In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan posits that some plants beguile us into domesticating them. Apples, tulips, potatoes — they appeal, Michael claims, to fundamental human needs, and so we propagated them, ensuring their survival. They are ubiquitous now not by chance, but by design, both ours and theirs.
Quince, it seems, missed this evolutionary mandate. In fact, quince seems to have taken the opposite tack, stubbornly refusing to play nicely with modern cooks. Always pressed for time, if we cook at all, we’re unlikely to choose a fruit that cannot be eaten raw — it tastes like a mealy, sour apple. They can be difficult to peel, harder to cut and noncommittal about cooking times — 20 minutes one day, it seems, an hour another (yet mine, though slightly underripe, cooked pretty quickly).
But we genuinely think quince will indeed make you happy once you give it a try. We made our recipes as easy as possible. (Honestly, look at other recipes online. Once you tackle finding and prepping the quince, it demands very little in the way of special ingredients or fancy technique — stewing, baking, roasting, some sugar, some alcohol, maybe some spices.)
Facing nearly $230,000 of debt, 33-year-old Ducky’s Family Restaurant in Kokomo, Ind., desperately needed Robert Irvine‘s help if the business was to have any chance at future success. Not long after Robert arrived, he realized that poor-quality canned food was among the largest issues plaguing Ducky’s, as was its drab interior decor akin, which Robert’s designer, Taniya Nayak, deemed “a cafeteria nightmare.” Together with Taniya and the rest of his Restaurant: Impossible team, Robert re-launched Ducky’s after two days of work on a $10,000 budget, and he helped owner Bill Duncan and Bill’s family learn essential skills for managing their family-run eatery. FN Dish caught up with Bill to find out how his business is doing a few months since the show filmed.
“Since the shooting of our episode, we have doubled our weekly sales,” Bill said. “Everyone loves the remodel.”
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The Chopped Dinner Challenge is a new series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!
On this week’s Chopped: Competition Italiano episode, the competitors found limoncello, pasta dough, soppressata and newborn baby fish in their appetizer baskets. Except for that last ingredient, the items sound pretty standard for an Italian kitchen. During the challenge, some of the competitors got into a bit of a sticky situation with the pasta dough, which turned out to be the most difficult to transform. But for this Chopped Dinner Challenge, the featured item is the soppressata, a very flavorful Italian salami that’s much easier to use than pasta dough. It’s great eaten on its own but even better when cooked in a dish like this: Pan-Seared Halibut with Soppressata and Fennel. The recipe is perfect for either an elegant dinner party or a casual family dinner.
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Given her penchant for quirkiness and her fun-loving demeanor, it’s no surprise that Food Network’s newest star, Damaris Phillips, is quick to embrace the lighthearted spirit of tomorrow’s spooky-sweet holiday. The host of Southern at Heart admits to dressing up for not only Halloween, but several other occasions each year, and she isn’t content with ordinary costumes for witches, pumpkins or ghosts. Her Halloween getups require a bit of imagination, as well as inspired clothing and coordination among friends. FN Dish caught up with Damaris to chat about these costumes, plus all things tricks and treats; read on below to learn her plans for this year’s fright-night bash, her all-time favorite Halloween costumes and her must-have candy.
How will you be celebrating Halloween this year?
Damaris Phillips: Me and all my girlfriends are dressing up as Britney Spears from different music videos. And she had some good outfits, like, phenomenal outfits. I really want to do the Pan Am girl from “Toxic.” Or I wanted to do “Oops!… I Did It Again” — the red pleather — but we have a guy friend that wants to do that, so …. The shoes are unfortunate, so I was OK giving it up.
So you don’t shy away from the costumes.
DP: Any reason to dress up, I am in. So I don’t only dress up at Halloween. I dress up for my birthday; we have a costume party every year for my birthday. I dress up probably seven times a year at least.
Brussels sprouts may be an annual must-have on your Thanksgiving dinner table, but these easy-to-cook vegetables can shine as the side dish to everyday suppers as well. Packed with good-for-you nutrients, these golf ball-size beauties are best when they’re not overcooked, which means that they’re often quick to prepare. Plus, Brussels sprouts pair well with salty flavors, like those of decadent bacon and briny capers, so if you’re cooking for veggie-averse kids — or adults — cook them with complementary ingredients you know your family will enjoy. Check out Food Network’s top-five Brussels sprouts recipes from your favorite stars, like Bobby, Michael Symon, Alton, Guy and Ina, to find simple sides that can be on the table in well under an hour.
5. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta — After sauteing sweet shallots with crispy pancetta, Bobby roasts sprouts and Yukon gold potatoes until they’re tender, then finishes them with a pat of butter and refreshing lemon juice.
4. Fried Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Capers — Michael deep-fries his Brussels sprouts until they’re deliciously crispy, then tosses them with crunchy walnuts and a sweet-and-spicy serrano chile-honey dressing.
Get the top-three recipes
Comforting meat and poultry dishes aren’t the only meals perfect for slow cookers. How about vegetarian fare, soups and desserts too? The possibilities are endless!
Chicken & Turkey
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Whip up smoothies, soups and more with the Ninja Ultima Blender. The Ninja’s speed range allows you to gently blend or totally crush ingredients, and the dual-blade system breaks down whole fruits, vegetables, greens, seeds and ice. Plus, chop...
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When you think of Italy, one of the first things that come to mind is probably the food. Then it’s imagining all the enjoyment of eating it. Just think: big bowls of pasta, plates of salami and a final celebratory toast with limoncello. Those are exactly the ingredients from the appetizer basket in this week’s episode of Chopped
, which had a special Italian theme. To have their way with the ingredients, judges Amanda, Aarón and Maneet took up spots in the Chopped kitchen for an After Hours
competition. They faced cooking with pasta dough, soppressata, limoncello and baby fish.
On the show, the competitors all tried making pasta in some shape or form, but not without some sticky situations. Just think about how much time you might need for rolling out pasta! Amanda and Maneet reinvented the pasta. Amanda, deciding to make a fritto misto, thought not only was she going to fry the fish, she would fry the pasta too. And Maneet wanted to turn her pasta into Mexican tostadas with an Indian twist. Only Aarón tried to make a traditional Italian pasta dish of ravioli uovo, which is pasta with an egg yolk inside. Unfortunately his attempt to make “the best pasta ever” didn’t turn out so well, so instead he switched to plan B.
Next time you make a stir-fry, use chicken thighs instead of the usual breasts. Thighs are juicier and more flavorful, and because they have a little more fat (they’re dark meat), they don’t dry out as easily. Another bonus: Thighs usually cost less per pound.
Try It: Chicken-Broccoli Stir-Fry
Tonic water. Who knew it could make things glow in the dark? And while everyone is busy with Halloween parties and planning dishes, tonic water is an ingredient you probably already have on hand.
Click play on the video above to find out how Jenny from Food Network Kitchens makes her drinks and gelatin glow (and which colors work better than others). Finally, learn how to take your party punch one step further with a glow-in-the-dark floating hand.