All Posts In Holidays
Fall has finally given way to winter. Driveways are being shoveled, snow tires are mounted onto cars and steaming mugs of hot chocolate warm our souls. I, however, sit on a snowy-white beach contemplating what to bake for Santa’s annual visit, a tradition my mom started when I was very young.
Fast-forward to today: As one who works with flour, sugar and eggs, I bring joy year-round (to the many sweet tooths out there), but never a more important time than at holidays. This time of year, I bake for a “claus.”
I like to deliver tasty treats to my local police and fire stations as my way of saying thank you for saving lives. All of this leads me to sharing some of my fun holiday traditions. Some are past favorites, some are newer ideas soon to become classics.
Cookies left on a plate for Santa maybe very traditional, but who says it has to be boring? Invite the neighbors, family and friends over for a decorating party.
While some families are slicing the holiday ham or carving the crown roast of pork on Christmas Eve, many Italians and Italian-Americans are preparing a meal with not just one star ingredient, but seven. It’s an Italian tradition to celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, and with that comes a long, relaxing meal of fish-forward dishes. The strictest adherents to the seven-fishes tradition will tell you that indeed there should be seven fish on the dinner table, but for the sake of simplicity, consider any and all seafood, including shellfish, to count toward your final fish tally. The key to committing to cook seven different kinds of seafood is spreading out the dishes throughout the meal; instead of preparing seven whole fish for what would be an excessively large main dish spread, offer perhaps three small appetizers, a soup, pasta, then entrée plus a side salad, each with seafood as the focus. Check out Food Network’s favorite Feast of the Seven Fishes menu below, then tell us in the comments: What’s your favorite kind of fish?
When I was younger the thing I loved most about the holiday season was the dizzying array of cookies, candies and breakfast cakes that would suddenly appear in the our house. A practiced food sneak, I’d spirit away frosted sugar cookies and waxed paper-wrapped caramels and eat them in the luxurious privacy of my bedroom closet.
My parents were on to my sugar-seeking ways and would do their best to conceal the best of the treats from me so that I didn’t eat them all in a single day (I’ve since learned much about moderation). The one thing they never needed to tuck behind the cereal boxes on top of the refrigerator was the gingerbread. A yearly gift from our next-door neighbor, it was dense, heavy and smelled just slightly of bourbon. It was clearly not a cake for kids.
But as so often happens in life, my tastes have evolved over the years. The cookies I once craved now seem disgustingly sweet and that gingerbread I scorned appeals to me more than ever. That original recipe is long since gone (our neighbor died when I was 13), but I’ve spent the last few years searching out a similarly solid, barely sweetened cake to make and give out during the holiday season.
Everyone has their own personal wish list of gifts when it comes to holiday time. You know, it’s that list you keep in the back of your mind of gifts you hope your friends and family members will get you. It’s that hope for a gift you’ve wanted that makes the receiving of it even more special and exciting — even if it took a lot of hint dropping.
Food Network celebrity chefs are no different — they too have wish lists that include culinary gadgets, tools and appliances that they’re hoping to get under the tree on Christmas. FN Dish caught up with some of them to find out what’s on their wish lists this year, what kind of gifts they’ve loved receiving in the past, and what items they would give as gifts.
I once made a few cakes for dessert — some coffee cakes. The recipe that I tried was not accurate; it said butter the pan, but should have said butter then flour the pan. Half the cake came out and half of it didn’t, and it had a big crack on the side.
So if a cake flops, what can you do to save it? If the cake is supposed to be frosted, then don’t worry about it. Just cover it with frosting. It will still be delicious. If it’s like a coffee cake, which doesn’t get frosted, preslice and serve it plated with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream and berries.
Yesterday we posed this question to readers: What do you traditionally serve up around the holidays? Thanksgiving is all about turkey and Easter is all about the ham. But what meat do you serve on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
FN Dish went to the meat master, Pat LaFrieda, Jr., to chat about alternative meats for Christmas, and as always, he didn’t let us down. Keep reading for tips on standing rib roasts, get Pat’s recipe for stuffing and find out what his favorite holiday meal is.
Standing rib roasts are delicious, but some people may be nervous to try and cook one. Do you have any suggestions? How many pounds/ribs per person?
PLF: Always figure on 1 pound of meat, in the raw form, per person. That should yield 12 ounces of cooked meat.
Try the recipe pictured above: Paula’s Foolproof Standing Rib Roast
There’s no doubt about it that turkey is synonymous with Thanksgiving. Maybe this year your family ate something other than turkey, like ham, but the bird really does symbolize the holiday no matter how you look at it. But what about Christmas? Is there a food symbolic of Christmas? Not really. Everyone does something different; maybe that’s what is so special about the holiday.
FN Dish wants to know, what do you traditionally serve up around the holidays? Do you repeat the same turkey menu from Thanksgiving? Do you do a British-style prime rib with Yorkshire pudding? Or a Southern glazed ham with biscuits? Or a crown roast of pork or lamb? Every family has its special Christmas meal. What’s yours?
Often when hosting holiday parties, so much thought goes into ensuring that the food for each and every course is as perfect as it can be that other aspects of entertaining, like home decoration, fall by the wayside, trumped by other, seemingly more-pressing concerns. This year, no matter how casual or elegant your get-together is, set the scene with seasonal centerpieces made from accessible, everyday products, like candles, flowers and fresh fruit. Food Network’s collection of easy holiday centerpieces features 11 must-see designs that aren’t just easy to recreate in your home, but also classic ideas that can be adapted or added upon, depending on your personal taste. Check out a few of our favorite settings below, then browse the entire centerpiece guide to find welcoming scenes to complete your sit-down dinner table, plus kitchen island countertop, buffet and coffee table.
Let seasonal herbs star in more than just your holiday roast by using fragrant varieties as the focal point of your table. The rosemary trees pictured above are light, inexpensive, and add a pop of freshness to the warm indoors. For the containers, use any small pots you have on hand. The metal vessels pictured above are quite elegant, but if you happen to have terra-cotta pots left over from spring and summer planting, put them to work here.
Coming up with creative holiday gifts for kids can be a real challenge, but to my surprise, several kids I know have been asking their parents for cooking equipment this year. Why not? Half of the tools in my kitchen are better than toys in some respects. Just this morning my son turned my trussing string into rope for his crane to lift my favorite whisk.
If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box idea that will keep kids excited about and engaged in cooking, here are a few things I’ll be giving this year:
- Even small kids deserve their own cutlery, especially when it’s made from a safe material like bamboo.
- Send your child into the new year with a super cool, BPA-free reusable lunchbox.
- Let your nut-free child walk around feelin’ cool with these kickin’ tattoos.