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.
Find out how the cookies are made and vote on your favorite filling
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).
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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.
Get the top three recipes
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.”
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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.
Geoffrey’s souffle tips and 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
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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.
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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.
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There is something so appealing about a hi-hat cupcake. It brings me back to childhood summers when we would sit outside the ice cream shop and desperately try to lick up the ice cream as it melted down our arms. Cherry-dip was always my favorite, but I was always outnumbered by the chocolate lovers.
With Mardi Gras around the corner, I thought I’d bake up something the whole family can enjoy. New Orleans is known for many institutional cocktails, but these sweets will allow the little ones to participate in the fun too. You can’t go wrong with a delectable yellow cupcake covered in sweet clouds of frosting and gently dipped in chocolate. That first bite is transcendent, the second so satisfying.
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If you’re stuck in a dinner rut, try introducing simple, comforting fondue to your weekday recipe repertoire. Packed with deliciously soft, creamy cheeses, Food Network Magazine‘s Perfect Fondue (pictured above) recipe is a must-try for both first-time fondue makers and experienced cheese-melters alike.
The beauty of this recipe is that you get to pick what cheese is used based on your tastes and the ingredients you have on hand. If you have cheddar left over from game-day nachos, use that, but if you happen to be cooking for a cheese monger, it may be best to melt a creamy Brie or Gouda instead. No matter which cheese — or combination of cheeses — you choose, just add it to a garlic-rubbed saucepan simmering with white wine and lemon juice and finish with a few tablespoons of flour. This binding flour will help thicken the fondue and ensure that the end result is deliciously thick and creamy. Served alongside an array of dippers like crusty bread, fresh or roasted vegetables, grilled polenta and French fries, this 10-minute recipe is the ultimate in complete, go-to dinners. Although a fondue pot may add to the wow factor of presentation, it’s not necessary to pull off a successful dish; a standard slow cooker set to low will do the job just as well. To maintain a meatless meal, skip the meaty dippers like meatballs and prosciutto.