Wine is aged in a barrel, so why not spirits? That’s the thinking behind the newest trick of the artisan bartender trade: barrel-aged cocktails. “Barrel aging will refine the product and round out any harsh notes, making the spirit a bit more palatable for guests,” explained Maxime Belfand, head bartender at New York City’s Saxon + Parole. “The wood also imparts interesting flavors into the spirit, so you can experiment with different types of woods for this as well. Also, the barrel aging exposes the spirit to oxygen, which also adds a new flavor element, making it a bit more complex.” Here are three top spots where you can sip your next barrel-aged cocktail.
“Don’t think of vegetable fermentation as drudgery suitable only for the DIY homesteader,” Kirsten Shockey, co-author of Fermented Vegetables says. “It is ready-to-go convenience food — fresh tasty salads and condiments are in your refrigerator just waiting for you to add them to your meals.” That captures exactly the balance of science, beauty and tastiness food fans will find in Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten and Christopher Shockey. Kimchi is having its moment, but the possibilities of home fermentation stretch far beyond that, encompassing everything from simple pickles and spicy sauces to more advanced fermenting techniques. You’ll also find composed recipes in which you can use your new preserved foods, delicious dishes like the Northwest Gingered Carrot Cake (recipe after the link for you to try at home), Fish Tacos, Kraut Balls, Kimchi Latkes, cocktails and more (plus all the condiments, pickles and toppings you could ever dream of).
Kirsten Shockey shared with us her top tips for getting started fermenting foods at home:
One side effect of working as an editor for FoodNetwork.com is that you end up thinking about Thanksgiving starting in June, craving mashed potatoes all through the summer. This year, as I waded through Thanksgiving recipes on our site, familiar old faves and great new takes, I decided that this was the year I would revamp my family’s Thanksgiving bread basket.
Sometime in July I decided I would bake Alex’s Parker House Rolls for Thanksgiving — they look soft, buttery and oh, so classic. But this is one recipe I decided to take for a test drive before the big cooking extravaganza of Thanksgiving, where every bit of counter and oven space needs to be carefully budgeted and coordinated. So, like sydney1212, the latest reviewer of this recipe (glad I’m not alone), I baked a test batch of these rolls over the weekend.
Dinner In The Dark, an impromptu dinner series designed to stimulate diners’ palates by offering no clues to the menu or who will be cooking, is hosting a special edition dinner to honor Matthew Finkel. Matthew passed away on December 29, 2010 in a car accident at the age of 22 — he was an amazing individual and a talent in the kitchen, who at a very young age became a part of Food Network’s family. This event, which features over 15 chefs offering small bites, will help the Matthew Finkel Scholarship Fund. The Fund is dedicated to helping culinary students with extreme financial need, who are attending the Culinary Institute of America.
“In evaluating all the candidates in conjunction with the CIA for the scholarship, Matthew Finkel definitely stood out in the crowd,” says Bruce Seidel, Senior Vice President of Programming.
“He was an amazing individual full of compassion, passion and the type of person who took care of everyone around him while he sacrificed for all. Matthew touched our hearts with the way he helped others, so the team at Food Network wanted to graciously help him and awarded Matthew our scholarship.”
Price is $40.00 per person, all inclusive. The dinner also offers great raffle drawing prizes including two VIP tickets to a filming of Iron Chef America.
Purchase tickets here for the May 23 event in Cleveland, Ohio.
We’re teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Fall Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. To join in, check out awaytogarden.com.
Sure, we all love the Thanksgiving feast: The turkey, stuffing, cranberries, green beans, mashed potatoes, all covered in gravy. But no matter what you serve, it’s about who you’re passing the platter to year after year: your friends and family. These are the things we look forward to making, eating and enjoying every year.
Sure, summer is all about fantastic in-season veggies, but sometimes you need to take an afternoon to sit back, relax and smell the hickory smoke. Low-and-slow BBQ and grilled meats are definite highlights of my summer.
As a loyal Midwesterner, I’ll be rooting for Indiana this Super Bowl Sunday. Go Colts! My menu picks? Hearty, Midwestern comfort food favorites, including Indiana pork cutlets, beef and, yes, corn. This Indiana-inspired menu is hard to beat.
Indiana’s Fried Pork Potato Skins: Pork cutlets are an Indiana favorite. Topped with a little mayo, mustard and hot sauce, they’ll make amazing game-day noshes.
Buffalo Wings: If you (like me) make hot wings once a year, this is the easiest, most straight-forward recipe you can find. It’s a sure crowd-pleaser!
Slow-Cooker Chili: Warm up with steaming bowls of beefy chili. You can throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker mid-morning and forget about them until game time.
Sweet-and-Spicy Kettle Corn: A nod to never-ending fields of corn, this popcorn gets dressed up for the big game with sugar and spice, an irresistible flavor combo.
Chocolate Malt Cupcakes: A classic, down-home dessert, you really can’t go wrong with chocolate cupcakes. Set a plate out and watch them disappear.
Saints Fans: Check out our New Orleans-inspired menu from earlier this week.
– Kirsten, Web Editor
If you’re a reality show addict like I am, you’re sure to love Food Network’s newest, high-drama competition show, Worst Cooks in America (Sundays at 10pm/9c). Chefs Anne Burrell and Beau MacMillan lead two teams of aspiring cooks through culinary boot camp and into competition. For the best of the worst: a grand prize of $25,000. I caught up with Anne and Beau recently to chat about what Beau calls “one of the most drama-filled, suspense-filled, exciting shows in the history of Food Network.”
Kirsten: What advice do you have for people who think they’re bad cooks?
Anne: Get a cookbook, get a good one and then use it. Don’t just wing it because if you’re not a good cook and you know you’re not a good cook, writing recipes – you’re not going to be good at it. Use it, love it, learn it.
Beau: You’ve gotta have desire. People fail once and all of a sudden they’re a bad cook. We’ve been in this business our whole lives, and you’re a student every day you walk into the kitchen. You can be humbled very quickly, so don’t give up on yourself. It’s not going to happen overnight.
Kirsten: What three ingredients would you give a new cook?
Anne: I’d give them my holy trinity, which is salt, olive oil and bacon. Those are the flavor basics to any good dish.
Beau: Swine is devine; it’s where it’s at. Anne says bacon makes everything better, and I totally agree.
Anne: That’s where I live, in bacon land.
Kirsten: Tell me a little bit about the competition between the two of you in this show.
Anne: I was unprepared for the reality of reality. So, when contestants started to cry or get so nervous, I was unprepared for that. But I was also unprepared for my own feelings of super competitiveness between me and Beau. It was really real and serious, and there was no way I was letting things slide.
Beau: You see these competitors come in and they have to compete, but the same type of [competitive] feelings build between us as well. As a chef you’re a control freak and you’re in control at all times, but in this situation you have to rely on your team. It was hard on Anne and me because you can only instruct, you cannot help. It became very stressful for us.
Anne: There was definitely very real competition and there were times when we had some smack talking. People might have thought that was staged, but no, that was very real. There was some smack going on and I think the contestants definitely noticed.
Kirsten: Why do you think this show is a must-watch? What’s the best part about the show?
Anne: There’s a crazy cast of characters, between the chef-testants and the chef chefs, but also, it really shows the inner strength that people have and the will and want to succeed. You really want to root for the underdog.
Beau: Yeah, I remember day one, Anne and I were sitting there critiquing the food and we though “Wow, Food Network did an awesome job of picking these people, but it’s got to get better than this,” but it just kind of crashed. But it’s funny, whenever I talk about the show, the biggest reaction I get from people is “I should be on that show. I should be a worst cook.” And I’m like, I didn’t know there were so many of you guys out there? I think it can relate to a lot of people.
Anne: It’s interesting because so many people know that they’re bad and they put themselves in a situation where they know they can learn. People really want to learn.
For me, the train-wreck qualities of this show make it a can’t miss. The first episode premiered last weekend, but you can see it again Sunday at 6pm/5c. New episodes air on Sundays, 10pm/9c. Check out our Worst Cooks in America show page for recipes, sneak peeks, contestant bios and more about Anne and Beau.
– Kirsten, Web Editor
Studio A at the Chelsea Market offices regularly changes faces for the filming of Iron Chef America, the Next Food Network Star Finale and a ton of in-the-kitchen shows, from Guy’s Big Bite to Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. But this week, for one afternoon, Studio A was transformed into a kitchen wonderland, a dream world for cooking-enthusiast bargain shoppers. It was a charity auction for Share Our Strength, and it was beautiful!
Items on sale were leftover from shows, equipment from the kitchens and Kohl’s products donated by the culinary department. At high noon, Food Networkers (including Sunny Anderson!) swarmed into the studio and started grabbing (mostly politely) and bidding – small items priced as marked and larger items auctioned off to the highest bidders.
The FN Dish’s own Secretary Confidential led the sugar charge with these ghastly goodies (above). She claims she’s no cooking pro, but these chocolate-y brownies, drizzled with icing in the shape of ghosts, tasted frightfully good. (Try making similar treats with Ina’s Outrageous Brownies.)
Our resident baking goddess, Alexis, built this clever graveyard cake from her mom’s chocolate cake recipe and homemade chocolate frosting. Then she used assorted candies, marshmallows and shortbread cookies to make spiders, ghosts and tombstones. (By the way, we were mesmerized by the new Blood Orange Dots candies she found at the market.)