by Kirsten Vala in View All Posts, October 29th, 2009
by Kirsten Vala in View All Posts, October 7th, 2009
A trip home to my parents’ farm, Vala’s Pumpkin Patch in Nebraska, was all about family, friends and great food. I spent most of my weekend mingling, catching up with my pumpkin patch family (including 500+ part-time, seasonal employees) and trying to eat everything in sight.
Farms aren’t usually known for smelling good, but when you walk into Vala’s you’re greeted by the aroma of coffee and freshly baked cinnamon rolls. (When the craving hits, try Cinnamon Rolls from Food Network Magazine for a similar homemade version.)
by FN Dish Editor in View All Posts, August 21st, 2009
I’m a fan of everything Jamie Oliver – his shows, his cookbooks, his gadgets (love his flavor shaker!), and his whole “simple, fresh food” philosophy. Last year he filmed a show and published a cookbook that focused on the seasons (Jamie at Home), so I was happy when I stumble upon his recipe for butternut squash muffins while searching for good fall recipes.
Here’s a little-known Jamie fact: his first job out of culinary school was as the head pastry chef at a leading Italian restaurant in London. So, unlike many traditional chefs who occasionally throw together a cake or some cookies, Jamie really knows his way around sweets (he makes great Blackberry and Apple Pie and Creamy Rice Pudding).
by Kirsten Vala in View All Posts, August 11th, 2009
Brian Boitano’s new show, What Would Brian Boitano Make? premieres this Sunday! He was just in town on a media blitz, and we caught up with him for a quick chat. As promised, we asked your burning questions.
FN DISH: Everyone knows you as a skater. Why the jump to a cooking show?
BB: Before the Olympics I was on a strict regimen with a limited diet. I always dreamed of what I would make and what I would eat after the Olympics. After I won, I started having friends over and entertaining a lot, and it just grew from there. I’m actually very lucky because food and skating are my two loves. I’m still skating full time and juggling that with a show is ideal.
by Kirsten Vala in View All Posts, July 28th, 2009
August is No-Cook Month on FoodNetwork.com, and we worked hard to find 31 recipes that don’t require any heat to prepare. (We didn’t want it to turn into 31 days of tuna sandwiches.) But, with a lot of surfing around, we ended up with a nice selection of gazpachos, salads and sandwiches, mixed in with some great side dishes and no-cook desserts (check out Paula’s Not Yo’ Mama’s Banana Pudding).
My favorite no-cook option is always a salad, and one of my favorite new shows on Food Network is Claire Robinson’s 5 Ingredient Fix. Luckily, Claire actually did a No-Cook Dinner episode of her show recently, so I put together Claire’s Antipasti Chopped Salad for a quick, light dinner. It was fantastic!
by Kirsten Vala in View All Posts, June 9th, 2009
Food-wise, this is absolutely the best time of year. If a day goes by in July or August, and I realize I haven’t eaten sweet corn and/or tomatoes, I think of it as an opportunity lost. These foods drive me crazy! I love them, I crave them, and they’re only in season for the blink of an eye.
Yes, I know, grocery store magic makes corn and tomatoes available all year, but they only taste like they’re supposed to taste when you eat them straight from the farmers’ market. As a former farm stand worker, here are a few insider market tips:
by Kirsten Vala in View All Posts, May 27th, 2009
Michael Symon once said in an episode of Dinner Impossible, “If it doesn’t have skin or bones, it doesn’t have flavor.” In a tough, do or die situation, he refused to use skinless, boneless chicken breasts. He called my go-to meat of choice “flavorless.” I was stunned by the insight. Could he be right?
Enter fellow Iron Chef, Bobby Flay – king of burgers, master of the grill, man of the spice rack. . . Could one of Bobby’s recipes prove Symon wrong? Armed with eight Indian-ish spices and Bobby’s Tandoori Spiced Chicken Breast recipe, I was hopeful.
by Kirsten Vala in View All Posts, May 13th, 2009
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I was really excited to put together our online Breakfast feature. After the pancake explosion I created for Mother’s Day, I tried to focus mostly on bacon and eggs for this one. But the carb-lover inside me couldn’t resist adding French toast and sticky buns. (I love to watch Bobby struggle with baking in Throwdown: Sticky Buns)
And, of course, I added muffin recipes. Muffins are a great grab-and-go breakfast treat, and they usually freeze well, so they can be a cheap, healthy, home-made frozen pastry. Ina’s Blueberry Muffins look like the most-loved on FoodNetwork.com, but Sunny’s Sunny Morning Muffins caught my eye.
by Kirsten Vala in View All Posts, April 29th, 2009
Our new Memorial Day feature is all about getting summer started with classic picnic foods, burgers, hot dogs, and, yes, sangria. I decided to test out the main featured recipe, Aida’s Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad (how could I resist?!) from the Food Network Magazine.
by Kirsten Vala in View All Posts, April 15th, 2009
When content from the Food Network Magazine comes in, it always feels like Christmas. (The magazine editors even sent a CD of the June/July content downtown to the Chelsea office by messenger service this time – my personal NYC Santa!) With that precious CD came an explosion of recipes, images and stories that we had been anticipating for months, and we rushed to get it all up online in record time.
So here it is: The recipes, the Summer Drinks Slideshow, He Made She Made, the magazine home page. . . But best of all are the burgers.
Someone recently asked me what one cookbook I would take with me to a desert island. Even though I’m having a great time cooking my way through my newest cookbooks, Giada’s Everyday Pasta and Mario’s Molto Italiano (I love Italian food!), the first cookbook that popped into my head was The Pancake Handbook. For me, there’s no better way to begin a weekend morning than with a stack of hot pancakes. That’s why I couldn’t resist adding a pancake carousel to our Mother’s Day feature – I tracked down the best Food Network pancake recipes to include in this fancy click-through module. But there was one pancake recipe in particular that caught my eye (or rather my stomach)…