Spatula Love — The Product Puree

by in Family, May 8th, 2013

Spatula LoveWhat’s your favorite piece of kitchen equipment? I’m not talking about your fancy stand mixer or mega-speed blender. I’m talking about the thing that time and time again assists in the smallest of kitchen tasks. For me, hands down, it’s a spatula. But the difference in all the brands on the market can make a mega-watt difference. I’ve used spatulas that heated up to the point I could almost wipe the outside coating of plastic off after it hit something hot, like soup or a sauce, so always make sure to use ones that are heat-resistant to 500 degrees F. I’ve also tried those oversized spatulas that should be used only when trying to mix 50 gallons of cookie dough in an industrial kitchen.

And how about getting the remaining mustard or ketchup out of a jar or bottle? It says there’s 9 to 15 ounces inside, but I would guarantee you toss out a good 2 ounces each time because it’s so challenging to figure a way to get the remaining spoonfuls out.

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Transforming the Familiar — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, May 7th, 2013

The Chopped judges have seen their share of odd, uncommon ingredients come out of the mystery baskets — haggis, goat brains and shad roe sack, to name a few. But sometimes what trips up the competitors more than any strange products is a selection of ordinary ingredients, like eggs, flour tortillas and apples. If the competitors are judged on their abilities to use the basket ingredients, they’ll have to think beyond omelets, tacos and fruit salads, for example, if they want to avoid the Chopping Block.

On tonight’s all-new episode of Chopped, judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Maneet Chauhan and Marc Murphy welcomed four moms to the kitchen with baskets of familiar ingredients that home cooks would likely use. In the entree round, that meant a spread of mustard greens, pork butt, red quinoa and carrot baby food — products that, while perhaps difficult for these nonprofessional cooks, should have been a cinch to prepare for the chef-judges, who later tried their hands at this very basket.

Alex admitted that, with the exception of the baby food, “It’s like a nice, innocent little basket.” But that didn’t stop her and the rest of the panel from facing some of the same challenges the moms did, like how to make a tough piece of pork tender and how to quickly cook quinoa with limited time. During their friendly face-off, Marc resorted to using a meat grinder to break down the pork and make it into meatballs. Maneet incorporated the meat into a casserole-style dish, and Alex took advantage of almost every second of the competition to fully cook her quinoa.

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Make Juicier Pork

by in Food Network Magazine, May 7th, 2013

Pork ChopsThin cuts of pork can dry out quickly, so try giving them a quick brine first. Pierce chops, cutlets or other thin cuts with a fork, then soak in heavily salted cold water for 15 to 30 minutes; drain and pat dry before cooking. You can add vinegar, sugar, herbs or other flavors to the brine, too. Just remember to go easy on the salt when you cook the meat.

Give it a try with this recipe: Pork Chops With Bean Salad (pictured above)

The World’s First Elvis-Inspired Soft-Shell Crab Double Down — Rebel Remix

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, May 7th, 2013

Chopped All-Stars Finale
Every week, Justin Warner, winner of Food Network Star Season 8, is back remixing the Chopped All-Stars baskets as seen in the episode Sunday night in pure Justin Warner style: edgy, intense, passionate and full of wit. If you’ve ever watched an episode and found yourself yelling at the TV, “I would have made this and that instead!” then these are the posts for you.

by Justin Warner

Welcome to the final installment of the Chopped All-Stars Rebel Remix. It is bittersweet to pen this, as it signals an end to a really fun five weeks of shouting at my TV, but as you are about to see, the finale is where one retires the pea-shooter in favor of the potato cannon, and I really love potato cannons.

Appetizer: soft-shell crabs, sake, crunchy peanut butter, sea beans
I spent most of my formative years and adolescence in the great state of Maryland, where we enjoy soft-shell crabs whenever possible. Nothing is more gratifying than a sandwich with crunchy legs sticking out of a nice potato roll. If you’ve never had the treat, head to your local sushi bar and order a spider roll. Don’t be scared, it’s 100 percent cooked and 110 percent spider-free. You’ll notice it has a crunchy texture that reveals silky sweet meat with a whisper of funk. That’s the mustard, aka the guts, highly prized among many. Fancy chefs here in Brooklyn are smearing crab guts on brioche and charging as much as a whole crab would cost. Anyway, the soft-shell crab is a very tasty morsel I hold in very high regard. To prep them, cut off their faces without hesitation. Flip them over and pull open the key. This will open up the body for you to remove the feathery gills. Voila.

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Restaurant Chefs Talk Dining Experiences at James Beard Awards

by in Events, May 7th, 2013

Aaron Sanchez and Zarela MartinezJust as movie stars vie for an Academy Award and television stars wish for an Emmy, food stars dream of taking home the ultimate prize in the culinary industry: a James Beard Award. Honoring a commitment to excellence, the James Beard Foundation recognizes those restaurants, chefs, and food and spirits professionals who’ve proved they and their businesses offer the quintessential dining experience — something to which their peers can aspire. In New York City last night, nominees from 20 categories, including Best New Restaurant, Outstanding Service and Outstanding Restaurant, gathered in Avery Fisher Hall with some of the biggest names in the industry, like Food Network’s own Anne Burrell, Ted Allen and Aarón Sánchez, for the chance to earn a coveted Beard medal.

Before the ceremony got under way, nominees, presenters, past winners and Foundation members strutted their stuff on the red carpet, and FN Dish was on hand to chat with them. For these passionate chefs and food people, there’s seemingly no insurmountable kitchen task or meal they couldn’t create flawlessly at home, but, still, given the award-worthy meals coming out of top-notch restaurants, Dish editors were curious: What meals do restaurant chefs prefer not to make themselves, and indulge in only when dining out?

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Enter for a Chance to Win Guy Fieri’s New Triple D Cookbook, The Funky Finds in Flavortown

by in Contests, May 6th, 2013

Guy Fieri's The Funky Finds in Flavortown Cookbook GiveawayDiners, Drive-Ins and Dives is now in its seventeenth season — 17 seasons of Guy Fieri finding funky, scratch-made and one-of-a-kind eats across the country. Now this Food Network star returns with an all-new book, the third in the Triple D series, The Funky Finds in Flavortown: America’s Classic Joints and Killer Comfort Food. This time around he’s bringing on the big personalities, the recipes and the homegrown restaurants that capture the freewheeling American spirit at its finest.

Also along for the ride are members of Guy’s rambunctious Krew, sharing their most memorable shoots, meals, behind-the-scenes stories and killer pranks from the road. Fans will also love this new feature: a full-color foldout map that shows the location of every diner in the book.

Go along for the ride. You can pre-order a copy of his new book here, or enter in the comment field below for a chance to win one. To enter: Tell us which one of Guy’s recipes is your favorite and why in the comments (you must include the URL — find Guy’s list of recipes here). We’re giving five lucky, randomly selected commenters each an autographed copy of the book.

Read official rules before entering

Baked Potato Bar — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, May 6th, 2013

Mushroom-Onion Potato

Not merely a starchy side dish playing second string to the meaty entree, the everyday baked potato can be the star of your dinner simply by topping it with a few hearty ingredients. When it comes to stuffing baked potatoes, think of the spuds as blank canvases through which you can showcase your favorite flavors, textures and ingredient combinations inspired by some tried-and-true dishes. They’re plenty filling on their own, but when finished with fresh or roasted vegetables, creamy cheeses, eggs and more, baked potatoes are transformed into all-in-one suppers that are budget-friendly and quick to prepare.

When cooking for your family, particularly if you’re trying to cater to little ones’ picky palates while feeding your own adventurous appetite, it’s best to bake the potatoes first, then let everyone add their preferred toppings. Set up a baked potato bar complete with salsa, sour cream, roasted peppers, herbs, sauces and just about anything else you can imagine, so each person can assemble his or her own meal and get exactly what they like.

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