What It’s Like to Be Friends with Bobby Flay, According to Michael Symon

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, July 6th, 2014

Bobby Flay and Michael SymonAs one of Bobby Flay’s first-ever special guests on his all-new series Beat Bobby Flay, Michael Symon was tasked with finding a rival that could outcook the host; after all, no one knows Bobby and his cooking style quite like his longtime colleagues. While Bobby and Michael work together, they’re also close friends and have been known to spend time together offscreen. FN Dish recently caught up with Michael on the set of Beat Bobby Flay to learn more about their friendship and to get an insider’s look at what the famed Iron Chef Flay is like off the clock.

Fans know that you and Bobby are great friends. How did your relationship start?
Michael Symon: Originally we met on my first Food Network show — in 1998 — with Wayne Harley Brachman. Wayne was Bobby’s pastry chef for, like, 15 years, so Bobby and I met then, and we’ve been friends ever since.

What are some things about Bobby that viewers might not know or see on TV.
MS: He’s a pretty quiet guy. [There’s] the personality they see on TV of Bobby — he’s very outgoing on television, obviously — but in real life he’s a pretty quiet guy. Pretty to himself, quiet guy. Very thoughtful guy — a great friend.

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Sweet New Takes on Make-Ahead Sangria

by in Drinks, July 5th, 2014

Few drinks give us more of what we love in one sip than sangria. Each version, no matter how fancy or simple, always has refreshing fruit, perfectly chilled wine and that sweet element that brings it all together. But the best thing about sangria isn’t the fact that you can get your buzz on while drinking something that tastes incredibly good. It’s the idea that as long as you include a few basic ingredients, the possibilities are endless. So get started with this roster of recipes and soon enough you’ll be fixing up your own creations.

Peach, Raspberry and Lime Sangria
Most sangria recipes just infuse the liquid with fruit overnight, but Giada’s takes it one step further by recommending you puree the simple syrup with some of the fruit. In this case, most of the peaches are pureed, giving every sip a strong dose of flavor. And since the base of the drink is infused with peaches from the start, this one is a great choice for those days you just can’t wait overnight for a sample.
Peach Raspberry Lime Sangria

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Beyond Butter and Salt: Corn 5 Creative Ways

by in Recipes, July 5th, 2014

Sunny's Quick Corn and Pico SaladAlong with juicy tomatoes, tender zucchini and sweet blueberries, corn is among summer’s most-beloved produce, as it’s both easy to prepare and guaranteed to please even the pickiest eaters at the dinner table. While the classic preparation of boiling corn and rolling it in a stick of butter is a tried-and-true favorite, this seasonal vegetable can be dressed up to take on next-level tastes with the help of a few can-do recipes. Read on below to get five fresh-corn-based how-tos — the top picks for putting this summer staple to work from each co-host of The Kitchen.

Sunny’s Quick Corn and Pico Salad (pictured above) is a no-cook side dish that takes mere minutes to put together. After starting with store-bought pico de gallo, Sunny adds fresh corn, fragrant cumin and refreshing lime juice to balance the flavors.

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Old-Fashioned Peach Cobbler — Down-Home Comfort

by in In Season, Recipes, July 4th, 2014

Old-Fashioned Peach CobblerI grew up in Macon County, Georgia. Central and South Georgia are well known for their peach crops in the summer. Summer means peach pie, peach jelly, pickled peaches, peach ice cream and peach cobbler. Macon County is adjacent to Peach County, home of “The Big Peach,” a 75-foot-tall peach mounted on a 100-foot-tall pole — a gigantic totem that makes it pretty clear that peaches are serious business in Georgia. So is July, as the temperatures often soar into the triple digits with a humidity that makes life a lot more comfortable when experienced at a slower pace.

Where do you think the expression “easy as pie” originated? Many cooks are scared of making pie — they don’t think it’s easy! Everyone loves pie, but making it can be intimidating. Even perfectly useful kitchen folk are rendered helpless when pie is mentioned. That’s where the cobbler saves the day. The really great part about a cobbler is that it can be made ahead and is equally delicious served warm, chilled or at room temperature. (Don’t limit yourself to only peaches for this simple and spectacular dessert. Other fruits include blueberry, blackberry, plum, cherry and apricot, depending on what is ripe in your part of the country.)

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First Prize Pies — Off the Shelf

by in Books, July 4th, 2014

First Prize PiesA different pie for every week of the year is a concept that I can get behind. That’s the idea that drives Allison Kave’s First Prize Pies, and the book is a perfectly balanced year of pie possibility. Pie is known for its finicky nature, but Kave sets readers up for success with a thorough rundown of everything you need to make an exceptional pie, from equipment to ingredients. There are step-by-step photo guides for skills that require a little more explanation, like how to peel stone fruit for the Sugar Plum Pie and how to ace your marshmallow topping for the S’mores Pie. Kave tells you everything you need to know about assembling her pies, making this the perfect book for a home cook who hasn’t ventured too far into the land of pies from scratch.

The book’s seasonal recipes feature classics you crave like Apple-Cheddar Pie, Key Lime Pie and Pumpkin Spice Pie. But it colors outside the lines a bit, too, mixing up flavor combinations with recipes like Eggnog Cream Pie in a Gingersnap Crust, Mint Julep Cream Pie and Root Beer Float Pie. There are enough pie recipes in the book to cover each week of the year (and then some!), so you can think of it as a long-term investment in your culinary happiness. Kave balances the recipes to be practical too. There’s a vegan-friendly You-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Vegan Chocolate-Coconut Pie that everyone at the table will love and a no-bake Banana Split Ice Cream Pie (recipe featured below), which is perfect for the summer months when it’s just too hot to spend hours in a kitchen with your oven blazing. Even summer’s heat is no match for a pie made of ice cream. You can order your own copy of First Prize Pies here.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Uncategorized, July 4th, 2014

gummy bears

In this week’s news: Imagining the coffee-pod version of Soylent; sizing up gummy bears as body-builder food; and creating a non-profit supermarket in a low-income suburb.

Make Mine a Decaf — with Extra Vitamin D
Nestle researchers have...

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What to Watch: Summer-Themed Episodes of Giada at Home and Guy’s Big Bite

by in Shows, July 4th, 2014

Guy's Big Bite
Enjoy a beautiful Fourth of July weekend with summer-themed episodes of your favorite shows.

First, on Saturday morning, check out new episodes of The Pioneer Woman and Farmhouse Rules. Ree is walking you through a day of quick, 16-minute meals, and Nancy is hosting a dance marathon for her favorite charity with an inventive menu to match. Next, the hosts of The Kitchen share their greatest summer corn recipes.

On Sunday, join Giada as she creates a series of healthy dishes for a summertime pool party on Giada at Home. Bobby Flay teaches you his favorite way to grill chicken on a new episode of Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’s Basics, and Guy Fieri perfects the meatball slider with three easy recipes on Guy’s Big Bite. Finally, tune in for three hours of competition with new episodes of Guy’s Grocery Games, Food Network Star and Cutthroat Kitchen.

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How to Win Summer: Dino-mite Watermelon Carvings

by in Family, News, July 3rd, 2014

Dino-mite Watermelon CarvingsWatermelon’s always been the coolest fruit of summer. When I cut into a watermelon, it’s either for a last-minute barbecue contribution or an instant “side dish” for the kids — seed-spitting contests are just a bonus. It has plenty of vitamins A and C, and it’s ready in two minutes flat. Wedges, cubes, balls of sugary-sweet juiciness — the options are endless and there’s no oven required. But maybe I need to hone my knife skills and take a slice from Vancouver’s Clive Cooper, a government worker by day and artist by night whose latest extreme watermelon carvings give fruit-platter party planners something to, well, chew on.

I thought Cooper and his fabulous menagerie were the “why” of a spike in watermelon searches reported by Yahoo web trend expert Lauren Whitehouse a week or two ago; since then his fierce alligator carving and the latest, the triceratops above, have been stomping their way through food news and Facebook. He’s not the only one; Pinterest is ripe with countless carved characters. Why, after all, should food fans have to wait for pumpkin season to make faces? As to folks searching “watermelon,” they wanted to know how many calories are in the fruit (about 50 per cup) and how to cut it (try Alton’s cut-the-ends-first method); there was also a 500+ percent increase in searches for “watermelon cake” (not a cake at all but a trompe-l’oeil fun fruit dessert), plus plenty of people pondering perennial favorites likes drinks and refreshing salads with watermelon (with feta as a partner; here is Ina’s take, one of my go-to’s for summer guests).

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