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.

Fall Favorite: Easy Butternut Squash Muffins

by in View All Posts, October 7th, 2009

muffin1 I’m a fan of everything Jamie Oliver – his shows, his cookbooks, his gadgets (love his flavor shaker!), and his whole “simple, fresh food” philosophy. Last year he filmed a show and published a cookbook that focused on the seasons (Jamie at Home), so I was happy when I stumble upon his recipe for butternut squash muffins while searching for good fall recipes.

Here’s a little-known Jamie fact: his first job out of culinary school was as the head pastry chef at a leading Italian restaurant in London. So, unlike many traditional chefs who occasionally throw together a cake or some cookies, Jamie really knows his way around sweets (he makes great Blackberry and Apple Pie and Creamy Rice Pudding).
CONTINUE READING

Too Hot to Cook?

by in View All Posts, August 11th, 2009

watermelon-feta-saladl_s4x3_lg

August is No-Cook Month on FoodNetwork.com, and we worked hard to find 31 recipes that don’t require any heat to prepare. (We didn’t want it to turn into 31 days of tuna sandwiches.) But, with a lot of surfing around, we ended up with a nice selection of gazpachos, salads and sandwiches, mixed in with some great side dishes and no-cook desserts (check out Paula’s Not Yo’ Mama’s Banana Pudding).

claire-robinson_med_medMy favorite no-cook option is always a salad, and one of my favorite new shows on Food Network is Claire Robinson’s 5 Ingredient Fix. Luckily, Claire actually did a No-Cook Dinner episode of her show recently, so I put together Claire’s Antipasti Chopped Salad for a quick, light dinner. It was fantastic!
CONTINUE READING

Why We Love: Summer!

by in View All Posts, July 28th, 2009

pasta_2
Food-wise, this is absolutely the best time of year. If a day goes by in July or August, and I realize I haven’t eaten sweet corn and/or tomatoes, I think of it as an opportunity lost. These foods drive me crazy! I love them, I crave them, and they’re only in season for the blink of an eye.

Yes, I know, grocery store magic makes corn and tomatoes available all year, but they only taste like they’re supposed to taste when you eat them straight from the farmers’ market. As a former farm stand worker, here are a few insider market tips:

CONTINUE READING

Food Network Magazine’s New Issue

by in View All Posts, July 14th, 2009

fnmag-cover-image
The August/September issue of Food Network Magazine is on newsstands now, with over 132 new, amazing recipes (all online, here) and tons of behind-the-scenes dish.

fnm080109girlsnightout006_s4x3_al Remember the “girls night out” photo shoot that Noah Starr crashed? Here’s the story to go along with the photos, complete with cocktail and finger food recipes. Also, check out Sandra’s swanky South Beach get-together.

And, featured below, food writer Alan Sytsma tours the set of Guy’s Bit Bite with Guy Fieri himself. Get the scoop on Guy’s custom kitchen, the rock-and-roll toys and all that California, hot rod style.

CONTINUE READING

French Fries and Donuts

by in View All Posts, June 23rd, 2009

fried-food_2

What is the best thing you’ve ever eaten? I know what you’re thinking. Today? This week? Ever?? Well, Food Network’s newest show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, asks Food Network stars to divulge their favorite foods by food type, and tells you where to find them. In case you missed the sneak peek last week, it was all about : Fried Foods. So, what’s the best fried food you’ve ever eaten?

duff-goldman_medWatching the show, I took notes on eateries I’d like to visit and unusual foods I might or might not want to try (Fried shrimp heads, Duff? Really?). But at the end I was just plain hungry, craving my two favorite foods: French fries and donuts. I dove into our site and decided to satisfy my fried foods craving – my “best foods” craving – at home.

CONTINUE READING

Battle Chicken Breast

by in View All Posts, June 9th, 2009

symon-iron-chefMichael Symon once said in an episode of Dinner Impossible, “If it doesn’t have skin or bones, it doesn’t have flavor.” In a tough, do or die situation, he refused to use skinless, boneless chicken breasts. He called my go-to meat of choice “flavorless.” I was stunned by the insight. Could he be right?

bobby-grillingEnter fellow Iron Chef, Bobby Flay – king of burgers, master of the grill, man of the spice rack. . . Could one of Bobby’s recipes prove Symon wrong? Armed with eight Indian-ish spices and Bobby’s Tandoori Spiced Chicken Breast recipe, I was hopeful.

CONTINUE READING

Muffin Mania and Pancake Art

by in View All Posts, May 27th, 2009


Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I was really excited to put together our online Breakfast feature. After the pancake explosion I created for Mother’s Day, I tried to focus mostly on bacon and eggs for this one. But the carb-lover inside me couldn’t resist adding French toast and sticky buns. (I love to watch Bobby struggle with baking in Throwdown: Sticky Buns)

And, of course, I added muffin recipes. Muffins are a great grab-and-go breakfast treat, and they usually freeze well, so they can be a cheap, healthy, home-made frozen pastry. Ina’s Blueberry Muffins look like the most-loved on FoodNetwork.com, but Sunny’s Sunny Morning Muffins caught my eye.

CONTINUE READING

Summer Salad and Alton’s Sangria

by in View All Posts, May 13th, 2009


Our new Memorial Day feature is all about getting summer started with classic picnic foods, burgers, hot dogs, and, yes, sangria. I decided to test out the main featured recipe, Aida’s Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad (how could I resist?!) from the Food Network Magazine.

CONTINUE READING

Summer Content Explosion!

by in View All Posts, April 29th, 2009


When content from the Food Network Magazine comes in, it always feels like Christmas. (The magazine editors even sent a CD of the June/July content downtown to the Chelsea office by messenger service this time – my personal NYC Santa!) With that precious CD came an explosion of recipes, images and stories that we had been anticipating for months, and we rushed to get it all up online in record time.

So here it is: The recipes, the Summer Drinks Slideshow, He Made She Made, the magazine home page. . . But best of all are the burgers.

CONTINUE READING

A Mother’s Day Make-Ahead

by in View All Posts, April 15th, 2009

Someone recently asked me what one cookbook I would take with me to a desert island. Even though I’m having a great time cooking my way through my newest cookbooks, Giada’s Everyday Pasta and Mario’s Molto Italiano (I love Italian food!), the first cookbook that popped into my head was The Pancake Handbook. For me, there’s no better way to begin a weekend morning than with a stack of hot pancakes. That’s why I couldn’t resist adding a pancake carousel to our Mother’s Day feature – I tracked down the best Food Network pancake recipes to include in this fancy click-through module. But there was one pancake recipe in particular that caught my eye (or rather my stomach)…

CONTINUE READING