From baking cookies and roasting ham to hosting your relatives and preparing for Christmas brunch, the road to the holidays can be a long one, and when it comes to tackling seasonal cooking and entertaining questions, there’s perhaps no one better outfitted for the task than Alton. Cutthroat Kitchen‘s master of eviliciousness and the longtime host of Good Eats stopped by Food Network’s Facebook page yesterday for the ultimate holiday tell-all, dishing on the hows, whys and whats of his best party-ready recipes. Read on below for the top snippets from the chat, to learn Alton’s answers to some of the most-asked questions and to get his tried-and-true recipes you can count on.
Despite what your parents might have told you as a kid, breakfast food is most certainly not just for the morning. You’ll forget all about the time of day when you’re enjoying a savory, hearty egg dish such as this week’s Meatless Monday recipe, Mushroom-Spinach Baked Eggs (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine. In fact, once you make this meal, you might be mealtime swapping more often.
This dish takes about an hour to both cook and prep, and it is composed of familiarly delicious ingredients, including olive oil, onion, white mushrooms, baby spinach, potato bread, eggs, milk and Gruyère cheese. These satiating ingredients make sure that though you could potentially eat this meal morning or night, it doesn’t feel like you’re sacrificing taste or quality in the name of change.
The lights, cameras, fellow contestants and host Alton Brown pacing through the kitchen — the scene in the Cutthroat Kitchen arena is plenty fierce and demands much attention from the competitors, and that’s even before they’ve been sabotaged. Once evilicious challenges are added to the contest and they’re forced to adapt to the unexpected while the clock is ticking, the competition is taken nearly over the edge. It’s up to the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew to make sure that every sabotage Alton auctions off is indeed possible for a contestant to complete within the allotted time frame. To make sure the challenges remain feasible, the team attempts each one.
On tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, Alton’s simple blueberry muffin request turned downright diabolical when he mandated that one chef use blueberry cartons as the sole mixing and cooking vessels in his prep work. Given the potentially liquid muffin batter and the multiple holes in the carton, mixing in those tiny squares was indeed evilicious — but it wasn’t impossible, as the team found during its test.
Would you name your dog Coconut? How about Kale? Stoli? Scotch? Barley?
Forget Fido. Slide over, Spot. Food-inspired names are apparently all the rage on the puppy scene. Rover.com, a site that helps match pet owners (the site refers to them as “pet parents”) with local dog sitters and calls itself “the nation’s Airbnb for dogs,” has released the results of its annual survey of popular dog names. And while pop-culture-rooted names (think: Rocky and Chewbacca) were de rigueur for dogs last year, in 2014 the naming trend is all about food-themed dog names, which rose in popularity 37 percent this year.
Leave it to the master of Good Eats to create the most-comforting version of a tried-and-true classic: macaroni and cheese. Rich, creamy and over-the-top cheesy, Alton Brown’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese is the ultimate in hearty, cool-weather fare, so it’s no surprise that it’s this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. For welcome texture and an extra punch of flavor, Alton blankets his casserole with buttery panko breadcrumbs before baking, so the finished product boasts a crispy, crunchy coating after only a few minutes in the oven.
For more of Alton’s best-ever recipes, visit Food Network’s Alton Brown board on Pinterest.
Get the Recipe: Baked Macaroni and Cheese (pictured above)
To give our thanks to the volunteers at church, neighbors who always stop and ask how we’re doing, and even the UPS driver who never rings the doorbell at naptime (bless you!), we’ve been looking for a few good cookie recipes this season. The requirements are simple: They must be easy enough for kids to make and sturdy enough to wrap as gifts. Here are our top five recipes that fill the bill:
Coconut Macaroons: These five-ingredient cookies are done in 35 minutes, and best of all, you can’t mess up the presentation. Just put a mound of coconut mixture on a cookie sheet and bake.
When it comes to easy entertaining, finger foods are the name of the game. Instead of serving tired been-there-done-that hors d’oeuvres at your holiday party, revamp your menu with festive throwback bites. Though they’re each small in size, these appetizers bring big flavors and breathe new life into retro recipes.
Our annual Mother-Daughter Holiday Tea is a treasured tradition that marks the start of the holiday season for me and my four young daughters. Every year, we invite the women we treasure into our home to eat, drink, laugh and connect on the first Saturday in December. My girls set their holiday calendars to the Mother-Daughter Tea, and so do I.
This year was shaping up to be a perfect start to the holiday season. For the first time in years, I wasn’t traveling the week leading up to the tea, so I baked at my leisure, planned my menu and relaxed. Philippe and I made Potato-Bacon Tortes like crazy one night. Margaux and I made hundreds of Buttermilk Scones (rosemary and chocolate chip scones, as well as lemon zest-vanilla bean-cardamom scones) in advance and froze them uncooked, ready to be baked up fresh on Saturday morning. Valentine and I made another round of scones another day, but gluten-free. (Get my bake-ahead tips and more baking recipe ideas here.) I bought special chocolate to melt for the kids’ favorite chocolate fondue fountain. I planned out the party logistics with the confidence of someone who had done this all dozens of times. I even had the creative space to brainstorm a genius addition to the d’Arabian tradition: a fully stocked hot chocolate station. It’s a veritable buffet of goodies like marshmallows, whipped cream, caramel sauce and mini chocolate chips to pile on top of steamy hot cocoa. I knew I was headed for the Best. Tea. Ever.
While New Year’s is meant for looking ahead at what’s to come, the preceding holiday season is all about reflection and remembrance. FN Dish recently caught up with the cast of The Kitchen on set, and from childhood reminiscences to recent family dinners, the co-hosts shared some of their favorite Christmas memories. Read on below to hear from Geoffrey Zakarian, Jeff Mauro, Katie Lee, Marcela Valladolid and Sunny Anderson as they recollect holiday seasons past and reflect on all that Christmas means to them.
Cut-out cookies may be among the most-popular ways to enjoy gingerbread, but this sweet, slightly spicy flavor shines beyond people-shaped treats. From cocktails and cupcakes to waffles and trifles, celebrate the warm flavors of gingerbread with tried-and-true eats and drinks ideal for holiday entertaining. Read on below for Food Network’s top-five seasonal gingerbread recipes and get sweet inspiration from Ina Garten, Bobby Flay, Trisha Yearwood and more of your favorite chefs.
5. Gingerbread Waffles — Start with canned pumpkin puree to keep Rachael Ray’s cinnamon-spiced waffles quick and simple. Once these light, fluffy beauties are cooked, set up a toppings bar and let your family finish their waffles with syrup, whipped cream or fresh fruit.
4. Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Icing — For a double dose of bold ginger flavor, Ina mixes dried crystallized ginger into the molasses-spiked cupcake batter, then she sprinkles additional crystallized ginger atop the smooth citrus-cream cheese frosting.