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March Meatball Madness

by in View All Posts, March 24th, 2011
Dressed Up Swedish Meatballs - Image Courtesy Food Network Magazine

If you are like me, you grew up eating meatballs in their most traditional sense: tossed in an Italian tomato meat sauce next to a heaping scoop of spaghetti pasta. Well, this is only one way to enjoy the minced meat creations. But have you ever had meatballs on a stick? Or have you featured them in a chili-based soup or combined them with bulgur wheat, pine nuts and lamb? These meatball concoctions are loaded with fun flavors.

While the traditional version is topped with a thick gravy alongside lingonberry preserves, this recipe for Swedish Meatballs from foodnetwork.com offers an updated twist. These golf ball-sized bites are flash fried, skewered with a pickled cucumber slice and served with lingonberry-cream dipping sauce.

Use the word “meat” loosely and try David Rocco’s recipe for Tuna Meatballs from cookingchanneltv.com.  For a mix of sweet and savory, David minces sushi-grade tuna and combines it with breadcrumbs, pine nuts and raisins before frying the balls and glazing them with a simple balsamic rosemary reduction.

Such classic Mexican flavors as cilantro, chili and mint are highlighted in Food.com’s recipe for Authentic Sopa De Albondigas (Meatball Soup). Better make an extra large batch of this timeless sopa – one bowl and you will be hooked.

Lamb and onions are sautéed then stuffed inside a hearty mixture of bulgur, mint and allspice in food2.com’s recipe for Kibbeh Meatballs. For a refreshing touch, serve these two-bite meatballs alongside a light mint yogurt dip.

Side Dish: More Food on the Web

by in View All Posts, March 22nd, 2011
Duff Goldman: Ace of Ice Cream

Duff’s New Ice Cream: This Ace of Cakes has partnered with Blue Bunny to create four cake-themed ice creams. Here’s the scoop on the new flavors: Chocolate Lovers Triple Chocolate Cake, Strawberries are Forever Shortcake, I Do I Do Wedding Cake and Red Carpet Red Velvet. We’re already screaming for them. [eater.com]

Bolivia’s Quinoa Conundrum: Global demand for quinoa is so high these days those farming it in Bolivia are having to give it up as a dietary staple. As richer countries discover the super food, which is packed “with an exceptional balance of amino acids,” prices for quinoa have skyrocketed, making local consumption dwindle. [nytimes.com]

Alice Waters’ Daughter (Shockingly) Loves Salad: The Wall Street Journal profiles Fanny Singer, daughter of legendary chef Alice Waters, and reveals several noteworthy bites:  her first word was “lobster,” she doesn’t use a microwave and her biggest food indulgence is spending roughly $150 on 12 biodynamic limes. [wsj.com]

Restaurants and Bars Helping Japan: Here in New York, some local restaurants are donating proceeds from special menus to Japan’s relief fund. The New York Times shares a few of these spots, while Grubstreet.com has listed some local bars lending a hand. What establishments in your area are doing the same?

Here’s our round-up of food news, trends and happenings across the web. Check back for more, and tell us what else you’re loving in the comments.

On the Triple-D Trail

by in View All Posts, March 22nd, 2011
Louie and the Redhead Lady in Mandeville, LA celebrated its DDD appearance with this tasty tribute to Guy. Image courtesy Louie and the Redhead Lady.

It’s not news to anyone that Guy Fieri is a total rock star. His “Chef-Dude” magnetism has been chronicled by the New York Times: It all started with his win on The Next Food Network Star; then came Guy’s Big Bite and soon after, the wildly popular Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. More recently there’s been Tailgate Warriors, a game show and cooking demonstrations that rival sold-out pop concerts. When Guy’s yellow Lamborghini went missing a couple of weeks ago, it was national news.

Diners at Louie and the Redhead Lady watch Guy's visit to the restaurant on a continuous loop.

But Guy’s rock-star status was never more evident to me than when I stumbled upon a mom-and-pop restaurant in Mandeville, Louisiana (a suburb across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans), that had received a visit from Triple-D. The episode featuring Louie and the Redhead Lady aired this winter, and Chef Louie and his wife Ginger (a.k.a., you guessed it, the Redhead Lady) are still flying high from the experience — and the huge boom in business that it set off.

Read more

Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day With Irish Soda Bread

by in View All Posts, March 17th, 2011
Ina Garten’s Soda Bread

Whether you’re cooking up corned beef and cabbage or Irish stew to celebrate the Emerald Isle this March 17, one thing’s for sure: you’ll need something to sop up all those delicious juices. The answer: Irish soda bread. Thanks to baking soda, it’s as quick to make as banana bread, yet as hearty and satisfying as bread that took all day to bake. Here are some of our favorite versions.

Make soda bread tonight »

Luck O’ the Dancing Leprechaun

by in View All Posts, March 10th, 2011
Thanks, Slow-Cooker! - Image Courtesy Food Network Magazine

Break out your favorite green sweater and pick up some stout because St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Here are a few favorite Irish recipes we’re cooking up for March 17th.

In Ireland cabbage was eaten with ham or bacon, not corned beef. The Irish began choosing beef in the mid-19th Century after they immigrated to the States and were unable to find suitable pork products. Foodnetwork.com’s recipe for Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage is an ultimate American fave.

For a classic dish, try cookingchanneltv.com’s recipe for Irish Stew. It’s made with lamb, barley, potatoes and onions, and one bite will send your taste buds straight back to the old country.

While Irish Soda Bread was first made with just flour, baking soda, buttermilk and salt, contemporary recipes, like this one from food2.com, features currants or raisins as well. Dunk a piece of this dense bread into that heavenly Irish Stew or serve with a generous layer of butter.

Celebrate good times with Food.com’s recipes for Guinness-Ginger Cupcakes and a Dancing Leprechaun cocktail. The cupcakes are made with molasses and stout beer, while the cocktail is shaken with Irish whiskey, lemon juice and Drambuie, a Scottish liqueur that has been around for hundreds of years.

Food Network Stars Give Back

by in View All Posts, March 9th, 2011
Guy Fieri
Guy is one of many chefs giving back.

Many Food Network stars contribute to local causes as well as national charities close to their hearts. A few recent sightings…

This past weekend, Guy Fieri cooked with students from more than a dozen Chicago area schools to benefit the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program. The students worked with Guy preparing appetizers to be served at a reception. CCAP works with students across the country interested in pursuing a culinary career and offers scholarships, job training and internships.

Chef Giada DeLaurentiis is visiting schools in South Carolina to film an effort that’s bringing food to hungry children. Every Friday the Back the Pack program adds non perishable items to the backpacks of children who need food for their weekend at home. Educators in the area realized the need when many children would ask for seconds and wrap part of their meal to take home. Meetings with counselors and other school workers led to the discovery that one in 17 students leave school on Fridays without another full meal until they return on Monday. During her visit, Giada will tour a local school where children receive the packs and meet with high school students who participate in a warehouse distribution course where they pack and then ship the items to elementary and middle school students in the area.

Saturday, April 23rd Chef Duff Goldman will be in Richmond Kentucky for an event to benefit the Grace Now Food Pantry. The organization was started by a local church and provided 90,000 food items to about 1,100 families last year. The event will include a cake decorating competition for amateurs and professionals. Amateurs can compete in different categories, one for adults and two for youngsters, ages 17-13 and 12-6. Professionals may enter in three classes: tiered, holiday/special occasion and sculpted.  For more information on the rules and cost of the event, or to purchase tickets you can visit the organization’s website, www.gracenowky.com.

The Food Network Fans are constantly looking for info and sharing links on where we can find your favorite stars, discuss your favorite show, visit a book signing, or see an appearance in other venues. We invite you to stop by and visit at FoodNetworkFans.com

Side Dish: More Food on the Web

by in View All Posts, March 8th, 2011
What music did this bottle listen to?

The Audio Files of One Oenophile: An Austrian winemaker has invented a sound system that plays classical, jazz or electronic music to grapes as they ferment. “The sound waves, he claims, positively influence the maturing process and produce a better tasting wine.” [thehour.com via grubstreet.com] [Food Network Wine]

NYC Restaurants: ‘The Customer Is Not Always Right’ The New York Times takes a look at a few persnickety restaurants whose chefs refuse to make certain adjustments to orders. Want ketchup for your fries? Too bad. Your bagel toasted? Good luck! “Instead of trying to make a menu that’s for everyone, let’s make a menu that works best for what we want to do,” chef David Chang told the Times. [nytimes.com]

Morimoto on the Status of Japanese Cuisine: Speaking of chefs who won’t serve certain popular items in their restaurants, you won’t find over-stuffed maki rolls at a Morimoto establishment. The Chicago Tribune checks in with the Iron Chef, asking him about the progression of Japanese food here in the states. [chicagotribune.com via eater.com]

Color-Correcting Foods at the Store: Grocers are enlisting a new kind of light bulb to show off their foods in the best, well, light. Using digital LED lighting technology, stores can “nearly replicate the true color of the sun’s illumination,” which means berries seem brighter and veggies appear greener. [news.discovery.com via eatocracy.com]

Here’s our round-up of food news, trends and happenings across the web. Check back for more, and tell us what else you’re loving in the comments.

Pass the Peas Please

by in View All Posts, March 3rd, 2011
Spring for Peas

Spring is almost here, which means longer days, chirping birds, blooming flowers and, of course, the start of pea season. Pea plants do best in cool-weather environments, making the fair months of March and April the ideal time to grow these teeny green veggies. Whether you like them pureed in soup, scooped alongside meat or mixed in a salad, peas are sure to liven up any spring dish.

At your next get-together, trade in the carrots and ranch for Giada’s Sun-dried Tomatoes and Peas on Endive Spears from cookingchanneltv.com. When pureed, the peas and sun-dried tomatoes take on a light dip texture, making this appetizer a classy starter to any meal.

For a vibrant green dish to match the blooming plants outside, try this Pea, Feta and Mint Salad With Pistachios from food.com. Sweet sautéed onions, tangy crumbled feta cheese and crisp peas combine for light-yet-satisfying salad, perfect for a simple lunch or dinner.

Dress up those drab frozen peas with Bobby Flay’s classic recipe for Peas With Shallots and Pancetta from foodnetwork.com. Salty and robust, pancetta adds a perfect contrast to the delicate flavors of sweet shallots and the crunch of green peas.

Michael Chiarello’s Spring Pea Soup from food2.com is a cinch to make and filled with fresh garden ingredients, like leeks, celery, English peas and thyme. Whip up a batch of this creamy soup any night of the week.

Food Obsessed: Mac ‘N’ Cheese

by in View All Posts, March 3rd, 2011
Alton

I don’t clearly remember the first time I had macaroni and cheese. It’s just always been there. The first time I made mac ‘n’ cheese, my friends and I made it out of a box and we added Bac-O’s for flavor. It wasn’t very good, but it wasn’t bad either. Lesson learned: even bad mac ‘n’ cheese can be delicious.

It wasn’t until I was an adult and eating in restaurants that I realized how good a real baked shells and cheese could be. I became obsessed with finding down-home cheesy perfection.

Chat ‘N’ Chew, a downtown NYC staple, has one of my favorite basic baked versions. It’s not fancy, but you get a lot of it, and it hits that perfect blend of crispy topping, warm cheese and noodle-y goodness.

When I’m craving a taste of my Bac-O’s disaster, I indulge in Tipsy Parson‘s Mac ‘N’ Cheese with slab bacon. The smoky flavor perfectly slices through the sharp Vermont cheddar and delivers an extra protein punch.

More recently, the newly opened Little Cheese Pub has set my obsession on its head with rotating versions of the comfort classic. The Dutch Kas Mac has all the traditional elements, but the cheese is Gouda and it’s topped with beer pretzels. It’s exactly what mac ‘n’ cheese should taste like, but somehow better. They also have versions with Manchego and mozzarella cheese. It’s practically criminal.

Hungry yet? Try one of our chefs’ versions at home or tell us where the best mac ‘n’ cheese is in your town.

Side Dish: More Food on the Web

by in View All Posts, March 1st, 2011
Consider Yourself Fueled - Image Courtesy Food Network Magazine

Tacos With a Side of Gasoline: The Wall Street Journal highlights a new trend: the gas station taqueria. From California to Maine, you can fuel up on both tacos and gas at these five spots – so chose your route accordingly. [wsj.com]

New Mexico Chilly On Other Chiles: The state’s chile industry has taken a financial hit from foreign produce exporters to its south. Thus the New Mexico Chile Advertising Act has been proposed, which would make it illegal to advertise any of this heated product as local when it’s not. “This is not so much an issue of policing,” Jaye Hawkins, executive director of the New Mexico Chile Association told the Times. “[It’s about] making sure consumers can be sure they are getting New Mexico chile when that’s what they think they’re buying.” [nytimes.com]

Ben & Jerry’s Newest Flavor: The newest ice cream to be produced by Vermont’s finest is called Late Night Snack, and it’s inspired by comedian Jimmy Fallon. If you’ve ever considered removing your couch cushions and dropping their underlying crumbs into ice cream, then this might be your new favorite flavor. It boasts a creamy vanilla base which is swirled with salted caramel, but the real selling point is the fudge-covered potato chip clusters. [newyork.grubstreet.com]

How to Pose Like a Chef: In more Saturday Night Live-alum news, Portlandia’s Fred Armisen’s stars in this hysterical attempt to pose like a chef for a photo shoot. See what happens when a gallon of milk gets involved. [eater.com]

Here’s our round-up of food news, trends and happenings across the web. Check back for more, and tell us what else you’re loving in the comments