When I was a child my grandfather would sometimes barbecue a whole hog to mark the end of summer. He was a honest-to-goodness country boy and knew what he was doing with a pig and a pit. The huge beast was split and slowly cooked on a metal grate set over a pit of gray cement blocks above glowing embers. My grandfather would make a basting mop out of a bent pecan branch and white cotton rags, patiently basting the pig with a potent broth of vinegar and salt, letting heat and smoke slowly transform that pig into our Labor Day feast. My sister, the cousins and I would run around in the nearby yard, begging to stir the coals or add split pieces of oak, absolutely anything to be near this unusual scene that utterly transfixed us. To this day, I can close my eyes and hear the sizzle of the fat as it dripped on the white-hot coals.
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It’s almost time to pack the kids up for school again, and that means making mounds of school lunches. But PB&J sandwiches can take you only so far. For a new twist on a classic ingredient that kids and adults love, look no further than the Peanut Butter series on FN Dish. For the next four weeks, we’ll be giving you inventive recipes that let you incorporate peanut butter into all your meals — from breakfast to dessert — for the entire family. We’re starting with the most-important meal of the day: breakfast.
Nuts rarely make it out of dessert territory, but when you think about the great texture they offer, then you might realize how well they can work in savory preparations, like this recipe in this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge. Hazelnuts are getting their due, chosen by the chefs of Food Network Kitchen as the basket ingredient for this week. Besides the texture, hazelnuts have a sweeter flavor — unlike, say, walnuts or almonds. We’re not saying this recipe will take the place of your favorite jar of hazelnut-chocolate spread, but it might be a dinner contender. The pulverized hazelnuts in this Hazelnut Chicken recipe along with extra-crispy panko breadcrumbs will become your new favorite breading for fried chicken.
Are your kids inspired by the tiny chefs on Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off and the impressive contenders from Chopped Teen Tournament? Then it’s time to let them get their hands dirty in the kitchen. Food Network Kitchen came up with these easy, satisfying and safe dishes to get them started. Everyone (including parents!) will enjoy eating the final products, like these fun Taco Cheeseburgers.
Little kids can help tear the cheese and measure the salsa, while big kids can help shape and season the beef patties and shred the lettuce. Everyone can assemble his or her own taco.
Aside from boiling a pot of water for noodles, pasta doesn’t necessarily require the heat of the stove or oven, as sauces can come together with little more than some stirring or blending. And during the dog days of summer like these, that’s indeed welcome news, on account of the scorching temperatures outside. While pesto may be the most-common no-cook sauce, tomato sauces, too, can be served raw, especially at this time of year when tomatoes are at their ripest — and sweetest.
Melissa d’Arabian lets seasonal tomatoes shine in her recipe for light and fresh Mediterranean Summer Pasta with Salsa Cruda (pictured above). The star of this fuss-free supper is a simple yet bold combination of seeded tomatoes, briny olives, salty capers and fragrant mint; after incorporating these go-to ingredients with bright orange zest and olive oil, let their flavors marry for a bit, then top them with just-cooked noodles. The heat of the pasta will gently cook the salsa-like tomato mixture to create a warm, satisfying plate, finished with grated Parmesan for added flavor.
Dill doesn’t get included in nearly as many recipes as, say, thyme or basil. Sure, it’s a unique flavor, and a little dash can seriously alter the taste of a dish, but there are plenty of dishes that can benefit from a bit of the summery herb. It’s great for adding something extra to dressings, sauces, seafood and even tea. Besides its subtle sweet flavor, it also boasts some unexpected health benefits: It helps soothe the digestive system and has a calming effect that can be used as a sleep remedy. So try out some of these recipes and showcase your new favorite herb this summer.
Creamy Dijon-Dill Potato Salad
No summer gathering is complete without a good, creamy potato salad. This elevated version makes use of fresh dill along with Dijon mustard and lemon juice, giving it a sweet, salty, tangy taste that is the perfect complement to some smoky barbecue. Remember, for the best flavor and texture, it’s recommended that you make it a few hours in advance and keep it at room temperature.
Just like the long days and high temperatures that are quintessential parts of summer, the time to enjoy the season’s fresh produce is limited. To preserve summer flavors as long as possible, many resort to pickling, jamming and jarring various fruits and vegetables, but when it comes to tomatoes, canning is the way to go. With just a few everyday tools, you can keep the juicy, fresh taste of sweet summer tomatoes alive all winter long, thanks to an easy-to-master canning process. Read on below to get the dish on canning tomatoes from Sean Timberlake, the founder of a DIY food site, then check out the details in his one-stop guide.
Tomato Picking: There are countless kinds of tomatoes on the market, but Sean recommends plum and San Marzano. “You’ll want to choose a tomato variety with ample meat … and you’ll want them just ripe.”
I am just old enough to remember Bill Cosby as the Jell-O pudding man. Those joyful ads were effective! He would be seated at a kid-size table in a kid-size chair, nearly always in a colorful, crazy sweater, with his knees jutting up as he cavorted with what seemed to me to be very, very lucky children. He was like the ultimate dad or friendly uncle, smiling and enjoying smooth and creamy pudding with a group of smiling, happy kids. I wanted to be one of those happy kids; I wanted a cup of that chocolate pudding.
I didn’t grow up eating that premade cup of pudding he was promoting, which may be part of the reason I had such a hankering for it. It wasn’t that we were uber-elite about homemade foods only. In my family, the cakes and pies were always made from scratch, but in terms of convenience desserts, my family was actually more inclined to the ruby-colored, fruit-flavored gelatin versions. My grandfather called it “nervous pudding,” since it wiggled and jiggled.
When you’re battling flames over a blistering-hot grill, who wants to preheat the oven? Even when it comes to something as important as dessert, those added degrees are enough to break your cool when entertaining this summer. Luckily, in lieu of overheating, you can take your pick of Food Network’s finest no-bake desserts that’ll keep your kitchen nice and cold.
Oftentimes, no-bake desserts are no sweat too. Take The Pioneer Woman’s Individual Key Lime Pies (pictured above), for example. Unlike the arguable toil of from-scratch baking, it takes only layering homemade lime curd and whipped cream atop buttery graham cracker crumbs to have you seeing beyond the slice.
When it comes to barbecue, one size most certainly does not fit all. For some, it’s all about nibbling smoky ribs from the bone. For others, a pulled pork sandwich doused in barbecue sauce is where it’s at. And as far as regional differences go (from the Carolinas to Tennessee to Texas), don’t even get us started. This week, conjure your inner grill master with the forerunners of backyard barbecuing.
Pork Ribs: For a barbecue phenomenon that needs no utensils, ribs are always the answer. But the question remains: Will you have yours wet or dry? Cooked indirectly for hours on end, the Neelys’ Wet BBQ Ribs are dripping with a sweet and smoky barbecue sauce. For those in the dry school of thought, there’s the Neelys’ Kansas City-Style Pork Ribs recipe, which encrusts the ribs with a dry rub of spices for a dose of pure barbecue.