Nuts rarely make it out of dessert territory, but when you think about the great texture they offer, then you might realize how well they can work in savory preparations, like this recipe in this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge. Hazelnuts are getting their due, chosen by the chefs of Food Network Kitchen as the basket ingredient for this week. Besides the texture, hazelnuts have a sweeter flavor — unlike, say, walnuts or almonds. We’re not saying this recipe will take the place of your favorite jar of hazelnut-chocolate spread, but it might be a dinner contender. The pulverized hazelnuts in this Hazelnut Chicken recipe along with extra-crispy panko breadcrumbs will become your new favorite breading for fried chicken.
For the first time on Chopped, professionals and amateur cooks will go head-to-head at the end of the five-part Ultimate Champions tournament. But they’ve all competed on Chopped before: They’ve tasted what it feels like to win, and they’re hungry for more. On tonight’s first round, four professional chefs battled to determine which one would move on to the grand finale, where there’s a chance to win the largest prize in the show’s history, $50,000, with a brand-new car to top it all off. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winner from Part 1.
When faced with an ingredient like eel, most chefs would run the other way, but the judges on Chopped After Hours take the challenge in stride: “You think some slippery eels are going to shake our nerves?” retorts Aarón. Geoffrey recommends that the skin be removed, which is an important step. Only one pro chef managed to serve his dish with eel that had the skin removed in the appetizer round of the Ultimate Champions premiere. His dish turned out to be the judges’ favorite, but the other dishes left something to be desired — i.e., no skin.
Geoffrey, Chris and Aarón are cooking with the appetizer basket ingredients — eel, pepihuates, shaved coconut and sea beans — from tonight’s episode. Even though Geoffrey points out they’re not equipped to properly skin an eel, the three judges cleverly decide to parboil it first, which makes removing the skin and bones much easier compared with how the episode’s chefs struggled. The only ingredient that leaves Geoffrey flummoxed is the pepihuates. “Watch me magically transform it,” Chris asserts. Aarón explains it’s simply a Mexican tomato-based snack/drink with peanuts and a tamarind stick — not unlike a Bloody Mary, Ted thinks.
The second stop in The Great Food Truck Race brought the rookies to Tucson. Many of the trucks thought that going from Southern California to the Southwest meant it would be an easy transition, but that wasn’t the case for everyone. Those who took the opportunity to adapt to local tastes found the best customer response, resulting in top sales. And Tyler’s Truck Stop challenge had the teams all selling a Sonoran hot dog, which proved to be one of the best ways of testing the teams’ marketing abilities. In the end, the team from SoCal came in first place, proving that they could make a comeback from last week.
Whether you’re looking for Southwestern favorites like burgers, Sonoran hot dogs or modern Mexican cuisine, we’ve narrowed down the restaurant offerings to the top 10 from the area, which include a few surprises like Jamaican stew and a Philly favorite.
On this week’s episode of The Great Food Truck Race, the teams found themselves headed to Tucson, Ariz. Some hoped the change in location from California to the Southwest would be a seamless transition that wouldn’t require much modification in menu or strategy. A Truck Stop challenge of selling a local favorite, and later a Speed Bump that relocated the food trucks to a local festival, both tested the teams’ marketing abilities. But the challenges were easier for some more than for others. One team in particular wasn’t able to get out of the rut they had put themselves into in the previous city. FN Dish has the exclusive exit interview with the latest team cut from the race.
On this week’s Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off, Chopped judge Alex Guarnaschelli visits the set to challenge the kid chefs to a Chopped challenge. You guessed it! They will have to cook with mystery baskets. But what terrifies the kids more than just the cooking is having to impress Alex, who also happens to be an Iron Chef.
Needless to say, the judges on Chopped know a thing or two about cooking, so watching from the sidelines gives them a unique perspective on the competition. With Food Network’s exclusive Web series Chopped After Hours, they have the opportunity to leave behind the judging table and cook with the same mystery basket ingredients that have sent competitors home. On Tuesday, August 26 at 11|10c, Chopped After Hours is coming to television in a special episode.
The Chopped judges have always had their place behind the judging table, but when there’s an opportunity like After Hours, allowing them to come out from behind and get in the kitchen, they’re happier than pigs in mud. Ted points out that “rather than watching from the sidelines, complaining about other people’s cooking,” the judges can be front and center. But Scott doesn’t leave it at that, and he jokes, “Now it gives people the opportunity to complain about our cooking.” But considering how great the basket is, they’re more excited than usual to get cooking: “I’m dying to cook this. I’m really antsy and raring to go,” he says.
“This is not the little piggy that went to market,” says Ted. “This is the star of our food truck and food cart entree round.” Amanda, Aarón and Scott are taking on the ingredients from tonight’s episode: whole suckling pig, fiddlehead ferns, kebab sauces and corn tortillas. All the judges are excited to work with the basket, as Amanda points out, “because there are so many options.” Scott, though, jokes that Aarón is probably going to make tacos because there are tortillas — and, well, Scott’s right.
Fans of the hidden-camera show Mystery Diners can now find host Charles Stiles and his crew of secret diners on Wednesdays at 9|8c. In its seventh season, the show takes viewers behind the scenes of problematic restaurants as Charles investigates everything from thefts to just improper behavior, all caught on camera for the owners to see. This Wednesday, tune in for an all-new episode as two food truck operators try to figure out what’s been happening to their businesses, and it’s all been taking place under their noses.
Southern California was the starting point for the food truck rookies on this past Sunday’s premiere of The Great Food Truck Race. Like many seasons before, the cross-country competition began on the West Coast, but this time, Santa Barbara, Calif., was city number one. Before anyone could get settled, a surprise Speed Bump moved the eight new teams to Venice, the hometown of team Beach Cruiser. Although it seemed like a truck selling healthy SoCal food would be a shoo-in, Lone Star Chuck Wagon, the team from Texas, ended up snatching the highest sales. Go figure!
Whether you’re looking for SoCal favorites like tacos, seafood and sushi or something unexpected like barbecue, we’ve narrowed down the restaurant offerings to the top 10 from the area, which include all the offerings mentioned above.