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Archive for November, 2011

Thanksgiving: The Final Countdown


Whether you’ve been planning the feast for weeks or have been roped into hosting at the last minute, the final 24 hours of preparation are crucial towards a successful (and relaxed!) Thanksgiving meal. If you’re stumped by cooking techniques or simply staring at a pile of ingredients, Cooking Channel is here to simplify your final countdown. We’ve got last-minute turkey tips (brining blues? carving questions?), recipes for sensational side dishes, and of course, the perfect pies to round out your dessert buffet.

It Begins With the Brine
Infusing your bird with moisture and varied flavors is as simple as soaking it for 6 to 10 hours in a brine. Get Alton Brown’s simple brine recipe and watch his video on how to brine. (Don’t have some of the spices Alton uses? No problem — the salted, sugared water will make a huge difference.)

Top Turkey Recipes
Take your turkey to the next level with brines that incorporate fragrant herbs or by topping it with cured meats.
Bay and Lemon Brined Turkey 
Tyler’s Maple-Roasted Turkey with Smoked Bacon
Nigella’s Spiced and Super-Juicy Roast Turkey
Aida’s Apple and Sage Turkey

Visit our turkey central to get more great tips and recipes, including a step-by-step guide on how to carve the turkey and more videos demonstrating turkey cooking techniques.

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Put Some Cheese in Your Gravy

Cheese Gravy Recipe

Thanksgiving is a time to be reflect on all the things we’re thankful for throughout the year. It’s also a time to immerse ourselves in some seriously wonderful food! One of my favorite foods to eat during the Thanksgiving feast is gravy. It brings all the fabulous Thanksgiving food together into a harmonious plate.

Because I like to insert cheese wherever I can, here is a great, easy way to make your Thanksgiving gravy into a cheesy gravy!

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Gobble This Up: Thanksgiving Cheese Ball

turkey cheese ball

Carving this bird's a breeze.

Forget about the store-bought cheese log or cream cheese-filled celery stalks your sister makes — a creamy, garlic-herb turkey-shaped cheese ball is the savory appetizer your family will ask for every year.

Rolled in crunchy, toasted almonds, this little guy deserves to be the star of Turkey Day.

Garlic-Herb Turkey Cheese Ball

For the Cheese Ball:
2 packages cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (such as dill, oregano and thyme)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

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How to Keep Mashed Potatoes Warm

When time is limited and mashed potatoes are a “must have” on the menu (which is always), keep the prepared potatoes warm by placing them in a heat-resistant bowl, covering, and setting it over a pot of simmering water. The potatoes should still be tasty 2 to 3 hours later. If stovetop space is limited, try a slow cooker or crockpot, set on low.

For more Thanksgiving recipes and tips, click here.

Fall Appetizer: Pumpkin Gyoza

Fall is in the air and with pumpkins inspiring us everywhere we turn, we’re continually looking to create new pumpkin recipes. This is also the season of parties, which means making rock-star appetizers to feed our partying masses. A holiday party isn’t complete without a roster of appetizers that are not only delicious, but that also make it easy on the cooking and planning side.

Crispy warm gyozas are loved because they’re quick, satisfying bites and, most importantly, they can be made ahead of time. With a bit of planning, you can cook the gyozas ahead of time and just warm them up in the oven before serving. We’ve never had anyone turn down room-temperature gyozas before, so don’t worry if they sit out for a while. It’s guaranteed they’ll be gobbled up before you can get the next batch out of the warming oven.

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Meatless Monday: Marinara Pasta

Even meat-lovers need to eat something tonight that's not turkey.

Thanksgiving is in 4 days. This means I’m crazy busy with prep work: making pie dough, roasting squash for butternut squash soup, running back and forth from the grocery store because I always underestimate the amount of heavy cream I need. It also means I don’t have any time to cook anything that won’t be served on Thursday. But I still need to eat. And preferably something that’s not Thanksgiving-y.

Pasta with a quick marinara sauce is the perfect pre- or post-Thanksgiving meal. It’s fast and easy, I’m always craving it, it won’t add too many dishes to the pile mounting in the sink and it doesn’t compete with the foods I’ll be eating too much of in a few days — stuffing and green beans and sweet potatoes. And while I might be out of heavy cream, I’m always stocked up on cans of tomatoes and dry pasta.

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Don’t Miss Debi and Gabriele at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Debi Mazar Macy's Day Parade

Be sure to tune in to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday morning to catch Cooking Channel’s Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, plus their daughters, in the line-up. The family will be making their parade debut on the famous Tom Turkey float, a parade staple since 1971. Last year, Good Eats’ Alton Brown had the honor of riding the float.

Joining Debi and Gabriele will be Avril Lavigne, performing her song, “Wish You Were Here.”

And just in case you still need some last minute inspiration for Thanksgiving, check out our favorite recipes for the big meal:

Be sure to share photos of your Thanksgiving feast on the Cooking Channel Facebook page!

Cranberry Cream Muffins

Cranberry Muffin Recipe

The appearance of fresh cranberries is a sign that the holidays have arrived. These tiny tart bombs always make our list of morning breakfast goodies to bake.

Warming up the house with a fresh batch of cranberry-golden raisin muffins is a wonderful way to welcome a chilly holiday morning.

Cranberry Muffin Recipe

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The Melding of Cultures on Thanksgiving

La Tartine Gourmande Thanksgiving Inspiration Board

When planning the same holiday year after year, how do you keep your celebration fresh and interesting while maintaining a sense of tradition? We asked our favorite bloggers and food people to share what’s inspiring their Thanksgiving planning this year. From ancestor’s recipes and falling leaves, to beautiful piles of ingredients and thoughtful home decor, there was no shortage of imagination. See what motivates some of the most creative minds we know, and then start planning your annual feast.

I first discovered the traditions surrounding Thanksgiving when I moved from France to the United States fifteen years ago. I had come to teach at an American university, and my friend Margaret invited me to spend Thanksgiving with her family. I still remember how cozy and warm the holiday felt to me; how the food – though different – was similar to some of the dishes my family ate while I was growing up.

I come from a rural area in Northeastern France where in these months, we grow plenty of winter squash (red kuri squash being a favorite), as well as apples, pears and root vegetables like celeriac and parsnips. Our cooking is filled with walnuts, chestnuts and mushrooms. To me, these foods are reminiscent of France in the fall.

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Cooking Channel – Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Cooking Channel Michael Smith

Michael Smith, our illustrious leader and SVP / General Manager of Cooking Channel, shares some recent thoughts on the past year-plus here at Cooking Channel.

Hello, we really appreciate the visit.  Thanks to you and so many other passionate food lovers, Cooking Channel has exceeded even our wildest expectations for success.  We’re just wrapping up our first full year on the air and already each month more than 15 million people tune in to Cooking Channel and a million more visit CookingChannelTV.com for a deeper dive into all things food.

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