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Interview: Holiday Party Essentials with Cooking Expert, Kristina Vanni

By   /   December 8, 2012  /   No Comments

One thing I’m sure every host or hostess despises when prepping for a holiday meal is having to wait for one item to cook before she can cook another at a totally different temperature. Don’t you just hate that? Cooking expert Kristina Vanni joined me this week and introduced a fabulous new duo oven where you can cook two things at once and at different temperatures, which is sure to make entertaining a breeze, especially during the holidays. She also dished on three other time saving and budget friendly essentials every host or hostess is sure to adore!

 

 

Cooking expert Kristina Vanni shares her top four essentials for throwing a great party with Candace Rose. Image courtesy of Twitter.com/KristinaVanni.

Cooking expert Kristina Vanni shares her top four essentials for throwing a great party with Candace Rose. Image courtesy of Twitter.com/KristinaVanni.

Candace Rose: What are your four essentials for throwing a great party?

Kristina Vanni: “Well, I think it’s about planning. It’s about having the right tools. The first essential I would say, something that really trips up home cooks is the idea that all of your food needs to be done on time, and everything needs to be hot at the exact same time. So a great solution for that is the Samsung Flex Duo oven. It’s so cool because you can use it to make that big holiday bird, but also at the same time it can be divided into two smaller spaces using their smart divider. So what that means is that you can cook two different recipes at the exact same time; two different temperatures and there’s no aroma transfer. There’s also a great warming drawer with the oven that can keep those dishes warm until they’re ready to serve and if you want to know more about the oven you can check out Samsung’s Facebook page because they have their ‘Make Your House Work For The Holidays’ program. There’s a lot of great recipe ideas, and planning tips right there.

 

A bird and a pizza cooking (at the same time!) in the Samsung Flex Duo oven!

A bird and a pizza cooking (at the same time!) in the Samsung Flex Duo oven!

 

My second would be a beverage option. Of course you want to serve your guests something delicious for the holidays, something festive and fun, but at the same time you don’t want to be stuck playing bartender all night. Here’s an idea if you like a wine served on its own or it can be used as a base for cocktails. This is the new ChocolatRouge, so this is everything that you love about red wine and chocolate flavored in one bottle. It creates a very unique and different wine experience and there’s three different varieties- there’s the milk chocolate, there’s the sweet red and there’s the dark red. So this is a lot of fun to have on hand during the holidays as well.”

 

ChocolatRouge

ChocolatRouge wine in milk chocolate, sweet red and dark red.

Candace Rose: Do you have any advice for those who are entertaining on a budget this year?

Kristina Vanni: “Yeah, definitely. I think you should always have great appetizers- a cheese plate is fantastic, something you can serve your guests while you’re finishing up in the kitchen. You can take that and elevate it, take it to the next level by using a variety of international style cheeses, as well as those American classics from Wisconsin. I have the Raw Grand Cru Gruyere cheese, this is an award winning cheese. It has a really robust flavor, it can be put in any sort of cheese tray, as well as used in a variety of holiday recipes throughout the season.

 

Raw Grand Cru Gruyere Cheese tray

Raw Grand Cru Gruyere Cheese tray

 

And finally I have a really great dessert recipe right here. These are really easy, but no one will guess how effortless this is. I have a caramel apple cheesecake and a turtle cheesecake. Both of these are made with the Sara Lee New York Style Classic Cheesecake, and just keep these on hand throughout the holiday season in your freezer, and when there’s those last minute parties and get-togethers you can take it out and just use fun toppings.

So for the caramel apple, just add some warm apple pie filling, drizzle on some caramel and sprinkle on some cinnamon- then you have that done. Or you can do a turtle cheesecake which is some pecans, hot fudge and caramel, absolutely beautiful and very impressive.”

 

Kristina jazzed up the Sara Lee New York Style Classic Cheesecake with caramel apple topping, and also created a turtle version!

Kristina jazzed up the Sara Lee New York Style Classic Cheesecake with caramel apple topping, and also created a turtle version!

 

Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with viewers?

Kristina Vanni: “Well, if you ever want some more recipes you can find my blog over at BetterRecipes.com, click on the daily dish and there’s a new recipe every single day.”

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