Timing is everything when you are salting vegetables. To get crisp, browned veggies like the mushrooms in Food Network Magazine‘s Skillet Chicken and Ravioli (pictured above), salt them at the end of cooking — after they’ve browned. To get soft, saucy vegetables like caramelized onions, add salt early on: It draws out moisture, which helps break them down.
There are so many good choices in the canned tomato aisle now. We used fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles to spice up the Greek Meatball Stew in the May issue of Food Network Magazine. Fire-roasted tomatoes also add a great smoky flavor to marinara sauce. Or buy canned cherry tomatoes and crush them in a saucepan for a slightly sweet, chunky pasta sauce.
Next time you make burritos, try these construction tips.
1. Layer the fillings horizontally across the lower half of your tortilla (not the middle), starting with absorbent ingredients like rice. Put the cheese against something hot like meat or beans so it will melt.
2. Fold up the bottom of the tortilla and tuck it under the filling.
3. Fold in the two sides.
4. Tightly roll up the burrito.
(Photographs by Christopher Testani)
Combine a soft cheese, like goat cheese or ricotta, with chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, grated garlic or a favorite condiment to make a quick sandwich spread. (Food Network Magazine mixed goat cheese with hot sauce and pepitas for the Ham and Goat Cheese Sandwich pictured above.) You can also use the spread on crostini, or dollop it onto hot pasta for a fun, fast dinner.
Swirl a few tablespoons of cold butter into a pan sauce before you serve it — you’ll be amazed by how it improves the texture. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk them in a few at a time, then remove the sauce from the heat and cover to keep warm. If the sauce gets too hot, the butter can separate and make the sauce oily. If this happens, just whisk in a few tablespoons of water.
(Photograph by Christopher Testani)
by Vince Camillo
What’s the next best thing you never ate?
The staff of Food Network Kitchens might know. We see (taste and smell) ingredients and products just before they make themselves known to the national palate. Sometimes one of our on-air chefs brings them into our kitchen, sometimes we find them during restaurant dinners or in grocery stores, at home and away. Each month we’re going to share one with you, along with tips or recipes. And we know that many of you devote a good amount of time to exploring, tasting or simply getting dinner on the table, so let us know what you find that might just be the next best thing we never ate.
If you’ve ever eaten a vacuum-fried banana chip (or any vacuum-fried fruit or vegetable), you may have been staring into the bag of the next big thing. Though the bag you remember was likely empty, because once you eat one of these puffed little disks of pure banana essence, you’ll realize that you can’t stop — the most important indicator of a successful snack.
Although it’s the last course of the meal, pie is first on the list of non-negotiable Thanksgiving musts. This Thanksgiving, we enlisted the help of some pie experts — straight from Food Network Kitchens — to develop and share some of their best-loved pies. Whether you’re a purist or feeling adventuresome, we have a pie for everyone — including something gooey, something savory (and cheesy!), an easy version of a French favorite and a deep-fried take on a classic.
Even though everyone settled on a different pie, all of our developers were inspired by personal food memories they wanted to recreate on their Thanksgiving tables.
With her Upside-Down Pear Cranberry Tart, Director of Culinary Editorial Heather Ramsdell sought to simplify the apple tarte tatin she struggled with as a culinary student in Burgundy, France. “I messed up a lot of them!” she admits, “but each one was an invitation to try again.” Her efforts were well worth it and her streamlined pear tart is decidedly “not fussy. It’s a great pie for people who don’t like baking — and it’s got hot sugar in it for the caramel so there is a moderate thrill factor.” Heather added a few more touches with cranberries and ginger, for spice. Her best tip? “It’s really good for breakfast.”
Food Network Kitchens celebrate National Ice Cream Sandwich Day by seeing how many of the sandwiches they can stack at once — click the play button on the video above to watch.
Tell us in the comments: How many ice cream sandwiches do you think were stacked before the tower toppled?
To add a little more fun to your summer barbecues, bring along some sandwiches of the sweet variety. All you need is either store-bought or homemade cookies and several pints of ice cream in your favorite flavors — then scoop away! Read Squeezed in the Middle for ice cream sandwich recipes and inspiration.
Reading through Food Network Magazine’s 50 Holiday Drinks booklet, you’ll notice a couple of recipes that call for melted ice cream. Homemade eggnog usually requires making a custard, which isn’t difficult to do, but takes time and makes a lot of cooks nervous. Melting a good-quality ice cream is a great time-saving technique that can give you the same rich, luscious end-product as making custard from scratch. In the booklet, you’ll find a French Vanilla Eggnog (recipe #16), but with the same combination of liqueurs, you could easily replace the French vanilla ice cream with coffee or chocolate ice cream. And with a little tweaking, such as replacing the crème de cacao with amaretto, you could push the limits even further by using a festive, seasonal ice cream flavor like pumpkin pie. Choose a couple of your favorite ice cream flavors and see what kind of fancy eggnogs you can come up with . . . have fun with it!
Whisk 3 cups milk, 6 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon nutmeg in a pitcher or punch bowl; whisk in 4 ounces each brandy and rum, 2 ounces crème de cacao and 3 cups melted French vanilla ice cream.
By Andrea Albin, Recipe Tester, Food Network Kitchens
Layer sliced oranges and maraschino cherries in a 10-inch Bundt pan. Cover with 3 to 4 cups of water and freeze until completely set. Run cold water over the Bundt pan to help release the ice ring. Place in the bottom of your serving bowl and top with punch.
If you’re serving adults, stir in some bourbon, gin or vodka for a spiked refreshment (they’ll still love the ice ring!).
Mix 5 cups ginger ale, 2 cups orange juice and 1/2 cup grenadine in a punch bowl. Add sliced oranges and maraschino cherries. Serve over ice.
By Leah Brickley, Recipe Tester, Food Network Kitchens