The Bread Winner: Why You Should Make Easy Loaves at Home

by in Books, February 28th, 2015

Easiest Home-Baked BreadThere is nothing more effective at knocking the cold grip of winter off your home than filling it up with the aroma of fresh-baked bread. Making bread from scratch at home might seem like an intimidating thing to do, but master baker Nick Malgieri was kind enough to share with us his foolproof tips for success, as well as his recipe for Easiest Home-Baked Bread (pictured above and recipe below). What does a master baker do to get a perfect loaf every time? When we asked him, Malgieri said.

  • Use the right flour: unbleached bread flour. I like Gold Medal best.
  • Measure accurately: In my book Bread, I specify weighing even the liquids. The only things measured by volume are spoonfuls of salt, dry yeast, etc.
  • Take your time: Bread dough that rises slowly over a long time develops a better flavor and texture than breads that are rushed.
  • Try something easy first: focaccia, or one-step white bread. Once you’ve had a few successes, you’ll have the confidence to attempt more elaborate projects.

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Where to Start and What to Make: The Kitchen’s Guide to Culinary Basics

by in How-to, Shows, February 28th, 2015

Fettuccine AlfredoFrom learning how to hold a knife to remembering how long to cook each shape of pasta, gaining proficiency in the kitchen takes practice, but no matter where you are in your culinary journey, it’s never too late to master the basics. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, Geoffrey Zakarian shows off his secret to making a classic mother sauce, and luckily for fans, you don’t have to be an Iron Chef to pull it off successfully. In fact, this béchamel is a cinch to prepare in a hurry, and it shines in this 30-minute Fettuccine Alfredo (pictured above).

FN Dish caught up with the co-hosts between takes of this episode, and the cast told us that when it comes to getting comfortable in the kitchen, it’s best to begin with the simplest, most-tried-and-true dishes — whatever those may be for you and your family’s tastes. Read on below to hear from all five chefs to learn how to get started.

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What Makes Coffee Smell So Good? An Infographic Makes Scents of It

by in Drinks, News, February 28th, 2015

What Makes Coffee Smell So Good?Mmmm … the aroma of coffee. Even some people who don’t drink it enjoy coffee’s heady scent. And those of us who are coffee drinkers may respond to the smell of a freshly brewed pot with a love that can be embarrassing in its fervor.

Why do we adore it so? Past research has indicated that just the smell of coffee sends a wake-up call to the brain and reduces the stress of sleep deprivation, and now there’s an infographic that parses the chemistry of coffee’s aromatic appeal.

“There are a number of different ways in which coffee’s aroma compounds are created,” Compound Interest, the chemistry blog that created the infographic, explains. It adds that the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that makes browned foods like seared steak so delicious, “is a big contributor here, the reaction between proteins and sugars in the coffee beans producing a range of products.” What’s more, the site notes, “degradation and decomposition of other compounds in the coffee beans can also produce aroma compounds.” Brewing also plays a role.

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Bakers’ Dozens: Into the Deep … Freeze

by in How-to, Recipes, February 27th, 2015

Have you ever given any thought to taking your desserts into another zone? The below-32-degrees zone?

Almost nothing is off-limits when I bake. I let my mind go in many places and see where it lands. Often, it’s in the freezer.

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Chrissy Teigen Gives Glory to John Legend’s Egg Sandwiches

by in News, February 27th, 2015

Egg SandwichAnyone who watched the Academy Awards on Sunday night knows singer-songwriter John Legend (aka John Stephens) and rapper Common (Lonnie Lynn) killed it with their rousing performance of “Glory,” from the film Selma, sparking a standing ovation from the audience and leaving some celebrity faces streaked with tears. Then they slayed it all over again when they collected their golden statuettes for Best Original Song.

But what you may not know is that Legend is also apparently handy with the morning meal.

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Your Sunday Supper: Damaris’ Red Wine Spaghetti and Meatballs

by in Recipes, February 27th, 2015

Red Wine Spaghetti and MeatballsOne of the things I’ve learned since becoming an adult is that every family makes spaghetti and meatballs a little bit differently. When I was growing up, my mom used as many vegetables as possible and skipped the meatballs entirely, preferring to cook some ground turkey directly in the sauce. It was awfully good, but still, I found myself coveting other approaches.

When my sister got married, her husband introduced us to his family recipe, with basic beef meatballs and Parmesan cheese and tiny bits of chopped carrots in the sauce. My own husband’s childhood spaghetti night involved canned marinara and links of Italian sausage.

Being someone who is always in pursuit of the next great dish, I’ve not settled down into one particular approach to the classic dish of spaghetti and meatballs. Sometimes I make chicken and ricotta meatballs; other times I’ve opted for a trio of ground meat and Italian bread, lightly soaked in milk.

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Giada De Laurentiis Proves You Can Have Pasta for Breakfast

by in Food Network Chef, Recipes, February 27th, 2015

Pasta al la CarbonaraLeave it to Food Network’s own queen of Italian cuisine, Giada De Laurentiis, to transform a breakfast classic — bacon and eggs — into a rich, hearty pasta ideal for any time of day. While cooking for a packed crowd last weekend at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, in between answering fan questions and mingling with her onstage guest cook, Giada showed off how simple it is to make her carbonara, a next-level version of a traditional recipe featuring creamy eggs and Italian bacon. Read on below for her top-10 tips for making this silky, comforting pasta, then get her quick-fix recipe.

1. Instead of everyday bacon, Giada uses pancetta — an unsmoked Italian bacon — in her carbonara. When rendered, it becomes crispy and salty, and the drippings can be used to saute the onions.

2. Giada admits that while onions may not be an ingredient in the most-authentic carbonara recipes, they’re indeed a beloved element in her family’s recipe, as they offer sweetness, which offsets the salt, and promise “a lot of flavor.”

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What to Watch: Family Bonding on Farmhouse Rules and the Series Premiere of All-Star Academy

by in Shows, February 27th, 2015

All-Star AcademyGet cooking this weekend with Food Network. First, on Saturday morning, watch The Kitchen for a variety of recipes that are perfect for a cold winter day, from chicken tortellini soup to healthy grain bowls and a maple-and-rum toddy for a warm finish. Then, on Sunday, gather around the bonfire with Nancy Fuller on Farmhouse Rules as she cooks up a comforting meal you don’t want to miss.

On Sunday night, tune in for three hours of competition starting at 8|7c. First, watch chefs rush through the aisles to figure out Guy Fieri’s favorite dish on Guy’s Grocery Games. Then, catch the premiere of All-Star Academy as Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Curtis Stone and Michael Symon each pick two home cooks to guide to victory. Each rookie must compete for a spot on a mentor’s team, but not all of them will make it to the next round. And don’t forget to watch a new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen to see what wild obstacles the chefs must endure as they cook.

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6 Gooey Grilled Cheeses You Can’t Live Without — Comfort Food Feast

by in Recipes, February 26th, 2015

Roasted Poblano and Mushroom Grilled CheeseThough the staple of your youth may have been nothing more than American cheese on butter-smeared white bread, modern takes on grilled cheese consider that assembly just a starting point. Next time you get a hankering for the buttery, griddled goodness of an oozing grilled cheese sandwich, stack a few creative ingredients that can elevate the childhood classic to a satisfying, comforting main.

Get this: When you sandwich smoky roasted poblano peppers and creamy Monterey Jack cheese between two slices of bread, you’ll get a flavor reminiscent of classic chiles rellenos. Bring two cultural classics together for a Roasted Poblano and Mushroom Grilled Cheese, and don’t forget to brush the bread with a little chipotle in adobo for added heat.

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11 Times a Chicken Breast Will Save the Day

by in Recipes, February 26th, 2015

Chicken Piccata Pasta TossThe food you love to hate, chicken breasts often get a bad rap: On their own and without any seasoning, they can be bland, and if they’re boneless and skinless, then they turn from moist to dry in a matter of moments when cooking. But if cooked properly (as in, not scorched beyond oblivion) and flavored, even with just salt and pepper, the go-to chicken breast can save many a day in the kitchen. This culinary workhorse is a blank canvas that you can dress up with nearly any ingredients (think Italian, Asian, French and Mexican profiles, among others) for breakfast, lunch and dinner; plus, it’s an inexpensive cut of meat that the whole family will enjoy. You can count on that. Below, in no particular order, are 11 times you’ll realize the humble chicken breast is your best friend in the refrigerator.

When You Run Out of Tomatoes on Pasta Night: Who says pasta must be served with red sauce? Rachael’s 30-minute Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss is just that — penne noodles quickly and simply tossed with classic chicken piccata fixings, like buttery chicken tenders and a bold lemon-caper sauce.

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