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.
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.
When the weather outside is frightful and there’s a party happening indoors, you better bet that holiday cocktails will be in high demand. Grab a mug and stir together comforting spiked cocktails that are brimming with holiday flavor and perfect for winter entertaining.
For a double dose of warmth, stir together a holiday classic. Rachael Ray’s Hot Buttered Rum (pictured above) is a toasty drink simmered with spiced rum, real butter, dark brown sugar and loads of spices (think cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg). Serve with cinnamon sticks and watch guests drink it by the ladleful.
Just in time for the holidays, Ree Drummond welcomed crowds of Oklahoma ranchers and their families for the ultimate seasonal extravaganza as she hosted her first-ever prime-time special, The Pioneer Woman’s Cowboy Christmas. In true Drummond fashion, this seasonal bash included no shortage of hearty fare, like party-ready glazed ham, cheesy potatoes and spiced gingerbread cookies, plus down-home games and plenty of dancing. If you missed the special last weekend, there’s still time to catch up: Watch the full episode on FoodNetwork.com now, and get all of Ree’s comforting sweet and savory recipes featured on the show.
Food Network was on hand as Ree and her family hosted the local ranching community and captured behind-the-scenes snapshots as the celebrations unfolded. Read on below for an insider’s look at the seasonal soiree, see Ree and Ladd strut their stuff on the dance floor, and check out the over-the-top spread of holiday dishes shining on the buffet.
Deny it all you want, but we all know one of the best parts about Christmas is, in fact, the cookies! Cookie baking, cookie decorating, cookie exchanging … it all gets you right into that holiday spirit. For those of you who are gifting cookies this year, hosting a cookie swap or just generally want to shout your love for Christmas treats from the rooftop, I’ve rounded up some cards (like the one pictured above from Rock Candie Designs) I know you’ll appreciate.
From tried-and-true cookie classics to crowd-pleasing dinner recipes, go-to gift ideas, hosting how-tos and step-by-step videos, FoodNetwork.com’s Holiday Central is the ultimate destination for all things seasonal cooking, so you can spend more time celebrating with family, friends and food. Just in time to kick off the season, Angela Moore, FoodNetwork.com’s vice president, interactive site manager, joined The Kitchen co-hosts on this weekend’s all-new episode to introduce Holiday Central and show off the latest additions to this culinary winter wonderland, including all-in-one guides to easy baking and entertaining.
If you’re new to Holiday Central, spend some time clicking around. Check out our best-ever Christmas recipes and easy, speedy dessert picks, plus learn new ways to bake with gingerbread and find gift inspiration for everyone on your shopping list. Read on below to get the top-five recipes featured in Holiday Central, then watch insider videos to see how more of your favorite Food Network stars celebrate the season.
5. Buffalo Chicken Cheese Balls — Two flavors that are simply better together, Buffalo-style hot sauce and juicy rotisserie chicken combine with cheddar cheese to create golden bite-size rounds ideal for entertaining.
4. Eggnog — Raise a glass to the holidays with Alton Brown’s 15-minute eggnog, a rich, smooth holiday must-have spiked with bourbon.
This holiday season, get in the spirit with a party concept that’ll satisfy each guest’s sweet tooth and spread wintry cheer. Inviting friends over for a midday cookie swap is a super-simple way to gather loved ones and mix and mingle over treats, and when guests get to contribute their own recipes and baked goods to the spread, hostess duties are a breeze. Simply set a neutral foundation with tableware that you likely already have, then add some sparkly handmade details to turn up the holiday factor in a flash.