December 2009

Feast without Frenzy: Put People to Work

For whatever reason, I often feel like I have to do everything myself when guests gather—plan, cook, serve, clean (alright, I admit, Christopher does that). But the truth is, involving others in the meal makes them feel even more welcome, more at home. Here are five strategies for putting people to work during the holidays in a way that will bring cheer to all.

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Feast without Frenzy: Make Ahead

The big day is drawing near and, if you’re like me, so is family. In this series, we’ve talked about planning ahead, freezing ahead and keeping it light. Our next strategy for enjoying time together instead of toiling endlessly in the kitchen is making certain dishes ahead.

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Where’s Your Beef Been?

It used to be simple. You’d hear “Beef: It’s what’s for dinner®,” grab a steak, a roast or some burger, cook it and eat it. No questions, no fuss. But then different messages started cropping up and a seed of concern and confusion is planted, about how the beef you’re eating affects the health of your family, the health of the earth. Here’s a guide to understanding the jargon so that you can decide what’s for dinner.

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Prime Rib of Beef Au Jus

Nothing is more impressive on a holiday table than a roast prime rib of beef. Ask your butcher to prepare a 12-pound prime rib roast, with the fat cap left on and bones left in.

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Feast without Frenzy: Freeze It

One of the easiest ways to free up time once house guests arrive is to have an arsenal of frozen meals already prepared. And I don’t mean Birdseye. I’m talking chili, soups, braises, grains, pulses and even meat like pork carnitas and duck confit. Here are three tips for scrumptious freezer meals.

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Child’s Play: A Salad Story

I’ve wanted to write a piece for a while about making cooking fun during the holidays. The seeds were planted when, on a trying evening, I recruited my daughter to help me make a “special” salad and pouts and whines (from both of us) turned to laughter and pensive smiles. Here’s a poem inspired by the spirit of that night.

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