better homes and gardens

Sarah Martens

You’re Invited: Better Homes and Gardens Cooking Experience!

Better Homes & Gardens is opening the doors of its famed Test Kitchen to host the brand’s first-ever consumer cooking experience. This exclusive, two-day event will kick-off at the Better Homes and Gardens headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa on October 10, 2014. Guests will enjoy cooking demos from notable chefs and BHG editors, scrumptious meals, tours of the Test Kitchen, a gift bag curated by BHG editors valued at $200 and a limited edition cookbook featuring recipes from the event. Registration is now online here.

“Our 40 million readers look to us each year for advice on fun, fresh ideas to elevate their holiday entertaining, from colorful centerpieces to chic table settings and the star of the table—food,” says Gayle Butler, Editor-in-Chief, Better Homes and Gardens. “This cooking experience gives us a chance to bring our holiday pages to life and invite consumers into our kitchen to engage with editors face to face, meet other entertaining enthusiasts and learn simple and inexpensive ways to make their holiday table shine.”

The weekend of events will kick off with a hearty opening reception and welcome dinner for guests that spotlights trend-forward holiday recipes from the pages of Better Homes and Gardens magazine and favorites old and new from the brand’s iconic Red Plaid Cookbook.

Consumers are also invited to book a seat at the table for the Tastes of the Season Dinner following Saturday’s cooking festivities. This intimate dinner in the Better Homes and Gardens kitchens will give readers a chance to dine and dish with Editor-in-Chief, Gayle Butler, Senior Deputy Food and Entertaining Editor, Nancy Hopkins, Test Kitchen Director Lynn Blanchard, and Contributing Editors Gesine Bullock-Prado and Scott Peacock. The menu features a four-course meal with wine pairings. This Saturday evening dinner is available as a separate ticket price. Seats are limited. To register click here.

Here’s a sample of what BHG has planned for readers during this exclusive, information-packed event:

Eat the Menu & Lunch Instructor: Scott Peacock

  • Scott Peacock is a James Beard award-winning chef and cookbook author, is a southern food expert who brings big flavor to his food. Born and raised in rural Alabama, Scott is the former chef to two Georgia governors, founding chef of Atlanta’s Horseradish Grill, and the former executive chef of Watershed Restaurant in Decatur, Georgia. Scott will teach a hands-on class featuring some favorites from his comfort-filled menu, layered with flavors that are perfect to share at the holiday table. Attendees will learn to make every dish, then eat the results for lunch.

Magically Delicious Desserts Instructor: Gesine Bullock Prado

  • Gesine Bullock-Prado is a master baker and cookbook author of Bake It Like You Mean It and Sugar Baby, who finds joy in demystifying baking challenges for the home cook. Gesine is a regular contributor to BHG and a frequent guest on NBC’s Today Show and CBS’ The Talk. Gesine will share simple steps to create spectacular centerpiece desserts for the holidays or any special occasion that begs for a sweet finish.

Behind the Scenes at the BHG Test Kitchen with Better Homes and Gardens Editors

  • Get the scoop on what happens every day in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen, where all recipes are tested and approved by BHG editors and culinary professionals. The Test Kitchen is not open to the public, so this is a rare opportunity to experience a behind-the-scenes tour of the nations’ most famous test kitchen. Editors will also offer hands-on experience, covering everything from knife skills to pastry tricks.

Everything You Need to Know to Cook SLOW with Better Homes and Gardens Editors

  • This hip and happening, fast-paced class will showcase 12 gorgeous go-to recipes for holiday gathering, from surprising appetizers to delicious desserts and the ultimate Christmas morning breakfast. Along the way, BHG editors will share the latest tips and tricks for using the slow cooker as well as the latest advancements in slow-cooker technology. The session will finish with design tips for how to make your slow cooker look great on the buffet table. You will be amazed that something so slow can taste so good!

Sheena Chihak

Food Tour of Green Bay

Quick! What comes to mind when I mention Green Bay, Wisconsin? It’s Sheena here, digital food editor for BHG.com and I’d bet serious money your first response was Packers football. Fair enough. Where else will you find an NFL team in such a small market? And just try to name one more NFL team owned by the fans – that’s right, you can’t. The Packers are unique and important to Green Bay, but if that’s all that comes to mind, you have not experienced the amazing food scene on the cusp of exploding.

I recently devoured my way across Green Bay during their Restaurant Week. Here are a few highlights you should know about beyond the brats (still, brats, yum!) of Lambeau Field.

 

CHEESE!!! No, that’s not excessive use of the caps lock key. Wisconsin = cheese, but until you’ve tasted cheese curds made the morning you ate them and met some cheese-making experts you don’t fully grasp it. From small batch cheeses at places like Renard’s Cheese to the brand I think synonymous with fresh mozzarella in the Midwest – BelGioioso – Green Bay is home to super-fresh cheese. Cool learning: BelGioioso makes its mozzarella to order and gets its milk from within a 30-mile radius of their factories so milk can go from farmer to packaged product in 4 hours! And they can make a LOT of cheese. Check out all the provolone!

Me with a 200-pound hunk of provolone and a room full of provolone in various fun sizes.

Carrots at the farmer’s market, cabbage and pigs at Twin Elm Gardens

Farm to Fork is Hot. The local food trend is in full swing as evidenced by a remarkably large farmer’s market, rent-able plots to grow food at their botanical garden and Green Bay restaurants. I ate one of the best meals of my life at Three Three Five created by Chef Chris Mangless (aka: The Traveling Chef). Earlier in the day Chef Chris met us at Twin Elm Gardens where many of his ingredients come from, from there he dreamed up a 27-course dinner using some of the foods we saw growing that morning. Some of the dishes I just pause to reflect on from time to time are the Meyer lemon hummus with pine nuts; carrot soup with coconut, ginger, and of all things, a marshmallow; and pork belly fried rice using black rice, pineapple, and soy. Here’s a sampling of my meal:

A few of the dinner selections from Three Three Five. Oysters, Carrot Soup, Beets and Lemon hummus

Craft Beverages Everywhere. Breweries abound in Green Bay. We sampled brews from Badger State Brewing Company (tasting room coming soon), Titletown Brewing Company (expansion coming soon), and Hinterland Brewery (new location coming soon). As you can tell from the updates soon to come for each company the craft brew business is booming. Though I enjoyed each beer we tasted, I’m not a big beer drinker, so my beverage highlight came from The Libertine. The dimly-lit, prohibition-styled space felt cozy and inviting and the cocktails were crafted by expert hands.

So if you find yourself venturing to Green Bay, don’t forget to explore cuisine outside the stadium.


BHG Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: Salmon Burgers

Hi Friends, I’m Nik Sharma and I blog at A Brown Table where I develop recipes that showcase the wonderful flavors of Indian cuisine. My favorite recipes are the ones where I get to showcase ingredients that are commonly used in Indian cooking and infuse them into everyday meals that are tasty yet wholesome and healthy.

Warm summers always remind me of grilling and spending vacations at the beach, so when Better Homes and Gardens asked me to cook and write about their recipes, I figured what could better than a delicious burger (any excuse is a great excuse to fire up the grill!). I picked their easy salmon burger recipe, which seriously guys, no jokes, this is one super EASY and tasty way to prepare salmon.  All you need to do is add the ingredients to a food processor, click the “Pulse” button a couple of times, shape and then toss them on to your grill and watch them sizzle!

We eat a lot of seafood at home and salmon is definitely a common item on our menu. So we were eager to try this recipe out from Better Homes and Gardens.

My favorite way to eat these babies, is to grab a salmon patty, throw on some lettuce, add a dollop of mustard, and sandwich it inside a freshly toasted bun.

I kept the entire method of preparation and ingredients the same as listed in the original recipe but I did make a few of my own changes to it.

  • Instead of using crackers, I used 1/2 cup oat bran. Not only does oat bran act as a binding agent it also gives a nice texture to the burger. If you have a gluten sensitivity issue, I recommend using oat bran that’s prepared in a gluten-free facility (just in case there’s cross contamination).
  • I also added 2 tablespoons chopped red onion, 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro leaves (but parsley could also be substituted in the same amount), 1 clove (approximately 1 teaspoon) of garlic , 1 small (1 teaspoon) thai chili pepper, 1 teaspoon garam masala, and 1 teaspoon salt to the salmon before processing it in the food processor.

If you’re looking for a no-fuss recipe to prepare a flavorful salmon burger, then this recipe will not disappoint!


Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Entertaining with Quiche

Whenever I host a brunch party, I love making quiche. It’s a simple way to serve eggs to a crowd and it feels a little special. Plus, it’s easily made ahead and delicious even as it cools.

This BHG Quiche recipe is amazing because it’s so adaptable- you can literally add anything to the egg mixture!

Some filling ideas:

  • sliced or grated zucchini squash
  • big slices of tomato
  • pesto and goat cheese
  • caramelized red onions
  • sausage and fresh herbs
  • scallions (green onions)

The list is endless! And it’s great because you can also just use whatever you have in the fridge. I usually cook the veggies or meat before adding it to the quiche to assure it’s fully cooked when the egg mixture is set. I use a pre-made pie crust, but you could certainly make your own.

For the version above, I added ribbons of yellow zucchini squash to the egg mixture, plus grated jack cheese, and a sprinkling of thyme. I made the ribbons of squash using a potato peeler, running it lengthwise down the squash. You could also use a mandolin. Another idea is to simply add big slices of tomato and grated cheese, like below.

Click here for the recipe. Happy brunching!

Photos and illustration by Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast, a cookbook and blog inspired by living in a cabin in the woods.


BHG Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: Coordinately Yours by Julie Blanner

 

 

Julie Blanner is the voice behind Coordinately Yours, a stylish lifestyle blog filled with do-it-yourself inspiration for effortless entertaining, home design and thoughtful gift-giving. As a seasoned event planner, her approach is warm and simple: entertaining and design that celebrates life.

best chocolate cake

I’m a fan of anything chocolate – and easy! I was looking for recipes I could make for Halloween and came across this hot cocoa brownie cake with marshmallow frosting recipe on BHG. It was quick, easy, and these little ghosts vanished nearly as quick as they appeared, making this a new family favorite recipe.

I chose a fudge brownie mix to give it a great, chewy base. Spray your pan well, lining it with parchment paper for easy removal.

baking tip: how to remove cake from pan easily

Confession: I don’t own a double boiler or a hand mixer. As much as I love baking, I’m a minimalist in the kitchen. To create a double boiler, just place a saucepan that fits well into a large pot of boiling water {water shouldn’t touch pan}. I warmed the marshmallow topping ingredients accordingly, transferring it to the metal bowl of my stand mixer {which kept them warm} and beat until stiff. To make this recipe a little more child friendly, I eliminated the coffee and liquor.

diy double broiler

I piped the marshmallow cream on to create ghosts with standard disposable icing bags. I didn’t worry about them being perfect – ghosts sway in the wind, right? I used store bought gel icing in a tube for the eyes. Next time I make this recipe {which will be sooner than later}, I will reduce the bake time for the ghosts to 4 minutes for a whiter appearance.

easy cake for Halloween

halloween dessert

This cake fits into my chic black and pink Halloween decor.

best chocolate cake recipe

Aren’t they adorable?

Halloween cake

piping ghosts on a cake

but definitely not too cute to eat!

marshmallow icing

Summer may be over, but toasted marshmallows and chocolate are here to stay!


Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Watermelon Margaritas

How fun and colorful are these Watermelon Margaritas?! I think they’d be perfect for a summer BBQ. I love the addition of the watermelon “ice cubes” to keep your drink frosty cool. You could also make a non-alcoholic version of this by eliminating the Triple Sec and tequila. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients (16 servings)

  • Watermelon cubes
  • Kosher salt (to line glass rims, if desired)
  • 8 lime wedges
  • 3 cups Triple Sec or other orange liqueur
  • 2 – 3 cups tequila
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup superfine sugar or powdered sugar
  • 5 cups seedless watermelon, chopped

Directions

1.Freeze cubes of watermelon on a waxed paper-lined tray for 1 to 2 hours or until firm.

2. If you’d like to salt the rims of your glasses (I skipped this), place salt on a small plate. Rub rims of eight glasses with one of the lime wedges. Dip rims of glasses in salt to coat; set aside.

3. In a pitcher combine Triple Sec, tequila, lime juice, and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

4. Pour 1/4 cup of tequila mixture into blender or food processor with chopped watermelon (working in batches if necessary). Cover and blend or process until smooth. You could strain it, but I don’t bother. Combine watermelon juice with remaining tequila mixture. Stir. Chill until ready to serve.

5. Place frozen watermelon cubes in glasses. Pour blended watermelon tequila mixture over watermelon cubes.

 

Photos and Illustrations by Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast, a blog full of simple recipe and entertaining ideas inspired by living in a cabin in the woods.