recipes

16 Fresh (and Fun) Summer Grilling Ideas

June 1, 2012 at 3:20 pm , by

Bored with a basic burger? Tired of the same old kabobs?

Throw out those old recipe cards and break out the grill because our amazing food editors are here to revitalize your summer grilling routine. With four basic recipes and twelve yummy variations, you’re going to have no trouble answering the dreaded “What’s for dinner?” question this summer. We can’t decide which recipes we like more (they’re all pretty tasty), but the grilled steak flatbread might be this weekend’s winner. Check out the recipes from our Beat BBQ Boredom Story now.


‘Mad Men’ Inspired Skin Cocktails

March 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm , by

To say that we were anxiously awaiting the return of Mad Men is quite the understatement. We’re happy to have had our fix with last night’s season five premiere, and of course it’s our main topic of conversation today.

Considering the very memorable fête that the new Mrs. Draper threw for Don’s 40th birthday, nothing screams Mad Men more that a good ‘ol drink. These cocktail-inspired beauty concoctions created by Jasmina Aganovic, Founder of Stages of Beauty show us that alcohol can do a lot more than pack pounds onto your waistline. When mixed right it’s actually a beneficial ingredient in skincare recipes that can assist in the fight against fine lines and wrinkles.

Okay so you may not actually be drinking these, but you’ll thank us later!

Spring Fling Mask
Winter takes a toll on our skin so springtime is the time to do some damage control. Exfoliation, detox, and hydration are key. The ingredients in the mask below help us do just that.
·       1 egg white – These have tons of protein and lecithin which help hydrate the skin and cure it from winter’s dry skin woes. Eggs are the symbol of spring and new beginnings in many cultures.
·       1 tbsp Honey – Antibacterial and renewal properties.
·       1 tbsp Brandy – Helps slough off dead skin cells while stimulating circulation for a rosy springtime glow! Plus, the brandy helps fight fine lines and wrinkles.
·       1 tbsp green tea – Detoxifying and antioxidant

The Sidecar Mask
This recipe is based on the Sidecar cocktail (Cognac, Cointreau, lemon juice)
·       1 tbsp Cognac – Cognac is great for stress release (by drinking and applying topically!), plus it helps fight fine lines and wrinkles while healing damage to the skin (wound healing).
·       1 tbsp orange juice – Citrus enzymes for brightening effects
·       1 tbsp lemon juice – Citrus enzymes for brightening effects + antioxidant and astringent properties
·       2 tbsp ground oatmeal – Serves as a cleansing and calming ingredient (reduces redness and irritation)

The “Between the Sheets” Scrub (or Mask)
This recipe is based on the cocktail called “Between the Sheets” (brandy, light rum, triple sec, lemon juice)
·       1 tbsp brandy – Helps slough off dead skin cells while stimulating circulation for a rosy springtime glow! Plus, the brandy helps fight fine lines and wrinkles.
·       2 tbsp packed brown sugar – (this represents rum, which is derived from sugarcane). Despite the debate over the effects of sugary foods on the skin, when applied topically, sugar has some great benefits. Sugar is actually rich in alpha-hydroxy acids, which means that it helps give you glowing skin. When used as a scrub it can help slough off dead skin and stimulate circulation in the body.
·       1 tbsp orange juice – Citrus enzymes for brightening effects (this represents the triple sec)
·       1 tbsp lemon juice – Citrus enzymes for brightening effects + antioxidant and astringent properties


Ladies We Love: Chef Tiffany Derry (and a holiday recipe!)

December 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm , by

Chef Tiffany Derry's Gnudi with Brown Butter, Peas and Mushrooms

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.

Cheese bites not enough to cure your Tiffany fix?  We also asked the chef to spill some of her hopes and dreams with our Ladies We Love questions:

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?

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Friendship Bread: Q&A with Author Darien Gee

April 5, 2011 at 12:56 pm , by

Things are restless in the tiny town of Avalon. A mother grieves a devastating loss as her marriage hangs on by a string. A concert cellist adjusts to her new life away from the big city—and away from her husband. Families deal with money problems, pregnancies and careers, and yet no one’s really talking. That is until Amish friendship bread appears at main character Julia Evarts’s door, sending the townspeople on the emotional ride they’d long been avoiding in Darien Gee’s charming new novel, Friendship Bread, which releases today.

As Darien writes, Amish friendship bread has a reputation for showing up unexpectedly in your life, and is even a bit polarizing. You begin with your own bag of starter, tend to it for ten days and then end up with three more to pass along to friends. Much like a chain letter (but with no ill will intended), the starter grows and grows until it expands your circle of friends—or has them running away when they see you coming with another bag! In Friendship Bread, the loaf is the thread that links the characters’ lives, and Darien has found that this is true in real life as well, having created a large online community of followers and recipe-swappers on Facebook and her website, Friendship Bread Kitchen.

I had the chance to chat with her about all of this last week.

So, tell me how Amish friendship bread found you and inspired your novel.

I’d never heard of Amish friendship bread until about two years ago when my daughter came home with some slices on a plate and a bag of starter. I could just feel it – this was going to be a project! I figured we wouldn’t do it, but then I tried the loaf and was instantly hooked.

By my second or third piece, I saw Julia Evarts in my mind, holding up the bag of starter with a look of reluctance and grief on her face. I started writing the novel that night.

And what about the rest of the characters? There are quite a few of them. And their stories overlap and intertwine throughout the novel.

I write like I’m watching a movie – I don’t really plan my novels out beforehand, so everything came together really organically. When I started the second chapter, Julia’s sister Livvy just came to me like, “Oh! Julia’s got a sister! And oh! They’re not talking anymore!” All of the other characters showed up in the same way, and it was almost like the town of Avalon was actually there and I just got to write about it.

Click “Read More” for more from Darien and the friendship bread recipe!

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Dishing It: Scallops with Tomatoes and Mango

March 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm , by

Before we discuss the dish I made for this week’s “Dishing It,” I have one question: Do you know Bal? Bal Arneson, that is. She’s is one of the Cooking Channel‘s newest culinary stars…and with good reason. Bal completely demystifies Indian cuisine on her show Spice Goddess with simple recipes that anyone can make. (Even I, a culinary school grad, am not ashamed to admit that Indian recipes sometimes intimidate me.) She’ll even sell you the organic spices to prepare them, with proceeds benefiting women and children in her native India—talk about DO GOOD!

I chose Bal’s recipe from the March 2011 issue of LHJ (Dinner Made Easy) mainly because I adore scallops and was intrigued by the sweet/spicy sauce that accompanies it. Plus, as a food editor, it’s always fun to try other chefs recipes—especially chefs I admire, like Bal.

I did make a few changes to the recipes. For starters, I used mango instead of papaya, because I prefer it and since the recipe calls for ground coriander, I took the opportunity to also test out McCormick‘s new line of roasted spices. If you haven’t tried them yet, they’re great. The roasted coriander I used had a much more powerful flavor than traditional ground coriander. It was perfect in a dish like this, with just a few ingredients. Also, instead of serving my scallops with shaved Parmesan, I served it with a sprinkling of freshly chopped cilantro.

This recipe could not be easier, with minimal prep. You basically start by searing the scallops. The directions say 2 minutes per side which is the perfect amount of time to cook them. They were tender and moist inside and not overcooked at all. Overcooked scallops are often tough and chewy—no one wants that.

After you cook the scallops and remove them from the pan to rest, you toss in your minced garlic and cook for just a moment. Then you add the spices and cook them for another moment. Then you add the tomatoes. (I used an assorted variety of cherry tomatoes, halving the large ones and leaving the smaller ones whole. This was a good move since the halved ones got a touch over cooked.) Cook them for a few minutes before adding the mango (or papaya) to cook a few minutes more. Add the scallops back to the pan to coat in the sauce and serve over rice. That’s it! So, so, so easy, but also very sophisticated. I would totally serve this dish to guests. I’m definitely adding this recipe to my regular repertoire.

As I devoured the dinner (like I said, I adore scallops), I realized that you could prepare this meal with different ingredients and it would be just as delicious. Chunks of cod or salmon could be substituted or, if you don’t like fish, you could always use strips of chicken or pork. Even cubes of tofu if you are vegetarian. Yum!


Dishing It: Low-Fat Carnitas Tacos

January 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm , by

Slow-cookers are like magical dinner-making fairies. Or really awesome sous chefs. Seriously, I throw a bunch of ingredients in a pot, set it on low, go to work and come home to a fantastically yummy meal? Best thing ever. Someone needs to give its inventor a medal. Or at least a hug, on my behalf.

All that said, I don’t use my cooker as often as I intend to, mostly because I want the prep to be as simple as possible and I balk at anything requiring more than 5 ingredients and 10 minutes. (It’s tough enough for me to get up extra early to get the ingredients together. Added thinking or excessive time cannot be required, or I will go right back to bed.) So when I saw this taco recipe from our fabulous food editors, Tara and Khalil, in our February issue, I couldn’t wait to make it!

A small disclosure: The recipe called for pork loin, which is lower in fat than the cut I used, pork shoulder. I happened to have pork shoulder in the freezer and wanted to use it, so my tacos were a bit less good-for-you than Tara’s version! (Hers is above on the left, and mine is on the right. I could have benefited from some better lighting.)

Prep could not have been easier. I cut the meat in half, chopped up onions and carrots in my little food processor, minced some garlic and a chipotle chili and plopped it all in the pot with the rest of the ingredients: cannellini beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Besides the spices and cilantro, there are only eight ingredients, and I already had most of them!

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Made With Love: Passing On The Traditions

December 22, 2010 at 11:52 am , by

717694202_09_15oprah-monicabhide_081_fullThree things the holiday season has us thinking about: family, traditions and food. Guest blogger Monica Bhide, columnist, blogger, foodie and author of Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen, shares her thoughts on the close ties between love, cooking and recipes passed down through the years.

This morning I was making a lentil soup for my family, almost exactly the way my grandmother in India taught me decades ago. Or so I first thought. Her recipe used six tablespoons of butter, onions, garlic, red lentils, about eight different spices, loads of cilantro and a touch of salt. I recall my mom making this but with much less butter, baby peas for us kids and no salt as Dad was watching his sodium. As I smelled the aroma of garlic from the soup that I was stirring, it occurred to me that my soup today was in truth a reflection of my life here in the states, far away from India: butternut squash, chicken stock instead of water and no cilantro as my hubby thinks it tastes soapy.

The changes to the recipe had occurred so slowly, so gradually, that I never really noticed that I had changed it. I have to admit I felt guilty at first, almost as if changing the recipe meant I was changing the memory of a childhood taste. Familiar childhood tastes give us a place to belong: They bear witness to our lives. Changing them seemed sacrilegious. Read more


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