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Minor Disaster Minorly Averted

by in View All Posts, December 5th, 2008

So I have this terrible, ancient old fridge, and anything like keeping a steady non-freezing-but-still-cold temperature is apparently too much to ask of it. (Pictured here, in black and white to emphasize the ancientness).

I had put this lamb steak in to thaw yesterday morning; I arrived home from work last night with a loaf of bread and then began chopping vegetables to roast. When the vegetables were about 20 minutes from done, I pulled out the lamb steak to quickly sear it off, then realized it was still rock hard.

Ok, so we’re starving, we have no protein in the house, and the vegetables will be done shortly. Now what? Then it occurs to us — the following tube of tinned terrines was one of our wedding gifts, brought by a friend from France (and shot by our lovely, and remarkably fond of inanimate objects, wedding photographer):

And that would be dinner. (the terrines, that is — not the book.) And that would be delicious.

Perhaps I should mess up dinner more often.

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

Dish on Dishes — Wendy’s Back

by in View All Posts, December 5th, 2008

Various serving trays from Food NetworkFN Dish recently posted about the secret storage room that houses Food Network’s props, flatware and goodies from the last fifteen years. FN Set Decorator Wendy and her colleague Jamie curate the entire collection.

FN Fan, Robin, recently asked an excellent question: “When a show is introduced with a new on-air personality, how are props selected? Is a collaborative process between you and the on-air personality?”

Here’s the scoop from Wendy… “I really like to blend new, used and vintage elements to create intriguing backgrounds and tabletop designs… Most people live among newly-acquired purchases or gifts, heirlooms, impulse items, and hand-me-downs. This is the same for sets at Food Network, except with attention paid to camera angles, color, which foods will be featured, etc.”

As Robin guessed, Wendy does meet with each chef, along with key members of the Food Network production team before a show commences shooting. This helps her translate their vibe, energy and personality into the artistic choices seen on air. Have a question for Wendy? Post below and let her know.

Recognize these bold pieces from Sunny Anderson‘s set?

Someday, all our sushi will come on conveyor belts.

by in View All Posts, December 4th, 2008

I had been eyeing a new conveyor belt sushi spot all semester long and finally had a chance to go after class the other night. Having been fascinated with automation and mass production since childhood, I couldn’t wait to try it.

Conveyor belt sushi is exactly what it sounds like: small plates of sushi that roll along a conveyor belt in front of you. You pick whatever you want and are charged by the plate. Prices vary according to the color of the plate.

The sushi wasn’t the best I’d ever had, and, after seeing the same cucumber roll come by more than several times, I began to wonder about its age. But still, it was pretty neat. It made me wonder why we don’t have conveyor belt tapas. Good idea? Maybe not.

Shirley Fan, Nutritiontron

Calling All Holiday Cookie Cooks

by in View All Posts, December 4th, 2008

Holiday Cookies from Food NetworkIn honor of the 12 Days of Cookies, some Food Network staffers decided to bake each cookie this weekend. We’ll take pictures and put up a gallery on The FN Dish next week.

However, it would be more fun if you got in on the action as well. Send us a photo of YOUR holiday cookie and we’ll post as many as we can. If you need inspiration, try out some 12 Days of Cookies ideas or maybe an exotic, international recipe.

Send your photo to FNDish@foodnetwork.com and feel free to let us know how it went (and if they were tasty). We’re looking to receive all photos by Monday, December 8th so we can get them up.

Have fun!
~ The FN Cookie Monster

Bob’s Back! More Q & A

by in View All Posts, December 3rd, 2008

Which chefs shoot in their real kitchens?

Talk about kitchen envy. Ina now shoots in her elegantly welcoming kitchen on her property in East Hampton, New York. I keep hoping she’ll adopt me. Paula also shoots in her gorgeous and gracious home in Savannah. The Neelys have just begun to shoot in their brand new home in Memphis.

Bobby, Giada, Ingrid, and Aaron shoot in real homes, but not theirs, either because their kitchen wasn’t quite right to shoot in, or they preferred not to. Believe me, I wouldn’t want hundreds of pounds of equipment and dozens of crew members tearing up my kitchen either.

Tyler shoots in a studio kitchen that was designed to resemble the kitchen he had at his NYC apartment, before he moved to California. Giada now shoots in a studio in Los Angeles on a set that is inspired by her airy new home kitchen. Sunny, Sandra, Aida, Anne & Guy shoot either in our studios here in Chelsea Market, or close by.

Sunny Set Picture

Please tell me you don’t throw out extra food on your cooking shows.

Not a chance. We work with a fantastic group called City Harvest to donate some of the food to local shelters. Some prepared food goes to feed our crew and kitchen staff. The only food that is disposed of is that food deemed unsafe to eat because it has sat out too long under hot lights.

Why didn’t you respond to my e-mail?

Rest assured we read every single message. But the sheer number — 20,000 a month — means that unfortunately we can’t answer every single one.

That’s it from where I sit.

Thanks,
Bob

What I Was Thankful For

by in View All Posts, December 2nd, 2008

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Thanksgiving is a wonderful excuse for families to get together and eat a ridiculous amount of food. This year, same as last year, I made lamb chops. I know this doesn’t sound too traditional or special, but it was special to my family — specifically my brother.

See, it was my brother’s last home-cooked meal before being shipped off to Iraq and my family wanted to make something special for him. It came out perfect and I was thankful that I was able to give him what he enjoyed. (Except for the fact that he likes his well-done and had to throw it back on the grill.) I hope your Thanksgiving was as special as mine and that the food was delicious!

Danielle LaRosa, Assistant Culinary Producer

Click through for the recipe: Read more

Chef Guarnaschelli’s Butter!

by in View All Posts, December 2nd, 2008

Last year, Babbo. This year, Butter. Am I speaking gibberish? Not quite. Each year, my honey, Hagan, and I forgo anniversary presents in exchange for an extra luscious celebration dinner. Last year, for our three year anniversary, we indulged ourselves at Mario Batali’s restaurant, Babbo, off of Washington Square Park. Although that experience warrants a post dedicated to itself, I’ll skip right to the current year and give you the dish about Alex Guarnaschelli’s restaurant, Butter!

Butter_Menu

Alex describes food the way most discuss art. Before Chef Guarnaschelli snagged her own Food Network show, The Cooking Loft, I loved hearing her skillfully shaped notes as a judge on Iron Chef America. (And I definitely look forward to hearing her commentary on FN’s new show, Chopped, this January!) So it was a total no brainer what restaurant got my vote for our special dinner.

At the New York Wine & Food Festival, I ran into Alex where my director then spilled I was thinking about Butter for my anniversary dinner. Without missing a beat, she said, “How dare you not email me. Stop being ridiculous. Email me and let me book your reservation.” I waited a week to hide a bit of my anxiousness. But when I finally did email her, Alex quickly shot back, sending well wishes and confirming the dinner reservation she made personally for us.

Butter_Restaurant

Alas, I did not plan for the mood lighting (aka too dark to take pictures without flash), so apologies for the “mood lit” camera phone photos!

We feasted on seared Maine sea scallops, cavatappi pasta with yellow tomato sauce and spicy lamb sausage, chanterelle ravioli, Hudson Valley duck breast, a lovely trout dish (I forget the pretty name), and a dark chocolate cake with pumpkin ice cream for dessert…

The top bite of the night? Hagan swore that the scallops were the best he’s ever had, but for me…and this may sound a bit ridiculous…but my favorite component in the whole meal was the simple, yellow tomato sauce. Sounds boring, right? Well I’ve heard before that you can judge a good chef by their soup, but there must be some truth to judging a chef by their tomato sauce. Now I’m not sure if this is the same recipe that Chef Guarnaschelli uses at Butter (I’ll try to do some investigating), but I did find this Yellow Tomato Sauce recipe of hers from The Cooking Loft — has anyone tried it?

With only 361 days to go to my next anniversary, I thought I might start taking a poll of where to go to for next year’s celeberation. Have you tried any of Food Network’s chefs’ restaurants? Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons? Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill or newly opened Burger Palace? Guy Fieri’s Johnny Garlics or Tex Wasabi’s? Neelys Barbecue? Morimoto’s Morimoto? Michael Symon’s Lola or Lolita?

Tell me about your visit!

————–
Rachael Knudsen
Associate Producer, The FN Dish

Jamie Oliver Knows “What’s Cooking”

by in View All Posts, View Video Only, December 1st, 2008

FN DISH CONTEST!

We got the scoop about Jamie Oliver’s new video game, “What’s Cooking,” and now you have a chance to win the game! Enter in the comments a short description of who in your life would most benefit from playing Jamie’s new game — the top 3 entries will win!

Contest Ends: Sunday, December 7, 2008 11:59PM/10:59c

Holiday Ideas from Walmart

by in View All Posts, View Video Only, December 1st, 2008

The FN Dish’s own Bruce Seidel hits the streets to get the dish on the holidays, offering up some great holiday ideas available at Walmart.

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