All Posts By Ricky Smith

A Side of Crazy with Your ‘Cue — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, June 16th, 2015


There was no escaping smoky flavors on tonight’s episode of Chopped, as each basket contained barbecue-themed ingredients. That was no problem for judges Amanda Freitag, Marc Murphy and Maneet Chauhan as they dug into the entree basket after the competitors left the set. On an all-new Chopped After Hours, they took on some classic ‘cue ingredients: North Carolina BBQ sauce, avocado, rainbow chard and spareribs.

“The other barbecue sauce, you’re kind of stuck going down one road,” Marc says. “Here you can go maybe more on the Asian side or probably maybe Indian direction.” Everyone else agrees that they are happy about the choice of sauce. Maneet ends up going in a completely different direction, trying her hand at making a Brazilian stew called feijoada. It includes rice, which she decides to make in the microwave. Ted thinks it’s a great time-saver, saying “I don’t know why more people don’t do that!”

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Maestros of Spice — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, June 2nd, 2015


Things got spicy on tonight’s episode of Chopped, with all of the baskets packing some heat — including dessert. While most would be hesitant to make something sweet from a basket full of fiery foods, the Chopped judges — Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy and Maneet Chauhan — handled it flawlessly, using some very out-of-the-box combinations after the episode ended. On an all-new Chopped After Hours, they try their hand at the dessert round with chile pepper honey, devil’s food tres leches cake, pink lemons and canary melon.

“You’ve got to make sure you taste your ingredients before you cook with them,” Marc says as he coughs from the heat of the chile pepper honey. When Ted points out that he can assure Marc the canary melon is not hot and will offer some relief, Marc doubts his assurance, saying, “Well, maybe — you know — in the Chopped basket they might have infused the hot in here somehow. They might have put, like, a syringe in here!”

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May the Best Cake Win: Bakers to Battle for $10,000 in a New Series

by in Shows, May 28th, 2015

In the new series Cake Wars, premiering Monday, June 29th at 8|7c, four expert bakers aim to win their jaw-dropping cake a spot at a major party or special event. With Jonathan Bennett hosting, each of the bakers will bake one-of-a-kind creations with the hopes of impressing well-known pastry chef Ron Ben-Israel, Fonuts co-owner Waylynn Lucas and some very special guest judges. Each week, only one contestant will take the cake to headline the main event, and take home the sweet grand prize of $10,000.

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QUIZ: Which Destination Is Your Best Bet for Summer BBQ?

by in Restaurants, May 15th, 2015

Barbecue is a huge part of summer eats. It’s hard to find any outdoor gathering during the warmer months that doesn’t include sauce-slathered ribs, tender brisket or at least some smoked chops. And while you’ve probably got your favorite local joint, the options across the country are only increasing. Barbecue has become a highly respected cuisine in America, with spots serving up everything from bigger-than-your-head ribs to classic blue plate specials. Take the quiz below to find out where you should venture to get the best ‘cue this summer.

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5 Spring Soups to Brighten Up the Dinner Table

by in Recipes, May 7th, 2015

Get excited, because your love for soup no longer has to be put away with your winter jacket and scarf. Just because it’s getting warmer outside doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a comforting bowl of avocado soup or a ginger-carrot creation. In fact, these soups were made for sunnier times. Just like as chili warms you up while it’s snowing outside, there are chilled concoctions that can cool you down and nutrient-rich spring veggie versions that can boost your energy. Either way, soup lovers, rejoice!

Chilled Avocado Soup (pictured above)
Move on over, guacamole — there’s a new avocado dish in town. Marcela Valladolid’s Chilled Avocado Soup, served cold , is a beautiful dinner option for the warmer months. With a bit of spice from serrano chiles and fresh flavor from the avocado and lemon juice, it would be a surefire hit at any spring get-together.

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6 Breakfast Pastries That Are Totally Worth the Carbs

by in Recipes, April 30th, 2015

Breakfast for dinner is always a fun way to mix things up, but what about having dessert for breakfast? Besides those few times you ate chocolate cake on a Saturday morning, it’s probably not something you think of often. But with pastries like warm, sticky cinnamon rolls and apple turnovers stuffed with syrupy filling, it’s definitely possible to satisfy your sweet tooth before 10 a.m.

Strawberry Muffins (pictured above)
Make these beauties over the weekend and have a quick breakfast to go during the week. Whether you eat them at room temperature or heat them up with a little pat of butter, they’re sure to give you the right dose of sweetness.

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QUIZ: Which City Should You Eat Pizza In?

by in Restaurants, April 28th, 2015

Does the local pizza joint know your order the second they realize it’s you on the phone? It might be time to branch out and try something out of your comfort zone. After all, pizza comes in lots of different styles. From Chicago’s deep and cheesy to the classic New York slice, we’ve got your ideal pizza style.

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6 Ways to Spice Up Pizza Night

by in Recipes, April 14th, 2015

Everyone from busy moms to college students knows the ease of grabbing a quick slice of pizza or a pie for the family. Most pizzerias have an array of classic options that never seem to get old, and all of that cheesy goodness never disappoints. While your favorite local joint’s pizza is probably hard to replicate, there are plenty of ways you can spice up pizza night from home. Read on for some out-of-the-box ideas like mini pizza muffins and warm pizza dip.

Pepperoni Pizza Pocket (pictured above)
The ultimate hand-held food becomes even more portable when you follow Jeff Mauro’s recipe for pizza pockets. Just load up premade dough rounds with pepperoni and cheese, and pop them in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with Jeff’s slow-simmering sauce for an unforgettable weeknight treat.

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QUIZ: Where Should You Travel for Your Next Meal?

by in Restaurants, April 1st, 2015

If you know every pasta dish at the Italian place down the street (plus the Sunday specials), it might be time to widen your taste buds’ horizons. But gone are the days when you had to travel to Europe to get authentic French cuisine and a good steak was served only at a steakhouse. Today there are tons of cities in the U.S. that boast fresh-from-the-boat seafood and burgers that will change how you thought about Dad’s grilling skills. Take the quiz below to find out which food-filled city will be your ultimate destination for dinner.

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Save Some Coffee for Cocktail Hour

by in Drinks, Recipes, March 28th, 2015

A cup before work, a cup to get through 3 p.m. — why not have a cup during happy hour? Coffee cocktails might be exactly what you need: something that melts away the stress of the day while simultaneously boosting your energy for late-night laundry. Add in some rum or chocolate, and you’ll enjoy your caffeine fix more than ever. Whether you’ve just finished a big dinner with friends or you’re spending a Friday evening in alone, these sips are sure to put a smile on your face.

Pitch-Dark Coffee Stout (pictured above)
Why not have both brews—coffee and beer—at the same time? Coffee liqueur and espresso give you a bit of a jolt while stout rounds out the richness of the drink.

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