What kind of wine should you serve with turkey? It can be quite a challenge to find something to complement the strong flavors of sweet yet cranberry sauce and savory stuffings. Try a light, fruity red with a touch of acid. Popular picks include a fruity Zinfandel or an earthy Pinot Noir. If you’d rather serve your meal with white wine, pick a Sauvignon. It has a good acidity level with a touch of herbs. Many recommend the Dry Riesling, which has a delicate sweetness that complements the food.
Drinks: the life of the party. And who wouldn’t love a combination of life’s two greatest pleasures, chocolate and alcohol? Serve this chocolate martini with a bowl of fresh strawberries for a truly impressive party. Or skip the party, stay home (at least you don’t have to wear heels!) and celebrate on your own. Cheers!
For one serving combine:
1 1/2 shots GodivaÂ® chocolate liqueur
1 1/2 shots creme de cacao
1/2 shot vodka
2 1/2 shots half-and-half
Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. You can decorate the drink with a swirl of Hershey’s syrup, or dip the rim of the glass into melted chocolate then sugar. Enjoy!
Here’s a fun (and yummy!) activity you can do with your kids — a gingerbread house! You can even make your creation the centerpiece of your family holiday celebrations. Try not to eat all the candy, though — it’s for the house, remember? Get decorating ideas and the original recipe.
3/4 cup butter
7/8 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground allspice
6 egg whites
4 (16 ounce) packages confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1. Shape the frame of the house out of cardboard. Measurements are: a side wall, 4 1/2 x 8 inches; an end wall, 4 1/2×5 inches; a triangular gable, 4 1/2x3x3 inches; and a roof rectangle, 4 1/2×9 inches.
2. Tape the rectangular end wall piece to the triangular gable piece.
3. Match the long side of the triangle, 4 1/2 inches, to one of the 4 1/2 inch sides of the end wall.
4. Now comes the baking. Get a large bowl and cream the butter and sugar until it becomes fluffy and light.
5. Throw in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and molasses.
6. Slowly beat in the two eggs.
7. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and spices together.
8. Stir the powdered ingredients above into the creamed mixture.
9. Wrap dough in parchment paper, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
10. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.
11. Divide the dough into into 6. Two of the pieces must be larger.
12. Dust flour over a table. Roll out the 4 smaller pieces to approximately the size of the side wall and the end wall with gable templates; cut out two of each.
13. Roll out remaining dough, and cut into two rectangular roof pieces.
14. Transfer gingerbread onto greased baking trays.
15. In a preheated 375 degree F (190 degrees C) oven, bake gingerbread for 10 minutes, or until crisp. When removing from the oven, leave the gingerbread on the baking trays for a few minutes to set, then transfer to wire racks. Leave out overnight to harden.
16. In a large bowl, lightly whisk 2 egg whites. Gradually beat in approximately 5 cups confectioners’ sugar. The icing should be smooth and stand in firm peaks.
17. Spread or pipe a 9 inch line of icing onto a cake board, and press in one of the side walls so that it sticks firmly and stands upright. If necessary, spread or pipe a little extra icing along either side to help support it.
18. Take an end wall and ice both the side edges. Spread or pipe a line of icing on the board at a right angle to the first wall, and press the end wall into position. Repeat this process with the other two walls until they are all in position. Leave the walls to harden together for at least two hours before putting on the roof. Spread or pipe a thick layer of icing on top of all the walls, and fix the roof pieces in position; the roof should overlap the walls to make the eaves. Pipe or spread a little icing along the crest of the roof to hold the two pieces firmly together. Leave overnight to set firmly.
19. When ready to decorate, make the remaining icing. In a large bowl, lightly whisk 4 egg whites, and mix in remaining confectioners’ sugar as before. Use this to make snow on the roof, and to stick various candies for decoration. Finish with a fine dusting of sifted confectioners’ sugar.
Gravy — deceptively simple, but so easy to mess up. It can get too lumpy, too watery, too bland, too salty. Even when you follow a recipe to the letter, you look at the muddy mixture coagulating in your pan, and wonder, “What the heck happened?” Here are some things that can help.
It’s too greasy!
Grab a wide spoon and skim off the fat.
It tastes like chalk!
You probably didn’t cook the floor properly. When you mix in the flour, don’t leave it. Instead, whisk well while you cook it (should turn a beautiful brown, and emit a rich nutty scent). If you did that and it still didn’t work, crank up the heat and let the gravy simmer for a couple more minutes, adding water if you need to.
No solution except to sieve, sieve, sieve.
It’s too watery!
Reduce the liquid by simmering the mixture over high heat.You can also mix together flour and butter, then slowly adding it as you whisk vigorously.
Where’s the flavor?
Add coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.
With Thanksgiving round the corner, it’s time to think about perfecting your turkey. Here are some quick tips:
Choosing the size
Allocate about 3/4 pound per person — generous servings, but with little leftovers. If you want extras for midnight snacks and sandwiches, plan on 1 to 1.5 pounds per person.
Hens or Toms?
There’s no big difference, except the size. Hens weigh less than 16 pounds, toms weigh over it.
Choose a young turkey who reached just a few weeks old, to get a moist and tender mouthful.
Remove the giblets and neck, then wash the turkey with cold water. If you prepared stuffing, don’t overpack the bird, and don’t forget to clamp the legs. Then, place in a roasting pan, cover with a lid or a foil tent, and set the timer. You need to cook 15 minutes per pound, and an additional half hour if you stuffed the turkey. If you want golden brown skin, remove this cover an hour before removing the turkey from the oven, and baste the bird every hour.
You can have your cake — and your chocolate too. A simple fondue recipe to impress guests, or cap a romantic dinner.
12 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Amaretto liqueur (optional)
Bite sized pieces of fruit or cake
Combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Stirring constantly, cook for about two minutes, or until melted and smooth. Add the vanilla and liqueur. Serve with the fruit and cake.
You’ve got the fireplace going, and holiday cookies fresh from the oven. The only thing missing? Coffee. “Whip” up a big mug of this special Irish treat in minutes.
Creamy Irish Coffee
4 cups of fresh coffee
1 cup of whipping cream.
½ cup of Irish whiskey.
¼ cup of sugar.
2 tablespoons of Sugar.
2 tablespoons of Irish whiskey.
In a saucepan, add 4 cups of strong fresh coffee, ½ cup of Irish whiskey and ¼ cup sugar. Heat up, but do not boil.
Whip 1 cup of whipping cream until it is light, then beat in 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of whiskey. Pour the coffee into coffee mugs and spoon the cream on top. Serve.
St. Patrick’s Day is this coming Saturday & is one of my favorite holidays. I mean, come on, how often do you get to pinch people & get away with it?!
This fabulous St. Patrick’s Day Pot O’ Gold Rainbow Cupcakes Recipe is easy to make & is really great for any weekend parties you may be having. Enjoy!
- A cooled cupcake
- Grass-green frosting (for rainbow)
- Several flavors of Airheads candies
- A pot’s worth of gold coins
1. To make one, first top a cooled cupcake (baked from your favorite recipe) with grass-green frosting.
2. For the rainbow, use a large, heavy knife (parents only) to cut a long, narrow strip from each of several flavors of Airheads candies (this is sticky stuff, so work on waxed paper). Lay the strips side by side, press them together, then cut the ribbon of strips in half to make two rainbows.
3. Curve each one into an arch and trim the ends as shown. Set one rainbow upright on the cupcake (save the other for another cupcake) and deposit a pot’s worth of gold coins at one end. If necessary, place a gold coin behind the rainbow for support. And you’re done!
You’re not the traditional type, are you? I can sense that you’re trying to stay away from those every-yearers like yule logs & fruitcake and take on some new holiday fun. Am I right? Well then, do I have just the thing for you.
This Nordicware Christmas Tree Pan creates a wonder of a treat that will have your family & guests talking for ages. To make a holiday gift worth smiles all around, take on this 3-D Christmas Tree Cake & you won’t regret it! All you have to do is put your cake batter in each tree slot, bake & assemble the two sides together. How easy is that? Just make sure you grease up those sides good so you won’t be left with half of a half of a Christmas Tree! Cost, $40.
Holidays are a great excuse to get in the kitchen & make all kinds of creative sweets. With this Brownie Bundt Pan from Williams-Sonoma I thought we could do just about anything with it.
For Fourth of July, bake some cupcakes in the pan & decorate with red, white & blue frosting. Prepare miniature pumpkin cakes by putting one on top of the other for Halloween or Thanksgiving. And just add holiday pudding to make your special year-end festivities really sparkle.
A wonderful gift for anyone in the family, or just go ahead & keep it for yourself- I won’t tell!
A new kid is in town for Halloween. Hershey has introduced Halloween Costume Kisses this year. This little guys are all the rage and I can’t wait to get my mouth around one!
Right now the Costume Kisses are only available on the Hershey website, but I’m thinking that the closer we get to Halloween, we’ll be seeing these kisses all around the stores.
All I can say is that we’re going to be the most wanted house this year for trick-or-treating!
Eat well & Laugh often– and have a wonderful weekend!