gooey chocolate dessert that I made that afternoon,” says Birmingham’s Randy Forester, who's crazy about the Farmstand Brownie recipe below. He owned Studio 330 (high-end gifts/bridal registry) in Bloomfield Township and now volunteers with the Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary. For festive gatherings, he serves brownies either on a Depression glass small cake stand (1930s) or on a simple Annieglass (California company) Roman antique oval platter.
Farmstand Brownies (makes 16)
3½ cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 20 oz.)
1 cup unsalted butter
1½ tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached, all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups chopped walnuts
3 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil. Generously butter foil. Place chocolate and butter in medium saucepan. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Add espresso powder and vanilla; stir to blend. Cool 15 minutes. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl. Add walnuts; toss to coat. Whisk eggs and sugar in large bowl just to blend. Add chocolate mixture; stir until just blended. Add flour mixture; stir just to blend. Pour into prepared pan. Bake brownies about 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Cover and chill six hours. Invert brownies onto work surface. Peel off foil. Trim crisp edges. Cut into 16 pieces.