Before this weekend’s New York City Wine & Food Festival came to a close, fans flocked to Midtown Manhattan on Sunday afternoon for one final indulgent feast, this time a hearty Southern-style meal that only country superstar Trisha Yearwood could offer. Set in an elegantly adorned hotel ballroom, Trisha’s Down-Home Country Brunch offered classic Southern fixings, like grits, greens and fried catfish, a Bloody Mary bar complete with traditional toppings, and a musical surprise from the host that brought the sold-out crowd to its feet. FN Dish was on hand to take in the sights, sounds and tastes, and we caught up with Trisha to find out what the weekend brunch scene looks like at her house.
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I was chatting with one of my girlfriends on the phone a few days ago. She’s expecting her first baby in a few months and is balancing that with a full-time career — two big tasks that I know from experience can exhaust even the most-energetic person. I had a sense of wanting to jump through the telephone line (and across the 2,500 miles that separate us) to bring her dinner. Yes, it would take a task off her plate, but more than that, preparing food for someone sends a message of love. Food nourishes both body and soul, which is why a shared meal comforts when we grieve, celebrates when we are joyful and is the catalyst for getting acquainted (think how many marriages began with a dinner date). Food connects us.
Why not connect with someone this week?
We’ve all heard the timesaving advice to “cook once, eat twice” before, which refers to making double dinner and freezing half for a future meal. But what if this week you cooked once, ate once and gave the other half to someone whose day could use a little lift? Maybe you happen to know of a new mom who would rather get an extra hour of sleep than cook, or perhaps you read about a neighbor who just lost a loved one and would appreciate the thoughtfulness. But more likely, you don’t have someone top-of-mind who you know needs a meal. Think a little harder. Because almost everyone is going through something, and everyone loves to feel connected, even if it’s just on a stressful day when the kids are out of control, or traffic was extra-awful or the electricity bill was through the roof.
It’s officially apple-picking season (truly officially, as October is National Apple Month), so it seems only right to share some ideas for apples. Everywhere I turn I see photos of friends plucking juicy fruit from trees, placing it in woodsy-looking mini barrels or baskets, destined for cinnamon-y pies or fragrant cobblers. This time of year, I crave the chill of autumn and the warming sip of hot cider. I crave Vermont. I spent four years in Burlington for college and the state has never left my soul. And in Vermont in fall, we picked apples. Now that I live in Southern California, I admit that I feel a bit nostalgic for the postcard-worthy foliage scenes, the smell of fresh maple syrup and the plethora of apples that had us cooking all season long.
If you’ve been apple picking, or even to the grocery store lately (I saw Granny Smiths the other day for .49 cents a pound!), you might well have an apple stock you are looking to use. What to do with ‘dem apples?
As four industry rookies take their places in the premiere series of Food Truck Face Off, host Jesse Palmer will be on hand to oversee the contest as an esteemed panel of judges decides the fate of the hopeful teams. Before you tune in on Sunday at 11|10c for a sneak-peek episode and watch what goes down on the road in Miami, hear from Jesse to learn what to expect from the season. Read on below for an exclusive interview and find out what he would pursue as a food truck concept.
What can fans expect from Food Truck Face Off?
Jesse Palmer: Amazing food, incredibly talented competitors, a ton of human emotion and a hungry host
For the first time ever, 16 of your favorite all-star chefs are coming together in the name of eviliciousness to face off in the first-ever Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage tournament, premiering Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 9|8c. During the course of five weeks, kitchen masters like Alex Guarnaschelli, Justin Warner, Anne Burrell and Nadia G will battle in four heats plus a finale, but ultimately only one contestant can earn Cutthroat glory and a $75,000 prize for charity. Before this unprecedented series of cook-offs begins, FN Dish wanted to learn a little bit more about what host Alton Brown has in store for these A-list rivals. Will he be soft on the sabotages on account of the contestants’ vast culinary experience? It turns out, Alton says, “It’s not difficult for me at all” to be hard on the chefs. Read on below to hear more from Alton in an exclusive interview.
Do you think these chefs have any idea what they’ve signed up for? After all, Cutthroat Kitchen isn’t like any other culinary competition.
Alton Brown: I think that everybody that is in the competition has watched the show — or maybe two — but that still doesn’t really prepare you because this is one of those shows where being a spectator just doesn’t set you up for the realities of what to expect, especially during the shopping.
We all want more time. And we all want to be healthy. So when I develop a strategy that meets both goals, I get excited about sharing it with you. Today I’m sharing my roasted veggie strategy. It’s really quite simple: Bake up a tray or two of veggies on the weekend to stick in the fridge and use for recipes all week. Roasting the veggies brings out the vegetables’ natural earthy sweetness, and it makes them last for days in the refrigerator, which means you can make up a batch of veggies on Monday to use all week for recipes. You can combine veggies freely, making pretty color combinations or simply leveraging whatever happens to be in your crisper drawer. This is my favorite kind of convenience food — one I make myself.
As the seasons progress on Cutthroat Kitchen (Season 5 starts this Sunday at 10|9c), it seems as if the sabotages are getting more and more diabolical. Recently, Alton Brown shared his top five favorite culinary sabotages with FN Dish.
Click play on the video above to watch Alton count down his favorite culinary sabotages from the first four seasons.
Ever wonder why the chefs make two dishes if the judge touches only one? Or where Alton Brown goes in between shots? Look no further. Alton recently took FN Dish on a tour of Cutthroat Kitchen — everything from what the contestants are equipped with to the culinary kitchen where the sabotages are tested, plus something Alton has never shared with fans before.
Click play on the video above and follow Alton around as he shows fans the ins and outs of Cutthroat Kitchen.
My kids have been in school for exactly four days. Which is about how long it took to remind me that the summer routine of winging it for dinner won’t work anymore. Gone are the afternoons of lazily brainstorming dinner ideas at 5 p.m. from the comfort of a pool lounge chair (“grilled salmon or chicken, sweetie?”). In September, 5 p.m. without a dinner plan wreaks havoc on the delicate soccer-school-homework-ballet ecosphere of our home.
Anyone out there relate? What do you do?
Some common strategies: Race around like a madwoman cobbling together something – anything – that will feed the hungry bellies around the table, letting nutrition take a break for one tiny night. (Anyone?) Go to the drive-thru, or order delivery. Serve cereal (again).
The Ice Bucket Challenge has taken the Internet by storm, getting support from countless Facebook users and celebrities alike. Our own Food Network personalities and chefs have pitched in as well, pouring freezing-cold water — and some other interesting additions — on themselves in the name of charity. Check out which stars have participated so far.