I've known I wanted to do a Shop Local Gift Guide when I started HudsonCounty60, but I didn't know how to kick it all off. But what better than a little party? For me, the Holiday's are synonymous with parties and get-togethers. There are the Holiday basics for the Christians of America-- Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years-- but what about all the celebrations for all the other religions and groups of people that make up our great community? There's Diwali, Channukah, and Kawanza. I knew I needed to keep the Holiday vague, in hopes of throwing a party viewers would want to throw themselves, and I also wanted to do something that would include HudCo60 All Stars like Jen Choi of Sugarsuckle, and Casey Repetti of Casey2Cook. Booze was obviously another requirement.
In September, maybe even August, I started reaching out and beginning the planning process. Both ladies would help me prepare something for the party. Jen decided on Linzer Cookies, which were perfectly light and delicious, and still maintained that holiday spice we all know and love. Casey decided on the perfect party appetizer; sausage, pepper & onion bites. These are not only delicious, but they can be made significantly in advance and frozen, and are INCREDIBLY economical-- one recipe yields 46 bites, and I think we all can agree parties get expensive.
Lastly, I approached the fairly new Wine Dad's in Hoboken about alcohol. I assumed they would suggest some local breweries, but did me one even better-- The Bibo, which may be the perfect little machine for a party. Have you ever thrown a party with a specialty cocktail, only to have to keep making pitchers and pitchers all night long? With Bibo, you essentially have an at home bartender that everyone can work on their own. The machine is as simple as can be-- open the top, put one alcohol packet and one cocktail mix packet in, press the 'mix' button and in less than 30 seconds you have a cocktail! Add a little ice and garnish of choice and voila!
But what makes the Bibo truly perfect for the HudsonCounty60 Shop Local holiday gift guide is that the company is based in Clinton, NJ. And the alcohol pouches? All made by Claremont Distillery in Fairfield, making it New Jersey's largest craft distillery— their Spirits are all produced in the “Garden State” using the finest locally sourced ingredients. So how does Wine Dad's come in? They're the only place in Hudson County that's your one stop shop for the Bibo machine, and alcohol pouches. And a little holiday tip for you— not only are we giving away one machine (valued at $199) to a lucky follower, but during Black Friday you can score one of your very own for only $99 at Wine Dads... wink, wink.
All that was left to do was enjoy! Luckily for me, the party was small and entirely manageable. Between Casey, Jen, Gretchen from Wine Dads and Cait Kolibas from Bum Pilates, we had a great group of ladies! To throw a Holiday Party like ours on your own, I've included Jen and Casey's recipes below. Don't forget to follow all of our friends and vendors on Instagram (links at the bottom) for their Holiday tips!
Happy Holidays, Hudson County xo
Jen’s Linzer Cookies
✨1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
✨1 1/2 cups ground almond flour (or hazelnut flour)
✨1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
✨1/4 teaspoon salt
✨hint of clove
✨114g butter (or 1 stick of butter)
✨1/2 cup sugar
✨2 teaspoons water
✨Jam or preserves of your choice
1. Whisk all dry ingredients together in a bowl (other than the mixing bowl for the stand mixer).
2. In the stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down to sides of the bowl to make sure butter and sugar are completely combined.
3. Mix egg and water in a separate bowl. Slowly add to your butter-sugar mixture while the mixer is on a low speed.
4. Once the egg/water and butter/sugar are completed incorporated, turn off your mixer and add all of the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer on a low speed to combine. Once the dough comes together, stop the mixer. Divide the dough in half and wrap each section in plastic wrap. Chill the dough 1 hour before rolling out.
5. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inches thick between parchment paper to prevent sticking. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place on a cookie sheet or sheet pan lined with a baking mat or parchment paper.
6. Bake at 350 until the edges are golden. Allow cookies to cool completely before adding preserves/jam.
This recipe yields approximately 25 sandwich cookies. Cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Casey’s Sausage Pepper and Onion Bites
✨1 lb of Italian sausage
✨1/2 cup of small diced bell pepper (I used red)
✨1/2 cup of small diced sweet onion
✨1 teaspoon salt
✨1/2 teaspoon black pepper
✨1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
✨1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
✨1 tablespoon of butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1. In a medium bowl, remove the sausage from the casing.. combine the sausage (I used hot) salt, pepper, garlic and egg with your hands until blended.
2. Remove one sheet off puff pastry and unfold it. It is usually folded like a letter, in three. Use the natural bends to cut the 1 sheet into 3 sheets. Roll out each one to about double in size.
3. Divide the sausage mixture into 3 even amounts. Fill each piece of puff pastry and roll into a long log. Use water on your fingertips to seal the puff pastry. Roll in parchment and freeze for at least 1 hour.
4. Remove from the freezer, slice into 1/2inch rounds. Brush the outside with melted butter.
5. Place them at least a half-inch apart on an oven safe tray lined with parchment and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
This recipe will make 3 dozen bites!