From chef’s knives to mezzalunas, from dices to chops to juliennes, and through all the basics of butchering meat, sharp knife skills are anything but easy to come by; they require precision, thought and a honed technique, even for everyday cuts into ordinary foods. No matter whether they’re competing in the wilderness on Camp Cutthroat (beginning Wednesday, Aug. 12 at 9|8c) or in the classically evilicious arena, Cutthroat Kitchen chefs ought to display top-notch knife skills, even in the face of diabolical sabotages. Before the Camp competitors pack their duffels for Alton Brown’s outdoor challenges, it’s your turn, fans, to see how your knowledge of knives measures up in the kitchen. Take the quiz below to find out if you’re a Knife Novice, a Sharp Slicer or a Blade Master.
The Ins and Outs of Star Salvation, According to Its Co-Host, Plus Pilot Time with Rachael Ray — Jeff’s Star Reportby Jeff Mauro, August 10th, 2015
There are the drinking games you likely know and love — and then there are Cutthroat Kitchen drinking games. On tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, Alton Brown took shots to a diabolical level when he auctioned off a tray of shot glasses filled not with liquor but with spicy, tangy and downright funky ingredients — not all of them liquid. Hot sauce, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce and garlic made up the five evilicious glasses, and the unfortunate chef saddled with this sabotage was forced to take a shot of one each time he wanted to taste his food.
Alton brought this doozy of a challenge to the After-Show to show off to Simon Majumdar, and Alton was quick to turn the tables on the judge, saying to him, “I double-dog dare you to shoot the fish sauce.” Ever the cooperative judge, Simon wasted no time in throwing back the classically Asian ingredient in one fell glug. As is only natural, of course, Simon didn’t hesitate to challenge Alton to an equally cringe-inducing ingredient: the hot sauce. “Alton’s been giving it lots and lots of this,” Simon said, while making the chatter motion with his hand. While Alton was quick to refuse the hot sauce — “I’m not going to play that game!” he declared — he indeed put back a swig of Worcestershire sauce. “No way was I doing the hot sauce! I’m not insane,” Alton said. While both guys survived their tastings, the competitor stuck with this sabotage didn’t last into Round 2.
If you love the way mozzarella sticks ooze with cheese, but you don’t love their typically greasy bite, try this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. By using part-skim cheese and baking instead of frying the sticks, the chefs in Food Network Kitchen have transformed these craveable eats into a surprisingly healthy dish. You’ll still get that desired golden exterior, thanks to an herbed breadcrumb mixture, and creamy center, but you’ll be saving on most of the richness. Serve with store-bought marinara sauce for an easy dip.
For more kid-friendly recipes, check out Food Network’s Cooking with Kids board on Pinterest.
Get the Recipe: Crisp Mozzarella Sticks
People around the world like a lot of different things in their sandwiches. (See also this video.) And while we in the United States may generally prefer to eat our potato chips on the side, in the U.K. folks are apparently partial to eating them between two slices of bread — right where you might expect to find your lunch meat or PB&J or whatever.
Capitalizing on this taste for crunchy potato-chip sandwiches (“crisp butties,” they call them) is Mr. Crisp, which bills itself as “England’s first crisp sandwich shop” (apparently Belfast quite enjoyed a crisp sandwich pop-up — Simply Crispy — that launched there in January), offering sandwiches filled with “over 50 varieties of crisp for you to enjoy.” Customers also get their choice of bread (white or brown, teacakes or baguettes) and topping: Try it with ketchup, jam, peanut butter, Marmite or the mayonnaise-like “salad cream,” or get crazy and order it with chocolate spread. Crisp sandwiches start at £1 and go up to £1.50, depending on your toppings. (Marshmallow, anyone?).
As summer winds down, the thought of no longer seeing local strawberries and stone fruits is already making me yearn for another month of warm weather and seasonal produce. But not all is lost! You can buy fresh fruit now and preserve the produce with recipes for easy jams and preserves. Don’t be afraid to do it yourself: Canning jam is easy enough and means you can be eating summer fruit long past their market-fresh appearances.
Easy Strawberry Jam (pictured above)
Ina Garten loves to use big pieces of hulled, fresh strawberries in her jam, so she cuts the berries only in half. She adds superfine sugar (which melts really quickly), but if you can’t find it, you can blend your own in the food processor. Orange-flavored liqueur will bring out the sweetness of the strawberries, and a chopped green apple will help thicken the jam; a few blueberries will add depth of flavor and create a great deep-red color. The mixture will keep in the fridge for at least two weeks. But if you want to store it for longer, pack and seal in canning jars according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
As the dog days of summer press down on us, it’s only natural to feel a little parched. There’s no better way to beat the heat than with an array of large-batch cocktails and drinks, and that’s exactly what Punch Bowls and Pitcher Drinks offers. The title, written by Jeanne Kelley and Sarah Tenaglia, pulls inspiration from fresh, seasonal fruits, plus herbs and spices. Classic cocktails are reimagined as new sips, like Julep-Tea Punch, Lychee Mojito Punch, Old-Fashioned Manhattan Punch and Mai Tai Punch. But we can’t get enough of the drinks from the Height of Summer section, especially the Peachy Moonshine, Spiked Spa Water and Watermelon-Tequila Punch (pictured above; recipe below for you to try at home).
Before you dip into any of the recipes, keep in mind these tips and tricks for working with fresh cocktail ingredients and various spirits:
- The tartness of citrus fruit varies considerably from backyard tree fruit to purchased fruit from the farmers market or the grocery store. Hyper-fresh backyard citrus will have a more intense flavor.
- Unless the recipe specifies, you do not need to peel the fruit or vegetables. In many cases the peel or rind of a fruit adds a note of necessary bitterness to counter the sweeter meat of the fruit, and also helps infuse the lunch with more aromatic flavors.
- Brands of alcohol also vary considerably. In order to get the right balance, add the amount of liquor called for in the recipes (the smaller amount if a range is listed). If, after tasting, you want a more potent mix, add more liquor by the tablespoonful to taste.
- Some folks really prefer sweet drinks. If a recipe calls for a flavored syrup or sugar, a little more can be stirred into the mix, but start with the recommended amount.
You love to eat sweet things: yummy cakes, delicious candy bars and sometimes, maybe, on special occasions, crazy-decadent combinations of both. But did you ever stop to wonder if these things taste the same way to the person sitting across the table from you, digging in with – wait, is that equal gusto?
The answer — surprising or not — may be no. A recent study conducted by sensory scientists, and led by Danielle Reed at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, in Philadelphia, has determined that some people are more sensitive not only to bitter compounds, but to sweetness as well.