Mastering the Basics of Braising + 6 Recipes to Try

by in Food Network Chef, November 1st, 2014

Braised Country-Style Pork RibsTurning the clocks back an hour feels like an unofficial start of winter, ever since the pumpkin spice latte decided to start making appearance since approximately August. (Technically I realize this is not true, but it sure feels that way.) Suddenly, the days will whiz by, as we speed our way to 2015, cooking and eating every step of the way, and sitting down to a dinner table with the windows newly darkened by night.

Which means: Turn on the ovens and braise some meat! So, in that spirit, let me give you a quick primer on this fantastic wintertime technique.

What is braising?
Braising is a method of cooking meat slowly in moist heat, usually with part of the meat submerged in an aromatic liquid. Often a large cast-iron pot or Dutch oven is used – the meat, vegetables and liquid are put into the Dutch oven, covered and then cooked over gentle, even, low heat for several hours.

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The Basics of Homemade Pumpkin Pie

by in Recipes, November 1st, 2014

Pumpkin PieWhile the turkey often takes center stage on Thanksgiving, for the sweet tooths at the table, it’s likely all about the most-anticipated final course: dessert —  in particular, the rich, creamy pumpkin pie. With a buttery crust and spiced pumpkin filling, this tried-and-true indulgence in a holiday staple, and with the help of a go-to recipe, it’s one you can surely make easily at home. Learn the basics of Food Network Kitchen’s Pumpkin Pie recipe below, then check out the complete gallery for the rest of the how-to.

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New App Aims to Predict Your Next Favorite Beer

by in News, October 31st, 2014

BeerSoon, when you’re ordering a beer at a bar or restaurant, you won’t need to ask your bartender or server for a recommendation. Neither, when you’re scanning the store shelves in search of a six-pack perfectly suited to your taste, will you have to make a split-second decision based on label alone.

We’ve all had memorable instances when we’ve plunked down our hard-earned money for a beer that sounded cool but left us cold. But there’s a new free app in the works that will take the guesswork out of beer buying.

A Wilmington, N.C.-based company called Next Glass is currently putting in the legwork to scientifically map the DNA of every single kind of beer sold in the United States in order to scientifically determine — based on beer you’ve liked in the past — what beer you’re likely to enjoy next. The app’s tagline: “It used to be subjective. Now, it’s personal.”

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Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

by , October 31st, 2014

Gluten-Free Carrot CakeAKA Let Me Eat Cake

A few years ago, a fashion designer made a canvas handbag emblazoned with the words “Eat Cake for Breakfast.” Really? It seemed so targeted toward those ladies who only saw Sex and the City for the first time in syndication on basic cable and thought they were so cool drinking cosmos at girls’ night in some strip-mall chain restaurant, deciding who was the Carrie and who was the Samantha. I used to roll my eyes at women who carried that bag … until I ate the first piece of my new and improved gluten-free carrot cake. Now I get it, people. I won’t carry that bag, but I will unapologetically eat this cake for breakfast. You should too.

I’ve been making gluten-free carrot cake for years. And it was fine. Good, actually. It was sweet and rich and delicious, and everybody said it tasted “just like regular carrot cake.”

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Tailgate Chili — Down-Home Comfort

by in Recipes, October 31st, 2014

The Southeastern Conference is home to some of the best college football in the country, and with it, some of the most-fervent fans and most-passionate tailgating. Football in the South is a bit like religion. People get really worked up; I mean really worked up. And, to that end, tailgating in the South is extreme as well. At the University of Alabama, fans are allowed to start tailgate setup at 6 p.m. the Thursday before the Saturday game — and dismantled as late as noon the day after! At my alma mater, the University of Georgia, there is Bulldog Park; a luxury RV tailgating facility offers the owners access to a wide range of amenities plus game-day shuttles to the stadium! Foodwise, there’s everything from LSU, where folks have big pots of meaty gumbo bubbling on a propane cooker, to The Grove at Ole Miss, where folks are super-fancy and serve dishes of hors d’oeuvres that you might be more accustomed to seeing at a ladies’ luncheon. (The real reason the food is so ladylike is that there’s a limited amount of electricity, and open flames and propane are prohibited — something that might not be a bad idea, considering the amount of alcohol consumed while tailgating!)

Personally, I prefer less work when I get to the stadium, and I suggest slow-cooked dishes prepared ahead of time. The best dishes are those you can cook at home and then add the finishing touches to at the stadium. I think the perfect tailgate food just might be chili. It works well in the fall, because it’s hearty and warms you up in the cool weather. Read more

5 Smoothies to Kick-Start Your Day

by , October 31st, 2014

Smoothie
Although tossing healthy ingredients into a blender can make a fabulous go-to breakfast, there are common mistakes folks make that can sabotage their morning shake.

  • Fight the urge to add every healthful ingredient into your smoothie. First, it may ...

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Beware of Oncoming Eviliciousness

by in Shows, October 31st, 2014

Chefs know that when they compete on Cutthroat Kitchen, they’re subjecting themselves to all manners of ruthless sabotages, but  now it seems that even host Alton Brown will come face-to-face with eviliciousness. Check out the GIF above to see him try to outrun a rolling boulder, and tune in Sunday at 10|9c to see what challenges are in store on an all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen.

How to Cook Everything Fast — Off the Shelf

by in Books, October 31st, 2014

How to Cook Everything FastMark Bittman is back, and he’s about to revolutionize the way you eat dinner (again). In his newest cookbook, How to Cook Everything Fast, Bittman promises a better way to cook great food, and he certainly delivers.

The book starts with an introductory section and an overview (The Fast Kitchen) that is a culinary treasure trove of kitchen tips. It features everything from how to use to book to insights on families cooking together. It contains the last shopping list you’ll ever need, complete with details and notes on the ingredients and instructions for their proper storage. He also dispels the need (and the reasoning) for extensive mise en place right up front. The idea is to cook smarter and save yourself time by consolidating steps within the recipe.

Sound confusing? It really couldn’t be simpler to follow, thanks to Bittman’s new recipe layout. In easy-to-follow (color-coded) instructions, Bittman separates cooking actions and prep actions to keep you moving quickly and smoothly through each recipe, without clunky overuse of the word “meanwhile.” The book is broken down into sections featuring Main Dishes and Simpler, Smaller Dishes. Each Main Dish recipe gives suggestions for variations as well as immensely helpful suggestions for side dish pairings. And don’t be fooled; just because the recipes are simple doesn’t mean they aren’t absolutely mouthwatering. Bittman is known for his inventive, practical approach to layering flavors together, and one bite of the Broken Won Ton Soup, Skillet Meat Loaf or Broiled Ziti and you’ll see for yourself. Better yet, try the Fastest Chicken Parmesan at home (recipe below). The book is your one-stop shop for quick, easy, delicious meals, perfect for busy weeknights and activity-filled weekend days and busy families. How to Cook Everything Fast is on sale now, and you can order your copy here.

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What to Watch: Save Your Appetite for The Pioneer Woman, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen and Guy’s Big Bite

by in Shows, October 31st, 2014

Guy and DJ Irie
We hope you’re hungry, because it’s a food lover’s paradise this weekend on Food Network. The celebrity chefs have truly outdone themselves with new, enticing recipes that’ll excite even the most-seasoned food connoisseur’s palate. On The Pioneer Woman, Ree’s dishing out Lemon-Rosemary Scones; on Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, it’s all about channeling Julia Child for a perfect Beef Bourguignon; and on Guy’s Big Bite, Guy and DJ Irie make a succulent Soba Noodle Salad with Grilled Plums. If you still haven’t had enough, then catch the latest Food Network Special, Outrageous Giant Foods, where you’ll bear witness to food behemoths that should more than satisfy your hunger.

In the midst of the food craze, don’t forget to catch all-new episodes of The Kitchen, Rewrapped, Farmhouse Rules, Southern at Heart, Guy’s Grocery Games and Cutthroat Kitchen. There’s enjoyment to be had by all, whether it’s from learning how to make a perfect soup with the chefs of The Kitchen or from watching Guy’s contestants scramble to execute his capricious challenges.

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