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.

Alton’s Perfect Buffalo Wings

by in Recipes, February 3rd, 2011
Alton Brown's Buffalo Wings
Dive into Alton's playbook for Buffalo Wings that can't be beat.

For Super Bowl Sunday, try tackling hot wings Alton-style, with a little science in your back pocket and a trick play up your sleeve. You’ll score a perfect touchdown, guaranteed, with these crispy-skinned wonders. Here are some of his hot wing secrets, step-by-step.

Steaming?: First, Alton loads up a steamer basket (yes, the one you usually use for broccoli) with the raw chicken wings and steams them for 10 minutes. Why would you do this? The extra fat will melt off and drip away into the pan, so you’ll be able to cook them at a higher heat later without smoking up your kitchen. And high heat = crispy skin.

steaming wings
Alton links a few steamer baskets together to fit all the wings. You could work in batches.

Drying: The steamed wings get spread onto a cooling rack set over a half sheet pan lined with paper towels, and the whole thing hangs out in the fridge for an hour. The cool air from the fridge dries out the skin completely, so a crisp cook-up is imminent.

Baking: Then the wings are baked, not fried. They contain enough fat to fry themselves when cooked at a high temperature, so no need to heat up vats of hot oil. And yes, they’re baked, but not at all healthy, light or slimmed down.

Saucing: Alton tosses the baked wings in a simple, classic hot wing sauce of melted butter and hot sauce (my favorite is Frank’s Red Hot Sauce). If you want the sauce to stick to the wings, make sure to do this step right away, while the wings are still hot out of the oven. And don’t worry, the super crispy skin won’t get soggy soon.

Hot Wings
Browse more hot wing recipes from Sunny, Guy and more FN chefs.

If you’re searching for the most amazing + easy + classic-tasting hot wing recipe ever, Alton’s is it. But you can also check out top versions from Paula, Sunny, Guy and more Food Network chefs here. Or browse our entire collection of 100 hot wings or even more game-day apps, from top guacs to tater skins.

What hot wings are you making for the big game?

Tater Tots, All Grown Up for the Big Game

by in Recipes, February 2nd, 2011
Crab Tater Tots
Follow Michael Symon's step-by-step and serve up Iron Chef-style tater tots at your big game bash.

Tater tots are hot this year, the coolest football-watching food for people in the know. And why not? They’re nostalgic, retro and unexpected. So tot it up like an Iron Chef with Michael Symon’s Crab Tater Tots (a recipe from his cookbook Live to Cook), a grown-up riff that’s totally doable with the help of Symon’s step-by-step how to.

Michael Symon's Live to Cook
Get more of this Iron Chef's best recipes.

Cook up more of Michael Symon’s football party picks:

  • Greek Meatballs: Spice up lamb meatballs with coriander, cumin and a touch of cinnamon.
  • The Lola Burger: Take burgers to the next level by layering on flavor – cheddar cheese, bacon, a sunny-side-up egg, pickled red onions and spicy ketchup.

More tots to try:

The big game game plan: For more tater inspiration, browse Food Network Magazine‘s NFL potato skins, with one skin for each of the 32 teams. Or just dive into our playbook to find more big game snacks.

Texas Chili Potato Skins
Texas Chili Potato Skins are team-neutral and just celebrate this super Sunday in Dallas.

What snacks and apps are you planning to make for the big game?

Top 5 Dishes for Chinese New Year

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 2nd, 2011
Dan-Dan Noodles
Eat a bowl of Chinese noodles for good luck in the new year.

Celebrations for Chinese New Year begin February 3 and continue for 15 days. That gives you plenty of time to cook up lucky Chinese foods at home, from noodles to egg rolls.

Top 5 to Try:
Dan-Dan Noodles: Noodles symbolize longevity, so eat a bowl-full in the new year (but don’t cut them up, which would be bad luck!).

Chinese Dumpling Soup: Dumplings are shaped like ancient blocks of gold or silver, so eat them for prosperity in the year ahead.

Chinese Dumpling Soup
Warm up with this easy Chinese Dumpling Soup, a symbol of wealth to come.

Sunny’s Asian Lettuce Wraps: The Cantonese word for lettuce means “raising fortune,” making lettuce wraps the perfect lucky New Year’s food.

Guy’s Off the Hook Egg Rolls: Crispy, fried egg rolls look like bars of gold, so crunch away for wealth.

Egg Rolls
Guy's Chicken Avocado Egg Rolls fry up to look like bars of gold.

Steamed Fish With Ginger: The Mandarin word for fish sounds similar to the word for “abundance.” Serve it up for good fortune in the new year.

Steamed Fish with Ginger
Serve Steamed Fish with Ginger for prosperity.

Find more top foods for Chinese New Year from Food Network. Then check out top picks from Steamy Kitchen’s Jaden Hair writing for Cooking Channel’s Devour.

What are you going to cook up to celebrate the year of the rabbit?

Loving In-Season Meyer Lemons

by in Recipes, January 30th, 2011
Meyer Lemon-Cranberry Bundt Cake Bake up Meyer Lemon-Cranberry Bundt Cake while Meyer lemons are in season.

Meyer lemons are ripe and ready, in peak season now. Do not wait, they have no mercy for procrastinators – whether you have a collection of Meyer lemon recipes stashed away for the season or you want to try your favorite lemon recipe with this alternate citrus fruit, this is your chance, now is the time.

The famously allusive Meyer lemon is thought to be a cross between an orange and a lemon, so they’re sweeter and less acidic than your normal run-of-the-mill lemons. Look for them in grocery stores and produce markets – they should stick around until early Spring. And if you can’t find them, go ahead and cook up some regular lemon dishes and sweets (just add a touch more sugar to compensate) – all citrus is beautiful this time of year.

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Ooey, Gooey, Good: National Chocolate Cake Day

by in Holidays, Recipes, January 27th, 2011
Molten Chocolate Cake
Baking perfect Molten Chocolate Cake is easy with Food Network Magazine's step-by-step how-to.

You hardly need a dedicated day to appreciate the lusciousness of chocolate cake (every day is chocolate cake day in my mind), but an excuse to indulge is always welcome. So why not give an impressive Valentine’s Day sweet a practice spin? Go ahead and mix up Molten Chocolate Cake with this step-by-step guide from Food Network Magazine.

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Instead of a Cookie Swap: Easy DIY Pizza Party

by in Recipes, View All Posts, December 10th, 2010
Homemade Pizza
Start a homemade pizza party tradition today!

Baking up pizzas at home creates an instant party vibe, and it’s easier than you think. Follow the lead of Food Network Magazine to start a homemade pizza party tradition at your house today!

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Thanksgiving Side of the Day: Mashed Potatoes

by in Holidays, November 20th, 2010

perfect mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple. Find a new way to mash and smash your spuds with our collection of 50 mashed potato mix-in recipes. There’s Blue Cheese-Walnut Mashed Potatoes, Shiitake-Squash Mashed Potatoes, Bacon-Cheddar Mashed Potatoes and 47 more.

But for Thanksgiving, when turkey is a menu must, I try to keep the mashed potatoes buttery, creamy and relatively simple, because one of the best parts of a traditional Thanksgiving feast is rich and steamy turkey gravy. Make classic mashed potatoes and gravy with these sure hit recipes from Food Network Magazine: Perfect Mashed Potatoes paired with Perfect Gravy (and see our gravy step-by-step).

Browse 50+ Thanksgiving side dishes to fill out your menu. And, for hundreds more ideas, recipes and menus for your feast, check out FoodNetwork.com/Thanksgiving.

Fall Fest: Sweet Potato Sides, Chef by Chef

by in Holidays, November 17th, 2010
Tyler's Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan and Marshmallow Streusel
Tyler's Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan and Marshmallow Streusel

We’re teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Fall Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week 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. To join in, check out awaytogarden.com.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it’s time to seriously ponder sweet potato sides. What will it be this year – mashed, baked, stuffed or smashed? Here are some top recipe picks from Food Network chefs.

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Fall Fest: Brussels Sprouts Gratin

by in View All Posts, November 10th, 2010
Brussels Sprouts Gratin
Mixed with cheese and cream, Brussels Sprouts Gratin makes an irresistible Thanksgiving side dish.

We’re teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Fall Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week 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. To join in, check out awaytogarden.com.

Thinking about adding Brussels sprouts to your Thanksgiving feast, but scared some guests may wrinkle their noses at the mere mention? Try this easy-to-love, cheese-topped Brussels Sprouts Gratin from Food Network Magazine. Melty and oozy, it’s an easy way to ease doubters into loving this dreaded veg.

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Fall Fest: Root Veggie Sides to Try

by in View All Posts, November 3rd, 2010
Glazed Carrots and Turnips
This year, try a new Thansgiving side, like Glazed Carrots and Turnips.

We’re teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Fall Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week 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. To join in, check out awaytogarden.com.

Thanksgiving is all about traditions – roasted turkey, buttery mashed potatoes, grandma’s pumpkin pie – but don’t be afraid to add new life to the traditional feast with a few new stand-out sides. (Here are 50+ if you want to start browsing now!) For a little something different, reach for one of these three often overlooked root veggies – turnips, rutabagas and parsnips – in season and oh so tasty.

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