Give your breadsticks a fresh look for spring. Arrange refrigerated breadstick dough on a baking sheet and brush with a beaten egg. Place small, delicate herb leaves like dill, chervil, oregano or parsley on top, then brush with more of the egg and bake as directed.
(Photograph by Sam Kaplan)
How many times have you clicked on the television to see a family grinning over store-bought biscuits coming fresh out of the oven? You can’t blame them; the biscuits are so hot you can pull them apart. The easy method is all well and good, but whipping up a batch from scratch is the most comforting route of all. For once, stray from your classic Southern Biscuits and tear into one of these many variations.
Consider Paula Deen the biscuit master. Her recipes for Cheese Biscuits, Sour Cream Butter Biscuits and Fried Biscuits go along with any hearty meal, and her Pineapple Upside-Down Biscuits and Sweet Potato Biscuits are made complete with a sweet edge.
Branch out with Food Network Magazine’s own biscuit concoctions. Almost-Famous Cheddar Biscuits (pictured above) and Bacon-Cheese Biscuits work wonders along a heaping bowl of chili, while Lemon-Thyme Biscuits and Dill Biscuits With Honey Butter embody the rejuvenating spirit of afternoon tea. The sweetness in Molasses Biscuits jives well with whole-wheat flour, wheat germ and fresh thyme. We bet you’ve never had Pumpkin-Parmesan Biscuits; they’re sweetened with sugar, spiced with nutmeg and spiked with finely grated cheese.
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I bought my first cast-iron skillet in my early twenties. I didn’t have much of a budget for cookware in those days and all the advice I read said that cast iron was the best bang for my buck. All I really knew is that I didn’t want to deal with flimsy, peeling, nonstick pans anymore.
I was initially a little nervous about introducing cast iron into my kitchen, because I’d grown up with a mother who hated cast iron with a passion. She thought it was too heavy, fussy to care for and entirely unsanitary (because you’re not supposed to scrub it with soap. My mother is a firm believer in the power of a good, sudsy scour).
When my parents got married, she actually got rid of my dad’s beloved collection of cast-iron skillets. Forty-two years later, those long-gone skillets continue to be one of the few bones of contention in their marriage.
With this history, it’s understandable that I was uneasy about my own cast-iron purchase. Turns out my anxiety was entirely unwarranted. I fell hard for that first skillet, so much so that I added several others to my kitchen in short order. If my husband tossed out my skillets, I do believe it would be grounds for divorce.
Before you heat your skillet, read these tips
Let’s get the hard part out of the way. This week, I’m suggesting you eat something most people spend the better part of their adult lives trying to eradicate from their lawns: dandelion greens. Not the flowers or stems or the puffy white seeds kids love to blow (thereby complicating your eradication efforts).
Just the long, green leaves that grow toward the base of the plant.
While we know it better as a weed, since prehistory the leaves of this plant have been gathered and consumed around the world.
Americans have been cooking with them for many years. In fact, Fannie Farmer included them in the first edition (1896) of her classic cookbook.
The taste is a bit of a cross between arugula and kale — slightly bitter and robustly peppery. They are about a foot long with a saw-tooth edge.
Get the recipe for Cumin-Dandelion Green Cornbread
I spent the first 25 years of my life entirely afraid of yeast. I wasn’t fearful of bread, mind you. It was scared of yeast as an ingredient. I heard it was very easy to kill and I lived in terror that if I took even the smallest misstep with a recipe, I’d ruin the whole thing and wind up with a bowl of flaccid pancake batter in place of a batch of bread dough.
And so I stayed away. I learned to make quick breads, scones and biscuits, and kept my distance from yeast. That is, until the no-knead bread craze swept the scene about six years ago. It was such a novel and approachable concept that I tried it. I ended up with a beautiful loaf of bread and was entirely infatuated with the process. It opened me up to yeast and we’ve been friends ever since.
These days, I bake some form of bread at least once every other week and have become so smitten that I even have a sourdough starter that I carefully tend to. Still, yeast is my first bread baking love and there’s nothing like it for a reliably light loaf for sandwiches and toast.
The most recent yeasty recipe I took for a spin was the Focaccia recipe from Anne Burrell. It’s a blessedly simple version, with just six ingredients (and that includes the water). For those of you who still harbor a bit of yeast anxiety, it’s just the thing to help you over that hump. And on a Sunday afternoon, there’s nothing nicer than having a bit of warm, tender bread to dip into a bowl of soup. Just the thing for The Weekender.
Before you start kneading, here are a few things you should know.
Whether you’re prepping for Hanukkah or just looking to spruce up the bread basket at your holiday dinner, challah is a versatile, easy-to-make bread that is sure to impress your guests. Often made with silky honey or dried fruit, this light but dense loaf gets its consistency from several rich egg yolks. Take a look below at how Food Network Kitchens fashions Challah Crowns (pictured above), a unique twist on traditional bread braids.
More step-by-step photos and recipes »
Quick breads freeze well; just wrap tightly in foil or freezer-wrap and freeze for up to three months. To thaw, let stand, wrapped, at room temperature for about 1½ hours. Serve on Thanksgiving, or the next morning for breakfast.
Try making: Anne’s Cranberry Orange Quickbread (pictured above)
Browse more of Food Network’s Thanksgiving recipes and tips.
One side effect of working as an editor for FoodNetwork.com is that you end up thinking about Thanksgiving starting in June, craving mashed potatoes all through the summer. This year, as I waded through Thanksgiving recipes on our site, familiar old faves and great new takes, I decided that this was the year I would revamp my family’s Thanksgiving bread basket.
Sometime in July I decided I would bake Alex’s Parker House Rolls for Thanksgiving — they look soft, buttery and oh, so classic. But this is one recipe I decided to take for a test drive before the big cooking extravaganza of Thanksgiving, where every bit of counter and oven space needs to be carefully budgeted and coordinated. So, like sydney1212, the latest reviewer of this recipe (glad I’m not alone), I baked a test batch of these rolls over the weekend.
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