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 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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Do You Have 5 Minutes? Make Garlic-Tomato Toast

by , October 18th, 2012

tomato toast
If you have 5 minutes, then you have time to make a healthy snack (one of my personal favorites). Toast 1 slice of whole grain bread, rub with the cut-side of a halved garlic clove  and then with a halved plum tomato. Drizzle with extra-virgin oliv...

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Food Network Kitchens’ Top 15 Ingredients for a Healthy Kitchen

by , October 17th, 2012

parmesan cheese
Planning ahead is key for healthy cooking. Keep your kitchen stocked with simple, inexpensive ingredients and weeknight cooking will be much easier (and more fun!). Here’s what the experts in Food Network Kitchens have in their kitchens:

1. Eggs: ...

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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.

New Play on Cottage Cheese

by , October 3rd, 2012

white bean dip
Everyone’s familiar with the classic diner combo of cottage cheese and pineapple (or peaches).  Whether you’re a fan of cottage cheese on its own (or with fruit) or not, here’s a new way to use this   with this lighter creamy white dip r...

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Potatoes + Lemon = Delicious!

by , September 27th, 2012

We love this combo in the Food Network test kitchen. The extra squeeze of citrus is an easy way to brighten up potato salad, a baked potato or simple roasted potatoes like Roast Fingerlings With Lemon.

Healthy Roast Fingerlings With Lemon
Serves: 4...

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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

5 Tips for Successful Fudge

by in Food Network Magazine, February 13th, 2012

chocolate fudge
1.    Pick the right day: Avoid making fudge on humid days. It can actually absorb the extra moisture in the air, making fudge softer.

2.    Test your thermometer: It’s important your candy thermometer is accurate. Testing this is simple: Place your thermometer in a pot of boiling water (be careful not to let the bulb touch the bottom of the pan); it should read 212 degrees F or 100 degrees C. If the thermometer is off, be sure to add or subtract the difference while cooking.

3.    Use the right pan: Be sure to use a heavy-bottomed pan to prevent scorching while cooking. It’s also important to use the size pan specified in the recipe.

Beware of lingering sugar and have patience »

How to Successfully Slow-Cook

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Magazine, December 21st, 2011

The slow cooker is our friend in the test kitchen, and we’ve discovered some helpful tips to create the perfect dish every time:

1.    Pick the Right Cut of Meat: Use cuts of meat that are best for slow braising, like pork shoulder, and try to avoid leaner cuts, like pork tenderloin, that don’t hold up as well.

2.    Spend Some Time Up Front: All you need is 30 minutes or less to brown your meat. Make a quick pan sauce or reduce wine before adding to your slow cooker — it makes a big difference in flavor.

3.    Choose Your Alliums Wisely: Onion, garlic and shallot all belong to the same genus and when they’re added raw to a slow cooker, sometimes they create a metallically after-taste. We prefer to use leeks (also in same genus), which are milder. We also love to toast thinly sliced garlic in butter or oil and stir in at the end (like in Food Network Magazine’s Vegetable and Lentil Slow Cooker Soup, pictured above).

Get quick add-ins and recipes »

50 Pies From Food Network Kitchens

by in Food Network Magazine, November 30th, 2011

50 pies
As a kid, I loved those rotating dessert cases in restaurants. I’d usually have a slice of pie picked out before we even got to the table.

So when it came time to create 50 pie recipes for Food Network Magazine, I often thought about an imaginary dessert case large enough to hold them all. Our solution? We decided to freeze a slice of each and have a little fun.

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