One-on-One With the ICA: Tournament of Champions Winner

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, June 2nd, 2013

Iron Chef Jose Garces vs. Iron Chef Michael SymonDespite some extremely tough battles, it was Iron Chef Michael Symon who finally emerged victorious from the first-ever Iron Chef America: Tournament of Champions. He defeated Iron Chef Garces in a classic confrontation, claiming the title, as well as the bragging rights over his fellow members of the Kitchen Stadium club.

Before he went out to celebrate, I caught up with him and asked for his thoughts on the tournament and his victory.

Since you won, I’m assuming you think that the Tournament of Champions was a good idea. Would you still have felt the same if you had lost?
MS: I definitely still would have thought it was a great idea to have the Tournament of Champions, even if I hadn’t won it. But I’m not going to lie to you, I would have enjoyed it a whole lot less!

Bobby Flay didn’t take part in the tournament. Do you think that cheapens the title, and how do you think you would get on against Iron Chef Flay if you did battle him?
MS: You only have to look at some of the tough battles between the other Iron Chefs to know that Bobby’s absence did not weaken the tournament at all. Iron Chef Flay and I have known each other for so long and are such good friends that we have promised that we will never compete against each other. I know it’s a cop-out, but if we were forced to battle, I think it would probably result in a tie.

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VOTE: Star vs. Chopped Cocktail Showdown

by in Recipes, Shows, June 2nd, 2013

Fruity Cooler ShowdownWe challenged two prestigious groups — Chopped judges and Food Network Star winners — to a summer recipe showdown. All season long, we’ll present head-to-head matchups of mouthwatering summer recipes from each team — from refreshing cocktails to fresh farmers’-market salads to the juiciest backyard burgers. By voting each week here on FN Dish or on our Fan Feed, you’ll determine the winning recipes.

At the end of the summer, the team that tallies up the most wins will celebrate with an all-star Labor Day party menu. Who will prevail as Summer Showdown champion — Star or Chopped?

This week, we’re toasting the start of June with a pair of refreshing, fruity cocktails. Whose will you shake up for your next summer party? Cast your votes below!

Vote now

10-Minute Macaroni Salad — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, June 2nd, 2013

10-Minute Macaroni Salad - Pin of the WeekSometimes the most-simple ingredients can make a perfect side dish for the warm months. Paula’s five-star salad, this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, is one of those recipes. Hard-boiled eggs, celery, bell peppers, green onions and Paula’s house seasoning are combined with classic elbow macaroni to complete any meal. Make it in advance and keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.

For more everyday recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Recipe of the Day board on Pinterest.

Get the recipe: 10-Minute Macaroni Salad

The Best Before-and-After Transformations From Restaurant: Impossible

by in Shows, June 1st, 2013

Robert IrvineAfter more than six seasons of budgeted, on-the-clock renovations on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine has seen seemingly everything — the good, the bad and the ugly — in eateries across the country. From unpalatable food and unsafe cooking conditions to creepy-crawlies covering the furniture and floor, the scenes at some of these restaurants are simply shocking, to Robert’s Restaurant: Impossible team and at-home viewers alike. No matter how dirty or downright disheartening a situation may be, however, Robert has never walked away from a challenge, successfully transforming nearly 70 eateries to date.

Over the years, Robert has proved his trademark to be his ability to breathe new life into once-failing establishments and give them the second chance they deserve. In the form of revamped menus and updated designs, plus tried-and-true techniques for food buying, handling front-of-house management and overseeing day-to-day operations, he outfits businesses with everything they need to not just survive but thrive. And ultimately his commitment has led to awe-inspiring transformations, especially given that his updates must be started and completed in just two days and can cost no more than $10,000.

See before-and-after photos

Barbecue Without a Grill — Weekend Cookout

by in Recipes, June 1st, 2013

The Ultimate Barbecued RibsThis summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each Friday, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and this weekend’s spread features authentic barbecue made without a traditional barbecue grill.

Memorial Day has come and gone, and for the next three months, the focus will be on enjoying all things grilled — those quintessential warm-weather favorites that all but define summertime. But what if you simply don’t own a grill, or if you live in the city and don’t have access to outdoor space? Are you resigned to a summer of boiled dogs and sauteed chicken? No way. Even if you’re confined to cooking with a basic stovetop-oven setup, you can indeed indulge in classic seasonal recipes for saucy ribs, moist burgers, juicy chicken and succulent steak. It just takes one key piece of kitchenware: the grill pan. Heavy and sturdy, grill pans are placed atop stovetop burners like a standard pan, but they boast raised ridges similar to the grates on an outdoor grill, guaranteeing those sought-after grill marks.

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Behind the Booklet: 50 Slaws

by in Food Network Magazine, June 1st, 2013

Classic Slaw Recipe
Slaws are the ultimate summer salad: They are fresh and crisp, can be prepared hours in advance and make the perfect companion to grilled foods. In Food Network Magazine‘s June booklet, you get 50 awesome slaws to fulfill all your summer needs. But because we here in the Test Kitchen have too many ideas for our own good, we had a few slaw recipes left over that just couldn’t fit into the booklet. One of them is particularly special because of its longevity: It’s delicious in the summer, but transitions wonderfully into the cooler months. The combination of pear, endive, red cabbage, maple, cranberries and pecans will feel as at home on your Labor Day table as it will in your Thanksgiving spread.

Pear Endive Slaw With Maple Dressing: Combine (4-5 cups) 1/2 head thinly sliced red cabbage with 1 tablespoon kosher salt for 1 hour. Rinse well and pat dry. Whisk 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar, 3 tablespoons maple syrup; add 1/4 cup oil. Toss on cabbage with 3 sliced endives, 2 sliced pears, and 1/2 cup each dried cranberries and toasted chopped pecans.

Crunchy Salad With Cocoa Vinaigrette — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Recipes, May 31st, 2013

Crunchy Salad With Cocoa VinaigretteI learned to make basic vinaigrettes when I was in my early 20s. It was my first summer in Philadelphia and I was living alone in my grandmother’s old apartment. She had always been more of an entertainer than a cook, so my inherited kitchen featured every kind of cocktail glass, but not much in the way of durable cookware.

Her library of cookbooks was equally paltry. There was a community cookbook compiled to raise funds for the Philadelphia Orchestra, a coffee table tome from local celebrity chef Georges Perrier and a copy of the The Frog Commissary Cookbook (the Frog and the Commissary had been a pair of innovative Philly restaurants in the ’70s and ’80s that my grandmother had loved).

I found that I never had much use for those first two volumes, but Frog Commissary rapidly became my cooking primer. I turned to it at least once a week for guidance on soups, salads, muffins and desserts. I was most drawn to the 15 pages of vinaigrettes and dressings because the recipes were written clearly and gave me nearly endless options for improving my salads. I learned how to make a basic vinaigrette and how to enhance it with herbs, spices and aromatics. Eleven years later, the things I absorbed from that book stay with me.

Before you start prepping, read these tips