All Posts By Food Network Kitchens

Ramen Inspiration

by in View All Posts, January 23rd, 2009

Several months ago the Test Kitchen team was given an assignment for the current (Jan/Feb) issue of the Food Network Magazine. Our challenge was to come up with creative new uses for ramen noodles.

One day, my daughter, who was home visiting from college, stopped by the Test Kitchen to say hello. Her timing could not have been more perfect, since Bob Hoebee, one of our recipe developers, had just called for a tasting of his Ramen Noodle Cake with Swiss Chard. Much to my daughter’s delight, she was invited to join in the tasting.

Now it wasn’t just because she is a vegetarian that this dish appealed to her; there was something so appetizing about the way the noodle cake looked — so golden and crispy on the outside, but still moist and tender on the inside.

One bite was all she needed to be motivated to try this recipe out when she returned to campus.

Please note: (I hope I don’t get in trouble for this later) you may expect that cooking comes naturally to her since her mom and many others in her family love to cook, but the apple fell a little further from the tree where cooking is concerned. While she certainly appreciates a great meal, she is less inclined to spend significant time in the kitchen. However, this dish seemed right up her alley: cheap, easy and delicious.

A few weeks later, a campus pot luck was the perfect opportunity for her to test it out. After a very successful first attempt, she called excitedly to inform me that it was a huge hit and she was surely going to make it again. Each time, she happily reported that it was a major crowd pleaser. The dish has become a favorite; on her latest visit home, she decided to try it again, this time for the family.

In my opinion, one look at the photo will tell you that this is definitely a keeper! Of course, I may be just a little biased.

Claudia Sidoti, Recipe Developer

Yay:

by in View All Posts, January 23rd, 2009

To Err is Human

by in View All Posts, January 22nd, 2009

Here in the FN Kitchens, we’re always looking for interesting new products to add sunshine to developing recipes. Sometimes we find them in the bodega; sometimes in our own pantries. This came with our last spice delivery:

Perfect for your next mock-epic dinner party!

Vince Camillo, Food Stylist

Are We Not Men?*

by in View All Posts, January 21st, 2009

Because life’s apparently just too short to have to actively combine one’s alcohol with one’s nitrous oxide, one welcomes word of Whipped Lightning, “the world’s first deliciously-daring whipped cream.” It’s alcohol-fortified-whipped-cream-in-a-can, properly known as “whipahol,” available in 4 flavors (Amaretto, Cinnamon, Orange, and Macadamia).

Personally, I prefer my cocktails made either out of whiskey and ice or by Jim Meehan, so I may well not be the appropriate market for this. The delightful Ezra Poundcake has some choice words on the subject, as do her commenters. Anyone care to weigh in?

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

*Yes, the AJC totally did the Devo lede first. Sorry.

First They Came for the Manicotti

by in View All Posts, January 21st, 2009

Goat Samaritans

by in View All Posts, January 20th, 2009

So my mother’s been really into goat lately, and has been casting around for a source. As goatmeat for her means more biryani for me, I’ve been doing everything I can to assist this quest, and have been checking around for either local or mail-order-friendly purveyors.

We realized quickly that the easiest-seeming solution, of me buying goat from the Greenmarket and bringing it to her, wasn’t going to work, as, well, I kept eating it before I could get it to her. So she clearly had to take matters into her own hands.

Appended to the whole feature the Times recently did on Bill Niman‘s new goat-tastic project was a list of suppliers. She got in touch with one, Copeland Family Farms (no relation, I don’t think, to our Sarah Copeland), who said they didn’t have any leg meat (her favorite) available just then, but would call and let her know when they did.

Except they didn’t. They went one better. She arrived home shortly thereafter to a goat-packed surprise package from Copeland’s proprietors, Bob and Dusty Copeland, with a note suggesting she call with payment info upon receipt. Even if the goat hadn’t been fantastic (which it was), I’m not sure there’s a better combination than goatmeat and generosity.

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

Dinner We Can Believe In

by in View All Posts, January 16th, 2009

The excitement over Tuesday’s presidential inauguration has reached such a fevered pitch that we’re beginning to worry things could get a little out of hand. Imagine all that hunger for change unleashed on, say, a buffet table, or a dessert tray, or an open bar. Think of it. We foresee a very real possibility that Obama’s first meal as president could more closely resemble a cross between a 19th-century beefsteak and the storming of the Bastille. If it does, though, it turns out it will have ample (and distinguished) precedent, according to an excellent LATimes article by the historian Andrew Smith:

Lincoln’s inaugural committee had planned a lavish midnight buffet for the inaugural ball: terrapin stew, leg of veal, beef à l’anglais, foie gras, pâté, cream candies, fruit ices, tarts, cakes and more. The venue was the Patent Office, which had two spacious halls for dancing and dining. The buffet was set out in a corridor where patent models were displayed.

When the grand supper was announced, after several hours of dancing, the crowd rushed the table and people began grabbing, pushing and stuffing themselves shamelessly. In a matter of minutes, the sumptuous buffet was a shambles — as were several of the patent exhibits.

But the Lincoln ball was a model of prim decorum compared to the scene following the inauguration of Andrew Jackson “the man of the people” in 1829:

When Jackson returned to the White House after the ceremony, he was followed by some 20,000 rowdy well-wishers hellbent on getting refreshments: ice cream, cake and lemonade.
The mob all but destroyed the White House; Jackson was forced to exit by a back door. The White House steward finally lured guests outside with tubs of whiskey-laced punch.

We fully expect Obama’s inaugural committee has planned accordingly, and that there will be enough ice cream and cake and, yes, whiskey punch to go around. But if, in the spirit of the times, they’ve chosen to forgo a lavish spread, we at least hope they’ll find a way to treat their guests to something better than Jimmy Carter, who, in lieu of a meal, passed peanuts and pretzels.

Jonathan Milder, Research Librarian

Dave Opens Champagne Bottles As He Sees Fit: Part 1

by in View All Posts, January 16th, 2009

Backstory: on New Year’s Eve, those of us left in the office decided it was time for champagne. I strongly believe it’s not a party without sabrage, so I taught our purchasing manager Dave, our steward Cedric, and everyone else around how to, well, cut the tops off of champagne bottles with a knife.

Since then, a monster seems to have been created. And since the cardinal rule of television is apparently “once you create a monster, you give it a show” — here we go.

This, my friends, is Dave Opens Champagne Bottles As He Sees Fit, Part 1; other implements to follow.

And please, please don’t try this at home.

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer; starring Dave Mechlowicz, Culinary Purchasing Manager

Do I Smell Chocolate?

by in View All Posts, January 15th, 2009

So if there is indeed a Chicago vs. New York trend, what about sweet smells in the air? Having recently visited the Windy City, best known for its deep-dish pizza and well-dressed hotdogs, I discovered that the downtown area smells less like meat and more like Hershey, Pennsylvania. Upon some cursory research, I found that the scent is from the Blommer Chocolate Factory on the west side of the city, which came under some fire for it a few years back.

Air pollution aside, New York did have the scent of maple syrup wafting through the air for a short period of time. It made me think of French toast and waffles all day long. I don’t know which one is better though. Which do you prefer: chocolate or maple syrup? Or do you know of a better-smelling city?

Shirley Fan, Nutritionist

Sacre Bling!

by in View All Posts, January 15th, 2009

I’m willing to grant that the recession might be causing a re-assessment of values, habits, etc, especially when it comes to food. And I’m told there have been whole books written with the aim of making luxury ingredients relatively accessible. But nothing justifies the following quote, from the director general of La Grande Épicerie, the gourmet-food department of Paris’ legendary store Le Bon Marché, on people’s paté-purchasing habits:

“Luxury products that have savoir faire — rather than bling-bling — offered a sense of refuge…”

Yes, fair. Sure, people might buy duck paté instead of foie, or they might buy a few slices of foie instead of a whole block.  But the idea of “bling” paired with “liver” gives me serious pause. It’s hard not to imagine a gavage Bedazzler.

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

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