All Posts In Entertaining

Fun Cooking: A Creative Way to Serve Condiments

by in Entertaining, Food Network Magazine, May 27th, 2013

Condiment Paint cans

We think this cookout idea is a stroke of genius. Serve condiments in new mini paint pails (foodsafe), with pastry brushes for spreading (pails, $4 each, containerstore.com; brushes, $3 each, norprowebstore.com). The brushes give you better coverage than a typical squeeze bottle — all the more reason to step up your condiments, too: Try our homemade ketchup.

(Photograph by Kang Kim)

Turkey and Blistered Green Chile Burgers — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Holidays, May 24th, 2013

Turkey and Blistered Green Chile BurgersFor the last few years, my husband and I have been in the habit of visiting friends in Northampton, Mass., for the long Memorial Day weekend. We make the trek from Philadelphia on Saturday morning, arriving sometime in the early afternoon, very ready for several days of catching up, early cocktail hours and lazy meals.

One thing that’s always particularly fun about these weekends is that these friends take their grilling very seriously. We live in an apartment without a stitch of outdoor space, so I’m always excited to have an opportunity to cook outside on a real, live flame (my everyday cooktop is an ancient, soul-less electric stove).

Two years ago we experimented with grilled pizzas (a huge success!), and last summer we cooked up a buffet of sausages, from-scratch veggie burgers and a mountain of grilled vegetables. As our visit approaches, I’ve had my eyes open for new recipes that might work well on their deluxe grill.

Before you start cooking, read these tips

Trisha Yearwood Kicks Off Grilling Season

by in Entertaining, Food Network Chef, May 20th, 2013

Trisha YearwoodIt’s finally time to clean off the grates, hit the farmers’ market and whip up a batch of sweet tea — grilling season is upon us! To get some ideas for our first cookouts and picnics of the year, we checked in with Trisha Yearwood, country music star and host of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. Her easy, breezy gatherings are all about fresh, fuss-free dishes, Southern hospitality and fun. Find out her must-haves for a great summer party, her tips for using seasonal produce, what’s on her summer playlist and more. Read more

Bobby Deen’s Ricotta Cheesecake — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, April 26th, 2013

Bobby Deen's Cheesecake

My birthday is less than a month away, so I’m in the process of conducting my annual cake audition. I got in the habit of making my own celebratory cake some years back as a way to try out intriguing recipes and to stretch my baking skills a little. In the weeks before my big day, I make a few new-to-me cakes, in the hopes of finding something fun and tasty to serve.

Three years ago, I made lavender-infused cupcakes to take to a party in a friend’s garden. Two years ago, I layered and frosted my way to a triple-decker chocolate cake. Last May, I mixed things up with a strawberry-rhubarb pie. It didn’t hold candles well, but it received raves from my friends.

Recently, I’ve had cheesecake on the brain, so I decided to tackle a few different versions in the hopes of finding a worthy candidate. I started with Bobby Deen’s recipe for Ricotta Cheesecake. I was attracted by the fact that it’s lighter than traditional cheesecake — and it’s easy to put together. It can be made in a single bowl and doesn’t require a water bath to keep it tender.

My tasters and I came to the conclusion that while it’s not indulgent enough for a birthday, it may be the perfect spur-of-the-moment cake for casual gatherings. That makes it just perfect for The Weekender!

Before you start baking, read these tips

Best 5 Deviled Egg Recipes

by in Entertaining, Recipes, April 11th, 2013

Traditional Southern Deviled EggsMuch is made of hard-boiled eggs immediately before and after Easter, but these two-toned beauties are a welcome party starter throughout the year. This weekend, whether you’re hosting an elegant spring dinner party or simply enjoying a casual night with friends, look to platters of deviled eggs to be the star appetizers of the evening. While they’ll curb pre-dinner munchies, deviled eggs aren’t so filling that they’ll weigh down appetites, plus they’re easily customizable with a myriad of ingredients, so you know you’ll find a style of egg that suits your tastes. Check out Food Network’s top-five deviled egg recipes below — all top-rated dishes that can be made quickly with ease — from Anne, Sunny, Melissa, Bobby Deen and Paula.

5. Truffled Deviled Eggs — Fresh truffles are extremely pricey, so Anne opts for truffle oil — an ingredient that’s a bit more modest — to add rich flavor to her top-rated eggs. But be sure to use only the amount listed, as truffle oil can easily overpower the dish.

4. Crunchy Deviled Eggs — After stuffing the egg whites with a tangy combination of lemon juice, mustard and pickled jalapenos, Sunny adorns each egg with canned fried onions for a crispy textured bite.

Get the top three recipes

The Perfect Party Dip — The New Girl

by in Entertaining, Recipes, April 9th, 2013

Charleston Cheese DipYou don’t need to prepare a three-course meal to be a good host(ess). You don’t even need to plan far in advance. When gathering friends for a last-minute soiree, snacks are the way to go. So skip the forks and knives, and stick to simple appetizers you can eat with your hands. It’s more fun that way, anyway.

Trisha Yearwood’s Charleston Cheese Dip is a new go-to party snack. Topped with crispy bacon and buttery crackers, it’s an obvious crowd-pleaser. It’s also wallet friendly, so if you don’t already have the ingredients on hand, you won’t break the bank running to the store. Served warm and loaded with three types of cheese, this no-fuss recipe will please even the pickiest of palates.

The next time your place becomes the destination to watch the big game or the newest episode of your favorite show, don’t hide yourself in the kitchen. With Trisha’s decadent cheese dip, you’ll earn yourself the best spot on the couch.

A few things to consider before making this recipe

Flank Steak Lettuce Wraps — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, April 5th, 2013

Flank Steak Lettuce WrapsWhen you hear the phrase “lettuce wrap,” what do you think? If the first thought that springs to mind is a poor low-carb sandwich replacement, you’re not alone. I took an informal poll of my friends and that was the predominant attitude.

I think it’s time to liberate the lettuce wrap from its second-class status and bring it into the mainstream. To my taste buds, there’s something absolutely perfect and appealing about the savory crunch that’s possible with this much-maligned dish.

I like to start with some long-marinated chicken or beef (though crispy tofu works beautifully, too) that’s been grilled or broiled so it’s caramelized around the edges, but still tender. Once you have your starring protein, pick out toppings. Ribbons of carrot, shredded cabbage, slivers of green onion and leggy cilantro leaves are all great. And then there’s the lettuce. If you’re looking for crunch, iceberg is your best bet, though I prefer butter lettuce for its color and flexibility.

Once all of your players are in hand, build. Place a lettuce leaf on your plate and nestle a strip of protein down as the base. Stack on your toppings and then fold, much as you would a burrito. If you have a dipping sauce, a quick dip before the first bite does wonders for wrap unification.

Before you start cooking, read these tips

Spinach Quiche for an Easter or Passover Brunch — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Holidays, March 29th, 2013

Spinach Quiche for Easter - The WeekenderI’m not sure when exactly it happened, but I can no longer bear to go out to brunch. I hate the long waits and the fact that once you do get a table, your meal proceeds at breakneck speed so the restaurant can turn your table. (I don’t dispute their right to do so. I just don’t enjoy rushing through a meal.)

And then there are the prices. As someone who does a lot of grocery shopping and cooking, I know just how much things cost, and the markups on things like pancakes, scrambled eggs and toast make me a little twitchy.

So these days, I stay home and have people over for brunch instead of meeting at a restaurant. It keeps my blood pressure in check and means that I get to flex some underutilized cooking skills.

In pursuit of brunch excellence, I’ve worked my way through crepes, homemade bagels and English muffins. While I’ve got my sights set on conquering the aebleskiver in the somewhat near future, at the moment I’m focused on making a great quiche. The thing that’s so great about quiche is that it can be made ahead and reheated. Served with a green salad and a slice of crispy bacon, it makes for a fairly fuss-free entertaining experience.

Before you start baking your quiche, read these tips:

Easter Dinner Made Simple

by in Entertaining, Holidays, March 27th, 2013

Roasted Mushroom ToastsWith Easter right around the corner, it’s never too soon to start planning — the sooner you create a plan, the more organized the day will be and you’ll wind up enjoying it more yourself.

I’m hosting Easter again this year — it’s become somewhat of a tradition. Or maybe it’s the fact that everyone knows I’m going to cook up a storm so they are all always open to coming to my house. Either way, I love it. I get to decide what’s on the menu and make things I think will please a crowd.

This year I’m going heavy on the appetizers. I want to host a fun outdoor party with plenty of cocktails and lots of delicious appetizers for my guests to choose from. That way they get to taste a lot of different things without getting totally stuffed from the ham. Not to fear, though, there will absolutely be ham, but I’m incorporating it in a little bit of a different way this time. By eliminating the centerpiece of the large-baked ham, it takes the pressure off of the long cook time and preparation. The recipes below incorporate classic flavors you’d see on an Easter table, but in a casual form — perfect for entertaining a large or small crowd.

Click here to get the menu

Cracked Earth Cake — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Holidays, March 22nd, 2013

Cracked Chocolate Earth CakeMy cousin Amy starts planning for Passover in January. The save-the-date email comes first, with the time and location in bold (though they’re the same every year). A few weeks later, dinner assignments follow. Later there are email reminders and carpool arrangements.

It used to be that I willingly accepted whatever meal assignment was handed to me. In recent years, however, I’ve gotten more strategic. As soon as the first Seder planning email goes out, I reply with an offer of what I’d like to bring. This way, I can ensure there will be something on the table that my picky husband will eat, and I get to play to my strengths as a cook.

On Monday (and for the second year running), I’m bringing brisket and a flourless chocolate cake. I bring the brisket because I make a good one, and I do the cake, well, because nothing finishes a meal like a good chocolate cake.

Before you start baking, read these tips