The appetizer mystery basket on the week’s episode of Chopped Junior was truly challenging. What were our young contestants supposed to make with arctic char, cotton candy, dandelion greens and tiny ice cream bites? But, as always, our pint-sized chefs were super-clever. To balance the sweetness of the cotton candy and ice cream with the bitterness of the dandelion greens, almost all of them made a sweet-and-sour dressing or sauce to toss the greens in. But what did remain a challenge was cooking the arctic char — a fish that looks like salmon but is actually related to trout. It has a milder and cleaner flavor and is more delicate than salmon but is still high in heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. We saw most of our contestants’ fish fillets fall apart right in the pan, with soggy skin. Because arctic char is expensive, you definitely want to cook it properly.
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This Earth Day, food recovery is the hot topic on everyone’s docket — and for good reason. Recent research from the USDA revealed that over one-third (30 to 40 percent) of our food supply goes to waste each year, while studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show that we could feed over 25 million Americans living in food-insecure homes if we were to reduce food waste by just 15 percent.
In light of these figures, there are now a number of programs dedicated to food recovery. Just last September, the USDA and the EPA teamed up to tackle the nation’s food waste epidemic and announced the first-ever national food waste reduction goal: To cut food waste in half by 2030. It may sound lofty, but the organizations have already seen great success with their joint U.S. Food Waste Challenge, which provides a platform “to assess and disseminate information about the best practices to reduce, recover, and recycle food loss and waste.” By the end of 2014, the challenge had over 4,000 participants, well surpassing its goal of 1,000 participants by 2020 — and also proving that you don’t need to be a political ecologist or a policymaker to affect positive change.
Guy Fieri gave another four contestants the chance to reverse their fortunes on this week’s episode of the Guy’s Grocery Games redemption tournament. In the first round, they were all sent out into the aisles with ridiculously tiny shopping bags to stuff full with ingredients for a fried feast. Naturally, a couple of the contestants gravitated toward fried chicken, so here’s some fried-chicken wisdom from Food Network Kitchen:
If you’ve ever been to a nice breakfast buffet, you may have stood before a toque-wearing chef wielding a shallow pan, a ladle and a bowl full of beaten eggs, producing perfect omelet after perfect omelet. While you nibbled your bacon (perhaps that’s just me), you marveled at the ease with which he used his spatula, the way he knew just how much filling to put in and the way he flipped or rolled it up at the end, the cheese and vegetables completely encased in perfectly cooked fluffy eggs. Read more
Thanksgiving comes along but once a year, so you’d better make the most of this great American holiday that hinges on eating all that is good. If your goal is to make it to the pumpkin pie without losing your cool, start the day with a sensible eating plan so you don’t reach capacity before the feast even begins.
Spatchcocking: Tyler Florence’s Revolutionary Technique for Cooking Your Thanksgiving Turkey in 90 Minutesby Michelle Baricevic in Holidays, How-to, November 19th, 2015
Three hours. On average, that’s the amount of time it takes to adequately cook a Thanksgiving turkey. Thanks to an innovative technique from Chef Tyler Florence, however, 90 minutes is all you’ll need this year. During an appearance at last month’s Grand Tasting at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, Tyler gave audiences a demo on spatchcocking a turkey. The process involves removing the poultry’s spine and flattening its breastbone, which not only cuts cook time in half, but also allows for greater heat distribution, making your bird juicier and crispier than ever before.
Perhaps during a fall trip to the market you’ve been charmed by the heaping piles of colorful winter squash, stout and curvy, and wanted to bring them home. Perhaps you have. And perhaps once you’ve unpacked the squash and put them on the counter, you’ve thought, “Now what?”
Hey there! Welcome to my new column, “Relax, It’s Just …” (fill in the blank). Every month I’ll share a new recipe, something that many people feel intimidated about making at home, and demystify the pants off of it. There will be detailed instructions, but written in language that even a novice cook can easily understand, and lots of tips so that you will feel confident and end up successful. And step-by-step photos so you can see what is supposed to be happening when. The goal of this “Relax” column is to help you become more comfortable in the kitchen, and I would love to hear what dishes you’d like to conquer. No judgments here! Just the pleasure of learning to be a more self-assured cook. Read more
Milk Bar was founded in 2008 by James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef award-winner Christina Tosi; you may have heard of some of the bakery’s more popular items, like Cereal Milk ice cream, Compost Cookies and Crack Pie. With five locations in New York, one in Toronto and another opening in Washington, D.C., later this year, Milk Bar is becoming its own dessert empire. But it’s the eatery’s Birthday Cake that has won my heart and my stomach. It’s a modern take on the classic Funfetti cake, and it makes an appearance every year when it’s my birthday (and also when it’s not). The key to the moist cake layers in this towering treat? A soak of whole milk and clear vanilla extract. That’s right: It’s like a tres leches cake gone birthday bonkers, in the best way possible. We stopped by Milk Bar’s test kitchen location in Brooklyn to see how the masterpiece comes together.