All Posts In Holidays

Guacamole for the Big Game — Simple Soirées

by in Holidays, January 31st, 2012

alton's guacamole
Wait — Super Bowl Sunday is about a football game? Not in my world. Super Bowl Sunday is all about the food. And drinks. OK, and maybe the awesome commercials on TV. But mostly it’s about the food. And you can’t just whip up anything for this very special Sunday that happens once a year — no, you’ve got to go big with the best appetizers and finger foods out there.

Each year we throw a big Super Bowl Sunday fiesta. I think some people actually watch the game, but most come to eat and have someone else cook for them. For those people that truly understand football (I’m clearly not included in that group), I’m a big believer in having tons of appetizer and finger food options for people to grab while they sit in front of the TV. There has to be an assortment of wings, potato skins, chips, dips, desserts and, most importantly, guacamole. Oh yes, it’s not a party without guacamole.

I mean, in my mind it wouldn’t be a football party without a big bowl of guac. Something about it just screams to be eaten while watching football and lounging around on a lazy weekend. This year I’ll be whipping up a guacamole from Alton Brown.

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Alex Serves: New Year’s Eve Cocktails for All

by in Drinks, Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 30th, 2011

New Year's Eve CocktailsThis is a time of the year when my drinking rules and all “house” policies go out the window. I want something new. I will drink a cocktail through the cocktail hour and the dinner party instead of switching to wine. I sip smoky, tabacco-y scotch. I indulge in a snifter of brandy. Sometimes I mix drinks. Here are a few I’m enjoying this year for New Year’s.

Negroni

I really like this flavor — it rides the perfect line between bitter and sweet. It goes well with salty snacks or with a full meal. Make sure everything (including the glasses) are as cold as possible.

Get Alex’s cocktail recipes »

Lucky New Year’s Foods

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 30th, 2011

On New Year’s Eve in my house, there exists no particular ritual as one year comes to a close and another is ushered in, apart from popping champagne at midnight, that is. However, various countries and cultures practice habits of their own to mark the occasion and to celebrate the year, particularly by eating certain foods in the hope of securing a bit of luck in the months ahead. Epicurious featured an article detailing New Year’s food traditions around the world and explained the origins of them. Check out below various customs of eating Lucky Food for the New Year and find corresponding recipes so you can bring these practices into your home.

For many, pigs represent progress and growth in life, so pork dishes are common on New Year’s menus from Cuba to Austria. Food Network Magazine offers a Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin (pictured above) that is sure to feed a crowd and takes just over an hour to prepare. Sautéed cremini mushrooms, fresh parsley and crispy bacon are wrapped inside a lean, butterflied tenderloin, then grilled until thoroughly cooked.

More lucky New Year’s recipes »

How to Outsmart New Year’s Eve With Bubbly at Home

by in Drinks, Holidays, December 29th, 2011

New Year's Eve Champagne at HomeThere’s so much pressure to have fun on New Year’s Eve that it’s easy to find yourself overpaying at a restaurant or bar for the right to experience tepid beer, viciously thumping music and the crush of overindulging strangers. Happily, you can easily outsmart this New Year’s outcome by having the kind of home bubbly celebration described here:

Bubbles of Any Kind: Whether it’s real Champagne from France or one of the less expensive types I call “bubbly stunt doubles” — Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain — bubbles are the cornerstone of a home New Year’s celebration.

Throughout the Night: The key is not to save the bubbly for the midnight ball drop, but to drink it throughout your festive night. A lighter-style blanc de blancs Champagne (from white grapes) works perfectly as an appetite-stoking aperitif or with lighter bites, such as Ted Allen’s Crudo on the Half Shell. But a richer, people-pleasing Prosecco or American sparkler would provide a cleansing lift to entrees such as Alex Guarnaschelli’s Oven “Fried” Pizza.

Learn how to saber a bottle like a pro »

Happy New Year From Bobby Flay

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 28th, 2011

Bobby FlayBobby shares some holiday fun facts and lets us in on his New Year’s resolution:

FN Dish: How can cooks be less stressed during the holidays?
Bobby Flay: Cook from within yourself at your skill level. Don’t try to conquer the world with your holiday meal.

FN Dish: What’s your favorite holiday food memory?
BF: One Christmas morning I tried to find a turkey because the Cornish game hen I had planned to cook had gone badly.

FN Dish: What do you cook just when it’s just you?
BF: Homemade nachos with a white American cheese sauce.

FN Dish: What’s your 2012 New Year’s resolution?
BF: To reopen my restaurant in New York City, Bolo. It’s time. It’s like a broken heart that I need to mend.

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Go for the Gold: How to Make Gold-Leaf Brownies for New Year’s

by in Food Network Magazine, Holidays, December 27th, 2011

Gold Leaf BrowniesWe’re not in the business of doling out financial advice, but we hear gold is up in value — all the more reason to buy some for your next batch of brownies. Get a booklet of “transfer” edible gold leaf (about $40 for 15 three-inch-square sheets; lagoldleaf.com), then brush the top of already-baked brownies with warm honey and, starting in one corner, place a sheet gold side down on top. Gently rub the paper until the gold transfers onto the brownies. An 8-inch-square pan takes about $14 worth of leaf — a downright bargain for a gift of gold.

Easy Homemade Gifts — Really!

by in Family, Holidays, December 23rd, 2011

Easy Homemade Gifts
This week is like the holiday Olympics for moms, jam-packed with recitals, school parties and hours of gift-wrapping. Homemade gifts have always been my favorite to give, and they’re the ones that friends and family talk about for years to come. In the past, spending hours squirreled away in the kitchen wasn’t an issue, but life is quite different these days.

As my daughters grow, homework duties increased, and the list of recipients grew longer, I started re-thinking my homemade gift-giving strategy. I didn’t want to give up on the idea of hand-decorated cookies, but I began to realize I was in need of a compromise. Rather than start crossing names off my “nice” list, I decided to put friends, family and even my girls’ teachers in charge of the final product.

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Lamb Ragu With Mint — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 23rd, 2011


One of the basic truths of cooking is that there are as many pasta sauces out there in the world as there are home cooks. I grew up eating my mom’s long-simmered sauce that was bursting with zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions. My husband grew up eating a more basic marinara, studded with rounds of sausage (my younger self would have been very jealous that he got to avoid so many of the veggies).

These days my sauces tend to shift with the seasons. During the summer I like to prep an uncooked sauce of chopped tomatoes, torn basil, olive oil and salt. But as the days get shorter, I opt for thicker, heartier ingredients that have the ability to warm the kitchen and keep bellies satisfied.

With the holidays looming and houseguests streaming into town, a pot of filling pasta sauce is just the thing to make those big family dinners a bit easier. Right now my go-to recipe is one from Giada De Laurentiis for Lamb Ragu With Mint.

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Quick Christmas Morning Brunch Menu

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 23rd, 2011

It’s Christmas morning: There are a few half-eaten cookies and an empty glass on the table next to the tree, the kids are ripping open presents and Dad has been videotaping the entire event for hours. This is surely not the moment to worry about what to serve for breakfast. This year, instead of resorting to cereal and cocoa (though there’s nothing wrong with either!), serve a simple brunch featuring hearty dishes that are ready in 30 minutes or less and will leave the family full until dinnertime.

What better way to spread Christmas cheer than with Food Network Magazine’s light and fluffy Almost-Famous Cheesecake Pancakes (pictured above). Chunks of creamy cheesecake are incorporated into a classic pancake batter and each flapjack is cooked until golden brown and topped with a sweet strawberry sauce, featuring fresh berries and strawberry jam. Top each stack with a dollop of whipped cream — because it is Christmas, after all, and New Year’s diets don’t start for another week.

More Christmas morning brunch recipes »

Best 5 Christmas Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 23rd, 2011

Old-Fashioned HamThis Christmas, serve up a little holiday cheer in the form of crowd-pleasing recipes the whole family will enjoy. We’ve complied Food Network’s top five Christmas recipes below; prepare them all for a weekend’s worth of festive favorites and holiday classics.

5. White Chocolate Holiday Bark — Dried cranberries and pistachio nuts add color and texture to this sweet snack, perfect to give as a last-minute gift.

4. Baked French Toast Casserole With Maple Syrup — Prepare Paula’s indulgent casserole the night before and bake on Christmas morning for an easy brunch favorite.

Get the top three recipes »