Recently, several members from the Food Network Kitchens headed down to Nashville for three weeks to film Trisha Yearwood’s new show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. Most nights we would wrap up late and go to Rotier’s, a dive restaurant famous for their grilled and fried Southern food. We saw deep-fried spicy pickles on the menu and once we tasted them, we fell in love. Every time we ate them, we would tell each other, “OK, no more fried food,” and then we would find ourselves ordering them again. The balance of the cool, crispy pickle spears with a crunchy, flavorful crust was perfect with the spicy ranch dipping sauce. When we got back to Food Network Kitchens, I wanted to re-create the dish for Family Meal. The recipe below combines crunchy dill pickle spears with a smoky, crispy crust and a spicy dressing that reminded me of my times in Nashville.
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Here in Food Network Kitchens, we love simple, classic recipes. We are also paid to think about food all day. So we’ve taken classic foods and drinks and reimagined them into three, four or five different ways. No standard recipes here, just the occasional technique and pictures. Think of it as a picture recipe.
We were tired of the same-old buttered popcorn, and these sweet toppings brought out our inner kids.
Make Alton’s classic Perfect Popcorn recipe and then get creative.
Whether you like them savory or sweet, studded with fresh vegetables or ripe fruit, tarts are easy to make and as versatile as they are tasty. Crispy, golden brown and deliciously cheesy, Food Network Magazine’s tart (pictured above) is built atop store-bought puff pastry dough, saving you time in the kitchen and guaranteeing a light, flaky crust. To assemble, brush the dough with a shallot-fontina-egg mixture and arrange on top blanched in-season asparagus. Finish with a sprinkling of grated lemon zest to perfume the tart as it comes out of the oven.
Paula’s Fresh Fruit Tart is made with colorful berries and kiwi, and is ready to eat in less than an hour.
Get the recipe: Asparagus and Cheese Tart
It’s that time of the year again — Tax Day is looming and you’re feeling the financial pinch in your wallet. Once Uncle Sam has claimed a good chunk of your paycheck on April 17, there may not be room for fancy meals and decadent ingredients. But eating on a budget doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavor or nutrition. Check out our list of low-cost, easy-to-make meals that will keep you cooking at home without breaking the bank.
One of the most wallet-friendly dishes you can make, pasta is a guaranteed family favorite and will easily feed a crowd — just one pound of noodles can be split among six people. Top your choice of pasta with Food Network Magazine’s five-star Perfect Marinara Sauce to create a low-cost Italian supper in no time. Experiment with other flavor-packed sauces, like Alfredo Sauce, Basil Pesto or Vodka Sauce, to add variety to your pasta-recipe repertoire.
Not just for kids and picky eaters, grilled cheeses are the ultimate building-block sandwiches. They’re naturally inexpensive — just butter, bread and cheese are needed to craft a classic recipe — but can seem more indulgent by adding a few extra flavors. Cooking Channel‘s Kelsey Nixon whips up a traditional yet creative Grilled Cheese Sandwich by stacking tart Granny Smith apple slices, crispy bacon and cheddar cheese on mustard-spread bread and grilling the sandwich until golden brown. Check out Food Network Magazine’s roundup of 50 Grilled Cheeses for more gooey inspiration.
During the final years of their lives, my grandparents stopped cooking at home. They’d do little things, like make coffee and toast in the morning and heat up a can of soup for lunch. But dinner was always eaten at Little Pete’s, the restaurant across the street from their apartment building.
Each day at around 5:00 or 5:30, they’d don coats (no matter what the weather) and make their way over. The wait staff took great care of them, reserving my grandma’s preferred booth and depositing a glass of iced tea in front of her the moment she sat down.
When we’d go to visit them, these trips to Little’s Pete’s took on even more importance, because it was an opportunity for them to show my mom, sister and me off to the unofficial members of their de facto nightly dining club.
Over the years, I logged a lot of hours at Little Pete’s. My regular order was a cup of French onion soup and a Greek salad with extra olives. Truly, though, the salad was simply there so that I could justify eating a bowl of tangy broth, onions and bubbling-hot cheese.
The tenth anniversary of my grandmother’s death recently passed, so it just seemed right to make something in her honor. Though I ordered it more often than she did, I chose Ina Garten’s recipe for long-cooked French Onion Soup as a way of remembering all those meals. I took my time slicing onions and cooking them until golden. I think it may have been my most favorite Weekender yet.
When I think angel food cake, the words “light” and “airy” come to mind; when I made angel food cake, “shrunken” and “dense” were my results. I share this kitchen collapse not to deter you from making the recipe, but to share the lessons I learned. What follows is the sad yet hopeful story of the Fallen Angel Food Cake.
Last weekend, I decided to bake dessert for my boyfriend’s family since they were graciously hosting me for the holidays. Angel food cake is a classic in their household. So the choice was easy, but the pressure was high. I had never made an angel food cake before, and after skimming through various blogs and recipes, I was less than confident. I read the instructions thoroughly and measured the ingredients properly, but I didn’t bring the eggs to room temperature and I pulled the cake out too early. As I’m sure other first-timers can relate, my worst fear came true: The cake fell. I stuck it back in the oven in a desperate attempt to puff it up again, but there was no going back.
Luckily, the poor souls for whom the cake was intended have a great sense of humor and were forgiving of my failed attempt. They also happen to love 7-Minute Frosting. And if anything can save the day, it’s a homemade fluffy, marshmallow-y frosting.
Wild boar: a tasty way to do a good deed.
It’s true — across at least 39 states there are an estimated four million feral pigs and wild boars (they are close relatives and prone to interbreeding) roaming about.
And they are laying ruin to vast acres of land. The problem with wild pigs is they are voracious eaters — shocking, I know — and destroy natural ecosystems.
There is no one solution, but eating them certainly helps. It’s what I like to call taking a bite out of swine.
Bad pig puns aside, people throughout Europe and Asia have been eating feral oinkers for years. Italians are particularly fond of them, turning them into all manner of salumi.
Now Americans are starting to catch on. Feral pig is showing up on more restaurant menus, especially in the South, the epicenter of the problem.
Let’s talk polenta. Less coarse than grits but grainier than mashed potatoes, polenta is made from cornmeal and boiled with water or stock until thick and combined. From here you can add any number of ingredients — like cream, butter, cheeses, fresh vegetables and herbs — to transform it into a hearty, rich dish. You could also let the polenta cool completely then shape it and bake or deep-fry it. Giada’s Fried Polenta fingers are deliciously warm and cheesy, and when dunked in marinara sauce, they mimic classic mozzarella sticks.
Food Network Magazine’s polenta (pictured above) is traditional and rustic, cooked on the stove until it becomes soft and creamy. This Italian-inspired recipe calls for instant polenta, which tastes the same as the original but cuts down on long cooking times. Before serving, top each comforting bowl with tender Swiss chard, sweet roasted tomatoes and mild, crumbly farmer cheese.
Get the recipe: Polenta With Roasted Tomatoes
Easter brunch is one of my favorite meals of the year. Yes, Thanksgiving and Christmas are great. And my birthday is high up on the list, too. But Easter has always been special for me.
When I was growing up in Tucson, Ariz., my family and I would head up to the club for brunch, participate in some extreme Easter egg hunting (I’d always win) and then I would basically stuff my face. Homemade omelets, pounds of roasted potatoes and smoked salmon galore. You name it and I probably ate it. But let’s be honest here — the best part of brunch really has to be the desserts. There are a few in particular that stand out, but in my opinion a truly phenomenal carrot cake tops then all.
I know making a fresh carrot cake can be a little time-consuming because you actually have to grate carrots. Gasp! I know, I know. It’s tough. But trust me, it’s worth the extra prep time.
My Aunt Doris made canapés the way other women garden or take tennis lessons. She was always on the hunt for a new recipe or a source for discounted Pepperidge Farms thin-sliced white bread, and was never happier than when she had eight or 10 dozen hors d’oeuvres wrapped in aluminum foil and tucked into her basement chest freezer.
She often spent Saturday afternoons practicing a recipe, lining up assembly stations all across the kitchen counters, leaving no square inch unutilized. When my mom and her cousins were young, they were often used as foot soldiers in these battles of woman versus cornichon, pimento and caper.
Aunt Doris would lay out large rounds of rye at the kitchen table, almost as if she was setting up a meal with edible plates. Each child was given a pastry bag that Aunt Doris filled with whipped and flavored cream cheese or chicken liver pâté. They would take their positions standing behind a slice of bread and with militaristic precision, would pipe a circle of cream cheese or pâté onto the bread, using the outer crust as a guide.