This luscious Craisin-Walnut Mayo will turn any turkey or chicken sandwich into a sweet and special snack. We mix together walnuts, garlic, and dried cranberries with southern-style smooth and creamy Duke’s mayo. Turkey leftovers will never stick around too long in your fridge now!
Made by the friendly, surly and creative basement team in the historic Dewitt-Seitz building.
Due to the perishable nature of our specialty, hand-crafted food, we require expedited shipping using UPS Ground or 2-day services. Everything is packed in a lined box with ice to keep the food cold as it arrives on your doorstep. The shipping rate depends on the final destination of the order and ranges from $15-$65. Orders taken Sunday-Tuesday are shipped the day after they are received (pending product availability). We also ship on Thursdays for orders placed Wednesday that are shipped within Minnesota. Please see our FAQ for additional questions on shipping.
For all the years leading up to my time at the Smokehaus, I ate the Cajun Finn. Exclusively. My only deviation was if I was lucky enough to show up on Taco Tuesday. Once I started working here, I knew I needed to explore the very expansive menu for no other reason than product knowledge. While doing research under the cloak of product testing, I learned what I’ve always known: we make some ridiculously good food. If you’ve ever come to the deli and asked the person working what their favorite sandwich is and saw them hesitate, hmm and haw… it’s for good reason. There’s much to choose from and rarely is it a bad choice. While I still love The Finn, I have yet to go wrong deviating from my old standby.
I took an informal poll of some staff (okay, I drug them aside and demanded an answer), veteran and new-ish and everything in-between. Here are the results:
Nic P: “Italiensk. I love it because it features our salamundos (large diameter salamis) and the mortadella which are some of my favorite products we make here.”
Cho: “Probably The ‘06 because I really like our bison pastrami. Our meats are so quality and you can really taste it in the pastrami. And who doesn’t love a toasty sandwich?”
Tyler: “The ‘06 or a Phoebe for a good food coma. If I need to go light: Sitka Sushi for the win. Or, a pizza on a naan”. Author’s notes: I had to inform Tyler that pizza, indeed, is not on our menu. No, really, we can’t make you a pizza.
Emma: “Spring Roll on a Square (vegan mode!). I love the pickled veg, it has such a unique flavor profile. The almonds? DEVINE. So good! They give it the crunch. God bless Patricia.” Author’s Note: Our Spring Roll used to be served on a Naan (thus, the “roll”) but moving forward it will be served on a square ciabatta which makes this solid vegetarian option a vegan sandwich too!
Cal: “D-Luxxx with Turkey. Always the turkey. Or, a Cold Turkey or, a Cedar’s Secret. The turkey is so good.” Author’s note: Cal’s been working here since he’s been in the womb. So if he says the turkey’s good, it’s good.
Nicholas Matthew Ruszat Klee: “For years I’ve ordered the Cold Turkey, now I make the Cold Turkey, thus the circle of life continues.” When asked what he would do if we were out of Crayo, a critical ingredient in this second best selling sandwich, Nick responded, mournfully, that he “would simply weep”.
Taylor P: “Big Dipper. The porketta here is so good and it feels like the regional favorite that I grew up eating is less common. Plus, people generally wouldn’t think of making a sandwich with this as the key ingredient.”
Brian: “Hedonist or Bahn Faux Mi. Both feature the country pâté which has such a great, complex flavor. I see people who have worked here for a very long time regularly eat the country pâté which is an indicator that a product is good and has lasting power.”
Justin: “Bahn Faux Mi.” Author’s notes: Justin is a man of few words.
Ben: “I worked in the pizza industry for a long time. When I go to a place that specializes in pizza, I get the most basic thing they have, a cheese pizza. If their crust and their sauce aren’t great, their pizza won’t be great. So here, I would recommend some of our most basic sandwiches like the The Northern Bagel with Smoked Salmon or Gravlax. You’ll get to taste what we do best and guaranteed, it will be delicious.”
The Cold Turkey is our second most popular sandwich, after the unstoppable Cajun Finn and just ahead of the Northern Bagel (both of which we also offer as kits!). It’s not only a showcase for our maple-sage smoked turkey (obvy.), but our signature crayo spread. (We mix together walnuts, garlic, and dried cranberries with southern-style smooth and creamy Duke’s mayo.) Add on a couple slices of Swiss and a stack of fresh greens (held inside our Haus-baked ciabatta) and you have yourself a double handful of sweet and savory perfection.
Want to take something great even further? It is possible. Add your own “Jean Jacket.” That’s Sriracha and cilantro, if you’re not already in the know. The added punch of spice and brightness will open up a whole new world of flavor possibilities.
Introducing a sandwich kit that will satisfy your craving for something sweet and savory. Our Cold Turkey sandwich has our legendary Craisen-Walnut mayo (known to the locals as Crayo), our tender and slowly smoked Turkey Breast, Swiss cheese, fresh mixed greens, and Hausmade Ciabatta rolls.
A match like no other. A sandwich that is perfect on its own, but has the opportunity for so much growth. Like your sandwiches with a little bit of a kick? Add a Jean Jacket (cilantro and Sriracha). Wanna learn a Smokehaus secret? Sub the cilantro for basil and you’ve got yourself a Woolrich.
This kit is enough for two or four sandwiches. However, we pack our Crayo container generously. In case of an emergency, you won’t have to go without that sweet-sweet mayo that’s made with refreshing goodnight sleeps, that indescribable smell after it rains, and the feeling you get when you’re about to drink the first LaCroix of the day.
Assembly and Toasting Instructions (Need an extra copy? Download them here.)
NWS Tote Bag
We have Cold Turkey Sandwich Kits for two and four. Please multiply food quantities above by two for the larger sandwich kit. Each kit will have plenty of Crayo for leftovers.
Due to the perishable nature of our specialty, hand-crafted food, we require expedited shipping using UPS Ground or 2-day services. Everything is packed in a lined box with ice to keep the food cold as it arrives on your doorstep. The shipping rate depends on the final destination of the order and ranges from $18-$65. Orders taken Sunday-Tuesday are shipped the day after they are received (pending product availability). We also ship on Thursdays for orders placed Wednesday that are shipped within Minnesota. Please see our FAQ for additional questions on shipping.
There will be no surprises in today’s blog—just a sober look at the eating preferences of our customers since January 1st of this year.
Take a guess which sandwich will be #1. If you find that you’re correct, give yourself a pat on the back, you savvy market analyst, you!
#5 The Great Summer Caper
The once Summertime special that proved too viable to restrict to one season. The Great Summer Caper consists of a toasted Lake Superior Bakehouse Bagel (or one of our new gluten-free bagels), scallion cream cheese, capers (duh!), tomato, red onion, lettuce, and the true star of the show, Black Pepper & Coriander smoked Atlantic salmon.
BP&C (as commonly* abbreviated) is a highly popular fish case offering which, before the Summer of 2018, didn’t show up on any sandwiches. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t requested on sandwiches. It was. Often.
Of the sandwiches on this list, the Pastrami Mommy has evolved the most. Formerly an exclusively Bison Pastrami sandwich, served on a very dark rye bread, it is currently made on our lighter hausmade rye bread (thank you, Jerry!), typically with Beef Pastrami, though still intermittently with Bison Pastrami when the smokers have time or reason to make it.
For those who don’t know, the price of bison has skyrocketed since the Wild West-esque days when I began working at NWS—thus, we reserve the majority of our bison production for Corned Bison and Bison Buddies.
Back to the Pastrami Mommy: Changes aside, the popularity of this sandwich has remained consistent, likely due in part to Guy Fieri’s enthusiasm about it on our decade-oldDiners, Drive-Ins, and Dives spot, but ultimately due to the merit of this sandwich.
Hausmade rye, mayo, and hausmade mustard, piled high with a quarter-pound of pastrami, zesty pepperoncini, provolone cheese, and mixed greens. Sounds tasty, right?
#3 The Cold Turkey
The savory-sweet delight that’s nearly impossible to quit: Maple-Sage Smoked Ferndale Farms Turkey Breast cradled in a few ounces of Crayo, nestled alongside mixed greens and Swiss cheese, all on a hausmade ciabatta (thanks again, Jerry!).
Frankly, if our sandwich menu ever vexes you, the Cold Turkey is a great default. It’s a sandwich that many, even among our very sandwich-spoiled staff, view as comfort food. It’s the perennial, “nothing too exciting today, just the Cold Turkey.” Which is not a bad thing at all. Add a Jean Jacket if you want some excitement.
#2 The Northern Bagel
A simple foundation with an abundance of flavor is the secret of this sandwich. Our Traditional Smoked Atlantic Salmon already has a lot going for it, from its outer smoke-catching pellicle to it’s brown sugar-sweet, moist and flaky flesh. Marry that amazing flavor to hausmade scallion cream cheese and a Lake Superior Bakehouse bagel, and you’ve got a winning combination.
One major benefit of this simple setup is accessibility. You can eat this thing anywhere, and you’re probably not going to make a mess. It’s a great sandwich on-the-go, whether that’s the trailhead, the beach, or the car. And while the technical aspect of this sandwich may suffice, more importantly, it also tastes really good.
Honestly, did you imagine anything else would be in this spot?
The Cajun Finn’s reputation precedes it. The Cajun Finn has had such an impact upon our deli and our community that it has made its way onto a piece of our merchandise—which, by the way, is on sale for $15 during the month of March: That’s $5 off! And lifetime 10%-off your in-store purchases as long as you’re wearing the shirt-slash-any of our merch!—and at least a couple other menus in town *wink emoji*
This blog hasn’t featured any specific sales numbers for these sandwiches, but based on the sales records from which this content emerged, the Finn sold roughly as many units as the three sandwiches below it combined.
Last week, we took a look at the cheese population of our Grab & Go case. In doing so, we dipped our toes into another segment of the case: Hausmade spreads and dips.
Scallion Cream Cheese
A simple combination that yields a great flavor. This cream cheese dazzles tastebuds with just enough green onion flavor, and is the glue that holds together a grip of our deli sandwiches—the Northern Bagel, the Great Summer Caper, the Fuzzy Bunny (vegetarian), the Basic Bagel (also vegetarian!), the Sebu-Chan, and of course, the Cajun Finn. The Fish Basket pairs your selection of smoked fish with crackers and scallion cream cheese.
A favorite move among our staff is using scallion cream cheese as a kettle chip dip. Preferred flavor: Salt & Vinegar.
Scallion cream cheese is available upon request in our deli, and via pickup/delivery, for $2.25 per 4 oz container, $4.50 per 8 oz, and $9 per 16 oz.
Crayo is so good it should be illegal.
The incomparable sauce that serves as the foundation for the Cold Turkey, Cedar’s Secret, and Purple Range sandwiches is undeniably one of the greatest components on our sandwich line.
Blended with healthy doses of garlic, walnuts, and dehydrated cranberries, this mayo is a flavor explosion. Honestly, the slurry those three ingredients produce would probably make a great sandwich spread on its own, but the inclusion of mayo smoothes it out and takes it to the next level.
Like most of the things on this list, Crayo excels as a condiment and a dip. Any time you want a combination of sweet and savory, Crayo will likely scratch that itch.
Crayo is available upon request in our deli, and via pickup/delivery, for $3 per 4 oz container, $6 per 8 oz, and $12 per 16 oz.
Olivada—Kalamata olives, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and thyme—is a spread that might even turn the most olive-averse. I would know, because that is me, and I quite enjoy this spread. Garlic is magical.
Olivada doesn’t show up on any of our sandwiches—except for the short-lived Grab & Go Muffaletta (RIP)—but it’s a favorite “secret” ingredient on our catering charcuterie spreads, and when making sample platters during lunch rushes.
Enjoying olivada is as simple as finding something to spread it on: crackers, toast, that chicken you’re about to roast. Some might even enjoy it by the spoonful. Olivada compliments bright flavors like goat cheese or pepperoncinis.
Most days, you’ll find NWS Olivada in the Grab & Go case, for $5 per 8 oz container.
Scallion Spud Spread
Whether you’re placing it atop the potato, dipping the (fried) potato into it, or mashing the potato with it, our spin on the “Legendary” Midwestern dip has you(r potato) covered. Made with cream cheese, plain yogurt (rather than the traditional sour cream), scallions, garlic powder, and onion powder, and costing scarcely more than a bag of kettle chips, this deal is too good to pass up.
Our spud spread is available in our deli, or via pickup/delivery, for $1.50 per 6 oz container.
Smoked Salmon Pâté
Our Smoked Salmon Pâté is one of the most frequently re-stocked items in our deli. It’s spreadable, but not too smooth, it features a unique blend of spices and seasonings that might sound like the work of a mad scientist—it is: his name is Eric Goerdt—if we revealed it, and the flavor is tied together with the brightness of lemon juice and horseradish.
Miraculously, this highly-sought after spread is also a way we save on potential food waste, with a significant portion of the smoked salmon in each batch coming from the Atlantic salmon chunks that won’t retail well—those that are too moist to stay on the skin or hold their shape—and the leftovers when prepping smoked salmon portions for the sandwich line.
Smoked Salmon Pâté can hold its own on a cracker of your choice, but limiting yourself to just crackers would be foolish. A common pick-me-up snack for our deli staff is a slice of cucumber with a dollop of pâté, a slice of pickled ginger, and a cilantro sprig garnish. On our web store, we recommend making an omelette with S.S.P., which I have not personally tested, though if we’re advertising it on our website, I imagine it’s good. Try it out and get back to me.
In addition to making great snack fodder, S.S.P. is the main event on our Slammin’ Gordon and Salmon Melt sandwiches.
If there’s not Smoked Salmon Pâté in our Grab & Go case, something is likely wrong. It’ll be back in-stock ASAP. We sell it in 8 oz containers for $13, in our deli, or via pickup/delivery.
This rich and mildly-spicy cheddar cheese, peppers, and mayonnaise spread makes a mean ham & cheese sandwich, or an excellent dip. Set this out at your family gathering or game day celebration and watch it quickly disappear.
To ensure maximum flavor, we make our Pimiento with the finest aged cheddar cheese and Duke’s mayonnaise.
Most days, Pimiento is available in our deli, or via pickup/delivery It comes in 8 oz containers for $7.
NWS Boursin Cheese
Cream cheese, butter, garlic, lemon zest, and fresh handpicked herbs. This smooth and creamy cheese spread might be tempting to eat by the spoonful, though we recommend it alongside crackers and smoked salmon (or juicy, medium-rare steak medallions). This hausmade cheese is a staple of our catering offerings and the sample platters we put out during business hours. In addition to having a great herbal quality, it is also wonderfully sweet.
If you’ve exhausted all other ideas for using our NWS Boursin (or even if you haven’t), you could always honor the great state of Minnesota by making a fancy Juicy Lucy burger, substituting around a half-ounce of NWS Boursin for the American cheese product slice.
NWS Boursin is available for $7 per 8 oz container.
We hope this gives you a better picture of our Grab & Go case offerings. There’s a whole lot of daily variety, and new items hitting the shelves whenever the whim strikes us, but most of the products listed above can be expected on an average day.
If you find yourself in our deli and want to be even more intimately acquainted with these products, ask for a sample—we can usually oblige, and your own senses are the best judge of whether you like something.
Today I feel as though a veil has been lifted from my eyes. As I wandered the three levels of NWS HQ, observing and probing my co-workers with questions about the tasks at their hands, I realized that the small company I began working for nearly five years ago, and the small spaces I have haunted for the same amount of time are expansive and dynamic and chaotic enough that they can still surprise me. Today, I’d like to talk about my impressions and interactions while floating about pestering my co-workers, then hit you with some good ol’ advertisement. Let’s go floor by floor:
3rd floor: I entered the office and immediately saw two new faces hard at work. I haven’t even caught their names yet, they were so embroiled in their work, digging out items from the deep freeze, vacuum-sealing chunks of salmon, and taping shut fully packed boxes. The mail order department processed 87 orders this week alone, and they are still just at the foot of the mountain that is our holiday mail order season.
The surroundings toe the line of order and chaos. Zip-tied bundles of flattened boxes are piled high in canted and zigzagging stacks top a labyrinthine arrangement of shelves. The wall of product label sticker spools is functional, if disorganized.
This week, twenty pallets of recycled denim box-liners were delivered to DeWitt-Seitz and our off-site storage area. 4ish- by 3ish- by 6ish-foot boxes of them are stacked in the office, and various corners of the floor. We have even requisitioned a room down a winding path of hallways that I had not travelled before I began researching this week’s blog to stack our boxes and liners, which is filled to the ceiling/skylight.
This is not my first Winter here. I know what to expect. It still struggle to imagine the extent of the activity that will occur in this small office suite over the next month-point-five.
1st floor: Upon entering the deli, I was asked to join a mini-band. Unsure exactly what that entailed, I withheld my decision and awaited their explanation. A mini-band, it turns out, is a band of individuals of any size which specializes in small instruments: mandolin, “tiny drums,” jaw harp, ukulele, kazoo etc. I was recruited as the hypothetical toy piano specialist. We probably would have had a song written within minutes had a line of customers not appeared. The future of the band is unclear, but it feels good to be exposed to these sorts of ideas on a regular basis.
Loading dock: Pine bough is easily one of the best scents in the entirety of olfactory stimulus, and this week is the transition time into Winter decorations at DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace, so walking through the loading dock behind our shop (a roughly one-hundred times a day occurrence) has gone from mundane task to repeated entanglement with the Sublime. Right outside of our backdoor there is a stack of wreaths. I hope they hold off on hanging those wreaths a few days longer at least, because I don’t want to be the weird guy sniffing them once they have been hung.
Basement: When I made it down to the basement, the production team was setting up to handle a massive volume of cabbage. In less than two hours, they told me, they’d have begun the pickling of 150 lbs of sauerkraut. Three of them divided up into one cleaner and two cutters.
In my assumed mode of fascination, I asked, “what do cutters do?”
“They cut,” was the curt response. “Would you like to know what the cleaners do,” they followed up.
“They cut too.”
After a good laugh at my foolishness, I learned that before the cabbage is cut, salted and left to pickle, the heads are thoroughly cleaned so that there are no contaminants in the mix or on the cutting boards. Sauerkraut pickles for a month before it hits our shelves and sandwich line. Our kimchi ferments for a week before we package it.
Also in the basement, I found the mop closet still under construction, and snapped a photo.
There are many lessons to be learned in the smokehouse proper, as the folks working down there have countless hours of hands-on experience creating the amazing food we sell.
I also found a few purple tomatoes among the heirlooms. Purple is my favorite color, so this pleased me.
Good ol’ advertisin’: There is a new mail order porketta option available this season. Previously, our porketta was available online in whole 4 lbs increments. Now it is available in 3 and 4 lbs increments. This is great for those who are shopping with a budget, or simply don’t have quite as many mouths to feed. Our porketta has been featured in Bon Appetit magazine and has been featured on many of my daily sandwich creations lately. It is simple to work with but highly versatile, made with the highest quality berkshire pork, seasoned to perfection and slow-roasted in the smoker.For a very limited time, we have smoked ciscos in stock. If you’ve been craving them, stop in this weekend, because they go fast.
One final note before you go: Monday, November 19th is the last day of our mail-order turkey special. Any purchase of a whole turkey breast made by Monday will come with a free 8oz tub of crayo.
Sandwiches, for us, are serious business. Each sandwich on our menu has hours of R&D associated with it, and there is no true B.Y.O. option on our menu. Preferences aside, let’s just say each sandwich is the perfect version of itself.
But perfection is an illusion. What use is the platonic ideal Pork Loin D-Luxx when your palate yearns to transcend? I’ll rephrase: Our sandwiches are really good, but when it comes to flavor, there is always room for strategic enhancement. Here are some tried-and-true NWS sandwich add-ons that have fun names.
Jean Jacket — Cilantro and sriracha. The name comes from a dream about a gorilla wearing a denim coat. The flavor is bright and spicy. This will keep you warm on a crisp fall day. This is the classic Smokehaus add-on: So good, it is already on several of our sandwiches. Try it on the Cajun Finn, Cold Turkey, or Gorilla.
Woolrich — Basil and sriracha. Not just for those with cilantro aversion. This is an even brighter take on the Jean Jacket. Try it on a Salami Dewitt-Seitzer, MN Pulled Pork (Friday’s special), or anywhere Jean Jackets are good. My second-favorite part of this add-on (after the taste) is how it relates to the previous and following options.
The Full Bemidji — Cilantro, basil and sriracha. A Jean Jacket over a Woolrich. For those who want to fully awaken their sinuses while enjoying their sandwich. This goes on most sandwiches I make for myself. It’s important to layer in these Winter months. Try it on a Northern Bagel or a Purple Range.
Honey — No fancy name for this one. Ask for honey on your Hedonist or Gorilla. If we have it on the line, you shall have it on your sandwich. Honey compliments the sweetness of our ham and mustard quite well.
Split-Finger — Originating from a modification to the Clubhaus (formerly the Thursday special, now a full-time menu item) called the Split-Finger Fastball. If you order a sandwich “split-finger,” we’ll substitute a healthy swipe of crayo on one slice of bread, mayo on the other, and Jean Jacket for the standard condiments. Clubhauses and D-Luxxes revel in this substitution.
The Bret –– There’s no button in our P.O.S. that says “The Bret,” and neither Bret nor myself probably came up with this add-on, though I can’t specifically remember when it entered my life. Once, I told my friend Bret he should have his Cajun Finn with a Jean Jacket and pickled ginger, and afterward he told me it was the best sandwich he has ever had and orders it that way every time he comes to the Smokehaus, so I have decided to name a Cajun Finn with a Jean Jacket and pickled ginger “The Bret,” and you should definitely try it.
And now for something totally new:
The Wet-suit — Quick pickles and cheddar cheese. Slippery wet sweet and tangy quick pickle slices and a sharp cheddar barrier. This is the most recent sandwich slang we are trying to introduce to the world. In fact, the first time I heard about it was this previous Tuesday at our annual Sandwich Lab. Try this on a Pork Loin D-Luxx or a Clubhaus.
Conclusions are challenging, so I’ll keep it simple and conclude that you should try these additions out, if they sound good to you. I am so hungry.
Mail order crayo special! Are you a fan of our maple sage smoked turkey? How about our crayo? November 1st through 19th, any mail orders including a full turkey breast will receive a free 8oz tub of crayo. Perfect for all of your leftover turkey needs.
More pop-ups are upon us! We love doing pop-ups and sharing our food at our favorite local businesses. Last night we were at Bent Paddle serving Italian sausage with peppers and beer brats with kimchi, hoisin and sriracha. Wow. Writing that just made my mouth water.
Sandwich Lab! Sandwich Lab is taking place Tuesday, November 6th. Sandwich Lab is a yearly meeting in which we refine our sandwich making techniques and share our personal creations for review and possible inclusion on the menu. We encourage our full staff to attend, so we’ll be closing the shop at 5pm on that day.
New mop closet! Just when I thought I could stop writing about our series of renovations, we decided to tear down our mop closet and build a new one from the ground up.
My favorite breakfast! Positively 3rd Street Bakery
Oatmeal Day Bagels, ripe avocado, and NWS Maple BreakfastSausage. Cook the sausage however you prefer—I do mine at medium heat on a cast-iron pan and let the sides of the links caramelize. Toast the bagel. Spread avocado on the bagel. Cut the sausage lengthwise and form as many open-face sandwiches as you can manage. Total prep time is under 10 minutes. 1 avocado, 2 bagels and 4 links of sausage make breakfast for two. Serve with a glass of orange juice, raspberries and blackberries, because that’s what I would do.
Maybe you’re the person who effortlessly hosts dozens of guests without a shred of anxiety. If you are this unicorn, this isn’t for you. Also, I resent you a little. This is for the folks simultaneously creating Pinterest boards, flipping through Bon Appétit, and watching the Food Network.
Now, I am that person psychotically researching to prep for turkey day – but let me explain why. My home is 600 square feet (my husband and I used to live in an actual tiny house, so we call this our “big” house), my oven is tiny, my refrigerator is tiny, my dog will be distracting me the entire time I’m cooking and he is NOT tiny, and for the first time in my life … I’m hosting Thanksgiving for my family. EEK.
But! There is hope. I don’t actually know if you can win Thanksgiving, but dammit I’m going to win. Follow my tips below to avoid the meltdown on game day (I’m talking about cooking … not #sports).
My teeny tiny oven can’t handle the full bird (and to be honest the thought of attempting to perfectly cook a 10 lb turkey terrifies me). I ain’t taking any chances so I got myself a couple turkey breasts from my favorite Smokehaus (ours – duh). Here’s a link so you can get your very own beautiful bird.
“What is Crayo?” you ask? A beautiful marriage of mayo, dried cranberries, walnuts, and garlic, blended to creamy perfection. It’s what you need for the day after Thanksgiving for leftover turkey sandwiches.
Dessert: I don’t (can’t) bake. I love intuitively cooking and measuring ain’t really my thing. Aka … if you’ve ever eaten anything I’ve baked – I’m sorry. You were kind to lie to me and tell me that it was good but I know the truth. Some of you will also lie to me after you read this and personally tell me that I’m a capable baker. And you’re still a liar.
I plan on purchasing (or maybe even begging a guest to do it) store bought pies. And I don’t even feel bad about it, and neither should you if baking isn’t your jam. BUT! I know the perfect way to add a homemade touch – whipped cream! It’s a crowd pleaser and dead simple to make with your stand mixer. Here’s what you’ll need :
-1 cup heavy whipping cream (this is NOT the time for low fat health nut junk, trust me) -1 cup confectioners sugar -1 teaspoon vanilla extract (pro tip, make your own! Vodka + vanilla beans + time = vanilla extract doesn’t cost 7 million dollars an ounce)
If you can, stick the mixer bowl and whisk in the freezer for a bit to cool them down. Just beat the cream until stiff peaks are about to form. Beat in the vanilla and sugar until peaks actually form. Try not to over-beat, as the cream will get butter-like and lumpy. Make the whipped cream a day or two before and store in the refrigerator. And … make more than you think since you have no self control and will eat half of it right out of the bowl. Or maybe you’re better than me. Stop bragging.
Entertaining the guests while you finish cooking: Here’s the dilemma – you’re trying to finish up the last bits of cooking and your guests arrive. You’re torn between saying hi/chatting with your loved ones and finishing your masterpiece in the kitchen. Your guests sense this … and these beautiful morons whom you love (who have NO boundaries or sense of personal space) come into the kitchen, stand in your way, and small talk you to the point of insanity. Mother, I love you.
I’ve devised a genius plan that is kind to your guests and keeps their smiling selves out of your freaking way Each year I decorate my home with garlands of cranberries around the Holidays. It’s a fun, eco friendly way to add some jazz to your house for the holidays. All you’ll need is a few pounds of cranberries (check your local health food store to see if you can buy them in bulk), thread, and sewing needles.
Set the table with the ingredients each guest will need to make the garlands in a cute lil paper bag (plastic is for tossers) and set them to work. When dinner is ready, recruit the most eager helper (hi mom!) to gather the garlands and set them aside. Then you roll up to the table with all the peacefully executed food and your peeps are already sitting down (yay for not having to wrangle them). They all say “WOW!” “We were so busy loving our activity that we forgot you were even cooking!” “This is great all over again!” “You’re the best!” Maybe that doesn’t happen, but maybe it does. Either way, you’ve made tasty food and kept your guests happy.
They feel like they’re helping (and they are helping), they’re making decorations for you, they’re out of the way, and everyone is happy. They can even make their own to take home!
Bonus: this encourages community while giving those who are a little more shy something to do with their hands to take the social pressure off.
World peace, one cranberry garland at a time.
^^Actual cranberry garland in my actual house because I am an actual human who is telling you the actual truth. 🙂
And my final tip: say yes to whoever offers to do the dishes. Sit back, sip a glass of wine, gaze lovingly at your fabulous guests, and smile knowing that you are the greatest f****ing host that ever existed. 🙂