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Want Better Biscuits? Alton to the Rescue

by in Food Network Chef, Recipes, May 18th, 2012

alton brown biscuit festival
Biscuits hold a special, fluffy, buttery place in Alton Brown’s heart. His grandmother made the best biscuits every day for more than 50 years, and re-creating those legendary biscuits took him 10 years of science projects, oven temperature readings and failed attempts.

So it’s only fitting that he kicked off this weekend’s International Biscuit Festival in Knoxville, Tenn., with a talk on all things biscuit, including how he finally cracked the recipe and what you should and shouldn’t (read: yogurt) mix into your biscuit dough.

“Biscuits aren’t food, they’re currency for the soul,” Alton says. That’s because they’re all about tradition. After trying literally everything — including mimicking the barometric pressure and humidity of his grandmother’s mountain home in his Atlanta-area residence — to re-create the family biscuits, Alton finally learned that a difference in technique was ruining batch after batch. His grandmother kneaded with her fingers straight, while he kneaded with bent hands. For this reason, he says, “You can only learn biscuits from a direct transfer of one to another.” (Watch Alton make biscuits with his grandmother.)

No biscuit-savvy grandmother in the family? Continue reading for some of Alton’s tips to baking better biscuits.

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Best 5 Cucumber Salads for Spring

by in Recipes, May 17th, 2012


Light and refreshing yet filling and satisfying, cucumber salads are easy-to-prepare, quick-cooking side dishes that complement any spring menu. The key to crafting a cucumber salad is to start with fresh, firm cucumbers — like those pictured above from Food Network Magazine — and add simple, clean flavors. Check out Food Network’s top five cucumber salad recipes below to find a mix of creative and traditional takes on this classic spring dish.

5. Grilled Red Onion and Cucumber Salad With Yogurt-Mint Dressing — Bobby completes his 20-minute side by sprinkling tangy feta cheese on top.

4. Fresh Cucumber Salad — Made with English cucumber, cool honeydew and jalapeno, Claire Robinson creates a no-fuss salad that is both sweet and a bit spicy.

Get the top three recipes

Tofu Tacos — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, May 14th, 2012


Easy to find and simple to prepare, tofu can replace pork, beef, chicken and more in any number of recipes that you want to make meatless. Most tofu is sold plain (without added flavoring), though it can absorb any seasonings you add to it, similar to how meat adopts the flavor of a marinade. Whether you crumble it atop a salad, grill it with barbecue sauce or sear it and serve with Asian-style noodles, tofu is a hearty vegetarian ingredient whose uses are endless.

Food Network Magazine features firm tofu in 30-minute tacos (pictured above). To prepare, first slice the tofu, dust it with taco seasoning and sauté it until it is crispy and caramelized. From there, stuff the tofu in toasted tortillas along with lime-scented coleslaw, shredded mozzarella cheese and bright salsa verde.

Serve with Alton’s five-star Guacamole, made with fresh avocados, Roma tomatoes and pinches of cumin and cayenne, to complete this Mexican-inspired feast.   

Get the recipe: Tofu Tacos

Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.

Best 5 Mother’s Day Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, May 12th, 2012


If you still haven’t gotten Mom a gift for Mother’s Day, it’s not too late to wow her with a loving, thoughtful present: a home-cooked meal. We’ve rounded up an entire day’s worth of Mom-approved eats and drinks, including fluffy waffles, citrus-shrimp pasta and a cool peach cocktail, so you can show her just how much you care. Check out Food Network’s top five Mother’s Day recipes below and tell us what you’re making for your mom this weekend.

5. Chocolate Waffles – Top Food Network Magazine’s cocoa-laced waffles with deliciously sweet chocolate syrup, fresh berries or a dusting of confectioners’ sugar to complete this breakfast treat.

4. Pasta Salad With Poached Shrimp and Lemon-Dill Dressing – Ready to eat in just 25 quick minutes, this in-season pasta plate features bright grape tomatoes and cucumbers, and it’s tossed with a zesty herb dressing.

Get the top three recipes

Kale Salad With Marcona Almonds — The Weekender

by in Recipes, May 11th, 2012

kale salad with marcona almonds
Though kale is something of a hot new food trend, I happen to be one of those lucky souls who has been eating it for years. My parents are avid vegetable gardeners and both kale and its buddy Swiss chard were always prominent players in the spring and fall plantings.

To us, kale was simply a sturdy cooking green, best for use in soups or wilted with olive oil and garlic. On weekend mornings, I’d sauté ribbons of kale with zucchini and green onions and scramble a couple beaten eggs around the veggies. Topped with fresh tomato, it’s still my favorite breakfast.

The one thing we didn’t do back in those days was eat raw kale. It wasn’t that anyone was against it, it just didn’t occur to either my parents or me (and though my sister is one of the biggest kale eaters around now, she wouldn’t touch it in any form back then). It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, when I started seeing mentions of raw kale salads in magazines and on blogs, that I tried it.

These days, I’m something of a kale salad evangelist. I have two versions that are in my regular dinner rotation. The first is a garlicky version inspired by a recipe posted to 101 Cookbooks and the other is a Grated Carrot and Kale Salad, dressed with walnut oil and rice wine vinegar.

Before you start chopping kale, read these tips

Reinvented: Deviled Eggs 5 Ways for Mother’s Day

by in Holidays, Recipes, May 9th, 2012

deviled eggs 5 ways
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.

To us, deviled eggs are the perfect party food.  Not only are the majority of the ingredients already in your refrigerator and pantry, they cook up fast and they’re crowd-pleasers.

Start with the classic, then experiment

Family-Style Meals — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, May 7th, 2012

macaroni and cheese
On busy weeknights, there’s just no time to fuss with intricate, individually plated meals or time-sensitive dishes. Instead, you want to reach for recipes that encourage simple, family-style eating, in which there’s a big-batch dish in the middle of the table and your family can help themselves. Check out our three rustic, wonderfully informal dinners below and let us know what you’re making for Meatless Monday tonight.

Ina’s classic, deliciously gooey Mac and Cheese (pictured above) is a five-star fan favorite with almost 700 user reviews. She prefers a combination of Gruyere and extra-sharp cheddar cheeses to form the basis of her family-friendly recipe — the rich, nutty Gruyere balances the bite of the cheddar. Before baking, she arranges sliced fresh tomatoes atop her pasta-cheese mixture and dusts it with white breadcrumbs to add a barely there crunchy texture.

Giada’s Vegetable Casserole is another family-favorite recipe that can feed a crowd. She tops a layer of hearty potatoes, carrots, yams and peppers with sweet onions, chopped zucchini and tomatoes, and bakes this healthful dish until the veggies are tender and the Parmesan cheese topping golden brown. A final sprinkle of fresh basil finishes the dish before serving.

More Meatless Monday recipes

All-American Down-Home Patriotic Meatloaf Sandwich — The Weekender

by in Recipes, May 4th, 2012

patriotic meatloaf sandwich
In the mid-eighties, before the nightly news scared my mom into switching to turkey, my family ate a lot of ground beef. It was on the menu at least a couple nights a week. Sometimes it was crumbled into tomato sauce and served over spaghetti noodles. During the summer, we had it scrambled with vegetables and rice and packed into overgrown zucchini.

On particularly harried nights, my mom would season a pound while still in the package, divide it into four patties and plop them into a pan. When burgers were prepared thusly, they were always served with carrot and celery sticks, with ranch dressing on the side for dipping.

The best nights were when the ground beef was mixed with oatmeal, an egg or two, chopped onion, garlic powder and a squirt of ketchup and packed into a loaf pan. I loved my mom’s meatloaf with a passion, mostly because she always made enough for sandwiches the next day. I have always been something of a fool for a good meatloaf sandwich.

In those days, my meatloaf lunch wasn’t a complex affair. It was always a half sandwich, made on whole-wheat bread spread with ketchup and mustard. Packed with one of those frozen disks to keep it all cool, it was the best thing to be found inside a canvas lunch bag.

Before you start assembling your sandwiches, read these tips

Bobby’s Chips and Guacamole — The New Girl

by in Holidays, Recipes, May 3rd, 2012

bobby flay chips and guacamole
While guacamole is an obvious choice for Cinco de Mayo, it’s also a tasty one. It’s simple to prepare, fresh in flavor and loved by all. Sure, it’s the safe choice, but ultimately you want to make something that your guests will enjoy, not fear.

I’m a minimalist when it comes to guacamole — because avocados are naturally creamy and indulgent, simpler is better in my book. Bobby’s recipe is foolproof and includes only four extra ingredients: red onion, fresh jalapeño, lime and cilantro. Just chop, mash, squeeze and in 10 minutes, you’ve got the perfect party dip. The diced onion adds texture to the velvety avocado and the jalapeño brings a touch of heat and warmth. The MVI (Most Valuable Ingredient) of the dish, however, is the lime. It makes each bite refreshing and bright and will keep your guests digging in for more.

Tips to consider before making these recipes:

Reinvented: Salsa 5 Ways for Cinco de Mayo

by in Holidays, Recipes, May 1st, 2012

salsa 5 different ways
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.

Sometimes a basic pico de gallo isn’t enough. Check out these four spins on the classic.

Click here for salsa recipes