All Posts In Food Network Chef

Spring Into Spring with 4 Seasonal Ingredients

by in Food Network Chef, In Season, March 20th, 2014

Spring Into Spring With 4 Seasonal IngredientsSpring is here. I’ll admit that when I lived in colder climates such as Vermont or Paris, the arrival of spring was more anticipated (“When can I put my boots away?!”). I remember in Burlington, Vt., we had the tradition of breaking out our swimsuits on the first day that it hit 50 degrees F, a temperature that would have me snuggling up to the fireplace now. Even in San Diego, I’m excited about spring for two reasons. First, my daughters’ spring break is around the corner, and we are hunkering down for a family staycation here in San Diego (all the family time and fun, none of the stress of travel!). And the second reason I’m eager for the end of winter is — traditional spring food! Yes, I know these days we can get many ingredients year round, but they are lackluster compared to their in-season versions. Quite simply, there are certain flavors that are just better in that magical shoulder season between winter and summer.

Here’s my ideal springtime menu, featuring seasonal ingredients that you can get at any supermarket right now:

Asparagus: I’ll start here because it’s perhaps the quintessential spring vegetable, with its tender stalk and earthy flavor. While you can get asparagus many months of the year, the flavor (and the cost!) both tell you that spring is the time to indulge. I buy several bunches a week in peak season. My methods of cooking asparagus are almost exclusively roasting or grilling: a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and about 10 minutes in a hot oven (or seven minutes on a hot grill) is all it takes to bring out the natural sweetness and earthiness. Roasted asparagus can be served hot, at room temperature or cold (toss it with a tangy mustard vinaigrette for a fresh spring salad as in my Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Vinaigrette). Or cook for even less time to make a fresh soup (try my Almost-Raw Asparagus Soup with Yogurt and Almonds — it couldn’t be easier to serve spring in a bowl).

Read more

Michael Symon’s Fried Chicken Fundamentals

by in Food Network Chef, March 18th, 2014

Michael SymonMichael Symon may be a guru of all things pork, but at the 2014 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, he switched the focus from pig to chicken as he demonstrated to a standing room-only crowd the fundamentals of fried chicken. “If you learn the technique, you can make a thousand dishes,” he said, explaining his philosophy in the kitchen, which surely applies to the batter-fry process of chicken. He offered sun-soaked fans on the beach a how-to for making the crispiest, juiciest fried chicken yet — a set of must-know strategies that will yield consistent results every time. Read on below to learn Michael’s secrets, then after mastering his approach, update the process with your own ideas to accommodate your tastes.

1. “Buy the best chicken that you can afford.” The overall taste of the dish will be affected by the quality of ingredients that you use, and he says of the meat, “If it can be organic, great.”

2. Proper and frequent salting is key to any recipe. Not only does it add bold flavor, but it also acts as a tenderizer. “Make it rain,” he suggests of this crucial seasoning.

3. He opts for “a quick brine” of buttermilk to offer moisture and enhanced taste when making his fried chicken. This process is different from a traditional long brine, which many do to Thanksgiving turkeys, as this will not break down the meat too much.

Read more

#TBT: Marc Forgione

by in Food Network Chef, February 27th, 2014

Marc ForgioneIt’s Thursday, and while that means everyone is just one day away from the weekend, it also means it’s time to throw back — to an earlier period in Food Network’s history. Check back on FN Dish every Thursday to find the latest #tbt of your favorite chefs and get a retro look at their earliest days on TV.

Although Marc Forgione may now be considered a long-standing member of the Chairman’s team of Iron Chefs, this famed New York-based chef was appointed to the esteemed position only three years ago. He beat out rival competitors from around the nation on The Next Iron Chef: Season 3, ultimately impressing the Chairman and a panel of judges so much so that he earned the most-coveted title in the industry.

Before he entered Kitchen Stadium, Marc had been cooking professionally for years, and although his father is a renowned master of American cuisine, he sought out his own hands-on training in eateries both domestic and abroad. Today he’s known equally for his fierce culinary prowess in culinary competitions as well as for his multiple restaurants in New York City and New Jersey. Just last year FN Dish caught up with Marc to tour his latest project, a Manhattan outpost of Atlantic City’s American Cut, and he said, “Our goal from the get-go was to bring steakhouses ‘back to their glory.’”

Read more

Chefs and Stars Join Geoffrey Zakarian for Food Talk Radio Show

by in Food Network Chef, February 25th, 2014

Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro and Geoffrey ZakarianGiven chefs’ notoriously long hours at their restaurants, plus the efforts they devote to filming television shows, making personal appearances and authoring cookbooks, it’s no surprise that Food Network stars are rarely in one place for long — and hardly ever in the same place at the same time. That all changes, however, when it comes to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival; for one weekend every winter, nearly all of your favorite chefs converge upon the sunny, sandy shores of Miami for the ultimate weekend-long celebration of the best and the latest in eats and drinks.

The 13th annual festival just wrapped up in South Beach on Sunday, but while the cooking demonstrations, seminars, dinners and late-night parties were in full swing, The Kitchen host and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian found time to catch up with some of his closest friends and colleagues in the business. He recorded a SiriusXM Food Talk radio show (airing on SiriusXM Stars Channel 106 on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 8|9c) one afternoon near the pool deck at The James Royal Palm, and he welcomed fellow Chopped judge Marc Murphy, a few co-hosts from The Kitchen, including Jeff Mauro, Sunny Anderson and Katie Lee, plus Anne Burrell, Robert Irvine and more food folks to dish on all things from competition television to the ever-changing restaurant industry and memorable work projects from days gone by.

Read more

Food Network Chefs’ Favorite Comfort Foods

by in Food Network Chef, February 24th, 2014

Bobby Flay and Michael SymonWhether it’s the bone-chilling weather, the short, darker days or the cozy sweaters and puffy coats, winter practically necessitates comfort food. And while you likely reach for all things cheesy, warm and hearty to feel soothed this time of year, so, too, do Food Network chefs. FN Dish caught up with Bobby Flay and Michael Symon at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, and we asked the guys to share their favorite sweet and savory indulgences. What we found out is that when it comes to comfort food, tried-and-true classics reign supreme.

Both Michael and Bobby agreed that a classic roast chicken is among their top dishes, but for Bobby, it has to come with the works. “I want the roasted chicken with all the roasted vegetables alongside of it that you cook with it [and] the pan sauce right out of the roasting pan,” he explained.

Read more

In Defense of Bean Night: Save Big and Eat Well (Plus 6 Ways to Get Started)

by in Family, Food Network Chef, February 20th, 2014

Pasta with Salsa CrudaEvery budget shopper knows that dried beans are downright cheap. So when I’m thinking about inexpensive, but healthful, meals to feed my family (and let’s face it, I spend a lot of time thinking about just that), it’s impossible not to place this versatile little nutritional gem front and center on the menu. Thus, I created “Bean Night.”

It started 10 years ago when Philippe went back to graduate school and we transitioned from having two steady incomes to having suddenly none (plus a very expensive tuition bill and a baby on the way). I watched every penny, so I created a handful of uber-cheap dinners that I could feel good about eating — meals that cost about $5 to make. My plan was to rotate these extra-cheap meals into our weekly menu plan to save money.

It worked.

Read more

#TBT: Ted Allen

by in Food Network Chef, February 20th, 2014

Ted AllenIt’s Thursday, and while that means everyone is just one day away from the weekend, it also means it’s time to throw back — to an earlier period in Food Network’s history. Check back on FN Dish every Thursday to find the latest #tbt of your favorite chefs and get a retro look at their earliest days on TV.

While contestants, guest judges and mystery ingredients may come and go in the Chopped kitchen, Ted Allen is reliably present, having been a fixture of the show since its very first season premiered in 2009. The long-standing host knows the competition like few others and has delivered fateful elimination results to some of the most-famed chefs in battle.

Read more

Rachael Ray’s Top 7 Cooking Tips

by in Food Network Chef, How-to, February 13th, 2014

Rachael Ray's Top 7 Cooking TipsShe’s given fans 30-minute meals, killer sammies and, of course, “EVOO.” Now the queen of weeknight cooking is dishing up a few more kitchen essentials. Read on for her best shortcuts.

1. Adding fresh lemon juice to a recipe? Squeeze the lemon cut-side up so the seeds don’t fall into your food.

2. Measure spices into your hand, instead of over your mixing bowl or pan. That way, you’ll never have to fish anything out if you make a mistake.

3. After cooking fish, get that stinky smell out with a bit of booze: While the pan is still hot, douse it with a splash of dry vermouth and swirl it around. (Caution: It may flame.)

4. Cut down soaking time for dry beans by pouring boiling water over them first. Let stand for 1 hour, rinse, then proceed with your recipe.

Read more

Chili for a New Jersey Winter

by in Food Network Chef, February 8th, 2014

Chili for a New Jersey WinterI’m writing this from the cozy comfort of a hotel room in a small town in New Jersey. Outside the trees are covered in snow. Having gone to college in Vermont, I’m used to the freezing temps and white-covered streets and sidewalks.

After I checked into the near-empty hotel, with only the small room service menu as my sustenance for the next 18 hours, I peeled off my puffy jacket and turned to the in-room dining page in the hotel binder. In seconds, I found exactly what I would order: the homemade chili and a green salad. (See my Starting a New Habit in 2014: Eat a Salad a Day post from last month — are you still eating salad? I am.)

Bundled up in my new pajamas (a Christmas gift from my daughters) and eating better-than-I-expected chili (and a salad) — all is right with my world. Why? Because there are certain foods that truly bring me comfort in the dead of winter: chili, onion soup and stew top my list. And while I can make those dishes any time, there is something magical about eating them on a snowy day. I think these comforting dishes remind me of my college years at The University of Vermont. My mom would visit me and we’d go on New England road trips, eating steamy soups and stews to thaw the chill (she went through a photography stage involving a lot of outdoor postcard-type shots, which she would subsequently frame and hang in our home).

Read more

Katie Lee’s Last Supper and Her Time at Pizza School

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, February 8th, 2014

Katie Lee at Pizza Schoolby Katie Lee

A friend of mine, Melanie Dunea, wrote a book called My Last Supper in which she asks chefs what they would want to eat for their last supper. I’ve often thought about what would be on my plate. I love fried chicken, Thanksgiving dinner, spaghetti and meatballs, my Grandma’s baked steak and gravy, and roast chicken and potatoes from this great little restaurant in Paris.

Gosh, my mouth is watering just thinking of all of those choices.

But ultimately, I think I’d go with the humble pizza pie. Not just any pizza, though. I’m not talking the run-of-the-mill, call up the delivery guy and it’s at my door in 30 minutes or less pizza. I’m talking true Neapolitan-style pie: thin, blistery crust that’s both chewy and crispy, just the right amount of fresh mozzarella, dotted like little islands in a sea of bright red tomato sauce, a sprinkle of salty Parmesan, a touch of fresh basil and a drizzle of the finest extra virgin olive oil.

Heaven.

Read more