Tag Archives: The Bitten Word

3 Fantastic Food Blogs | gThankYou! Favorites

As winter weather drags on, finding inspiration in the kitchen can get a little harder.

Sweet potatoes, again?

Sweet potatoes, again?

On one hand, in my kitchen is often where I most want to be, next to the heat of the stove and a ready pot of tea. I’m the hunkering-down sort. I tend to bake too much, drink too much hot chocolate, and make endless variations on roast chicken and risotto.

On the other hand, winter in colder climates is one of the most discouraging times for produce. By March, I am tired of winter squash and potatoes. I have no more ideas for kale. I want something new.

That is where these food blogs come in. Visit any of these websites and let Deb Perelman, Heidi Swanson and Joy Wilson inspire and engage you with their vivid photographs and active imaginations.

9780307595652_custom-683a87e207903e45bbbd8a85df5d00c2e7502387-s6-c10I became a fan of Smitten Kitchen in a backwards way. I had heard of Deb Perelman, the New York-based author of the popular tiny kitchen blog, in passing via recipes from friends. But it wasn’t until I read about (and subsequently cooked) her lasagna bolognese in Best Food Writing 2012 and then impulsively bought her gorgeous new cookbook that I became a true SK convert.

A great blog is a combination of look and voice. Perelman takes all her own photos, and they’re beautiful, from a colorful mixed citrus salad with feta and mint to the French onion tart posted just this month. Her tone is self-deprecating and funny.

Her husband is “such a tidy eater … I comparatively eat with the grace of a Hoover.” She has a category on the blog called “disasters,” and writes about one set of them, “They’re not inedible. … They’re just not wonderful or magical or seriously, why have you not dropped everything yet and run to your kitchen to get this started?

Smitten Kitchen is organized for maximum ease — recipes are grouped by season, as well as by type (pancakes, dumplings), ingredient (eggs, apples) and cuisine (Indian, Italian). Now is the perfect time to try pancetta, white bean and chard pot pies, or “hibernation fare,” pasta with sausage, tomatoes and mushrooms.

SwansonFor healthier, I’m-sticking-to-my-New-Year’s-resolutions dishes, my absolute favorite blog is Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks. Swanson is the essence of inspirational, raving about her farmer’s market finds and offering simple substitutions for almost everything she makes.

Because of Swanson’s blog (and her two cookbooks, Super Natural Cooking and Super Natural Every Day), orzo has become a pantry staple, for potluck salads and easy weeknight dinners. I am no longer afraid of tofu, and I am shamelessly addicted to kale.

Following 101 Cookbooks is a great way to incorporate more grains into your diet in interesting, easy ways, from scones to warm noodle bowls. Start reading before spring, and you’ll be ready for every peapod and asparagus spear that crosses your path.

On the opposite end of the “virtuous” spectrum is Joy the Baker, a delightfully hedonistic blog full of cupcakes, cookies and lots of dark chocolate. Ina Garten is her kindred. (And yes, Joy has a cookbook too. It’s lovely.)

Joy baker

Photo from Joy the Baker

The site’s author, Joy Wilson, is perhaps best known for her sweets, but the first thing I made from her website was savory: this creme fraiche/bacon/gruyere quiche with a puff pastry crust, which simultaneously satisfied my craving for creme fraiche (like a mild sour cream) and something different to make with eggs.

I am intrigued by Wilson’s dark chocolate, pistachio and smoked sea salt cookies, the oatmeal sandwich cookies with creamy peanut butter filling and her roasted strawberry buttermilk cake, which transforms strawberries “from summer fruit to warm, soft candy.”

Maybe strawberries aren’t quite in season yet, but that sounds like the perfect cake to snap me out of my winter funk.

A few other food blogs to try and enjoy:

Wishing you spring weather soon!

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog – “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou
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5 Ways to Glaze a Holiday Ham

Preparing a Christmas ham, especially if it’s been conveniently pre-smoked or cured for you, is about the easiest thing you can do for a centerpiece. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add a little something to it—namely, a sweet, decadent glaze to make your ham that much more delicious.

Here are five tips from food bloggers we love on how to make your ham even more dazzling this holiday.

1. Blackberry- and mustard-glazed ham, from The Cottage Home

With just four ingredients (blackberry preserves, whole-grain mustard, apple cider, and a precooked ham), this holiday entrée couldn’t be simpler. Blogger Lindsay reports that it’s “a great crowd-pleasing ham … even my husband, who would much prefer some type of red meat, absolutely loved it.”

ColesHam

Credit Curtis Stone

2. Roasted fresh ham with maple spice glaze, from Leite’s Culinaria

This recipe is for a fresh ham, but you could use the maple glaze with cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg on a precooked one, too. Prepared simply by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, this ham is roasted in the oven with little fuss. One 8- to 10-lb. ham will feed “6 teenage boys, 16 adults, or 26 twenty-something models.”

3. Red currant-pomegranate glazed ham, from Taking On Magazines (One Recipe at a Time)

The Mom Chef ham

From The Mom Chef

“I may not make ham in any other way again,” writes a blogger who calls herself the Mom Chef, describing this recipe. Pomegranate juice “infuses” the ham with flavor, with an assist from red currant jelly, brown sugar, and Dijon mustard.

Also, it’s made in a slow cooker, which frees the oven for other pursuits.

4. Pineapple mustard-glazed ham from The Bitten Word

“Ham and pineapple is, of course, a classic combo,” write the Bitten Word boys, venerable magazine-recipe-testers and entertaining blog hosts. “Adding country-style whole-grain mustard keeps this glaze from being too sickly sweet, and using fresh pineapples rescues the ham from Kennedy-era cliches—or at least it clears your conscience.”

As originally printed in Martha Stewart Living magazine, this glaze is made with fresh pineapple cooked in a simple syrup (sugar/water), and the ham itself is drizzled with white wine and studded with cloves. Perfect.

Jamie cooks it up

From Jamie Cooks It Up

5. Orange-glazed ham with mustard sauce from Jamie Cooks It Up

Jamie, the intrepid host of Jamie Cooks It Up, posted this recipe right before Christmas last year, advising readers to “pair it with a simple-to-make mustard sauce and your main course will be singing a new song of gladness.”

The glaze is a simple combination of butter, brown sugar, honey, orange juice, cinnamon and cloves. It’s like the best of all the previous recipes combined.

Your biggest challenge is which of these delectable glazes to choose – enjoy and happy holidays!

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Thanksgiving Dinner Planning Starts NOW: Mining the Food Magazines

It’s time. The Thanksgiving-themed glossy food magazines have arrived!

I love these covers. The birds themselves are always quite beautiful, burnished golden and ornamented with grapes and figs and sprigs of thyme. (I’ve decided not to worry about what advanced techniques may have made them so attractive. Food photography is a magician’s craft, and it works like magic — good enough for me.)

This is also where being a minor magazine collector comes in handy. Every year I return to my growing stash of Thanksgiving-themed mags, finding new inspiration and ideas. My personal favorite: Bon Appetit, November 2009 (top row, center):

I know, they all kind of blur together, don’t they? Here are a few of my favorite recipes (with more to come!) to help you get started planning your Thanksgiving feast:

Salted roast turkey with herbs and shallot-Dijon gravy, by Rick Rodgers, Bon Appetit, November 2008: This is hands down my favorite way to prepare Thanksgiving turkey.

Photo by Tim Morris for Bon Appetit

The salt dry rub is much easier than a wet brine (no watery mess!) and the rosemary, sage and thyme are a classic holiday combination that make the meat incredibly flavorful. Read the comments for more ideas and tips, but you really can’t go wrong here.

Salted roast turkey with orange, fall spices and sherry gravy from the same issue uses the same technique, but with an Asian twist; spices include star anise, Szechuan peppercorns, clove, coriander, fennel seed, cinnamon and orange peel.

Roast heritage turkey with bacon, sage and herb butter; Bon Appetit, November 2008: It’s the compound butter that makes this bird, studded with thyme, sage, lemon peel and applewood-smoked bacon. You can change-up the recommended vegetables (onion, celery, fennel, carrots and apples) with whatever you like best.

Photo by Elinor Carucci for Bon Appetit

Shown above, sourdough stuffing with sausage, apples and golden raisins by Jeanne Thiel Kelley; Bon Appetit, November 2009: It’s important to use a good hearty sourdough here, ideally from a bakery (not the grocery). Let it sit out for a day or two before assembling this dressing. Tart baking apples are best in this.

Roasted brussels sprouts with pomegranate seeds and vanilla pecan butter, from “Throwdown with Bobby Flay (episode: Thanksgiving Feast, November 2010): I know the combination of cabbage-y brussel sprouts and sweet pecan butter seems weird, but trust me. This will change your life. (And as a bonus you end up with pomegranate molasses, which is truly amazing on ice cream.)

Photo by Randy Mayor for Cooking Light

Brussels sprouts with crisp prosciutto; Cooking Light, December 2003: An easier take on the sprouts. Sub bacon if necessary.

Butternut squash and cheddar bread pudding, by Molly Wizenberg; Bon Appetit, November 2oo9: A perfect main dish for the vegetarians at your Thanksgiving table, this wonderful recipe combines sharp cheddar cheese, Tuscan kale and lots of eggs for a divinely rich entrée.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing ideas for green salads and sweet potato side dishes and exploring the many aspects of your holiday turkey, from brining to carving, plus the best recipe sites and who to ask for help.

For more magazine recipe testing, check out the guys at The Bitten Word. Each year they do a “Fakesgiving” where they invite over family and friends to try out holiday recipes from that year’s food magazines. It’s pretty great.

What are some of your magazine recipe favorites for Thanksgiving?  Be sure to check back as we will have more to share!

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC