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This Farmer’s a Star

by in View All Posts, June 8th, 2010
Farmer Jones is this blogger's newest Facebook friend.

Celebrity chefs are everywhere these days, but I think I’ve just met my first celebrity farmer. Farmer Lee Jones supplies vegetables to top chefs all over the country, but he’s a star in his own right, always decked out in his signature bow tie-and-overalls ensemble. Check him out on Facebook—he’s got 4,832 friends!

If you caught Battle Cauliflower on Iron Chef America a couple of weeks ago, you may recognize Farmer Jones. He provided the secret ingredient straight from the farm, and also joined in on the judges’ panel. Chefs Michael Symon and John Fraser produced some incredible cauliflower creations, using not just the familiar white florets, but also Farmer Jones’s purple, orange and romanesco varieties. Notoriously finicky judge Jeffrey Steingarten called it “the most amazing battle ever.”

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The Plaza Food Hall

by in View All Posts, June 4th, 2010

Today marks the opening of the first-ever food hall in a New York City hotel. Chef Todd English is heading up the new operation at The Plaza. The hall features local and seasonal foods at 8 stations: The Grill, Pizza, Sushi, Noodles & Dumplings, The Bakery, Cheese & Charcuterie, Ocean Grill & Oyster Bar and The Wine Bar.

We ventured over from Food Network HQ to grab the first shots of the space. Take a look:

Plaza Food Hall

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Star Power

by in View All Posts, June 2nd, 2010

Season 6 Finalists
Do you know what Sunday night is? Come on, we’ve been promoting it like crazy! In case you’ve been living inside a bubble, Sunday night at 9pm/8c is the two-hour season premiere of the best competition show on television – the one, the only – The Next Food Network Star. No, I’m not just saying that because I work for FN, I honestly feel it’s the best. Where else does a foodie have the opportunity to become a national celebrity, have access to build their own brand and all the while do what they love – cook? The concept of the show is amazing!

The peeps who have made it to this season’s competition have a passion for food. And, of course, we dig that! Now, sure, not all of them have the defined culinary skills, point of view or TV presence to win a show on the network, but our judges (Bobby, Susie and Bob) would never question their passion for food itself. The judges just need to find that one person with a little “sparkle” to go along with that passion (i.e., Guy Fieri).

Have you checked out who the 12 finalists are this season? Have you read their bios, watched their videos? Seriously, you must! You need to see what true characters these people are. Char-ac-ters, I say! Once you read and watch, let us know what you think! Write us here, tell us on Facebook, or chat with us – yes, chat!

On Sunday (and every week after that), we will be hosting a live chat during the Star broadcast. So before you settle in on the sofa to watch the show, grab your laptop! We’ll be starting at 9pm/8c at FoodNetwork.com/Star. It will be a weekly date, so don’t stand us up.

What Are You Cooking This Weekend?

by in View All Posts, May 28th, 2010
classic lemon bars
Twitter Talk: Thursday was all about lemons and you love these bars as much as we do.

We love asking you what you’re cooking and we never tire of reading your responses. Many of you are grilling for Memorial Day weekend, and not just burgers and ‘dogs — over on Facebook you’re talking about hickory grilled spareribs, whole butterflied chicken injected with jalapeno butter, bacon-wrapped shrimp, sweet potatoes, grilled pizza, Coca-Cola baby back ribs, corn on the cob, peaches and pineapple (served with ice cream, we presume).

And to our fans who report broken grills or thunderstorms in the forecast, we’re truly sorry! The weekend’s not lost though, you can still grill inside like Bobby.

We also shared Food Network Mag’s 50 bonus burger recipes on Facebook and you topped our ideas with dozens of your own — feta-stuffed burgers, seafood burgers, burgers topped with mango and jack cheese and turkey burgers with pesto. But major props go to Missi H. who made 5 of the 50 burgers so far. Let us know when you get to 50!

Twitter talk on Thursday was all about lemons, and it turns out you love lemon bars as much as we do. We shared our favorite tips, like rolling lemons on the counter before squeezing for more juice, and you offered a suggestion back: microwaving them for 5 seconds to soften them for even more juice.

Care to share more of your weekend food plans with us?

Bobby’s Memorable Memorial Day Burger

by in View All Posts, May 26th, 2010
Watercress is the key ingredient for Bobby's L.A. Burger.
Watercress is the key ingredient topping Bobby's L.A. Burger.

I have to admit I haven’t made many burgers in my life, but in preparation for Memorial Day I wanted to try grilling one up at home. I typically partake in the eating activities at barbecues rather than participating in the grilling. But at some point a person with my burger appetite should have a few recipes and techniques on hand for whenever the craving strikes.

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What Are You Talking (to us) About?

by in View All Posts, May 21st, 2010
Food Network Magazine's restaurant-inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps, a recipe you've been begging for!     Food Network Magazine's restaurant-inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps, a recipe you've been begging for!
Food Network Magazine's restaurant-inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps, a recipe you've been begging for!

We know you’re talking about Food Network, and yes, we are listening! We read your Facebook wall posts, your tweets, your comments on recipes and blog posts, and your blogs as well, and while we’d love to chat back and answer each question, there’s just not time to give you the individual love you deserve.

What we can do is meet here to discuss hot topics and trends, your likes and dislikes, popular questions and debates — in social media.

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Dining In With Ina and a Not-So-Perfect Pavlova

by in View All Posts, May 11th, 2010

Ina's Berry Pavlova
Mixed Berry Pavlova from the Barefoot Contessa

One of the most seasonally delicious things about spring is the abundance of fresh berry desserts found on so many restaurant menus. Fortunately, I live a few blocks away from perennial NYC hot-spot Balthazar which serves a Berry Pavlova just as elegant as the ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova, for whom it was named. It is a fluffy delight for any sugar addict, like myself. However my patience for making a dinner reservation is not always in line with the timing of my confectionery craving, so why not try Ina Garten’s Mixed Berry Pavlova at home? Read more

Sampling an Iron Chef’s Burger

by in View All Posts, May 7th, 2010

Jose Garces makes a mean burger

Jose Garces has a big Iron Chef America battle coming up Sunday night, but he’s already a winner in my book. Our newest Iron Chef hails from Philadelphia—a city I love dearly (I went to college there). Garces opened his first restaurant, Amada, in Old City just a few months before I graduated, but it quickly became one of my favorite spots. His mini-empire has proliferated since, with restaurants all over Philly and one in Chicago.

Just a couple of months ago, he opened up a new gourmet market/cafe called Garces Trading Company, and he’s got more ventures in the works. You may have seen him this week on Nightline, talking about Cinco de Mayo and his Latin roots. With all this plus his Next Iron Chef win last fall, I’d say Garces has experienced a pretty successful five years.

On a recent trip back to Philly, I was psyched to lunch at one of his latest ventures, Village Whiskey. While all of Garces’s other restaurants are Latin-inspired (Amada does tapas, Distrito is Mexican, Chifa has Peruvian influences…), Village Whiskey is unapologetically American. Think burgers. Pulled pork sandwiches. Lobster rolls. Chicken-fried steak.

Inside, the narrow space has a speakeasy feel, with white-tiled walls, dark leather banquettes and wooden fans spinning overhead. Obviously, there’s a long list of bourbon and Scotch. But we came for the food. Specifically, for the burger—the Philadelphia Inquirer has called it the city’s best.

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Food Network Hits the Red Carpet

by in View All Posts, May 5th, 2010

This week Alton Brown co-hosted The James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception with two other esteemed previous award winners, chefs Lidia Bastianich and Wolfgang Puck. Alton’s show Good Eats won the Best T.V. Food Journalism Award back in 2000.

The annual event honors the rockstars of the food and beverage industries by celebrating outstanding achievement in each of the following categories: Restaurant and Chef, Restaurant Design and Graphics, Books, Broadcast Media, Journalism and special achievement awards.

A group of Food Network chefs and hosts attended the star-studded festivities at the Lincoln Center in New York City, and we have their snazzy red carpet pics!

Alton Brown

Alton Brown, Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro, Chef Lidia Bastianich, Ted Allen

Michael Symon

Iron Chef Michael Symon

The Neelys

The Neelys – Gina looked fabulous in a last-minute ensemble she put together after her luggage got lost.

Anne Burrell

Chef Anne Burrell

John Besh

Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro, Chef John Besh, Guest

Mario Batali


Iron Chef Mario Batali
(no shorts! no Crocs!)

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20 Questions for the New Spice Girl

by in View All Posts, April 23rd, 2010
Janet Johnston cooks spiced-up dishes on her new show, Spice & Easy

Janet Johnston’s road to Food Network started two years ago, when Pat and Gina Neely headed to Denver for an episode of Road Tasted with the Neelys. They stopped in at Savory Spice Shop, which Janet owns with her husband, Mike.

The Johnstons and the Neelys hit it off right away, and since then Janet and Mike have guest-cheffed on episodes of Down Home with the Neelys and Paula’s Best Dishes. It soon became clear that Janet’s delicious spice-inspired food deserved a show of its own, and the idea for Spice & Easy was born. The new show premieres tomorrow morning at 9:30am/8:30c.

The Colorado shop owner and home cook films in her home kitchen as well as in the nearby Denver outpost of Savory Spice Shop. Janet couldn’t be more excited to share her love of spices and cooking with Food Network fans: “We’re having a little viewing party with our employees…It was my husband’s excuse to buy a 55-inch TV!”

To get to know FN’s newest star, read our 20 Questions for Janet Johnston.

1. What are five spices everyone needs in their pantry?

Can we eliminate salt and pepper? That just has to be a given; they are such important ingredients! Okay, then I’d start with a really good fresh ground cinnamon. I don’t know if this is cheating, but seasonings and blends are really important—I’d do an Italian herb blend and a paprika-based barbecue blend. A really good vanilla extract. Lastly, a good seafood blend like some kind of a citrus pepper or garlic pepper—a pepper-based blend. Those are some great basics that will get you there. I carry almost 500 products so this is really hard for me!

2. What did you have for dinner last night?

I made leftovers with my carrot risotto. Wow, I’m glad I made a good dinner last night…if that was my frozen pizza night I would have been embarrassed! I made the risotto two nights ago for dinner, so with the leftovers I made patties that I folded around mozzarella cheese. I floured and panko-breaded them and gave them a light fry. Mike had three of them and they were the size of burgers!

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