All Posts In Holidays

All Fluff: How to Make Marshmallow Pops

by in Food Network Magazine, Holidays, How-to, April 4th, 2012

marshmallow pops
Peeps get all the glory this month (just check out this Peep Cake), but their plain-old marshmallow cousins can get dressed up for Easter, too. We found this fun trick in the new cookbook Sugarlicious ($18; Harlequin) by Meaghan Mountford: Insert lollipop sticks into marshmallows, then submerge one marshmallow at a time in water. Blot off the excess water with a paper towel, hold the marshmallow over a plate and shake sprinkles over it to coat. Prop up in a cup or foam block to dry.

(Photograph by Charles Masters)

Passover, Vegetarian-Style — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Holidays, April 4th, 2012

quinoa pilaf
Recently, I was talking with a friend about Passover, which starts at sundown on April 6. I asked him how he navigated dinner since he doesn’t eat meat and brisket is the traditional main course. It turns out he’s not the only pescatarian and vegetarian in his family, but it still got me thinking about how other vegetarians handle family holiday dinners. The simple solution would be to bring a hearty side dish instead of dessert or wine, which is the usual go-to item.

Some of the classics are easy to give veggie makeovers. Matzo Ball Soup, a must-have at every Seder, is an easy fix — just use vegetable broth. Here are some more ideas for making sure everyone feels welcome at your Passover table this year.

Moroccan Carrot and Spinach Salad (I paired it with the quinoa recipe below for a filling meal)

Matzo Brei (This is a traditionally more of an appetizer, but it’s very filling and the eggs are a good protein boost, too.)

Quinoa Pilaf With Cremini Mushrooms

Read more

Alex’s Easter Leg of Lamb

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, April 4th, 2012

leg of lambOddly, my most vivid memory of a leg of lamb comes from my years of living in France and not my childhood kitchen. I was strolling in an open-air market and stopped in fascination in front of a rotisserie. There, in the midst of tables of fresh vegetables, I stood, transfixed. An enormous leg of lamb was slowly turning and was the deepest golden brown. At the bottom were various fingerling potatoes and onions that clearly had been cooked in the drippings. I honestly wasn’t sure what looked better, the meat or the vegetables.

I have been imitating that experience ever since. I save the rosemary to be mixed in with the vegetables and the cooking juices once the meat is cooked. I find that when rosemary is cooked too long, it tastes medicinal instead of herbaceous and fresh.

Get Alex’s recipe

April Fools!

by in Holidays, April 1st, 2012

april foolsSo maybe you shouldn’t put cherry pie filling in your hair and Brussels sprouts belong on your dinner plate, not as part of a face-mask, but we just couldn’t help ourselves — it’s April Fools’ Day!

And even though chocolate pudding doesn’t take the dimples off our thighs, chocolate ganache is a key ingredient in this DIY chocolate body scrub recipe.

Food Network Magazine also asked five busy chefs what they use in their kitchen as makeshift beauty products, including beer, olive oil, nuts and rice. Get their tips here.

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