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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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F&W Entertaining

Polenta by the Yard

Polenta Party

From Michael Chiarello, this is a crazy-fun way to have a party: Just spread the hot polenta onto a heatproof table lined with butcher paper and let your guests go at it. Read more >

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Wine Wednesday

Sparkling Wines for New Year's Eve

Platinum Sparkle, a sparkling wine cocktail.

© Tina Rupp

Sommeliers, of course, spend a lot of their time thinking about which wine goes well with which food, or does not go well, or might go well if it weren’t Thursday, and so on. But if you ask a sommelier what wine he or she would like to drink right now, more often than not the answer is Champagne.
 
There’s a good reason for that: Champagne, essentially, goes with everything. It goes with salty dishes; it goes with fatty dishes; it goes with birds and it goes with beasts; with cheese it’s mighty tasty and with vegetables it is sublime; it’s ideal for celebrations and obligatory for toasts; it’s even excellent when poured on its own for no particular occasion at all. Here are some great sparkling wine options, from inexpensive to pricey, that will solve any New Year's wine issues you might have. >>

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Kitchen Trash

Wacky Holiday Food Gifts

Staff Favorites

Bronson van Wyck's Take-Home Style

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Take-Home Holiday Style

Photo © John Kernick.

Here’s what you’ll find at event planner Bronson van Wyck’s seasonal pop-up shop, through January 3, inside Manhattan’s Overbey & Dunn design store (19 Christopher St.).

Southern-Style Garlands
His garlands often feature magnolia leaves—some are gilded and others are flipped over to show the brown underside, a striking contrast to the dark-green leaves.

Bespoke Garlands and Wreaths
For customers who bring measurements, van Wyck’s shop will custom-make wreaths and garlands from magnolia leaves and other stunning foliage to fit individual spaces. From $300.

Christmas Trees
You can pick out a tree, then have it fitted with lights and hand-painted in amber by van Wyck’s staff. From $1,250.

Tartan Plaids
Tablecloths and napkins, some patterned after the tartan plaid of van Wyck’s mother’s Scottish clan, can be monogrammed in the store while you wait. From $100.

Signature Dressings and Mixers
Van Wyck bottled three kinds of salad dressings (two vinaigrettes and a Caesar) and two mixers (Bloody Mary and margarita) and hired Brooklyn design firm Madwell to create the retro labels. They are available online at vanwyck.net.

Related: Editor Picks: Perfect Presents
Best Christmas Gifts
Incredible Homemade Gifts

Holiday Game Plan

A Sephardic-Ashkenazi Jewish New Year

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Sephardic Round Challah bread, a traditional food for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

© Zubin Schroff

Having an Ashkenazi father and a Sephardic mother means the best of both culinary worlds when celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Read more >>

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Passover

Don't Panic, It's Just Passover

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Kosher for Passover Flourless Cookies

© Quentin Bacon

During the week before Passover begins, on April 6, observant Jews will prepare for the eight-day holiday by removing every piece of chametz (food with leavening) from their homes. Then panic will start to take over: "Oh, no, there's nothing to eat except matzo. I'm going to the supermarket to buy every product that's ever been marked with a 'Kosher for Passover' label." The result is often a kitchen full of packaged cookies, cakes, chips, gefilte fish and marshmallows (seriously, how did marshmallows ever become part of Passover?).

For a more satisfying and relaxed Passover, without processed foods and artificial ingredients, here are some delicious and unorthodox ways to restock the pantry: Unexpected Passover Food.

Related: Passover Recipes
Gail Simmons's Favorite Passover Recipes
Desserts for Passover

Easter

Easter Smackdown: Ham vs. Lamb

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Garlic-Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb

© Ingalls Photography

"Most people serve lamb or ham at the Easter meal," says F&W's Tina Ujlaki. "Sure you can have both, but Easter is always on Sunday, and the next day is always a school day, so you don't want to have a very heavy meal that's going to send you straight to bed afterward."

Decisions, decisions. Here, Tina weighs the options so you can plan the perfect menu in F&W's Easter Smackdown: Ham vs. Lamb.

 

Related: Easter Recipes
Ham Recipes
Lamb Recipes

 

 

 

 

Recipes

Andrew Zimmern’s Chopped Chicken Liver for Hanukkah

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Chopped Chicken Liver

© Stephanie Meyer
Chopped Chicken Liver

Tonight, families around the world will light two candles on the menorah. Celebrate the second night of Hanukkah with Jewish comfort foods like Andrew Zimmern’s family recipe for Chopped Chicken Liver. Though it was traditionally made by Zimmern’s bubbe (grandmother) for the Festival of Lights, the creamy, make-ahead liver spread would be a brilliant addition to any holiday celebration.

Related: More Hanukkah Recipes
Great Chicken Liver Recipes
Holiday Hors D'Oeuvres

Plus: Christmas Recipes
Christmas Desserts
Christmas Dinner Ideas

Holidays

Last-Minute Wine Gifts

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Peaceful Bottle Stopper

© Courtesy of The Spit Bucket
Peaceful Bottle Stopper

It happens every year. I have great intentions to post hundreds of excellent wine gifts (other than wine, of course), and then all of a sudden, it’s December 19 and it hasn’t happened yet. Truth be told, it’s the same situation I find myself in with regards to presents for my family and friends. Thank goodness for two-day mail.

 

So for the last-minute, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, procrastinating oeno-shoppers, here are 10 little (mostly under $20) presents to nab now.

 

1. Moss Terrarium Bottle ($38)
I’m embracing the terrarium fanaticism that seems to have taken my hometown of Brooklyn. And what better vessel to install a mini world of moss rocks and wee figurines than a wine bottle? Package it with a bottle of earthy, herb-scented wine like a Chinon from the Loire Valley.

2. Skinner and Stevens Wine Bag ($100)
For the cartographer in every wine lover. This new company makes tote bags from maps. Choose a bag with a St. Tropez map and load it up with a couple of Provençal rosés.

3. Peaceful Bottle Stopper ($6)
It’s been such a tumultuous year and these bright wine stoppers are good reminders to seek out peace.

4. Spanish Wine Glasses ($6 each)
I’m as impressed by an elegant wine stem as anyone (these from Zalto are current favorites), but lately, for everyday wines, I’ve been reaching for short glasses like these, inspired by Spanish wine bars. They’re easy to clean, hard to break and are less hazardous next to my computer.

5. Wine Bottle Hats ($15)
Admittedly, if you’re just reaching for knitting needles at this point, you’re a little behind the game, but paired with a warming red, like Barolo, these bottle hats can work as host gifts all winter long.

6. Blind-Tasting Sleeves ($20 for 4)
Perfect for your wine geek friends who like to taste blind, these sleeves come in packs of four—good for parties or studying for sommelier exams.

7. Stemware Savers ($15 for 4)
Who doesn’t love a practical gift? These stemware savers will prevent broken glasses in any dishwasher.

8. Pinot Noir Salt ($7)
This tangy, purple finishing salt is made with Pinot Noir from Adelsheim winery in Oregon.

9. Horse Head Bottle Opener ($14)
Ok, I know this isn’t for wine, but this sturdy bottle opener will liven up any party bar. Pair it with a bottling from Francis Ford Coppola.

10. Handmade Wine Bags ($12)
Made from soft cotton and hemp fabrics, these charming wine satchels from BananaSaurusRex are cheerful and reusable.

Related: Christmas Gifts
Homemade Christmas Gifts
Christmas Recipes
Christmas Dinner Ideas
Christmas Desserts

Baking

Virtual Cookie Swap: Chocolate-Espresso Snowballs

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Chocolate-Espresso Snowballs

© Fredrika Stjärne
Chocolate-Espresso Snowballs

We’re excited to bring one of our favorite new holiday recipes to a virtual cookie swap hosted by the Food Network today. Chocolate-Espresso Snowballs—cocoa, coffee and pecans rolled together and dusted in pretty powdered sugar—starred in our December issue's retro Christmas party planner. They're a delicious addition to a dessert table, but they would also look beautiful piled into a tin for a real holiday swap. Food Network reached out to a range of fantastic food sites to share cookie recipe links, and you can check out the many offerings below. Follow the event on Twitter using #pullupachair.

Related: Christmas Cookies
Christmas Desserts
Christmas Recipes

ALL YOU: Pecan and Honey Diamonds
Oprah.com: Sugar Cookies
Gilt Taste: Momofuku Milk Bar's Holiday Cookie Recipes
Liquor.com: Drink in the Holidays
Cooking Light: Iced Sugar Cookies
MyRecipes.com: Ultimate Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Food52: Ginger Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookies
Cooking Channel: The White House’s Molasses Spice Cookies “Gingersnaps”
BlogHer: Triple Chocolate Almond Cookies
CafeMom: Marvelous Mini Apple Crisp Cookies
The Daily Meal: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Food Republic: Gingerbread Cheesecake Cookies
Food & Wine: Chocolate-Espresso Snowballs
EatingWell: 5 Tips for Perfect Gingerbread Cookies
Redbook Magazine: Candy Cane Cookies
Gourmet Live: Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies
AP/ J.M. Hirsch: Ginger Fig Crumb Bars
Fox News: White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
Epicurious: Italian Almond Cookies
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Cowboy Cookies
FN Dish: Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip-Bacon Cookies

Yahoo! Shine: Nutmeg Rosettes
YumSugar: Coconut Date Balls

Plus: Homemade Christmas Gifts

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