Posts for December 9th 2008
Our 12 Days of Edible Gifts continues with a juicy homemade jelly. I used to think that jams and jellies took hours to can, but I'm glad I realized was wrong. This recipe for pomegranate jelly takes only 15 minutes of active time, and costs under $10 to make. Most importantly, it's a heartfelt gift. Turn the jelly into a pretty package by using a festive ribbon to tie the container together with a few baguettes and a cloth napkin. To make your own pomegranate jelly this holiday, read more
Santa's Gone Centro. Say Hello to Claus. For centuries, Santa functioned as a recluse, emerging only once a year to spread joy. But everything changed when he received an unexpected gift: a new Palm Centro. That was the moment when Santa became Claus. Click here to learn more about Claus and the Palm Centro.
Since its debut in March 2006, the culinary reality competition Top Chef has taken the food industry by storm. It's widely respected as an informative and exciting television program. This year the fourth season really made headlines when the first female cheftestant, Stephanie Izard, was crowned Top Chef.
She blew the competitors away with her composure and culinary expertise. We knew Stephanie was a force to be reckoned with after the first episode. We had the pleasure of speaking with her before the competition and learned that although Izard was from Chicago, where the show was filmed, she didn't have an advantage. We admired her straightforward approach, nice girl persona, and get-the-job-done mentality. We even wanted to jump into our screens and devour her bite-sized banana bread. Obviously we weren't the only ones who enjoyed Izard: In the reunion special, she was declared the fan favorite.
After she was named Top Chef, Stephanie explained why she won, "I don’t have a big ego, and I have a way of earning the respect of my peers and my employees without screaming. Being a perfectionist, it’s my detriment that I’m just never happy with anything. But I'm always pushing myself to get better and better."
The chef is currently working on her next project: a gastropub-style restaurant set to launch next Spring in Chicago. Only time will tell if this establishment, which will have an open kitchen and her Top Chef friends as guest chefs, makes headlines in 2009.
As we continue our coverage of the Best of 2008, I want to know which grocer is your favorite.
This year, we saw the cost of food increase across the board. With consumers on a tighter budget, pricier grocers such as Whole Foods have suffered. To keep up, these supermarkets are advertising deeper discounts.
Has 2008's economic environment affected your grocery store preferences at all?
Do you have a co-worker who also wants to learn how to cook? If so, encourage your teammate to cook more (and bring the best results into the office!). Start by drawing inspiration from Tyler Florence's top kitchen essentials.
According to TyFlo, your compadre needs a versatile pot. Next on the list should be an all-purpose cooking knife, with a sharpener thrown in to preserve its blade. Great Food Fast is a book that's simple to follow and produces tasty results.
Want more gift ideas? Browse the selection below or check out all the gift guides on HolidaySugar.
Last night I attended a book launch for a yet-to-be released guide to the good life called Bixology. The book was written by Doug Biederbeck, the owner of San Francisco's popular restaurant Bix. The event was hosted at one of my favorite boutiques, Carrots, and the passed appetizers were original Bix creations. One of the delicious bites was an incredibly easy appetizer idea that I had to share with you! Proscuitto-wrapped mozzarella skewers are a fuss free, no-cook hors d'oeuvre perfect for a last-minute holiday party. I'll definitely be serving them at my next soiree. Here's how you make them:
- Look for a high-quality fresh mozzarella. Bix's cheese is pulled in house making for a creamy, luscious texture. Slice into 1/2-inch thick rounds.
- Wrap the outside edge with a piece of proscuitto and secure in place with a decorative toothpick.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.
Voila — instant sophisticated appetizer!
As far as controversy goes, one would have thought Pepsi's Suicidal Calorie ads would be hard to top, but a new campaign from Burger King is generating just as much buzz. On a new website, Whoppervirgins.com, Burger King is showing footage of Thai villagers and Transylvanian farmers taking their first bite ever of a hamburger. The film, which was made by Stacy Peralta, the director of acclaimed documentaries like Riding Giants, is being dubbed the world's "purest taste test." But so far, the campaign created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky has received negative backlash from bloggers and even the advertising media. "These people would probably prefer schools and hospitals to prefab burgers," said Adweek's Barbara Lippert. Brian Morrissey of AdFreak called it "embarrassing and emblematic of how ignorant Americans still seem to the rest of the world." To check out a trailer of the ad, read more
- Tips for making the best sugar cookies.
- Tips for making the best sugar cookies. — Serious Eats
- Fashion designers and models share their holiday recipes. — Style
- How to roast and peel beets. — The Kitchn
- A big top theme is perfect for a baby shower. — Hostess with the Mostess
- The cheese clock makes pairing cheese with wine or beer easy. — The Epi-Log
- This holiday give back: Here are 10 food charities to contribute to. — Chow
This delicious, effortless meal is made with a surprise ingredient: cornbread stuffing mix. Pounded slices of pork are coated with the crunchy, flavorful mix before being pan-fried in oil.
Sautéed kale and red cabbage is a colorful, healthy side. Balsamic vinegar adds a tangy punch to the wilted veggies.
To make this tonight, read more