What to Watch: Family Traditions on The Kitchen and Athletes on Chopped Tournament of Stars

by in Shows, March 7th, 2014

Chopped Sports StarsThis weekend, watch all-new episodes of The Pioneer Woman, Heartland Table and Sandwich King. Ree makes international meals in minutes. Amy cooks recipes on her wood-burning stove. And Jeff makes sky-high sandwiches.

On The Kitchen, the co-hosts reinvent their family-favorite recipes and offer viewers great ideas for how to do the same. On a new episode of Food Court Wars, two sisters and two best friends face off for food court space. Then it’s the premiere of the Chopped Tournament of Stars, where four athletes enter the Chopped kitchen to compete for a spot in the finale and the prize for charity. And on Cutthroat Kitchen, the sabotaging continues as one chef must cook with a clothes steamer and iron.

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5 Steps to a Family-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day

by in Family, Holidays, March 6th, 2014

5 Steps to a Family-Friendly St. Patrick's DayDespite my last name (which is Armenian thanks to a distant relative somewhere in my French husband’s family), I’m actually an Irish gal (my maiden name is Donovan). So I’ve celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with the gusto of an Irish lassie my whole life.

St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday, and the shamrock was originally a symbol for the Holy Trinity. According to tradition, the rules of Lent were lifted on St. Patrick’s Day, which meant Catholics could eat and drink relatively freely for one day in the midst of Lenten fasting. And somehow that morphed into rowdy visits to Irish pubs, drinking green beer and singing “Seven Drunken Nights” (who could see that coming?). So St. Patrick’s has become a cultural celebration, and for our family, St. Patrick’s Day is a day of wearing green, playing fun leprechaun tricks for the kids, and eating green foods and traditional Irish fare. Want to join us? Here is our five-step approach to celebrating St. Patty’s Day in style:

1. We wear green. I almost didn’t even write this one. Because duh. (Plus, I have green eyes, so this really only makes sense.)

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Computer-Driven Food Truck Eats, Ice Cream Stilettos and a Restaurant-Smashing Wave

by in News, March 6th, 2014

Computer-Driven Food Truck Eats and MoreChef Watson is on wheels. In New York City, you can find food trucks that purvey pretty much anything you can think of: Crepes? Curried goat? Schnitzel? Edamame? Ecuadoran fish soup? Check, check, check, check and check. But now, roaming the country (last week in Las Vegas; this weekend in Austin for SXSW Interactive), there’s a food truck that sells exotic delicacies that neither you nor anyone else would probably ever imagine. That’s because the dishes its chefs are whipping up have been conceived by a supercomputer (remember Watson, who triumphed on Jeopardy! a few years back?), to bring together ingredients in unusual combinations too complex for mere humans to come up with. The IBM researchers who’ve teamed with New York’s Institute of Culinary Education to make the truck happen call the process Computational Creativity (or Cognitive Cooking). Diners sampling dishes like Baltic apple pie — which includes pork loin, apples and garlic chips — apparently call it mind-bendingly delish. [NPR's The Salt]

What’s in a name? Ever wonder how cobb salad, oysters Rockefeller and bananas Foster got their names? The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel fills you in on the origins of these and other food monikers. But just so you know: Chef Bob Cobb’s surname was bestowed on the salad he made from leftovers at Hollywood’s Brown Derby Restaurant in the 1920s. Oysters Rockefeller’s buttery sauce, when it was created in 1899, was thought to evoke the richness of ultra-wealthy oil baron John D. Rockefeller. And the famous banana dish, which made its debut in New Orleans in the 1950s, was named in honor of a humble restaurant patron. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

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Homemade Pizza Comfort by the Slice — Comfort Food Feast

by in Recipes, March 6th, 2014

Comforting Homemade Pizza RecipesWhen it comes to comfort food, big bowls of mac and cheese, beef stew and lasagna are bound to come to mind. Now that it’s March, your idea of comfort could use a little update. This week, we’re thinking pizza — and not as a delivery backup plan. Whether you use store-bought dough or make your own, slice into cheesy homemade pizzas baked in your very own oven.

Before we completely ditch tried-and-true comfort food favorites, check out two mash-ups with a fun pizza spin. Instead of piling it all on crust, Creamy Pizza Macaroni and Cheese loads marinara sauce and heaps of cheese over classic elbow macaroni. You may call it a pizza “pie,” but Giada’s Pizza Pot Pies takes it to a whole new level, combining marinara, chicken and mozzarella under a pizza dough crust.

Start the day with Ree’s Breakfast Pizza. A wake-up call of freshly cracked eggs, hash browns and crispy bacon are even better with a golden pizza crust.

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5 Pantry-Raid Recipes

by in Recipes, March 6th, 2014

5 Pantry-Raid RecipesWe all have those nights where we come home from vacation to a barren refrigerator — or even long days when there’s simply no time to hit the store and the fridge is in the same empty state. With this challenge in mind, our experts in Food Network Kitchen came up with five recipes made exclusively with nonperishable pantry ingredients. That means no dairy, no fresh herbs, not even a squeeze of lemon. We’ll admit it: At first we were a little bit skeptical of cooking solely with cans and packaged ingredients, but these fresh-tasting, flavorful dishes won us over at first bite.

1. Quick and Easy Minestrone
Flavorful ingredients are secret weapons in pantry cooking. In this pantry-based minestrone soup, soy sauce adds instant depth and savory umami flavor. This dish proves that your bottle of soy sauce is great for more than just Asian-inspired cooking.

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Restaurant Revisited: Up in Smoke at Mill Creek BBQ Restaurant

by in Shows, March 5th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleWhile the name Mill Creek BBQ Restaurant would suggest an eatery proficient in preparing succulent, Southern-style ‘cue, the reality at this Redlands, Calif., spot was that owners Lisette and Steve Brown were dishing up bland food in a poorly run environment, according to Robert Irvine. In the first mission of Restaurant: Impossible, Season 8, the fearless and determined host worked on revamping Mill Creek’s menu in the hopes of offering more full-flavored favorites. He and his team had only two days and a limited budget to execute their plans, plus give Steve the tools to successfully run the restaurant and dissolve the strain on the Browns’ blended family. Read on below to hear from Steve a few months after Mill Creek’s Impossible transformation, and learn how his business and family are doing today.

“When we compared last year’s numbers to January 2014, we had a sales increase of exactly 28 percent,” Steve explains. He says that the update in design at his restaurant “is like night and day” and that he’s pleased with the changes that Robert and his team made. “We went from a totally Western style quick-service restaurant to a more modern, slightly upscale quick-service restaurant.”

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Ramen: Ready for a Close-Up

by in News, March 5th, 2014

Ramen: Ready for a Close-UpIf you still think of ramen as those super-salty, just-add-water packaged noodles your roommate — OK, you — ate way too much of in college, you may want to get out more. Or at the very least, you should watch this video of Chef Bradley Miller’s heartfelt tribute to the food he’d choose for his last bite on Earth: “a big steaming porky deliciousness bowl of miso ramen.”

During the last few years in New York, ramen shops have popped up with the sudden ubiquity of Starbucks, but instead of sipping pricey venti lattes, their hipster clientele, barely visible behind steamy windows, devour headily fragrant, artfully prepared, and delightfully inexpensive Japanese broth and noodles.

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Hit all the Flavor Notes with this Easy-to-Make Mussel Stew

by in Recipes, Shows, March 5th, 2014

Mussel CioppinoFor this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient mussels. One of the best ways to enjoy these iridescent shellfish is in a soup or stew, so the chefs came up with this recipe for a simplified cioppino. Traditionally the classic Italian-American seafood stew is made with a variety of fish and shellfish — and for a fisherman that would typically be whatever was the catch of the day. This version uses just mussels, which are relatively inexpensive and very flavorful all on their own. If you can imagine yourself taking a big hunk of bread and dipping it right into the sweet, spicy, tomato-based stew, then this Mussel Cioppino is meant for you.

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Home Cooks Compete for the Title of America’s Best Cook in the New Series

by in Shows, March 5th, 2014

America's Best CookIn the new culinary competition America’s Best Cook, premiering Sunday, April 13 at 9|8c, 16 home cooks, mentored by Food Network chefs, will have the opportunity to win the best cook title and a $50,000 grand prize. Ted Allen hosts the new series, which divides the competitors into four teams, each led by a chef-mentor representing a region of the country. Alex Guarnaschelli represents the East. Cat Cora leads the South. Michael Symon represents the North. And Tyler Florence is the leader for the West.

Read more and vote for your favorite region