All Posts By Food Network Kitchens

There Will Be Blood

by in View All Posts, June 29th, 2009

3026949625_9a639da938_mThe kids are home for the summer and the rain shows no signs of ever stopping, so I have two words for all of you cooped-up parents out there: Boudin Noir. For many the dark, almost black sausage conjures up feelings of warm, comfy, home-cooked goodness. For others deep, dark, pure disgust. And for others still, utter confusion. “What is it? Blood?! I don’t understand.”

To those of you in this last category, I’m no Harold McGee, but let me explain briefly. You fill a sausage casing with blood, gently poach it in water; the blood coagulates, becomes solid, and voila, blood sausage. Couldn’t be simpler.

So what will we need? Ingredients: A couple yards of natural hog casings, some ground mace and cloves, salt and pepper, an egg, a little cream, diced pork back fat, and about two quarts of pig’s blood. Equipment: A large pot to poach the sausage, a mixing bowl, a whisk, a funnel and someone (who isn’t squeamish or afraid to get a little messy) to hold the funnel.

Once this is all gathered, the process is easy and fun for all — as long as you don’t make the mistake I made on my first attempt.

Mix the raw ingredients in the bowl, tie off one end of the casing, stick the funnel in the other end and pour the ingredients into the casing. All pretty easy; that is, assuming the mouth on your funnel is wide enough for all the ingredients to pass through. (When it isn’t, you end up spending 45 minutes using your finger to stuff chunks of fat and blood through a hole they were never meant to get through, inevitably losing your grip on the casing and spraying you and your happy little helpers with blood.) In any case, the mission is eventually accomplished.

Then, the sausage is poached gently until all the blood has coagulated, and the sausage is sautéed with butter, apples and thyme and comes out of the pan just in time for your spouse to return home out of the rain to find their happy little family looking like the offspring of the barber of Seville, with a delightful hearty meal ready on the table.

I can’t think of a better rainy day activity. Enjoy!

Charlie Granquist, Culinary Producer

It Came From the Library 12: Milk, Hold the Cookies

by in News, June 26th, 2009

How an extremely misanthropic resident of the bovine digestive system such as E. coli travels through four stomachs, 150 feet of intestines large and small, across thousands of miles, from farm to processor(s) to retailers to — at the end of a journey that makes a Yukon river salmon run look like a 5-minute commute — ultimately find new accommodations in some unlucky human gut is one of the most pressing mysteries investigators of food contamination have attempted to solve since the first major E. coli scare back in 1992.

This week that mystery got a new twist with the emergence of a new and wholly unlikely disease vector: chocolate chip cookie dough. Now, a rare hamburger (or even spinach grown downstream from a feedlot) is one thing. But how E. coli 0157 found its way into a package of Nestlé Toll House Cookie Dough, let alone enough packages to sicken at least 65 people in 29 states, is the kind of mystery that adds a whole new layer of fear and distrust to an already worrisome situation. Nothing in Nestlé’s product would seem to pose an E. coli risk. The risk usually associated with cookie dough is salmonella from raw eggs-even Nestlé’s eggs are pasteurized.

One can only hope that the food safety reform bill just passed by a House panel, while far from perfect, will make such mysteries easier to solve in the future. In the meantime 300,000 cases of recalled cookie dough should have landfills nationwide smelling a little sweeter for the next few weeks.

Jonathan Milder, Research Librarian

Resurrecting a Garden

by in In Season, June 25th, 2009

As a recent New York transplant, I have been wanting to resurrect my green thumb for some time, but I find myself slightly overwhelmed by the difficulty of finding a community garden with open plots.  I’ve heard stories of people waiting for more than five years for a plot to open–with wait times like that, it would probably be easier to get a kidney.

Using the most recent database I could find, my husband and I located some gardens in our neighborhood and the surrounding areas.  We set out to scout, filled with hope and excitement. The first garden was right down our block. It’s called the RING (The Riverside-Inwood Neighborhood Garden) and while it’s a wonderful community effort, we discovered it was strictly a flower garden, so we had to move on.  Much to our disappointment, garden after garden was either boarded up or abandoned. Six gardens in all were closed or had vanished.

I could only assume that my research had been poor, but after digging a little deeper I discovered that many of New York’s community gardens are at risk of either encroaching commercial development or simple neglect due to a lack of community support.

We came home defeated, stopping for a quart of strawberries to lift our spirits.  Washing away the dirt from our fruit, I began to question my idea of finding a plot.  Sure, it would be great to find an already established and flourishing garden where I could plant tomatoes and kale to share with family and friends, but how many people would benefit from that? Could I possibly do more?  I thought of the boarded-up gardens again and their depressed neighborhoods.

Perhaps there is still a need for a resurrection, and I decided to redirect my research.  I’m not exactly sure how to go about organizing a community garden, but I am open to education from anyone with experience.  In the meantime, we have joined a local community-activist group and bought a small tomato plant for our windowsill.

Leah Brickley, Recipe Tester

Baffling.food

by in View All Posts, June 22nd, 2009

So Pizza Hut plans to change its name to “The Hut,” capitalizing on what I suppose you could call its iconic architecture. That’s not entirely unremarkable, following as it does in the wake of what seems to be a trend of restaurants-that-serve-unhealthy-food-rebranding-to-remove-all-reference-to-unhealthy-food (cf Kentucky Fried Chicken). And I eat at “the Shack” and “the Wallah” so not like I can talk on that front, anyway.

Stranger news in the world of food nomenclature is that Wolfgang Puck is aiming to petition the Internet to create a top-level domain of .food, which he’d own and presumably license out, and possibly also .wine and .restaurant.

So theoretically, this site could become “foodnetwork.food” — and we could then also have food2.food, and food.food, should we want to. And I thought “Culinary Writer, Culinary Production,” which is what it says on my business card, was redundant.

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer (Culinary Production)

It Came From The Library 11: Food Crisis

by in News, June 19th, 2009

We’re hearing a whole lot less about a global food crisis these days than we were a year ago. No longer do we read week-in-week-out of food riots in the developing world or grain shortages or skyrocketing inflation. Publishers are printing fewer books with apocalyptic titles like ‘The End of Food,’ ‘Stuffed and Starved,’ and ‘The End of the Line.’ The spectre of Malthusian collapse looms a little less large.

But lest you thought the global food crisis was over, several recent films and articles have come along to remind us that we’re not out of the woods yet. Far, very far, from it. The world is still hot, crowded, and hungry, and getting more so. Demand is growing faster than supply; agricultural productivity is flattening; and ‘the world is in desperate need of a green revolution, a greener revolution.’ A must-read National Geographic article does a nice job of walking through the debates taking place over just what shape this ‘greener revolution’ will take.

Jonathan Milder, Research Librarian

Beans Talk

by in In Season, June 18th, 2009

Mid-June in the garden is a thriving time, when flowering tomato, pepper and squash plants give signs of good things to come. In the meantime, I’m thankful for an early harvest that provided handfuls of radishes for summer salads — and, just this week, lots of little beans in every size and shape. English peas, sugar snaps, and haricots verts  quickly blanched in salted water and shocked in ice water make a perfect side for any lunch or dinner. I like them with (or even inside) an omelet, or tossed with some fruity olive oil, cannellini beans, radishes, and snipped herbs for a protein-packed picnic salad.

Here are a few other fast & fabulous bean recipes for your summer table:

Sarah Copeland, Recipe Developer and Good Food Gardens spokesperson

Snack Food and Simulation

by in View All Posts, June 16th, 2009

courtesy Marlene Ramirez-Cancio
(image courtesy Marlene Ramirez-Cancio)


Continuing once again with the food pareidolia thing, a friend of Jonathan‘s snapped this picture over the weekend. While it’s hard to tell whether the popcorn is simulating something else or whether something else is simulating popcorn, I’m hoping for the sake of food safety that it’s the latter.* Which I guess would make it reverse pareidolia, or a simulacra of pareidolia? My head hurts.

(*That said, I have actually consumed an actual popcorn ball precisely once, about 10 years ago, at a bake sale outside a somewhat creepy concert, so for all I know they could all be like this, so grain of salt, people.)

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

This is Bananas

by in View All Posts, June 15th, 2009

(Ok, actually it’s beef.) And, though I’m grateful to El Pollo Loco (caution, sound) for digging through the 37-page ingredient document to reveal the hidden chickencow, gotta wonder what the motives were there, especially with this comment from EPL’s president and chief exec: “I can assure you that you won’t find any beef in El Pollo Loco’s fresh, natural, citrus-marinated chicken cooked over an open flame right in front of our guests.”

I mean, hey, always good to know there’s no beef in the chicken. (Or, for that matter, the fries.) And hey, it’s only been 152 years since the Sepoy Mutiny; there’s still plenty of time to learn a lesson from that.

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer