As temperatures are slowly on the rise, it’s officially time for some fun in the sun! And there’s no better way to celebrate the season than with a pool party inspired by the colors, flavors and flowers of Hawaii. This year, take a cue from everyone’s favorite tropical destination, and host a stylish yet approachable luau with a few simple tips.
By Meesha Halm
Foie gras is polarizing. Diners either love it or hate the very idea. Buttery, ultra-rich duck liver has been one of the most venerated ingredients in a chef’s arsenal for centuries. Whether floating in a soup at Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare or miso-cured at Acadia in Chicago, it’s considered the ultimate luxury.
Not so in California, where foie gras has been banned since 2012. Foie gras hasn’t exactly gone away in the Golden State; it’s just gone underground. The sale and production of it are forbidden but consumption of it is not, so restaurateurs circumvent the ban by sending it out as a “gift from the chef.” But some California chefs, including Ken Frank (La Toque), are willing to fight publicly for it. Last month, Frank and five top toques rallied to host “State of American Foie Gras,” a protest luncheon at his Napa Valley restaurant.
Summer’s in the air! And for many of us, that means the kids are home to stay. If you’re in the market for outdoor, kid-friendly activities that don’t require a car ride, look no further than your own front yard. Setting up a lemonade stand is a creative way to keep little ones entertained during the dog days of summer, and provides a perfect way to educate them on the basics of cooking, team -work and handling money. These quick and easy tips will show you how to make your lemonade stand the talk of the neighborhood this year.
I love hosting parties with guests of all ages — they’re the perfect opportunity to get creative, explore a fun theme, and add a touch of whimsy to the decor for an event. For this year’s Easter celebration, I wanted to create an outdoor event that would be fun for kids and parents alike. I didn’t have to look further than my daughter’s own nursery to find inspiration — the illustrated works of Beatrix Potter. The English author’s collection of sweetly illustrated children’s tales provided just the right tone for my backyard bash, and her Tale of Peter Rabbit was the perfect source of cotton tailed inspiration. With fun carrot-and-ranch snacks served in tiny terra-cotta pots, homemade bunny-tail bunting, and fresh centerpieces made from garden vegetables, this was one Easter celebration that we’re pretty sure Peter himself would approve of!
by Todd Coleman
I made my first trip to New Orleans in the late ’80s and remember one thing vividly: the muffuletta sandwich. Salty, sweet and tangy between two pieces of bread, it was delicious, perfect. Little did I know how important it was to become to me.
I grew up as an Air Force brat, moving all around, all the time, and had just moved from Germany to Florida with my family in 1986. It was a shock, to everyone. Quickly, instinctively, my dad took us on a trip to New Orleans. The relief set in immediately. I reveled in the old buildings, the Stephen King novel I was reading, the endless cultural thingamajigs and the food. I read about the muffuletta in my dad’s guidebook and begged to go the Central Grocery — the sandwich’s creator.
By Allison Robicelli
I was nostalgic for the “great American mom-and-pop-shop pursuit-of-happiness” business model even before I met my husband, Matt Robicelli, a chef. Before we fell in love we knew we’d open a business together. For six years now Robicelli’s Bakery in Brooklyn has turned out millions of brownies, cookies, whoopie pies and what many people flatteringly call the city’s best cupcakes. It’s spawned a cookbook and some notoriety. And yet we are still married, with our ninth Valentine’s Day upon us. Being married to your spouse isn’t all cupid and cupcakes, though. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned so far: Read more
by Katie Lee
A friend of mine, Melanie Dunea, wrote a book called My Last Supper in which she asks chefs what they would want to eat for their last supper. I’ve often thought about what would be on my plate. I love fried chicken, Thanksgiving dinner, spaghetti and meatballs, my Grandma’s baked steak and gravy, and roast chicken and potatoes from this great little restaurant in Paris.
Gosh, my mouth is watering just thinking of all of those choices.
But ultimately, I think I’d go with the humble pizza pie. Not just any pizza, though. I’m not talking the run-of-the-mill, call up the delivery guy and it’s at my door in 30 minutes or less pizza. I’m talking true Neapolitan-style pie: thin, blistery crust that’s both chewy and crispy, just the right amount of fresh mozzarella, dotted like little islands in a sea of bright red tomato sauce, a sprinkle of salty Parmesan, a touch of fresh basil and a drizzle of the finest extra virgin olive oil.
by Marcela Valladolid
It’s my turn this week to take you behind the scenes of our new show, The Kitchen. On behalf of Geoffrey, Katie, Jeff and Sunny, I’d like to tell you how absolutely grateful we are for the feedback, ideas, photos, recipes and love you’ve sent our way. All five of us, along with what has to be one of the best production crews I’ve ever worked with, are constantly looking for and debating what topics, recipes and ideas you would find most interesting.
Personally, I want you to walk away from each show feeling like you have learned something — like it was worth sharing your hour with us. We all have very different perspectives on food and cooking, and, I think, that’s what’s so great about The Kitchen; at one point or another, someone is going to say something that you connect with.
I’m injecting this show with two syringes: la mom and, because it’s in my DNA, la Mexican. It’s remarkable how even though I’ve dedicated my life to food, I’m still stumped every once in a while about what to put on the table for Fau (aka Fausto, my son). Anybody can buy a rotisserie chicken and make some tacos (often dinner at this casa), but what if you don’t even have time to go to the grocery store and get the darn chicken? What if, more than once a week, it’s like a Chopped episode and you just open up the pantry praying that you’ve got enough in there to whip up something good and nutritious for your family?
by Jeff Mauro
What a blast it was watching the premiere of The Kitchen along with all of you. The twitter action was bonkers. I was up in the air on my way back from the 14th annual Mauro Mexico Family Trip (25 Mauros strong this year!). I was sad because: A) The vacation was a bit of a bummer because it rained five days straight, I lost my iPad and my mom got a terrible case of strep throat*, and B) I wasn’t able to watch the live airing of the premiere of our new show on TV. Luckily, we had in-flight Wi-Fi and I got to engage in the episode via Twitter. Overall, the response was very positive, which is always reassuring. Twittertown can be a rough and tumble joint (keep reading, you’ll see what I mean), and it is seriously not for the meek. But in this case, it seemed like the people really liked us. Phew.
Episode 2 was a blast to shoot. We hit the field energetic and, with a couple practices and a solid game under our tight belts, more confident. We had our first guest during Cookbook Club — the highly talented pastry guru, author and legitimate Chicago native Jenny McCoy (win a copy of her book now). She gave an effortless interview in which I totally blew it and forgot to ask her my favorite question ever (see photo below). Jenny then demoed some of her award-winning desserts with the girls, and GZ and I promptly got kicked off set. This gave us a bit of a “union break.” I enjoyed a necessary dose of Jersey sunshine with GZ (which I guess was highly necessary, considering I received several tweets, one claiming I look “pretty pale” and another asking “What’s with Jeff’s alabaster skin? It’s gross.”). Noted.**
by Sunny Anderson
Haaaiii! It’s Sunny Anderson on the FN Dish check-in. On behalf of Katie Lee, Marcela Valladolid, Jeff Mauro and Geoffrey “GZ” Zakarian, as well as the crew, set design, culinary staff, producers and more — welcome to The Kitchen. I’ve been asked to share some behind-the-scenes bits. Make sure to come back next week when Jeff shares what’s really happening on set!
I hope you enjoyed the show and found it to be something you can put to work in your very own kitchen. This is the first of what we hope to be many episodes that will share recipes, quick fixes and fun chats about all things food and entertaining. Speaking of entertaining, I am too excited that I got to share the Lotus Flower Candle with you today. I’ve been holding it for months wanting to blab all about it on social media. In a world where I tweet cute pics of my cats sleeping, it’s easy to say keeping this cool entertainment “gadget” to myself for so long was hard. I really like this show for that reason — it’s truly host driven, with a huge help of a production staff. We all bring ideas from our personal lives to share with you. It reminds me of show-and-tell in grade school. I still don’t know how the crew disabled the flower so it wouldn’t play the costly “Happy Birthday” song. Just know if you look for them online, all of the ones I’ve found play the tune, so hopefully you get it for someone’s birthday cake or you know someone crafty who can disable the music. Where’s MacGruber when you need him?