All Posts By Food Network Kitchens

Hunt for the Stink-O Nut

by in View All Posts, November 10th, 2008

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Last weekend, my mom and I walked through Ft. Greene Park in Brooklyn in search of “bai guo.” Translated from Chinese, “white fruit” or gingko nut is a product of the gingko tree.  Surrounded by an orangey flesh that smells horrendous (I liken it to a mix between vomit and dog crap), the nuts are predominately valued by Asians for their medicinal value. You also may have heard of it through the nutritional supplement gingko biloba extract, which is purported to help with memory and concentration.

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The gingko nut is surrounded by an incredibly smelly orange flesh.

I’d only had gingko nuts a few times in a Chinese dessert soup and in a vegetarian dish with hair-like seaweed.  I thought the flavor was kind of bland and unremarkable.  But still, hunting for the nuts seemed like a fun thing to do on a lazy Saturday afternoon.  After a few minutes of stooping under the trees, my mom said she would come back in a couple of days with gloves and plastic bags to retrieve the fruit since they were too smelly to handle. A few days later she came back with a box full of the nuts. Though they’ve been washed and scrubbed of their flesh, I get a faint whiff of them every now and then, as they are sitting on the window sill drying. I’m not quite sure what she’s going to do with them, but I can’t wait to find out!

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After the flesh is peeled and rinsed away, the nuts resemble pistachios.

Shirley Fan, RD, Nutritionist

Muling Bacon

by in View All Posts, November 7th, 2008

A few years ago, a couple friends and I decided we needed to try some Summerfield Farms bacon, bacon so good that the Grateful Palate was calling it the Chateau d’Yquem of pig. Now, I like Yquem (I got ’01 Yquem instead of an engagement ring and was entirely okay with that) and I like pig, so it seemed like a logical decision.

Except that the Summerfield only came in 5-pound slabs that we’d have to split ourselves. Fine. Jonathan and I had it shipped to the office, then we split it into 5 equal pieces, and then wrapped those pieces in a layer of tinfoil, then a layer of plastic wrap. I put them in my purse, and we headed off to the bar where the handoff was taking place.

What I didn’t realize was that this was the first week of random bag checks in the subway, and there I was, waltzing in with a bag full of 1-pound foil-wrapped bricks. Of course, that would be the day I got stopped. They look in at the foil-wrapped bricks, then look at me. It gets very uncomfortable. It does eventually get resolved, but not without significant tension on all sides.

Everyone I’ve told this story to says that it’s the sort of thing that would only ever happen to me. I tell it now because I’m delighted to say it’s not: police in Kuettigen, Switzerland received a series of horrified calls earlier this week when passerby spotted a long trail of blood on the road.

They followed the trail for 12 miles to find… Read more

Iron Skillet Cookoff

by in View All Posts, November 4th, 2008

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Last night, I had the privilege of attending the 7th annual World Cares Center’s Iron Skillet Cook Off, thanks to my awesome cousin, who invited me to the event. It was a meeting between renowned restaurant chefs and FDNY firefighters, battling for the first place title in the Iron Skillet Cook Off.

Besides their devilish good looks, these hardworking firefighters also had really sophisticated food. I was pleasantly surprised by the presentation and execution of their dishes. Now I want to become a firefighter so I can enjoy meals like that every day!

Click through for winners, dishes, and more pictures: Read more

My Dinner With(out) Andras

by in View All Posts, October 30th, 2008

Last weekend, I promised my (very) new husband Andras a cozy newlywed weekend with me and our CSA box (translation: simple fall meals and movies). By Saturday afternoon, we’d worked our way through several squash, two bunches of turnips and two double-features and as afternoon slipped into evening, I struggled to make miracles out of what remained in our stash—a humble pile of baby potatoes.

While he ran out to pick up another movie, I put the potatoes in our new favorite copper pot, slipped on his oversized blue Crocs and, hoping desperately no one would see me and mistake my look for an early-Halloween clown attempt, headed out for some fresh air and inspiration.

Just outside our front door, I noticed a tall and thin gent with a low-slung apron and set of broken-in clogs that indicate the kind of restaurant credibility a resume doesn’t quite capture. My deductive reasoning skills told me he was the chef at the soon-to-open ELO restaurant just below our apartment, which had sat empty for the last 6 months. I gave him a quick nod and, hoping my restaurant-impostor clogs would go unnoticed, I dropped a courtesy, “So what’s on the menu?”

So what was on the menu? Click through for more:

Read more

Your Daily Awesome

by in View All Posts, October 29th, 2008

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From menupages’ recently-launched blog, a roundup of food-related music videos, with interpretations. (via seriouseats)

Taking My Work Home

by in View All Posts, October 27th, 2008

Last week I proudly got home from work with the premiere issue of FN Magazine. As my family browsed through the pages, I could finally justify why I’d been getting home from work with minimal energy to cook, since, after 8 hours of recipe development, the last thing I want to do when I get home is cook!

Of course, shortly after the compliments, my kids were quick to point out my shortcomings when they stumbled upon my recipe for churros, made from Jiffy corn muffin mix. I think it went something like this, “Gee mom, really nice- how come you never make those for us?”

Quickly my pride turned to shame and guilt because clearly, I had let my children down-No churros for the kids, what kind of a mom was I? Since it seemed to be unanimous from all three that they felt deprived, I promised that I would make them…sometime soon.

Last night, everyone was home at the same time for dinner, which is a rare occurrence these days, and made for a perfect time to test my own recipe. I reached for my copy (since I too need to read recipes) and quickly refreshed my memory. I sent my oldest to the local grocery store, since I did not happen to have any Jiffy on hand. After that, it was smooth sailing and I was ready to fry.

In a jif, I had once again earned my keep as a mom and turned out crispy sweet churros, which pleased the most difficult audience of all.

My son Christopher doing a taste test

[UPDATE: Recipe can be found here]

Claudia Sidoti, Recipe Developer, Food Network Kitchens

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

by in View All Posts, October 24th, 2008

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Screengrab from this weekend (click to enlarge):

What do you think Amazon is trying to tell me?

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

The Accidental Poisoner

by in View All Posts, October 23rd, 2008

Working in the Food Network’s culinary department tends, as one would expect, to be a delicious pleasure. The range of foods that pass through our kitchens is truly mind-boggling—land crabs, civet coffee, jujube honey, snail roe, and on and on. This is no place for the food-phobic; it takes an omnivore to work around here. And occasionally a strong stomach. Sometimes, a really strong stomach.

Yesterday was such a day. The sort of day, rare but not unknown, that leads one to wonder whether keeping a gastroenterologist on staff might not be a wise investment.

I mean, really. Look at this thing.

The whole sordid story after the jump:
Read more