Ty Pennington and Amanda Freitag are on a mission to help classic American diners across the country in American Diner Revival, premiering Friday, May 22 at 10:30|9:30c. Over six episodes, Amanda and Ty travel the country empowering towns to lend a hand in saving their struggling diners, using a combination of Ty’s design and carpentry skills and Amanda’s culinary expertise. This duo has only a few days to transform — with the help of local residents — a cherished establishment in desperate need of a physical and menu makeover, and will use a good old-fashioned barn raising to ambush unsuspecting and deserving owners with the surprise of a lifetime.
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By: Leah Brickley
This week on All-Star Academy, the competition got hot (literally) when mentor Bobby Flay instructed mentee Joseph to add harissa to his tomato sauce for a surprising spin on his duck Parmesan dish.
We here in Food Network Kitchen are big fans of the spicy North African condiment, made from dried red chiles, garlic, and spices like coriander, caraway and cumin, so we cheered Joseph on as he added spoonfuls of the brick-red paste to his simmering sauce. Here’s a little harissa tutorial if you’re thinking about doing the same.
Harissa can be found in specialty food stores (or maybe even at your local market) in a tube, jar or can. It’s super-concentrated (think tomato paste), and heat levels can differ from brand to brand, so be sure to always taste it before cooking. You can add the concentrated paste straight into soups, stews and sauces, like Joseph did, or add just a few ingredients to make an entirely new condiment. Here are four other fun ways to play with harissa:
- Mix it into softened butter and freeze into a log in parchment. Melt pats of harissa butter on grilled steak, grilled chicken or a baked potato.
- Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, water and some salt into the paste. Use this new drizzly condiment on grain bowls or vegetables, or use it as a spicy vinaigrette for a green salad.
- Stir harissa into mayonnaise. Use it as a dip for chicken fingers, or spread it on a sandwich.
- Add a little harissa to your peanut butter for a spicy-sweet-salty spread. We love it on just saltine crackers for a quick snack, but you can also pair it with a little apricot preserves for a made-over PB&J.
There’s only one episode left! Tune in this coming Sunday at 10|9c to find out who takes home the $50,000 cash prize.
It’s one thing to watch Cutthroat Kitchen competitors endure the hilariously evilicious sabotages that have been dealt them, but it’s another to attempt those challenges for yourself, experiencing the struggles they did firsthand and learning to bear them as best you can. As the judges learn on Alton’s After-Show what diabolical situations have led to chefs’ finished dishes, even they are wowed by the lengths to which sabotages have forced contestants to go just to cook a seemingly simple meal. For Jet Tila tonight, that surprise came when he tried his hand — or, rather, his foot — at wearing a 30-pound rum barrel.
“It’s really heavy,” Jet admitted, strapped into the contraption and feebly making his way around the kitchen. Alton Brown agreed that this was indeed a doozy of a sabotage; as he told Jet, “Of all the things I wouldn’t want, wearing that barrel … that’s physically grueling.” But when Jet told him just how “quite uncomfortable” this challenge was,” Alton was quick to remind him that such is the nature of the Cutthroat beast. “Yeah, it’s quite uncomfortable,” said Alton. “That’s why we do these things.”
Much like spices, herbs are easy ways to add bold punches of flavor to dishes without much effort. While dried herbs can handle the long cooking times of slow-simmering sauces, like marinara or cacciatore, fresh herbs are delicate, so it’s often best to hold those until just before serving; otherwise they may darken in color. On this morning’s brand-new episode of The Kitchen, the cast took advantage of the warmer springtime weather to shed a light on what it takes to grow fresh herbs at home in a simple-to-maintain kitchen garden. When it comes to fragrant picks like parsley and cilantro, Jeff Mauro puts those beauties to work in a chimichurri, which he uses to dress up a classic hanger steak.
FN Dish wants to know — whether you prefer fresh herbs grown at home or just pick up jars of the dried stuff from the supermarket — which variety of herb is your all-time favorite. Do you prefer the citrus-based scent of thyme or the woodsy smell of rosemary? Are you a fan of the floral flavors of fresh lavender, or is basil your best bet? Cast your vote in the poll below.
Start your weekend off with new episodes of The Kitchen and Giada at Home this Saturday on Food Network. First, the cast of The Kitchen shares ideas for easy on-the-go snacks and tricks for adding healthy foods to your favorite desserts, and get entertaining tips from Cooking Channel’s Tiffani Thiessen. Next up, Giada De Laurentiis is hosting a star-themed party on Giada at Home with great appetizers, Chocolate Amaretti Cookies and an astrologist to amuse her guests.
On Sunday, watch as Damaris Phillips preps a Southern meal for an at-home spa day with the family on Southern at Heart. It’s a family bonding day on Farmhouse Rules also as Nancy Fuller cooks up a meal for her daughter and grandchildren. At night, tune in for three hours of back-to-back competition. Watch contestants try to make a meal using only one ingredient from each store aisle on Guy’s Grocery Games, four home chefs battle for a spot in the final three for next week’s finale of All-Star Academy, and chefs work the diner counter on Cutthroat Kitchen.
Just when fans — and Robert Irvine himself — thought they’d seen it all on Restaurant: Impossible, an unprecedented mission presented itself in Illinois: Not only was Robert tasked with overhauling a restaurant, but he also had to focus on the expansive grocery store that houses the eatery. Just outside of Chicago, Zest Bistro is a four-and-a-half-year-old business located within Lemon Tree Grocer, which was founded by best friends Shaun Black and Tim Canning. While the guys thought they’d have the chops to make their double-duty business work on account of their respective pasts as a produce broker and a chef, they soon began spending far more money than they earned and were forced to look to Jessica, Tim’s wife, to help Lemon Tree. Ultimately, however, when they realized that her support wasn’t enough, it was Robert who could give them one final opportunity. In true Irvine fashion, this monstrous challenge only served to inspire Robert more, and sure enough, he relaunched both Zest Bistro and Lemon Tree with wild success. Read on below to hear from Shaun, Tim and Jessica to find out how the businesses are doing today.
According to Shaun, “Sales in Zest are up approximately 30 percent from last year during the same time period,” and Tim adds that there are “45-minute waits at times.”
During the latest episode of All-Star Academy, the remaining contestants got a double whammy — they all had to share guest mentor Robert Irvine and create a winning dish using a mystery canned good. Once all the cans were opened, we learned that chicken, ham, tuna, salmon and clams were on the menu. Some of you may have run for the hills faced with such a challenge, for those of you left, which canned protein would you have wanted?
We in Food Network Kitchen (well, some of us) would go straight for the tuna. But not all cans of tuna are equal. There are many types from which to choose. Below is a little bit about what’s in the can.
Canned whole chickens, vending-machine cheese, water-soaked hot dog rolls. Each of these items has been the focus of a Cutthroat Kitchen sabotage, and while they may be cringe-inducing (and downright hilarious) to fans watching at home, they’re nevertheless part of the offerings that the judges are forced to consume, as Simon Majumdar reminded us during the latest Alton’s After-Show.
“I have to eat this stuff; just remember that,” he told Alton Brown as he two looked back on a particularly doozy of a competition round on tonight’s all-new episode. The Round 3 challenge asked the chefs to make carrot cake in this spring-themed battle, and in the spirit of freshness and renewal in springtime, a sabotage forced one chef to “harvest ingredients new ingredients for their cake,” Alton explained. This involved digging through a makeshift garden for individually wrapped fixings, some classic like eggs and others not so traditional, like canned pickled carrots and cinnamon candies. “His sauce was odd, but now I know why,” Simon said of the offering from Chef Jeffrey, who was dealt this diabolical lot and called his dish Carrot Cake Surprise. “It’s Muggins here who gets to eat it,” he joked, adding of his own British sensibilities, “We never say something’s horrible. We go, ‘This is interesting’ or ‘This was a very brave choice.’ His was a very brave choice.”
This weekend on Food Network, tune in for fresh recipes and competition fun. On Saturday, join Ree Drummond as she shares her best tips on what foods to cook ahead and freeze for future quick-fix meals. Don’t miss her lineup of the perfect recipes for frozen meatballs, chicken and tomato sauce. Next, the cast of The Kitchen is celebrating Passover with fried matzo brei and are showing off their favorite springtime recipes. On Sunday, watch Southern at Heart for a comfort dinner you don’t want to miss, featuring a Kale “Caesar” Salad, Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pasta and a Chocolate and Espresso Layer Cake with Peanut Butter Icing for a special birthday celebration.
On Sunday night, tune in for the exciting games and challenges that will keep you on the edge of your seat, starting with a new episode of Guy’s Grocery Games at 8|7c. All-Star Academy is up next, with a twist — the mentors become the judges and special guest Robert Irvine will be standing in for the mentors. See which home cooks are sent to the elimination round through a blind taste test. Last, but certainly not least, watch Cutthroat Kitchen to see Alton Brown’s creative and entertaining obstacles for this week’s participants.
While some restaurant owners welcome Robert Irvine with open arms and recognize their need for his expertise, others are perhaps too set in their ways to realize the gravity of the state of their restaurant. That’s what happened on tonight’s all-new episode of Restaurant: Impossible when a mission took Robert to Cocoamoda in Calvert, Texas. A French bistro boasting both an event space and a chocolate boutique, Cocoamoda is owned by Ken Wilkinson, but it was Ken’s daughter, Courtney, who first reached out to Robert and asked if he — Brit to Brit — could convince her father to update his approach. Now, a few months after reopening a newly renovated Cocoamoda, Ken is speaking out about Robert’s changes to the restaurant and how his business is faring today.