For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient cube steak. The key to cooking with cube steak is not overcooking the meat, because it can get tough. Typically used for chicken-fried steak, cube steak is often tenderized with a meat mallet to produce a thin cutlet, which makes it easier to cook and eat. But the technique the chefs came up with for making these Steak and Black Bean Chalupas was to sear the thinly sliced meat in a screaming-hot pan, and then simmer it in broth briefly to eliminate the need for tenderizing. Paired with mashed black beans — a take on refried beans — and a tangy chili-lime mango salsa, these open-faced tacos are filling and refreshing, perfect for Cinco de Mayo or a simple Mexican Night any day of the week with the family.
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On America’s Best Cook, Sundays at 9|8c, home cooks battle it out for the chance to win the title of America’s best cook, all while representing their specific region of the United States. The cooks are split into teams from the North, South, West and East. Each of these regions has its characteristic foods that make up an integral part of its identity. To celebrate the new competition show, each week during the season, FN Dish has the top 10 reader-recommended eats from one of the regions. This week it’s all about the West.
If you were to characterize the West in just two words, they would be “fresh” and “bold” — and you can apply those words to everything from the local ingredients to the cuisines, including the Latin-inspired dishes and American Indian foods of the Southwest. But the West is also well known for its fusion foods, one of the most popular being California cuisine, which was made famous by Chef Wolfgang Puck. Look no further for Asian-inspired pizzas, burgers or tacos. Among all the regions, the West is one of the most diverse in its offerings. Pick any city or town on the West Coast to find flavors from all across the nation and even around the world, all in one square mile or even in one single restaurant.
Since Cutthroat Kitchen judges are sequestered from the kitchen while the chefs are cooking, they’re not privy to the evilicious sabotages that unfold during each round. This means that when they first lay eyes on the dish before them, they have no information other than how it’s presented; then once they’ve tasted it, of course, they can take its flavor and texture into consideration.
Tonight’s judge, Simon Majumdar, explained what that feeling is like as he approaches the kitchen and sees contestants’ plates for the first time. “Sometimes as you come down the stairs,” he told Alton Brown on the host’s After-Show, “and you look at the dishes as they’re laid, and you go, ‘Uh, I think I know the way this is going to go.’ And often I’m wrong because they taste great.” It turns out, however, that Simon’s worst suspicions were confirmed when it came to tonight’s Round-2 Reuben sandwich challenge.
On today’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts shifted the spotlight from meals to munchies as they revealed a few trendy bar snacks making appearances at local hot spots. While pretzels and peanuts may be the norm in most bars, picks like seafood cracklings and Scotch eggs have begun surfacing recently, and they’re surely a welcome addition alongside cocktails.
In addition to nibbling while out sipping drinks, most of us are familiar with indulging in a few bites at home to satisfy snack cravings. From good-for-you carrot sticks and cucumber slices to decadent treats like soft cookies, crunchy chips and salty popcorn, quick-fix munchies can take nearly any form. FN Dish wants to know, when you have a hankering for a snack, what do you grab? Do you have a sweet tooth that’s tempted by chocolate candies, or are you more likely to opt for crispy, cheesy, savory selections? Cast your vote below to tell us your favorite snack.
This weekend, tune in for all-new episodes that run the gamut from cooking and planning for parties to competition shows that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Start Saturday morning with a new episode of Farmhouse Rules. Nancy’s cooking for a game night with her in-laws. Then on The Kitchen, it’s make-ahead freezer-friendly meals, plus how to tackle artichokes. Then on Sunday morning, Rachael has five weeknight meals that use bulk purchases for the biggest bang for your buck. On Southern at Heart, Damaris is planning a Derby party. Then on Guy’s Big Bite, Guy is cooking up appetizers and making a cocktail to match. On Sunday night, tune in for America’s Best Cook, where pastry chef extraordinaire Ron Ben-Israel judges dessert creations, but one competitor may be going home early due to an injury. Then on Cutthroat Kitchen, one chef will have to separate grains of rice for risotto.
Guy’s bringing Flavortown Market back in an all-new season of Guy’s Grocery Games, premiering May 11 at 8|7c. Fans of the show will be excited to see returning judges Melissa d’Arabian, Richard Blais, Troy Johnson and Catherine McCord — as well as some new faces. But that’s not all. Guy’s challenging a brand-new roster of chefs on an all-new set. That’s right — this season, Flavortown Market moves to Guy’s hometown, Santa Rosa, Calif. FN Dish recently caught up with Guy on set and asked him what viewers can expect to see this season.
“First and foremost, this set — Flavortown Market — will knock your socks off. It has the most-eclectic and most-international profile of ingredients available,” Guy shares. “When you use the term ‘super’ in supermarket, that’s what this set is — it’s truly defining in all shapes and sizes. The aisles are wider, the lighting is better, so it makes it easier for the chefs to shop and see what’s on the shelves. Going along with the shelves, the culinary team has stocked and set them up so they’re far more shopper-friendly. There are a lot of great markets around the country, but I wish Flavortown Market really existed.”
So what can fans expect in Season 2? “I think the biggest difference is that competitors have seen the show, so they have insight into the mechanics of it. When chefs walked in the door the first season, you’d hear, ‘Well, now what do we do?’ But since most have seen the show, they understand how it progresses,” Guy explains. “I also think a bigger profile of chefs has been made available — so the competition is even more fierce.”
Among the many things that define the United States, foods are at the top of that list. And every region has its specialty, whether it is lobster rolls from the East, chili from the North, shrimp and grits from the South or tacos from the West. On the new series America’s Best Cook, Sundays at 9|8c, home cooks from the four corners of the country have come to Food Network headquarters to be mentored by FN chefs and battle it out for a chance at winning the title of America’s Best Cook.
To coincide with the show, FN Dish has launched the Regional Foods Face-Off, a bracket challenge in which you, the fans, can vote for your favorite regional food. The editors have narrowed it down to four famous dishes from each of the regions, but after four rounds of voting, only one dish will come out on top. Round 3 is now closed. Vote in Round 4.
“On a scale of one to 10 of disgusting, this is a 12,” Robert Irvine said not long after arriving at Bryant’s Seafood World in Hueytown, Ala. The decades-old fish house is known for its deliciously authentic hushpuppies, but what Robert found was underseasoned food, a grimy interior and a kitchen with off-the-chart levels of bacteria — not to mention Gail Cox, the owner who had little will to continue in the business. With just two days to work and a budget of only $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible staff overhauled the menu and design at Bryant’s, and taught both Gail and her employees the importance of dedication to the eatery. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Gail to find out how her restaurant is doing today.
“Comparing January 2014 versus February 2014, business increased 32.3 percent,” Gail said, adding that she and diners have been wowed by the updated interior at Bryant’s. “The top-three things working well for us include cutting down the cashier counter to give additional access to that area (which really helps the flow of the servers), adding a hostess stand (which gives us order to the customers waiting to be seated on those weekend busy dinner hours) and removing the carpet.”
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient Camembert. Inspired by a cheese plate of ham, cheese and fruit, the chefs came up with this savory bread pudding. With the characteristic texture of a quiche, this recipe for Camembert and Ham Bread Pudding makes an ideal brunch, lunch or dinner dish when paired with a simple green salad. It’s also a good use for leftovers — think bread and ham remnants from this past holiday. With the familiar flavors of ham and cheese, it’ll be a sure-fire hit with your family any day of the week.
On America’s Best Cook, Sunday at 9|8c, home cooks battle it out for the chance to win the title of America’s best cook, all while representing their specific region of the United States. The cooks are split into teams from the North, South, West and East. Each of these regions has its characteristic foods that make up an integral part of its identity. To celebrate the new competition show, each week during the season, FN Dish has the top 10 reader-recommended eats from one of the regions. This week it’s all about the East.
The East is well known for having popularized foods including pizza, burgers, cheese steaks and lobster rolls, all of which were famously invented and first served in the East. Now it’s hard to imagine American cuisine without these dishes. But the East also offers a wide array of international cuisines that have become ingrained in American culture, like Italian and Mexican dishes and so much more. Through the years, some city neighborhoods have come to specialize in certain cuisine, like Boston’s North End, whereas others have become a melting pot, like Queens in New York.