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With a Red Hot Poker

by in View All Posts, March 10th, 2009

I’m an FCI alum and I go back several times each year to judge final exams or enjoy a meal in the dining room. The last time was quite interesting. The food was quite good, but what proved to be most memorable were a pair of new cocktails.

FCI has an in-house mad scientist, David Arnold, who is reviving the centuries-old practice of heating drinks with a red hot poker. Once upon a time, bars literally had irons in the fire to warm drinks for weary travelers. Now, there’s a contraption that looks as though it came off the set of some 1950′s sci-fi epic.

It was a blast to watch the cocktails get made, and quite enjoyable to drink them. The bartender dons flame-proof gloves and a pair of goggles (the alcohol ignites when the 1000+ degree poker enters the glass, and flames rise at least one foot tall). The cocktails are much lighter than standard cocktails, as so much of the alcohol burns off, but the flavors are more complex. Perhaps it was our minds playing tricks, but I swear we were able to taste some caramelized sugar from the intense heat of the probe and the flaming alcohol.

Rob Bleifer, Executive Chef

Slow and Steady Wins the Taste

by in View All Posts, March 10th, 2009

If you find yourself with a wide stretch of free time on a cold Sunday afternoon, I can recommend no better activity than spending the day playing around in the kitchen. Winter cooking is a breed of its own, and dishes that are braised, slow-cooked, and roasted are just what the doctor ordered on frigid days. So when I found myself in this situation last weekend, I decided that I’d finally test out Anne Burrell’s Pasta Bolognese recipe that was featured in the premiere episode of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. The recipe has been in my binder ever since I saw that episode, but because it lists its total cooking time at 4 ½ hours, it’s not exactly a weeknight dinner, so I was waiting for the right opportunity to tackle it.

Continue reading “Slow and Steady Wins the Taste”

Food Network Tour

by in View All Posts, View Video Only, March 9th, 2009

Follow Ask Aida’s Noah Starr on an exclusive Food Network tour!

At the moment, we are not currently offering tours to the public, but be the first to find out when we do! Submit your email address and phone number to tours@foodnetwork.com to receive information about potential, future tours.

Something’s in the Water at Food Network

by in View All Posts, March 6th, 2009


A blizzard may have hit the east coast, but it was all showers here at FN — baby showers. There are five (count them) FIVE women expecting here. To celebrate the imminent increasing of the FN family, pink and blue balloons, cuddly baby blankets and rubber duckies decorated our conference room. Of course, the stork-themed desserts stole this tablecloth’s show. Fun stuff.

We may have not had Ina’s full course meal or or Giada’s spring time shower fare but we did have an assortment of sugary treats, like home made cupcakes, courtesy of one multi talented production coordinator. Let me tell you these mommies-to-be may not perform in front of the camera, but they all have the culinary skills to do so. Take our Director of Product Management, Tracy Rubine, for example. Her cooking days are waning and energy is fading, but she did whip up this pork chop recipe the other night.
Tracy advises, “be careful not to overcook the pork” Got ya, Ms. Rubine. Another mama, Narisa Wild, our Director Website Product and Industry Development has been indulging lately in this yogurt and granola concoction from Tyler. Apparently, she has been leaning toward lighter and sweeter fare in the evening (digestion has been proving difficult due to her full tummy). Narisa also mentioned that you can do variations on this little delight – alternate fruits, dried fruits and even nuts to mix it up a bit, and says that “the yogurt can also be substituted for frozen yogurt or ice cream.” Yummy!

Well, the way I ate today, it looks as if I might be expecting. Perhaps, that will warrant a party?

Truly,
Secretary Confidential

Our Broken Food System

by in View All Posts, March 5th, 2009

For those interested in food and politics, here’s an interesting piece that explains why recent popular food movements, though well-intentioned, aren’t fixing our food system. And if that isn’t enough, I just learned about this documentary called Food, Inc. yesterday, which covers huge problems in our country’s food industry. I can’t wait to see it.

Shirley Fan, Nutritionist

Unwrapping the Gracious Professional

by in View All Posts, March 5th, 2009

If you’re a loyal viewer of one of our longest running series – Unwrapped – you might have noticed recently that we finally let our esteemed host Marc Summers out of that diner. No longer is he cooped up in a set diner- his Unwrapped scenes are now being shot all around town!

You can see the excitement in his face as he is simply thrilled to be out and about and interacting with the real world.  (Don’t you know, we had him locked up all these years!)  Shooting in the field with Marc also reminds us just how big a celebrity he is, as people of all ages – toddlers to seniors – were jumping for a chance to meet him.  Whether it was from Double Dare, or What Would You Do?, or from his many years on Food Network, people everywhere are all smiles to see him.  I was lucky enough to tag along recently when Unwrapped was shooting at locations around New York City.  I was so impressed to find that Marc was the epitome of graciousness, taking time from his long, tiring day to talk to every one of those fans, sign autographs, snap photos, and give a bunch of viewers a memorable day in New York City.

Fay

“Real” Mac and Cheese

by in View All Posts, March 4th, 2009

On a recent snowy evening, the Croque Monsieur Mac and Cheese recipe from our Cheese Guide beckoned. Okay, confession time: My normal mac and cheese comes in a box with a packet of powdered cheese. But this recipe is the real deal – you make a creamy béchamel sauce, fold in two cheeses and the pasta, and then bake until it’s hot and bubbly. It’s deceptively simple and it tastes amazing!

So what the heck is a “Croque Monsieur?” I had to look it up. It’s a French ham and cheese sandwich that’s either toasted or dipped in egg and sautéed in butter. This mac and cheese is a playful twist, using the traditional Gruyere cheese and sliced ham. And, for my favorite part, a bread and egg mixture forms a savory bread-pudding-like crust over the top.

For a more calorie-conscious version of Mac and Cheese, check out Ellie’s made-over recipe, part of our Monthly Meal Makeover features. You can also find tips for slimming down this classic dish from HealthyEats.com. Or you can just do what I did: Serve the ooey-gooey full-fat version with a side salad.

- Kirsten, Web Editor