How to Use Fish Sauce

by in Food Network Magazine, June 8th, 2013

Rice Noodle and Shrimp Salad Recipe

In Food Network Magazine, we occasionally make Southeast Asian-inspired recipes that call for fish sauce, like the Rice Noodle-Shrimp Salad (pictured above) in our June issue. This sauce is a staple of Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and really the entire region, and is usually made from fermented anchovies. Sounds scary, we know, and it can smell scary, too — very pungent. But it can be surprisingly subtle and can add an astounding depth of flavor as well as authenticity to a dish. We’re lucky that we can now find fish sauce in the Asian section of most big grocery stores. But if you are lucky enough to live near an Asian market, you will likely see several different brands on the shelf, each of different origins and with its own subtly unique flavor.

In November of last year, right before we started developing our recipes for June, I had the good fortune of visiting Vietnam. The food, of course, was amazing. And while there, I was surprised to learn about the variety of fish sauces and fish sauce blends they used. The most common variety by far is nuoc cham: fish sauce diluted with water, sugar and lime juice, usually seasoned with garlic and fresh chilies. Not only is it delicious, but because its flavor is slightly more subdued, it is the perfect starting point for fish sauce novices. In the Rice Noodle-Shrimp Salad, I created my own version of nuoc cham as the salad dressing. It imparts tons of flavor to the rice noodles, but it’s also extremely versatile: It’s great as a dipping sauce for grilled chicken, for instance.

Get the recipe

Stretching the Value of Steak — Weekend Cookout

by in Recipes, June 8th, 2013

Skirt SteakThis 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 juicy grilled steak that won’t break the bank.

No matter if you’re buying filet mignon or flank steak, the price of beef can leave a sizable dent in your wallet, especially if you’re shopping to feed a crowd. But even though it’s a splurge item for many, steak is indeed a can-do meat for your next weekend cookout; the trick is knowing what to buy and how to stretch it so that you get the most for your money.

Choosing the Best Cut
About that filet mignon — skip it. Stick to the flank or other budget-friendly cuts like hanger or skirt steak. These pieces of beef are every bit as flavorful as their expensive counterparts, but they’re thinner, so they’re more prone to overcooking. To remedy that and dodge chewy meat, simply keep the cooking time to a minimum. In his recipe for Skirt Steak (pictured above), Alton cooks the beef on hot charcoals for just 60 seconds on each side, then keeps it wrapped in foil for 15 minutes; the direct-heat method ensures that the meat develops a charred crust, while the aluminum tent helps it become tender. Click the play button on the video below to watch Alton make it.

Read more

A Father’s Day Gift Guide for the Foodie Dad — 10 Homemade Ideas

by in Holidays, June 7th, 2013

Dad's Gift GuideIf you’re thinking of buying another tie for your dad this Father’s Day, stop right now. Does he really need another one? Instead, go for a homemade gift. It’s the perfect present for a food-loving dad who will appreciate a jar of tangy barbecue sauce, a caramel sauce made with beer or even a box of chocolate-covered bacon that he won’t stop raving about. But to complete the gift, add on a store-bought item, like a set of beer glasses for testing out some different varieties or a smoking kit for the next time he’s barbecuing. He’ll love that you’ve set him up with everything he needs for enjoying his favorite pastime.

FN Dish has done the work for you and come up with 10 ideas that pair a homemade food gift with a purchased item to make the perfect themed gift package. Find ideas for the beer lover, the barbecue enthusiast, the coffee lover and more.

Get the Father’s Day gift guide

Peas and Potato Soup With Tarragon Pesto — The Weekender

by in Recipes, June 7th, 2013

Peas and Potato Soup With Tarragon Pesto - The WeekenderMost people I know put away their soup pots when summer rolls around. And while I understand the inclination (who wants to heat up their kitchen with a long-simmered thing when it’s 90 degrees F?), I am of the belief that soup is a four-season food.

In my mind, there’s no better way to make quick, easy work of all that garden and farmers’ market produce than with a simple soup. All spring I’ve been making pureed soups with peas, asparagus and sorrel, and I’m happily anticipating the coming glut of tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant.

Those three make a blissful soup when roasted, pureed with a little stock and seasoned with garlic, basil and grated Parmesan cheese. They can also be grilled, if you insist upon keeping the heat out of your kitchen.

I always take note when I spot a good soup for the spring and summer months (I shop for recipes the way other women hunt for shoes). Thanks to this habit of mine, when a giant head of escarole appeared in my first CSA share this weekend (along with parsley, tarragon and spring onions), I knew just where to turn: Rachael Ray’s Peas and Potato Soup With Tarragon Pesto.

Before you start cooking, read these tips

What to Watch: Quality Time With Family and Friends, Fran Drescher on Cupcake Wars, and Food Network Star

by in Shows, June 7th, 2013

Fran DrescherThis weekend on Food Network, spend your day picnicking with Ree, going on a staycation with Trisha or kiddie camping with Jamie Deen. And learn something new: Giada delves into the best ways to cook and bake with apples and Guy teaches his son how to smoke chicken. Then visit Chicago’s Southside with Jeff Mauro to discover an ultimate sandwich recipe. Hang around on Sunday evening for a cupcake party with Fran Drescher and tune in for a burger bash on Food Network Star. Plus, watch Robert Irvine help a man find his way who is completely lost running his first restaurant.

Read about the shows

Caption It: Alton Means Business

by , June 7th, 2013

Alton Brown and Giada De LaurentiisWith only 11 weeks of competition between their premiere performances and the finale, Food Network Star hopefuls have the narrowest of windows to leave a lasting impression on the Selection Committee. It’s up to them to find their culinary hooks quickly, sharpen their kitchen skills and ultimately convince the mentors of their staying power on the network. With Daniela’s early departure last week, the contestants learned that most will not enjoy the time they need to prove their progress, and come Sunday, their star potential will be tested in a new way during live demonstrations at a Burger Bash-inspired event.

Check out the sneak-peek photo above from this weekend’s episode: Alton’s delivering what appears to be a not-so-gentle remark to the competitors during evaluation. Do you think he’s speaking to the entire group, or is he singling out one finalist who’s especially struggling? After just two weeks of competition, should the mentors demand progress, or should they understand the time it takes to learn and improve? How long is too long to wait for a finalist to demonstrate growth, on the plate, on camera and on stage?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to find out what Alton’s saying, we’re challenging you, Star fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this evaluation moment in the comments below.

Read more

WATCH: Your New Summer Cocktail, Bourbon Ice Pops

by in Drinks, Entertaining, June 6th, 2013

YouTube Preview Image
Popsicles: They’re nostalgic treats that put a smile on any kids face and while adults can enjoy them, too, it’s just not the same. This summer, Food Network Kitchens is changing that with a recipe that brings the two best parts of summer together: cocktails and ice pops. Learn how to make these tasty, spirited and eye-catching Bourbon Pops — serve them to adults at your next barbecue and watch their eyes light up just like the good ol’ days.

Find out what you’ll need to create these cold treats by clicking the play button above.

Mall Food Made Better on Tyler Florence’s Upcoming Food Court Wars

by in Shows, June 6th, 2013

Tyler FlorenceTyler Florence is on a mission this summer to shine a light on one area of the restaurant industry that’s rarely the focus of inspired eats: shopping mall food courts. In his brand-new series, Food Court Wars, Tyler judges teams of budding entrepreneurs with focused food points of view as they face off in malls across the country for the chance to open their dream eatery.

With Tyler — a longtime professional chef and restaurant owner — at the helm, it won’t be enough for the teams to turn out quick-service meals. These groups of spouses and friends must demonstrate their management skills and business-minded expertise, plus their abilities to offer the highest-quality food, if they want to earn their own business and run it rent-free for an entire year. Each week, they’ll battle in challenges that test their original marketing ideas, purchasing know-how and basic food preparation skills before the most-profitable team can claim the win.

Read more