Cutthroat host Alton Brown knows the ultimate grilling sabotage. “Easy,” he says, “a dirty grill. When grills get dirty, they don’t conduct heat properly. Food will wind up sticking to the surface and will take on the flavor of the grill.” Proper grill cleaning and upkeep will prevent this from happening. If your food does get stuck, though, get the grill hot, then lightly saturate a paper towel with oil and, using tongs, swipe it gently over the surface of the grate. Brush your grill down well once you’re done cooking every meal so you’re not stuck cleaning right before dinner next time.
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Just two losses after nearly 10 battles — that winning record could be earned only by Bobby Flay, a famed Iron Chef and the master of the throwdown, who first challenged hopeful chefs to head-to-head competitions on Beat Bobby Flay last year. This summer, Bobby’s bringing his A-game yet again for an all-new season of Beat Bobby Flay (premiering July 31 at 10|9c), and with his reputation on the line, the stakes will be higher than ever. FN Dish caught up with Bobby recently and chatted about what he’s looking forward to in this upcoming batch of face-offs. Read on below for an exclusive interview, and find out Bobby’s most-memorable battles, plus his strategy for securing victory after victory.
What are you most looking forward to in Season 2?
Bobby Flay: Being pushed to the edge. I want it to be really challenging ’cause that’s what keeps my edge going.
What are some of your most-memorable moments from the first season?
BF: When I lost the taco [battle] — that was memorable. One of my favorite dishes I made was the meatloaf with the Korean-style kimchi in it, ’cause I’ve only made meatloaf a couple times in my life, really, and I’m not that big of a meatloaf fan. So when they said meatloaf, I was like, Oh, brother. But it actually turned out to be really tasty.
Fourth of July is coming up soon, which reminds me of that time we almost set the house on fire. No, not the time my little brother got into the fireworks when we were vacationing in Nags Head in the early ’80s. I mean last year.
I’ll back up and remind us all: No one is perfect. Even a Food Network star will hit a snag in the kitchen every so often. But the savvy cook knows how to deal with these mistakes and smooth over a tiny hiccup so that no one will even notice. Overcook a roast and I’ll show you how to turn it into French dip sandwiches with lots of au jus.
But what about the bigger blunders? The ones that can’t be covered up with an extra ladle of sauce? I invite you to think about your biggest culinary mistake, ever. And now, prepare to feel better about yourself in the kitchen.
Alton Brown may be spending most of his time on the set of Food Network Star or Cutthroat Kitchen, but there’s always time for a cocktail. He gave us the low-down on his favorite drink for summer, told us which trends he is totally over and answered how you can best stock your at-home bar.
What cocktail trends are you over?
Alton Brown: I’m over anything that involves a cheese-stuffed olive because I don’t like cheese in my booze.
Rigatoni, Burrata, mozarella — as much fun as Italian food is to cook, it’s even more fun to say, and Giada De Laurentiis would agree. In true Giada fashion, she’s even added a section on pasta pronunciation at her first restaurant, Giada, in Las Vegas. Click play on the video below to hear a few more terms from Giada herself, as well as recipes for each.
In a YouTube video this week, Alton takes on the fruit that is seemingly impossible to cut — the mango. In a comedic parody (including a massive amount of faux blood), Alton walks food fans through two bad ways to cut this fruit, then he describes the best tactic: Remove all the peel from the mango except for two circles in the center of each cheek. Holding this skin for support, you can then slice the mango easily on each side of the seed. The skin will provide a tough grip so you don’t drop the mango and cut yourself.
Alton is of course no stranger to unique mango recipes. He gives mangoes an Indian twist in this Mango Chutney recipe, and he puts them in a tangy Fruit Salad with Vanilla Dressing. He stuffs a curried mango filling into his Pocket Pies, and he dries mangoes in this Dried Fruit recipe for a sweet and healthy snack. Below are five more ways you can incorporate this delectable fruit in your favorite recipes.
1. Give your favorite dip a fruity twist with this Mango Salsa recipe.
Saturday evening was meant to be our anniversary celebration. Philippe and I were planning on grilling outside with our four daughters, ending the evening with s’mores around the firepit and an exchange of traditionally themed gifts (steel for year 11; I went with beverage bins). The kids were upstairs showering after our (sandy) beach afternoon. I hummed along to the music the girls had put on the stereo, grabbed the long, skinny lighter and headed outside to start the barbecue. I opened the (steel!) hood and placed the lighter on the ignition burner, and through the grates small, beady eyes looked up at me. I froze. A grayish-brown puff starting running wild around the inside of the grill, searching for an exit, making tiny scratching sounds that gave me the chills and basically made me want to scream. I didn’t, but only because I now I have kids and I can’t scare them. (This never-let-them-see-you-sweat instinct to put their needs before my own comes from parenting.)
I hollered upstairs to Philippe, doing my best to convey a sense of calm and confidence while infusing just enough controlled urgency so that he would run downstairs and catch the mouse before it ran into the house. (I think it’s understood that I didn’t close the back doors when I raced into the house?) But kids are smart and know when something’s up. They raced downstairs even faster than Philippe, screaming in half-fear, half-delight at the possibility of a mouse-in-house crisis. There was talk of keeping him and naming him Snowflake. (Did I mention he was dingy brownish gray?) Or maybe Cuddles. The girls jumped up on the couch, squealing out of fear that the mouse would run over their feet.
On his all-new series Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’s Basics (Sundays at 11a|10c), grill master Bobby Flay is putting away his recipes for involved, complicated meals and focusing on those essential summertime favorites all of us should have in our arsenals. Each week he’ll break down the how-tos for various authentic plates and share his secrets for turning out the most-authentic true barbecue, which are largely dependent upon his grilling commandments. Read on below to learn Bobby’s 10 must-know pieces of advice for all things grilling, from juicy burgers and smoky barbecue sauce to entertaining tips and the ultimate pantry ingredients.
1. Direct/Indirect Heat: Set up your grill with two zones — one for direct heat, and the other for indirect heat. Use the direct heat to sear meats and veggies, and move them to the cool side to allow the food to finish grilling without overcooking.
2. Lid On or Off? That Is the Question! My rule of thumb is to leave the lid off for ingredients that cook quickly like shrimp and vegetables and put the lid on for longer-grilling items like poultry and steak, to use the grill like an oven and prevent burning or overcooking.
There’s never a bad time for fried chicken. Soft, succulent pieces of meat, each one coated in a crunchy, salty outer layer — what could be better? No one understands that like Trisha Yearwood, who comes up with fun, unique ways to cook fried chicken on her TV show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. From her favorite fried chicken tips to ways to make this decadent dish healthier, here are Trisha’s best fried chicken ideas.
Geoffrey Zakarian may be a co-host on The Kitchen, a no-nonsense Chopped judge, the chef and partner at New York’s The Lambs Club, and the culinary director of The Plaza hotel, but on Father’s Day, this famed Iron Chef revels in another title: Dad. Geoffrey’s a father to three young children, two daughters plus a newborn baby boy, which means this year’s holiday is sure to be extra special. Read on below to get an exclusive with Geoffrey and learn his family’s plans for Sunday’s celebration, and find out what dishes he enjoys cooking alongside his young sous chefs.
What kinds of Father’s Day traditions do you have now and did you have as a child?
Geoffrey Zakarian: Well, not surprisingly, all centered around food. Usually we tried to go to a Red Sox game at Fenway, and if not, we would watch and chow down on simply grilled hot dogs. Delicious!
How will you and your family celebrate this year?
GZ: We are all going to our family’s place in upstate New York. A large buffet will be developed over the weekend and it will be an eat-a-thon. Lots of rosé will be poured.