BigOven Food Fight: Color Orange – Hot or Not?

Orange 11.4

Orange could be considered one of the more polarizing colors. Some people love its brightness and association with fall. (Pumpkin lovers, we’re talking about you.) While others find it obnoxious and meant for Halloween décor only.

If you choose to incorporate orange into your Thanksgiving, there are a few rules you must keep in mind, that is, if you want to avoid burning your guests’ eyeballs out before they even get a glimpse of Cousin Jo’s scorched tartlet appetizer.

Rule number one

If you decide to wear an orange garment, make sure that your entire outfit is not orange. You don’t want your senile great-aunt mistaking you for the large bottle of Cointreau you purchased for the festivities.

Rule number two

Make sure your table setting is composed primarily of neutral colors, with subtle pops of orange. Less is definitely more here. You want your guests buzzed off of the delicious wine you’re serving, not dizzy from that garish orange tablecloth.

Rule number three (the final rule)

If you’re going to pair orange with green, do so with caution! No one wants moldy Cheetos to come to mind… ever.

Orange you glad we gave you that advice? Now you decide…

BigOven Food Fight: Pumpkin Soup or Any Ole Squash Soup?

Pumpkin or Squash 11.3

It’s a bit chilly outside and your festive sweater just isn’t cutting it. A warm bowl of comforting fall soup will solve this dilemma, heating up your body and soul, as well as your Thanksgiving guests’. Is your soup comprised of trustworthy pumpkin, or will a different squash grace your bowl this year?

Some are enthralled with everything-pumpkin and simply horrified at the thought of replacing this squash. There is no other way… it must be pumpkin!

Others may choose to cut ties with tried and true Mr. Pumpkin (he was getting a little too predictable *ahem* boring) and begin a relationship with nutty Mr. Butternut, or possibly sweet Mr. Kabocha.

BigOven Food Fight: Home or Away?

Home or Away 11.2

“Home for the holidays.”  It’s a phrase that launched a hundred romantic comedies in Hollywood.

Home-field advantage is a thing in sports. Is it also a factor for you at Thanksgiving?  Do you prefer being the home-team, or is traveling to someone else’s pad more your style?  As we see it, the main factors come down to three C’s: comfort, cost and control.


If your destination is close-by, traveling is often the easier choice.  But if you’ve got to make the trek to the airport, with connecting flights, delays, and crowds, hosting is bound to be the easier end of the bargain.


Our informal survey indicates that the home team usually picks up most of the tab, but this can be offset by asking attendees to bring parts of the dinner, especially the wine!  Or, of course, by rotating the venue.


Control-freaks host. No question, the home team gets to control the menu, the timing, the invitation list, who-gets-which-leftovers and key roles… like who gets-to-clean-up.

BigOven Food Fight: Marshmallow Topped Sweet Potatoes vs. Naked Sweet Potatoes

Help us settle the age-old Thanksgiving arguments once and for all: #FoodFight.

Sweet Potatoes 11.1

In the BigOven office, there’s a raging debate happening on marshmallows. Sure, everyone loves a good s’more over a campfire on a warm summer night, but when else do marshmallows really surface in our everyday food consumption? On Thanksgiving, marshmallows come out of hibernation and steal the spotlight. Sweet potatoes, the darlings of the Thanksgiving sides family, are coated in sticky, sugary, marshmallow-y goodness. This side tastes like dessert, to the delight of children (and many adults) everywhere.

One of our team members loves marshmallows but can’t stand them in her sweet potatoes. Her crusade against these puffy pillows ignites each November. There will be no candied sweet potatoes at Meliza’s table, which some of our team considers a true Thanksgiving tragedy.

The debate rages on: the pro-marshmallow camp remains fiercely devoted to our fluffy friends, while the anti-mallow crew searches for the best updated sweet potatoes recipe out there (admittedly, there are many delicious ones here).

Introducing BigOven’s Food Fight: Thanksgiving Showdown

This Thanksgiving, we’re starting a #foodfight! Thanksgiving is the ultimate food holiday and there are a lot of decisions to make before the big day. Each day, we’ll be asking cooks to sound off on a Thanksgiving-oriented food or social debate.

What exactly is a “Thanksgiving-related debate” you ask?

Screenshot (19)

This debate is about tradition versus modernity, about appreciating the classics verses updating the dishes we have grown up eating each Thanksgiving. BigOven cooks, what’s your #foodfight? Over the next few weeks, we’ll be asking the tough questions and we want to hear you SOUND OFF.

Check back here daily for a new #foodfight and make sure to cast your vote! Join in the fun on our blog, Facebook and Twitter. One thing is for sure: no matter what the results are, we’ll be serving up some delicious Thanksgiving recipes, tips and ideas, so check back often!

Press Roundup, March 2014

We’re always happy to see the word spread about BigOven. It’s been a while since we’ve taken a gander at what the press is saying about us — here’s a short list of some recent and not-so-recent articles.  Thanks for these mentions, writers!

Journalists, media, logos and screenshots can be found at  We appreciate you getting the word out to home cooks everywhere!  Just as important, we love reading reviews on Google Play, Windows Marketplace and iTunes – BigOven continues to earn 4.5/5 star reviews on every major app platform.

We’re just getting started.  We love hearing from you, and hope BigOven is making your life easier, and getting you to the home dinner table more often!

Improvements to “My Recipes”

Today we released several improvements to the My Recipes Dashboard.  The “My Recipes” dashboard keeps track of all the recipes you’ve added, marked as Favorite and Try Soon.  You can find it in two ways:  Click the “My Recipes” menu option on any page on, or visit  

Related article:  FAQ on Favorites and Try Soons

New features

  1. Easily add to Grocery List — simply mouse-over the tile and click the grocery cart icon
  2. Easily add to Menu Planner — simply mouse-over the tile and click the calendar icon
  3. Easily Remove from Favorites, Try Soons or Added lists — mouse-over and click the minus icon. “Favorites” and “Try Soons”  are two separate lists on BigOven, by design.  Removing a recipe from these lists simply removes it from your list, it doesn’t delete the underlying recipe.
    However, removing a recipe when viewing your “Added” list will permanently delete the recipe from the database.  Don’t worry; you’ll be prompted to confirm!
  4. View as tiles or detailed list


View your recipes as a list or tiles

Sometimes it’s handier to view everything as a quick list.  We’ve added a list view to the My Recipes Dashboard.  Click the list icon in the upper right to switch to list view:

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Sample list view


Sample Recipe Tile View



Existing Features You Might Not Know About

To quickly find a recipe you’re interested in, just start typing the title of the recipe in the text box at the top of the page, or and/or use the dropdown to filter by Course.

Special holiday note for those who are sharing recipes — simply pass along your “My Recipes” web address!

How to share your recipes dashboard:

Click the “Share to Facebook” or “Tweet” links, or simply grab the URL from the browser (it’ll look like, with your username instead of “stevemur”) and share it with friends!  They’ll be able to see all the public recipes you’ve added, all the recipes to try soon, and your favorites, in one easy place.



BigOven supports #GivingTuesday with Feeding America

2013-11-18-givingtuesday3Giving Tuesday 2013 (#GivingTuesday on Twitter) is Tuesday, December 3rd.

Earlier this year, Melinda and Bill Gates created the concept of “Giving Tuesday” as a natural successor to accompany the series of days through the Thanksgiving holiday — Thanksgiving, then “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.”

BigOven is proud to participate in Giving Tuesday 2013, by donating all revenue made during the day to, America’s leading hunger-relief charity, which helps serve over 14 million children and 3 million seniors.

About Feeding America


While America is a land of plenty, for 1 in 6 people in the United States, hunger is a reality.

FeedingAmerica partners with local food banks, helping to secure food from national organizations, communicate best practices across locations, inspiring over 200 member organizations to best serve their local communities.  They provide low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive.  The network members supply food to more than 25 million Americans each year.  Serving the United States, the 200+ member food banks support 63,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms.

My oldest son and I volunteer at our local food bank here in Seattle a few times each year, and I see directly some of the great work that they do.  It takes tremendous logistical coordination to organize and source food, break bulk, package it, distribute it, and distribute fresh and nutritious food to those in need.

CharityNavigator rates the BBB-accredited charity FeedingAmerica 64/70 in terms of efficiency and effectiveness; it’s the leading hunger-relief organization in the United States.  Join us by making a contribution today!

Giving is an opportunity to help create the better world we all want.

We humbly thank all our cooks, partners and employees around the world, and wish you the very best holiday season!

BigOven® proudly partners with Sony and their XPeria® Tablet Z: Kitchen Edition

BigOven is pleased to be pre-installed with the brand new Sony XPeria Kitchen Edition.

Sony’s amazing new Android-powered device is accompanied by $115 worth of accessories, content and recipes. You’ll also get the iGrill accessory, which is a wireless Bluetooth meat thermometer that allows you to monitor your food from up to 200 feet away.  And of course, it’s also an Android tablet, so you can choose any app you’d like from Google Play.

Here’s the kicker:  If some of the spaghetti sauce you’re cooking happens to splatter on the tablet, or sticky fingerprints are covering the screen, simply rinse the tablet clean under running water. Let us repeat that for you: simply rinse the tablet clean under running water.  When we tried it here, we said to ourselves, “are you freaking-kidding me?”  But no joke, you

The remarkable XPeria tablet can withstand being submerged under fresh water for up to half an hour at a depth of 3 feet, making it the perfect cooking companion for even the most “enthusiastic” cooks!

This new tablet also sits on a lightweight, fold-able stand, saving some counter space for your other kitchen items. A 10.1-inch Full HD 1,920-1,200 screen makes it easy to view your favorite BigOven recipes as you move around the kitchen as well. When uploading your own recipes to BigOven, don’t forget to snap a photo with the tablet’s 8-megapixel rear camera! A 2-megapixel camera is located in the front.

Sony XPeria Tablet Z Kitchen Edition



Syrah: Pairing Wine with Food 101

Syrah, which is alternatively spelled “Shiraz” in English-speaking regions — is a red grape that generally yields a spicy, rich red wine.


“Syrah” and “Shiraz” are exactly the same grape.  Yet because “Syrah” is the French spelling and “Shiraz” the Anglophone spelling, which way its spelled often says something about the region and thus the style – Syrah is usually produced in one of the French Rhône styles,  and Shiraz is usually produced more in the Australian or American style.

Syrahs display strong, smooth tannins, and are generally deep burgundy to purple in color.

Shiraz, the most popular winegrape produced in Australia, gets its name from the city of Shiraz in Persia known for its beauty.  The grape was believed to be brought to the northern Rhône valley in France during the middle ages (though some claim that is a myth).

In France, it’s known as “Syrah”, and to bear the special appellation “Cornas”, the wine must be 100% Syrah.  Elsewhere, it is often blended with Viognier, Marsanne, or Roussanne white grapes, or Cabernet Sauvignon (red), each of which typically smooths-out the finish.

Syrah’s Flavor Profile

Syrahs often carry flavors of black cherry, black pepper, blackberry, plum, bell pepper, clove, licorice, espresso and dark chocolate.  So, when wondering what pairs best with Syrah’s, consider these flavors, and whether they’d complement the meal.

Great Pairings with Syrah

As a general rule Syrah (Shiraz) pairs very well with grilled meats, vegetables, wild game and beef stew.

Pairings to Avoid

  • Seafood like sole, shrimp or lobster
  • Delicate dishes
  • Extremely sour dishes

Syrah makes a fantastic Beef Demiglaze Reduction

One of our favorite uses of Syrah is as a demiglaze reduction, and we’ve found no better description of the technique than this expertly-written recipe by sgrishka:

Pan-Seared Filet Mignon (Beef Tenderloin) with Shiraz Sauce Pan-Seared Filet Mignon (Beef Tenderloin) with Shiraz Sauce recipe

General differences between Syrah regions

In Australia, it’s “Shiraz”, and they produce a great of it – generally a little more delicate, with American and French Syrahs a little heavier and bolder.  Italy, northern France, California, Washington State and New Zealand are also producers of some great Syrahs.

One of our favorite new wineries in Washington State is Avennia, which makes a highly-regarded new Syrah blend (disclosure:  Avennia’s founder is a good friend of BigOven’s founder.)

There are four main blending compositions of Syrah:

  • “Varietal” Syrah or Shiraz. This is the style of Hermitage in northern Rhône or Australian Shiraz.
  • Syrah blended with a small amount of Viognier.  This is the Côte-Rôtie (northern Rhône) style.
  • Syrah, blended equally with Cabernet Sauvignon, becoming quite popular in the US.  In modern times, this blend originated in Australia, so it is often known as Shiraz-Cabernet.
  • Syrah, blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre. This is the traditional style of Châteauneuf-du-Pape of southern Rhône — this blend is often referred to as GSM in Australia.


Syrahs generally should be enjoyed while they’re young – 3 years or less is typically best for most labels.

This is part of our ongoing series introducing food and wine pairings.  At BigOven, we know that some foods just go together.  That’s why we’ve introduced Menus, which let you drag and drop recipes to create ideal combinations, share them with the world and create grocery lists instantly.  We’ve created a Syrah wine “recipe” listing on BigOven – create your favorite menu and share it with friends.

Are these introductory food & wine articles useful to you?  Be sure to “Like” this post.  Happy cooking!