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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


Andrew Zimmern’s Chopped Chicken Liver for Hanukkah


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


Last-Minute Wine Gifts


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


Virtual Cookie Swap: Chocolate-Espresso Snowballs


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 Sugar Cookies
Gilt Taste: Momofuku Milk Bar's Holiday Cookie Recipes Drink in the Holidays
Cooking Light: Iced Sugar Cookies 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


Healthy Thanksgiving Leftovers


Cranberry Panna Cotta

© John Kernick
Cranberry Panna Cotta

Here are some healthy ways to repurpose Thanksgiving's most common dishes, including turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.  


Tacos: Instead of the typical turkey sandwich, wrap the shredded meat in corn tortillas for tacos and top with any leftover vegetables that make sense to you (like green beans and corn). For a little more flavor or heat, try making one of these salsas to go with them.

Vietnamese-style sandwiches: Banh mi are a great way to use up leftover meat—topped with quick pickles, cilantro and chiles, they’re always super-flavorful. For inspiration, here’s a version that uses chicken.

Lettuce wraps:
If you’re trying to cut back on carbs, make an easy turkey salad with an herb-inflected mayonnaise dressing and use Bibb lettuce leaves for wrapping. Or, try a version of these spicy Asian lettuce cups with turkey instead of chicken.

Innovative soups:
Use the leftover turkey bones and meat to make a warming Mexican-inspired stew known as posole. You can never go wrong with a classic turkey soup. To make it less straightforward, skip the noodles and add kimchi, tofu and ginger for a Korean flavor. Or make a variation of this soothing Colombian soup.


Make easy mashed potato cakes with olive oil, and top them with a healthy mushroom ragù. Or top a scoop of mashed potatoes with a runny egg and serve with a batch of garlicky braised kale.

Simple soup: Reheat the mashed potatoes gently while whisking in leftover turkey stock for an easy soup. Garnish with a quick herb salad.


Reinvented condiments: Whisk cranberry sauce with mustard to use as a spread for sandwiches, or blend the cranberry sauce with jalapeños, scallions, cilantro and lime juice to taste to make a salsa for your turkey tacos (see above).

Low-fat dessert: Use the sauce to make easy panna cottas. Instead of making cranberry sauce in Step 1, blend 1/2 cup of prepared cranberry sauce into the buttermilk.

Related: Post-Holiday Detox Recipes

Best Healthy Recipes Ever

Thanksgiving Leftovers to Love


Tips on How to Deep-Fry a Turkey


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

As amusing as it was to watch William Shatner’s dramatic tale of a fried turkey gone wrong for State Farm this month, we thought it might be useful to provide some grounded tips this Thanksgiving. Deep-frying a turkey can yield incredible results: a glistening bird with golden-brown skin that’s cooked perfectly in minutes. But anyone who’s watched a YouTube video in which a deep-fried turkey goes up in flames should understand that the technique is no joke. Done right, you could be filling your plate in an hour. Done wrong, you could be eating Jell-O at the ER. Here, Food & Wine’s deep-fried turkey tips (use at your own risk!).
1. Test to see how much oil you really need. Do not fill the pot with oil yet. Using cold water, measure how much liquid should be put in the pot to cover the turkey without overflowing onto the burner.
2. Go outside. Turkey frying should only be done outdoors, on a flat and level surface—not in an enclosed area (like a kitchen or garage) or on a wooden structure (like a deck)! Also, remember that oil is also hard to clean off of concrete. Make sure to clear the area of children, pets and intoxicated relatives.
3. Use a fresh bird, or fully thaw a frozen one. The minute any moisture from the turkey hits hot oil, the oil will start to splatter and can cause a spillover effect, starting a fire.
4. Skip the stuffing. You’ll have to keep the stuffing on the side when frying a turkey. Michael Symon’s stuffing muffins with lemony mushrooms and pine nuts, or butternut squash with corn bread, are fantastic. Also, remember to remove the giblets from the bird’s cavity before frying.
5. Lower the bird slowly into the oil. Do not drop the turkey into the deep-fryer.
6. Do not move the pot. Are you Homer Simpson? Adjusting a vat of hot oil is incredibly dangerous.
7. Stick around. Never leave the turkey unattended. It can only take a moment for something to go wrong.
8. Don’t start drinking until after the oil has cooled. Better to be alert until this bird is cooked.
9. Wait to carve. Let the cooked turkey rest for at least 30 minutes, in order to retain the hot juices.
10. Keep heavy blankets nearby for emergencies. Water will not extinguish an oil fire, it will only spread the ignited oil. A wool blanket will help put out flare-ups.

Related: 30-Minute Thanksgiving Recipes

20-Minute Thanksgiving Recipes

10-Minute Thanksgiving Recipes


7 Ways to Save a Turkey


F&W Executive Food Editor Tina Ujlaki reveals the best ways to salvage your Thanksgiving dinner when common turkey disasters strike. Most importantly, remember this: “Gravy has a lot of magical powers,” says Ujlaki.

Michael Symon's Thanksgiving Turkey

© Con Poulos
Michael Symon's Perfect Turkey

1. If your turkey hasn’t defrosted… Season the still-frozen bird and put it in the oven. It’s safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Cooking time will be at least 50 percent longer than it is for a fully thawed turkey (for example, a bird that would ordinarily be done in four hours will likely take six hours to cook).

2. If your roasting pan is too small… Roast the turkey on the largest baking sheet in your kitchen or snag a deep disposable foil roasting pan.

3. If you forgot to remove the giblets… Years ago, giblets were usually packed in a plastic bag within the bird, which led to some scary plastic-scented roasts. But now most come wrapped in paper, possibly because poultry companies realized that so many people forgot to remove them. Cooking the paper-wrapped giblets won’t affect the taste or safety of the turkey—just remember to remove them before serving.

4. If you overcook the turkey… Use a very sharp knife to minimize shredding, and make sure you have lots of gravy. “There are so many other foods on the table that an overcooked turkey bathed in delicious gravy won’t be the focus,” says Ujlaki.

5. If you undercook the turkey… Since the breast finishes cooking first, remove the legs and wings, and put them back in a pan to continue roasting on their own. You can always pretend you’re serving the turkey in two courses: white meat first, then dark meat. Or save the dark pieces for awesome leftovers.

6. If one turkey isn't enough… When there’s a risk of last-minute guests, roast an extra breast instead of making two turkeys—few ovens have room for more than one turkey.

7. If your turkey is too salty… Counteract saltiness with a sweet gravy and sweet cranberry sauce.

Related: Thanksgiving Recipes
Turkey Recipes
Michael Symon's Thanksgiving Menu


Thanksgiving Disaster Kit


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


Food & Wine’s First Virtual Thanksgiving

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: 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


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


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 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 Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Food & Wine: Michael Symon's Swiss Chard and Leek Gratin
All You: Sweet Potato Bake


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 White Chocolate Cheesecake With Cranberry Currant Compote

Plus: Food & Wine's Thanksgiving Recipes


How to Set Up a Thanksgiving Pie Bar


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


5 Easy Ways to Ruin the Thanksgiving Turkey


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


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