All Posts In Entertaining

And Now, a Toast…

by in Entertaining, Food Network Magazine, February 16th, 2013

toasts

Have some fun at your next dinner party and serve a cheese course with toast shaped like goats, cows and sheep to match the milk each cheese was made from. Just butter slices of dense bread like rye, raisin walnut or pumpernickel, then cut out the animals (we found cutters at cookiecutter.com) and toast them in the oven. Spread the goat toast with Humboldt Fog, Bucheron or chevre, top the cows with Gruyere, Gouda or aged cheddar and top the sheep with manchego, Roquefort or pecorino toscano.

(Photograph by Kang Kim)

Roasted Leg o’ Lamb Sandwich — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, February 15th, 2013

Roasted Leg of Lamb Sandwich - The WeekenderWhen I was younger, I was a voracious reader. One of my favorite book series in those days was the one about Betsy and Tacy, two girls growing up in the Midwest at the turn of the last century.

One of the events that occurs regularly in these books is Betsy’s family’s tradition of sharing their Sunday lunch with friends and family. This meal happens in the late afternoon and stars a giant platter of sandwiches that are always prepared by Betsy’s father.

Some weeks his sandwiches would feature cold roast meat, while others they’d be simple constructions of fried egg or thinly sliced onion that’d been well-seasoned. Served with coffee and slices of cake to follow, this seemed, to my mind, to be the perfect way to spend a Sunday evening.

Last week, suddenly hit by a craving for a Betsy-Tacy-style sandwich party, I went in search of a little sandwich inspiration. What I found was Guy Fieri’s Roasted Leg o’ Lamb Sandwich. It’s a three-part recipe that has you marinate and roast off a piece of lamb, make a spicy from-scratch mayonnaise and then shred fennel, cabbage, onion and Brussels sprouts into a crunchy topping.

Before you start cooking, read these tips

Hot Corn Dip and Onion Dip From Scratch — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Holidays, February 1st, 2013

Hot Corn Dip and Onion Dip From ScratchWhen it comes to sporting events, I’m really only in it for the food. As a kid, when I went to baseball games with my dad, my mind was on killing time until the seventh-inning stretch, when I’d be allowed to have ice cream. In high school, football games were all about the soft pretzels (and flirting, of course). And to my mind, Super Bowl Sunday is about snacks, dips and wacky commercials.

While there’s nothing wrong with classics like queso dip (made from only the very best processed cheeses) and blender salsas, I do get a kick out of making fancied-up versions of traditional dippy dishes. I’ve entertained a number in recent days and two that have bubbled to the top of my big game hit parade are Trisha Yearwood’s Hot Corn Dip and Alton Brown’s Onion Dip From Scratch.

The Hot Corn Dip is one of those addictive creations where you mix up a few ingredients, scrape the whole mess into an ovenproof bowl and bake it until bubbly (I’m drooling a little just thinking about it). It can be prepped ahead of time and baked off just before the game starts. Served with tortilla chips, it’s a good snacking time.

Before you start cooking, read these tips

Scrambled Eggs Chiliquiles With Roasted Tomatillo Sauce — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Recipes, January 25th, 2013

Scrambled Eggs Chiliquiles With Roasted Tomatillo SauceWhen I was in my twenties, going out to brunch was one of my favorite weekend activities. I loved every part of the ritual, including waiting for a table, choosing between sweet or savory and dividing up the check with a happily full belly.

Though eating brunch on a Saturday or Sunday morning is still a beloved pastime, I’ve found that my preferred venue has changed. These days, I’m all about brunch at home. It’s cheaper, the temptations are fewer and it can be prepared and eaten while one is wearing pajamas.

Because I can far too easily default to the same three brunch dishes (scrambled eggs with turkey bacon, whole-grain pancakes or leftover stuffed omelets), I do try to seek out brunch recipes that are outside my norm. Some weeks (and much to my husband’s delight), I bake a coffeecake. Others I bake up a frittata in my trusty cast-iron skillet (though some claim that I am too heavy-handed with the kale).

Before you start cooking, read these tips

Pork Goulash With Apple and Onion — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, January 18th, 2013

Pork Goulash With Apple and OnionOne of my long-held theories about life is that most people fall into one of two entertaining camps. You are either dinner party people or potluck people. If you’re a dinner party person, the nights when you have friends over are well-orchestrated. You make the entire meal or if you delegate parts of it, you give specific recipe assignments. Wine and beer is planned, purchased in advance and appropriately chilled. Tables are set sometime in the afternoon and there’s always a carefully arranged cheeseboard.

Potluck people are less concerned with the details. They issue an invitation to gather without carefully balancing the numbers of couples and singles. They don’t make the whole meal but instead announce the main dish they’ll be providing and then ask guests to fill in the blanks as they see them. If asked to comment on whether a dish might go well with the planned menu, the answer is always a happy-go-lucky “Sure!”

I have long been a potluck person. I love eating with friends, but rarely can I be bothered with the worry of formal guest lists or long hours of prep time. I am married to someone, however, who is more comfortable when the details are firmly nailed down and so I found myself throwing a very uncharacteristic dinner party last Saturday night.

Before you start cooking, read these tips

A Last-Minute New Year’s Eve Simple Soirée

by in Entertaining, Holidays, December 30th, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Nuts for New Year's EveYou’ve decided to skip the big dinner and throw a New Year’s Eve party, but it’s just one day away. Don’t fret; there’s still time to throw an all-out bash that will also allow you to enjoy time with your guests.

So let’s throw a party! I’ve compiled a few of my favorite recipes that will complete your menu (with bubbly, of course). Keep the items small, but make sure they’re filling:

Hummus — it’s a must for any party at my house. You can make it the morning of your party and it only takes mere minutes to whip everything up in a food processor. Toast up your own pita chips, too, and this one is good to go.
Try this recipe: Red Pepper Hummus With Toasted Pita Triangles

Spiced nuts (pictured above) are great to have on hand for the holiday season and the same goes for New Year’s Eve. Make these the day before, reheat them for a quick minute in the oven, and serve them at your party. Feel free to get creative with this recipe, like I did, and add other nuts besides pecans.
Try this recipe: Food Network Magazine‘s Sweet-and-Spicy Pecans

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You Asked, Giada Answered: How Giada Throws the Perfect Party

by in Entertaining, Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 26th, 2012

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We recently asked Food Network fans on Twitter to send their party-themed questions to an entertaining pro, Giada de Laurentiis. Just in time for New Year’s Eve, Giada shares tips to ensure you enjoy your own party, as much as your guests do. Click the play button above to watch Giada answer fan questions and get some of her party recipes below.

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Old-Fashioned Gingerbread — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Holidays, December 21st, 2012

Old-Fashioned GingerbreadWhen I was younger the thing I loved most about the holiday season was the dizzying array of cookies, candies and breakfast cakes that would suddenly appear in the our house. A practiced food sneak, I’d spirit away frosted sugar cookies and waxed paper-wrapped caramels and eat them in the luxurious privacy of my bedroom closet.

My parents were on to my sugar-seeking ways and would do their best to conceal the best of the treats from me so that I didn’t eat them all in a single day (I’ve since learned much about moderation). The one thing they never needed to tuck behind the cereal boxes on top of the refrigerator was the gingerbread. A yearly gift from our next-door neighbor, it was dense, heavy and smelled just slightly of bourbon. It was clearly not a cake for kids.

But as so often happens in life, my tastes have evolved over the years. The cookies I once craved now seem disgustingly sweet and that gingerbread I scorned appeals to me more than ever. That original recipe is long since gone (our neighbor died when I was 13), but I’ve spent the last few years searching out a similarly solid, barely sweetened cake to make and give out during the holiday season.

Before you mix your batter, read these tips

Greek Noodle Casserole — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, November 30th, 2012

Giada's Greek Noodle CasseroleThough winter isn’t officially here according to the calendar, early sunsets and chilly nights mean that it’s fast approaching. As someone who loves daylight and loses steam once the sky goes dark, it’s around this time each year that I put my antihibernation plan into action.

During these darker months, my natural inclination is to burrow down — to stay close to home and not surface again until the warmer days return. While this might have been an appropriate survival strategy during another era, in my current life, it initiates a most unpleasant spiral of isolation. This is no good for anyone.

And so I fight back against this tendency to hole up using food. I throw dinner parties and invite friends over for spur-of-the-moment potlucks. I organize brunch outings. I make extra large batches of soup and carry it to harried neighbors. And at least once a weekend, I make an extra large casserole, just in case.

These days, one of my favorite recipes is Giada’s Greek Noodle Casserole. It’s essentially a slightly simplified version of Pastitsio and ends up tasting like an exotic, homemade version of Hamburger Helper. For those of us who grew up on the stuff (it is what my dad would make on nights when he was in charge), that makes this endlessly comforting and familiar. Perfect for combating short days and cooking as your Weekender.

Before you get cooking, read these tips

Is Your Table in Shape for the Holidays?

by in Entertaining, Holidays, November 17th, 2012

Thanksgiving Buffet TableI suspect that many basic round white plates or sets of plates adorn many tables around the country for the holidays and for everyday use. Square plates and even triangular dishes have also made a splash on many a table top store display and Web site. But what’s the solution if you have a few of one and some of another shape? How do you know if your table needs a little seasonal shape-shifting?

Here are some suggestions:

1. Layer two square-shaped plates on top of a round shape to create a bit of holiday panache. Most round plates have a rim around the edge to contain sauces or meat juices. These will serve as a great base.

2. Square plates without lips or borders look great atop round plates. Instead of nesting them atop the round plate to form a square, try fanning both plates in a diamond pattern (see photo above), the way bartenders always fan out the cocktail napkins. It’s a little fancy and a bit unexpected.

Keep reading for more ideas