All Posts By Leah Brickley

Leah Brickley is a Recipe Developer and Nutritionist in Food Network Kitchen. “My day typically bookends with researching, cooking, tasting, enjoying, evaluating and talking about food.”

Chopped Junior-Inspired Lunchboxes: Horchata Rice Pudding

by in Recipes, Shows, January 20th, 2016

Horchata Rice PuddingThis week the contestants on Chopped Junior were faced with some interesting beverage ingredients in the mystery baskets, like cream soda in the appetizer round and horchata for dessert. In case you’re not familiar with horchata, it’s a super-refreshing Mexican drink that is made from rice, sugar and cinnamon. The rice is soaked in water and then blended with sugar and sometimes almonds into a very fine pulp. It’s then strained, mixed with water and served chilled, usually over ice.

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Chopped Junior-Inspired Lunchboxes: Vegetarian Nopales Burrito

by in Shows, January 15th, 2016

nopale burritoThis week our young contestants on Chopped Junior met a prickly opponent during the entree round, in the form of prickly pear cactus leaves or nopales, which are native to Mexico. Once the stickers and outer edge are removed, the flesh of the cactus can be cut up and grilled or sauteed until tender. Nopales taste vaguely like an asparagus-green bean hybrid and can also be found already sliced and cooked in jars.

We decided to add them to a burrito for a perfect vegetarian lunchtime option:

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Chopped Junior-Inspired Lunchboxes: Shrimp Chip Snack Mix

by in Shows, January 6th, 2016

snack mixWe love shrimp chips and were super-excited to see them as an ingredient in one of the Chopped Junior mystery baskets this week. With lunch in mind, we decided to use some shrimp chips to make our ideal Asian-inspired snack mix.

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Behind the Scenes: All Is Quiet in the Chopped Kitchen

by in Behind the Scenes, Shows, January 4th, 2016

Behind the Scenes: All Is Quiet in the Chopped KitchenThe wildly popular show Chopped films here, in New York City, right next to Food Network Kitchen in a giant studio that houses a chaotic frenzy of mystery baskets, eager cooks and expert judges. But there’s an entire behind-the-scenes crew of incredibly talented people who keep the machine that is Chopped well oiled. There are a million moving parts to the show, and rarely is there downtime on set, so I took advantage of one of their small breaks and took some photos of the eerily quiet kitchen (I hope they don’t mind!). Take a look at these insider photos below.

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Chopped Junior-Inspired Lunchboxes: Tofu Cocktail

by in Shows, December 30th, 2015

tofu cocktailThis week’s mystery baskets on Chopped Junior were filled with sweet ingredients like gingerbread cookies, birthday cake and candy dots! But when it came time to develop a lunchbox dish, we decided to go for savory and focused on the tofu from the appetizer challenge.

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Chopped Junior-Inspired Lunchboxes: BBQ Broccoli Rabe Salad

by in Recipes, Shows, December 23rd, 2015

Broccoli saladThe young contestants on this week’s episode of Chopped Junior were faced with some pretty tough ingredients in their mystery baskets, like barbecued-flavored larvae in the appetizer course. They also faced off with broccoli rabe (aka rapini), which is similar to broccoli, though it’s thinner, with smaller crowns and longer stalks. It can also be bitter and should be blanched first to help mellow its flavor.

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Behind the Scenes: Food Network Kitchen’s Gingerbread House

by in Behind the Scenes, Holidays, December 17th, 2015

The Secret Roof CompartmentIn case you missed it, last week FoodNetwork.com and HGTV.com came together in the Scripps Lifestyle Studios to host the ultimate live holiday cookie party on Facebook (watch the three segments here, here and here). Justin Warner hosted the event, and I had the pleasure of nerding out with him and Michelle Buffardi, from FoodNetwork.com, on chocolate chip cookie recipes.

One of my favorite parts of the day was the unveiling of the gingerbread house that recipe developer Melissa Gaman and FoodNetwork.com’s Eric Kim (with special help from Mory Thomas and Miriam Garron) worked on ALL DAY! Viewers had a ton of questions about the construction of the house, so here are some of their building tips:

The Secret Roof Compartment (pictured above): Melissa cleverly turned our house into a surprise cookie jar. Here’s how she did it: She cut one of the roof sides into two pieces and “glued” the bottom piece, with royal icing, onto the house. The removable piece simply sat on top without needing to be affixed to the house. Then the whole roof was decorated in almond shingles that covered the seam to the secret panel!

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Chopped Junior-Inspired Lunchboxes: The Cupcake Sandwich

by in Shows, December 16th, 2015

Cupcake SandwichOur young contestants on this week’s episode of Chopped Junior definitely had to think outside of the box for all three challenges. That got us thinking about a new way to enjoy a classic treat like the cupcakes they had to use in the dessert round.

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Chopped Junior-Inspired Lunchboxes: Potato Pancake Sandwich

by in Recipes, Shows, December 9th, 2015

Potato Pancake SandwichThere was definitely a holiday vibe in the Chopped Junior kitchen, and our contestants were thrown some pretty tough curveballs, like gingerbread houses and snowmen made from doughnuts. But we were mostly interested in using potato pancakes, an ingredient in the entree basket, as a bun for an easy sandwich perfect for a boxed lunch.

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Go Behind the Scenes: It’s Bananas in Food Network Kitchen

by in Behind the Scenes, December 3rd, 2015

Go Behind the Scenes: It’s Bananas in Food Network KitchenI wish you could actually smell the photos here. We had nearly 700 speckled bananas in the Food Network Kitchen walk-in just a couple of weeks ago, and their intense perfume almost knocked my socks off. They were that perfect kind of ripe, ideal for banana bread (which these guys were destined for). Culinary Purchasing Manager Jacob Schiffman had ordered about 100 unripe bunches nearly a week before and had patiently let them ripen at room temperature. But measuring out the ingredients for 200 loaves of banana bread, for a special event, takes time, so to keep them from overripening he moved the bananas into the cold to slow down the process.

Jacob also shared a great tip for keeping your bananas from ripening too fast: Break them apart as soon as you get them home, since a single banana can ripen the whole bunch (he’s got a million handy produce tips like this). And unless you’re planning on making banana bread, it’s a great tip for getting more life out of your fruit.

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