With Thanksgiving barely over and leftovers still smouldering in the fridge, theres no better time to start thinking and planning for the next big day ahead – Christmas!!
Ok, call me a bit of a sadist, but unlike Thanksgiving which really only involves a singular meal (maybe you were even lucky this year and played guest and not chef) , Christmas is so much more, especially so if you have a family with little children.
You know what I’m talking about – stockings, tree, decorations, outfits, parties, pantomimes and presents – to a list which seems to get longer every year! So yes, early preparations for this particular holiday does make good sense.
And since this blog is about chefs and therefore food, I’ll be posting about some of my favourite celeb chefs’ Christmas menus. Depending on your mood, gathering and needs this year, you can decide early on what tickles your fancy most. After all, Christmas is the season for celebration, joy, and splashing out indulgently – as Nigella so rightly reminds us in her Christmas Menu below.
“I think the mistake people make most when entertaining is to get too fancy with the food. No one is ever too sophisticated for the basic pleasures of home cooking, and there is something about those old favorites that makes everyone feel a little leap of joy in the heart………The whole point of a feast is that it is unnecessarily abundant”
Perfect Roast Potatoes
Petits Pois � la Fran�aise
Green Bean and Lemon Casserole
Standing Rib Roast
For recipes, start HERE.
Here’s the perfect gift or home decor for a celebrity chef fan — cartoons inspired by celebrity chefs. These prints would look really cute framed and hung in the kitchen or dining area.
Get great tips on making the perfect drink from master bartender Eben Freeman. Great for your fourth of July party.
A perfect gift for anyone who loves cooking shows and celebrity chefs. No, not kitchen knives or another “Kiss the Cook” apron — but Celebrity Chef the Game. It’s been described as “a combination of Cranium and Bravo’s Top Chef.”
This trivia-based board game lets you test your trivia knowhow and navigate the tricky ladder up to stardom: endorsements, awards, TV deals, and the occassional mad critic. It’s fun and educational. Sample question:
Q:Which of these is a possible designation for wine?
A) Dolphin safe
B) Rabbit safe
C) Salmon safe
Celebrity chef Cat Cora, known for her online cooking show “Chef to the Rescue” and being the first female Iron Chef, gives a great solution for leftover turkey: put it in soup. Soup mixes add moisture to turkey that usually gets dry and petrified when placed in the fridge. Here’s one of her favorite recipes
4 slices Oscar Mayer Bacon
3 cups sliced leeks, white and tender green parts (alternatives are scallions or green onions)
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered
Salt and white pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked turkey meat, chopped
1/2 cup Breakstone’s or Knudsen Sour Cream
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives or flat-leaf parsley
Triscuit Rosemary & Olive Oil Crackers, for serving
Heat a soup pot over medium flame. Toss in bacon and cook till crisp. Remove (drain the oil on a towel) and then add leeks and garlic to the bacon drippings left in the pot. Cook, stirring often, for three minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and add potatoes. Cover the pot, allowing it to simmer till the vegetables are tender (usually takes half an hour). Remove from the heat.
Puree the soup (with a hand blender or food processer). Return the soup to the heat and fold in the turkey meat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve in soup bowls topped with a dollop of sour cream, crumbled bacon and sprinkling of fresh chives or parsley. Serve immediately with crackers.
Many adults don’t want their kids in the kitchen. They are afraid that the kids will get hurt. They might burn themselves or cut themselves while working on a dish. Parents have a 101 fears about what could happen to their kids and they often see the kitchen as an accident prone area.
What many parents often don’t realize is that kids want to be in the kitchen, helping to make the meals. They love being legally messy – as most dishes can be. They enjoy getting to taste everything first and putting their hands in things. Best of all, they enjoy being with you and experienceing the joy of watching the family relish their cooking.
Get your kid started on making great meals from your kitchen. Make it a family affair. Use recipes from cookbooks like Emeril Lagasse’s “There’s A Chef In My Soup!” There’s A Chef In My Family!” or There’s A Chef In My World!” and you may be amazed at how well your kids do, how delicious the food is and how easy it was to make.
Cooking is best practiced if it has been something that was experienced from the start especially during childhood. Such is the story of one of the glamorous personalities to grace TV cooking shows in the mold of Silvana Franco. Franco trained as a chef at High Peak College in Buxton and obtained a degree in Home Economy at South Bank University.
Silvana started out writing for BBC Worldwide in its Vegetarian Good Food Magazine. She made this her cup of tea until she was elevated to a senior writer. She soon graced the TV sets for such shows as Gourmet Express 2, Ready Steady to Cook and Two�s Saturday Kitchen. But despite her continuous rise to stardom, she never let go of her writing which include that of Can�t Cook, Won�t Cook, Ainsley�s Big Cook Out and Friends for Dinner.
She also runs a food media company called Fork, proof of her continued love and loyalty in the field of cooking.
Chef Mary Berry started out as a broadcaster and is known to be one of the well-respected cookbook writers that the United Kingdom has produced. She is also known for her signature cakes which sold over 350,000 copies. Chef Berry typifies the role of a plain housewife who should know her way around the household, something that most of her avid viewers have followed in her shows over BBC.
Outside her evident signature trait of making extra ordinary cake recipes, she has also written over 40 cook books including The Aga Book. Her approach towards cooking is branded as family style emphasizing on healthy recipes that focus on fresh ingredients rather than cholesterol animal fats, something that most people of today are quite particular about. With her exposure on various TV shows, Chef Berry has gained headway and prestige, all through her continuous efforts through tri-media, including magazines that are bought worldwide.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver is known to be the executive vice president of the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation and honorary chairperson for the Special Olympics. Her main goal is to be able to provide support in enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities all throughout the world. With such efforts comes a moniker that is used by people to associate with certain bake goodies.
Such was the tag given to an extra ordinary way of presenting the usual baked cookies that people are used to. While the recipes for preparing such are almost similar to that of mixing baking powder, vanilla, cream butter and sugar, the twist comes in when the butter is brushed and sugar is sprinkled to produce the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Sugar Cookies. This recipe was originally founded in 1989 during the Winter Games which contain heavy cream for the people who savor their sweet tooth demands.
The year is about to end and you’d like to say goodbye to 2006 with a bang, and something delicious and different on the table. Only question now is, what to cook? Don’t give yourself a headache, check out some of the recipes the chefs recommend for this special dinner.
If you’ve only got 30 minutes, then who better to ask than Rachael Ray who hosts 30 Minute Meals. Her Crab Salad Bites on Endive are easy to make and a delicious way to get started at your party.
If pasta is something you want on the table and stay in the seafood theme, why not try some of Bobby Flay’s Sea Bass with Potatoes and Tomatoes in Parchment with Angel Hair Pasta. This is absolutely delicious and healthy. Chef Flay also recommends the Arugula Salad with Lemon and Olive Oil to go with this dish.
A fancy dinner doesn’t have to be hard to make. In fact Tyler Florence says you can make this Filet Mignon with Mushrooms and Sauce Pinot Noir in just 20 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how quick and easy this recipe is and how wonderful it tastes.
Don’t forget to get some good champagne to welcome in the new year with. Put on your party hats, enjoy the food and the fireworks and sing Auld Lang Syne.