For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient lavash. When this pita-like Middle Eastern bread is crisped up in the oven, it makes a great addition to salad, taking the place of croutons. The Italians have panzanella, a bread salad, but in Middle Eastern cuisine there’s fattoush, a salad made with flatbread. But in this Faux-toush Salad with Lavash, there’s a lot less of the bread and more of the lettuce for a modern spin on the recipe. And there’s grilled chicken breast to round everything out. This would make a healthy lunch to take to the office, or even a light dinner. You’ll definitely find exotic flavors in this dish with honey, lemon and sumac.
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While on photo shoots, I’ve bumped into a beer can chicken or two. But I’ve never actually cooked one at home. I am, therefore, somewhat of a grill-season fraud. Last summer “beer can chicken” (with and without hyphens for any of you copy gurus who are wondering) was Googled tens of thousands of times. But not at my house. Don’t get me wrong: I have no problem with having a beer out back. But every time I see the resulting pictures of beer can chicken — chickens standing or sitting awkwardly and ridiculously on domestic cans or even imports — as if waiting for someone to hand them beers, toes pointing, flailing, kicking or squatting — I can’t help but laugh at how odd they look, and I move on to chops, steak or salmon. Their accoutrements, spice rubs, glazes and flurries of herbs, help doll them up. Yet a beer can chicken’s crossed legs, uncrossed legs, stretching arms and stoic stance don’t make me hungry; they make me think, randomly, of yoga. See above for a visual reference, wherein a stately beer can chicken looks to be moving toward seated meditation, a pensive, quieting pose that conjures warm breezes and calm waters — and a generous spice rub.
Still, there’s a smart reason such food images are shot the way they are. If the food stylist platters the meat or carves the bird, then the picture doesn’t sell the “why” of the recipe: the beer. Placing the chicken on a can of beer allows air to circulate around the bird and hence gives it crisp skin all over, a major plus, and devotees of the Cult of Beer Can Chicken claim the results are juicy and more flavorful. You can insert a debate on beer brand here, folks. (And then go ahead and argue, as Mr. “Meathead” did two years ago on Huffington Post, about whether the method is good anyway.) In the meantime, I am not waiting for New Year’s this year for resolutions: I resolve to win summer. And that starts with stretching into Sun Salutation, getting past chicken poses, crossing the road to get to a six-pack and grilling beer can chicken. After all, what could be bad about drinking a little beer and cooking out? Namastasty.
Check out my top 5 favorite beer can chicken poses, after the jump.
While you might think that summer barbecues mean saying goodbye to your intentions to go meatless, thanks to their offerings of rich, juicy beef and grilled chicken, think again. Burgers don’t always have to be made of meat – in fact, vegetarian fillings like lentils and corn can make delicious patties that are simply bursting with flavor.
Food Network Kitchen skips the patty making with a Grilled Portobello Burger with Onion Jam (pictured above). The mushrooms infuse an earthy flavor and chewy texture into the dish, and are steeped in a delicious marinade of olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar and thyme, while the horseradish-and-yogurt cream adds a touch of creaminess on top. However, the real star is the onion jam – wine, honey and red wine vinegar combine with the saltiness of red onions to offset the spicy horseradish and add a combination of tastes to the dish.
Although it’s pasta-based, old-fashioned Easy Macaroni Salad is pretty far away from anything that might remotely be considered Italian. Only in Middle America would something made of pasta and mayonnaise be considered a salad. Believe me, Rome, Georgia, and Rome, Italy, are more than just a few miles apart. Instead, consider the deli cases all across the U.S. that have mini-tubs and buckets of this lined up like soldiers and at the ready for afternoon picnics and summer suppers on the deck. Macaroni salad is all-American Down-Home Comfort. Moms and dads are also quick to go to this to recipe to accompany BBQ chicken or burgers on the grill. And we all know that store-bought is fine, but homemade is nearly always better. Read more
Trisha Yearwood entertains family and friends in her backyard all summer long. The Grammy winner is a pro at making big-batch recipes that will feed a hungry crowd. From ribs to chicken, follow her easy solutions for summer recipes that’ll be sure to satisfy your group.
When I was a young reader, one of my favorite series of books was the one by Maud Hart Lovelace. It featured the characters Betsy, Tacy and Tib in the early days of the 20th century. The books started when the girls were just 5 years old and went straight through to the early days of their respective marriages.
In those later books, Tacy tells Betsy that she should have a “company meal” to avoid stress when having friends over for dinner. While much about this series might be seen as charmingly dated, I actually think that the concept of a well-practiced and delicious meal designed for sharing is a good one.
During the winter months, my personal company meal features chicken and ricotta meatballs, braised kale and some cheesy polenta. Either I ask my dinner companions to pick up something for dessert or I bake off some of the cookie dough I keep in my freezer.
That all changed once I took them a step further, beyond the reheat-and-eat approach. I cooked more white rice than expected one night, and discovered a few days later that cold, cooked rice is the best kind to use for making a tastier homemade version of Chinese takeout.
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient catfish. They determined that its sweet, flaky flesh was perfect for frying, and in this case, the fish doesn’t get fried in just any kind of breading. Using pulverized corn tortillas in this Tortilla-Crusted Catfish Po’ Boys recipe is not only a good use for leftover tortillas from taco night, but also a great way to add lots of texture, more than you could ever get from breadcrumbs. A mixture of buttermilk and Cajun-seasoned flour functions as the glue. Serving the catfish as po’ boy sandwiches is the perfect Southern twist and a great way to enjoy a fun meal with the family.
It’s no secret that chicken breasts are perhaps the ultimate ingredient workhorses: They do double duty between lunch and dinner, afford themselves to easily reheated leftovers, stand up to nearly every cooking style and pair well with the flavors of countless cuisines. Because this culinary superstar is so versatile, it’s a blank canvas that can be customized to your family’s favorite tastes and whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand. But chicken breasts are also easy to deem bland, which is why it’s important to dress them up so they take on the bold flavors of marinades, spice rubs, sauces and toppings. Check out Food Network’s top-five chicken breast dishes below to find classic and creative picks from Guy, Ina, Bobby, Melissa and Rachael.
5. Chicken Breasts with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives — Guy makes a pocket within each of his chicken breasts and stuffs them with Mediterranean-inspired flavors before finishing them with a lemon-sun-dried tomato sauce and crumbled feta cheese.
4. Lemon Chicken Breasts — With a five-star rating and more than 500 user reviews, Ina’s fail-proof chicken is baked in a succulent mixture of lemon juice, white wine and herbs. Perhaps best of all, it’s a good-for-you meal that can be ready to eat in only one hour.
While burgers, hot dogs and barbecue may be classic picks on Memorial Day, there’s no reason to forgo a Meatless Monday today, as it’s indeed possible to enjoy the tradition of grilling without indulging in meat. The secret is to swap in a different hearty ingredient in place of the usual beef, chicken or pork. Enter cauliflower. Every bit as hefty as a hunk of meat, cauliflower stands up well to high-temperature cooking, so it can be cooked on the grill, and it’s a natural pairing for bold flavors, which makes it easy to dress up with spice rubs and seasonings. Plus, if you slice a head of cauliflower into thick-cut steaks instead of tiny florets, the results are satisfying enough to be served as a main dish for meat eaters and vegetarians alike.
Food Network Kitchen’s recipe for Grilled Cauliflower Steak with Israeli Couscous and Olives (pictured above) is an all-in-one dish that’s both simple to make in a hurry and packed with plenty of tastes and textures. The key to this recipe is the harissa-olive oil mixture that’s rubbed onto the cauliflower before cooking; the warm spice infuses the vegetable as it cooks, and what results is tender, smoky cauliflower every time. Because the cauliflower cooks in throwaway foil wrapping, cleaning up the grill is a cinch. Serve the vegetable with a simple side of lemon-ginger couscous studded with raisins and tangy feta cheese, and finish each plate with green olives and a squeeze of bright lemon juice.