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SoFun in SoBe

by in View All Posts, March 3rd, 2010

Burgers, beaches, bubbly, BBQ, Bobby Flay—what more could you want in a weekend? All of the Food Network stars came out for the 2010 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and we caught some of them on camera during the whirlwind of parties, seminars and grand tastings.  


Check out our favorite video highlights from the festivities as recorded by FN ClipChick.

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Brian Boitano Vlogs from Vancouver

by in View All Posts, February 25th, 2010

Brian Boitano was in Vancouver this week re-living his Olympic glory. Long before he became a Food Network star, Brian won figure skating gold in the 1988 Calgary games. We’re guessing he had a pretty good seat for some of this year’s figure skating competitions, but he also went up to Canada to do some cooking.

Check out Brian’s Vlog from Vancouver and try some of the fun Olympic-themed recipes he prepared for the Today Show, where Meredith Vieira helped whip up his super-easy bean dip. If you’ve got five minutes and a food processor, you can too! It would be excellent to snack on with some pita chips or raw veggies while watching the Women’s Free Skate tonight.

And for more Brian, catch the new season of What Would Brian Boitano Make, premiering March 7 at 1 pm.

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Garlicky White Bean Dip
Crab and Avocado Crostini
Mini Pastrami Sandwiches
The Gold Medal Cocktail
Baked Vancouvers

-Sara Levine

Paula’s Cupcake Palette, Naturally

by in View All Posts, February 11th, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcake
I recently befriended a pastry chef, who inspired me to try my hand at baking. While her idea of baking includes creating pastel-colored French macaroons from scratch to perfection, I thought I would start simple. My husband’s favorite: Paula Deen’s Red Velvet Cupcakes for Valentine’s Day! I have always loved Paula’s butter-filled recipes.

But who knew it would be next to impossible to find real red food dye in New York City? After searching in below-freezing temperatures I finally found red natural food dye. I seriously thought if Mr. Ace of Cakes Duff could find vibrant colors for Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, my NYC search would be a breeze. Whole Foods to the rescue. Not exactly the bright red I was hoping for, but perhaps a more romantic crimson? I started combining the ingredients for the batter, which surprisingly include cocoa, white vinegar and buttermilk. How appropriate for Paula: buttermilk. She’d have it no other way.

Lastly, I added the 2 full tablespoons of dye the recipe called for, which made the batter not red but…FUCHSIA! I was mystified, and when my husband entered the kitchen he wondered aloud what inspired me to make hot-pink food for him on Valentine’s Day. He knows I am absurdly girly but this was taking things to the next level. I still decided to pop them in the oven, hoping for a 20-minute miracle of luscious red deliciousness.

The cupcakes came out more maroonish than red (think Jersey Shore tan, a la Snookie). Once they cooled, amid a few bumps in the otherwise creamy cream cheese icing, I smoothed on the frosting and voila! Next time maybe I’ll use regular food coloring. Paula Deen’s Red Velvet cupcakes had gone slightly south but my loving husband ate them with his eyes closed, promising they tasted not only delicious but red.

—Reena Mehta

Super Bowl Snacks, Alton Brown-Style

by in View All Posts, February 5th, 2010

Alton's Slacker Jacks

I may not be that much of a sports fan, but I do love any excuse to cook something special. This year I’ve been invited to a Super Bowl party at the home of my Indiana-raised friend Katie, who is beside herself with excitement that her beloved Colts have made it to the big game. Since I love to bake, I’m usually the person tasked with bringing a dessert to a gathering. But since another party attendee has already signed up to bring brownies, I had to think of another snack to contribute. Because our party hostess is a vegetarian, the Indiana-themed Fried Pork Potato Skins from Food Network Magazine are unfortunately out of the question. And she’s already making chili and corn bread and will have pretzels and chips and dip, so what could I bring that wouldn’t be redundant? Luckily I found some delicious inspiration on’s “Big Game Menus” section. Browsing through there I found the perfect snack: Alton Brown’s recipe for Slacker Jacks, his version of the classic stadium treat with a name that happens to rhyme. It’s a little bit sweet, a little bit salty, and a lot crunchy. This should perfectly fill the void between potato chips and dessert.


Super Bowl Party Picks: For Colts Fans

by in View All Posts, February 4th, 2010

Alton's Buffalo Wings
As a loyal Midwesterner, I’ll be rooting for Indiana this Super Bowl Sunday. Go Colts! My menu picks? Hearty, Midwestern comfort food favorites, including Indiana pork cutlets, beef and, yes, corn. This Indiana-inspired menu is hard to beat.

Colts Potato SkinsIndiana’s Fried Pork Potato Skins: Pork cutlets are an Indiana favorite. Topped with a little mayo, mustard and hot sauce, they’ll make amazing game-day noshes.

Buffalo Wings: If you (like me) make hot wings once a year, this is the easiest, most straight-forward recipe you can find. It’s a sure crowd-pleaser!

Slow-Cooker Chili: Warm up with steaming bowls of beefy chili. You can throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker mid-morning and forget about them until game time.

Sweet-and-Spicy Kettle Corn: A nod to never-ending fields of corn, this popcorn gets dressed up for the big game with sugar and spice, an irresistible flavor combo.
Chocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate Malt Cupcakes: A classic, down-home dessert, you really can’t go wrong with chocolate cupcakes. Set a plate out and watch them disappear.

Saints Fans: Check out our New Orleans-inspired menu from earlier this week.

For more menu ideas, from Quick and Easy to Budget Friendly, browse all of our Super Bowl menus.

Kirsten, Web Editor

This blog is now officially

by in View All Posts, February 3rd, 2010

The pictures of Dave blog:


Dude, also, legitimately not an attempted viral marketing campaign; we actually do this (not always with Doritos — previous iterations have been Cheez Whiz, Spam, and, much less compellingly, pork tenderloin), and we take it fairly seriously, to the extent that it’s no longer judged, as certain people had a tendency to get a little out of control with the bragging rights winning bestows. [us via eater and videogum]

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

Super Bowl Party Picks: For Saints Fans

by in View All Posts, February 2nd, 2010

I’ve got lots of family in New Orleans, so we’re pulling hard for the Saints to bring home their first-ever Super Bowl victory. I’ll be watching at home in New York, but my Big Easy-inspired Super Bowl party menu is all set, courtesy of Food Network Magazine.

The January/February issue has dozens of great game day recipes, plus a Mardi Gras-themed feast. No matter where your football loyalties lie, it’s hard to deny that New Orleans has the culinary advantage! Here’s my plan for a delicious Super Bowl spread:
Muffuletta Potato Skins: The next best thing to the original sandwich from the French Quarter’s Central Grocery.

Emeril’s wings: These may not be very Cajun, but a version of Emeril’s Vietnamese-flavored wings is on the menu at his excellent restaurant NOLA.

Pimiento Cheese Dip (#9 of 50 Dips): It’s popular throughout the South, but always reminds me of my visits to Louisiana.

New Orleans Cocktails: Sazeracs will class up our football party (yes, there will also be beer!)
Bourbon Praline Cake: A festive dessert to break out after the Saints win!

Colts fans: Check back in with the FN Dish later this week for our Indy-themed menu picks.

Impartial? For a taste of the tropics, try our Miami-inspired menu.

–Sara Levine

Separated at birth

by in View All Posts, February 2nd, 2010

Apologies for the long hiatus — what better to come back with than this, via the New York Post, on potential new careers in the culinary world, and our very own Dave:

courtesy Michael Sofronski/NYDN
Image courtesy Michael Sofronski/NYDN

Which is sort of oddly reminiscent of old careers available in the culinary world, by virtue of this shot from former ICA challenger Ludo Lefebvre‘s cookbook:

Image courtesy Stephen Wayda/Crave
Image courtesy Stephen Wayda/Crave

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

Worst Cooks in America. . . Really.

by in View All Posts, January 9th, 2010


If you’re a reality show addict like I am, you’re sure to love Food Network’s newest, high-drama competition show, Worst Cooks in America (Sundays at 10pm/9c). Chefs Anne Burrell and Beau MacMillan lead two teams of aspiring cooks through culinary boot camp and into competition. For the best of the worst: a grand prize of $25,000. I caught up with Anne and Beau recently to chat about what Beau calls “one of the most drama-filled, suspense-filled, exciting shows in the history of Food Network.”

Kirsten: What advice do you have for people who think they’re bad cooks?

Anne: Get a cookbook, get a good one and then use it. Don’t just wing it because if you’re not a good cook and you know you’re not a good cook, writing recipes – you’re not going to be good at it. Use it, love it, learn it.

Beau: You’ve gotta have desire. People fail once and all of a sudden they’re a bad cook. We’ve been in this business our whole lives, and you’re a student every day you walk into the kitchen. You can be humbled very quickly, so don’t give up on yourself. It’s not going to happen overnight.

Kirsten: What three ingredients would you give a new cook?

Anne: I’d give them my holy trinity, which is salt, olive oil and bacon. Those are the flavor basics to any good dish.

Beau: Swine is devine; it’s where it’s at. Anne says bacon makes everything better, and I totally agree.

Anne: That’s where I live, in bacon land.

Kirsten: Tell me a little bit about the competition between the two of you in this show.

Anne: I was unprepared for the reality of reality. So, when contestants started to cry or get so nervous, I was unprepared for that. But I was also unprepared for my own feelings of super competitiveness between me and Beau. It was really real and serious, and there was no way I was letting things slide.

Beau: You see these competitors come in and they have to compete, but the same type of [competitive] feelings build between us as well. As a chef you’re a control freak and you’re in control at all times, but in this situation you have to rely on your team. It was hard on Anne and me because you can only instruct, you cannot help. It became very stressful for us.

Anne: There was definitely very real competition and there were times when we had some smack talking. People might have thought that was staged, but no, that was very real. There was some smack going on and I think the contestants definitely noticed.

Kirsten: Why do you think this show is a must-watch? What’s the best part about the show?

Anne: There’s a crazy cast of characters, between the chef-testants and the chef chefs, but also, it really shows the inner strength that people have and the will and want to succeed. You really want to root for the underdog.

Beau: Yeah, I remember day one, Anne and I were sitting there critiquing the food and we though “Wow, Food Network did an awesome job of picking these people, but it’s got to get better than this,” but it just kind of crashed. But it’s funny, whenever I talk about the show, the biggest reaction I get from people is “I should be on that show. I should be a worst cook.” And I’m like, I didn’t know there were so many of you guys out there? I think it can relate to a lot of people.

Anne: It’s interesting because so many people know that they’re bad and they put themselves in a situation where they know they can learn. People really want to learn.

For me, the train-wreck qualities of this show make it a can’t miss. The first episode premiered last weekend, but you can see it again Sunday at 6pm/5c. New episodes air on Sundays, 10pm/9c. Check out our Worst Cooks in America show page for recipes, sneak peeks, contestant bios and more about Anne and Beau.

Kirsten, Web Editor

Backstage With The Ace of Cakes

by in View All Posts, January 8th, 2010

As a major sugar junkie, I’ve been watching Ace of Cakes for years. And like with most reality shows, I feel like I got to know its stars—especially Duff Goldman, the bad-boy baker and owner of Charm City Cakes. So when my boss told me I’d be going backstage to see Duff’s band play a concert at the House of Blues and write a story about him, I was excited (Yes! Maybe he’ll make me a cake shaped like my face!), though a tad confused (he has a band?). I was also a little nervous, since on the show, Duff can sometimes be the serious guy who cracks the whip on his wisecracking staff. . .so what if he was too serious about the “craft” of his music to let loose and have some fun?

FNM_DuffBand008.PSDWell, I didn’t need to worry about that. It’s true that Duff’s songs are moody, atmospheric, and all-instrumental (listen to one of his songs here); it’s not the hyper pop music you might expect from someone who spends his entire day swimming in sugar. But hanging out with him and his bandmates was fun and upbeat. Once they finished their sound check, we piled into to a private room in the House of Blues bar, which was decorated with red velvet booths and gold Buddha statues. After ordering a round of Yuenglings, Duff kicked up his neon-yellow sneakers and the goofing around began. The guys gave each other noogies (luckily, visiting journalists were exempt) and Duff teased the youngest member of the group: “Remember when we messed with you by painting your guitar pedal hot pink?”

Download a free copy of one of the band’s songs (to download as an MP3, right click on the link and select “Save Link As. . .”). Plus, enter for a chance to win a free CD of Duff’s album, signed by Duff himself. See the full story about Duff’s band from Food Network Magazine.

—Sarah Z. Wexler