Choose the Perfect Gifts for Your Holiday Hosts

A note about wine. We love wine, and it traditionally makes a great gift. In fact, you can find some of our best sellers here. For the purposes of this exercise, we’re thinking outside the bottle.

If you want to help with the meal, everyone appreciates an appetizer, and condiments are always a compliment. We recommend:

  • BYOP – Build Your Own Platter (for a ready-made cheese platter) 
  • Fresh Gulf Shrimp 
  • Di Bruno Bros. cheese spreads  
  • Blake Hill Chutneys (ideal with cheeses and breads)
  • La Casolana Olive Oil (available in a lovely gift cask)
  • Blackberry Patch syrups

If you want to target the sweet tooth, handmade is just as good as hand-chosen. Try these:

  • Door County Kringles, and Apple Crisps
  • Central Market Cookie trays
  • Mr Wittles pie fillings 
  • Raaka Chocolates (handmade in small-batches in Brooklyn)

Finally, go out of your way to show your appreciation for your host. Pair any of these with wine. For some reason, hosts usually love wine. 

Choose the Perfect Gifts for Your Holiday Hosts

A note about wine. We love wine, and it traditionally makes a great gift. In fact, you can find some of our best sellers here. For the purposes of this exercise, we’re thinking outside the bottle.

If you want to help with the meal, everyone appreciates an appetizer, and condiments are always a compliment. We recommend:

  • BYOP – Build Your Own Platter (for a ready-made cheese platter) 
  • Fresh Gulf Shrimp 
  • Di Bruno Bros. cheese spreads  
  • Blake Hill Chutneys (ideal with cheeses and breads)
  • La Casolana Olive Oil (available in a lovely gift cask)
  • Blackberry Patch syrups

If you want to target the sweet tooth, handmade is just as good as hand-chosen. Try these:

  • Door County Kringles, and Apple Crisps
  • Central Market Cookie trays
  • Mr Wittles pie fillings 
  • Raaka Chocolates (handmade in small-batches in Brooklyn)

Finally, go out of your way to show your appreciation for your host. Pair any of these with wine. For some reason, hosts usually love wine. 

Ohhhh… Christmas Tree!

Before you venture out here are a few helpful hints about finding the perfect tree:
 
Measure the Room
Before you size up a tree, size up the space it will occupy. Rule of thumb: Eight-foot ceilings fit a six- or seven-foot tree.? 

Check for Freshness
Gently grasp a branch between your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward you. If the tree is fresh then just a few needles should come off.? 

Consider the Varieties
We have three premium, hand-cut, cold shipped species of trees in store this year:
  • Originally a native of North Carolina, the 7-9 foot Fraser Fir is a great Christmas tree because of its density and compactness. Decorative 2-4’ Fraser Firs are also available. 
  • Sourced from Oregon, 8-9 foot Noble Firs have long been considered a classic Christmas tree because of their majestic beauty, rich fragrance and stiff branches. These premium trees have excellent needle retention and have a bluish-green tint on top but appear silver. 
  • Last, but not least, the Nordman Fir is the European Christmas tree of choice, also sourced from Oregon, are available in 6-8 foot heights at  all stores  This handsome fir is highly symmetric with dark green glossy needles that are not sharp.
Here are a few basic care instructions to help keep your tree beautiful through the holiday season:

  • Make sure the tree has been freshly cut. Cut 1-2 inches off the base before placing in tree stand. 
  • Make sure your tree has plenty of water to prevent drying, the tree will drink up to a quart of water a day in the first week or two.  
  • Place your tree away from fireplaces, radiators, television sets and other heat sources, these elements can prematurely dry out your tree  
  • Turn off all lights and decorations before going to bed or anytime you leave home. 
  • Be careful not to overload electrical outlets.

For your convenience we have tree stands for sale in-store. There are also a wide variety of fresh wreaths available including boxwood, magnolia, and evergreens.

Ohhhh… Christmas Tree!

Before you venture out here are a few helpful hints about finding the perfect tree:
 
Measure the Room
Before you size up a tree, size up the space it will occupy. Rule of thumb: Eight-foot ceilings fit a six- or seven-foot tree.? 

Check for Freshness
Gently grasp a branch between your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward you. If the tree is fresh then just a few needles should come off.? 

Consider the Varieties
We have three premium, hand-cut, cold shipped species of trees in store this year:
  • Originally a native of North Carolina, the 7-9 foot Fraser Fir is a great Christmas tree because of its density and compactness. Decorative 2-4’ Fraser Firs are also available. 
  • Sourced from Oregon, 8-9 foot Noble Firs have long been considered a classic Christmas tree because of their majestic beauty, rich fragrance and stiff branches. These premium trees have excellent needle retention and have a bluish-green tint on top but appear silver. 
  • Last, but not least, the Nordman Fir is the European Christmas tree of choice, also sourced from Oregon, are available in 6-8 foot heights at  all stores  This handsome fir is highly symmetric with dark green glossy needles that are not sharp.
Here are a few basic care instructions to help keep your tree beautiful through the holiday season:

  • Make sure the tree has been freshly cut. Cut 1-2 inches off the base before placing in tree stand. 
  • Make sure your tree has plenty of water to prevent drying, the tree will drink up to a quart of water a day in the first week or two.  
  • Place your tree away from fireplaces, radiators, television sets and other heat sources, these elements can prematurely dry out your tree  
  • Turn off all lights and decorations before going to bed or anytime you leave home. 
  • Be careful not to overload electrical outlets.

For your convenience we have tree stands for sale in-store. There are also a wide variety of fresh wreaths available including boxwood, magnolia, and evergreens.

Anne Byrn to the Rescue

Join Anne in our Cooking Schools in Austin on 11/20 and Houston on 11/21 as she presents tried-and-true, guaranteed-to-please recipes for every occasion. Some are her family favorites and others have been collected from fans across the country. These go-to recipes range from easy appetizers to suggestions for potlucks to main courses that are perfect for feeding a family or a crowd. And, of course, a selection of delicious desserts. Whichever category they fall in, these are the real thing: the dishes that everyone asks to be made for gatherings with friends and family; the recipe that has been repeatedly copied and handed out after dinners. So, relax, your day is about to be saved!

Anne Byrn to the Rescue

Join Anne in our Cooking Schools in Austin on 11/20 and Houston on 11/21 as she presents tried-and-true, guaranteed-to-please recipes for every occasion. Some are her family favorites and others have been collected from fans across the country. These go-to recipes range from easy appetizers to suggestions for potlucks to main courses that are perfect for feeding a family or a crowd. And, of course, a selection of delicious desserts. Whichever category they fall in, these are the real thing: the dishes that everyone asks to be made for gatherings with friends and family; the recipe that has been repeatedly copied and handed out after dinners. So, relax, your day is about to be saved!

Big T Coastal Perfection

The crab dip recipe, which includes sharp cheddar, cream cheese, spices and other signature seasonings mixed into the freshest crabmeat, originates with Tony (Big T's) mom, who grew up on Sullivan's Island, SC and raised her family there. Many dishes she made came from the abundant local seafood, including this crab dip that Tony grew up eating. After years of encouragement from friends and family. Tony and, his wife, Tracy (Little T) Blanchard decided to make the next step and start Big T Coastal Provisions

One of the biggest standouts for me, is the quality of the seafood in this dip. 100% wild caught seafood is the top billing in all three dips, and nearly 45% of each of the dips is either crab or shrimp. And with out sounding completely over the top, I mean it when I say, these really are some of the best seafood dips I have ever tasted.

Lastly, think it is worth a mention, that after a taste, you will find that this dip is one of those item that you will always want to have on hand. Because, not only does it pair perfectly alongside a cooler of longnecks while tailgating on Sunday, but it is also ideal in a sterling silver dish at your next holiday cocktail party.

Big T Coastal Perfection

The crab dip recipe, which includes sharp cheddar, cream cheese, spices and other signature seasonings mixed into the freshest crabmeat, originates with Tony (Big T's) mom, who grew up on Sullivan's Island, SC and raised her family there. Many dishes she made came from the abundant local seafood, including this crab dip that Tony grew up eating. After years of encouragement from friends and family. Tony and, his wife, Tracy (Little T) Blanchard decided to make the next step and start Big T Coastal Provisions

One of the biggest standouts for me, is the quality of the seafood in this dip. 100% wild caught seafood is the top billing in all three dips, and nearly 45% of each of the dips is either crab or shrimp. And with out sounding completely over the top, I mean it when I say, these really are some of the best seafood dips I have ever tasted.

Lastly, think it is worth a mention, that after a taste, you will find that this dip is one of those item that you will always want to have on hand. Because, not only does it pair perfectly alongside a cooler of longnecks while tailgating on Sunday, but it is also ideal in a sterling silver dish at your next holiday cocktail party.

Central Market No-Fail Turkey Guide

Central Market is here to help with solutions for your Turkey Day anxiety. This simple, yet comprehensive, turkey guide will put even the shakiest of Thanksgiving chefs at ease. 
* Some information compiled from the USDA

Buying Tips
When buying a whole turkey, estimate approximately 1 lb., this translates to  approximately ½ lb. of edible meat per person. If you are a fan of leftovers, then scale up from the recommended 1 lb. to 1½ lb.

This year we have fresh Mary's Free-Range All-Natural Turkeys, as well as Mary's Free-Range Certified Organic Fresh Turkeys, and in limited quantities Mary's Free-Range Heritage Turkeys. All are available in-store and can be reserved through our Holiday Hotline and online. If you are considering a heritage turkey, you will definitely want to pre-order this bird.

To Brine or Not to Brine
Brining, similar to marinating, is a process of soaking meat in a salted solution long enough for the salt to penetrate into the flesh. This process accomplishes two things when done correctly: it gives you the ability to season your turkey all the way through due to osmosis, and allows the turkey to more readily hold on to moisture during the cooking process, resulting in an overall juicier roast with more flavor. We have fully brined turkeys available in our Meat Market, but if DIY is your SOP then below is a go-to brine recipe from Martha Stewart that we recommend.

Recipe

  • 7 quarts (28 cups) water
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse salt
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried juniper berries
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
  • 1 fresh whole turkey, patted dry, neck and giblets removed
  • 1 bottle dry Riesling
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
Directions
  • Bring 1 quart water, the salt, bay leaves, and spices to a simmer, stirring until salt has dissolved. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Line a 5-gallon container with a large brining or oven-roasting bag. Place turkey in bag. Add salt mixture, remaining 6 quarts (24 cups) water, and the other ingredients. Tie bag; if turkey is not submerged, weight it with a plate. Refrigerate for 24 hours, flipping turkey once.

Basic Roasting Guide
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Place rack in the lowest position of the oven. Remove turkey from brine, if used, and pat dry with paper towels (a dry turkey creates a crispy turkey). Rub the skin down with olive oil and black pepper. Place the turkey, breast side up, in a large roasting pan with a rack. Loosely place a large aluminum foil tent over the bird, allowing air space between turkey and foil, and place in the oven. Roast for approximately 15-20 minutes a pound, see chart below. Remove foil and roast uncovered for the last hour or until the inner thigh meat is 170 degrees. 

Remove from the oven and let rest, covered on a carving block for 20-30 minutes. Use the drippings in the pan to make gravy.

Roasting Chart

  • 8-12 lbs: 2¾-3 hours
  • 12-14 lbs: 3-3¾ hours
  • 14-18 lbs: 3¾-4¼ hours
  • 18-20 lbs: 4¼-4½ hours
  • 20-24 lbs: 4½-5 hours

Thawing Specialty Birds
We have a myriad of delicious specialty turkeys and other birds available this year including: Greenberg Hickory Smoked Turkeys, La Boucherie Turk-Duc-Ken, Mr. Billy's Cajun Fried Turkey, CaponGoose, and Pheasant. All of which will need to be thawed. Keep the bird in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. Your thawed bird can remain in the refrigerator for two to three days. Never thaw frozen turkey at room temperature.  Estimated thawing times are below, based on weight.

Thawing in the Refrigerator (40 degrees or below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4-5 lbs

  • 4-12 lbs: 1-3 days
  • 12-16 lbs: 3-4 days
  • 16-20 lbs: 4-5 days
  • 20-24 lbs: 5-6 days

Central Market No-Fail Turkey Guide

Central Market is here to help with solutions for your Turkey Day anxiety. This simple, yet comprehensive, turkey guide will put even the shakiest of Thanksgiving chefs at ease. 
* Some information compiled from the USDA

Buying Tips
When buying a whole turkey, estimate approximately 1 lb., this translates to  approximately ½ lb. of edible meat per person. If you are a fan of leftovers, then scale up from the recommended 1 lb. to 1½ lb.

This year we have fresh Mary's Free-Range All-Natural Turkeys, as well as Mary's Free-Range Certified Organic Fresh Turkeys, and in limited quantities Mary's Free-Range Heritage Turkeys. All are available in-store and can be reserved through our Holiday Hotline and online. If you are considering a heritage turkey, you will definitely want to pre-order this bird.

To Brine or Not to Brine
Brining, similar to marinating, is a process of soaking meat in a salted solution long enough for the salt to penetrate into the flesh. This process accomplishes two things when done correctly: it gives you the ability to season your turkey all the way through due to osmosis, and allows the turkey to more readily hold on to moisture during the cooking process, resulting in an overall juicier roast with more flavor. We have fully brined turkeys available in our Meat Market, but if DIY is your SOP then below is a go-to brine recipe from Martha Stewart that we recommend.

Recipe

  • 7 quarts (28 cups) water
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse salt
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried juniper berries
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
  • 1 fresh whole turkey, patted dry, neck and giblets removed
  • 1 bottle dry Riesling
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
Directions
  • Bring 1 quart water, the salt, bay leaves, and spices to a simmer, stirring until salt has dissolved. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Line a 5-gallon container with a large brining or oven-roasting bag. Place turkey in bag. Add salt mixture, remaining 6 quarts (24 cups) water, and the other ingredients. Tie bag; if turkey is not submerged, weight it with a plate. Refrigerate for 24 hours, flipping turkey once.

Basic Roasting Guide
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Place rack in the lowest position of the oven. Remove turkey from brine, if used, and pat dry with paper towels (a dry turkey creates a crispy turkey). Rub the skin down with olive oil and black pepper. Place the turkey, breast side up, in a large roasting pan with a rack. Loosely place a large aluminum foil tent over the bird, allowing air space between turkey and foil, and place in the oven. Roast for approximately 15-20 minutes a pound, see chart below. Remove foil and roast uncovered for the last hour or until the inner thigh meat is 170 degrees. 

Remove from the oven and let rest, covered on a carving block for 20-30 minutes. Use the drippings in the pan to make gravy.

Roasting Chart

  • 8-12 lbs: 2¾-3 hours
  • 12-14 lbs: 3-3¾ hours
  • 14-18 lbs: 3¾-4¼ hours
  • 18-20 lbs: 4¼-4½ hours
  • 20-24 lbs: 4½-5 hours

Thawing Specialty Birds
We have a myriad of delicious specialty turkeys and other birds available this year including: Greenberg Hickory Smoked Turkeys, La Boucherie Turk-Duc-Ken, Mr. Billy's Cajun Fried Turkey, CaponGoose, and Pheasant. All of which will need to be thawed. Keep the bird in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. Your thawed bird can remain in the refrigerator for two to three days. Never thaw frozen turkey at room temperature.  Estimated thawing times are below, based on weight.

Thawing in the Refrigerator (40 degrees or below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4-5 lbs

  • 4-12 lbs: 1-3 days
  • 12-16 lbs: 3-4 days
  • 16-20 lbs: 4-5 days
  • 20-24 lbs: 5-6 days