Kitchen Superheroes: Wegmans

Yummy.

Yummy.

Dear Wegmans,

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

I know. A little odd to wax poetic about a grocery store, but if any grocery store deserves a sonnet, it has to be Wegmans*.  Founded in 1916 in Rochester, New York, Wegmans is one of the largest family-owned private companies in the United States, with the distinction of being named America’s Favorite Supermarket in 2016. 

I’ll never forget my first visit to one of the Wegmans flagship stores in Rochester, when I was about 12 years old.  My Aunt and Uncle (“Uncle Cheffie,” as he’s affectionately known in our family, a truly good professional chef) reverently ushered us around the palatial establishment, with its towering displays of cheeses, wine, pastries, candy, gifts, and more. I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven (and my dearest wish is still to wake up one day, in Heaven, and discover that The Almighty has contracted with Wegmans to build His celestial grocery stores…one can only hope). 

There were rumors earlier in the year that Wegmans was planning to build here in the Virginia Tidewater, which our short-sighted city planners reportedly shot down, and now we’re condemned to shopping at the blessed store only occasionally, while visiting family in Northern Virginia.  Sigh.

However, our shoppers card program rewarded us with this beautiful Holiday 2017 Menu magazine today in the mail.  I’ve been flipping through the many beautiful food magazines I subscribe to in vain, trying to find some inspiration for Thanksgiving/Christmas menus.   Universally, they were all a) too hard to make or b) too avant-garde for their own good.  I was just looking for solid, crowd-pleasing holiday staples to share here on the blog. 

Wegmans will cook and deliver many of the following delectable dishes to your doorstep (if you live in an area where they offer catering service), or you can try your hand at some of their extensive online recipe selection.  So here we go, onwards to their suggested holiday menus (or to their catering, if you're extremely lucky and live near a Wegmans).  I've included links to the menu items that have matching recipes on their website:

- The Grand Wegmans Holiday Feast -

Roasted Turkey with Homestyle Gravy
Cranberry Orange Chutney
Carrot Purée
Roasted Butternut Squash with Baby Spinach & Cranberries
Seasoned Green Beans

Mashed Potatoes
Herb Stuffing

If that doesn't make your mouth water, try this holiday menu:

Celebration Ham
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Carrot Purée
Cauli-Green Bean Casserole

Yam Gratin with Gruyère

Swoon.  Shall we move on to dessert?

Pumpkin Pie
(...and here they call for a pre-made Wegmans crust, bless their hearts.  How did they know I can't make pastry to save my life? Thank you.)
Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Apple Crisp

 

Hot Mulled Cider 
(...if you have a teensy spot left after all that feasting!)

Now, y'all know all about my Epic Kitchen Fails.  Here in my kitchen, Thanksgiving often turns into One Long (Painful) Epic Kitchen Fail.  This harsh reality, however, repeated year after year, never stops me from trying. This year I'm taking the advice of my Uncle Cheffie and will brine up some turkey pieces (breasts & thighs) and roast them in a big roasting pan (no rack) along with some chunks of onion, celery, and carrots.  My attempts to tackle a whole bird have usually ended in failure and woe, so I have a brighter outlook for hacking the sucker into pieces first.  

Also, at Uncle Cheffie's advice I bought an oven thermometer, since I have an old, cranky oven (my kitchen nemesis) in our rental and it burns everything it can get its hands on. This has helped immensely and should salvage my holiday roasting and baking.  

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that these recipes from Wegmans give you some yummy inspiration!

Yours Truly,

Sarah

 

Usual boring disclaimer here (drumroll, please): Four Cats In The Kitchen is a not-for-profit enterprise, and is not affiliated, financially or otherwise, with any other individual, company, brand, or product. The mention of any other individual, company, brand, or product on this site does not constitute an endorsement.

Epic Kitchen Fail: High Altitude Eggs

Stands of aspen trees in the Rockies, September 2017

Stands of aspen trees in the Rockies, September 2017

Dear Readers,

So y'all know my husband and I were out in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado last month.  When we travel we like to do our own cooking, and so there we were, making hard-boiled eggs as usual for breakfast.

Now, here at home in the Virginia Tidewater (30 feet above sea level), my recipe for hard-boiled eggs works great.  At our vacation rental in the Rockies (nearly 10,000 feet above sea level), however, it didn't work so well.  Actually, it didn't work at all: we ended up throwing the whole batch out after I (belatedly) realized all the eggs were still half-raw, and it was too late to fix it.

Why didn't it work?  At high altitude (considered 3,000+ feet above sea level), water comes to a boil at a lower temperature, due to the lower atmospheric pressure of the thinner air.  If you've ever tried baking at high altitude, you know it affects your baking process as well.

This Epic Kitchen Fail annoyed me because a) I was hungry with no breakfast and b) I really hate wasting good food.  So for any of y'all who may be planning to vacation and/or move to higher elevations, you've been warned!  Here is a printable handout from Colorado State University, with their recommendations about how to cook eggs at high altitude.  They advise bringing the eggs to a boil, simmering for 5 minutes, and then removing from heat and letting stand, covered, for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of the eggs).  I haven't had the opportunity to try this out at elevation, but I'd imagine it works better than my recipe does!  FYI.

Yours Truly,

Sarah