This week, why not invite some friends over for dinner on the patio? Serve an easy vegetarian meal inspired by the fresh produce found at the local farmers market. The menu starts with goat cheese topped with an olive-thyme mixture.
A savory tart layered with tomatoes, roasted garlic, and fontina cheese is a simple but stunning centerpiece. Instead of serving a boring salad, pair the tart with an equally exciting side: warm Summer vegetable salad with brown butter dressing. Sound scrumptious? Get the recipes when you read more
- The hit vampire sensation Twilight makes a wonderful theme for a party. — Hostess With the Mostess
- What do you think of Food Network's latest show, 5 Ingredient Fix? — Eat Me Daily
- The ultimate Cheetos taste test. — Serious Eats
- Learn the difference between lox and gravlax. — Chow
- On drinking healthy and drinking smart. — The Atlantic
- The proper technique for cooking onions. — The Kitchn
- Must make: artichoke and olive crostini.— Smitten Kitchen
- With their meaty texture, mild brine and vivid hue, Castelvetranos have become this year's olive of choice. — San Francisco Chronicle
- If you think organic food is safer, think again. — New York Times
- Make an authentic Roman spaghetti alla carbonara at home. — Boston Globe
- Kitchen twine is one tool no home cook should be without. — Los Angeles Times
- Find out what the creators of Open That Bottle Night enjoyed on its 10th anniversary. — Wall Street Journal
- 5 unusual recipes that call for nine items or fewer. — Washington Post
- Top Chef 4 winner Stephanie Izard has a weekly video podcast. — Chicago Tribune
Recently I participated in a "quickfire challenge." I was asked to concoct an amuse-bouche for 20 people. However, I didn't know anything about the group I was feeding, so the bite had to be vegetarian with universally liked ingredients. It had to be easily transportable, something that could be made in advance, and was representative of my cooking personality. The kitchen where I was to prepare the appetizer has a microwave and small toaster oven.
After much deliberation, I finally decided to make these Spanish olive and cream cheese canapes because the three components — crisp toasts, a cream cheese mixture, and grated Parmesan cheese — were easy to prepare the night before the challenge. Luckily my hard work paid off: the final result was excellent! The one-bite toasts were crisp, salty, cheesy, and delicious. They would be a scrumptious start to a cocktail party or romantic dinner. Learn how to make them when you read more
New Year's Eve is an ideal time to serve simple appetizers that can withstand hours of partying. After making Roquefort and Walnut Canapés, I had leftover walnuts, so I looked for another amuse bouche that could use up the nuts.
With its easy fig and olive tapenade, this delicious bite is served on a cracker with a small dollop of goat cheese and a roasted walnut topping. The tapenade can be made three days in advance, and the whole thing is quick to assemble just before party time. Every bite is the perfect combination of sweet, salty, creamy, and crunchy. To celebrate with these appetizing hors d'oeuvres, read more
Having a low-key Christmas Eve this year? Consider serving this hearty stew made with ingredients from Southern France. It's not your average midweek meal, but it comes together in less than an hour.
Olives, dried figs, red wine, and herbs de Provence provide rich flavor and delightful texture. Serve with a French red wine and a simple green salad. To look at the recipe, read more
With food festival season winding down for the year, there are certainly fewer events this month. Still, if you look hard enough, you can find a few gems, like the International Tamale Festival in Indio, CA, or Sonoma Valley's Blessing of the Olives. Or, enjoy one of the many holiday wine events, where perhaps you can find that perfect pairing for your holiday dinner.
Notice anything we've left out? If so, please feel free to chime in with your comments below!
- Yosemite, CA: Vintners' Holidays 2008 — Dec. 2-3
- Portland, OR: Holiday Ale Festival — Dec. 3-7
- Mobile, AL: Gulf Coast Antiques Food and Wine Festival — Dec. 5-7
- Fredericksburg, TX: Holiday Wine Trail — Dec. 5-7
- Indio, CA: Indio International Tamale Festival — Dec. 6-7
- Livermore, CA: Holidays in the Vineyards — Dec. 6-7
- New Paltz, NY: Wreath Fineries @ 10 Wineries — Dec. 6-7
- Sonoma, CA: Sonoma Valley Olive Festival & Tasting — Dec. 6
- Carmel, CA: Chateau St. Julien Holiday Spectacular — Dec. 7
- Ventura, CA: Holiday Street Festival — Dec. 7
- New Orleans, LA: Classic Holiday Tipples With Tony Abou-Ganim — Dec. 8
I've invited some friends over this Friday for a holiday cocktail party. Since everyone (including moi!) will be attending a jewelry sample sale before, the snacks must be prepared in advance. Crostini with lentil and green olive spread can be made the night before the party. My dad will bake the brie with mango chutney twenty minutes before we arrive, so it's warm and gooey the second we walk in the door. A smoked salmon platter with dill sour cream waits chilled in the fridge and mini beef slider patties cook quickly.
To look at these recipes, which would be awesome for any holiday event, read more
One of the most overlooked items on a Thanksgiving table is the bread; often it is nothing more than store-bought rolls. Although I've made buttermilk biscuits in the past, this year I was looking for a bread item that can be made in advance. I was thrilled to find a creative alternative in this recipe for savory madeleine.
The batter is basically a cornbread, but as the madeleines cook the shell side bakes to a delightful crispness that enhances the texture of the bread. I seasoned each of the madeleines with different ingredients using sage, Gruyére cheese and kalamata olives. Other great flavor options are jalapeno, rosemary, or sun-dried tomato. The possibilities are endless — you could even season them to complement each course of the meal. To try this delectable alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving rolls or biscuits, read more