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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Thanksgiving Disaster Kit

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Classic Pumpkin Pie

© © Frances Janisch
Classic Pumpkin Pie

On Thanksgiving Day, if life hands you a cracked or undercooked pie, you don’t have to scrap dessert. Here, Food & Wine Senior Recipe Developer Grace Parisi shares recovery tactics for the most common holiday cooking predicaments.

To fix lumpy gravy: Instead of wasting time with a whisk or a sieve, pour lumpy gravy into the blender and puree (but be careful that the gravy isn’t too hot, or the blender could shatter). To avoid lumps in the future, fully blend flour with turkey drippings to make a roux before adding any stock.

To rescue gluey potatoes: If you’ve overworked the potatoes to an unpleasant texture, go French. As in, add a lot of cream to make a creamy potato puree. Then put the puree in a casserole dish, sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top and bake it until browned.

To save overcooked vegetables: You can camouflage mushy texture with deliberate creaminess and crunch. Drizzle the vegetables with a little cream in a casserole dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and any grated cheese (especially one that’s good for melting, like Gruyère), then pop the casserole dish under the broiler.

To disguise cracked pumpkin pie: Whipped cream can save most dessert imperfections. Mound the cream on top, sprinkle it with candied ginger and it will look even more elegant than an undecorated pie.

To salvage undercooked pie: Reheat the pie in the oven, then scoop the filling over ice cream and crumble the cooked pieces of pie crust on top for a deconstructed pie à la mode.

Related: Fast Thanksgiving Recipes

Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving Pies and Tarts

(pictured: Grace Parisi's Classic Pumpkin Pie

Cooking

Food & Wine’s First Virtual Thanksgiving

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Michael Symon's Thanksgiving Gratin

© Con Poulos
Michael Symon's Thanksgiving Gratin

We’re excited to bring one of our favorite new Thanksgiving recipes to a virtual potluck hosted by the Food Network today. In F&W’s November issue, Iron Chef Michael Symon created a heartland Thanksgiving menu that included this staff-favorite side: Michael Symon's Swiss Chard and Leek Gratin. The make-ahead dish combines both Gruyère and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a doubly cheesy topping that becomes crisp and beautifully browned in the oven. Food Network reached out to a range of fantastic food sites to share recipe links, and you can check out the full menu for The Communal Table: Thanksgiving Edition below.

The Communal Table: Thanksgiving Edition

Cocktails, Appetizers, Salads and Breads:

Liquor.com: Thanksgiving Cocktails
The Kitchn: Goat Cheese Panna Cotta Topped With Canned Cranberry Jelly Cut-Outs
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Braided Biscuits
Epicurious: Chestnut and Sherry Soup
Yahoo! Shine: Spicy Caramelized Onion Jam With Goat Cheese
YumSugar: Kale and Chard Salad with Pomegranates and Hazelnuts
Whole Foods Market: Mixed Green Salad With Pears, Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese and Homemade Croutons

Mains:

FN Dish: Alton Brown's Good Eats Roast Turkey
Eatocracy: Country Ham With Pickled Peaches
BlogHer Food: Root Vegetable Pot Pie With Cheddar Biscuit Crust

Sides:

Cooking Light: Fennel, Sausage, and Caramelized Apple Stuffing
Bon Appetit: Maxine Rapoport's Turkey Stuffing
EatingWell: Green Bean Casserole
Serious Eats: Ultra-Crispy Roasted Potatoes
Oprah.com: David Chang's Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Asian Vinaigrette
Food Republic: Cavatappi With Fontina and Fall Vegetables
Healthy Eats: Green Bean Casserole With Crispy Shallots
Saveur: Green Beans and Tomatoes
Diner's Journal: Fiery Sweet Potatoes
Real Simple: Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots With Rosemary and Pecans
The Daily Meal: Bacon Brussels Sprouts
AP/ J.M. Hirsch: Ginger-Pear Cranberry Sauce
Food52: Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese
Food.com: Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Food & Wine: Michael Symon's Swiss Chard and Leek Gratin
All You: Sweet Potato Bake

Desserts:

The Blender/ Williams-Sonoma: Deep-Dish Apple Bourbon Streusel Pie
Southern Living: Pumpkin-Pecan Cheesecake
Cooking Channel: Apple Bread Pudding
Fox News: Ginger Molasses Sugar Cookies
Gourmet Live: Pumpkin Coconut Panna Cotta
Melissa Clark: Sweet Potato Ginger Custard Pie
MyRecipes.com: White Chocolate Cheesecake With Cranberry Currant Compote

Plus: Food & Wine's Thanksgiving Recipes

Entertaining

How to Set Up a Thanksgiving Pie Bar

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Tiffany MacIsaac's Holiday Pie Bar

© Neighborhood Restaurant Group
Tiffany MacIsaac's Holiday Pie Bar

Showstopping desserts can outshine buttery mashed potatoes and perfect stuffing on Thanksgiving. That's the opinion of Tiffany MacIsaac, who oversees the pastry program for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which operates Birch & Barley and Tallua in the Washington, DC, area. MacIsaac likes to put holiday sweets—in particular, pie—on mouthwatering display from the start so guests can admire dessert from the moment they arrive.

At Buzz Bakery in Alexandria, VA, she's now offering a DIY Pie Bar package that comes with two pies (like Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan and Classic Pumpkin), house-made ice cream, cinnamon whipped cream, caramel sauce and candied cranberries. Since Buzz doesn't ship its baked goods, MacIsaac shared these tips on how to set up a DIY Pie Bar at home.

1. Make it a group project. Guests usually ask the host how they can contribute to the holiday meal. You can plan a cohesive, pie-centric menu for Thanksgiving and delegate specific components to invitees. If one guest brings pumpkin pie, others can take on gingersnap cookie crumbs and caramel sauce, and non-cooks can be in charge of bringing beautiful cake stands. The display will grow into something fantastically unexpected as the guests arrive.

2. Don't pay for props. MacIsaac repurposes items from around the house for the display. A stack of books works as a pedestal; fallen leaves make an easy accent to scatter around the table; an old frame refines the look of a printed menu. Lighting is especially important. Everyone looks good by candlelight and the same goes for food.

3. Incorporate traditional fall flavors. During the holidays, people look for familiar foods. If you experiment with something new like salted-caramel cream pie, you can also offer a super-old-fashioned option like double-crust apple pie or upgrade a classic, as in a meringue-topped sweet potato pie.

4. Consider textures. You don’t want all mush or all crunch when it comes to a pie or the toppings you set out for guests. With the pie bar, everyone gets whipped cream, nuts, cookie crumbs, sauce.

5. Master the pie crust. Besides the logistics of setting up a dessert display, the most basic rule of a great pie bar is to make delicious pies, and that starts with good crust. MacIsaac likes a nice amount of salt in the dough to balance the sweetness of fillings. And she says you might want to add vodka, not to your glass, but to the water as you mix the dough. It evaporates more quickly, so you’re left with less moisture, which makes for a more tender, flaky crust. In a dough recipe calling for water, MacIsaac subs vodka for about 1/6 to 1/4 of the water.

 

Related: Thanksgiving Desserts
Thanksgiving Pies
5 Easy Ways to Ruin the Thanksgiving Turkey

Cooking

5 Easy Ways to Ruin the Thanksgiving Turkey

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Soy-Sauce-and-Honey-Glazed Turkey

© © Con Poulos
Soy-Sauce-and-Honey-Glazed Turkey

You’ve reserved a beautiful bird, found a big enough pan (that fits in your oven!) and purchased an instant-read thermometer to roast your Thanksgiving turkey to a perfectly moist 160–165°F—but there's still room to go wrong. Here, F&W’s Senior Recipe Developer Grace Parisi reveals the biggest turkey mistakes made by home cooks.

 

What Not to Do:

1. Overstuff the cavity. By the time the stuffing reaches a safe temperature (165 °F) in an overstuffed bird, the white meat will be totally dried out. Parisi’s rule of thumb: Cook no more than five cups of stuffing in a 15-pound bird and bake the rest in a separate dish. She also stuffs the neck, which won't increase overall cooking time.

2. Crowd the oven. Like a teenager, a roasting turkey likes privacy and space. Baking casseroles and other foods with the bird disrupts oven temperature and alters your turkey’s expected cooking time. Also, if the bird is placed too close to the top of the oven, the breast will dry out and the skin will burn; you should remove some of the higher oven racks to make room.

3. Check the bird obsessively.
Opening the oven door cools down the oven so much that you’ll end up increasing the cooking time by a lot.

4. Carve the turkey immediately.
Turkey needs to rest for at least 30 minutes to keep the juices from flowing out of the bird and drying out your meat. Resist the urge to carve right away and go freshen up. If guests aren't already waiting for you, they'll certainly be there soon.

5. Brine a kosher turkey.
Since a kosher turkey has already been treated with salt, brining it will yield an overly salty turkey.

Related: Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (pictured)
100 Fast Thanksgiving Recipes
Thanksgiving Recipes
Thanksgiving Appetizers
Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Thanksgiving Desserts

 

News

Jacques Torres's Dark (Chocolate) Side

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© Jacques Torres Chocolates

Chocolate maestro Jacques Torres will debut his latest Halloween offerings in New York City stores and online today. On a recent tour of the Hudson Street facility, we previewed (and participated in) the creation of chocolaty haunted houses, spiders, Jacques “O” Lanterns and these skulls—not quite creepy enough to scare away chocoholics. Torres also showed off his first batch of bean-to-bar milk chocolate made with beans sourced from the Dominican Republic that are roasted, ground and refined in lower Manhattan. The bars go on sale later this fall.

Related: Chocolaty Recipes from Jacques Torres
Super Spooky Halloween Recipes

Recipes

Sweet Honey-Glazed Chicken Breasts for Rosh Hashanah

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Chicken Dance spotlights a fantastic Food & Wine chicken recipe every day.

Honey-Glazed Chicken

© Ngoc Minh Ngo
Honey-Glazed Chicken

Tonight’s sunset marks the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and first of the High Holidays. Among the traditional celebratory foods, round challah bread represents the cyclical year, lamb (primarily the head) symbolizes the "head" of the year—and, most importantly, honey is meant to infuse the new year with sweetness. Whether or not you’ll be celebrating tonight, Honey-and-Spice-Glazed Chicken Breasts make a delicious and fast weeknight meal.

Related: More Recipes for Rosh Hashanah

Recipes

A Reason to Celebrate Wine, Food and Friends

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Empanadas

© iStockphoto.com/jorgegonzalez


I’ve always believed that South Americans are the ultimate hedonists. Talk about a culture that knows how to live well. For example, in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, today, July 20, is Friend’s Day (El Día del Amigo). Locals celebrate by gathering friends around the table to eat and drink. That’s my kind of holiday. In honor of Friend’s Day, I’ll be drinking Bodega Elena de Mendoza Malbec (a fantastic wine from Mendoza that’s newly imported to the States), eating empanadas and watching the COPA semifinals soccer game being played in Mendoza. Here, some other ways to celebrate Friend’s Day:

1. Have an asado (barbecue) with friends. Try these recipes from South American grillmaster Francis Mallman.
 
2. Host an Argentinean wine tasting. Try these bottles.

3. Host a dinner party and make our delicious empanada recipe.

Winemakers

All Good Things

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You know the rest of that line, right? Well, it's with some small amount of sadness that I am saying that about this blog: It must come to an end. I've had a terrific time writing it, but we've decided that in the end it's a bit strange, for a magazine that's all about bringing together food and wine, to have separate blogs on those topics.

So, from here on out, any wine blogging that I (and Megan Krigbaum, Kristin Donnelly, and various other stalwart folks) do will instead appear in F&W's primary blog, Mouthing Off. No less wine coverage, just a different venue. See you there.

Ray Isle

Wines Under $20

Wines for Dads

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There are people out there—and they know who they are—who missed Father's Day. You forgot to call, you were traveling, the gift got eaten by the dog; whatever the case, now's a good time to make it up to dear old dad. In fact, speaking as a father myself, it's always a good time to give gifts to fathers. Nothing warms the cold cockles of the heart more than a thoughtful present from a dutiful child, except maybe an all-expenses-paid trip to a Caribbean island plus a speedboat-driving butler, but hey, that's hard to come by. In any case, should dad be a wine-lover, here are some handy gift ideas, good for any occasion whatsoever.
 
Grilling Dad
Affordable: 2010 Bodegas Borsao Garnacha Joven Campo de Borja ($8)
This robust Spanish red is a great partner for burgers off the grill.
Sky’s the Limit: 2007 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($100)
A benchmark Napa Cabernet. Velvety, rich and deceptively powerful, it’s drinking great right now—especially with some sort of troglodyte-size T-bone.
 
Eco-Conscious Dad  
Affordable: 2009 Fetzer Valley Oaks Zinfandel ($9)
A juicy red from one of the world’s largest farmers of organic grapes.  
Sky’s the Limit: 2008 SokolBlosser Estate Cuvee Pinot Noir ($50)
Sokol Blosser farms organically, participates in salmon-safe run-off programs, uses biodiesel fuels and has solar panels in its vineyards. Plus, its Pinot Noir is terrific.
 
Beach Dad (no glass bottles)
Affordable: 2008 Bandit Cabernet Sauvignon ($8)
Dark fruit and lots of flavor in a one-liter cardboard Tetra Pak.
Sky’s the Limit: 2009 Wineberry Chateau du Chatelard Bourgogne Blanc ($45/3 liter box)
New York–based Wineberry packages small-production French wines in cool wooden three-liter boxes.
 
Sports Dad
Affordable: 2009 Arnold Palmer Cabernet Sauvignon ($11)
A straightforward and appealing red from a golf great.
Sky’s the Limit: 2008 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon ($85)
Former NFL star Drew Bledsoe grew up in Walla Walla, Washington, with Chris Figgins, whose family owns one of the state’s top wineries, Leonetti. They reunited to create this structured, intensely flavorful Cabernet.
 
Never-Met-a-Party-I-Didn’t-Like Dad
Affordable: Mionetto Il Prosecco ($9)
A lively Italian sparkler from one of the best-known Prosecco producers.
Sky’s the Limit: 2002 Dom Pérignon ($140)
Dom Pérignon lives up to its reputation, especially in the terrific ’02 vintage. Plus, dad will definitely impress his friends with his bottomless wallet (well, your bottomless wallet, but who’s counting?).
 
Related Links:
 
Bargain Wines
 
35 Fantastic Father's Day Gift Ideas

The Best Barbecued Ribs Recipes
 
Chef-Dad Mario Batali’s Best Grilling Recipes

20 Great Brunch Recipes

Test Kitchen

Aromatherapy for Your Lips

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Whether intentionally or not, I may have stumbled upon the next big thing-with the help of F&W's Kristin Donnelly, editor extraordinaire and creator of a fabulous new line of all-natural lip balms, Stewart & Claire.
 
As of today, she offers five ready-made balms, four of which are lightly scented with, among other things, basil, peppermint, tarragon, lavender, coconut and mint. I've sampled the Spring (scented with tarragon) and Bare (unscented). Though absolutely luscious on the lips (and remarkably restorative in minutes), Bare interested me a bit less than Spring because of Spring's bright, green tarragon fragrance.
 
I broke out the tube on my subway ride home (always a tactical move to have something pleasant to smell on a crowded subway car, especially in summer) and immediately felt a bit calmer. Then I popped an Altoid and had an epiphany. Wow—olfactory overload in the best way! Minty, herbaceous, soothing yet energizing, it was a day-spa in my handbag. Flavor geek and hard-candy freak that I am, it only seemed logical to try different hard candies, too: greenapple Jolly Ranchers: good (grape: awful); La Vie raspberry pastillines: better; La Vie lemon pastillines: best!
 
I can't wait to try Stewart & Claire's three other ready-made scented balms: Summer, Coconut and Mint. But I'm especially excited about the custom (bespoke) balms they can whip up for you based on your scent and texture preferences-cinnamon, ginger, rose, coriander, etc. Imagine a whole new world of candy-balm parings.  

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