Honey-Pear Icebox Trifle with Soft-and-Easy Gingersnaps — The Weekender
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
When it comes to Thanksgiving dessert, I come from a family of traditionalists. Pies are required, and they typically come in both pumpkin and apple (though when the gluten-free gather with us, I’ll often make an apple crisp with GF oats instead).
As I was plotting out my contributions to the two Thanksgiving meals I’m attending this year, however, I started to ponder options beyond the classic. Part of the reason I feel so free to monkey with the tried and true is that I’m attending two collaborative dinners (really, that’s just a fancy term for a potluck). I know others will bring the requisite pies, and so I am free to explore a little.
For my husband’s family, I’m taking vanilla pound cake with runny raspberry jam for topping. We’re traveling several hours for that meal and I know those cakes will survive even the most-arduous journey over the river, through the woods and up the New Jersey Turnpike. I made the jam with fresh fruit this summer, but a similar batch could easily be made by combining 2 pounds of frozen berries, 2 cups of sugar and a little lemon juice, then simmering until thick.
My family gathers on the Saturday after the official holiday and the drive there is all of 20 minutes. For that dinner I’ve chosen to bring a trifle. And not just any trifle, but Nancy Fuller’s Honey-Pear Icebox Trifle with Soft-and-Easy Gingersnaps. What’s so nice about this dessert is that the hardest part is making the gingersnaps, which is to say that it’s hardly any work at all.
Once the cookies are done (and they are delicious on their own, so take care not to succumb to their charms), you drizzle them with the honey pear shrub and layer them together with the sweetened cream.
You’ve read this far and may now be wondering what on earth I mean with the word “shrub.” Shrubs are a combination of vinegar, fruit and sweetener that has been left to steep. Once the fruit gives up its flavor to the vinegar, simply strain out the solids. You can buy them from specialty grocery stores, or you can make your own from 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup honey and 1/2 cup finely shredded pear. Any extra can be drizzled into soda water for a refreshing sip.
If you’re still uncertain about your sweet course for next Thursday, well, that’s really where the Weekender comes in. Make a small batch of the trifle to test it out. I’m fairly certainly you’ll be swayed by its charms.
Colorful Thanksgiving Vegetable Sides — Fall Fest
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Mashed potatoes, stuffing and other sides that come in a delightful shade of beige make Thanksgiving the great holiday that it is. Still, everything in life is better with balance — even these all-important potato- and bread-based dishes. Next Thursday, build a well-rounded Thanksgiving plate with vibrant, seasonal vegetable recipes for classic Thanksgiving side dishes.
Though the green bean casserole of years past might have meant canned cream of mushroom soup and limp green beans, Alton Brown’s Best-Ever Green Bean Casserole (pictured above) is a modern take made totally from scratch. Fresh, crunchy green beans, half-and-half and real mushrooms give the dish its distinctive flavor, while home-fried onions create the crucial crispy topping.
With a dose of apple cider vinegar, Brussels Sprouts with Bacon is a veggie recipe worthy of a holiday. Boil sprouts in water until tender before sauteing with crispy bacon and you’ll never, ever go back.
Food Network Magazine’s Lemon-Maple Squash is a simple recipe worth making room for in the oven. After rubbing it with maple syrup and lemon juice, bake it until caramelized and delightfully tender.
Cooking Glazed Carrots in coconut oil imbues a subtle sweetness that goes well with honey. A hit of Japanese togarashi gives the carrots a special spiciness, while freshly chopped parsley brightens it all up.
Kale is anything but punishment in this rich rendition: Creamed Kale with Caramelized Shallot. Bobby Flay transforms the sturdy green into a luxurious side dish, with the caramelized shallots bringing on a natural sweetness.
Get more Thanksgiving side dish ideas from family and friends:
Virtually Homemade: Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus with Goat Cheese
Feed Me Phoebe: Healthy Stuffed Mushrooms with Creamed Kale
The Heritage Cook: Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans (Gluten-Free)
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: 100 Healthy Holiday Side Dish Recipes
Devour: Winning Thanksgiving Side Dishes
The Lemon Bowl: Stuffed Acorn Squash with Chorizo and Farro
The Mom 100: Lentils and Carrots with Dried Apricots
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Maitake, Leek & Bacon Dressing
Weelicious: Vegan Whipped Coconut Sweet Potatoes
The Cultural Dish: Pumpkin Risotto
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Sweet Potato Biscuits
Red or Green: Cheese Ball with Everything Spice
Daisy at Home: Roasted Cranberry Pear Sauce
Swing Eats: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Thyme and Rosemary
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Baby Lima Beans Salad with Bell Pepper and Pomegranate
Dishing With Divya: Ash Gourd Raita
Domesticate Me: 12 Easy and Impressive Thanksgiving Sides
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Scalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples | #FallFest
Dishin & Dishes: Stuffin Muffins
Food Network Stars’ Thanksgiving Traditions
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Wondering what your favorite chefs have up their sleeves (and in their ovens) for next Thursday? We caught up with more than a dozen Food Network stars about their unique Thanksgiving traditions with family and friends. Bobby hosts a themed Thanksgiving for 50, Alex does double-dinner duty and Guy likens his epic outdoor feast to “a shotgun wedding”. Read on and check out the full gallery for all the tasty details.
“Thanksgiving is usually 50 people at my house that I cook for. It’s just a tradition every year where I cook two 30-pound turkeys for family and friends, and I usually theme the Thanksgiving. We usually pick a theme that has to do with an occurrence that has taken place in the world. So the year of Hurricane Katrina, for instance, we did all Louisiana food.”
“I do a ton of cooking. This year I’m taking my daughter to volunteer at a food bank, because I think there should be a little bit of that experience at the holidays. My daughter and I are going to have Thanksgiving with family, and then she and I are going to cook our own holiday private dinner after. So we use the holidays as an excuse to make several sets of dinners.”
“I’ve been married for three years, and Gail and I are normally on the road. But when we’re at home, a new tradition has started to have my girls and cook, you know, the whole nine yards. My girls are 17 and 13 now. They used to go into soup kitchens and give their time on that day. But now we cook and we all go to the soup kitchen. So it’s a new tradition.”
“I don’t usually go home to my family for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving it’s kind of my New York City family. New York City families, they’re usually not people you’re related to, but people that are in your life every day, and so you kind of adopt them as your family. All New Yorkers have their New York family. Sometimes it’s at my house, sometimes it’s at someone else’s house. But I’m always a turkey briner. I brine my turkey for three days. Every year people tell me my turkey is the best turkey they have ever had because it’s juicy and delicious and super flavorful. I’ve gotten my turkey recipe down. I just am a very classic Thanksgiving kind of person. I love my turkey the same way every year. I love my stuffing the same way every year. Every bite of Thanksgiving dinner, I need to have the perfectly composed bite. So it’s turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes on every forkful.”
“You know, some people have a lot of traditions, but we don’t think Thanksgiving is that big a deal because we eat like pigs all the time. Thanksgiving is about food, and layer a holiday about food on top of all people do is talk about food. It’s almost like glut fest. We don’t look at it as stress at all because we love it. It’s just more of what we do.”
“Everybody brings food. We all put it on the kitchen island, and then everyone stands around for four or five hours just looking at the food and picking at the food. Just grazing, and then we eat the meal, and it stays out and we eat again. It is hilarious.”
“We start with pasta. Like a first course of homemade ravioli. One or two, nothing too crazy. My grandma makes sausage bread, which we all fill up on. So I rarely eat the dinner after. You know, I eat the appetizers that are laid out before we sit down. I go to two: my in-laws and my side. I usually have two Thanksgivings. Double duty.”
“My family doesn’t really have unique holiday traditions because we’re prior military. My dad is a veteran and I am as well. So usually when we were growing up and traveling we were in different cities, different towns, states, countries, so our Thanksgivings were usually pretty standard because we always wanted them to feel like home and be the same. It was like our one thing that was always the same. So nothing really outlandish. But I will say, when I tell people about my mom’s dressing with oysters in it, they make a funny face. It’s never a good face, but I’m just like, you just have to try it. Trust me, it’s delicious.”
“For the last three or four years, I’ve cooked my entire Thanksgiving dinner for 60 people with wood on the back of my barbecue trailer: five big turkeys, two heritage and three supermarket. And I make everything with my buddies cooking outdoors, rain or shine. I eat in my barn in my hometown, in the little town I was raised in, in Ferndale. This year it’s changing. We’re gonna go to another location and do another outdoor experience. But it usually involves dirt bikes and riding ATVs and our Polaris RZRs. You know, doing all that. So we’re not, “Somebody’s gonna make cranberry, somebody’s gonna make mashed potatoes.” It’s always like a shotgun wedding. It’s a brigade of people coming in and getting it done. And it’s a big feed.”
Check out the full gallery to hear from more Food Network stars about their Thanksgiving plans and traditions.
7 Ways to Food-Style Your Thanksgiving Feast
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
We’ll admit it. The Thanksgiving feast isn’t the most naturally photogenic of meals. With turkey, gravy, stuffing and potatoes, there’s a lot of brown and beige in the mix. To make our Thanksgiving look as good as it tastes, we’re taking a cue from food stylists who make Thanksgiving look gorgeous for a living. Yep, we’re upping our garnish game this year. Edible garnishes are the best kind, and the flavors should always complement the dish they accompany. These suggestions from Food Network Kitchen are based on both color and dish texture. Check out the full gallery for ideas to spruce up every course of the feast.
Bronzed and Roasted: Pair with Orange or Green
For bronzed and roasted foods (like your turkey) try orange or green: Roasted carrots, fresh leafy herbs or fresh watercress add brightness and delicious contrast. Or go with a more old-school tableau and surround the bird with fresh fruit (oranges and golden pears work particularly well for this).
Try It: Turkey + Herbs and Oranges
Trisha’s simple no-fuss bird looks gorgeous surrounded by leafy greens, herbs and oranges.
White and Creamy: Go Green
For white and creamy items (celery root salad, mashed potatoes), crunchy, oniony greens are always welcome: Chives, scallions or a fresh green salsa all add brightness.
Try It: Mashed Potatoes + Chives
These classic-flavored mashed spuds (made in a slow cooker!) need nothing more than a sprinkle of chopped chives to lend a pop of color and textural contrast.
Yellow and Brown: Choose Leafy Herbs
For vast expanses of yellow or brown (stuffing, onion dip, mac and cheese, cornbread), go with leafy green herbs: A scattering of chopped parsley, fennel fronds, celery leaves or cilantro will add freshness and contrast.
Try It: Sausage Stuffing + Chopped Parsley
Stuffing is notoriously not the most-attractive dish, but a simple handful of chopped parsley turns it into a beauty.
Flip through the full gallery for more garnish ideas that will take this year’s feast to the next level.
Families That Shop Together Stay Together: The Competition Goes Family Style on Guy’s Grocery Games
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
The new season of Guy’s Grocery Games is kicking off with four special family episodes, premiering Jan. 4 at 8|7c. In this family-style showdown, four teams made up of three family members will compete in each episode for a chance to win the grand prize. Each family team will have to navigate through the aisles of the grocery store, battling different supermarket-themed obstacles, from cooking on a budget to cooking with five ingredients or less — or the dreaded new game, Station Swap. The last family standing will go onto the shopping spree of a lifetime worth up to $20,000. These families know, live and love food, so don’t miss the laughs, tears and sibling rivalries.
Family Style: Kid’s Choice — Jan. 4 at 8|7c
Guy is constantly turning the tables, this time with kids choosing the meals. Four families face off in a brunch competition that includes a mandatory Red Light Special. In Budget Battle, families must make a comfort meal on a very uncomfortable budget. Then, the final teams must prepare a five-star dinner while playing Station Swap, a new game that will force the families to trade kitchens and groceries.
Competitors: Binbek Family, Landefeld Family, Lavin Family, Murphy Family
Judges: Melissa d’Arabian, Richard Blais, Aarti Sequeira
Family Style: Sibling Rivalry — Jan. 11 at 8|7c
When four sets of siblings square off in a supermarket, sparks fly! The teams begin by making a family feast, but first they must agree on the five ingredients or less this challenge allows. Three families move on to make something stuffed using Guy’s Grocery List. Then in the feared game of chance, Food Wheel, the stakes are high as two families attempt to make an upscale dinner with strip steak and a meager allowance.
Competitors: Fraser Family, Grbic Family, Loza Family, Testa Family
Judges: Richard Blais, Troy Johnson, Aarti Sequeira
Family Style: Kids Rule! — Jan. 18 at 8|7c
Four competing families start by joining the breakfast club, but this is Watch Your Weight, so they can cook with only a certain amount of ingredients. Next, the families must make a hot lunch ABC style, using only ingredients whose name begins with a certain letter. The final two families go head-to-head in the dreaded game of Food Wheel.
Competitors: Bruno Family, Chiovera Family, Roberts Family, Robertson Family
Judges: Melissa d’Arabian, Richard Blais, Troy Johnson
Family Style: Food Feud — Jan. 25 at 8|7c
Chefs keep it all in the family with teams featuring husbands, wives, brothers, moms and even grandma! The pasta shelves are off-limits in Aisle Down, so the four families must really use their noodles to create their best dish. Next, three families have to come up with fresh ideas for making dessert from nonperishable items playing Meals from the Middle. The finalists must make their favorite family meal while adhering to Watch Your Weight.
Competitors: Casey Family, Parrish Family, Thurston Family, Vera Family
Judges: Troy Johnson, Beau MacMillan, Catherine McCord
Keep checking back for more on the Guy’s Grocery Games: Family Style competition, and go behind the scenes with the families.