Archives / 2012

Toasting the New Year: Make mine lemonade

According to some  industry experts, sour foods with tart, acidic and bitter flavors are “in” for 2013. I am not a trendy or trendsetting cook. Tonight, however, I’m jumping on the “sour” bandwagon by choosing citrusy beverages that are heavy on the sour and light on the sweet.

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New Year's Food Traditions: Lucky Foods from Around the World

On New Year’s Day, indulging in good luck foods for prosperity and health is a time-honored custom around the world. For example, in the United States, eating black-eyed peas is a popular Southern tradition (look for our recipe for "Hoppin' John" at the end of this post).

If you’re still planning your New Year’s Eve celebration or New Year’s Day brunch and are a tiny bit superstitious, add some of these good luck foods for an inspired and eclectic menu.

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Garlic Soup Recipe

Every month or so, I join several of my CHEFS colleagues for a potluck lunch. We're all food-loving cooking enthusiasts with a diversity of kitchen experiences and cooking skills. The cooking challenge is simple: make and share healthy dishes that use fresh, seasonal ingredients and accommodate specific dietary restrictions like gluten-free and low-fat.

The centerpiece of our recent lunch was my version of Jacques Pépin‘s garlic soup recipe from an episode of Essential Pépin. The soup was a light, creamy and flavorful purée, perfect for lunch. It would also be a delicious addition to any post-holiday, game day or winter meal.

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Happy Holidays at CHEFS Mix

Happy Holidays!

From all of us at CHEFS & the CHEFS Mix Editors

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Holiday Traditions at CHEFS Mix

Holiday Traditions

We hope your Holiday Season is off to a wonderful start. Today is Christmas Eve, and our test kitchen is closed. But we gathered the team together and here are some of the Holiday Traditions that we look forward to in our homes.

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A Gift for you from Cook’s Country and CHEFS at CHEFS Mix

A Gift for you from Cook’s Country and CHEFS

If you watch the popular Cook’s Country television show on PBS, you know that CHEFS Catalog has been an underwriter since the 2011 season. Like Cook’s Country, we’re passionate about cooking and helping you use the best cooking tools and recipes to make great meals for family and friends.

To celebrate this partnership, we’re delighted to give you a set of Cook’s Country recipes handpicked for readers of CHEFS Mix.

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Recipe Ideas for Quick and Easy, Last Minute Homemade Food Gifts

Did the words “quick and easy,” “last-minute” and “homemade” in the title catch your attention? The week before Christmas, they always capture mine.

Despite my best efforts, I end up needing an unplanned gift or two. Before heading to the stores, I always check my pantry and kitchen for possible ideas – my friends really appreciate homemade food gifts from my kitchen. Over the years, I've learned that many gift-worthy recipes use readily available ingredients and take only an hour or two to make.

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Homemade Irish Cream Recipes

If you’re ready to stock your bar with store-bought Irish cream, consider making your own this year. Irish cream recipes are easy, and the liqueur is delicious over ice, in coffee or in mixed drinks. Homemade Irish Cream is also perfect for last minute gifts.

Today at CHEFS Mix, we’re sharing two recipes for homemade Irish Cream: traditional and dairy-free.

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Bread Pudding Recipe

Several years ago, if I heard the words, “bread pudding,” I immediately imagined the too sweet lump of raisin-studded, milk-soaked bread I sampled in college. Today, I adore bread pudding for dessert especially around the holidays.

What caused my change of heart?

I credit Mark Bittman, the food writer best known for his cookbook, How to Cook Everything, and his New York Times food column, “The Minimalist.”

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Lasagna at CHEFS Mix

Dinner Ideas: Lasagna

This time of year, after a busy day, shopping for gifts, and weekday activitites, getting dinner on the table can be a challenge. Try this Porcini Mushroom & Prosciutto Lasagna for a weeknight meal. About an hour is all you need to get this dinner ready to eat!

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Stocking Stuffers at CHEFS Mix

Stocking Stuffers

Favorite stocking stuffers for the cooks and bakers on your gift list!

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Cutlery: Get to know your kitchen knives

The more you know about kitchen knives, the more fun you’ll have shopping for cutlery for your own collection or gifts. Today at CHEFS Mix, we’re answering basic questions about knives and how to choose the best ones for your kitchen.

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Gift from the Kitchen: Chocolate Truffles

Homemade chocolate truffles make great gifts and stockstuffers for the chocolate lover on your gift list. Add that person's favorite flavors for a personal touch.

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What's the best cookware?

Is a cookware set for her first apartment on your niece’s wish list?
Do you want to surprise a cooking enthusiast with specialty pan that will expand his cooking repertoire?
Is choosing cookware confusing?

If you answered “yes” to at least one question, you've come to the right place. Today at CHEFS Mix, we're sharing cookware basics that will boost your confidence when picking cookware for gifts or for your own kitchen..

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Lemon Curd at CHEFS Mix

Gift from the Kitchen: Lemon Curd

Winter is finally arriving here in Colorado. Soon we will all be craving the warmth and flavors of Spring and Summer. One of my favorite winter treats is lemon curd. Creamy and tart it is delicious in a simple pie or just eaten with a spoon, it’s a taste of sunshine. If you are making gifts from your kitchen this Holiday Season, Lemon Curd is a great stocking stuffer or addition to a baking gift basket.

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Gift Ideas at CHEFS Mix

Top 10 Most Popular Kitchen Gifts

Still looking for a gift for the cooks and bakers in your life? Come see what is currently trending and popular on the site.

Looking for the perfect gift is always a challenge. Today on CHEFS Mix we are taking a look at the currently trending gifts and what makes them unique and special.

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Holiday Beverages at CHEFS Mix

Holiday Drinks to Share with a Crowd

Let your slow cooker make your warm drinks this holiday season. It's an easy way to make drinks for a crowd or a party. Hot spiced apple cider, hot chocolate, traditional wassail, & more!

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Wintertime Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Ciabatta

Ciabatta can be time consuming, but the crisp exterior and chewy interior make this bread hard to resist. Once you make it at home you won't want it from anywhere else but your own oven.

The slow cooker hearty beef stew has a twist to its preparation to keep your veggies from getting mushy.

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During the Busy Holidays, A Slow Cooker Saves the Day

During the holidays my slow cooker is a lifesaver and timesaver. Like most people, I am swamped with too many things to do. From holiday parties to shopping, there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done. When it comes to cooking, my slow cooker jumps in and saves the day.

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Peppermint Bark

Make your own peppermint bark to enjoy or give as a gift. With a 4 ingredients and a few simple tools you can make this peppermint candy for a third the cost of buying a boxed version. This recipe makes about 2 pounds of candy.

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Cookies by the Dozen - How to Store Cookies

When I bake cookies for friends and colleagues, my husband makes sure that I reserve a few dozen for him. Any other time of the year, storing a batch or two of homemade biscotti or chocolate chip cookies is a simple task. During the holidays, however, I bake a variety of crisp and soft cookies plus brownies. The last thing I want to do is dump all of them into one cookie jar. I need to keep soft cookies, soft, and crisp cookies delightfully crunchy.

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Cookies by the Dozen - Best Baking Gifts for Bakers and Cranberry Cookie Recipes

Shiny new cakes pans filled with rich chocolate batter,
Teaspoons and measuring cups for ingredients that matter,

A KitchenAid stand mixer that blends like a dream,
These are a few of my favorite things.

‘tis the season for baking, gift lists and gift-giving. Today at CHEFS Mix, we're looking at gifts for bakers and baking cookies with cranberries.

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Cookies by the Dozen - Shortbread Cookie Recipe

For the annual cookie exchange, my neighbor pours her heart into baking batch after batch of crisp shortbread, rich chocolate chip and fragrant gingerbread cookies. Then she spends an ambitious weekend decorating scores of sugar cookies in lavish designs.

She confides that, this year, her group will award a prize for the most creative presentation and packaging for a dozen cookies. “Any suggestions?” she asks me.

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Cookies by the Dozen - Sugar Cookie & Royal Icing Recipes

While growing up in California, my family’s holiday activities always included baking dozens of sugar cookies. After rolling out the buttery dough, my sisters and I cut out favorite shapes and baked them to the palest brown. Then the real fun began: decorating cookies with royal icing tinted in holiday hues and, for glitz and sparkle, colored sugar and silver dragees.

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Cookies by the Dozen - Bar Cookie Recipes

Sending boxes of homemade cookies to distant family or friends is a delicious holiday tradition. Unfortunately, “fragile” written boldly on the mailing box doesn’t guarantee your cookies will survive the trip.

If your holiday to-do list includes baking and shipping cookies, don’t stress. There are things you can do to help ensure your cookies arrive safely.

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Cookies by the Dozen - Family Favorite Recipes

If you’re just beginning your holiday baking, warm-up your idle stand mixer and let CHEFS Mix help stir your creativity. This week, we’re featuring some of our favorite holiday cookie recipes plus tips on baking, decorating, gift wrapping and shipping your bite-sized masterpieces.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

From all of us here at CHEFS, we wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.

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Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto

Most people consider risotto to be tricky to get just right. But it’s not. It’s actually really easy, although it may just take a bit of experience to raise your own confidence. Let me break down the steps to give you an idea as to how easy this dish actually is.

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Flawless Homemade Gravy

With the holidays right around the corner, no doubt you’re scouring your recipe book for the perfect gravy recipe. Growing up, I remember watching my mother make homemade gravy over the stove, carefully portioning out each ingredient to create the smoothest, most flavorful gravy. Now that I’m making holiday dinners for my own family, I’m really putting the things I learned from her into practice, especially when it comes to making flawless gravy.

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Leftovers: Love them but don't leave them on the table

Around the holidays, food safety experts remind us to handle leftovers with care. When food sits too long in the “danger zone” – between 40 and 140 degrees F (4 to 60 degrees C) – bacteria can quickly multiply, causing nasty foodborne illnesses or food poisoning.

This holiday season, let’s keep family and friends safe at our dinner or buffet tables.

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Secret Ingredients & Our "Not-So-Secret" Cranberry Sauce Recipe

An unexpected pinch of this or splash of that takes a common recipe from mundane to sublime. Family, friends and colleagues detect something different about the dish, rave about the taste and texture, but can’t name the unique ingredient. A few ask, even beg, for the recipe.

Now comes the moment of truth: do I share a signature recipe and reveal my “secret” ingredients and techniques?

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I first learned about koshari, a popular Egyptian street food, by chance. While half-watching an episode of No Reservations, I caught host, Anthony Bourdain, at a Cairo eatery savoring a tasty vegetarian meal for breakfast. He was eating koshari, often regarded as the national dish of Egypt.

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

Don’t look now but it’s already November. With the holidays looming, it’s time to begin making all the wonderful homemade food gifts you plan to give this holiday season.

High on my list of food gifts to make is homemade vanilla extract, a perfect hostess gift or thank you gift.  I simply pour the extract into a small amber glass bottle and add a handwritten label and festive ribbon.

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CHEFS Mix Commonly Asked Questions—So far…

You have been sharing questions, comments, and suggestions. You have also been sharing a few frustrations. We read every email and every suggestion, and wanted to give you a short update on what is happening behind the scenes.

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The Right Tool for the Task: Carving Knives plus How to Carve a Turkey

Have you ever used your beloved chef’s knife to carve brisket, roast beef or ham, only to get uneven, shredded slices? While a chef’s knife is ideal for chopping, dicing and mincing, its thick, wide blade doesn’t excel at slicing poultry and meat. What you need is a carving knife.

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The Right Tool for the Task: Roasting Pans and Roasting Racks

A heavy duty, high quality roasting pan is an essential piece of cookware especially around the holidays.  Add a roasting rack and you’re ready to roast turkey, goose, beef roast or ham for a holiday buffet and chicken for a weekday dinner.

If you’re shopping for a new roasting pan or roasting rack, here are the three key things to consider.

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CHEFS Holiday Giveaway, Kicking-off the Holiday Season Right!

Holidays are just around the corner, and CHEFS is kicking-off our annual Holiday Giveaway. This year we have two extra-special prizes that you do not want to miss! I promise, you are going to want to share this opportunity with all of your friends & family!

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Beet Chips

What do you do with bunches and bunches of fresh beets? Make batches and batches of beet chips.

This summer, I purchased a CSA (community supported agriculture) veggie share for the first time. After work on Thursdays, I dashed over to my pickup location. Like a contestant on Food Network’s Chopped, I couldn’t wait to open my box and inspect the contents: fresh, locally grown produce for a week’s worth of meals. And, beets. Bunches and bunches of fresh beets. Traditional red and heirloom Chioggia.

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8 Tips for Planning Your Holiday Menu

Holiday party. Thanksgiving dinner. New Year’s brunch. Each sounds exciting if someone invites you but maybe a bit intimidating if you’re the host.

If you are hosting the party, don’t panic. Whether the event is your first cocktail party or tenth consecutive Thanksgiving dinner, the secret to serving an unforgettable meal is advance planning.

Here are 8 tips to help you jumpstart the meal planning process.

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Rustic Apple Tart

Bakers, turn on your ovens and celebrate. Baking season is finally here.

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Bacon Jam

Game day in November means two things: football and food.

When it comes to football, any college or pro game will do. When it comes to food, a casual menu easily satisfies my husband or a roomful of football fans. On my laziest weekends, grilled hot dogs served on lightly toasted buns make a perfect meal. Each person has a favorite condiment mix, from mustard only to piled high with all the fixings. 

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