- Winter reading list: cozy up with one of these books next to the fire
- 5 reasons to get an Apple TV (and 3 reasons to skip it)
- The best desserts of the year
- How (and where) to get beauty steals
- Best Betty White quotes of 2010
- Christmas apps to occupy kids while they wait for Santa
- Countdown to a fabulous New Year's! Black and white ball
- Last-minute decor gifts for $20 or less
- Video: Suri Cruise holds tight to Tom on outing with Katie Holmes
- Tips for saving big bucks at Whole Foods
- Do you know which celebrities are over 40?
- Who is the fittest male celebrity of 2010?
- Cute kittens wearing Christmas clothes!
- How to stay healthy while traveling during the holidays
Posts for December 21st 2010
Holiday feasts with the family call for large, important roasts — that's something I learned long ago from the late cookbook author Sheila Lukins. Make it something succulent and impressively large, like a beef Wellington or a rack of lamb, which can be shared and passed around the table.
If you're not an expert at roasts, don't dish out valuable dollars on a piece of beef tenderloin that you'll risk overcooking. Instead, stick to a more basic (and affordable) cut like pork loin. This Latin-inflected citrus, cumin, and cilantro recipe serves up to eight and will leave guests reaching for seconds — but it won't set you back more than $25. For the recipe, read more.
A landmark food safety bill is expected to be passed, yet food could be subject to a more tainted reputation now more than ever. No, it has nothing to do with the fact that one in six Americans fell prey to foodborne illness this year. Rather, it's the latest terror threat to America, which, according to CBS News, involves use of poisons in hotels and restaurants in multiple locations over a single weekend.
The threat, which the USDA, FDA, and US Department of Homeland Security have called "credible," involved a plot using two poisons, ricin and cyanide, slipped into hotel restaurant buffets. Although the scheme was linked to Al Qaeda, public officials said they were "not going to comment on reports of specific terrorist planning." Health experts acknowledge this type of food poisoning would initially look very similar to a foodborne illness but could actually result in fatal consequences.
Are you surprised to hear that hotel and restaurant food have been imagined as the conduit in recent national threats?
We all know that our living spaces can start to feel dull after a while, and, unfortunately, it's not always possible to go on a shopping spree to spice things up. So how do you re-fall in love with your living room on the cheap?
Febreze has three surefire quick (and wallet-friendly) fixes to help you go from wahh waaaah to wonderful.
Feng shui it up: Pick up a feng shui book and spend the afternoon practicing the ancient Chinese system of aesthetics to (hopefully) improve a room by creating positive energy flow.
Organize and then organize some more: It's true, an organized house is a happy house. Tackle one thing at a time, go through the junk drawer (you're never going to use ALL those rubber bands), and get rid of knickknacks that clutter your life.
Change your signature scent: Pick out a sleek Febreze Flameless Luminary to transform your space into a tranquil getaway. Let the Flameless Luminary's inspirational design, romantic light, and unique scent make all the difference!
Changing the slightest thing can make a room feel brand-new. Choose from Febreze's newest home scents from Cranberry Pear to Green Tea to Willow Blossom — you (and your coffee table) won't regret it.
If you're hosting a potluck dinner this holiday season, make a chart to keep the dishes organized. Here's how you do it:
- On a blank sheet of paper, write down the names of each of your guests.
- Across the top of the page, write the courses: appetizers, entree, sides, dessert, etc.
- As your friends and family members let you know what they are bringing, fill in the chart.
Keep in mind the total number of people in attendance, and make sure that there will be enough food for everyone. Do you host a potluck? Share your tips and experiences with us below!
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
4 ounces blanched almonds
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
For dulce de leche
1 can (14 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
sea salt, for sprinkling
- Make the cookies: In a standing electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla bean seeds and beat until smooth.
- In a food processor, combine the almonds with the salt, baking powder and flour and process until the almonds are finely ground. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and beat on low speed until smooth. Pat the dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working in batches if necessary, roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Using a round cutter, stamp out cookies as close together as possible. Arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 22 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom and around the edges. Let cool on the baking sheet, then transfer to a platter. Refrigerate the scraps until chilled, then reroll, stamp out more cookies and bake.
- Meanwhile make the dulce de leche: Preheat the oven to 425° F. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a glass pie plate or shallow baking dish. Stir in a few flecks of sea salt.
- Set the pie plate within a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the pie plate. Cover the pie plate snugly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1¼ hours. (Check a few times during baking and add more water to the roasting pan as necessary). Once the Dulce de Leche is nicely browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, whisk until smooth. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Warm gently in a warm water bath or microwave oven before using.
- Top half of the cookies with a rounded teaspoon of the dulce de leche and top with the remaining cookies. Enjoy!
Makes about 30-40 sandwich cookies.
One 3-pound boneless pork loin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, from 1 orange
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Rub the pork loin well on all sides with the olive oil, and season it with the kosher salt, black pepper, and cumin. Place the pork loin, fat
side down, in the skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until well-browned on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pork from the skillet and place it in a small roasting pan or baking dish that holds it snugly.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the orange juice, vinegar, and marmalade to combine. Drizzle the citrus mixture over the pork.
- Place the roasting pan in the oven, and cook until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F, basting the pork with the pan juices occasionally.
- Remove the pork from the oven, add the cilantro to the roasting pan, and swirl it in the pan juices. Allow the pork to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve the pork thinly sliced, drizzled with pan juices.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large head fennel, diced (about 1 cup)
1 large leek, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons
1 green pepper, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups bottled clam juice
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 pounds local thick-fleshed fresh fish (we used a mixture of red snapper and black cod), cut into 2-inch chunks
2 Dungeness crabs, about 3 pounds total, cracked and cleaned (see Note)
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Home-baked croutons, crostini or fresh crusty bread, for serving
- In a large stockpot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onions, fennel, leeks and green peppers, and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves, oregano, red pepper flakes and thyme, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and saute until the mixture becomes fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. When the tomato paste starts sticking to the pot, pour in the white wine, scraping to incorporate the stuck bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until the wine is reduced by half.
- Add the clam juice, broth, crushed and chopped tomatoes, and stir well. Bring to a boil; lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
- Remove from heat and cool completely. You can either do this two nights before you plan to serve the cioppino and refrigerate overnight, or cool quickly by placing the pot in an ice water bath in the sink and stir until it's at least room temperature.
- The night before you plan to serve the cioppino, divide the seafood, except for the crab, between two 9- by 13-inch baking dishes (they should be suitable for serving). Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and divide the cooled base between the two dishes, fully submerging the seafood in the liquid. Wrap well and refrigerate overnight.
- To serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover the baking dishes with aluminum foil, and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until fish is cooked through and broth is hot.
- Remove the foil, add the crab, and cook for 10 minutes more. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with home baked croutons, crostini or fresh crusty bread.
Note: Using whole crab means you'll get your hands dirty when eating this, but that's half the fun. If you'd prefer a cleaner presentation, you can substitute about 3/4 pound of fresh crab meat, but this can get expensive.