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Side Dish: More Food on the Web

by in View All Posts, October 5th, 2010
Bacon-Wrapped Everything: So Last Year?

Bye Bye Bacon? The Wall Street Journal traces the popularity of bacon from an everyday breakfast food to a cooking super-trend, and one that’s about to sizzle out fast. “It’s been overplayed so much and my taste buds are tired of it,” Boston chef Ken Oringer tells the WSJ. So he, alongside a growing number of other cooks, has started replacing beloved cured pork for new flavor boosters, like smoked salt, Indian spices and shitake mushrooms. Just how seriously are some taking the self-imposed bacon ban? Oringer reportedly ordered a pastry chef to melt down her bacon bon bons into mole sauce for the staff only.  [Wall Street Journal via eater.com]

Gardens are the New Bacon: According to a survey by the National Restaurant Association, the latest trend in the food industry is restaurant gardens. NPR reports that more and more spots are growing their own goodies in an attempt to control the quality of food and what ends up on the menu. And as for patrons? “It’s a benefit knowing the food you’re eating is grown 20 feet from the kitchen without pesticides or artificial fertilizers,” one Michigan restaurant-goer told NPR. “The scene, the beautiful colors when everything is ripe, and the way the gardens are laid out — [there’s] a beauty [to] it.” [NPR via eatocracy.cnn.com]

New Blog Favorite: Who doesn’t love a good illustrated book? And what about cookbooks? The best! So here’s where things get awesome: theydrawandcook.com combines recipes and imaginative artwork into one culinary fairytale. From a mojito infographic to an apple cider comic to a cartoony Yorkshire pudding, the recipes are as varied as their accompanying illustrations, and you can even submit your own pretty recipe renderings. [theydrawandcook.com]

The Way We Eat Now: Newsweek.com lists the 10 monumental things that account for Americans’ eating habits, tracking the evolution from early immigration through organic farming. Sandwiched in between are Julia Child, 750-pound microwaves, food-focused television programming (hey, that’s us!), and a spoonful of other easy-to-digest nuggets from history. Anything missing? [newsweek.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.

Fall Fest: Pick The Perfect Apple

by in View All Posts, September 29th, 2010
The Neelys' Apple Crisp
The Neelys' Apple Crisp

We’re teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Fall Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. To join in, check out awaytogarden.com.

Bring on the apple crisp, baked apples and applesauce-d pork chops  — apple season is here! From popular supermarket varieties to the thousands of heirloom types you can pick up at a local farmers’ market, each apple has its own personality.

Some apples stand up to baking, while others fall flat in the oven. Some are too tart to munch on, but perfect for pies. So, how do you choose? Here’s a primer on picking the best apples for the job.

The best apples for favorite recipes »

Side Dish: More Food on the Web

by in View All Posts, September 28th, 2010
Ina, Thrilled About Pumpkins

The Great Pumpkin Famine Declared Over: Were you among the masses that raided store shelves this time last year to build a bunker filled with canned pumpkin? Or did you shell out $6-$7 a pop on eBay for a coveted can of the orange stuff? This fall, there’s no need to ration your pumpkin goop. Nestle, who sells the cans under its popular Libby’s label, has declared the great pumpkin shortage that began in 2009 officially over. They’ve planted more of this “super food” and they’ve planted it earlier, meaning you now have every right to ask for extra pies, bars, soufflés, trifles, cheesecakes, cookies and, well, we have lots of ideas. [Boston Herald]

Arrested Development-Style Banana Stand Opens In Austin: So much for keeping Austin weird – the wily Texans behind the city’s latest pop-up dessert spot are making it bananas. Fans of the hilariously awkward comedy Arrested Development will appreciate names for Banarchy’s chocolate-dipped frozen bananas like the Afternoon Delight and the Job. Let’s just hope no one burns it down, because remember, there just might be money in that banana stand. [seriouseats.com]

Peaches Make Room for Olives in Georgia: In an attempt to enter the olive oil industry dominated by overseas countries, 95 acres of olive groves will be planted in the Peach State over the next three years. Olives grew in abundance in Georgia from the 1600s through the Civil War, when rice and cotton crops supplanted them. But now, because the United States is the third-largest consumer of olive oil in the world and demand for the staple here continues to grow, Georgia farmers seek to turn this liquid gold into real profit. [Washington Post]

Boston to Put a Cap on Soda Consumption? Government buildings in San Francisco have banned it. City facilities in New York City have restricted it. Now, Boston public officials, concerned about the health of fellow employees, may make it harder to find soda in city vending machines. Bostonians are considering limiting the availability of the sugar-laden drinks on city-owned property because, as Bill Walczak, head of a community health center and a member of the city’s panel, told the Boston Globe, “Somebody has to take a stand, and if it isn’t the government and health care institutions leading the way to a healthier lifestyle, who’s going to do it?’’ [Boston Globe via  consumerist.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.

Free Association: Meat and (Lots of) Potatoes

by in View All Posts, September 23rd, 2010
Can you tell this is Rahm Fama's dream job?

Rahm Fama, host of the new Food Network series Meat & Potatoes, is a self-proclaimed meat nerd. “If you’re a car nerd, you know as much as you can about cars, but you’ll never know everything. You’re always willing to learn more,” the enthusiastic carnivore explains. “I am consistently and always excited to learn about new meat.”

On Meat & Potatoes, Rahm travels the country, checking out (and, naturally, tasting) the best and most interesting meat and potatoes America has to offer. It’s a dream job for a guy who grew up working on his family’s cattle ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico and then became an established restaurant chef.

To get everyone in a meaty mood for Friday’s premiere of his new show (10pm/9c), we played a little meat-and-potatoes word association with Rahm. His pairings will undoubtedly induce cravings, so try them out at home with some top Food Network recipes…

Let’s start with a classic. French fries and ________?
You know, I’m actually not going to go with a burger. I’d do steak au poivre with pommes frites.

Braised short ribs and _________?
Short ribs go great with pureed potatoes.

Potato gratin and _________?
I’d do a grilled filet mignon—gotta have those char marks.

Read more

Spinach: Giada’s Great Italian Takes

by in View All Posts, September 22nd, 2010
Penne with Spinach Sauce
Giada's Penne with Spinach Sauce

Fall FestWe’re teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Fall Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. To join in, check out awaytogarden.com.

In honor of the first day of fall, whip up some comforting everyday Italian dishes from Giada, featuring the earthy goodness of still-fresh spinach. As part of a cheesy topping or pasta mix-in, spinach goes from dreaded health food to savory treat.

Read more

Side Dish: More Food on the Web

by in View All Posts, September 21st, 2010
Bobby Flay: Your Salad Soul Mate?

Salad Serendipity: Just Salad, a restaurant in Hong Kong and New York City, wants you to find love over lunchtime. The salad purveyor has created a free online dating site for customers, using an algorithm much like the one employed by traditional dating sites. Your soul mate is selected based on “which Just Salad location you frequent, when you frequent it, and what ingredients you love in your salad.” [The Independent via theawl.com]

Some Like It Hot, But Why? The New York Times takes a look at why people find pleasure in eating the spiciest stuff they can stand. “Chili pungency is not technically a taste; it is the sensation of burning, mediated by the same mechanism that would let you know that someone had set your tongue on fire,” the Times reports. If that sounds fantastic to you, read on: “[Psychologist Dr. Paul Rozen] tested chili eaters by gradually increasing the pain, or, as the pros call it, the pungency, of the food, right up to the point at which the subjects said they just could not go further. When asked after the test what level of heat they liked the best, they chose the highest level they could stand, ‘just below the level of unbearable pain.’” [New York Times]

Punk’s Not Dead, It’s Pasta: Marky Ramone, drummer for the seminal punk foursome the Ramones, has unveiled a line of spaghetti sauce under his Brooklyn’s Own label. “I made it with my grandpa; he was a chef at 21 Club,” Ramone tells mapanare.us. “I watched him as a little boy, and then when I got older, I lived alone at 18, and so pasta sauce and spaghetti was the cheapest thing around. I got really good at making it, and so I am excited I get to share my recipe with others.” [mapanare.us via boingboing.com]

Wine Vending Machines? Mais Oui: Vending machines filled with wine are the new fill-up stations across France. For oenophiles appreciating convenience, just bring your own bottle (or barrel), choose among red, white or rosé, and fill ‘er up. An added bonus of this fuel is that the price is a little cheaper at the pump than from a bottle and any kind of large-scale spill might just benefit surrounding communities. [Dr. Vino]

Opening Bottles Like MacGuyver: Not in France where you can choose what bottle to guzzle wine from? Better bring your bottle opener. Actually, the fine folks at urlesque.com have compiled 31 untraditional ways to open beers, and your bike tires, napkins, hockey sticks and scrambled eggs are just some of the random things doing double duty. [urlesque.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.

Comfort Food Favorite: Twice-Baked Potatoes

by in View All Posts, September 15th, 2010
Marbled Stuffed Potatoes from Food Network Magazine

Summer FestWe’re teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Summer Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. To join in, check out awaytogarden.com.

Twice-baked potatoes are like the dinner-plate version of cupcakes – they’re cute, decadent, individually portioned and completely irresistible. Sure, they require more effort than your average weeknight potato side (they’re baked, mashed, mixed, filled and then baked again), but they’re also one of those dishes that makes any dinner feel like a special occasion. Twice-bake a cheesy batch for family and friends whenever you want to impress.

Read more

Side Dish: More Food on the Web

by in View All Posts, September 14th, 2010
A chez magnifique crepe station during Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race

WWF (World’s Weirdest Foods) Roundup: Truck Edition! The folks at SF Weekly have pulled a traffic report on the most incredibly-named food trucks. From Kim Jong Grillin to the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck to the Dump Truck, these rigs scoop out serious street food alongside a few chuckles. And while it’s unclear what the Rolling Stove serves, “Gimme Shellfish” and “Under My Thumbprint Cookie” just might be worthy of menu consideration. [SF Weekly] [The Great Food Truck Race]

Subway Heads Above Ground With Food Trucks: Speaking of food trucks, the zooming meals-on-wheels industry isn’t just for the new and cheeky. According to the LA Times, establishments like Sizzler and Subway are taking a course in Food Trucks 101…by hitting Highway 101. “Ten percent of the top 200 chains will have trucks on the road within the next 24 months,” predicted Aaron Noveshen, a restaurant-industry consultant, to the paper. “They’re all talking about it.” [Los Angeles Times]

That Sandwich Costs Mad Cheddar: Have you ever considered how much one cheese sandwich might cost if it cost more than any other cheese sandwich that’s ever come before it? Well, the most expensive one has been found! As of press time, and not factoring in any extra pesky conversion costs, one sammy from British chef Martin Blunos – who layers cheddar cheese combined with white truffles atop some quail eggs and black heirlooms before dusting the whole baguette in gold – will set you back $170. [BBC via cheese-recipes.tumblr.com] [Cheese Sandwich Recipes]

Break Yourself Off a Piece of That World’s Largest Chocolate Bar: A 9,702-lb brick of chocolate in Armenia has clinched the Guinness title for world’s gigantic-est candy bar. This chocoholic’s dream was produced by the Grand Candy factory to commemorate the company’s 10th anniversary, and lucky patrons will be treated to fun-sized pieces next month. [NPR] [Chocolate Recipes]

Whole Foods Goes Sea Green: Whole Foods Market has teamed up with Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium to launch a sustainability-rating program for all seafood caught in the wild and sold in its stores. Among the new practices, the ocean-friendly company has said it will stop selling “red-rated” species, or any sea critters considered endangered or a victim of harmful fishing practices. [Eatocracy] [Seafood 5 Ways]

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.


WWF (World’s Weirdest Foods) Roundup: Truck Edition! The folks at SF Weekly have pulled a traffic report on the most incredibly-named food trucks. From Kim Jong Grillin to the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck to the Dump Truck, these rigs scoop out serious street food alongside a few chuckles. And while it’s unclear what the Rolling Stove serves, “Gimme Shellfish” and “Under My Thumbprint Cookie” just might be worthy of menu consideration. [SF Weekly] [The Great Food Truck Race]

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2010/09/food_trucks_kim_jong_grillin_chairman_bao.php

http://www.foodnetwork.com/the-great-food-truck-race/index.html

Subway Heads Above Ground With Food Trucks

Speaking of food trucks, the zooming meals-on-wheels industry isn’t just for the new and cheeky. According to the LA Times, establishments like Sizzler and Subway are taking a course in Food Trucks 101…by hitting Highway 101. “Ten percent of the top 200 chains will have trucks on the road within the next 24 months,” predicted Aaron Noveshen, a restaurant-industry consultant, to the LA Times. “They’re all talking about it.” [Los Angeles Times]

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-food-trucks-20100909,0,579393.story

http://www.foodnetwork.com/search/delegate.do?fnSearchString=cheese+sandwich&fnSearchType=site

That Sandwich Costs Mad Cheddar

Have you ever considered how much one cheese sandwich might cost if it cost more than any other cheese sandwich that’s ever come before it? Well, the most expensive one has been found! As of press time, and not factoring in any extra pesky conversion costs, one sammy from British chef Martin Blunos – who layers cheddar cheese combined with white truffles atop some quail eggs and black heirlooms before dusting the whole baguette in gold – will set you back $170. [BBC via cheese-recipes.tumblr.com] [Cheese Sandwich Recipes]

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-11272303

http://cheese-recipes.tumblr.com/post/1115062012/the-worlds-most-expensive-cheese-sandwich

http://www.foodnetwork.com/search/delegate.do?fnSearchString=cheese+sandwich&fnSearchType=site

Break Yourself Off a Piece of That World’s Largest Chocolate

Bar A 9,702-lb brick of chocolate in Armenia has clinched the Guinness title for world’s gigantic-est candy bar. This chocoholic’s dream was produced by the Grand Candy factory to commemorate the company’s 10th anniversary, and lucky patrons will be treated to fun-sized pieces next month. [NPR] [Chocolate Recipes]

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129792471

http://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/chocolate/index.html

Whole Foods Goes Sea Green

Whole Foods Market has teamed up with Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium to launch a sustainability-rating program for all seafood caught in the wild and sold in its stores. Alongside these new practices, the ocean-friendly company has said it will stop selling “red-rated” species, or any sea critters considered endangered or a victim of harmful fishing practices. [Eatocracy] [Seafood 5 Ways]

http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2010/09/13/whole-foods-launches-sustainability-rating-program/

http://www.foodnetwork.com/make-it-5-ways-seafood/package/index.html

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.

Why So Sunny?

by in View All Posts, September 10th, 2010

Sunny Anderson

Why So Sunny?

One of the things fans love about Cooking for Real star Sunny Anderson is her bubbly personality. During a break from shooting in Studio A at Food Network’s Chelsea HQ, Sunny shared some insight on how she keeps her positive attitude and energy.

For starters, Sunny explains that what motivates her is the idea that “no matter how bad you have it, someone else has it worse.” Her optimism is served up with a healthy helping of perspective: “The stress I have from day to day is good stress.”

A cool fact about Sunny Anderson is that she grew up as an Army brat traveling the world, indulging in the local cuisine. As an adult, she served as a Senior Airman in the Air Force. So how then did she end up on Food Network bringing you deliciously down-to-earth meals? “The jobs that are on the outside are also on the inside,” Sunny explains. She started broadcasting while serving and soon became an award-winning military radio host and news reporter. Cooking was something she did for friends on the side while she was working on her broadcasting career.

Sunny jokes that she thought “if I started charging people instead of doing it for free, then they would stop asking.” Instead it led to a successful catering business, “Sunny’s Delicious Dishes.” A smart connection through her new business landed Sunny a special guest spot on Emeril Live and ultimately brought her to Food Network.

When it comes to the company she keeps, Sunny says she makes a point to surround herself with positive people. Not surprisingly, in the space of just a short visit, she’ll make you feel like you’ve just done the same.

Mexican & Marcela

by in View All Posts, September 9th, 2010
Marcela Valladolid of Mexican Made Easy

When it comes to comfort food, macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, casseroles and pot pies will always hold a special place in this Georgia boy’s heart, but right up there are my step-mother’s amazing Mexican classics – homemade salsa, enchiladas, chalupas, and so much more. (Refried beans and mashed potatoes hold the same level of adoration in my heart.)

Marcela Valladolid is a fairly new talent at Food Network but has become the face of Mexican food around here. I find her show, Mexican Made Easy, (and recipes) enjoyable and very tasty. I appreciate Marcela’s different take on Mexican. She actually offers healthy, easy-to-make dishes. And, honestly, I didn’t think that was possible. A lot of the authentic Mexican I’ve seen prepared is an all out chore and lengthy process (if my step-mom is reading this, you know it’s true)! And healthy? Goodness, I don’t think that “health” was ever considered growing up. Marcela is truly busting down Mexican food stereotypes.

Recently, I made Marcela’s Mexican Shrimp Burger. When I first heard of this dish, I was a bit skeptical and thought “Come again?” But the ingredients sounded delicious and then I read the comments from those who tried it: “Maravilloso!” one posted. I couldn’t have agreed more. It was phenomenal, different, easy and the avocado aioli could make you cry it’s so flavorful. I also went to a barbecue this summer where a friend served Marcela’s Watermelon and Mint “Agua Fresca.” I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshing beverage, and since it’s non-alcoholic the kids at the party loved it, too.

What’s your favorite Mexican dish? For more of Marcela’s, check out her recipes. Try some and post what you think. You can watch Mexican Made Easy Saturdays at 9:30am/8:30c.