Food fans, 2015 has been one downright tasty year, from made-over spins on classic comfort foods in January and warm-weather-ready cocktails in the summer to fall’s best harvest feast and now the holiday cookies that will surely make your “nice” list. But as the days and weeks ticked away, there were a handful of recipes that you kept coming back to time and time again. Read on below as we count down the best-of-the-best plates of the year, those 10 recipes that fans made the most popular.
In case you missed it, last week FoodNetwork.com and HGTV.com came together in the Scripps Lifestyle Studios to host the ultimate live holiday cookie party on Facebook (watch the three segments here, here and here). Justin Warner hosted the event, and I had the pleasure of nerding out with him and Michelle Buffardi, from FoodNetwork.com, on chocolate chip cookie recipes.
One of my favorite parts of the day was the unveiling of the gingerbread house that recipe developer Melissa Gaman and FoodNetwork.com’s Eric Kim (with special help from Mory Thomas and Miriam Garron) worked on ALL DAY! Viewers had a ton of questions about the construction of the house, so here are some of their building tips:
The Secret Roof Compartment (pictured above): Melissa cleverly turned our house into a surprise cookie jar. Here’s how she did it: She cut one of the roof sides into two pieces and “glued” the bottom piece, with royal icing, onto the house. The removable piece simply sat on top without needing to be affixed to the house. Then the whole roof was decorated in almond shingles that covered the seam to the secret panel!
In a ball pit, strapped to a life-size rotisserie, high atop a high chair, on top of a mechanical bull — the Cutthroat Kitchen After-Show has seen the judges in some downright diabolical (and downright hilarious) locales. But on tonight’s all-new installment, the scene turned a bit more seasonal when host Alton Brown and judge Jet Tila found themselves atop Santa’s lap following the Holi-Dazed and Confused holiday special.
“Alton, I’ve never felt this uncomfortable,” Jet — clad as what else but a holiday elf, of course — told Alton as the duo landed atop Santa’s lap. “Oh, we’re just getting started,” Alton joked. Not only did the guys have to work while seated, but they each had an additional sabotage to simultaneously contend with. Since Alton won the coin toss, he chose the spinning-dreidel challenge for himself — which meant that he had to keep a dreidel spinning during the whole time he was cooking — while Jet was forced to send all of his ingredients down an ice luge before working with them. “You’re, like, weighing [ingredients]?” Jet asked Alton as the host used a kitchen scale to precisely measure the components. “I won’t even be able to get sugar down the luge.” Sure enough, though, Jet as well as Alton did manage to create presentable eggnog, and even Santa was able to partake in the holiday cheer with a cup for himself.
3 of a Kind checks out three places across the country to try something cool, new and delicious.
Just when you thought you’d had your fill of savory mash-ups, the restaurant world jumped into the game with a new, hybrid take on classic cravings. Whether in burger, waffle or taco form, these finds prove that sometimes two dishes together are indeed better than one. Read more
When you hear “fruitcake,” you probably envision a dry, dense cake that arrives by mail during the holidays. The fruit-filled loaf has a bad rep, and it’s time to change that. These five delicious recipes dismantle everything you thought you hated about fruitcake.
“For anybody who doesn’t like fruitcake, forget it. You’ll love these,” says Ina Garten. And we believe her. Sherry-soaked fruit is infinitely more appealing when encased in buttery cookie dough with crunchy pecans and a touch of lemon.
Whether you like your ham crosshatched or spiral-sliced, spicy or sweet, we’ve got just the recipe for your Christmas feast. The differences may seem subtle at first, but choosing the right glaze or spice rub to suit your palate will make a world of difference.
Fig-and-Orange-Glazed Ham (pictured at top)
You can’t go wrong with a classic spiral-sliced ham dressed in a super-seasonal fig-and-orange glaze. For the best flavor results, spoon half of the glaze over the ham before baking and save the rest to drizzle on top once the ham comes out of the oven.
Tonight after the Family Affair episode of Chopped, judges Geoffrey Zakarian, Marc Murphy and Maneet Chauhan go into the kitchen to try out the appetizer basket in a new episode of Chopped After Hours. With just 20 minutes they have to cook with a pork roll, pizza dough, baby eggplant and Chinese spaghetti sauce. “Whatever that is,” says Ted Allen about the jarred ingredient, which Marc promptly dares him to swig. But Ted refuses; instead he asks the judges, “Why don’t you guys do your best to mask this flavor?” But the dares don’t stop there, as we’ll see in the episode.
There are restaurants you matter-of-factly grab a meal or a quick bite at — and then there are dining destinations where you make a point of snapping a photo of the sumptuous foods you are about to dig into to share with everyone you know on social media. Instagram knows the difference.
The social media photo-sharing service has just unveiled a list of the 10 most-geo-tagged restaurants of 2015. You got your decadent doughnut shops, you got your fancy bakeries, you got your seafood shacks and your meat-sandwich emporiums — spanning from coast to coast. So much eye candy to savor.
Here’s the list: