Blog Posts by YumSugar

  • Food Gifts for Him, from Bacon Jam to Brewing Kits

    YumSugarYumSugarSource: Food Gifts For Him, From Bacon Jam to Brewing Kits

    From exotic meats like venison and wild boar to cookbooks and kitchen gear to inspire his culinary adventures, we've rounded up our favorite picks for the man in your life. While some are definite splurges, we've also included surefire stocking stuffer hits, plus everything in between.

    • Scanwiches: Sandwich devotees will appreciate Scanwiches ($20), which brings to life nearly everything between two pieces of bread through an unusual medium: the scanner. Both visually appealing and full of in-depth info, it's a surefire hit.
    • Beer-and-Pretzel Caramels: Fill his stocking with intense, complex, and salty beer-and-pretzel caramels ($10). Just make sure he shares!
    • Marble Rye Poster: Seinfeld fans (really, who isn't one?) will appreciate this graphic poster ($20) whose illustration alludes to the infamous marble rye loaf from the episode "The Rye."
    • Stuffed Hamburger Press: Let burger aficionados take things to the
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  • Make-Ahead Potluck Dishes, from Amazing Apps to Delightful Desserts

    YumSugarYumSugarSource: Make-Ahead Potluck Dishes, From Amazing Apps to Delightful Desserts

    Heading to or hosting a potluck Thanksgiving this year? We've got you covered: from easy appetizers to zingy desserts there's a make-ahead and easy to transport option for every part of the meal (save the turkey and gravy - the host should make these herself).

    • Caramelized Leek and Bacon Dip: This enticing upgrade on French onion dip can be made up to a day ahead of time, making it a perfect potluck candidate. Just don't forget to bring pre-toasted crostini or cut up crudité to serve it with. To serve: prep it in its entirety ahead of time, aside from the garnish. Sprinkle the garnish on top before setting out.
    • Brie With Caramel and Almonds: While not truly a make-ahead dish, this decadent brie appetizer can be assembled when you arrive at the potluck party. Simply bring all the ingredients (a wedge of brie, jarred caramel sauce, slivered almonds and crackers), drizzle the caramel, fan out the
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  • A Brine-Free Solution to Your Thanksgiving Turkey Woes

    Source: A Brine-Free Solution to Your Thanksgiving Turkey Woes

    In my fantasy world, I'd be the sort of put-together individual who plans things out far enough in advance to lovingly brine a heritage bird. Realistically, though, my actual Thanksgiving planning is more of a fly by the seat of my pants sort of endeavor.

    Years of crunch-time prep (and admittedly a bit of unnecessary panic) have taught me that even when I only get down to business the morning of the big day, it can still lead to a juicy, flavorful bird that my family will devour with relish.

    Essentially, this is a friendly reminder that one need not stress themselves out (too much) over the big day. Take a deep breath; pull the (hopefully thawed) turkey out of the fridge; whisk together a hefty helping of salt, minced herbs, olive oil, and other aromatics; and have at it!

    More from YumSugar: Make-Ahead Potluck Dishes, From Amazing Apps to Delightful Desserts

    Easy Herb-Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey
    Adapted from Ina Garten

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  • Mashed Potatoes so Creamy that They Need No Adornment

    Source: Mashed Potatoes So Creamy That They Need No Adornment

    Family members and longtime friends often take great amusement at my career of choice, as I was a remarkably picky eater in my early years. I was no run-of-the-mill fussy child; until my teens, I turned my nose up at even the most basic, revered, and seemingly inoffensive of comfort foods: mashed potatoes. Perhaps I was prejudiced against the delightful spud due to an early negative experience - in the wrong hands they can be reminiscent of wallpaper paste - yet still, of all of my food phobias I've overcome, this might be the craziest and most embarrassing.

    Since that first revelatory bite, I've devoured them with relish and have experimented with all sorts of novel add-ins, but I keep coming back to their most simple, unadorned iteration. Bolstered by naught but cream, butter, and salt, this pared-down side might not sound like much to write home about, but don't let that dissuade you. Rather, these are the essence of

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  • Tips for Hosting a Thanksgiving Potluck

    Source: Tips For Hosting a Thanksgiving Potluck

    Whether you'll be celebrating with friends or family this year, consider making it a potluck affair. Not only will it feel more inclusive and allow your guests to show off their kitchen prowess, but it will also ease the burden of expense and stress on your end. With a few tips and tricks your Thanksgiving spread will be picture-worthy, full of diverse offerings (woe be the meal with four versions of green bean casserole, but no pie in sight), and - dare we say it - fun.

    • Divvying up dishes: While elegant snail-mail or Paperless Post invites are tempting (and are great to send out in addition), stick with email, Evite, or a Facebook invite when it comes to planning. This way you can easily lay out what dishes you'd like guests to bring, and ask each to reply all or post on the group board with what they've chosen to take on. Make sure to list out what you consider absolute musts (stuffing, mashed potatoes, pie) but also leave room
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  • 5 Exciting Meals Made with Everyday Ingredients

    YumSugarSource: 5 Exciting Meals Made With Everyday Ingredients

    Bare fridge? No problem! Rather than resort to delivery, dish up these simple meals that pack a flavor punch while relying predominantly on common pantry and fridge staples like pasta, canned tomatoes, and eggs.

    • Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino: Pasta is the star in this ultrasimple classic Italian dish. A heavy-handed dose of minced garlic and red pepper flakes ensure that this dish is only simple in preparation, never flavor.
    • Fast French Onion Soup: Beef broth, onions, butter and Gruyère combine for a soup far greater than the sum of its parts. Bonus: this iteration comes together in a flash, unlike the long-simmered traditional version.
    • Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce : Skip the jar and instead whip up a batch of this revelatory tomato sauce based on only three ingredients (canned tomatoes, butter, and onions).
    • Baked Eggs in Spiced Tomato Sauce: Breakfast for dinner goes beyond scrambled
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  • 5 Foods to Buy Frozen (and 5 to Freeze Yourself)

    Source: 5 Foods to Buy Frozen (and 5 to Freeze Yourself)

    All but the most organized cooks have been there: the dreaded "I forgot something" rush back to the grocery store. Luckily, with a little strategizing, much of the frustration and panic can be circumvented. While we'll often hack an ingredient substitution in a pinch, some foods have no analogue. In those cases, the freezer aisle (or your home freezer) can be a real savior.

    Foods to Buy Frozen:

    • Fruit: Stock frozen berries, mango, and cranberries for morning smoothies, out-of-season pies, and fruit-studded pancakes. Just keep in mind that freezing fruit damages some of its structure, so employ these only in cooked or pureed applications.
    • Shrimp: Due to its highly perishable nature, most commercially available shrimp is sold frozen or previously frozen. Not only is this briny nibble great to keep on hand for last-minute dinners, but also, it's often more economical to buy from the freezer case.
    • Phyllo
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  • 10 Ways to Use Every Morsel of Your Breadcrumbs

    YumSugarYumSugarSource: 10 Ways to Use Every Morsel of Your Breadcrumbs

    Whenever you have stale bread, rather than tossing it, toast it and give it a whirl in a food processor. Store the breadcrumbs in a resealable plastic baggie in the freezer for casseroles, breaded meats and vegetables, and pasta dishes. If you're short for ideas, these 10 recipes will help inspire you to use up your stash, before your breadcrumbs become stale!

    • "Fries" Coating: Get your french fries fix by making these baked zucchini fries, which are coated in a breadcrumb mixture.
    • Cake Maker: Breadcrumbs also bind fish together in these sautéed salmon cakes.
    • Bean Casserole Crust: YumSugar Assistant Editor Nicole Perry and I are huge fans of the white beans, covered in breadcrumbs, from Nopa restaurant in San Francisco. We think this white bean dish, inspired by the restaurant, is a must make.
    • Collard Greens Topping: This creamed collard green casserole is a great example of a traditional
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  • Snap Up Crab and Lobster with These Purchasing Guidelines

    Source: Snap Up Crab and Lobster With These Purchasing Guidelines

    Seeking out the highest-quality ingredients one can afford is always important, but never more so than when it comes to crustacean cookery. Here are some of our best practices for getting your money's worth. First and foremost, look for a shop with high turnover of these critters. This applies whether you're looking to buy live crab and lobster, precooked lobster tails, crab claws, or even lump crab meat. While seeking out the freshest precooked meat may seem obvious, even creatures sold live are highly perishable; once they're plucked from the sea, they'll stop eating, and a starved crustacean will have less meat on its shell.

    What to Keep in Mind When Buying Live Crab or Lobster

    • Buy these in season, and from local waters. A cross-country journey means more time has lapsed from catch to plate, and the critter is likely less robust and less meaty. Plus, purchases made at the source will cost less than those coming
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  • Beyond Good Eats: Alton Brown Discusses His Loaded Plate

    Source: Beyond Good Eats: Alton Brown Discusses His Loaded Plate

    Alton Brown's Good Eats days are over, but he's nowhere near throwing in the towel. Alton claims he's on camera more days this year than ever between hosting Iron Chef America and launching a new show on the Food Network this coming Spring. But that's not all that's on Alton's plate: he's also the proud mentor of Food Network Star winner Justin Warner and is the executive producer of Justin's forthcoming show.

    I chatted with Alton to discuss all the juicy details of his latest Food Network project, Justin's new show, and The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, which premieres Nov. 4.

    YumSugar: What can we expect from The Next Iron Chef: Redemption?

    Alton Brown: Pain, agony, anguish, and a little bit of redemption. The thing that's different this year is everyone has been there before. [They have] either come so close that they could smell whiffs of victory or they fell and were humiliated. For those that had tasted what

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