Table Talk: December 16

Winter holiday food

By
December 13, 2010

(Editor’s note: This chat is over, but the transcript is available to read here. And join Kim for another Table Talk chat, most Thursdays.)

What food are you eating, cooking, craving, buying right now? This week, the talk turns to holiday edibles.

Kim O’Donnel will be here on Thursday, December 16, at 10 a.m. PT, 1 p.m. ET to answer your questions about cooking your favorite holiday foods — and help you find some new favorites as well.

Bring your links, ideas, questions, and suggestions to Table Talk, this Thursday.

Sign up below to receive an email reminder of the chat.

Kim, a cookbook author, trained chef, and longtime food journalist, brings ideas, tips, and recipes to her live chats — right here at Table Talk, most Thursdays.


 Table Talk with Kim O'Donnel -Dec. 16, 2010(12/16/2010) 
10:02
Kim ODonnel: 
Yeehaw! I imagine most of you are in the thick of the holiday rush, jingle bells-ing it and all. Tell me, what's on those holiday menus? Who's having a winter solstice party? Who's making cookies? How's the mood & energy level? I wanna know EVERYTHING!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:02 Kim ODonnel
10:06
Kim ODonnel: 
Hmm...maybe you really are in the thick of things. Anyone out there?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:06 Kim ODonnel
10:07
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
I'm here! I couldn't get in for a couple minutes there.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:07 Jeanne in Seattle
10:08
Kim ODonnel: 
Hey Jeanne, and a very happy birthday to you! I've always been curious about people who have birthdays close to major holidays. Does it ever crimp the festivities?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:08 Kim ODonnel
10:08
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
Hola, Kim! My SIL usually has a solstice party (complete with midnight sledding down her driveway, if we have snow), but this year is bagging it. The usual invitees are going to show up on her doorstep, anyways, and will be bringing everything. Got a good party app - something quick, unfussy, and good with a COLD evening?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:08 Erin
10:09
Kim ODonnel: 
Hey Erin, the solstice must (and does) go on -- gee midnight sledding sounds like a hoot. Okay, let's start thinking. Party snack, unfussy, & one to take the chill off....
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:09 Kim ODonnel
10:09
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Erin: how about baked feta and olives with crackers? Always a hit here.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:09 Jeanne in Seattle
10:10
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Actually, it's quite festive! I love having a birthday at this time!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:10 Jeanne in Seattle
10:10
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
And this weekend I'll be baking up a storm. Kids: gingerbread men (my daughter's preschool sent home a huge gingerbread house!). Guest of Honor, visiting on her way through: apple pie. She's never made a pie. We'll get to do it together. Cookies. Biscotti. Yum.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:10 Erin
10:12
Kim ODonnel: 
Wow. I'm impressed. I believe I'll be making pizzelles this weekend, for the first time. Planning to make some for eating & some for Xmas tree ornaments. Finally going to put a friend's hand-me-down pizzelle maker to use.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:12 Kim ODonnel
10:12
[Comment From Ruth Ruth : ] 
I'm here from snowy Winnipeg! I've already been baking up a storm and I still have a few treats to go. How long will homemade Marshmallows last? I want to make them tonight and include them in my cookie trays throughtout next week. I'm making the kind without egg whites.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:12 Ruth
10:13
Kim ODonnel: 
Hi Ruth! I've made marshmallows over the years too. You're using gelatin I presume? Mine kept in an airtight container for a few weeks. Does this recipe sound like yours?
http://clatl.com/atlanta/homemade-fake-food/Content?oid=1250839
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:13 Kim ODonnel
10:14
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Erin: also, I've been going to a lot of parties this fall where soup is served as an app--in little cups. So fun and cute!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:14 Jeanne in Seattle
10:14
Kim ODonnel: 
Soup in petite cups is fun. I also think a bean chili could be nice, with a cast-iron skilletful of cornbread.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:14 Kim ODonnel
10:14
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
Jeanne, that sounds great! Does the feta get... "melty?" You know, how some cheese separates? Does it need to be kept warm?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:14 Erin
10:14
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
How do you preserve the pizzelle for an ornament?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:14 Erin
10:15
Kim ODonnel: 
Erin, it's my understanding that because they're "ironed" they can withstand some time on the tree, at least for the short term. Still researching.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:15 Kim ODonnel
10:15
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Kim: hey, pizzelles! I know you've been wanting to do that. I got my new krumkaka/pizelle maker. We should do them together. Do you have an iron?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:15 Jeanne in Seattle
10:16
Kim ODonnel: 
I do have an electric gizmo, Jeanne. Cookbook writer Domenica Marchetti just sent me her mom's recipe, too.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:16 Kim ODonnel
10:16
[Comment From Ruth Ruth : ] 
I have several family birthdays this month (Brother, Gram, husband, Brother-in-law) and I always try to make a special effort to have an actual birthday party with cake for them even if we are drowning in cookies!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:16 Ruth
10:17
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Erin: The cheese doesn't really get melty. It's just hot. It doesn't need to be kept warm. If it cools down, it's still fine.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:17 Jeanne in Seattle
10:17
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Ruth: I imagine marshmallows will last a long time because they are mostly sugar. Store in airtight container so they don't absorb moisture from air.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:17 Jeanne in Seattle
10:17
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Ruth: Aw, you are so nice! My birthday is today and I always appreciate people who make an effort for it even though it's a holiday month.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:17 Jeanne in Seattle
10:18
Kim ODonnel: 
I imagine the hanging pizzelles will behave much like gingerbread people hanging from the tree. Maybe iron a bit longer (without burning of course)?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:18 Kim ODonnel
10:19
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Kim, you are cracking me up with your talk of ironing the pizzelles!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:19 Jeanne in Seattle
10:19
Kim ODonnel: 
Jeanne, I think that's how they were originally made -- stove top style!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:19 Kim ODonnel
10:20
[Comment From Ruth Ruth : ] 
The marshmallow recipe is about the same as all the ones I have been looking at. Now I just need to decide which flavours to make. Do you think it would be really messy to divide the fluff into a couple of different bowls?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:20 Ruth
10:20
Kim ODonnel: 
Yes, I do. Prob. be best to make separate batches for each flavor.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:20 Kim ODonnel
10:20
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Anyone make rosettes for the season? They are one of my very favorite things to make during Christmastime
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:20 Jeanne in Seattle
10:21
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Kim: I know. But I'm not sure if the verb "ironing" is the right one to use for the making of them. Of course, I love it and it cracks me up!!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:21 Jeanne in Seattle
10:21
Kim ODonnel: 
I can't help my wordsmithing self!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:21 Kim ODonnel
10:21
[Comment From Ruth Ruth : ] 
Maybe they will all be chocolate dipped peppermint then!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:21 Ruth
10:21
Kim ODonnel: 
Now that sounds fun, Ruth! What else is on the holiday menu in Winnipeg?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:21 Kim ODonnel
10:22
Kim ODonnel: 
Next week in my USA Today column, I share some tips for trimming the holiday feast budget. What's your favorite way to trim and still be merry at the table?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:22 Kim ODonnel
10:23
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Oh, and Kim? Rosettes have irons, too! Just different types. Rosettes are deep fried with the iron.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:23 Jeanne in Seattle
10:23
Kim ODonnel: 
I declare I've never met a rosette. Tell me more, madame.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:23 Kim ODonnel
10:24
Kim ODonnel: 
Erin, speaking of holiday-ish snacks: Ever make the pakoras I've long talked about? You'd have to set up the frying rig and make them to order. But man are those fun to make for a party.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:24 Kim ODonnel
10:24
[Comment From Ruth Ruth : ] 
too much! I've already baked six different cookies and holiday breads. Now it is candy making time as well as swedish meatballs and hot dips. Everything else is made by other family members so I don't have to worry about all the turkey etc.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:24 Ruth
10:25
Kim ODonnel: 
Collaboration. Now that's what I'm talking about. A wonderful way to cut corners when everyone is feeling the financial punch.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:25 Kim ODonnel
10:25
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Rosettes are a Scandinavian thing. You dip a hot iron into the batter and then stick the iron into the hot oil to fry the batter into a lovely shape. Kind of like super-delicate funnel cakes. Then you dust with powedered sugar.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:25 Jeanne in Seattle
10:26
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
I'm not sure how to trim the food-budget at this time of year. I have been giving the KO'D-recommended spiced nuts as gifts (because I love the recipe, a lot!), and this year the price of nuts is... well, nuts.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:26 Erin
10:26
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
I've never made pakoras... usually I'm too busy chasing a couple of kids! Gimme a couple of years, and I'm sure that I'll get to it!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:26 Erin
10:27
Kim ODonnel: 
Understand. Oh! Do you have a fondue pot? That could be swell and wintry.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:27 Kim ODonnel
10:27
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
I guess we don't worry too much about trimming the food budget because we are pretty budget conscious the rest of the year. If we go wild on Christmas dinner, it's a once-a-year splurge...:)
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:27 Jeanne in Seattle
10:28
Kim ODonnel: 
I can't shake the latest numbers that were just released. According to the USDA, 42.9 million Americans received food stamps in September. That's 1 in 8 of us.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:28 Kim ODonnel
10:29
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Also, I spend the most on my baking ingredients this month! I am swimming in butter and eggs right now!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:29 Jeanne in Seattle
10:29
Kim ODonnel: 
Jeanne, I can only imagine. Someone smart should start a baking CSA with your name on it!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:29 Kim ODonnel
10:30
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
I wish! One of the best meals I had was fondue (it helped that it was in France, but... I digress)! Can we email this chat to my husband? Just in case he's still looking for gift ideas?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:30 Erin
10:30
Kim ODonnel: 
Yes, of course! Anyway we can help Erin...
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:30 Kim ODonnel
10:30
[Comment From Ruth Ruth : ] 
I really enjoy decorating with natural items. Snip a few branches off your evergreen, slip a few cranberries on a string and stud a couple of oranges with cloves and the house is ready to go! Other than that I try to spread some of my purchases over the fall months, stocking up on butter when it is on sale (and storing in the freezer).
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:30 Ruth
10:31
Kim ODonnel: 
Buying butter when on sale & freezing is a great trick.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:31 Kim ODonnel
10:31
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
I'm with you, Jeanne. The budget gets a little out-of-whack at this time of year, but it's counter-balanced against the rest of the year. Baking? yes. A ham (which we never ever usally buy)? yes.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:31 Erin
10:32
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Ruth--I love that! One of my very favorite memories is putting cloves in oranges--smells so good!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:32 Jeanne in Seattle
10:32
Kim ODonnel: 
Cloves in the orange. ah yes. You are taking me back. We used to do that in Sunday school!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:32 Kim ODonnel
10:32
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Kim: LOL! I am a baking fool. I baked 12 dozen cookies on one day on Tues. Wow.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:32 Jeanne in Seattle
10:33
Kim ODonnel: 
Where do you even store that many cookies?? Do you need special googles when you bake in those quantities? A cape?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:33 Kim ODonnel
10:33
[Comment From Ruth Ruth : ] 
12 dozen!!! Yikes! I try not to count the cookies otherwise I would be thinking it is way to many but they all get gobbled up!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:33 Ruth
10:34
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Ruth: I buy butter on sale and freeze it, too. So easy and you can freeze a bunch!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:34 Jeanne in Seattle
10:34
[Comment From Ruth Ruth : ] 
I store all the cookies in my front porch which is a frosty -15 these days!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:34 Ruth
10:35
Kim ODonnel: 
Ruth -- it's minus 15? Do you wear a hat indoors 24/7? Oh my goodness.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:35 Kim ODonnel
10:35
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
LOL! Yes, I should get a cape. Also, a super-hero apron... I give the cookies to neighbors, and for my husband to take to work.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:35 Jeanne in Seattle
10:36
Kim ODonnel: 
I think an apron with wings or some kind of cape attachment would be fab.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:36 Kim ODonnel
10:36
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Then again, baking is kind of a meditation for me. I get in a groove and am blissed out...:)
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:36 Jeanne in Seattle
10:37
Kim ODonnel: 
Now what about feasts? Is there a roast beast on the agenda or where you're spending the holidays?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:37 Kim ODonnel
10:37
[Comment From FrenchFoodieMom FrenchFoodieMom : ] 
Kim, my family is filled with die-hard meat eaters, but I've been really into using butternut squash to satisfy them without meat lately. What other veggies pack that same punch?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:37 FrenchFoodieMom
10:39
Kim ODonnel: 
FrenchFoodieMom, you've climbed up the right tree. Does your gang enjoy mushrooms? My stuffed shells with lentil-spinach ragout in The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook packs a meaty punch.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:39 Kim ODonnel
10:40
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
FrenchFoodieMom: A mushroom stroganoff is rich and delicious--and satisfies most meat eaters, I think.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:40 Jeanne in Seattle
10:40
[Comment From FrenchFoodieMom FrenchFoodieMom : ] 
@Jeanne, love your comment about baking as meditation. Those smells are so much more effective than a candle!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:40 FrenchFoodieMom
10:40
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
For Christmas we now have duck. And we have shrimp creole for Christmas Eve with the in-laws.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:40 Jeanne in Seattle
10:41
Kim ODonnel: 
I've done duck & I've done goose. I'll never do goose again . It was a disaster. Duck is a fun treat & feels v. festive.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:41 Kim ODonnel
10:41
[Comment From FrenchFoodieMom FrenchFoodieMom : ] 
@Kim, I'm thinking of roasting a goose for Christmas to do something a little different than turkey.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:41 FrenchFoodieMom
10:42
Kim ODonnel: 
FrenchFoodieMom, the thing I need to warn you about goose is this: It yields very little meat. If you have more than 6 coming for dinner, don't bother, unless you want to make 2. There's also a LOT of fat.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:42 Kim ODonnel
10:42
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Yeah, we had goose once for Christmas--and it was awful! Waayyy too greasy. Bleh. Duck is our choice now.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:42 Jeanne in Seattle
10:44
Kim ODonnel: 
I must confess: I have not given any thought to what we'll sup on for Christmas. There's always black eye peas at New Year's, but Xmas, I've done everything from Cuban-style pork shoulder to goose to turkey. This year, we are talking about something with seafood. Perhaps a seafood gumbo or a curry.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:44 Kim ODonnel
10:44
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
I just roasted a duck last weekend! The recipe called for quartering it, steaming it (to release fat) and then finishing it off in the oven. It was a lot of work. Do you have an easier way to cook one?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:44 Erin
10:45
Kim ODonnel: 
Steaming definitely helps. I've also air-dried it to keep skin taut. It IS a lot of work.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:45 Kim ODonnel
10:45
[Comment From FrenchFoodieMom FrenchFoodieMom : ] 
Kim, I was worried about that with the goose. Thanks for the warning. Have had fun with turducken in the past.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:45 FrenchFoodieMom
10:46
Kim ODonnel: 
That is a project I've always wanted to try, FrenchFoodieMom. How much time do you need for such an endeavor?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:46 Kim ODonnel
10:46
[Comment From Ruth Ruth : ] 
don't forget to save all that goose and duck fat. Its perfect for frying and roasting and pretty much everything you use oil for!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:46 Ruth
10:46
Kim ODonnel: 
Ain't that the truth, Ruth! That fat makes bomb diggety roasted potatoes.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:46 Kim ODonnel
10:46
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
The only reason to roast a goose (I think) is for the fat. You can then take the fat and use it like you would butter or oil. Goose fat potatoes=heaven!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:46 Jeanne in Seattle
10:46
[Comment From Ruth Ruth : ] 
Smitten kitchen http://smittenkitchen.com/ had a great recipe for garlicky roasted mushrooms last week that sounds awesome for the holiday table!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:46 Ruth
10:47
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Erin: I do a pan-roasted duck. Much less work.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:47 Jeanne in Seattle
10:47
Kim ODonnel: 
Jeanne, tell us more.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:47 Kim ODonnel
10:47
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
FrenchFoodieMom: another thing about goose--you have to drain off the fat every so often while roasting it. Total pain.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:47 Jeanne in Seattle
10:48
Kim ODonnel: 
I will never forget that maiden voyage with a goose. I was at a friend's apartment in NYC. There were 8 of us for dinner. Everyone got a mere morsel for supper. I was horrified.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:48 Kim ODonnel
10:48
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Every so often we used to make the Cheese and Nut Loaf from the Greens Cookbook. So yummy! Has cheese, nuts, mushrooms, herbs, rice. You serve it will a gravy. Lovely.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:48 Jeanne in Seattle
10:49
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
I used a modified version of Thomas Keller's pan-roasted duck breasts recipe from Ad Hoc at home. My daughter loves it!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:49 Jeanne in Seattle
10:50
Kim ODonnel: 
Okay, got a question for you all: My plan is to take a chat break next week the 23rd. Would you folks be game for a 12/30 chat? My thought is to discuss New Year's party ideas, but also to do a year in review in the world of food. Thoughts? Will you be around? Or should we wait til Jan 5?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:50 Kim ODonnel
10:50
[Comment From FrenchFoodieMom FrenchFoodieMom : ] 
Kim: at least it sounds poetic. I picture a dark flat, lit by a little candle, and big plates filled with a tiny morsel of meat.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:50 FrenchFoodieMom
10:51
Kim ODonnel: 
"Can I have some more, please?" Laughing out loud as I type.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:51 Kim ODonnel
10:51
[Comment From FrenchFoodieMom FrenchFoodieMom : ] 
Totally agree with everyone. Duck fat potatoes are amazing. Will definitely be doing duck for my family over the holiday, just not on Christmas eve. Jean: what is Thomas Keller's cookbook?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:51 FrenchFoodieMom
10:51
[Comment From FrenchFoodieMom FrenchFoodieMom : ] 
Kim: I will be on a beach in the Carribean. Gloat.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:51 FrenchFoodieMom
10:52
Kim ODonnel: 
OH! Green with envy. Some of the best Christmases spent have been on the beach. Such a smart idea. Which island awaits?
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:52 Kim ODonnel
10:53
[Comment From FrenchFoodieMom FrenchFoodieMom : ] 
Headed to Grand Cayman a few days after Christmas. The mission is to dodge the usual disappointment of New Year's Eve in the sun.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:53 FrenchFoodieMom
10:54
Kim ODonnel: 
Brilliant. There's no way this can be bad. Have a ball!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:54 Kim ODonnel
10:54
[Comment From FrenchFoodieMom FrenchFoodieMom : ] 
Jean: Just googled Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home and promptly added it to my wish list. My family thanks you for making their gifting easier.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:54 FrenchFoodieMom
10:57
Kim ODonnel: 
Whatever you do or where ever you are, I wish you the safest and most delicious of holidays. All my best. Do drop a line at tabletalkATculinate.com and let me know if Thurs 12/30 is a good date for our next chat.
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:57 Kim ODonnel
10:58
Kim ODonnel: 
Happy merry to all of you!
Thursday December 16, 2010 10:58 Kim ODonnel
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Table Talk

Kim O’Donnel is a trained chef, nationally recognized online food personality, and a longtime journalist. She is the author of a new cookbook, The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook.

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