“It’s My Favorite Cooking Holiday” — Alex Shares Her Thanksgiving Traditions and Tips

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, November 9th, 2014

Alex GuarnaschelliIf Valentine’s Day is a day for hopeless romantics, then Thanksgiving is surely one for the chefs among us. From the crowd of company seated at the dining room table to the crowning turkey centerpiece and the 10 or so side dishes flanking the buffet, it’s no surprise that those who enjoy cooking for strangers in restaurants would love even more to cook for their families at home, and Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli is no exception. “It’s my favorite cooking holiday,” Alex told FN Dish of turkey day when we caught up with her recently. For her, Thanksgiving comes twice — once at her restaurant and again with her family—and she notes, “I try to make everything from scratch.”

Read on below to hear more from Alex and find out her must-have bites on Thanksgiving, plus a few of her make-head tips for the feast.

What does Thanksgiving look like at your house? What kinds of traditions do you celebrate?
Alex Guarnaschelli: I have two Thanksgivings every year. The first one I do at the restaurant with my restaurant family, and we cook a whole big spread and we sit down, no matter how busy we are, and we take the time to hang out. And then I cook for my parents. My parents like to eat out in a restaurant, which is kind of embarrassing for a professional chef to be caught, busted, in a restaurant on Thanksgiving. So, if my parents really want to go out, we go out, but then I cook a whole spread at home for my daughter and my parents. And I try to make almost everything from scratch. It’s my favorite cooking holiday of the year. It’s a time, I think, when a chef just goes nuts and just does everything, and so I want to make sure I don’t miss anything.

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These Coffee-Foam Cats Will Make You Say Wow (or Meow!)

by in News, November 8th, 2014

Coffee-Foam CatWhen a nimble-handed barista presents you with a latte that’s been personalized with a pretty image on top — a swirly leaf or twirly heart — it gladdens your spirit, as if you’ve just been given an unexpected gift or a warm smile from a kind stranger.

The latte art posted by a Twitter user who goes by the handle @dongurinekobei, though, puts most other fancy coffee doodles to shame. According to RocketNews24, the highly detailed, ultra-realistic, foamtastic feline faces are @dongurinekobei’s way of immortalizing her cats, a tabby named Donguri and two kittens, Mugi and Uutan — at least until the java jones hits.

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POLL: What’s Your Favorite Fall Produce?

by in In Season, Shows, November 8th, 2014

Fall ProduceWhile pumpkins and apples may receive most of the glory when it comes to seasonal autumn eats, the bounty of fall produce reaches far beyond them, as hearty potatoes, colorful carrots and bite-size Brussels sprouts make their way to the farmers markets this time of year. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts savored the flavors of fall by putting in-season ingredients to work in fresh, new ways, especially when it comes to ever-versatile cauliflower. Katie Lee, a no-nonsense pizza enthusiast, transformed cauliflower into a next-level pizza crust, while Marcela Valladolid roasted it with herbs and pickled peppers, and Sunny Anderson glazed cauliflower and treated it as a main dish.

Now that fall is in full swing, FN Dish wants to know what seasonal fruit or vegetable you’re most excited about enjoying. Are you a fan of fresh-from-the-orchard apples, or are you partial to tender-firm pears? Do you crave the subtle sweetness of butternut squash, or do you reach for golden sweet potatoes? Vote in the poll below to share your favorite fall produce.

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Thanksgiving Pie Guides (Or, How to Totally Win the Dessert Course)

by in Holidays, View All Posts, November 8th, 2014

Pumpkin Pie

There is nothing quite like rolling into your Thanksgiving feast with a homemade, fresh-from-the-oven pie. Whether pumpkin or pecan, apple or peanut butter, a good pie ends the biggest meal of the year on a high note that can carry you through till next November. In the spirit of Thanksgiving and all that is sweet, Food Network presents step-by-step how-tos for building the perfect pie, revealing the ins and outs of everything from making the perfect crust to giving your slice a unique, unexpected touch (spoiler alert: fire is involved).

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My Little French Kitchen — Off the Shelf

by in Books, November 7th, 2014

My Little French KitchenRachel Khoo’s new cookbook, My Little French Kitchen, is a delicious breath of fresh air. A regional culinary tour of France, Khoo’s cookbook explores beyond her Parisian stomping grounds to reveal to readers all the hidden gems and treats France’s varied terrains and landscapes have to offer the palate.

The book is a hybrid diary and recipe collecting, and Khoo’s bright voice carries you through each region of France in an enchanting, inquisitive way. The first thing you’ll notice about the recipes is how uncomplicated they are. Khoo says it’s a misconception that French food has to be daunting or complicated to prepare, and her recipes are proof of that.

The tour starts in Brittany, then travels to Bordeaux, Basque, Provence, Lyon and finally ends in Alsace. The food offerings from each are captivating. France’s flavors bloom to life in her Red Wine Roast Chicken from Bordeaux, a simple dish that embodies the French food philosophy: Use local, fresh ingredients to make easy, classic dishes. Her travels reveal the surprising infusions you’ll find innate to France’s borders: Nicois Cannelloni from the French Mediterranean coast, inspired by the region in Provence where France and Italy meet. Or get a taste of the Basque coast with Pork and Clams with Cider and Lima Beans. Though she says it’s incredibly difficult to pick a standout region that surprised and delighted her the most, Khoo admits that Basque holds a special place in her heart, saying: “The Basque region with its laid back surfer attitude (Biarritz on the Atlantic coast is a surfers paradise) and influence from its neighbor, Spain, was the region I enjoyed the most. I loved the little pintxos (Basque tapas) bars you could find tucked in the side streets of Biarritz but also the rugged countryside where you could spot pigs (they are famous for Bayonne ham) grazing.”

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Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Stuffing for Thanksgiving

by , November 7th, 2014

Gluten-Free Stuffing RecipeAKA Get StuffedSix years ago I was diagnosed with celiac disease just days before Thanksgiving — the most glorious, gluten-filled holiday on the calendar. While I was relived to know what had been making me so sick for so long, the timing couldn’t have been worse. In my family, Thanksgiving has always been all about the stuffing. Sure, we love turkey, mashed potatoes and the other obligatory vegetables, but stuffing is the centerpiece of our meal. It isn’t anything fancy or special, just simple Pennsylvania Dutch-style bread cubes, onions, celery, stock and herbs. Crisp on top, a little mushy inside. People like to offer advice on what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers, but that was one item on our dinner table that was never left over. We’d devour it and fight over the last bits of the crunchy edges.

That first gluten-free Thanksgiving was tough. I was so new to the disease, I didn’t know what I could eat. My mom was equally adrift. So she just made me some steamed vegetables and a box of gluten-free mac and cheese. It was the best we could do at that time. I drove home, crying all the way. Thanksgiving has always been special in our family — it’s the anniversary of the day my parents adopted me. It holds a very special place in all our hearts, and what had always been my favorite holiday was now the most-depressing day of the year.

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Chicken Pot Pie — Down-Home Comfort

by in Recipes, November 7th, 2014

Who can resist this creamy, savory comfort food with moist, tender chicken and vegetables bathed in gravy and crowned with a buttery, crispy topping? There’s nothing heartier than a rich, flaky pot pie. Chicken pot pie is a comfort food known for its satisfying richness.

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Traditional Classics, Updated: 4 Favorite Stuffings to Savor

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 7th, 2014

Sausage and Herb StuffingStuffing or dressing, in the bird or out, cornbread or sourdough, crispy edges or not — no matter what you call the bread-based side dish on your Thanksgiving table or how you prefer to eat it, the holiday wouldn’t be complete without it. This year, honor the traditional dish while dressing up your feast with fresh, new flavors by putting a few twists on classic recipes. Read on below for go-to recipe inspiration for stuffings and dressings from Ina Garten, Rachael Ray, Tyler Florence and Giada De Laurentiis, then check out Food Network’s Thanksgiving Central for more side dish selections.

Ina sticks to tried-and-true dish in her recipe for Sausage and Herb Stuffing (pictured above), a crowd-pleasing casserole made with the trifecta of classic stuffing ingredients: apples, onions and celery. Follow Ina’s recipe and use either white or sourdough bread to form the base of the casserole, then opt for sweet or spicy sausage, depending on your family’s tastes. After mixing in the cranberries, plus a splash of chicken stock for moisture, bake the stuffing until it’s turned deliciously browned on top.

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