Whether she’s using fresh herbs from her garden or assembling a beautiful platter for friends, you can bet that Ina Garten has a plan for elevating everyday dishes into craveable traditions. You’ve likely watched as she welcomes fans into her Hamptons home, and been encouraged by her saying “How easy is that?” as she made dishes on Barefoot Contessa. She’s sure to focus on the classics and emphasize using quality ingredients. We’ve rounded up Ina’s best-ever, most-tried-and-true dishes, those sweet and savory favorites that Ina fans should keep in their back pockets for any occasion. Keep reading to get the ultimate collection of Ina’s hit recipes.
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The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, is bringing her favorite home goods to your table with the launch of her serveware line out this fall. It’s a fun and flea-market-inspired collection that Ree is incredibly close to — down to picking out the number of dots on each porcelain cup. From cake plates to measuring cups, you’ll be able to outfit your weeknight table or party spread. We checked in with her at the product launch party to find out what she’s up to when she’s not designing glassware or developing recipes. Read more
At his New York City studio, Ron Ben-Israel imagines, creates and designs towering, expertly adorned cakes for all occasions. But on the all-new series Cake Wars, this master pastry chef won’t be in the kitchen, baking against the clock; rather, he’ll be overseeing the contest as a lead judge. Each week it’s up to him, fellow pastry chef Waylynn Lucas and special guests to dole out themed baking challenges that test the competitors’ time management and on-the-spot ingenuity, as well as their baking prowess.
Recently FN Dish caught up with Ron at a special screening of Cake Wars at Manhattan’s International Culinary Center, where he’s an instructor, to chat with the judge about all things to do with sweet competition. From his favorite cake-frosting flavor combination to what he looks for in a well-designed creation, read on below to hear from Ron in an exclusive interview.
What can fans expect from the season? What are you most looking forward to?
Ron Ben-Israel: It’s a new show, actually. Even though it’s similar to Cupcake Wars, it’s bigger and better. You know, cupcakes look nice and cute, but they are small. Even when we talk about cake — four, five, six, seven tiers. In the main challenge, they get four hours to build a cake, and … the themes are so crazy, from The Simpsons to Hello Kitty to Girl Scouts. So we don’t want to see miniature; we want to see over-the-top.
Your cakes take hours — days, even — to make. Could you imagine having to turn out something spectacular in such a short amount of time?
RBI: The hardship is not so much the four hours; it’s not being able to divide the task to a few days, because normally you bake the cake, then you chill [it] and you make the fillings … Here, everything comes together. But the reality is, if you have [the right] state of mind and organize, you can achieve what you want, and that was the hardest thing for me — not being able to go to the kitchens, because everybody has their own set kitchen, and say “Clean up, guys. It’s a mess.”
I love summer vacation, don’t you?
But you know what I don’t love? Getting out of my routine, especially my healthy routines, such as eating well and working out. At home, I know exactly when I will go to the gym, who I will see there (my workout buddies — hi, Heather and Julie!) and what I will eat when I get home. I don’t have to think about it or waste any energy figuring out how to make that all happen; that’s one of the great benefits of setting up solid routines to support our life goals.
So what happens when I go on vacation? When I am out of my normal routine, and faced with an unfamiliar environment and a list of to-do’s (albeit fun ones!) that involve not just me but my family, too, I can easily find myself going days or even a couple of weeks without following my normal healthy-eating and workout routines. Sometimes, I actually am quite happy to embrace the indulgence and enjoy a little “time off.” Who wants to go to New York City and not enjoy its amazing restaurants?
For these times, I have created a “bare minimum” plan — things that I can do pretty much no matter where, no matter what — that will keep me at least a little on track while still allowing me to let go of the workout guilt and enjoy time off from the routine. Because vacation should be fun and guilt-free, right?
You ready? This is what I do when I am letting loose, and it’s totally doable:
The beauty of summertime eats and drinks is that it all comes down to simple, fresh fare, which just so happens to pair well with long days outside and the warm temperatures of the season. Recently FN Dish caught up with Alex Guarnaschelli at one such alfresco feast, where she was celebrating the launch of her partnership with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi to create a line of cookout-ready wine-infused barbecue sauces (you can buy them here). From her picks for seasonal entertaining to the secret to make-ahead appetizers, she shared her top ideas for summertime cooking, plus dished on what she piles on top of her ultimate burger. Read on below to hear what she had to say in an exclusive interview.
What’s your favorite way to entertain during the summer?
Alex Guarnaschelli: For a barbecue or a cookout — from Memorial Day through Labor Day and maybe even into October — I’m really big into the outdoor stuff. Because chefs are always locked indoors, we really appreciate those spring and summer months. I like to go nuts, and I think the best way to do that is to prepare a lot of stuff in advance. I definitely load my fridge door with a few salad dressings, vinaigrettes, sauces, the Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue sauce. I might take that Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue sauce and take it in a direction — I’ll add a big dose of fresh ginger, put it on shrimp. I’ll take that barbecue sauce and I’ll add a huge hit of chili powder and I’ll put it on a pork shoulder. You know, I might just take the personality of it and pull it. Because it’s got that wine flavor, those tannins. It’s almost like a dry barbecue sauce, like in the good sense, like a dry wine. I think that having all that stuff done in advance, for me, is huge. So when you talk about how charming it is, the butterflies and the unicorns and the rainbows, for me, it’s great when I have company over and I’m outdoors and I’ve lit the little tiki lamps and the food is out and people are drinking and we’re laughing and I’m not going back in the kitchen.
Much like Mom’s meat sauce and Grandma’s brownies, chocolate chip cookies are a personal food choice — everyone has a favorite recipe and everyone believes that one to be the best. For Taylor Swift, it seems as though her pick for chocolate chip cookie recipes comes from Food Network’s own Anne Burrell.
Anne was quick to reply to Taylor, as she thanked the music star and proposed getting together in the kitchen one day. “We can make them together or anything else you want together anytime!!!!” Anne tweeted. “I’m a HUGE fan of yours!!!!”
On Food Network Star, premiering Sunday, June 7 at 9|8c, Bobby Flay and fellow mentor Giada De Laurentiis are on a mission to discover budding talent. But tomorrow it will be Bobby who’s recognized for superstardom, when he’s honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The first chef ever and the first Food Network personality ever to receive a star, Bobby has been in the culinary industry since he was just 17 years old, and his first appearance on Food Network was more than 20 years ago. The host of Food Network’s Bobby’s Barbecue Addiction and Beat Bobby Flay, the co-host of Food Network Star, and an acclaimed Iron Chef, Bobby’s no stranger to awards and achievements. The Walk of Fame star comes after several of his programs have earned Emmy Awards and James Beard Awards, both prestigious industry accomplishments, and he’s also at the helm of multiple restaurants from coast to coast.
At a ceremony tomorrow, Tuesday, June 2, Bobby will celebrate the dedication of his star, the 2,553rd star on the Walk of Fame, during a ceremony on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. The festivities kick off at 11:30 a.m. PST (2:30 p.m. EST), and he’ll be joined by his close friend and fellow Iron Chef Michael Symon, as well as Brooke Johnson, the president of Food Network; both are set to speak about Bobby as the star is dedicated to him.
The lettuce wrap has been having a good few years. Lately it seems like every menu features some sort of deliciously spicy chicken or tofu filling tucked into a cool crunchy leaf of lettuce that you roll up like a burrito and eat. Even I’m on #TeamLettuceWrap, as evidenced by this recipe for Turkey Lettuce Wraps (pictured above) from Ten Dollar Dinners!
And in the summer? Lettuce wraps are far more than just a tasty low-carb treat — they can be your catchall leftover repurposing strategy. Simply follow my easy formula for lettuce wrap bliss:
Protein + shredded veggie + something crunchy + sauce
Those of you familiar with Food Network Star Season 8 winner Justin Warner know that the self-taught cook and popular Brooklyn restaurant owner has some seriously creative ideas when it comes to food. In the all-new Food Network Web series Foodie Call, Justin meets with culinary pros to chat about their hot-topic specialty foods, then wows each of them by coming up with entirely new ways to use the ingredient in a dish.
In the most-recent episode, Justin meets with cocktail chef Antoine Hodge to chat about turmeric, an increasingly popular spice. Antoine whips up an electric-looking bourbon-orange cocktail with turmeric-kumquat chutney, and Justin counters his mixology by blending turmeric-ginger juice with cream of coconut and other juices to create an alcohol-free twist on a pina colada.
Given your work commitments, the kids’ activities and the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the road, it can seem like a feat simply making it to the supermarket at all, let alone enjoying the experience and feeling prepared for family meals — and checking out under budget. That’s where Melissa d’Arabian comes in. The host of Ten Dollar Dinners and the Web-exclusive Picky Eaters Project just launched the all-new Web series Smart Carts: Winning the Supermarket, devoted to making your experience at the grocery store simpler and more strategic with just a few good-to-know tricks for conquering the aisles no matter where you shop.
Over the course of eight videos, Melissa shares her tried-and-true secrets for saving time and money at the market, including ways to know when is best to bulk shop and how to get the job done in a hurry. Click the play button on the video above to watch the first of her all-new videos, then read on below to pick up Melissa’s supermarket savvy with six of her top tips.