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It’s Thanksgiving!

Here’s what to do with all that food tomorrow.

Fall Fest: Carrot Recipes to Covet

A versatile root addition to salads, soups and sides, carrots are more than just bunny food. Whether served crisp and snappy or roasted to sweet tenderness, the orange (or sometimes purple, red, yellow and white) vegetables are a sure-fire fall fan favorite. Here are a few ways to get them on the table.

1. Bring out carrots’ natural sweetness with Sunny Anderson’s honey-glazed carrots (pictured above). They complement almost any meaty main, and offer a bright pop of color to the table.

2. Bobby Flay crowns the carrot as the king of this salad, and tops it with a citrusy-sweet-spicy dressing. Cumin and cayenne pepper give the dish an earthy flavor with just the right amount of heat.

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Burning Love: Char Your Vegetables

Del Campo's Dishes (photo: Greg Powers)

Del Campo's Charred Tomato Salad + Charred Ceviche (photo: Greg Powers)

Remember when burning your vegetables was considered a bad thing? These days, though, chefs are using high heat and chars to draw out the caramel flavors of fruits and vegetables without needing extra sauces and flavoring.

At Del Campo in Washington, DC, chef Victor Albisu serves South American barbecue with a focus on burnt items, so much so that the menu reads like a market stand of grilled items – tomatoes, scallions, artichokes, squash, onions. 

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Super Food Nerds, Behind the Scenes: The Cherry on Top

Close your eyes and picture “cherry red.” What do you see? I’d wager you’re picturing a color that has been witnessed in a fresh cherry precisely … never. What you are seeing is a maraschino cherry — maraschino red, that is.

Which is odd, because the maraschino we’ve come to know bears only the faintest relation to a real cherry. Today’s maraschino is a preserved fruit of a particularly brutalized sort, the result of chemical brines, artificial dyes and “natural” flavors that would shame even a cosmetic surgeon. The jarred stuff starts with sweet cherries (typically Royal Ann or Rainier); these are saturated with calcium salts, which firms the cherries’ texture while stripping color and flavor. The resulting specimens are then pitted and macerated in sugar syrup. After a month of maceration, the cherries are dipped in red dye, stem and all, and packed in almond-flavored syrup.

The resulting product is indisputably an eye-catching garnish; whether it is an edible foodstuff is debatable. With its impossibly cloying sweetness and synthetic taste, the maraschino is rich in meaning, poor in flavor. But it persists because flavor is beside the point. The maraschino exists as an ornament, a bauble, a visible sign that says, “Now we are treating ourselves.”

Flavor hasn’t always been an afterthought, though. For centuries, before they became a cliche, maraschino cherries were a rare and coveted luxury item. Their distinguished pedigree traces back to 16th-century Dalmatia (a region of modern-day Croatia), where Dominican monks first distilled the wild marasca cherry — a sour variety celebrated for its spicy cinnamon flavor — in a clear liqueur. With time and tinkering — like sweetening with cane sugar and distilling the cherry pits separately (which lent bitter, almond notes) — the monks arrived at the spirit that came to be known as maraschino, still produced in Italy today.

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Healthiest Sides for Your Picnic Potluck

Summer cookouts might seem like a diet disaster, but they don’t need to be. Round out the usual burgers and hot dogs with these healthy sides and you’ll end up with a meal you feel good about. To make the healthiest plate, try to follow the guidelines of making half your plate veggies, a quarter starchy foods (in cookout speak, this would be stuff like the corn, potato salad or hot dog bun) and a quarter protein (the hot dog, small burger, etc.). As for what those healthy options should be, here are some ideas.

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Grilling Smackdown: Best Choices for Your Next Cookout

It’s about time to kick off the unofficial start of summer with a Memorial Day cookout! And what better way to celebrate than with a nutritional smack down? Here’s a look at your favorite cookout foods with an answer to the burning question: which is healthier?

Burger vs. Hot Dog
Meat brings up lots of questions, such as where it’s from, how it was raised or how it was processed. For the sake of this smack down,  let’s assume that you’re choosing between the best possible options: a lean, local, grass-fed beef burger or a nitrate-free 100% beef hot dog. Lean burgers offer good amounts of B vitamins, zinc and protein (20 g). Keep in mind portion size: a burger should be made from 1/4 pound of ground beef. That’ll keep calories in check (178). Hot dogs are slightly lower in calories, compared to a quarter-pound burger, but not by much (169 calories in a typical dog). They also have way more sodium, while offering fewer vitamins and minerals. So unless they are your main reason for being in the summertime, stick to the beef burger. Better yet? Go for grilled salmon or a veggie burger.

The Winner: Burgers

Get our Top Burger Recipes

Potato Salad vs. Macaroni Salad

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Hump Day Snack: Soft Pretzel Footballs

Happy mid-January: a time of wavering resolutions and intense longing for endless carbs and sugar-crusted sweets. The good news is the Super Bowl is only 18 days away, which gives you a perfect excuse to indulge in a cheese-and-bread bowl or two in honor of the home team. To help you prep for that glorious day of snacking, here’s an easy football-shaped soft pretzel recipe that uses store-bought pizza dough to speed things up. A quick dip in a beer-and-baking-soda solution before baking gives these twists a deeper flavor and a nicely browned crust — no lye required. Set them up with a duo of mustard and cheese sauce and let the carb-loading games begin!

Feast your eyes on more pretzel-centric recipes from Cooking Channel below:

31 Days of Cookies: Chocolate Diablo Cookies

This year, we’re celebrating the season with a month of nonstop cookies. It’s the final day of the 31 days of cookies, and we’re wrapping it up with the photo that inspired it all, the spicy, cakey Chocolate Diablo Cookie. Until next year…

Click here for the Chocolate Diablo Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
All-Star Cookie Swap
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

31 Days of Cookies: Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

This year, we’re celebrating the season with a month of nonstop cookies. With New Year’s resolutions quickly approaching, we’re fitting in all of our vices for the 30th day of cookies: It’s time for Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Click here for the Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
All-Star Cookie Swap
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

31 Days of Cookies: Boozy Marmalade Shortbread Cookies

This year, we’re celebrating the season with a month of nonstop cookies. New Year’s Eve is approaching, so for the 29th day of cookies, we’re making Alie and Georgia’s liqueur-spiked boozy shortbreads.

Click here for the Boozy Marmalade Shortbread Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
All-Star Cookie Swap
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

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