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Beyond the Chopped Basket: What to Make With Pine Nuts

by in Shows, February 17th, 2013

Roasted AsparagusSo often on Chopped we see chef contestants open their mystery baskets to find such odd, uncommon and downright scary ingredients — precooked pig snout, pickled beef tongue or grasshoppers, anyone? — that it can seem nearly impossible for home cooks to put them to work in everyday meals. On other episodes, however, the ingredients are far less intimidating yet not quite familiar. That’s where we come in. Each week during the brand-new season of Chopped Champions, FN Dish will break down the whats, hows and whens of an approachable, family-friendly ingredient and share deliciously simple recipes for using it, so that you can show off your best culinary chops at home. Following last Tuesday’s Grand Finale competition, the focus is now on pine nuts, which made an appearance in the appetizer basket alongside pig ears, ramps and apple strudel.

As you may have guessed, pine nuts do in fact come from pine trees, as they’re the tiny (think pinky-nail size) seeds that grow inside pinecones. Untoasted pine nuts are a light yellow-cream color and boast a buttery, slightly chewy texture. After warming in a pan, however, pine nuts become a golden hue and offer a crunchy bite to greens, grains, pasta and more. Given their small size, pine nuts are often left whole when mixed in salads or served atop vegetables, but they can also be ground into sauces or vinaigrettes. Read on below to find traditional and creative ways to cook with this must-try ingredient, then browse these insider photos from the Champions finale to relive each course of the battle.

Food Network Magazine‘s simple Roasted Asparagus (pictured above) turns out deliciously tender every time, but thanks to a topping of pine nuts, parsley and lemon juice, this top-rated recipe features a crunchy texture and fresh, vibrant taste as well. Serve this in-season vegetable with light fish, hearty meat and more to complete your meal in only 20 quick minutes.

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Melissa’s Take on the Chopped Basket — Champions Grand Finale

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, February 16th, 2013

Melissa d'Arabianby Melissa d’Arabian

It’s the finale, so I’m tempted to give myself longer than 30 seconds to pick my menu. But I won’t. So here go the final Chopped Champions baskets:

Appetizer basket: pig ears, ramps, pine nuts and apple strudel

Two tricky ingredients in this one – pig ears and ramps. Just kidding. Apple strudel? Yikes. My mind races first to April Bloomfield’s gorgeous cookbook A Girl and Her Pig, and I am inspired to fry up the pig ears. How will they get tender so quickly? By boiling, slicing very thinly, dipping in batter and frying. I get the ears into the boiling water, which I salt. And then I turn my attention to the strudel. I make a quick decision to separate the phyllo from the apple filling and turn it into two ingredients. I crisp up the phyllo in the oven and make strips for a panzanella (bread salad). I caramelize the ramps, toast the pine nuts and blend up the apple filling with apple cider vinegar and olive oil for a vinaigrette. Chop up bitter greens, toss with the pine nuts, ramps, dressing and maybe some sweet yellow tomato if available. Top with my strudel strips and fried ear “cracklings.” Simple.

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Culinary Quiz: How Well Would You Fare at Worst Cooks Boot Camp?

by in Shows, February 16th, 2013

Worst Cooks in AmericaIn this all-new fifth season of Worst Cooks in America, 14 culinary recruits are in for the kitchen Boot Camp of their lives, as Chefs Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay work to transform them into capable, confident cooks who can turn out winning meals with ease. But before one can be crowned the best of the worst of the kitchen, they’ll have to endure seven weeks of hands-on training covering even the most elementary culinary know-how.

For many watching the competition unfold at home, it’s easy to think that you’d fare far better than the recruits if tested with the same challenges of Boot Camp. But would you really succeed where others have fallen? FN Dish is giving you the opportunity to assess your critical culinary thinking and the extent of your cooking chops. Take the quiz below to find out how well you’d manage in the kitchen with Chefs Anne and Bobby, then watch this exclusive video to see how the Worst Cooks recruits answered when they were asked quiz questions.

Take the quiz now

What’s Your Dream Dinner Party?

by in Shows, February 15th, 2013

Dean and CarnieThis past Sunday on the finale of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, the two finalists, Dean and Carnie, cooked a dinner for some Hollywood VIPs including famous chefs Nancy Silverton and Suzanne Goin and comedian Kathy Griffin. Going into the challenge, the celebrity contestants didn’t know what food would be available, but they still managed to create dishes that epitomized their cooking philosophies and ultimately impressed the guests. It was a great opportunity for both Dean and Carnie to be cooking for such an elite group, an opportunity they might never get again.

It’s not every day that a dream dinner party takes place. It’s a rare event when you can even get your entire family together to share in a special dinner. Now imagine a dinner party where you got to serve anything and everything you desired and where you’d be joined by the people you most admire. If you’ve got the perfect dinner party in mind, FN Dish wants to know all the details.

Share your dream dinner party plans

What to Watch: Family Recipes and a New Season of Worst Cooks

by in Shows, February 15th, 2013

Bobby and AnneThis weekend, Food Network has new episodes of cooking shows and competition shows. It all starts on Saturday with Paula, Ree and Giada. On Paula’s Best Dishes, with the help of her husband Michael, Paula’s cooking a kid-friendly meal for their grandson Henry. Afterward on The Pioneer Woman, Ree is making a hearty meal for her boys who’ve been working hard out on the farm. Later on Giada at Home, Giada is cooking through her arsenal of easy meatball recipes. In the afternoon it’s an amusement park-themed episode of Sugar Dome.

On Sunday, start your evening with an all-new episode of Chopped on a special night. Returning losers are given another chance to redeem themselves. Then it’s a brand-new season of Worst Cooks in America. Anne and Bobby assemble their teams from a crew of hopeless home cooks for culinary boot camp. Last, there’s a new episode of Chef Wanted on a special night. Tune in to see Anne Burrell put four chef candidates through the ringer on the toughest job interview of their lives for the chance to become the chef of a Puerto Rican hot spot.

Read about the shows

Chef Wanted: Sea Dog Steak & Ale Update

by in Shows, February 14th, 2013


Chef WantedSea Dog Steak & Ale in Northborough, Mass., is a brewpub known for its signature beers. The owners called in Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team to help them find a new executive chef who would take on the task of reinventing the restaurant as a gastropub. After two grueling tests and two hectic dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Amie Hurd.

Through the tests and dinner services, Chef Hurd showed she understood beer by incorporating it into many of her dishes. Unfortunately, her lack of experience working with a large crew showed during dinner service — she wouldn’t give up control of her dishes to her team by delegating tasks. But by the end she realized she couldn’t keep up without putting trust in her team. The owners felt she was the best person for the job and that with time she’d gain the experience required to run the restaurant, so they offered her the position.

FN Dish caught up with Chef Hurd after her win. Watch the video above to find out what it was like competing, what she learned from Anne Burrell and about the turn of events that took place since the show taped.

Dirt Tots, Egg-Based Burritos and Mini Goat Cheese Pies — Rebel Remix

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, February 13th, 2013

Chef Vinson Petrillo
Every Wednesday, Justin Warner, winner of Food Network Star, Season 8, has been remixing the Chopped Champion baskets as seen in the episode the night before in pure Justin Warner style: edgy, intense, passionate and full of wit. If you’ve ever watched an episode and found yourself yelling at the TV that you would have made this or that instead, then these are the posts for you.

by Justin Warner

Congratulations blog viewer, you’ve made it to the finale! If you’ve made it this far, I’m not going to bore you with the details of making a mother sauce.

Appetizer basket: pig ears, ramps, pine nuts and apple strudel

The appetizer round is really getting me ramped up. I feel like I’m on a rampage. Want to hear something my gramps told me? He taught me that allium tricoccum (say it out loud three times and you’ll remember easily), aka ramps, are delicious wild onions from all of Appalachia. They are the most wonderful, glorious and wildest of leeks. Like a leafy spring onion, it’s entirely edible, although its flavor is a bit more pronounced. In the good old days in Terra Alta, West Virginia (where I spent time with Gramps and ramps), folks celebrated the ramp by cooking it in a multitude of ways. These “ramp festivals” are a great event for couples because if you eat ramps and your partner doesn’t, you’ll be asked to sleep outside, lest your glorious oniony eau de parfum permeate the house for a bit. So sayeth my gramps.

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Anne’s Top 8 Lessons Learned as a Chef

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, February 13th, 2013

Anne BurrellAlthough she’s now a seasoned mentor on Chef Wanted and a no-nonsense team leader to some of the Worst Cooks in America, Chef Anne Burrell wasn’t always a food-television star. In fact, she began her career working in some of New York City’s top restaurants, where she climbed the culinary ladder to become a leading executive chef. Read on below to find the most important pieces of industry know-how she’s picked up along the way.

1. Being a chef can get very emotional from time to time. Remain cool under pressure.

2. Remember that you are a teacher and a leader.

3. You can’t avoid mistakes, but you can try to prevent them and learn how to not make them again.

4. Set long-term goals for yourself and review them regularly.

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Chatting With the Winner of Chopped Champions

by in Shows, February 12th, 2013

Chefs Rob Evans and Jun Tanaka With Chopped Host Ted AllenIn an all-new season of Chopped Champions, 16 chefs, each with a previous Chopped win under his or her belt, are returning to the kitchen to face off for a second time in the ultimate multicourse cook-off. Although they’re no strangers to mystery baskets, these chefs are under more pressure than ever, as they’re competing not just for Chopped glory but also a spot in the finale where they can ultimately claim a $50,000 prize and the coveted title of Grand Champion.

Each week, four chefs will take their places in the kitchen and battle it out in the hopes of outlasting the chopping block once again. While three will crumble beneath the demands of Champions cooking, one will prove his or her culinary chops for a second time. Check in with FN Dish every Tuesday night after the episode to hear from the latest winner.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who won

Chatting With the Chopped Champions Runner-Up

by in Shows, February 12th, 2013

Chopped Champions Grand FinaleIn an all-new season of Chopped Champions, 16 chefs, each with a previous Chopped win under his or her belt, are returning to the kitchen to face off for a second time in the ultimate multicourse cook-off. Although they’re no strangers to mystery baskets, these chefs are under more pressure than ever, as they’re competing not just for Chopped glory but also a spot in the finale where they can ultimately claim a $50,000 prize and the coveted title of Grand Champion.

Each week, four chefs will take their places in the kitchen and battle it out in the hopes of outlasting the chopping block once again. While three will crumble beneath the demands of Champions cooking, one will prove his or her culinary chops for a second time. Check in with FN Dish every Tuesday night after the episode to hear from the Chopped chefs.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who’s the runner-up