The Challenge: Elevating Classic Dishes — America’s Best Cook

by in Shows, April 18th, 2014

Home CooksLast week on America’s Best Cook, airing on Sundays at 9|8c, the four regional mentors selected their teams of two home cooks each, leaving just eight competitors in the competition. This week, the competition officially begins. At the start of each episode the cooks will be given a cooking challenge, with their resulting dishes getting judged by a guest Food Network chef. This time the challenge is all about elevating classic dishes. With that in mind, the home cooks must reinvent and modernize a traditional dish — pulling out all the stops for creativity. But not everyone’s dish will be a success. Some will reach too far, others not far enough.

FN Dish wants to know: If you had to reinvent a classic dish, which one would it be? Vote in the poll below and get a sneak peek at the challenge.

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Chocolate Pound Cake — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Recipes, April 18th, 2014

Chocolate Pound Cake - The WeekenderI am so grateful that spring is finally here. I live in Philadelphia, which is in that part of the country that was viciously walloped by this winter’s polar vortex, and so I was starting to wonder if the cold weather was here to stay. Fortunately in the last couple weeks, the weather has warmed, there’s a bit more sunlight each day, and I can feel hopefulness radiating off of everyone I pass.

To my mind, there’s no better way to celebrate the return of this more-hopeful weather than with a homemade treat. If you feel the same way, let me suggest Trisha Yearwood’s Chocolate Pound Cake. It’s indulgent, but the texture is lighter than you find with other pound cakes, which makes it both celebratory and perfect for this time of year.

Whether you’re baking for an Easter celebration or just in need of something sweet with which to welcome the warmer weather, this cake is an ideal Weekender project.

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Could a Snack Save Your Marriage?

by in News, April 18th, 2014

Peanut Butter CookiesHere’s some satisfying news for those who get super crabby when they’re hungry and take it out on their spouses (if not for those poor, long-suffering spouses themselves). Scientific research has now determined that being “hangry” — hungry plus angry — is actually a real phenomenon, which means you have a total excuse to storm around and fume about random trivial things until someone — Anyone? Hello! — hands you a cracker or a piece of fruit. Or, well, if not an excuse, at least an explanation for that altogether charming behavior.

“People are often the most aggressive against the people to whom they are closest — intimate partners. Intimate partner violence might be partly a result of poor self-control. Self-control of aggressive impulses requires energy, and much of this energy is provided by glucose derived from the food we eat,” researchers explain in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) under the headline “Low glucose relates to greater aggression in married couples.”

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Down-Home Comfort — Fresh Easter Ham with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 18th, 2014

Fresh ham is nothing like the boozy bourbon-soaked and smoked holiday ham or the candy-sweet spiral wonder. It’s essentially a pork roast with a bone — a rather big pork roast with a bone — but a pork roast nonetheless. It’s simply the upper hind leg of a pig, not processed or cured using salt or brine, nor smoked as most hams are. Fresh ham tastes like a really moist pork loin or center-cut pork chops. And, when prepared and roasted properly, a fresh ham is capped by an exquisite, burnished-gold piece of crispy skin. It’s the perfect marriage of a bone-in pork chop and cracklin’ pork belly. Fresh ham means down-home comfort, especially when served with roasted sweet potatoes.

How did serving ham for Easter become a custom? Mediterranean celebrations, including the Jewish Passover, traditionally call for lamb at spring feasts. However, in northern Europe, pigs were the primary protein and ham was often served instead for special meals. Pigs were slaughtered in the fall and the meat was salted, smoked and cured over the winter. The resulting hams were ready to eat in the spring. At the point when refrigeration became widely available and curing hams wasn’t a necessity, someone came up with the grand idea of cooking fresh ham. I am glad they did.

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What to Watch: Chickening Around on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and Spring Is in the Air on The Kitchen

by in Shows, April 18th, 2014

The KitchenStart the weekend with a special episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on Friday night. It’s all about chicken as Guy recounts all the best places he’s eaten the bird. Tune in Saturday morning for new episodes of Farmhouse Rules as Nancy goes antiquing, and check out The Kitchen, where the co-hosts kick off a special spring celebration. After the show FN Dish will be giving away a cutting board signed by the co-hosts. On Sunday morning, get five easy weekday recipes from Rachael, and then follow it up with new episodes of Southern at Heart, Giada at Home and Guy’s Big Bite. In the evening, watch all-new episodes of Food Court Wars, America’s Best Cook and Cutthroat Kitchen.

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How to Decorate Easter Eggs with Sprinkles

by in Holidays, How-to, April 17th, 2014

Sprinkles turn regular old eggs into amazing, dye-free, edible works of art, with minimal effort and maximum fun. These hard-boiled eggs bejeweled with pastel-colored nonpareils make an extra-special addition to any Easter egg hunt or Easter basket. Here’s how to make them. Read more

This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Uncategorized, April 17th, 2014

herbs
In this week’s news: Mondays get even more meatless; the world learns what happens when a household bans sugar (hint: a book deal); and coupon-clipping takes a healthier turn.

Hitting the Beach — and the Tofu
Why book Canyon Ranch when y...

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How to Play the Game of Kitchen Casino — Part Gambling, Part Cooking

by in Shows, April 17th, 2014

Kitchen CasinoKitchen Casino uniquely combines cooking with gambling-themed games that not only test chefs’ abilities to think — and cook — on their feet, but that also test their abilities to strategize, whether that means playing the game fairly or a bit dirty. At the start of the show, four chefs enter the casino, but after three rounds, only one chef can leave as the winner. That person has the opportunity to triple his or her earnings in a final game of chance — but there is a risk of going bust, which means leaving empty-handed. But without risk, there is no reward.

If you haven’t already tuned in to the new show on Mondays at 9|8c, FN Dish breaks down the game, round by round.

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Easy Easter Sides

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 17th, 2014

Creamy Spring Peas with Pancetta

Fast forward to Sunday morning, when the Easter bunny has come and gone, the last eggs in the yard have been hunted and the heads of marshmallow Peeps have been nibbled off. After such a busy morning, the only thing left to do is eat. This Sunday, load up on seasonal side dishes that stack up to your family’s Easter ham. Not only are the ingredient lists oh so spring, they’re also as easy to make as it gets.

If you haven’t snatched up some in-season peas at the market yet, there’s never been a better time. Food Network Magazine’s Creamy Spring Peas with Pancetta (pictured above) combines a trio of fresh English peas, crunchy sugar snap peas and sliced snow peas with pancetta and cream.

Cooked down with white wine till soft and sweet, Creamed Vidalia Onions by Food Network Magazine are a sure brunch standout. The additions of cream and savory breadcrumbs don’t hurt either.

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