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Thanksgiving Dinner Part I: Planning

by Elizabeth Skipper November 6th, 2013| Ask the Chef
turkey usmcI am making my first Thanksgiving dinner for the family, which is a group of 10. I've eaten many dinners and helped family, but my husband and I have never made the whole dinner. What advice can you offer?

So you and hubby are to single-handedly put on Thanksgiving dinner for the family for the first time this year. My advice can be summed up in one word, "Plan." Plan the menu. Plan the quantities, the grocery list, the seating, the tableware, the serving dishes, the beverages, and the timing. Make a spreadsheet if you're so inclined. Make a timeline.

Generally speaking,
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Three-Bean Chipotle Turkey Chili

by BnB Finder October 22nd, 2013| Best BnB Bites, Recipes

There's no need to wait till Thanksgiving to enjoy some turkey. This week's recipe tells you how to use ground turkey to make a classic spicy chili, perfect for dinner on a cool fall evening. It's surprisingly quick and easy to assemble -- then get it simmering in a slow cooker and most of your dinner prep is done, hours in advance. Read all the way to the end of the recipe for a vegan option. This comes from the Inn on Main Street in Weaverville, North Carolina, a quiet haven that's still close to downtown Asheville

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Chicken — Mature and Otherwise

by Jane Wangersky October 3rd, 2013| Cooking Basics
chicken uncookedLast week I bought some chicken at the nostalgic price of 89 cents a pound. But first, I really hesitated. Not because I was afraid there was something wrong with it, but because, unlike most of the chicken I'd ever cooked, this was "mature stewing hen".

The chickens whose meat you find most often in stores are called, in ascending order of size, broilers, fryers, and roasters. Despite the names, they're all good for cooking pretty much any way you want. Also,they're all under five pounds in weight, less than eight months old (broilers and fryers are eight weeks or
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Crocker House Scallops

by BnB Finder August 6th, 2013| Best BnB Bites, Recipes
scallops pdThis recipe has everything you could want in a main dish for a summer supper -- it`s simple, light, delicious, and has an understated elegance. Be sure to use fresh ingredients to treat  yourself to five-star dining -- also, using previously frozen scallops instead of fresh may cause burns (on you, not the scallops) when the water in them meets the hot surface of the pan and possibly splashes out. We get this recipe from the Crocker House Country Inn in Hancock Point, Maine, a place ``where classic never goes out of style`` in a town where
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Go Coconuts over Tilapia!

by James Maynard July 26th, 2013| Video
coconut shreddedCoconut-crusted tilapia is a light, delicious healthy main course which can help you family eat more fish, with all of its health benefits. It is a near-perfect dish for summer nights, as hot days begin to cool. For people who love coconut, this odd fruit mingles wonderfully with the light taste of tilapia. The coating of the fish is made with panko, a light Japanese breadcrumb, and this lesson will also teach you how to prepare a delicious apricot glaze and side of honey-ginger carrots to compliment the fish. Watch this video to learn how to turn out this
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Grilling Fish: What You Really Need

by Elizabeth Skipper July 24th, 2013| Ask the Chef
fish grill basketI would like to cook fish on the grill during this hot weather. However, I don't own a special fish grill basket. Is it possible to cook fish without one?

Special baskets just for fish were created to avoid one of the biggest hurdles to successfully cooking fish on a grill, sticking. Any food sticking to a grill is frustrating, but fish is so delicate that once it sticks, it's virtually impossible to move or remove without its disintegrating. And fish isn't cheap, which adds insult to injury.

However, fish baskets aren't a perfect solution. Unless they're carefully designed, they're more trouble
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Chicken Saltimbocca Made Easy!

by James Maynard July 19th, 2013| Video
med ciaoChicken saltimbocca is one of those dishes that looks a lot harder to prepare than it actually is, making it a dish that you can prepare to really impress someone. Most people, even fairly good home cooks, will seldom or ever make chicken saltimbocca, and most people never eat it outside of a restaurant. It is one of the hallmarks of a good Italian restaurant. Watch this video however, and you will learn how to make chicken saltimbocca with only moderate cooking skills and a few simple, fresh ingredients. Also, a quick and easy side dish is also taught,
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Barbecued Asian Ribs for Outdoor Grills

by James Maynard July 5th, 2013| Video
ribsAsian ribs are delicious and make a wonderful meal for summertime – especially if they are barbecued. While many summer cookouts will feature the traditional hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken, ribs can give your get-together a whole other feel. And, doing them Asian-style will provide a flair that will impress your family and friends, leaving them talking about your barbecue as among the best of the year.

Creating  the sauce by blending sweet and savory ingredients together with some traditional tastes of Asia will bring ribs alive.

Watch this video, and you will also learn some great tips for barbecuing ribs.

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Salt: Before, After, or During?

by Elizabeth Skipper May 29th, 2013| Ask the Chef
seasoned meatI see on the Food Network that many salt their meats before searing or cooking it. What is best, before or after?

Ah, this debate rages on. Those who have seriously considered it often disagree. Who's right?

If you're talking about meat to be pan-broiled or pan-fried, I was taught to salt midway through the cooking process. First dry the meat, which is preferably at room temperature, with a paper towel so it will sear properly. Preheat the pan and film it lightly with oil - the oil should be shimmering, almost but not quite at the point of smoking. Lay
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Summer Potato Salad

by BnB Finder May 28th, 2013| Best BnB Bites, Recipes
potato saladPotato salad is definitely a summer dish in most people's minds, but that doesn't mean it has to be served chilled.  Years ago, I discovered that, whatever kind of dressing you use on your potatoes, the flavor comes through much better if you add it to them while they're still warm and then serve the salad right away. Today's potato salad recipe calls for a mayonnaise-based dressing with plenty of seasoning, including warm beef broth.  It's from the Swiss Woods Bed and Breakfast in Lititz, Pennsylvania, a peaceful retreat with a European feel. Try this dish some
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Savory Parmesan French Toast

by BnB Finder May 14th, 2013| Best BnB Bites, Recipes

Yes, French toast is wonderful as a sweet breakfast dish -- but it  doesn't have to be sweet, and for that matter, it doesn't have to be just for breakfast. Today's recipe adds parmesan cheese, garlic and pepper flavors to the classic bread and eggs, then tops the toast with green salad and poached eggs. This dish would make a great supper. It comes to us from the Maine Stay Inn & Cottages in Kennebunkport, where you can stay in a historic 1860 house (or retreat to a private cottage), explore the town, and of course enjoy
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Thanks, Mom

by Elizabeth Skipper May 8th, 2013| Techniques, Tools, and Tips
sunflower kitchenThe kitchen of the house I grew up in was nothing special. In fact, as I reconstruct it now in my mind's eye, it was pretty limited. The counters were surfaced in that wretched tiny tile which was so hard to keep clean, the counter space was minimal as were the cupboards; and the stove was in a bad location, too far from the counters and sink, with no place near it to set anything down. The refrigerator was one of those old ones with a freezing compartment inside it rather than a separate freezer, which required defrosting on
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