by Marisa McClellan in Entertaining, Recipes, August 30th, 2013
by Allison Milam in Entertaining, In Season, July 10th, 2013
The impending Labor Day holiday means that summer is rapidly drawing to a close. All across the country, people are starting to shift into their back-to-school and work routines. There’s still a little time left before you pack up the citronella candles, however, to squeeze in one more fiesta.
The secret to end-of-season party giving is to keep it super simple. No need for complicated cocktails or loads of decorations. Buy watermelon, corn on the cob and tomatoes. They are at their best right now and need nothing to be delicious.
Tell your guests to bring something to throw on the grill (and make sure you have a couple packages of backup hotdogs, just in case). Put out an easy green salad. And for your single cooked item, make a pot of The Pioneer Woman’s Cowboy Bacon Beans.
Before you start cooking, read these tips
by Marisa McClellan in Entertaining, In Season, July 5th, 2013
A good tomato sauce, a piping hot slice of margherita pizza, the iconic tomato soup — all of these are made possible by the juicy tomato. Tomatoes add richness to any number of home cooked dishes, whether roasted until the skin falls off or stewed into a multipurpose sauce. Though tomatoes have worked their way into our everyday lives, today we’re viewing them from a different angle. When you’re entertaining this summer, showcase the sophisticated side of the tomato, in all of its in-season glory.
As an appetizer, have guests smear Food Network Magazine’s Spicy Tomato Jam and goat cheese on a fresh baguette. Or create mini pizzas for a bite-sized starter. Giada De Laurentiis uses a cookie cutter in her recipe for Pizzette with Gorgonzola, Tomato and Basil, which will disappear the moment they’re set out.
Imagine slicing into Food Network Magazine’s picturesque Heirloom Tomato Pie (pictured above), with its red and yellow hues amplifying any main dish it meets. Or in Food Network Magazine’s savory Tomato Cobbler, fresh dough and a rich tomato filling reach bubbling perfection together in the oven.
Get more tomato recipes from friends and family
by Sarah De Heer in Drinks, Entertaining, June 6th, 2013
Each summer I choose a salad that will become my go-to barbecue and party contribution for the season. One year I spent three months making variations of potato salads (my husband really liked that year). The next time around, I declared that it was to be the summer of slaw and ended up shredding cabbage, carrots, beets and kohlrabi well into the fall. The year I got married, I was all about quinoa salads.
I find that I really appreciate having a particular genre of salad to work with each year, as it gives me some structure (always a good thing in a busy life), but also allows me to explore the many different varieties that each kind of salad embodies. There’s a great deal of pleasure in trying on different combinations and seeing how the various flavors mix and marry.
Recently I decided that the summer of 2013 is going to be all about panzanella. This is a traditional Italian salad that stars cubes of toasted stale bread and often features tomatoes and a variety of other crunchy, savory things. It can be made with grilled vegetables, sweet potatoes and even chicken or tofu (I do love a salad that can become a full meal).
Before you start cooking, read these tips
by Catherine McCord in Entertaining, June 4th, 2013
Popsicles: They’re nostalgic treats that put a smile on any kids face and while adults can enjoy them, too, it’s just not the same. This summer, Food Network Kitchens is changing that with a recipe that brings the two best parts of summer together: cocktails and ice pops. Learn how to make these tasty, spirited and eye-catching Bourbon Pops — serve them to adults at your next barbecue and watch their eyes light up just like the good ol’ days.
Find out what you’ll need to create these cold treats by clicking the play button above.
by Marisa McClellan in Entertaining, Recipes, May 31st, 2013
Whether it’s for a bridal shower or a wedding, the perfect gift is as fulfilling for the bride as it can be for you. But as we embark on the big wedding season of the year, there’s an endless amount of items to choose from when looking for a gift you know the bride and groom will use in their kitchen.
One of my favorites to give is a spoon and spatula bouquet. Wrapped up in lots of beautiful ribbons, you can turn a really fun idea into tons of well-priced utensils the newly married couple can enjoy using to cook meal after meal for a lifetime.
Make your own now
by Food Network Magazine in Entertaining, Food Network Magazine, May 27th, 2013
I learned to make basic vinaigrettes when I was in my early 20s. It was my first summer in Philadelphia and I was living alone in my grandmother’s old apartment. She had always been more of an entertainer than a cook, so my inherited kitchen featured every kind of cocktail glass, but not much in the way of durable cookware.
Her library of cookbooks was equally paltry. There was a community cookbook compiled to raise funds for the Philadelphia Orchestra, a coffee table tome from local celebrity chef Georges Perrier and a copy of the The Frog Commissary Cookbook (the Frog and the Commissary had been a pair of innovative Philly restaurants in the ’70s and ’80s that my grandmother had loved).
I found that I never had much use for those first two volumes, but Frog Commissary rapidly became my cooking primer. I turned to it at least once a week for guidance on soups, salads, muffins and desserts. I was most drawn to the 15 pages of vinaigrettes and dressings because the recipes were written clearly and gave me nearly endless options for improving my salads. I learned how to make a basic vinaigrette and how to enhance it with herbs, spices and aromatics. Eleven years later, the things I absorbed from that book stay with me.
Before you start prepping, read these tips
by Marisa McClellan in Entertaining, Holidays, May 24th, 2013
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)
by Sara Levine in Entertaining, Food Network Chef, May 20th, 2013
For 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
by Marisa McClellan in Entertaining, April 26th, 2013
It’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
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