All Posts In Holidays

A Mother’s Day Simple Soirée

by in Entertaining, Holidays, May 11th, 2012

blueberry raspberry muffins
It goes without saying that Mother’s Day is always a fun day in our house. Instead of giving her gifts every year, I like to cook up a big delicious brunch so we can all lay around the house, eat great food and relax. It’s something we do quite well.

My mom is also quite the picky eater, so I have to tailor my menu to fit her palate. One thing that I can never go wrong with is any kind of baked goods. We have a sweet tooth in my family and these Blueberry Muffins that I’ve adapted from Alton Brown are always a hit.

I brightened them up with lemon zest and raspberries, and then whipped up the most addictive Chantilly Cream. Heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and a vanilla bean is a match made in heaven.

These blueberry-raspberry muffins topped with Chantilly Cream are the perfect way to show your mom some love this Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful mothers out there, and thanks to my mom for being so amazing.

Get the recipe for Blueberry-Raspberry Muffins

Reinvented: Deviled Eggs 5 Ways for Mother’s Day

by in Holidays, Recipes, May 9th, 2012

deviled eggs 5 ways
Here in Food Network Kitchens, we love simple, classic recipes. We are also paid to think about food all day. So we’ve taken classic foods and drinks and reimagined them into three, four or five different ways. No standard recipes here, just the occasional technique and pictures. Think of it as a picture recipe.

To us, deviled eggs are the perfect party food.  Not only are the majority of the ingredients already in your refrigerator and pantry, they cook up fast and they’re crowd-pleasers.

Start with the classic, then experiment

A Cinco de Mayo Simple Soirée

by in Drinks, Holidays, May 4th, 2012

margarita and sangria for cinco de mayo
Cinco de Mayo is my favorite food holiday. I know I probably say that for every food-related holiday, but let’s be honest — Cinco de Mayo really is the best.

Growing up in Arizona meant a few things. The most important one is that you absolutely must throw a giant Cinco de Mayo party every single year regardless of what day of the week the holiday falls on. We Arizonans take our Cinco de Mayo parties pretty seriously, too. There is never a shortage of freshly made margaritas or sangria and there is always guacamole.

This year I’m going to be in Los Angeles for the holiday and while L.A. is all well and good, there is really nothing like being home in Tucson for a fun fiesta. But never fear, I’m still going all out for Cinco de Mayo this year. These two cocktails will be making an appearance for my fiesta and you should absolutely make them, too. Based loosely on two cocktail recipes from a few of my favorite Food Network stars, I’ll be whipping up a jalapeno-infused margarita and a strawberry raspberry sangria.

Get my variations

Derby Day for the Kiddies: Virgin Mint Juleps

by in Drinks, Holidays, May 4th, 2012

derby daySince Derby Day traditionally happens in the beginning of May, I always associate it with the beginning of summer. Is it because the horse race is affectionately referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sports?” No, it’s because I love so many of the traditions that come with it. I love that the winner is presented with a “blanket” of 554 roses. I love fiddling with a version of “burgoo,” a beef and pork stew traditionally served on this day. Burgoo is one of those recipes that can be left open to interpretation. It is traditionally made with whatever meats (beef or pork) and vegetables (lima beans, corn or okra) are available. My best results came from braising some cubed-up brisket and stirring in some corn, fava beans and peas to give it that touch of spring. With all this cooking, a cooling drink seems only fitting. The mint julep happens to be one of my favorites. It reminds me of a snow cone, the fruity, icy cone I used to get from ice cream trucks as a kid. This provides a fun drink for kids instead of a more traditional Shirley Temple.

Get the recipe

Bobby’s Chips and Guacamole — The New Girl

by in Holidays, Recipes, May 3rd, 2012

bobby flay chips and guacamole
While guacamole is an obvious choice for Cinco de Mayo, it’s also a tasty one. It’s simple to prepare, fresh in flavor and loved by all. Sure, it’s the safe choice, but ultimately you want to make something that your guests will enjoy, not fear.

I’m a minimalist when it comes to guacamole — because avocados are naturally creamy and indulgent, simpler is better in my book. Bobby’s recipe is foolproof and includes only four extra ingredients: red onion, fresh jalapeño, lime and cilantro. Just chop, mash, squeeze and in 10 minutes, you’ve got the perfect party dip. The diced onion adds texture to the velvety avocado and the jalapeño brings a touch of heat and warmth. The MVI (Most Valuable Ingredient) of the dish, however, is the lime. It makes each bite refreshing and bright and will keep your guests digging in for more.

Tips to consider before making these recipes:

Reinvented: Salsa 5 Ways for Cinco de Mayo

by in Holidays, Recipes, May 1st, 2012

salsa 5 different ways
Here in Food Network Kitchens, we love simple, classic recipes. We are also paid to think about food all day. So we’ve taken classic foods and drinks and reimagined them into three, four or five different ways. No standard recipes here, just the occasional technique and pictures. Think of it as a picture recipe.

Sometimes a basic pico de gallo isn’t enough. Check out these four spins on the classic.

Click here for salsa recipes

Fish Tacos — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 27th, 2012

fish tacos
I have a dear friend who loves to perfect recipes. While I’m content to try something once and then move on to the next cooking project, Cindy will make a dish over and over again until she’s absolutely nailed it. Her pursuit of excellent food has benefited me many times over in the years I’ve known her, because I’ve often been one of her food testers.

There was a spaghetti Bolognese year, a winter of beef stew and a six-month stint during which she served a lot of cioppino. My very favorite was the summer when she was trying to make the perfect fish taco.

My sister and I were at her house the night she declared the winning fish taco. Served in warm corn tortillas, the fish was lightly breaded and fried and topped with a quick coleslaw and a spicy, creamy sauce. There were slivers of avocados for garnish and limes for a hint of acid. Whenever I eat fish tacos, I remember that warm night in her back garden.

Though I love fish tacos, I rarely end up making them at home, because of the frying step. My kitchen has no range hood, just a feeble exhaust fan that helps spread greasy splatter all over my cabinets. Recently, someone pointed me to Bobby Flay’s recipe for Fish Tacos, which has you grill the fish instead of frying it. I had to try it.

Before you marinate the fish, here are a few things you should know:

From Soil to Table: Natural Recipes for Earth Day

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 20th, 2012

Earth Day is this Sunday, April 22, and with that comes the chance to rethink our approach to clean, smart eating and cooking. This weekend and into the spring season, try to incorporate more wholesome, plant-based foods into your everyday meals. Joining the Meatless Monday movement is an easy way to lower your intake of animal products just eat meat-free one day a week, Monday or any other. In celebration of Earth Day, we’ve rounded up a collection of natural recipes that feature fresh, seasonal ingredients like carrots, potatoes, rhubarb and more, so that you can enjoy what you’re eating and feel good about it too.

If you can’t find rainbow carrots like those pictured above, stick with the classic orange beauties when preparing Food Network Magazine’s Coriander-Glazed Carrots, made with fresh citrus, crushed coriander seeds and a sprinkle of cilantro. This quick-cooking side dish complements simply roasted seafood,  grilled chicken and more.

Read more

Easter Brunch — Simple Soirées

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 6th, 2012

coconut carrot cake cupcakes
Easter brunch is one of my favorite meals of the year. Yes, Thanksgiving and Christmas are great. And my birthday is high up on the list, too. But Easter has always been special for me.

When I was growing up in Tucson, Ariz., my family and I would head up to the club for brunch, participate in some extreme Easter egg hunting (I’d always win) and then I would basically stuff my face. Homemade omelets, pounds of roasted potatoes and smoked salmon galore. You name it and I probably ate it. But let’s be honest here — the best part of brunch really has to be the desserts. There are a few in particular that stand out, but in my opinion a truly phenomenal carrot cake tops then all.

I know making a fresh carrot cake can be a little time-consuming because you actually have to grate carrots. Gasp! I know, I know. It’s tough. But trust me, it’s worth the extra prep time.

Get the recipe for Coconut Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Chicken Liver Mousse — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 6th, 2012

chicken liver mousseMy Aunt Doris made canapés the way other women garden or take tennis lessons. She was always on the hunt for a new recipe or a source for discounted Pepperidge Farms thin-sliced white bread, and was never happier than when she had eight or 10 dozen hors d’oeuvres wrapped in aluminum foil and tucked into her basement chest freezer.

She often spent Saturday afternoons practicing a recipe, lining up assembly stations all across the kitchen counters, leaving no square inch unutilized. When my mom and her cousins were young, they were often used as foot soldiers in these battles of woman versus cornichon, pimento and caper.

Aunt Doris would lay out large rounds of rye at the kitchen table, almost as if she was setting up a meal with edible plates. Each child was given a pastry bag that Aunt Doris filled with whipped and flavored cream cheese or chicken liver pâté. They would take their positions standing behind a slice of bread and with militaristic precision, would pipe a circle of cream cheese or pâté onto the bread, using the outer crust as a guide.

Before you start cooking your liver, read these tips:

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