All Posts By Kirsten Vala

Kirsten is a Senior Online Editor for FoodNetwork.com. She’s a passionate baker and loves donuts, chocolate and everything sweet.

Thanksgiving Test Batch: Parker House Rolls

by in Holidays, November 1st, 2011

parker house rolls
One side effect of working as an editor for FoodNetwork.com is that you end up thinking about Thanksgiving starting in June, craving mashed potatoes all through the summer. This year, as I waded through Thanksgiving recipes on our site, familiar old faves and great new takes, I decided that this was the year I would revamp my family’s Thanksgiving bread basket.

Sometime in July I decided I would bake Alex’s Parker House Rolls for Thanksgiving — they look soft, buttery and oh, so classic. But this is one recipe I decided to take for a test drive before the big cooking extravaganza of Thanksgiving, where every bit of counter and oven space needs to be carefully budgeted and coordinated. So, like sydney1212, the latest reviewer of this recipe (glad I’m not alone), I baked a test batch of these rolls over the weekend.

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Bubbles and BBQ: A Cool Combo

by in Events, October 2nd, 2011

Sparkling Wine and Barbecue

The FN Dish’s own wine expert, Mark Oldman, teamed up with grilling expert and Hill Country Barbecue executive chef and partner Elizabeth Karmel to host the event Bubbles and Q at the New York City Wine and Food Festival this weekend – guiding lucky festival-goers through a flight of sparkling wines paired perfectly with juicy morsels of barbecue.

Mark Oldman and Elizabeth Karmel

Why pour bubbly with your brisket (it seems like an unlikely combo)? Mark says the main reason is that the bubbles add lift and cleanliness to rich barbecue foods – it’s one of his favorite food and wine pairings. Both Mark and Elizabeth think it’s time to stop saving the sparklers for special occasions, since they pair so well with all foods – we should start drinking them like 7-Up or sparkling water!
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The Neelys’ Brunch, New York City-Style

by in Events, October 2nd, 2011

The Neelys' Brunch 2011

Guests were graciously invited to be part of the Neely family this weekend, at the Neelys’ brunch NYCWFF event hosted at their recently opened New York restaurant, The Neely’s Barbecue Parlor.

The Neelys' Deviled Eggs

A cheerful red chandelier hangs in the entryway, the centerpiece of the restaurant, while curved wooden steps lead up to the sunny, welcoming parlor area, vibrantly decorated with orange checkered tablecloths and orange flowers. Jazzy music from a guitar and harmonica player duo lazily wafted through the restaurant Saturday, while brunch cocktails, candied bacon and deviled eggs greeted hungry, eager eaters as they trickled in and claimed seats.

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Spring Fling: Artichokes

by in In Season, Recipes, May 18th, 2011

baby artichokes
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers to host Spring Fling 2011, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Recently, we dove into the world of asparagus and rhubarb — today, we’re exploring artichokes.

An edible thistle, artichokes are one of those veggies that is easiest used from a jar or frozen. But if you’re going to pick one time of year to actually carve into an artichoke, spring is the time to do it, when fresh artichokes are at their peak. Don’t be intimidated by all those leaves and the inedible “choke” hiding inside – just follow the lead of Food Network chefs.

Start with this easy recipe for Steamed Artichokes (in the microwave) from Food Network Magazine, along with their step-by-step guide to cutting up baby artichokes.

Find out how to prep and cook artichokes »

Last-Minute Mardi Gras Dinner

by in Holidays, March 8th, 2011
Shrimp and Chicken Etouffee
Make easy Shrimp and Chicken Etouffee for dinner tonight.

Just because it’s Tuesday doesn’t mean there isn’t time to celebrate Mardi Gras. Cook up a sweet or spicy Big Easy-inspired dish tonight for a taste of New Orleans at home. With a little bit of chopping and simmering, you could mix up a hearty, traditional Shrimp and Chicken Etouffee served with rice. For super quick fixes, try Rachael’s 30-Minute Jambalaya or the Neelys’ easy Dirty Rice with Smoked Sausage.

Buttermilk Pancakes With Vanilla Bean-Berry Syrup
Pancakes (along with donuts and other fatty foods) are traditional Mardi Gras fare. It's a good night to make breakfast for dinner.

Or, indulge in another quick and easy traditional Mardi Gras food: Pancakes! Serve one of the Neelys’ dueling pancake recipes for dinner, or browse 50 pancake ideas from Food Network Magazine. Prefer the classics? Go for Buttermilk Pancakes topped with maple syrup and butter.

More Mardi Gras Feasting Ideas:

What are you serving for Fat Tuesday?

Bake Peanut Butter Cookies Today

by in Recipes, March 1st, 2011
Sunny's Peanut Butter Cookies
Happy National Peanut Butter Day! Follow Sunny's lead and add a fun strawberry jam center to your peanut butter cookies.

When you think of the perfect peanut butter cookie what do you see, taste and smell? Sugary criss-crosses, the crunch of peanuts, warm baked goodness, grandma’s kitchen, City Bakery in New York City (where the most intensely peanut butter-y cookie in the world is baked)? These nostalgic, everyday cookies are true favorites appropriate for any occasion, any season, anytime whatsoever. But today they’re especially appropriate — celebrate March 1st, National Peanut Butter Day, by baking a batch of perfect peanut butter cookies.

Start by picking out a new favorite peanut butter cookie recipe from Food Network Chefs.

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Oscar Eats: True Grit and Winter’s Bone

by in View All Posts, February 25th, 2011

Oscar Eats

We’re celebrating the Oscars Food Network-style, with menus inspired by each best picture nominee (see all the posts here). Today, last but not least, two films starring young, strong-willed females: True Grit and Winter’s Bone. Both are set in the wild countryside and call for down-home country cooking (plus a few great puns).

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Celebrate Tortilla Chip Day

by in Recipes, February 24th, 2011
Jerk Pork Nachos Celebrate Tortilla Chip Day by making amazing nachos with fresh fried or baked tortilla chips.

We’re a little nacho crazy here (remember our Super Bowl nacho showdown?) so we’re celebrating National Tortilla Chip day with a few fresh tortilla chip-making recipes and tips from our favorite FN chefs. Because the ultimate nachos are even better with the ultimate homemade tortilla chip!

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Why Bake Homemade Brownies?

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 16th, 2011
Outrageous Brownies
Bake Ina's Outrageous Brownies for the ultimate share-able sweet.

Sure, lots of brownie mixes are good, especially when dolled up with special touches. (Paula, Giada and the Neelys all have short-cut, dressed-up mix recipes.) So why bother baking from-scratch, homemade brownies – measuring, melting and mixing with precision? Your brownies will be different. . . in a good way. Just browse recipes and start making choices: cakey or fudgy, bittersweet or semi-sweet, melted bars or cocoa powder, nuts or no nuts, chips or no chips? In a crowd of boxed brownie taste-memories, yours will stand out from the crowd. So get baking!

Outrageous Brownies
No need to halve a brownie recipe -- leftovers travel well and are always appreciated.

Our Top Brownie Recipes:

  • Ina’s Outrageous Brownies (pictured above)
  • Alton’s Cocoa Brownies
  • Smore Brownies
  • Ina’s Peanut Swirl Brownies
  • Ellie’s Slimmed-Down Brownies
  • Nigella’s Triple Chocolate Brownies
  • Bobby’s Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies
  • Short-Cut Brownies:

  • Paula’s Toffee Brownies
  • Chocolate Brownie Crunch
  • Giada’s Espresso Brownies
  • What’s your favorite brownie recipe?

    Super Bowl Nacho Showdown

    by in Recipes, February 5th, 2011
    nacho
    Sunny Anderson, Kelsey Nixon and Claudia Sidoti judged all of our nachos, picking their faves.

    Some of us like to think of every day as Nacho Day but Super Bowl is a good excuse for a Texas-sized crowdpleasing nacho celebration. We hosted a Throwdown-worthy nacho-off in our Chelsea headquarters Friday, with Food Network, Cooking Channel and Food.com competing, cooking up bags and bags of crunchy, melty, meaty (and some veggie) nachos. Who judged? Sunny Anderson, Kelsey Nixon and the Food Network Kitchens’ nacho expert Claudia Sidoti stopped by, ate all of our creations and huddled to choose the best.

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