March 8, 2012 at 1:06 am , by Louise Sloan
“If you speak to me disrespectfully one more time, you will not be allowed to cook for a week,” I told my son in my best dispassionate, Dirty Harry “Go ahead, make my day” voice. His babysitter, who was on the way out the door, shot me a “WTF” look. I was threatening a 5-year-old with the terrible punishment of not being allowed to cook dinner for a week? Were we in Bizarro World?
Um, I guess so. I don’t know—it’s just the way things are these days at my house. My kindergartner has always loved to cook (check out the video of him making pancakes at age 1 and my blog post about his surprisingly good radish soup), but lately he’s become downright obsessed. And more than that, Scott’s suffering from, shall we say, a slight overabundance of self-esteem? It’s like I’ve suddenly become Bill Buford, author of the wonderful memoir Heat, which is about spending a year working in Mario Batali’s kitchen, getting schooled—and yelled at—by the famous chef. Scott, of course, is Batali.
“Most kids my age don’t know how to cook, but I’ve practiced a lot so I can,” he’ll say proudly. “That’s right,” I’ll reply, watching as he expertly cracks and scrambles eggs or slices up some potatoes with a disposable plastic knife and sautées them in olive oil with garlic, fresh herbs and a touch of freshly ground black pepper. (His idea.) But then I’ll come up against his inner Batali. I’ll give him some basic guidance or I’ll hand him an ingredient, and he’ll rebuke me: “Mom. I’M THE CHEF. Chefs don’t have people helping them!” Oh my goodness, the tone! I tell him that real chefs actually DO have lots of people helping them. And that he is not to speak that way to his mother. What I don’t tell him is that real chefs often have the same imperious attitude. They’re just a little older and wield a lot more financial power over their kitchen companions.
Night before last he had a bit of a come-uppance. Read more
March 1, 2012 at 8:00 am , by Ladies' Lounge
Do you love chef and Food Network personality Giada De Laurentiis as much as we do? She graces the cover of our April 2012 issue—which officially hits newsstands on March 13th—and in her interview with us she opens up about her adorable 4-year-old daughter, the importance of friends and family, and her passion for cooking. She also shared exclusive recipes from her new cookbook, Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner, which comes out on March 27th. We loved her cookbook so much that we decided to we decided to give away a copy and throw in over $300 worth of products from her Target kitchen line, including a 10-piece cookware set! Click through the slide show below to see all of the products we’re including in the prize pack, and enter to win by leaving a comment below. Good luck!
February 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm , by Ron Kelly
This month’s installment of Margaret Durante’s Nashville Diaries finds the up-and-coming country star answering our reader submitted questions from one of her previous guest blog installments. Watch our fun video chat with Margaret (and get a quick tour of her recording studio in Nashville) to find out everything from her thoughts on those who shoot to instant stardom on American Idol to her varied musical influences, her love affair with the snooze button and her most recent healthy snack obsession, hummus, which she claims she would eat with a spoon if it were socially acceptable.*
Margaret is gearing up for her next single, “I Ain’t Your Mama,” to hit radio next month. The playful and sassy number is the first release off of her forthcoming full-length CD, tentatively titled Better Now, which is being produced by James Stroud (Tim McGraw, Chris Young, Toby Keith). So while we all wait for those musical goodies, go grab yourself an edible goodie (hummus, anyone?) and continue on after the jump to watch our video Q&A with Margaret.
Note: I checked with LHJ food and entertaining director Tara Bench, and we both say acceptable or not, we’d be right there with Durante eating the stuff by the spoonful. Bench’s creative but less fanatical serving suggestions include whisking a spoonful into a lemon vinaigrette to make a creamy dressing for salad or grilled chicken, or spicing it up with some hot sauce and spreading it on an egg sandwich for breakfast.
January 12, 2012 at 8:00 am , by Tara Bench
After many years cooking professionally I’m pretty skeptical about cookbook recipes. Sure, I have favorite chefs and authors that I love, but for the most part I rarely find 100 percent success with cookbook recipes. This doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot of cookbooks—truthfully I’m thinking about how my collection is getting unruly (hoarder level perhaps). But when I cook from these lovely books, there’s usually some tweaking I have to do with amounts, flavors or cooking times.
Maybe I’m too much of a perfectionist or have high expectations, but when I try a recipe I want it to work! Call me crazy.
I love Home Baked Comfort, the beautiful images, the variety of baked goodness, the perfection that happens each time you try a recipe…you get the idea.
Oh, I also failed to mention I love pretty much any baked good that’s put in front of me, so again, Home Baked Comfort sort of works for me on that level as well. It’s also fun to see contributors from bakers all across the country. Even bloggers like the talented Smitten Kitchen and the amazing Bakerella (see our Q&A with her here) have tasty treats inside.
I think, of the recipes I’ve tried so far the Lemon-Blueberry Drizzle Bread and the Homemade English Muffins are my favorite. However the Bacon-And-Egg-Breakfast Tarts and the Gooey Cinnamon Rolls (with a touch of orange, mmm) were darn close. And not to be left out, homemade toaster tarts anyone? (Check out the video!)
Even if you don’t win one in our giveaway, you’ll want to own this cookbook.
Your friendly food editor
December 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm , by Lauren Piro
How does chef Tiffany Derry (of Top Chef fan-favorite fame) handle holiday parties for her 70-person (!) family?
“My grandmother is really the only one who can wrangle all of us,” she says. “But I know you also need to plan ahead and make as much as you can the day before. That’s why I love my gnudi pasta dish—you can roll the balls and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook. Then all you need to do is boil some water, grab a sauté pan, and you’re good to go.”
If you’ve never heard of gnudi, it’s an addicting “naked ravioli” dish (click here for the recipe). Tiffany serves a variation with oxtails at her new restaurant in Dallas, Private Social, but for for the home cook, she’s created a recipe that swaps in easy-to-use mushrooms to complement the savory, gotta-have-it brown butter, and of course, lots of cheese. That’s why she’s teamed up with Sargento—the makers of the natural, unprocessed cheeses Tiffany likes cook with—this holiday season. When the cheese is the star of your dish, quality and flavor matter!
“When you cut into it and you see the melting cheese, you think, ‘Oh yeah, it’s going to be good!’ ” Tiffany says.
What makes me a lady:
My southern hospitality charm.
Favorite guilty pleasure:
Foie gras. I’m not a big dessert or chocolate fan, but if you give me some foie gras … oh my gosh. I tell people in my group, if we order it for the table, it’s okay if you don’t want any!
Three things on my life list:
I want to visit Thailand—I love Asian cuisine. In fact, I’d also like to go back to China and study their food for two months. And, if I ever slow down, I would love to have a child.
I could have a super power, it would be:
I would have twin so that I could be everywhere. I’d have one that stays at my restaurant, and one that travels the world and does all of the events. I would have the best of both worlds, and nothing would be lacking.
A lady I admire:
Oprah Winfrey. How can you not? She is the ultimate woman. I love that with hard work and just going after her dreams, she made it happen. And now she has her own network. Are you kidding me? How many people have their own network?
December 13, 2011 at 1:02 pm , by Julie Bain
Our staff here at Ladies’ Home Journal is not just incredibly talented, hard-working and yes, nice (hear that, Santa?), but they’re also a sentimental bunch. So we’ve shared some of our favorite rituals, memories and traditions below—just for fun.
Ever since I got my French bulldog, Smuckers, two years ago, my obsession is designing holiday cards featuring him in festive garb. (I use tinyprints.com.) Last year he was an elf (a pretty angry-looking one); this year he’s dressed as Peeved (left), one of Santa’s lesser-known reindeer. Lest you feel too sorry for him, note that he was paid handsomely in cheese cubes for enduring the three-minute photo shoot. And if you think this makes me a little bit crazy, well…you might be right. But with a face like that, how can I resist? —Jessica Brown, features editor
When my son, Oliver, was 3 we gave him his first Duplo blocks. He loved them so much it started a holiday tradition, and we still give him a Lego set each year. He’s 19 now! —Jeffrey Saks, creative director
When I was little, my parents had one Christmas record that we played over and over: The Andy Williams Christmas Album. Now I have it on CD, and I love listening to it (no matter how uncool) because it brings back good memories of opening presents with my brothers. —Kate Lawler, executive editor
What I love most about the holidays is that my 85-year-old mom is vibrant, happy and healthy and is still around to share this special season with us. —Sally Lee, editor-in-chief
I always feel grateful at Christmastime (when I’m not cursing the crazy crowds, that is) that I live in New York City. This time of year is pure magic in the Big Apple! —Lorraine Glennon, senior books & articles editor
Ever since I’ve outgrown toys, I’m all about the cookies this time of year. Christmas. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. Las Posadas. Whatever. I’m totally interfaith and multicultural in the month of December. Whoever/whatever you celebrate, I will eat your cookies. And, no matter how Grinchy I get in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the Charlie Brown Christmas album by Vince Guaraldi always brings a smile to my face. (And gets me dancing like a Peanut.) —Ron Kelly, managing editor
For me, it’s decorating the house. This year I’ve tapped into my inner Martha Stewart by putting a Christmas tree in every major room. My big helper is my 3-year-old, who likes to hang all the ornaments on the same branch. Sigh. —Susan Pocharski, entertainment director Read more
November 4, 2011 at 2:38 pm , by Louise Sloan
I’m sorry to report that was me, talking to my five-year-old son—not vice-versa.
Granted, I was a bit tired. It was the end of the day on a Sunday, after a weekend that was nonstop activity. Our last outing had been to a healthy food event at a local public school. My friend Jen is a big advocate of local and sustainable food, and she’d invited us to join her and her kids to the event, featuring a performance by her uncle Tom Chapin, a singer who was debuting his new kids’ album, Give Peas a Chance, all about healthy eating. There would be exhibitions about making veggie smoothies, composting and raising chickens in your backyard. I figured it would be a fun outing with good music (it was), the boys would have fun playing, and maybe Scott would learn stuff. But me? I’m already an adventurous eater, well-versed in healthy options, I thought. I read “Chick Lit,” this month’s LHJ article on backyard chickens. My mom’s been composting forever. I had nothing to learn.
Enter the radishes. (For more of the story and an easy recipe, read on.)