Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Off The Shelf: December Food Magazines

December has come and with that all of the new food magazines. Ours arrived remarkably late this year and we have yet to see a few of them. But here our reviews of three magazines.

Everyday Food (Heather) -- I was kind of hoping that December's issue of Everyday Food would be just a little bit more festive. Granted, it does have 20 pages devoted just to holiday food, but somehow I wanted a whole issue with almost nothing but holiday food.

You will find a number of good dinner recipes for "everyday" cooking as well as a whole section on soups. Holiday recipes include: Brandied Ham, Spinach and Gruyere Souffle, Crispy Potato Roast, Leek Gratin, Fudge, Truffles and Mini Fruitcakes.

I chose to try the Crostini with Kale and Parmesan, since the thought of using Kale as an appetizer had never occurred to me before. Despite enjoying Kale as a side-dish, I was slightly apprehensive about this recipe. However, one bite was all it took to impress me! This recipe is GOOD! The tangy greens on top of the crisp, salty bread, with just a bit of bite from the parmesan yields a really delightful appetizer that's also not that bad for your health!

(Everyday Food Magazine, December 2009)

1 baguette, sliced 1/3-inch thick on the diagonal
3+ Tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds kale, washed, stems removed, leaves sliced into 1/4-inch strips
2 tsp. lemon juice (I substituted 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar)
1 small wedge Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400F. Arrange bread slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Bake until light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. (I needed mine to finish in a hurry, so I eventually turned on the broiler).

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil and garlic over medium-high heat until garlic is fragrant. Add kale and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper and add 1 cup water; cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated, 12 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid is evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Toss with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.

Top crostini with kale. With a vegetable peeler, shave Parmesan on top.

Serves 8.

Everyday with Rachael Ray (Alaina) -- While this issue is a double issue and claims to have many ideas, I found it rather disappointing. Appetizers, drinks,  snacks, desserts, and cookies are the main types of recipes I look for in December/Holiday issues of magazines. This issue has a few of these things but nothing that really makes me want to get in the kitchen and cook or bake. The magazine does feature a few pages of holiday menu.

Lest I sound too harsh, there were some great sounding recipes. Some of the recipes that sound especially good are Nougat Hot Chocolate w/Whipped Cream, Caramelized Banana Loaf Cake, French Onion Mac 'n' Cheese, and Smoked Mozzarella and Chicken Sandwiches with Italian Barbecue Sauce.

I did make the Chived Yorkshire Puddings and they were delicious. The whole family enjoyed them and I would make them again. Mine  rose beautifully and then deflated a bit - perhaps if I had left them in a couple more minutes they would have faired a little better. They were very tasty nonetheless! The oniony flavor of the chives was a great addition.

(Everyday with Rachael Ray, Dec./Jan. 2009-2010)

3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs and milk; stir in the flour, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 pinch of pepper. Gently stir in the chives; then let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Brush two jumbo muffin pans with oil or use 12 8-oz. ramekins set on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and let stand until hot, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the muffin pans to a heatproof work surface. Working quickly, add 1/4 c. batter to each cup, then bake until puffed and golden-brown, 15-17 minutes. Run a knife around each cup to loosen and serve immediately.

Makes 12

Cooking Light (Alaina) -- This is truly a double issue. It has a lot of recipes and is 292 pages! This issue was less disappointing. It has 13 cookie recipes, 20 dessert recipes, and 7 beverage recipes. For a magazine that generally seems to focus on savory dishes, I am impressed. The recipes look delicious - Pecan-Date Bars, Raspberry-Cream Cheese Brownies, Lemon-Almond Tarts, Roasted Pear Creme Brulee, and many more! They had even have a recipe for Toasted Coconut Marshmallows. I've mentioned this feature before but I like that they list serving information - serving size, calories, fat etc.

I made the Hot Buttered Vanilla Rum. I'll be honest, it was way to strong for us. However, if you really, really enjoy rum, this drink is for you. I was hoping for more of a buttery flavor and stronger vanilla (next time, I would cut the vanilla bean completely in half and scrape the seeds into the mixture at the beginning).

(Cooking Light, December 2009)

1 1/2  cups  water
2  tablespoons  sugar
1  vanilla bean
1  (2-inch) piece lemon rind
1  cup  dark rum
1  tablespoon  butter

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 15 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl, reserving liquid; discard solids. Return water mixture to pan. Add rum and butter to pan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Serve immediately.

I (Alaina) haven't had a chance to check out Bon Appetit yet. And while I'm not generally a fan of Taste of Home, I'm usually impressed with the holiday issue though I haven't seen this year's magazine. They seem to know how to do holidays right! So you might check out those two publications!


  1. hi, i really enjoy your blog! thanks for all the great reviews and recipes. i was reading the chive yorkshire pudding recipe and i see that in calls for 1 cup flour, but i didn't see when you add it in. since i have never made this, i'm just not confident enough to guess! thanks again!

  2. Thank you! I've corrected it!

  3. Do you have any good recipes for appetizers using puff pastry. I would like to try using it and since I never have am not sure where I should start. Thanks - I really enjoy your recipes!!