All Posts In Holidays

Easter Egg “Hunt” Cake — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, March 30th, 2012

easter egg hunt cake
When I was growing up, my parents really enjoyed making a big deal out of Easter. Being that they were Jewish (Mom) and Unitarian (Dad), they weren’t really interested in sharing the religious part of it, but they loved building up the mythology of the Easter Bunny and the arrival of spring. What can I say? We were a secular household that loved a reason to celebrate.

Because of this, preparations for Easter typically began weeks before the actual day. It usually started with an increase in scrambled-egg consumption as my dad began blowing eggs empty to keep the shells for decorating. Soon after, my mom would fill the Easter baskets with fresh potting soil and plant real grass in them (she was too much of a hippie to use plastic “grass”). Then, notes from the Easter Bunny would appear and my parents would claim early-morning sightings.

There would be a Saturday dedicated to coloring eggs (often with natural dyes) and an afternoon devoted to baking sugar cookies cut into the shapes of bunnies, eggs and baskets.

Finally, Easter arrived. My sister and I would wake early in order to begin the hunt for our baskets. There would be a note on the dining room table with the first hint and the race would be on. One memorable year my parents even managed to imprint fake bunny footprints all over the yard.

Before you mix your egg wash, read these tips

How to Cook Ham, Plus Easy-to-Cook Ham Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, March 30th, 2012


Almost as famed as the Thanksgiving turkey, the holiday ham is just as impressive, but far easier and quicker to cook than its winged counterpart. Easter Sunday is a little more than a week away, and if you’ll be celebrating, you probably have begun to contemplate how you’ll prepare the star of your meal, the ham. Will you save time by opting for a precooked package or purchase a raw ham and slowly bake it yourself? How about seasonings and glazes — which is best and when should you add each? What’s the proper way to slice a ham around its center bone? We have those answers and more, plus five no-fail ham recipes that guarantee classic, flavorful results every time.

What to Buy: Ready to eat as soon as they’ve been warmed, precooked hams are not a bad bet if you are pressed for time, are feeding a large crowd or simply wish to take it easy in the kitchen this year. Precooked hams can be covered with sticky, delicious glazes the same way raw hams can. Buying a fresh ham, however, allows you to trim any unnecessary fat before cooking and to control the amount of sodium in your meat.

Rubs vs. glazes, plus recipes

A Chocolate Shamrock Cake

by in Holidays, Recipes, March 16th, 2012

chocolate shamrock cake
While St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday geared toward adults, I think it’s fun to make sure that what I make is also kid friendly.

This cake is a perfect compromise for adults and kids alike. Big people get a decadent piece of cake, while little people take part in a scavenger hunt.

What’s the best part about this cake? Wondering who will get the “lucky” piece or the piece with a four-leaf clover on it.

Learn how to make this simple cake

5 Ways to Cook With Beer

by in Holidays, Recipes, March 16th, 2012


No St. Patrick’s Day party is complete without beer, especially Guinness, a dark Irish stout beer. Sure, you could just enjoy it straight from the can or bottle, but you could also cook with beer, incorporating it into sweet and savory dishes, such as ice cream sundaes, chocolate cupcakes, burgers and more. Below are five stout-centric recipes that are bursting with bold, full flavors, but are still easy enough to make for tomorrow’s Irish-themed festivities.

Reduce sweetened Guinness beer on the stove until it’s thick and syrupy, and drizzle it atop classic vanilla ice cream to create Food Network Magazine’s easy Guinness Sundaes (pictured above).

More St. Patrick’s Day recipes

$7 Brings You Instant Wine Coolness on St. Patrick’s Day

by in Drinks, Holidays, March 15th, 2012

wine for st. patricks dayIf you crave coolness, sometimes the best plan is to swim against the stream. Everyone eating steak? Order the shrimp scampi. Friends dressing up? Go ahead, wear your ripped jeans.

And with St. Patrick’s Day being so famously beer-soaked, your against-the-grain cred will come from drinking wine. Not any old vino, mind you, but one particularly suited to this casual, joyous occasion: Vinho Verde (VEEN-yoh VEHR-day), a light white wine from various native grapes in Portugal.

Here are five reasons why

Individual Shepherd’s Pie — Simple Soirées

by in Entertaining, Holidays, March 15th, 2012

individual shepherd's pie
St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and this year I’m celebrating with a classic Shepherd’s Pie. It’s basically my go-to dish for this yearly celebration, along with a few Irish-inspired cocktails and beer.

My favorite Shepherd’s Pie recipe comes from Mr. Alton Brown.

It’s a foolproof recipe that will knock your socks off. I jazzed it up a bit by adding some Dubliner cheese into the potato topping to give it that extra Irish kick. What makes this even more special is that rather than making a big casserole dish of Shepherd’s Pie, I turn this into individual portions by make the pies in a muffin tin. How perfect is that for a fun St. Paddy’s-themed evening with your friends? Grab a mini Shepherd’s Pie and a Guinness and call it a night.

Get the recipe

Creole Shrimp Skewers for Mardi Gras — Simple Soirées

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 20th, 2012

creole shrimp skewers
Mardi Gras is the perfect excuse for a party, and not just any party — a New Orleans-themed party. I don’t know if you’ve been to New Orleans (NOLA for short), but let me tell you this: Those people know how to party. I was there last year for a quick week and even this California girl had a hard time keeping up with the nightlife. That aside, you can’t forget the amazing Cajun and Creole food on every corner and the unforgettable cocktail scene with live music that pours into the streets at night. If you can’t head down south for Mardi Gras this year, re-create a NOLA-inspired appetizer for Fat Tuesday.

And who better to take inspiration from than the king of NOLA himself, Emeril.

This Mardi Gras Jambalaya from Emeril is one of my all-time favorites. I’ll make this for a big dinner party any day, but I wanted to turn it into an appetizer so it would be easy to eat — people can grab a bite and run back to the dance floor.

Get Gaby’s Creole Shrimp Skewer recipe »

Presidential Eats

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 17th, 2012


If you’re lucky enough to have a day off of work or school on Monday, you can thank the first president of the United States, George Washington, as his birthday is celebrated each year on the third Monday of February. Celebrate this government holiday by cooking up our menu of presidential eats. We’re featuring a fish dish to commemorate Washington’s love of seafood, traditional Chicago- and Hawaiian-style favorites to honor President Obama’s roots and an authentic Indian dish to celebrate Washington, D.C.’s diverse food scene. Tell us: What will you be making on Presidents’ Day?

A true fish fan, Washington would have likely reveled in Food Network Magazine’s Tilapia With Green Beans (pictured above), a protein-packed plate that is bursting with fresh flavor. This flaky whitefish is quickly sautéed in a decadent butter-lemon sauce and served with tender green beans and softened cherry tomatoes.

Read more

No-Bake Valentine’s Day Desserts

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 12th, 2012

Whether or not you have elaborate Valentine’s Day plans (or a valentine) on Tuesday, it’s practically required that you indulge in a few sweet treats to mark the holiday. But what if you’d prefer to spend time with your someone special instead of baking the perfect Red Velvet Layer Cake or indulgent Molten Lava Cakes? Then rely on our quick-to-prepare, no-bake recipes to serve up a lovingly made dessert in a flash. With chocolate candies, mousse, strawberry cheesecake and more, our list of Valentine’s Day desserts is sure to please your sweetie’s sweet tooth.

A generous splash of brandy offers after-dinner decadence to Alton’s two-bite Chocolate Truffles (pictured above), made with bittersweet chocolate and cream. Gently roll these beauties in soft cocoa powder, sweet coconut or crunchy chopped nuts to add a touch of texture and flavorful elegance.

Read more

Best 5 Valentine’s Day Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 11th, 2012


Nothing says love like a home-cooked meal, right? This Valentine’s Day, forget about making restaurant reservations and serve your someone special a romantic dinner or dessert for two at home. Food Network’s top five Valentine’s Day recipes are elegant yet traditional dishes that you can easily make with love.

5. Shrimp Scampi With Linguini — A quick-cooking seafood, shrimp dress up classic pasta with garlic, lemon and white wine.

4. Chocolate Covered Strawberries — These two-bite treats are covered in smooth semi-sweet chocolate.

Get the top three recipes »