Spirited gifts for cocktail lovers
December 16th, 2013
01:00 PM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

The gift-giving season is upon us, and amid the stress of dealing with family members for whom it is perennially impossible to find an appropriate gift (here, Dad, have another tie!), we should give thanks for cocktail fanatics.

The reason for that is that there’s an endless and ever-changing world of cocktail-related widgets, tools, ingredients, glassware and whatnot out there, and cocktail fanatics never tire of adding new items to their collections. Of course, there are limits. An antique silver punch bowl like the one that sold at Sotheby’s back in 2010 for $5.9 million seems a little over the top to me. Similarly, you could fly him (or her) to Vegas, jump into a limo to the Wynn’s XS Nightclub and splurge on a couple of Ono cocktails at $10,000 a pop. But honestly, why bother? There’s so much out there that’s so cool for so much less money. Here, for instance, are some great cocktail-related gifts for those on more modest budgets.
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Filed under: Christmas • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Gifts • Hanukkah • Holidays • Sip • Spirits


How to solve common cookie conundrums
December 13th, 2013
08:00 AM ET
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America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

Sending out a holiday cookie SOS? Here are five lifesavers.
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December 12th, 2013
01:30 PM ET
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CNN photojournalist John Bodnar is a second-generation Slavic-American whose grandparents emigrated from Eastern Slovakia, and his mother’s Carpatho-Rusyn ethnicity is the prominent influence for his cultural and family traditions. Previously, he wrote about haluski, holupki and paska.

I’ve always enjoyed the Slovak food my mother and extended family prepares. We eat these dishes at every family gathering: weddings, funerals and holiday celebrations. We eagerly approach the buffet display to find the holupki and haluski that usually occupy the first few trays, but at the end of the tables are the treats.

Cookies and cakes dominate that section, but the pastry that has always delighted my palate is the kolachi nut roll. Kolachi (sometimes spelled "kolache") is the name often given to a standard type of Slavic dough-filled pastry. Our kolachi is rolled dough filled with a walnut mixture, but other families fill theirs with a poppy seed mixture.

My aunt Eleanor was always celebrated as the one whose recipe held the quality edge over the other family members'. Obviously, this unofficial title has been disputed, but I concede that hers had a slight advantage in my childhood memories.

But Eleanor’s health eventually left her unable to make the delicious kolachi. As her health was failing, she insisted that her daughter Renee learn her kolachi recipe and carry on the tradition and her legacy. My cousin Renee embraced her mother’s challenge, and carries, in my mind, the title for making the best kolachi nut roll.
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Filed under: Baked Goods • Christmas • Cookies • Cooking • Cultural Identity • Culture • Family Recipe Index • Holidays • Make • Recipes • Step-by-Step


December 11th, 2013
10:00 AM ET
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Got holiday hosting questions? There's a good chance that our panel of experts has answers.

Eatocracy editors Kat Kinsman and Sarah LeTrent - were joined by special guests, cookbook author and host of The Farm on Public Television Ian Knauer, sommelier and wine director of The NoMad Thomas Pastuszak and vegan cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz - for a Google Hangout on holiday celebration and hosting.
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Filed under: Buzz • Christmas • Holidays • New Year's • Social Media


December 10th, 2013
01:30 AM ET
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Chances are that if you're a carbon-based, two-legged life form, some people in your sphere eat food. More than one of them probably likes it enough to read, talk, blog or take pictures of it in a manner that borders on obsessive.

Receiving any or all of these items for the holidays will bring them great joy.

- Gifts for eating -

Spirited sauces
A little kiss of whiskey makes any dish better. Locally-sourced ingredients and small-batch craftsmanship turn it into a masterpiece. This "Kentuckyaki," barrel-aged Worcestershire, and Bluegrass soy sauce gift box may just ruin the lucky recipient for non-bourbon-barrel-aged condiments for the rest of time, but at least you know what you're giving them next year. And the year after that.
Bourbon Barrel Foods ($25)

Marshmallow wonderland
Plastic bags of jet-puffed pillows are fine and dandy, but once you've floated on a flavor cloud of sugar cookie, peppermint, bourbon and honey marshmallows, you'll forever be chasing that high. They're crafted with cane sugar and a whole lot of love by Jenn and Nathan Clark (a couple who are really into 'mallow-making) and this Christmas gift set will seriously up anyone's cocoa dunking and s'mores making game.
Wondermade ($27 for four boxes)
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Filed under: Christmas • Gifts • HolidayShopping • Kwanzaa


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