Rice: A Side Dish Takes Center Stage

by in News, October 23rd, 2014

Easy Parmesan For most of us here in the United States, rice may not always have seemed like the most-inspiring food: Plain, white, bland, sometimes mushy, the stuff our mothers served us was something we may have eaten with little relish. (Sorry, Mom.)

Recently, however, rice’s rep has been changing. Increasingly, American consumers’ palates are expanding to encompass more sophisticated (and more expensive) varieties — like jasmine, basmati, brown and black rice, wild rice, red rice and other exotic blends. Rice sales are growing, the Wall Street Journal reports, and while white long-grain rice is still preferred by many, “specialty” rice is starting to soak up more of the market.

So what, exactly, is driving this trend toward exotic grains? Factors may include our growing interest in foods that are “authentic” and unusual, as well as our desire to make healthier choices — opting for varieties that are higher in fiber or protein, according to the Journal. Plus, the fact that rice is gluten-free probably isn’t hurting sales, given the current popularity of avoiding the protein found in wheat and many other grains.

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Pie Baked Apples — The Weekender

by in Recipes, October 23rd, 2014

Pie Baked ApplesThis time of year, many of us make the trek out to our closest U-Pick farms to load up on sweet, crisp apples. It’s easy to get carried away by the fresh air and autumnal abundance, and what looked like a reasonable amount of fruit in the orchard becomes an overwhelming volume once you cart it into your kitchen.

So, you start cooking. You make a big batch of applesauce for the freezer. You bake up a pan of apple crisp for dessert (or breakfast, topped with a scoop of plain yogurt). You slice the apples and stack them with peanut butter. You take a sackful to work, hoping your co-workers will help you out. And still, there are more apples.

If this sounds like a familiar story, may I suggest a fun little dessert that comes together quickly, tastes like a treat and still manages to put the focus on the whole fruit? A cross between traditional pie and baked apples, these Pie Baked Apples have you scoop out the interior apple flesh, toss it with a little sugar and spices, and pack it back into the empty apples. You top them with some store-bought pie crust, then bake them until they’re tender and brown.

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Poll: Your Favorite Burger Condiment and More — Play Along with Hungry Games

by in Shows, October 23rd, 2014

Bobby's Perfect BurgerThink of a meaty, juicy burger. Now ask yourself: What makes that burger so desirable? In the next episode of Hungry Games, this Monday at 8|7c, Richard Blais uncovers exactly what makes burgers so irresistible, the thing that makes our mouths water at the first bite. He also delves into the facts, figures and science behind one of America’s favorite foods. Expect to be astounded. You’ll never look at the burger the same way again.

Before the episode, we want to know what’s your preferred burger condiment, how you like your burger done and more. Vote in our polls, and also find out what fellow fans are thinking.

Vote in the Burger Polls

6 Desserts to Cook Low and Slow — Fall Fest

by in Recipes, October 23rd, 2014

Slow-Cooker Peach CobblerListen here: Your slow cooker is meant for a whole lot more than endless vats of smoky chili and comforting stews. Though we turn back the dial for hours on end for some of our favorite meals, it’s about time we rethink this kitchen tool with recipes that are a whole lot sweeter. These perfect-for-fall slow-cooker dessert recipes cook low and slow, rather than hold up your oven or hog all of your time.

1. There will be no more sliding peach cobbler into the oven, thanks to Alton Brown’s recipe for Slow-Cooker Peach Cobbler (pictured above). This warm, comforting recipe calls for frozen peaches, so you can make it year-round.

2. It’s hard to believe that a pan of brownies doesn’t always have first dibs on the oven, but sometimes you need that extra space. Easy-to-make Slow-Cooker Gooey Brownie Cake has all the perks of a soft warm brownie, from the gooey center to the crispy edges.

3. Slow-Cooker Banana Upside-Down Cake relies on your slow cooker to caramelize the bananas with rum and brown sugar, before you pour the cake batter on top for easy baking. After you invert the cake from the cooker, all of that slow-earned heat is best taken with a countering scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Alton Cooks the Superstar Sabotage Tournament: Steak

by in Recipes, Shows, October 23rd, 2014

At its most basic, a surf and turf dish includes one seafood and one land-based element, so on this week’s Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage tournament Heat 3 battle, host Alton Brown stretched that definition to include inferior versions of those components when he auctioned off ingredient swaps that included canned tuna for surf and liver for turf. For fans watching at home, surf and turf most likely connotes a dinner of lobster and steak, and likely an elegant one at that, but when it comes to steak, it doesn’t have to be saved for a special occasion.

If you don’t often make steak at home, try Alton’s simplest-ever recipe as a go-to starting place. His Pan-Seared Rib Eye (pictured above) boasts more than 500 user reviews and a glowing 5-star rating. Best of all, since his foolproof technique suggests making the steak on the stove, there’s no grilling required, which means you can enjoy meaty flavors year-round.

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“You Have to Be Able to Play the Game” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 22nd, 2014

To survive — and thrive — on Cutthroat Kitchen, it’s not enough to be able to work quickly under pressure or to deliver a well-seasoned plate; chefs must be able to strategize their every move, budget their $25,000 bank account and bid productively with three rounds of competition in mind. Fans saw what happened when a contestant didn’t take that approach during tonight’s Heat 3 of the Superstar Sabotage tournament. For Chef Johnny Iuzzini, it didn’t matter how much he spent during Rounds 1 and 2 so long as he advanced to Round 3, while Chef Eric Greenspan frugally saved his money for charity — until the last round, when Chef Johnny was forced to compete with only $100 and Chef Eric was armed with a full $25,000.

“Once you’re down to $100, you can’t fight back. It doesn’t matter how good you are,” Alton Brown revealed to judge Simon Majumdar on the host’s latest After-Show. “This is a game, and you have to be able to play the game. And if you walk into a final round with a $100 bill in your hand, you’re going to have a really tough time winning regardless of how good you are.” Thanks to the force of his full funds behind him, Chef Eric was able to saddle Chef Johnny — a famed pastry chef — with a duo of sabotages during the lemon bar test, and that maneuver ultimately set up Chef Eric for the win. “Eric said it was just now even,” Alton told Simon of their Round 3 matchup.

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Spicy Foods That’ll Make You Scream (Just in Time for Halloween)

by in Recipes, October 22nd, 2014

This month the only thing scarier than those spooky Halloween decorations your neighbors put out every year is the thought of your mouth on fire. There are the brave few who subject their taste buds to peppers of all kinds and those who need more palatable levels of spice. No matter your preference, these recipes might have you reaching for a glass of milk once you’re done (and yes, that really works!).

1. Giada De Laurentiis’ Spicy Mint Beef (pictured above)

Thanks to the heat of two to three Thai chiles (such as prik kee noo) or serrano chiles, Giada’s skillet stir-fry is not for the faint of heart. Stir in whole fresh mint leaves before serving to balance the fiery kick.

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Spring Break in Miami: Tickets on Sale Now for the 2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, October 22nd, 2014

South Beach Wine & Food FestivalThough the chill of fall air might be welcome relief now after a stifling summer, come February you’ll have likely turned a cold shoulder to the frigid temperatures and be ready to warm up in the sun. Enter: The South Beach Wine & Food Festival. For four days, you can escape the slush and snow and join your favorite Food Network stars and chefs for a long weekend at the beach celebrating all things eats and drinks.

2015 will mark the 14th year of the festival in Miami, and this year’s events, running from Feb. 19 through Feb. 22, are expected to be bigger than ever. Favorites like Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Robert Irvine and Anne Burrell will be on hand to host walk-around tastings, elegant sit-down dinners, late-night parties and interactive meals alike, all while mingling with fans and enjoying the flavors of Florida.

Tickets are on sale now — buy yours today to guarantee your spot at marquee events like Burger Bash, The Q, Medianoches & Mixology, and more. Here are some of the events where you can find your favorite chefs.

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