All Posts By Andrea Albin

Andrea Albin has been obsessed with cooking and food since she was a little girl. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in film studies, she decided to pursue her culinary dreams and moved to New York to attend the French Culinary Institute. She began her career by honing her cooking skills in some of Manhattan’s top restaurants, and then transitioned into the world of food media. Over the last 5 years, she has worked as a food stylist, recipe editor, tester, and developer. Before joining the Food Network team, Andrea worked as food editor at Gourmet magazine until it folded in 2009.

Fun with Freeze-Dried Fruit

by in Food Network Magazine, October 9th, 2013

strawberry cereal treatsI think it’s about time we in the test kitchen came clean: We’re obsessed with freeze-dried fruit. You will find it in our awesome Strawberry Cereal Treats (pictured above) in the October issue of Food Network Magazine, and you’ll see it in some upcoming issues too. Freeze-dried berries, peaches, pineapple and other fruit are popping up in more and more stores across the country. The packages can seem a little pricey considering they contain only about an ounce of fruit, but when you consider how much the fruit must have weighed before it was freeze-dried, the price really isn’t so bad. And believe me when I say that each little fruit packs a ton of flavor — it’s intense.

Keep reading for ideas

Behind the Booklet: Bonus Canned Pumpkin Recipe

by in Food Network Magazine, In Season, October 2nd, 2013

pumpkin pastaNothing signals the beginning of the holiday season more than pumpkins do, and just as they start showing up on front porches across the country, they make their way into our kitchens too. Of course it’s possible to cook using fresh pumpkin, but I think that for almost every application, canned pumpkin puree just works better. Fresh pumpkin tends to be a little watery, but canned puree is smooth, rich and flavorful every time. Canned pumpkin is a delicious addition to all kinds of dishes, sweet and savory, and Food Network Magazine’s October booklet has 50 inspiring canned pumpkin recipes for the holidays.

The Pumpkin Pasta Alfredo (pictured above) and Pumpkin Oatmeal are two of my top picks, but another of my favorites didn’t make the list: Curried Pumpkin Ketchup. This spiced ketchup is really easy to make and is truly delicious. In the test kitchen, we sampled it on fries and loved it, and I think it would taste great slathered all over a meatloaf sandwich.

Get the recipe

Try a New Twist on the Classic BLT

by in Food Network Magazine, July 22nd, 2013

Asian-Style BLTNo one seems to agree on the most important ingredient in a BLT, although we all know it’s not the lettuce. I asked around the kitchen and the results were 50/50: half said the star of the sandwich is the bacon, the other half said tomato.

Luckily, our BLT story in Food Network Magazines July/August issue has something for everyone — bacon lovers, tomato lovers and even a little something for you lettuce-loving outliers. The different types of bacon and bacon seasonings are all great, but as an avid tomato lover, I particularly like the ways the recipe developers handled the tomatoes in their dishes. Whether fresh, oven-dried, made into a salsa or broiled, each style of tomato balanced the other components in the dish perfectly.

Keep reading

Behind the Booklet: Fresh Corn 50 Ways

by in Food Network Magazine, July 15th, 2013

jerk salted cornWho doesn’t love corn? It’s sweet, crisp, fun to eat and says summer like no other food. We also love corn for its versatility: It’s as delicious boiled as it is grilled, on the cob or off, sauteed or stirred into batters. We created corn recipes of all types for Food Network Magazine‘s July/August booklet, and although I enjoy corn in all its forms, I’m a purist at heart. I like it best simply grilled or boiled, with ample butter and a generous dusting of kosher or sea salt.

When I’m in the mood for a little more pizzazz, I mix up a flavored salt like the jerk or lemon-pepper seasoning in the booklet, both of which are extremely easy to prepare and transform classic corn on the cob into something exceptional. Here are two more recipes for amazing flavored salts. The bacon salt is a perfect complement to grilled corn served alongside burgers and hot dogs; the lemon coriander one tastes great on buttery boiled corn at a clam bake.

Read more

How to Use Fish Sauce

by in Food Network Magazine, June 8th, 2013

Rice Noodle and Shrimp Salad Recipe

In Food Network Magazine, we occasionally make Southeast Asian-inspired recipes that call for fish sauce, like the Rice Noodle-Shrimp Salad (pictured above) in our June issue. This sauce is a staple of Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and really the entire region, and is usually made from fermented anchovies. Sounds scary, we know, and it can smell scary, too — very pungent. But it can be surprisingly subtle and can add an astounding depth of flavor as well as authenticity to a dish. We’re lucky that we can now find fish sauce in the Asian section of most big grocery stores. But if you are lucky enough to live near an Asian market, you will likely see several different brands on the shelf, each of different origins and with its own subtly unique flavor.

In November of last year, right before we started developing our recipes for June, I had the good fortune of visiting Vietnam. The food, of course, was amazing. And while there, I was surprised to learn about the variety of fish sauces and fish sauce blends they used. The most common variety by far is nuoc cham: fish sauce diluted with water, sugar and lime juice, usually seasoned with garlic and fresh chilies. Not only is it delicious, but because its flavor is slightly more subdued, it is the perfect starting point for fish sauce novices. In the Rice Noodle-Shrimp Salad, I created my own version of nuoc cham as the salad dressing. It imparts tons of flavor to the rice noodles, but it’s also extremely versatile: It’s great as a dipping sauce for grilled chicken, for instance.

Get the recipe

Behind the Booklet: 50 Slaws

by in Food Network Magazine, June 1st, 2013

Classic Slaw Recipe
Slaws are the ultimate summer salad: They are fresh and crisp, can be prepared hours in advance and make the perfect companion to grilled foods. In Food Network Magazine‘s June booklet, you get 50 awesome slaws to fulfill all your summer needs. But because we here in the Test Kitchen have too many ideas for our own good, we had a few slaw recipes left over that just couldn’t fit into the booklet. One of them is particularly special because of its longevity: It’s delicious in the summer, but transitions wonderfully into the cooler months. The combination of pear, endive, red cabbage, maple, cranberries and pecans will feel as at home on your Labor Day table as it will in your Thanksgiving spread.

Pear Endive Slaw With Maple Dressing: Combine (4-5 cups) 1/2 head thinly sliced red cabbage with 1 tablespoon kosher salt for 1 hour. Rinse well and pat dry. Whisk 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar, 3 tablespoons maple syrup; add 1/4 cup oil. Toss on cabbage with 3 sliced endives, 2 sliced pears, and 1/2 cup each dried cranberries and toasted chopped pecans.

Behind the Booklet: 50 Salad Dressings

by in Food Network Magazine, April 27th, 2013

Behind the Booklet: 50 Salad DressingsI have to admit that the April booklet, 50 Salad Dressings, was a crowd favorite in the Food Network Test Kitchen. As much as we love indulging in chicken wings, macaroni and cheese and all the other delicious dishes we’ve recently covered in our 50 Booklets, it was a welcome change to have tastings that involved salads and vegetables. We love greens in any form and what’s great about these recipes is that they aren’t just for lettuce: They can also be drizzled over steamed asparagus and sauteed broccoli rabe, or used for dipping steamed artichoke leaves. Here is an extra dressing recipe that didn’t make it into the booklet, but is a favorite of mine. It gets a complex, floral flavor from chamomile tea and has a slight sweetness that goes really well on sturdier, slightly bitter greens like frisee and escarole.

Creamy Chamomile: Steep 2 chamomile tea bags in 1/4 cup hot cider vinegar 10 minutes; cool. Blend vinegar with 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 large egg in a blender; gradually add 1/2 cup vegetable oil until creamy.

The Ultimate Bread Pudding

by in Food Network Magazine, April 23rd, 2013

Rum French Toast a La Mode

Bread pudding and French toast are like first cousins. Traditionally one is dessert and one is breakfast, but they really are more alike than they are different: Both are made by soaking (preferably stale) bread in a milk and egg mixture and cooking it until slightly crisp on the outside and lusciously custardy on the inside.

In the April issue of Food Network Magazine, you’ll find five delicious French toast recipes, each made with a different type of bread and a different flavor profile. Some of them, like the Rum French Toast a la Mode (pictured above), can easily double as dessert without a change. My personal favorite, the Baked Croissant French Toast, can be tweaked just a bit to skew it further toward the dessert realm (although it’s pretty decadent as it is!). Simply swap out the plain croissants for chocolate croissants and double the sugar in the custard. You’ll have an over-the-top dessert bread pudding. I like to top it with a little sweetened whipped cream, the marmalade sauce from the recipe and a little extra chocolate sauce for good measure.

How to Use Homemade Ricotta

by in Food Network Magazine, How-to, March 7th, 2013

Homemade Ricotta RecipeIn the March issue of Food Network Magazine, you’ll find my recipe for homemade ricotta. Traditionally, ricotta is made from the whey left over during scale cheese production, but at home it’s easy to make using fresh milk. In my version, I chose to add a little bit of heavy cream to the mixture to make it a little richer and more luxurious.

There are 101 ways to use ricotta, but when you are using homemade stuff, it’s best to do as little to it as possible. One of my favorite ways to eat it is in a simple sandwich inspired by one I love at Saltie, a Brooklyn sandwich shop:

Split a 5-inch square of focaccia through the middle and lightly toast it, then drizzle it with some good-quality olive oil. Mix about 1/3 cup of ricotta (preferably still warm) with about 2 tablespoons mixed chopped basil, tarragon and chives, a good grind of black pepper and a tiny bit of freshly grated lemon zest; spread it on 1 side of the bread. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, and add a lightly beaten egg and a pinch of salt to the pan; stir it constantly with a rubber spatula to make a very soft scrambled egg with small curds (it will take longer than you are used to). Scoop the egg onto the ricotta and top it with the other piece of bread.

Behind the Booklet: 50 Wings

by in Food Network Magazine, January 28th, 2013

Supreme Buffalo wingsI have a deep and unconditional love for chicken wings. To me, wings are the perfect bar-snack and party food. I love them every way: spicy, sweet or savory. The only no-no for me is flabby skin!

Whether you decide to fry them, bake them or grill them — the three cooking methods we show you in Food Network Magazine’s booklet of 50 wings (page 168, January/February 2013 issue) — you’ll produce a perfectly crispy wing. And the options are truly limitless. Check out my sesame version below, then serve these for the big game with an Asian chili sauce like Sriracha:

Sesame: Spread wings on 2 oiled pans, season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees F until crispy, about 45 minutes. Toast 3 tablespoons sesame seeds in a dry skillet until golden. Toss hot wings with seeds and 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil and 1/4 cup chopped scallions.