Category Archives: Food

featured

Southern Living’s Cherry-Pistachio Bark Is a Perfectly Balanced—and Festive—Treat

Southren Living Cherry-Pistachio BarkFor a just-right holiday candy, try Southern Living’s Cherry-Pistachio Bark. It incorporates the colors of the season, and best of all, it doesn’t take long to make.

Chances are good you’ll run across some peppermint bark—or some variation of it—this season, what with candy canes being pretty plentiful and it being an easy enough treat to whip up on short notice.

But if you’re looking to try something new or make something a little less sweet, Southern Living’s Cherry-Pistachio Bark could be just the thing you’re looking for.

Much like the candy-striped and white chocolate concoction, this bark recipe comes together quickly, in about an hour or so. Factor in a little more time if you have to shell the pistachios, though.

Once the pistachios are shelled, they’ll have to be chopped to make a cup-and-a-quarter’s worth. If you have a nut grinder, this step is easier than it sounds—especially if it has the handy measuring guide like mine does.

Next step, add the dried cherries and two tablespoons of water to a bowl and microwave on high for two minutes. Once this is done, the recipe says to drain, but in my experience there really wasn’t much of anything to drain.

With the pistachios and cherries at the ready, start melting two 12 oz. bags of white chocolate chips and 6 2 oz. squares of vanilla candy coating in a large pan. Actually, I could have started this step while chopping the pistachios and microwaving the cherries, but I didn’t want to risk burning the chocolate.

Patience is required here because of the low heat setting, but it’s worth the wait. Chop the vanilla candy coating squares into smaller pieces, then continue to break them up with a knife as they soften in the saucepan.

Stir the mixture until smooth, then add the cherries and pistachios and mix well.

At this point, I added the mixture to a wax-paper lined cookie sheet and spread it as thin as possible. Southern Living’s instructions called for adding it to a jelly roll pan and cutting it out in heart shapes (it was printed in a February issue).

But had I known how much it would yield or how thick it would be, I would have used two cookie sheets for a thinner bark.

The result is a festive candy—red from the cherries and green from the pistachios—that is a satisfying balance of sweet and salty tastes.

For step-by-step visuals of this process or to repin, check out this recipe on our Pinterest board.

 

EDF_featured

Everyday Food: 5 Delicious Reasons to Savor the Magazine’s Last Printed Issue

Everyday Food magazine is going, going, almost gone. But we’re celebrating the best of the last printed issue for these 5 delicious reasons.

Everyday Food magazine subscribers knew it was coming: the farewell-plus-what’s-going-to-happen-next letter. And sure enough, there it was on top of the plastic-bagged issue that arrived in my mailbox late last week.

While the December issue may be the last printed, standalone issue of one of my favorite food magazines, the letter assures that Everyday Food will continue its mission of delivering convenient, delicious dinner ideas—across multiple digital platforms.

For example, editor-in-chief Sarah Carey will appear in the reconfigured magazine’s daily video newsletter, even more content can be found on its YouTube channel, and, for those of us who still prefer print, we’ll get our fix five times a year when a free Everyday Food supplement is included with subscriber copies of Martha Stewart Living. (The first will arrive in March 2013.)

So before we bid adieu to Everyday Food as the magazine we’ve known and loved—whether beginning with the first issue in 2003 or discovered it a little later—let’s celebrate this final issue for these five delicious reasons.

1. Baked Banana-Pecan Oatmeal: You’re gonna need some energy to get through the hectic holiday season, and this healthy breakfast sounds warm and filling enough to do the trick.

2. Cutout Cookie Dough: Speaking of time, if you don’t have enough to meticulously frost those sugar cookies, opt for this easy solution. Incorporate cutouts of different colors in this step-by-step method.

3. Pomegranate Seeds: One of the most good-for-you parts of the fruit, the seeds can be used in a variety of surprising ways. Add them to guacamole or serve with roasted meat, such as the Pomegranate-Braised Short Ribs recipe just a few pages over.

4. Sheet-Pan Suppers: Even during holiday crunch time, you’ve still got to eat. But you can toss it all on one pan and in an hour or less have a delicious meal ready, like Rib Eye with Horseradish Butter and Root Vegetables.

5. Peppermint-Meringue Brownie Cake: This dessert almost sounds too good to be true, and Martha swears it’s easier than it looks. Master the meringue, and you’ve got yourself a treat that won’t last long.
 

 

Holiday turkey

Thanksgiving Wine Pairings and Recommendations

Wine enthusiast Dr. Richard Parker breaks down pairings and recommendations for your Thanksgiving feast, plus what to keep in mind and where to buy in Nashville.

Every Thanksgiving it seems that people are always sparring over what wines might best go with their traditional turkey dinner. Fortunately there is enough variety in the wine market to keep these deliberations from derailing your well-planned meal and festivities.

As most people will be enjoying the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, it’s easy enough to actually rule out a number of wines; I am talking, of course, about red varietals like zinfandel, merlot or cabernet sauvignon. But if you insist on serving a red with your meal, I would recommend going with the most food-friendly of the reds, the versatile pinot noir.

If you’re looking to shop economically for this varietal, I would recommend a Kenwood or Clos du Bois Pinot Noir—either should run less than $20 a bottle. However if you’re considering something a little more special, look for a David Bruce or Saintsbury; both will offer tantalizing flavors that will go well with almost every bite of your holiday feast from turkey breast to sweet potato casserole.

Now that we’ve dealt with the easy part, let’s tackle the more difficult option—the white varietals. What you choose will largely depend on your own taste preferences. While many people might seek out something rich and buttery, like a Newton Chardonnay from California, others might choose something cleaner with a hint of pepper, such as New Zealand’s Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

Since I’ve already mentioned it, I think the Matua Valley is the most underpriced wine on the market. Selling well below the $20 price point, this crisp, clean white with hints of pepper would easily complement the traditional Thanksgiving dinner and would be among the first bottles I would open at my own table.

But let’s go back to the chardonnays for a moment. This varietal makes for a fine pairing with most Thanksgiving meals. While Newton’s price point between $35 and $45 may make some hesitate in the current economy, there are some good alternatives that will work very well and still leave you with plenty of money for Christmas shopping at the Mall at Green Hills, including chardonnays by Chalk Hill, Buena Vista and Alice White. My recommendation for a best value chardonnay under $15 is California’s Toasted Head Chardonnay.

Alternatively if you’re pondering something a bit more exotic than a chardonnay or sauvignon blanc, consider an Austrian gruner veltliner—one of the best white wines flying under the radar today, a German gewürztraminer or a California viognier. Toasted Head also makes a very nice version of this varietal. But if your tastes run sweeter, try Relax, a German riesling that sells for under $15 and pairs nicely with lighter fare. And if a dessert wine is what you’re after, look for an ice wine from Canada or a late harvest sauvignon blanc from California.

Inevitably, there are those who love their blush wines and fortunately there are some that can contribute to the Thanksgiving recommendations. Most people are familiar with the ubiquitous white zinfandel, but there are other blush wines including white merlot and white Grenache. But if you are looking for a surprise, Biltmore Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc de Noir will offer a delightful wine experience for even those who normally shy away from any wine with even a hint of pink.

With all the available choices you may be asking yourself, “What’s the right wine for my Thanksgiving dinner?” The important thing for you to consider is not what’s the right wine, but what wine will make the experience memorable.

Fortunately for Nashvillians, there are plenty of good stores to help you make the right selection. For folks living in western Davidson County, try Red Spirits and Wine in Bellevue. If you are in the Green Hills area, The Wine Shoppe at Green Hills has a good selection. West End Discount Liquors and Wines can help you in the midtown area. And those in East Nashville can stop by Woodland Wine Merchant.

May your Thanksgiving be happy and your wine selections be as satisfying as the late Thursday nap.

Everyday Food_featured

The Best of Everyday Food Magazine on Our Blog

After Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s announcement to cut out Everyday Food as a standalone magazine, we take a look back at the best of one of our favorites on the blog.

One of the best little (literally) food magazines is going by the wayside thanks to corporate cutbacks, which are understandable, sure, in today’s belt-tightening economy. Still it’s hard to let go of Everyday Food magazine so easily.

Despite its smaller—but very convenient—digest size, there were lots of reasons to love this Martha Stewart publication. Practical, helpful, creative and on and on. And no, you didn’t have to be a domestic virtuoso like Martha to pull off most of the easy-to-make recipes featured in every issue.

Word is that Everyday Food will become part of Martha Stewart Living, but will be published as a five-times-a-year supplement rather than a standalone title.

The company also says it will “continue in digital media,” so at least it’s not disappearing completely. While it won’t be quite the same, the magazine will live on—in what has become contemporarily customary—in archived issues swapped and sold on the Internet, food bloggers who cook and review the recipes and maybe, just maybe the Everyday Food Recipes app.

In this spirit of nostalgia and appreciation for Everyday Food, we’re taking a look back and the best recipes we’ve tried and tested over the past couple of years. Enjoy this helping of one of our food magazine favorites.

Mini Triple-Treat Cupcakes: With ideas like this on how to use up excess Halloween candy (including ever-present candy corn), the magazine is certainly nothing if not practical.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Bacon: Another Everyday Food recipe victory, just not as sweet. Side suggestions, such as this one, are notoriously quick, easy and delicious.

Tortilla Cups with Yogurt and Fresh Fruit: Leave it to Martha to think of making everything but muffins in a muffin pan. This is but one of her many creative uses for the kitchen staple.

Oatmeal Cream Pies: Once again, Martha tackles an iconic treat, and it’s even easier than you might think. Some even say it’s better than the “real thing.”

Minted Chocolate Cookies: Using a few easy shortcuts from Martha, you too can closely copy a certain Girl Scout cookie favorite. (Danger: Indulgence ahead.)

Salted Caramel Shortbread Final Step

DIY for the Average Jane: Salted Caramel Shortbread

DIY For the Average Jane: Salted Caramel ShortbreadThe salted caramel craze is taking over Pinterest, cooking blogs and dessert menus everywhere, and these sweet and salty treats are well worth the time they take to make at home!

Ever since the first time I tried kettle corn at a street fair, I have been smitten with absolutely any sweet thing that finds balance in just a pinch of savory salt. Yep, I’m one of those people who dips Wendy’s French fries into my Frosty to achieve this equilibrium of all things sweet and salty. But you don’t have to go through a drive-thru to get the perfect balance between the two.

As I was browsing Pinterest looking for an idea for this week’s tutorial, I kept seeing the same photo of salted caramel shortbread pinned again and again. The original pin was from the food blog Erica’s Sweet Tooth, who had amended the recipe from the salted caramel bars on the blog What’s Gaby Cooking.

So, yesterday, with my in-laws in town as the perfect tasting audience, I gathered the supplies and set to work making these delectable little shortbread bites. In the end, I think I could have let the caramel boil just a tiny bit longer, as mine began to melt a bit when out of the fridge for too long, but other than that, these were just right. Here’s how you can make your own:

Ingredients:

For the shortbread:

5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

5 tbsp salted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg yolk

1-2/3 cups flour

For the caramel:

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup light corn syrup

2 tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling on top

4 tbsp sugar

4 tbsp heavy cream

1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Step 1: Line an 8×8″ pan with parchment paper or greased tin foil, letting the edges hang over to make it easier to remove the shortbread in the end.

Step 2: Mix butter, sugar and salt in a large bowl with a fork. Then, add the egg yolk and mix well.

Step 3: Stir in the flour and them combine the dough with your hands until it’s coarse and crumbly. Transfer the dough into the pan you prepared, and use your hands to press it into one layer. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Salted Caramel Step 3

Salted Caramel Shortbread Step 3-2

Step 4: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake the shortbread layer for 25 minutes, or until the top begins to look golden brown. Set the pan aside to cool as you prepare the caramel.

Step 5: For the caramel, mix the butter, brown sugar, salt, sugar, heavy cream and corn syrup. Bring to a boil and stir until the caramel reaches the “soft ball” stage on a candy thermometer (about 230 degrees).

Salted Caramel Shortbread Step 5-1

Salted Caramel Shortbread Step 5-2

Step 6: Remove pan from heat, stir in the vanilla and pour the caramel evenly over the shortbread layer. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and then sprinkle with sea salt and cut into squares. Since these can get a little melty, it’s best to store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat them.

Salted Caramel Shortbread Step 6-1

Salted Caramel Shortbread Step 6-2

Salted Caramel Shortbread Final Step

 

Mini Triple-Treat Cupcakes

Everyday Food’s Mini Triple-Treat Cupcakes a Sweet-and-Salty Balance of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Wondering what to do with all that Halloween candy on hand? These Mini Triple-Treat Cupcakes are a must to make—especially if you love chocolate and peanut butter.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are to me what Kryptonite was to Superman. They are my chocolate-covered weakness, and I am rendered nearly powerless to resist them. That’s why it’s difficult for me to imagine why (oh why) they must be used as an ingredient in a recipe rather than being savored alone.

So imagine my surprise—and willpower—when I was able to part with two dozen of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup miniatures to make a recipe from the October 2011 issue of Everyday Food magazine. (OK, so I had to cut all the amounts in half because I ate the other two dozen cups that were called for.)

The Mini Triple-Treat Cupcakes employed my weakness as a way to add a little chocolate and boost the peanut butter flavor of bite-sized treats topped with candy corn. The recipe was one of five intended as festive favors for Halloween parties—or to make good use of those trick-or-treating leftovers.

Natural peanut butter gives a rich flavor to the batter, and that bakes up nicely around the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup placed in the center of each cupcake liner. Right out of the oven, the treats are topped with a piece of candy corn. But for variation, any small seasonal candy can be used.

The end result is good—really good—so good I’m thinking about putting it right up there with the Reese’s. The off-the-shelf is a perfect balance of sweet and salty, but the batter adds a little more on the salty side of the scale, while the candy corn boosts the sweetness.

In effect, the modifications the recipe makes to the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup evens out the ideal qualities of my favorite candy, and it’s so good you’ll think you’re eating the real thing. Almost.