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.”

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Cake

by in Food Network Magazine, Holidays, November 18th, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Pecan Cake
Having a hard time deciding what pie to make for Thanksgiving dessert? Take a departure from the traditional and try Food Network Magazine’s Pumpkin Spice Cake With Chocolate-Pecan Filling from page 112 of the November issue (pictured above). We took our favorite parts of pumpkin, pecan and chocolate pies and layered them together to make this centerpiece cake.

Not a chocoholic? Skip the chocolate glaze and opt for this easy pumpkin cream cheese frosting instead:

Beat together 1 pound room temperature cream cheese, 1 stick room temperature unsalted butter, 1/3 cup pumpkin purée, 1/4 cup carrot baby food, 1 teaspoon each vanilla extract and orange zest, and 1/4 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg on medium-high in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer) until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Adjust the speed to low and add 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar, in batches, until the frosting is smooth. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before frosting your cake. (Cake can be frosted and refrigerated up to 2 hours before serving.) Enjoy!

Learn to Love It: Cauliflower

by in Food Network Magazine, November 9th, 2012

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Cauliflower
We’re big cauliflower lovers in the Food Network test kitchen, but we understand not everyone shares our enthusiasm. To recruit more fans for our cruciferous friend, we steamed and pureed it for the Super-Stuffed Baked Potatoes on page 70 of Food Network Magazine’s October issue. We didn’t have to use sour cream because of the creaminess of the cauliflower. Plus, it added fiber, calcium and vitamin C. We also turned to cauliflower to replace the meat in the Spicy Vegetarian Chili from the magazine’s January/February 2012 issue, page 106: We coarsely grated it raw and stirred it in at the end. Use pureed cauliflower to thicken soups, or add it to a dip to replace some of the fat.

The Risotto Challenge: Traditional vs. Quick and Under Pressure

by in Food Network Magazine, November 1st, 2012

Mushroom and Squash RisottoRisotto is perfect for a special weekend dinner. Until I started working in the test kitchen here at Food Network, I would have never attempted it for a weeknight dinner. That was until Katherine Alford (Vice President Food Network Test Kitchens) introduced me to risotto made in a pressure cooker.

I was skeptical at first. Using a pressure cooker cuts out one of the most important steps: stirring and slowly adding hot stock, coaxing the starch out from rice to make a creamy, luscious risotto. But I gave the pressure cooker a try one Monday night and had risotto ready for dinner in 25 minutes. It wasn’t far off from its traditional counterpart: creamy, toothsome and took only a fraction of the time and effort. Here is how a pressure cooker works: The steam given off by liquids in a well-sealed pressure cooker is trapped, and as pressure builds the temperature rises significantly compared to normal stove-top cooking. These higher temperatures cook food evenly and quickly.

Tip: Be sure to read your manufacturer’s instructions before using your pressure cooker for the first time.

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Eat Your Prunes!

by in Food Network Magazine, October 4th, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes With Meringue Frosting
You’d never know it, but while testing recipes for Food Network Magazine’s September issue, we used prunes to make these Chocolate Cupcakes With Meringue Frosting from page 68 extra moist (pictured above).

Prunes have earned an unfair reputation, but this dried fruit amazed us: It allowed us to lower the sugar and fat in the recipe, and added tons of health benefits. (Plus, you could hardly taste them!) Prunes are a great source of potassium and magnesium and they’re an easy way to increase your daily fiber intake. One serving (about 5 prunes) has 3 grams of fiber, 293 mg of potassium and 16 mg of magnesium — all for less than 100 calories.

5 Tips for Successful Grilling

by in Food Network Magazine, How-to, June 26th, 2012

leah brickleyWe’re hard at work in the test kitchen months before grilling season starts. We often find ourselves developing summertime favorites in the middle of winter, and finding a spot to grill (sometimes in the snow) can be challenging. I’m lucky enough to have a backyard and both a gas and charcoal grill, so I volunteer on occasion to bundle up and test recipes from home to ensure accuracy.

Here are some tips I picked up this past winter while testing recipes for the June issue of Food Network Magazine.

5 Tips for Successful Grilling:

1.    Get organized. Make sure everything you need is organized and within reach of your grilling command station. Using a small baking sheet is a great way to keep sauces, seasonings, timers, thermometers, recipes and miscellaneous equipment nearby and ready.

2.    Invest in a thermometer. If you’re cooking larger, more expensive cuts of meat using a thermometer can help with accurate cooking temperatures — so you don’t overcook that pricey steak. We in the test kitchens like digital instant-read thermometers.

Click here for three more tips