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the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. A time to give thanks for all of life’s blessings and share a bountiful feast with loved ones. As a member of the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection, I was invited to a special Thanksgiving-themed live taping of The Chew, that will air on ABC at 1PM on Wednesday, November 21st. Be sure to look for me at the Tasting Table, gobbling up dishes from all the co-hosts :)
Throughout the taping, the entire cast and production crew made the experience a complete blast, while co-hosts Mario Batali, Carla Hall, Michael Symon, Daphne Oz and Clinton Kelly also provided incredible holiday mealtime inspiration and helpful entertaining tips. All the wonderful Thanksgiving recipes and ideas that The Chew crew shared can be found at ABC.com/TheChew.
One of the show’s recipe standouts was Carla’s cranberry pear relish, which she generously scooped over her brined carved turkey. It was perfectly tart, sweet and zesty all in one—and complimented the poultry beautifully. The below is Carla’s recipe to a tee, with my additions of nutmeg and cloves (two of my favorite fall flavors), some mandarin oranges for extra sweetness, and grated lemon peel garnish. Enjoy!
Cranberry Pear Orange Chutney (adapted from Carla Hall’s recipe)
Place onions, sugar, red wine, ginger, lemon zest, cloves, nutmeg and salt in a medium size pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cranberries and pears to the pot, and continue to simmer for an additional 20 minutes or until the cranberries and onions have softened, and the color is a rich scarlet.
Remove lemon zest strips. Mix in mandarin oranges; allow relish to cool. Serve at room temperature. May be made two days in advance. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Garnish with grated lemon peel.
TIP: Prick each cranberry with a pin or needle before cooking them. This will keep the cranberries from bursting and getting mushy as they cook.
Hungry for more from The Chew? Tune in weekdays on ABC at 1PM EST for flavorful recipes, easy-to-make crafts, and tons of fun with the show’s multi-talented celebrity hosts.
A heartfelt thank you to ABC and Cooking Light for sending me to the show. And I wish you all a safe, healthy & happy Thanksgiving! xoxo
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila…more! How about 50+ of the best tequilas that Mexico has to offer? Recently opened Añejo Tequileria y Restaurante boasts one of the most extensive selections of tequilas, mezcals and sotols this side of the border—and serves them by the ounce, by flight or in a carafe. Add to that a menu of flavorful small plates from chef-partner Angelo Sosa and you’ve got yourself a fiesta.
Since opening in late January, the lively Hell’s Kitchen haunt has already received numerous accolades for its advanced beverage program, expertly crafted cocktails (recently rated #1 margarita in NYC), and Sosa’s series of intensely tasty tacos, tamales, dumplings, ceviches, guacs and more. So what better place to seek out some delicious Cinco de Mayo inspiration!?
Añejo’s Beverage Director and resident drink slinger, Joshua Wortman, shares a couple of the restaurant’s classic tequila-based recipes to help get your Cinco celebration started early. And to complement these festive libations (and soak up a bit of the agave-based spirit), try dipping a few warm tortillas into chef Angelo’s fresh and creamy red snapper ceviche. Check out the mouthwatering recipes below. Salud!
Mexican Firing Squad
Recipe from Joshua Wortman
Shake vigorously. Strain into a chile-salt** rimmed rocks glass over fresh ice. Add lime wheel to garnish.
*bring pomegranate juice to a boil. Add an equal amount of sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes. Cool.
**mix your favorite blend of ground chiles (Josh uses chipotle, guajillo, arbol) with kosher salt.
Recipe from Joshua Wortman
Muddle mint and agave in a julep cup or collins glass. Add crushed ice, then half of the tequila. Stir until glass frosts. Add more ice and the rest of the tequila. Garnish with mint sprig and three dashes of Peychauds Bitters.
Red Snapper Ceviche
Recipe from Angelo Sosa
Combine all ingredients together and mix well, until ceviche has a creamy texture. Serve in chilled bowls with warm tortillas.
Images courtesy of Añejo Tequileria y Restaurant
This March 17th, you won’t need the luck o’ the Irish to find a perfect St. Patrick’s Day dessert recipe. Get the shenanigans started with easy-to-bake, homemade chocolate brownies spiked with luscious Irish Cream. These flavorful, fudgy treats are surprisingly light, so you can indulge and still have room for all that green beer. Cheers!
Irish Cream Brownies (makes approx. 16 brownies)
Recipe from Cooking Light
‘Tis the season for a little holiday sipping. My dear friend Lindsay is quite the gourmand and stirred up a refreshing, bubbly cocktail that will add holiday cheer to all your end-of-year festivities. After I savored Lindsay’s delicious sparkler, I invited her to write a guest post to share the love with you all. From Lindsay:
As soon as it starts to get cold, my craving for apple cider kicks in: it’s one of those cozy drinks that just goes with crisp air, a crackling fireplace and that amazing pine smell. This year I wanted something a bit lighter than the usual Spiced Apple Cider, but I couldn’t quite find a recipe that I liked. After a bit of Goldilocks tinkering by combing 3 different recipes—you know, not too much of this, a little of that—I ended up with a tasty cocktail that was just right!
Sparkling Holiday Cocktail
*note: 1 bottle of sparkling wine makes 10-12 cocktails
There’s been a serious surge in the popularity of red velvet cake in recent years, but this crimson confection has actually been satisfying sweets lovers for decades. With a vibrant scarlet color and subtle chocolatey-vanilla flavor, red velvet cake has been a Southern soul food staple for over a century, was the signature dessert at NY’s Waldorf-Astoria in the 1920’s and even made its big screen debut in one of my favorite flicks, Steel Magnolias (the groom’s cake in the film was an armadillo-shaped red velvet)!
Now one of the hottest varieties around, the insanely delicious dessert can be seen flying out of bakeries from coast to coast (it’s the most popular flavor at NYC’s Magnolia) and has recently gone international—Parisian bakery, Cupcakes & Co., began offering a red velvet cupcake on their menu. Ooh la la!
A flavor that truly makes me weak in the knees, red velvet is one that I will find any excuse to bake. For a friend’s recent holiday party, I made mini cupcakes and sprinkled some spice into the cream cheese icing for a fun and festive twist—a swirl of nutmeg & cinnamon created a very merry topper.
Red Velvet Mini Cupcake Recipe (makes about 48 miniature cupcakes)
Dots are one of my favorite sweets of all time, so I was like a kid in a candy store—literally—when Tootsie introduced new holiday varieties of the addictive, stick-in-your-teeth, sugary sweet orbs. I first discovered Holiday Dots last October when I saw three new Halloween-inspired flavors on shelves: blood orange black Bats, yellow and orange Candy Corn (look and taste just like the real thing but chewier), and assorted fruit flavored green Ghosts (similar in concept to mystery Dum Dums, each Ghost Dot is a greenish glow-in-the-dark color, but tastes like one of the classic Dots flavors).
At this point, I wasn’t sure if Holiday Dots were a one-time thing, but definitely hoped there were more varieties to come. Low and behold, I received the sweetest stuffer for my stocking when I came across red and green Christmas Dots, followed by red and pink Valentine’s Day Dots and then vibrant Easter Dots—each variety bringing new tastes and colors to the Dots family.
Holiday Dots have become a playful joke between my sisters, Mom and I, and we love to try each new flavor as soon as it hits shelves. My Mom found these Patriotic Dots and they soon became my fave of all the holiday varieties—blueberry and strawberry with a vanilla topper. Nothing pays tribute to July 4th like a true All-American classic candy (Dots have been around since 1940!) in patriotic red, white and blue. Happy 4th of July everyone!
Today celebrates one of the ocean’s most divine delicacies in all its glory. I honestly have no idea why this freakish sea-dwelling creature tastes so darn decadent, but I am a bonafide lobstah lovah and enjoy everything about eating this succulent crustacean—the texture, flavor, meatiness, saltiness, cracking the claws, dipping them in drawn butter…mmm mmm mmm.
My wallet would take a serious beating if I ate lobster as often as I craved it, but I make sure to indulge whenever the occasion calls for it. Two weeks ago, friends of mine got married in Martha’s Vineyard and I made it a point to treat myself to lobster (in any form) at least a couple times everyday, while in New England. I mean, when in Rome, right? The island offered an incredible selection of lobster-rich cuisine—lobster rolls, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, lobster Reuben sandwiches, lobster quesadillas, lobster Benedict, lobster chowda…the list goes on. That weekend, I ate by far the most lobster I’ve ever had in my life, confirming the fact that it’s just not possible for me to ever get lobstered-out.
While New England certainly does lobster proud, you don’t have to travel there to enjoy it. Some of the best lobster I’ve ever had has been from restaurants right here in the Big Apple. Here’s some of the top lobster-loving spots in NYC that serve up a seriously fresh catch:
To celebrate National Lobster Day, do yourself a favor and get crackin’!
*This UES newcomer is getting a lot of hype lately and just won the the NYC Lobster Claw-Off on June 8th. While I haven’t gotten to Luke’s just yet, I have it on the calendar to go with my lobster-crazed partners in crime from the Vineyard one night soon. I have heard only amazing things about the seafood selection and their now infamous Lobster Roll—generous in size, light on the mayo, and reasonable at only $14.