Archive for the ‘ food ’ Category

The Thanksgiving of Sports

Don your helmets, bring on the jerseys, call your friend with the huge screen TV and don’t forget massive amounts of goodies – it’s Super Bowl! Super Bowl is the Thanksgiving of Sports; when it comes to snacks for the day, there needs to be plenty of them. Here are my ideas for what to cook up for the big game!

Chicken Wings are hot! They have become the food of choice and rank as the most popular food for Super Bowl gatherings. Alton Brown shares his recipe for the best chicken wings on Food Network; his secret – cook them twice. If you are looking for some new twists on the classic hot wing, check out this Squidoo page for ideas.

Football Fans will love these Meatball Parmigiana Sliders and Cheesesteaks with Peppers and Onions from Delish.

On to dips! Check out Rachel Rays Lucky 7 Layer Dip.  Another all time favorite is Guacamole. Bobby Flay has a yummy recipe that will have all your guests saying “Ole!” Guaranteed to disappear quickly is Dill Dip in Rye Bread; make sure to start this recipe the day before so the flavors can meld.

Don’t forget to put out some bowls of snack mix! Check out these ideas from Cooking Light.

Oreo-Football-Cookie-Balls-52162Finally, and perhaps most important (at least in my book), dessert! Score one for the team with Oreo Football Cookies; easy, fun and perfect for the day. These Touchdown Cupcakes will definitely clear the field.  Or you can just take everything yummy, throw it in a bowl and you’ll have Kitchen Sink Super Bowl Bars – your team will totally be cheering you on when they taste these.

Enjoy the game, the food, the commercials, the social media and the fun!!! And may your team win – go team!


Hey Turkey!

Next week we will wake up to parades, move onto football, and take part in an amazing meal with friends and family. Thanksgiving 2012 is here! The centerpiece of the day is the turkey, so with that in mind I thought I would share some pro tips on baking the best bird your guests have yet to taste! Be aware of the time, as you will need plenty of it before actually putting the turkey in the oven to bake.  You will want to start preparations the day before.

  • Preparing your turkey ahead of time can make a world of difference. Elizabeth Prueitt of Bar Tartine suggests a mixture of 1 cup of kosher salt, ½ cup light brown sugar, 2 Tbs of crushed juniper berries, and 2 tsp of crushed allspice berries.
  • In a large stockpot, add these ingredients to 1 gallon of broth and cook over medium high heat until boiling. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Several pros suggest placing the brine into a 5 gallon container, along with one gallon of ice water. Next carefully place the turkey, cleaned out and dry, breast side down, into the brine, making sure the cavity is filled.
  • Carefully set the turkey into the refrigerator allowing the turkey to bathe overnight, 8 – 16 hours.
  • When it is time to bake, remove from the brine (which should then be discarded), pat the turkey dry and place it into it’s baking pan.
  • Don’t put that turkey in the oven right away! According to Thomas Keller of Per Se, it’s best to allow the turkey to come down to room temperature. To give you an idea, a 20-pound turkey should sit for about 2 hours before going into the oven.
  • Tom Colicchio of Craft says that the secret to a perfect turkey is to start the turkey at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, then to turn down the temperature to 325 degrees for the remainder of the baking time.  He also says to baste the turkey often, every 10 minutes, and use lots of butter and herbs (I like this guy). Check out his recipe!
  • Finally, let the turkey rest about 20 minutes before slicing. Yum! Your guests are going to feel so honored.

Do not forget dessert! Yes, the turkey may be the main attraction, but dessert also gets top billing in my book. By all means make sure to have pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream. And why stop at one dessert? I came across this recipe for Pumpkin Bread Pudding and I am thinking that it sounds too good not to pass up.

You’re only a week away from turkey prep time. I hope I helped you a bit with creating your amazing holiday menu. From your friendly Site Selection Specialist – Jill Stone!

*Thank you to Kiri Tannenbaum for the image!

Food Trends – Some Happened, Some Did Not?

I came across an article in Huffington Post from this past January talking about food trends in 2012. I travel to plenty of places during a given year and I have to say that I have yet to see many of these come to pass.  You may want to check out all 16 of the predicted trends. Here are the ones that caught my attention:

The first food prediction claims that mini gourmet donuts were to be the next “cupcake.” Donuts with flavors such as Crème Brulee and Chai Latte were to take over the gourmet cupcake scene. In my neck of the woods there are plenty of cupcake places; Jilly’s, The Cup, and Sweet Art come to mind. I have yet to come across any Gourmet Donuts places. So, I decided to see if it had hit in any other areas. I did find a spattering; of these, I wouldn’t mind seeing Utah’s Beyond Glaze come to my town. This next place may have good donuts, but its name is rather unfortunate: Gourdough’s. Alas, it seems the gourmet donut has yet to see its heyday. I say recycle this prediction for 2013.

Another trend prediction was Posh Pork Scratchings. I am in no hurry to find out any more. (But if you must, check out this site.)

Edible dirt. Yes, edible dirt. This was predicted by a food blogger named Andre Dang, who says the following, “Using dried, dirt-like infusions of pine needles, douglas fir and eucalyptus to flavor sauces and broths, adding an earthy taste to our dinner.” I am sure Andre Dang is a fine food blogger; in fact one look at his blog woke up my taste buds a bit. Edible dirt, however…..I’m thinking this one should pass by the way-side.

Baguettes to go is apparently a hit in France, soon to hit the UK, have not seen it in the USA. These are 24-hour baguette dispensers, you put some “dough” in the machine and out comes bread. This one, well, I like it. Why not? Though I am thinking a 24-hour Platform Shoe Dispensers may be a much bigger hit (and they should include a frequent buyer program).

Pie-Pops were to follow up Cake-Pops. As a dessert lover, this one should definitely be taken seriously. Recycle this one for 2013 as well.

Molecular Cooking or Molecular Gastronomy is where Science Class meets HomeEc. This is a thing! There are blogs, online communities, restaurants, even at home kits all dedicated to Bunsen burner bakeries and petri dish dining.  I have yet to try it, but must say that the food looks like something Chef Spock may cook up.

With that I say, “Dine Well and Prosper!” Share your food thoughts with me on Facebook!


*Thank you to Ghandoora’s Blogspot for the image!

Festivals for Foodies

Food is included at most, if not all festivals! But some festivals are created around food. Here are some interesting festivals about the nation that you may want to check out:

  • National Cherry Festival is celebrated at Traverse City, Michigan. It will be here before you know it, so head on over soon (July 7 – 14). There is plenty of music, an air show and tons of other entertainment lined up for the week. Oh, there is also an app for that.
  • Slugburger Festival is also coming up, so book your tickets and head on over to Corinth, Mississippi (July 7 – 9). What’s that? What’s a Slugburger? Thankfully, it is not made from slugs, instead it is a patty made from beef or pork and soybean grits, then deep fried, served on a bun with mustard, pickles, and an onion ring. Wow! Hold me back!
  • Yarmouth Clam Festival (July 20 – 22) in Maine features clams, but also many other foods! As well, there are plenty of other activities, including a craft and art show, parades, kayak races and more.
  • Gilroy Garlic Festival (July 27 – 29) in California will be the best place to be if you are looking to steer clear of vampires (lol!). There are recipe contests and cookoffs, a Miss Gilroy contest, music for every taste and garlic goodies galore. Take a look at who thinks they can cook with garlic with videos posted to their Facebook Fan Page!

Watermelon lovers will gather (August 23 – 25) in Winterville, North Carolina for the Watermelon Festival. Talented folks can sign up for a chance to be a Watermelon Idol. Expect to see some beautifully carved watermelons, enjoy plenty of music and plenty of fun!

If you could have a festival around any food, what would it be? Cheesecake, sardines, oranges? Tell me on my Facebook Page!

*Image found at the Watermelon Fest Photo Gallery.

Hunger Games

Creating a well-rounded menu for your meeting can mean the difference between attendees that are lively and energized or attendees that more closely resemble a hoard of walking dead zombies (eeek!). Welcome to the Hunger Games ala Meeting Planning.

Here are some helpful ideas to keep in mind for your next event. These menu hints will keep your group humming and alert all day long!

  • Breakfast: Steer clear of continental. Instead think protein, complex carbs and whole grain. Some good options are yogurt with fruit, veggie omelets, or an oatmeal “bar” with a selection of yummy toppers like berries and nuts.
  • Lunch: Hearty sandwiches made with whole grain breads, fresh meats, veggies and dip, and interesting condiments like flavored mustards and relishes.
  • Hot Lunch/Dinner: Lean meats like grilled chicken breasts in a light sauce, seafood in a citrus glaze, lightly sautéed vegetables and whole grain rolls. Another idea is a whole grain pasta in marinara sauce with meatballs made from lean ground beef.
  • Beverages: Outside the standard beverages, consider interesting flavored hot and ice teas (not flavored with sugary syrups, however), or sparkling water with a splash of cranberry or pomegranate juice. Make sure to have plenty of water! Dehydration makes for tired people.
  • Breaks: Hummus with pita, crudites, mozzarella cheese sticks, nuts, whole grain pretzel sticks with honey mustard, fresh fruit smoothies and protein bars.
  • Desserts: Fresh fruit served with a bit of gourmet real vanilla bean ice cream is a nice choice. Of course, it could also be said that a good dessert feeds the soul, so perhaps chocolate lava cakes or caramel cheesecake is in order!

Win at the Hunger Games for your hungry gang! What menu items have you served to win over your attendees?