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Screengrab from this weekend (click to enlarge):
What do you think Amazon is trying to tell me?
Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer
Contrary to popular belief, FN staffers are not treated to mind-blowing tastings and delicious snack breaks daily. We pack lunches or grab take-out like everyone else. However, special occasions sneak up on us and when they do, they are not to be missed.
Food Network recently launched its brand-new magazine (which makes me insanely hungry every time I thumb through it). To celebrate, our test kitchen chefs served up one feature called 50 Toast Toppers. It’s my guess that our diligent cooks actually tackled all 50 but I lost count somewhere around 27.
The spread was bountiful and impressive which triggered a somewhat embarrassing stomach growl when I walked in. The base for each app was a baked round of French bread, brushed with creamy salted butter. Atop each was a tiny explosion of flavor, whether a bite of gorgonzola, fig jam and prosciutto or hummus with olive tapenade. Sweet and savory made appearances as the team served up tender blue crab with wasabi mayo, an addictive Nutella with tangy orange marmalade and butter-sautéed apples with thinly-sliced ham. The formula was only broken with bite-sized versions of Tyler’s Ultimate Pumpkin Pie. (the dessert featured on the cover). Silky. Sweet. Tart. Crunchy. YUM!
The spread looked complex for a beginner cook like myself. However, a chef confided to me that prep was actually simple. Apparently, I could knock out these toast toppers without issue (or fire alarm). With the holidays around the corner, I’m looking for easy.
Better yet, they are all featured in a pull-out booklet that can live with your cookbooks. Get details on the new FN magazine here.
And don’t miss when Bruce sits down with the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Maile Carpenter, on Monday.
Working in the Food Network’s culinary department tends, as one would expect, to be a delicious pleasure. The range of foods that pass through our kitchens is truly mind-boggling—land crabs, civet coffee, jujube honey, snail roe, and on and on. This is no place for the food-phobic; it takes an omnivore to work around here. And occasionally a strong stomach. Sometimes, a really strong stomach.
Yesterday was such a day. The sort of day, rare but not unknown, that leads one to wonder whether keeping a gastroenterologist on staff might not be a wise investment.
I mean, really. Look at this thing.
The whole sordid story after the jump:
Read more »
I’m not saying my colleagues are jealous that I get more mail than the USPS from this blog. But, they are taking notice. I’ve started receiving anonymous “stop hogging the blog!” interoffice memos. At Food Network — whether in our offices, kitchens or studios — there is always something going on, and apparently other folks want in on the act.
The good news is that their passion is in sync with your requests for more behind-the-scenes posts, more often. I could ignore my love of programming to join the ranks of bloggers like Perez Hilton (or Jacob from Food Network Addict), but I like my day job too much. Hence, it only makes sense to share the wealth.
My blog is joining forces with the The FN Dish. We’re expanding that web series to include a bigger, more frequent behind-the-scenes blog. You’ll still be able to watch Bruce Seidel‘s weekly web show and get great access to my other colleagues as well. Think more Food Network scoop from more contributors. I’ll still post as well which reminds me — have you tried the Neapolitan Pork recipe yet? Did it work out?
Check out our newly-expanded FN Dish right here.
Alton Brown and his lovely wife, DeAnna, braved a sunny but cold NYC morning the other day, not far from the Food Network offices. The couple was walking briskly while squeaking in some speed window shopping in the process. They headed up from the quaint West Village into the Meatpacking District, which is home to more than a few high-end retailers and boutiques from Diane von Furstenberg to Catherine Malandrino and Stella McCartney.
It was clear that many of the passers-by were also serious Iron Chef fans. Alton and DeAnna got more than their fair share of rubbernecking tourists, curious stares and whiplash glances. Even in jaded New York City, it’s hard not to be star struck sometimes…
Welcome to The FN Dish, now expanded at your request. Food Network insider Bruce Seidel will still serve up his hot weekly web show every Monday. Plus, we’ll have great behind the scenes, all-access bites from the Food Network team. Make a date to check in every day for the latest on your favorite shows and stars.
Want to join our celebration with the cocktail pictured here? Get the recipe for Michael Chiarello’s Prosecco Gold Rush. Cheers!
The FN Dish takes you inside Ina‘s new barn, new show, and new book, Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics.
To win an autographed copy of Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics, enter your favorite, “basic” cooking technique in the comments below. Thanks to all who submitted cooking techniques — CONTEST ENDED on 10/27 — winner will be contacted via email!
Kelsey Nixon (The Next Food Network Star, Season 4) stopped by the offices during a visit to NYC last week. Her recipe card has been full but she always takes time for friends.
Believe it or not, she actually got married after the whirlwind of TNFNS4 — only a mini-Martha like Kelsey could have pulled off planning in that time crunch. She shared this adorable picture of her new hubby, Robby, from their big day:
Pass by Bob Tuschman’s office, and you’ll even see the pic posted up on his wall!
Kelsey revealed that Robby isn’t a huge cook but enjoys baking when she does drag him into the kitchen. She also shared her special tradition of gathering the whole family together every Sunday night, to dine on breakfast for dinner. It’s unclear what the Nixon clan actually eats in the morning… Her famed secret weapon is thick-cut French Toast with warm Maple Pecan Syrup.
Check out Kelsey’s website and her retro blog, The Retrospective Kitchen.
A month ago, I decided to experiment in the Food Network kitchen and take my first stab at brewing. I chose to make mead, one of the oldest — and, by all accounts found online, easiest – brewing methods around. The basic technique is to combine water, honey and yeast, allow the yeast to eat the sugars in the honey, convert them into alcohol and ta-da! You have a tasty meady treat to drink outside on mellow Saturday afternoons.
After careful research I pulled together ratios for honey to water to yeast from various brewing websites, then went searching in the kitchen for the needed ingredients. 3 pounds of honey…… ok, found a pound of lavender honey, should taste good, then 1.5 pounds of clover honey, tastes good to me; then the last half pound was more problematic… Maple syrup, why not? It’s sweet and sugary and might lend an unexpected twist to the final product. Tea. Apparently the tannins in tea are good for mellowing the sweetness of the honey. Fine. I steal two bags of Russian Country (tannic, smoky, fun) from under Jake’s desk; he’ll never know. Finally yeast. Well, yeast is yeast right? Great, there’s baking packets in the bakers’ pantry. Done.
All is mixed together and after two months of painstaking care and twice daily releasing the nonstop production of carbon dioxide (or rather begging my co-workers to do so while I’m away shooting Tyler Florence for three weeks), the mead is ready. Yay! A glass for everyone!
Tastes like bread… but gives you a good buzz!
But leave the baking yeast in the baker’s pantry, unless you want everything to taste like bread.
Charlie Granquist, Food Stylist
This is a small corner of our library, admirably manned by research librarian Jonathan “Jon the Plumber Librarian” Milder:
The following, however, is a library in La Gloria, Colombia, where librarian Luis Soriano and his two donkeys Alfa and Beto bring via “biblioburro” a rotating selection of 4800 books to about 300 people in a remote corner of the country.
Photo: Scott Dalton for the New York Times
We think our library could only benefit from a couple helper burros. We just don’t know where we’d keep them at night. What do you think?
Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer