Irish or not, beer lovers around the world rejoice when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around. Even if Guinness isn’t their brew of choice, March 17 provides the perfect excuse to cheer with a pint. For those of you who are looking forward to St. Patty’s for just that reason, we’ve rounded up some well-crafted stationery that you can enjoy year-round (like Red Cruiser’s food and drink calendar pictured above), long after the green beer is no longer on draft.
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When I was in high school, I went through a period where nothing I ate sat right with me. My parents took me to our family doctor, trying to figure out what was the matter. I was tested for celiac disease, IBS, Crohn’s and other illnesses that can sometimes cause digestive distress and they all came back negative. It wasn’t until a family friend who was also a naturopathic doctor suggested I take a break from eating wheat-based foods that things began to improve.
This was back in the mid-’90s, before everyone was eating wheat-free and gluten-free. The available rice pasta was terrible and the spelt bread sold at our local co-op was dry and crumbly. I ate a lot of my mom’s homemade granola and gave up a lot of the things I most liked to eat for a time.
Happily, I found that it was enough for me to take occasional breaks from wheat to keep my belly happy and so every couple months, I’d take a week or two off from bread, pasta, cookies and anything else with wheat in the ingredient list.
Over this past weekend, I realized that it was time for another such wheat-free period. I did a little meal planning and made a shopping list of things that would ease the shift (though it’s so much easier to do these days than it was nearly 20 years ago).
These triangle-shaped treats may look like your average jam-filled cookies, almost like thumbprints, but they’re actually very special and have a significant meaning in Judaism.
Hamantaschen cookies are eaten traditionally every year on the holiday of Purim, which begins today, February 23 at sundown. The tender shortbread-like dough is the perfect vehicle for fruit, seed and nut fillings. A poppy seed filling is traditional, but you’ll also find recipes that call for raspberry jam, apricot preserves, prune lekvar or even chocolate-hazelnut spread. Sometimes you may even see nuts ground into to the dough.
Lobster is one of the most romantic meals to eat on Valentine’s Day — whether out at a restaurant or in the confines of your own home. While it’s certainly a special treat, it can also be terrifying, especially for new couples just starting to date (it can get quite messy). How do you eat a lobster? Where do you crack it? Can you only eat the tail?
No worries. Valentine’s Day dinner is only a few short hours away, but there’s still plenty of time to learn how to eat a lobster before then. Click the play button after the jump to watch Food Network Kitchens break down a lobster and you’ll soon be a pro (and your significant other will be very impressed).
Just like flowers and perhaps a glass or two of champagne, chocolate on Valentine’s Day is a must. This year, however, instead of resorting to store-bought candies, try making simple red velvet desserts for you and your special someone to enjoy together. Boasting a subtle cocoa taste instead of an overpowering punch of chocolate flavor, red velvet treats pair naturally with smooth cream cheese frosting, and their distinct crimson color just can’t be beat when it comes to a red-themed holiday like Valentine’s. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top-five red velvet recipes below to help you prepare easy-to-love favorites that will have your sweetie swooning in no time.
5. Red Velvet Swirl Brownies — Before baking Sunny’s brownies, gently run a knife tip through the decadent layers of red velvet batter and sweetened cream cheese to achieve an attractive swirled topping.
4. Red Velvet-Cherry Cake Roll — The secret to executing this can-do cake is rolling it while it’s still supple and warm. After it’s cooled, unroll it and stuff with an almond-laced cream cheese frosting before gently rerolling the cake and serving.
The Mardi Gras parade, dating all the way back to the late 1830s, included street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback riders — some carrying fascinating gaslight torches. Fast-forward to present day, the parade now consists of over-the-top floats, exotic costumes, lots of beads, balls and never-ending feasts of King Cakes.
Louisiana native David Guas knows a thing or two about Mardi Gras, especially when it comes to food. His restaurant, Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery, is the first Washington, D.C. establishment to offer authentic delectable Southern sweets and savory casual eats. While King Cake gets all the glory during this time (as it deserves), we went to David and asked him, “If there were such a thing as parade route food, what would that be?” His answer: the classic hot dog. Well, sort of classic: “the Gras Dog,” he dubs it.
Why hot dogs? “There’s something to be said about the all-beef hot dog,” David says. “It’s about as American as they come and I think they’re the best. This is how you make a Gras Dog — Louisiana-style — and when it’s Mardi Gras time, your most important concern is how you juggle catching beads and keeping a cocktail or beer in the other hand. So when you take a break to eat and free up one hand to get some food fuel in your system, it has to be easy and take only a few bites to finish. After that, back out to catching beads.”
Instead of fighting the crowds of couples at hot spot restaurants on Valentine’s Day, treat your sweetie to an extra-special dinner and dessert at home on Thursday. Food Network’s one-stop Valentine’s Day destination has everything you need to plan a savory meal for two, while Chopped judge and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian has the ultimate confection for an unforgettable supper — a showstopping dessert that’s by far more impressive looking than it is difficult to prepare, even for the most novice bakers among us.
FN Dish caught up with Geoffrey during a live cooking demonstration at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J., and he shared his tried-and-true Flourless Raspberry Souffle recipe from his cookbook, Town/Country: 150 Recipes for Life Around the Table. He’s the first to admit that most people are “freaked out by souffles,” but he promises that there’s no reason to be. A master of souffles himself, Geoffrey first began making them in his earliest days as a chef at New York City’s Le Cirque restaurant. “That was my first job in the kitchen,” he told us. “I was a souffle chef.” There he’d prepare nearly 150 souffles every day, and he quickly picked up “all the tricks of the trade.”
Whether you’ve dabbled in from-scratch souffles before or are new to making them, Geoffrey explains that there are a few must-know secrets to pulling off this dessert successfully. Check out his top-five tips for baking up light, fluffy souffles every time, then read on to find his can-do recipe.
Raise your hand if you’re not into going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. I know I have my hand straight up in the air. It’s not that I don’t love restaurants; I honestly do. But it’s always such a zoo and I would much rather stay home with my honey and make us a memorable dinner spread in the comfort of our own home.
This year I’m jazzed about our menu: it’s fun and comforting and I know my husband is going to love it.
First I’m going to make a cheese plate, complete with lots of crackers and fruit — a cheese plate is the perfect way to start a nice meal at home. Read these tips from Food Network and head to the market to pick out several great varieties of cheese.
After that, we’re going to have salad from Giada (pictured above). I love beets, goat cheese and arugula, so this is the perfect salad. Plus it’s light so it won’t be too filling.
Get the recipe: Beet and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad
Courtesy of Besh Restaurant Group
Louisiana native and Next Iron Chef finalist John Besh has been celebrating Mardi Gras since he was a young boy. He remembers, “Night parades were for the older crowd but Mardi Gras Day (Fat Tuesday) was getting together and eating jambalaya on Saint Charles Avenue with my parents and all of their friends and spending the whole day eating and enjoying friends and family. We’d be on the hunt for a Zulu coconut from the first parade to run that day.” That tradition continues with his wife and kids by visiting the parade routes throughout Mardi Gras and on Fat Tuesday eating red beans and rice, fried chicken and jambalaya.
And, of course, beginning on Kings Day, everyone starts eating King Cake. As a kid, Besh recalls, “You’re eating King Cake in class least once a week if not more until Fat Tuesday and with every slice you’re thinking about the excitement of Mardi Gras Day.” With all this King Cake consumption Besh has definitely found his fair share of the porcelain figures called feves, one of which is hidden in the cake. The custom requires the finder to supply the next year’s cake, and we’re betting that everyone is pretty happy when Besh gets that job.
Chinese New Year celebrations are filled with time-honored traditions, fun festivals and superstitious beliefs, but the one thing that connects all of them and brings everyone together is the food. But it’s not just any food — it’s good luck food.
The dishes served during Chinese New Year, which lands on February 10 this year, are eaten because of what the ingredients signify or sometimes what the Chinese names can mean. You’ll find seafood, chicken, duck, pork, sausage, noodles and lots of vegetables on the traditional menu. These foods can symbolize abundance, prosperity, togetherness, wealth and more.