Blog Posts by Epicurious.com

  • Video: How to Make an Upside-Down Apple Pie

    Illustrations by Matthew Brennan, photo by CIA/Keith FerrisIllustrations by Matthew Brennan, photo by CIA/Keith FerrisIn our ongoing video series Chef Lou Jones, from The Culinary Institute of America, demonstrates how to make classic tartes Tatin from the Loire Valley in France.

    In these videos, The Culinary Institute of America's Associate Dean of Restaurant Education, Chef Lou Jones, shows us how to make individual tartes Tatin from the Loire Valley of France.

    This upside-down apple pie (the pastry is on the top) is named for two sisters, the demoiselles Tatin, who ran a hotel in the Loire Valley from the 1850s until 1907. Legend has it that the younger sister, Caroline, was making an apple pie and forgot to put the pastry into the pan before the filling, so she put it on top. While the accuracy of that story is hardly certain (many say that French women had been making this sort of reverse tart for years), the sisters certainly made it famous. As Anne Willan explains in The Country Cooking of France, the demoiselles were left without any money when their father died. "Luckily they lived

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  • An Indispensable Thanksgiving Guide for The Novice

    Photography by Stephen Sullivan; food and prop styling by Roscoe BetsillPhotography by Stephen Sullivan; food and prop styling by Roscoe BetsillHosting your first holiday feast? It can be daunting: A menu of familiar dishes for which everyone will have expectations, plus the pressure of executing a complicated meal in a timely manner, can make even the most experienced cook wish someone else would take over.

    But there's really no need for this trepidation. Armed with good planning and some delicious, dependable recipes, you can calmly serve a wonderful holiday meal to friends and family. I've put together this menu of solid classics, plus I've shared tips drawn from my years of cooking, teaching, and writing about Thanksgiving. Finally, I've added a shopping list and a timeline to help you pull everything off with ease. Who knows -- even seasoned cooks might pick up a few pointers here.

    Easy Thanksgiving Menu for Eight

    Assorted Cheese and Crackers

    Neo-Politan
    (aperitif)

    Mushroom and Leek Soup with Thyme Cream

    For soup: 2006 Beringer Pinot Noir ( Napa Valley ) or dry sherry such as Hildalgo Napoleon

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  • 9 Recipes for Slimmed-Down Sweets

    Sweet Cherry Cobbler and Baked Apples Stuffed with Dried Fruit and PecansSweet Cherry Cobbler and Baked Apples Stuffed with Dried Fruit and Pecans To many people "healthy dessert" sounds like an oxymoron. But the collection of recipes here proves that desserts, when selected carefully and enjoyed in moderation, can absolutely be part of a healthy diet. "I think it's important for people to recognize that foods that are delicious can be healthy and foods that are healthy are often delicious!" says Sue McLaughlin, a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator. McLaughlin, who is president elect of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association, says an occasional sweet treat is no big deal, as long as you keep the portions of the dessert small and have an overall wholesome diet. "A general premise is to make nutrient-dense foods -- those that are high in fiber and whole grains, low in saturated and total fat, and high in vitamins and minerals -- the foods you eat most of the time," she says. Read on for some tips that allow you to have your cake and eat it too.

    Healthy-eating tips:

    Seek Balance

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  • 8 Recipes and Tips for a Southern-Style Turkey Day

    Photo by Lara Ferroni Photo by Lara Ferroni Even if you didn't grow up with it, there's something about Southern cooking that just seems right for Thanksgiving. Maybe it's the area's reputation for gracious hospitality. Maybe it's the time-tested recipes that go back, in some cases, all the way to Colonial times. Jean Anderson, author of A Love Affair with Southern Cooking, offers a third explanation: "The South is the original melting pot," she says. "Southern cooking is a mix of influences from all the different ethnic groups that mingled in this region -- the Spaniards who first settled in Florida, the French on the Gulf Coast, the British in Virginia and Georgia, the Scotch-Irish in Appalachia, numerous Native American tribes, and of course the Africans who cooked in the plantation kitchens." In her opinion, no other American cuisine can match this breadth and historical richness.

    And Thanksgiving is, of course, all about paying homage to history. So, we asked Anderson to put together a holiday menu from her book. She

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  • A Potluck Thanksgiving Planner

    A few weeks ago, the first Thanksgiving e-mail of the year went out from one of my friends: "Want to do our usual potluck?" The responses started flying, with most of the negative ones centering around family obligation: "I was pointedly told that my niece 'misses her aunt,' which I highly doubt, since she's only one year old, so I'll be at home, though I'd rather be here," wrote back one friend.

    The Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide: Make Turkey Day easy and stress-free with our delicious recipes and menus, entertaining tips from the pros, tools, and how-to videos

    For the past 12 years, I and a group of friends -- our ranks expanding and contracting from four to a few dozen -- have held our own potluck because hauling turkeys, mashed potatoes, and pies back and forth via mass transit is actually easier and a lot more fun than schlepping across the country for an annual dose of crowded airports, clogged highways, and the worst kind of journey: the guilt trip. My gang's first New York

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  • A Healthy Diet with Diabetes

    November is American Diabetes Month. Activities and information campaigns this month seek to raise awareness about diabetes, its complications (including heart disease and stroke), and controlling the condition, which affects 23.6 million children and adults in the United States, or 7.8 percent of the population, according to the American Diabetes Association.

    Diet, including eating balanced and nutritious meals and keeping a strict eye on portion sizes, is key to managing diabetes and pre-diabetes. Our new feature and recipe collection Healthy Desserts includes tips on eating healthily from Sue McLaughlin, a registered dietician and president elect of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association. Check out the story to find out how we can all fit treats into a balanced diet. And see the following links for more about diabetes and diet.

    Six Myths about Type 2 Diabetes (from Epicurious.com's sister site Nutrition Data)

    Diabetes and Nutrition (from the

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  • Top 5: Turkey-Friendly Wines

    Even though it's a bit more flavorful than its cousin chicken, turkey is still a relatively blank canvas when it comes to food matching. Keep your eyes on sauces and sides -- they're the elements that determine whether a pairing will work. Many people make the mistake of assuming red is the way to go. The truth is: Whites are just as likely to work. Stay away from big reds and heavily oaked wines of any color -- they don't do any favors for the sweet accents frequently found at the Thanksgiving table.

    Boroli Quattro Fratelli Barbera D'Alba 2006

    (about $19)

    Barbera is Italy's most food-friendly red wine type: It's a classic, light-on-its-feet red, able to dance around complicated food-matching problems. Boroli is a small, high-quality producer that houses a hotel and Michelin-starred restaurant called Locanda del Pilone. So the owners clearly know their wine and food. This bottle hails from the grape's true home, the Piedmont region in the northern section of the country. The

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  • A Lavish Thanksgiving Feast for $79.79

    Illustration by Matthew BrennanIllustration by Matthew BrennanWith the economy in a major slump, a lavish Thanksgiving might not be on the table this year. But we can still -- and should -- feast. We just have to squeeze our fistful of dollars a little harder. Our menu and six creative and practical tips will help you extract the most from your money and feed eight with a lavish meal.

    Our menu covers the high points of a Thanksgiving spread. If you feel flush with cash, $20 more will buy you the ingredients for your favorite mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and candied yams. And while the soup and pie might seem extravagant, first and last impressions linger longer than remembrances of the turkey and trimmings. In more luxe times, serving soup to start would run the risk of making everyone too full for the main event, but this year that is actually a good thing. You can count on leftovers.

    The pumpkin-pecan pie is meant to be two favorite holiday desserts in one, with one outlay for the crust ($3.48). But you could certainly be more

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  • Styling by Heather Tyree, photos by Steven TorresStyling by Heather Tyree, photos by Steven TorresIn the days that lead up to Thanksgiving, you will likely be busy with last-minute shopping, cabinet inventories, brining the turkey, and baking pies. Table settings become an afterthought, cobbled together at the last minute -- a bouquet of generic flowers from the grocery store, a haphazard arrangement of seasonal pumpkins and gourds from a local green market, a dusty set of candelabra dug out of the drawer.

    Instead of relying on old standbys, do something different this year. Many of the simple table setting ideas that follow can be put together in advance, using materials that you already have on hand, and with a little help from your kids. Search through your cabinets, raid your craft drawer, pick up a few extra supplies on your Thanksgiving grocery run, and get creative.

    Vase Centerpieces

    Fill glass vases with layers of colorful dried legumes (this would also work with dried fruits or nuts). Scavenge your pantry or visit a local supermarket to find more unusual

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  • 16 savory chestnut recipes

    Sure, the iconic image of these nuts roasting on an open fire is magical, but we would have preferred it if the next line in the classic Christmas ballad involved a chocolate chestnut torte baking instead of Jack Frost nipping. In fact, we adore almost anything, sweet or savory, in which rich-tasting, low-in-fat chestnuts appear. Here are some of our favorites.

    Tips:

    Choose Wisely

    Look for chestnuts with firm, uncracked shells that are heavy for their size.

    Store Properly

    Store chestnuts in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for two weeks or in the freezer for several months.

    Substitute to Save Time

    Shelling freshly roasted chestnuts is time-consuming. Fortunately, chestnuts in a can or jar make an acceptable substitute in most recipes.

    Check for Sweetness

    If a recipe calls for chestnut purée, you can either make it yourself or purchase it from a gourmet grocer. If you opt for the latter, note that some are sweetened and some are not, so

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