Get Adobe Flash player

Menus & Recipes

Creative Ideas for Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts

This Thanksgiving, some dishes are going to look and taste a little different – except the turkey, of course, according to a new survey from McCormick, America’s favorite herbs and spices. Classic sides and desserts are beginning to reflect the growing number of cooks in the kitchen, who are getting more creative with new flavors, ingredients and preparations.

While the majority of Americans still want the turkey to taste the same, the survey revealed 40 percent want to change up their sides and 38 percent want to do the same with desserts. Add that two-thirds of adults are now helping cook the big feast – including one in every two men – and it’s clear the Thanksgiving meal is turning into a melting pot of flavors and dishes, evolving from a time when one person planned and prepared a classic meal with mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

“Sides and desserts are often made by different people – whether it’s a neighbor, a cousin or a friend – and they tend to add their personality to the dish,” said Chef Kevan Vetter of the McCormick Kitchens. “That might include using cayenne pepper in a great aunt’s sweet potato recipe or searching Pinterest for new flavors, like butterscotch, to make a more decadent pumpkin pie.”

Regional differences are also impacting flavors and dishes. For example, Midwesterners are most likely to change up their menus by adding an entirely new dish. And, those in the West and South are more likely to celebrate with a mixture of friends and family from different backgrounds, bringing their own heritage flavors to recipes.

In celebration of this year’s big and flavorful Thanksgiving meal, the McCormick kitchens are offering cooks tasty inspiration for stuffing, gravy, vegetables and desserts.

Classic Sides with a Twist: Of the Americans changing up sides, 69 percent said they’d like to add new flavors, while 20 percent are looking for spicier ingredients. Introducing a few unexpected twists to traditional Thanksgiving sides is a great way to bring new tastes to the table while still enjoying the ones you already love.

  • Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Ginger Honey Sauce – Instead of regular green beans or broccoli, serve Brussels sprouts with a delicious ginger-honey sauce and sprinkle with toasted pecans – they might be the biggest hit at the table.
  • Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing – Crumbled corn bread adds a layer of sweet flavor to traditional stuffing seasoned with thyme and garlic.
  • Spiced Whipped Sweet Potatoes – Take a break from your usual Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. Brown sugar, cinnamon and cayenne red pepper add a little sweetness and heat to these whipped sweet potatoes
  • Apple Sage Turkey Gravy – Use turkey gravy mix, sage and apple juice to add warm fall flavor to your gravy.

Flavorful Desserts Prepared in New Ways – Of the Americans changing up dessert, 63 percent want to add new flavors and 29 percent are eager to switch up how it’s prepared. Put together a menu that features an array of desserts and gives your guests a chance to sample it all:

More Thanksgiving Recipe Recommendations from McCormick® FlavorPrint™
Love the flavors in pumpkin pie? Discover new favorite Thanksgiving and holiday recipes using free FlavorPrint recipe recommendations, which take the flavors you like and recommend the dishes you’ll love. Get your FlavorPrint atwww.McCormick.com/FlavorPrint.

Wind & Willow Table for 2

 

WindandWillow-HPTable for 2 from Wind & Willow gives us the comfort food we crave without having to cook for a crowd. The line includes soup mixes, pasta kits and heavenly desserts. The Mushroom Parmesan Pasta is particularly to die for, as is the Warm Apple Crisp (Grandma would be proud). In addition, one of consumers’ favorite things about the line is the alternate recipes (use the White Cheddar Potato Soup to make Chicken Pot Pie for 2, for example).

 

Baked Beans with Pendleton Barbecue Sauce

I used Pendleton© Brown Sugar+Molasses Barbecue Sauce the other night to make a batch of baked beans that turned out fabulous! I started with a couple of cups of cooked Anasazi beans. I put that in a pot with about half an onion that I chopped finely and browned in the fat I rendered out of a couple of strips of bacon. I drained the grease and added the browned onion and chopped bacon bits to the beans, then added enough of the barbecue sauce to moisten it well — probably about 3/4 cup. Then I just let it simmer for about 45 minutes while I baked some chicken and dressed some cole slaw. And the best thing is that I managed to stop eating while I still had some leftover beans and cole slaw for today’s lunch!

The Anasazi beans are a Southwest heritage variety that I bought at my local farmers market. They’re a gorgeous bean with cranberry and cream speckles, and they have a creamy texture when cooked. The Brown Sugar + Molasses sauce is one of a pair of new flavors from Pendleton, which also makes new Hot+Spicy flavor and Original and Mesquite flavors. The sauces are made by Oregon Growers & Shippers in partnership with Hood River Distillers. The Brown Sugar + Molasses Sauce was created for consumers looking for a sweeter flavor profile and is made from premium quality molasses and dark brown sugar for a caramel flavor accented with hints of citrus from coriander and some mild heat from black and chipotle peppers and a backdrop of hickory smoke that add some spicy tang to that sweetness for a result that didn’t taste anything like candied beans.

 

– Lorrie Baumann

 

Idaho Potato People Offer Perfect Potato Salad Recipes

During peak picnic season, make sure your spread is complete with the perfect potato salad. With more than 100 potato salads in its rich recipe database, as well as tips from the experts and how-to videos, the Idaho Potato Commission’s (IPC) website is your top resource for this popular summer side dish.

“Through analytics we know that close to 70 percent of the visitors to our website during the summer months are looking for recipes or tips to help them make the perfect potato salad,” explained Frank Muir, President/CEO of the IPC. “Our new recipe database, Ask Dr. Potato question and answer forum, and abundant how-to videos on our YouTube channel demonstrate how and why Idaho® potatoes are the ideal potato for summer salads.”

Recipes
Hot, cold, traditional, or with a twist, there are so many different mouth-watering Idaho potato salad recipes that you can serve a new one to your family every day during the summer months. It’s hard to resist the traditional potato salad with mayonnaise and hardboiled eggs, but if you’re looking for a light and nutrient-dense option, try the Asparagus and Idaho Potato Quinoa Salad with Orange Parsley Dressing. Loaded with flavor, textures, and important vitamins and minerals, this dish can stand alone as a vegetarian meal or accompany your family’s favorite protein. Did we mention it’s gluten-free, too?

Dr. Potato
There isn’t a potato-related question that Dr. Potato can’t answer. The number one trending question this season is, “How long does potato salad last in the refrigerator?” Here is Dr. Potato’s response: “Did the salad get made up and then refrigerated right away, and you just have some left over? If this is the case then it should easily last three to four days. Was the salad used at a picnic and then placed back in the refrigerator? Then probably no more than the next day, if that. I usually don’t recommend saving the salad after it has sat out in the heat at all.”
To read more on this topic and other popular potato-related questions, please visit http://foodserviceblog.idahopotato.com.

YouTube How-to Videos
If you have always wondered how to make your potato salad look as good as the pros, try visiting the IPC’s library of videos.  Popular food blogger Average Betty shows how she makes her “pota-totally” awesome salad, Roasted Red Potato Salad with Arugula, Blue Cheese, Cranberries, Candied Pecans and Balsamic Dressing.  This salad is so flavorful and easy-to-make there’s a good chance you’ll want to serve it at your next meal!

To go directly to the IPC’s potato salad recipe collection, visit: http://recipes.idahopotato.com/allthingspotatosalads

A Playful Take on an Italian Classic

 

By Lorrie Baumann

A colleague of mine at Oser Communications Group has asked me to review a recipe for Pasta with Jam Sauce concocted by Mr. West Collins and demonstrated in a YouTube video that can be seen at http://youtu.be/90tZUltzRBc. She asked me to respond to the video as a professional writer on matters of culinaria, based on my experience as editorial director of Gourmet News, the business newspaper of the specialty food industry, and Kitchenware News & Housewares Review magazine, as part of her participation in GISHWHES as a member of Team CommorientLoves6RMartial Arts.

Collins’ recipe calls for canned pasta sauce, carrot juice, Goldfish crackers and a whole apple with several bites out of it, which of course does not adhere to our traditional notions of how to make a great pasta sauce. It must be said, though, that there are certainly more recipes for pasta sauce out there than there have ever been pasta cooks to concoct them, so we must not accept without question the notion that Collins’ recipe is entirely new to the world.

We recreated the recipe in our editorial office with Hunt’s all-natural tomato sauce, which does not include added sugar; Polaner strawberry spreadable fruit, which is sweetened only with fruit juice; Bolthouse Farms carrot juice; Pepperidge Farm’s Baked Goldfish crackers, flavor blasted with “Xplosive Pizza + Parmesan” for a little bit of Italian flavoring; and a Red Delicious apple, which was removed when the pasta was served on elbow macaroni from a carton of Kraft macaroni and cheese.

The results admittedly fall short of our expectations for a fine Italian pasta sauce, due primarily to the ingredient choices, which could have been improved. However, ingredients are just one element in a successful culinary experience. Other necessary elements include technique and tools. Collins’ video demonstrates that he had available to him the essential tools of a modern American home kitchen, although it is also apparent that his technique with them is not expert. Clearly, that will benefit from future experiments in the kitchen and additional instruction from a knowledgeable cook with more culinary experience than he.

With quality ingredients, adequate tools and a firm grasp of basic technique, any cook can put an edible meal on the table. But putting an exceptional meal on the table calls for something else: the creativity born of imagination and a willingness to experiment. And that, Collins brings in abundance.

That being the case, the actual taste of the dish that results from Collins’ recipe is almost irrelevant. In any case, the sauce made from his recipe is not all that different from a nationally distributed brand that has certainly turned a profit over the years. What Collins is really serving up here, along with his Pasta with Jam Sauce, is fun. That the adults around him encouraged his experiment fostered his creativity and culinary courage. That they recorded it and shared it with us allows us also to have a taste of the fun.

However, if you are looking for your own opportunity to cook up a playful take on an Italian classic, I would suggest some experiments with the Maple Bacon Aioli recently released by Stonewall Kitchen, a premium product that you’ll find in a specialty grocery or gourmet store. Stonewall Kitchen sent me a couple of jars to sample and review, and I recently tried it out as a pizza sauce with good results. I used a prepared pizza crust from Trader Joe’s, rolled it out and spread it with the aioli, then topped it with chopped roast chicken and mozzarella cheese and baked it. Delicious!

 

 

 

Busha Browne’s Jerk BBQ Slider Recipe

Busha's Slider imageIngredients

4 ounces Busha Browne’s Jerk Smokey BBQ Sauce
2 pounds premium ground beef (80 percent lean / 20 percent fat)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 tsp – fresh garlic minced
1 TBSP olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
2 ounces mayonnaise
1 dozen slider rolls or dinner rolls
6 ounces romaine lettuce leaves
3 medium tomatoes – cut into 1/8-inch slices
2 medium purple onions – cut into 1/8-inch slices

Technique

Combine 2 ounces Jerk Smokey BBQ Sauce, beef, salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil. Mix gently with a fork.
Shape the meat into 12 patties and place into your freezer while preheating the barbecue grill to med/high heat.
Oil the grill just before putting the patties to cook for 5 to 6 minutes per side, depending on your preference for medium to well done. Check your patties’ temperature with a thermometer before removing them from the grill. The USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees for ground beef.
Combine mayonnaise and remaining Jerk Smokey BBQ Sauce and dress top and bottom of slider rolls.
Dress sliders with lettuce, tomato and purple onions.

Makes 12.

Emmi Roth Announces Grand Cru Recipe Contest Winners

Emmi Roth USA, an award-winning producer of specialty cheeses, has announced the winner of its Grand Cru® Recipe Contest for Postsecondary Culinary Students. Caroline Ausman of Burlington, Wis., took top honors with her recipe for Manicotti en Croûte with Brandied Fig Sauce.

The contest, presented in conjunction with the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ), challenged postsecondary culinary students to create a flavorful and creative pasta recipe highlighting Roth Grand Cru, a washed rind Alpine-style cheese crafted in Wisconsin.

Ausman is currently enrolled as a student at the Art Institute of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Baking and Pastry. She attributes her culinary and pastry passion to working alongside her mother in the family kitchen while growing up.

“I truly feel at home in the kitchen, working with my hands and creating from scratch. This contest was an amazing opportunity for me to showcase what I love doing,” said Ausman. “Although developing the recipe was a tremendous, and sometimes challenging, process, I really learned a lot!”

The panel of Emmi Roth USA contest judges were impressed with the flavor and versatility of the recipe, remarking that the application “takes pasta in a whole new direction” and could be served as an appetizer or a savory dessert.

“We received so many fantastic recipes and were inspired by the passion and creativity shown by all of the entrants. Ms. Ausman’s recipe impressed us for its flavor, sophistication and elegance,” said Regi Hise, Director of Culinary Development at Emmi Roth USA. “We’re always looking for innovative ways to feature our cheeses in culinary applications, and manicotti wrapped in phyllo is a creative and delicious concept. The sweet flavors of the brandied fig sauce balance wonderfully with the savory Grand Cru manicotti filling, and the phyllo adds great texture – the recipe was a clear winner.”

Ausman’s first place finish, out of more than 35 entries from across the country, earned her $2,000 and registration and lodging accommodations at the upcoming National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show, May 17-20, in Chicago. Ausman’s winning recipe will be served at the Emmi Roth USA Cheese 4 Chefs table during the NRA Show.

The winning recipe and photo are available on the Emmi Roth Foodservice website. For additional information about Ausman’s culinary pursuits, visit her blog.

Roland Truffle Mac & Cheese Impresses

By Lorrie Baumann

If you ever have one of those occasions when you need to bring a dish to a potluck dinner with friends who’ve already had your signature dish so often that they’ve begun just to assume that’s what you’re bringing, it’s time to think yourself back into the box. American Roland Food Corp. has just introduced Truffle Mac & Cheese, if once you’ve tried it, you’re going to suspect that the company’s product developers had you in mind when they came up with this idea. As easy to make as that macaroni and cheese that comes in the blue box, this has been given a gourmet twist with truffle, and the result is easily good enough to take to a party. Whether you confess the role of the box or merely claim it as your own is totally up to you, because neither flavor nor the texture of the sauce is going to give you away.

packagesRoland was kind enough to let us at the Gourmet News editorial office sample a box each of the regular and whole wheat pasta varieties of the Truffle Mac & Cheese, and popular demand from the folks who saw the boxes come into the office required that I cook it up and bring it in for all to sample.

Cooking

 

The box contains the pasta and a packet of cheese sauce mix – you add your own butter and milk to the sauce mix and fold it into the cooked pasta. I brought it into the office, set it out in our break room with paper plates and plastic utensils and stood back to avoid being trampled. The verdict: yes, this would definitely pass muster on the buffet table. And no, most of us aren’t mentioning that it came out of a box. Nor do we expect to have the question come up.

Mac & CheeseIf you really want to put on the dog, you could add a little sriracha sauce; you could follow a Roland suggestion and drizzle some Roland White Truffle Oil over the dish just before serving; you could top it with some crispy bits of chopped bacon; or you could follow Top Chef contestant Dave Martin’s cue and add a little Tabasco Chipotle sauce. But you definitely don’t have to.

For further information, call 800.221.4030 x 222 or visit www.rolandfood.com.

Milkshake-Style Shooters Make a Memorable New Year’s Eve Party Drink

Looking for a festive new drink to wow your guests at this year’s New Year Eve party? Surprise them with scrumptious ice cream-based Vanilla Mocha Latte Shooters. Infused with Nielsen-Massey’s fine extracts and garnished with vanilla sugar this delicious drink packs a flavorful and festive punch in a single shot glass for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party.

“Most people know that our products add flavor and distinction to food and desserts, but using our extracts in drinks is an easy way to quickly add layers of flavor to beverages,” said Craig Nielsen, CEO of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas. “These shooters are a fun and whimsical way to dazzle your guests with this delectable, creamy creation.”

Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate and Coffee Extracts as well as Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract are universally loved flavors that bring a new dimension not only to food but also to beverages. In Vanilla Mocha Latte Shooters, the extracts are added to vodka, then chilled in the freezer. Pure Chocolate Extract imparts dark chocolate flavor and subtle, cocoa distinction while Pure Coffee Extract enhances the drink with full-bodied flavor from fine coffee beans. Rounding out these stronger flavors is Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract, a delicate vanilla featuring floral, fruity, cherry-like notes.

Vanilla-Mocha-Latte Shooters

(Serves 8)

Ingredients

½ tsp Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract

½ tsp Nielsen-Massey Pure Coffee Extract

½ tsp Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract

½ cup chilled vodka

2 Tbsp Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar (for rimming glasses)

½ cup heavy cream

3 cups firmly packed vanilla ice cream (about 6 large scoops)

Directions

In a small bowl, combine chocolate, coffee and vanilla extracts and vodka; cover and place in freezer until chilled.

In a small shallow bowl, add just enough water to moisten glass rims. In an additional small shallow bowl, add vanilla sugar. Dip each shooter glass rim into water and then into sugar; set aside.

Add cream and ice cream to an electric blender container, cover and blend on high, about 10 seconds. Add chilled vodka-mixture, cover and blend until smooth. Pour milkshake mixture into a piping bag or a large glass measuring cup and carefully fill 8 (2.5-ounce) glasses. Serve.

Once chilled, the unique vodka and extract mixture is combined with heavy cream and ice cream for milkshake-like body and texture. To serve, shot glasses are rimmed with Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar, which is a flavorful blend of gourmet baker’s sugar and the most exquisite vanilla. Divide the milkshake mixture among eight shot glasses, and you have perfect potables to ring in the New Year.

Fun Ideas with Holiday Seasonal Flavors

With simple tips from the McCormick Kitchens on enjoying the season’s top seven flavors – pumpkin spice, ginger, vanilla, peppermint, sage, cinnamon and nutmeg – everything from breakfast to dessert can have the best holiday taste.

“There’s really no reason to wait for a special occasion to savor the ‘Seasonal Seven’ flavors,” said Chef Kevan Vetter of the McCormick Kitchens. “For example, when I wake up in the morning, I like adding pumpkin pie spice to my coffee so I can start my day with that extra-special holiday flavor. To make Sunday dinners a little more festive, I’ll add sage to my creamy potato gratin.”

Seasonal Seven Flavors for Moments Big and Small
Think of every meal as an opportunity to include holiday tastes:

Visit www.McCormick.comwww.Facebook.com/McCormickSpiceand www.Pinterest.com/mccormickspices for simple ideas that will inspire you to make sure each moment is filled with seasonal flavor. Look for McCormick Spices in the spice aisle of supermarkets and mass merchandisers nationwide.

Gourmet News
Follow me on Twitter