Written on December 6, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Every Day with Rachael Ray Staff
Your holiday cheese plate is only as good as its pairings. Our five favorite fromages–each perfect on its own–become utterly sublime when put together and served with their best sidekicks.
Cheddar: Strong English-style cheddars can stand up to bold, salty meats, like salami (though garlicky ones will overtake the cheese’s complex flavor). Walnuts bring out cheddar’s earthiness.
Blue: When serving a blue, think sweet: honey (its classic match), bittersweet chocolate, dried dates and even that seasonal standby, fruitcake.
Triple-Créme: Truth is, you don’t want to muck up an already perfect triple-créme with anything fancy. For textural contrast, munch on a handful of hazelnuts.
Goat: Tart dried fruits like apricots or cranberries compliment the tang of goat cheese. Crumbly, buttery pine nuts are small enough to press right into the cheese.
Sheep’s-Milk: Take a cue from Spanish tapas bars and serve sheep’s-milk cheese with sweet, slightly tart membrillo (quince paste), available at cheese shops and many supermarkets. Roasted almonds bring out the cheese’s nutty, salty flavors.
Tip: Contrary to popular wisdom, not every cheese should be eaten with bread or crackers. Harder cheese don’t have much moisture, so the combination can be unappetizingly dry. Eat those on their own and save the carbs for creamier cheeses.
Written on December 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm , by Every Day with Rachael Ray Staff
If you just use your food processor to chop stuff up, you’re not getting your money’s worth from that pricey appliance! Dig these disks out of the drawer to make short work of tedious kitchen tasks.
The zigzag cuts in this disk turn a potato into square sticks in a flash. And don’t limit yourself to potatoes. Give parsnips or even beets a french-fry try!
Same-size slices equal even cooking, so this is your must-have attachment for cutting up vegetables for casseroles or fruit for pies. Some machines have adjustable disks, letting you customize thickness.
Stir fries cook up in a flash, but all that chopping can take forever. This julienne disk has twice the teeth of a french-fry disk and whips out perfect matchstick-shaped pieces at warp speed.
Retire your box grater–and save your knuckles! This tiny shredding holes work their magic, turning chunks of cheese into uniform shreds and carrots and cabbage into almost-instant slaw.
By Nina Elder
Written on November 30, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Every Day with Rachael Ray Staff
A slew of tasty new extracts are making the baking aisle look not quite so, um, vanilla anymore. Spike everything from dinner to drinks with these flavor boosters.
Cinnamon Extract does double duty in pancakes: Stir 1/2 tsp cinnamon extract into 2 cups pancake batter before cooking. Then, use it to spike your syrup!
(Pictured: McCormick Cinnamon Extract, $4.25 for 1 oz.)
Anise Extract makes a super flavorful broth for mussels in white wine: Saute chopped onions and garlic in butter; add white wine, chopped tomatoes, a few dashes of anise extract and mussels. Cover and cook until mussels open; serve with lots of crusty bread.
(Pictured: J.R. Watkins Pure Anise Extract, $3.49 for 2 oz.)
Coffee Extract brings new flavor to steak: Spike a classic marinade of EVOO, garlic and rosemary with a few drops of coffee extract and some cracked pepper. The coffee really perks up the steak and gives it a flavorful crust.
(Pictured: Nielson-Massey Pure Coffee Extract, $5.95 for 2 oz.)
Peppermint Extract adds a homemade feel to brownies: Stir 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract into a prepared boxed brownie mix. Transfer to pan; top with walnuts and bake. White heavy cream with confectioners’ sugar and a dash of extract for a minty topping!
(Pictured: Simply Organic Peppermint Flavor, $4.39 for 2 oz.)
By Alexa Weibel
Written on November 21, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Every Day with Rachael Ray Staff
Thanksgiving is all about family traditions, and who better to find out what those traditions are than our readers? The results are in; Here are our Thanksgiving tradition stats. Where do you fit in?
Written on November 20, 2013 at 12:00 pm , by Every Day with Rachael Ray Staff
You’ve heard of Christmasukkah, right? Well this year, prepare for the epic holiday mashup known as Thanksgivingukkah. This year Hanukkah occurs on November 27, the evening before Thanksgiving–which means the second night of Hanukkah actually falls on Turkey Day! This rare occurrence (the last time these two holidays collided was in 1888) poses a conundrum for Jewish Americans. The solution? Thanksgivingukkah! Already there are websites devoted to this faux holiday, including an online store where you can buy a menorah shaped like a turkey (called a menurkey, appropriately), t-shirts, aprons and posters.
For foodies, it’s an especially exciting moment. While traditional Hanukkah fare spans latkes (potato pancakes), brisket and fried doughnuts, Thanksgiving is known for its sweet potatoes, turkey and stuffing. So what should you serve at your Thanksgivingukkah feast? Here are a few menu suggestions:
Enjoy your foodie fusion fun. Thanksgivingukkah won’t happen again for another 70,000 years. Gobble Tov!
Witten by Jacquelynn D. Powers
Written on November 19, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Every Day with Rachael Ray Staff
Don’t waste those leftovers from holiday get-togethers! Freezing your food is a great way to make the most of your meals, but only if you can properly thaw them later in the year. Here are the best ways to take your food from frozen solid to family dinner:
1. The best way: IN THE FRIDGE
Set frozen food in its wrapper on a plate to catch drips. Food thawed in the fridge will last for 2 or 3 more days than those thawed using other methods.
2. The shortcut: IN COLD WATER
Place food in an airtight bag and submerge in cold water; change water every 30 minutes. Using hot water is a no-no: It encourages bacteria.
3. The cheat: IN THE MICROWAVE
Unwrap foods and thaw using the defrost or low setting. If meats start to brown, remove and cool before continuing. Cook immediately.
4. For baked goods: ON THE COUNTER TOP
Bread and other frozen baked good sare safe to thaw on the counter. Keep them loosely covered with their wrapping from the freezer and place on a wire rack to prevent condensation and sogginess.
DID YOU KNOW?
5 Unexpected Things You Can Freeze:
Milk Pour into freezer bags and freeze flat. You’ll never run to the store when baking again!
Egg Whites Freeze each egg white separately in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, store them in freezer bags.
Butter Buy it on sale with no fear of it spoiling. Store sticks in their paper wrap in a freezer bag.
Avocado Save ripe avocados by mashing them with a bit of lemon juice and packing in airtight containers.
Nuts and Grains Store in airtight containers or freezer bags to prevent them from going rancid at room temperature.
Written on November 16, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Every Day with Rachael Ray Staff
During the holidays, nothing is more guaranteed than leftovers. Don’t let these goodies go to waste! There are plenty of items you can freeze and store for later in the year, but only if you pack them properly. Here are our best freezing techniques and tips to keep freezer burn at bay.
Use Heavy Duty Foil
To wrap foods already wrapped in plastic or parchment to add extra protection. Why? It’s less porous and much thicker than regular foil, and less prone to snagging and tears.
Use Freezer Paper
To prevent air exposure and moisture loss. The goal is to wrap tightly to keep air out. Why? The paper is thick and durable and has an air-resistant coating on one side that keeps food from drying out.
Use Freezer Bags
But make sure to leave an inch free at the top so you can press out the air when sealing. Why? Resealable plastic freezer bags are thicker and often have sturdier seals than regular storage bags.
No More UFO’s
Ban Unidentified Frozen Objects by noting the contents and freeze date on labels or tape with a permanent marker.
Written by Cheryl Slocum
Written on November 14, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Every Day with Rachael Ray Staff
In a 21st-century twist on the holiday soup kitchen, several food trucks bearing all kinds of Thanksgiving goodness are hitting the road to help those in need. Check out what’s on offer, and how you can help
Photo courtesy of American Lunch Truck
American Lunch Truck will be delivering everyone’s favorite incarnation of the holiday’s leftovers– turkey sandwiches loaded with trimmings– to the city’s homeless. Donate: americanlunch.org
Los Angeles, CA
Global fusion truck Wicked Kitchen will be subbing turkey into some of its most popular chicken dishes, from tikka masala to Cajun jambalaya, and taking them to homeless shelters. Donate: wickedkitchen.com
San Antonio, TX
Thanksgiving will kick off a week early when the health-minded Chow Train starts delivering the fixings of a traditional feast to the homeless and hungry. Donate: thechowtrain.com
People’s food truck will take wood-fired grilled turkey ribs and other Southern fare to those in need not only on T-Day, but before and after as well. Donate: peoplesfoodtruck.com
Written by Jessica Colley
Written on November 12, 2013 at 5:45 pm , by Every Day with Rachael Ray Staff
Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or not, the holiday season is a perfect time for potato latkes. They’re basically a blank canvas for a myriad of flavors and toppings. So whether you like sweet or savory, traditional or something different, here are three quick tips that’ll take you from latke novice to potato pancake pro:
Test the oil’s temp by dropping in a tiny bit of latke batter. It should sizzle but not burn. If the oil starts to smoke, turn the heat down. No sizzle? Crank it up a bit. As you cook, you may need to keep adjusting the heat.
Dollop the latke batter into the hot oil, then flatten with a metal spatula. An even latke will cook up crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Transfer the latkes to a paper-towel-lined plate to sop up extra oil.
Get all of our potato pancake recipes here!
Written on November 9, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Every Day with Rachael Ray Staff
If you’ve broken off one too many corks in the necks of wine bottles, a high-speed, push-button, supposedly-error-free electric corkscrew probably sounds appealing. But after testing a variety of models, we’re electing not to go electric (and save up to $30). Here’s why:
They’re space suckers
You have to devote counter space and an outlet to the charging dock. And if you forget to juice it up before party time, you’re right back to corkscrewing by hand. Plus, electric ones are bulky. A manual corkscrew fits in your silverware drawer; one of these guys–as big as 10 inches high and 3 inches wide–needs a permanent home on the countertop docking station or space in a cabinet.
There’s plenty of room for operator error
To uncork a bottle, you line up the electric opener over the cork, then press down while you turn on the motor. To pull the cork out, you switch the power button into reverse. But be warned: If you don’t have a good grip on the bottle or the right amount of pressure on the opener, your wine bottle could start shaking or, worse, spin out of your hands. And, sorry to say, you may not have seen the end of decapitated corks. Misalign the “worm” (the pointy spiral part) and the cork won’t just break, it will become lodged in the device, and to get it out, you’ll have to putt apart the protectice plastic shield. Good luck putting that back together again.
The wine world is going screw-top anyway
(Or at least the wine in our world is! Check out all of these great screw-top sippers.)
By Lambeth Hochwald; Photograph by Levi Brown